Tag: "Bill Thomas"

Thursday, May 2, 2013

| May 2, 2013

theblaze logoGlenn Beck’s TheBlaze to Be Available in Tri-State Area Via Cablevision’s Optimum TV.  Beginning later this month, Glenn Beck-founded TheBlaze network will be available to New York City and the surrounding area as it will be included in Cablevision’s Optimum Preferred, Silver and Gold Packages.  The channel is available to Optimum TV commercial customers with Optimum Business or Optimum Entertainment.  Cablevision VP of video product management, Bradley Feldman, states, “Optimum TV is the only cable provider in the Tri-State area to bring our customers original programming from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, and the independent network will add more diversity to our strong lineup, providing our customers with more choices that our customers appreciate.”  In a statement from Beck’s organization it says TheBlaze “offers a full slate of original news and opinion shows like ‘Real News,’ ‘Wilkow!’ and ‘For the Record,’ late night comedy like ‘The Wonderful World of Stu’ and ‘B.S. of A.,’ family-friendly programming like ‘Liberty Treehouse’ as well as thought-provoking documentaries and original specials. TheBlaze first launched on September 12, 2011 as GBTV and quickly grew into one of the world’s largest online streaming networks with over 300,000 subscribers.  One year later, TheBlaze became a television network.”

cbsradioCBS Q1 2013 Report: Company Up 6%, Radio’s Top 10 Markets Up 2%.  The bulk of the discussion during yesterday’s conference call centered around TV for CBS, as it usually does.  But CEO Les Moonves stated moonveslesup front that the company continues to build “on the terrific debut of the CBS Sports Radio Network.  We’ve added 20 affiliates to our roster since our last call.  In addition, CBS Radio played a major role in this year’s success of the Academy of Country Music Awards.  This is a show that perfectly complements our radio audiences, as evidenced by all the artists who mentioned the power of radio in their acceptance speeches.”  CFO Joseph Ianniello noted that, comparable to the same period a year ago, the top 10 radio markets were performing up about 2%.  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript.  Read more here.

thomasbillFormer Citadel/Cumulus Birmingham Cluster Manager Bill Thomas Sues Company for Unlawful Termination.  Add discrimination to that under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  Bill Thomas, a.k.a Michael Thomas Stainback, alleges in the complaint filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama that the company knew he had heart ailments that resulted from a 2009 heart attack yet he still performed his job well and even received bonuses based upon performance.  Thomas alleges that in February of 2012, after telling Cumulus corporate management that he’d been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, he was terminated by the company six days later.  He’s seeking unspecified damages as well as back pay.

freedomfeens‘Freedom Feens’ Show to Join GCN.  The “Freedom Feens” weekend talk show co-hosted by Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi will debut on the Genesis Communications Network on Saturday, May 11.  Dean and Vedadi describe their program as a “great-sounding, feisty weekend show about free markets, the police state, the war on drugs, the right to keep and bear arms, computer security, honest money, self-defense, self-employment, marriage, do-it-yourself media production, marketing, music and more.”  Regarding the title of their program, the duo explain, “‘Feen’ means ‘fiend,’ and the ‘Freedom Feens’ support the rights of the smallest minority, the individual.”

raytomTime to Do Some Spring Cleaning Out at the Transmitter Site.  For many of you who broadcast out of the Northwest, Midwest, North, and Northeast, this winter was a bear!  Snow, ice and wind can cause issues for your transmission facilities.  So it’s time to do a thorough inspection of your transmitter sites – both the main transmitter sites and anywhere you may have an STL transmitter or receiver.  In a timely article posted today (5/2) noted engineering consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray offers up an invaluable “to-do” list to make sure your transmitter remains happy in the coming spring, summer and fall months after enduring a pretty painful and damaging winter.  Get the whole story here.

carrhowieOdds & Sods.  WRKO, Boston afternoon drive talk show host Howie Carr broadcasts live from La Verdad Mexican restaurant near Fenway Park this afternoon from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm as he promotes his latest book , Rifleman (Frandel, LLC 2013), a true-crime story about infamous Boston mobster Steven Flemmi.  Carr will stay after his program ends to sign copies of the new book…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington is conducting its second annual “Communter Idle” contest through Friday, May 3.  The contest asks DC commuters to share their daily travel horror story to win prizes and possibly be the grand-prize winner who’ll receive $1,000 in gas money and a limo ride to work courtesy of Reston Limousine.  Runners-up will receive $150 gas cards…..It may be a sign of the times that one of the most popular shows on CNN is the new “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” travel and food program that airs on Sunday evenings on the cable news/talk channel.  But new CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker is so thrilled with the its performance that he’s already ordered another season of the show that will debut on September 15.

