Tag: "America’s Radio News Network"

Monday, May 20, 2013

| May 20, 2013

tantillojohnOpen Letter to Rush:  Marketing and Branding Expert Warns Host to Do a “Brand Over” Before it is Too Late.  Author, broadcaster and branding consultant, Dr. John Tantillo, tells Rush Limbaugh that he must act quickly to offset the negative campaigning being waged against him, his style of talk and, resultantly, all of talk radio in the commercial/advertising arena.  In an open letter to the star host posted today exclusively in TALKERS (5/20), Tantillo suggests, “Rush, when products reach the maturity stage, the textbook answer is to address it by stressing product benefits and differences.  In your case, Rush this is rather easy.  You wrote the book on talk and created an entire lucrative advertising model around it.  You simply are all about talk and making a profit from it.  This is something that they cannot take away from you, or as I would like to say: ’It’s your brand.’  And because this is your brand, you should work from there when commencing your brand over.   That’s right — brand over, not that inane ‘make over’ where consultants who don’t really know you,  advise you to become something that you are not.  No, Rush, a brand over, is for you and will take the Rush from the inside and makes the necessary alterations to the outside.  All good! Your centering mission should be: ‘To thy own brand be true,’ where any and all changes about your brand come from there.”  Tantillo offers a compelling 10 step strategy that Rush can take to turn around the campaign being waged by his critics and set himself on a successful course for the next stage of his maturing brand.  To read the letter in its entirety, please click here.

clyburnmignonMignon Clyburn in as Acting Chairperson of the FCC.  As announced, Julius Genachowski has exited the Federal Communications Commission where he was chairman and commissioner Mignon Clyburn will serve as acting chair until the confirmation process for the new chairman has taken place.  Nominee Tom Wheeler’s confirmation has been delayed until later in June.  Last week the Commerce Committee announced the confirmation hearings would not take place this week.

millerchrisTime to Clean Up Digital Space for Summer.  With Memorial Day weekend about to roll around, digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller suggests this is a good time to start making big moves in small chunks and get your website and social media initiatives up to speed with a little upgrading.  In a new column posted today (5/20) Miller offers a punch list of items you can work on each week between now and Labor Day to get your website and social media fixed up, and ready to totally support your on-air product this fall!  They include writing down your goals, taking something OFF your website, picking fonts and colors, freshening your Facebook page cover photo, checking your tabs for relevance, cutting back on posts by setting and raising your standards, focusing Twitter on something specific, and properly prioritizing Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest by de-emphasizing them as social sites and using them more for storage and as content channels.  To read Chris Miller’s entire article, click here.

wolfcharlieInternationally Known American Broadcaster Living and Working in London Shares his Perspective on the Radio Business from the Other Side of the Pond.  They might be speaking English, but the comparisons break down quickly after that.  American radio broadcaster Charlie Wolf has been living and working in the UK for years, holding on-air positions at a number of leading British media outlets from the legendary “pirate radio” to the BBC.  During these years, he has become somewhat of an in-house UK “go-to” guy explaining, debating and in most cases defending the American position on issues as seen from the English point of view.  In an exclusive commentary posted today (5/20) in TALKERS, Wolf shares his observations and insights about how very different talk radio is in the UK than it is in the US.  To read his entire provocative piece, click here.

mccaslinspeech‘America’s Morning News’ Host John McCaslin Addresses Small Business Finance Conference.  America’s Radio News Network executive vice president John McCaslin (holding mic) is pictured here at the 2013 NADCO “Game Change” conference held over the weekend.  The conference was for companies certified by the Small Business Administration to provide loans for small businesses, which create two-thirds of the nation’s new jobs.  McCaslin, who also hosts the nationally syndicated “America’s Morning News” program, told the packed house at San Diego’s Hotel Del Coronado where he thinks the economy — and the unrelated overnight trio of scandals rocking President Obama — are headed in the coming months.  The veteran newsman was among the “Inside Washington” speakers.  Besides much-needed job creation, the four-day conference — sponsored by Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, and Wells Fargo — centered on the new VetLoan Advantage Program for members of the U.S. military returning home from overseas deployment.

OAadkinsetalWorlds Collide on Opie & Anthony’s SiriusXM Show.  SiriusXM’s Opie & Anthony are known for broadcasting the unusual but this collage of guests from disparate worlds really takes the cake.  Picture here are (from l-r) comic Colin Quinn, celebrity chef Guy Fieri, SiriusXM host Anthony Cumia, country music superstar Trace Adkins, SiriusXM host Opie Hughes, and comic Tom Papa.  The collision happened on the O&A show last week as the four guests all happened to be scheduled for the same day and appeared on the program at the same time.

rabRadio Advertising Bureau Unveils New ‘State-of-the-Art’ Website.  The RAB proudly announces the debut of the new www.RAB.com .  Calling it an “updated, fresh design,” the RAB says the new site was created “with today’s mobile salesperson in mind.”  The site uses a responsive design that automatically reacts to a visitor’s screen size, so RAB members can search for vital sales intelligence, consumer insights and sales material support no matter if they’re on their desktop, in the office, or using any mobile device including tablets and smart phones.  The section for radio managers, account executives and associate members is navigated through the 7 Steps to Selling Success, a set of principles reinforced through RAB Professional Development training and certification courses.  It features sections devoted to prospecting, appointments, research, creative, and proposals and presentations.  Managers will also find their own dedicated section with important links to RAB Professional Development, management articles, and sales tips.  Radio account executives will find a number of new farberericaand exciting features including “Trending Now on RAB.com.”  Based on real-time traffic across the new RAB.com, account executives will see what topics, articles, reports, etc. are growing in popularity.  Favorite RAB services such as Articles on Demand, Instant Backgrounds, prospecting reports, consumer profiles, commercial scripts, mp3 commercial audio and RAB’s co-op library are all available on the site with easy-to-find functionality.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “The RAB prides itself on delivering the most current products, information and resources to our members.  Redesigning this site with total mobile capabilities was a ‘must have.’  In order to remain competitive, our members need to access current services and data while on the go.”

rayfieldmarcCBS Radio Philadelphia’s Marc Rayfield to Be Inducted into Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.   CBS Radio proudly announces that Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield is being inducted into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in a special ceremony on Monday, May 20.  Rayfield will be inducted along with basketball coach Larry Brown and seven other talented honorees.  The Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Adolph and Rose Levis Museum (PJSHOF) is celebrating its 16th anniversary at a reception to today at 5:30 pm.  Rayfield is the vice president of WIP SportsRadio, one of the nation’s most respected all sports stations.  WIP is known for innovation in business such as the first studio naming rights partnership in the United States with Tastykake.  WIP is home to Angelo Cataldi and the morning team.  The station also annually hosts one of the largest radio promotions in the country, Wing Bowl, prior to the Super Bowl in front of a sold-out crowd at the Wells Fargo Center.  Rayfield  is currently responsible for live broadcasts of the Phillies, Eagles and Philadelphia Union as well as Temple, St. Joe’s and Villanova athletics.

Monday, January 21, 2013

| January 21, 2013

ARNNlogoAmerica’s Radio News Network Delivers Inauguration Coverage.  Anchored by ARNN’s Rachel Sutherland, the network will provide coverage of the Inauguration Day activities.  In addition to live reportssutherlandrachel throughout the morning, ARNN will cover: The oath of office for President Barack Obama, administered by Chief Justice of the United States, John G. Roberts, Jr.; The oath of office for Vice President Joseph Biden, administered by Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor; musical artists James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson, and Beyoncé. James Taylor will sing “America the Beautiful,” Kelly Clarkson will perform “My Country Tis of Thee,” and Beyoncé will sing the National Anthem; the presidential inaugural parade, which includes members from all branches of the armed forces of the United States.

kuhnerjeffWRKO, Boston Broadcasts from Inauguration Day in Washington, DC.  You’d expect to see a lot more conservative stations broadcasting from Washington, DC today if Mitt Romney had beaten Barack Obama but still, some are covering it as the news event that it is and WRKO, Boston AM drive host Jeff Kuhner is originating his show from the Nation’s Capital this morning.  Special guest commentary will include Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky at 7:15 am and conservative commentator Pat Buchanan at 8:30 am.  In addition to Kuhner’s morning program, the station will broadcast coverage of the Inauguration from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon.

cainhermanHerman Cain’s Nationally Syndicated Program Begins Today.  The succession of Herman Cain into the daily syndication slot held by Neal Boortz for so many years happens today with the Dial Global program debuting on some 80 affiliate stations.  It airs live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.  Cain, who hosted a nightly program in Cox Media’s WSB, Atlanta before taking a leave from radio in order to run for president, says of his new show, “Buckle your seat belts, because we are in full-blast mode.  I’m excited and inspired to be a voice against ignorance and stupidity.  This is a year when Americans are confused and worried about how government will impact them personally — with taxes, with health care changes, with their jobs, and the economy.   I want to use my life experience to inform them, and to prepare them.”  Dial Global SVP and general manager of news and talk Amy Bolton says of Cain, “A true American success story, Herman Cain came from humble beginnings, had a vision, worked hard and became a successful businessman, presidential candidate and now talk radio phenomenon.  Known for his no-nonsense style and ability to connect with everyday Americans, Herman Cain promises to deliver great radio.  Dial Global is thrilled to partner with Cox Media Group and Herman as we launch the next talk radio star.”

sileodanBeasley’s WQAM, Miami Suspends Dan Sileo for Twitter Comments.  Sports talk host Dan Sileo’s attack on Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews has earned him a two-day suspension from his midday sports talk show today and tomorrow.  The incident started when Sileo criticized the sports media for not covering the Manti Te’o story the way he felt it should have been covered and singled out Erin Andrews.  After Andrews Tweeted back she’d never covered a Notre Dame game, Sileo again Tweeted, “Love Erin Andrews either naked or in a porn. Not at a sports desk.”  He apologized for that remark.  Management at WQAM is not commenting other than to confirm that Sileo will be out for two days.

cookehollandBased on How People Consume Audio Content, Radio Sorts into Two Categories:  Live and Archived.  According to radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke, it is important for programmers to be cognizant of the two basic “piles” that radio falls into when it comes to how it is utilized by listeners.  They are basically determined by the content’s time-sensitivity.  In an exclusive article, Cooke outlines the major programming elements that fall into each of these categories and offers tips on how to best position them.  To read Cooke’s piece click here.

schnitttoddSchnitt vs Bubba: Day Three.  On the third day of testimony in the defamation suit talk show host Todd Schnitt has filed against Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem), much of the testimony revolved around that of Florida Statebubba Attorney Mark Ober.  He’s the state’s attorney who prosecuted Bubba the Love Sponge after his ill-fated wild boar slaying back in 2001.  The Tampa Bay Times reports Bubba had contended that Todd Schnitt’s wife Michelle, an assistant state’s attorney had conspired with Ober to bring the charges against him.  Ober denied there was any conspiracy between him and the Schnitts to prosecute in that case and said that Michelle Schnitt was fresh out of law school and not working on felony prosecutions at that time.

wgnlogoWGN, Chicago’s Parent Tribune Company Has New CEO.  Former Discovery Communications COO Peter Ligouri has been named the CEO of Tribune Company by the board of directors.  Ligouri takes over the media company that has suffered through a long and tumultuous bankruptcy.  But for those at news/talk WGN, Chicago – the company’s only radio property – the fear of being sold can be put on the back burner…for now.  In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Ligouri says he’s not “going into this job with a fire-sale sign.”  There has been speculation that there is interest in selling off the newspaper business and just focusing on television.  But Ligouri tells the Times that, though he can’t rule out that the new owners would want to sell the newspapers, the company has “unparalleled media assets, iconic brands in major markets and very talented, creative employees.”  As for the company’s Chicago properties including WGN radio, Ligouri states, “When you look at Chicago, a great radio asset in WGN radio, a great local TV station in WGN and an iconic newspaper … you know that you have great penetration in that city.  I think the opportunity is being outward focused and saying if so many of these people are coming to Tribune properties over the course of their daily lives, what can we do for them that will keep them informed and keep them with us?  Servicing the user will create a natural flow from platform to platform.”

salemcommunicationsSalem Communications Re-Brands WIND, Chicago as “AM 560 The Answer.”  The Chicago news/talk outlet WIND is being re-branded by owner Salem Communications as “AM 560 The Answer” a branding that the company’s stations in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Columbus also carry.  Salem vice president and director of spoken word formats Phil Boyce created the brand for WNYM, New York and is installing it in markets where it seems to fit.  He says WIND will still continue to reflect its Chicago personality.  “There is a unique attitude and spirit in Chicago, and we will capture it with the promos, liners, and on-air imaging.”

scprSouthern California Public Radio Employees Vote to Join SAG-AFTRA.  The almost 70 staffers at Southern California Public Radio – reporters, anchors, producers, and program hosts – have voted to join SAG-AFTRA, according to the Los Angeles Times.  SCPR is a nonprofit organization that is part of American Public Media and operates KPCC, Los Angeles; KUOR, Redlands; and KVLA, Coachella.  SAG-AFTRA issued the following statement: “We’re pleased and excited with the results of the union election at KPCC.  We are looking forward to working with the new SAG-AFTRA bargaining unit in partnership with KPCC management to negotiate a first contract.”

millerbidenStephanie Miller and the Veep.  WYD Media nationally syndicated progressive talk host Stephanie Miller (second from left) is pictured here with Vice President Joe Biden at the 2013 Green Inaugural Ball honoring President Barack Obama held yesterday evening at the Newseum in Washington, DC.  Here with Miller and Biden are “West Wing” actress Melissa Fitzgerald (left) and the Green Ball’s Shelley Cohen (r).

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

| November 6, 2012

Radio News Services Prepare for Election 2012 Coverage.  Fox News Radio announces its schedule for coverage of the 2012 election.  The network will provide live coverage beginning at 7:00 pm ET.  Fox News Radio senior national correspondent Rich Johnson and political analyst Jeff Birnbaum will co-anchor the coverage along with Fox News Channel’s Heather Nauert who will be reporting on the race results.  In addition, many of the FNR affiliates across the country will be covering the election as well as the congressional and gubernatorial contests.  ABC News Radio will also begin its live coverage at 7:00 pm and it will run until 1:00 am unless longer coverage is deemed necessary.  ABC’s Aaron Katersky is anchoring with assistance from correspondents Vic Ratner, Ann Compton, Steven Portnoy and Alex Stone.  As we reported last week, America’s Radio News Network is providing election coverage to affiliate stations.  The team of John McCaslin, Lori Lundin and Chris Salcedo will broadcast “Election Night 2012” to affiliates from 9:00 pm to 3:00 am ET.  McCaslin states, “Before the winners are even announced, we will have for listeners the final state-by-state exit polling – including crucial battleground states like Ohio, Florida and Virginia – as quickly as the polls close in each state.  Once the voting stops, we will be able to closely examine various exit-polling data and get a clear signal of the ultimate results.  Take the all-important race for the White House: if President Obama or Mitt Romney were to win certain key battleground states – with the right combination, this could be as few as two of the states – we would be able to suggest which candidate will be taking the oath of office on January 21, 2013.”

Talker Warren Ballentine to Interview President Obama Today.  President Obama will push a get-out-the-vote message when he visits with Syndication One nationally syndicated talk host Warren Ballentine on his talk show today in the 11:00 am ET hour.  Yesterday, TALKERS spoke with SiriusXM and WOL, Washington talk host Joe Madison who said President Obama has made himself and his cabinet available to urban talk outlets such as his during the course of the president’s term.  Ballentine, a lawyer by trade, is heard on 37 affiliate stations across the country.

ESPN Radio’s Jim Durham Passes Away at 65.  Jim Durham was the lead play-by-play analyst for “The NBA on ESPN Radio.”  He died over the weekend at his home in Tomball, Texas.  No cause of death has been announced.  Senior vice president and general manager, ESPN Radio Mo Davenport says, “Jim was a respected play-by-play specialist who combined a tremendous gift for storytelling with a Hall of Fame voice.  He’s been a dedicated friend and a trusted teammate to so many at ESPN for two decades and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with his wife Helen and the entire Durham family.”  In 2011 Durham was honored by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame with the Curt Gowdy Media Award, presented annually to members of the print and electronic media whose longtime efforts have made a significant contribution to the game of basketball.

