Tag: "Bill Hess"

Station Snapshot:
WMAL, Washington, DC

| December 11, 2014

Cumulus talk outlet regaining prominence in nation’s Capital Region

 

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor

 

kinosianWMAL LogoLOS ANGELESEven if not somewhat excusably misused, “heritage” is among the buzzwords many broadcasters hyperbolically invoke when proudly discussing their station and/or a particular on-air talent.

Not limited to a particular genre, it could apply to any format, although scores within the industry still choose to link “heritage” to dominant, institutional, full-service stations with larger-than-life personalities.

In the nation’s capital, for instance, the mighty morning team of “Harden & Weaver,” who beginning in 1960, prevailed in DC for approximately three decades, reinforced WMAL as “heritage” calls there.

Simultaneous with “Harden & Weaver” solidifying their own place in radio history (Frank Harden is now 92 — Jacksonjacksonandweaver Weaver passed away in 1992), they were largely aiding to foster the station’s legacy — the Cumulus Media-owned talker is flourishing in 2014.

Morning mall entertainment

Overseeing then Citadel-owned WMAL from Chicago, where he programmed sister talker WLS-AM, Drew Hayes in August 2010 brought in former Air America programming honcho Bill Hess as assistant program director. Approximately one year later, Cumulus acquired Citadel and Hess was elevated to program director.

Read More

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

| July 29, 2014

2014 NYC logo 150Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted.  Up Today: Panel Discussion, “The State of Talk Radio Programming.” Today (7/29) marks the 11th consecutive business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014.  The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms.   The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with a panel discussion titled, “The State of Talk Radio Programming,” moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey.  Panelists include: Andy Bloom, OM, WPHT/WIP, Philadelphia; Phil Boyce, VP/spoken word programming, Salem Communications; Bill Hess,programming panel 14 PD, WMAL, Washington, DC; Gabe Hobbs, CEO, Gabe Hobbs Media; and Craig Schwalb, PD, WABC, New York.  The panel focuses on a variety of topics pertinent to today’s talk radio programming strategies with an emphasis on dealing with the common criticism that the format is skewing too old.  Moderator Casey starts it off asking “Is talk radio a kingmaker that wins elections or is talk radio dead?”  He points out that to read the press this format receives, one would get the impression both of these statements are true.  The reasoned answers by all participants are illuminating – drawing upon facts and context as opposed to bias and emotion.  To view this entire presentation, please click here.  Coming tomorrow:  A panel discussion moderated by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian titled, “Developing and Managing a Talk Show Hosting Career.”  Featured speakers include:  Tom Becka, KOIL, Omaha; Ron Hartenbaum, WYD Media; Tom Marr, WCBM, Baltimore; Joe Piscopo, WNYM, New York; and Martha Zoller, WGAU, Athens, GA/Georgia News Network.  The Talkers New York 2014 conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.

castnermichaelMichael Castner Moves to AM Drive at KEX, Portland.  Changes in the programming schedule at Clear Channel’s Portland news/talker KEX include the shift of afternoon drive personality Michael Castner to host of the morning drive program alongside the current staff of co-anchor Lacey Evans, news director Brad Ford and traffic reporters Michael Convery and Lynne Masterson.  As a result Paul Linnman leaves the AM show for a commentator role with the station.  Taking over the afternoon drive slot is Houston-based talk personality Michael Berry whose show slides down from evenings to the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot and San Antonio-based Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo is now heard in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm time slot.

ingrahamlauraLaura Ingraham Doesn’t Discount Run for Office.  It’s not exactly a statement of intent, but Courtside Entertainment Group-syndicated talk show host Laura Ingraham tells RealClearPolitics that she’s “keeping an open mind about running for office in the future.”  The comment comes at the end of a piece about her influence on some of the primary races – specifically the assertion that she was instrumental in helping Dave Brat upset Eric Cantor in the Virginia U.S. House primary and her current stumping for Joe Carr as he takes on Lamar Alexander in the Tennessee U.S. Senate primary that takes place on August 7.  Ingraham was in Nashville recently at a campaign event for Carr – a Tea Party-backed candidate who is drawing a line in front of Alexander on the immigration issue.  Read the entire story here.

siriusxmSiriusXM Posts Q2 Revenue Hike of 10%; 380,000 New Self-Pay Subscribers.  After a somewhat down 2014 Q1 report, SiriusXM rebounds with what CEO Jim Meyer is calling an “outstanding” quarter.  SiriusXM’s revenue for the quarter was $1.035 billion – a 10% increase from the same period a year ago.  Net income was $120 million.  Last quarter, SiriusXM reported adding just 267,000 new subscribers but that figure is up dramatically with almost 475,000 new subscribers added – approximately 380,000 of those self-paying subscribers.  Meyer comments, “We set new records for trial conversions to self-pay, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted meyerjimEBITDA margin in the quarter, and we are raising our 2014 guidance for revenue, adjusted EBITDA, and free cash flow.  Our extraordinary operating performance supported the buyback of over 350 million shares in the quarter, or approximately 6% of our outstanding stock.  Perhaps more importantly, we improved our superior content by adding even more channels and shows created with major brands and personalities, such as Joel Osteen, NBC’s TODAY Show, and YouTube, and we expanded the range and depth of our commercial-free music programming with the introduction of three new channels in the categories of country, women’s pop, and dance.  As the leader in audio entertainment, we never rest in searching for new content that our subscribers will love.”

