Fredericksburg Stations to Join Alpha Media Portfolio. Still in acquisition mode, Portland, Oregon-based Alpha Media announces it will acquire the four-station Free Lance-Star Radio group. The stations include: country WFLS and talk WNTX in Fredericksburg, Virginia; CHR WVBX, Spotsylvania, Virginia; and classic rock WWUZ, Bowling Green, Virginia. Alpha chairman Larry Wilson comments on the deal, “Around 50 miles from Washington D.C., Fredericksburg is a thriving place that continues to grow. It will be a nice addition to our East Coast footprint. I feel privileged to be able to get into that market and work with the great people there.” The stations were acquired by Sandton Capital in a bankruptcy auction and the firm must divest of the signals to comply with cross-ownership regulations. Free Lance-Star operates print and digital publications in the market. George Reed of Media Services Group is the broker for Free Lance-Star Radio.
Jim Sumpter Show Renewed on USA Radio Networks. The midday Jim Sumpter program will continue to be syndicated via the USA Radio Networks after the two parties agreed to a renewal deal. The Jim Sumpter show airs live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET Monday through Friday and from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Saturdays. In a press statement USA Radio Networks says, “Jim brings a powerfully unique presentation of storytelling and interpretation of current events from a constitutional perspective that translates to compelling radio that draws listeners in as few other hosts can.” Sumpter comments, “The content of my show challenges establishment elites – especially politicians who say one thing, but do another and media organizations who shirk away from truthful reporting – that it takes a special group of courageous patriots who both get it and are committed to supporting it. I’m grateful for this opportunity from Sam Hassell, Sherrie Roberts, and Tim Maranville to give me the venue and support to make a lot of noise, stir up a lot of trouble, and do a lot of good. This is going to be fun.”
Newsmax Signs Deal with NCTC Adding Nearly 12 Million Subscribers. A new deal between Newsmax TV and the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), will provide Newsmax TV access to 900-plus member cable systems, encompassing nearly 12 million MVPD subscribers. Newsmax Media founder Christopher Ruddy says, “This NCTC agreement further accelerates our focus on securing carriage with independent cable operators country wide and is an important component of our goal to reach 50 million-plus subscribers for our first year on-air anniversary. Initial meetings with many NCTC members indicate a widespread reception that we anticipate will lead to notable launches in 2015.” Newsmax TV, which the company says targets the underserved baby boomer audience, is already carried by DISH and DIRECTV in approximately 35 million cable/satellite homes.
Round Three of Holiday PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of Holiday 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was December 4 to December 31. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication 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 on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Ninth Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Event Scheduled for April 15 and 16. The annual Washington, DC radio row produced by the Federation for American Immigration Reform will take place on Monday and Tuesday, April 15 and 16 at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill. As in the eight years prior, the event will consist of talk hosts from across the country broadcasting live, debating immigration policy while interviewing members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists and citizens who live along the border. FAIR says that “this year’s event will focus on the aftermath of President Obama’s amnesty and his continued abuse of executive power, the GOP’s internal battle over how to tackle immigration and the ongoing border crisis with its implications for national security risks.” Event general manager and FAIR spokesman Bob Dane comments, “Politicians fear and respect the amplitude of talk radio. Hold Their Feet to the Fire speaks for millions of radio listeners and, this year, will prove that the mic is mightier than Obama’s pen.” For talk show hosts wishing to take part in this year’s radio row, reservations are required and hosts/producers should call now. There is no cost to attend and all technical engineering and ISDN lines are provided by Silver Lake Audio of New York, the official engineering firm for Hold Their Feet to the Fire. Congressional guests, activists, high-profile media personalities, and immigration experts will be in attendance and available throughout the event for wall-to-wall interviews. Contact Bob Dane or Anna Giaritelli for more information at 202-328-7004 or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Odds & Sods. The new American General Media sports talker in Bakersfield – KGEO “1230 AM ESPN” – is adding a live and local program beginning Monday (1/26) as the Greg Kerr show debuts. The local sports media pro will take to the air from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm daily for the station that launched late last year…..Baseball broadcaster Jeff Levering is moving up to the big leagues from his gig with the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox to the Milwaukee Brewers Radio Network broadcast team. Levering is going to be the play-by-play voice for select road games this season as he joins Bob Uecker and Joe Block. He’ll also contribute content for the Brewers’ digital platform…..ESPN Audio announces its new weekend program lineup. Eight new shows are being added, including the two-hour “espnW Presents: Spain & Prim on ESPN Radio,” co-hosted by espnW’s and ESPN Chicago 1000 Radio’s Sarah Spain and ESPN anchor and analyst Prim Siripipat. Additional shows debuting in the new lineup are: Marty & McGee, Dave Rothenberg Show, Dickerson & Hood, Robin Lundberg, Coachman & Bretos, Ian Fitzsimmons and “NBA Lockdown: Insiders.”
