Tag: "Bob Pittman"
Report: Laura Ingraham Considering Run for Virginia Senate Seat. According to a report in the Washington Examiner, talk show host – and Trump adviser – Laura Ingraham is seriously debating whether to throw her hat into the ring for a run for the Virginia U.S. Senate seat currently held by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 running mate, Tim Kaine. The Examiner’s Paul Bedard writes that “several party insiders have approached the media giant to run and that she is considering it. In preparation for a bid, her business partner, Peter Anthony, has begun buying website domains for Ingraham to use should she decide to move forward. It includes: ingrahamsenate.net, ingrahamsenate.com, ingrahamforvirginia.com and ingraham2018.com.” The story also notes that Virginia U.S. Representatives Barbara Comstock and Dave Brat – both Republicans – are considering challenging Kaine. See the Examiner story here.
iHeartMedia Execs Nab Big Bonuses. These bonuses – approved last Tuesday by the iHeartMedia board of directors – are retention bonuses. Here’s what the board approved: chairman and CEO Bob Pittman gets $1.75 million; COO and CFO Rich Bressler gets the same; and SVP of corporate finance Steven Macri is awarded $750,000. Because they are retention bonuses, the three must remain employed by the company for two years after the effective date of January 12, 2017 or they must repay 100% of the after-tax value of the bonus. If either is terminated without cause, leaves for a “good reason,” or due to death or disability before the first anniversary of the effective date, they must pay back 50% of the after-tax value. Additionally, the board of directors approved the 2017 Key Employee Incentive Plan in which Pittman and Bressler can earn bonuses of up to $7,000,000 and $3,000,000 respectively during the year for hitting quarterly performance goals set by the compensation committee of the board of directors.
Cumulus Media’s Mary Berner Pockets $1 Million-plus Bonus. Unlike the retention bonuses paid to iHeartMedia’s Bob Pittman and others (see story above), this payment to Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner is a “one-time discretionary cash incentive compensation award” of $1,087,500 for “her exceptional efforts and contributions during 2016, both individually and as a member of the management leadership team, in the initial phase of the company’s operational turnaround plan and ongoing operational and financial restructuring.” The board of directors notes that this award is in lieu of any award she may have received under its annual incentive plan for 2016.
Charlie Sykes to Take Part in Public Radio Show. The Milwaukee radio icon retired from E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ at the end of 2016 after a 23-year career with the news/talk station. Now, Charlie Sykes is part of a new, national call-in talk show being produced in what is a cooperative venture by WNYC, New York, Minnesota Public Radio and The Economist. According to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sykes will be one of four co-hosts of the program titled, “Indivisible.” The other hosts are: WNYC’s Brian Lehrer, The Nation features editor Kai Wright, and MPR’s personality Kerri Miller. Sykes will not be heard on the radio in his home market because his non-compete prevents local pubcaster WUWM from airing the show. Under the terms of Sykes’ deal with WTMJ, any radio show on which Sykes appears during the term of the non-compete must air on WTMJ. The station asked to air the new show but NPR is not giving consent.
Will Talk Show Hosts Get Access to Trump Press Conferences? On Sunday (1/15), Trump Administration Press Secretary Sean Spicer told FOX News that the president-elect is considering moving press briefings to a larger location due to “off-the-charts” interest in the new administration. Spicer said, “There’s a lot of talk radio and bloggers and people that can’t fit in right now and maybe don’t have a permanency because they’re not part of the Washington elite media, but to allow them an opportunity to ask the press secretary or the president a question is a positive thing. It’s more democratic.” The Brady press room (pictured) in the West Wing only holds 49 people. However, the White House Correspondents’ Association is concerned about the move, in part because it fears the media could be moved from the press work space behind the Brady press room, according to a statement from WHCA president Jeff Mason. He says that space is important because it is close to West Wing staffers whom the press rely on for news. Spicer says he’ll work with the WHCA on any changes.
Trump Inauguration Protests, ObamaCare Replacement Plans, U.S.-Russia Relations, Orlando Cop Killer Search, Davos Economic Forum, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Ringling Brothers Circus to Close, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The planned protests and Democratic members of Congress planning to skip Donald Trump’s Inauguration on Friday; the GOP’s plans to replace the Affordable Care Act; the relationship between Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the United States with Trump set to take office; the search for the man police believe killed Orlando police officer Debra Clayton; this week’s meeting of world leaders at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland; today’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday; Ringling Brothers’ decision to shutter the 146-year-old circus; and the NFL playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds new affiliates to its roster, including: WNIX-AM/FM, Greeneville, Mississippi; KLKS-FM, Brainerd, Minnesota; KHMO-AM, Hannibal, Missouri; and WBNW, Concord/Boston…..Teenage conservative talk show host Caiden Cowger announces his show is added to the program schedule at Kol Ami Havurah-owned WDUQ-LPFM, Benwood, West Virginia “Beautiful Music 99.1.” This is the fourth affiliate station for Cowger’s program. The one-hour show airs evenings at 9:00 pm…..In the San Antonio market, Cox Media Group drops the sports talk programming on KONO-AM after three years as a CBS Sports Radio affiliate and is now airing an oldies format.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In San Diego, air personality Sam Bass moves from middays to weekends on hot AC KYXY for personal reasons. Moving into his slot on the CBS RADIO station is Joe Rosati, who slides over from sister CHR KEGY “Energy 103.7.” Program director Chris Patyk promotes evening personality Alexia Gloria to middays on KEGY to fill Rosati’s old slot…..There are a few promotions to report at the Nashville operations of Midwest Communications. First, Barbara Bridges – currently adult contemporary WJXA brand manager – is upped to operations manager for the entire cluster. Second, afternoon drive host Joe Breezy is adding brand manager duties to his work at CHR WNFN “i106.7.” Finally, WNFN midday personality Butter Harper takes on assistant brand manager responsibilities for the station…..Chad Valentine exits iHeartMedia’s CHR WHYI, Miami “Y100” as the result of his position being eliminated. He was assistant program director and music director there…..Alexa Smith exits her role as program director at Sierra H Broadcasting’s hip hop KNRJ, Cordes Lakes, Arizona and rhythmic oldies KAJM, Camp Verde, Arizona after three months in the position. Prior to that, she’d been APD at CBS RADIO’s rhythmic AC KTWV, Los Angeles “94.7 The Wave.”
Cooke: Talk Radio’s Dream Come True? Media consultant Holland Cooke writes today, “After nearly two years of campaign noise, many Americans were eager ‘for it to end.’ But November 8 was a beginning. And with the manners our parents preached now scorned as political correctness, the noise will only get louder. In the social media era, broadcasters’ challenge is to cut through that clutter. Donald Trump will be President of The United States, and the implications for radio’s top format are profound.” Read more here.
iHeartMedia Shows 1.2% Rise in Third Quarter Revenue. Reporting third quarter financial numbers, iHeartMedia’s revenue was $857 million – up 1.2% from the same period in 2015. For the first nine months of the year, iHM revenue was $2.46 billion – an increase of 3.3% over 2015. In a statement, chairman and CEO Bob Pittman touts some of the company’s initiatives and events. “We continue to grow our audiences across our broadcast radio, outdoor, digital, social, mobile and events platforms, while advancing our transformation as a digital-facing, data-rich company built on the power of broadcast radio and out-of-home. “This quarter, we were excited to announce the reimagining of live radio with our two new subscription services, iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio All Access, set to debut in January 2017. In addition, at both iHeartMedia and outdoor, we continue to invest in programmatic buying platforms and research analytics tools to leverage our assets for the benefit of our marketing and advertising partners, and at Americas outdoor and International outdoor, we continue to realign our resources to expand our digital out-of-home networks.”
Cumulus Media Dips 1.1% in Third Quarter. That figure is for the company as a whole and is a percentage change based on net revenue of $286.1 million for the third quarter of 2016. For the first nine months of this year, revenue is $841.9 million, down 2.1% from the nine month-period in 2015. Cumulus breaks the company into two segments – the Radio Station Group, and Westwood One. The latter has been the most troublesome for Cumulus. Westwood One net revenue was down 5.5% over the same period in 2015 while the Radio Station Group was basically flat – up just 0.7% on revenue of $206 million. President and CEO Mary Berner says, “A year into our turnaround effort, we have made considerable progress against our operational priorities while leading the industry in ratings growth. Though our performance in the quarter was negatively impacted by headwinds which have challenged us all year, we see evidence that our work is paying off financially as we gained share this quarter for the first time in at least four years. As we seek to maintain the momentum of our initial strategies, we have now also launched a focused effort to improve sales execution as the next logical step in our turnaround plan.”
Cox Media Group’s WDBO-FM, Orlando First to Declare Trump Winner in Florida and Nationally. Orlando news/talk “News 96.5 WDBO” is saying it made two “unprecedented moves” in covering the election on Tuesday night. Director of programming Drew Anderssen says his station called Trump’s Florida victory minutes before the Associated Press. “Our in-house statistician watched returns county-by-county from the State of Florida, rather than relying on other national media outlets, which led to my decision to call Florida a victory for Trump.” Later in the evening, Anderssen says the station projected Trump to be the next president more than two-hours before “the Associated Press or any other national news outlet.” He adds, “We were looking at all scenarios and talking with our Washington DC bureau’s Jaime Dupree, who has 30 years of experience monitoring elections from Capitol Hill. Along with our ‘News 96.5 WDBO’ in-house team, it was a clear to us that it was statistically not possible for Hillary to win. I trusted my team and stood by their experience when we went on the air at midnight projecting Trump the winner.” WDBO morning host Joe Kelley scored a rare, morning-after interview today. Kelley says, “We wrote his number down from the caller ID during yesterday’s interview. We called the number today thinking ‘there’s no way he’ll answer,’ but he did.”
The Trump vs Clinton Race; the U.S. House and Senate Races; Hillary Clinton’s Email Problem; Marijuana Legalization; and the NFL’s Sinking Ratings Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/8). The presidential election; the U.S. House and Senate races the battle for control over Congress; the lingering issues relative to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; the several states with marijuana legalization on the ballots and shifting attitude across the country; the weekend’s NFL action and the league’s sinking ratings were among the top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Beasley’s SEC Filing Details Q3 Results. The company announced last week that its net revenue of $27.7 million in the third quarter of this year represents a 5.6% increase over the same period a year ago. The Form 10-Q filed with the Securities Exchange Commission includes information about what constituted the $1.5 million year-over-year increase. Beasley Broadcast Group notes, “Significant factors affecting net revenue included a $1 million increase in advertising revenue from our Tampa-Saint Petersburg market cluster, a $0.4 million increase in advertising revenue from our Charlotte market cluster, and a $0.3 million increase in advertising revenue from our Fayetteville market cluster – partially offset by a $0.2 million decrease in advertising revenue from our Wilmington market cluster. Net revenue for the [quarter]…also included $0.5 million of political advertising from the 2016 elections.”
Rob Graham Retires from WINA, Charlottesville. News director Rob Graham is retiring from Saga Communications’ news/talk WINA, Charlottesville after 32 years with the station. He’d also worked in his home state of Iowa at KWPC and KFMH in Muscatine and KLNT and KLNQ in Clinton during his career. He left radio for two years in 2000 to work in the public relations business.
Dave Ramsey Smart Money Tour Hits Boston. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey brought his 2016 Smart Money tour to the sold-out Lowell Memorial Auditorium last night (9/29). Ramsey and local affiliate WRKO worked to promote the event. Entercom New England VP and market manager Phil Zachary says, “The timing of Dave’s visit to Greater Boston could not be better. While many candidates are politicizing the challenges of America’s working middle class, Dave deploys a program of proven techniques and positive motivation that ensures everyone in attendance will come away with an improved outlook on life. I just can’t think of a more uplifting experience to offer WRKO listeners.” Pictured here are (from l-r): radio consultant Holland Cooke, Ramsey, and Zachary.
AdAge and iHeartRadio Partner for Marketing Podcast. The new program is titled “Tagline” and will be available via the iHeartRadio digital platform and AdAge.com. iHeartMedia chairman Bob Pittman announced the collaborative effort at an Advertising Week VIP event. A press release says, “‘Tagline’ will give listeners an insider’s perspective on what the world that influences pop culture is really all about. The new podcast series will air twice a month on iHeartRadio and Advertising Age and feature a rotating series of the most talented and entertaining people in the business, tackling everything from the most pressing questions to the most annoying trends. The content and the participants will evolve organically as each episode concludes with this week’s Tagline host tagging the next guests via an unprompted phone call.” AdAge publisher Josh Golden comments, “Every day, people in the marketing community are whispering about what’s happened and what’s next – and now ‘Tagline’ will let people all across the industry listen to those otherwise private conversations. Our audience wants to hear about the real conversations, frustrations, insights and resolutions that happen in the conference rooms late at night and this partnership with iHeart will expose exactly that.” The first season will launch in November and include 24 podcasts and special edition episodes corresponding with select industry events.
Mike Francesa Confirms End of WFAN Show at Contract’s End. Once again, New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa has told his listeners that he will be leaving CBS RADIO’s WFAN after his contract ends on December 15 of 2017. This is not the first time he’s addressed the matter but, obviously, things can change. However, according to the New York Daily News, Francesa reiterated that he’ll leave CBS RADIO but that he also promised the station he won’t spend a lot of time talking about it. Where will he go? Sounds like he doesn’t know right now. The Daily News reports he says, “I’m very open to different things. In broad strokes I have been contacted by some broadcast entities about what I would do. I won’t be going to satellite, it’s just not something I want to do. I have a few things that do interest me, that’s not one of them. It has nothing to do with Dog [Chris Russo] being there. I wish Dog well there, I know he signed a new contract, so congratulations on that, but it’s not going to have anything to do with me.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of September 2016 PPM Data. The fourth of four rounds of September 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The September 2016 survey period covered August 11 through September 7. You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Cop Shootings and Train Crash Among Top Talk Stories Behind the Presidential Race for Week of September 26-30. Once again, the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week was the presidential race, highlighted by Monday’s debate. At #2 this week was the police killing of a black man in El Cajon, California and the aftermath of the Charlotte shooting and protests. Coming in at #3 was the New Jersey train crash, followed by the Syria civil war and the related U.S.-Russia tensions at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
The Yappy Tour Rolls On. Former radio talk show producer-turned-author Bernadette Duncan recently brought her “Yappy Tour” to the massive Western Massachusetts audience of classic rocker WAQY-FM, Springfield “Rock 102” by appearing as a guest on the very popular “Bax & O’Brien” morning talk show to discuss her buzz-worthy book, Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (AuthorHouse/Talkers Books, 2016). The book recounts Duncan’s 26-year career as a producer of radio talk shows working with such big-name talents as Larry King, Sally Jessy Raphael, Lou Dobbs, Tom Snyder, Gil Gross, Charles Osgood and many more during modern talk radio’s pre- and post-9/11 “golden era.” Plus, she tells stories about behind-the-scenes encounters with hundreds of guests from the worlds of show business, politics, media, business and literature. Above, Duncan (c) is pictured with hosts John O’Brien (l) and Mike “Bax” Baxendale (r). Duncan’s national “Yappy Tour” will roll on through the remainder of the year. She has already appeared on more than 25 local and syndicated programs. Hosts and shows interested in booking Bernadette Duncan can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Kim Guthrie Named to Replace Retiring Bill Hoffman as President of Cox Media Group. After 38 years with Cox, Bill Hoffman is retiring from his Cox Media Group president post at the end of the year. Taking over in January will be current executive vice president of national ad platforms and president of Cox Reps, Kim Guthrie. Cox Enterprises president and CEO John Dyer says, “Kim has been with Cox for nearly 20 years and is an inspirational leader who has helped our media properties transform. She played a key role in the successful creation of Cox Media Group in 2008 and has been recognized as one of the media industry’s most influential leaders. She is a natural fit to ensure Cox Media Group continues to deliver innovative products and compelling news content.”