Talk Host Michelle Jerson Promoting New Web Venture.  Relationship talk host and news reporter Michelle Jerson – who has worked at such outlets as WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5; WJFK, Washington and SiriusXM’s Howard 100 channel – has developed a new web venture at her site called PassportRomance.com.  The content-rich travel website combines her experience as a relationship host and travel expert.  As the former television, web, and radio correspondent for Travelzoo.com, she is now giving readers  first-hand accounts and ideas of where to travel if they are single looking for love, seeking the perfect first trip with a new partner, or planning a romantic honeymoon or anniversary close to home or abroad.  Jerson is also creating radio segments to promote her site and will appear on Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia “IQ 106.9” on the morning show with Al Gardner and Lionel this Friday.  Stations interested in booking Michelle as a guest can reach out to her at michelle@passportromance.com.

WZON, Bangor Morning Host Lives in “Hobbit Hole” to Raise Awareness of Those Who can’t Afford Heat.  Talk host Pat LaMarche hosts “The Pulse Morning Show” on WZON-AM/FM, Bangor Maine and she’s been living in a “hobbit hole” – basically a non-insulated and unheated garden shed – to raise awareness and funds for those in the region who have trouble heating their homes during the brutal Maine winters.  LaMarche tells local TV outlet WABI that all funds raised will go to help winterize homes, especially of the elderly, disabled and homes with children.  LaMarche is bundled up and is hosting the program from inside the wooden shed and she tells the TV station that it’s very uncomfortable and difficult to function due to the cold.  She says for families with children, it’s even more challenging.  “If you had to go to school every day and your choice is cold water or going to school un-bathed and kids make fun of you, and your life is extremely unpleasant because you’re cold and then you get picked on at school.”

Romney vs. Obama, Voter Fraud Issues, Sandy Aftermath, and Libya Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/5).  The final push before election day between President Obama and Mitt Romney; allegations of voter fraud in early polling; the aftermath of Sandy in the hard-hit areas of New York and New Jersey; and the investigation into the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, November 5, 2012

| November 5, 2012

KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa Promotes Dan Potter to AM Drive Show.  There’s been a lot of movement among Cox Media Group staffers between properties lately.  It started with long-time KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa program director Drew Anderssen moving to the company’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando at the end of the summer.  Then it was announced that WDBO morning host Jim Turner would retire and KRMG AM drive personality Joe Kelley would move to Orlando to take over the morning show there.  Now, KRMG announces that it is promoting “Tulsa’s Afternoon News” host Dan Potter and he will slide into the morning drive chair beginning November 19.  Potter says, “Under Joe Kelley’s leadership, the ‘KRMG Morning News’ has become the single most important morning show in Oklahoma, both in terms of content and listenership.  I hope to continue the growth Joe started and to attract new listeners to the show.  I am humbled, honored and very excited for this opportunity.  I anchored newscasts on a similar morning show in Dallas-Fort Worth for over 15 years and am constantly impressed by KRMG’s commitment to covering breaking news better than anyone.  You could take this newsroom and this product and put it in any major market in the country and be competitive.”

ESPN Audio Debuts New PM Drive Show with Jonathan Coachman.  A new sports talk show from ESPN Audio debuts this afternoon hosted by ESPN studio anchor Jonathan Coachman.  The 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET show will have Coachman initially joined by a rotating array of ESPN on-air personalities to present three hours of personality-driven opinion, analysis, humor and interviews covering the news of the day, as well as interaction with listeners via e-mails, texts and calls.  The program is available to terrestrial affiliates as well as being heard via the ESPN app, espnradio.com, TuneIn and SiriusXM.  During his time at ESPN, Coachman has hosted “NBA Tonight,” “College Football Live,” “NASCAR Now,” and “ESPN2 Friday Night Fights.”  Coachman says of the new venture, “To say I am excited about ‘Coach’ & Company would be an understatement, but it’s going to be about our entire team – our production team and the team of fans at home – who will all have a hand in hopefully making it a successful show.  I am very serious about sports, but people can expect above all else a show that is fun.  And, with my background in the WWE, I feel I can really bring an entertainment value to the show in a strong way.”

Clear Channel’s Columbia, South Carolina Country Jocks Pull Double Duty; Host PM on News/Talk WVOC.  Jonathon Rush and Kelly Nash – known to their country WCOS, Columbia listeners and Rush & Nash, hosts of the “Morning Rush” program – begin a new chapter in their careers hosting the “Afternoon Rush” on sister news/talk WVOC.  The station parted ways with PM drive host Keven Cohen last week.  Rush and Nash will continue to host their morning program on “My Country 97.5.”  In a statement, Kelly Nash says, “This is an opportunity I’ve dreamed of for years.  We can play the world’s greatest music for the greatest music fans in the morning and talk with the most passionate radio listeners every afternoon.”

WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne Names Ryan Reker PD.  Federated Media’s heritage WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne, Indiana announces the hiring of Ryan Reker as program director.  Reker comes to the station after a management shuffle that saw Gregg Henson (now at Clear Channel’s WPGB and WBGG, Pittsburgh) exit the post and Federated’s own Woody Zimmerman oversee the station briefly before being reassigned to oversee the company’s Warsaw, Indiana cluster.  Reker most recently served as program director and morning host at Maverick Media’s classic rock WEGE-FM and as program director of sports talk WWSR-FM, both in Lima, Ohio.  Reker also worked at Clear Channel’s news/talk WOOD-AM in Grand Rapids and Entercom’s sports WSSP, Milwaukee.  He says of his new position, “WOWO is a unique station with very unique listeners.  I love the reputation and passion they’ve built with the community.  I’m honored and excited for the opportunity to work with such a great group of broadcasters.”

How to Write a Professional Radio Facebook Post (Part 2).  Radio digital consultant Chris Miller was so amazed by the high level of interest in his previous TALKERS piece, “Start Doing THIS Right NOW on Facebook,” published here last week, that he decided to share a few more tips to help you get your radio station’s pages and posts right!  Miller writes, “A lot of us radio folks see the value in social media.  Still, many could use some help working it in a way so you’re building your brand, instead of just spinning your wheels.  Many of the mistakes businesses make on Facebook have to do with how your write what you post.  We tend to speak in marketing-ese or like we’re scripting a promo.  That’s a huge error that may have people consistently hiding your content.”  Read Miller’s entire article explaining how to write a post that works for you, here.

President Obama Friendly to African American-Targeted Radio.  President Obama is credited with being the first presidential candidate to seriously use social media to assist his election and re-election efforts but he’s also been a user of radio programs that target the urban audience.    SiriusXM talk radio star Joe Madison (whose program is also heard on terrestrial outlet WOL, Washington, DC) tells TALKERS magazine the president reached out to him early and often.  “His administration nurtured a relationship with black talk radio since he first took office.  I have had access to most members of his cabinet.  They have addressed issues related to the black community and the general population.  Contrast that with Romney’s campaign, we have not received a single news release or response to appear on my show.”  In fact, Madison will host the president on his radio show today.  Madison says he believes the get-out-the-vote effort targeted to black radio by the Obama campaign appears to be working.  “I believe the early voting we’ve seen in our community is due to black talk radio encouraging our audience to vote.  Yesterday in Dade County, Florida, voters were in line until 1:00 am.”

Report:  Actor John Cusack to Produce and Star in Film About Rush Limbaugh.  The Huffington Post reports that actor John Cusack’s company, New Crime Productions, is putting the finishing touches on the script of a movie about Rush Limbaugh tentatively titled “Rush.”  The story quotes actress/director Betty Thomas (who also directed Howard Stern’s “Private Parts”) saying she will direct and that production starts sometime next year.

NBC Sports Radio Names Stan Van Gundy NBA Senior Analyst.  The former head coach of the Orlando Magic joins the NBC Sports Radio network as senior analyst for the NBA.  Stan Van Gundy will call into network shows each week during the NBA season.  He’ll talk exclusively to NBC Sports Radio affiliates and co-host for an hour every Friday during the NBA season, on a show soon to be announced.  NBC Sports Ventures senior vice president Rob Simmelkjaer states, “We are thrilled to add one of the most respected and outspoken coaches in the NBA to the NBC Sports Radio roster.  Our listeners will get to enjoy Stan’s unique insight into events and storylines around the league on a weekly basis.”

 

KABC, Los Angeles’ Doug McIntyre Emcees Bennett Film Opening.  KABC, Los Angeles morning drive host Doug McIntyre had the opportunity to emcee the Los Angeles opening of the new Tony Bennett documentary titled, “The Zen of Bennett” before a sold-out crowd at the Landmark Theater.  McIntyre tells TALKERS, “The distributor of ‘The Zen of Bennett’ is a fan of the documentary I made with my wife, ‘Trying to Get Good: The Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon.’  Since I had a background in music — specifically the Great American Songbook and jazz, and have a ton of experience doing these kind of interviews (Robert Redford, Betty White, etc.,) – he recommended me to Tony’s manager, Danny Bennett.  I had met Tony a number of times before but this was the first chance I had to really spend some time with him, a thrill for me, probably less so for Tony.”  McIntyre says the event was not a KABC promotion but the station did give away tickets to the premiere.

“Free Talk Live” Celebrates 10 Years on the Radio.  “Free Talk Live” – the evening and weekend independently syndicated talk program hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge – celebrates its 10th anniversary.  Freeman writes, in a memo to affiliates and the industry, that the program began in Florida after a format change at the station at which he was working.  “In 2001, rock WYNF, Tampa flipped to hot talk and was using content from Orlando’s successful ‘Real Radio’ WTKS-FM as well as the other ‘Real Radio,’ WZZR-FM in West Palm Beach.  After a year of this, I approached management, Big Jim Davis and Ron White, and pitched the idea of a local show for the weekend.  I said we’d be willing to do it for free.  They gave us the green light and ‘Free Talk Live’ was born, at first on Sunday nights.  The response from the audience was so spectacular that it was within the first few weeks that we were asked to take over weeknights.  Clear Channel ended up flipping the format of the station back to rock in 2003, but FTL continued online, then on another station in town, then another, until I approached the Genesis Communications Network and asked them if they were looking for new programs.  We started in syndication as a weekend show and within a few weeks were offered weeknights.  Since then we have continued doing our live Saturday show (our most popular) and added a live Sunday show as well.   We’ve grown to over 110 AM/FM affiliates and are also heard all week on XM.”

Odds & Sods.  Former New Orleans Saints quarterback and current WWL, New Orleans PM drive co-host Bobby Hebert was ejected from the press box at Saturday’s LSU-Alabama game for ignoring warnings not to create a disturbance by cheering.  The Times-Picayune reports the press box was stuffed with 947 credentialed media people and police escorted Hebert out in the fourth quarter of LSU’s 21-17 loss…..Proving that she CAN hang with Democrats, on Friday night (11/2), KRLA, Los Angeles morning drive host Heidi Harris sang in the Barbra Streisand concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.  She was in the choir for “Make Our Garden Grow.”…..Kim Komando, host of the eponymous nationally syndicated weekend computer talk show is appointed to the Phoenix-located Musical Instrument Museum’s President’s Cabinet. The President’s Cabinet is comprised of Valley leaders who provide guidance and support to MIM’s president and director, Dr. Bill DeWalt.  Komando joins the ranks of other notable Phoenix-area business leaders and philanthropists and will assist MIM with furthering its mission.

WNIR, Akron Host Tom Erickson Mourned.  Talk show host Tom Erickson died on Saturday (11/3) after a long battle with peritonitis.  He was 58.  Erickson was the evening host on Media-Com’s WNIR, Akron.  He worked for nearly 30 years in the radio and television news end of the media business and became a talk show host at WNIR in 2001.  He was on medical leave to deal with his health issues and last appeared on the radio in early June.

From WMAL’s Swing State Road Show.  Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, DC has been touring the “swing state” of Virginia broadcasting from diners across the commonwealth as the election approaches.  The tour wrapped up on Friday with the final road show broadcast featuring former House Speaker (and former presidential candidate) Newt Gingrich.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Breitbart columnist and WMAL guest co-host Larry O’Connor, Gingrich, and WMAL’s “Mornings on the Mall” host Brian Wilson.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

| November 1, 2012

Jeff Kuhner Officially Named New WRKO, Boston AM Drive Host.  As TALKERS reported yesterday, Todd Feinburg and Michele McPhee are out as morning drive duo at the Entercom news/talk outletand now WRKO confirms the moves of late morning talk host and Washington Times columnist Jeff Kuhner to the AM drive slot.  Kuhner has been a weekly guest and fill-in host on the station since January of 2012.  He began doing a daily 11:00 am to 12:00 noon program on WRKO in August.  Entercom VP and market manager Jeff Brown states, “This caps off a season of positive change for WRKO.  It’s the right move for our two most important customers – our listeners and our advertisers – and needless to say, I’m excited about our future.”  In addition to his work at the Washington Times, Kuhner is the president of the Edmund Burke Institute, a Washington think tank.  He did his doctoral work at Ohio University and taught U.S. history at McGill University in Montreal from 1998-2000 before deciding to make a career change to journalism.  He has made numerous national radio appearances and served as a frequent guest host on “The Savage Nation.”  Vice president of programming for Entercom Boston Jason Wolfe states, “Jeff has made an immediate impact in a very short period of time and has demonstrated that he’s ready for a bigger platform.  The positive reaction to his 11:00 am hour has been simply overwhelming and his fearless, honest brand of talk makes him appointment listening.”  Kuhner will continue to host the 11:00 am hour as well.  As for Todd Feinburg, he had been with WRKO since 2003 hosting in different dayparts, the last several years in AM drive with Tom Finneran and most recently with McPhee.  He is considered one of the most capable and versatile talk show hosts in the business.  He can be emailed at todd@toddtalk.com.

America’s Radio News Network Adds Election Night Coverage.  Special election night programming is being added to America’s Radio News Network on Tuesday, November 6 as the team of John McCaslin, Lori Lundin and Chris Salcedo will broadcast “Election Night 2012” to affiliates from 9:00 pm to 3:00 am ET.  McCaslin states, “Before the winners are even announced, we will have for listeners the final state-by-state exit polling – including crucial battleground states like Ohio, Florida and Virginia – as quickly as the polls close in each state.  Once the voting stops, we will be able to closely examine various exit-polling data and get a clear signal of the ultimate results.  Take the all-important race for the White House: if President Obama or Mitt Romney were to win certain key battleground states – with the right combination, this could be as few as two of the states – we would be able to suggest which candidate will be taking the oath of office on January 21, 2013.”

New Jersey Radio Stations Move into Day Three of Hurricane Sandy Mode.  Meteorologists are saying that Hurricane Sandy could have been much worse and indeed some of the early models called for prolonged rain and wind well north and west into the mainland U.S.  The broadcasting community is well aware that New Jersey and New York took the brunt of Sandy and today many Garden State radio stations are still working on generator power as the clean-up gets underway.  New Jersey Broadcasters Association president and CEO Paul Rotella tells TALKERS that he’s proud of the people who are still working hard in the often-overlooked aftermath of a storm like this.  “Our broadcasters responded magnificently almost without exception.  What was so poignant about this tragic weather event is that although our beloved New Jersey Shore got ravaged it’s really interesting to see how many broadcasters were at their posts manning their stations while their own homes were being destroyed.  It’s nothing less than awe-inspiring, the dedication of the broadcasters here in New Jersey.”

