Tag: "Anderson Cooper"

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

| October 30, 2012

Greater Media New Jersey Follows Through on Storm Pledge.  The New Jersey cluster of stations owned by Greater Media promised listeners they would be ready when Hurricane Sandy hit the Garden State.  The company issues a morning-after public statement confirming to the public it was there when the residents of the region needed it and that the stations are still working for the region.  “Greater Media New Jersey stations (1450AM WCTC, MAGIC 98.3, WDHA-FM, WMTR-AM, MAGIC 100.1 and WRAT-FM) were prepared in advance with multiple redundancies to assure the public that there would be uninterrupted content delivery. As a result, there was no down time- if power went down- we were ready. In addition, we did not have any equipment issues- we were prepared.  Our programming remains live and local.  We will continue to provide constant updates to listeners and are partnering with local authorities to provide the latest information. In addition, we are also encouraging listeners to call-in updates from the ground.  Our stations have become the gathering point in our communities for immediate information.  We plan on initiating a huge campaign to help the community recover.  However, right now people are still being rescued. We are in immediate mode.”

East Coast Radio Stations Rise to Cover Hurricane Sandy.  With more than 6.5 million people in the Northeast without power at one time or another and Federal Emergency Management Agency director Craig Fugate saying in an interview that people should listen to the radio for local information, stations across the Northeast – especially in the hard-hit coastal cities – stayed on the air with generator power and kept residents up to speed with the progress of the storm.  Stations with a hard-earned reputation for being the source of local news and information had people on board early as the slow-moving storm approached the coast.  At Hubbard’s WTOP, Washington, vice president of programming Jim Farley says even before Hurricane Sandy came ashore, the station’s website WTOP.com logged more than 2 million pageviews on Sunday with 280,000 unique users.  As the storm hit the coast WTOP simulcast its audio on two additional signals – WFED’s 1500 and WWFD 820 in Frederick, Maryland.  Further up the coast at Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7, Providence program director Craig Schwalb says the station aired wall-to-wall coverage on air and online. The website included live audio and video streaming, Twitter feeds with updates from local townships, and an Instagram feed with photos from the impacted Southern New England area. WPRO’s coverage also included a team of full-time reporters canvassing impacted areas and staffing an auxiliary studio at Providence Emergency Management Agency.  Inland at CBS Radio’s WTIC, Hartford on Monday evening, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy was on the air talking to residents, answering questions about power outages and generally assuring the public that he was there to listen.  In New York City where Lower Manhattan was under several feet of water, Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR remained on the air and, as you can see in the photo here, morning show co-host Joe Bartlett was on the air into the evening putting callers on the air via a cellphone held up to the mic because the station’s phone system was out.  This is but a small sample of the numerous stations that remained on the air and, even as you read this, are continuing to serve their listeners with much-needed news, information and a friendly voice or two.  (The photo in the headline at the top of this page was sent by New Jersey Broadcasters Association president and CEO Paul Rotella and shows the storm hitting at Jenks Inlet, New Jersey.)

WFAN, New York to Hit the FM Airwaves on Friday.  New York sports radio fans will hear the nation’s first full-time sports talk outlet in crystal-clear FM for the first time on Friday, November 2 as CBS Radio will begin a simulcast on 101.9 WRXP.  CBS Radio is buying the station from Merlin Media for $75 million in order to give WFAN an FM signal and takes over under an LMA on Friday.  The move puts the market’s two major sports talk operators – WFAN and ESPN O&O WEPN – on the FM band together.  WEPN went on FM in April simulcasting on both bands but separated its AM signal in early September which airs the ESPN Deportes Spanish language sports programming.

KFYI, Phoenix Talk Host Mike Broomhead Wins Local Accolades.  Phoenix Magazine’s “Best of the Valley” issue names KFYI afternoon drive talk host Mike Broomhead “Best Right-Wing Talk Radio Ringmaster” in its most recent poll.  KFYI program director Neil Larrimore states, “Phoenix Magazine is telling the Valley what we already know, Mike Broomhead is a voice of the ‘every man’ – listeners like him and they can actually have a conversation with him, no matter their political beliefs.”

Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” Produces Annual “Ghost to Ghost” Show.  On Halloween night tomorrow, “Coast to Coast AM” host George Noory will broadcast his annual special “Ghost to Ghost” edition of the program.  Listeners will be treated to scary guests, ghost stories and a compelling night of open-line callers.  Noory states, “’Ghost to Ghost’ is one of my favorite ‘Coast to Coast AM’ traditions.  I’m excited to talk with our scary guests and share tales of ghostly encounters with our millions of listeners – it’s sure to be a frightening and entertaining Halloween night.”

Anderson Cooper’s Daytime Talk Show Cancelled.  The Warner Brothers-distributed daytime talk show “Anderson Live” will not continue into a third season.  Facing increased competition in the daytime talk show battles, CNN star Anderson Cooper’s program will cease production at the end of this season.  TheWrap.com reports the program will continue to produce episodes through next summer but will not be back in the fall.  Cooper says in a statement, “I am very proud of the work that our terrific staff has put into launching and sustaining our show for two seasons.  I am also grateful to Telepictures for giving me the opportunity, and indebted to viewers, who have responded so positively. I look forward to doing more great shows this season, and though I¹m sorry we won’t be continuing, I have truly enjoyed it.”  Katie Couric, Ricki Lake and Jeff Probst are among hosts doing daytime TV talk shows this season.

Bloomquist Media Inks Non-Profit Client Treehouse.  Treehouse is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of foster children across the state of Washington.  Bloomquist Media is signing on to produce a one-hour holiday program for radio and the internet to highlight the powerful personal stories of young people who – despite having entered foster care through no fault of their own – have overcome incredible obstacles to build rewarding lives with the help of Treehouse and its various programs.  The program will be made available to radio stations across Washington State to air over Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Randall Bloomquist says, “We are honored to partner with such an incredibly important and effective organization.  Treehouse has made a difference in the lives of thousands of kids in foster care by helping them reach their full potential and advance towards important life goals while providing childhood experiences that all kids deserve.  We look forward to helping Treehouse do even more good work in Seattle and across the state by tapping the power to radio to spotlight its vital mission and great success.”

ESPN Deportes Debuts Boxing Show.  ESPN Deportes premiered “A Los Golpes” on Monday, October 29.  The program features David Faitelson and Bernardo Osuna with special guest analyst Julio César Chávez Sr.  It’s a 30-minute series produced in Los Angeles – a place ESPN says is home to some of the nation’s largest boxing communities.  The program is designed to capture all the weekend’s action and serve as a post-fight arena filled with expert opinion, debate, analysis and boxing tips.  Viewers will be able to interact with the program by phone and online.

The Truckers Love Daliah!  Pictured below is nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs with the emcee of the recent “Truck Drivers Social Media Convention” in Las Vegas.  Daliah tells TALKERS that her program has a very large trucker fan base via SiriusXM and she was asked to speak about social media at the recent confab.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

| August 8, 2012

SiriusXM Reports Revenue Up 13% in Q2; Net Subscribers Up 38%.  The satellite radio company announced second quarter numbers yesterday and reports revenue for that period was $838 million – up 13% over the same period in 2011.  Subscriber growth continues this year as the satcaster saw 463,000 self-pay net adds with the total adds for the year at around 1 million.  As for the status between Liberty Media and Sirius – or more specifically, Mel Karmazin whose contract expires in December?  Karmazin says his duty is clear, “I can assure you that our board and I are interested in trying to accomplish whatever Liberty wants to do as long as it’s in all of our shareholders’ best interests and that there is no issue involving Mel that has anything to do with the current conversations with Liberty at all.  Regarding my contract, it doesn’t expire until the end of the year, and prior to the Q3 earnings call, prior to our next call I think the board and I will deal with it.”  Liberty Media has been acquiring SiriusXM stock and holds about 46% of the shares.  It has twice asked the FCC to declare it in “de facto control” of the company but the FCC has balked.