harrisonrobinsonMeeting of the Mentors.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (left) paid a visit Sunday (7/27) to his old friend, radio legend Dick Robinson (right), founder and chairman of the mega-successful Connecticut School of Broadcasting (CSB).  The two veteran radio “mentors” compared notes about the state of the industry and according to both men, it was an uplifting, stimulating discussion that left them “inspired and optimistic” about the future of the business.  CSB – the oldest and largest group of broadcasting schools in America — is a tremendous success story that celebrates its half-century anniversary this year.  The institute that launched thousands of careers was founded by then-renowned Hartford DJ Robinson in 1964 (pictured below at WDRC, Hartford at that time) to help aspiring young broadcasters learn the fundamentals of radio performing and production and has since grown to include 12 East Coast campuses from Boston to Miami.  According to Robinson, “Our success is based largely on the fact that we have grown, evolved and expanded the definition of what we cover as the years and decades went by…and we are still doing exactly that – evolving with the times.  Whereas we started primarily as a school for DJs, we have grown to encompass all aspects of the radio business as well as television including the burgeoning field of sports and all aspects of audio and videocsb logo production.”  Robinson says, “We are a remedy to the high cost and long-term commitment required to attend a standard college or university communications department curriculum – a process that leaves graduates in significant debt and doesn’t necessarily guarantee enhanced prospects of gaining employment in the field.”  Robinson also explains, “We are also a practical alternative to four-year schools for adults in their late 20s, 30s and even older who want to change careers or start a new one in the broadcast business.”  The obvious question arises:  Considering the economic challenges facing radio today with staff cutbacks and the future of AM/FM in question, are there still opportunities for people of any age in the fields of radio and broadcasting?  Robinson’s response:  robinsondick1964“Absolutely!  More than ever!  With radio stations and multi-dimension ‘media station’ operations that include audio, video, graphics, and text elements all on one platform popping up not only on newspaper websites – but the online arms of a wide variety of businesses, demand for people who have what we would consider basic radio and television skills is growing exponentially.  And that’s only half of it – never before in the history of our industry has there been so much opportunity for entrepreneurial broadcasters to make it on their own.  In the old model, a majority of the people aspiring toward a career in radio or television would have to seek employment and get past a gatekeeper to be able to work in the field.  Very few had the resources and connections to go out and buy a radio or TV station.  But today, it is just a matter of ‘knowing what to do’ to be in business for yourself as a media practitioner.  At CSB we are teaching our students how to be entrepreneurs as well as talent, technicians, and marketers.”  Reflecting upon the get-together, Michael Harrison states, “Dick Robinson is one of the most extraordinary men the radio industry has ever produced.  His school has taught countless broadcasters the art and craft of our wonderful business and he is still going strong as a station owner, format innovator and mentor of mentors.  There isn’t a lifetime achievement award big enough for what this guy has done and continues to do.”

adlargelogoAdLarge Media Appoints Green VP/Digital Sales. Former PodcastOne national account director Jay Green is tapped to become AdLarge Media‘s vice president of digital sales and content partnerships.  AdLarge Media co-founder and president Cathy Csukas comments, “We are delighted to bring Jay on board to steer our digital audio and mobile strategy.  Jay’s impressive background and knowledge of digital audio advertising trends, combined with his expertise in operations and management, make him the ideal candidate to help us meet our expansion goals.”  The company’s chief executive officer and co-founder Gary Schonfeld remarks that, “Jay’s keen understanding of the digital audio marketplace will advance our objectives and those of our digital and mobile partners.  He is skilled at developing the kind of customized programs and packages that national advertisers have come to expect from AdLarge Media.”  Green states that he is “passionate about digital audio advertising” and that he is “dedicated to creating first-to-market campaigns for our advertisers.  AdLarge’s reputation for innovation and excellence was a compelling reason for me to become an integral member of their team.  It’s an exciting time to join the company.”  Prior to working at PodCastOne, Green spent 10 years at Dial Global, where he ultimately became vice president of strategic operations. His background includes sales, campaign management, sales planning, research, audience analysis, and market research for various new product launches.

relm networkWashington, DC-Based RELM Network Adds Food Show.  The program – titled, “Foodie and the Beast,” has been airing on Hubbard Radio-owned WFED, Washington “Federal News Radio” for the past six years and now joins the growing lineup of streaming and on-demand content at RELM Network.  The program is hosted by David and Nycci Nellis and is an offshoot of Nycci’s popular DC website “The List” (AreYouOnIt.com,) which has been dubbed by The Washington Post as “one of the premier resources for all things food and wine in DC and beyond.”  Nycci is a gourmet cook and a veteran food journalist in radio, TV and print.  The show is also seasoned with world-renowned guests, including celebrity chefs Wolfgang Puck, Thomas Keller, Michel Richard and Mike Isabella – as well as famous cookbook authors, farmers, marine biologists, oystermen, winemakers, distillers and brewmasters.

nprNPR Debuts New Curated Streaming App.  An interesting new development from NPR is its curated streaming app dubbed NPR One.  A story in TechCrunch identifies the new app – separate from NPR’s existing mobile platform apps – as one that “combines the benefits of both streaming and traditional terrestrial radio” with the new app.  TechCrunch reports that it “uses a combination of streams of NPR’s public news broadcasts, combined with stories that are curated for your specific tastes.  You can get regionally relevant content by letting the device have access to your location settings, and you can also search for podcasts and other content to teach the app about what you want and get it instantly.”  Read the whole TechCrunch story here.