Report: CBS RADIO to Take on $1.5 Billion in Debt. This report from Reuters, says that sources are telling it that CBS RADIO is preparing to take on as much as $1.5 billion in debt ahead of its initial public offering that’s expected to take place but still has no firm time frame. According the report, the bulk of the proceeds would be paid back to parent CBS Corp. with the rest to be used by CBS RADIO for “general corporate purposes.” In its report, Reuters notes that “a radio company IPO may be a tough sale as new digital competitors have emerged and depressed advertising sales for the medium for years.” Read the Reuters story here.
Lew Dickey Pens Book on Changing Media Landscape. The book is published by Tourbillion International – a subsidiary of the Dickey family-owned Modern Luxury Media – and is titled, The New Modern Media – Remaking Media for a Mobile Culture. We now know what Lew Dickey has been doing since he was ousted from the Cumulus CEO role last year. The book is described as “an indispensable guide to the profound and disruptive changes rocking the media industry. It examines the implications of a new, mobile culture and challenges the widely held belief that most media companies’ true source of profits is their content. It makes the case for the importance of distribution as a key driver of firm value in the legacy media business model, be it a newspaper, magazine, record label, television network, local broadcast television or radio station.” In the book Dickey makes the case for why traditional “radio broadcasters will be unlikely to benefit from subscription revenue for their core service, leaving them highly exposed to the ad markets.” iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman is quoted reviewing the book, “I’ve spent my entire professional life in the media business, and today technology is enabling media to evolve at an ever-faster pace to meet consumers’ changing needs. Lew’s book is a timely resource for anyone working or investing in the media industry – shedding an important light on some of the critical challenges and opportunities inherent in today’s vibrant and complex media landscape.” Pittman’s iHeartRadio just announced a two-tier subscription service last week – clearly another step in the grand plan to transform iHeartMedia from a legacy radio company to a competitor in the digital entertainment industry. But getting back to Lew’s book, it’s a safe bet this will be the talk of the radio business this week.
Mike Gallagher Broadcasts from Hofstra University. In advance of tonight’s first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Salem Radio Networks syndicated personality Mike Gallagher broadcast his program from Hofstra University on Long Island, the site of tonight’s debate. Gallagher’s guests included pollster Pat Caddell, Republican National Committee communications director Sean Spicer, Trump campaign co-chair Sam Clovis, and, via telephone, vice presidential candidate Mike Pence. Gallagher says, “I’ve bird-dogged these candidates through the primaries and caucuses and both national conventions. So, it is a thrill to bring my audience into the final hours of preparation for this historic debate which is expected to draw 100 million or more via radio and TV.”
iHeartMedia Launches New Tucson Talk Station. This will be a sister talk station to iHeartMedia’s existing news/talk KNST and consists primarily of syndicated fare. KTZR flipped from Spanish music to talk this morning (9/26) as “The Talk of Tucson.” The programming lineup is: Premiere’s Glenn Beck in morning drive, followed by USA Radio’s “Trending Today USA with Rusty Humphries,” Westwood One’s “The Savage Nation,” KTRH, Houston-based, syndicated personality Michael Berry, local personality Rob Hunter, Premiere’s “AMERICA Now with Meghan McCain,” “Ground Zero,” “AMERICA Now Rewind,” and GCN’s Alex Jones.
Alan Henry Memoir Published. One of the progenitors of modern day talk radio and the all-news formats has written his memoir. Alan Henry’s new book is titled, A Man And His Medium: An Indelible Signature on Radio Television Cable. It was a young Alan Henry – charged with turning around Metromedia’s poorly rated KLAC, Los Angeles – who hired raconteur Joe Pyne to host the evening program. Pyne had just been fired by crosstown KABC. Henry and programmer Jim Lightfoot gave Pyne control over his show content and the program took off, eventually being syndicated to more than 250 radio stations. Henry’s influence continued when, after leaving KLAC, he joined Westinghouse in New York and proposed a new all-news format for WINS. He was named sales manager of the station and, although it took a while to bring advertisers around, history reveals its eventual success.
The Presidential Race/First Debate, Police Shootings of Blacks, Syrian Civil War/U.S.-Russian Military Tensions, George Bush-Michelle Obama Photo, Growing National Anthem Protests, MLB Playoff Push and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and the buildup to this evening’s debate; the aftermath of the recent Tulsa and Charlotte shooting deaths of black men by police; the Syrian civil war and Russia’s role in the bombing of Aleppo and air convoys; Saturday’s dedication of the African American History Museum in Washington and chatter about the widely published photo of Michelle Obama hugging George W. Bush; National Anthem protests spread to the college football ranks; the playoff push in Major League Baseball, and Sunday’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. There are changes in the air talent lineup at ESPN-owned/Cumulus operated KESN-FM, Dallas. Matt Mosley leaves the station and his afternoon drive partner Tim Cowlishaw. Midday personality Mark Friedman also exits the station where he co-hosted with Steve Dennis. There are rumors in the market that Dennis will join Cowlishaw in afternoons and Jean-Jacques Taylor and Will Chambers will take over the midday show…..Radiohio-owned sports talker WBNS, Columbus “Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan” extends its relationship with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets for another three seasons. WBNS’ partner – Southeastern Ohio Broadcasting System’s alternative WWCD “CD102.5” – will serve as the secondary signals for the team’s games…..GatesAir announces three important wins in Vietnam that signify the over-the-air TV and radio transformation taking shape across the Asia-Pacific region. Vietnam Television recently placed two orders for transmitter network expansions. On the radio side, Vietnam is investing in existing FM infrastructure with improvement and expansion projects. Voice of Vietnam, the national radio broadcaster, recently ordered five Flexiva air-cooled solid-state transmitters — two 5kW and three 10kW models — for VOV4, which serves as the broadcaster’s Ethnic Languages Channel.
The Yappy Tour Rolls On. Prolific radio talk show producer turned author Bernadette Duncan recently brought her “Yappy Tour” to the television viewers of Western Massachusetts by appearing as a guest on the WGGB-TV (ABC-40) “Western Mass News” to discuss her buzz-worthy book, Yappy Days; Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (AuthorHouse/Talkers Books, 2016). The book recounts Duncan’s 26-year career as a producer of radio talk shows working with such big-name talents as Larry King, Sally Jessy Raphael, Lou Dobbs, Tom Snyder, Gil Gross, Charles Osgood and many more during modern talk radio’s pre- and post-9/11 “golden era.” Plus, she tells stories about behind-the-scenes encounters with hundreds of guests from the worlds of show business, politics, media, business and literature. Above, Duncan (left) is pictured with newsman/show host Chris Pisano (right) on Channel 40’s “Western Mass News” midday talk show. Duncan’s national “Yappy Tour” will roll on through the remainder of the year. She has already appeared on more than 25 local and syndicated programs. Hosts and shows interested in booking Bernadette Duncan can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Dan Mason Named Senior Advisor for Broadcast Relations at iHeartMedia. Longtime CBS RADIO president Dan Mason – a year after retiring from that position – is joining iHeartMedia in the newly created position senior advisor for broadcast relations. Mason will report to iHeartMedia CEO and chairman Bob Pittman and president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler. In a press release, iHeartMedia describes Mason’s role this way: “Mason will advise Pittman and Bressler on current and developing issues important to iHeartMedia and the broadcast radio industry; additionally, he will focus most of his attention and time on important issues affecting the broadcast industry, working with other broadcasters, vendors, government relations and important industry associations, including the National Association of Broadcasters.” Pittman is quoted saying, “I’ve known and deeply respected Dan for decades. Given his long and deep relationships with the broadcast industry, we feel he is ideally suited to establishing deeper and more constant communications with everyone associated with the radio industry on an ongoing and timely basis. We look forward to Dan’s wise counsel on important broadcast issues.” Mason very recently spoke in-depth with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison on Harrison’s PodcastOne show, “Up Close and Far Out.” Listen to that here.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Names Dan Mason Chairperson. It’s a big news day for Dan Mason as this election to chairperson of the Broadcasters Foundation of America position comes at the same time as his joining iHeartMedia. Mason has served as co-vice-chairperson of the BFoA since June of last year, following his retirement as president and chief executive officer of CBS RADIO. He assumes this chairmanship role from Phil Lombardo, chief executive officer of Citadel Communications, who is retiring from the position after 13 years and who is being recognized for his service with the title of chair emeritus. Also retiring from the board are George Beasley and David Barrett. Named to the board at yesterday’s elections in New York City are: Caroline Beasley, interim chief executive officer of Beasley Broadcast Group; Perry Sook, president and chief executive officer of Nexstar Broadcasting Group; and Jordan Wertlieb, president of Hearst Television. In addition, Bill Hoffman, president of Cox Media Group, will now serve as co-vice chair with Richard A. Foreman, president and chief executive officer of Richard A. Foreman Associates, and Leo MacCourtney, president of Katz Television Group, will take over as treasurer of the Broadcasters Foundation.
Orlando Massacre Aftermath, Gun Control Filibuster, The Presidential Race, Disney Toddler Gator Death, Iran-Boeing Deal, ‘Brexit’ Issue, and NBA Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/15). The aftermath of the Pulse nightclub massacre; the filibuster by Democratic Senator Chris Murphy to force votes on gun laws; the activities of the candidates for president; the death of a toddler attacked in a lake at Disney World; the deal in which Iran will buy airplanes from Boeing; the ‘campaigning’ ahead of next week’s vote by Britons on whether to leave the European Union; and the Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Boers to Be Off ‘The Score’ in Chicago for Medical Leave. Chicago sports talk figure Terry Boers is taking about two months off of the WSCR afternoon show “Boers & Bernstein” to deal with an unspecified medical issue. Boers told “Score” listeners his surgery is one that has to be done, but said little more about it. ChicagoRadioandMedia reports that the station will be using a rotating cast of fill-in hosts alongside Dan Bernstein during Boers’ absence. The Chicago media news site also reports the 66-year-old Boers is considering full or semi-retirement from his almost-25-year sports talk career.
Bill Engvall Show Joins PodcastOne Lineup. Comic Bill Engvall is the first to enter the on-demand audio world from the Blue Collar Comedy Tour team. PodcastOne says his “My Two Cents with Bill Engvall” brings that same humor, along with celebrity interviews, personal stories and, of course, his “two cents” on current events. PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “Bill is hilarious and a great addition to our comedy lineup. Plus, he’s squeaky clean for those big brands out there looking for mass audience in a safe setting. It’s really cool for people who have felt a personal connection to him with his relatable work thus far, to be able to step into this new world.”
Odds & Sods. Washington all-news WTOP-FM was recognized in seven out of eight categories at Tuesday’s DC Society of Professional Journalists Dateline awards. The WTOP staff won as a whole for its coverage of the Metro smoke incident in the “Breaking News” category, and for the visit of Pope Francis in the “Non-Breaking News” category. Individual accolades were presented to WTOP’s Jamie Forzato, Noah Frank, Andrew Mollenbeck, Chris Core and Paula Wolfson…..New Orleans Saints great Deuce McAllister is joining the radio broadcast booth for Saints games his year. Entercom’s news/talk WWL, New Orleans is the team’s flagship station and McAllister will work in the booth alongside Saints Radio Network play-by-play announcer Jim Henderson. McAllister takes over for the late Hokie Gajan…..iHeartMedia’s country outlet WDSD, Wilmington re-ups with University of Delaware Athletics and Blue Hens IMG Sports Marketing for a multi-year deal to broadcast Delaware football and men’s basketball game broadcasts…..FOX Sports Radio is presenting coverage of the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft on next Thursday (6/23). FSR weekend personality and former NBA All-Star Cedric Ceballos, FS1 NBA Insider Bill Reiter and FOXSports.com/FS1 College Basketball Insider Reid Forgrave will lead the network’s live coverage of the draft beginning at 7:00 pm ET…..At this week’s convention in Champaign, the Illinois Broadcasters Association awarded its fourth-ever Lifetime Achievement Award to recently retired Radio Advertising Bureau SVP Dick Rakovan, pictured above at right with consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke at left, who worked for Rakovan on three separate occasions.
Kilmeade on the Scene in Orlando with Cox Media Group’s WDBO-FM. In this week’s aftermath of the Orlando club massacre, news/talk WDBO-FM, Orlando and FOX News Radio have been working more closely. The station has been airing the entire 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET “Kilmeade & Friends” show, pre-empting its other programming. The Brian Kilmeade-hosted show originated from WDBO’s studios on Monday and Tuesday, and WDBO-FM morning host Joe Kelley has been appearing on Kilmeade’s program providing insight. FNR says notable guests on the show this week have included: Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL), Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) as well as Florida State Attorney Jeff Ashton. Kilmeade is pictured here interviewing two women who attended a vigil for the victims at the Dr. Philips Center in Downtown Orlando.
New Affiliates for WYM Media Management Shows. The WYM Media Management staff has been busy securing new affiliates for its talk shows. Some of the new deals include the Herman Cain show adding WEEB-AM, Raleigh-Durham; KTMS-AM, Santa Barbara; WQSC-AM/WJQB-AM, Charleston, South Carolina; WDXZ-AM, Mobile-Pensacola; and WHEE-AM Roanoke-Lynchburg; the Thom Hartmann show now airing on WCAP, Lowell and the Stephanie Miller show joining KKSF, San Francisco.