Saga Communications Has Stable Q2.  Net operating revenue was up 0.7% for Saga Communications and station operating expense decreased 4.6% compared to the same period last year to $22 million.  On the radio side, operating income from continuing operations for the second quarter of 2012 was $9.56 million – up from the $8.60 million reported for the same period in 2011.

Big Talent Shuffle in Boston; Local Hosts Out at Clear Channel News/Talker.  There’s been a major re-alignment of syndicated talent in Boston and two local talk hosts – Jeff Katz and Jay Severin – are dropped from the program schedule at Clear Channel’s Talk 1200 (WXKS-AM).  Almost 2 and ½ years ago, Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh left Entercom’s WRKO, Boston – one of his first major market affiliates after going into syndication from home base WABC, New York – to become the anchor of Clear Channel’s crosstown WXKS-AM – Talk 1200.  Now, on August 21, Limbaugh returns to WRKO where management has remade the program schedule with tweaks that include current midday talk host Michele McPhee moving to AM drive alongside Todd Feinburg; current mid-morning host Barry Armstrong hosting “The Financial Exchange” from 9:00 am to 11:00 am and fill-in host and morning show contributor Jeff Kuhner now host of the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon program, “The Kuhner Report.”  Additionally, Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory returns to WRKO in the 1:00 am to 5:00 am slot from CC’s crosstown WXKS-AM.  At Talk 1200, Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity now airs live in PM drive where Jay Severin was and Premiere’s “America Now with Andy Dean” is heard in AM drive in place of Jeff Katz.  Regarding the elimination of the Katz and Severin shows, Clear Channel Boston’s Joe Mazzei tells TALKERS, “Unfortunately, these are never easy decisions to make.  We appreciate their commitment and service to the station/company over the years, and we wish them all the best.”  Mazzei would not comment specifically on the status of Talk 1200 program director Paula O’Connor citing privacy issues but it appears her job has also been eliminated.  Katz tells TALKERS he can be reached at jeffkatzshow@aol.com.

Prime Time Continues to Be Trouble for CNN.  Though CNN remains a top-of-mind brand for Americans seeking breaking news coverage, its prime time talk-oriented programming is suffering persistent ratings problems.  Deadline Hollywood’s Dominic Patten writes that the cable news/talk network hit a 20-year low in the Nielsen ratings during the week of July 30 – August 5.  “‘Piers Morgan Tonight’ at 9:00 pm averaged 314,000 viewers overall, with a mere 81,000 in the 25-54 demo, according to Nielsen.  That average is the lowest week Morgan has had since he took over Larry King’s spot on January 17, 2011.  During the same time slot over on Fox News, Sean Hannity averaged 1,749,000 total viewers and 324,000 in the 25-54 demo.  On MSNBC, the Rachel Maddow show averaged 933,000 total viewers that week, with 271,000 in the key demo.”  Patten goes on to note, “‘Anderson Cooper 360’ at 8:00 pm averaged 349,000 viewers for the week, also with 81,000 in the demo.  Cooper’s 10:00 pm repeat had 97,000 among the 25-54 demo, the sixth lowest the network has had in two decades, but a slight 259,000 average total viewers for the week.  That averaged total viewership was the lowest 10:00 pm weekday hour CNN has had in 20 years.”

ESPN New York 98.7 Adds Bill Parcells Appearance to Michael Kay Show.  Legendary NFL coach Bill Parcells will make a weekly appearance on WEPN, New York’s Michael Kay show every Thursday at 4:00 pm beginning September 6.  The station is also expanding the role of Hall-of-Famer Joe Namath whose “Joe Namath Report” fills a whole hour of the Michael Kay show on Mondays at 6:00 pm during the season.  New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan will appear every Monday at 5:15 exclusively on Kay’s program as well.  WEPN VP/GM Dave Roberts says, “We’re focused on serving New York sports fans with the best in news and analysis.  The opportunity to work with someone like Bill Parcells allows us to deliver unique insight to our listeners.  We’re also thrilled to bring football to fans on the FM dial.  We anticipate a very exciting fall between our extensive list of weekly contributors and our complete coverage of both the Jets and Giants.”

Fox Sports Daybreak at Dolphins Camp.  “Fox Sports Daybreak” co-hosts Andy Furman and Artrell Hawkins are pictured here interviewing Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jake Long at Dolphins Training camp in Davie, Florida.  HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series is following the Dolphins this season and invited the Fox Sports Radio morning program to take part in the camp.  During the two-day broadcast, Furman and Hawkins brought listeners an up-close look at NFL training camps, and talked to Long, defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin and NFL super-agent Drew Rosenhaus.

WRKO Tea Party.  Some of the air staff of the new lineup at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston pose for a photo during a remote broadcast of the Howie Carr show from the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.  It was at Monday’s remote broadcast that the station announced its new program schedule, including the return of Rush Limbaugh to the station.  Pictured here are (from l-r): PM drive host Howie Carr; AM drive co-hosts Michele McPhee and Todd Feinburg; morning show producer Bill Cooksey; and Howie Carr show producer Nancy Shack.

 

Magic Matt Alan’s and Shadoe Stevens’ OutLaw Radio Enters Partnership with RadioLoyalty.  Radio legends Magic Matt Alan and Shadoe Stevens are partnering with internet radio firm RadioLoyalty to distribute their “OutLaw Radio” 24–hour radio channel.  The programming is billed as “a non-stop, high-energy party featuring celebrity and would-be celebrity guests gathered together by radio legends Magic Matt Alan and Shadoe Stevens.  It’s talk radio and irreverent humor broadcast from an 1876 Virginia City, Nevada-style Bar in the Hills of Encino, California.”  The RadioLoyalty website says, “The network is a spin-off of the original Outlaw Radio ‘show’ — on the air non-stop for more than a decade – and is the brainchild of Magic Matt Alan.  Alan was joined three years ago by radio legend Shadoe Stevens, who loved the show and helped expand the brand. He built the programming into a seven day a week, 24 hour radio channel…For more than 10 years, Matt and a roving cast of characters – The Demons of Decadence – have laughed their way through and around some of the most interesting celebrities on the planet with the slogan: ‘We smoke, we drink, we interrupt.’”  The programming can be found at RadioLoyalty.com beginning August 11.

Fleetwood Mac Co-Producer Ken Caillat Celebrates 35th Anniversary of Iconic Album with Book and Press Tour.  The co-producer of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” album is available for radio interviews.  Ken Caillat was co-producer for the record that went on to become the third best-selling album of all time and tells all the stories of the making of the record in his new book, Making Rumours: The Inside Story of the Classic Fleetwood Mac Album (Wiley 2012).  The publisher states, “Ken recalls experiences from an era of excess, that include the endless partying, relationship dramas and creative struggles that ensued, while writing and recording these classic tracks, “You Make Loving Fun,” “Don’t Stop,” “Go Your Own Way,” “The Chain,” among others.”  Caillat is available for interviews.  Contact Samantha Schipman at Howard Rosen Promotion at 704-249-3951.