cumulusyoungstownCumulus Media Honors Youngstown Cluster with President’s Cup.  The corporate prize for best sales performance for the second quarter of 2014 at Cumulus Media goes to the company’s Youngstown, Ohio eight-station group as it receives the coveted President’s Cup.  Each quarter, one market is recognized for its overall performance among the company’s 90 radio markets.  The Youngstown staff (pictured here) that operates country WQXK “K105,” CHR WHOT “Hot 101,” news/talk WPIC, news/talk WSOM, classic rock WYFM “Y103,” rock WWIZ “Rock 104,” and sports talk simulcast WBBW-AM/WLLF-FM will share the $10,000 prize.  Vice president and market manager Rick Parrish says, “I am very proud of the success our Youngstown sales team, programming team and support staff have achieved with our eight radio stations that serve northeast Ohio and Pennsylvania.  Our team set the goal to bring the Cumulus President’s Cup to Youngstown, and through hustle and hard work, we did it!”  Cumulus EVP and Co-COO John Pinch adds, “The team in Youngstown has performed at record levels this year and is well deserving of this award.  To win the President’s Cup requires contribution from every person at every level in the cluster.  Congratulations, Cumulus Youngstown!”

wbtwlnk duo logoCool Job Opportunity.  Greater Media Charlotte is seeking talented sales people to work in the Charlotte Market at news/talk WBT-AM/FM and hot AC WLNK “107.9 The Link.”  Greater Media is seeking applicants with: quantifiable success in radio/media sales or another industry; the drive, hunger, and ability to see the sales process through from prospecting to the final close; courage to ask for and deliver remarkable programs; a love and passion for winning; integrity and pride in being a full-service rep; new business expertise and a creative mind; a desire to exceed expectations and move up quickly; independent and entrepreneurial performers; excellent verbal and written communication skills.  At Greater Media Charlotte, you will be surrounded by people who love to have fun and work extremely hard.  We offer great benefits and lots of incentives for self-starters, while enjoying the stability of a privately owned media company with two of Charlotte’s best radio stations.  If you think you are ready for the next step in your career and think you have the talent to make it happen, we want you on our team!  Send your resume and a cover letter to: Sandra Szoke, director of sales, Greater Media Charlotte, Inc., WBT/WLNK Radio, One Julian Price Place, Charlotte, NC 28208; sszoke@gmclt.com.  No phone calls please.  Greater Media Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Gaza Violence/New Anti-Semitism, Flight 17 Probe/Russian Influence in Ukraine, Immigration Policy Debate/Child Illegals Influx, Pentagon Afghanistan Waste Report, Ebola Fears, and Ray Rice Suspension Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/28).  The continuing violence in the Gaza Strip and increased incidences of anti-Semitism in Europe; Russia’s influence in the Ukraine and the effort to fully investigate the downing of Flight 17; debate over the immigration policy in the U.S. and the influx of illegal minors entering the country; the recent Pentagon report detailing billions in spending waste in Afghanistan; renewed fears of an Ebola virus outbreak; and outrage over the two-game suspension NFL star Ray Rice received after knocking his wife unconscious in a domestic dispute were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, December 9, 2013

| December 9, 2013

segalelliotClear Channel Goes with DC-Based Elliot Segal for WOR, New York Morning Show.  In announcing its new program schedule for news/talk WOR, New York (which includes the Arrival of Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity), Clear Channel Media + Entertainment throws a curveball to industry watchers and names “DC101”limbaughrush morning drive host Elliot Segal the new morning drive show, replacing the retiring John Gambling.  The “Elliot in the Morning” show will continue to air on Clear Channel’s rock WWDC as well as rock WRXL, Richmond “XL 102.”  Segal says, “I’m excited to be coming back to New York, to a station with such a legendary history.  We have built something very special in Washington, DC and Richmond and I’m beyond thrilled that the show will continue airing on DC/101 and XL-102. Now, WOR will be home to ‘Elliot In The Morning’ and I couldn’t be more anxious to get hannityseangoing.”  This move is particularly significant because it is the first time in recent memory that a major market heritage AM news/talk station will be carrying the same show that is running on a major market heritage FM music station.  Although there is nothing new about major FM music stations running talk (or talk-oriented) programs in their lineups (usually in morning drive), this move marks a significant breakthrough in mixing the cultures within a single outlet’s stationality. The implications of this, should it be successful, will be huge.  Clear Channel notes Mark Simone follows Segal from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.  After that it’s Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Andy Dean and Dave RamseyJoan Hamburg – a longtime WOR personality – moves to weekends with programs airing on both Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.  President and market manager Joe Puglise states, “This is an incredibly exciting time for WOR.  Bringing America’s top two talk show hosts to our lineup, the entertaining Elliot Segal and his team to the mornings and becoming the flagship station for the Mets will allow us to create unprecedented marketing opportunities for our partners and unbeatable programming for our listeners.”

deptrojohnJohn DePetro Apologizes for ‘Whores’ Comment.  WPRO, Providence late morning talk show host John DePetro has issued an apology for calling union protestors “whores.”  This latest development comes less than a week after TALKERS reported that DePetro had filed a police complaint stating two men had threatened him outside the WPRO studios because of the comment.  Back in September, DePetro railed against the union-supported protest taking place outside a fundraiser for State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo.  During that broadcast he reportedly directed his words toward a female union leader, saying, “What a disgrace.  You are an embarrassment…You are parasites.  You are cockroaches.  You lie.  You are union hags. There’s another word I’d like to use…it begins with a W. and an H. and an O. and an R. and an E. and an S.  See if they can spell that.”  DePetro was off his program last week and the Associate Press reports it’s unclear if his absence had anything to do with the remarks.  Still, he called into his own program and told listeners, “The language I used was not in keeping with the family friendly atmosphere that I try to maintain for the thousands of people who listen to me.  Going forward I intend to approach debates on the current topics that we talk about in a more sensitive style.”

