Tag: "Associated Press"

Solutions to AM Radio’s Problems: Here’s How the Industry Can Revive AM and Make it a Viable Force Again

| September 3, 2014

By Bill Brady
Futures & Options, Inc.
President/CEO


bradybill
JUPITER, FL — There is nothing fundamentally wrong with AM radio.

AM stations that offer quality programming that effectively serve listener’s needs are doing just fine.  There is no problem at WLW, WTMJ, KNBR, the CBS all news stations and many other well-programmed AM stations.

There is a problem at the many stations which have “run up the white flag” and surrendered to paid programming, wall-to-wall syndication, religion, or my personal favorite…drumroll please…the irresistible opportunity to become the fifth sports station in their market.

The two biggest issues for AM radio today are the commitment level of corporate owners, and the congealed nature of the syndication marketplace.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

| July 15, 2013

Talk Radio Stations Answer Call for Live Radio After Zimmerman Verdict.  The number of talk radio stations that rose to the occasion after the George Zimmerman verdict late Saturday night and the following day was, according to TALKERS sources around the country, surprisingly large considering the time (especially in the East) that the verdict was announced.  Certainly there were many stations caught unaware at that late hour but even many of those that were not able to bring local talent in for a live program were prepared enough to air network coverage of the news.  Several TALKERS sources report hearing local talent take to the air in the Pacific Time Zone and put callers on the air to discuss the case.

madisonjoeSiriusXM’s Joe Madison Races to Cover Zimmerman Verdict; Broadcast Response to Case.  High-profile talk media personality Joe Madison lived up to his moniker “The Black Eagle” late Saturday night after the Sanford, Florida jury reached its verdict and found George Zimmerman not guilty of the charges against him in the death of Trayvon Martin.  Minutes after the verdict was announced, Madison went to the SiriusXM Washington, DC broadcast facility to do a live broadcast that aired from 11:00 pm Saturday evening to 1:00 am Sunday morning on the satcaster’s “Urban View Channel.”  Madison opened up the lines to callers to, as he said, “give people a platform to react and share their feelings.”  SiriusXM reports, “It was a powerful show.  Major figures joined the show by telephone – among them Rev. Jesse Jackson; Ben Jealous, president/CEO, NAACP; Marc Morial, president National Urban League; attorney Daryl Parks, co-attorney for the family of Trayvon Martin; and Roslyn Brock, chairwoman of the NAACP.  ‘Urban View’ then went into a special schedule all day Sunday, serving as a sounding board for listener response.  The channel aired live shows taking calls from around the country throughout the day.”

traduptomMedia Coverage of Zimmerman Verdict Analyzed and Criticized.  In the immediate aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict, the news/talk radio industry is analyzing media coverage of the case – especially from cable news/talk outlets and what some talk radio practitioners tend to call the “left-leaning mainstream media.”  In a somewhat high-profile incident, former temporary Associated Press staffer Cristina Silva, who had left the news organization before the incident, according to the AP, Tweeted: “So we can all kill teenagers now?  Just checking.”  Salem Radio Networks VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS magazine that after learning about this he, as a member of the TV Digital News Directors Association, as well as an AP subscriber, contacted AP executive editor Kathleen Carroll.  She informed Tradup that Silva was “a temp who no longer works for us.”  Breitbart.com reports Silva worked for the AP for the past three years with her last byline being July 9 of this year.  Tradup has more to say about the coverage he witnessed and the radio broadcasts he heard to those he saw on cable TV.  He writes, “Radio (gasp) simply covered the verdict.  ABC, SRN, CBS, local stations…all pretty much the same model:  No scary theme music, no weird camera angles, and no need to manufacture emotions or distort what happened.  Just the facts…Not on cable.  Kate Bolduan and Chis Cuomo on, of course, a special edition of CNN’s “New Day” program, reporting on the verdict with agonized scowls on their faces…presenting video of ‘major cities’ all over America where protesters marched after the verdict had been announced.  An objective viewing of the ‘protests’ revealed turnout to be literally dozens of people.  Cuomo physically wrung his hands as he opined that people nationwide are ‘disturbed’ by the verdict.  Kate Bolduan sat stoically next to him, nodding and grimacing over the jury’s verdict on this travesty of a ‘news’ program.  On MSNBC, Melissa Harris-Perry suggested that ‘all over America, African-American parents are hugging their children tighter’…implying that they are trembling in their homes as a result of the Sanford, Florida jury action.  What unsubstantiated baloney. How insulting to African-Americans.  How insulting to our entire legal system.  The state of broadcast journalism in America has always been pretty low, an occasional Edward R. Murrow notwithstanding.  But the deifying of Trayvon Martin by CNN and other cable myna birds simply to generate ratings makes me happy to instead operate in radio news…where actual facts still matter.  Our TV counterparts have served up disgraceful bias and doctored opinions disguised as ‘news coverage.’”

marconiawardSports Talkers Outshine News/Talkers in 2013 NAB Marconi Award Personality Honors Finalists.  The National Association of Broadcasters announces the finalists for the 2013 NAB Marconi Awards honoring personalities and radio stations for excellence.  The winners will be announced at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando on September 18.  This year, in the major market and syndicated categories, news/talk personalities are noticeably absent while sports talk talent is prominent.  Fox Sports Radio/Premiere Networks’ Petros & Money are finalists in the syndicated category and in the major market category, WFAN, New York’s Boomer & Carton and KTCK, Dallas’ “The Musers” (George Dunham and Craig Miller) are finalists.  Clear Channel news/talk KFI, Los Angeles is up for Legendary Station, as is Entercom’s sports talk WEEI, Boston and CBS Radio all-newsers KYW, Philadelphia and WBBM, Chicago.  News/talk and sports are dominant in the Large Market Station of the Year category with CBS Radio’s WCCO, Minneapolis; Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence; Entercom’s WWL-AM, New Orleans; and CBS Radio’s WXYT-FM, Detroit all in contention.  View all of the finalists here.

