Tag: "Ben Hoberman"

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

| May 6, 2014

limbaughrushRush Limbaugh’s Camp Responds to Media Matters Piece.  The consumer media war against conservative talk radio – led by Media Matters for America – has, in general, not seen a lot of pushback from the program hosts themselves and the producers of the shows.  But Premiere Networks-syndicated Rush Limbaugh, the chief target of criticism, fired back at Media Matters after a piece by its senior fellow Eric Boehlert was published in The Huffington Post that proclaimed Limbaugh’s program a ratings failure in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York.  Limbaugh program spokesperson Brian Glicklich penned a response to Boehlert’s piece in which he takes Boehlert to task for, primarily, publishing the three stations’ weekly AQH numbers with the implication they are Limbaugh’s numbers before clarifying that later in his piece.  He then adds his statistics about changes in Limbaugh’s ratings on those outlets.  With just four months under his belt on these stations, one thing is for sure: Limbaugh is still the primary target for Media Matters and scrutiny of the these signals is something the industry will see a lot of over the next year or so.

sabowalterYou’re Here Because of Ben Hoberman.  The recent passing of Ben Hoberman – the architect of KABC-AM, Los Angeles’ talk format in the early 1960s – has caused some of the industry’s great thinkers to look back at what made KABC and Hoberman so successful.  Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo writes today in TALKERS (5/6) that Hoberman understood the basic premise behind great talk radio: It’s a show.  Sabo also says Hoberman followed a number of other prescriptions for success, including these two: He invested in new technology and he embraced fresh, often outrageous talent.  Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.

paiajitFCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Address AM Revitalization and Cross-Ownership Rules at PAB Meeting.  At the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters meeting in Hershey on Monday (5/5), FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai told the assembly that he wants to implement the workable aspects of the Commission’s AM revitalization program by the fall.  He told the gathering, “Small broadcasters and large broadcasters alike want to revitalize AM radio.  So do civil rights organizations and those favoring increased ownership diversity.  Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, the list goes on.  Indeed, I’ve been amazed by the chord that AM revitalization has struck throughout the United States.  When I made this proposal in September 2012, I never imagined the response we would receive…Time isn’t on the side of this grand old band, so let’s commit ourselves to getting this done by Halloween.  Our proposals will not be a panacea for the real problems confronting AM broadcasters.  But they will help.  For example, I’ve heard from numerous AM broadcasters desperate for FM translators.  That’s why we need to move forward with an FM translator window designed for AM broadcasters.  If the FCC acts soon, that window could open next year.  In addition to asking for comment in our NPRM on specific proposals, the Commission also solicited other ideas on how to improve the AM band, both in the short term and the long term.  And we received many suggestions from station owners, engineers, and listeners.  We need to sort through them and figure out which ones merit action and which ones need further study.  Beginning this summer, I plan to hold a series of meetings with stakeholders to discuss these proposals.  And I invite you to participate.  If you have an idea for revitalizing the AM band, don’t be shy. It’s not too late to tell us what you think.”  Regarding the cross-ownership rules, Pai is realistic about what can be accomplished, stating, “Unless the courts intervene, I see no prospect that the FCC will bring all of its media ownership rules into the 21st century in the next couple of years.  But I do see a glimmer of hope when it comes to the newspaper-radio ownership ban.  The Commission has signaled an openness to getting rid of this anachronism.  And as the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu put it, ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’”

wcpt logoNewsweb Radio to Change Programming on Two Chicago FMs.  The programming on two of the four stations currently airing Newsweb Radio’s progressive talk programming will cease and begin airing a Polish-language format under a time-brokerage deal.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the story and he reports WCPT-FM, Arlington Heights at 92.7 and WCPQ-FM, Park Forest at 99.9 will begin airing the Polski.FM-branded format on June 2.  Newsweb Radio president Charley Gross tells Feder the move will allow the company to focus progressive talk on its 820 AM flagship, 92.5 FM (which covers mainly the western suburbs and northwest Illinois) and its webstream while providing a source of revenue from the other two stations.

sagaSaga Communications Net Income Down 9%.  Although the company’s net operating revenue was up by 0.8% with $29,423,000 realized in the first quarter of 2014, net income for Saga Communications was down 9% from $2,949,000 in 2013 to $2,439,000 this year.  Saga’s long term debt dropped from $58,828,000 during the same period in 2013 to $46,078,000 in 2014.