cinchcaastCinchcast, Inc. Establishes Strategic Advisory Board.  One of radio’s technological innovators and dynamic entrepreneurs of the new digital age, Alan Levy – founder and CEO of BlogTalkRadio and its “white-label” sister firm Cinchcast, Inc. – has announced the appointment of two well-known executives to Cinchcast’s new strategic advisory board: Tom Glocer, former CEO of Thomson Reuters and Steve Bornstein, former head of the NFL‘s digital media operations and ABC Sports/ABC, Inc. president and ESPN chairman.  Levy tells TALKERS, “It’s an honor to be working with Tom and Steve as we continue to build, develop and scale the Cinchcast and BlogTalkRadio businesses.”

humphriesreidKDWNPractically an Exclusive.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) doesn’t do a lot of conservative talk radio shows.  But Talk Radio Network star Rusty Humphries – who spent part of his earlier career at KKOH in Reno – was able to secure a no-holds-barred interview with Senator Reid at Humphries’ affiliate station KDWN, Las Vegas.  Reid was in his home state while the Senate is on recess and he spoke with Humphries about the hot issues facing Congress.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Humphries, Reid, and KDWN program director John Shaffer.

Suspects Arrested in Marathon Bombing, ObamaCare Implementation, Benghazi Cover-Up Charges, and Gay Athletes Flap among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/1).  The arrest of more suspects connected with the Boston Marathon bombing case; the cost and implementation of the Affordable Care Act; charges that the Hillary Clinton-run State Department covered up aspects of the Benghazi attack; and the flap in the media over gay athletes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

| July 17, 2012

Merlin Media Abandons News Format in New York and Chicago.  As indicated earlier today, Merlin Media held a major pair of staff meetings in New York and Chicago this morning and as speculated it was to announce a significant change in the operations of its two major properties in these markets.  According to reports, the Randy Michaels-headed company flipped WEMP, New York‘s “FM News 101.9″ shortly after 10:00 am ET to “New Rock 101.9.”  Chicago’s “FM News 101.1″ (WIQI) has been recast as a hot AC, “i101.”  It has been less than a year since these all news formats were launched with a tremendous amount of industry buzz – but the ratings and critical evaluations fell terribly short of expectations.

Paul Finebaum, Citadel and Former GM Bill Thomas Settle Lawsuit.  Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum, Citadel and former WJOX, Birmingham general manager Bill Thomas have reached an amicable settlement in their claims regarding Finebaum’s employment at the station, now owned by Cumulus.  The terms are not being released but the upshot is Finebaum will work out his contract with the station that ends in January of 2013.  Whether he will negotiate to re-sign with the station beyond that or seek to join another broadcast outlet is unknown.  In a joint statement, Thomas and Finebaum say that claims were contested and the settlement in no way constitutes an admission by any party concerning the validity or invalidity of any claim, counterclaim, or defense raised in the litigation.  Further, Finebuam says, “I am particularly pleased that the claims involving Bill Thomas are resolved.  I have known Bill for many years and have valued his advice.  We both regret that we became personally entangled in what was essentially a business dispute with former management and we look forward to repairing our relationship.”  Cox Media’s crosstown sports talk outlet WZNN continues to express interest in acquiring Finebaum’s services after his deal with Cumulus runs out, as reported in the Birmingham News.  But Finebaum’s attorney, Russ Campbell, says his client will issue no comment on his future intentions.  The original legal claims included Finebaum’s contention that Thomas and Citadel coerced him into signing a contract addendum that worked against his best interests and Citadel claimed Finebaum negotiated with another party in violation of his contract.  Finebaum’s show is heard in some 30 markets in the Southeast and is also available on SiriusXM.