Burning Issue of Immigration Policy to Be Front and Center at Hold Their Feet to the Fire 2016. The annual Washington, DC radio row presented by Federation for American Immigration Reform takes place next Wednesday and Thursday at the Phoenix Park Hotel from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm each day. Fifty talk show hosts will be broadcasting live from the radio row and will be speaking with leading members of congress, sheriffs, ICE officials, police union officials and more. FAIR executive director Bob Dane says, “This event provides the public with insight, clarity, choices, and solutions that emerge during the dialogue between our public officials and talk radio hosts. More importantly, it is about holding our elected leaders accountable for securing the borders, enforcing immigration laws, and reforming our policies so that America’s broad national interests are properly served.”
Freedom of Speech Major Topic at Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation Dinner — Harrison Warns Challenging Times Ahead for Free Speech Under Hillary or Trump. The Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation held its second annual fundraising dinner on Tuesday evening (6/14) at the Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The foundation was launched two years ago by Bold Gold Broadcast Group president/CEO Vince Benedetto to provide education and training support, as well as funding, to educational institutions and organizations that are preparing America’s future communicators. Two of the main speakers of the evening were keynoter James Rosen, chief Washington correspondent for Fox News Channel and special remarks presenter Michael Harrison (top left) of TALKERS magazine. Rosen discussed his ongoing battles against government censorship and personal harassment at the hands of the US Department of Justice and the US Department of State as well as his latest book, Cheney One on One: A Candid Conversation with America’s Most Controversial Statesman (Regnery 2016). Harrison delivered a dynamic overview of the importance of the First Amendment as the “very foundation of everything that we believe America symbolizes and what it truly means from the perspective of day-to-day reality.” Harrison, a charter member of the foundation’s board of directors, warned, “Regardless of whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is elected the next president, based on the track records and character of each, we can be sure it will be a challenging four or eight years for those who are charged with supporting the tenets of free speech in America. We must remain vigilant or these will be truly dark times ahead!” Since its founding, the Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation has provided funds to build a college radio station on the campus of Hillsdale College in Michigan and a sister facility at the highly regarded school’s Kirby Center in Washington, DC. Pictured at right are (from l-r): Vince Benedetto, James Rosen and Michael Harrison.
KFI’s Carroll Announces His Departure. With approximately 90 seconds remaining in Thursday’s (1/7) broadcast, KFI, Los Angeles midday talent Bill Carroll revealed he is leaving the iHeartMedia talk property effective immediately. In addition to sharing his reason for departing KFI (#9, 3.4, 6+, December 2015 Nielsen Audio PPM), Carroll implored his listeners to grant an election-day request. “Hey, I wanted to say one thing before I wrap up the show today,” Carroll began, as he sought to “explain” his “cryptic New Year’s Day tweet” which many people asked him about on Facebook. “[My wife Sylvie and I] have been considering this for a while and we came to the conclusion that it is time to get closer to home.” Carroll’s father passed away in 2010; Scotland born/Canada raised Carroll joined KFI in February of that year. “I did not get to see him much,” he lamented. “My mother is older so we are leaving. We still do not know exactly where we are going to land [but] this is my last show – maybe we will talk again in the future.” That led Carroll to rhetorically ask, “Can you just do one final favor for me? For God sakes, when I am gone, do not elect Donald Trump. You are better than that. Do not let anger sweep you away. Do not elect Donald Trump. I came to live among you because I admire you for your graciousness, your openness, and your religious freedoms. Don’t elect Donald Trump – I am begging.” It is unclear how long it will be before KFI program director Robin Bertolucci names a permanent replacement for Carroll; apparently, several guest hosts will be utilized in the station’s 10:00 am – 1:00 pm slot. Prior to his six-year KFI tenure, Carroll worked in Toronto at CILQ “Q-107,” and CFRB-AM. The 56-year-old Carroll appears at #47 on TALKERS’ 2015 “Heavy Hundred.”
Obama ‘Guns’ Town Hall Top News/Talk Story of the Week. Thursday night’s “town hall” on gun control presented by CNN and the White House along with President Obama’s announced plans to use executive power to alter some gun laws were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the presidential race. Coming in at #3 was the battle against Islamic State, followed by the Saudi Arabian and Iranian diplomatic break and the growing rift between Shiite and Sunni-majority Middle Eastern states at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
WTMJ, Milwaukee to Present Special Program ‘Beyond Making a Murderer.’ The Netflix original program “Making a Murderer” is attracting large audiences across the country but in Wisconsin, where film subject Steven Avery is currently incarcerated, the case is now the subject of a special program to be presented this weekend on E.W. Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee. The special, “Beyond Making a Murderer,” will present update coverage of the case of convicted murderer Avery. The station says it has covered the Avery story since the beginning. The Netflix series has sparked a petition demanding a presidential pardon, curious tourists are traveling to Wisconsin, and critics are claiming there’s more to the story. WTMJ vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “The story of Steven Avery is not only a big story in our backyard but also a story of national significance. WTMJ is Wisconsin’s Radio Station and we are leading the way with exclusive interviews and expanded local coverage to advance the story.” This weekend, “Wisconsin’s Morning News” host Gene Mueller will anchor a two-hour special “WTMJ Presents: Beyond Making a Murderer” that will air on Saturday at 7:00 pm and on Sunday at 11:00 am, immediately prior to coverage of the Packers vs Redskins playoff game. WTMJ executive producer of news Erik Bilstad will anchor coverage live from Manitowoc, Wisconsin with one-on-one interviews, videos and exclusive digital coverage. WTMJ program manager Eric Brooks adds, “‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station’ is working to go beyond the documentary, to talk with the people involved in the case and give our audience updated information. We are talking with family members, justices, jurors, law enforcement, and prosecutors to learn everything new we can. WTMJ is providing content for not only our Wisconsin audience, but for those interested worldwide.”
Radio’s Hot New (Old) Format: ‘The Puddle.’ In an opinion piece published today (1/8), ABC Television director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes about the sensational amount of global interest in Periscope’s “The Puddle” – a camera shot at a puddle of water in the U.K. Price says the people watching the puddle on their smartphones have “rediscovered the magic of radio…If you really believe all radio is local – and GREAT local radio is all about making compelling content out of the everyday events and observations in the communities it serves — then ‘the puddle’ can be seen as a metaphor for what radio’s core mission has always been, and which it used to execute better than any other medium.” Read his entire piece here.
Kibler Named iHeartMedia’s EVP Multi-Cultural Marketing. Executive vice president of operations for iHeartMedia‘s Texas major markets Kelly Kibler is appointed executive vice president of multi-cultural marketing. According to iHeartMedia chair and chief executive officer Bob Pittman, “Kelly has been a constant innovator in this company. She is the perfect choice to head up our focused multi-cultural advertising efforts at the market level. Her success as executive vice president of operations, as well as in her role as a sales leader and market president and her leadership of numerous iHeartMedia initiatives, have enabled her to grow her career with us. We look forward to her using all of her experience and relationships to build this new capability for our company.” The bilingual Kibler comments, “I could not be more excited to take on this new position at iHeartMedia, using the tools and experience we’ve developed in Texas and applying them across our 150 markets in a space that continues to grow in both importance and footprint across America.” Kibler began her career in 1991 at Telemundo. Before becoming iHeartMedia’s executive vice president of operations for the company’s major markets in Texas, she was a market president in Dallas, San Diego, and Las Vegas.
Emmis Confirms Layoffs; Executive Pay Cuts. After a fiscal third quarter report that showed a 5.1% drop in radio net revenue, Emmis Communications is confirming that it has laid off 32 company staffers and instituted pay cuts for corporate senior executives. During the recent conference call with investors, Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan stated, “We’ve made some changes and they’re very painful changes. This is always very, very hard for us.” The moves are designed to trim some $5.3 million from the radio sector’s budget.
Rich Broadcasting Adds Three Signals to News/Talk KID, Idaho Falls. The announced expansion of Rich Broadcasting’s heritage news/talk KID, Idaho Falls will expand the reach of the station within the Idaho Falls market and some 90 miles east to the Jackson, Wyoming market. The company says, beginning Monday, KID “Newsradio” will be heard on KQEZ-FM in Idaho Falls and to KSGT-AM, Jackson and translator K242BU at 96.3 in the Jackson market. KID, Idaho Falls is also simulcast on KIDG-FM, Pocatello, Idaho. Rich Broadcasting president Richard Mecham says, “KID has served the eastern Idaho market since 1928 and we are both pleased and excited to substantially expand its impact and coverage with the addition of three more frequencies, which not only will substantially expand its geographical reach but also, and very significantly, will enhance its nighttime coverage. With the addition of 106.3 FM, it now will be heard regionally from Ashton to Pocatello. Additionally, we are very pleased to expand the KID brand into the Teton County radio market, and in the process enhance the synergy between the eastern Idaho and Jackson markets. We look forward to providing to our listeners the very best in news and information for years to come.”
CES 2016 Wrap Up. Radio consultant Holland Cooke files his final report from Las Vegas where this week he’s been attending the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. Today he writes about the ubiquitous phone camera, drones, the head-on challenges facing television, and new technologies that are doing what radio stations traditionally helped people do. Read Holland Cooke’s entire report here.
Odds & Sods. The digital production field and studio tool suite Control Room Pro is now being used at stations including CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York; Bonneville’s WTOP-FM, Washington; iHeartmedia’s WIOD, Miami; and news/talk WHO-AM and sports KXNO-AM in Des Moines, The suite of tools is produced by Harris Media and is repped by AdLarge Media…..Next Thursday and Friday (1/14-15), (and for the second time in the last three weeks!) Sid Rosenberg and “Imus in the Morning” executive producer Bernard McGuirk are sitting in for “Curtis & Kuby” co-hosting the midday show at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York.
Pittman to Receive BFoA Golden Mike Award. Jackson, Mississippi native Bob Pittman began his radio career at the age of 15 and the iHeartMedia chair/chief executive officer is set to be honored with the Broadcasters Foundation of America‘s 2016 “Golden Mike” award. Broadcasters Foundation vice chair Dan Mason declares, “Bob is an extraordinary broadcaster. As an architect of today’s iHeartMedia, Bob’s focus on innovation – and his deep belief in broadcast radio – has expanded radio into new areas and platforms. We are proud to recognize his contributions to broadcasting.” Pittman states that, “Radio reaches more Americans than any other medium. [It is] the best friend in the seat next to them and their trusted companion and information source across multiple platforms. I feel extremely fortunate to be in broadcasting during the most exciting time in our industry’s history. I am grateful to the Broadcasters Foundation for this honor, and I thank them for their deep commitment to supporting our broadcast colleagues in their times of need.” Pittman programmed WMAQ, Chicago and famously became program director at WNBC, New York at the age of 23. Also included on his impressive, extensive resume is being co-founder/programmer of the team that created MTV; CEO of MTV Networks; AOL Networks; Six Flags Theme Parks; Quantum Media; Century 21 Real Estate; and Time Warner Enterprises. He was chief operating officer of America Online and later of AOL Time Warner. Pittman was named one of Advertising Age‘s “10 Marketers Who Changed American Culture”; received the Robert F. Kennedy “Ripple of Hope” award; and he was named one of LIFE Magazine‘s “Five Original Thinkers of the 1980s.” He will receive his “Golden Mike” award next month (2/29) at New York City’s Plaza Hotel.
Broadcaster Poe Declares Congressional Candidacy. Former Florida Democratic Party chair Bob Poe made his intentions official yesterday (Thursday, 1/7) that he is seeking to represent Florida’s 10th congressional district, which is based in west Orlando. The 61-year-old Poe comments that, “Many people are aware that I’ve been blessed with a tremendous amount of success in my life – but what most people don’t know is that my success had some humble beginnings. I come from this community. I became successful because of what I learned in this community, and I think I bring a very different perspective of how we grow the economy. I didn’t graduate from college, but I built a technology business that I’m proud of and that keeps people safe, because I never quit. Too many politicians today are too busy playing the game of musical chairs – running for one office and then another – to truly stand up and fight for us.” Prior to a nine-year run as president of Emergency Communications Network, Poe spent three years as vice president and general manager of WMMO, Orlando; four years as director of broadcasting and sponsorship sales for the NBA‘s Orlando Magic; and 12 years as vice president and general manager of Orlando talk station WKIS and the Florida Radio Network.
iHeartMedia Expands with SoundBoard Initiative. The company is calling iHeartMedia SoundBoard a “one-of-a-kind audio-centric branded entertainment studio” that will allow its talent to work with advertisers to “produce original long- and short-form audio, video and experiential content that moves seamlessly across radio, apps, and events, creating the next generation of brand storytelling.” Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “As the number one creators of live, daily content, brands have been asking us for more ability to craft original stories that leverage the power of sound to reach consumers when they’re ready to be entertained. We’re launching the first branded audio studio for the digital era to prove the power of radio, the power of live content, and the power of cross-platform programming designed for a media world without walls.” In addition to using national talent such as Ryan Seacrest and Elvis Duran, the company says it will use “the many local personalities who resonate in their communities — and its unique access to the most innovative thinkers in music and entertainment — to develop new original productions that combine the power of live radio with richer storytelling across platforms.” The iHeartMedia SoundBoard Studio will be led by John Sykes, president of iHeartMedia’s Entertainment Enterprises Group; Gayle Troberman, EVP and chief marketing officer of iHeartMedia; and Vanessa Adamo, senior vice president of Entertainment Enterprises.
Bob Bruce to Host Afternoons on KOIL, Omaha. The new local afternoon program on NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha is announced and Bob Bruce is returning to the Omaha market after a 10-year absence to host “The Bob Bruce Radio Experience” from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, effective February 23. Bruce comes to KOIL from his most recent gig at iHeartMedia’s news/talk WMT, Cedar Rapids. Bruce replaces talk pro Tom Becka who exited the afternoon show at KOIL late last year. About his new gig, Bruce says, “I am thrilled to be a part of a legendary station like KOIL and delighted to be back in Omaha. I love this community and all it has to offer and I will make this show educational and fun for listeners.”
SiriusXM’s Joe Madison Helps Get Dick Gregory Star on Walk of Fame. From a piece by George Curry published in BlackPressUSA comes the story of how talk show host Joe Madison helped get pioneering black comedian Dick Gregory a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Curry writes that after working on the campaign to get The Four Tops a star on the walk, he noticed that Dick Gregory was not on the walk and set out to do something about it. After two failed campaigns, the third time (with help from others) he was able to convince the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to grant him the star. But the hard part was just ahead. Getting a star requires paying $30,000 for construction and maintenance. Madison set out to raise the money and says he appealed to his listeners for $30 contributions and soon the money was in hand. Read Curry’s story here.