Presidential Election, Wisconsin Sikh Shooting Aftermath, London Olympics, and Mars Landing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/7).  The campaign for president in the 2012 elections; the aftermath of the deadly shootings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin; the 2012 London Olympics; and the landing of the rover Curiosity on Mars were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

| June 28, 2012

News Corp. Splits Its Assets in Two.  News Corporation officially announces it will chop its company into two separate, publicly traded companies, one consisting of its entertainment properties and the other its  publishing assets.  The issue was decided at yesterday’s board meeting.  Under the plan, the entertainment division will include the TV and movie businesses – Twentieth Century Fox, the Fox broadcast network, Fox News Channel and the other cable networks.  The publishing arm will consist of the newspapers – The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London and The Australian as well as the other publishing assets — including Harper Collins.  This will presumably also include The Wall Street Journal Radio NetworkSNL Kagan reports the two primary reasons for executing the split are to distance the more profitable entertainment assets from the phone hacking scandal — this reason has been denied by CEO Rupert Murdoch — and to encourage investors who are keen on the entertainment side but not the publishing business.  The first nine months of News Corp.’s 2012 fiscal year saw the entertainment division bring in $18.66 billion in net operating revenue while the publishing division’s net operating revenue was $6.22 billion.  However, analysts are not in agreement that the split will encourage that much investment and ultimately be as valuable to the entertainment side’s stock as it might appear at first blush.

Yahoo! and Clear Channel Agree to Content Sharing Deal.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and Yahoo! partner on a distribution and cross-promotional deal in which Yahoo! will use the iHeartRadio digital platform as its official digital radio service while Yahoo! will be able to promote its content across CC’s 850 radio stations.  Yahoo! recently entered into deals with ABC News and CNBC to distribute jointly produced content across websites and television.  Interim Yahoo! CEO Ross Levinsohn – who is working to turn the struggling digital media company around and give it a focused direction – says of the pact, “This partnership will expand our ability to provide consumers and advertisers with the best premium content available and provide Clear Channel with unmatched digital reach.”  Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman says, “We were thrilled when Ross approached us about this partnership.  We like the direction Yahoo! is going and by working together we can accelerate growth for the both of us.”

The NFL’s Buffalo Bills Sue Cumulus Over “Incentive Rights Fee.”  Buffalo Bills play-by-play aired on Cumulus Media’s (and previously Citadel’s) WGRF-FM and WEDG-FM, Buffalo for the past 13 seasons through the 2011 season and now the team is suing Cumulus for what it says is the company’s failure to pay the “incentive rights fee” of about $1 million, according to the Buffalo News.  The suit states the incentive rights fee equals half the broadcaster’s gross revenues from the sale of related programming or advertising in connection with any Bills game, after accounting for certain costs.  The suit also contends, “For the 2011 NFL football season, the reasonable value of the exclusive radio broadcast rights and perquisites was believed to be at least $2.4 million, of which an amount believed to be at least $1 million remains due and owing.”  Attorneys for the team say Cumulus was to provide an independent auditor’s report on gross revenue and net revenue for the 2011 season and that has yet to happen.  The Buffalo News reports attempts to get a comment from Cumulus had not been successful.

Tom Leykis and Lionel on Strategies for Taking Talk Content to the Web.  This video from the recent 2012 TALKERS New Media Seminar – New York features The New Normal chief and talk radio legend Tom Leykis and LionelMedia.com personality Lionel discussing from-the-trenches strategies for bringing talk content – live streaming shows and podcasts – to the web.  The biggest challenge to this initiative is letting people know you are there and enticing them to listen.  Hear Leykis and Lionel speak about their work in this medium on this exclusive panel discussion in the TALKERS TV box on this page.  (Videography by Art Vuolo of Vuolo Video)

TuneIn Brings Major Broadcasters Cox Media Group, Emmis and Entercom Aboard.  Digital audio service TuneIn continues to build its roster of content with the signing of three of America’s big broadcasting companies to deals to distribute their audio.  Cox Media Group, Emmis Communications and Entercom radio stations will be heard on the TuneIn service that boasts 30 million monthly active listeners.  In announcing the deal, the chiefs of the three companies tout the enhanced distribution this will give their content.  Cox president Doug Franklin states, “As we transform into a digital media company, Cox Media Group is extending our great local brands to as many digital platforms as possible to seamlessly provide our audiences with the programming they want where and when they want it.  TuneIn leads the industry with their listener-first approach to everything they do, and we are excited to offer our broadcasts to the growing and vastly important digital audience.”  Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan comments, “Emmis is excited by today’s announcement.  We want to follow our listeners and deliver our content to the platforms they choose to use.  The TuneIn platform will provide our listeners from coast to coast another connection point with their favorite radio brands.”  And Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “This is a great deal for Entercom, for TuneIn and most importantly for our listeners. We are very pleased to align Entercom with such an innovative company as TuneIn, which will deliver our terrific local programming to a wider, digitally engaged audience.  Together, Entercom and TuneIn will deliver existing and new fans the best listening experience possible.”

Glenn Hall Named Managing Editor at TheBlaze.  Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts announces former editor in chief at TheStreet joins TheBlaze as managing editor.  The company states Glenn Hall will “oversee the day-to-day management and long-term editorial planning of TheBlaze.com’s editors and writers.”  Hall served as editor in chief at TheStreet until this past March and, according to comScore audience rankings, helped grow TheStreet into the 10th largest online financial media group, surpassing CNBC.com.  TheBlaze president and chief strategy officer Betsy Morgan says, “In under two years, we have attracted a growing team of over 25 reporters with a diverse range of experience ranging from a former CIA officer to CNN contributors.  We are excited to take our team to the next level with Glenn Hall who brings a strong track record of leading and overseeing high-quality coverage and award-winning journalism to TheBlaze.” Hall comments, “TheBlaze is an amazing web phenomenon that shows media can thrive in the new digital age provided the focus and mission are aligned with the needs of the audience.  I am excited about the opportunity to help grow this brand and raise the bar for digital journalism.”

CNN Suffers Worst Primetime Ratings Quarter in 21 Years; Cable News/Talk Network Makes Programming Changes.  TVNewser reports CNN’s 2012 second quarter primetime ratings were at their worst in 21 years with 446,000 total viewers and 129,000 in the adults 25-54 demo.  Compared to the second quarter of 2011, CNN is down 35% in total viewers in Total Day.  The numbers are similar in primetime with the network down 35% in total viewers and 41% in the adults 25-54 demo.  For individual shows, it’s hard to compare since the schedule has shifted and the same shows didn’t air at the same times last year.  But “Piers Morgan Tonight” (which hasn’t moved) is down 29% in total viewers and 33% in adults 25-54.  There is a bit of good news for the network as TVNewser reports June Nielsen numbers show younger viewers are increasing boosting Piers Morgan 9% in June, Anderson Cooper 5% and Erin Burnett 24%.  Meanwhile, the Time Warner cable news/talk network makes some programming changes: The seven-month-old “Early Start” show sees co-host Ashleigh Banfield move to the 11:00 am ET slot and newcomer John Berman becomes co-host of the program with Zoraida Sambolin.  Also, Kyra Phillips leaves CNN for duties at sister channel HLN.

KOZN, Omaha’s Kevin Kugler Transitions to National Correspondent Duties.  Sports talk host Kevin Kugler, currently co-host of the “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” afternoon show at NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha – 1620 AM The Zone – will become a national sports correspondent for the station as he moves to a full-time position with the Big Ten Network – the conference’s TV network.  Kugler also serves as a play-by-play announcer for NFL football and NCAA basketball on the Dial Global Radio Networks and he will remain in that capacity.  KOZN program director Neil Nelkin states, “Kevin now gets a chance to cut his teeth as a play-by-play host for the Big 10 and still stay on The Zone.  It has been a joy and a privilege to watch Kevin as he evolved into a national sports correspondent.”  Kugler’s duties with The Zone will be as analyst, interviewer and guest anchor.  On his career transition, Kugler says, “This opportunity affords me the chance to remain on The Zone and stay in Omaha.  Although this is a new chapter for my career, I am still staying on my ‘home’ at 1620 The Zone but I will have even more insight to offer as a result of the various exclusive interviews and event coverage I will be able to do on BTN.”

