Tag: "Birach Broadcasting"

Friday, April 4, 2014

| April 4, 2014

wtic logoFormer Connecticut Governor John Rowland Resigns from WTIC, Hartford Show as New Corruption Probe Intensifies.  The former Connecticut governor resigned from office in 2004 amidst corruption charges to which he eventually pleaded guilty and served 10 months in federal prison.  He began a talk show host career on CBS RADIO’s WTIC,rowlandjohn Hartford in 2010 – for the first two years with co-host Pastor Will Marotti of the New Life Church in Meriden before going solo – but now that gig is over as Rowland stepped down yesterday without addressing the new allegations.  The Hartford Courant reports that testimony from local businessman Brian Foley and his wife, Lisa Wilson-Foley (a former congressional candidate) stated in federal court that they used a phony consulting contract with Rowland to pay him for political assistance to Wilson-Foley’s failed 2012 campaign.  Rowland faces possible indictment by a grand jury.  WTIC program director Jenneen Lee tells the paper Pastor Will Marotti will step into the afternoon drive slot beginning Monday.  Read the entire Courant piece here.

elswickdaveBig Changes at KARN-FM, Little Rock; PM Driver Dave Elswick Out along with AM Drive’s Bob Steel and ND.  Longtime afternoon drive personality and program director Dave Elswick announces via Facebook that he’s out at Cumulus Media’s KARN-FM, Little Rock.  Here’s his post: “I ask for your prayers tonight.  After nearly 14 years on KARN I was fired by Cumulus Media.  Bob Steel and news director Jack Heintz were also fired.  I have no idea what will be on the station tomorrow.  Know that I love every one of you who have supported me over these years. God Bless.”  There were rumors of change at the news/talk outlet swirling but nothing concrete had been put out.  As of now, the KARN-FM website lists the AM and PM drive dayparts generically.  It’s possible Cumulus is clearing the afternoon deck to move Michael Savage into a live slot from the current late night delayed broadcast.

esiasonboomerCriticism of Mets Infielder’s Paternity Leave Reversed as WFAN’s Boomer Esiason Apologizes.  The decision by New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy to miss two games to be with his wife in Florida after she delivered their son on Opening Day was a hot topic of conversation on New York sports talk radio and both WFAN afternoon host Mike Francesa and morning drive co-host Boomer Esiason opined that two games was too many to miss.  But during the initial chatter, Esiason said that he’d have asked his wife to schedule a C-section in order to be with his teammates for the games.  The MLB CBA allows for up to three days of paternity leave.  Esiason apologized on WFAN’s morning show today (4/4), calling his comments “insensitive” and expressing contrition for having put the Murphy family’s personal lives “under a spotlight.”  He also said his C-section comment was not intended to mean he was telling women what to do with their bodies.

openingday2014Nielsen Audio Quantifies the Obvious: Opening Day Is Big for Radio.  What’s well known to radio practitioners is put into numbers by Nielsen Audio from this season’s Opening Day.  While baseball – from a ratings standpoint – will be good to most MLB flagships this year, some of the Opening Day numbers are truly spectacular.  In Cincinnati, flagship WLW pulled a 46.6 share with Men 25-54 on a 12+ cume of 270,700.  Also, it’s interesting to note the difference in cume and share from the Cubs at Pirates broadcasts where the woebegone Cubs fans in Chicago didn’t appear to have the same passion (via radio, anyway) as the recharged Bucs backers in Pittsburgh.  Check out the data here.

theblaze radio networkGlenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network Reports Streaming Success.  The digital side of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network reports that it makes its debut as one of the top 20 most-listened-to streams in America, according to Triton Digital‘s February 2014 ranker.  TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “When we launched TheBlaze Radio Network in January 2013 we did so with the goal of being one of the top online radio stations in America.  In our first month of accredited measurement, it is exciting to see our single stream on the same list as these established multi-stream services.”