Odds & Sods. Longtime San Diego sports talk personality Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton is joining XETV, San Diego “San Diego 6” to serve on the 10:00 pm news on Saturdays and Sundays. News director Don Shafer says, “Lee will bring his unique perspective and knowledge of local, state and national sports to San Diego 6 News.” Lee will bring his signature “Hacksaw’s Headlines” to the sportscast, with his take on the biggest stories of the day…..Cumulus Media sports talker WSKO, Syracuse inks a deal to broadcast Syracuse Chiefs minor league baseball for the next two seasons. Kevin Brown and Eric Gallanty will be in the broadcast booth for play-by-play duties…..According to PennLive, Cumulus Media’s sports talk simulcast WHGB-AM and W243BR, Harrisburg “Sportsradio 96.5” will be carrying Washington Nationals baseball this season instead of Philadelphia Phillies games.
Patriots Win Super Bowl XLIX, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Politicians’ Vaccine Remarks Flap, Battle Against ISIS, Obama Tax Hike Proposal, Suge Knight Charged with Murder, and Bobbi Kristina Brown in Coma Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/2). Patriots win game that is most-watched TV broadcast in U.S. history; the potential candidates for president in 2016; comments by Chris Christie and Rand Paul questioning safety and efficacy of vaccines; the fight against ISIS; the tax hikes proposed by President Obama; rap mogul Suge Knight is charged with murder and more in hit-and-run death; and Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown in a coma were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WGN, Chicago to Challenge WBBM’s News Dominance. From a story by Robert Channick published in the Chicago Tribune comes word of some of WGN, Chicago’s programming tweaks that are designed to capture more of the news-hungry radio users in the market and, presumably take some ears away from market radio news leader WBBM. Among the additions are the first hour of the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano show becoming “The Business Lunch,” and focusing on Chicago business stories. CBS RADIO’s WBBM airs “The Noon Business Hour” with Sherman Kaplan and Kris Kridel at the same time. Additionally, former WMAQ-TV and WFLD-TV news anchor and reporter Anna Davlantes joins the station to host “The Big Story” – a 90-second news segments that will air during the Steve Cochran morning show and be a jumping-off point for show. The same segment will air in the afternoon with WGN managing editor of radio news Judy Pielach hosting. WGN Radio president Jimmy de Castro also tells the paper the station plans to add staff to the news department in the future.
Smaldone and Gold Named Hosts of ‘America Weekend.’ Radio pros Valerie Smaldone and Leslie Gold are named new hosts for the Envision Networks-syndicated weekend talk radio program “America Weekend.” Envision’s show airs on both Saturdays and Sundays and the network says it’s “designed to be a break from the usual brokered programming and political fare of most news/talk stations,” covering “the lighter side of news and lifestyle issues facing today’s on-the-go talk listeners.” Smaldone and Gold join current “America Weekend” talent Mike Bennett, Ed Kalegi, Smith and Sabatino, and Dave Graveline. Envision VP of programming Michael Lichtstein says, “We couldn’t be more excited to have Valerie and Leslie join the team of hosts on ‘America Weekend.’ Each brings a breadth of radio experience to the show and together they set a new bar when it comes to delivering compelling and thought-provoking conversation.” Smaldone adds, “I am delighted to be working with the fabulous Leslie Gold as we host a weekly show together focusing on fascinating personalities and celebrities, trends and curiosities.” Gold says, “‘America Weekend’ presents an opportunity to talk about the stuff that intrigues, amuses and vexes all of us. Hosting the show with my real-life friend Valerie Smaldone makes it an immense pleasure for me. We pledge captivating talk by two veteran broadcasters who are also true friends. It should be much fun.”
Radio to Be on Hand at Advertising Week Conference in NYC Next Week. When Advertising Week kicks off in New York City next week, radio will be a segment of the media industry presenting during the four-day conference. One of the panel highlights will be titled, “Voices of the Original Social Media,” hosted by the RAB and moderated by RAB president and CEO Erica Farber, on Tuesday, September 30 at 11:30 am ET. This session will feature both nationally syndicated air talent and local stars relating their experiences with listeners and brand partners and how that’s being leveraged over the airwaves and on digital platforms. The panel will include: NBC Sports Radio Network’s Amani Toomer, Premiere Networks’ Bobby Bones, WQHT, New York “Hot 97” morning personality Ebro Darden, and WMIB, Miami “103.5 The Beat” midday personality Angie Martinez. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman will take part in a panel titled, “Loss of Serendipity” on Wednesday, October 1 alongside MediaLink chairman and CEO, Michael Kassan and Google SVP global marketing Lorraine Twohill during which they will “explore the flip side of data-tailored content creation and distribution by considering the importance of serendipity.” Entercom president and CEO David Field will moderate a panel titled “Evolution or Revolution Part II” on Thursday, October 2. His panelists will include: Enterprise Group president Jim Doyle, The New York Times EVP of advertising Meredith Kopit Levien, TBWA president and CEO Troy Ruhanen, Centaur Media CEO Andria Vidler, and Shelly Palmer of Shelly Palmer Digital Living. They will talk about “disruption, real-time reinvention, retaining and growing share, and balancing today with tomorrow.”
Limbaugh Goes on the Offensive. Brandishing a new tactic to fight the StopRush campaign being waged against his Premiere Networks-syndicated radio program, Rush Limbaugh and official show spokesman Brian Glicklich issued a press release yesterday (9/23) with the purpose of “outing” the forces behind what Limbaugh calls a “conspiracy.” TALKERS readers are well aware of the campaign – led by Media Matters for America – to hit Limbaugh (and others) where it hurts most: in their advertising revenue. That organizations aligned with Media Matters are conducting digital campaigns to harass advertisers on Limbaugh’s program is not disputed, but yesterday’s release attempts to flesh out the tactics and the people involved in the campaign. The release says, in part, “The StopRush group claims to be made up of ordinary consumers unhappy with Rush Limbaugh’s comments. The group claims to be ‘grassroots,’ just concerned consumers who won’t shop at businesses that advertise with Rush Limbaugh. In truth, however, there are no potential customers here, just a small number of hardcore political activists founded by Angelo Carusone, EVP of Media Matters for America. It’s remarkably tiny. Only 10 Twitter users account for almost 70% of all StopRush tweets to advertisers, amplified by illicit software. In addition, almost every communication from a StopRush activist originates from outside the state of the advertiser. Thus, these activists are not and never would have been customers… their only role is to harass small businesses in an attempt to interfere with their operations, as long as they are advertising with Rush. ‘A small number of politically motivated out-of-state activists are distributing target lists indiscriminately, and annoying small businesses until they give up the advertising deals that help them grow, or risk being unable to conduct business at all. It’s not even activism… it’s blackmail,’ according to Brian Glicklich. Meanwhile, Carusone issues the following statement in response to Limbaugh’s press release, which you can read in its entirety here. “Rush Limbaugh’s show has reportedly lost millions of dollars in revenue for radio companies, thousands of advertisers big and small refuse to run ads on the program and radio stations are dropping the show. After initially insisting there were no troubles with advertisers, two years later Limbaugh’s crisis team comes out with a report attributing this massive exodus to just 10 people? The numbers just don’t add up. This is a grassroots effort that grows every day. Instead of attacking people on the internet, Limbaugh’s team would better fill their role by advising their client not to excuse rape in some situations (as he did just last week). Rush Limbaugh is bad for business — and the only thing Limbaugh has to blame for that is his own repeated conduct.” In addition to the press statement, Limbaugh published on his website the names of nine people he says are leaders in the campaign, complete with Twitter IDs and, in some cases, emails.
Margery Punnett to Leave ‘myTalk 107.1’ in Minneapolis. Announcing via the Hubbard Radio female-targeted talk outlet’s website, Margery Punnett (left) says she’ll leave her midday talk show position at KTMY, Minneapolis “myTalk 107.1” in November to join her husband (and former KTMY co-host) Ian Punnett in Phoenix. Margery Punnett – who currently co-hosts the midday show with Elizabeth Ries (right) – says she’ll move to Phoenix to join Ian who’s there studying at the graduate level at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
Ketelaar Exits WOC-AM, Quad Cities. According to a story in the Quad Cities Times, WOC-AM Quad Cities morning drive host Steve Ketelaar has left the station. It’s not clear if Ketelaar was let go or if he left of his own accord. In the story, Jim O’Hara, operations manager for the iHeartMedia Quad Cities cluster, tells the paper, “He is going to pursue his voice-work career full time, which is…pretty successful already. He’s looking forward to doing it 100% of the time.” Ketelaar co-hosted the morning show with Dan Deibert who remains co-host of the morning show on WOC-AM. He’s being joined by the company’s Dan Kennedy as co-host.
Hearst Baltimore’s Cecil to Exit. Director of sales Bob Cecil has shared his decision to leave Hearst Baltimore’s two-station combo. President and general manager Cary Pahigian comments that Cecil has “contributed immeasurably” to the Baltimore tandem “for several decades,” but “after careful consideration” he will “step away and enjoy time with his family. We thank Bob for his extraordinary efforts and wish him only the best.” In a staff memo, Cecil writes, “It has been a great privilege teaming with the Ravens, Orioles, Naval Academy, and so many other terrific business partners throughout my career. I am appreciative of the support of Cary Pahigian and look forward to his – and your – great success in the years ahead.” Hearst Baltimore consists of WIYY “98 Rock” and talker WBAL. Cecil joined the stations 14 years ago; his last day there will be one week from Friday (10/3).
Salierno Named Interim GM of Star Radio Group. Longtime radio sales executive Ralph Salierno is promoted to interim general manager of the Star Radio Group based in Fredericksburg, Virginia. For the past two years, Salierno has served as director of sales for the station group. He’s also worked in the industry in Orlando, Virginia Beach, Oklahoma City and Memphis. Star Radio Group is part of The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company which was purchased at a bankruptcy auction in May of this year by Sandton Capital Partners for $30.2 million. The radio stations are: country WFLS, hip hop WVBX, classic rock WWUZ, and news/talk WNTX-AM and translator W243BS at 96.5 FM. Free Lance-Star and Star Radio Group publisher and CEO Gene Carr states, “Ralph has been a key member of the Star Radio group and has earned this internal promotion. In his new duties as interim GM, he will continue to serve as the director of sales as well. Ralph has done a great job in driving revenue growth.” At the same time, the station announces Jeff Beck is promoted to program director for WFLS and WWUZ. He’ll also have a supervisory role over WVBX and WNTX. Carr adds, “Jeff brings years of service and industry knowledge to the team. This new management team will help to position the company for further growth.”
SOCO Radio Adds LMA of Pueblo Stations. Announcing the local management agreement between his SOCO Radio and United States CPP LLC, SOCO principal Mike Knar takes control of news/talk KWRP, Pueblo, translators K230BB, Fowler, Colorado (93.9), K262BB, Boone, Colorado (100.3) and oldies KFVR-FM, Beulah, Colorado. Knar states, “These are assets I’ve coveted since I left Cumulus in 2011. We plan on driving a very hard local message in Southern Colorado. SOCO also controls AC KFEZ, Walsenburg, Colorado and hip hop KJQY, Colorado City. Knar announces his firm is seeking talent for his stations, especially broadcasters who can work on air and sell. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kissing the Cup! It’s almost hockey season and CRN Digital Talk Radio CEO Mike Horn (left) and VP of affiliate sales and marketing Jennifer Horn (right) are getting into the spirit as they kiss the Stanley Cup, currently being held by the 2014 champion Los Angeles Kings. The Horns had the opportunity to check out the NHL championship trophy at Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Miller’s Stanley Cup celebration.
U.S. ISIS Policy/Syria Strikes, NFL Domestic Violence Cases/ESPN Suspends Bill Simmons, Emma Watson UN Speech/Nude Pix Threat, UN Climate Change Conference, Hillary Clinton Presidential Prospects, Mid-Term Elections, Iran Nukes Negotiations, and Hannah Graham Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/24). The Obama Administration’s ISIS policy and the recent air strikes in Syria; the ongoing discussion about the various domestic violence cases involving NFL players and ESPN’s decision to suspend Bill Simmons for his rant against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell; actress Emma Watson’s speech before the UN about feminism and women’s rights and the subsequent threat by hacktivists to reveal nude pictures of her; the UN Climate Change conference and President Obama’s speech; the prospects for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential run; the looming mid-term elections and speculation about majority changes in Congress; the negotiations with Iran over fighting ISIS and the country’s nuclear program; the case of missing Virginia college Hannah Graham were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Becomes iHeartMedia. This is a major name change for a heritage radio company, but, as the press release indicates, it reflects the company’s belief that it’s become a “one-of-a-kind multi-platform media company” that has moved beyond just radio. Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “iHeartMedia reflects our commitment to being the media company that provides the most entertainment to the most engaged audiences wherever they go, with more content and more events in more places on more devices. We have massive consumer reach and influence across our platforms because we know how to program the live content people want to hear, see and share right now, we are the largest mobile media company in existence — more than 60 percent of our broadcast usage is out of home, compared to just 30 percent for other mobile devices — and we deliver more live programming than any other media company today, built on the national and local on-air personalities who are the heart of our powerful broadcast radio franchises. Combined with Clear Channel Outdoor’s reach of over half a billion people worldwide across 30 countries and five continents, it’s clear that no other company can match our reach or broad spectrum of media platforms.” Clear Channel Outdoor will retain its name. Pittman adds, “In a world where 2x ROI is judged as successful, Nielsen has shown that radio delivers 6x ROI on average. It’s because we combine the power and predictably of mass reach with the immediacy and relevance of live programming and the unique and powerful engagement that consumers have with their favorite radio stations and personalities. The opportunity for the new iHeartMedia is to use all of these industry-leading assets together in new ways — extending our massive reach and cultural influence across radio, outdoor, digital, social and live events to make it easier for advertisers to deliver the most relevant, real-time messages across all our platforms at scale, amplified by social media and mobile, to get a superior ROI to other media.”