KXL, Portland Names Dan Mitchinson PM Drive Co-Anchor.  Dan Mitchinson has been evening news anchor at Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle.  On July 9 he begins his new position with Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland where he’ll co-host the station’s “Portland’s Afternoon News” with Lacey Evans.  In a statement, Mitchinson says, “KXL is certainly one of the best-known news/talk stations in the country and one of the things that excites me the most it’s not just telling stories, but the way we’re able to start conversations with our listeners.  Anyone can read the news or check their Twitter account.  What KXL does best is tell passionate stories that make you feel even more involved with the city I now get to call home.”

The Anticipated ObamaCare Ruling, the Aftermath of the Arizona Illegal Immigration Law Decision, the 2012 Presidential Campaign, the Colorado Wildfires, and Eric Holder Contempt Vote Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/27).  The anticipation of the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; the aftermath of the Court’s decision on the Arizona illegal immigration law; the ongoing 2012 presidential campaign; the wildfires raging through Colorado and the attempt by House Republicans to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

| May 3, 2012

Latest Cable News/Talk Ratings Not Good for CNN.  The April Nielsens are not being kind to cable news/talk network CNN.  The channel’s total-day viewership average was 357,000 – down 21% compared to the same period in 2011.  Ratings in that category haven’t been this low for CNN since August of 2001.  “Anderson Cooper 360” led the decline in shows down 26% with 522,000 total viewers in the 10:00 pm ET slot.  Other CNN shows with declines in April were: “John King USA” – down 24%; “Erin Burnett Out Front” – down 22%; and “Starting Point” – down 26%.  Fox News Channel remains firmly in first place for April with a total-day viewership average of 1.1 million (up slightly) and MSNBC stays in second place with an unchanged 425,000.

Keith Larson Stays with WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte After All.  Last week WBT-AM/FM Charlotte late-morning host Keith Larson told his listeners his days with the Greater Media station may be numbered because the station was unwilling to extend his contract but was willing to keep him on the radio as an at-will employee.  At the time he said he wasn’t sure he wanted to do that.  A week later, he tells the Charlotte Observer he and WBT management have struck a deal to keep him with the station, though he wouldn’t give details about their agreement.  He does say, “I’m very happy to be plugging away at WBT.  We had a good conversation this week.  I’m happy to continue eye-poking at WBT and looking forward to developing Larson Advertising and Media as well.”

WQXI, Atlanta Merges Two Midday Shows into One.  Lincoln Financial Media sports talk outlet 790 The Zone – WQXI – combines the “Two Live Stews” show featuring Doug and Ryan Stewart with the Tony Barnhart and Wes Durham show to make “The Red Zone” airing from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.  This move comes a week after the station announced it was extending “Mayhem in the AM” to 11:00 am and moving Archer and Bell up an hour to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm time slot.  As the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reported last week, Barnhart and Durham have been the highest-rated show on the station lately but they have other professional obligations which make them all but unavailable during May and June.  The “Stews’” ratings haven’t been what they once were and they are not as prominently featured by the station as they used to be.  The Stewarts’ agent, Norm Schrutt, acknowledges to the AJC that he’s not happy with the new arrangement but says Doug and Ryan are “team players” and are doing what they are asked.  The new show is expected to have a rotating cast of characters along with the four principal hosts.  WQXI general manager Andrew Saltzman tells the paper, “This is more topic driven and less specifically host driven.”

Wisconsin Group Seeks Conservative Talk Radio’s Help in Preventing Recall of Governor.  An ad hoc group of Wisconsin business people has formed an organization called Businesses for Wisconsin Jobs with the goal of getting conservative talk radio shows from Milwaukee and Madison to be aired in the northern and western parts of the state in hopes those shows will reach enough people to prevent the recall of Governor Scott Walker and other politicians.  An article by Brien Farley for Heartland.org, points out how Walker and others have credited  conservative talk shows such as WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes and WIBA, Madison’s Vicki McKenna helped them get elected via their conservative messages.  The group hopes to convince other stations in the state to add such shows to their lineups in order to get a conservative message to key voters.  WISN, Milwaukee program director Jerry Bott is quoted in the piece saying, “Hosts on conservative talk radio affect public opinion by making a convincing case that conservative principles are powerful, proper and effective.  This has an effect on public opinion in areas where conservative talk radio can be heard which, in turn, provides a fertile environment for conservatives seeking public office to be elected.”  So far the group claims to have had success getting Vicki McKenna’s program added to WMEQ, Menomonie in the northwestern part of the state.  The recall election of Governor Walker takes place June 5.

Stitcher Launches 2012 Election Center to Serve Demand for Political Audio Content.  Digital spoken-word content provider Stitcher Smart Radio is targeting users interested in the 2012 political season with the creation of the 2012 Election Center.  Stitcher says the channel allows “users to easily follow, listen and engage with political candidates, commentators, pundits and topics that interest them most.  From podcasts and candidate speeches, to exclusive content on hot trending topics, listeners can now stay up-to-date on all things election related from one central audio hub.”  Stitcher CEO Noah Shanok says, “There’s an avalanche of coverage during election season and it can be tough to get the best information when you need it.  We’re rolling out trending topics on demand, a first in the industry.  We see this as part of our mission to further the evolution of radio by making it more relevant and accessible than ever.”  The service features audio messages directly from the campaigns, commentary from major broadcasters such as Fox News Channel, NPR and CBS News plus the service is integrated with Facebook.  Stitcher is employing a transcription technology so users can literally search the bevy of available audio for specific topics by typing in key words.  Content creators get feedback from Stitcher about the about the most-sought-after topics.

Nikki Sixx’s Personality-Intensive Show to Air Mornings on KEGL-FM, Dallas.  The Premiere Networks distributed “Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx” show will be heard in AM drive on Clear Chanel Media and Entertainment’s KEGL-FM, Dallas beginning May 7.  The talk-intensive rock radio show featuring Motley Crue star Nikki Sixx and Kerri Kasem airs in evenings on 90-plus affiliate stations.  Now, Premiere will create a customized morning show for KEGL-FM.  In a statement, Premiere says, “Each morning on “Sixx Sense,” Sixx will discuss music and lifestyle topics as he gives listeners an exclusive look at the world and mind of a rock star…Sixx will provide his unique perspective and attitude as the duo welcomes celebrity guests, recording artists and fascinating characters from all walks of life.”  Sixx himself is quoted saying, “Bringing ‘Sixx Sense’ to mornings has always been our goal.  Who better to start your morning with than a rock star and a hot chick?  It’s a dream come true to have a morning show on one of America’s best rock stations.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Sports WBNS-FM, Columbus promotions director Todd Reigle takes his bicycle on a five-day ride from Sylvania, Ohio to Cincinnati – an event called the Honor Ride Ohio – to try to reach his goal of raising $100,000 for six veterans’ organizations.  The ride will take place from June 30 to July 4…..ESPN’s Mike Greenberg pays his “gambling debt” to co-host Mike Golic on May 8 as loser of the “Mike & Mike” show’s March Madness “Sheets of Integrity Challenge.”  Greenberg will dance to “Livin’ the Vida Loca” live on the ESPN Radio program (simulcast on cable’s ESPN 2) with professional dancer Anna Trebunskaya who’s appeared on the “Dancing with the Stars” franchise…..Former University of Florida quarterback Chris Leak (who led the team to a National Championship) joins SiriusXM’s College Sports Nation sports channel where he’ll host “College Sports Coast-to-Coast” along with Chris Childers several nights a week…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment partners with the Ad Council to promote the anti-childhood obesity campaign We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity and Nutrition).  The effort involves airing and making visible online a number of public service announcements…..Attorney Ed Gadrix debuts a new weekly talk show on WNJC, Washington Township, New Jersey called “The Eddie Esq. Show.”  Gadrix says the goal of his show is to involve more fathers in custody after divorces.  Gadrix states, “Divorce courts and the legal system are destroying the next generation of Americans and I hope our new talk show opens up an entirely new dialogue toward changing that system…unless we take a different approach to handling divorce and custody matters, we’re doomed to continue creating children who grow into dysfunctional adults and families.”