sedanojorgeJorge Sedano to Exit WQAM, Miami to Join ESPN.  The Florida SunSentinel reports that WQAM, Miami program director and afternoon drive personality Jorge Sedano will leave the station he’s been with for 11 months to take a multi-platform position with sports giant ESPN.  The specifics of his new position with ESPN are unclear but he is expected to start there in the fall.  Sedano is a fixture in sports media in South Florida and has also worked at Lincoln Financial Media’s WAXY.  He took over the program director position at WQAM after four months away from radio in the market during which he pursued TV opportunities.  He replaced Lee Feldman who exited the WQAM PD post for opportunities outside the radio business.  Sedano also hosted the pre- and post-game shows for Miami Heat games on the Sun Sports telecasts.  Obviously, this opens up a great sports talk radio opportunity in South Florida.

imusdonMerlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia Replaces Lionel with Don Imus in AM Drive.  New York-based media personality Lionel – seen by New Yorkers both in the early morning and during evening news casts on WPIX-TV – waslionel piped in alongside former morning host Al Gardner when Merlin turned the station into a talk-formatted outlet after purchasing it from Family Stations, Inc.  Gardner exited the station in March of this year and Lionel remained in AM drive.  In addition to his work with WPIX-TV, Lionel also operates the successful internet venture lionelmedia.com.

millerchrisFeeding the Endlessly Hungry Mouth: Coming Up with Content for Your Social Media Outreach.  Content gathering is a massive headache for a lot of social media experts.  It can take over two hours a day to do it effectively.  Considering the fact that in radio there are a lot fewer full-time social media folks and a lot more people have added some social media duties to their already long job descriptions, it is even tougher to be consistently interesting, funny or helpful.  In a new column posted today by noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, he suggests several types of content.  These include 1) using a lot of photos (they are more convenient and often more effective than videos); 2) posting in-depth articles (all you need is to click to them); 3) posing questions about hot-button stories (talk radio is more adept at this than music radio); and 4) employing the services of Google Alert to help gather material.  To read Chris Miller’s entire piece, please click here.

kernenbobBob Kernen to Serve as VP/COO for jacAPPS.  Jabobs Media’s jacAPPS division – developer of mobile applications – announces internet veteran Bob Kernen will join the company as vice president and chief operating officer.  The company reports that “this move marks a major step in the growth of the company, ranked by Crain’s Detroit Business as the number #2 mobile application developer in Southeast Michigan, and the industry leader in the Business-to-Business category.”  President Paul Jacobs says, “Since its inception in 2008, jacAPPS has been on a consistent, upward trajectory.  As our company nears its fifth anniversary, we needed a visionary with the right blend of media and web experience – and Bob’s the guy.”  Kernen has served as VP/product development and data for Sharecare, creating a digital database, mobile applications, and a comprehensive back-end data system.  Prior to that, he was the co-founder of GrokMusic, oversaw digital product development for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, developed emerging media platforms for A&E Television Networks, and helped develop the digital strategies for Hearst’s Women.com and Microsoft’s Web TV Networks.

katzjeffspeaksJeff Katz Subs in Morning Drive at WRNO, New Orleans.  Former “TALK 1200” Boston (WXKS-AM) morning man Jeff Katz sets his alarm clock pretty early tomorrow morning — if only for a day – as he’ll fill in on Clear Channel’s news/talk WRNO-FM, New Orleans.  Katz provides a thrice-daily commentary heard on WCAP, Lowell-Boston and has recently been heard filling in for Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated host Todd Schnitt and New England Talk Network regional host Michael Graham.

trautmannconradDial Global’s Conrad Trautmann Given ‘Engineer of the Year’ Honor.  Dial Global announces chief technology officer Conrad Trautmann has been named “Chapter Engineer of the Year” by the Society of Broadcast Engineers’ Chapter 15 (SBE 15), which serves the New York City metro area.  Trautmann is the first recipient of this new award, which recognizes the efforts of a specific individual who best furthers the goals and objectives of their SBE Chapter and provides an outstanding example of local/regional leadership and ethics.  SBE 15 chapter chairman Jeff Smith states, “We are thrilled to honor Conrad with our first ‘Chapter Engineer of the Year’ award.  Within Conrad’s 30-plus years of service to SBE 15, he was instrumental in reestablishing the chapter in the 1980s after declining membership and financial troubles caused the Chapter to cease operations.  Conrad is recognized for implementing a model that has made SBE 15 the largest and most financially stable SBE local chapter in the country.”  Trautmann oversees the company’s broadcast engineering, program distribution, back-office IT, and software development.  He is a nationally recognized and respected leader in the broadcast engineering field, with prior senior engineering positions at Dial Global, Westwood One, Metro Networks, Cox Radio, and Chancellor Media.