Michael Harrison: “The Systematic Abandonment of ‘Radio’ by ‘Radio’ is a Disturbing Trend.” TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison warns of what he terms “a disturbing half-baked trend, that although understandable in the big picture of communications, poses an unnecessarily sped-up threat to the livelihoods of everyone in the radio business – not to mention the fundamental role of audio-media in both the spoken-word and musical arts.” Harrison acknowledges, “The move away from the word ‘radio’ in the lexicon of our industry is certainly understandable from a sales and marketing standpoint and it makes total sense to create unified multi-media platforms for today’s mega-consolidated, corporate behemoths to compete effectively in the ‘noisy’ world of the emerging digital era. However, those who work in the media arts that are fundamentally built upon aural foundations – spoken-word shows and music creation – will face increasingly limited opportunities to present their wares to an interested consumer base as venues and business opportunities evaporate at an exponential rate.” Harrison observes, “As we move more and more into a world of screens and not speakers, the only talent that will have a chance to survive in a bottom-line driven, corporate environment will be those whose assets are visually gifted. That does not bode well for the brilliant wordsmiths and musical geniuses who most likely do not have faces for television. It also does not hold much of a future for the deeper aspect of communication that is aurally based – a means of expression that runs deep within our very humanity, holding a unique and special place within our brains.” Harrison concludes, “Those of us who are still proud of and value the role of ‘radio,’ audio-oriented music, and the theater of the mind, must give considerable consideration as to what the role, if any, audio-only media will have in this new age. It can and must be respected and preserved within this inevitable, emerging grid or we face the likely prospect of devolving overnight from making great radio and music to extremely cheesy television.”
Tim Lewis Named PD, Afternoon Host at WJBC, Bloomington, Illinois. Thirty-year radio pro Tim Lewis is the new program director and afternoon personality at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJBC, Bloomington “The Voice of Central Illinois.” Lewis was most recently with KBLY, Idaho Falls hosting AM drive and serving as program director. He’s also worked at such heritage signals as KSL, Salt Lake City; KOA, Denver; and WLW, Cincinnati and has received numerous industry awards. During the 1990s, he hosted a nationally syndicated sports talk show on the One on One Sports Radio Network, eventually clearing more than 250 stations. Cumulus EVP, programming and content John Dickey states, “Tim Lewis’ long and diverse experience in spoken-word radio make him the perfect choice to lead the remarkable WJBC programming team and guide the station to even greater success.”
Laura Ingraham Show Podcast Debuts. The nationally syndicated Laura Ingraham show is now heard on demand via PodcastOne as the Norm Pattiz-founded and let podcast producer and distributor launches the new program format. A press statement from PodcastOne notes, “Laura’s phenomenally successful radio program, which airs on over 200 stations, has been a radio staple for a long time but market conditions have now made it very difficult for an independently produced program to get distribution in many of the major markets.” Pattiz adds, “As undeniably great as Laura’s program is, it doesn’t air on a single Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia) station. Her ability to make and influence news is a well-known fact. So as of this week, the Laura Ingraham show can be heard in every market in the country as well as around the globe, on-demand from PodcastOne. Obviously, Laura’s fans are finding her and significantly expanding her radio audience.”
Odds & Sods. Former Spanish sports talk WODT, New Orleans has flipped to English-language sports as “Fox Sports 1280.” The iHeartMedia-owned station had been airing ESPN Deportes content…..The Philadelphia Phillies and CBS RADIO’s WIP and WPHT have signed a one-year deal to keep Phillies play-by-play on the company’s stations through the 2015 season. Phillies management tells the Philadelphia Business Journal that the one-year pact will allow the sides to hopefully work on a long-term deal before the end of next summer…..espnW and ESPN Radio are collaborating on special program dealing with domestic violence in the NFL and the Ray Rice case. It’s called “espnW Presents: The State of the NFL” airing on ESPN Radio and ESPNRadio.com at 9:00 pm ET. The program is being hosted by Jemele Hill and Cari Champion. espnW voices Jane McManus, Kate Fagan and Sarah Spain, who have been sharing their perspectives on issue, will be featured.
Marc Hochman Show Voice Schnellenberger Honored. Florida football legend and “voice” of “The Marc Hochman Show w/ Zach Krantz” on WQAM, Miami, Howard Schnellenberger, was honored on Saturday as Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton renamed its football field “Howard Schnellenberger Field.” Schnellenberger has coached for the Miami Dolphins, Miami Hurricanes, and Florida Atlantic University among many other teams. Fans of the Hochman show know Schnellenberger voices all its opens, rejoins, and imaging. Pictured here are (from left to right): Hochman, Schnellenberger, and Krantz.
The Conclave Announces Student Scholarships. Continuing the scholarship program that’s been part of The Conclave’s mission since 1979, the 2014 Conclave Scholarships are announced. The five scholarships available from educational institutions include: The Bill Gavin Memorial Scholarship which includes application fees, books & supplies and tuition valued at $16,200, awarded by the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Media Arts, Southfield, MI. Competition for this scholarship will begin shortly with details forthcoming; The Dennis Becker Memorial scholarship which is a half tuition scholarship valued at $17,000, awarded by the Sanford Brown College, Mendota Heights, Minneapolis; The Conclave Music Industry Scholarship which is a 25-50% tuition discount valued up to $20,000 awarded by the McNally Smith College of Music, St. Paul, Minnesota; and details regarding The Marc Birger Memorial Scholarship to Kean University and The Doug Lee Memorial Scholarship will be announced soon. For information about the 39th Conclave visit www.http://theconclave.com.
Journalist Training Session Available at Seattle College Broadcasters Conference. At next month’s CBI National Student Electronic Media Conference in Seattle (October 20-25) KUOW, KPLU, NPR and College Broadcasters Inc. are offering a unique training opportunity. The student media project is seeking student applicants to their first event. The week-long session is an opportunity for college and graduate students to learn from professional journalists. A committee of journalists will select up to six students to pair one-to-one with public media journalists and college multimedia instructors from around the country. Three students will be selected from the Seattle/Tacoma area. The Student Multimedia Project will emphasize multimedia storytelling focused on character development. Students who are selected for the project will each find a person to focus on for their story — someone doing something interesting who is willing and available to be interviewed. Students will produce a radio story about the person and then tell their story differently for the web. NPR consultant and project manager Doug Mitchell says, “NPR and its member stations support the Project because it allows us to discover and groom a diverse pool of young talent. The Project gives public media professionals a chance to see if students have what it takes to do the work and lets our industry build a pipeline of new professionals who understand our way of storytelling.”
The NFL and Domestic Violence, Hillary Clinton in Iowa/2016 Presidential Prospects, Obama Forms ISIS Coalition, Mid-Term Elections, Scotland Separation Referendum, and Ebola Pandemic Threat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/15). The furor over domestic violence cases in the NFL and the league’s plans to address the situation; Hillary Clinton’s weekend visit to Iowa and the probability she’ll run for president in 2016; President Obama’s formation of a coalition to fight ISIS; the looming mid-term elections; the build-up to Scotland’s Thursday referendum to leave the United Kingdom; and the threat of an Ebola pandemic were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
NAB/RAB Radio Show and RAIN Summit coverage by consultant Holland Cooke
INDIANAPOLIS — We’re radio people. We think aloud. So gathering this many of us in one place is bound to produce plenty of sound bites. If you missed reports I filed earlier this week, here are my notes from:
* Tuesday: http://www.radioinfo.com/2014/09/10/radio-roundup-indy/
* Wednesday: http://www.talkers.com/2014/09/11/the-golden-age-of-audio-consumption/
The Radio Show wraps today. So if you couldn’t be here – or if you could, and were attending different sessions concurrent to those I hit – here’s more of what I heard that you also might find instructive.
Clear Channel Makes Corporate Structural Changes; Moves iHeartRadio into Clear Channel Networks Group Division. Along with this change – putting the iHeartRadio platform under the Clear Channel Networks Group banner headed by president Darren Davis – Brian Lakamp remains with the company and is promoted to the new position — president of technology and digital ventures. The company calls Lakamp’s promotion part of its “taking another important step in its continuing transformation to a consumer-driven, technology-fueled company.” Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “Our corporate focus on digital, increasingly leveraging technology to maximize our business, reflects the natural evolution of Clear Channel into a 21st century media company. Creativity is also enabled by technology, and as advertisers’ interest in new and emerging technology options continues to grow, we intend to remain at the forefront of both innovation and creativity. Brian is perfectly positioned to help us – and our consumers, advertisers and content partners – as we continue to build Clear Channel’s digital roadmap for the future.” The new role puts Lakamp in charge of the overall technology platform and capabilities for all of Clear Channel – including its broadcast, digital radio, events and promotions and out-of-home businesses. The company says he will also be responsible for developing the company’s overall place in the worlds of big data and programmatic buying. Putting iHeartRadio under Darren Davis’ purview means he’ll be responsible for the entire business of iHeartRadio as well as Premiere Networks, Total Traffic and Weather Network; and the 24/7 News Network. Davis comments, “I look forward to working with the immensely talented iHeartRadio team to build on the tremendous success of iHeartRadio by utilizing the full promotional and creative power of Clear Channel for iHeartRadio Networks. I’m excited to continue my collaboration with Brian in his new role to leverage new opportunities and maximize emerging technologies across Clear Channel’s national platforms and services.”
Rise Guys Return to Sacramento Radio. Sports talk morning drive personalities Whitey Gleason and Mark Kreidler – known as The Rise Guys – are returning to the Sacramento market on Entercom’s KCTC “ESPN 1320” after leaving the market for San Francisco three years ago. In 2011 they took the gig at Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” after years at the company’s KHTK, Sacramento. But earlier this year they exited that station after talent changes were made. Now, they return to the Sacramento market on KHTK’s sister station.
Brock and Salk Show to Air in Mornings on KIRO-AM, Seattle. The recent return of Mike Salk to Bonneville’s Seattle sports talker KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle” as program director after a year-long stint at WEEI, Boston is now bringing about changes to the station’s talent lineup as he and Brock Huard are getting back together on the radio for a morning show from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. The “Brock & Salk” show debuted in 2009 but ended when Salk took the afternoon co-host gig at Entercom’s WEEI, Boston in the spring of 2013. The change means Michael Grey is moving from afternoons to the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot followed by “Bob & Groz” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Danny O’Neil, Dave Wyman and Jim Moore will host afternoon drive from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Salk comments, “These changes make an already strong lineup even stronger and this is just the beginning. I’m thrilled with where the station is going and couldn’t be more excited to get behind the mic.”
Frantz Exits WTAM, Cleveland. Talk personality Bob Frantz is let go from his position with Clear Channel’s news/talk WTAM, Cleveland where he appeared alongside Mike Trivisonno on the 9:00 am to 10:00 am show “The Spew” as well as hosting the 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm program. Frantz was doing his second tour of duty with the station – he worked there in the late 1990s before returning in 2006. Replacing him in the evening slot is “The Sports Feed” co-host and Indians reporter Nick Camino.
Round One of June PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of June 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was May 22 through June 18. TALKERS magazine’s sister publican RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings at RadioInfo.com here.
Emmis Q1 Report: Radio Revenue Essentially Flat. The results for the first fiscal quarter for Emmis Communications (ending May 31) show the company’s net radio revenue up 22% — but that includes the addition of revenue from WBLS and WLIB, New York which it has been operating under an LMA since March 1. Assuming those stations had been in the fold at the same time a year ago, revenue would have been flat. At the station level, the company reports its stations were up 1.6% compared to local radio market revenue down 5.5% during the fiscal quarter. Emmis president and CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “While our markets continue to be tested, our stations and employees have risen to the challenge and continue to outperform our markets. We continue to believe NextRadio, the Emmis-led industry initiative to make FM broadcast radio available on smartphones and tablets, is a game-changer for the radio industry and will reignite growth. We have spent the last year building out the NextRadio ecosystem, and now we are entering a critical phase to build consumer awareness. I’m proud of our team for its continuing focus on innovation and operational excellence.”
Odds & Sods. WOAI, San Antonio-based talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo’s program is being added to another Clear Channel-owned news/talk station as KEX, Portland picks up the program to air from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The show is also heard on KPRC, Houston and KHOW, Denver…..Former Dallas Cowboys defensive star Dat Nguyen inks a contract renewal with Alpha Media sports talker KZDC, San Antonio “1250 ESPN.” Nguyen hosts the afternoon drive show where he’s been since joining the station in August of 2012…..ESPN Radio’s “10th Annual ESPY Day Auction” to benefit The V Foundation for Cancer Research is officially underway on eBay and will continue through Wednesday, July 16. This year’s auction of more than 250 items includes tickets to prime sporting events, autographed memorabilia, unique experiences with athletes, celebrities and ESPN and ABC personalities and behind-the-scenes experiences with numerous ESPN programs.
Child Immigration Crisis, Obama Approval Ratings, GOP Picks Cleveland for 2016 Convention, Israeli-Hamas Violence, Costco Pulls D’Souza Book, Palin Joins Impeachment Plea, and Klein’s Blood Feud Criticism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/8). The influx of minor illegal immigrants in the Southwest and the political battle over immigration enforcement; the lower approval ratings for President Obama; the RNC chooses Cleveland for site of 2016 convention and the importance of Ohio in the next presidential election; escalating violence between the Israelis and Palestinians; the flap over Costco’s decision to stop selling Dinesh D’Souza’s America: Imagine the World Without Her; Sarah Palin returns to the media spotlight calling for the president’s impeachment; and controversy over Ed Klein’s book about the relationship between the Clintons and the Obamas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talkers New York 2014 on Verge of Sell Out – Only 50 Seats Left. As of 12:00 noon ET today (6/9) only 50 registrations remain available for Talkers New York 2014, the 17th annual installment of the talk radio and media industry’s longest running and most important national convention. This year’s event covers the existential issues facing not only talk radio – but radio in general – as both a business and iconic piece of the broader pop cultural picture. According to its director, Michael Harrison, the gathering will “connect the future of talk radio with its past.” Harrison says, “This conference was way ahead of the curve when it was first launched in the late 90s as ‘The New Media Seminar’ in pointing the way toward radio’s inevitable entry into the digital era. While most other conferences are now acting as if the digital age were something new and obsess on the technical aspects of the medium as if we just discovered websites and social media, this year’s conference will accept the internet, apps, and multi-platform options as a given and concentrate on how we can get back to the basics of what makes ‘radio’ special, important, financially viable and culturally indispensable — regardless of the technology via which it is distributed.” Harrison also points out, “Everyone knows how difficult it is to be a professional in this industry these days between layoffs and economic uncertainty. The movers and shakers – both established giants and up-and-coming prospects – that attend this great event create an infinite set of relationships upon which careers and businesses are built. In other words, not only does this convention offer information and inspiration, it also provides its attendees one of the industry’s most potent annual networking environments and opportunities.” There will be more than 65 industry leaders in speaking roles at the conference which takes place on Friday, June 20 at the iconic India House in the heart of New York City’s historic Financial District. Registration is only open to professionals (and broadcasting students) working in radio and related media. They are neither transferable nor refundable. The cost is $249 per person which includes all sessions, receptions, exhibits, food and refreshments. Registrations can only be booked over the phone with credit card. Call 413-565-5413. Again, a sellout is expected today or tomorrow. For up-to-the-minute agenda information and further details please click here.