Nebraska Secretary of State Denounces KFAB, Omaha Satire.  Responding to a satirical radio interview in which late morning host Scott Voorhees spoke with a phony U.N. elections observer named Steve Apple about the United Nations’ monitoring of voting in the Ohama area, Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale called the content of the bit “completely false” and stated, “I want to make it clear that the U.N. has no right to send election observers to the United States, much less any whom are ‘armed and in uniform.’  It is also untrue that Omaha was targeted due to serious concerns about civil rights violations.”  During the bit, Voorhees’ conspirator states the U.N. observers may asked for I.D. and pat down voters if they feel they may have illegal campaign literature.  During one point, a caller asks why Omaha is being observed and the fake U.N. observer states that the fact that the Midwest has no blue states indicates the likelihood of voter fraud.  While Gale called the stunt reckless, saying, “This is a serious time in America, right before a presidential election.  Spoofing the process demeans our democracy.  People don’t need further distractions as they prepare to cast their votes.  They need straightforward and honest information on which they can rely.”  Voorhees tells the Omaha World-Herald that he did it to call attention to questions about international election observers.

Salem Communications Officially Takes Over Columbus FM; Flips to Conservative Talk.  Last week TALKERS reported that Salem Communications was planning to flip soon-to-be-acquired WJKR, Columbus to a conservative news/talk format using Salem Radio Network programming and that’s what happened at midnight last night.  Salem is buying the station from Radio One but took over today under an LMA and is positioning the station as “98.8 FM The Answer.”  Salem’s vice president and director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “This will be the fifth ‘Answer’ station we have launched at Salem, along with New York, Los Angeles, Riverside and Dallas.  Salem continues to be a leader in the news/talk format, and this new station will be the first FM news/talk station in the company fold.  ‘The Answer’ imaging voiced by legendary Lonnie Perkins will sound great coming out of an FM speaker.”  The station will air the SRN programs — Bill Bennett‘s “Morning In America”; Mike Gallagher; Dennis Prager; Michael Medved; and Hugh Hewitt; plus Dial Global‘s Dennis Miller from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight and Compass Media‘s Lars Larson from 12:000 midnight to 3:00 am.

WERQ, Baltimore’s LaDawn Black Returns as Relationship Expert on Bill Cunningham TV Show.  “The Love Zone” host LaDawn Black is back for a second season as a relationship expert on WLW, Cincinnati talk host Bill Cunningham’s eponymous nationally syndicated television talk show.  Black hosts the 10:00 pm to 2:00 am show on Radio One’s hip hop WERQ, Baltimore “92QJams.”  She is a best-selling author of such books as Stripped Bare: The 12 Truths That Will Help You Land the Very Best Black Man (One World/Ballantine) and Let’s Get It On: 15 Hot Tips and Tricks to Spice Up Your Sex Life (One World/Ballantine) and contributed to episodes last season and will contribute to more shows during Cunningham’s second season.

Main Street Radio Network Inks Distribution Deal with Salem.  Independent syndicator Main Street Radio Network informs TALKERS that its programming operations will now be distributed by the Salem Radio Network (SRN).  This includes its flagship daily show, “Battle Line with Alan Nathan,” and its popular weekend program, “The Dr. Evelyn Higgins Show.”  Jane Silk, president of Main Street Radio Network says, “We’re exceptionally pleased to have our programming now distributed by the Salem Radio Network.  SRN’s longevity and steady prominence in the radio industry are renowned and we look forward to all the mutually promising horizons attainable through this new relationship.”  SRN VP of operations Charles Mefford adds, “SRN is thrilled to assist in the production and distribution of ‘Battle Line with Alan Nathan’ and ‘The Dr. Evelyn Higgins Show.’  It’s always exciting to add quality shows to the growing list of program producers who daily rely on the Salem Radio Network for outstanding production and distribution services.

Presidential Race Polls, Sandy Aftermath, Climate Change Controversy, and Benghazi Attack Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/31).  The resumption of presidential race polling; the effects of Hurricane Sandy on its victims and on the political races; climate change as a cause of Hurricane Sandy; and the quest for answers in the Benghazi attack were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

| October 25, 2012

Radio in the Northeast Should Be Prepared for a Potential Perfect Storm.  Last year, it was the Halloween Snowprise – an early cold snap fed by a lot of moisture that produced a foot of snow in some places, and felled leaf-laden trees and power lines, blacking out parts of the northeast US for days.  This year – Halloween Week could bring a trick some meteorologists are already calling “potentially historic” – a strong tropical storm or hurricane named Sandy, with the Northeast again in the crosshairs.  This rare climatic event could be what one network weather anchor called an “atmospheric bomb” – produced by a hurricane colliding head-on with a strong cold front. The jet stream bows northward as it approaches the coast, sucking the storm closer to land, instead of pushing it out to sea.  The scenario is eerily reminiscent of the 1991 “Perfect Storm,” which left 12 people dead and more than $200 million in damage after it slammed into the East Coast. Power outages and flooding were widespread.  Now is the time to prepare.  Howard B. Price of ABC News urges broadcasters in the Northeast to learn the lessons of two radio group operators, who faced serious operational challenges following the EF-5 tornado that leveled a third of Joplin, MO in May 2011, and Hurricane Irene in August 2011, whose impact was felt across the Northeast for days.  To read his timely and informative article click here.

CBS Radio’s Atlanta Sports Talker Debuts.  WZGC-FM, Atlanta “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” sprang to life yesterday afternoon at 2:00 pm ET with the PM drive show “Game Time” with Carl Dukes, Kordell Stewart and Rachael Baribeau the first show to hit the air.  The trio talked Georgia sports, national sports and introduced the rest of the air staff to the listening audience.  The station lineup consists of: “Opening Drive” hosted by Rick Kamla, Randy Cross and C.J. Simpson in morning drive; Jerome Jurenovich and Jamie Dukes from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm; “Mac & Jason at Night” with Mac McDonald and Jason Goff from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm; “Overtime” with Jim Murray from 10:00 pm to 2:00 pm; and “The Mitch Evans Experience” from 2:00 am to 6:00 am.  Programming the latest CBS Radio sports talk FM to go on the air is Terry Foxx.

KJRB, Spokane Drops Talk Shows for All-News Programming.  Mapleton’s news/talk KJRB, Spokane, Washington is eliminating most of its talk shows for an all-news approach.  The station drops TRN’s Laura Ingraham and Jerry Doyle and Cox Media’s Neal Boortz for TRN-operated America’s Radio News Network news blocks airing from 3:00 am to 7:00 pm.  The station maintains its local financial program from 12:00 noon to 12:30 pm and the KHQ-TV local news simulcast from 5:00 pm to 5:30 pm.  It also continues to air The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “Daily Wrap” with Michael Castner in the evenings and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” program.

Columbus Sports Talker Fired After Inappropriate Tweet.  Dispatch Broadcast Group has fired sports talk host Scott Torgerson about a week after he Tweeted, jokingly, that he wished for the firing or death of ESPN’s Desmond Howard.  Torgerson – former co-host of “The Common Man & The Torg” PM drive show on WBNS, Columbus “Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan” – was initially suspended after the Tweet began to create a firestorm of criticism.  Ironically, the station used Twitter on Wednesday (10/24) to notify its fans that Torgerson was no longer with the company.  As AwfulAnnouncing.com’s Matt Yoder notes in his blog, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit – a former Ohio State quarterback and still beloved personality in Columbus – got involved in denouncing Torgerson’s Tweet and that probably added to the momentum necessary to make Dispatch let Torgerson go.  The fact that WBNS is an ESPN affiliate may or may not have been a contributing factor.  As of now, Mike Ricordati continues to host the PM drive show solo.  This is not the first case of a talent being fired for an insensitive or inappropriate Tweet and it won’t be the last.  Hosts who are hired to push the envelope and also use social media to do so for the purposes of promoting their act and their program have to be careful.  There are certain subjects that must be avoided.  Wishing death, injury or some other personal assault on someone – even as a joke – is likely to get the host in trouble and probably fired.

Larry King’s Third Party Candidate’s Debate Produced by Ora TV.  One way to look at it is that broadcasting legend Larry King’s days of hosting A-List politicians and celebrities for his interviews and debates is over as he has moved to the digital television network Ora TV.  But others might see fledgling internet TV stations as the future and all it will take is a smash internet TV show to capture the public’s interest and the medium will begin to compete seriously with broadcast and cable TV.  Now, Ora TV seems to be shooting for niche programming and Tuesday’s broadcast of King moderating a third party candidate’s debate provided that.  King hosted Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, Jill Stein of the Green Party, Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party, Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party for a program in which the four largely explained how they differ from the Democratic and Republican party candidates.  The debate was broadcast from the Chicago Hilton Hotel with a live audience.  King explained at the start, “We think all voices should be heard.  I think this is a noble cause.”  CSPAN did air the program on cable TV in the U.S.  Pictured here are Kristina Tobin, chair of the Free & Equal Elections Foundation (l) and Larry King (r).

Karel Joins Huffington Post Live Web Program.  Long Beach, California-based talk host Karel – heard on KGO, San Francisco and in syndication across the country – appeared on the Huffington Post’s half-hour roundtable talk show “HuffPost Live.”  The webcast program is hosted by Huffington Post’s Jacob and Alyona and usually features talent from afar piped in via web video batting around the issues of the day.  Karel is pictured here in his home studio via webcam on the “HuffPost Live” program.

Odds & Sods.  CBS Radio extends its deal with the NFL’s Chicago Bears to continue airing Bears play-by-play and other Bears-related programming on its Chicago signals.  The games will continue to be heard on all-news WBBM-AM/FM with programming such as “Bears All Access” airing on sports talk WSCR “The Score.”  The terms of the new deal was not announced…..Legendary college basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski returns to SiriusXM for his weekly “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K” program.  This is the eighth season Krzyzewski has hosted the program on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog channel.  For last night’s season opener, Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino were guests…..Emmis’ KFTK, St. Louis “FM NewsTalk 97.1” is working with Americans for Prosperity on a promotion to sell gas to 200 lucky listeners for the “pre-Obama Administration” price of $1.84 per gallon.  FM NewsTalk 97.1’s Randy Tobler will broadcast live from the Country Club Car Wash in O’Fallon, Missouri from 8:00 am to 10:00 am on Saturday, October 27.

WPRO, Providence Hosts Rhode Island Candidates Debate.  Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7 FM in Providence hosted the candidates for the 1st Congressional District in Rhode Island for an hour-long, uninterrupted debate.  Pictured here at left is Democratic Congressman David Cicilline and, at right, Republican challenger Brendan Doherty in the studios at WPRO.  Not pictured is moderator and WPRO news director Bill Haberman who facilitated the contest.  In addition to airing the debate live on the radio with analysis during the Matt Allen program that followed the debate, WPRO provided a video stream and a live, interactive Tweet chat at 630wpro.com.

Benghazi Terrorism Question, Presidential Race Polls, Debate Aftermath, World Series and Hurricane Sandy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/24).  The conflicting reports of who knew the Benghazi attack was an act of terrorism and when they knew it; the presidential race polls; analysis of the presidential debates; the Giants-Tigers World Series; and the looming threat to the U.S. from Hurricane Sandy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

| October 23, 2012

Tom Langmyer Exits Tribune’s WGN, Chicago After Eight Years.  The vice president and general manager of Tribune’s only radio property – WGN, Chicago – left his position yesterday.  Tom Langmyer didn’t comment specifically to TALKERS about the reason for the move but the change appears to have been WGN’s and not Langmyer’s choice.  Langmyer joined WGN as general manager in March of 2005 after rising from program director to vice president and general manager of CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis.  Now, Langmyer exits after a meeting Monday with Tribune Broadcasting president and CEO Nils Larsen.  Langmyer issued the following statement to his staff upon his exit:  “I can’t tell you how much I have appreciated the privilege of working with you.  WGN is a very special place, and I’m very lucky to have spent nearly eight years as part of it! . . . Looking forward to new challenges ahead!”   Like many major market radio stations, WGN has been a turbulent place over the past eight years with four program directors during that time and four different morning drive hosts – not to mention the Sam Zell-engineered takeover of Tribune that brought former Clear Channel radio president Randy Michaels to the helm of the company and the financial trouble that put Tribune into bankruptcy.  Langmyer’s departure comes as Tribune nears a long-awaited exit from bankruptcy.  There is speculation Tribune will attempt to sell some of its properties and the lone radio station in its portfolio may go “on the block.”  As far as management is concerned, director of sales Jeff Hill will serve as general manager in the interim.  You can reach out to Tom Langmyer at tlangmyer@gmail.com.

New Talk Outlet Debuts in Reno.  After eight years of work and a fair amount of resources invested, Shamrock Communications goes live with one of the four FM stations it is building for the Reno, Nevada market.  KNEZ-FM “107.3 K-News” features a mostly syndicated lineup consisting of Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck, Cumulus Media NetworksMike Huckabee, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish, local talk show host Sean Patrick, and Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries.

Michael Savage Re-Enters National Syndication Tonight.  Following a protracted battle to get out of his contract with Talk Radio Network, talk host Michael Savage signed with Cumulus Media Networks to distribute his program.  The new syndication effort begins tonight as Savage’s live broadcast time moves to 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.

 

America’s Radio News Network Names Lori Lundin Mid-Morning Co-Anchor.  Talk Radio Network-operated America’s Radio News Network adds news pro Lori Lundin to the 9:00 am to 12:00 pm ET news block as co-anchor alongside Ernie Brown.  Prior to joining ARN, Lundin was anchoring mornings nationally on Fox News Radio for over four years.  Before that, she was an award-winning reporter on news/talk KFBK, Sacramento.  She received the Northern California Radio and Television News Directors Association award for her breaking news coverage while reporting for the station.  ARN EVP of news and programming John McCaslin states, “I first heard ARN’s new co-anchor, Lori Lundin when she was anchoring top-of-the-hour and breaking news stories on Fox News Radio.  ARN is extremely fortunate to have somebody of her caliber join the team – a news anchor who possesses a rare, unwavering reputation for accurate, complete, and unbiased reporting.  Lori Lundin is the exception, not the norm, for members of the Washington Press Corps.”

Business Talk WZAB, Miami Host Sentenced in Pot Growing Case.  Edward Woodson, who hosts the 7:00 am to 8:00 am hour on Salem Communications’ business talk WZAB, Miami “880 The Biz,” pleaded guilty to running a marijuana growing operation out of his Miami Shores, Florida home.  The 50-year-old lawyer and real estate investor will serve three years’ probation, one of those under house arrest and pay some $25,000 in fines.  Woodson brokers the morning drive hour for his program and is not an employee of Salem Communications, but a client.

7 Talk Radio Takeaways from Presidential Debate.  Consultant Holland Cooke explains how what is shaping up to be a very close presidential contest – not to mention some hotly contested congressional races – should be played for the “tight game” it is.  Holland says, “Smart talk stations promoted debate coverage by reminding that, “IF YOU’LL BE IN THE CAR TONIGHT…”  Certainly anyone with the choice would have watched rather than listened.  And going forward, it continues to make sense to approach campaign coverage as car radio.  Assume that you’re sharing attention.”  See more of Holland Cooke’s 7 takeaways here.

Calling in the Experts.  Talk host Michael Castner (r) is pictured here with intelligence expert Lieutenant Colonel Tony Shaffer (l) during Shaffer’s visit to The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s studios.  Shaffer appeared on “The Daily Wrap from the Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” to discuss the controversial Benghazi attack that took the lives of four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

 

 

Compass Media Networks Announces College Hoops Schedule.  Beginning with the December 6 Vanderbilt vs. Xavier matchup and running through the March 9 Duke vs. UNC game, Compass Media Networks is offering 15 regular season men’s college basketball games this season.  The network also has exclusive radio coverage of the Big Ten Conference tournament.  Compass says it has an exclusive, multi-year agreement with Learfield Sports – one of the country’s largest broadcast rights holders with colleges and that the deal enables it to pick from among the best games to broadcast (using Compass’ own unique production and broadcast crew); “virtually all basketball games Compass is broadcasting feature top-ranked teams and compelling matchups.”  Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann states, “Kudos to our team for selecting such incredible games.  From the opening tip to the culmination of our coverage in March as the Big Ten Tournament returns to Chicago, this will be a great season.”  See the entire Compass college basketball schedule here.