millerstephanieOdds & Sods.  Changes in weekend programming at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KSFO, San Francisco put an end to Barbara Simpson’s weekly show…..Clear Channel adds a little FM strength to the market coverage of news/talk WRVA, Richmond.  The formerly dark translator W253BI, licensed to Glen Allen, Virginia at 98.5 FM, gives WRVA more potential coverage in the northern part of the market…..The “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” presented by WYD Media nationally syndicated talk media personality Stephanie Miller rolls into Albuquerque for a show at Popejoy Hall on Saturday, May 10.  Miller, along with fellow performers John Fugelsang and Carlos Alazraqui, will also do a show in Minneapolis on June 7.

sciannapaulScianna Named BRN Director of Communications & Marketing.  That is a brand new title for Bott Radio Network and the one landing it is Paul Scianna, founder/executive director of the first Missouri-based Family Policy Council associated with Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council.  Bott Radio Network president and chief executive officer Rich Bott states that, “This new role is consistent with the exciting growth of Bott Radio Network and will help facilitate our continuing expansion and use of new media platforms to better serve our listeners and broadcast ministry partners.  Paul has been a longtime friend of the Bott family, and he has a passion for the mission, vision, and values of BRN. Paul will have a key role in serving our listening audience, broadcast ministry partners and business sponsors, as well as engaging community leaders, pastors and our associates as we implement new ways to advance our vision of getting the word of God into the people of God.”  Scianna comments that he is “excited and humbled” to join BRN “at this point in the organization’s 52-year history.  Bott Radio Network has established a strong foundation on which we can build to fulfill its vision of broadcasting the timeless message of hope.”  Scianna previously was vice president of the college testing company ACT; manager of internal corporate communications for Sprint; and senior vice president of corporate and public affairs for the PR firm Fleishman Hillard.

wsjdealawardgroupEnjoying the Accolades.  The staff of The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “WSJ This Morning with Gordon Deal” poses with their Excellence in Financial Journalism Award received from the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) which recognizes reporters from the national and local press whose work was published, posted or broadcast in 2013 and contributed to a better and balanced understanding of business or financial topics.  The “WSJ This Morning” crew was honored with one of only 11 awards given by the organization for the program’s coverage of the government shutdown.  Pictured here (from left to right) are: Mike Gavin, Gina Cervetti, Deal (holding the award) and Dave Duncan.

Obama WH Correspondents’ Dinner Speech, Mid-Term Election Prognostications, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Rice Withdraws from Rutgers Speech, and Clean Air Act Battle Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/5).  Criticism of President Obama’s highly political speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner; the most recent polls indicating Democrats may suffer losses in the mid-term elections in November; continued aggression in Ukraine by pro-Russian forces; former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice withdraws from her speech at Rutgers University; and the political battle over the Obama Administration’s restrictions on power plant emissions as part of the Clean Air Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

First We Entertain: You’re Here Because of Ben Hoberman

| May 6, 2014

By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media
CEO

sabowriterNEW YORK — In the 1970s and early 80s KABC-AM, Los Angeles was the number 1 or 2
biller in America.  From its inception it was run by Ben Hoberman.

Meeting Mr. Hoberman was an event.  You made an appointment, no one just
walked in to his office.  The GM down the hall at KLOS made an
appointment.  Mr. Hoberman’s office was different than yours.  It was
crisp, immaculate and no-nonsense.  Just like Mr. Hoberman.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

| May 5, 2014

three eagles logoThree Eagles Communications to Sell Stations to Dean Goodman’s Digity.  The growing media portfolio of Dean Goodman continues to grow as his Palm Beach, Florida-based Digity Companies agrees to purchase Three Eagles Communications’ 48 stations in markets in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota.  Pending FCC approval, the transaction is expected to close during the third quarter.  Three Eagles founder and CEO Rolland Johnson says of the deal, “I think it is an excellent time to be buying stations.  Radio seems to have survived the perfect storm and shoulddigity come out stronger than ever.  While on the NAB Board with Dean Goodman 10 to 12 years ago, Dean talked about his vision of buying stations and rolling them up into a diversified company.  It is great to have a vision like Dean’s and to be able to follow through with it.  Dean is getting a group of hard-working people with award-winning stations who deserve a chance to participate in something as exciting as what Digity offers.  I congratulate him on an excellent purchase.”  Goodman comments, “Digity is on-air, online, on-demand, on-location, and on-the-go.  It connects today’s busy consumers with content they want, people they trust, products they enjoy and things that matter.  We are very pleased to have signed the Three Eagles purchase and Digity intends to continue to grow in all areas of its operations.”  Digity, through Palm Beach Broadcasting, operates four FM stations in the Palm Beach market.  GoodRadio.TV operates 26 radio stations in Midwestern markets.  Digity earlier this year purchased 33 radio stations from NextRadio and operates those stations in San Jose, Chicago, suburban Dallas, Saginaw, Canton, Greenville and Myrtle Beach.