Courtside Entertainment Group Breaks Simone Bienne Out with Daily Features.  British psychosexual and relationship therapist Simone Bienne – a co-host on the nightly nationally syndicated “Loveline” radio show – is featured on a new twice-daily vignette called “Lovelink with Simone Bienne.”  Each evening Bienne is part of the “Loveline” show with Dr. Drew Pinsky and Mike Catherwood.  Now Courtside Entertainment offers what it calls “her unique professional insight with a distinctly female perspective through two, one-minute commentaries every weekday.”  Courtside owner Norm Pattiz says, “Simone Bienne is a bottle rocket of energy, insight and intelligence.  We are delighted to have lured her across the pond to the States and are confident American radio listeners will be as taken with her charm, wit and knowledge as we are.”

Staff Meetings at Merlin Media’s New York and Chicago Stations Scheduled for Today.  As the two all-news FMs approach their first anniversary, the word on the street is that staff meetings have been called for this morning at WEMP-FM, New York and WIQI, Chicago.  Industry watchers are aware the ratings for the two all-news stations have not budged much since their debut last August and although there is no insight into what staffers can expect to hear this morning, staff meetings like this usually indicate a major change of some sort.

Drew Anderssen Moves from KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa to WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando.  Program director Drew Anderssen, who’s been programming Cox Media’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa for the past 12 years, moves to the company’s Orlando cluster to take the program director role at news/talk WDBO-AM/FM beginning August 6.  Cox Media Orlando vice president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “Drew has had an incredibly successful track record leading the KRMG brand.  His talent and passion for digital innovation will be a great asset not only for WDBO but for our entire cluster.”  Anderssen replaces Steve Holbrook who left the Cox Orlando operations in June after almost 30 years with the company.

Scottie Nell Hughes Joins Cast of Politichicks.  The online media site Politichicks.TV announces SNH Media president Scottie Nell Hughes joins the staff of the “all-in-one web destination that addresses the concerns of conservatives from the women’s point of view.”  Hughes’ company handles PR for talk radio personalities Rusty Humphries, Michael Berry and Mark Skoda, among others.  Now she becomes part of the Politichicks team.  Politichicks executive producer Beverly Zaslow says, “Scottie Nell brings a valuable energy and passion to a group of dynamic women and her background in talk radio has taught her to think on her feet and not be afraid to ask hard questions.”  Hughes joins the other “politichicks” – former “Dallas” cast member Morgan Brittany, “The Young & the Restless” cast member Ann-Marie Murrell, activist Sonnie Johnson and talk radio host Dr. Gina Loudon as co-host.

John Bishop Named Co-Host on KOZN, Omaha’s “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” Show; Gary Sharp Named Station’s Sports Director.  There’s been another change in the lineup at NRG Media’s sports talk KOZN, Omaha after Matt Schick – the host recently named to replace Kevin Kugler on the show – accepted a position with ESPNU (ESPN’s college sports channel).  John Bishop, most recently program director and co-host of the morning drive show at KOZN’s sister station KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska, will take over the co-hosting duties alongside Mike’l Severe on “Unsportsmanlike Conduct.”  Kugler had announced he would be leaving the show to take a position with the Big Ten Network and will continue to contribute to KOZN on a limited basis.  NRG Omaha operations manager Neil Nelkin says, “We hire great talent on the ZONE as it’s a station sports figures and leaders tune to.  Bishop is well known throughout sports circles in Nebraska, namely as a distinguished sportscaster with decades of experience with Husker athletics, Creighton sports and the College World Series.  Bishop more than has the credentials, experience and the chops for this role on The ZONE…now I want to keep him for a while.”  Additionally, Nelkin announces Gary Sharp returns to Nebraska to take the sports director and morning show co-host position at sister station KZOT.  Sharp most recently worked with Minnesota Twins minor league club the Ft. Myers Miracle.  Prior to that he was sports director at the Nebraska Sports Network.  He’ll co-host the KZOT morning show with Jason Peter.  He says, “I am extremely excited for the opportunity to return to radio at a great station and most importantly to return to Nebraska.  We’ve had some great success here in Fort Myers and I will miss the people and relationships I have developed in baseball.  I am sure Jason is chomping at the bit to get started and I am sure we will have some spirited sports conversations that will make great radio.”