ESPN’s Dan Shulman Re-Ups.  The voice of ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” will continue with the sports media giant after agreeing to a multi-year deal.  In addition to Dan Shulman’s role on “Sunday Night Baseball,” Shulman will continue with his play-by-play work for men’s college basketball as well as his ESPN Radio duties calling the post-season games and the World Series.  Regarding the 2012 NSSA Sportscaster of the Year, ESPN SVP and executive producer Jed Drake states, “Dan’s one of the most talented and versatile play-by-play commentators in our industry.  Dan’s voice has become unmistakable, his storytelling ability is top notch and his penchant for making his colleagues better is an incredible asset to ESPN and to sports fans.”  Shulman (r) is pictured here with ESPN’s Doris Burke (l) and Dick Vitale (c).

The Final Presidential Debate, the Latest Poll Numbers, the Continuing Investigation into the Benghazi Attack, Anita Dunn ‘Conflict Issue’ and Lance Armstrong Stripped of Tour de France Medals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/22).  The buildup to the final presidential debate before the November 2 election; the latest poll numbers concerning the presidential race; the ongoing investigation of the Benghazi attack that took the lives of four Americans; former Obama Administration communications director Anita Dunn’s controversial status handling PR for firms lobbying the White House; and Lance Armstrong’s being stripped of his seven Tour de France medals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, September 7, 2012

| September 7, 2012

Contentious End to Democratic National Convention for Some Talkers on Radio Row…But Not All.  By now, many talk media people are aware of a piece by conservative pundit John Fund in the National Review Online that beats up the Obama Administration in which he alleges it kept high-level Democrats from appearing on radio programs hosted by conservatives that camped out on radio row at the convention.  Radio America’s Roger Hedgecock and Breitbart Radio’s Larry O’Connor are quoted in the piece saying they were frozen out from getting any decent guests.  Hedgecock reportedly packed up and left early while KRLA, Los Angeles morning show co-host Ben Shapiro says his attempt to get John Podesta on their show with Heidi Harris and Brian Whitman was stopped when Podesta’s handler intervened.  However, nationally syndicated talk host Kevin McCullough (also principal of content creator XtreMedia) has a different take.  He writes, “If talk show hosts are outraged that big names aren’t sitting down to speak with them in Charlotte, then they are only weakening their own brand.  Have we not learned anything from the attacks on Limbaugh and fellow talkers?  Are we actually claiming that guests are the prerequisite for what should be our own success?  We have the bully pulpit of a live microphone every day, and if a talker can’t turn that into a distinct advantage for their own purposes every day, then they are simply in the wrong business.  Talk hosts, but specifically CONSERVATIVES, should be slow to anger when liberals refuse to go on our platforms.  As a conservative, I’m eager to go on liberal outlets, because I actually have the chance to put my ideas in front of people who disagree with me — I actually have a chance to win them over. Whining because people who disagree with you won’t come on your show is pretty much the polar opposite of that idea.  As idea generators we should never be dependent upon someone sitting across a table from us to be interesting, to have something to say, or to be able to say it well.  I hope that the younger generation of talkers will observe this fundamental truth…The more you depend on other people to generate YOUR success, the less successful you will ever be!”

Newsy Approach at the DNC Gets the Guests.  TRN-operated America’s Radio News Network reports it had no problems getting high-profile Democrats to sit in front of its microphones.  ARNN – which provides 15 hours of long-form news content to its more than 350 affiliates – reports to TALKERS that on day three of the convention it delivered reports to its stations that included interviews with: Rev. Jesse Jackson, Delaware Governor Jack Markel, Senator Kent Conrad, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, among others.

Talk Host Ray Lucia Responds to SEC Actions.  Yesterday, TALKERS magazine reported nationally syndicated financial advice talk host Ray Lucia’s company – RJL Companies – is being charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with misleading potential investors and violating several sections of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.  Lucia says his company will vigorously defend itself in the case against a slide presentation his company has not used in two years.  He cites former SEC Commissioner, Roel Campos, who is now the head of Locke Lord’s SEC Enforcement and Regulation practice, who made the following statement: “It is disappointing that the SEC would file an administrative matter because it principally disagrees with an inflation rate that has been used regularly by economists and other professionals.  No harm is alleged to have occurred to any investors and this matter appears to reflect an honest disagreement about statistics and estimates of investor returns under hypothetical situations.  Mr. Lucia disagrees strenuously with the SEC’s allegations that affected his estimates of possible returns.  This type of matter should have been resolved during the inspection process.”

Talk Host Phil Hendrie Disagrees with Syndicator’s Suit Against Dial Global Et Al.  Consider TRN-FM-syndicated talk show host Phil Hendrie not one who supports the suit by TRN CEO Mark Masters against Dial Global and numerous other industry program suppliers.  Hendrie issued a statement that after reading the suit and, especially the paragraph that states, “Today, by bringing this Action, Plaintiffs stand not only for themselves, but also for every smaller independent syndicator, network or programming producer, and for the hosts, producers, technicians and other Americans whose livelihoods are dependent upon these independent syndicators,” his response is as follows: “I’d like to make it very clear that TRN does not represent my views and I certainly don’t need them ‘standing up’ for me in regard to this lawsuit, which I don’t support.  My livelihood is not dependent on TRN.”

ESPN Makes Inroads Against WFAN in New York City.  In a piece in the New York Daily News, writer David Hinckley reports ESPN’s WEPN-AM/FM – to split apart when the AM side becomes ESPN Deportes today – climbed a hair above longtime CBS Radio’s sports talk market dominator WFAN in the midday slot of 10:00 am to 1:00 pm in the ratings (we’re assuming persons 6-plus) for Colin Cowherd’s and Mike Lupica’s shows.  Hinckley’s story points out that WEPN’s David Roberts admits the flip of WEPN-AM to Spanish language may affect some of its English-speaking audience but the new 98.7 signal has been a smash for the station overall.  Read Hinckley’s piece about sports talk in New York City here.

Barron’s Names Ric Edelman #1 Independent Financial Advisor in America.  The radio and television talk show host and principal of the Edelman Financial Services firm – which manages more than $7.9 billion for more than 17,000 clients – is named the number one independent financial advisor in the nation by Barron’s for the third time.  Edelman states, “I am excited and honored.  We are committed to sharing our knowledge with consumers across the country.  To be recognized by Barron’s repeatedly for these efforts is truly gratifying.”  In addition to his independently syndicated talk radio program, “The Truth About Money,” that emanates from flagship WMAL-AM/FM, Washington and is heard in 57 other markets, Edelman hosts a public TV program of the same name.

President Obama’s Record Tops the Talkers TenTM for the Week of September 3-7.  The president’s record during his first four years in office was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, set against the backdrop of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.  Coming in at #2 this week was the DNC speeches.  At #3 was the controversy over God and Jerusalem in the Democratic Party platform and at #4 was the United States’ slide on the global competitiveness scale.  The Talkers TenTM – a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio – is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The XtreMedia-produced Sunday evening “Dani Johnson Radio Show” is picked up by affiliates: KTUR, Salt Lake City; KKVV, Las Vegas; WDRU-AM/FM, Raleigh/Durham; WTRU-AM/WSAL, Winston-Salem; WTRU-FM, Greensboro; WLES-AM/FM, Richmond, Virginia; and KTIA, Des Moines…..“Free Talk Live” featuring hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is picked up by WDOV, Dover, Delaware…..Premiere NetworksBob & Tom show is added to the morning drive slot at KGON, Portland…..“Into Tomorrow” with Dave Graveline is added to the program schedule at WXDE, Lewes, Delaware and WSOY, Decatur, Illinois…..The weekend “Café Mocha” show hosted by MC Lyte, Loni Love and Angelique Perrin joins the programming lineup at WHUR, Washington, DC; WKJS/WKJM, Richmond, Virginia; WKZJ, Columbus, Georgia; WBGA, Brunswick, Georgia; KZWA, Lake Charles, Louisiana; and KKST, Alexandria, Louisiana.

Talkin’ and Walkin’ After Midnight.  Syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs of KDWN, Las Vegas; Genesis Communications Network, and Sirius XM Satellite Radio is the current star of TALKERS TV (see video box at upper right) where she is seen and heard singing the Patsy Cline classic “Walkin’ After Midnight” (although Dr. Daliah tells TALKERS she was doing the more recent Kelly Clarkson arrangement).  The impromptu performance took place at TRN-syndicated host Jerry Doyle‘s Labor Day BBQ at his home near Las Vegas.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

| September 6, 2012

Glenn Beck’s The Blaze Fires Up Digital Audio Network; Jay Severin Among Talk Talent.  It’s called – what else? – TheBlaze Radio Network and the new online radio channel will be heard via Beck’s own TheBlaze iPhone and iPad apps as well as via iHeartRadio and at TheBlaze.com.  Beck’s company says the network will be the new exclusive home for “renowned nationally syndicated talk radio personality and Marconi Award-nominee Jay Severin.”  The lineup will also include a simulcast of Beck’s radio show, a re-launched show hosted by Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray as well as audio simulcasts of TheBlaze TV shows.  Dom Theodore, through his consulting firm RadioAnimal, LLC, will serve as the network’s program director.  When the network launches later this month, the lineup will be: the Glenn Beck program from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET;  Pat and Stu from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm; Jay Severin from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm; the simulcast of Beck’s TV show from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm and a simulcast of “Real News from the Blaze” from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  TheBlaze chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “We are excited to continue making TheBlaze a destination for news, information and entertainment programming across multiple platforms.  Jay is an incredible talent and is the perfect host to launch The Blaze Network.”

SEC Charging Financial Talker Ray Lucia with Violating Laws, Conducting Misleading Investment Seminars.  The Securities and Exchange Commission announces it is charging nationally syndicated talk host and financial advice author Ray Lucia with violating several sections of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.  The SEC says Lucia’s investment seminars, dubbed “Buckets of Money,” mislead potential investors when Lucia claimed his strategy “had been empirically ‘backtested’ over actual bear market periods.”  Further, the SEC states, “Lucia and RJL have admitted during the SEC’s investigation that the only testing they actually performed were some calculations that Lucia made in the late 1990s – copies of which no longer exist – and two two-page spreadsheets.”  The upshot, according to the FCC, is “Lucia and RJL left their seminar attendees with a false sense of comfort about the Buckets of Money strategy.”  SEC Los Angeles regional director Michele Wein Layne says, “The so-called backtests weren’t really backtests, and the strategy wasn’t proven as they claimed.”  The SEC is seeking “financial penalties and other remedial action in the proceedings.”

KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry’s the Flashpoint of Controversy in Houston After Tweet.  Former Houston city councilman Michael Berry and talk host at Clear Channel’s news/talk KTRH is the subject of chatter in Houston after a tweet he sent during Michelle Obama’s speech on Tuesday evening has some charging Berry used racist lingo.  Here’s what Berry tweeted: “Several black people were shot by other black people in Chicago while Michelle was speaking.”  He hash tagged it #knuckadeads.  Some say “knucka” or “nucka” is substitute slang for “nigga.”  Berry replies to My Fox Houston reporter Isiah Carey that he meant no racist intent and said Mrs. Obama has used the term to mean hard-headed, like knucklehead.  Carey writes Berry said he was trying to show the Obama administration’s lack of concern over the black-on-black violence in Chicago.

KMJ-FM, Fresno Names Jennifer Lipp AM Drive Host.  Peak Broadcasting brings popular Fresno radio personality Jennifer Lipp to morning drive on the FM side of its KMJ news/talk duo.  Lipp and former co-host Chris Daniel dominated mornings at crosstown rock KRZR in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  Daniel moved on to KMJ and Lipp worked at classic rock KKBZ, Fresno until Lotus Broadcasting let her go in November of 2011.  Now Lipp will host the morning show and Chris Daniel moves from the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot to 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on KMJ-FM.  On her new gig, Lipp states, “It is a dream come true to grow with the KMJ brand.  This is the most exciting endeavor of my career and I am looking forward to the journey with both the listeners who have joined me in the past and those I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting.”  Lipp begins her new show on September 10.

Use Twitter to Help Save Your Job!  Consultant Holland Cooke explains how the Twitter era is forcing talk hosts, news staffers and DJs to “keep it moving” to keep the listener/reader engaged and make money in the process – if those media people use social media efficiently and wisely.  Cooke explains how he advised his clients covering the Republican and Democratic National Conventions to use Twitter to deliver content like no one else and how to make money with it.  Read this enlightening and smart advice here.

Clear Channel Albany Names Josh Everett Program Director for WGY and WOFX.  In addition to programming news/talk WGY-AM/FM and sports talk WOFX, Josh Everett will oversee the News Hub which provides news for 10 Clear Channel Media and Entertainment markets in the Northeast.  CC regional programming manager John Cooper states, “Josh’s extensive background in news/talk as well as sports programming will be an invaluable addition to WGY’s rich heritage and will help us grow WGY, Fox Sports and our News Hub.”  Everett comes to Albany from Clear Channel’s Lexington, Kentucky cluster where he programmed news/talk WLAP and managed local production of the University of Kentucky Wildcats coverage.

Michael Harrison to Speak at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will deliver an address provocatively titled, “Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?” at the forthcoming NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas.  According to Harrison, “The main challenge concerning FM and AM broadcasting at this perilous time in its rich and colorful history is making the transition to the digital age without prematurely sacrificing the value of the stick which is still the economic foundation of this industry and main source of livelihood for its practitioners.”  Harrison also believes that it is important for “radio to be smart and use its traditional on-air assets in confident balanced harmony with its unlimited online potential.”  He states, “The cultural heritage of what we all grew up to think of as ‘radio’ is deeply rooted in the traditions of over -the-air transmission and it is vitally important that in its rush to put everything it has into one internet basket, radio avoids losing its core identity, its soul, that separates it from being just another online music or informational utility.”  Harrison advises that just as talk radio has claimed “ownership” of politics in America and sports radio has claimed “ownership” of the country’s sports juggernaut, “music radio must reclaim its lost ownership of the music culture.”  He says the first step in accomplishing this is to bring back the colorful DJ as the backbone of the radio station’s presentation and the street savvy music director as its ear to what’s really going on out there.  Radio must not only ‘relate’ to this element, it must aggressively lead it as well.”  Harrison will be speaking at a special info-session sponsored by TALKERS magazine on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:15 am and 11:15 am.  All Radio Show registrants are encouraged to attend.

Day Three at DNC in Charlotte.  President Obama’s nomination acceptance speech will cap the three-day Democratic National Convention this evening and talk hosts, news networks and reporters spent yesterday covering the political chatter, campaigning and critiques of this convention.  Talk Radio Network O&O news organization America’s Radio News Network is one of the national radio news operations on the ground at this convention.  ARNN tells TALKERS co-anchors Lori Lundin and Rachel Crowson along with producers and technical staff, have been supplying live interviews and news updates to all five of the three-hour, long-form news programs the network offers.  Guests on the network from yesterday included: Eleanor Smeal, a two-time president of the National Organization for Women; Diana Degette (D-CO), chief deputy whip; Cumulus Media Networks host and journalist Geraldo Rivera; and acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank, among others.  ABC News Radio and Salem Radio Network are also covering the convention and ABC’s Steve Jones (l) and Salem’s Tom Tradup (r) took a moment to pose for this shot from the convention center for TALKERS.

Talent Shuffle at Alpha Broadcasting’s Sports KXTG, Portland.  A programming shift at “750 The Game” in Portland brings DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio syndicated host Dan Patrick to the station for morning drive beginning today.  The move bumps morning host Chad Doing to the PM drive slot and current afternoon host John Canzano to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show.  Business and marketing expert Brian Berger gives up his midday show but remains with the station to dispense his wisdom on the station’s various programs and online.