kroibarajasconductsHe Was Born in a Crossfire Hurricane.  All-news KROI, Houston’s Mike Barajas show off his conducting and Mick Jagger moves as he leads the Houston Symphony Orchestra in a rendition of the Rolling Stones’ classic “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”  The “News 92 FM” afternoon anchor received a little help from Symphony conductor Brent Havens as he assisted the performance of the works of the Rolling Stones at Jesse H. Jones Hall.  Photo by Robert Land Productions.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

| June 25, 2013

arbitronJacksonville Judge to Arbitron: Try Again…or Else.  Or else the complaint against Renda Jacksonville will be dismissed.  U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard struck Arbitron’s complaint that Renda Jacksonville illegally used its property – PPM ratings data it had allegedly acquired from a local ad agency – calling it an impermissible “shotgun pleading” and giving Arbitron until July 26 to file an amended complaint or it will be dismissed.  The court writes “A shotgun complaint ‘contains several counts, each one incorporating by reference the allegations of its predecessors, leading to a situation where most of the counts . . . contain irrelevant factual allegations and legal conclusions.’…Consequently, in ruling on the sufficiency of a claim, the Court is faced with the onerous task of sifting out irrelevancies in order to decide for itself which facts are relevant to a particular cause of action asserted.”  To be clear, this not a judgment about the legitimacy of Arbitron’s claim but it’s a smack down of the way the complaint was written and the judge was clearly not happy about it.  Paraphrasing what the TALKERS legal department tells us, “Judges hate it when litigants waste the Court’s time.”

dingleyglenMEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Glen Dingley of Kingtron, Inc.  In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Glen Dingley of Texas-based Kingtron, Inc.  Dingley brings years of experience as a chief engineer to his brokerage firm stating, “So much equipment is outdated and incompatible out there.  My clients really respect my insights and advice.  When you are buying or selling a station, you are mainly purchasing equipment with which to broadcast.  Station personnel, policies, and other assets can change, but without good equipment, you are not competitive.”  Dingley’s advice to first-time buyers, many of whom are currently displaced station managers, is to try to connect with an investment firm or individual.  He says, “There is still a lot of glamour involved with owning a station, but investors need direction and guidance.  Go locate those people and show them what you know and how you can assist them in the industry and help them make money in the broadcasting business.  Also try to stay in the media-related industry to keep your pulse on the state of the business and the changes it will take in the next 10 years.”  To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, click here.

shafferjohnAPKDWN, Las Vegas PD John Shaffer Named President of APTRA.  That’s the Associated Press Television and Radio Association and it means that Beasley programmer John Shaffer will spend the next year heading the organization that represents 13 western states including: California, Nevada, Hawaii, Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Washington, Colorado, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Alaska and Oregon.  The passing of the gavel took place at APTRA’s annual Mark Twain Awards Banquet, held Saturday, June 22 at the Pasadena Convention Center, in Pasadena, California.  Shaffer has served as vice president of the APTRA Board of Directors for the last two years and as the Nevada Radio representative on the board for the past four years.  Beasley Las Vegas market manager Tom Humm says, “John serves as program director and news director for KDWN and is perfect for this position.  He is a perfectionist, and believes in the importance of both maintaining integrity and getting information out to our communities in a timely manner.  These skills will serve him well as president of APTRA.”

NYSBAawardsNew York State Broadcasters Association Recognizes Outstanding Achievement at Annual Ceremony.  The New York State Broadcasters Association held its 47th annual “Awards for Excellence in Broadcasting” on Monday evening at the Sagamore Resort Hotel in Bolton Landing.  Winners in radio included: WNOW-FM, a CBS station, received recognition for “Outstanding Commercial” (Guiffre Auto Group — Forget About It), “Outstanding Promotion Announcement or Series” (We’re All Sandy Hook) and “Outstanding On-Air Broadcast Personality Or Team” (Zann On 92.3 NOW).  Emmis Communications-owned WQHT-FM picked up an award for “Outstanding Station Sponsored Event” (Hot 97’s Summer Jam 2012 Nicki Minaj) and WNYM-AM was singled out for “Outstanding Sportscast” (Al Gattullo Sports Report).  WFUV-FM, the region’s NPR member station, collected awards for “Outstanding Public Service Announcement/Campaign” (Striking a Chord), “Outstanding Public Affairs Program Or Series” (Cityscape), “Outstanding Spot News” (Sandy’s Aftermath), “Outstanding Feature Story” (Big Andy, Little Andy, And The Gift of Hope”) and “Outstanding Commentary/Editorial” (Roommating 101).

wqxilogoGeorgia Tech Football and Hoops Off WQXI, Atlanta.  IMG College – the agency that negotiates the rights to play-by-play for Georgia Tech (and many other schools) announces that the school’s football and men’s basketball will not air on Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk WQXI, Atlanta this season as they have since 2001.  Games are also broadcast on Cumulus Media’s FM all-news WYAY and the signal more than covers the area, according to Georgia Tech athletic director Mike Bobinski.  He states,  “We will continue to maintain a relationship with WQXI as a significant local sports talk station, but the flagship designation, by mutual agreement, will come to an end.”

villanuccijimWith a Little Help from My Friends.  KXL, Portland mid-morning host (and longtime TALKERS Heavy Hundred host) Jim Villanucci tells TALKERS that he survived the trauma of not having his contract renewed after 14 years of service as afternoon drive host at Cumulus‘s heritage talk outlet KKOB, Albuquerque because of a little help from his friends in the industry – some of whom he had never even met in person.  The best way to describe Villanucci – who admits that upon losing his position at the Albuquerque talker he was “scared” and went through some “rough stuff” emotionally – is grateful.   He tells TALKERS he is grateful and “happy” to now be working with a new team at Larry Wilson‘s Alpha Broadcasting hosting the late morning show on news/talk KXL, Portland, giving praise to Wilson as well as Scott Mahalick, Milt McConnell and Bob Profitt and mentions a bunch of “random names” in the industry who rose to the occasion of giving him support – even if it just meant “listening” and giving him encouragement during the dark days between jobs.  These include Laurie Cantillo, Andrew Paul, Tom Becka, Mark Davis, Joe O’ Neil, Heidi Harris and Marc Germain, among others.

