Will Art Bell’s Suit Against Michael Savage Be Successful? On Friday (12/2), TALKERS magazine reported that talk show host Art Bell and his wife are suing fellow talker Michael Savage in U.S. District Court in Northern California for defamation after Savage said the following on his Westwood One nationally syndicated program: “I generally avoid gun questions. I know this from the first day in radio. I learned you never do certain topics where you can destroy your show. Third rail… You say UFOs, you wind up in the Philippines with a 10-year-old hooker and you are off the radio after a number of years. You can’t do UFOs. That’s an in joke, by the way, for people who understand the business. There are other topics you can’t do…” For his take on Bell’s chance of success, we turned to TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman. He says, “It is hard for public figures to win defamation lawsuits because they have to prove actual malice or a reckless disregard for the truth. More telling in this case, however, may be for Bell to prove that he was harmed. Rodney Dangerfield once won a defamation case against a tabloid that said he snorted cocaine with hookers in a hot tub. He won the case, but only was awarded a dollar because the judge said his reputation wasn’t harmed.”
Former Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver Joins WGAC Talk Host Lineup. Nine-year Augusta, Georgia Mayor Deke Copenhaver exited the mayor’s office in 2014. Now, he’ll join the on-air staff at Beasley Media Group’s news/talk WGAC, Augusta to host “There It Is” from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daily. The station says that Copenhaver “will bring an exciting brand of talk radio through his relationships with local, regional and national government officials, as well as high-level executive decision makers throughout the Southeast and beyond. Beasley Augusta VP/market manager Mark Haddon comments, “We are delighted to have Deke join us on the air at WGAC. He brings a fresh approach to the current issues of the day that are important to our local community. We think Deke will have a little something for everyone, so it should be enlightening and entertaining…a great way to keep up with what’s going on in the Central Savannah River Area.”
Trans-Atlantic Conversation on the American Election and Brexit. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison engages in an in-depth discussion about the election of Donald Trump and the UK’s recent public vote approving Brexit with award-winning British talk show host Graham Mack. The two compare notes on both the American and English points-of-view regarding the surprising state of world affairs as we wrap up the politically and culturally mind-bending year of 2016 on both sides of the Atlantic. It takes place on the latest installment of the hit PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Harrison states, “My dear friend Graham Mack really has his finger on the pulse of British public opinion and brings a refreshing objectivity and honesty to the discussion about the complex events taking place there following the Brexit referendum. He also offers a fascinating look at the election of Donald Trump from the English perspective.” Harrison adds, “This installment of the podcast also gives me the opportunity to express my own personal assessment of this past election and the impact it is having upon politics, journalism and the media in the US.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Chiasson to Lead Cumulus Lafayette. At the Lafayette, Louisiana cluster of Cumulus Media, Scott Chiasson is named vice president/market manager. The company says Chiasson is a Lafayette native with 18 years’ experience in broadcast sales and operations management. He’s previously served with E.W. Scripps in Wichita, iHeartMedia in Colorado and Florida, Metro Networks in Orlando, Cox Media in Lafayette, and CBS RARIO in Tampa/St. Pete. Cumulus Media SVP Jeff Brown states, “Scott is a great radio guy and a Lafayette native. That combination is a terrific match for our powerful brands and our talented team.”
Beasley Media Group Names Jami Beasley Associate General Counsel. Attorney Jami Beasley joins the family business as associate general counsel for Beasley Media Group. Beasley has most recently been serving as partner in Kopelowitz Ostrow P.A.’s Ft. Lauderdale office, where she focused on commercial and complex litigation, as well as her previous experience in real estate litigation. She comments, “It’s an honor to serve Beasley Media Group as associate general counsel. This is an exceptional opportunity and I am eager to contribute to the corporate team.” General counsel Joyce Fitch adds, “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Jami to Beasley’s corporate headquarters. Jami’s experience will greatly enhance the legal department and I will rely on her talent and skills as we move forward in our dynamic, growing company.”
WMAL, Washington Raises $491,000 for Fisher House. The 13th Annual WMAL Fisher House Radiothon, benefiting Fisher House Foundation, raised a record-setting $491,064 from the station’s generous listeners in the Washington, DC area over the past weekend. The two-day event concluded with a live broadcast from The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. WMAL program director and Cumulus VP of news/talk Bill Hess states, “I remain in awe of WMAL listeners. They have generously donated some $5.4 million over the last 13 years in support of this wonderful organization and its mission.” Fisher House Foundation provides homes away from home for the families of injured servicemen and women while their partners are undergoing treatment and rehabilitation. Pictured above are (from l-r): WMAL morning co-host Larry O’Connor, mid-morning personality Chris Plante, and morning co-host Brian Wilson.