mozdiezcarlsonEntercom Boston Boosts Mozdiez to Director of Integrated Media Strategies.  It is a position the cluster specifically crafts for Carlson Mozdiez, who is elevated from director of digital operations.  New responsibilities for the Syracuse University graduate include developing/executing customer-facing brand messaging, including live events, contesting and promotions, external advertising,entercom websites, video, and social media.  Entercom Boston vice president/market manager Phil Zachary comments, “Streamlining our ever-expanding array of digital and marketing channels, which connect the most valuable radio consumers in New England to our brands and our advertisers, makes logistical sense.  Carlson is the ideal leader to spearhead these innovative efforts.”  Mozdiez remarks that, “It is an exciting time as we continue to develop and optimize the ways people interact with our stations while creating new means for advertisers to access our audiences.”  Entercom Boston consists of rock WAAF, sports WEEI-FM, sports WEEI-AM, news/talk WRKO, the Boston Red Sox Radio Network and their respective web properties.  Mozdiez joined Entercom in 2002 as promotion coordinator for WEEI and WRKO.

millerdennisDennis Miller Celebrates Radio Anniversary.  Today marks the seventh anniversary of entertainer Dennis Miller’s nationally syndicated WestwoodOne radio program.  The “Saturday Night Live” alum is commemorating the day with special guests including: Mark Steyn, nationally syndicated columnist and author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon; Bob Saget, comedian and author of Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian; Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky; David Spade, comedian; Frank Sinatra Jr.; and fellow SNL alum Dana Carvey.

richertlarryKDKA-AM’s Larry Richert to Be Roasted for Charity.  Pittsburgh talk radio personality Larry Richert – co-host of the “KDKA Morning News on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA” will be the guest of honor at a Roast & Toast on Friday, April 25 to be roasted and toasted by friends and co-workers to benefit the Roxsan Betters Albanese Foundation.  This foundation helps financially challenged families with children who are terminally ill or face a life threatening situation.  Fellow KDKA-AM talk host Rob Pratte will serve as Master of Ceremonies.

westcottpaulOdds & Sods.  When Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” hits the air tonight, WTAG, Worcester morning drive talk show host Paul Westcott will be in the host chair.  Westcott has become a regular fill-in for Dean when he’s away…..This weekend’s NCAA Final Four is being covered by SiriusXM.  The satcaster says it’ll offer subscribers comprehensive coverage of this weekend’s action plus analysis on the College Sports Nation channel from hoops experts such as three-time ACC Coach of the Year Bobby Cremins, Hall of Fame Michigan State guard Mateen Cleaves, former Villanova and UMass coach Steve Lappas, former University of Vermont coach Tom Brennan, plus Tim Brando, Mark Packer, Chris Childers and Jason Horowitz…..Birach Broadcasting’s sports talker KXRQ, Des Moines announces it’s the newest affiliate for Kansas City Royals baseball play-by-play……Sunrise Broadcasting strikes an agreement with Sea-Comm Media to use the latter’s translator W240AS, Wilmington at 95.9 FM to augment the signal of its sports talk WMFD “ESPN Wilmington,” heard on 630 AM.

ObamaCare Criticism Remains Atop Talkers TenTM.  The major political issue of the past year – the passage of the Affordable Care Act – continues to be one of the top news/talk radio stories and was again the most-talked-about topic this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Coming in at #2 this week was the deadly Fort Hood Shooting.  At #3 was the looming mid-term elections tied with the potential candidates in the 2016 presidential election, and at #4 was this week’s Supreme Court campaign donation ruling.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