KQTH, Tucson’s Jon Justice Breaks Immigrant Children Story. By now you’re well aware of the story of hundreds of unaccompanied immigrant children crossing the border and being rounded up and processed in Nogales, Arizona. The story was broken last Wednesday by KQTH, Tucson morning drive personality Jon Justice whose sources inside the Border Patrol sent photos (one of which is seen here) of the conditions at the Nogales center where the youths are being temporarily held. See the other pictures sent to Justice in an AZCentral news piece here. The story notes that the children – some as young as one and others as old as 17 – were apprehended crossing the border in Texas and bused to the Nogales center. Justice was out front covering this story that led to the subsequent international story.
Ugly Scene at KFNS and KXFN in St. Louis Plays Out in Local Media; KXFN Host Brian McKenna Fired. An unfortunate scene that took place at Grand Slam Sports-operated KFNS and KXFN in St. Louis was played out for St. Louis Post-Dispatch readers after KXFN morning host Brian McKenna allegedly assaulted Grand Slam Sports president Dan Marshall. As the paper reports, McKenna was upset about comments KFNS host Nick Trupiano was making on his afternoon drive show about McKenna, KFNS host Charlie “Tuna” Edwards and McKenna’s girlfriend. McKenna entered the station offices extremely angry and encountered Marshall. After words were exchanged, McKenna allegedly attacked Marshall physically, sending him to the hospital. St. Louis police were called and, according to the paper, the incident is being reviewed to determine if charges will be brought. Read the story here. The whole episode began when Trupiano was talking about a Post-Dispatch piece recently published that detailed some of the recent trials and tribulations of Grand Slam Sports and Marshall’s leadership of the sports talk stations. That piece is found here.
Cumulus Sets Managers in Mobile, Melbourne and Pensacola. In market #97 (Mobile), Cumulus Media promotes its vice president of sales in that Alabama cluster – Angel Brown – to vice president and market manager. Cumulus senior vice president Gary Pizzati comments, “When we recruited Angel into the company several years ago, we knew she had the core talent, drive, and ability to go much further in our company. Last year, Angel single-handedly turned [Mobile into] a material contributor to our success.” Brown remarks, “I have the privilege of managing four powerhouse stations, alongside an exceptional team of people within an amazing organization. I could not be happier.” Before becoming vice president of sales for Cumulus Mobile, Brown was sales manager for the company’s Albany, Georgia cluster; an account executive in Albany for WALB-TV; and she was an IKON Southwest Georgia/East Alabama account executive. Cumulus Mobile consists of urban contemporary WBLX “The Big Station,” urban AC WDLT, CHR WABD, and AM gospel simulcast WGOK & WXQW. Meanwhile, the company transfers Pensacola, Florida vice president and market manager Hugh McPherson to similar duties in the Sunshine State at its Melbourne-Titusville-Cocoa cluster (market #102). Regional vice president Pete DeSimone notes, “Hugh is a very talented manger with a proven track record for successfully developing and leading great teams. He understands the value of people, our systems, and delivering consistent results for customers.” Senior vice president Gary Pizzati comments, “Hugh took Pensacola to new heights under his leadership. We look forward to the same performance in Melbourne. We are fortunate to have the solid bench strength to be able to promote from within.” McPherson states that leaving Pensacola is “bittersweet, considering the staff’s hard work, dedication, and success. I am honored and excited to lead the charge in Melbourne and work with another very talented team.” McPherson previously was vice president and chief operating officer of Great Plains Media Cookeville, Tennessee; general sales manager at Atlanta’s WBZY and Greenville, South Carolina’s WTPT; and he held that title at Cumulus clusters in Toledo and Savannah, Georgia. The company’s Melbourne stations are CHR WAOA “The Coast’s #1 Hit Music Station,” WHKR “Today’s Best Country,” and WSJZ “Sports Radio 95.9.” Finally, replacing McPherson in Pensacola is VP of sales JJ Waters who is upped to VP and market manager. Pizzati says, “This was a natural move for JJ within Cumulus. Her 20-year tenure in Pensacola as a sales manager has been very advantageous for us. Now at the helm of our newly assembled cluster, JJ will take us to the next level. We’re proud to have her on our team.”
Pittman’s Clear Channel Investment Highlighted in Financial Times Piece. The financial aspect of Clear Channel’s operations and CEO Bob Pittman’s investment of $5 million of his own money in the company are features of a piece in the Financial Times. In the piece, Pittman says “every investment banker in the world” has suggested that Clear Channel spin off its digital platform, iHeartRadio, in order to pay down some of its $20 billion in debt, but Pittman remains steadfast that the multiple platform reach of Clear Channel makes it more valuable. In the piece, Pittman (who was recently resigned to a new contract through 2019) says owners Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee are “patient” but it also underscores that if Pittman is not successful in turning Clear Channel around, he loses his $5 million. Read the story here.
WSCR’s Holmes to Host Morning Show on ‘120 Sports.’ As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WSCR, Chicago evening sports talk personality Laurence Holmes will begin hosting a daily, two-hour morning sports morning show on the soon-to-launch 120 Sports live streaming-video network project from Time Inc./Sports Illustrated, the NHL, MLB.com, and Jerry Reinsdorf-owned Silver Chalice. Feder’s story describes the show as a “national sports roundup” that will air live from 7:00 am to 9:00 am and will feature Chicago comedy actor Dylan McGorty, who also hosts a weekend show at Tribune’s WGWG-LP “The Game 87.7 FM.” WGWG’s Meghan Kluth will oversee social media for the program. Read the full story here.
National Marijuana News Launches Today. Changes in marijuana laws across the country are spurring changes in the way the media reports on marijuana. Case in point is today’s debut of “The National Marijuana News” which launches on Live365, Blog Talk Radio, YouTube and Vimeo, “with terrestrial, satellite and television, in all its forms, to follow.” The program is hosted by industry pro Bruce Kelly and executive produced by Martin Wagmaister, who’s worked with Rick Dees, Ryan Seacrest, and Tom Rounds‘ Radio Express.” Kelly and Wagmaister are calling it “the nation’s first unbiased news-talk radio/TV show that focuses on the political, economic, medicinal and social implications of the rapidly evolving medical and recreational marijuana industry.” Kelly says, “TNM News takes a deep dive beyond the headlines to explore breaking cannabis news with network-news-quality, in-studio and field segments with industry leaders and celebrity guests. It’s no longer a game ‘for’ or ‘against’ marijuana in this country. We are here to educate, inform and entertain Americans so they can accurately decide for themselves.” Wagmaister adds, “Program content is everywhere. The problem we had to overcome is that the content was all extremely biased — either for or against marijuana legislation. We feel it’s imperative to create a news product that presents both sides of the issues.”
Dr. Mickey Barber Joins ‘Late Night Health Radio.’ Joining “Late Night Health Radio” host Mark Alyn as a regular contributor is Michale “Mickey” Barber, MD. Alyn and producer “Insane” Darrell Wayne tell TALKERS Dr. Barber is an age management board certified doctor based in Charleston, South Carolina. She offers tips on feeling and looking younger, while improving general health. “From weight loss to what to eat, Dr. Barber keeps boomer listeners up to date on maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle.” The two-hour show airs on KABC, Los Angeles; KTHO, Lake Tahoe; WMEL, Cocoa Beach, Florida; KMYN, Albuquerque; KUHL, Santa Maria and on RadioActive Internet Radio.
Odds & Sods. News/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle names local high school student Sophie Knudsen the winner of its “Standout Student of the Year” award that comes with $10,000 in scholarship money. The station, in conjunction with Comprehensive Wealth Management and the Rotary Club of Lynnwood, awarded nine students – including Knudsen — $1,000 each during the school year with the opportunity to win the grand prize…..CBS RADIO’s all-news KYW, Philadelphia is honored with two regional Edward R. Murrow awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association in the categories of Best Newscast for the “KYW Reporters Roundup” and Continuing Coverage for “Changes at The Vatican: A Philadelphia Perspective.” KYW director of news and programming Steve Butler comments, “The work that ‘Reporters Roundup’ host Steve Nikazy puts into the program is unmatched in our industry. The three shows per day contain the highest production values and are extremely informative for the KYW listeners.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS and classic hits WLS-FM will have their sales staffs move to Chicago’s iconic Merchandise Mart building (from which classic rock WLUP-FM and alternative WKQX also operate) by the middle of this month. Feder also reports that although there is no timetable for moving the studios of WLS-AM and WLS-FM to the Mart, that is something the company plans to do eventually.
Talk Radio Pros Cover D-Day Ceremonies in Normandy. A number of talk radio personnel covered President Obama’s participation in ceremonies commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Allied Invasion of Normandy (D-Day) this past Friday (6/9) sending reports back to their respective networks and shows. Pictured at the Normandy Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-su-mer, in Normandy, France, that honors American Troops who died in Europe during WWII are (l-r): David Webb, host, Sirius XM Satellite Radio; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media; Carole Marks, host, “A Touch of Grey;” and Ellen Ratner, bureau chief, Talk Radio News Service. Ratner tells TALKERS, “Being there was an extremely emotional experience.”
CBS RADIO Puts Kibosh on WFAN-Francesa YouTube Channel. According to a piece in the New York Daily News, a fan channel for sports talk WFAN-AM/FM and PM drive host Mike Francesa will no longer present audio or video of the station’s programming after the operator of Twitter’s @WFANAudio agreed to cease and desist putting audio or video on his YouTube channel. The story says CBS reached out to YouTube to protect its copyright on the content and YouTube let the operator know it would suspend his account if he didn’t cease. The paper reports it connected with @WFANAudio who said he made no money off the venture. He says he’s merely a big fan of the station but he understands the copyright issue and will stop putting audio on YouTube.
‘The Ticket’ in Dallas Extends Norm Hitzges for Three Years. The Dallas Morning News has the story and it focuses on Norm Hitzges’ age – he’ll turn 70 this summer. If Hitzges stays through the end of his new three-year deal at the Cumulus Media station, he’ll be 73 when he signs off for good…if he does. Hitzges holds down the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot on the station that, the paper points out, is populated by younger hosts trying to capture that all-important men 25-54 demographic. As for Hitzges’ response to his success after 17 years on KTCK, Dallas, he simply says, “I landed in a really good spot.”
O’Donnell Set to Transfer to Clear Channel Springfield as OM/PD. In two weeks (5/12), Clear Channel Poughkeepsie program director Terry O’Donnell will relocate to Springfield, where he will become operations manager and program director of the company’s cluster in that western Massachusetts market. Regional programming manager Rob Anthony comments, “I am thrilled to have Terry joining the team in Springfield. His knowledge of the formats and track record of making great radio speaks for itself.” O’Donnell states, “I can’t thank my current team in Poughkeepsie enough. I am looking forward to this new opportunity.” O’Donnell will oversee news/talk WHYN-AM, hot AC WHYN-FM “Mix 93.1,” and WRNX “Pioneer Valley’s Country.”
Nielsen Presents Radio ROI Research to Group Heads in NYC. The meeting at Clear Channel New York headquarters announced on Friday took place as planned with Nielsen and the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) hosting an event featuring panel discussions and speakers titled “Nielsen Cracks the Code on Radio ROI. As noted in TALKERS/RadioInfo on Friday, the event was to focus on Nielsen’s ROI measurement tool for radio. Radio group heads attending the event were joined by key marketers and advertisers. Clear Channel chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and CBS RADIO president and CEO Dan Mason welcomed advertiser, agency and industry attendees. Nielsen EVP of global product leadership Steve Hasker presented the study’s findings. Two panel discussions followed — the first, moderated by Michael Kassan, chairman and CEO of MediaLink, discussed the power of radio for marketers and how it should best be considered in the marketing mix. Panelists from across the media landscape included: Gayle Fuguitt, president and CEO, The ARF; Matt MacDonald, BBDO; John Nitti, ZenithOptimedia; Ritu Trivedi, MediaVest and Mary Ellen Johnson Jalenek, American Express. The second panel was moderated by Bob Pittman and featured the heads of major radio groups, including Lew Dickey, CEO, Cumulus Media; David Field, CEO, Entercom; and Dan Mason. The group discussed Nielsen’s study and how they believe it will improve the perception of radio within the ad community.
Genesis to Syndicate Weekly Elizabeth Dougherty Show. The weekly “Dougherty Report” program, hosted by culinary expert Elizabeth Dougherty, will air live from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight on Saturdays beginning May 10 and will be syndicated by Genesis Communications Network. The company says Dougherty’s program “sends listeners on an adventure of good food, along with interviews and a unique take on the news of the day, for parents in particular.” It also says Dougherty has an extensive background in food writing and culinary arts training. The program is based out of flagship WAMT, Orlando.
BIA/Kelsey Delivers U.S. Local Spend Estimate for 2013-2018. Just what will local radio’s slice of the advertising pie look like in 2018? According to BIA/Kelsey’s “U.S. Local Media Forecast,” radio advertising accounted for 11.1% of the total $133.2 billion spent in 2013 (direct mail, newspapers, and TV led the category). The primary sources of revenue for local radio in 2013 were automobile dealers ($1.43 billion), wireless telecommunications ($650.8 million), and full-service restaurants ($647.8 million). Based on changes in the overall local media marketplace, BIA/Kelsey estimates that the overall local media market will grow faster than previously thought through 2018. By 2018 the total will be $158.6 billion, of which $16.7 billion – or 10.5% – will go to local radio. Obviously, the big growth is expected to be in digital. BIA/Kelsey predicts, “Digital media continues to increase its share of total local media revenues, growing from $31.7 billion (23 percent) in 2014 to $52.7 billion (33.2 percent) in 2018.” Find out more about the forecast here.
“Armed American Radio” Celebrates Fifth Anniversary. Last night (4/27) marked the benchmark broadcast for the Salem Radio Network-distributed and Mark Walters-hosted program. “It was no surprise to me that the time was right for a program of this type,” Walters comments. “While the mainstream media continues to promote an anti-gun agenda, millions of law-abiding gun owners have found a new home on the radio dial that talks about their decision to carry a firearm. We provide a hard-hitting, fact based, entertaining discussion about all things related to the pro-gun rights movement.” The now three-hour syndicated program was launched in April 2009 as a one-hour, Atlanta only-based show.