DirecTV Gives “The Nick and Artie Show” a TV Simulcast.  The syndicated radio version of the sports and entertainment-centric show hosted by comedians Nick Di Paolo and Artie Lange has been produced by DirecTV since its inception.  Now DirecTV does for “Nick and Artie” what the company’s Dan Patrick has enjoyed – a TV simulcast on DirecTV’s Audience Network channel.  Airing from 10:00 pm to 1:00 pm ET beginning tomorrow night, the company says the duo will “tackle TV with the most outrageous observational humor to be found anywhere.  The guys will review and give their unique takes on the day’s top sports and entertainment stories, along with celebrity interviews, movie reviews, live musical performances and a variety of in-studio segments, from cooking with Artie’s Mom to a game of pool.”

WTOP Promotes Dick Uliano to Full-Time Anchor/Reporter.  The veteran Washington newsman has been working with Hubbard Radio’s WTOP part time as well as contributing to SiriusXM’s POTUS channel and doing part-time anchoring at NPR.  Now, Dick Uliano joins the full-time staff at WTOP.  Uliano’s previous experience includes time spent with the Associated Press and CNN Radio.

Odds & Sods.  NFL great Joe Namath – who is part of Michael Kay’s show on ESPN O&O WEPN-FM, New York where he hosts the “Joe Namath Hour” – discusses the upcoming NFL season in a media conference call today at 10:00 am ET….. Former New Jersey 101.5 night host Tommy G returns to host “New Jersey Today” on Greater Media’s WCTC, New Brunswick from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Monday, September 10 and Friday, September 14.  He fills in for station PD Bert Baron, who says, “Tommy G is one of the biggest stars in all of New Jersey radio.  I’m blessed that a talent of his caliber, record of success and current following is a mere phone call away.  He’s a ratings winner that simply makes my station sound better.”…..JC Corcoran has been heard on the airwaves in Chicago as he’s been filling in on Tribune’s WGN.  The longtime St. Louis personality most recently hosted a program at KTRS.  Corcoran tells TALKERS he’ll have Fox Sports star Joe Buck on his show on WGN on Sunday morning at 10:00 am.  Corcoran says Buck is already predicting trouble with the NFL replacement officials, telling him, “I think something catastrophic could happen early in the season that could cost a team a ballgame.”….. Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR, San Francisco will serve as the flagship station for Golden State Warriors basketball through the 2015-16 season, the station announces.  It’s been the flagship of the NBA club since the 1976-77 season with the exception of one season in the 1980s.  Cumulus president and CEO Lew Dickey and Warriors co-executive chairman and CEO Joe Lacob appeared on the Murph & Mac show on Wednesday to announce the new deal.

Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle Featured Speaker at Liberty PAC.  The Liberty Political Action Conference takes place September 13-15 in Chantilly, Virginia and funds “Congressman Ron Paul’s political activities as he travels the country to fight for the principles that many hold dear: Liberty, Limited Government and a strong, pro-American foreign policy.”  The three-day conference will include training sessions and personal one-on-one meetings with various speakers and supporters.  Jerry Doyle will be one of the speakers at the conference.

Presidential Campaign/Democratic National Convention, Arizona Immigration Ruling and Hillary Clinton in China Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/5).  The coverage of the Democratic National Convention and the presidential campaign; a federal judge’s ruling that Arizona officers can inquire about immigration status while pursuing information about other crimes; and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s trip to China were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

| July 18, 2012

Merlin Media Ends FM News Operations in New York and Chicago.  Industry watchers are beginning the post-mortem on Merlin Media’s all-news formats at WIQI, Chicago and WEMP, New York after yesterday’s announcement by the company that it is flipping the two signals to classic hits and alternative rock, respectively.  In making the announcement, Merlin president Randy Michaels stated, “It was a difficult decision to make, but after a year of minimal audience engagement, coupled with the format’s inherent expense, I felt it was time to make a change.”  Perhaps the most obvious challenge to the endeavor was the fact that in both Chicago and New York, Michaels’ stations were going up against entrenched news stations in markets that didn’t seem to be crying out for more radio news, primarily because they are already being served by well-respected and well-listened-to all-news outlets.  WBBM-AM/FM, Chicago and WCBS and WINS in New York were tough opponents to challenge in the radio news game – not to mention the public radio stations in both markets that have loyal audiences and dedicate resources to covering local news.  The ratings for the two stations seemed to bear that out.  The initial concept of trying to reach women with a news product fell flat.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison told the Chicago Tribune, “When you say, ‘This is for women and here’s what we’re talking about,’ it can come across as insulting.  It’s presumptuous.”  Harrison also told the paper, “To reinvent the wheel, when in fact the wheel is not broken, is difficult.”  He said the station’s focus on stereotypically female topics like cooking, fashion and child rearing also turned off listeners.  There are reports 27 staffers are out in Chicago with a similar number in New York, leaving a host of veteran radio news people looking for their next opportunity this morning.  Meanwhile, another wrinkle to this story pertains to industry rumors and speculation that Merlin had plans to eventually morph its New York and possibly Chicago all-newsers into traditional news/talkers.  The recent addition of Rush Limbaugh to Philadelphia property WWIQ after his departure from CBS Radio‘s WPHT had tongues wagging about the possibility of such a move happening in New York when Cumulus Media‘s contract with Premiere Networks for Limbaugh on WABC ends – especially with Cumulus developing Mike Huckabee (currently airing on crosstown competitor WOR) as a more “civil” alternative to Limbaugh.  This brings up another question: Are the Merlin moves to music just a temporary measure?

Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Draws Intense Traffic to Talkers.com; Testament to Sports Talk Format’s Popularity.  The recently published Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America, has generated so much traffic to Talkers.com that – at times – navigation on the site slowed to a crawl, forcing the IT staff at Talkers.com to increase the site’s bandwidth to accommodate the visitors.  This massive interest in America’s sports talk radio personalities is indicative of the format’s popularity with both consumers and from within the media industry.  TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey states, “Sports talk radio is off-the-charts popular in so many markets across the country – reflecting the importance of sports in American popular culture.  The interest in the Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk from people working within the business is one thing, but the attention from consumers of sports talk and the rabid sports blogosphere is astounding.  The passion that exists for the format, the personalities, as well as the games and athletes themselves, shows why this talk radio genre is such an effective marketing tool for businesses at the local and national level.”  The 2012 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk can be found here.

Cumulus Media’s WPRO, Providence Names Craig Schwalb Program Director.  Craig Schwalb comes to Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO and 99.7 (and sister WPRV) in Providence from SiriusXM where he served as senior director of talk programming.  He’s also worked at WKRK, Detroit; WNEW, New York; WRBZ, Raleigh; and EZ Communications, St. Louis.  He replaces Paul Giammarco who recently resigned from the station.  Cumulus SVP Mike McVay states, “We are excited to have Craig join Cumulus.  We want the freshest and best minds in the industry…and he is clearly among the best.”  Speaking about his new opportunity, Schwalb says, “The chance to program one of the country’s legendary radio stations, complete with great talent, a great news presence and great influence in a terrific city was a no brainer for me and my family.  I am looking forward to working with Providence market manager Barbara Haynes and of course John Dickey, Mike McVay, Jim Mahaney, and everyone at Cumulus.”

Recent Affiliate Adds Push America’s Radio News Network Past 300 Mark.  In fact, when combined with the TRN/Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” program, the affiliate total jumps past 320 for the news programming offered by Talk Radio Network’s ARNN.  The content syndicator notes that recent affiliate additions in Columbus, Ohio; Phoenix; Memphis; Ft. Myers/Naples; Charleston, South Carolina; and others for the five three-hour news block programs are indicative of the strong demand for quality news-oriented radio content.

Talk Host Andrew Wilkow to Host Prime Time Show on TheBlaze.  The online TV network TheBlaze – a digital product of Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts company – announces SiriusXM talk personality Andrew Wilkow will host a new, one-hour news and talk show to debut later this summer.  TheBlaze says the exact start date and the name of the program will be announced later.  TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “TheBlaze is building a primetime lineup filled with both established talent and the voices of the future. Andrew Wilkow’s strong independence and ‘no sacred cows’ approach to the news, issues and events of the day are perfect fits for TheBlaze as we continue to expand our programming.”  TheBlaze notes it already produces three hours of prime time shows including “the comedy news show ‘The B.S. of A,’ the reality show ‘Independence USA’ and other programming throughout the day led by Glenn’s show, the news show ‘Real News’ and the kid’s show ‘Liberty TreeHouse.’ The network airs over 35 hours of original programming per week and will soon provide video content on a 24/7 basis.”

Talk Icon Larry King’s Internet TV Show Debuts.  Larry King’s new internet TV show – a 30–minute news and interview show – debuted last night with Seth McFarlane as his first guest.  The program is a joint venture between Hulu and Ora TV.  Ora TV is a digital venture being funded by Mexican media magnate Carlos Slim Helu.  In a statement about the new program, Larry King says, “I have always been driven to innovate, from my time on radio, to the first call-in show on national television to being an early adopter of online columns and Twitter…I love being able to interact directly with audiences and digital TV allows me to do this in new and powerful ways.”  This evening, King’s guest will be Meghan McCain with actor Matthew McConaughey on tap for Thursday’s show.

2012 Presidential Campaign, Summer Heatwave/Crops Threatened, Negative Economic Forecasts, Global Debt Crisis and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/17).  The 2012 presidential campaign; the nationwide summer heat wave and the threat to the corn and grains crops; negative economic forecasts; the global debt crisis and the financial markets activities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

| June 14, 2012

End of an Era at KLOS-FM, Los Angeles as Mark Thompson Announces Retirement. The duo Mark & Brian have hosted their very successful morning drive show on Cumulus Media‘s classic rock KLOS-FM, Los Angeles since 1987. But as Mark Thompson tells LARadio.com‘s Don Barrett, he and his wife want to take time to enjoy the things that retirement brings. Thompson’s last show will be August 17. That gives KLOS time to figure out what to do with the morning show. Thompson’s partner Brian Phelps wants to keep working at the station in the morning and reportedly Cumulus is working on making that happen.

Columbus Gains All-Newser. Two Columbus radio outlets drop their formats to become an AM/FM all-newser. North American Broadcasting Co. flips classic hits WTDA-FM and standards WMNI-AM to all-news as WMNI. The station is airing a local morning drive news program hosted by news director Mark Nuce, anchor Kelly Quinn and sports director Mark “The Shark” Howell. The rest of the day will use America’s Radio News Network programming with local news inserts. Evenings and overnights will air Dial Global‘s Jim Bohannon and Cumulus Media Network‘s “Red Eye Radio.” The station is filling the weekends with newsy and business-related programming including Cumulus Media’s “Moneytalk with Bob Brinker” and “Bloomberg Businessweek.”

Former Connecticut Governor and WTIC, Hartford Host John Rowland Draws Ire of Unions. The former Governor of Connecticut hosts the station’s PM drive show and today the CBS Radio news/talk station will face some sort of protest at its Farmington studios by a collection of construction, public sector and building and trade unions for Rowland’s opposition to the CTfastrack project – a controversial road, light rail and bike path project between Hartford and New Britain. Connecticut Laborers District Council business manager Charles LeConche states, “The John Rowland that I remember as Governor of Connecticut always supported public projects and understood how to grow the local economy. His present show is now all trash talk radio. It’s really become ‘hate’ radio every weekday afternoon. We’re supporting a boycott of his advertisers and the radio station as well. Our organization will also be petitioning the Federal Communications Commission about this CBS Radio outlet’s handling of trash talk and biased information without offering the opportunity to present different points of view.”

Three Broadcast Groups Join TuneIn for Strategic Digital Alliance. Digital audio distribution service TuneIn announces Beasley Broadcast Group, Midwest Communications and Federated Media are aligning with the service to bring more than 100 stations to its more than 30 million monthly active listeners. TuneIn CEO John Donham says, “We want to make the best audio available to anyone, no matter where they are. Aligning with Beasley Broadcast Group, Midwest Communications and Federated Media gives our listeners unlimited access to some of their favorite hometown stations, while increasing the listener bases of these three major U.S. Broadcasters.” Midwest SVP Michael Wright states, “At Midwest Communications, Inc., we’ve received numerous requests from our radio brands’ listeners asking how they can listen to our content via mobile phone streaming. Our new alliance with TuneIn allows us to give our listeners exactly what they want – their favorite personalities and music, whenever they want, wherever they want. TuneIn gives Midwest Communications another way to superserve and grow our audience.”

CNN Cancels John King USA; Adds Another Hour of Wolf Blitzer. Executives at Time Warner have reportedly become impatient with the performance of cable news/talk channel CNN in the evening and prime time. Now, it appears John King‘s program is the first casualty of a programming shift as “John King USA” is being dropped and another hour of “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” picks up the 6:00 pm ET hour. John King remains with CNN as lead national campaign correspondent. CNN/U.S. chief Ken Jautz states, “John will be providing reports for ‘SitRoom,’ ‘AC360′ and other programs and CNN platforms. This is John’s seventh presidential campaign – fourth with CNN – and making him available across our programming lineup allows us to better tap his skills and experience, especially on the ground reporting in major battleground states and among critical voting blocs.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods. Compass Media Marketing announces the hiring of Bob O’Connor as account director. O’Connor comes to Compass with experience working in the sales and marketing departments at CBS Radio, Eastman Radio, ABC Radio Networks and Cumulus Media…..WQAM, Miami afternoon drive host (and TALKERS contributor) Dan Sileo will fill in at Yahoo! Sports Radio on June 21 and 22 on the morning drive program…..Entercom‘s sports talk WEEI-FM, Springfield, Massachusetts grabs the broadcast rights for University of Massachusetts football and men’s basketball for the next five seasons. In addition to play-by-play, the station will air “The Charley Molnar Show” and “The Derek Kellogg Show’ – the weekly coach’s shows for football and basketball, respectively…..The Radio Television Digital News Association announces ESPN is honored with two 2012 Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for excellence in electronic journalism. “E: 60″ won the Outstanding Sports Reporting award and “The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap” won the Audio Sports Reporting award…..Hubbard Radio‘s WTOP, Washington is awarded five 2012 Edward R. Murrow awards including Best Newscast and two for Overall Excellence.

2012 Presidential Race, Russia-Syria Arms Connection, NYC Snack Food Ban, Eric Holder-’Fast and Furious’ Case and EU Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/13). The 2012 presidential campaign; Russia’s unapologetic supplying of arms to Syria; more considerations of snack food bans in New York City; the GOP’s move to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program; and the state of the debt crisis in the European Union were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

WBZ, Boston Hosts Scott Pelley. The anchor and managing editor of the “CBS Evening News” visited Boston on Tuesday, June 12 as a special guest at the WBZ NewsRadio Business Breakfast where more than 500 people packed the Boston Westin Copley Hotel. WBZ anchor Joe Mathieu interviewed Scott Pelley about topics including the presidential campaign, healthcare, the economy and his career in the news business. Pelley arrived in town the evening prior to the event and brought with him a full staff of producers and writers to produce the Monday evening news. Pictured here are (from l-r): CBS Radio Boston VP & market manager Mark Hannon, WBZ, Boston news anchor Joe Mathieu, Scott Pelley, and WBZ news and programming director Peter Casey. (Photo courtesy of Jodi-Tatiana Charles, La Capoise Galerie)

Friday, March 23, 2012

| March 23, 2012

Media Matters Begins Paid Ad Campaign in Eight Markets Against Rush Limbaugh and Conservative Talk Radio.  The Associated Press is reporting that Media Matters for America will spend some $100,000 on an ad campaign in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Macon, Georgia and Cedar Rapids, Iowa asking people who hear the ad to call the Rush Limbaugh affiliate in their market and say, “We don’t talk to women like that in our city.”  Clearly, Media Matters is not backing off its attack on conservative talk media and any success it can claim for harming Limbaugh’s program – or conservative talk radio in general – will help bring in more donations to its cause.  And, according to Premiere Networks spokesperson Rachel Nelson, therein lays the rub.  “This is not about women.  It’s not about ethics and it’s not about the nature of our public discourse.  It’s a direct attack on America’s guaranteed First Amendment right to free speech.  It’s essentially a call for censorship masquerading as high-minded indignation.”  As this ideological and tactical war escalates, more important voices are entering the fray with a variety of takes on the issue.  For example, leading progressive talker of radio, television and live performances, Stephanie Miller tells TALKERS, “I, for one, as someone in radio for over 25 years, know that advertiser boycotts can cut both ways and hurt everyone in the radio business.  The other side can just as easily take something I said, or Ed Schultz said, and goes after our advertisers and stations, and then where does it end?  ‘You send one of ours to the hospital; we send one of yours to the morgue’?  If advertisers decide that talk radio in general is too controversial, we all lose!”  Miller tells TALKERS that she intends to extend invitations to both Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to appear as guests on her nationally syndicated morning radio program (simulcast beginning Monday on Al Gore’s progressive Current TV) to present their side of the story in a non-confrontational  setting.  Dial Global-syndicated progressive talk host Thom Hartmann is also bothered by the anti-Limbaugh campaign.  “The Limbaugh boycott is bad for all talk radio; it’s harming progressive talk radio by shrinking the pool of companies willing to advertise on any type of talk radio.  If people want to be activists “against” or “for” a show, they should call station management, not advertisers.”