| September 20, 2012

NAB/RAB Radio Show Addresses Variety of Industry Issues.  Thousands of broadcasters from around the nation are gathering at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas for the annual “Radio Show” jointly presented by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).  The event opened yesterday and runs until Friday afternoon.  The annual conference began with an overview of its mission presented by NAB CEO Gordon Smith who trumpeted radio’s role as “first informers” in the all-too-familiar cases of natural disasters and emergencies.  Smith appealed to radio broadcasters to unify as “one voice” in dealing with Congress; expressed opposition to any pending or future “performance tax” levied on radio; and called for the industry to continue pressuring wireless companies to activate radio chips on smartphones.  RAB CEO Erica Farber also addressed the crowd, encouraging radio broadcasters to present agencies and advertisers with more than just traditional spot campaigns.  One of the biggest concerns of attendees reflected on the floor and at the sessions is an industry-wide debate over the pros and cons of terrestrial radio streaming.  There is clearly a difference of views held on the subject of streaming by radio mega-groups Clear Channel and CBS  which basically represents a schism that runs throughout the industry  as well as on the issue of paying artists and labels royalties,  CBS head Les Moonves stated, “The idea that we have to pay them to put their music on our radio stations is absurd.”  On the other hand, CC, which is about to present its giant iHeartRadio Music Festival this weekend, entered a royalty deal with the Big Machine Label Group.

Overheard at the Radio Show.  Longtime radio programmer, station owner and consutant Clark Smidt has an ear to the ground at the Radio Show sharing some gathered comments for RadioInfo readers:

“PPM has redirected programming.  40+ adult numbers is where the money is.”

 Dave Van Dyke, Radiate Media

“The news that local radio is working and making money needs to hit Wall Street for the bankers to hear about it.”

- Media broker, Ralph Meador

“Listeners are most interested in what to invest in and refinancing their homes.” 

-  Syndicated financial personality, Barry Armstrong,    .

“We’ve done well mixing live local shows with paid programs.”

-  Kurt Carberry, president, Carter Broadcasting, WCRN, Worcester

“The deals are starting to reappear but financing is still tight. I’m seeing 8 x BCF.”

-  Richard Kozacko, Media broker

“We’re doing very well with local talk shows.  Remotes are giving us great community access and support.”

- Edward Perry, owner WATD, Marshfield, MA

“Throughout the entire downturn, we’ve been up each year.  It’s because we’re local.  However, political on radio isn’t a big factor, so far.”

- Larry Adams, controller, Mahaffey Enterprises, Springfield, MO

“So far political is a disappointment; it’s on TV.  We deliver with eight stations serving our market.”

- Cary Pahigian, market manager, Saga Communications, Portland, ME

“We continue to do well because we’re local and we take care of our people.  We might not do the 35-40% margin that some other companies want, but our people are important to us.”

- Bill Baldwin, EVP, Hall Communications

“The audience comes to us to hear the new hits.  We use YouTube and sales research to determine the playlist.  But, listeners also come to us for local fun and personality.  Plus, we have a marching band and a rock band!”

- Julie Hein, general manager, KZIA, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

TRN’s Mark Masters Announces the Formation of The Organization of Independent Radio Syndicators, Networks, Journalists and New Media Companies.  With Talk Radio Network chief operating officer William Crawford named the founding president, he offers this statement on the formation of the organization: “Today, I am proud to announce a new non-profit organization designed to assist the community of independent radio syndicators, networks, journalists and new media companies. We have discovered an amazing kinship with most everyone we have spoken with about the issues this organization addresses.  When the idea for creating this organization was finally floated about, the response was so overwhelmingly positive that we have molded the attached Mission Statement and Statement of Purpose out of the very input of the independents we have spoken with. The main purpose of the organization is to provide educational information and other support to its membership.”  In part, the newly formed organization lists as its statement of purpose: 1) To embrace, support and assist (when and where possible) any legitimate producer of independently syndicated programming, radio network creating independent programming and independent news organization or new media company creating such programming (This item one does not encompass financing or financial support, as this is a non-profit and not a financing or equity operation); 2) To abide at all times with and support the laws of the constitution of the United States of America; 3) Within this organization, we will establish a university program to provide education to aspiring on-air talent, investigative journalists, independent syndicators, network executives, new media creatives and sales representation firms; 4) The future for independent syndicators, networks, new media companies and the sales companies that will represent them must be that healthy competition will always continue to expand the marketplace of ideas, so that the human mind can be challenged to new heights of personal development, innovation, creativity and accomplishment; 5) To use the full power of this membership to prosecute anti-competitive acts, fomented by those less ethical than our members, and see that such corporations and/or individuals are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  This is a portion of the statement of goals.  To find out more about this organization, its website is www.independentradiosyndicators.org.

