By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — There’s simply nothing groundbreaking about naysayers writing an obituary for AM radio.
This facet of the medium was supposed to be killed years ago by television and FM, or most recently by satellite radio, the internet, or time in general.
Many who claim AM radio has already passed away also choose to believe that all of terrestrial radio is a ghost or soon will be, but that’s another story entirely.
It would be ridiculous to the point of one existing in extreme denial and/or total lunacy to foolishly proclaim AM radio has never been in better shape, but at the same time, despite its plethora of detractors – the AM band is not in the morgue just yet, either.
An AM radio-geared item that appeared in yesterday’s TALKERS (Wednesday, 12/7) struck a nerve.
Quoting from the TALKERS story, “The Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council is presenting what it calls 12 imperatives to the Trump Administration that ‘address the persistent challenges in closing the digital divide, and advancing multicultural commercial ownership opportunities to create voices and participation in the telecommunications industry.’ Of those 12 imperatives, #12 is ‘Create a Glide Path for the Short-Term Survival and Long-Term Humane Decommissioning of the AM Band in a Manner that Preserves Minority Ownership.’ It states, in part, that the FCC’s future policies ‘should facilitate the preservation of AM radio’s program services when the AM band disappears.’”
A link was provided that included the 12 imperatives and two lines, in particular, jumped out (just as the last five words above did): “AM listenership is on a steep decline, and AM radio stations are feeling the brunt of it. Realistically, AM may disappear in 30 years or less.”
That could very well be the case, although we might note that roughly 30 years ago, AM Stereo was being called the only salvation for AM operators. There are some rare exceptions (see below) but music on AM radio generally did not make it, whereas spoken-word on that band continues to be viable in many markets as we head into 2017.
As far as the revenue side is concerned, according to BIA/Kelsey, four of radio’s top ten 2015 billing properties were AM stations. They are CBS Radio New York all-news WCBS-AM (#5, $45 million); co-owned, similarly-formatted WBBM-AM, Chicago (#6, $43.8 million); all-news New York sibling WINS (#9, $39.5 million); and iHeartMedia talker KFI, Los Angeles (#10, $37.8 million).
It is true the aforementioned stations are from the top three markets, but at the same time, AM stations do in fact comprise 40% of the top ten list of the country’s highest billers.
Extremely curious to see the true temperature of AM radio, we isolated stations that finished in the top 15 in all 48 Nielsen Audio PPM-markets KFI (November 2016, 6+).
Results appear below and it’s a pretty healthy list, with the lone hard-and-fast rule being only Nielsen Audio subscribers are allowed to be in print.
It should also be noted that some of these AM stations have an FM partner, but in all cases, the primary Nielsen Audio ratings listing is the AM.
Beck Ordered to Identify Two Confidential Sources. In a ruling Tuesday (8/9), U.S. district court judge Patti Saris determined Glenn Beck must divulge the names of two sources cited for comments responsible for the Premiere Networks host to be sued for defamation and slander by a student falsely accused in early reports of involvement in the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. The suit against Beck was filed by Abdulrahman Alharbi, a Saudi Arabian student who Beck claims was the “money man” behind those bombings. He called Alharbi a terrorist – although then-secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said publicly that Alharbi had been questioned about the bombings and he was cleared. Judge Saris categorized testimony about the sources’ information by Beck, producer Joe Weasel, and former The Blaze executive Joel Cheatwood “vague and often contradictory.” She further noted that documents supplied to the court did not validate the story Beck’s people say they were told. On his radio show yesterday (Wednesday, 8/10), Beck emphasized protecting the identities of sources is a longtime First Amendment tradition. The sources, he maintains, are at risk of being killed by “our government or our politicians or political institutions.” Beck, however, was victorious on the issue of applying Massachusetts law – not Texas law – to the case. For that reason, punitive damages will not be awarded. Saris dismissed a claim about another Beck comment that the judge determined applied to the bombers – Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
WPRT Slots “Jared & The GM” in PM Drive. The weekday 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm pairing by Cromwell Group Nashville sports outlet WPRT “ESPN 102.5 The Game” of Jared Stillman and former Tennessee Titans general manager Floyd Reese (“Jared & The GM”) starts next Monday (8/15). Stillman – who will be transitioning from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon – comments, “We have taken great strides to give the city of Nashville the best sports product and have had a lot of fun doing it. We have an unbelievable team and I am absolutely thrilled to be working with Floyd Reese, who is an amazing [football] general manager and a great host – but most importantly – an even better person.” Reese – who moves over from being a “Sports Night” co-host – remarks, “I am really looking forward to our show. Jared was born and raised in Nashville and has been following Nashville sports his whole life. He is extremely passionate about sports and talk radio. As a sidelight, it’ll be a tremendous look at two generations: the baby-boomers, the finest generation ever produced, as well as millennials, who produced Pokémon Go.” Reese is obviously a baby-boomer, while Stillman is a millennial. In Nielsen Audio‘s July 2016 PPM sweep, “The Game” ranks #21 (1.0, 6+), while cross-town format competitor – Cumulus Media‘s WGFX “104.5 The Zone” – is #12 (3.7, 6+); Midwest Communications adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9” is on top with an 8.2 (6+).
Kellogg Transfers to Cumulus Fort Walton Beach as OM. Inbound from Columbia, Missouri where he was operations manager for Cumulus Media Columbia-Jefferson City the past 12 years, Chris Kellogg relocates to Fort Walton Beach for similar duties at the company’s five-station Florida cluster. Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete De Simone states, “The addition of Chris to our team will afford us the additional focus we need to continue to grow our ratings and revenue. We are excited to have the collective firepower of this dynamic programming team at work for our brands, listeners, and advertisers.” Kellogg comments, “Pete has created a terrific atmosphere to foster radio excellence. I appreciate his confidence in me and I am excited to collaborate with the programming team.” The Cumulus Media Fort Walton Beach cluster consists of talk WFTW; WKSM “99 Rock”; adult contemporary WNCV “Coast 93.3”; country WYZB “Nash FM”; and CHR WZNS “Z-96.” In addition to his OM duties, Kellogg will program WNCV and WFTW, as well as co-host mornings (with Lisa Captain) on WNCV. He succeeds Hayden Green, who continues programming “Z-96” as he has done the past 16 years and is the station’s afternoon drive talent; Green has been with the cluster the past 23 years.
Neuhoff Names Shamus VP/Programming & Content. Seven-year Neuhoff Communications Lafayette, Indiana operations manager Mike Shamus (“Shamus”) is appointed to the newly created position of corporate vice president of programming & content. Neuhoff Communications chief executive officer Beth Neuhoff comments, “‘Shamus’ is a tremendous talent – a proven manager and leader with a great vision for growing and improving the Neuhoff product lineup. We are confident he will take ‘Media Made Locally’ to a whole new level.” Chief operating officer Mike Hulvey remarks, “We knew we had a rare opportunity to capitalize on Shamus’ vision for connecting with our audiences in meaningful and engaging ways. With our recent expansion, ‘Shamus’ is the guy to motivate and inspire our content and programming teams to create the best local media.” According to “Shamus,” The Neuhoff stations “are truly connected to the communities we serve. Knowing I can enhance that local audience relationship will truly solidify our position as the most important source of information and entertainment in the region.” Neuhoff owns 23 properties in five markets: Bloomington, Danville, Decatur, and Springfield (all Illinois) and Lafayette (Indiana). In addition to his operations manager duties, “Shamus” does morning drive (“Shamus & Annie”) on Neuhoff Lafayette’s WKOA “Lafayette’s Country Leader K-105.”
Odds & Sods. Former Greater Media-owned WMGC, Detroit sports talk host Sean Baligian will co-host Detroit Lions’ pre-game and post-game shows this football season on cross-town Cumulus Media talker WJR. Baligian will be teamed with WJR sports director Steve Courtney. The two see their first action together tonight (Thursday, 8/11) in the initial pre-season game as the Lions play the Pittsburgh Steelers ….. Theater columnist of The New York Post Michael Reidel joins Salem New York talker WNYM “970 The Answer” to host a Saturday 9:00 am – 10:00 am lifestyle show, “On The Town with Michael Riedel.” Vice president and general manager Jerry Crowley comments, “We are thrilled to have Michael on our team. We have a strong desire to support Broadway as the center point of the New York economy and Michael epitomizes both New York City and Broadway. He is going to add a unique quality to our station that is distinctly New York.” ….. McAllen talker KURV shifts Radio America‘s “The Dana Show” to 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. “She communicates the perfect mix of personality, entertainment, and uncompromising values for a new generation of talk listeners,” notes program director Sergio Sanchez.
Bob & Sheri Note Milestone Anniversary. Syndicated from Greater Media-owned flagship WLNK “107.9 The Link,” Charlotte – “Bob & Sheri” traveled to Hudson, New York to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their first affiliate, iHeartMedia hot AC WCTW “98.5 The Cat.” Left to right in front of the WCTW prize wheel are Sheri Lynch, WCTW’s Tina Chambers, “The Cat” operations manager Bill Williams, and Bob Lacey. “Bob & Sheri” now have more than 50 affiliates. Their show airs weekdays 5:00 am – 10:00 am on “The Cat.”
Matchmaker Titus Signs With KMG Networks. Plans are in place through KMG Networks’ Krantz Media Group to roll out a radio show next year featuring matchmaker, relationship/dating expert, and author Matt Titus. KMG Networks founder and chief executive officer Gary Krantz says, “The minute I saw Matt in action, we knew immediately that he is the guy to step up and take the job that has been open in radio for years – that of the ultimate national relationship expert for today’s high tech, mobile listeners, appealing to both men and women. We are excited to launch Matt on radio, streaming, and podcasting through our new talent division and watch him soar.” At first, Titus will be available as a guest to stations on a market-exclusive basis through KMG. Among the stations on which he has already appeared are the morning shows of iHeartMedia Detroit CHR WKQI “Channel 95-5; co-owned classic rock WBGG “Big 105.9,” Miami; and Lotus Communications-owned KLPX “Tucson’s Real Classic Rock.” Titus’ television credits include Lifetime‘s 2009 reality show “Matched in Manhattan” and NBC-TV’s “The Match Off.” In addition, he has written “Why Hasn’t He Called?” and “Why Hasn’t He Proposed?” Earlier this year, KMG Talent, in association with Sungate Partners, launched “Always in Fashion” with Mark Weber.