KKOB, Albuquerque’s Terrie Q. Sayre Passes Unexpectedly. KKOB, Albuquerque program director Pat Frisch informs TALKERS that station weekend personality Terrie Q. Sayre died unexpectedly at the age of 54. Frisch says, “It is with deep sadness that I tell you we lost a true friend, a bright lite in the 770 KKOB family.” Frisch says Sayre handled weekend mornings for Cumulus Media’s news/talk KKOH, Reno for several years before moving to Albuquerque and doing weekends for KKOB for the past seven years. Sayre was a former show girl for Harrah’s and Caesars Lake Tahoe and was Mrs. Nevada 1998. She was married to Skip Sayre and is survived by a brother.
State of the Union and Obama Tax Plan Top News/Talk Stories This Week. The State of the Union Address and President Obama’s tax plan tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the “no-go zones” controversy and the related militant Islam issues. Coming in at #3 was ISIS’ holding of two Japanese nationals for ransom and following at #4 was the 2016 presidential prospects. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. View this week’s entire chart here.
Alpha Media, Buckley Communications Close Six-Station Purchase. The sextet of California properties Alpha Media officially acquires from Buckley Broadcasting of California are in Bakersfield (urban-rhythmic oldies KKBB “Groove 99.3,” CHR KLLY “Kelly 95.3,” and talk combo KNZR-AM & KNZR-FM) and Merced (rhythmic CHR KHTN “Hot 104.7″ and KUBB “Country 96.3″). Alpha Media chairman Larry Wilson comments, “We are privileged to buy these stations from such great operators. The Buckley clusters are a great addition to our ‘live-and-local’ west coast footprint.” Buckley Broadcasting & Communications president and chief operating officer Joseph Bilotta remarks, “As we close this transaction with Alpha, Buckley Broadcasting is effectively void of broadcast assets for the first time in 58 years. To all who worked for our family-owned-and-operated business over these decades, we thank you again and wish Alpha great success in Bakersfield and Merced.” Portland-based Alpha Media now owns 86 stations in 16 markets.
Heidi Harris Exits KRLA, Los Angeles. After almost a year co-hosting the morning show on Salem Communications’ KRLA/KTIE in Southern California “AM 870 The Answer,” Las Vegas-based talk show host Heidi Harris has left the program. It appears co-hosts Brian Whitman and Ben Shapiro will be joined by another female co-host but who that is has not yet been announced by Salem. Harris doesn’t say what her plans are but posts this on her Facebook page, “I have some news that is GREAT news for me, and bad news for those of you who like me. After a very interesting year, filled with changes I could never have anticipated, I have left Salem LA. This has been in the works for months, and my recent “absences” were intentional, so management could audition someone to replace me. They have finally decided on someone, so my last day was yesterday. I could tell you who she is, but I’ll leave that to management to announce. She’s a darling girl, and I wish her the very best.” Harris has worked at KXNT and KDWN in Las Vegas.
Verizon to Cease Taking orders for ISDN in the Northeast Starting May 18. The fact that ISDN is on the way out is no surprise to anyone in the radio industry who has gone through the headache of trying to order it over the past five or more years. Simply put: The phone companies are not thrilled to install it. It doesn’t make money for them. It was originally created for use as “high-speed” internet. Now there are better and faster ways to increase internet speed. Broadcasters (who make up a rather small percentage of the population) adopted ISDN as a standard way of getting remote audio from point A to point B with good quality. For the most part, the phone companies could care less. They didn’t create it for that purpose. Now, the imminent demise of ISDN has taken a giant step closer to being a reality. Verizon stated yesterday (3/28) that they will no longer take orders for the service, at least in the Northeast, beginning May 18. What does this mean to radio broadcasters who have come to depend on ISDN for a majority percentage of their remote broadcasts? Noted consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray provides the details and advice. Read his exclusive column here.