saunderssusanSaunders Begins Daily Talk Show.  WBNQ, Bloomington, Illinois morning drive host Susan Saunders is adding a daily talk show on sister station news/talk WJBC-AM/FM.  Saunders leads the CHR morning show alongside Ray Wagner.  Now, she’s adding a two-hour 9:00 am to 11:00 am talk program to her duties at the Cumulus Media cluster.  She says, “It’s official, and I couldn’t be more excited about joining the legendary, Marconi- and Crystal Award-winning staff of WJBC-AM/FM.  After 15 years (on the morning show), it was time to expand my horizons into pure form talk radio.  Over the last four months I have been auditioning my non-musical style with WJBC’s audience, and it works!”

beasley logo longBeasley Declares Cash Dividend for Share Holders.  The dividend will be paid on January 10 to shareholders of record on December 27 and will pay $0.045 per share.  Chairman and CEO Geroge Beasley states, “The re-initiation of a regular cash dividend reflects the free cash flow generated by our operations as well as our commitment to deliver value to our shareholders, and follows the one-time special dividend of $0.085 paid to shareholders in December 2012. Importantly, taking into consideration the proposed annual capital allocated to dividend payments, based on current conditions we believe Beasley Broadcast Group‘s total free cash flow should provide us with the liquidity needed to further reduce leverage, consider potential station acquisitions and to enhance long-term shareholder value.”

cclogoFlora and DeLucca Join Clear Channel, Phoenix as GSMs.  Coming onboard effective immediately as general sales managers are George Flora and Libia DeLucca.  Flora will oversee sales operations for Clear Channel, Phoenix outlets KFYI “Newstalk 550,” KOY “Business 1230,” and KGME “Fox Sports Radio 910.”  In addition to her GSM duties, DeLucca will assist with brand manager responsibilities for the cluster’s rhythmic hot AC KYOT “Eva 95.5.”  Clear Channel Phoenix vice president of sales Linda Little states, “George Flora is the perfect addition to our sales management team.  He will add a wealth of knowledge and experience in driving revenue and creating solutions for clients utilizing our spoken-word brands.  Libia brings with her years of experience selling integrated marketing solutions with digital, newspaper, and TV assets in Phoenix.  I know she will take her team to new levels as they become even stronger digital marketers for their clients.” Prior to the six years he just spent at ESPN Los Angeles, Flora was with CBS Radio Los Angeles for 12 years.  DeLucca had a 14-year run with Gannett Media Phoenix – most recently as digital sales manager.

wtkw logoYankees Add Syracuse’s Rock “TK 99″ to its Radio Network.  Galaxy Communications, Syracuse classic rocker WTKW “TK 99″ signs a multi-year agreement with CBS Radio to air all 162 regular season games of the NY Yankees beginning with the 2014 season.  Galaxy Communications president/chief executive officer Ed Levine remarks, “We intend to go far beyond just broadcasting the games on the radio in Syracuse.  We’re going to enhance the experience for Yankee fans in Central New York in a myriad of innovative ways.”  CBS Radio vice president of sports programming Mark Chernoff comments, “CBS Radio and the New York Yankees are very excited to be partnering with ‘TK 99′ and Galaxy.  They have shown a great ability through their work with Syracuse University athletics to enhance what is already a strong presence in Syracuse.  We look forward to that continuing with the Yankees.”  In April 2007, WTKW became the flagship play-by-play outlet of Syracuse University men’s football, men’s basketball, and men’s lacrosse games.

kirofm logoKIRO-FM’s Twelve-Hour Fundraiser Collects More Than $489,000.  Local foster children will be aided by money amassed through listener donations and sponsor matching funds via the Bonneville Seattle talk outlet’s 7:00 am – 7:00 pm radio-thon last Thursday (12/5).  KIRO-FM conducted the annual “Holiday Magic” on-air event in conjunction with Treehouse, a nonprofit organization addressing essential education and enrichment needs of kids in foster care. Bonneville Seattle Media Group vice president/market manager Carl Gardner comments, “Again this year, our community has dug deep to support foster children.  Treehouse does a tremendous job of strengthening foster families and helping children realize their full potential.  It is a joy and privilege to connect our generous audience with good neighbors who just need a little help.”  Treehouse chief executive officer Janis Avery remarks, “We are absolutely thrilled with the success of the 25th ‘Holiday Magic’ radio-thon.  We are so grateful to the KIRO radio team and listeners for once again helping Treehouse give 6,000 kids in foster care across Washington State happy holidays.”  Founded in 1988, Treehouse recently set a goal that, by 2017, King County foster kids will graduate high school at the rate of their peers.  Major community contributors to the KIRO-FM radio-thon included Carter Subaru, Safeway Foundation, and GEICO.

wmal logoWMAL-AM/FM, Washington Helps Raise $330k-plus for Fisher House Foundation.  WMAL-AM/FM, Washington program director Bill Hess tells TALKERS magazine that it was a big weekend for the Cumulus Media station and its listeners as the 10th Annual Fisher House Radiothon raised $330,630 for the charity that helps provide housing for the loved ones of U.S. servicemen and women begin treated for injuries suffered in the line of duty.  Hess calls it an “incredible response by our wonderful WMAL listeners” and reports that this year’s total beat last year’s total by $40,000 and the 2011 total by $75,000.  The two-day radiothon was anchored by morning hosts Brian Wilson and Larry O’Connor, along with midday host Chris Plante and weekender Rick Fowler.