Steve Deace Book Gets Movie Deal. Talk show host and conservative media figure Steve Deace is getting a movie deal for his novel, A Nefarious Plot (2016 Post Hill Press). Believe Entertainment principals Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman – producers of the film “God’s Not Dead” – have purchased the film rights to Deace’s book and will begin developing the story for a film to be released in 2018. Konzelman states, “We’ve been looking for the right story to expand into the imaginative and compelling horror-thriller genre and we knew it was Deace’s book as soon as we read it. We’re into developing movies with spiritual themes, and A Nefarious Plot represents a way to explore those themes in a whole new way for the faith-and-values audience.” Deace, who writes about issues exclusively for Conservative Review, says of this project, “My goal with A Nefarious Plot was to literally scare the hell out of people. I’m very excited to see how Believe Entertainment will do exactly that.” A Nefarious Plot centers around a demonic force which has long sought to manipulate American history to the ruination of the world’s lone superpower.
Trump Names Carson HUD Secretary, Al Gore Visits Trump Tower, Trump Calls Taiwan President, Fake News/DC Pizzeria Incident, Iran Nuke Deal Status, Mistrial in Cop Shooting Death of SC Man, Deadly Oakland Warehouse Fire, Dakota Access Pipeline Case, College Football Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/5). The Trump Administration transition and the naming of Ben Carson as nominee for HUD Secretary; Vice President Al Gore’s controversial visit to Trump Tower in New York; President-Elect Donald Trump breaks protocol and speaks with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen; the ongoing controversy over “fake news” and the incident in which a North Carolina man fired a gun in a DC restaurant that he believed may have been operating a child sex ring run by Hillary Clinton; Iran’s concern over the status of its nuclear deal with Trump soon to be president; a mistrial is declared in the case against former officer Michael Slager, who shot unarmed black motorist Walter Scott to death in South Carolina; the aftermath of the deadly warehouse fire that took the lives of 36 people; the Dakota Access pipeline controversy and the recent Army Corps of Engineers’ ruling requiring the pipeline be re-routed; the four-team college playoffs tournament; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Northwest Missouri State to Host Radio Talent Institute. The Missouri Broadcasters Association is working with six radio companies to bring the Radio Talent Institute to Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville July 31 through August 9, 2017. The Institute is a 10-day radio immersion program bringing broadcasting students together with more than 30 broadcast professionals for on-air training in music radio, news and sports, as well as digital/social media, production, promotion, sales and more. Students will also become certified Radio Marketing Professionals by the Radio Advertising Bureau. Missouri will be one of six states in the country hosting an institute with the National Radio Talent System. Other locations are the Kellar Radio Talent Institute Appalachian State University in North Carolina, Confer Radio Talent Institute Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, KBA WKU Radio Talent Institute Western Kentucky University, GAB Radio Talent Institute University of Georgia, and Hubbard Radio Talent Institute Central Washington University. Missouri Broadcasters Association president Mark Gordon states, “We are pleased to bring in a program taught by industry professionals that will help fill job openings at broadcast stations with quality employees who have a true understanding of how fun and rewarding a career in our industry can be.” Broadcasting companies taking part include: Hubbard Radio, Eagle Communications, Emmis Communications, Zimmer Radio and Marketing Group, iHeartRadio, and Mid-West Family Broadcasting.”
Sunday Night at CBS RADIO Philadelphia. On Sunday evening, WPHT, Philadelphia talk host Walter Sterling spoke with guests about Satan and the history of rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are (from l-r): Sterling, former WYSP program director Tim Sabean, classic hits WOGL program director Anne Gress, and Get the Led Out author Denny Somach.