Clear Channel Seeks WHBA for Calls for Its New Boston FM.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment will take over the operation of alternative rocker WFNX, Boston on Monday and the request of new call letters WHBA gives no clue as to what format the station will assume when the change takes place.  The Boston Globe is planning to put the alternative format online and has already hired some of the WFNX staff to run it.  Talk radio fans in Boston might like to see an FM signal for the company’s WXKS – Talk 1200 – but those calls certainly don’t seem very news/talky, do they?  Regardless, the wait is on and let the speculation continue!

Cumulus Promotes Dave Crowl, Shuffles Market Managers.  Cumulus Chicago market manager Dave Crowl adds more regional vice president duties in addition to continuing to oversee Chicago’s news/talk WLS-AM and classic hits WLS-FM but the company brings Donna Baker up from Houston to take over the market manager position in Chicago.  Cumulus RVP Chuck Bortnick steps into Houston to oversee that market and will take on additional RVP duties for the region.

TALKERS magazine Publishes Debut “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America.”  The editors of TALKERS magazine are pleased to announce the publishing of the first annual TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk.  A companion to its “sister list” – the annual Talkers 250 Featuring the Heavy Hundred that ranks talk radio hosts working in the news/talk and general talk genres – the editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, present the debut class of this annual feature honoring the sports talk radio industry’s 100 most important hosts, duos or ensembles.  In order to create this list, the editors took into account a combination of hard and soft factors and the results are, admittedly, subjective.  Staying true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due.  Those qualities include:  courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness.  View the 2012 TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here.

A Tribute to WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa.  The number-one ranked sports talk host on this year’s TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk is WFAN, New York PM drive host Mike Francesa, who’s spent the past 23 years as dean of sports talk in the nation’s biggest market.  Fellow WFAN personality Richard Neer writes that Francesa’s “relentless curiosity and work ethic, along with his relationship with some of the biggest names in television broadcasting, gave him unique insight” that served as a foundation for a sterling sports media career.  Read Richard Neer’s tribute to WFAN’s Mike Francesa here.

2012 Presidential Race, Penn State Report, Hillary Clinton in Egypt, Welfare Work Requirement Issue, and Weak Retail Sales Numbers Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/16).  The 2012 presidential campaign; the Louis Freeh-led report on the Penn State-Jerry Sandusky case; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to post-election Egypt; the controversy over the Obama Administration’s relaxing of welfare work requirements; and weak retail sales figures were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

Friday, February 24, 2012

| February 24, 2012

Big Promotion for John Hogan; Exec Moves Up to Chairman and CEO for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  Clear Channel Media Holdings continues to express its confidence in the man who was promoted from COO to president and CEO of Clear Channel Radio in 2002 after the departure of Randy Michaels.  In announcing John Hogan’s promotion and contract extension through 2015, the company touts Hogan’s record of developing the creative and successful integration of sales, promotional and programming initiatives across multiple platforms.  Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman states, “Under John’s strong leadership and vision, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has integrated the company’s assets so that it is today the leading media and entertainment company in the U.S. with a greater reach than any other radio or television outlet.  It provides a one-of-a-kind national platform for partners in addition to the powerful local activation market by market and demo by demo.”  Hogan says, “I am pleased and honored to be named to this position, which is a clear endorsement of the soundness of our strategy, the value of our assets, and the depth of the incredible team we are building here.  I appreciate the energy and vision that Bob Pittman has brought to the organization and look forward to pursuing with Bob the vision we share as we continue to push the boundaries of the definition of entertainment, giving our audience what they want now and in the future.”

Bill Thomas Out as Market Manager at Cumulus Birmingham.  Cumulus Media Group regional manager John Walker is set to oversee the Birmingham cluster in addition to his responsibility for the Huntsville stations after the departure of Bill Thomas.  There’s no reason to believe that the ongoing legal battle between WJOX-FM, Birmingham personality Paul Finebaum and the company is the sole reason for Thomas’ exit but the possibility exists that Thomas’ role in how the situation was handled could have been a factor.  Remember that Finebaum claims he was strong-armed by Thomas into signing a contract amendment that was less beneficial to him.  That set the legal wheels in motion that includes Cumulus’ recent decision to countersue Finebaum claiming he violated his contract by engaging in negotiations with a competitor and sharing confidential company information.

Journal Broadcast Group Reports Positive Q4; Slight Uptick for 2011.  On the strength of increasing automotive in the fourth quarter of 2011, Journal Broadcast Group reports a revenue increase of 2.3%.  For the entire year, Journal’s revenue rose 1.6% on $70.4 million compared to 2010.  While those numbers aren’t staggering, they beat the negative reports that had become so common over the past few years.  Interestingly, unlike many other radio groups, Journal notes the fourth quarter of 2011 was its best quarter.