beasleylasvegaspartyBeasley Las Vegas Holiday Bash.  The Beasley Broadcast Group Las Vegas cluster took time over the weekend to get together for a holiday party at the Blue Martini.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: Beasley Las Vegas VP of programming Justin Chase, corporate VP of operations Brian Beasley, Beasley Las Vegas general manager Tom Humm, KDWN talk show host Alan Stock, KDWN and syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs, and KDWN program and news director John Shaffer.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

| December 5, 2012

Phil Boyce Takes on Operations Role at Salem Communications’ New York Cluster.  Talk radio programming pro Phil Boyce already serves as VP/director of spoken word format for Salem Communications but he’s adding the operational vice president for the New York cluster title to his business card.  That means he’s directly in charge of operations for WNYM “970 The Answer” and Christian talk outlet WMCA.  Salem Communications  president David Santrella says, “Phil’s innate understanding of the New York market, particularly as it relates to news/talk, as well as his day-to-day proximity to the operation, has led us to the decision to ask Phil to take on the additional role of operational VP for the New York cluster.  Phil will continue to work with all of our stations as VP director, spoken word format.”  Program director Peter Thiele remains in his position as Boyce’s charge is to oversee the station’s revenue and assist all departments in that effort.  Other changes from Salem Communications include Salem regional VP Linnae Young, who has overseen the New York cluster, taking on the oversight of the Tampa cluster that includes news/talk WGUL, Christian talk WTBN, and news/talk WLSS, Sarasota.  In Louisville, Salem regional VP Mike Moran will assume oversight of news/talk WGTK, and Christian talk WFIA-AM/FM.

Mike Gastineau to Exit KJR, Seattle.  Longtime sports talker Mike “Gasman” Gastineau announces he’ll leave Clear Channel’s sports KJR, Seattle where he currently hosts the PM drive show with co-host Elise.  Gastineau has been with KJR since 1991 and was originally partnered with Rick DuPree in middays.  He’s been in the midday slot for the past 19 years.  In a statement explaining his departure, Gastineau says, “Since 1991 I have hosted more than 5,000 shows on KJR and I’ve reached a point where I’d like to explore other creative options.  KJR’s management has been incredibly understanding and supportive of my decision.  I’m proud to have been able to give Seattle fans a voice in these incredibly important debates.  I always strived to do three things on the show – be funny, entertaining and give people a place for reasonable debate on sports issues of the day.”  His last show is tomorrow (12/6) and KJR has not announced plans for the PM drive slot as of yet.

Robin Bertolucci Honored at PIRATES Event.  KFI and KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci was honored at the holiday fundraiser of the Print Interactive Radio and Television Educational Society (PIRATES) at the Castaway Restaurant in Burbank, California.  The PIRATES’ “Golden Buccaneer” award is given annually and was awarded to Bertolucci in recognition “of her remarkable ongoing commitment to public affairs, the community and education as one of the media’s most outstanding role models for students.”  This annual holiday fundraiser benefits the Ruth Collander Endowment Fund which enables PIRATES to provide scholarships to college students majoring in communications, journalism, radio or television.  Pictured above (from l-r) are: Brent Seltzer (Still at Large) who emceed the event, KOST 103.5 program director Stella Prado, Bertolucci and KFI director of marketing/brand manager Neil Saavedra.

Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Partners with Production Companies for Competition Reality Show.  The name of the series is “Pursuit of the Truth” and the goal of the show is to bring together 20 selected filmmakers from across the country to prove to a panel of expert judges that their project is worthy of the grand prize – financing and worldwide distribution for their feature documentary film idea.  Go Go Luckey Entertainment and Wild West Productions are working with TheBlaze on the project.  The 20 contestants will be asked to perform a series of tasks during the 10-week production period for the panel of expert judges.  Contestants will be asked to not only prove the validity of their idea for a documentary but also their filmmaking abilities.  They will either survive or be eliminated based on that criteria.  For example, contestants might be asked to produce a sizzle reel, procure and execute a key interview, or pitch scenes to the panel of judges.  TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood says, “We are excited to continue to expand our programming with producers like Vince Vaughn, Peter Billingsley and Gary Auerbach.  The documentary film, particularly those that seek the truth with no agenda, is an important art form that is struggling to survive in this media environment.  We will be looking for stories that simply need to be told.”  The nine-episode series debuts on TheBlaze in late spring 2013.

WMMS, Cleveland Dismisses PM Drive Co-Host Chad Zumock.  The rock station’s Alan Cox afternoon drive talk program is without air talent Chad Zumock after the 38-year-old comedian and radio co-host was arrested following a recent incident in which he crashed his car into a tree while returning home from a gig at a local comedy club.  Zumock refused a breath test but authorities are charging him with DUI.  According to Cleveland.com, the incident violates a clause in Zumock’s contract with Clear Channel and host Alan Cox addressed Zumock’s dismissal on the program on Tuesday, December 4.

WTAG, Worcester Morning Host Jim Polito Exits for Boston TV Gig.  Jim Polito returns to his television roots beginning December 10 as he’ll handle commentary for Fox TV O&O WFXT, Boston’s evening newscasts.  Polito left WGGB-TV, Springfield, Massachusetts in 2008 to join Clear Channel’s WTAG, Worcester for the morning drive program.  No word from Clear Channel what its plans for the morning show are.