America’s Radio News Network Gives CNN Radio Affiliates Free Trial of its 24-Hour News Service.  With the CNN Radio news service going away after April 1, Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters says his company is offering the more than 1,100 CNN Radio affiliates the chance to take the America’s Radio News Network 24-hour top- and bottom-of-the-hour news service for 45 days contract and inventory free so they can make up their minds about their new news service without having to make a “snap decision.”  Masters says, “This is a simple courtesy extended to those former CNN stations giving them a six week ‘pressure relief valve’ where they could sample our fine product inventory free without pressure, giving them extra time to make the best decision.  Obviously we think that we are the best choice, but this offer was meant as a thoughtful courtesy to those stations that have not yet made up their minds – we don’t want them to be ‘high and dry’ on April 2.”  Masters says because of the growth of America’s Radio News Network’s long-form programming and the demand for short-form top- and bottom-of-the-hour news brought on by CNN’s sudden departure from radio news ARNN recently announced that it had moved up its schedule for the launch of its second news network to accommodate the needs of radio stations looking for “agenda free” short-form news.  ARNN EVP John McCaslin says, “We’re so confident that this is the best top- and bottom-of-the-hour news product on the air, we are willing to allow stations to air it, without inventory requirement contract free through May 15.  So, all you have to ask yourself is, ‘What am I going to do with over 700 extra minutes of local inventory, if I take ARNN up on its free sample offer?’”

All-News KROI-FM, Houston Fires Morning Anchor Scott Braddock.  It’s an unusual case but not unheard of and certainly becoming more relevant as intellectual property issues become more common in the industry.  Radio One’s KROI-FM, Houston recently dismissed morning drive news anchor Scott Braddock after he appeared on crosstown, non-commercial outlet KPFT-FM to discuss the Texas sonogram law and play audio of an interview that also had previously aired on his employer’s station.  He tells the Houston Chronicle he did so without asking permission and believes he had the right to air the audio, equating it with a reporter’s notes.  Radio One disagreed, stating it violated the terms of his contract – a contract Braddock says he had not signed – and it had no choice but to let him go.  Braddock says Radio One is overreacting and wonders why a station that worked hard to get him to come to Houston from Austin for the job would let one of its prime talent go as it works to get the nascent all-news outlet off the ground.

Denver Woman Charged with Felonies After Telling Tale of Escaping Jury Duty on KOA.  Last October Susan Cole appeared on KOA, Denver’s Dave Logan program and told the story of how she got out of jury duty by dressing bizarrely and pretending to suffer from mental illness.  Unfortunately, Denver District Court Judge Anne Mansfield was listening and, due in part to Cole’s memorable performance in court, investigators were able to figure out who she was.  According to the Denver Post, Cole used the name “Char from Denver” on the radio program and investigators linked her to her pen name Char Cole. She published a book that details her struggles with domestic abuse under the name and offered it to investigators to prove her life story and the mental illness claim, but she was unable to show she suffers from PTSD which she claimed at her jury appearance.  It’s unclear what penalty, if convicted, the 57-year-old Cole faces.

Sales: H&H Communications’ Al Herskovitz Announces the Winners of His 2012 Hersky Awards for Talk Radio Sales Excellence.  For the fifth year running, sales and marketing pro and TALKERS columnist Al Herskovitz recognizes some of the industry’s shining stars in the sales, commercial and ad copy arenas.  Read Al’s humorous yet insightful piece here.

KILT, Houston AM Drive Co-Host Marc Vandermeer to Leave Radio Show.  The NFL’s Houston Texans are taking their broadcasts in-house and current KILT morning drive co-host Marc Vandermeer will leave the CBS Radio sports outlet to become director of radio broadcasting for the team.  KILT serves as the flagship for the Texans and Vandermeer tells the Houston Chronicle he’ll still be affiliated with the station.  “It’s awesome to be able to work for an NFL team and to be involved in all aspects of their radio programming.  I’m not saying goodbye to Sports Radio 610, so I will still maintain my relationships there.  It’s the best of everything for me.”  Program director Gavin Spittle tells the paper Vandermeer will exit in late May or early June and he will begin looking for a replacement to work alongside co-host John Lopez.

KKFN, Denver Re-Ups with Talk Host Alfred Williams.  Lincoln Financial Media sports talk host (and former Denver Bronco star) Alfred Williams signs a contract renewal to remain in the co-host seat alongside Darren “D-Mac” McKee on the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program.  In a statement, Williams says, “I am excited to continue to be a part of ‘The Fan.’  I love getting to interact locally with the Denver sports fans everyday and am happy to know I’ll be able to do it for many years to come.”

WRNN-AM/FM, Myrtle Beach Host Tara Servatius Exits Blog Position After Controversial Image Draws Criticism.  Morning drive co-host Tara Servatius has left her position as a blogger for the non-profit John Locke Foundation after she used a doctored photo of President Obama in drag with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken in front of him to accompany the piece about the president’s opposition to the North Carolina marriage amendment.  Servatius apologized for the photo stating, “I am genuinely sorry my inclusion of the photo along with my blog post has caused controversy for the John Locke Foundation.  If it has offended anyone, I sincerely regret that.  That was certainly not my intention.  It was meant to illustrate Obama’s southern political strategy, nothing more.  An honest reading of the piece itself shows there is nothing offensive in it.”  WRNN-AM/FM owner Next Media Group says the issue will not affect Servatius’ status with the station.

Los Angeles Sports Talk Personalities Joe McDonnell and Doug Krikorian to Host Daily Internet Show.  Southern California sports talk personality Joe McDonnell, who’s been doing sports update work at KNX, Los Angeles, will begin a daily internet sports talk show with former radio partner Doug Krikorian, according to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan.  The McDonnell-Douglas show will air from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on a yet-to-be announced URL.  McDonnell was a major presence in the Los Angeles sports media scene going back to the 1980s but he disappeared from sports talk radio after leaving KLAC in 2008.  He made the local news after undergoing gastric bypass surgery and losing some 400 pounds several years ago.  The new show debuts on April 9 with a live broadcast from Legends Sports Bar in Long Beach.

Republican Primary/2012 Presidential Campaign Again Tops Talkers TenTM News/Talk Chart.  The GOP primary race and the greater 2012 presidential campaign again tied for the most-talked-about topics on news/talk radio during the week of March 19-23 landing atop the Talkers TenTM chart for another straight week .  Coming in at #2 was Iran’s nuclear weapons program tied with U.S.-Israel relations.  At #3 was soaring gas prices tied with President Obama’s approval ratings and at #4 was the controversy over the slaying of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the most-talked-about stories and people of the week as heard on news/talk radio across American based on ongoing research from TALKERS.  View the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge picks up major market affiliate WWRL, New York…..Dial Global’s Michael Smerconish adds Boise affiliate KYWN.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

| March 14, 2012

America’s Radio News Network Develops Second Radio Network Featuring 24/7 News Reports.  The long-form news venture crafted by Talk Radio Network known as America’s Radio News Network – which is successfully distributing three-hour blocks of all-news content to more than 275 affiliate stations – is announcing the creation of a second network dedicated to top- and bottom-of-the-hour news, breaking news bulletins, special reports and newsmaker interviews.  ARNN executive vice president for news John McCaslin states, “‘Journalism Without Agenda’ is not just a marketing phrase at America’s Radio News – it’s a code we live by – and the marketplace has responded so strongly to our long-form, all-news product that the second news network of our short-form top- and bottom-of-the-hour news (plus audio actualities, special reports, news maker interviews etc…) was a natural outgrowth of this demand.  We are honored to be the fastest-growing brand in news radio.  We truly are ‘Journalism Without Agenda.’  This is something stations not only deeply appreciate, but have a need for like never before.”  CEO Mark Masters says this means affiliate stations will not have to “break away” for news.  “Bottom line, ARNN is now the complete ‘go-to’ radio news network ­ for urgent breaking newscasts on the hour and half-hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, along with our intriguing and diverse lineup of newsmaker interviews in addition to our large array of three-hour, long-form weekday news blocks our listeners enjoy each weekday.”  The new service begins April 2.

Dan Sileo Let Go from WDAE, Tampa After “Monkeys” Comment.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Tampa Bay sports talk outlet has parted company with morning drive sports talk host Dan Sileo after he referred to three NFL free agents as “monkeys.”  During an exchange with producer Darek Sharp about whether the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should go after Cortland Finnegan, Jonathan Vilma and Vincent Jackson in free agency, Sileo reportedly said, “No! No!  If they get those three monkeys, I’m good!  I’m ready, man.  I’m ready.  I want those guys.  Those guys are great players.”  WDAE program director Steve Versnick confirmed to the Tampa Bay Tribune that Sileo is no longer with the station but would not comment on why due to the station’s policy of not discussing personnel matters.  The Tampa Bay Times reports the station apologized specifically for Sileo’s remarks.  As for Sileo, he tweeted to the TimesEric Deggans that he didn’t even realize what he’d said until someone told him.  Versnick told the Tribune Rock Riley will fill in for Sileo and the station is seeking a permanent replacement.  Dan Sileo has written about sports talk radio for TALKERS in the past.

Aggressive Agenda Being Set for New Media Seminar.  The first of several key panel rosters for the New York installment of this year’s New Media Seminar has been announced and it promises to provide a powerful overview of the state of talk radio.  Titled “Spoken Word Radio 2012, the Big Picture,” the lineup includes (in alphabetical order): Phil Boyce, VP/director, Spoken Word Format, Salem Communications; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media; and Chris Oliviero,  senior VP programming, CBS RadioMichael Harrison, publisher of TALKERS will moderate.  According to Harrison, “This year’s New Media Seminar will tackle a number of pressing issues facing the industry during this most transitional and turbulent year.”  The 2012 version of the industry’s longest-running and most important national convention will feature a new, innovative format designed for the times – broken into two separate events:  New York on Thursday, June 7 and Los Angeles on Thursday, October 11.  Each will present a power-packed agenda and offer affordable, accessible registration fees to its attendees.  Registration, however, is limited and only open to members of the working media. For details, click here.

Dial Global and Dennis Miller Celebrate the Host’s Five-Year Anniversary with a New Contract.  The announcement from Dial Global doesn’t get specific – it calls it a long-term deal – but Dennis Miller’s gig as a nationally syndicated talk show host will continue.  He began in 2007 with Westwood One and is currently heard on more than 300 affiliate stations and, according to DG, in 24 of the top 24 markets.  Dial Global co-president/CEO David Landau says, “We are ecstatic about our relationship with Dennis and thrilled to be associated with a rock star and national treasure of this magnitude.”  Miller is a regular contributor to Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor.”  Miller and O’Reilly have been involved in a live event series dubbed the “Bolder & Fresher Tour 2011-2012” and have added new dates to that tour including June 22 in Indianapolis and June 23 in Chicago.  Miller says of his radio success, “It has been a fine five years with a great and growing audience that I enjoy riffing with.  As I bask in the glorious wake of modest achievement, I look forward to many more years behind the microphone.”

Saga Communications Reports Revenue Down 3.6% in Q4 of 2011.  But for the entire year of 2011, Saga Communications was down just a hair – to $127.3 million in net revenue.  The good news for Saga is free cash flow was up 3.6% for the quarter and 9% for the year.  Also, Saga was able to reduce its debt by $27 million to $69.1 million.  One thing Saga is enjoying that many other broadcasting companies surely covet is a healthy stock price.  Saga’s stock closed at $41.40 per share on Tuesday – up 6.7%.

Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington Locks Up Doc Walker for Three More Years.  The midday sports talk host was most recently partnered with John Thompson at WTEM but Thompson left his daily talk show host role at the station last month.  Now, Red Zebra vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says the company has signed Rick “Doc” Walker to a three-year contract extension and the station will feature Walker in a new 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm program beginning March 26.  Walker is also part of the broadcast team for the Washington Redskins Radio Network.  Red Zebra CEO Rick Carmean states, “Doc has become an integral part of WTEM and its success for the better part of 15 years.  We are excited for him to be a part of the new show and our Redskins broadcasts.”

Cumulus Media Networks Partners with APM Music for Production Library Services.  Music library giant APM Music – a joint venture of EMI Music Publishing and Universal Music Publishing – partners with Cumulus Media Networks to offer its music library services to client stations.  APM’s collection of music is described as offering “every imaginable genre including music from current indie bands to big sound orchestral trailer cues to a full classical music repertoire.”  CMN SVP of affiliate sales and broadcast operations Dennis Green says, “Cumulus Media Networks is proud to add the APM music production library to its growing stable of products and services available to stations all over the country.  APM’s library is the largest and best in the industry which will provide stations the foundation for outstanding commercial production.”

Dan LeBatard Show Markets Content via CDBaby.  The WAXY, Miami PM drive show Dan LeBatard with Stugotz & Hochman is marketing some of its best-of material via CDBaby.  The program has a sizable podcast following but this is the first foray in to digital media marketing.  As the deal is structured, the show and station owner Lincoln Financial Media both share in the revenue.  The “CD” is available through CDBaby.com, iTunes, Amazon and several other digital media sites.  Marc Hochman (who is currently also program director of WAXY but is stepping down to focus on the LeBatard show) reports LeBatard’s national profile has “grown exponentially since the debut of his daily TV show, ‘Dan LeBatard is Highly Questionable,’ on ESPN 2 which is aired every day at 4:00 pm ET.”  Pictured here is the “CD cover” of the digital download.  Hochman says there will be no physical CDs, just the download.

GOP Southern Primaries/2012 Presidential Race, Soaring Gas Prices, Afghanistan Killings Aftermath, and Iran Nukes Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/13).  Yesterday’s southern primaries for the GOP contenders and the 2012 presidential race in general; the nation’s soaring gas prices and its impact on President Obama’s approval numbers; the aftermath of the killing of 16 Afghanistan civilians by a U.S. soldier; and the ongoing tensions over Iran’s nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, March 2, 2012

| March 2, 2012

White House Responds to Rush Limbaugh’s Take on Georgetown College Student.  Premiere Networks talk show host Rush Limbaugh is getting an extraordinary amount of attention from comments made on his program earlier this week.  During the program Limbaugh questioned the testimony of Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke who – speaking to the issue of subsidies for birth control – stated that her Catholic university won’t pay for expensive contraception.  Weighing in on the issue, Limbaugh said, in part, that the university is, in effect being asked to pay for students to have sex.  “What does that make her?  It makes her a slut, right?  It makes her a prostitute.  She wants to be paid to have sex.  She’s having so much sex, she can’t afford the contraception.”  White House press secretary Jay Carney said President Obama called Ms. Fluke to express his support for her stating her opinion and his regret for the response she received.  Republicans and Democrats are now battling over allegations some Democrats and Democratic fundraising organizations are using the issue to raise campaign donations.