WCAR, Detroit “ESPN 1090” Names Mark Wilson OM, Evening Host.  Birach Broadcasting brings Detroit radio and TV personality aboard to host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm sports talk program and serve as the station’s program director and operations manager.  Wilson will manage the station’s continuing transition from a talk outlet to its recent flip to sports as an ESPN affiliate.  He says, “We already have two of the most talented personalities in the history of Detroit sports radio.  Damon ‘The Dog’ Perry has a proven track record locally and nationally; he’s wild!  Art Regner is known far and wide as the Red Wings hockey guru on top of being one of the most outspoken voices in Michigan sports talk.”  Additionally, owner Sima Birach, Jr. says the company is building new studios in suburban Bingham Farms.  He states, “We’re very excited to have Mark on board.  He’s a veteran guy who has been in Detroit radio and TV for years and won awards doing it.  Mark is already making a big difference.”

Dial Global and the NFL Extend Radio Play-by-Play Deal.  The National Football League has been a partner with Dial Global going back to the late 1980s when Westwood One (merged with Dial Global a year ago) began syndicating the league’s games to radio stations.  Now, the two sides agree to a contract extension that will have Dial Global as the exclusive radio partner through the 2017 season.  NFL SVP of broadcasting and media operations Howard Katz says, “We are excited to continue partnering with Dial Global to offer our fans NFL play-by-play radio broadcasts.  With Dial Global’s national affiliate base, every fan across the country will have access to all prime time and Thanksgiving games.”

NY State Broadcasters Association Announces HoF Class of 2012.  The 2012 class of the New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame will be inducted at a ceremony in New York City on November 1.  This year’s inductees include radio personalities Scott Shannon and Joan Hamburg.  Shannon is one half of the “Scott & Todd in the Morning Show” on WPLJ, New York.  In addition to serving as PD at WPLJ, he also programs “The True Oldies Channel,” a nationally syndicated radio network operated by Cumulus Media Networks and heard on 60 broadcast stations in the U.S.  Joan Hamburg hosts the midday show on WOR, New York.  She began her radio career broadcasting consumer segments on the long-running “Rambling with Gambling” morning show on WOR before eventually earning her own show.   Highlights from her show are combined to create a two-hour nationally syndicated weekend show.  Hamburg is known for broadcasting from “remote locations” in the community, including Sardi’s, The Hamptons, Canyon Ranch and the Villages in Florida.  With her daughter, Liz, Joan is part of the first mother-daughter radio team in the country.  This year’s other inductees are: Mike Wallace, CBS News and co-editor of 60 Minutes; Len Berman, TV sports broadcaster; Jackie Robinson, TV anchor/reporter; and Rich Funke, TV anchor/reporter.

Rick & Bubba Morning Show Gets TNN Simulcast.  The Birmingham, Alabama-based nationally syndicated Rick & Bubba morning show announces it will have a TV simulcast on cable’s TNN beginning November 1.  TNN will air the program live Monday through Friday from 6:00 am to 11:00 am, a two-hour Saturday morning version of the show and a one-hour “best-of” each evening from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET.  Rick Burgess’ and Bill “Bubba” Bussey’s program is heard on about 60 radio affiliates nationally.

Dennis Miller Emcees Mitt Romney Event.  Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller will emcee “An Evening with Governor Mitt Romney” this Saturday evening at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.  Miller says, “I’m introducing Romney this Saturday and then voting for him on November 6.”