Clear Channel Makes Corporate Structural Changes; Moves iHeartRadio into Clear Channel Networks Group Division. Along with this change – putting the iHeartRadio platform under the Clear Channel Networks Group banner headed by president Darren Davis – Brian Lakamp remains with the company and is promoted to the new position — president of technology and digital ventures. The company calls Lakamp’s promotion part of its “taking another important step in its continuing transformation to a consumer-driven, technology-fueled company.” Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “Our corporate focus on digital, increasingly leveraging technology to maximize our business, reflects the natural evolution of Clear Channel into a 21st century media company. Creativity is also enabled by technology, and as advertisers’ interest in new and emerging technology options continues to grow, we intend to remain at the forefront of both innovation and creativity. Brian is perfectly positioned to help us – and our consumers, advertisers and content partners – as we continue to build Clear Channel’s digital roadmap for the future.” The new role puts Lakamp in charge of the overall technology platform and capabilities for all of Clear Channel – including its broadcast, digital radio, events and promotions and out-of-home businesses. The company says he will also be responsible for developing the company’s overall place in the worlds of big data and programmatic buying. Putting iHeartRadio under Darren Davis’ purview means he’ll be responsible for the entire business of iHeartRadio as well as Premiere Networks, Total Traffic and Weather Network; and the 24/7 News Network. Davis comments, “I look forward to working with the immensely talented iHeartRadio team to build on the tremendous success of iHeartRadio by utilizing the full promotional and creative power of Clear Channel for iHeartRadio Networks. I’m excited to continue my collaboration with Brian in his new role to leverage new opportunities and maximize emerging technologies across Clear Channel’s national platforms and services.”
Rise Guys Return to Sacramento Radio. Sports talk morning drive personalities Whitey Gleason and Mark Kreidler – known as The Rise Guys – are returning to the Sacramento market on Entercom’s KCTC “ESPN 1320” after leaving the market for San Francisco three years ago. In 2011 they took the gig at Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” after years at the company’s KHTK, Sacramento. But earlier this year they exited that station after talent changes were made. Now, they return to the Sacramento market on KHTK’s sister station.
Brock and Salk Show to Air in Mornings on KIRO-AM, Seattle. The recent return of Mike Salk to Bonneville’s Seattle sports talker KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle” as program director after a year-long stint at WEEI, Boston is now bringing about changes to the station’s talent lineup as he and Brock Huard are getting back together on the radio for a morning show from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. The “Brock & Salk” show debuted in 2009 but ended when Salk took the afternoon co-host gig at Entercom’s WEEI, Boston in the spring of 2013. The change means Michael Grey is moving from afternoons to the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot followed by “Bob & Groz” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Danny O’Neil, Dave Wyman and Jim Moore will host afternoon drive from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Salk comments, “These changes make an already strong lineup even stronger and this is just the beginning. I’m thrilled with where the station is going and couldn’t be more excited to get behind the mic.”
Frantz Exits WTAM, Cleveland. Talk personality Bob Frantz is let go from his position with Clear Channel’s news/talk WTAM, Cleveland where he appeared alongside Mike Trivisonno on the 9:00 am to 10:00 am show “The Spew” as well as hosting the 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm program. Frantz was doing his second tour of duty with the station – he worked there in the late 1990s before returning in 2006. Replacing him in the evening slot is “The Sports Feed” co-host and Indians reporter Nick Camino.
Round One of June PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of June 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was May 22 through June 18. TALKERS magazine’s sister publican RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings at RadioInfo.com here.
Emmis Q1 Report: Radio Revenue Essentially Flat. The results for the first fiscal quarter for Emmis Communications (ending May 31) show the company’s net radio revenue up 22% — but that includes the addition of revenue from WBLS and WLIB, New York which it has been operating under an LMA since March 1. Assuming those stations had been in the fold at the same time a year ago, revenue would have been flat. At the station level, the company reports its stations were up 1.6% compared to local radio market revenue down 5.5% during the fiscal quarter. Emmis president and CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “While our markets continue to be tested, our stations and employees have risen to the challenge and continue to outperform our markets. We continue to believe NextRadio, the Emmis-led industry initiative to make FM broadcast radio available on smartphones and tablets, is a game-changer for the radio industry and will reignite growth. We have spent the last year building out the NextRadio ecosystem, and now we are entering a critical phase to build consumer awareness. I’m proud of our team for its continuing focus on innovation and operational excellence.”
Odds & Sods. WOAI, San Antonio-based talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo’s program is being added to another Clear Channel-owned news/talk station as KEX, Portland picks up the program to air from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The show is also heard on KPRC, Houston and KHOW, Denver…..Former Dallas Cowboys defensive star Dat Nguyen inks a contract renewal with Alpha Media sports talker KZDC, San Antonio “1250 ESPN.” Nguyen hosts the afternoon drive show where he’s been since joining the station in August of 2012…..ESPN Radio’s “10th Annual ESPY Day Auction” to benefit The V Foundation for Cancer Research is officially underway on eBay and will continue through Wednesday, July 16. This year’s auction of more than 250 items includes tickets to prime sporting events, autographed memorabilia, unique experiences with athletes, celebrities and ESPN and ABC personalities and behind-the-scenes experiences with numerous ESPN programs.