Los Angeles African-American Coalition Unhappy with KFI’s Response.  Several days after meeting with Clear Channel Los Angeles management about issues of diversity and ethnic insensitivity after the suspension of PM drive team John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou for remarks made about Whitney Houston, a self-described coalition of Black business and media professionals announces it is not satisfied with KFI management’s response in a memorandum titled “We Are Listening” and plans further action.  In a press statement, media contact Jasmyne Cannick states the coalition plans to take the issue to Washington.  “Consequently, we plan on filing a formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission that will include audio and video evidence substantiating our claims that these licensing violations are pervasive and systemic.  We are confident President Barack Obama, several local officials as well as members of Congress, and the FCC will agree with our stance that the way Clear Channel is addressing the issue of diversity is disingenuous at best and fraudulent at its worst.”  The coalition had asked four areas to be addressed by Clear Channel management:  The hiring of more Blacks as on-air talent – full time, weekends, fill-in hosts; Similar to cable outlets, the station should feature paid KFI contributing commentators who can discuss issues with the on-air [talent] from different perspectives; Clear Channel must employ more blacks behind the scenes such as producers, engineers, sales representatives, professionals in marketing and promotions, as well as college interns of color.  This is not limited to KFI; and KFI specifically needs to collaborate with online news and entertainment sites owned by African Americans and broaden the listening audience through community outreach events and public affairs.  Whether or not this issue becomes a serious PR problem for KFI remains to be seen, but the coalition seems very intent on executing its goals.  It states, “What must be reiterated is that Clear Channel’s corporate policies are being completely ignored and lip service can no longer suffice.  In the next seven days, we will launch an all-out campaign employing the same tools Clear Channel radio personalities utilize to drive home the point that issues of importance will no longer be placated. Whether it’s employing John and Ken’s ‘Heads on a Stick’ campaign, to launching ‘Political Human Sacrifice 2012,’ all remedies, legal and otherwise, will be exhausted.”  At a time when a significant degree of murkiness exists in the understanding of FCC rules pertaining to ethnic equality and programming sensitivity on the part of radio stations and their community critics alike, this brewing situation has the potential to force the clarification of a number of sticky issues including First Amendment guarantees as they apply to broadcasters, the public relations of race, and specific licensing requirements of the FCC.


Talk Media Industry Mourns Passing of Andrew Breitbart.  The Conservative digital media mogul and talk media personality died unexpectedly at age 43 early Thursday morning of what appears to have been a heart attack.  The conservative side of the talk media industry certainly had a friend in Andrew Breitbart.  He was a big fan of conservative talk radio, often appearing on both nationally syndicated and local talk radio programs to discuss political issues.  He even guest-hosted programs – most recently subbing for Dial Global’s Dennis Miller just last week.  Breitbart’s work creating digital media targeting the conservative political audience made him a news/talk media celebrity as well as a target for those who disagreed with his politics.  He’s pictured here reading one of the final print editions of TALKERS magazine at the radio row in New Hampshire prior to that state’s primary election in February.

TALKERS TV EXCLUSIVE:  During the recent TALKERS/Talk Radio News Service radio row held in New Hampshire on the eve of the nation’s first presidential primary, TALKERS TV video recorded Emmanuel College  (Boston) student broadcaster Joe Horgan interviewing Andrew Breitbart on the college’s internet station.  The interview conducted on January 10 presents a superb portrait of Breitbart and his media philosophy.  See the video in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.


More Momentum Behind Radio News as Dial Global Teams with NBC for 24-Hour News Product.  The term 24-hour news service is slightly misleading.  What NBC and Dial Global are offering is not a full 60 minutes of news each hour all day long but top- and bottom-of-the-hour news plus bulletins, live coverage of news events, news feeds, etc.  But with the demise Dial Global’s distribution of CNN Radio and that service largely disappearing, this new initiative underscores the resurgence in the demand for news from consumers that’s being exemplified on America’s radio airwaves.  In recent years the industry has seen Talk Radio Network collaborate with The Washington Times to produce and syndicate a national morning drive news product out of the Nation’s Capital; TRN subsidiary America’s Radio News Network is currently clearing its successful three-hour, all-news blocks on more than 200 radio stations; CBS Radio bought an FM signal in the Washington-Baltimore area to put its news expertise to the test against Hubbard Broadcasting’s news juggernaut WTOP; Randy Michaels-led Merlin Media is building all-news formats on two major FM signals in New York and Chicago with another in Philadelphia reportedly on the way; and Fox News Radio has been providing a major league level of news and information service to nearly a thousand affiliates (including talkers) for years.  Dial Global’s announcement of its  collaboration with NBC News to offer a radio news product using its vast resources and high-profile personalities shows it takes radio’s desire for news seriously.  NBC News Radio will be distributed to radio stations nationwide by Dial Global beginning April 1 and will give those stations access to the global resources of NBC News including: live simulcasts of breaking news from NBC and MSNBC, and reports from top NBC News correspondents including NBC News political director and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd, chief Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell, chief Justice Department correspondent Pete Williams and  senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers. NBC News Radio will also feature Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News” and David Gregory, host of “Meet the Press.”  The development shows that at a time when many Americans are getting more and more of their news from internet sources, a case can be made that news radio – especially news radio consumed in the auto – is more important than ever to many people.  This current state and its future potential sparks the need for new and creative ways beyond merely “reading the story” in which to present news and information content.  Along with that come opportunities for creative talent – experienced in what captivates radio listeners – to put their skills to the test in taking radio news into the future.


KIRO-FM, Seattle Develops New Weekend Talk Show About Local Music.  In cooperation with Seattle Weekly, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle announces the debut of “Seattle Sounds,” airing Sunday afternoons from 3:00 to 4:00.  The show is co-hosted by Josh Kerns and Seattle Weekly music editor Chris Kornelis and is described as telling the “story behind the music – they dive deep into the artists who perform the music, explain why the music is gaining such traction, and discover bands who warrant attention.  The program features live performances, interviews with artists, and weekly contests to attend some of the region’s hottest shows.  ‘Seattle Sounds’ provides a new, uniquely-Northwest experience for audiophiles who want something more than just the Top 40 on shuffle.”  KIRO-FM program director Larry Gifford says, “We are very excited to team up with Seattle Weekly to give music fans in the Northwest a weekly conversation about what’s new, what’s trending and what’s worth checking out when it comes to the local music scene.  It is a terrific addition to 97.3 KIRO-FM’s All New ‘Learn, Laugh, Relax Weekend lineup.’”


Colleagues Mourn Passing of Former KOMO Radio and TV News Personality Eric Slocum.  Former co-workers at Fisher Broadcasting’s KOMO, Seattle and KOMO-TV are mourning the unexpected death of former news anchor Eric Slocum who passed away last Saturday at age 54.  Reports indicate he had suffered from depression in recent years and the death was ruled a suicide.  Slocum started his career in radio but moved to KOMO-TV. He left the TV side in 2001 and returned to news/talk KOMO.  He left the station in 2008.


Compass Media Networks Offers Big 10 Hoops Tourney for Third Consecutive Year.  As the college basketball tournament season approaches, Compass Media Networks announces it is distributing play-by-play of the Big 10 Men’s Basketball Tournament beginning Thursday, March 8 and running through Sunday, March 11.  The games are being distributed to satellite radio and terrestrial radio including major affiliates such as WFAN, New York.  CMN’s broadcast team includes: Matt “Money” Smith from KLAC, Los Angeles who is partnered with former NBA star Rick Mahorn; and Drew Bontadelli who calls play-by-play with former college hoops star Mike Wozniak.


CBS Radio’s Altitude Group Names Marilou McFarlane VP of Strategic Partnerships.  The Altitude Group is CBS Radio’s marketing wing that focuses on creating unique advertising programs to help grow client brands and customer engagement.  The company says Altitude uses the power of CBS Radio’s 130 major market stations combined with all available digital distribution channels to execute big ideas for advertisers so they can reach their customers in any and every way.  Marilou McFarlane, based in San Francisco, will use the group’s best practices to develop new business in markets up and down the west coast.  McFarlane has worked for Clear Channel, CBS Radio in the past as well as developed her own media and marketing consultancy firm, McFarlane Marketing LLC.  Additionally, she launched Vivo Girls Sports, Inc., an online community for girls 13-24 years old who are passionate about sports and live a healthy active lifestyle.


WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Fill-in Host Wayne Powers Runs for County Commissioner.  Wayne Powers has been a regular fill-in host at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte for the past four years.  He announces he’s removing himself from the station’s roster in order to run as a Republican for a seat on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners.

GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 27 – March 2.  According to ongoing research from TALKERS, the GOP primaries and the 2012 presidential race was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM chart.  Coming in at #2 was Iran tensions tied with the North Korea nuclear program deal.  At #3 was the state of the economy and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress and at #4 was rising gas prices.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart here.


TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Independently syndicated “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman” joins the weekend lineup at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles…..KGO, San Francisco-based weekend talk host Karel gets his Sunday 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm program added to the lineup at KJFK, Reno…..Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” featuring Eric Harley and Gary McNamara picks up affiliates WLS, Chicago; WMAL-AM/FM, Washington; and WPRO/WEAN-FM, Providence…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street” with host Chris Markowski is picked up by KIVA, Albuquerque…..“Beyond the Beltway” with host Bruce DuMont is added to the program schedule at WATX, Cookeville, Tennessee…..The DirecTV-produced and Premiere Networks-distributed Nick and Artie show featuring Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange adds CBS Radio’s WIP-AM, Philadelphia.

 

 

 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

| January 19, 2012

Genesis Communications Creates Central Florida News-Intensive Trimulcast.  Genesis Communications Multi-Media Broadcast Group is flipping WAMT, Pine Castle Sky Lake, Florida (Orlando market) from ESPN Deportes and WIXC, Titusville, Florida (on the East coast) from sports to simulcasts of the company’s news/talk WWBA, Tampa Bay as it takes on more all-news content.  The stations are picking up the TRN/Washington Times-produced “America’s Morning News” plus news blocks from TRN-owned America’s Radio News Network.  Genesis CEO Bruce Maduri states, “We intend to provide central Floridians with the ability to access all-news, traffic and weather content anywhere, across the all-important I-4 corridor from Tampa Bay through Orlando, to the Space Coast and north and south along the Eastern Seaboard.  Local, state and national coverage of the day’s breaking news is now accessible to the six million people who reside in this area of the state and up and down the east coast.”  TRN CEO Mark Masters states, “We are proud to provide a complete support system to Bruce as he delivers to Central Florida the most powerful 15 hours per day of syndicated long-form radio news rooms, along with heavy news localization for his growing news empire.  America’s Radio News Network provides a clock that not only gives nine to 10 stories and four to six audio actualities every quarter hour, but also allows for an amazing level of localization and customization so that you can go highly local or regional at the top and bottom of the hours, quarter hours, and even cut into entire segments for another layer of localization.”

CBS Radio and Merlin Media Butting Heads Over News Slogans.  CBS Radio is notifying Merlin Media of what it deems trademark infringement for Merlin’s use of phrases like, “Give us 10 minutes, we’ll give you the world,” on its all-news WEMP-FM, New York, according to Radio Ink.  The report indicates lawyers for CBS are giving Merlin until the end of the day today (1/19) to stop using the phrase (and others) stating it is “intentionally confusingly similar” to CBS’ “Give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world” slogan used on WINS, New York.

Consultant Bob Cohen Joins Board at Gow Broadcasting.  The company brought Bob Cohen, through his Bob Cohen Strategies consulting firm, in to assist as Gow began working with Yahoo! to transform its Sporting News Radio into Yahoo! Sports.  Now, Cohen joins Gow’s board of directors.  CEO David Gow states in the San Antonio Business Journal, “Bob played a significant role in our strategic search and eventual exciting new partnership with Yahoo! Sports Radio.  He has a depth of knowledge and experience in radio, sports radio networks and sports in general and has a track record of adding value and growth to the businesses with which he’s been involved.  He has been active in our business, as a consultant and will also continue in that role along with the board seat.”

Morning Drive Host Jon Justice Re-Ups with Journal’s KTTH-FM, Tucson. Citing his success hosting the AM drive talk show at Journal Broadcasting’s KTTH-FM – “104.1 The Truth” – VP/GM Julie Brinks announces the company has signed Jon Justice to a contract extension to continue in that role.  “This move demonstrates our renewed commitment to Jon, and to the listeners of 104.1 The Truth.  The station continues to be a venue where points of view can be expressed in Tucson.  Whether you agree or disagree, Jon will continue to stimulate the conversation for years to come!”  The station notes Justice’s program has become one of the highest-ranked shows in the Tucson market with both men 25–54 and adults 25–54.  Justice comments on his new deal, “I’m really excited to continue growing the show here in Southern Arizona, building off of the success I have had on ‘104.1 The Truth.’”

News Pro Steve Ray Named News Anchor at America’s Radio News Network.  Talk Radio Network-operated America’s Radio News Network announces news pro Steve Ray joins the company to serve as co-anchor for the network’s news blocks.  Ray has worked at such esteemed news outlets as WTOP-FM, Washington; WMAL, Washington; Westwood One; Metro Networks; and Radio Free Asia.  Ray states, “I not only believe in Mark’s vision for the quality and scope of our news content, but his forward thinking vision of delivering ARNN across multiple platforms.  At a time of great change in radio, Masters is once again in the right place at the perfect time.”

CBS Radio Ups Sarah Frazier to SVP/Market Manager in Houston.  The cluster that includes sports KILT is now being managed by Sarah Frazier who is promoted from her VP/director of sales role to senior vice president and market manager for the group.  Frazier takes over for Brian Purdy who is market manager for the Dallas cluster.  Previously he had been responsible for both the Dallas and Houston markets.

Restraining Order Issued in Dispute Among Former WCAP, Lowell Owners.  The talk station is north of Boston and since 2007 was operated by partners Clark Smidt and Sam Poulten until recently when the two agreed to part with Poulten buying out Smidt over a period of time, according to court records.  But a Middlesex County Superior Court judge has issued a restraining order against Smidt after he showed up at the station attempting to take control from the operators.  The order also forbids Smidt from destroying any of the financial records relative to the ownership and operation of the station.  According to the Valley Patriot, Smidt had been negligent in paying the station’s taxes prior to the agreement for Poulten to buy out Smidt’s share and take over operation of the station.  The FCC approved transfer of the WCAP broadcast license to Poulten on October 31.

Looming South Carolina GOP Primary, Obama Kills Oil Pipeline Permit, Wahlberg Flight 93 Flap, and Italian Cruise Ship Disaster Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/18).  The GOP race to take Saturday’s South Carolina primary, the Obama Administration’s denying of a permit for Keystone XL’s Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline, Mark Wahlberg’s controversial statement about preventing the downing of Flight 93, and the Italian cruise ship disaster were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

| December 8, 2011

Arbitron Client Conference: “Radio Retains 93% of Audience Through Spot Breaks.”  That good news comes from the study, “What Happens When the Spots Come On?” from Arbitron, Coleman Insights and RCS/Media Monitors.  But what it means is not that 93% of listeners stay through a whole stop set.  Some go away and some new ones come in with the aggregate being that only 7% of the listenership disappears during a given spot break.  The study analyzed 17.9 million spot breaks and 61.9 commercial minutes in the 48 markets using the Portable People Meter.  But programmers and sales managers are being cautioned not to interpret the data as meaning that people aren’t bothered by too many spots and that 93% will sit through anything.  One thing the study appears to confirm is that spoken-word radio such as sports, news/talk and all-news do a better job of keeping their audiences through stop sets.

KDKA, Pittsburgh Program Director Marshall Adams Exits.  After six years with CBS Radio’s legendary KDKA, Pittsburgh, program director Marshall Adams announces his contract with the station is up and he is leaving for other opportunities.  Adams states, “It has been a privilege working for this heritage station which, as a child, gave me my first impressions of radio.  It was a dream come true every time I was able to crack the mic for a KDKA newscast.  I am very grateful to CBS Pittsburgh market manager Michael Young for giving me this terrific opportunity. I am going to miss the staff very much. They’re an incredibly talented group of people and each one of them has enriched my life.”  There’s no word from CBS Pittsburgh who will take over the PD position at KDKA.