Phil Hendrie Ends Local KFI, Los Angles Saturday Show; Busy TV Schedule Cited.  Los Angeles-based radio and television talent Phil Hendrie tweets to fans he is ending his KFI, Los Angeles-only Saturday evening show after this weekend’s performance due to the increasing amount of TV work he’s getting combined with his nightly radio show syndicated by Talk Radio Network.  Radio trade AllAccess.com reports it has confirmed the news.  Hendrie is doing voice work on Fox Television’s “Napoleon Dynamite” and has upcoming work on Fox’s “New Girl.”  Hendrie thanks KFI program director Robin Bertolucci and the KFI staff for their help with the weekend show.

CBS Radio’s WQYK, Tampa Changes Midday Show.  “The King David Show” featuring Toby David and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Shaun King is off the air at CBS Radio’s 1010 Sports (WQYK), according to the Tampa Bay TimesTom Jones.  Jones reports that WQYK assistant program director Mike Pepper says the station is airing Yahoo! SportsTim Brando in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot for now but would like to fill that hole with a local show.  The station needs time to find the right show.  He didn’t rule out either David or King being part of the station in the future.  Toby David tells the paper, “I appreciated the time I worked with Shaun and have a great amount of respect for him.  I also enjoyed working at CBS Radio and have nothing but the utmost respect for those people and I hope to land on my feet locally.”

CCME Announces National Imaging Team.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment organizes the imaging of its radio formats under the Kelly Doherty-led National Programming Platforms group.  The function of this reorganization is to create 15 format-specific imaging coordinator positions and those experts will “produce and distribute compelling and diverse on-air promotional audio spots for Clear Channel’s National Programming initiatives, including format-specific creative efforts across iHeartRadio, Artist Integration Programs and large-scale contests and events including the iHeartRadio Music Festival.”  Doherty states, “This team includes the top producers in each format.  The talent, expertise and ingenuity that this new Imaging Team brings together is unmatched and I am excited to lead such a top-notch group.”  Scott Stanley is named news/talk imaging coordinator and Bob Schmidt is the sports imaging coordinator.

Thaddeus Matthews Off the Air at WPLX, Memphis After Court Ruling.  The case involving Memphis talk host Thaddeus Matthews and WPLX, Memphis owner William Pollack took another turn recently after Chancellor Arnold Goldin of the Shelby County Court denied an injunction Matthews had sought to continue broadcasting his program on WPLX.  Matthews made national news with a YouTube broadcast video of his on-air encounter with Republican congressional candidate Charlotte Bergmann which ended with Matthews refusing to shake Bergmann’s hand because he didn’t want her “whiteness” to rub off on him.  According to The Commercial Appeal, last week’s court ruling revolved around a dispute over money owed by Matthews to Pollack.  Matthews leases the time from Pollack and the latter claims he’s owed in excess of $85,000 in fees.  Matthews disputes that figure and vows to continue his legal battle while broadcasting his program on the internet.

Rob Otto Joins WCAR, Livonia, Michigan in Sports Director Role.  Detroit sports media pro Rob Otto joins Birach Broadcasting’s WCAR, Livonia (west of Detroit) as sports director for the reformatted station positioned as ESPN 1090, according to Michiguide.com.  The site reports Otto “will also be tasked with providing local, on-air sports updates for WCAR and helping the station establish local programming and marketing.  He’ll also be moving his sports-related blog from MLive.com to ESPN 1090’s website at espn1090.com.”  Otto has worked in the Detroit market at WXYT-FM, WWJ, WDFN and WHMI-FM.

Opinion:  Talk Host Phil Valentine Says Prohibition of Ethnic References Reeks of Controlling the Language.  Nashville-based Dial Global syndicated talk host Phil Valentine responds to TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer’s column (When it Comes to Ethnic Slurs, Just Don’t Go There, 2/23/12) that in this age of political correctness, what is said or written in the media – the ESPN/Jeremy Lin case is a great example – doesn’t have to actually be offensive, it just has to sound that way.  Read Phil’s column here.

GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 20 – 24.  The GOP primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign tied atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week.  The primary and the issues surrounding the campaign that leads up to the November 5 general election were #1 for the fourth consecutive week.  Landing at #2 was Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  At #3 was rising gas prices at U.S. pumps and at #4 was the protest in Afghanistan over the desecration of Korans at a U.S. base.  The Talkers TenTM chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio is published each week at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  See the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup.  Dial Global’s “Overnight America with Jon Grayson” picks up KFWB, Los Angeles for the 10:00 pm to 3:00 am slot…..Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” is added for the overnight slot at WPRO, Providence…..“Motley Fool Money” with host Chris Hill adds KPQ, Wenatchee, Washington and KPSF, Palm Springs – Money Radio 1200.

 

Monday, August 29, 2011

| August 29, 2011

All-News and Talk Radio Stations Keep Public Informed During Hurricane Irene.  The hurricane/tropical storm that swept up the East Coast over the weekend pushed radio stations, especially news and talk radio stations, into their familiar and historical roles as providers of timely and emergency information as Irene bore down upon their markets.  While radio of all formats can deliver this kind of information, news and talk radio does so without breaking format – they just alter the type of news, information and talk they provide.  Their P1s expect to be kept informed during these times and the many news and talk stations up and down the East Coast did an exemplary job of being there for their listeners.  (There were simply too many examples of stations serving their listeners this weekend to name them all!)  According to TALKERS monitoring of radio during the Irene event, the approach to coverage went through three basic phases: First, tracking and speculating on the direction, timing and tips for preparing for the storm.  Second, being in the storm itself when the power goes out and all hell is breaking loose (a crucial phase for radio).  Third, the aftermath — the details and politics of recovery.  The past 10 months have provided ample opportunity for coverage of natural disasters with a higher-than-usual occurrence of these, from intense snowstorms to floods to tornadoes and recent earthquakes.  News and talk radio remains the best link to accurate and timely information when the power goes out.  The bigger questions now include: Should emergency preparedness and local, on-the-ground coverage become a more institutional component of the competitive terrestrial radio infrastructure?  Also, should talk radio of all genres focus primarily on super-serving its most loyal fans (who are still in the habit of using radio) or break out of that role and aggressively try to bring new listeners to the format (or in the case of those who have left, back to the format)?  (Photo courtesy of NOAA.)

WJOX-FM, Birmingham Sports Host Finebuam’s Suit Against Citadel Revealed.  Thanks to a judge for unsealing the suits filed by Paul Finebaum against Citadel’s WJOX-FM, Birmingham, we know more about the claims.  The Birmingham News reports Finebaum – who has a deal with Citadel to host a show on WJOX-FM that is regionally syndicated – accuses WJOX-FM of breach of contract when Citadel declared bankruptcy in December 2009.  Finebaum further alleges he was subsequently forced to agree to contract changes under duress that have caused him “great financial impact.”  Finebaum alleges WJOX-FM, GM Bill Thomas threatened to remove his show from its affiliates and Sirius XM if he didn’t agree to a reduction in revenue from the show.  Citadel says Finebaum was fully aware it filed for bankruptcy when he signed the contract addendum in January 2010.  The company also states any talk of removing the show from affiliates was due to poor financial performance that the company did not want to continue.  Finally, Citadel questions why Finebaum is filing the suits now since Citadel exited bankruptcy protection more than a year ago and calls the suits a “pretense by which Mr. Finebaum hopes to avoid fulfilling his obligations under the employment agreement.”  Finebaum is under contract to Citadel through January 2013.

Clear Channel Ousts Vassilaros from WPTI-FM, Greensboro; Simulcasts Raleigh AM Show.  WRDU-FM, Raleigh’s “Morning Rush” program hosted by KC O’Dea and Carmen Connors is now heard on the company’s WPTI-FM, Greensboro as well.  Morning drive host Dimitri Vassilaros – who left his newspaper and part time radio gigs in Pittsburgh in January to take the WPTI-FM job – is out.  Vassilaros hosted a weekend show at CBS Radio’s KDKA and wrote a column for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review prior to heading south.