wiou logoWIOU, Kokomo, Indiana to Flip to Sports Talk.  The Hoosier AM/FM, LLC news/talk WIOU, Kokomo will flip to sports talk beginning July 1 using content from ESPN Radio including “Mike and Mike in the Morning,” Colin Cowherd, SVP & Russillo and “Coach & Company.”  Longtime WIOU staffer and current program director Rob Rupe keeps his position with the station.  According to a piece in the Kokomo Tribune, station manager Ernie Caldemone says, “I feel as long as we continue to be local in our community, we’ll do extremely well.  I think we’ve been known as the sports station, because we already carry a half-day schedule.  I just felt like with the sports we already have, why not go to all sports, 24/7?”

cookehollandConnectivity Is the Watchword at CE Week in NYC.  Radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke reports from New York City where the Consumer Electronic Association is hosting CE Week.  He says the buzzword everyone is using is “connectivity” as more and more consumers expect the electronics they purchase to be able to connect to the internet.  “Thus Blu-ray has flatlined.  It’s the highest-quality hardware for viewing hard-copy software.  But as we spend more time watching Hulu and Netflix and other streaming video, physical video disks seem to be going the way of audio CDs obsoleted by iTunes and other download depots.”  Read Holland Cooke’s complete report here.

wfed logoOdds & Sods.  CBS Radio announces the CBS Sports Radio Network hits the 300-affiliate mark just nine months after launching the network.  CBS Radio SVP of programming Chris Oliviero states, “Hitting the 300-affiliate mark in less than a year is a significant milestone and testament to the overwhelming love of, and support for sports radio in this country.”…..Media and advertising analysis firm BIA/Kelsey announces the expansion of its executive team with the promotions of analyst Michael Boland to vice president, content, and analyst Jed Williams to vice president, consulting.  In addition, veteran digital media executive Warren Kay has joined the firm as executive-in-residence…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFED, Washington “Federal News Radio” debuts a new logo that celebrates it as a multimedia source of federal news and information.  Program director Lisa Wolfe says, “I’m very happy with our new logo.  It gives appropriate recognition to our two major distribution platforms and streamlines our public-facing image.  Our new branding more accurately reflects the multimedia news organization we always have been.”

fisherhouselogoFisher House PSAs and Public Affairs Show Available for Fourth of July Programming.  Bloomquist Media reports that stations interested in airing PSAs and public affairs programming that makes an emotional connection with listeners can conveniently get them from a Dropbox link right here.  The Fourth of July-themed PSAs and the 30-minute Fisher House public affairs program help promote the Fisher House Foundation which builds comfort homes at military and VA hospitals where the families of wounded warriors can stay at no cost while their hero is recovering.  Radio stations across the country continue to help Fisher House and their mission to support military families in their time of greatest need.

‘Gang of 8’ Amnesty Bill, IRS Scandal, NSA Surveillance/Snowden Asylum Issue, Obama Climate Change Policy, George Zimmerman Trial, and SCOTUS Rulings Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/24).  The immigration bill that would give amnesty to illegals already in the U.S.; the ongoing investigation into the IRS scandal; the battle over extradition of Edward Snowden and the NSA surveillance program; President Obama’s move to sidestep Congress to push his climate change policy through; opening arguments in the trial of George Zimmerman and the Supreme Court rulings were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, August 20, 2012

| August 20, 2012

Clear Channel Will Pay Buckley $30 Million for WOR.  The paperwork to transfer WOR, New York from Buckley Broadcasting to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has been filed with the FCC and we now know the price CC will pay for the station, pending approval by the Commission, is $30 million.  The station is already being operated by Clear Channel under an LMA.

The Other Morning Shoe Drops at KLOS as Brian Phelps Says Adios.  The surprise (to many) and sudden exit Friday by Brian Phelps of the KLOS, Los Angeles “Mark & Brian” morning show has some industry observers speculating that there might be more than meets the eye to Mark Thompson’s  earlier telegraphed and more-heralded departure.  Was the whole thing very possibly all about money?  Perhaps Cumulus Media’s new contract offer to Mark Thompson in today’s belt-tightening climate played a bigger role in his decision than the good-natured veteran let on when he told the Los Angeles Times, “It’s just time…guys my age are dropping dead.  There are other things I want to do.”  The Friday (8/16) program that was billed as the farewell show for Mark Thompson turned out to be the last shift for his on-air partner Brian Phelps as well.  Thompson is now off to his new life in North Carolina while Phelps is reportedly teaming up with actress/entertainer Jill Whelan to do a series of podcasts at brianandjillshow.com.  Whelan was recently a talk show host at WPHT, Philadelphia.  Thompson will also be heading to the internet and podcasting with his wife and three adult children at markandlynda.us.  Finishing a quarter-century run, the “Mark & Brian” show exits as the current longest-running morning show in Los Angeles.  TALKERS caught up with Cumulus COO John Dickey over the weekend who stood behind Thompson’s account of his reason for leaving the show adding, “I thank Mark for giving us the certainty to begin this search and process in earnest months and months ago — speaks volumes to Mark’s decision to paint on another canvas.”  Regarding Phelps, Dickey did not deny the host’s position was changed with Thompson out of the equation stating, “With respect to Brian, he was part of a large consideration pool for the next chapter in rock’s most iconic brand.  The decision, which will be announced very soon, was made after a long and thoughtful process.”  Oh, something else Dickey says has the TALKERS editors wondering if the multi-talented Thompson (who has dabbled in a bit of movie acting in his time) is only going to be focusing on his podcasts in the near future:  “My only comment on Mark is that he is as committed to his movie career as I’m sure he once was to his radio show.”