2012 Presidential Race, U.S.-Afghanistan Security Agreement, John Edwards Trial, Chinese Activist Case, Junior Seau Death, French Political Situation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/2).  The 2012 presidential race; the newly signed U.S.-Afghanistan security agreement; the testimony from John Edwards’ trial on campaign corruption charges; blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng’s appeal to the U.S. to leave China; former NFL star Junior Seau’s apparent suicide; and Nicolas Sarkozy’s fight for his political life in France were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Fox Sports L.A. Meets New Dodgers Owners.  KLAC, Los Angeles – AM 570 Fox Sports L.A. covered yesterday morning’s press conference with the new Los Angeles Dodgers ownership — Guggenheim Baseball Management Team.  PM drive hosts Petros Papadakis (r) and Matt “Money” Smith (l) are pictured here interviewing L.A. Lakers great Magic Johnson (c), a member of the new ownership group.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

| February 28, 2012

Opinion:  Phil Valentine Says Fear of Offending is Lethal to Talk Show Hosts.  Dial Global talk show host Phil Valentine responds to TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer stating just the fear of offending someone puts all talk hosts on a slippery slope and the latest “guidelines” from the Asian American Journalists Association take it to an absurd extreme.  Read Phil’s piece here.

 

Harris Poll of “America’s Favorite News Personalities” Sure to Cause a Stir; Diane Sawyer America’s Fave, Rush Limbaugh Not.  This recent poll of 2,016 American adults conducted by Harris Interactive lumps a list of 26 news anchors, interviewers and radio and television talk show hosts into one broad category – “news and current affairs personalities” – and asks the subjects which three are their favorites and which three are their least favorites.  The results?  Diane Sawyer, Anderson Cooper, Brian Williams and Bill O’Reilly (tied with Barbara Walters) land in the top four spots for favorite.  In the least favorite category, Rush Limbaugh, Nancy Grace, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity fill the top four spots.  The fact that news anchors and talk show hosts are lumped together for the purposes of this poll is interesting.  At TALKERS, we consider them very different animals.  One has to wonder how many typical media consumers consider the duties Diane Sawyer handles on a daily basis and what Rush Limbaugh does on his program to be the same or similar (even though Limbaugh often refers to himself as “America’s Anchorman!”)  Breaking down the results by political affiliation shows the following results: Among Republicans the four favorites are Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Limbaugh and Diane Sawyer.  Among Democrats the four favorites are: Sawyer, Anderson Cooper, Brian Williams (tied for second), and Barbara Walters.  What may be the most interesting facet of this poll from a statistical standpoint is independents ranked their top four favorites the same as the “general population”: Sawyer, Cooper, Williams and O’Reilly.  If you landed high on the least favorite side of this poll, it apparently doesn’t necessarily hurt your listenership/viewership.  While CNN’s AC 360 (Anderson Cooper’s prime time show) garnered 648,000 total viewers (average) during November of last year according to Nielsen, Rush Limbaugh’s estimated weekly cume during the same period was more than 15 million, according to TALKERS.  These are not the same measurement systems but the difference is stark, nonetheless.  Back to cable/news talk for a moment; MSNBC’s Ed Schultz beat CNN’s AC 360 (head-to-head competition) in the November ’11 Nielsens with 944,000 total viewers.  However, Ed Schultz wasn’t even offered as one of the 26 “news and current affairs personalities” to those taking the poll.  MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was included in the poll.  She came in tied for seventh favorite with 7% of all respondents naming her their fave.

Entercom Kansas City Drops Classical for Business Talk Radio on KUDL.  Entercom plans to drop the classical music on KUDL 1660 – Radio Bach – and will turn the station to a business talk-formatted outlet as early as this week with an official start on March 5, according to local reports.  Former KMBZ talk host Mike Shanin is expected to host an 11:00 am to 1:00 pm program and, according to Bottom Line Communications, the station will be closely aligned with and cross-promoted by sister news/talk KMBZ-AM/FM.  While there is no official word from Entercom Kansas City, it’s being reported the station will carry programming from the Wall Street Journal Radio Network, Bloomberg Radio and is developing more local programming.  Entercom donated its classical music library to Kansas Public Radio and University of Kansas.

Black Leaders in Southern California Still Upset with John and Ken.  KFI, Los Angeles PM drive hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou returned to the air yesterday after a seven-day suspension for using the words “crack ho” while discussing the death of Whitney Houston.  There are black leaders in Los Angeles still upset the duo have not been fired and the Los Angeles Times reports California State Senator Curren D. Price, Jr. was one of a number of black leaders scheduled to meet with Clear Channel management yesterday before John and Ken took to the air.  Citing the duo’s penchant for controversy, the leaders are asking for KFI to replace them.  Senator Price is quoted in the Times saying, “There are many thoughtful and talented journalists in Southern California.  KFI-AM needs to replace John and Ken with some of them.  I’m sure their radio sponsors will be grateful.”

Photographer Takes Radio Station to the Court of Public Opinion.  Harrison Strategies senior partner and broadcasting attorney Matthew B. Harrison writes that it is important to know more about intellectual property law than just enough to avoid litigation.  Disputes involving intellectual property aren’t always played out civilly within the established legal system.  Brawls are erupting in the Wild West of social networking, where threats of litigation don’t have much standing and unconventional is the nature of attacks.  Read Harrison’s column here.

CBS Sports Network Debuts; Jim Rome Debuts April 3.  The CBS Sports Network is up and running in time for the college basketball post-season.  CBS’ new cable and satellite channel will attempt to capitalize on CBS’ long history of sports programming and will use personality-based shows to try to compete with ESPNPremiere Networks talk radio star Jim Rome is leaving ESPN to take his cable TV show to CBS Sports Network beginning April 3.  Veteran television and radio sports personality Tim Brando’s 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET daily radio talk show on Yahoo! Sports Radio is being simulcast on the new channel.

“America’s Healthcare Advocate” Hits 60 Affiliate Mark.  The Kansas City-based “America’s Healthcare Advocate” show hosted by Cary Hall announces it is now heard on 60 affiliate stations across the country.  Hall states, “If you would have asked me seven years ago whether this show would be nationally syndicated on 60 stations coast to coast, I would have said, ‘impossible!’  It’s amazing to me how we continue to grow.  Obviously the ongoing debate over PPACA (aka ObamaCare) has generated a tremendous amount of interest in our broadcast.  Additionally, the informative shows we are able to do with nationally recognized experts in the health insurance and healthcare industries make us the go-to source across the country for information on these topics.”

GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, New WikiLeaks Release, Oscars and Ohio School Shooting Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/27).  The GOP primaries on the eve of the Michigan and Arizona primaries, the continuing concern over Iran’s nuclear weapons program, WikiLeaks’ release of e-mails from a U.S. security firm, the Academy Awards and the shooting at an Ohio high school that left one student dead were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Irish Eyes Are Smilin’.  Irish Radio Network USA chairman and CEO Adrian Flannelly (r) and his wife and Irish News Network VP and executive producer Aine Sheridan (c) will be honored with the 2012 Ambassador of Ireland Award to be presented by the Saint Patrick’s Committee of Holyoke and the Republic of Ireland on Sunday, March 18, 2012 at the Yankee Pedlar Inn in Holyoke, Massachusetts by Consul General Michael Lonergan.  Seated at left is Springfield City Councilor, former WHYN, Springfield talk show host and member of the Ambassador’s Award committee Kateri Walsh appearing on Flannelly’s program to announce this year’s recipients.  The Ambassador’s Award recognizes individuals whose activities have brought the people of the United States and Ireland closer together.  Flannelly and Sheridan are being honored together as a husband and wife whose professional careers personify that bridge-between-people that this prestigious award represents.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

| January 4, 2012

Don Martin Interviewed on TALKERS TV.  He is one of the most influential management figures in sports talk radio.  Don Martin wears both national and local feathers in his sports cap serving as vice president/general manager of Fox Sports Radio and general manager/program director of sports talk KLAC, Los AngelesTALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian caught up with Martin at the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (10/20/11) and interviewed him about the state of sports talk radio including the local and national perspectives, where to find new talent and the importance of stations having play-by-play associations with a popular sports franchise.  Martin also discusses the impact that the PPM is having on the sports talk genre saying that it is showing the format in a positive light.  According to Martin, sports talk radio is one area of the talk media world that is less impacted by these difficult times than most.  He credits the fact that so many talented hosts are out of work as providing a vibrant talent pool from which to pick when openings come and points to the continual crop of retiring athletes as being another source of potential sports talk broadcasters.   Check out this must see video in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.