limbaughrushRush Limbaugh Awards Grants in Essay Contest; Tennessee School Reacts.  The essay contest Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh conducted earlier in the 2013-14 school year has been completed with three schools receiving a package of books and a cash gift from Limbaugh and his wife Kathryn.  At Hawkins Elementary School in Rogersville, Tennessee, principal Barry Bellamy and first grade teacher Danee Collette are still reeling after receiving a shipment of books from Limbaugh that included American classics The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Where the Red Fern Grows as well as copies of his own bestseller Rush Revere and the New Patriots.  According to the Rogersville Review, Bellamy and Collette were even more shocked to receive a check for $15,000 to use as the school sees fit.  Collette tells the paper her father is a big Limbaugh fan and told her about the essay contest.  She dutifully wrote it and didn’t think much more about it until a Limbaugh staffer called to ask for a shipping address for the books.  Collette says the money will probably be used for white boards, desks and tables for the library.  She tells the paper, “This is so awesome!  I graduated last May, got a job here for the school year, and now this!”

hobermanreaganRemembering Ben Hoberman. Very briefly worded mentions of talk radio pioneer Ben Hoberman‘s passing dotted the internet Saturday and Sunday, but precise details regarding his death are not readily available.  What we do know though is that the longtime ABC Radio executive was 92 when he died on Saturday (5/3).  General consensus within the industry indicates that – with Hoberman at the helm in 1960 – Los Angeles’ KABC-AM was one of the first fulltime talk stations in the country – if not the first.  On John Rook‘s Facebook page, the well-known programmer posted that, “When all of the ABC-owned radio stations were introducing Top 40 programming, [Hoberman] envisioned a new kind of format featuring talk. KABC would become top-rated in Los Angeles for decades, a format that gave birth to KGO’s talk format in San Francisco.  His success elevated him to the presidency of ABC Radio.  Ben Hoberman was a role model for managing radio stations, a total gentleman, and one of the real class guys I have known.  My sincerest condolences to all who mourn his passing.”  In the early-1970s, John Mainelli was a 20-year-old NABET vacation-relief news writer for KABC and the talk radio consultant recounts, “I had just learned what ‘fortnight’ meant and decided to use it in a script the next chance I got.  Mr. Hoberman walked into the newsroom after [KABC morning drive talent] Bob Arthur read the story, saw my name on the filed script, dropped it on my desk and said, ‘If you mean two weeks ago, say it.’  That was ‘Mr. H’ – attention to detail and follow-through.”  Hoberman had been with ABC for close to 40 years, much of that time in Los Angeles, where he had been KABC-AM’s general manager.  He later was based in New York, running the network’s radio division, then consisting of six AM stations and six FM outlets, as well as syndicated programming as “American Top 40″ – then hosted by Casey Kasem.  Hoberman, ex-ABC-TV president Elton Rule, and several other investors attempted to raise enough money to take over the entire ABC Radio division.  Hoberman is pictured here at right in an undated photo with President Ronald Reagan.

russochrisSiriusXM’s Chris Russo Stirs Controversy Over Race on Sports Talk Radio.  The flashpoint for a controversy over race and radio was SiriusXM sports talk personality Chris “Mad Dog” Russo’s recent comment to a caller when asked about why there are no black sports talk hosts on his channel.  Russo replied that he has not found one “worthy of doing a national talk show.”  That started a social media flap.  In the New York Daily News’ coverage of the story, Bob Raissman reports that Russo was not apologizing for his comment and told his paper, “The idea that I wouldn’t hire a black talk show host, a Korean talk show host, or a talk show host from Mars is absurd.  If there is any person of any ethnicity who wants to get a job at ‘Mad Dog Radio’ and we feel he or she is capable of doing a national talk show at the highest level, I’d put them on in a second.  Let’s just say we are not being overwhelmed by resumes.”

sabowalterFive Simple Engagement Actions.  Media consultant Walter Sabo, in a column published today (5/5), writes that it’s very important for listeners to feel that your radio station is “special.”  Sabo notes, “It is so important to examine every single second of our programming in every format and ask, ‘How can this be better?’  Too much time is wasted on learning new rules from ‘corporate’ and new organizational structures.  If your company is ‘afraid’ of Pandora and other web companies, the solution is better programming.  It’s always better programming.  Fresh programming ideas come from external sources, solid research and by paying close attention to what audiences do.”  And with that in mind, Sabo offers five ways to better engage your audience.  Read his piece here.

