Tag: "Bell Media"

Thursday, August 31, 2017

| August 31, 2017

WW1: Advertiser Interest in Podcasting Rising Dramatically.  Syndicator Westwood One releases new data from its Westwood One State of Podcasting 2017 report.  The company says that the report “provides an in-depth look at listening behaviors and demographics of the podcast consumer, plus insight into how marketers and agencies view podcast advertising.”  In looking at advertiser perceptions of podcasting, the report indicates, “The proportion of advertisers and agencies who have discussed podcast advertising for potential media investments has soared from 41% in September of 2015 to 68% in May of 2017.”  Additionally, “The marketers and agencies who say they will definitely advertise in podcasts in the coming six months has increased threefold (10% to 27%) since September, 2015.”  WW1 president and Cumulus Media EVP, corporate marketing Suzanne Grimes states, “We knew that advertiser sentiment for podcast advertising was growing, as we have seen a significant increase in advertising spend on the Westwood One podcast network.  The Westwood One State of Podcasting 2017 report quantifies the conversation, consideration, and intention among marketers to place their brands in the expansive podcast programming environment.  It’s great news for all of us in the fast-tracking on-demand space.”  The report includes data from Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” and “Infinite Dial” studies, IPSOS, and Advertiser Perceptions.  See more from the study here.

Radio Continues Fundraising Efforts for Harvey Relief. The fundraising efforts for Harvey relief by radio stations and radio companies continue with Beasley Media Group announcing Naples-Fort Myers stations CHR WXKB “B103.9,” WRXK “96KRock,” and AC WJPT “Sunny 106.3” are partnering with the local chapter of the American Red Cross to collect donations during today’s “MUSIC THON.  The morning air personalities from all three stations will stay on the air to play special song requests for donations…..Disney/ABC is launching a network-wide telethon and call-to-action today (including sports talk radio network ESPN Radio).  Disney Media Networks co-chairman/president Ben Sherwood said, “With this ‘Day of Giving’ across all our networks and platforms, the men and women of Disney/ABC, ESPN and the A+E Networks are answering the call to stand up and support the communities hit hardest by Hurricane Harvey.  In 2012, we rallied to support relief efforts after Hurricane Sandy, helping raise more than $18 million dollars. Now, we stand alongside the residents of Texas and the Gulf states who are battling the floods and devastation of Harvey.”…..Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s Springfield, Illinois radio stations are partnering with Sinclair Broadcasting’s local TV stations to raise funds and supplies for victims of Harvey.  Tomorrow (9/1), both broadcasting groups will stage a daylong event at a local Walmart taking donations – with an emphasis on monetary donations – to the Salvation Army.  Sinclair is promising to match those donations up to $100,000.  Mid-West Family Springfield GM Harvey Wells comments, “While we are a locally owned and locally focused broadcasting company, we have an obligation to use our reach to help in times of national crisis.”

Paul Curran Named CMG Orlando Market Manager.  Media sales and management pro Paul Curran is promoted to market vice president for Cox Media Group’s Orlando cluster that includes news/talk WDBO “News 96.5,” sports talk WDBO-AM “ESPN Orlando,” classic hits WMMO, urban contemporary WCFB, hip hop WPYO, “Power 95.3,” and Spanish “107.3 Solo Exitos,” plus television stations WFTV-TV and WRDQ-TV in what CMG calls this “converged market.”  Curran has been serving as VP and general manager of the two TV stations.  He says, “The opportunity to bring together the talented people and dynamic products of CMG Radio and CMG TV under one entity in Central Florida is an exciting one.  No other media company can match our combined TV, radio, and digital footprint here, and the possibilities to build on collaboration and improve the experience for our viewers, listeners, and customers are limitless.  I can’t wait to get started.”

WSJS, Winston-Salem Transitioning to Sports Talk.  According to a report in the Winston-Salem Journal, Crescent Media Group is going all sports talk on WSJS, Winston-Salem, eliminating the news and non-sports talk.  Morning drive personality J.R. Snider and news anchor Ed Skurka are exiting the station after today’s broadcast and the sports programming schedule takes effect tomorrow (9/1).  Station GM Al Bunch tells the paper the decision was about serving sports fans.  “They crave a place to talk about sports and listen to sports being discussed, and we feel that’s being underserved in the Triad.  We’re going to give them what they’ve been asking for.”  The station will air ESPN Radio content until 12:00 noon when it carries the Raleigh-based David Glenn program.  The afternoon drive show will be the local “One on One With The Schass,” with host Kyle Schassburger.