KSFO, San Francisco Makes Program Changes; Melanie Morgan Returns to AM Drive and J.D. Hayworth Takes Over Late Mornings.  Almost four years after exiting the AM drive show she co-hosted with Lee Rodgers, Melanie Morgan is back on the Cumulus Media station alongside morning host Brian Sussman.  KSFO program director Paul Hosley states, “We’re thrilled to have Melanie back on KSFO.  She’s very popular with listeners and we’re looking forward to her many contributions on the revamped morning show.”  Cumulus fills the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot vacated by Rush Limbaugh when the Premiere Networks star moved across town to Clear Channel’s new KKSF with former Arizona congressman KFYI, Phoenix talk host J.D. Hayworth.  Hayworth says of his new gig, “As a ‘recovering’ Congressman, I’ll ‘pull back the curtains’ and explain why politicians do the things they do.  With the help of KSFO listeners, we’ll endeavor to provide common sense and clarity in these challenging and confusing times.”

Bob Lonsberry to Host Local Show for Clear Channel’s WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse.  Bob Lonsberry tells the Syracuse Post-Standard he’ll make his new show local for Syracuse listeners even though he’ll be a commuter from his home market of Rochester where he hosts the midday show on WHAM.  Lonsberry takes over the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program beginning January 9.  The shift was formerly held by Jim Reith who exited the station at the end of October.  Lonsberry tells the paper, “I want something that literally speaks to a Syracuse listener, is representative of them and is a service to them.”  Lonsberry will lead into WSYR-AM/FM’s 5:00 pm news-oriented  “Daily Wrap with Joe Galuski and Kevin Schenk.”

Gene Burns to Begin KKSF, San Francisco Show Next Week After Apparent Health Issues.  The new lineup at Clear Channel’s KKSF, San Francisco began this week but former KGO talk host Gene Burns was missing in action.  Numerous reports in the media trades cite a mini-stroke suffered by Burns as the reason he’s not on the air.  However, Bay Area blogger Rich Lieberman reports that Burns did not suffer a stroke of any kind, that he has another unspecified medical condition and is expected to be on the radio next week.

WXOS-FM, St. Louis Tweaks Lineup; Former Cardinal Chris Duncan Moves to PM Drive.  Hubbard Radio’s 101 ESPN (WXOS-FM) moves former St. Louis Cardinals star Chris Duncan from his role on the evening show to “The Fast Lane” PM drive program where he’ll work alongside Randy Karraker and D’Marco FarrBob Ramsey, who had been part of the “Fast Lane” show, moves to the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show with co-host Brian Stull for the newly named “Stully & Rammer” show.  Ramsey also maintains his role as voice of the St. Louis Billikens calling St. Louis University men’s basketball games on the station.  Program director Kent Sterling states, “We are excited to put Chris Duncan on ‘The Fast Lane.’  He is a unique communicator with an incredible work ethic, and a great guy.  He has lived a life in the eye of the sports hurricane and he speaks with an authority that is captivating.  Media is all about finding great communicators and Chris is one of the most gifted in America.”

CBS Radio Announces Debut of DC All-News Outlet.  CBS Radio’s all-news WNEW-FM, Washington will hit the airwaves on January 19 and will feature the following talent lineup: Bill Rehkopf and Amy Morris in AM drive, Jenny Glick and Chas Henry in middays, Evan Haning and Nancy Lyons in PM drive, and Sarah Jacobs and Cheryl Simone in evenings.  Program director Robert Sanchez says of the new station, “We are very excited to have put together such a great group of professionals who have spent many years covering local and national news.  Each brings a specialty to WNEW creating a great team which will deliver important and compelling news that matters to local residents.  When Washington needs to know, this team will have them covered.”

Rob Williams New OM/PD at WQRT, Cincinnati; New PM Drive Show Debuts.  The Florence, Kentucky-licensed talk station owned by Christian Broadcasting System Ltd. names former Clear Channel programmer Rob Williams operations manager and program director for “Real Talk 1160” – WQRT.  Williams replaces Cary Pall.  At the same time, as talk host Andy Furman begins his new position hosting morning drive on the Fox Sports Radio Network, he leaves WQRT and makes way for “The Other Guys” afternoon sports talk show featuring Fox Sports Ohio’s Jeff Piecoro, former producer and co-host of the Furman show Rick “the Brick” Wall, and Metro NetworksJeremy “J-Lance” Lance.

Iowa Caucuses, Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions, Fracking-Related Earthquakes and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/3).  The GOP Iowa Caucuses held yesterday, Iran’s nuclear ambitions and warnings to the U.S. about carriers in the region, reports of earthquakes in Northeastern Ohio thought to be related to oil and gas fracking and the first financial markets activity of the new year were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Mona Lipschitz Debuts New Column.  Full of gossip, rumors, personal asides and unbridled opinion about the industry and the people in it, Mona Lipschitz debuts her new column “Straight from The Lip” today at Talkers.com.  In it she offers some keen insights about recent changes at Merlin Media and Cumulus Media as well as some pointed advice for Anderson Cooper.  Mona has been the news editor of TALKERS magazine for the past 21 years and she knows where all the bodies are buried in this business.  Let the dishing begin!  To read the first installment of “Straight from The Lip,” click here.