WOWO, Fort Wayne Names Woody Zimmerman OM.  Federated Media announces Woody Zimmerman takes over the operations manager post at the company’s heritage news/talk outlet WOWO, Fort Wayne.  Zimmerman has held various programming roles over the span of his career with Federated Media and, previous to working for Federated, Zimmerman was a TV news assignment editor.  Federated Media Fort Wayne market manager Jim Allgeier says, “Woody’s sense of urgency, organizational skills, attention to detail and work ethic make him uniquely qualified to take on the complex job of programming a news talk station.  The talents and skills Woody has demonstrated as a programmer will transfer quickly as he takes on the assignment of programming a news/talk station for the first time.”  Allgeier thanks outgoing OM Gregg Henson for his work with the station and especially his contribution to the launch of their Fan Sports Brand in Northern Indiana.

Fox News Radio Adds Two to News Staff.  Fox News Radio vice president Mitch Davis announces the company brings two veteran broadcasters aboard as Steve Knight and Simon Owen begin with the company today.  Steve Knight served as both an anchor and reporter for WCBS-AM, New York; CBS News Radio, and Associated Press Radio.  He also served as news director and anchor for New York Times Radio and was bestowed the Edward R. Murrow award for best documentary, feature reporting, and use of sound.  He’ll be a New York-based anchor.  Simon Owen was most recently a reporter with Sky News Radio where he provided live coverage of the 2012 Olympics as well as of the 2011 Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.  He also covered the death of singer Amy Winehouse, the resignation of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and secured high-profile interviews with international celebrities such as David Beckham and Jude Law.  He’ll be a London-based correspondent.

Talk Host Found Guilty of Felony Wiretapping.  “Free Talk Live” co-host Adam “Ademo” Mueller was found guilty of felony wiretapping by a New Hampshire jury and will serve 90 days in jail with an additional one to three years suspended and five years probation – meaning he could end up serving that additional time for probation violation.  “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman tells TALKERS, “He was accused of recording conversations with government workers while they were on duty, over the phone.  He was investigating the brutal attack on a student at Manchester’s West High School by the school police officer.  Rather than punish the officer for unnecessarily slamming the student’s head into a table, they went after Ademo for trying to hold them accountable, on-the-record.  Monday’s conviction was a sad day for the idea of the right to be the free press.  The trial held many outrageous moments, including a government school principal who claimed she is not a public official!”  Background on the case can be found at the site CopBlock.org: http://copblock.org/freeademo.

Talk Host and Journalist Aaron Klein’s Latest Book Lands on Best-Seller List.  Jerusalem-based journalist and talk show host Aaron Klein’s latest book, Fool Me Twice: Obama’s Shocking Plans for the Next Four Years Exposed (WND Books 2012), hit #18 on the New York Times bestseller list for this week.  Klein co-wrote the book with Brenda J. Elliott.  He has been on a media tour to promote the book that has included stops on Cumulus Media Network’s Mike Huckabee program and Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends” morning program.  Klein hosts the weekly Sunday evening program “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York from 7:00 to 9:00.

“Spoken Word Radio: The Big Picture” Session Set for TALKERS Los Angeles Seminar. A dynamic panel discussion involving a group of knowledgeable talk industry leaders has been set for the forthcoming New Media Seminar 2012 in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 11 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club. Titled “Spoken Word Radio: The Big Picture,” the panel will consist of an eclectic array of individuals including Phil Boyce, VP/director, spoken word format, Salem Communications; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media Management, LLC; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; and Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media. The session will be moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. The conference will also feature, within its packed schedule, the honoring of KFI/KTLK program director Robin Bertolucci with the “Woman of the Year” award.  The presentation will be made by nationally syndicated radio and television talk star, Stephanie Miller.  The seminar will present more than 60 leading industry speakers.  Its agenda will be posted on Talkers.com next week.  It is expected to be an early sellout.  To assure registration, attendees are advised to sign up now.  Because it is open only to working media there will be no online registration – only by telephone.  For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.

Yahoo! Sports Radio Moves Travis Rodgers to Afternoon Slot.  The man who produced Premiere NetworksJim Rome show for many years and is now a host of his own sports talk program with Yahoo! Sports Radio, is moved to a new time that puts him in virtual competition with Rome’s show.  Travis Rodgers left Rome’s program in 2009 saying at the time he disagreed with Rome about the direction the program had taken.  He became a sports talk host himself.  Now his show moves to the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET slot effective today.  In a statement, Rodgers says, “I can’t wait to go against the show that I helped build in to the industry standard.  It’s not that anymore and I look forward to creating the new standard in sports talk radio.”

More Radio Talent are Becoming Entrepreneurs…and some are doing it kicking and screaming, while others embrace the feeling of independence and potential opportunity that comes with it.  An informal in-house TALKERS magazine survey of radio stations and syndication companies conducted over the past two years indicates that the combination of new technology and difficult economic conditions are fueling this trend.  The traditional employer/employee relationship between talent and platform provider is increasingly being replaced by independent contractor deals with many air personalities – even at major market heritage stations – operating as the principals of their own production companies.  Within this new paradigm, on-air performers are responsible for their own health care, make lower salaries, and have shorter-term commitments from their “employers.”  In return, they are granted the flexibility of working from home, broadcasting different shifts to other out of town stations and receiving revenue sharing deals on their shows and related intellectual property.