Clear Channel Cincinnati Announces Winner of “Final Format Tournament” for Soon-to-Be WLW FM Signal. On May 1, translator W233BG, Cincinnati will become the permanent FM simulcast signal for news/talk WLW (it’s been simulcasting CHR “Kiss 107”). However, the company ran a contest giving the winner programming control of the signal for a month and WEBN OM and PD Chris Williams announces that Florence, Kentucky resident Josh Field won the contest with his “Cincy Rock 94.5” entry. Following the Cincinnati Reds’ opening day broadcast on Monday, April 1, the signal becomes a rock outlet programmed by Field and dedicated to the “undiscovered rock of Cincinnati.” Williams states, “Before turning 94.5 over to ‘The Big One, 700 WLW,’ we wanted to take the opportunity to make Cincinnati radio history. Never before has a radio station been given away as a prize and placed in the control of a single fan. We’re excited that the audience selected a format that will support the local music scene with ‘Cincy Rock 94.5.’”
American General Media Names Bob Lewis Regional PD. Bob Lewis will be in charge of American General Media’s seven-station cluster in Albuquerque/Santa Fe and seven-station cluster in Bakersfield and as regional director of programming he’ll “be instrumental in the evolution of AGM’s established brands, as well as the launch of new stations, for both markets.” AGM president Rogers Brandon states, “I am delighted to have Bob rejoin our company in this important new capacity. We have a broad array of great radio stations in both Bakersfield and Albuquerque. I look forward to working with Bob to grow our stations with great heritage and develop new and exciting product lines.” Bob Lewis has worked as marketing and brand manager/program director for Trumper Communications‘ KMVA-FM in Phoenix and at Emmis Communications’ KDHT-FM and KBPA-FM in Austin. Prior to joining Emmis, Lewis was director of FM operations/marketing & programming for AGM’s Bakersfield cluster. He says, “I am beyond thrilled to be rejoining American General Media and look forward to learning and partnering with the exceptional PDs and staffs in Albuquerque and Bakersfield.”
Progressive Talk Show Host Thom Hartmann Provides Inspiring Model of Multi-Platform Delivery System – Exclusive Tour of DC Facility on TALKERS TV. He is a progressive national and internationally syndicated talk show host (WYD Media) whose shows – because of a creative, multi-platform approach (and a huge, growing fan base to support it) – are now available in over a half-billion homes worldwide. Thom Hartmann‘s radio show is distributed on for-profit radio stations nationwide by Dial Global, on non-profit and community stations nationwide by Pacifica, on cable systems nationwide by CRN, on its own YouTube channel, via Livestream on its own Livestream channel, via subscription podcasts, worldwide through the US Armed Forces Network, and through the Thom Hartmann App in the App Store. The radio show is also simulcast as TV in real time into nearly 40 million US and Canadian homes by the Free Speech TV Network on Dish Network, DirectTV, and cable TV systems nationwide. (In addition, his evening TV program, “The Big Picture,” is wholly owned by his own production company, produced in the RT studios, and licensed to and carried by Free Speech TV in the US and into over 600 million homes in 104 countries by the RT TV network and distributed worldwide on Hulu.) TALKERS TV caught up with this five-time Heavy Hundred member (currently ranked #8 in the nation) at his Washington, DC broadcast headquarters where he gives TALKERS readers an exclusive “tour” of the multi-media model facility. To see it click on the TALKERS TV box in the upper right hand column on this page.
Pssst, Hey Buddy, Wanna Buy a Record Company? TALKERS has gotten a line on an incredibly interesting and rare opportunity for the right person or company who would like to enter the music business or expand their present operation by acquiring a long-standing (decades) independent record company whose owners are retiring due to health issues and looking to liquidate some very interesting and valuable intellectual property. This acquisition would include a veritable treasure trove of 701 original master tapes – 380 of which are full albums, 341 containing 2-5 tracks covering approximately 225 artists from the early rock ‘n’ roll and big band eras. We are talking about many major names and hits as well as a number of almost-forgotten collector items. The owners are looking for a quick sale and are willing to make a great deal with the right buyer willing to give these treasures a good home and proper presentation in the marketplace where there is significant niche demand for this era of music. Interested parties should contact Barbara Kurland at TALKERS by calling 413-565-5413 or emailing Barbara@talkers.com for more details.
Is Moss Growing on Your Website? If so, radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke offers advice on how to maximize its impact as a numbers and revenue inducing ally to your on-air dial frequency. In a nuts and bolts column posted today (3/29) Cooke responds to the often-asked question, “Should I move from Facebook to Twitter?” His answer: “I sure would NOT: a) bother with MySpace, b) abandon Facebook, or c) under-utilize Twitter.” He goes on to state, “Wisely, stations and personalities are prioritizing Twitter, a darn opportune tool which listeners have adopted as-fervently as they did Facebook…and MySpace, in its day.” He goes on to say, “If you’re thinking that ‘The Next Shiny Object’ is your very own iPhone app, STOP. Save the money, for reasons I will explain on June 6 in my Talkers New York 2013 presentation ‘Resourceful + Remarkable.’” To read Holland Cooke’s entire column, click here.