wtmj logoJournal Broadcast Group’s News/Talk WTMJ and Adult Hits WLWK in Milwaukee Honored with WBA Awards.  In the large market category, Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ and adult hits WLWK were recently honored with Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Awards.  WTMJ won the following honors: News & Talk Station of the Year; News Operation of the Year; Best News & Talk Radio Show (AM drive) for “Wisconsin’s Morning News with Gene Mueller”; Best News & Talk Radio Show (9:00 am to 5:00 pm) for “Wisconsin’s Afternoon News with John Mercure”; Best Live On-Scene Reporting, Jodi Becker and the WTMJ News Team (Carroll University Lockdown); Best Spot News, Shooting at Children’s Hospital, WTMJ Radio News Team; Best Feature, “Preserving WWII History,” Erik Bilstad; Best Sportscast, Greg Matzek; Best Continuing Coverage, “Say it Ain’t So, Ryan Braun,” WTMJ Radio News & Sports Team; and Best Use of Audio, “Rain, Rain, Go Away,” Erik Bilstad.  WLWK was honored for: Best Newscast – Music Format, Lake Mornings with Danny Clayton, Vince Vitrano & Andi Miller; Best Promotional Announcement, “Free Fun Night Out,” “The Lake” staff; Best Commercial – Music Station, Flanners/Just Press Play – Jim Gilles; and Best Humorous Commercial Music Station Love Finds A Way – Jim Gilles.

waretreyKTSA, San Antonio Morning Host Trey Ware Mourns Death of 28-Year-Old Son.  At Alpha Media-owned talk outlet KTSA, San Antonio, Trey Ware has handled morning drive for the past 21 years – almost half of his broadcasting career.  But last week Ware and his wife Nancy suffered the devastating loss of their 28-year-old son Justin who died under circumstances that are being kept private at this time.  This is not the first such tragedy for the couple.  Ware and his wife lost their daughter Rebekah in 2009 at age 20.  In the San Antonio Express-News, writer Jeanne Jakle spoke with Ware who said, “We’re taking it day by day, minute by minute, that’s all we can do…They were the only two we had.  April is not a good month for us.  We want to expunge April from the calendar.”  Other KTSA staffers are sitting in for Ware during this time.  Local radio personality Adam McManus has subbed the past few days.

scba logoSCBA Goes on the Offensive in TV vs Radio Ad Spend.  If there’s a radio trade organization doing more to make the case for radio as an advertising vehicle, we’re not aware of it.  The Southern California Broadcasters Association has been very focused on consistently reaching out to the media to present radio’s case versus its competition and in this case, the competitor is TV.  The SCBA is releasing a white paper  titled, “Traditional Appointment Television’s Technology and Viewership Crisis,” and it zeroes in on the decline in appointment viewing replaced by on-demand viewing that largely allows consumers to skip through commercial sets.  SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “The imbalanced ratio of radio to TV ad spending in Southern California is completely unjustified when one looks closely at this SCBA report.  Traditional appointment television is under direct attack from a variety of technology giants such as Google TV, Netflix, Amazon TV, YouTube, Hulu, as well as the ominous DVR.”  Callahan says the report goes on to show that “radio remains the only real time medium with no tape delay or commercial skipping.”  He adds, “Southern California Radio has grown its listenership of Adults 18+ over the past six years by an impressive 7.4% while local general market TV viewership has spiraled downward by -6.5% for early fringe programming and -8.5% for any local news.  We are urging every general market TV advertiser to look at their ad spending and decide if they want to invest in the power of radio and our solid growth trends and commanding reach in Southern California vs. the eroding viewership of traditional appointment TV.”

katzvalleypatriotawardJeff Katz Honored with Journalism Award.  Multi-media personality Jeff Katz was honored recently with an Editor’s Choice Award for his column that appears in the New England-based publication The Valley Patriot.  Katz currently is host of the afternoon drive show at Clear Channel-owned news/talk WRVA, Richmond.  He also writes for the Boston Herald and self-syndicates the nationally distributed “Katz Commentary.”  He is also a public speaker having delivered keynote addresses all over the country.  Katz tells TALKERS all of his media ventures embrace his unique philosophy of life, “Not Left. Not Right. Just Real.”  Katz (left) is pictured here accepting his Editor’s Choice Award from The Valley Patriot publisher Tom Duggan (right).

dickeylewWHcorresSharp-Dressed Men.  The annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner took place in Washington, DC on Saturday evening (5/2) and there was no shortage of media players at the who’s who of news and politics gathering.  Pictured here are (from left to right): Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey; ABC News president James Goldston; and ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve JonesPhoto by Jay Snap, LaDexon Photographie.