(Speaking of Entrepreneurism) Premiere Networks Founder Steve Lehman is Developing a Radio Talk Show for Syndication Aimed at Entrepreneurs…and it is already getting traction in Los Angeles on KFWB weekdays from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  The show is called “Business Rock Stars” and it is hosted by well-known entrepreneur Ken Rutkowski. The voice-over announcer for the show is Joe Cipriano (voice of Fox and CBS).  Program partner Steve Lehman tells TALKERS that the show, which launched two months ago, is doing very well on KFWB where they are polishing every aspect of it to make it truly special and ready for a national roll-out in the near future.  The program focuses on starting and building a business and presents some of the world’s most successful CEOs as well as accomplished small business owners as guests.  The program is being designed for multi-platform content distribution.  A glass enclosed studio is being designed and built in a highly trafficked Southern California location to house the show and its related seminars.  It is being outfitted with three video cameras for streaming content.  In addition, Lehman tells TALKERS, “We have a great strategic tie-in with Entrepreneur Magazine and will be broadcasting the Entrepreneur of the year awards live from Dallas.  Additionally, we are working with Entrepreneur on their Franchise 500 issue.  We are going to give away a franchise on the air!”  Ken Ritkowski will be a speaker at the forthcoming TALKERS New Media Seminar on Thursday, October 11 discussing the new business environment of talk show hosting and radio station managing.  Talkers tip: Keep your eye on this show and developing company.  Steve Lehman is a top notch pro who has had an enormous influence on the modern radio industry.  His turning his attention toward talk radio is a big deal for the business.

Leno Takes a Pay Cut.  Since we are on the topic of broadcast talents facing pay cuts, the story broken yesterday (8/19) by CNN that NBC television star talker Jay Leno of the Tonight Show has agreed to accept a significant pay decrease to help the company deal with growing expenses and shrinking revenue has eyebrows raising throughout the broadcasting industry.  In addition, NBC is still axing about 20 “Tonight Show” support staffers.  Leno reportedly took the cut to protect even more of the show’s “little people” from receiving pink slips.  You can be sure this provocative and unfortunate bit of news will reverberate around the conference rooms of radio stations as new talent contracts come up for renewal.

Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Sets October 20 Induction in Macon.  For the first time in its six-year history, the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame is moving its induction ceremony (set for October 20) out of Atlanta and to the city of Macon.  The organization’s president, John Long, who many of you will remember from KRUX, Phoenix and WAPE, Jacksonville, tells TALKERS, “We have struggled from the beginning to make this the GEORGIA Radio Hall of Fame.  While 48% of our membership is from the seven-county metro-Atlanta area, that leaves a lot of radio stations and even more radio people in the state who deserve recognition.  The members in Macon and Macon board member Ben Sandifer lobbied for the event to come there and veteran Georgia radio people have responded.  It is going to be a great evening and ticket sales indicate it will come close to being another sellout.”  TALKERS asked Long to describe the philosophy and mission behind the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.  His compelling response:  “‘Radio people’ used to be considered big deals by their friends, families, and listeners.  The changes in radio programming and technology have taken the focus away from people leaving many veterans with nothing more than scrapbooks and reel-to-reel tapes of radio from days gone by.  When Sam Hale and I started the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame, we were two guys who were fortunate enough to have worked in, what many call, the glory days of radio.  The late Larry Shannon founded the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2002 for many of the same reasons; to honor the men and women who made radio magic.  Larry and Kent Burkhart were invaluable in helping us form our organization.  All the work done by our group is volunteer.  When someone asks me what I get out of it, the answer is: watching the families of our Legacy inductees brimming with pride when we recognize their dad, mom, brother, or sister; seeing our Career Achievement inductees smiling ear-to-ear when we put the medallion around their neck.  We want to make sure that their contributions are not forgotten.”  Long continues, “Another important part of our mission is preserving the rich heritage of Georgia radio since March 15, 1922, when the state’s first station, WSB, signed on the air. One of our founding board members, Mike Kavanagh, began wsbhistory.com.  When Mike passed away he left the site to the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame with one request: preserve it.  This year we partnered with Georgia State University to achieve that goal.  In 2013, we will work on a project with them to guarantee preservation, access, and continuity of the history of radio in Georgia, including inductees into The Georgia Radio Hall of  Fame.”  To learn more visit www.grhof.com.

Odds & Sods.  If you work in news/talk radio, your input is requested by TroyResearch which is conducting an important national study of talk radio, talk syndicators and the decision making process in radio today.  If you haven’t already taken this survey from TroyResearch, please click on this link: http://www.srvy.net/x/1.p?23554461110025479936.  100 respondents, randomly selected from completed surveys, will receive a $5 Amazon.com coupon.   A summary of results will be shared with TALKERS magazine and posted at TroyResearch…..Talk show host Pat Campbell, who hosts the morning drive show on Journal Broadcasting’s KFAQ, Tulsa, will sit in for Charlie Sykes on Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon today…..Talk show producer Frank Morano, who produces Curtis Sliwa’s program on Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York – AM 970 The Answer – began his own Saturday morning program on the station.  During his first show he interviewed Vadim Vassilenko – a Ukrainian man who’s been in jail in the city for five years without bail or a trial in a case revolving around a $4 million stolen credit card scheme….. Sports talk radio outlet WIST, New Orleans and its FM translator at 104.9 (K285FF) are being sold by GHB Broadcasting to Catholic Community Radio.  GHB principal George Buck continues to be majority owner and operator of oldies WTIX-FM, New Orleans.  Catholic Community Radio also owns WPYR, Baton Rouge.