Odds & Sods. CNN announces a new morning show lineup in an effort to get out of the #3 spot behind Fox News Channel and MSNBC. According to the Los Angeles Times, Chris Cuomo will be joined by CNN congressional correspondent and “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” co-anchor Kate Bolduan. New CNN president Jeff Zucker is charged with bringing CNN’s morning show out of the cellar and he’s also brought Michaela Pereira aboard as news anchor…..Entercom’s WEEI, Boston teams up with Miller Lite to sponsor a promotion that wraps up at tonight’s Boston Celtics game. The station has already qualified four local listeners as contestants during lead-up events and between the first and second quarters of the game, each will get a shot at $50,000 if they can sink a half-court shot…..CRN Digital Talk brings legendary Los Angeles radio personality to its network for a Saturday program beginning tomorrow. Dave Hull, who became a star on KRLA in the 1960s, returns to the air alongside Mandy Armstrong for the “Dave Hull & Mandy” show. Hull was known for his close relationship with the Beatles during their rise to stardom. He helped push the growth of rock music by helping plan the Beatles’ 1966 Hollywood Bowl concert as well as promoting clubs, other concerts and his own nightclub. About his new program he states, “I took some time off a few years ago to write a book and do some other things, but now I’m excited about coming back to radio and working with CRN…We’re going to have a humorous look at today’s news topics in a way that you’ve never heard on talk radio before. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
SNL Kagan Releases Rankings of Top 25 Media and Entertainment Companies. Based on 2012 figures and broken into two bases – net income and operating revenue – the SNL Kagan rankings of the top-earning media and entertainment firms are dominated by companies with diversified interests. That’s not surprising. Based on net income, CBS Corp. ranks #6 (down from #5 last year); Liberty Media (owner of SiriusXM) ranks #7 (up from #10 last year); and News Corp. (Fox News, et al) came in at #8 (down from #2 in 2011) all made the grade. When basing the rank on operating income, CC Media Holdings – parent of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – ranked #10 (same as in 2011). Interestingly, Nielsen Holdings N.V. – which may soon own Arbitron – ranked #17 in net income and #12 in operating revenue.
Gay Marriage Bumps Sequester from Top Spot on Talkers TenTM. The gay marriage debate – spurred by this week’s arguments at the Supreme Court – became the most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio, overtaking the sequester effects which had been at the top for the past five weeks. At #2 this week was North Korea’s military threats. Coming in at #3 was gun legislation tied with the Jim Carrey song followed by the slow economic growth figures at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
How Do You Know It’s a Good Topic and That It Will Work Where You’re Broadcasting? That’s a great question with an increasing number of radio talk show hosts working “locally” by remote on more than one station or simply being syndicated across a region or the entire nation. So, TALKERS magazine went to a broadcaster who is eminently qualified to answer the question – Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, a member of the TALKERS Heavy hundred — who hosts mornings on KPRC, Houston; late afternoons on WOAI, San Antonio; weekends locally on KOA, Denver and weekends nationally on “The Weekend” show. He is also a major “go to” fill-in host for such hosts as Glenn Beck, Todd Schnitt and many others. Pags writes, “Many years ago, I thought it was easy to gauge. Whatever gets the phone ringing, right? Not so much. I take a lot of phone calls. I’d say more than you might hear on other shows. But, I insist they be of substance and advance the conversation or be really funny and entertaining. Making the phones ring, it turns out, is easy. ‘Abortion, for or against? Here’s the number.’ That’s sure to melt the lines down and guaranteed to be a horrible show. Those blinking lights are addictive and the interaction intoxicating, but I once heard a stat that showed 2% of all listeners will ever call into a radio show. How do you make sure you’re engaging the other 98% as well?” Read Pags’ entire article here.
WCCO, Minneapolis Adds Weekend Food Show. The CBS Radio news/talk station announces Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl brings her food writing talents to the WCCO lineup, hosting a one-hour show called “Off The Menu” beginning March 2. Grumdahl, is a senior editor at Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine, she’s been the top voice in Twin Cities food since her work as City Pages restaurant critic (1997 to 2008,) launched her to national prominence with a string of James Beard Awards, the highest award of the food world. WCCO program director Bob Shomper says, “WCCO has a long and rich history of food and nutrition, from the recipe shows and farm reports of the past to the latest dining trends and nutritional information of today. Dara is the Twin Cities’ premier expert on food. She will bring WCCO’s tradition of nutritional information to new heights, on all platforms, on-air, online and on mobile devices. We are thrilled to have her on the WCCO team.”