Odds & Sods. Six-year Sun Broadcast Group exec Steve Gallagher departs. Most recently, Gallagher was SBG’s executive vice president. He joined the company in February 2008 as vice president of programming. Gallagher’s prior credits include being director of operations for Citadel Communications Harrisburg (2005 – 2008); operations manager/program director of Nassau Broadcasting stations in Monmouth-Ocean, New Jersey (WOBM-AM, WOBM-FM and WADB) and in Allentown (WWYY “Lite 107”)…..Religious/Christian broadcaster Starboard Media Foundation (also known as Relevant Radio) agrees to acquire Multicultural Broadcasting‘s Spanish-formatted WNSW. Purchase price for the New York City AM outlet is reportedly $10.1 million. Michael J. Bergner (Bergner & Co.) was the exclusive broker for the transaction. Starboard owns stations in Chicago, Austin, and Providence, as well as several Wisconsin outlets in Madison, Green Bay, and Eau Claire…..The Public Radio Program Directors Association announces the association’s president and CEO, Arthur Cohen, has decided to retire effective January 1, 2015 after an orderly leadership transition process of eight months. The PRPD says Cohen, a veteran public radio programmer and manager will retire after a remarkable career of more than 35 years of service in public media.
August Dates Set for Rising Through the Ranks Course. The Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), and the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group (MIW) are presenting the seventh annual “Rising Through the Ranks” seminar, August 27-28, at the BMI Nashville headquarters in Tennessee. The organizations say that, as in years past, BMI will offer 20 scholarships for this year’s program. These scholarships cover the cost of the professional development course, which is designed to foster and educate emerging female radio sellers and managers within broadcast radio. This year’s course will focus primarily on women in the radio workplace and sales and management techniques; including problem solving, budget reviews, managing team personalities, and personal brand building. Scholarship winners will also have the opportunity to hear from leading radio industry executives across various station groups and industry backgrounds. Confirmed speakers include: Lynn Anderson, CEO, Integrated Media Solutions Group; Lindsay Cerajewski, general sales manager, CBS Radio; Tincy Crouse, market manager, Cromwell Radio; Erica Farber, president and CEO, RAB; Katie Gambill, president and general manager, 5-Star Radio; Kim Guthrie, executive vice president, Cox Media Group; Brandeis C. Hall, vice president, professional development, RAB; Emily Hunt, local sales manager, KSL Broadcast Group; Laurie Kahn, president and CEO, Media Staffing Networks; Sue McNamara, senior vice president, sales, CBS Radio; Kay Olin; partner, Olin & Associates; and Dan Spears, vice president, licensing, BMI. Kay Olin says, “’Rising Through the Ranks’ is the epitome of the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group. With the generous help from BMI and the RAB, this two-day training workshop allows us to continue to develop, and help foster female sales managers to senior positions in the radio industry.”
Gettin’ Jiggy with Gary Johnson. At the Kansas Libertarian Convention held over the weekend, internet radio personality Jiggy Jaguar a.k.a. James Lowe (right) sat down with the Libertarian Party’s former presidential nominee Gary Johnson (left) to discuss issues near and dear to the libertarians. Lowe’s program is heard via his own KJAGRadio.com and the Transmedia World Wide network.
Michele Laven Promoted to Newly Created Corporate Post at Clear Channel. Rising from her EVP of strategic partnerships position to the new president of partnerships and local activation post is Michele Laven. She’ll report to Tim Castelli, president of national sales, marketing and partnerships at Clear Channel Media + Entertainment. Her role is described as creating “strategic alliances and marketing programs with key distribution and content partners, while expanding the capacity of Clear Channel’s local market sales organizations to develop multi-market revenue opportunities.” CEO Bob Pittman states, “Clear Channel is built on our strong relationships with listeners, advertisers and partners — both on the local and national level. We have the unparalleled ability to connect artists with their fans and brands with their consumers, and in her new role Michele is going to use her expertise to help national partners build an even closer relationship with their consumers at the local level.” Prior to joining CC eight years ago, Laven served as president and chief operating officer of New Times Media.
Entercom Elevates DiNardo to SF VP/Market Manager. Vice president of sales Steve DiNardo is boosted to vice president and market manager of Entercom‘s San Francisco-San Jose cluster. Entercom station group president Weezie Kramer comments that, “After a nationwide search, the best choice was right in front of us. I am proud to promote from within as Steve and the entire San Francisco team achieved market-leading results in Q4. They have set a blistering pace for 2014. Under Steve’s leadership, I know Entercom will continue to be one of the media leaders in the market.” The company’s Bay Area group consists of adult contemporary KOIT-FM “Lite Rock – Less Talk,” classic rock KUFX & KUZX “K-Fox,” sports talk KGMZ “The Game,” and urban AC KBLX “Yesterday and Today’s R&B.” DiNardo remarks, “Our heritage brands and innovative staff make this opportunity a dream come true. Entercom’s entrepreneurial spirit and corporate resources give us everything we need to grow our audience engagement as well as the revenues that follow.” In advance of joining the Entercom stations in 2012, DiNardo spent 15 years as a CBS Radio vice president/general manager.
Casey Named Operations Manager of Townsquare Hudson Valley. Former Clear Channel, Indianapolis director of operations Buzz Casey is tapped to become operations manager for Townsquare Media Group‘s 10 stations in the Hudson Valley and Poughkeepsie, New York. Townsquare Media senior vice president of programming Kurt Johnson remarks, “Buzz has a track record of success and he brings a strong set of skills to lead Townsquare Hudson Valley to a new level on-air, online and on site.” In addition to his OM duties, Casey will be day-to-day program director of Poughkeepsie rock outlet WPDH. “The culture and creativity of Townsquare Media Group are top-notch,” Casey comments. “The Hudson Valley brands are poised for success.” Hudson Valley is Nielsen Audio‘s 39th-highest market. Casey’s past programming and operations management resume includes Atlanta’s WKLS “96 Rock” and alternative WBZY; Phoenix rocker KDKB; classic rock WFBQ “Q-95,” Indianapolis; and WNRQ, Nashville.
Mancow’s GCN Deal Official. It was reported last week that Erich “Mancow” Muller was signing with Genesis Communications Network to syndicate his morning radio program after formally cutting ties with TFN-FM the week prior. Now it’s official as GCN announces the show will be distributed live from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET in addition be being available on demand 24 hours per day via Mancow.com and GCNLive.com. Mancow comments, “I’m happy to be in league with GCN as we move the show forward to bigger and better things. We’re excited to work with GCN – a team that is dedicated to providing the most cutting-edge radio in the industry and prides itself in making life for our affiliates and advertisers as easy as it can possibly be in this era of new media.” Mancow’s program is simulcast on TV in Chicago on FoxTV-owned WPWR-TV “My50.”
Medical Marijuana Info Ad on Boston Stations Raises Questions About ‘Pot Ads.’ The issue in Massachusetts as reported by the Boston Herald yesterday is different than the issues stations in Colorado and Washington are facing. The Massachusetts case is about medical marijuana, not legal pot for recreational use as is now allowed in Colorado and Washington. Stations in those states have so far avoided ads for legal pot because of the conflict between federal and state laws on the matter – no one is willing to become the (expensive) legal test case. But the Massachusetts ads that aired on Greater Media’s alternative WBOS and rhythmic AC WBQT in Boston were bought not by a dispensary but by the New England Grass Roots Institute which doesn’t sell marijuana; it provides information about medical marijuana. Institute founder Mike Fitzgerald tells the Herald the rules don’t apply to him. “We’re the first cannabis institute. We’re really focused on people who have never seen cannabis before. Since the American Medical Association isn’t teaching anything, we thought we need to step in.” But the Herald story also quotes a dispensary consultant who says the laws state dispensaries are not supposed to “generate demand.” Since Fitzgerald’s institute is not a dispensary, that could muddy the waters. Regardless, it’s going to be just a matter of time before advertising this new industry becomes relevant to radio. There’s just too much money to be made. Read the Herald story here.
Sandra Fluke Shows Intent to Run for Henry Waxman’s Congressional Seat. Activist Sandra Fluke has filed papers with the state of California signaling her intent to run for the 33rd Congressional District seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Henry Waxman. Fluke’s national profile skyrocketed after Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” as part of a critique of the provision that Catholic organizations be forced to provide birth control to students and employees under the Affordable Care Act. Fluke still has to file with the federal government to be a legitimate candidate. So far, two other Democrats have filed to seek the party’s nomination.
Cumulus Flips WISW, Columbia to Sports Talk. The new sports talk outlet in the Columbia, South Carolina market is airing the NBC Sports Radio Network lineup after Cumulus Media flipped the station from news/talk. With the change, there are now four major sports talk signals in the market including Clear Channel’s WXBT, L&L Broadcasting’s WOIC, and Cumulus’ other sports talker WNKT “107.5 The Game,” a CBS Sports Radio Network affiliate. Two news/talk stations serve the market including Clear Channel’s WVOC-FM and Glory Communications’ WQXL (and its two FM translators).
WestwoodOne Reports Motel 6 Spot Most Creative Super Bowl Audio Ad. The results of WestwoodOne’s first-ever consumer-driven index of the most creative audio spots run during its broadcast of the Super Bowl are in and this year’s winner was Motel 6. According to WestwoodOne, the Motel 6 spot won top honors in both the Listener Choice and Media Choice categories in the Super Bowl Audio Index. The other top vote-getters were Tilted Kilt, Subway, Exergen and Taco Bell. During the two weeks leading up to the game, listeners were encouraged to vote for their favorite Super Bowl commercial across many of WestwoodOne properties via an array of online and on-air promotions. Listeners were directed to www.westwoodone.com/vote, where each of the commercials was available for consumer voting from Thursday, January 30 through 12 midnight ET on February 2, 2014. The index was comprised of all commercials aired on the 700-plus radio stations which broadcast WestwoodOne’s exclusive, national play-by-play coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII.
The Simulcast Begins! The sports talk simulcast of WEPN-FM, New York’s Michael Kay show on the YES Network began yesterday (2/3). The afternoon drive host (along with co-host Don La Greca) for ESPN’s New York City O&O took over the afternoon slot on the regional cable channel owned by the New York Yankees. For years, the slot was occupied by crosstown rival Mike Francesa simulcasting on CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York. Pictured here on day one of their new operation is the crew (from left to right): production director Mike Brownsher, senior producer Andrew Gundling, La Greca, Kay, executive producer Ryan T. Hurley, and associate producer Ray Deenihan.
Chuck Harder Plans Return to Talk Media with New Project. Veteran talk radio program host, entrepreneur and modern-era talk syndication pioneer Chuck Harder of “For the People” fame tells TALKERS he is starting up a new project that will produce and distribute talk radio on a TV network. In development for five years, Harder has assembled what he describes as “a million dollar facility” with FCC licensed Ku Band Video Satellite uplink that he plans to startup in 90 to 120 days on TELSTAR 14-R, a new satellite received on three-foot dishes. Harder is looking for both talk show hosts and investors. Interested parties can first visit www.talkradiotv.net for details and then send him a letter of interest to P.O. Box A, White Springs, FL 32096. Harder states, “We will furnish all needed video and audio equipment for your studio and are planning on live two-way talk 24/7. All letters of interest will be answered. No calls please. We will appear on unfilled new local TV channels using standard NTSC MPEG-2 with CD quality audio and provide extra income for local TV affiliates. Our horizon to horizon C and Ku band all-sat teleport operations center sits across the street from a fiber-optic digital switch that provides us high speed internet video globally and 10 incoming talk lines. TELSTAR 14-R coverage map and fiber optics map is on the website.” Harder says he will not do a show due to the necessities of daily sales and management of operations.
Super Bowl XLVIII, Financial Markets Activity, Philip Seymour Hoffman Death, ObamaCare Criticism, Immigration Legislation and Woody Allen Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/3). The aftermath of the Seattle Seahawks’ victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday; the downward-trending Dow and the activity in world financial markets; the heroin-related death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman; scrutiny of the rollout of and possible future effects of the Affordable Care Act; the looming immigration legislation with amnesty provisions; and the renewed allegations of sexual assault against filmmaker Woody Allen were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
John Hogan’s Exit from Clear Channel Cushioned with Cash. Although the official line from former Clear Channel Media + Entertainment chairman and CEO John Hogan and the company is that he wanted to “spend more time with his family” and the time was right, a fair number of jaded industry watchers will never believe he wasn’t forced out – especially just seven months after he was moved to the company’s New York City offices to work more closely with CC Media Holdings chairman and CEO Bob Pittman. The company’s 8-K filing details what Hogan is walking away with after his time leading the division. Here’s what he can count on: $900,000, representing the amount previously earned by Hogan pursuant to a supplemental incentive plan with respect to 2012 performance; an annual bonus of $77,250 for performance during 2013; and a prorated annual bonus with respect to the days he was employed during 2014. Pursuant to the Separation Agreement and in consideration of the extension by Mr. Hogan of certain restrictive covenants applicable to him, the vesting of 93,076 restricted shares of Class A Common Stock of CCMH granted to Mr. Hogan on October 22, 2012 will be accelerated and CCMH will repurchase 83,938 of such shares (the aggregate repurchase amount of such repurchased shares, the “Repurchase Amount”), provided Mr. Hogan does not revoke the Separation Agreement. Additionally, in exchange for the Separation Agreement, Mr. Hogan’s release of claims and the extension of certain restrictive covenants applicable to him, and provided that Mr. Hogan does not revoke the Separation Agreement, CCB agreed to pay Mr. Hogan: $333,000, representing the remaining amount earned by Mr. Hogan pursuant to a supplemental incentive plan with respect to 2011 performance; an “equity value preservation payment” equal to $1,027,355, paid in a lump sum payment; a lump sum severance payment equal to (x) $1,538,000 minus (y) the Repurchase Amount; a severance payment equal to $3,297,000, paid over 36 months; and a payment of $1,000,000, paid over 12 months, beginning on the first anniversary of the date of separation. Hogan is also entitled to receive continued healthcare coverage for 36 months, continued secretarial services for 6 months, $20,000 in outplacement services, and a housing allowance of $25,000 per month for up to 9 months, which amount is grossed up for certain applicable taxes; provided, that the housing allowance payments will stop if Mr. Hogan ceases to have obligations under the terms of his current lease agreement. CCB also will pay up to $25,000 for Mr. Hogan’s reasonable legal fees incurred in connection with the negotiation of the Separation Agreement.
Sean Hannity to Air on Salem’s WDTK, Detroit. The Motor City destination for Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity show is Salem Communications-owned WDTK. The program will air live in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot. It previously was heard on crosstown news/talk WJR since its 2001 national debut. WDTK general manager Chris MacCourtney states, “The opportunity to bring Sean Hannity aboard was one we felt we could not pass up. Sean was an instant hit when he came to Detroit and he continues to be one of the most popular talk personalities in the market. He will join an already solid lineup of talk talent on ‘News/Talk 1400.’” Since the first of the year, Hannity’s program had been added to Salem outlets WIND, Chicago; WWRC, Washington; and KSKY, Dallas.