Denver Radio Legend Charley Martin Dies.  Denver radio fans are remembering longtime KHOW morning drive co-host Charley Martin, who passed away on August 17 at age 67 after a long illness.  Martin had been in hospice care in Phoenix for some time.  Martin co-hosted the “Hal and Charley” show on KHOW beginning in 1976 – a program that would air on the station until 1995 when the station took a more serious news/talk turn.  Denver Post television critic Joanne Ostrow quotes Denver media watchers in her obit who note that the duo of Martin and Hal Moore ruled Denver radio during an era when “humorous DJs” were the order of the day.  The duo garnered enormous ratings and had the honor of their program’s audio being heard on the radio during a scene in the 1980 movie “The Shining.”

Thursday, May 24, 2012

| May 24, 2012

The Future of Tribune Company – and WGN, Chicago – Up in the Air After Bankruptcy Exit.  An article in Crain’s Chicago Business offers some speculation – based on interviews with business consultants and Tribune’s court filings – on the future of the parts of the publishing and broadcasting giant.  While its only radio property – WGN, Chicago – is not mentioned specifically in the piece, the broadcast division is and the theme of the article is that it appears the parts of Tribune are worth more than the whole and they may be sold off.  Tribune is organizing its various newspaper and TV properties into streamlined LLCs in preparation for presenting its reorganization plan to the court next month.  One expert states the synergy of print and broadcast never materialized for Tribune and he expects the parts to be sold.  Hubbard Broadcasting CEO Stanley Hubbard is quoted saying his company might be interested in the broadcasting properties if the price is right but said he has had no discussions with the company.

Martha Zoller Wraps Radio Show; Is Official Candidate for Congress in Georgia.  Georgia-based radio talk show host Martha Zoller did her last radio program for Cox Media’s WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia – talk/sports hybrid Bulldog 103.7 – and is now officially on the campaign trail.  Zoller’s last program was May 11 and her campaign announced yesterday, May 23, that she has qualified for the Republican primary for the newly created 9th Congressional District in Georgia which takes place on July 31.  She will face State Representative Doug Collins and Jackson Commission Chairman Hunter Bicknell in the open primary.  She says in a campaign statement, “For far too long, professional politicians and entrenched bureaucrats have run amuck in Washington without any adult supervision.  I am going to Congress to hold Washington accountable and end the reckless spending, borrowing, and debt that is threatening the future of our nation and the security of the American people.”  WXKT-FM has not announced a permanent replacement host for Zoller’s late morning program.

CNN Ratings Part of Larger News and TV Numbers Slump.  The New York TimesBill Carter writes an analysis of the ratings problems plaguing Time Warner’s CNN on the heels of recent record low showings.  The cable news network’s Nielsen numbers for the week of May 14 were down – averaging just 395,000 total viewers in prime time – while Piers Morgan’s May 15 program garnered just 39,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic.  Carter writes that CNN has been hurt by strong programming from the networks during the May sweeps plus a lack of major breaking news – something that has always helped CNN boost its numbers.  But Carter notes that CNN isn’t the only network affected.  Even though Fox News Channel is head and shoulders above CNN in the prime time ratings, FNC only grabbed 395,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic during that week – a four-year low for Fox.  It should be noted that ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” finale and Fox TV’s “American Idol” performance finale – two of TV’s highest-performing non-sports shows over the past few years, had dramatically lower audiences than the previous year.  While “DWTS” had 17.5 million total viewers, that was down 18% from last spring’s finale.

New Media Seminar/NYC on Verge of Quickest Sellout in Conference’s 15-Year History.  The combination of a power-packed agenda, one-day format and significantly reduced registration fee have combined to make the upcoming New York City installment of the new bi-coastal, recession-era version of the talk media industry’s annual convention an extremely hot ticket.  According to the industry-only event’s organizers at TALKERS magazine, this will be the earliest sellout in its colorful 15 year history.  Due to capacity regulations, the selling of registrations for the Thursday, June 7 event will cease at the close of business on Friday of this week.  After that, registrations will only be issued on a stand-by basis. NMS director Michael Harrison states, “We are extremely gratified by the positive response to this new ‘austerity version’ of the New Media Seminar.  The idea of compacting it into a one-day event, getting rid of the expensive frills, reducing the cost of registration by 75%, and organizing an agenda that can be described as nothing short of relentless, is striking a positive chord in the business.  Also, the fact that there will be a West Coast version of the event in Los Angeles on October 11 is an innovation that has been very well received.  That one will be a blockbuster too.”  To see the full up-to-the-minute agenda of the New York conference, click here.  For registration or sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.

Two Local Sports Talk Shows to Debut on KXPS, Palm Springs.  CRC Media’s KXPS, Palm Springs (licensed to Thousand Palms, California) announces it will bring two new live and local programs to sports talker Team 1010 beginning June 4.  Julie Buehler will host “Buehler’s Day Off” daily from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and Pete Fox joins the station to co-host “On the Air with Fox and Lecair” from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  MyDesert.com reports Buehler is an award-winning radio host who recently worked as part of the Indianapolis Colts broadcasting team.  Fox has served as a host and reporter at KSPN, Los Angeles.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Cox Media syndicated talk star Neal Boortz sits in the anchor chair at CNBC filling in for Larry Kudlow on the cable channel’s “The Kudlow Report” tonight at 7:00 pm ET.  Boortz will work with co-host and CNBC chief international correspondent Michelle Caruso-Cabrera…..WNRP, Pensacola afternoon drive talk host Brandon Rathert wins two awards – a local Edward R. Murrow Award for “Investigative Reporting” and an Associated Press award for “Best Public Affairs” for the documentary he produced on the local sheriff’s office…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment ups Matt Derrick to regional program manager for the Wilmington, Delaware and Salisbury, Maryland markets…..The actual price Clear Channel is paying for Stephen Mindich’s WFNX-FM, Boston is $14.5 million, a bit more than the $11 million we reported after the story broke.