PodcastOne Launches Sports Division. Podcast platform PodcastOne is launching a new lineup of original sports programming under the banner of PodcastOne Sports.  PodcastOne executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “This new network demonstrates PodcastOne’s interest in dramatically expanding our already successful portfolio of sports-related programming to build a singular hub for sports fans and brands.  I can think of no better way to launch our new network than with coach Jim Harbaugh.  Jim represents an established, well-respected voice in sports, and his vision for this show is certain to become a must-listen for sports fans everywhere.”  PodcastOne Sports debuts September 5 with the launch of “Attack Each Day: The Harbaugh’s Podcast,” hosted by University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh.  Other personalities joining the lineup with original programs will include legendary sports broadcaster Dick Enberg, sports radio and television host Rich Eisen, sports broadcaster Suzy Schuster, football analyst Dave Dameshek with top podcaster Adam Carolla, popular sports personality Lilian Garcia, sports host and comedian Jay Mohr, and top sports writers from around the nation.

NAB Defends AM/FM Radio from NYU Scholar’s White Paper.  The NAB’s response is quick to point out up front that the white paper – Paradigm Shift: Why Radio Must Adapt to the Rise of Digital by New York University’s Larry S. Miller, director of the Steinhardt Music Business Program – is backed by digital performance rights organization SoundExchange, which NAB EVP of communications Dennis Wharton says is “bankrolled in part by giant record labels pushing a radio ‘performance tax.’”  The bulk of Miller’s paper is dedicated to analyzing the effect digital availability of music is having on the radio industry and Wharton challenges his arguments.  Specifically, Wharton takes aim at Miller’s contention that young people are turning away from AM/FM radio as a source of music discovery.  Wharton cites Nielsen data that suggests “millennials are listening in greater numbers than ever before, not just to over-the-air programming, but also to local radio on digital platforms…87.9% of Americans aged 12-17 turn to radio each week, and they spend nearly 10 hours a week listening to local radio.  Even when they use streaming services to find new songs, younger generations continue tuning in to radio to listen to their favorite music.”  Interestingly, Miller notes early in his paper that the issue of whether radio actually provides adequate promotion for the sale of records in exchange for free air play – as the NAB has argued for decades defending radio’s exemption from the performance fee – is not within the scope of his paper.  But then he goes on to mention the matter several more times.  You can see Miller’s paper here.

TALKERS News Notes.  Just a couple of months after a contentious public divorce from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, popular conservative Internet personality Tomi Lahren joins FOX News Channel as a contributor.  The Associated Press reports the story and says that “Lahren will have a ‘signature role’ on a digital product under development and be a commentator on the network’s opinion programming.  Her primary home will be on Sean Hannity’s show, where she was to debut on Wednesday.”…..InsiderNJ.com recently published its 2017 “Insider 100 Media Power List” in which it, as the title suggests, ranks the 100 most powerful media personalities in New Jersey.  WPG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley ranked #17 on this year’s list.  Hurley’s entry on the list states, “You like breaking news from Atlantic City and South Jersey?  Then you must be familiar with the well-connected, well-sourced and popular Hurley who breaks most (or at least many) of the dock-front political stories – and has a must-read column with Shore News Today.”  See the whole list here…..Changes come to the nationally syndicated evening talk radio show “Connections” as host and co-founder Al “Blackjack” Spry leaves the program.  This comes as the show is dropped from the schedule at iHeartMedia’s talk WTKS-FM, Orlando “Real Radio 104.1.”  The program continues to air on its other affiliates with hosts Melissa Foxx and Glenda “G-Love” Chauncy…..CFRA, Ottawa’s Evan Solomon is going national as Bell Media syndicates his daily talk show across other company news/talk stations, effective September 5.  The program will be heard on CFRB-AM, Toronto; CJAD-AM, Montreal; CKFR-AM, Kelona, BC; CFAX-AM, Victoria; CKLW-AM, Windsor, CJBK-AM, London, Ontario, and CKTB-AM, St. Catharines.  Solomon comments, “I’m very excited to launch this new, national forum for thought-provoking debate and discussion, highlighting compelling people who are making a difference in Canada.  There’s nothing more important to a free society than public opinion, and this show will be a platform for Canadians to share their thoughts on the most pressing issues of the day, at home and around the world.”