Burns Fumes Over Nielsen’s Pending Policies. In a letter he sent yesterday (Wednesday, 8/10) to the FCC, the Nielsen Company, and the Federal Trade Commission, 3 Daughters Media chief executive officer Gary Burns addressed several issues including his opposition to the way radio stations are counted in specific markets and total line reporting. Nielsen has told subscribers total line reporting will be available only to qualified subscribers “in good standing.” Burns – who owns and operates eight stations in Virginia – writes, “I have strongly disagreed with the Commission’s policy of outsourcing its responsibility for defining radio markets to two commercial enterprises, Nielsen Ratings and BIA/Kelsey. Under a new Nielsen policy, only clients of Nielsen will be able to dictate how many stations an entity can actually own. Subscribers already dictate what counties are home to the metro. If this proposed new Nielsen rule stands, it seems that the Commission will be required to find a new method of determining how many stations are home to a metro. I respectfully request that the Commission weigh in on this policy and [ask] that Nielsen delay implementation of their new policy in order to insure that station counts are accurate, consistent, and to avoid unintended consequences of this new policy.”
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — It was revealed three months ago (TALKERS, 3/30) that Hubbard Broadcasting-owned news outlet WTOP, Washington (D.C.) was the country’s leading biller last year (2015).
Further data from BIA/Kelsey noted that three other all-news facilities placed in the top ten: WCBS-AM, New York at #5; Chicago sibling WBBM-AM (#6); and co-owned WINS, New York at #9.
Given that the exceptionally intriguing, highly-charged presidential contest is about to enter the convention phase, we thought it was an appropriate time to present a thorough overview of all-news stations to see how the format performed in PPM-markets in the most recent (May 2016) ratings period.
The following scoreboards list every news station that appears in a PPM-market report (6+, May 2016); there are no minimum ratings criteria for this particular overview.
Nielsen Audio only releases audience estimates for stations that subscribe to its services; owing to that reason, ratings stats in this exclusive TALKERS analysis are limited to outlets that pay Nielsen Audio for its data.
KRLD-AM, Dallas; WBZ-AM, Boston; and KFBK, Sacramento are “news” most of the day and “talk” the remaining hours.
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — A news item posted yesterday (TALKERS, Wednesday, 3/30) indicated that Hubbard Broadcasting-owned news outlet WTOP, Washington (D.C.) reigns as the country’s leading biller for 2015.
Further data from BIA/Kelsey notes that three other all-news facilities placed in the top ten: WCBS-AM, New York at #5; Chicago sibling WBBM-AM (#6); and co-owned WINS, New York at #9.
As a follow-up, and especially in light of the exceptionally intriguing, highly-charged presidential contest, we present a thorough overview to see how news stations performed in PPM-markets in the most recent (February 2016) ratings period.
Facilities that rank in the top 20 in a PPM market (6+, February 2016) comprise the following news scoreboards.
Nielsen Audio only releases audience estimates for stations that subscribe to its services; owing to that reason, ratings stats in this exclusive TALKERS analysis are limited to outlets that pay Nielsen Audio for its data.
An asterisk (*) designates stations that are “news” most of the day and “talk” the remaining hours.
Bloomberg and CBS RADIO Partner to Make WNEW-FM, Washington into ‘Bloomberg Radio.’ A new agreement between CBS RADIO and Bloomberg results in the launch of “Bloomberg Radio” on WNEW-FM, Washington. The transition from CBS RADIO-programmed all-news to Bloomberg’s programming means the station will deliver “business and financial news along with non-partisan coverage of politics, policy, power, and influence to Washington, D.C.” The programming will also be heard on WJZ-HD2 at 105.7. In a press statement, Bloomberg says this deal “marks the launch of Bloomberg Radio on its first FM station. Led by Bloomberg’s Washington bureau and the company’s global news operation, Bloomberg 99.1 will draw upon the strength of reporting from 2,400 journalists in 150 news bureaus across 73 countries. Bloomberg News, one of the world’s leading financial news organizations, produces 5,000 stories a day and has received more than 800 awards since it was founded in 1990, including the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting.” The station will also air an audio simulcast of Bloomberg TV’s “With All Due Respect” with hosts Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. Global head of Bloomberg Television & Radio Al Mayers comments, “As we enter this critical election year, there’s no better time to introduce Bloomberg Radio to Washington. On the heels of recent expansions in Europe and Asia-Pacific, this launch marks an important step in our mission to extend the reach of Bloomberg Radio into the most important regions of the world. We will tap into the deep expertise of our Washington bureau to provide insights and analysis on policy and politics that listeners cannot easily find elsewhere.”
WABC, New York Names Rita Cosby Political Editor. This new title comes with expanded duties for Emmy-winning journalist Rita Cosby at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York. As political editor, Cosby will “cover the 2016 U.S. presidential race and other major political stories, bringing the freshest angles and key newsmakers to WABC Radio, including exclusive interviews with the most important and intriguing candidates.” WABC says Cosby will continue to host her eponymous Sunday morning show and will debut a new weekly election round-up show, “Election Central with Rita Cosby,” on Sunday, December 20, at 7:00 pm. Her first guests will include GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. She’ll oversee a weekly political column for “Election Central,” 77 WABC Radio’s weekly political e-newsletter, and contribute interviews to Westwood One News Network. WABC program director Craig Schwalb says, “Rita’s vast political experience and unparalleled access to the major political players continue to make her a huge asset to 77 WABC in this expanded position.”
BIA/Kelsey Releases 2016 Local Media and Advertising Predictions. Advertising and marketing research and advisory firm BIA/Kelsey is releasing its predictions about local media advertising for 2016. The company says that this report “contains more than 20 predictions for the year ahead, offering insights for BIA/Kelsey’s key coverage areas, including mobile, social media, online media, search, online video, programmatic advertising, software, print media, small-business marketing, local media sales, broadcast media, publishing and the on-demand economy. As a teaser, the firm offers its Top 10 predictions (the whole report can be purchased) for 2016. The Top 10 highlights selected nuggets on the impact on local media and advertising by millennials, mobile payments, Facebook, Google, data-driven ad sales, yellow pages, ad attribution, programmatic advertising, the on-demand economy and online video. Some of the highlights investigated in the report include predictions that: Millennials will drive the next wave of marketing innovation; data-driven local ad sales becomes the new normal; the march of programmatic continues; and more. See more here.
‘Mike & Mike’ to Be Inducted into NAB Broadcasters Hall of Fame. At the NAB Show Radio Luncheon in Las Vegas next April 19, Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg, hosts of ESPN Radio’s daily morning show “Mike & Mike,” will be inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame. The program celebrate its 15th anniversary in March of this year. NAB EVP of Radio John David comments, “Golic and Greenberg, with their mix of sports savvy and humor, have been informing and entertaining fans for more than 15 years. The two have seamlessly combined their passion for sports with radio, and we are honored to add them to our distinguished Hall of Fame.”
Michael Medved Discusses His Battle Overcoming Throat Cancer and Other Compelling Issues. Nationally syndicated Salem Radio Networks talk star Michael Medved gets “Up Close and Far Out” with Michael Harrison on the new installment of the hit PodcastOne series posted today (12/15). In a touching, candid conversation, Medved talks about his battle against throat cancer this past year that threatened not only his voice, but his life as well – including how it opened a whole new vista of understanding and appreciation to his thought processes and philosophy. In addition, Medved and Harrison talk about Donald Trump and his impact upon the Republican Party and the conservative movement in America. They also get into a broader conversation about Medved’s alternate career as a movie critic including the role he played in bringing awareness of Ed Wood’s “Plan 9 from Outer Space” to historic infamy as the worst picture of all time. To listen to this not-to-be-missed media freaks’ delight in its entirety please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player boxes located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
KGMZ, San Francisco Adds FOX Sports Radio Programming. San Francisco sports talk outlet KGMZ “95.7 The GAME” is adding FOX Sports Radio show to its program schedule. The Entercom sports talker will add the Ben Maller show to its late-night daypart airing from 11:00 pm to 3:00 am as well as “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North” airing from 3:00 am to 6:00 am. Additionally, KGMZ is airing FOX Sports Radio weekend programming from personalities including: Anthony Gargano, Lincoln Kennedy, Michael Harmon, Jason McIntyre and others.
2016 Presidential Race/GOP Debate Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 14-18. The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and Tuesday’s GOP primary debate tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 were the terror threats school districts including New York, Los Angeles, and Houston received. Coming in at #3 was the battle against Islamic State, followed by the U.S.’ refugee and immigration policies at #4. 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. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
The State of Women on Talk Radio: Part 1. Today (11/2), TALKERS magazine begins presenting a multi-part story looking at the status of women on talk radio in 2015. Written by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, it addresses one of the most-asked questions TALKERS editors hear: Why aren’t there more women on talk radio? Before attempting to provide answers to that and other relevant questions, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison explains that when we say “talk radio” in this instance, we’re speaking about “political news/talk” radio. “Over the years, the popular sub-genre of ‘political news/talk’ radio has hijacked the broader term ‘talk radio’ in the minds of many. This is unfortunate because there are other viable forms of talk radio out there beyond traditional ‘news/talk’ – and the potential for expansion into even more realms of pertinent topicality is huge.” In this first part, KFI and KEIB, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci begins to answer the question from her perspective as a veteran programmer. “News/talk originally evolved around men who were primarily doing political talk. Many women are not into that. It’s not that they don’t care about politics or have strong opinions, but the divisiveness of that style can be off putting to many women. So, more men listening leads to more male-oriented talk which leads again to more men listening.” Read the entire piece here.
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagship Stations. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a final look at the performances of stations serving as flagships for Major League Baseball franchises based on ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey. Since this report is not based on ratings from actual game time dayparts, it reflects the overall movement of a station with baseball listening as one possible factor. In this report, see charts illustrating the AQH shares of stations from September 2015 to October 2015, from October 2014 to October 2015, as well as the market ranks and how the flagships stacked up based on MLB divisions. Click here for the full report.
iHeartMedia Gives KOA, Denver FM Simulcast. There’s no longer an FM simulcast for Marco Broadcasting’s pot-themed classic rocker KBUD, Golden, Colorado “Smokin’ 94.1.” iHeartMedia is buying Marco Broadcasting’s FM translator K231BQ, Golden for $950,000 and it immediately begins airing the signal of the company’s Denver news/talk KOA. The news was announced during yesterday’s Denver Broncos pre-game show. iHeartMedia says in a press release, “The new 94.1 FM signal covers the Denver area. 850 AM is one of the most powerful stations in North America, and will continue to reach areas well beyond Colorado’s Front Range. In the coming weeks, KOA NewsRadio will expand its coverage on 94.1 FM in Boulder, resulting in full market coverage of 94.1 FM in the Denver-Boulder metropolitan area.”