 

 

Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises $200,000 at Celebrity Golf Tourney.  More than 150 broadcasters and celebrities turned out in support of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation, including almost 30 sportscasters, athletes, and actors.  The BFoA reports $200,000 was raised to help assist broadcasters in need.  The charity expects to disburse some $700,000 in aid this year.  In the photo seen here are some of the celebrity participants (from l-r):  Don Dahler, WCBS-2 TV; Rachel Grant, actress; Dana Tyler, WCBS-2; Selanee Henderson, LPGA Futures; Nisha Sadekar, LPGA, All-American Collegian; Coach Michael Woodson, NY Knicks; Seema Sadekar, LPGA Futures; John Schriffen, ABC News Network anchor; Herb Williams,  New York Knicks; Maurice Dubois, WCBS-2; Jeremy Schaap, ESPN; Michael Gargiulo, WNBC-TV; CJ Papa, SportsNet anchor, Fios 1 news anchor; Jim Thompson, Broadcasters Foundation; Amani Toomer, Dial Global-NBC Sports Radio Network; Ann Liguori, WFAN; Jack Mulcahy, actor; Rick Cerone, New York Yankees; Deb Placey, NY Islanders Host; Duke Castiglione, FOX- 5; Sean McDonough, ESPN, ABC Sports; Anita Marks, WFAN; Jim Spanarkel, CBS Sports, ESPN, Fox Sports; Nick Buoniconti, NFL Hall-of-Famer; Jim Todd, New York Knicks assistant coach; Bill Raftery, CBS Sports; Tina Cervasio, MSG – NY Knicks & NY Red Bulls Host; Chad Cascadden, NY Jets; Bobby Carpenter, NJ Devils; Scott Knight, Knight Quality Media; and Phil Lombardo, Broadcasters Foundation.

Romney 47% Issue, ObamaCare Effects, Presidential Race Polls, Anti-America Protests in Muslim World, Libya U.S. Consulate Attack Analysis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/19).  The campaign effect of Mitt Romney’s “47% dependent on government” comments; the effects ObamaCare will have when fully implemented; the polls in the presidential race; continued anti-America protests in the Muslim world; and the analysis of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