Harvey Devastation/Relief Efforts, Trump Tax Reform Plan, Trump-Russia Investigation, Antifa Violence, FOX News Poll Results, U.S.- North Korea Tensions, Texas Sanctuary Cities Ban Blocked, MLB Action, and NFL Pre-Season Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/30).  The devastating flooding in Texas and Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, including analysis of President Trump’s handling of the disaster; Trump begins promoting his tax reform plan; the investigation into possible connections between Trump operatives and Russian agents; criticism of violence against conservatives by “antifa” agents; the results of a new FOX News poll showing poor marks for Congress and President Trump; the military tensions between the U.S. and North Korea; a judge’s temporary blocking of a Texas law banning sanctuary cities; Major League Baseball action; and NFL pre-season activity were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Local singer and entertainer – and famed season 7 “The Voice” contestant Chris Jamison – is joining CBS RADIO Pittsburgh as a weekend and holiday personality on hot AC WBZZ “100.7 The Star.”  Jamison will be heard Sundays from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm and on holidays.  Jamison first got to know the staff at WBZZ back in 2014 when the morning drive “Bubba Show” became his official hometown cheerleaders.  He appeared at station events, including its “O Starry Night” concert.”  WBZZ program director Dave Anderson says, “Chris is a talented, standout entertainer with rich local ties.  We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to grow with him as he takes this next step as part of the ‘100.7 Star’ team.”…..Beasley Media Group announces two new “BOUNCE” ambassadors.  Air personalities Cortney Hicks and A.P., a.k.a. The Absolute Princess, join the air staff of hip hop WMGC, Detroit “105.1 The BOUNCE.”  Hicks will host the 10:00 am to 3:00 pm show on Saturdays and Sundays and A.P. takes to the air at 7:00 pm on both weekend evenings.  WMGC program director Al Payne comments, “Our goal is to assemble a team of the finest in Detroit radio, as well as the best hip hop personalities, to navigate our fans through each experience listening to this iconic music.  That’s why all of our announcers are known as ambassadors.  Cortney and A.P. are shining examples of this mission and I look forward to what they have in store.”…..As part of International Overdose Awareness Day (8/31), Premiere Networks host Nikki Sixx will dedicate four hours of “Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx” to raising awareness of the U.S. opioid crisis.  Sixx, who detailed his near-fatal drug addiction in the best-selling book The Heroin Diaries, will welcome Dr. Oz,  Louisville Courier-Journal writer Beth Warren, and Erik Gunn, a former drug addict and dealer who recently shared his story with Warren for a Courier-Journal series on addiction and recovery…..Cumulus Media announces country WNSH, New York’s “Boots on the Boardwalk” end-of-summer bash, giving “NASH FM 94.7” listeners a chance to party one last time this summer season!  This free event, featuring performances by Scotty McCreery, A Thousand Horses, NASH Next 2016 Winner Todd O’Neill, and Elizabeth Lyons, takes place at Jenkinson’s Pavilion in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey tomorrow (9/1) from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm…..In Detroit, classic rocker WCSX and morning host Big Jim are trying to raise at least $10,000 for Holy Cross Children’s Services via the Big Jim’s House Million Penny Roof Sit, taking place at the 2017 Ford Arts, Beats & Eats festival in Royal Oak this weekend.  The station is asking listeners and patrons of the festival to donate their pocket change to change the lives of children in need.  Big Jim says, “We are excited to be working with Holy Cross Children’s Services to raise money for kids in need.  The kids receiving care from Holy Cross deserve to have opportunities to be successful in life, and every penny can help.”…..According to a story in the Boston Herald, rock WAAF, Boston “Hill-Man Morning Show” host Greg Hill is considering a run for congress for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas.  Hill’s spokesman is local attorney Lawrence Army Jr., who tells the paper, “Greg is exploring all of his options, including running for the open congressional seat.”  Citing Hill’s philanthropic efforts via the Greg Hill Foundation, Army adds, “Public service would be a logical next step for Greg.  He is considering whether it would be the best way to give back to a community that’s given him so much.”