Frank Vulpi Named Market Manager for Cumulus Media Westchester. Radio management pro Frank Vulpi joins Cumulus Media as vice president/market manager for the company’s Westchester, New York radio stations. Vulpi comes to Cumulus from his most recent post as a sales executive with Bloomberg, LP. Prior to joining Bloomberg, Vulpi was VP/GM at United Stations Radio Networks. On his new position, Vulpi states, “It’s an exciting time to be a part of Cumulus Media. The company’s depth and breadth of offerings and creative solutions are well positioned to serve the interests of our advertising partners. I am very impressed with and fortunate to be associated with a team of high integrity managers who are concerned with the positive career growth of their team members.”
Sean Hannity Packs Vegas Casino for Live Event. The Premiere Networks-syndicated talk radio and cable TV superstar was in Las Vegas last Friday doing his show from affiliate KDWN “News Talk 720.” Later that evening Sean Hannity filled the Orleans Casino Showroom with fans during the “An Evening With Sean Hannity” live event. The musical guests for the program included Lee Greenwood and Craig Campbell. Pictured here at the KDWN studios are (from l-r): KDWN morning host Chad Forster, KDWN PD John Shaffer, Hannity and KDWN morning host Dave Carney.
BIA/Kelsey: Total Local Advertising Revenue to Grow 3.75% in 2016. Details from the annual advertising forecast from BIA/Kelsey will be presented at the company’s Future of Local Digital Media conference in Los Angeles in December. Meanwhile, it says it is forecasting total local advertising revenue in the U.S. to reach $146.6 billion next year – up from $141.3 billion this year. Online/digital revenue will grow to $42.6 billion in 2016, representing 29.1% of total local media revenue, up from $38 billion in 2015. BIA/Kelsey says the “power brew” of mobile, social and video are the categories fueling growth in the local online/digital segment. BIA/Kelsey chief economist Mark Fratrik states, “Mobile is the primary force behind the continuing increase in digital advertising, largely driven by social advertising. Mobile spending is growing faster than expected, cutting into the growth of other online advertising. For example, online spending on ads viewed through desktops is still increasing, but overall only at single digit growth rates as more of the attention of consumers and advertisers alike shifts to mobile. Local video spending on all platforms — mobile, online, TV over-the-air, cable and out-of-home — will grow, along with local video’s slice of the local advertising pie.”
Longtime WOND, Atlantic City Talk Host Pinky Kravitz Dies at 88. The broadcaster known as “Mr. Atlantic City” died on Saturday (10/31) at the age of 88. Pinky Kravitz had worked as a talk host at Longport Media’s WOND, Atlantic City since 1958. He had missed his first ever air shift back in May after undergoing open heart surgery. Kravitz chose to retire from WOND in August due to ongoing health issues. New Jersey Broadcasters Association president Paul Rotella says in a statement, “Long before there was a Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity there were broadcasters like our friend Pinky Kravitz, who kept the talk radio format alive and well and indeed vibrant for five decades, thus paving the way for the great talk radio resurgence we witness today. Legendary broadcasters like Pinky led the way in providing radio audiences with a rich and compelling listening experience. In the best tradition of broadcast – live and local – Pinky had an engaging warmth with his audience that transcended the airwaves, which he did almost every day for over half a century.”
Lawyer, Senator, Actor and Talk Host Fred Thompson Dead at 73. Although he was best known to most Americans as the fictitious district attorney Arthur Branch on the “Law & Order” franchise, Fred Thompson also worked in spoken-word radio. His first career was as an attorney. He served three terms as a Republican U.S. Senator from Tennessee. His radio work began in 2006 when he began with ABC Radio Networks filling in for Paul Harvey. He joined Westwood One as a talk show host in 2009, taking over the time slot formerly held by Bill O’Reilly’s “The Radio Factor.” That gig ended in 2011. Thompson died Sunday (11/1) from complications from a recurrence of lymphoma. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian spoke with Thompson twice for profile pieces. Read Kinosian’s story here.
Louisville Talk Host Joe Elliott’s WGTK ‘970 AM The Answer’ Program Cancelled. After five years on Salem Media Group-owned WGTK, Louisville, Joe Elliott’s program was cancelled by management. Elliott hosted the 8:00 am to 11:00 am program and announced his exit via Twitter. Elliott previously worked in the market hosting the evening program at iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WHAS.
Odds & Sods. In Minnesota, Hubbard adds KBUN-FM, Blackduck as a simulcast to sister sports talk KBUN-AM, Bemidji which carries the Fan Radio Network programming based at iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis…..Former WUCS, Hartford and Maxim Radio host Michael Bower is sitting in for Andy Slater on iHeartMedia’s sports talk WINZ, Miami today from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET…..Actor Danny Trejo was a guest on “Business Rockstars” recently speaking with host Ken Rutkowski about his new venture – a restaurant called Trejo’s Tacos…..The Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame announces next May’s Class of 2016 inductees. The board of directors and the advisory council have chosen: Harry Chapman, Warren Medley, Dave Overton, Aaron B. Robinson Sr., Charlie Scott and Cal Young Jr. for the next class…..Boston University-owned news WBUR-FM, Boston’s names Anthony Brooks the NPR-affiliate station’s new senior political correspondent.
Former Connecticut Governor and WTIC, Hartford Talk Host Found Guilty of Campaign Law Violations. He’d already served 10 months in prison for a 2004 conviction on corruption charges when CBS RADIO’s news/talk WTIC, Hartford hired John Rowland to host a daily afternoon drive radio talk show. Now, after Friday’s conviction on seven counts of campaign finance law violations, it appears that Rowland is likely headed back to prison. Sentencing is scheduled for December 12 but his attorneys plan to appeal. According to the Hartford Courant’s account, Rowland, who resigned from WTIC in April just before being indicted on the charges, chose not to take a plea deal for 18 months jail time and tested his luck with the jury. It didn’t work as the jury found him guilty of all charges related to his scheme to consult a Republican political candidate in 2012 and hide the fact that he was accepting the cash for those purposes. Read Edmund Mahony’s Courant story here.
Local On-Air Talent CAN Become Indispensable. Media consultant Holland Cooke revisits (and expands upon!) the point he made the “pages” of TALKERS four years ago that “if you’re in RADIO, you’re in SALES” in a column published today (9/22). It’s easy to pick apart the effectiveness of another medium’s advertising components but radio must look in the mirror for, as Cooke writes, criticism of a lot of radio’s not-so-great spots is justified because “at many stations, including some in major markets, there’s no creative department. Reps write their own copy, a task that’s not sellers’ core competency.” Effectiveness is directly related to quality, so how to up the quality? Cooke offers some suggestions and you can check them out here.
Consultant Fred Jacobs Encourages Radio Talent to Learn and Exploit Expanded Array of Available Media Tools. Reaction and commentary continues to buzz throughout the industry on the topic of the role of the aural media arts (non-visual radio and music) in the increasingly multi-media/visual environment of the digital era – instigated largely last week by comments made by TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison in the aftermath of the Clear Channel name/branding change to iHEARTMEDIA. According to Harrison, “I am delighted by the enormous number of responses – mostly overwhelmingly positive – that my comments sparked. Of course, there were those who immediately jumped to the conclusion that I am against the word ‘media’ or that I do not believe radio should be involved in internet, satellite or visual media at all. This is, of course, preposterous! The name of our company that owns TALKERS is Talk Media, Inc.; the name of our convention was the New Media Seminar way back in 1998; TALKERS magazine’s slogan is The Bible of Talk Radio and the New Talk Media; I have championed a concept known as “The Media Station” for more than a decade and the list goes on. All I am saying is we should remain sensitive and respectful to the idea that there is a very important place in this emerging mix for pure audio-only radio and music in terms of the fundamentals of these processes – and that by doing so, we will be serving the best interests of our industry, the people who work in it and the consumers who love radio and music on their basic terms.” Harrison continues, “My friend, noted radio consultant/researcher Fred Jacobs, CEO of Jacobs Media, — also an industry voice who is outspoken on this most compelling issue — has written and posted a blog today (9/22) that I believe adds an important dimension to the subject that warrants attention. Jacobs makes a case, somewhat counterpoint (but not contradictory) to mine, that I find inspirational.” In the blog, Jacobs writes, “I started thinking about this notion that the proliferation of screens will narrow the field for talkers, DJs, and hosts who are great with words, but not so wonderful visually. As he [Michael Harrison] notes, screens of all sizes are becoming dominant parts of how people consume media. Thankfully, radio has been able to participate on most of those screens, whether on smartphones or tablets. Over time as autonomous driving becomes more common, those who ride in these cars will gravitate to entertainment that is visual in origin – at least at a higher percentage than they are able to consume now while dangerously texting and driving. So is this the beginning of the end for radio, or is it simply the beginning of the beginning? Because as we have explored in this blog during the past few years, disruption forces old stars to adapt while bringing new ones to the center stage. Notably, two of the “Best Motion Picture” Oscars in just the past few years have focused on this topic. The King’s Speech starring Colin Firth was a story about changing technology, as the King of England was forced to learn how to communicate on the radio. Of course, he struggled, but in the end he was able to adapt. And in The Artist, the film’s silent film star refused to adapt to ‘talkies’ and is eventually displaced by a new brand of movie icons. Change is uncomfortable and it can be bitter, as depicted in this amazing film. The ending eventually become a happy one, but the road was arduous and difficult because of the tech disruption caused by the advent of movie sound. Change is hard, especially for those who have enjoyed the status quo. It tests everyone in all strata of the organization and the industry. Accepting, adapting, and adjusting is hard work. It can be quite uncomfortable in workplaces that were once always fun and even kind of easy. But these are the necessary skills that radio people need to exude in order to make the transition. We see signs of this every day in broadcast radio. Those who have the ability to connect with audiences – in person and in social spaces – have a unique edge. The old paradigm of the DJ hermit, locked down the hall in the air studio, is breaking apart. Today’s air talent need to be able to mix it up with listeners, clients, and community leaders. Not every film star is handsome. The public appreciates an interesting face, whether it’s Peter Dinklage on Game of Thrones or Linda Hunt on NCIS. They may be exceptions, but they stand out because they’re different, captivating, and worthy of our attention. They’re also immensely talented actors. And the same will be the case on the radios of the future. While good-looking DJs like Ryan Seacrest or Bobby Bones may have inherent advantages, Howard Stern proves that must-hear content trumps a pretty face. And he’s not alone. Words matter, and they will continue to in a media ecosphere that is now dominated by visuals. Screens or not, it’s the thought that counts. These are changes that radio need to roll with. Let’s open up new visual doors, new avenues, and new paths for our content. And let’s embrace them because it’s truly a media world.” To read Fred Jacobs’ entire blog, please click here.