Cox Media Group Adds Sports Content to WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia.  Cox Media Group removes much of the syndicated news/talk programming from WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia and re-positions the station as “Bulldog 103.7 North Georgia’s News, Sports & Information Station.”  Premiere NetworksJim Rome is added for middays and Yahoo! Sports programming fills in the evening and overnights.  Martha Zoller’s news/talk program moves from the 7:00 am to 11:00 am slot to 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.  The morning news program with Tim Bryant expands to 6:00 am to 9:00 am.  America’s Radio News Network’s all-news block airs in the PM drive slot.

Clear Channel Names Two to Management Roles in Spokane.  Clear Channel announces Dan Manella is the new market manager for the Spokane, Washington cluster and Michael LaCrosse takes on the operations manager for the cluster that includes news/talk KQNT.  Manella most recently served with CBS Radio in Chicago as general sales manager at WXRT-FM and as senior AE at sports WSCR.  LaCrosse most recently served as operations director at Cumulus’ WLS-FM, Chicago.

On the Set of Modern Family.  Talk Radio Network and KFI, Los Angeles radio personality Phil Hendrie recently taped an episode of the hit TV show “Modern Family” in which he plays the character “Boots.”  Hendrie is pictured here on the set of the program (from l-r) with actor Ed O’Neill, director Michael Spiller, Hendrie, and actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson.  On appearing on the program, Hendrie says, “It’s not hard to figure out why ‘Modern Family’ is a hit show.  Everyone, Ed O’Neill, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, all of the crew, they were kind, complimentary and helpful.  Very, very positive people to be around.  I’m so grateful for the experience.  Thanks ‘Modern Family!’”

2012 Presidential Race, Payroll Tax Cut Issue, Jerry Sandusky Arrested on New Charges, Iran’s Nuclear Program and Blagojevich Sentenced Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/7).  The GOP field of candidates for president, the debate over the payroll tax cut extension, former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky arrested on more sexual abuse charges, Iran’s nuclear weapon ambitions and the lost CIA drone and former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s 14-year sentence on corruption charges were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Friday, November 18, 2011

| November 18, 2011

A Complex Web of Debt.  There’s little reason to wonder why large radio companies are trying to find every available dollar – and that is most visible to the industry and the public in the form of reductions in force – when we read today’s news of Cumulus’ bankruptcy filings.  According to Bloomberg, a subsidiary of Cumulus Media Partners (which Cumulus Media Inc finished purchasing in August) — AR Broadcasting Holdings — was put into Chapter 11 bankruptcy as it owes creditors as much as $100 million with assets of between $10 million and $50 million.  AR Broadcasting Holdings consists of stations in San Francisco, Houston and Dallas.  AR Holdings states it has a prepackaged plan “supported by 100 percent of one class of creditors that voted for the restructuring proposal.”  Another Cumulus subsidiary, CMP KC LLC – owner of two stations in Kansas City and two in Houston – has been in default on debt.  It also is filing a pre-packaged bankruptcy protection plan that will cut the debt from almost $95 million to about $20 million and lenders in turn will end up with equity in the stations.

WBAL, Baltimore’s Ron Smith Ends Chemotherapy.  Baltimore talk radio legend Ron Smith announced Thursday (11/17) that he will continue to host his daily talk show on the Hearst news/talk station he’s worked at as a host for 27 years as long as he can, but he is ending his chemotherapy.  Smith announced on October 17 that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that has spread to other organs.  The 69-year-old personality said at the time his doctors believed he had a chance to beat the disease with treatment.  However yesterday he told his listeners he would end chemo and receive only palliative care.

The RTDNA Asks for Electronic Coverage of SCOTUS Health Care Case.  When the United States Supreme Court hears arguments on the constitutionality of the Obama Administration’s health care law, the RTDNA hopes to be able to have TV cameras and audio recording devices in the chamber.  RTDNA chairman Kevin Benz writes to the Court, “Health care overhaul has divided the nation since it was signed into law.  The Court’s ruling undoubtedly will shape the 2012 presidential campaign and most certainly will serve to define Congress’ ability to address national issues.  There is no better time than in anticipation of this watershed case for the Supreme Court justices to suspend the ban on cameras in the courtroom and to allow live electronic coverage of this and other proceedings of keen interest and import to the American public.”  It’s unlikely the Court will allow this as it historically has had little interest in putting itself into the mainstream electronic public media landscape – no matter how convincing the argument for such coverage may be.

Canadian Freedom of Speech Case to Hit Courts.  Damian Goddard was fired from Toronto-based Sportsnet in May after firing off a Tweet that the only “true marriage” is that between a man and a woman.  Goddard is a devout Catholic and believes he has “2,000 years of Christian history” backing him up.  Sportsnet claims it intended to fire Goddard before the Tweet and has documentation of that but Goddard’s attorney says he’s yet to see any such documentation.  What this appears to come down to is Canada’s intense restrictions on free speech.  The six-year-old law that made gay marriage legal in Canada even contains a clause that clearly states citizens have the right to freedom of conscience, religion and speech with regard to this matter.  One attorney anonymously tells the National Post, “Hate speech needs to be related to inciting violence, not hurting feelings.”  The Canadian courts will eventually have to rule on whether citizens – including broadcasters – have the right to express their beliefs if done so responsibly.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The Talk Radio Network/Washington Times produced “America’s Morning News” with John McCaslin and Dana Mills adds WLVJ, Boynton Beach, Florida; KEWI, Little Rock; WRCG, Columbus, Georgia; and WFDM, Fort Walton Beach, Florida…..America’s Radio News Network has its “Afternoon Edition” with Ernie Brown picks up WCFO, Atlanta; WFBL, Syracuse; and WUTI, Utica…..The “Free Talk Live” Sunday evening edition with Mark Edge and Stephanie is added to the schedule at WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina…..Dial Global’s Clark Howard joins the lineup at KVI, Seattle and WIBX, Utica…..Dial Global’s “Jill on Money” with Jill Schlesinger adds WMGG, Dunedin, Florida and WDNG, Anniston, Alabama.

Catching Up with Regis!  ABC News Radio’s Andrea Dresdale (r) interviews TV personality Regis Philbin (l) as he makes his way from an appearance on “The View” to the set of “Live with Regis and Kelly” for one of his final press conferences as co-host of the program.  Today is the 80-year-old Philbin’s last program as he retires from the daily morning talk program he’s hosted since it went from a local New York show into national syndication in 1983. Philbin successfully morphed from a game show host to talk show host and holds the Guinness Book of World Records top spot for most time spent on television – almost 17,000 hours!

‘Occupy’ Shutdowns/Protests Top Talk Radio Topic for Week of November 14-18.  The closing of many of the nation’s ‘Occupy’ encampments and the resulting protests landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week.  Following at #2 is 2012 presidential race. At #3 is the European debt crisis and the related financial markets activity followed by the Penn State scandal at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart by clicking on the banner below.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

| November 17, 2011

The D.C. All-News Battle is On.  CBS Radio will take on Hubbard Broadcasting’s stranglehold on all-news in the Nation’s Capital in January when it unveils a brand new FM news station at 99.1 on the dial.  CBS is moving its “El Zol” Spanish station from 99.1 to the recently acquired WFSI-FM, Annapolis, Maryland signal at 107.9 it purchased from Harold Camping’s Family Stations, Inc.  Hubbard’s WTOP brand (which includes its tremendous digital initiatives) has been dominant in the news game in D.C. and nowhere is that more evident than in its first-place finish in the revenue race among all American radio stations as it billed $57 million in 2010.  Now, CBS Radio brings its years of all-news experience to town.  CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason states, “CBS Radio’s history in all-news is rich in tradition and recognized nationwide for its excellence.  There is no one more regarded in this field, nor anyone with the journalistic expertise and capability to put forth a product with such instant credibility.  We have perfected this format over many decades and we’re thrilled to expand the options for the D.C. community who have a distinct passion for news.”  CBS moves WCBS, New York assistant director of news and programming Robert Sanchez to DC to program the station and brings Michelle Komes-Dolge aboard to serve as news director.  Komes-Dolge is a veteran D.C. news person who served with WTOP-FM in the past.  CBS Radio operates successful all-news operations in New York (WCBS, WINS), Los Angeles (KNX), Chicago (WBBM-AM/FM), San Francisco (KCBS), Philadelphia (KYW), Detroit (WWJ), and Boston (WBZ).  The growth of all-news and the emergence of head-to-head competitive major market battles promises to focus a new level of industry attention on the competitive elements that make a difference in determining success in the format.  Stay tuned!

WBAL, Baltimore’s Ron Smith Ends Chemotherapy. Baltimore talk radio legend Ron Smith announced today that he will continue to host his daily talk show on the Hearst news/talk station he’s worked at as a host for 27 years as long as he can, but he is ending his chemotherapy.  Smith announced on October 17 that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that has spread to other organs.  The 69-year-old personality said at the time his doctors believed he had a chance to beat the disease with treatment.  Smith delivered the news to his listeners earlier today (11/17).

America’s Radio News Network Adds Daily Election Feature.  “Trek to 2012: The Presidential Agenda” is the name of ARNN’s new 90-second feature that airs four times daily during all four of ARNN’s news programs.  Billed as providing “listeners with all the latest on the 2012 presidential campaign schedules, media events, policy issues, latest polling numbers and debate coverage along with other election details and information,” the feature will be heard on ARNN’s 215-plus affiliate stations.  ARNN executive vice president John McCaslin says, “We trust that the ‘Trek to 2012: The Presidential Agenda’ will keep ARNN’s listeners well informed on the latest news and the whereabouts of their favorite 2012 presidential candidates, whether it is President Obama or one in the large field of GOP White House hopefuls.  Given the dismal U.S. economy and continuing recession, plus other hot-button issues such as national security, we are already experiencing unprecedented interest in the upcoming 2012 presidential campaign.”

KYW, Philadelphia Adds Three to its Newsradio Hall of Fame.  CBS Radio’s KYW, Philadelphia announces the induction of Bob Kelly, and the late Karin Phillips and Jack O’Rourke into its KYW Newsradio Hall of Fame.  Director of news and programming Steve Butler and director of sales David Yadgaroff gave the awards to Kelly, who served as an account executive for 20 years and to relatives of Phillips and O’Rourke, who died within days of each other in September.

Former WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina Host Matt Mittan Announces Digital Effort and Terrestrial Affiliate.  Matt Mittan hosted the “Take a Stand” show on Clear Channel’s WWNC, Asheville until a few weeks ago when he left the station after personnel cuts at the cluster cost him producer/sidekick Agnes Cheek.  Now, Mittan and Cheek, who’ve been producing a podcast, will begin streaming their show and have announced WHKP, Hendersonville, North Carolina (south of Asheville) will pick up the 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm hour of the show.  Mittan says that although the program is produced in their downtown Asheville studio, they plan to take it on the road across Western North Carolina.

Clear Channel Raises More than $700,000 for Fisher House.  Capping a week-long fundraising effort November 7-11 culminating on Veterans Day, Clear Channel Radio put its 850 radio stations to work to bring in more than $700,000 for the Fisher House Foundation.  Ken Fisher is chairman of the foundation and he comments, “We’re grateful for Clear Channel’s support of our military families again this year.  Clear Channel’s remarkable reach and continued support is an amazing force for our military families that will continue to help veterans and their families across the United States.”  Fisher House provides housing close to hospitals for families of military personnel who are receiving treatment for injuries suffered in battle so they can be near their loved ones during that time without incurring huge expenses.  CC has helped raise more than $1.2 million for Fisher House in the last two years.

2012 Presidential Race, ‘OWS’ Shutdown, European Debt Threatens U.S., and Marines in Australia Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/16).  The 2012 GOP presidential candidates, the shutdown of the Zurcotti Park encampment in New York City and what it means to the ‘Occupy’ movement, the continuing threat to the U.S. and world economies by the European debt crisis and President Obama’s plan to station U.S. Marines in Australia were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, September 23, 2011

| September 23, 2011

Target: Spanish Language Talk Radio Market.  Personal finance talk radio mega-star Dave Ramsey has worked very hard to become a household name through his popular daily talk radio show, television efforts, bestselling books and live event programs.  Now his Lampo Group organization is targeting the Spanish-speaking segment of the American population with the national launch of a daily talk show hosted by Andres Gutierrez.  Gutierrez is a successful entrepreneur; small-business owner and radio show host with the goal of helping the Hispanic community win with money.  Ramsey’s organization says “Andres’ successes have come from his passion and his simple, direct way of communicating hope to the hopeless.  His drive for excellence in everything he does enabled his business to prosper.”  Businesses all across America are developing plans to market to the Hispanic community and Ramsey says he’s long been interested in serving this segment of the nation’s population and says he sees the perfect messenger in Gutierrez.  “Andres joined Dave’s team in 2009 and is now helping to spread the message of ‘Paz Financiera’ all over the country — or as Andres would say it, ‘Teaching people how to make their money behave.’”  Ramsey’s organization is launching the Andres Gutierrez daily radio show in national syndication on October 17.

WBZ-FM, Boston Sports Talkers Felger & Massarotti to Simulcast on Comcast SportsNet.  Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti host the PM drive show on CBS Radio’s 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston.  There’s no official start date announced, but this fall the duo’s PM drive show will be simulcast on cable TV on Comcast SportsNet.  Comcast SportsNet EVP and general manager Bill Bridgen says, “Felger, Mazz and the Sports Hub have taken over Boston radio with a rocket launch to the top of the ratings.  Adding Felger’s acerbic nature for four more hours to our lineup and Mazz’s credentials are huge pluses for Comcast SportsNet as we continue to build out our programming which features local, entertaining sports programming from 6:00 am to 1:30 am.”

Tyler Moody Promoted at CNN Radio.  Eight-year CNN Radio veteran Tyler Moody is promoted from executive director to vice president of CNN Radio.  The company says Moody will “oversee the editorial and operations teams, including affiliate services and CNN Radio’s more than 30 anchors, correspondents, producers and staff.  He will also lead the business in strategy, product development and execution.”  CNN lauds Moody for his work guiding the network through award-winning coverage of recent events including the earthquake in Haiti for which CNN won a Sigma Delta Chi award for breaking news coverage.  Moody takes over for Victor Kong who returns to Miami to be near his extended family.

Smith/Sabatino Show Debuts on WNYM, New York.  Emmy Award-winning news anchor and journalist Rolland G. Smith and veteran broadcaster Carl J. Sabatino are teaming up for a Sunday evening talk radio program to air on WNYM, New York called “Smith/Sabatino.”  The new program is described as one that “focuses on what we’re all exposed to in the news and why it’s there.  Smith and Sabatino face issues with a practical slant to events and everyday problems.  Their message is one of a common approach and an understanding of those issues and interests that address our lives in the most significant ways.  The program also presents a light and entertaining side, one that balances the hard issues with conversation and talk about the diversions and distractions of life.”  Smith is well known for his work at WCBS-TV and WWOR-TV in New York.  Sabatino is a former CEO of World Television, senior consultant for CNN Radio, WTFM, and WNEW in New York and broadcast executive for Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal Television.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup. The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Daily Wrap from The Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” is added to the program schedule at Saga Communications stations WTAX, Springfield, Illinois; KGMI, Bellingham, Washington; WKVT, Brattleboro, Vermont; and WHMP/WHNP/WHNQ, Northampton, Massachusetts.  KICD, Spencer, Iowa and the Northampton, Massachusetts stations also add “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” to their lineups…..America’s Radio News Network gets its news block programming added to Renda’s WMNY, Pittsburgh as the station flips from business talk to a news/talk format.

The Fed’s Bleak Economic Outlook Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 19-23.  The bleak economic outlook announced by the Fed this week was the #1 topic on news/talk radio and landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart.  At #2 is President Obama’s debt reduction plan.  Following at #3 is the 2012 presidential race and the Thursday evening GOP debate and at #4 is the global financial markets activity.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart published weekly at Talkers.com that shows the most-talked-about stories and people on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  View the entire chart by clicking on the banner below.