Talk Host Ralph Bailey Exits KNZR, Bakersfield. Afternoon drive talk host Ralph Bailey resigns suddenly from his position with the Buckley Broadcasting station and although he gives no hint of where he may surface, The Bakersfield Californian speculates he may be headed for American General Media’s crosstown KERN. Bailey wrote on his Facebook page, in part, “It was with a heavy heart that I tendered my resignation to Buckley Radio today. However, future opportunities and challenges make it virtually impossible not to seek out new adventures. I would like to thank Steve Darnell, Kathy Baker and, posthumously, Rick Buckley. To my colleagues, I hope I was a team player who made the station and the client top priority and someone who grasped the concept of pulling on one side of the rope. To my sponsors, I hope I played a small role in your success and thank you for your support!”
Boston Sports Talk Host Gets Terrestrial Outlet. Boston native Danny Picard – whose “I’m Just Sayin’” sports talk show appeared on recent editions of TALKERS magazine’s Frontier Fifty feature spotlighting internet-only talk radio hosts – gets his daily program added to the schedule at Blackstrap Broadcasting’s WUFC, Boston “NBC Sports Radio.” The show is a simulcast of his 9:00 am to 10:00 am internet program but Picard tells TALKERS it is “essentially the same show I do now, only I’ll no longer be broadcasting from my South Boston living room apartment. I’ll be broadcasting from the 1510 NBC Sports Radio Boston studios on Marina Bay.” Picard says he’s excited about the development. “I’ve been hosting this show for a while now, and it’s a thrill to finally be heard on an AM signal in Boston every weekday. I’m extremely passionate about what I do, and I look forward to expressing my passion to an expanding audience.” Picard began doing his program from his University of Massachusetts-Amherst apartment in 2006. He’s been covering all the major pro sports teams at Comcast SportsNet New England for the CSNNE.com site since it launched in 2009. Picard continues his role with Comcast SportsNet. Photo by Jennifer Bodnar.
The Tom Joyner Syndrome – without the Expensive Planes! Pictured here are two coast-to-coast broadcasting adventures. First, at left are KRLA, Los Angeles “Morning Answer” co-hosts Brian Whitman (left) and Ben Shapiro (right) from their studios at Salem Los Angeles (Heidi Harris also co-hosts the morning show on KRLA). On Thursday, February 21 the two pulled double duty by filling in on Salem’s New York news/talker WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” for Curtis Sliwa’s and Jeffrey Lichtman’s PM drive show as both were on vacation. At the same time, New York City-based Kevin McCullough (at right), whose nationally syndicated broadcast airs mornings on his longtime flagship AM 570 WMCA in New York, has been pulling double duty in Los Angeles on Salem’s Christian talk station 99.5 KKLA-FM in afternoon drive (4:00 pm to 7:00 pm PT). Kevin McCullough began doing the afternoon show in Los Angeles after the tragic Thanksgiving week motorcycle accident that eventually claimed the life of Salem personality Frank Pastore. McCullough is pictured here Thursday evening doing the KKLA-FM show from the studios of New York-based XtreMEDIA.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Compass Media Networks’ Lars Larson is added to the lineup at KQV, Pittsburgh…..Michael Patrick Shiels adds country outlet WQTX, Lansing, Michigan to his affiliate list for his statewide AM drive show. The add marks Shiels’ return to Lansing after exiting Cumulus Media’s WJIM a year ago and sitting out a non-compete…..Fox Sports Radio Network announces KGGS, Garden City, Kansas adds the network’s entire daily lineup as the station re-brands as “Big Dog Sports 1340”…..Dial Global and NBC’s NBC Sports Radio sign an agreement for Alpha Broadcasting’s KXTG-AM, Portland to carry their content…..Gow Broadcasting-operated Yahoo! Sports Radio adds affiliate KMZQ, Las Vegas for its sports talk programming…..“Right Turn Radio” – a program about addiction and mental health hosted by Woody Geissman and Abby Dean – now airs on WRKO, Boston Sundays at 7:00 pm. The show is a production of Right Turn, a local non-profit that provides innovative outpatient treatment and supporting housing for addicts…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds new affiliate KRDO-AM/FM, Colorado Springs.
Sequestration and Deficit Reduction Top Talk Radio Topics for Week of February 18-22. The battle in Washington over the looming sequestration and the related calls for deficit reduction were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was immigration reform. At #3 was soaring gasoline prices followed by the costs of ObamaCare at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio each week based on ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.