Child Immigration Crisis, Obama Approval Ratings, GOP Picks Cleveland for 2016 Convention, Israeli-Hamas Violence, Costco Pulls D’Souza Book, Palin Joins Impeachment Plea, and Klein’s Blood Feud Criticism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/8). The influx of minor illegal immigrants in the Southwest and the political battle over immigration enforcement; the lower approval ratings for President Obama; the RNC chooses Cleveland for site of 2016 convention and the importance of Ohio in the next presidential election; escalating violence between the Israelis and Palestinians; the flap over Costco’s decision to stop selling Dinesh D’Souza’s America: Imagine the World Without Her; Sarah Palin returns to the media spotlight calling for the president’s impeachment; and controversy over Ed Klein’s book about the relationship between the Clintons and the Obamas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Female AEs Sue Clear Channel Jacksonville Charging Age and Gender Bias. The suit against Clear Channel filed in United States District Court Middle District of Florida Jacksonville Division alleges that three account executives – Angela Myhand, Monique Blue and Jessica Downs – had accounts taken from them by management and given to Caucasian and/or male sales staffers without explanation, without hearing of complaints by clients and without receiving any discipline by management for mishandling the accounts. The plaintiffs also alleged they were given no reason for the actions. After contacting the EEOE, they allege listening devices were installed on their offices phones but not on telephones in other sales staffers’ offices. The three are charging management violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, allege retaliation for involvement in a protected activity plus other allegations and are seeking unspecific damages plus attorneys’ fees.
Envision Radio Networks Adds Meteorologist John Wetherbee to ‘America Weekend’ Program. Citing the need to provide information to listeners across the nation about extreme weather, the nationally syndicated “America Weekend” program enlists the expertise of American Meteorological Society-sealed, National Weather Association-certified meteorologist and 30-year radio veteran John Wetherbee as chief stormcaster. Envision says Wetherbee “will be keeping an eye on the skies to provide live reports on major severe weather developments and how they may impact travel, business and our nation.” Program executive producer Kipper McGee states, “As we have learned, many significant weather events happen on weekends. John adds a unique national perspective that is absent from most weekend news/talk programming.” “America Weekend” airs live each Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm ET and is hosted by Paul Harris, Turi Ryder, and other top talk talent.
‘New Jersey 101.5’ Honored with Two Awards at NJBA Convention. Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” was honored at this week’s New Jersey Broadcasters Association convention with “Best of” awards in two categories: 1) “Best Public Affairs” Award for the station’s monthly show “Ask the Governor.” The award was presented to Eric Scott (left) and his team of Christopher Knight, Chris Swendeman and Matthew White; and 2) “Best Promotions” Award for the “Big Joe Jersey Talent Show.” The award was presented to Ray Handel (right) and his team of Big Joe Henry and Dan Specht.
More Station Honors from State Broadcasters Associations. This is the time of the year when state broadcasters associations hold their annual awards ceremonies and there are two more to report: In Illinois, Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago took top honors at the 2013 Illinois Broadcasters Association Silver Dome Awards, held June 19 in Peoria. For the sixth year in a row, the IBA recognized WGN Radio as the Chicago Market Station of the Year at its annual best-in-state awards ceremony. In addition to being named Chicago Market Station of the Year, WGN Radio also earned first place honors in five categories: major market personality for Mike McConnell, best newscast for Judy Pielach, best station website for wgnradio.com, best play-by-play team for Chicago Cubs broadcasters Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland, and best humorous commercial for “Chicago Food and Wine,” produced by Jason Skaggs. WGN president and general manager Jimmy de Castro says, “It is a great honor to receive the award for Chicago Market Station of the Year by the Illinois Broadcasters Association. To be recognized by our industry peers is a reflection of the tremendous talent and dedication from our staff to continue to provide the quality of programming our community expects from WGN Radio.”
In Georgia, Beasley Broadcast Group’s WGAC-AM/FM, Augusta, for the 12th consecutive year, was named the Georgia Association of Broadcasters “Radio Station of the Year.” New this year is the fact that WGAC was honored in the large-market category, which includes Atlanta. For the past eleven years, WGAC was awarded Radio Station of the Year in the medium-market category. Pictured here are (l-r) Beasley Augusta VP/market manager Kent Dunn, news director Mary Liz Nolan, and WGAC program director Harley Drew with the “Gabby” Award. Dunn comments on the victory, “I am extremely proud of the WGAC-AM/FM staff for bringing home our 12th consecutive Gabby for ‘Radio Station of the Year.’ This year is even more special due to the added competition of being placed in the division that includes stations in Atlanta.”