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, December 19, 2011

| December 19, 2011

Filling in for the Holidays.  Today marks the beginning of “holiday fill-in season” on talk radio which pretty much runs through the rest of the year.  It is the time when a significant percentage of full-time hosts working at individual radio stations (and even syndicated hosts for that matter) take all or part of their annual vacations.  This process provides fill-in hosts and part-time weekend and bench hosts with the opportunity to get out there and hopefully shine.  It also has the potential to provide listeners with fresh voices and perspectives.  And it always presents already overworked programmers with the challenge of keeping their schedules flowing and appealing.  They want someone who is professional and interesting – but they also want someone who won’t upset the applecart of stationality or listener expectations.  WGN, Chicago PD Bill White explains, “I equate a fill-in host to someone hosting a dinner party in someone else’s home.  Fill-in hosts should be respectful of the regular host’s audience but not rearrange all the furniture.  We also look for fill-in hosts who will be comfortable and compliment the regular host’s audience.”  Thus, qualified substitutes are a valuable commodity at this time of year when the demand for their services is drastically increased, especially when most stations’ air staffs have been cut back or depleted due to the economy and PDs must look for help from outside.  For example, one of the industry’s most popular substitutes, former congressman and KFYI, Phoenix talk host J.D. Hayworth is subbing for Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated host Todd Schnitt on 12/20 and 12/28.  He’ll be heard on hosting local shows on KXNT-FM, Las Vegas on 12/23 and 12/29-30; WLS, Chicago on 12/24, 28-30; WGST, Atlanta on 12/26; KOGO-AM/FM, San Diego on 12/27; and WPHT, Philadelphia on 12/28-30.  Demand for quality substitutes is so high that some hosts already doing full-time work use it as an opportunity to pick up extra income and exposure.  As if he is not already doing enough on his “regular” gigs, hard working and extremely talented Clear Channel talk host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (KPRC, Houston; WOAI, San Antonio; KOA, Denver; and “The Weekend”) fills in for Premiere Networks syndicated star Glenn Beck on 12/20, 23, 28 and 30. This year’s holiday season coming in the thick of the big election cycle creates even more pressure to keep stations on track.  Greater Media-owned WTKK-FM, Boston PD Grace Blazer tells TALKERS, “It’s important at 96.9 FM-WTKK to provide our audience with relevant shows throughout the holiday season that are timely and topical.  Our host vacation schedules are scattered and their fill-ins are often regular participants to their shows and share similar philosophies.  Since January 2012 is a huge month for presidential politics and New Hampshire is our neighbor, I think it’s imperative to keep 96.9 Boston Talks ‘primarily’ intact and compelling.”  At Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ, Fresno, PD Skip Essick likes to avoid throwing curves to listeners, “I try and keep programming as normal as possible.  This year it will not be as much of a challenge with Christmas Eve and Day on the weekend – same thing over New Years.  But, for instance, the day after Thanksgiving – which was designated as a company holiday – I ran full staff with regular programming.  I’ll do the same for Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, and the numerous Monday holidays throughout the year.  In a nutshell – if our listeners are at work, so are we.”  Some hosts prefer to work over the holidays and at Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, New York, program director Scott Lakefield tells TALKERS that’s the case.  “For instance, John Gambling began a ‘tradition’ of sorts of taking his ‘holiday’ vacation in January.  He will be live 12/27-30.  Generally speaking, though, my theory is to try to do ‘best-of’ compendium shows during vacation times, with the exception of drive-time when information is a bigger component and it is thus necessary to be live.  Guest hosts in my experience drive far more listeners away than hearing some ‘classic’ moments from their favorite hosts does.”  In the sports talk radio world this situation can be particularly compelling since so many outlets have a high percentage of local full-time hosts and thus more slots to fill.  Plus, opinions and personality categories in sports talk are often more idiosyncratic than general news/talk, making it more challenging to find the proper fit.  CBS-owned Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh PD Terry Foxx tells TALKERS, “Holiday fill-in for us is very important.  I match up our part-time hosts based on how I feel they will entertain and incite opinions from our fans in certain day parts.”  Some stations have fill-in hosts with a history at the station such as veteran TV/radio personality Wayne Powers who subs for Keith Larson on WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte 12/26-30…  and the list goes on.  J.D. Hayworth, who is looking to get back into the business on a regular basis as either a local or syndicated host, tells TALKERS, “As a genuine ‘broadcasting baby boomer,’ I remember the ubiquitous Robert Q. Lewis on TV game shows: most frequently, a panelist…but quite frequently, a guest host…and eventually a regular host!  So, I’m being ‘Lewis-like’ over the holidays!  During my years at N.C. State, the joke was Lou Holtz recruited me at right tackle, but I ended up ‘left out!’  So…I’m used to waiting on the the bench, but very happy to get loads of holiday airtime. I’m certain these appearances will help me leave the bench and get back in the game full time!”

John Thompson Ends Regular Talk Show at WTEM, Washington.  The iconic former Georgetown University basketball coach and talk host in the DC market since 1999 will step away from his regular show on Red Zebra’s WTEM in February to pursue other interests.  Red Zebra director of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “While a sad day for the station, we fully support Coach Thompson’s decision to move on to other projects.  As Coach and I discussed at the time of his decision, this is not a retirement.  His fans will still hear Coach Thompson on ESPN980 from time to time.  Thompson’s program airs from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm daily with co-host Doc Walker.  Sapienza doesn’t state what the station’s plans are after Thompson steps down.