Radio Management Pro Warren Named VP/MM for Cumulus Nashville. Jumping from the Austin cluster of Entercom where she was director of sales and taking on the vice president and market manager role at Cumulus Media Nashville is Allison Warren. Cumulus SVP Jeff Brown comments, “Allison was a key part of my team in Denver some years back. She did great work there and has since built a portfolio of successes in vibrant radio markets including Austin, Madison and Milwaukee. Her results-driven, collaborative leadership style will infuse our Nashville operations with the energy and focus needed at this pivotal point in the cluster’s growth. Allison will be an incredible asset to Cumulus’ leadership team.” Warren also served with Entercom at its Madison and Milwaukee clusters as well as with CBS RADIO in Denver. Cumulus operates six stations in the market including news/talk WWTN-FM “SuperTalk 99.7,” sports talker WGFX “104.5 The Zone,” as well as the Tennessee Titans Radio Network.
Cross Platform Media Acquires IRN/USA Radio Network. The president and CEO of Cross Platform Media, Sam Hassell, says the acquisition of IRN/USA Radio Network “rounds out the services of Cross Platform that is already deeply embedded in the national media space.” Hassell continues, “We are very excited to make this announcement. We look forward to fulfilling the original vision of USA Radio Network by providing audience-engaging news and content to the independent and group station owners around the country.” Christian and conservative broadcast pioneer Marlin Maddoux launched the USA Radio Network in 1985 and Hassell adds, “We are very respectful of the Maddoux legacy and proud to continue syndicating ‘Point of View,’ ‘Daybreak USA,’ IRN/USA News and so many other significant programs.” IRN/USA Radio Network currently produces and/or distributes more than 20 nationally syndicated radio programs with audience-targeted formatting primarily for news/talk and Christian radio (both commercial and non-commercial).
BIA/Kelsey Forecast for 2015 Local Media Revenue: Up 1.6%. But, of course, the increase comes as beneficial for those in the online/digital media realm (+13.1%) and, not surprisingly, traditional media is expected to see another dip (-1.7%). BIA/Kelsey is presenting these results and more at its Leading in Local: SMB Digital Marketing conference in New Orleans this week. The company predicts that in 2015, online/digital will account for more than one-quarter (25.2%) of total local media revenues in 2015. Revenues for online/digital are expected to grow from $31 billion in 2014 to $35 billion in 2015, representing a 13.1% growth rate. Other forecasts include: Mobile local ad revenues will grow from $4.3 billion in 2014 to $6.6 billion in 2015; Local social media revenues will grow from $2.5 billion in 2014 to $3.6 billion in 2015; Local search revenues will grow from $7.1 billion in 2014 to $7.2 billion in 2015; Local display revenues will grow from $4.3 billion in 2014 to $4.9 billion in 2015; and Local online video revenues will grow from $2.3 billion in 2014 to $3.0 billion in 2015.
Dolans and Seaview Radio Hit Home Run with Live Event in South Florida. Proving there is life after WOR, New York, the legendary husband/wife money media team of Ken & Daria Dolan (pictured here, Daria at left, Ken at right) joined forces with WSVU (960 AM/95.9 FM/ 106.9 FM), North Palm Beach “Seaview Radio” this past Saturday (9/20) presenting a successful, day-long listener/sponsor event titled, “South Florida Wealth & Health Expo 2014,” at the prestigious Jupiter Maltz Theatre in Jupiter, Florida. The event brought local businesses and services from the fields of health, finance and better living together highlighted with on-stage financial advice presentations by the Dolans. Seaview Radio general manager Chet Tart tells TALKERS, “The event gave us a wonderful opportunity to establish new and heightened relationships with sponsors from one of the most dynamic business sectors in the market. We immediately received positive response with attendees and vendors already asking about next year’s event. I think we might have to find a larger venue, next time around.” The Dolans, now based in Jupiter, are best remembered for their stunning run of success at WOR, New York and the WOR Radio Network in the 90s and early-2000s – supplemented by their hosting hot shows on CNN, MSNBC and other cable news/talk networks as well as penning best-selling books on the topic of personal finance. Known for their entertaining banter and solid advice both on air and on stage, the Dolans went into semi-retirement several years ago – but have had difficulty steering clear of offers that keep coming their way for live appearances and their broadcast sales consulting services. The result has been the birth of the increasingly active firm Dolan Media. CEO Ken Dolan tells TALKERS, “There are huge revenue and promotional opportunities for local radio stations in live events – especially in the areas that strike home to most people – health and money. The two go together beautifully as we have just proven at this event in Florida. Daria and I are strongly considering taking this show on the road and helping stations around the country create a very exciting form of financial and PR synergy so dearly needed by small and middle-sized operators at this time.” Perennial members of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred during their run at WOR, the Dolans have been ranked #75 on the prestigious Heaviest Hundred list of the “100 Most important Radio Talk Show Hosts of All Time.” WSVU, North Palm Beach was recently sold by North Palm Beach Broadcasters to JVC Media. GM Chet Tart – one of the most connected broadcast executives in the market – will stay on as GM of the new expanded operation planned by the acquiring owners, telling TALKERS, “With this transition to JVC, I find myself even more focused than ever… offering leadership, encouragement and inspiration to the staff. That’s my focus!” Chet Tart can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ken Dolan can be contacted at email@example.com.
Odds & Sods. At the iHeartMedia Des Moines cluster, alternative KXDA PD Mike Killabrew takes on the programming responsibilities for sister sports talker KXNO, leaving WHO programmer Van Harden to focus on his duties with the heritage news/talker…..Radio personality Denny Schaffer – most recently with iHeartMedia news/talker WRNO, New Orleans and former host at the company’s WSPD, Toledo – is back in Toledo as morning jock on Cumulus Media’s hot AC WWWM “Star 105.”…..Dallas news pro Jim Ryan joins ABC News Radio full time. Ryan — a current staffer at WBAP, Dallas and part-time contributor to ABC News Radio, makes the switch starting November 1.
CBS RADIO Puts Kibosh on WFAN-Francesa YouTube Channel. According to a piece in the New York Daily News, a fan channel for sports talk WFAN-AM/FM and PM drive host Mike Francesa will no longer present audio or video of the station’s programming after the operator of Twitter’s @WFANAudio agreed to cease and desist putting audio or video on his YouTube channel. The story says CBS reached out to YouTube to protect its copyright on the content and YouTube let the operator know it would suspend his account if he didn’t cease. The paper reports it connected with @WFANAudio who said he made no money off the venture. He says he’s merely a big fan of the station but he understands the copyright issue and will stop putting audio on YouTube.
‘The Ticket’ in Dallas Extends Norm Hitzges for Three Years. The Dallas Morning News has the story and it focuses on Norm Hitzges’ age – he’ll turn 70 this summer. If Hitzges stays through the end of his new three-year deal at the Cumulus Media station, he’ll be 73 when he signs off for good…if he does. Hitzges holds down the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot on the station that, the paper points out, is populated by younger hosts trying to capture that all-important men 25-54 demographic. As for Hitzges’ response to his success after 17 years on KTCK, Dallas, he simply says, “I landed in a really good spot.”
O’Donnell Set to Transfer to Clear Channel Springfield as OM/PD. In two weeks (5/12), Clear Channel Poughkeepsie program director Terry O’Donnell will relocate to Springfield, where he will become operations manager and program director of the company’s cluster in that western Massachusetts market. Regional programming manager Rob Anthony comments, “I am thrilled to have Terry joining the team in Springfield. His knowledge of the formats and track record of making great radio speaks for itself.” O’Donnell states, “I can’t thank my current team in Poughkeepsie enough. I am looking forward to this new opportunity.” O’Donnell will oversee news/talk WHYN-AM, hot AC WHYN-FM “Mix 93.1,” and WRNX “Pioneer Valley’s Country.”
Nielsen Presents Radio ROI Research to Group Heads in NYC. The meeting at Clear Channel New York headquarters announced on Friday took place as planned with Nielsen and the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) hosting an event featuring panel discussions and speakers titled “Nielsen Cracks the Code on Radio ROI. As noted in TALKERS/RadioInfo on Friday, the event was to focus on Nielsen’s ROI measurement tool for radio. Radio group heads attending the event were joined by key marketers and advertisers. Clear Channel chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and CBS RADIO president and CEO Dan Mason welcomed advertiser, agency and industry attendees. Nielsen EVP of global product leadership Steve Hasker presented the study’s findings. Two panel discussions followed — the first, moderated by Michael Kassan, chairman and CEO of MediaLink, discussed the power of radio for marketers and how it should best be considered in the marketing mix. Panelists from across the media landscape included: Gayle Fuguitt, president and CEO, The ARF; Matt MacDonald, BBDO; John Nitti, ZenithOptimedia; Ritu Trivedi, MediaVest and Mary Ellen Johnson Jalenek, American Express. The second panel was moderated by Bob Pittman and featured the heads of major radio groups, including Lew Dickey, CEO, Cumulus Media; David Field, CEO, Entercom; and Dan Mason. The group discussed Nielsen’s study and how they believe it will improve the perception of radio within the ad community.
Genesis to Syndicate Weekly Elizabeth Dougherty Show. The weekly “Dougherty Report” program, hosted by culinary expert Elizabeth Dougherty, will air live from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight on Saturdays beginning May 10 and will be syndicated by Genesis Communications Network. The company says Dougherty’s program “sends listeners on an adventure of good food, along with interviews and a unique take on the news of the day, for parents in particular.” It also says Dougherty has an extensive background in food writing and culinary arts training. The program is based out of flagship WAMT, Orlando.
BIA/Kelsey Delivers U.S. Local Spend Estimate for 2013-2018. Just what will local radio’s slice of the advertising pie look like in 2018? According to BIA/Kelsey’s “U.S. Local Media Forecast,” radio advertising accounted for 11.1% of the total $133.2 billion spent in 2013 (direct mail, newspapers, and TV led the category). The primary sources of revenue for local radio in 2013 were automobile dealers ($1.43 billion), wireless telecommunications ($650.8 million), and full-service restaurants ($647.8 million). Based on changes in the overall local media marketplace, BIA/Kelsey estimates that the overall local media market will grow faster than previously thought through 2018. By 2018 the total will be $158.6 billion, of which $16.7 billion – or 10.5% – will go to local radio. Obviously, the big growth is expected to be in digital. BIA/Kelsey predicts, “Digital media continues to increase its share of total local media revenues, growing from $31.7 billion (23 percent) in 2014 to $52.7 billion (33.2 percent) in 2018.” Find out more about the forecast here.