Straight from The Lip

| January 4, 2012

By Mona Lipschitz
TALKERS MAGAZINE
Columnist

Happy New Year everyone…..Finally after 21 years of gathering and writing “NewsNotes” for the print version of TALKERS magazine, the powers here finally recognized that I am intimately aware of what’s happening in this industry and know how it works.  So, they gave me my own column here at Talkers.com (in lieu of a raise) and said, “Knock yourself out, Mona.”  I plan to take them up on it and promise to make the most of this opportunity.  Look out Talkers Nation!  The Lip is loose!  Okay, enough with the posturing crap. Let’s go…..There are huge lessons to be learned from the “Walter Sabo Exits Merlin” saga.  An idea guy like Walter should not be “operating” anything.  His job title at Merlin was COO — chief OPERATING officer.  Wrong role!  Walter should be giving ideas, advice, encouragement and inspiration to people who do the operating and the executing.  As a consultant, he’s done that quite well for more than two decades.  I am glad he’s back where he belongs and where the industry needs him.  I’ve never met Randy Michaels but my impression from tons of first-hand sources is he isn’t that much better suited to be an operator than Walter.  Look at his track record.  Seems to me Randy is kind of an idea guy himself.  Maybe the best idea he had was to hire Walter and tap into some of his ideas.  But I question if Randy and Walter were the right guys to pull it off with the people in the programming trenches — the PDs, anchors, producers, writers — and actually produce an on-air product worthy of the concept.  Before Randy capitulated to the instantaneous naysayers and nervous investors (blowing Walter out of the loop in the process) and turned Merlin’s New York and Chicago properties into half-baked versions of their CBS all-news competition, he and Walter were on the right path regardless of the ridicule and poor numbers faced in the early going.  Some of the greatest human success stories begin by facing these obstacles.  The ridicule was deserved because they rushed the format onto the air before it was ready.  The poor numbers followed because the product wasn’t quite right and it takes time to get good numbers even when the product is good in spoken word.  Heck – this ain’t disco in the late eighties!  The idea of targeting an all-news station to women 25-54 on FM is brilliant and extremely do-able if done properly. The FM dial is a great place to pick up women!  They are already there listening to many of the music stations (as well as public radio) and of course today’s working woman is interested in the “news.”  You just can’t cater to the stereotypes of what women want – obvious superficial stuff like shopping, fashion, parenting and gossip.  True, these are things of interest to women.  But you must go much deeper to actually get them to change their habits and flock to a new address on the radio dial — especially within the space of one or two rating periods.  Women want to feel emotionally connected to like-minded souls.  They want to feel that they are not alone.  They want to feel that they are part of a community and enjoy the comfort and camaraderie of other women who are sharing the same experiences, joys and fears.  THAT’S how you get women to listen to talk on the radio.  With all due respect to Randy and Walter, they don’t strike me as the kind of guys whose minds work in that direction.  Forgive the cliché, but we seem to throw the baby out with the bathwater way too much in this business when great ideas fail to be executed properly…..Speaking of poor execution; someone should jump in – let’s call it intervention — and help CNN “personality” Anderson Cooper avoid destroying his career by trying to wear too many hats in an effort to boost ratings and be a media star.  He should stick to one thing and do it well instead of becoming CNN’s in-house clown.  I found his situation co-hosting New Year’s Eve from Times Square with goofball Kathy Griffin to be a painfully poor pairing and I had to turn it off and switch over to Ryan Seacrest who seemed like Walter Cronkite compared to Anderson if you can imagine that…..Congratulations to JD Hayworth and Melanie Morgan for being put on the air full time at KSFO, San Francisco.  It is a relief to finally see Cumulus putting good people on the air instead of just throwing them off…..Our condolences goe out to the family of one of the smartest and nicest people in talk radio programming, David Bernstein of Bernstein Talent, who lost his dad Charlie Bernstein to cancer over the holidays.  David described his dad as his “hero.”…..Hey, if you hear of anything interesting, let me know.  Send your tips to mona@talkers.com  To go to the main news page, click here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

| November 14, 2011

Arbitron Releases Most Recent “Radio Today by the Numbers.”  Arbitron lays out a graphically colorful and intense case for the power of radio in general, citing such eye-popping stats as “241 million Americans listen to radio each week – that’s 93% of everyone in this country listening to radio  each week.”  Arbitron states the report helps broadcasters “tell radio’s compelling story,” helps “agencies understand how radio excels at delivering their ads,” and helps “advertisers learn how radio reaches their customers at the right time.”  The report culls its data from Arbitron’s RADAR 110, Scarborough Research’s Release 1 2011 and the Arbitron/Edison Media/Scarborough Research report “The Road Ahead” released in June of this year.

Bill Cunningham’s TV Show Beating Anderson Cooper in Three Major Markets.  The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter writes that Anderson Cooper’s eponymous daytime talk show has been picked up for another season and he wonders if WLW, Cincinnati talk host Bill Cunningham’s foray into national daytime TV talk will also continue.  Kiesewetter says Tribune president of programming and entertainment Sean Compton tells him they are not ready to discuss their strategy yet as “we have a different strategy than a traditional distributor,” although he notes Cunningham’s ratings success versus Cooper.  Cunningham beat Cooper in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles in both household ratings and persons 25-54 in the first two weeks of the November sweeps.  The daytime TV talk show format pool will get even more crowded next fall when personalities such as Katie Couric, Steve Harvey, Jeff Probst, Bethenny Frankel and Trisha Goddard debut TV talk shows.

Sports Talk Broadcasters Jared Max and Steve Buckley Honored by OUT Magazine.  As part of its OUT 100 feature – designed to recognize “the most inspiring people of 2011” – ESPN New York (WEPN) sportscaster Jared Max and Boston Herald columnist and WEEI, Boston regular Steve Buckley are featured.  Both came out during 2011 and the magazine writes, “When Charles Barkley voiced his support for gay marriage and his disdain for homophobia in the sports world, ESPN Radio veteran sportscaster Jared Max took the opportunity to make a ripple himself when he came out on air.  Boston Herald columnist Steve Buckley also made the decision to come out in his column (it was his mother’s idea, he says) and followed that up by saying he made the biggest mistake of his life by not doing it sooner.”  Max (top) and Buckley (bottom) are pictured here in a photo from the magazine.

 

CBS TV to Re-Tool “The Early Show” with Addition of Charlie Rose and Gayle King.  According to a report in The New York Times, CBS TV is in the process of revamping its “Early Show” program as a result of the show’s flagging ratings – down 6% from the same period one year ago – and that will include the addition of PBS icon Charlie Rose and Oprah Winfrey Network talk host Gayle King.  The report cites those close to the program speaking anonymously who say the two-hour news show will still be hosted by Erica Hill and Jeff Glor but will take a more serious, newsy approach in a conversational tone that CBS execs say is working for its “CBS Evening News” and “Face the Nation” programs.  The new program is expected to debut sometime early in 2012.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

| October 20, 2011

MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Moves to the 8:00 pm Hour.  MSNBC brass are stirring up the pot in an attempt to boost its ratings by flipping “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” and Ed Schultz’s “The Ed Show.”  Schultz will air at 8:00 pm ET and O’Donnell at 10:00 pm.  MSNBC president Phil Griffin believes Schultz’s style is a better fit for the 8:00 pm hour and a better lead-in to its highest-rated show, “The Rachel Maddow Show.”  Although O’Donnell’s program has more than doubled the ratings over CNN competitor Anderson Cooper, O’Donnell’s ratings in the 25-54 demo have dropped over the last month while Schultz’s have increased.  Griffin states, “As the name implies, ‘The Last Word’ belongs at the conclusion of our programming day, thoughtfully wrapping up the day’s political dialogue.  Ed’s passionate voice is a perfect kick-off to primetime at 8:00 pm.”  The changes take place Monday, October 24.

KQTH-FM, Tucson Morning Host Jon Justice Gets ‘Best of Tucson’ Honors.  This is the second year in a row that morning drive host Jon Justice has been honored with the ‘Best Radio Personality’ award and the third that he’s nabbed the ‘Best Talk Show Host’ award in the readers poll from Tucson Weekly.  KQTH-FM program director Ryan McCreddan says of the honors, “Congratulations to Jon Justice on his wins in the Tucson Weekly’s 2011 Best of Tucson!  Jon and ‘104.1 The Truth’ have some of the most loyal listeners in town and it shows over and over again with accolades like this.”

Fox Business Network Receives Orders to Differentiate from Fox News Channel.  It appears that Fox Business Network programming has been drifting toward the same appearance as its sister cable news/talker Fox News Channel.  So much so that EVP of programming Kevin Magee issued a memo to FBN staff to stop imitating FNC, according to Reuters.  Magee confirmed the memo to Reuters and told the news service that Fox Business has to continue to focus its programming on business-related issues and find its own voice.  In the memo Magee wrote, “The more we make FBN look like FNC the more of a disservice we do to ourselves.  If we give the audience a choice between FNC and the almost-FNC, they will choose FNC every time.  Earnings, taxes, jobs etc give us PLENTY to chew on.”  Fox Business has not fared well in the ratings compared to its closest competitor CNBC.

KOA, Denver Adds Broncos QB Tim Tebow to its Football Coverage.  The newest Denver Broncos starting quarterback will make four weekly appearances on KOA during this football season.  Tim Tebow will be heard on the station’s Broncos coverage Monday mornings, Friday afternoons (with former Bronco Dave Logan) on the game day pre-game show (taped, obviously) and live from the locker room after each game.