The Sale Doesn’t End When the Client Signs the Contract. According to H&H Communications president, TALKERS columnist and highly regarded industry sales maven Al Herskovitz, the subject of “making commercials work effectively so the client is more likely to renew” was one of the buzzes of conversation in the halls at the recent Talkers New York 2013. In a column posted today (6/21) Herskovitz writes about the deadly consequences of hosts that rush through live reads, spots that are overloaded with too many words, six-minute spot sets of boring ads that seem interminable to the listener and sales reps who don’t pay attention to the process after the deal is signed. He does, however, offer praise to those hosts who ARE doing a good job serving the advertisers and names names. To read Herskovitz’s entire column, click here.
TOM RAY: Listening to Your Syndicated Show on an Affiliate is Different than Listening in the Studio. That’s a good piece of advice from one of the industry’s most respected engineering consultants. In a new column posted today (6/21) by TALKERS technical editor and columnist Tom Ray, he points out that timing in the real world of an actual on-the-air radio station — in terms of commercial breaks and liners — can be a different thing than running the show in the studio or looking at its elements on paper. He says by listening to the show on an affiliate you will most likely learn something that will help you avoid all-too-common mistakes in timing that create sloppy and embarrassing audio pileups and make the show better for both you as a syndicator and the affiliate carrying your program. To read it, click here.
WOOD, Grand Rapids Morning Host Gary Allen Hosts Last Show Today; Retires After 32 Years at Station. On Thursday, Clear Channel Grand Rapids declared it “Gary Allen Day” as the legendary Grand Rapids radio personality broadcast live from the market’s Celebration Cinema North in recognition of his 32 years on the air at WOOD and his retirement from the station after today’s broadcast. Allen announced his retirement eight months ago stating that at age 65 there are still some things he wants to do. He tells WOOD-TV, “I want to be remembered as the guy that people woke up to on the radio in the morning, you have fun, we gave them the news, we gave them the weather, we gave them the traffic and between the group at WOOD, we gave them some laughs, too.” Photo: WOOD-TV
Odds & Sods. WMAL, Washington morning drive co-host Larry O’Connor is sitting in for Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller on June 24 and 25…..And in another WMAL-related note, former Congressman Ernest Istook will host the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm program tomorrow (6/22)…..Sports USA will syndicate the Little League World Series radio broadcasts again this summer. The company will offer the US Championship Game on August 24 and the International Championship on August 25.
Chancellor Perlman in the House. NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha “1620 The Zone” hosted University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman on the “Sharp & Benning in the Morning” program for a full hour on Thursday, June 20 to discuss college athletics. Topics covered included pay for athletes, Nebraska in the Big 10 Conference, athletic department salaries and numerous others. Pictured here are (from l-r) Gary Sharp, Perlman and Damon Benning.
NSA Surveillance Program Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 17-21. The National Security Agency’s surveillance of phone and email activities, its ties to stopping terrorist attacks and the making public of the program by former contractor Edward Snowden were the top stories discussed on news/talk radio this week, landing the issue atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was the “Gang of 8” amnesty deal for illegal immigrants. At #3 was President Obama’s Berlin speech and his nukes reduction proposal broached at the G8 summit in Belfast earlier in the week. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Cool Assistant Engineer Job Opportunity! The Dave Ramsey Show has a really good job opportunity for an assistant engineer at the company’s headquarters in Brentwood, Tennessee. If you have experience running a radio type console, have knowledge of ISDN Codecs, are experienced using video and video router/matrix, have knowledge of level3/Vyvx lines and have the ability to learn and take directions — then this job might be for you. For full details about the position and its requirements/opportunities, click
http://www.daveramsey.com/company/view-all-jobs/ and then click on the Assistant Engineer.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “The Freedom Feens” featuring Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi and syndicated by Genesis Communications Network is added to the program schedule at KDGO, Durango, Colorado…..Good Parts Media reports the acquisition of its 100th affiliate. The parent company of “The Hookup,” Mr. Prep and The Locker Room prep services reports it has hit this milestone in only its second year of doing business…..The national syndicated “My Cool Inventions” show with Akos Jankura and John Cremeans is added to the program schedule at WRSB, Rochester, New York and KMET, San Bernardino.