“Armed American Radio” Celebrates Fifth Anniversary. Last night (4/27) marked the benchmark broadcast for the Salem Radio Network-distributed and Mark Walters-hosted program. “It was no surprise to me that the time was right for a program of this type,” Walters comments. “While the mainstream media continues to promote an anti-gun agenda, millions of law-abiding gun owners have found a new home on the radio dial that talks about their decision to carry a firearm. We provide a hard-hitting, fact based, entertaining discussion about all things related to the pro-gun rights movement.” The now three-hour syndicated program was launched in April 2009 as a one-hour, Atlanta only-based show.
Odds & Sods. Six-year Sun Broadcast Group exec Steve Gallagher departs. Most recently, Gallagher was SBG’s executive vice president. He joined the company in February 2008 as vice president of programming. Gallagher’s prior credits include being director of operations for Citadel Communications Harrisburg (2005 – 2008); operations manager/program director of Nassau Broadcasting stations in Monmouth-Ocean, New Jersey (WOBM-AM, WOBM-FM and WADB) and in Allentown (WWYY “Lite 107”)…..Religious/Christian broadcaster Starboard Media Foundation (also known as Relevant Radio) agrees to acquire Multicultural Broadcasting‘s Spanish-formatted WNSW. Purchase price for the New York City AM outlet is reportedly $10.1 million. Michael J. Bergner (Bergner & Co.) was the exclusive broker for the transaction. Starboard owns stations in Chicago, Austin, and Providence, as well as several Wisconsin outlets in Madison, Green Bay, and Eau Claire…..The Public Radio Program Directors Association announces the association’s president and CEO, Arthur Cohen, has decided to retire effective January 1, 2015 after an orderly leadership transition process of eight months. The PRPD says Cohen, a veteran public radio programmer and manager will retire after a remarkable career of more than 35 years of service in public media.
August Dates Set for Rising Through the Ranks Course. The Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), and the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group (MIW) are presenting the seventh annual “Rising Through the Ranks” seminar, August 27-28, at the BMI Nashville headquarters in Tennessee. The organizations say that, as in years past, BMI will offer 20 scholarships for this year’s program. These scholarships cover the cost of the professional development course, which is designed to foster and educate emerging female radio sellers and managers within broadcast radio. This year’s course will focus primarily on women in the radio workplace and sales and management techniques; including problem solving, budget reviews, managing team personalities, and personal brand building. Scholarship winners will also have the opportunity to hear from leading radio industry executives across various station groups and industry backgrounds. Confirmed speakers include: Lynn Anderson, CEO, Integrated Media Solutions Group; Lindsay Cerajewski, general sales manager, CBS Radio; Tincy Crouse, market manager, Cromwell Radio; Erica Farber, president and CEO, RAB; Katie Gambill, president and general manager, 5-Star Radio; Kim Guthrie, executive vice president, Cox Media Group; Brandeis C. Hall, vice president, professional development, RAB; Emily Hunt, local sales manager, KSL Broadcast Group; Laurie Kahn, president and CEO, Media Staffing Networks; Sue McNamara, senior vice president, sales, CBS Radio; Kay Olin; partner, Olin & Associates; and Dan Spears, vice president, licensing, BMI. Kay Olin says, “’Rising Through the Ranks’ is the epitome of the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group. With the generous help from BMI and the RAB, this two-day training workshop allows us to continue to develop, and help foster female sales managers to senior positions in the radio industry.”
Gettin’ Jiggy with Gary Johnson. At the Kansas Libertarian Convention held over the weekend, internet radio personality Jiggy Jaguar a.k.a. James Lowe (right) sat down with the Libertarian Party’s former presidential nominee Gary Johnson (left) to discuss issues near and dear to the libertarians. Lowe’s program is heard via his own KJAGRadio.com and the Transmedia World Wide network.
Michael Graham to Middays on WYAY, Atlanta. Talk radio pro Michael Graham is saying good-bye to Massachusetts and New England and heading south for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show at Cumulus Media’s WYAY, Atlanta “All News 106.7.” Graham has been hosting a program on the New England Talk Network and on the Boston Herald’s digital audio project since Greater Media flipped WTKK, Boston from talk to urban contemporary (as WBQT). Cumulus is getting away from the all-news on WYAY – it’s already added market pro Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson to the schedule in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm shift – though there’s no indication it has plans to change the drive time news programming anytime soon. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports the changes but Graham himself bids a fond adieu to New England and a not-so-fond adieu to the Massachusetts political scene which he blames for WTKK’s demise. He singles out Governor Deval Patrick and you can read that here.
Glenn Beck Talks About Film Projects to Hollywood Reporter. Talk radio star and media entrepreneur Glenn Beck tells the Hollywood Reporter that there’s a reason he bought a movie studio in Texas – The Studios at Las Colinas in Irving: He has plans for three film projects with many more hopefully to come. The facility, where such movies as “Robocop” and “JFK” were filmed, also serves as the base for his radio and digital operations under his TheBlaze banner but his Mercury Radio Arts film division has plans for the three films – one set in ancient history, one in modern history and a third “faith-based” project – that are underway. Read the Hollywood Reporter piece here. Meanwhile, Beck also appears irked that he’s pigeonholed as a political right-winger by the media, telling the magazine, “Everybody thinks they know who I am because of my stint on Fox – that was two years of my life. I’m much more into culture than I am into politics, and that’s where I intend on making my stand.”
Clear Channel Restructures Sales Efforts; Extent of RIF Unknown. The prospect that Clear Channel Media + Entertainment intended to change the structure of its sales force has been rumored for some time and now the plan has been put into effect. The exact nature of the realignment is not known but the company released the following statement: “As a policy, we don’t discuss personnel matters. However, for the last several months we have been flattening our senior management organization to reduce overlap. Now we are aligning our sales organizations to this new structure and to give more resources, authority, and accountability to the most productive members of our team so we can operate as effectively and efficiently as possible.”
Johnson to Replace Hanson at Broadway Media. A number of changes taking effect at Broadway Media in Utah to report. First, the company announces that its Salt Lake Radio Group market manager G. Craig Hanson is leaving the company after 37 years to enter the ownership end of the business in St. George, Utah. Taking over for him will be Stephen C. Johnson. He’ll serve as general manager and CEO of the Salt Lake Radio Group that includes: KXRK, KUDD, KUUU, KEGA, KYMV and KALL. Johnson spent the last 35 years with Simmons Media. Other moves include Broadway Media VP/administration Bret J. Leifson exiting to pursue other interests. Joining the companies is John G. Kimball who will serve as general manager and CEO of Real Media – the division that operates Broadway’s digital, technical, event and entertainment, and outdoor media assets. Kimball has worked in the market with Bonneville and Real Salt Lake.
Second Round of March PPM Data Released. PPM data from the second of four groups of 12 markets for the March 2014 period (February 27 – March 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
FCC Issues FNPRM for 2014 Quadrennial Review; Ownership Regs Proposed to Remain, Cross-Ownership Open for Consideration. The Federal Communications Commission has released its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that initiates the 2014 Quadrennial Review and chief among the topics are the broadcast ownership rules. The Commission is proposing to keep the current radio broadcast ownership rules in place but it is open to discussion about relaxing the radio-newspaper cross-ownership ban as well as the radio-television cross-ownership rules. This has Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai furious in his dissent. He takes the Commission to task for, 1) failing to complete the 2010 Quadrennial Review and; 2) putting proposals such as the radio-newspaper cross-ownership ban question into the 2014 review. Here are his words: “Congress has instructed us to review the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule every four years and repeal or modify it if we determine that it is no longer in the public interest. And here is the simple truth: The Commission has not been able to conclude since 2000 that the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule remains in the public interest. And today, the Commission dodges the issue entirely, putting off the issue until 2016, sixteen years after our last determination! What’s the solution at this point? While writs of mandamus are not to be issued lightly, I believe that the D.C. Circuit would now be justified in ordering the Commission to remove the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule from our books. We have had plenty of opportunities to justify maintaining the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule, but instead we have chosen to punt — including today.” Pai’s sentiment that the FCC works too slowly, especially in an era when changes in technology are happening at an ever-faster pace while government seems to work slower than ever, is one echoed by many in the broadcasting industry. Consider the Commission’s conclusion regarding how digital media is affecting broadcast media. It’s important to understand that the quote from the FNPRM is relative to broadcasters’ (TV also) desires to relax ownership regulations. Whether you agree or not, it’s the Commission’s assessment of the current state of the audio entertainment landscape that indicates its willingness to only see one moment in time, without regard for the future. “Despite broadcasters’ claims to the contrary, we tentatively find that, for purposes of the Commission’s ownership rules, non-broadcast sources of audio programming are not yet meaningful substitutes for broadcast radio stations with respect to either listeners or advertisers. While alternate platforms such as satellite radio and Internet-delivered audio are growing in popularity, broadcast radio remains the dominant radio technology. In 2012, 92 percent of Americans age 12 or older listened to broadcast radio, a figure that has remained essentially constant over the last decade. Satellite radio still serves only a small portion of the population, even though its subscription rates continue to climb. And though recent data suggest that a significant portion of adult U.S. broadband households (42 percent) listen to Internet-delivered audio programming, we note that millions of U.S. households continue to lack broadband connections. In addition, only 14 percent of Internet radio listeners listen in their cars, where most broadcast radio listening occurs. Thus, we tentatively conclude that Internet-delivered audio programming is not yet a meaningful substitute for broadcast radio listening for most listeners. We seek comment on this tentative conclusion and invite commenters to provide any more recent relevant information and data. We believe, moreover, that satellite radio and content delivered via the Internet generally are national platforms that are not likely to respond to competitive conditions in local markets.” Even if you agree with these conclusions (which, obviously, many do not), will they still be true in 2015, 2016 (when the 2014 Quad is supposed to be delivered to Congress) or 2017?