A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio

| December 27, 2011

A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio. One of the many highlights of the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (October 20) was the presentation of the first-ever Talkers Lifetime Achievement Award to LARadio.com publisher and noted radio historian Don Barrett followed by his brilliant presentation of “A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio.” In the speech, Barrett describes growing up in the beach communities of Southern California and being raised on the great rock ‘n’ roll and top 40 stations of the 1950s. He traces the roots of LA talk radio back to Ben Hoberman’s early experiments with all-talk at KABC in the 1960s and follows the richly colorful route of the format all the way through the decades to present-day juggernaut that is KFI, including fascinating details about the personalities who brought it to life.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

| December 21, 2011

A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio.  One of the many highlights of the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (October 20) was the presentation of the first-ever Talkers Lifetime Achievement Award to LARadio.com publisher and noted radio historian Don Barrett followed by his brilliant presentation of “A Brief History of Los Angeles Talk Radio.”  In the speech, Barrett describes growing up in the beach communities of Southern California and being raised on the great rock ‘n’ roll and top 40 stations of the 1950s.  He traces the roots of LA talk radio back to Ben Hoberman’s early experiments with all-talk at KABC in the 1960s and follows the richly colorful route of the format all the way through the decades to present-day juggernaut that is KFI, including fascinating details about the personalities who brought it to life.  To see this not-to-be-missed exclusive video presentation, click here.

Former KGO, San Francisco Hosts Gene Burns and Len Tillem to Join Clear Channel Bay Area Station; New Lineups for KNEW and KKSF Announced.  The program schedules for Clear Channel’s Bay Area talk stations are official a month after the company announced it would swap calls, and change the image of progressive talk station KKGN.  As previously reported, the 960 AM frequency becomes KNEW and 910 AM will take the new call letters KKSF.  What’s new is that former crosstown KGO talk hosts Gene Burns and Len Tillem will become part of the lineup at the new Newstalk 910 (KKSF).  The program schedules for the revamped stations are as follows:  KNEW – Premiere Networks‘ Glenn Beck, 6:00 am to 9:00 am; Dave Ramsey, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Premiere‘s Randi Rhodes, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Compass Media Networks‘ Norman Goldman, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Market Wrap, 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Dial Global‘s Stephanie Miller, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm; Dial Global‘s Thom Hartmann, 10:00 pm to 1:00 am.  KKSF – Armstrong & Getty, 6:00 am to 9:00 am; to be announced, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Fox News Radio‘s Tom Sullivan, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Len Tillem, 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm; and Gene Burns, 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Regarding the changes, Clear Channel San Francisco director of operations Don Parker states, “Recent changes in the talk radio market gave us the opportunity to adjust our plans for 960 KNEW.  We are excited to broaden 960 KNEW’s position to appeal to a wider variety of Bay Area listeners…We are moving Newstalk 910 into the forefront of the talk genre in the Bay Area.  With the addition of Bay Area legend Gene Burns and ‘Radio Lawyer’ Len Tillem to the line-up, we are very excited about the future.”

Rumor:  Cumulus Planning FM Talk Flip in Twin Cities.  There’s no official word from the company but the talk is hot and heavy in the Minneapolis –St. Paul market that Cumulus Media will flip one of its music FMs to talk in 2012.  Cumulus owns classic rock KQRS-FM, active rock KXXR-FM and the classic hits trimulcast of WGVX-FM, WGVY-FM and WGVZ-FM which surround the market.  Both the rock stations have done pretty well in the latest Arbitron PPMs so a lot of the chatter has the lower-rated classic hits “Love 105FM” making the switch.  Stay tuned.

Wisconsin Public Radio Talk Host Jean Feraca to Retire.  The 28-year veteran of Wisconsin Public Radio announces she’ll retire in March from the organization she’s worked at since 1983.  Jean Feraca tells the Wisconsin State Journal, “It’s just time.”  Speaking to the paper, she hinted at job cuts that clearly have affected her work environment.  “I lost everybody in my team earlier this year, and it’s been difficult.  This is sensitive stuff and I have to think it through.”

Unresolved Payroll Tax Issue/Congress Recesses, Post-Kim Jong Il North Korea, 2012 Presidential Race and Uncertain Financial Markets Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/20).  Congress’ failure to extend the payroll tax cut and its leaving for holiday break, concern over a post-Kim Jong Il North Korea, the GOP race for president in 2012 and the down year for stocks and the ongoing euro zone debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing TALKERS magazine research.