Chattanooga’s Brewer Media to Drop News/Talk on WPLZ-FM Citing Expense of the Format.  It’s been three years since the locally owned Brewer Media put a news/talk format on WPLZ-FM, Chattanooga.  Owner Jim Brewer II tells the Chattanooga Times Free Press he would have needed more staff to be competitive in the market.  “I think we offered a good product and I will miss having news/talk in our building…being a small, single market cluster, it’s exceedingly difficult to compete against national broadcasting companies who have so much syndicated programming and infrastructure.”  The station will flip to an unspecified music format in the new year and will lay off talk hosts Robert T. Nash and David Karnes as well as PD Gary Poole, news director Louis Lee and a couple other employees.  Brewer Media owns three other FMs in the market including sports talk WALV – ESPN 105.1.

Birach Broadcasting Flips WWCS, Pittsburgh to Sports; Affiliates with Fox Sports Radio.  Birach Broadcasting has been airing a Spanish music format on the signal but flips to sports on January 1 as Fox Sports 540.  It’ll take most of the Fox Sports Radio Network-distributed lineup – Zakk & Jack, the Dan Patrick show, “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, “Fox Sports Tonight” and JT the Brick plus Premiere NetworksJim Rome.  FSRN vice president and general manager Don Martin states, “After a short hiatus, Fox Sports Radio is thrilled to be heard again in the great city of Pittsburgh!”  The network was previously affiliated with Clear Channel’s WBGG.  In addition to CC’s WBGG, CBS Radio operates sports KDKA-FM in the market.

Dr. Jenn Berman to Host New VH1 Program “Couples Therapy.”  Los Angeles-based psychotherapist and host of the Sirius XM talk show, “The Love and Sex Show with Dr. Jenn,” is the host of a new cable TV show produced by Irwin Entertainment, the producers of “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.”  The program will follow the travails of five celebrity couples and they go through therapy with Dr. Jenn Berman.  Shows hit the air in the spring.  Dr. Berman tells TALKERS magazine, “It’s such a pleasure to be a part of this exciting venture on VH1.  I’m looking forward to being that connecting link between viewers and the process of examining the challenges of a celebrity relationship.  I think people will be very surprised by how much they identify with these celebs and their personal struggles.”  Couples taking part in the program are: DMX (Rapper) & Tashera Simmons, Linda Hogan (“Hogan Knows Best”) & Charlie Hill, Chris Nirschel (“The Next Food Network Star”) & Angelina Pivarnick (“Jersey Shore”), Kasey Kahl (“Bachelorette”) & Vienna Girardi (“The Bachelor”) and Reichen Lehmkuhl & Rodiney Santiago (“The A-List: New York”).

Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels Named to State Travel Commission.  Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announces WJIM, Lansing-based talk host Michael Patrick Shiels – heard throughout the state via the Michigan Talk Network – will serve on the Michigan Travel Commission.  “One of the key components to building a better and stronger Michigan is to continuously promote all the attractions our state has to offer, including our beautiful lakes and great landmarks.  Michael Patrick Shiels is a great addition and uniquely positioned to be a great asset to the commission.”  In addition to his radio work, Shiels is a travel writer and founder of TravelTattler.com.  Subject to approval by the Michigan Senate, Shiels will serve the remainder of Jim Berryman’s term through September 2014. Berryman recently resigned.

Ira Weintraub Takes PD Role at WTKA, Ann Arbor.  Cumulus Media Ann Arbor names APD and morning show producer Ira Weintraub program director for sports talk outlet WTKA – The Ticket 1050.  Market manager Matt Spaulding says, “Ann Arbor is a market with a tradition of providing compelling, passionate and relevant broadcast products to the listeners of southeast Michigan.  Ira Weintraub has absolutely earned this promotion and we are confident that he will help lead WTKA to many more years of broadcasting success.”

WGN, Chicago’s Milt Rosenberg Hosts 2011 Retrospective Tonight.  “Extension 720” host Milt Rosenberg hosts a special edition of his program this evening (12/19) titled, “WGN Year in Review” with fellow WGN personalities Garry Meier, John Williams and David Kaplan.  The hosts will look back on the stories that made the year 2011 from the Rod Blagojevich case to the death of Osama bin Laden to the hiring of Theo Epstein as the Cubs’ general manager.  The program airs at 10:00 pm.