BIA/Kelsey’s New Study Explores ‘Reinvention of Audio.’ The full name of the study from BIA/Kelsey is “The Internet Radio Revolution Has Arrived: Platforms, Services, Audiences and Advertisers Reinvent Audio,” and as the title implies, it works to make sense of the state of audio entertainment and its relationship with the advertising world as it exists today, plus where it’s going in the near future. The study authors note a five-step process that occurs when a major change affects the media: 1) Fundamental breakthroughs in enabling technologies occur, 2) Entrepreneurs and their investors experiment with getting the right value proposition into the market, 3) Consumers find the winning technologies and begin to use them, 4) Advertisers sensing a new opportunity for connecting with their consumers allocate “experimental budget,” and 5) Media companies and publishers take new platforms seriously. The report states, “It is only when we reach this last phase that we really get a sense of how fundamentally a technology will impact us in the long run.” It believes the audio business is entering this fifth phase. Read the entire study here.
iHeartRadio Gets into Subaru’s STARLINK. Japanese automaker Subaru was a little late to the party with a digital infotainment system but the new STARLINK is available on many of its 2014 cars and now Clear Channel Media + Entertainment announces its iHeartRadio will be included on the system. The STARLINK infotainment system is being demoed at the New York Auto Show beginning tomorrow (4/18). Subaru of America marketing strategy & launch manager David Sullivan, says, “We are thrilled to have iHeartRadio as our first content partner for the STARLINK cloud service application. The award-winning service brings a huge amount of programming and custom content to Subaru vehicles with a great, easy-to-use interface.”
ObamaCare Criticism, IRS-DOJ Tea Party Connection, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Sebelius Senate Run, Tax Day, and Bloomberg vs the NRA Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/16). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the allegation that the Lois Lerner led department of the IRS contacted the Department of Justice about prosecuting the Tea Party; escalating aggression by Putin’s Russian forces in Ukraine; speculation that former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will run for the U.S. Senate; chatter about the complex U.S. tax code and the number of taxpayers supporting benefit takers; and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plans to battle the National Rifle Association were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Wordsmith Rix Quinn delivers a unique mix of creative writing and a down-home vocal presentation to any station’s local marketing arsenal
By Jeff McKay
Special Features Correspondent
NEW YORK – Budget cutbacks are not only limiting the resources of radio programming departments – they are squeezing station sales and creative marketing efforts as well. Concept development and simple copywriting take personnel and time – something in short supply these days on the radio front. Add the potential of literally limitless internet real estate to the mix of radio’s marketing possibilities and the frustration of having limited man/woman-power only grows.
In a recent report on the top-billing radio stations for 2013, BIA/Kelsey wrote of Washington, DC’s all-news WTOP-FM (103.5) that the top-billing radio station in the United States “WTOP is morphing into a digital media company by providing access to its audience in many different ways beyond over-the-air.” Mark Fratrik, senior vice president and chief economist for BIA/Kelsey concludes, “Its approach is serving them well and its model demonstrates that as the industry continues to adopt a multi-platform approach, it will engage audiences and sustain growth.”
Inside SportsTalkBoston.com. The surprising exit of longtime WEEI sports talk personality Glenn Ordway last year and the departure some months later of station programmer Jason Wolfe saw big changes in the Boston sports talk scene. Those changes are becoming even more high profile with the debut of Ordway’s new multi-platform sports talk destination SportsTalkBoston.com. Regular TALKERS readers are aware Wolfe is signing on with the venture to serve as chief content officer. In this exclusive story, Wolfe goes into a bit more detail about not only what the future will bring to SportsTalkBoston.com, but he writes about Ordway’s place in the hearts and minds of Boston sports media fans and how that plays into the execution of the content. As Wolfe says, “Personality breeds engagement. Engagement breeds loyalty. Loyalty breeds ratings and ratings breed revenue. That is the formula hosts and shows need to embrace today if they want to win.” Read this entire piece here.
WTOP, Washington Takes ‘Top Biller’ Crown for Fourth Year Straight. The annual top radio billers report from BIA/Kelsey is out and although Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington dropped a little over $1 million in billing from 2012 to 2013, at a reported $63.5 million it still was the nation’s #1 biller, beating Clear Channel’s CHR KIIS-FM, Los Angeles by about $2 million. KIIS-FM had a good year, adding almost $5 million to its revenue total to report in at $61.6 million. Rounding out the top 10 for 2013 were: Clear Channel’s CHR WHTZ, New York “Z100” at $51 million; CBS RADIO’s all-news WCBS-AM at $50 million; Clear Channel’s AC WLTW, New York “106.7 Lite FM” at $45.5 million; CBS RADIO all-news WINS at $45 million; Clear Channel’s hot AC KBIG, Los Angeles “104.3 MYfm” at $44.5 million; CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN, New York “The Fan” at $43 million; CBS RADIO’s alternative KROQ, Los Angeles at $42.8 million; and CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM, Chicago wraps the top 10 at $42 million.
Entercom Loosens Load on ‘ESPN Upstate’ Personality Greg McKinney. In addition to his work at Entercom Greenville’s sports talk duo WORD-AM/WYRD-AM “ESPN Upstate” where he’s host of “In The Huddle with Greg McKinney” from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, McKinney had been doing mornings on sister AC WSPA “Magic 98.9.” (He also handles anchoring the “College Football Today” pregame show on rock WTPT “93.3 The Planet.”) The company adds “Murphy, Sam and Jodi” on WSPA for morning drive and relieves McKinney of the daily double duty. Entercom Greenville VP and market manager Steve Sinicropi comments, “Our sports coverage in terms of talent, teams and signal coverage is unmatched in this market. We are thrilled that the person who will become the local face of ‘ESPN Upstate’ was already in our stable. Putting Greg McKinney on ESPN with a live and local show, not only plays to his strengths and talents, but it provides our clients with an additional and valuable touch point to connect with a highly sought after consumer.”
Entercom Sets Milwaukee and Madison Managers. Former Cumulus Mobile vice president/market manager Chuck Sullivan is tapped for similar duties at Entercom Milwaukee, while Entercom Madison director of sales Ed Schulz is elevated to vice president/market manager of that Wisconsin market. They succeed Michael Keck (see next story), who was overseeing both markets. Regional president Michael Doyle comments, “Entercom is proud to add two of the strongest people in radio to our leadership team. Chuck and Ed bring with them a wealth of experience, unique perspectives and a passion to make their powerful brands and their clusters not only the strongest in the state, but in all of radio.” Meanwhile, Sullivan remarks, “Entercom Milwaukee has some of the most powerful and iconic brands from [CHR WXSS] ‘Kiss-FM’ to [hot AC WMYX] ‘Mix’ to [WSSP] ‘SportsRadio 1250.” Schulz adds, “Madison is a special place and Entercom has distinct brands that not only connect with the community, but deliver results for our clients. I am proud of what we have accomplished in Madison and am excited for the future. Before joining Cumulus, Sullivan spent nine years as managing partner of Wilmington, North Carolina’s Ocean Broadcasting. Schulz joined Entercom two years ago and will be responsible for adult alternative WMMM “Triple M,” classic hits WOLX, and hot AC WMHX “Mix 105.1.”
CBS RADIO Twin Cities Names Keck VP/DOS. As referenced in the story above, sales pro Michael Keck moves northwest from Entercom Milwaukee to the Twin Cities where he’s the new vice president/director of sales at CBS RADIO Minneapolis, effective April 7. The company says that in this role, he will be responsible for overseeing sales in the market for news/talk WCCO, adult hits KZJK “104.1 Jack FM,” and country KMNB “BUZ’N@102.9.” Keck will work closely with Michael Weiss, CBS RADIO’s president of sales and report to Mick Anselmo, senior vice president and market manager for the Minneapolis cluster. Keck comments, “I am thrilled to be coming back to the Twin Cities. It’s a tremendous privilege to be associated with two powerful FM stations and one of America’s most legendary and successful AM brands in WCCO. I can’t wait to be a part of the CBS RADIO team in this vibrant radio and media marketplace.”
Sun Broadcast Group to Rep Envision Networks’ Spanish Content. An exclusive ad sales agreement has been struck between Sun Broadcast Group, Inc. and Envision Networks for Sun to rep Envision’s Spanish-language inventory that includes: CNN en Español, Fox Deportes and AccuWeather en Español. Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff states, “Jason Bailey and his team at Sun Broadcast will increase our presence in the Spanish advertising arena. They will represent our programming, services and online audio product lineups to Hispanic advertisers and maximize the scope of our network’s reach and frequency and the amount of impressions it delivers for clients.”
Beasley Honors Pretzello with President’s Club Award. This in-house sales award for the calendar year 2013 goes to Beasley Broadcast Augusta senior account executive Debbie Pretzello for the third time. The President’s Club consists of Beasley sales executives inducted annually for their abilities to meet or exceed individual and market goals, attain accreditation from the Radio Advertising Bureau as Certified Radio Marketing Consultants (CRMC), and over-deliver their clients’ expectations on a daily basis. One account executive in each market in which Beasley operates is named to the Club monthly. At year’s end, each market names a winner based on overall performance. Additionally, the individual with the highest ranking from this notable pool of top-performers is named Beasley’s “President’s Club Overall Winner” for the previous calendar year. Beasley EVP of sales Heather Monahan says, “We are thrilled that Debbie Pretzello continues to lead our Augusta sales team and is recognized for her third time as our ‘Overall President’s Club Winner.’ Retaining talent in our business is of the utmost importance to Beasley. Debbie forges ahead year after year, raising the bar for our sales organization. Her ability to win multiple awards signifies her vast talent for delivering results for her local clients. Debbie Pretzello earned the title ‘Overall President’s Club Winner’ again this year by providing ROI for her customers, that’s something that makes us very proud.”
Odds & Sods. When the New York Yankees’ season kicks off on April 1, Spanish-speaking listeners in the New York area will be able to hear the games in Spanish on Univsion-owned WADO, New York. CBS RADIO’s WFAN-AM/FM – the new rights holder for Yankees games, agrees to the deal that will have WFAN producing the games with Rickie Ricardo and Francisco Rivera in the booth for the Spanish-language broadcast…..WMBD, Peoria afternoon duo “Robbins & Markley” – (pictured here) Scott Robbins (l) and Jamie Markley (r) – are sitting in for the vacationing Jim Villanucci on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland this week…..The weekly two-hour “Both Sides Now” program – hosted by Mark Green and featuring talk media personalities including: Ron Reagan, Katrina van den Heuvel, Eliot Spitzer, Bob Shrum, Jonathan Alter, Mary Matalin, Erick Erickson, David Frum, Rich Lowry and Torie Clarke – signs up with Focus 360 to handle ad sales for the program.
Tackling Big Issues. KARN-FM, Little Rock program director and afternoon drive host Dave Elswick (right) poses for a photo with former Israeli Ambassador Yoram Ettinger (left) after two spoke on Elswick’s program about Israel and the country’s complex relationship with the U.S., Iran and the Palestinians. Ettinger served as Minister for Congressional Affairs at Israel’s Embassy in Washington. Elswick will be speaking on the “Big Picture” panel at Talkers New York 2014 in New York City on Friday, June 20.