Thursday, February 18, 2016

| February 18, 2016

Presidential Race, Middle East Military Escalation, North and South Korea Tensions, Scalia Replacement Debate/Death Theories, Apple iPhone Hack Refusal, LA Hospital Records Hack Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/17).  The activities of the candidates for president, including the South Carolina GOP Town Halls; Turkish clashes with Kurds in Iraq and the ongoing Syrian conflict; military tensions between North Korea and South Korea; debate over the proper process for replacing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and theories about his cause of death; Apple’s refusal to create backdoor software to open the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists; and a Los Angeles hospital’s paying off hackers in bitcoin to receive the return of its medical records were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

carrollbillBill Carroll Lands at CFRA, Ottawa in AM Drive.  Less than two months after exiting his midday talk show at iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles and then announcing his departure from his afternoon gig at Corus’ CFMJ, Toronto, Bill Carroll is brought aboard at Bell Media’s CFRA, Ottawa to host “The Morning Rush with Bill Carroll.”  Joining him as co-host on the new show will be Tricia Owens.  Carroll arrives as Bell Media lets AM personality Mark Sutcliffe and evening hosts Ron Corbett, John Counsell, and Nick Vandergragt go.  The station also announces it’s bringing Brian Lilley on to host the evening program.  Both shows will launch on March 7.  Carroll comments, “My family had decided late last year that it was time to come home – what great timing that a legendary station like CFRA is making some changes.  I can’t wait to join the team in Ottawa and get started. And I hope the people of Ottawa will forgive my years of cheering the Kings and Leafs. I will adapt, slowly.”

ppmunitRound Two of January PPM Data Released.  The second of four rounds of January 2016 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  The survey period was December 31 – January 27.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Top Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.

Odds & Sods.  A new interactive radio app has just been released for Salem Radio Network personality Ericmetaxaseric Metaxas.  Salem says the app – powered by Clip Interactive technology – is part of its mobile radio strategy.  Salem notes that the app enables fans to listen and interact with the show and its content.  Fans can directly connect with Eric in the studio using the app’s “call the studio” feature.  Additionally, the show is now able to quickly gather listener insights and opinions with the app’s real time polling and “talk back” features…..Townsquare Media news/talk WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” announces the wkxwaddition of award-winning State House reporter Michael Symons to its staff as State House bureau chief.  Symons comes to New Jersey 101.5 from Gannett New Jersey, where he was a State House reporter.  New Jersey 101.5 VP and head of news and digital operations Eric Scott says, “Mike Symons is a tough, but fair reporter and investigator.  He will be a valuable asset for our news operation.”  Scott says Symons is one of the longest-tenured reporters currently covering New Jersey politics from the State House in Trenton.  He’s won awards for his work from the New Jersey Press Association and in 2004 he was a member of the Gannett New Jersey team that was awarded the prestigious Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting…..Tonight’s second-of-two GOP Town Hall Meetings in South Carolina will be produced by CNN with the radio feed being distributed by Westwood One.  CNN’s Anderson Cooper is moderating…..Thebensonchad Radio America-syndicated Chad Benson show is added to the lineup at CBS RADIO’s Las Vegas news/talker KXNT.  In addition to his regularly scheduled program, Benson has been offering extended live coverage of the Republican and Democratic debates as well as coverage of the caucuses and primaries.  Those special editions of the program are available to all current affiliates, as well as interested stations in markets where the show is not currently cleared.

bernierHagel16Talking National Security.  WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (right) talks national security with former United States Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (left) at Embry-Riddle Aeronautic University on Tuesday (2/16).  The Town Hall event was part of the ERAU Speaker Series.

Cool Job Opportunity.  Top 25 Market Seeks News Anchor.  Number one news team in a top-25 market has a rare opening in the afternoon.  We need someone who can ad-lib effortlessly, tell a great story, and ask the toughest questions of the biggest guests.  We also need someone who lives on social media, is super curious and can generate stories, ideas, and fresh ways at looking at recurring things.  Responsibilities include: News gathering and writing; Good understanding of national issues, quick learner on local issues; Follow social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc) for story leads and breaking news; Post stories on our own Website and Facebook sites; Generate unique news stories for the station; Plan stories for the next day and days in advance; Strong understanding of the English language and use of proper grammar; A willingness to quickly learn our news computer system and board operation.  Candidate should have 2 or more years’ experience in broadcast media.  Send materials to: Top25NewsAnchor@gmail.com.