2012 Presidential Race, Facebook IPO Investigations, Egypt Elections, and Pakistan Jails bin Laden Tracker Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/23).  The battle between Republican challenger Mitt Romney and President Obama; the complex controversy over the Facebook IPO and the lawsuits it appears to be creating; the elections in Egypt; and the jailing of the doctor who aided the U.S. in finding Osama bin Laden in Pakistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Jeff Katz Welcomes Israeli Talk Host.  WXKS, Boston – Talk 1200 – morning drive host Jeff Katz  (l) is pictured here with Ari Abramowitz (r) – the leading English-language talk show host in Israel.  Katz tells TALKERS Abramowitz stopped by the program to say hello while visiting the United States and Katz forced him to check out the two Associated Press awards he recently won!

Monday, November 21, 2011

| November 21, 2011

Fisher’s Plans for KVI, Seattle Outlined.  An e-mail to clients of Fisher Communications’ oldies-formatted KVI, Seattle announces the former talk stations will revert to talk – but not as a conservative talk station.  After the holidays, KVI will be called “Smart Talk 570 KVI” and will be positioned as “Smart talk for a Sound life.”  The memo states the station will feature “lifestyle, health, local and entertainment news.”  In addition to Friday’s story about Dial Global’s Clark Howard joining the station, the morning show will be called “Sunrise Seattle” hosted by Mark Christopher and Elisa Jaffe of KOMO TV 4.  TRN’s Phil Hendrie and The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “Daily Wrap with Michael Castner” are on the schedule along with a local program, “The Buzz” hosted by Scott Carty.

Political Influence of Conservative Talk Radio Analyzed in Timely Politico Article.  A hard-hitting article posted this morning (11/18) on the popular political news and opinion website Politico presents a particularly insightful and fascinating analysis of the role conservative talk radio hosts play in the process of presidential elections.  The story written by Keach Hagey and Glenn Thrush looks specifically at the meteoric candidacy of Herman Cain – a former radio talker – and examines the direct influence radio personalities such as Rush LimbaughSean Hannity,Laura Ingraham, and Mark Levin have had and are still having on his unexpectedly prominent position in the polls and national conversation.  The interesting and timely article appearing in one of the political world’s leading news websites poses the question, “How long will the love last now that Cain is on the rocks?” — referring to radio talk show hosts’ reaction to Cain’s propensity toward gaffes such as the Libya incident and embroilment in an alleged sexual harassment scandal.  Read the Politico story here.

RAB/Miller, Kaplan, Arase Data Shows Radio Revenue Up 2% for Q3.  That increase is due in large part to gains in digital for the radio industry.  The Radio Advertising Bureau and Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co. report data that shows spot revenue for the third quarter was flat, network revene up 2%, digital up 17%, and off-air up 10%.  The data also indicates that total revenue for the first three quarters of the year is up 2% as well.

“Christopher Walken” Interview on WTEM, Washington Spooks AP After Natalie Wood Case Re-Opened.  It wasn’t exactly a “War of the Worlds” situation but apparently WTEM, Washington producer Marc Sterne does a pretty good Christopher Walken imitation and someone at the Associated Press bit.  The back story is that Sterne does a regular Friday segment on the Red Zebra Broadcasting sports talk station in which “Walken” talks fantasy football.  With the re-opening of the Natalie Wood case in the news and Walken’s link to the case, Sterne referenced the investigation during the segment last Friday and the AP reported it as a real interview, then realized what happened and reported it as a hoax.  However, the Washington Post writes that WTEM PD Chuck Sapienza says the “hoax” part bugs him because it implies underhandedness.  “No one [from AP] called us to see if it was real, and then they call it a hoax,” he told the Post. “A hoax makes it sound like it’s our fault.  We’ve been doing this [impersonation] for two years.  They’re taking no responsibility for shoddy journalism.”  The AP isn’t identifying the person who heard the segment and reported it as fact.

Howard Eskin and Wally Kennedy Inducted by Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia.  The non-profit Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia honors people from every aspect of the broadcasting industry who’ve contributed to the business for at least 10 years.  On Friday, the organization recognized WIP, Philadelphia sports personality Howard Eskin – WIP’s very first talk show sportscaster – and KYW news anchor Wally Kennedy.  Eskin began hosting sports talk radio shows in Philly in 1986.  He recently stepped down from his daily PM drive show to concentrate on Eagles game day coverage and other projects.  Kennedy – who’s worked in Philadelphia radio and television for 30 years – is morning news anchor at KYW.  CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “CBS Radio is fortunate to showcase incredible talent on all of our properties.  Legends like Howard Eskin and Wally Kennedy have been heard in the Philadelphia area for decades.  It’s no surprise that they would be inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame.  Both have contributed greatly to the success of our radio stations.”

Thom Hartmann Co-Authored Kennedy Book to Be Made into Movie by Leonardo DiCaprio.  According to columnist Liz Smith, the book Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination (Counterpoint 2009), authored by Lamar Waldron with Dial Global talk host Thom Hartmann, will be made into a movie by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way film company.  Smith reports that DiCaprio would play FBI informant Jack Van Laningham and Robert De Niro will play Carlos Marcello.  According to its Amazon description, the almost 950-page book suggests three Mafia bosses used John F. Kennedy’s and Robert F. Kennedy’s plan to stage a coup against Fidel Castro to murder the president.

Dave Graveline’s “Into Tomorrow” to Be Produced in New, Street-Level Studios.  Dave Graveline’s nationally syndicated consumer technology program will begin broadcasting and shooting video podcasts at new street-level studios in the Miami Lakes Broadcast Center.  The move will allow passersby to view the program as it’s being produced.