Michael Harrison Writing a Book with Mike Kinosian about Talk Radio Set for Publication February 2012. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has announced he is writing a book about talk radio, in collaboration with TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian.  Talkers: The Irrepressible Voices of Radio will be published by Talkers Books and will be part history, part memoir and part commentary based upon radio pioneer Harrison’s 21 years as publisher of TALKERS, 45 years as a professional broadcaster, and his lifelong love affair with popular culture and media.  The primary focus will be Harrison’s observations of many leading figures of contemporary talk radio set against the backdrop of key events connected to the scene’s colorful history.  Material will be drawn from his professional and personal experiences with these extraordinary individuals and supplemented by the extensive database accumulated over the decades in the TALKERS archives.  He also delves back into his own roots as a kid listening to New York City Top 40 in the 1950s and 1960s to becoming an FM album rock groundbreaker on both coasts in the 1970s, an innovator in the trades and eventually one of the driving forces behind the modern talk radio era.  With more than a quarter century of insight and experience at Radio & Records, Inside Radio and now TALKERS — and as one of the radio trade publication world’s most prolific interviewers — collaborator Mike Kinosian brings his formidable radio background and writing skills to the project.  According to Harrison, “Between the two of us we know just about everyone who’s anyone in the talk business from a number of angles.  Mike Kinosian has personally interviewed and written biographical profiles of more than 100 spoken-word radio stars in his illustrious career as an industry chronicler.  His legendary “Mike Kinosian Interviews” remain the gold standard of radio trade journalism.  Having a professional of his stature supporting my efforts in this undertaking is nothing short of inspirational!”  Commenting on his joining forces with Harrison on this ambitious endeavor, Kinosian states, “It is a high honor and a rare privilege to serve as this book’s collaborator, not solely since the subject matter is so personally appealing, but also — and much more significantly — because it is with Michael Harrison.  No one else in the talk radio industry commands Michael’s immense level of respect and credibility.  His behind-the-scenes knowledge of the industry, credentials, accomplishments, detail to recount facts and especially his character are impeccable.”  Among those examined beneath their professional personas are Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Glenn Beck, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, G. Gordon Liddy, Michael Savage, Jerry Williams, Gene Burns and many more.  Harrison shares never-before-published stories about his personal conversations and dealings with Bill Clinton and George W. Bush regarding their relationships with the media.  He finally reveals the back story and truth about his controversial encounter with Al Franken during the future U.S. Senator’s Freedom of Speech Award acceptance at the New Media Seminar.  He talks about his longtime friendship with Alan Colmes, going back to the dreams they shared as part-time MOR jocks on a small Long Island AM daytimer 43 years ago.  He resurrects the colorful decade (1975-1985) he spent as one of the first FM “youth talkers” hosting a trailblazing talk show on L.A.’s legendary rocker, KMET.  Talkers: The Irrepressible Voices of Radio by Michael Harrison with Mike Kinosian promises to reveal a side of talk radio never before exposed to the public.  Summing it up, Kinosian states, “Unsurpassed quality is the dominant theme the two of us have stressed to each other in writing this book.  Based on the early drafts, we are well on our way to accomplishing that goal.”  The promotion of Talkers: The Irrepressible Voices of Radio will be supported with a national tour.

Scott Hennen Signs with Genesis Communications Network for National Distribution.  Talk radio pro Scott Hennen’s Fargo-based talk show, “Common Sense Club,” (heard in North Dakota on KNOX, Grand Forks from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm) will be distributed for national syndication via the Genesis Communications Network.  Hennen tells the Fargo Forum he expects to debut on about a dozen stations.

 

“The Talk” May Be Adding Two New Hosts for this Season.  The CBS daytime TV talk show “The Talk” lost hosts Leah Rimini and Holly Robinson Peete – their contracts were not renewed for the show’s second season.  The network is preparing to fill their slots alongside Sara Gilbert, Julie Chen and Sharon Osbourne with radio host and comedian Sheryl Underwood and Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner.  Jenner is signed to fill in for Osbourne for the show’s first two weeks of the new season but may stay on as Osbourne’s regular fill in.  Underwood will also be part of the first two weeks but is expected to be a regular this season.

Recognition of a Job Well Done.  CBS Radio’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles was recently recognized by Los Angeles City councilman Dennis Zine for its coverage of Carmageddon – the July shutdown of the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles.  Pictured here from left to right are: traffic reporters Jeff Baugh, Tommy Jaxson and Meghan Reyes; Councilman Dennis Zine, news director Julie Chin, and director of programming Andy Ludlum.