Friday, February 10, 2012

| February 10, 2012

SiriusXM Delivers 2011 Revenue Increase of 7%.  Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin opened the Thursday conference call with positive news about 2011 and rosy predictions for 2012.  Karmazin reports the satcaster added 1.7 million net new subscribers with revenue topping $3 billion for 2011.  He told analysts the company has reduced programming costs by 27% over the past three years to bring them to 10.7% of adjusted revenue.  And Mel’s favorite figure – free cash flow – was also a nice one: $416 million.  Karmazin says he expects free cash flow to grow to $700 million this year due in part to the restrictions on subscription prices having been lifted.  He projects revenue to hit $3.3 billion in 2012 with 1.3 million new subscribers added.

Nassau Broadcasting Agrees to Undergo Chapter 7 Liquidation.  It was four months ago that Nassau Broadcasting Partners convinced U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross to allow its Chapter 7 liquidation being sought by its creditors to be converted into a Chapter 11 reorganization.  Now, the company wants to liquidate itself and is asking the judge to approve an auction of its 49 stations.  Nassau owes more than $280 million to its senior lenders which include Goldman Sachs Lending Partners LLC, P.E. Capital LLC and Fortress Credit Opportunities.  Nassau’s spoken word stations include: WARK, Hagerstown, Maryland; WTSV, Claremont, New Hampshire; WEMJ, Laconia, New Hampshire; WVPO/WPLY, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; WEEX/WTKZ, Allentown, Pennsylvania; WSNO, Barre, Vermont; and WNHV, White River Junction, Vermont.

Dave Ramsey to Take Over Live Midday Slot on WOR, New York.  The end of the nationally syndicated Lou Dobbs talk radio show is creating room for other hosts and programs across the country and in New York City at Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, independently syndicated Dave Ramsey moves from delayed broadcast status to airing in the live 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot beginning February 27.  WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley states, “In these rocky economic times New Yorkers need a voice they can trust to guide them in their money decisions.  We are proud to welcome the country’s top name in financial talk radio – Dave Ramsey – to our award-winning lineup.”

“Battle Line with Alan Nathan” Adds Two Hours on Lifestyle TalkRadio Network.  Alan Nathan’s Main Street Radio Network-produced talk program is already distributed nationally via the Blue Star Media’s Lifestyle TalkRadio Network from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily.  Now, with the departure of Lou Dobbs’ radio program from the network, “Battle Line” adds another two hours from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  Main Street Radio Network president Jane Silk says, “Main Street is very excited with the additional two hours of ‘Battle Line’ on LTRN.  Our working relationship with the staff of BTRN/LTRN is a model on how companies can work together for the good of all involved!”  Business TalkRadio Network CEO Michael Metter comments, “We are thrilled to be a part of the increase in Alan’s reach.  We are looking forward to bringing our affiliates the brilliance of Alan’s informed, entertaining centrist views.”

Fabulous Sports Babe Nanci Donnellan Off WHBO, Tampa Due to Health Issues.  The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that Nanci Donnellan – known as the Fabulous Sports Babe – is absent from her midday sports talk show on Genesis Communications’ WHBO, Tampa due to what is believed to be health issues.  The station is not commenting.  Donnellan, who hosted a nationally syndicated sports talk program on ESPN Radio in the 1990s and at Sports Fan Radio Network after that – left radio for a period to battle breast cancer before returning to the air in Florida, eventually settling at WHBO.  Sitting in for her is former WDAE sports reporter Whitney Johnson.

Boston Radio Community Honors Memory of WBZ Personality Dave Maynard.  During a 40-year radio and TV career Dave Maynard ruled the airwaves in Boston on WBZ during the 1980s.  He’s being remembered for his warm personality that made his program such a success in the market.  Maynard died at his home in Citrus Hills, Florida on Wednesday at age 82.  He’d suffered with Parkinson’s for the past decade.  WBZ director of news and programming Peter Casey tells the Boston Globe, “He was just a genuine, honest person on the radio.  There wasn’t a Dave Maynard on the air and a Dave Maynard off the air.  He made a career being Dave Maynard on the air, and that was the Dave Maynard who lived next door to you.”