Branson, Missouri Gets FM Talk Station as Earls Family Broadcasting Makes Changes.  In making programming changes to its cluster of stations in Branson, Missouri, Earls Family Broadcasting consolidates its two country outlets on one signal, freeing up KRZK at 106.3 to become a news/talk station.  The new format is branded as “Your News. Straight Talk. 106.3.”  In a statement, the company says news/talk is “a perfect fit for our traditional, informed and community-minded citizens of the Branson area.  Since KRZK has always been popular for local news, talk, and community service, an all-news/talk format is the perfect evolution of this beloved station.”  The station is carrying Fox News Radio for top-of-the-hour news.  The program schedule includes: Steve & Janet in the Morning for 6:00 am to 9:00 am; “At Your Service” with Scott McCaulley from 9:00 am to 11:00 am; Dial Global’s Dennis Miller from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm; Dave Ramsey from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm; and “The Ozark’s News Hour with Greg Pyron” from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

The Expert Radio Network Launches.  A new San Diego-based terrestrial radio network is getting off the ground.  The Expert Radio Network, “a multi-media radio platform for experts to deliver their content, expand their audience and explode their product sales” is opening for business.  Vice president of business development Susan Ram explains the network’s approach.  “Experts will have the opportunity to host a weekly radio show in major markets across the country, complete with marketing guidance from co-founder Scotty Saks.  Experts will also work directly with award-winning talent coaching specialist and ERN co-founder Cliff Dumas and his business partner Randy Lane of The Randy Lane Company.  Cliff and Randy will teach the same communication secrets Randy has personally taught Ryan Seacrest, Jimmy Kimmel, Carson Daly and hundreds of other entertainment, sports and business clients.  Finally, Experts will be able to leverage the power of a fully produced, online marketing sales funnel custom designed to monetize their product and brand.”  Identifying “experts” as those who’ve committed three years or 10,000 hours to knowledge of their subject of expertise, ERN says it has identified several “key verticals,” including: finance and business, health and wellness, and personal development.  “The timing could not be better, as ‘real,’ terrestrial talk radio is experiencing explosive growth, and attracting millions of listeners who seek critical investment, business, and personal development advice from experts across the country.  The power of ERN will massively expand an individual or corporate brand’s audience and deliver valuable advice and information to consumers.”  ERN will utilize SpotMedia’s new Synchronicity platform for its program distribution, eliminating satellite distribution expenses while automatically customizing shows and commercial insertions on an affiliate by affiliate basis for both over the air and digital audiences.

Good Karma’s WEFL, West Palm Beach Renews Local TV Partnership.  West Palm Beach sports talk ESPN 760 extends its content-producing partnership with local television stations WPTV-TV and WFLX-TV.  The stations had been working together for the past three years and have agreed to terms on a new multi-year contract.  WPTV-TV vice president and general manager Steve Wasserman says, “Since teaming up with ESPN 760 in 2010, the profile of local sports has risen to an unprecedented level.  With the powerful combination of the region’s top-rated television station and the area’s unrivaled leader in sports radio, we will continue to set the standard for sports coverage in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.”  The stations say that over the years they have produced quality content with unique local coverage and programming that includes: “Football Night in South Florida,” “5 Sports Live” on WPTV and “Wayne Akers Sports Zone” on WFLX.  ESPN 760’s anchor team of Joe Girvan and Emerson Lotzia will continue to be seen nightly on WPTV NewsChannel 5’s 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm newscasts as well as WFLX Fox 29’s 10:00 pm newscast.  WEFL vice president and general manager Steve Politziner states, “We are thrilled to continue to share stories about sports in our local community with the passionate fans of WPTV and WFLX.  ‘Football Night in South Florida’ has become a franchise unto itself and the way in which schools, players, coaches, administrators, parents and fans have embraced our coverage, it’s more than exceeded our expectations.”

Odds & Sods.  Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington raised more than $290,000 during its radiothon on Friday and Saturday to benefit the Fisher House Foundation.  It was the 9th annual such radiothon and program director Bill Hess tells TALKERS the total was up $50,000 from last year’s total and that, to date, WMAL listeners have raised more than $4 million for Fisher House over the past nine years…..Herman Cain subs for Neal Boortz on the Cox Media-syndicated national talk program December 10 – 19.  Cain, who hosted a program at flagship WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta prior to his run for president, will take over hosting the Neal Boortz show on January 21, 2013…..WQAM, Miami sports talk host Dan Sileo subs on the morning show at Entercom’s WEEI, Boston December 26 – 28.

Talk Producer Colin Brady Dies at 43.  Florida-based radio producer Colin Brady passed away at age 43 after a struggle with cardiovascular disease.  Brady worked as a talk producer and host in both Tampa and Orlando.  He worked with Shannon Burke at WTKS, Orlando and on his internet show at RadioIO.com.  Burke tells the Orlando Sentinel that although Brady was the butt of jokes (as producers often are) his listeners were shocked.  “They all loved him very much.  Last week, they were calling the show crying.  He was beloved, no doubt about it.”

Washington ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, Syria Chemical Weapons Threat, Egypt Unrest, Obama Cabinet Nominees, and Jovan Belcher Case-Costas Comments Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/4).  The fight between GOP leaders and the Obama administration over how to avoid the “fiscal cliff”; charges Syria is planning to use its chemical weapons on rebels; the unrest in Egypt as citizens protest Mohamed Morsi’s policies; speculation over the shape of the new Obama Cabinet; and the murder-suicide case of Jovan Belcher and Bob Costas’ anti-gun commentary were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Eyes and Ears on the Storm

| November 21, 2012

By Mike Kinosian
Talkers 
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

LOS ANGELESAmerican voters are conditioned every four years to believe that the presidential ballot they are about to cast will be the most crucial such decision they will make in their entire lifetimes.

That was certainly a dominant theme of the 2012 campaign, yet less than 10 days before Election Day, something else began percolating that had approximately 20% of the country hitting the “Pause” button to politics: “Sandy.”

Innocuous as the name sounds, “Sandy” unfortunately arrived as advertised and now, weeks later, harsh reality remains in its wake.

Read More

Social Media: Handle with Care

| January 27, 2012

Since this story was published on the morning of Friday, January 27, KTRS, St. Louis talk host JC Corcoran has responded with illuminating details that add even more to the fascinating subject of social media use by talk broadcasters.  Read his letter here.