ObamaCare Criticism, Michelle Obama in China, Hague Nuke Summit, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Fate, Mid-Term Elections/ 2016 Presidential Race, NSA Bulk Data Collection Policy and Nick Cannon ‘Whiteface’ Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/25). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; coverage of First Lady Michelle Obama’s trip to China and her speech about America’s discriminatory past; President Obama’s comments about Russia and a possible NYC nuclear threat made at the Nuclear Security Summit at the Hague; the possible fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370; prognostication about the fall mid-term elections and the 2016 presidential race; the fate of the NSA’s bulk data collection policy; and musician/TV personality Nick Cannon’s “whiteface” photo controversy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Added to Blue Ridge Communications Cable System. The push to get more cable TV carriage for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze continues and now the company announces it will be carried on Blue Ridge Communications’ system that serves the Poconos and the Central Pennsylvania region. It is the nation’s 21st largest cable operator. TheBlaze also entered into agreements with BEK Communications, Sweetwater Cable Television and Atwood Cable. TheBlaze president, business development, Lynne Costantini, states, “We’re thrilled to welcome these independent operators into TheBlaze family of television affiliates. These businesses understand the value of bringing TheBlaze’s original programming and unique perspective to their customers and their business.” TheBlaze says that customers of these cable operators will now be able to watch its full programming lineup including The Glenn Beck Program, news program “Real News from TheBlaze,” opinion show hosted by Andrew Wilkow, current events show “Pat & Stu” featuring radio personalities Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere, kid’s show “Liberty TreeHouse,” comedy news show “The B.S. of A.,” news magazine “For The Record,” and comical news and current events show “The Wonderful World of Stu featuring Stu Burguiere.” TheBlaze states that it is currently in carriage conversations with all major satellite, cable, telco and independent companies.
WTOP, Washington Stays #1 on List of Top Billing Stations. The annual list of top billing stations according to BIA/ Kelsey has been released and Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is at the front of the pack once again with $64.6 million in revenue in 2012 – that’s up a fraction from the $64 million it grossed in 2011. The rest of the top 10 – split by CBS and Clear Channel – are as follows (in millions): Clear Channel’s KIIS, Los Angeles ($56.8); Clear Channel’s WHTZ, New York ($48.2); CBS Radio’s WCBS, New York ($47.2); Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles ($46); CBS Radio’s WBBM, Chicago ($45.7); Clear Channel’s WLTW, New York ($43); CBS Radio’s WINS, New York ($41.5); CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM/FM ($41); and CBS Radio’s KROQ, Los Angeles ($39.3).
SiriusXM Sports Talker Dino Costa Subject of New Film. Sports talk radio personality Dino Costa will be the subject of a feature-length film to begin production in April in Wyoming. Chesapeake Films announces that it has started pre-production for a documentary to be completed in 2013 about the life of “controversial SiriusXM Radio personality, Dino Costa.” The documentary film will be directed by Joel Franco, cinematography by Darko Nikolich, edited by Anthony Bernard, sound design by Karol Urban, and original music by Marianthe Bezzerides. The film will begin shooting in Wyoming, where Dino Costa resides and produces his daily radio sports talk show. The crew will then follow Costa to New York, to continue filming Costa’s hometown, friends, fans, and family. Franco says he wanted to do the film because, “Dino is a breath of fresh air in the world of cookie-cutter sports talk radio. He is fiercely independent, and connects with his audience like few can. I just knew that under that big personality was a story waiting to be told. I am so excited to begin.” Costa comments, “When I embarked on my career as a talk show host, I wanted to achieve many objectives; I never thought about the possibility of someone wanting to do a film about my career and my life. In speaking with Joel about his vision for this film, I’m confident that collaborating with the crew at Chesapeake Films will culminate in a documentary about my life that people will find interesting and compelling.”
Villanucci Producer Billy “Fatback” Cornelius Debuts Evening Show on KKOB. The departure of longtime afternoon drive host Jim Villanucci from Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque, resulted in evening host Scott Stiegler moving into the PM drive slot. That created an opening in the evenings and Jim Villanucci’s former on-air producer, Billy “Fatback” Cornelius, is now host of his own show airing in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot. He’ll still produce Stiegler’s program but “Fatback” tells TALKERS magazine, “When asked about the new opportunity, I simply replied, ‘The Fatback Nation will rise.’” His program debuts this evening.
New Jersey 101.5’s Jim Gearhart to Be Inducted into the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Jim Gearhart has been the morning host on Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” for the past 23 years and now he’s being honored by the New Jersey Broadcasters Association with induction into its Hall of Fame. Gearhart will be inducted at the Annual Awards Luncheon, which will be held during the NJBA’s 66th Annual Conference in Atlantic City this June 18-19. NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson says, “Jim will be acknowledged for providing quality content, news, public affairs and diverse entertainment to New Jersey. Jim’s contributions to the longevity and success of our industry in New Jersey will be recognized.”
WXOS, St. Louis Host Bernie Miklasz to Leave Radio Gig. Popular St. Louis sports media personality Bernie Miklasz will exit Hubbard Radio’s WXOS “101 Sports” when his contract wraps up next month. In a piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Miklasz says he’s leaving the radio show (weekdays 11:00 am to 2:00 pm) to focus on his work with the Post-Dispatch and its STLtoday.com where he’s been a sports columnist since 1989. He states, “I’ve always loved writing more (than radio), it’s my calling. Whatever good things I have in my life professionally have been because of the Post-Dispatch. It has led to other opportunities.” Miklasz says the stress of two jobs is wearing on him. WXOS program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert says, “He’s such a dynamic personality, but at the end of the day how can you be mad at a guy who’s going back to his roots and giving it his all? He wants to do his part to help take an industry that has been down on an upswing. It’s bittersweet (for the station) because what he is doing is very honorable and really cool, so it’s hard to be upset with him. The guy is such an awesome personality.” STLtoday.com hints it will be branching out into audio and video on the website and will use Miklasz for that purpose, as well.
The Conclave Announces Agenda for July Learning Conference. The Conclave announces its preliminary agenda for the July 17-19 “Conclave 38: The Learning Conference” taking place at the Minneapolis/Park Place Doubletree Hotel. Executive director Bob Shannon states, “The very words ‘The Learning Conference’ implies that Conclave 38 will focus on teaching ideas our attendees can actually use. Focusing on what works today and the tools we’ll need for tomorrow, our faculty includes thinkers, visionaries and practitioners in a wide variety of disciplines including digital, marketing, mobile, programming, social media, and talent creation and training.” Some of the speakers appearing this year include: Ivan Braiker/HipCricket, Tim Bronsil/Point to Point Marketing, Jon Chelesnik/Sportcasters Talent Agency of America, Drake Donovan/Splice Video, Joel Folger/Folger Media, Les Garland/Afterplay Entertainment, John Gehron/AccuRadio, Bruce Gilbert/Clear Channel, Phil Hall/Audience Bakery, Michael Harrison/Talkers-Radioinfo.com, Dan Hill/Sensory Logic, Fred Jacobs/Jacobs Media, Randy Lane/The Randy Lane Company, Lori Lewis/Jacobs Media, Kipper McGee/Kipper McGee LLC, Kevin Metheny/Cumulus Media, Chris Miller/Chris Miller Digital, Tim Moore/Audience Development Group, Mark Shannon O’Neill/ROI Media Solutions, Bill Richards/Clear Channel, Larry Rosin/Edison Research, and Walter Sabo/Sabo Media. Shannon reports that this year’s Conclave begins on Wednesday, July 17 with the fourth annual “Jacobs Media Summer School,” and ends July 19 with “Conclave GAMEDAY,” a day devoted entirely to sports that ends with a reception at KTWN-FM’s studio just before the Minnesota Twins/Cleveland Indians game at Target Field, home of the 2014 All Star Game. For more information on the Learning Conference and Conclave educational programs, visit http://www.theconclave.com.
SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, North Korea Threats, Dr. Ben Carson Assault, Cyprus Banks Bailout, and Sequester Effects Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/28). The two days of arguments before the Supreme Court on gay marriage; threats of military action from North Korea; the backlash against Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson; the bailout of Cyprus banks by the EU; and the effects of the sequester were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Hubbard’s WTOP Retains Top Biller Status; Clear Channel’s News/Talk KFI, Los Angeles Jumps to #3. For the second year in a row, Hubbard Broadcasting’s Washington, DC news juggernaut WTOP grabs the top biller title with $64 million billed in 2011. According to BIA/Kelsey’s 2011 estimates, all news was a big money maker and CBS Radio had a number of winning horses in the race. Its WBBM, Chicago came in at #4 billing $48 million and WCBS, New York followed at #5 taking in $47.5 million. CBS’ WINS, New York was #8 with $42 million. While Chicago market WBBM topped each of the New York-market all-newsers, it’s pretty impressive that CBS Radio billed $89.5 million between all-newsers WCBS and WINS. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s ratings and revenue news/talk giant KFI, Los Angeles was the only talk station to make the top 10, showing off the power of its high-cuming talk personalities – especially AM drive host Bill Handel and PM drive duo John & Ken – coming in at #3 billing $48.1 million (up from the #4 spot in 2010). And sports talk cracked the top 10 as CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York rounded out the list at #10 billing $40.5 million.
A View Behind the Scenes at #1 Biller WTOP, Washington. TALKERS TV recently visited the studios at Hubbard Broadcasting’s Washington, DC news operation WTOP. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison visits with WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo and news director Mitchell Miller as they show off the very high-tech, multi-platform and extremely well-staffed news operation (a whopping 120 employees) in the Nation’s Capital. View the video in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.
Court Strikes Down Ban on Political Ads on Public Broadcasting Outlets. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has iced the ban on political and issues ads that could lead to a ton of such fare hitting the airwaves of pubcasters as the November presidential election approaches. A 2-1 vote of the three-judge panel upholds the ban on advertisements for goods and services from for-profit companies. But the decision is rocking the world of pubcasters – many of whom are not commenting publicly at this juncture – because they fear they will be, to a degree, pulled into the world of commercial broadcasters as a result of this decision. But the Court’s ruling was based on free speech grounds. Judge Carlos Bea wrote for the main opinion stating that the FCC ban was overly broad and there’s no evidence the educational nature of public broadcasting would be affected, “Public issue and political speech in particular is at the very core of the First Amendment’s protection. Public issue and political advertisements pose no threat of ‘commercialization.’ By definition, such advertisements do not encourage viewers to buy commercial goods and services. A ban on such advertising therefore cannot be narrowly tailored to serve the interest of preventing the ‘commercialization’ of broadcasting.” Dissenting Judge Richard Paez wrote, “For almost 60 years, commercial public broadcasters have been effectively insulated from the lure of paid advertising. The court’s judgment will disrupt this policy and could jeopardize the future of public broadcasting. I am not persuaded that the First Amendment mandates such an outcome.”