Bell Media Cuts 16 Positions in Ottawa Radio/TV Cluster; Afternoon Talk Host Michael Harris Among Casualties.  While the Canadian economy has not been hit as hard as America’s during recent times, it appears Bell Media is feeling the pinch and the need to restructure its Ottawa operations.  According to the Ottawa Citizen, among those let go in addition to CFRA afternoon host Michael Harris on the spoken word side include CFRA reporter Gord McDougall, sports CFGO – Team 1200 – staffers Jim Jerome, Phil Melanson and Mike Sutherland.  Harris had been a talk host at CFRA for the past 11 years.  He tells the paper the moves appear to be financial in nature and management “went out of their way to say it had nothing to do with the quality of my work.”

GOP Primary Battle the Top News/Talk Story for the Week of February 6-10.  The intensifying GOP primary battle between Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum (with Ron Paul sticking it out as well) landed atop the Talkers TenTM as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week.  Right behind at #2 was the 2012 presidential race combined with the Obama Super PAC story.  At #3 was the Syria policy and the closure of the U.S. embassy there as a result of the intense violence.  And at #4 was the foreclosure abuse settlement signed by President Obama.  The Talkers TenTM contains the 10 top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

In the Belly of the Beast.  WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, DC morning drive team the “Morning Majority” broadcast live from the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC this week.  Pictured here are “Morning Majority” co-hosts Brian Wilson (l) and Mary Katherine Ham (c) interviewing CPAC organizer Al Cardenas (r) of the American Conservative Union.  Also broadcasting from the two-day event were WMAL morning co-host Bryan Nehman and midday talk host Chris Plante.

 

WNDB, Daytona Beach Talk Host Marc Bernier Moderates Carlson-Begala Debate.  The Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce packed 600 people into the Daytona Beach Ocean Center for a debate of the issues of the election season between CNN analyst and Democrat Paul Begala and Fox News Channel personality and Republican Tucker Carlson.  WNDB talk show host Marc Bernier served as moderator for the event.  Pictured here are (from l-r) Paul Begala, Marc Bernier and Tucker Carlson.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

| October 5, 2011

 

Merlin Faces Pressure after Disappointing Arbitrons.  The upside of having a high-profile roll out for the launch of a new format is gaining the thrust of free publicity generated by lots of consumer press and enjoying the accompanying media/advertising buzz that generates early believers and revenue.  The downside is facing the instantaneous criticism that comes with unrealistic expectations when they are not fulfilled – an insidious process that can quickly erode the confidence of investors, advertisers and employees, setting in motion the radio equivalent of an unharmonious locker room in sports and frightened ownership.  That is the price Merlin Media and its colorful, controversial CEO Randy Michaels are facing in the wake of two early but extremely disappointing report cards issued by Arbitron reflecting the anemic initial audience numbers of their innovative all-news properties, FM News 101.1 in Chicago (0.2, 6-plus) and FM News 101.9 in New York (0.5, 6-plus).  The “ouch factor” is especially biting in Chicago where FM News 101.1 is being measured against CBS Radio O&O WBBM’s 105.9 FM simulcast which launched a pre-emptive competing all news format on FM and garnered a solid 1.0, 6-plus share on top of its big AM numbers for the same period.  Whereas much of this “chatter” has remained contained within under-the-radar industry conversations and media blogs, the hard facts surfaced big-time publicly this morning in an all-too-blunt article by reporter Robert Channick in the Chicago Tribune headlined “FM News 101 finds meager audience, early ratings show” describing what happened in the following terms: “The first full month of ratings for Chicago’s two FM news stations didn’t bring good news for Merlin Media. Its FM News 101.1 (WWWN-FM) ranked 48th, with a minuscule 0.2 share for September, according to Arbitron results released Tuesday. The station was trounced by CBS Radio’s simulcast of WBBM-AM 780 on sister station 105.9 FM, which garnered an additional 1.0 share. The combined AM-FM listenership for WBBM Newsradio was 6.4, topping the Chicago market. The survey covered Aug. 18 to Sept. 14.”  The article goes on to quote a confident Michaels as stating, “It’s a work in progress; it’s very, very early.” Michaels adds, “You’re looking at the very first couple of weeks after we blew up a rock station, and I can’t think that too many people who were listening to (Q101.1) would be listening to spoken word.”  The story reports that Michaels is urging patience in assessing the Chicago station’s success offering the revealing explanation, “I think that we’re still in the process of revamping and finding the right approach.”   Seasoned talk media industry professionals know that Michaels is correct in his ongoing assertion that it takes time for a spoken word format to gain ratings traction.  However a larger question spawned of the times looms – in today’s PPM world in which listener loyalty and station image take a back seat to instantaneous, real-time listening, set against the backdrop of a very uncertain economy, and exacerbated by an impatient media’s hunger for the instantaneous results of a high-profile business launch, does Michaels have the time to bring his ambitious endeavor to fruition before his nervous investors start pressing the panic button?