By Kevin Casey
and Mike Kinosian

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. –– Using social media such as Twitter and Facebook to promote one’s radio program, the station brand or to interact with P1s is what most talk radio practitioners are expected to do these days.  After all, used properly, most digital experts agree the explosive nature of social media can reach people –– including potential new listeners –– in a way other media can’t.  But are there damaging aspects to social media?  Is there a potential downside?

Consider the cases of KTRS, St. Louis talk show host JC Corcoran and Current TV (and former MSNBC and ESPN) personality Keith Olbermann.

Corcoran is a very successful, longtime St. Louis radio personality.  Last fall he got into a back-and-forth argument via Twitter with a listener –– complete with salty language –– about his prediction the Cardinals would re-sign slugger Albert Pujols.  Management at KTRS suspended Corcoran briefly for how he handled the exchange.  The theory being that although the FCC’s jurisdiction is limited to only what goes out over the airwaves, a host’s general public image is the concern of station ownership regardless of the venue upon which it is conveyed –– licensed or unlicensed.

Read More

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

| December 6, 2011

Arbitron Reports Radio Listening Up; 1.4 Million Listeners Added.  According to Arbitron’s RADAR 111 National Radio Listening Report, 1.4 million more Americans ages 12-plus are listening to radio on a weekly basis compared to the RADAR report released one year ago.  “The number of persons 12 and older listening to radio each week now reaches an estimated 241.3 million, representing 93% of the population 12 and older,” according to Arbitron.  The report concludes, “In addition to adding 1.4 million weekly listeners during the past year, radio listening among key demographics continues to hold steady.  Compared to the December 2010 RADAR report, teens aged 12 to 17 remains consistent at 22.8 million, or 92% of that demographic’s population.  Radio listeners aged 18 to 34 increased slightly versus the December 2010 RADAR report.  Radio now reaches 66.3 million weekly listeners in this age range, that’s 93.4% of this demographic.”  The report also highlights the large increase of Hispanic listeners – more than 1 million 12-plus — from year-to-year.  Arbitron states the sample size for RADAR is 395,502 persons 12-plus which is “designed to provide more stability for key demographic estimates, dayparts and Market-by-Market Analysis reports, which report all individual DMAs®.

John B. Wells Joins “Coast to Coast AM” Air Staff.  Premiere Networks announces long-time “Coast to Coast AM” fill-in host John B. Wells becomes a regular host of the Saturday weekend edition of the program.  Wells becomes part of the staff after current weekend host Ian Punnett announces he must reduce his duties with the program to seek aggressive treatment for a debilitating case of tinnitus with which he’s suffering.  He’ll continue to host one weekend program per month.  (Punnett also continues to co-host the morning show at Hubbard Radio’s KTMY, Minneapolis with his wife Margery.)  On joining the program, Wells says, “Spending Saturday nights talking to millions of ‘Coast to Coast’ fans is a dream come true.  After guest hosting the show off and on for the last few years, it’s a real honor to officially join the ‘Coast to Coast’ and Premiere Networks crew.  This is going to be a lot of fun and a real adventure!”

Norman Goldman Snags Denver Affiliation.  Compass Media Networks talk host Norman Goldman becomes the PM drive personality at Clear Channel’s KKZN, Denver.  Goldman’s program has been in national syndication for two years and is heard in major markets including Chicago, San Francisco and Boston as well as numerous others.  Of his newest affiliation, Goldman says, “We are thrilled and excited to be part of the live programming schedule offered daily by AM 760, Colorado’s Progressive Talk.  Our highly engaged, socially connected audience expects to interact with and comment about the live events happening around the world and respond in real time.  My sincere thanks to KKZN PD Dan Mandis for this amazing opportunity to make great live radio.”  Compass Media Networks notes Goldman began his program in 2009 with the pledge of serving local affiliates.  “Throughout the past 24 months, Goldman has held rallies, Town Halls, advertiser appearances, and events – at no charge to his stations.  His emotion-filled message of hard work, tenacity and passion for justice resonates with listeners and advertisers alike.”

Fox Sports Radio Adds Bobby Bones and Andy Roddick for Weekend Show.  Tennis great Andy Roddick partners up with Austin, Texas-based syndicated CHR morning show host Bobby Bones for a weekend program on Fox Sports Radio Network beginning on January 7, 2012.  Roddick and Bones are long-time friends and the two have talked sports on Bones’ morning show numerous times.  They also subbed on FSRN this past summer.  Bones says, “I can’t wait to get paid to talk about sports, especially since Andy and I have been doing it for free for years.  We’re pretty excited to get to use real microphones and be heard by a real audience, on Fox Sports Radio!”  Fox Sports Radio VP/GM Don Martin states, “We are proud to bring the amazing talents of Bobby Bones and Andy Roddick into the Fox Sports Radio family.  This unique duo will blow the minds of the sports talk radio audience.”

CBS Radio Names Neil Salvage Head of Digital Sales.  Neil Salvage comes to CBS Radio from CityGrid Media where he was executive vice president of advertising.  In his new position he will oversee all sales efforts on a national and local level related to CBS Radio’s digital assets, including the division’s websites, a variety of mobile assets, and online streaming initiatives.  CBS Radio president of sales Michael Weiss states, “In Neil, we have succeeded in hiring an incredibly seasoned local advertising pro with experience at well-respected companies such as Citysearch, Yellowpages.com and BellSouth.  With his background we’re confident we can acquire new clients whose focus is deeply rooted in digital marketing, and claim a greater share of incremental dollars in 2012 and beyond.”