WOR Radio Network to Syndicate “Rasmussen Report” Feature. The vignette will be available three times daily and feature reports by the nationally known “political pulse-taker” Scott Rasmussen. WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley states, “Scott has fast become the go-to guest for many of our programs when we want to let our listeners know where the country stands on the important headlines. We are thrilled to now take our relationship with him to this next level and share his fantastic radio content with radio stations across the country.” The WOR Radio Network makes the reports available to affiliates beginning Monday, April 16.
Tribune’s WGN Inks Deal for Studio Naming Rights with Allstate. Beginning May 1, WGN, Chicago’s showcase studio on Michigan Avenue will be unveiled as the Allstate Showcase Studio. WGN VP/general manager Tom Langmyer says, “We are proud of the partnership we have developed with Allstate over the years through programs like the community-driven WGN Radio Hometown Voices Tour and are pleased to extend that partnership to the Showcase Studio. The Showcase Studio has been a mainstay on Chicago’s famous Michigan Avenue for over 25 years and home to many legendary broadcasters. We are excited to announce this next chapter in WGN’s history with such a valued partner.” The sponsorship includes an interior studio wrap featuring WGN Radio and Allstate graphics and on-air naming recognition.
CBS Radio’s KYW, Philadelphia Awards Scholarship Money to “Newstudies” Student. CBS Radio’s KYW, Philadelphia has been offering the six-week student reporter program called “Newstudies” to high school juniors and seniors for more than 45 years. This year, 171 local students graduated from the program and KYW selected Upper Moreland High School student Gavin Lichtenstein to receive the Richard Monetti Scholarship award of $2,000 for being the student in the program demonstrating the most potential and enthusiasm. The scholarship was named after 1986 Newstudies graduate Richard Monetti who perished on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. CBS Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “KYW Newsradio is proud to continue the tradition of introducing high school students to the broadcast industry. It’s also nice to be able to award those that did exceptionally well and keep the memory of a former Newstudies graduate alive.”
WSBT, South Bend Adds FM Translator at 96.1. Schurz Communications’ news/talk WSBT, South Bend, Indiana acquired the FM translator from Christian station WFRN-FM last year for $135,000. Now, according to the South Bend Tribune, WSBT will add to what program director Bob Montgomery calls “the strongest signal in the market” – AM 960. Montgomery also tells the paper the station is continuing to focus on news and information for the Michiana market. “We’re still doing increased news in our morning show – trying an all-news approach. We thought since that’s why people listen to news/talk during their morning drive, we would concentrate on that.”
Weekend Home Show “The Money Pit” Hits 300-Affiliate Mark. The nationally syndicated home improvement show “The Money Pit” – co-hosted by Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete – announces it has added more than 20 new affiliate stations during the first quarter of 2012 to bring its affiliate roster to 300. The program will celebrate its success in conjunction with a special Earth Day broadcast from New York City on Friday, April 20 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm from the “Crossroads of the World” in New York’s Times Square. Tom Kraeutler states, “I am so grateful to our team for the hard work that got us to this point, to our loyal affiliate stations for making our content available to millions of people across the country and to our always growing list of top sponsors that have made this possible.”
Rick Santorum’s Suspension of His Presidential Campaign Is Top News/Talk Story for the Week of April 9-13. The news of Rick Santorum’s exit from the GOP primary race – effectively giving the nomination to Mitt Romney – was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week and landed at #1 on the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was the 2012 presidential campaign in general. At #3 was George Zimmerman’s being charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin followed by recent reports of weak U.S. job growth and the stock market’s reaction at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America during the week, and is based upon ongoing research from TALKERS and is published each Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal” adds KOA, Denver…..Genesis Communications Network’s Dr. Daliah Wachs program picks up WRJM-AM/FM, Charleston, Illinois and WHOW-AM/FM, Bloomington/Decatur, Illinois.
CBS Radio’s WPHT Touts New “Live and Local” Lineup. With WYD Media talk show host Michael Smerconish soon to air live on his flagship station WPHT, Philadelphia as he replaces Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh, CBS Radio is promoting its dedication to “live and local” talk radio on the Philly news/talker. Philadelphia market manager Marc Rayfield states, “We pride ourselves on being local and serving Philadelphians first. Having Michael broadcast live is another example of our commitment to the audience. The November election is one of the most important ever and WPHT will continue to offer a local platform no matter what side of the aisle you sit on.” WPHT’s morning show (for years hosted by Smerconish) is hosted by Chris Stigall, Dom Giordano is late morning talent, Smerconish takes over 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, Gary R’nel hosts evenings and the station promises to bring a new live and local PM drive show to the station to replace Smerconish’s delayed broadcast.
BIA/Kelsey Reports Radio’s On-Air Revenue Flat in 2011. The quarterly “Investing in Radio Market Report” from BIA/Kelsey indicates revenue from over-the-air radio rose a modest 0.4% over 2010 numbers to $14.1 billion in 2011. While the revenue for over-the-air was basically flat, digital revenue rose 15.1% to reach $439 million. In the report, BIA/Kelsey predicts online revenue will continue to grow at a fast pace to $505 million in 2012 and to $767 million in 2016. Political spending in 2012 is also expected to boost total radio revenue by as much as 3.5% over 2011 figures. BIA/Kelsey VP and chief economist Mark Fratrik says, “Although radio’s revenue ascent has been slow since its bottoming in 2009, the industry always picks up steam in an election year and is continuing to prove itself as a valuable local advertising medium, particularly as the integration between over-the-air and online improves. News stations, in particular, continue to be leaders in many markets by creating comprehensive over-the-air and digital portfolios of ad products and formats to drive deeper advertiser engagement and prove their value in the ad buying mix.”
All-News WCBS Tops New York Revenue Pile for Third Straight Year. Although revenue was actually down from year-to-year – billing dropped from $49 million in 2010 to $47.5 million – all-news WCBS was still the top biller in the Big Apple, according to Crain’s New York Business. The story includes analysis of the BIA/Kelsey report in the story above. The top five revenue-generating stations in New York for 2011 were: WCBS, CHR WHTZ-FM, lite rock WLTW-FM, all-news WINS, and sports talk WFAN.
Sports Talk Host Dan Sileo Takes Over PM Drive at WQAM, Miami. Former WDAE, Tampa talk show host Dan Sileo is joining Beasley Broadcasting’s sports talk WQAM, Miami to replace Sid Rosenberg as host of the PM drive show. Sileo exited Clear Channel Media and Entertianment’s WDAE several weeks ago after a number of years with the station. Beasley Broadcasting VP/market manager Joe Bell tells TALKERS, “I have followed Dan’s career for years and am very excited about his joining our team! Dan has a passion for sports, has demonstrated ratings success and at heart is a “Miami guy” having played on two UM National Championship football teams.
Production Talent Changes at Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM.” With longtime production voice Ross Mitchell leaving the show to pursue other interests, Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” announces Dick Ervasti and Charles Thomas join the program. The network states, “Dick Ervasti now lends his voice to the program’s introductions, while Charles Thomas voices on-air announcements and promos, as well as “Somewhere in Time with Art Bell.” Based in Minneapolis, Ervasti is a veteran voice actor with credits ranging from “America’s Most Wanted” and the blockbuster film “Transformers,” to The History Channel and the CBS hit drama “NCIS.” Thomas also has a wide range of credits, which include commercials for Samsung, Chevy Silverado, The Home Depot, the Syfy original series “Warehouse 13” and Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”
Talk Radio Pioneer Bruce Williams Returns to Biz Via Podcast. Iconic talk radio star Bruce Williams, who left his regularly aired radio show several years ago, is returning to the business with new podcasts available three days per week. The podcasts are being produced from calls to Williams during other times. Fans with questions for Williams are being asked to call during specific times when Williams will be able to record their conversations – today from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm ET, for example. An e-mail blast from his office states, “Remember, this Wednesday April 11 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm ET, Bruce will be taking calls off the air which will air next Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesday, April 17 and Thursday, April 19 of next week he will be live taking calls from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET. For now this will be the weekly schedule. Think of all those questions you wanted to ask him for the last two years and were not able to and give him a call, even if it’s to just welcome him back. The call in number is 855-85-CALL TAE (855-852-2558). The show will also be on iTunes with the past seven shows available. All shows will be available at www.taeradio.com.
WGOW-FM, Chattanooga Names Brian Joyce Midday Host. Brian Joyce most recently worked at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston hosting a weekend talk program. His bio lists his varied work experience including: truck driver, bartender and stand-up comic, among others. Joyce tells the local Nooga.com that he considers himself part of the “radical center.” “This is the new movement, especially in my head, for politics. There will be issues where I will fall far to the left or far to the right. And maybe people won’t understand it at first. I don’t think media addresses this currently.” WGOW-FM news director Kevin West says Joyce’s hiring sends a signal about how they’d like the station to sound, “I want it to be a place where it is not predetermined what you’re going to get with any issue. I think Brian is going to surprise a lot of people.” Joyce’s program airs from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on the Cumulus Media news/talk outlet.
“The Wall Street Journal This Morning” Airs in Denver. The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s morning drive – or early morning drive in Mountain Time – program “The Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal” clears large market KOA, Denver. Station operations director Greg Foster states, “‘The Wall Street Journal This Morning’ helps reinforce 850 KOA’s news image during the early ‘executive drive time’ hours. More than just money news – ‘The Wall Street Journal This Morning’ is a perfect lead-in to our ‘Colorado’s Morning News.’”
NBC May Be Preparing to Give Matt Lauer More Air Time. News of “Today” show star Matt Lauer’s contract extension with NBC to remain with the program for many more years broke over the weekend. Now, it’s being reported that NBC is considering expanding the Lauer franchise – possibly by developing the “Today’s Professionals” segment in which Lauer bats around the hot topics of the day with talent such as Star Jones, Donny Deutsch and Dr. Nancy Snyderman – into either a fifth hour of “Today” or another show altogether. TVGuide reports the details are not set in stone but it also reports Lauer’s new deal with NBC gives him a share in the ownership of any new show outside of “Today.”
Santorum Drops Out of GOP Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Facebook Buys Instagram, North Korean Rocket Test, Trayvon Martin Case and Ozzie Guillen’s Castro Flap Among Top Stories on News/Talk Radio Yesterday (4/10). Rick Santorum’s suspension of his campaign for the GOP nomination and the larger 2012 presidential race, Facebook’s $1 billion purchase of Instagram, North Korea’s new rocket test, the Trayvon Martin case and Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen’s Castro comments were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.