Cumulus Watch: Bob Moore Out in Los Angeles.  KABC and KLOS-FM, Los Angeles general manager Bob Moore is out at the Cumulus stations and former Spanish Broadcasting System chief revenue officer Marko Radlovic rejoins the company he worked for almost a decade ago.  Radlovic resigned from his post at SBS on September 28 where he also served as senior vice president and general manager at the company’s two Los Angeles stations.

Townsquare Media Steals One from Cumulus.  Townsquare Media hires Matt Hanlon for the newly created position of vice president of sales in which he’ll oversee all aspects of the company’s sales efforts.  Hanlon leaves his Michigan-based position as regional vice president for Cumulus to join Townsquare.  He was an RVP for Citadel – now Cumulus – in charge of some 85 markets in the Midwest.

Beck, Ingraham, Levin and Bennett Featured Speakers at DC Summit.  The Values Voters Summit takes place this weekend at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC and joining numerous conservative speakers, Republican officeholders and most of the GOP presidential candidates are Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck, Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham, Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin and Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett.  The event is co-sponsored by a number of conservative action groups including the Family Research Council and the American Family Association  as well as conservative think tanks including The Heritage Foundation.

Bell Media Launches TSN Radio in Montreal and Winnipeg.  With a continued focus on local sports, The Team 990 in Montreal (CKGM) is being rebranded as TSN Radio 990 and Sports Radio 1290 in Winnipeg (CFRW) becomes TSN Radio 1290.  The stations debut just in time for the launch of the NHL season.  Both TSN stations promise to feature extensive live NHL hockey coverage with TSN Radio 990 airing Montreal Canadiens games and TSN Radio 1290 the home of the Winnipeg Jets.  Both stations are available nationally online at TSN.ca and on TSN Mobile.  The newly re-branded TSN Radio stations will work closely with Bell Media‘s market-leading all-sports radio stations in Vancouver and Ottawa.

Canada’s Radio Regulator Rules Broadcasters Must Identify Repeat Programs.  Acting after a complaint about a 2010 edition of the CFRB, Toronto program “Friendly Fire,” the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council recently ruled that repeat broadcasts of call-in shows must be identified as such.  The CFRB show in question was a repeat of a program that encouraged listeners to call in or text questions to program participants.  In its ruling, the CBSC wrote, in part: “At the very least, it would be courteous to the audience’s sensibilities to advise them that a program or an episode of a program is being repeated…Where, however, it is a part of the original broadcast that persons were invited to contact the station, as in any call-in show, the lack of courtesy in failing to advise listeners not to call becomes an inconvenience if not an annoyance.  Where, as in the matter at hand, listeners are invited, not just to call, but also to text the station, the inconvenience turns to expense.”

2012 GOP Candidates, ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ U.N. Syria Resolution and Bernanke Testimony Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/4).  The GOP candidates for the Republican nomination in 2012 – including Herman Cain’s rise in the polls, the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests, Russia and China’s veto of a U.N. resolution against Syria and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Old Friends.  Salem Radio Network’s “Morning in America” host Bill Bennett (r) and his producer Chris Beach (c) bump into presidential candidate Herman Cain (l) outside the Fox News Channel studios in New York City.  Cain, who hosted a talk radio program on WSB, Atlanta before giving up the show to run for office, had been a regular fill-in host for Bennett’s show.  Bennett told Cain he’s welcome back on the show anytime if his presidential campaign doesn’t end up victorious and Cain replied Bennett is welcome to visit him in the White House if he wins.