Radio-thon for the Troops.  Cumulus’ WMAL, Washington, DC morning program personalities (from l-r) Brian Wilson, Mary Katharine Ham and Bryan Nehman work a remote broadcast on December 2 as part of the day-long 8th Annual WMAL Fisher House Radio-thon.  The station raised $256,000 for the Fisher House Foundation which provides housing near military hospitals for the families of convalescing and rehabbing military personnel who’ve been injured in the line of duty.  Program director Bill Hess states, “WMAL’s listeners have contributed more than $3.7 million over the past eight years through fund drives and events.  It’s a cause about which we – and our very supportive listeners – feel quite strongly.”  WMAL talk host Chris Plante also worked the radio-thon as part of the station’s effort.

Cain Suspends Presidential Race, Euro Zone Downgrade/Financial Markets Response, Putin’s Political Future and Iran Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/5).  Herman Cain’s suspension of his presidential campaign, the S&P downgrade of 15 Euro Zone countries and its effect on financial markets, Vladimir Putin’s political future in Russia and the tension over Iran’s military buildup were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

| October 26, 2011

Westwood One Founder Norm Pattiz Describes Beginnings of Westwood One. During his special remarks at last week’s historic Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (10/20), Westwood One founder (and current CEO of Courtside Entertainment) Norm Pattiz shared the story of the early days of the ground breaking syndication firm that he started in one office in Westwood back in the late 1970s.  Telling the packed house of talk media professionals that he launched the company with “$10,000 and a working wife,” Pattiz describes how his background as a well-connected former L.A. television sales manager served to bring sponsorships to packaged radio programs — thus shifting the network radio business model from a direct cash to barter system and opening the door to the tremendous growth that followed.  He talks about Westwood One’s first show being an urban radio cross-over Motown special stating, “Being a television guy and not a radio guy, I didn’t know the rules of radio and if you don’t know the rules, you can’t be limited by them.”  Pattiz’s speech can be seen exclusively on TALKERS TV. If you are using a mobile device, click here to view the video.

Cumulus Budget Ax Chops Through Chicago.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports Cumulus corporate dictates have taken a toll on the producer staff at news/talk WLS, Chicago and the programming and airstaff at sister oldies WLS-FM.  Afternoon drive “Roe & Roeper” executive producer Jock Hedblade and “Don Wade & Roma” morning drive show producer Zack Christenson both have been let go along with WLS-FM program director Michael LaCrosse and Chris Papendick, producer of the Greg Brown PM drive show on WLS-FM.  The other change includes operations director Drew Hayes remaining solely responsible for WLS and no longer overseeing WMAL, Washington as he has for the past several years.  Bill Hess was recently promoted to PD at WMAL.  Hayes’ oversight began when WMAL was without a programmer.

Q3 Reports:  Arbitron Up; Journal’s Radio Bright Spot in Down Quarter.  Arbitron reports third quarter revenue up 6.1% over the same period one year ago and states it expects revenue for the entire year to be up somewhere between 6% and 8%.  During a conference call, Arbitron CEO Bill Kerr noted that the company’s completion of the rollout of the Portable People Meter in the 48 top radio markets helped the company achieve its goals.  He also gave an update on the status of its Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement-sponsored project to develop a “single-source panel” for measuring TV, internet and mobile usage.  Kerr says they expect to present their work to CIMM during the fourth quarter.  At Journal Communications, while TV and publishing are languishing, radio has been pretty good to the Milwaukee-based company.  Radio was up 2.7% year-over-year while the company posted a 4.4% loss overall for the quarter.  Flagship news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee posted record ratings under the PPM as the station benefitted from the success of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, MLB’s Brewers and the recall elections across the state that brought in political dollars in a non-election year.

Michigan Sports Talker Sean Baligian Exits Clear Channel.  The “Sean and Terp Show” aired in PM drive on Clear Channel’s WDFN, Detroit and was simulcast to Grand Rapids on WMAX-FM.  With Baligian’s departure from the company, Ryan Terpstra continues to host the afternoon show on WMAX-FM, Grand Rapids and WDFN will feature a series of guest hosts as the station seeks its next permanent host for the daypart.  Via Facebook, Baligian says farewell to fans and hopes to announce a new gig soon.  The program was originally “Sean, Terp and Killer” and recently lost co-host Tom “Killer” Kowalski who died unexpectedly in August of heart failure at age 51.

Journal Names J. Pat Miller Promotion and Marketing Manager in Milwaukee.  Journal Broadcast Group’s Milwaukee operations announces classic hits WLWK-FM midday host and program director J. Pat Miller moves to a new position as promotion and marketing manager for the company’s WLWK-FM and news/talk WTMJ.  Journal states Miller “will work with the radio sales departments and programming teams to coordinate promotions, events and interactive platforms and will assume day-to-day oversight of the stations’ promotions department, as well.”  Programmer John Roberts joins Journal to handle programming at WLWK-FM.

Town Hall Takes on Los Angeles.  KRLA, Los Angeles’ sold out NTR event on Saturday evening (10/22) pulled a crowd of 1,400 into the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California.  The Salem Communications station produced the annual “Town Hall” event that featured Salem Radio Network talk show hosts plus special guests.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: SRN’s Mike Gallagher, columnist, author and pundit Ann Coulter, SRN’s Dennis Prager, KDWN, Las Vegas AM drive host Heidi Harris (who served as moderator for the program), and SRN personality Michael Medved.  The panelists batted around the current hot news stories including the 2012 presidential race.  They also fielded questions from the audience.

‘Occupy Wall Street,’ 2012 Presidential Race, Libya/Middle East Stability and Euro Zone Economic Tension Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/25).  The ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, the GOP candidates for president, political strife in Libya and the Middle East and the shaky state of the Euro Zone’s economy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.