WGN, Chicago’s Dean Richards Hosts Annual Breast Cancer Special.  For the past 14 years, WGN-TV entertainment reporter and WGN-AM weekend talk host Dean Richards has been hosting a special breast cancer program during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and he’ll do it again on Saturday, October 23 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.  The live, three-hour special will examine where we are in the fight against breast cancer and feature a panel of the nation’s leading medical experts, moving survivor stories, resources for cancer patients, the latest research and more.

What Happens in Vegas…  The GOP primary race has been a boon for news/talk radio with all of the colorful characters and talk radio’s unique relationship with the candidates.  For Dial Global syndicated talk host Neal Boortz, his relationship with candidate Newt Gingrich is personal – Gingrich has subbed as a host of his program (as has candidate Hermain Cain).  Pictured here is Boortz (r) and Gingrich (l) at the most recent GOP debate in Las Vegas.

 

2012 Presidential Race/GOP Debate Aftermath, ‘Occupy’ Movement, Obama Jobs Bill and Exotic Animal Owner Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/19).  The aftermath of the Tuesday evening GOP candidates debate and the 2012 presidential election , the ‘Occupy’ movement, the battle over the Obama Administration’s jobs bill and the bizarre case of the Ohio exotic animal owner’s suicide and unleashing of dozens of wild animals were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

| September 15, 2011

Cumulus-Citadel Merger Gets DOJ and FCC Approval; Shareholder Vote Takes Place Today.  The merger of radio companies Citadel and Cumulus has passed federal muster as both the FCC and the Department of Justice give their approval and the creation of the new radio company rests on shareholder votes today (9/15).  To make the deal happen, Cumulus is forced to put three stations in a trust.  Those are: Citadel’s country WCAT-FM, Carlisle, Pennsylvania; Cumulus’ CHR WWKL-FM, Palmyra, Pennsylvania and classic rock WRSR-FM, Owosso, Michigan in the Flint market.  WRSR-FM goes into the Potential Broadcasting trust and must be programmed by the trust’s operators.  WCAT-FM and WWKL-FM were being moved to the Volt Radio trust and will be reassigned to the Potential trust and also must be programmed by that trust’s operators.

Bloomberg and ESPN Join in Partnership for New York Morning Sports Reports.  At first blush it seems like an unlikely pairing but many of the men Bloomberg’s flagship station business news WBBR, New York reaches are sports fans as well.  ESPN’s WEPN, New York will provide WBBR with live reports specifically targeted to the New York market by WEPN’s Jared Max beginning at 5:00 am on “The First Word” hosted by Ken Prewitt and “Bloomberg Surveillance” with hosts Prewitt and Tom Keene.  Bloomberg Radio’s Al Mayers states, “”We’re pleased to offer our listeners in the New York City metro area with morning sports coverage by ESPN’s flagship station.  In partnering with ESPN, we’re combining the best brand in business with the best brand in sports.”

“Troubleshooter” Tom Martino Files for Personal Bankruptcy Protection.  Martino’s consumer advocate show is heard daily on KHOW, Denver.  The filing lists assets of $1.37 million against liabilities of $78.6 million.  Martino tells the Denver Post that his financial issues center on his real estate investments that have been affected by the economy.  “There are so many people in this same boat.  You’ve got millions of dollars in lost value and all of a sudden you can’t refinance your loans and you are just upside down.  I just don’t know what I could have done.”  Martino says his debt comes from taking on additional loans over the past few years to save his real estate investments and that his Troubleshooter Network, consulting business and the radio show are not affected by the bankruptcy filing.

Leslie Marshall Show Contracts with AdLarge for Sales Representation.  The independently syndicated Leslie Marshall show signs a deal with AdLarge for the company to be the exclusive national marketing rep firm.  AdLarge co-founder and CEO Gary Shonfeld states, “Leslie is a highly renowned pundit who knows how to engage both the left and the right.  We are thrilled to have her show on our growing content platform and to represent her with the biggest national advertisers in the country.”  Marshall, whose program is fed live nightly from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET, says of the new deal, “Gary has done this before and very successfully.  At AdLarge, I’m not just another show in a large roster of programs.   My show is given personalized attention and the AdLarge team seems to have my best interest at heart.  They work hard for me.”

Bill Press Show Adds Video Component.  Bill Press’ Dial Global-syndicated radio show begins a video stream today (9/15) from his Capitol Hill studios.  Press tells TALKERS the video will stream live via Ustream and then key excerpts will be posted on YouTube but he’s quick to note they are still doing a radio show, not a TV show.  As a credentialed Washington correspondent and a nationally syndicated columnist (Tribune), Bill Press brings a unique level of journalistic credibility to his radio show that makes it stand out from most talk shows on either the left or the right.

KIRO, Seattle Debuts New Football Show.  710 ESPN (KIRO), Bonneville’s Seattle sports talk station debuts a new live football show tonight (9/15).  The new weekly show airs live tonight from Joey Restaurant in Bellevue, Washington from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm hosted by ESPN football expert John Clayton and co-hosted by former Seattle Seahawk players Dave Wyman and Mack Strong.  Joining the trio on tonight’s show is current Seahawks player John Moffitt.

CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM Gets Pirates Baseball Back.  That’s what the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting.  After five years at Clear Channel’s FM talk WPGB, the paper says sources close to the deal indicate Pirates baseball, which aired for so many years on heritage news/talk KDKA, will come back to CBS but this time on its KDKA-FM sports outlet, “Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan.”

WBZ, Boston Prepares to Celebrate 90th Anniversary.  CBS Radio’s venerable WBZ, Boston will celebrate its 90th anniversary on Monday, September 19 and will commemorate its place in broadcasting history as the first commercially licensed radio station in America.  The station will air a number of 15-minute vignettes that chronicle and honor the station’s history.  The station will also host a WBZ Hall of Fame induction ceremony.  CBS Radio Boston SVP and market manager Mark Hannon states, “For nine decades WBZ NewsRadio has led the way in reporting historic news events on both a national and local stage, and the station has offered a forum for the community to discuss the news of the day and evaluate what it means to them.  We are extremely proud of the staff’s reporting and programming over the years, as well as the station’s community outreach, and we look forward to being a positive influence in the market for many years to come.”

Early Ratings for Anderson Cooper’s Daytime Show Soft.  The new, daytime TV talk show “Anderson” is not yet a week old but analysis of the early ratings is inevitable and so far the critics are not impressed.  The Los Angeles Times reports the Monday premiere garnered a 1.1 household rating that put it behind the pack of such shows as “Regis & Kelly,” “Ellen,” “Dr, Oz,” and “The Talk.”  But the syndicated show is expected to take time to build and Telepictures – the Warner Bros. arm syndicating the show – says the program was pre-empted in some markets and had to compete with coverage of the U.S. Open tennis tournament.

Insurgent Attack in Kabul, Obama’s Green Jobs Controversy, 2012 GOP Presidential Field and European Financial Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/14).  The violent attack on American interests in Afghanistan, the investigation into the Obama Administration’s support of a solar power company, the GOP field of candidates for president in 2012 and the tenuous state of the European economy were some of the most-talked-about topics on news/talk radio yesterday.

KDKA Feeds Pittsburgh.  Well, at least several thousand Pittsburghers.  That’s how many residents station officials say enjoyed the 28th KDKA Spaghetti Breakfast held recently in the Steel City.  Pictured here are KDKA talk host Johnna Pro (l) and traffic reporter Kathy Berggren (r) as they prepare to feed the masses.  This year, the station honored the late KDKA talk personality John Cigna who is credited with starting the popular local tradition as a station promotion 28 years ago.