Double Shot of WGN, Chicago News. Two items from Tribune’s WGN, Chicago: First, as Chicago media writer Robert Feder reported over the weekend, assistant program director Alex Quigley has been upped to operations manager at news/talk WGN, Chicago. Quigley worked in the market at former Emmis alternative rock WKQX as interactive program manager. When he first came to WGN he hosted the weekend show “ChicagoNow Radio” and “Chicago Preps Plus.” WGN vice president of creative content Todd Manley said in a memo to staffers, “This is a recognition of Alex’s role in our expanding future…He’ll be mentoring producers and searching for new talent that builds our farm system, coordinating special programming, scheduling, digging deep on ratings analysis, and dreaming big dreams.” Second, longtime television news personality Walter Jacobson brings his “Perspective” commentaries to the station beginning this Thursday. Robert Feder reports that the longtime WBBM-TV anchor who exited the station last February will present his 90-second feature on Thursdays during Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano’s midday show and they will be repeated on the weekend during “The Sunday Spin: Politics with Rick Pearson” program. Jacobson will also appear as a contributor to various shows on WGN. Jacobson tells Feder, “Having been listening to WGN Radio since the day I became a reporter, and believing it’s the best in the business, I’m thrilled to be joining the team. For me, it’s a perfect fit at a perfect time. The station’s coming back, and 2014 is going to be an intriguing and exciting year in Chicago’s wild and woolly politics.”
Salem Communications Buys Eagle Publishing for $8.5 Million. It had been reported recently that this deal was on the way and now it’s official as Salem Communications enters into a deal to purchase the assets of Eagle Publishing that includes conservative book publisher Regnery Publishing, and digital properties RedState.com and HumanEvents.com. In a statement, Salem CEO Edward Atsinger III says, “Eagle is one of the most influential companies in the conservative media space. Its addition to Salem brings together a unique portfolio of conservative media properties and fits with our strategy of integrating traditional media and new media assets all serving the same target audience. The opportunity we like most about this acquisition is that each of Eagle’s businesses matches up so well with Salem’s extensive media platform. With 102 radio stations and a dozen major national websites all targeting the conservative community, this provides a perfect marketing platform to promote Eagle’s products to a wider audience.” The purchase price is $8.5 million and current Eagle CEO Jeff Carneal will exit the organization as a result of the acquisition.
‘A-List’ Talent Jon Bon Jovi and John Fogerty Added to Howard Stern Birthday Broadcast. The January 31 birthday bash broadcast for SiriusXM’s Howard Stern just added two more “A-list” talents as Jon Bon Jovi and John Fogerty will join Steven Tyler, David Letterman and Louis C.K. for the show to be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. On his program, Stern announced, “We have told you on the music side of things that we have Steven Tyler coming by to do a little number in honor of my birthday, I’m so honored…[today] I am excited [to announce that]…Jon Bon Jovi is going to perform…I am very excited to see Jon and thank him for that. And also one of my heroes will perform that night—one of the greats, the all-time greats. A guy whose every record I bought when he was in Creedence Clearwater Revival, and later his solo stuff, John Fogerty will come by to perform two great songs – I won’t say what the songs are, [but] we’re really excited about that…the list just begins there, Robin, it just begins there [there is] a huge amount of musicians coming by to help us out…it’s great.”
Sports Talk Host Jeff Dubay Exits KSTP, Minneapolis in Budget Move. Twin Cities sports talk personality Jeff Dubay, who fought a public battle against drug addiction to return to the airwaves in the market on Hubbard Radio’s KSTP, has left the station in what he says is a budget-related move. The Star-Tribune reports Dubay – who worked at Clear Channel’s “KFAN” sports talk brand for 10 years before a crack cocaine addiction sidelined him – sent social media messages indicating that he was let go from the late morning show he co-hosted with Judd Zulgad because of financial reasons. The station posted a message on its Facebook page confirming the matter was financial and not performance related. The paper reports KSTP waived Dubay’s non-compete and he is free to work in the market if the opportunity arises.
Shannon Staying With the Redbirds. St. Louis Cardinals fans will continue to hear Mike Shannon as the voice of the National League team that appeared in the 2013 World Series, as the former MLB player signs a two-year contract extension. This will be Shannon’s 42nd year as a Cardinals broadcaster and 56th year with the team. According to club president Bill DeWitt, “Mike’s voice has become the soundtrack to St. Louis baseball. We look forward to having him back in the booth this season and for years to come.” It is anticipated that Shannon will call all Cardinals’ home games this year for St. Louis flagship KMOX and roughly 30 road games for the CBS Radio-owned talk station. Fox Sports Midwest‘s Rick Horton and former lefty relief pitcher Al Hrabosky will do the remaining road games. Shannon will continue his work throughout the year on KMOX pre-game, post-game, and morning drive call-in segments.
Great Read! TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is pictured intensely absorbing the new book authored by independently syndicated talk show host Jim Blasingame titled The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance (2014 SBN Books). Blasingame is the longtime host of the very successful program “The Small Business Advocate Show” which is targeted to helping independent entrepreneurs and business owners cope with the day-to-day issues that face people running their own companies during this era of rapidly accelerating change. This book, Blasingame’s third, is “his best work yet,” according to Harrison and “must-reading for anyone out there on the perilous high seas of today’s turbulent marketplace…especially those who are doing it independently without the backing of the Wall Street/banking/big-time money machine.” Harrison goes on to say, “This includes those brave and hardy ‘Davids’ owning and operating independent radio stations and small groups, syndication companies and internet communications startups bucking the death grip of today’s mega-corporate ‘Goliaths.’” The premise of the book is that small business owners are operating at a time that is so momentous it has never happened before. Blasingame, a veteran of TALKERS magazine’s Heavy Hundred, identifies it as an epochal marketplace shift that’s causing the 10,000 year old Age of the Seller to be replaced by the Age of the Customer. With an introduction by Steve Forbes, Blasingame’s book reveals how these two ages are existing concurrently in parallel universes, and how much time business-people have left to join the emerging universe. He says relevance is replacing competitiveness and explains how to recognize when you arrive at the “moment of relevance,” how to connect with “new-influencers” who co-own your brand message; why you must be a good storyteller; the good, the bad and the ugly of social media; and he identifies the “killer app” that wasn’t a part of your past but will dominate your future. Broadcasters interested in learning more about this book and perhaps scheduling Jim Blasingame as a guest can visit AgeoftheConsumer.com or email email@example.com.
WHYY, Philadelphia-Led Local Journalism Center Awarded CPB Grant. The recipient organization of a Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant for $1.5 million is the new multimedia local journalism center (LJC), Keystone Crossroads — a collaboration of Pennsylvania public media stations. The new Keystone Crossroads is led by WHYY, Philadelphia. Pittsburgh’s WQED and WESA FM, Central Pennsylvania’s WPSU and Harrisburg’s WITF will be partner stations. The LJC will focus on the challenges the cities are facing, including a shrinking tax base and crumbling infrastructure, and enormous budget deficits. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting states, “By combining smart storytelling with energetic civic engagement, Keystone Crossroads will help Pennsylvanians see the challenges of their cities more clearly, understand how they are related, and create a forum for potential solutions at both the local and state levels.” CPB president Pat Harrison adds, “Local Journalism Centers are really centers of collaboration comprising public media stations working together to report on local stories with significant impact. This kind of focused collaboration ensures in depth reporting on issues of importance and concern to Pennsylvanians and of interest to all Americans.” In addition to Keystone Crossroads, CPB funds six other LJCs across the country, including: EarthFix based in the Northwest; Fronteras in the Southwest; Harvest in the Midwest; Innovation Trail in upstate New York, the Southern Education Desk in the South, and most recently the Energy LJC in the Rocky Mountains.
Chris Christie Scandal, Hillary Clinton in 2016, New Congressional Spending Deal, ObamaCare Enrollment Status, A-Rod Suspension/Legal Challenge, and Golden Globe Awards Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/13). The ongoing analysis of the Chris Christie lane closure scandal and apology press conference; speculation about Hillary Clinton’s plans to run for president in 2016; the new $1 trillion spending plan approved by Congress; enrollment in healthcare plans via the Affordable Care Act; Alex Rodriguez 162-game suspension and his plans to challenge the arbitration ruling; and the aftermath of Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TALKERS Publishes Second Annual “Heavy Hundred” of Sports Talk Radio. The editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, have compiled the second annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America. The eagerly anticipated list is posted today (11/7). Like its long-established “sister list” – the long-running (18 years) annual “Heavy Hundred” that ranks talk radio hosts working in the news/talk and general talk genres – the editors of TALKERS magazine have ranked sports talk hosts, duos or ensembles from 1 to 100 based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors. The results are, admittedly, subjective. Being 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. The other concrete qualification for inclusion is hosts must be working – that is, have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station at the time of publication. TALKERS salutes the fine broadcasters who made this year’s second annual list! To see the entire roster, please click here.
Darryl Parks Exits Clear Channel. The longtime WLW, Cincinnati steward and architect of so many of the talk shows that aired on the station has been let go by Clear Channel. Programmer Darryl Parks was PD of WLW from 1999 to 2010 when he was promoted to vice president of news/talk operations for the entire company. He remained based at the Cincinnati cluster and hosted a Saturday morning talk show on WLW. The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter broke the news on Wednesday afternoon and in his report calls Parks “arguably the most influential person in Cincinnati radio” during his time as PD of WLW. As per policy, Clear Channel doesn’t comment on personnel matters but has confirmed that Parks is no longer with the company. The move is likely a restructuring of management within the company but Parks drew attention to himself last month with a blog post criticizing acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn’s AM revitalization program and referred to the NAB/RAB Radio Show as a “circle jerk.”
CBS Corporation Reveals Q3 Numbers: Radio Up 1%. For the company as a whole, revenue was up 11% but the radio division’s net revenue rose just 1%. With so much of CBS’ revenue from television and cable, the company doesn’t spend much time talking about radio. EVP of investor relations Adam Townsend did single out the fledgling CBS Sports Radio Network, saying, “CBS Sports Radio network continues to help drive our results. Plus, digital revenue was up 19% in the quarter. And nontraditional revenue, including our growing local events business, was up 9%.” The company says it expects the radio division to be up in the low single digits in the fourth quarter.
Clear Channel Radio Revenue Up 3%. CC Media Holdings issued its third quarter 2013 financial results and the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment division’s revenue increased by 3% or $25 million. Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “Strategically and financially, our third quarter results reflect the growing strength of our Media+Entertainment business, while we continue to make meaningful progress in moving Outdoor forward internationally and in the Americas. At Media+Entertainment, we outperformed the entire radio sector in revenue growth, including in our major markets. Increasingly, our radio business is benefiting from our strategic approach to advertising that sets us apart in the marketplace.” Among numerous other points made about the division’s recent achievements, the company notes that there are now “39 million iHeartRadio registered users as of September 30, 2013, up 114% from the end of the 2012 third quarter, and crossing the 30 million registered user mark faster than Facebook, Twitter, Spotify or Pandora, and second only to Instagram. iHeartRadio’s total listening hours were up 30% in the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. Mobile represented 60% of iHeartRadio total listening hours during the quarter.”
Tony Katz to Host Evening Show on WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis and talk show host Tony Katz have agreed to terms for Katz to debut his “Tony Katz Tonight” program on the station airing from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight beginning Monday, November 11. Katz will be based out of his Tomorrow Media Network studios in Los Angeles. Katz most recently hosted a weekend program on Emmis-owned KFTK-FM, St. Louis “FM News Talk 97.1” where he also serves as the regular fill-in for the station’s Dana Loesch. Katz states, “I’m thrilled to be with Emmis, a company that has fought hard to be strong in this ever-shifting radio landscape. I’ve had a great relationship with the company, with Dana and especially KFTK program director Jeff Allen, who gave me nothing but support, opportunity and encouragement. To go from there to the capable and fearless hands of WIBC program director David Wood makes me truly believe that this is the start of a long, profitable relationship.” Katz is a columnist with TownHall and Christian Post and a frequent commentator on “Fox and Friends” and “The Kudlow Report” on CNBC. He is also a sought after public speaker.
Bill Cunningham’s TV Show Renews on The CW. WLW, Cincinnati talk show host Bill Cunningham can also claim success in his other media endeavor – the Tribune-produced television talk program “The Bill Cunningham Show.” Now, Cable & Broadcasting reports that the show has been picked up for another season – its third – by The CW Network which airs the show at 3:00 pm ET. The TV project was one of those that began back when former Clear Channel radio president Randy Michaels was heading up Tribune. Former Clear Channel programmer Sean Compton is one of the executives whom Michaels brought to Chicago and has risen to president of programming and entertainment for Tribune Broadcasting. Compton is quoted in the piece saying, “The growth of ‘The Bill Cunningham Show’ over the past three seasons has exceeded all expectations. When compared to perceptually bigger shows, Cunningham consistently comes out on top. His demo conversion steadily yields impressive results and we are extremely proud of this show.”
A Peek Inside: NAB Futures 2013. Radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke was recently invited to attend – and deliver a keynote speech! – at the invitation only NAB Futures 2013 that took place in Laguna Beach, California. Cooke describes it as “a think tank about how broadcasters can embrace and exploit the ‘disruption’ that has changed how consumers consume media.” He reports back interesting tidbits from such speakers as: James McQuivey, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research and the author of Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation; Scott Burnell, global lead, business development & partner management at Ford Motor Company; Jason Dorsey, “The Gen Y Guy” who wrote Y-Size Your Business: How Gen Y Employees Can Save You Money and Grow Your Business. Get Holland Cooke’s scoop on the NAB Futures 2013 here.
WestwoodOne Opens Creative and Production Studio for Radio Marketers. Saying that it wants to help marketers develop “world-class audio,” WestwoodOne announces the opening of a full-service Creative Services division to be “powered” in part by TM Studios. The company says it will “provide multi-platform marketing solutions including on-air, digital and experiential components, built upon the company’s core service producing engaging audio experiences that connect people with their passions in life. The studio is currently preparing to work with marketers to produce audio ads for WestwoodOne’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII.” WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine states, “Audio plays a vital role in the new media landscape and WestwoodOne is uniquely positioned to help marketers integrate creative, multiplatform audio advertising into the mix. Marketers need a reliable partner who understands how, where and when today’s mobile consumers are interacting with audio and the ability to develop audio content that can stand out from the competition. Be it mobile, terrestrial or digital consumption, the team at WestwoodOne Studio has the talent and expertise to create the most compelling and effective advertising to give our marketers the most exposure.”
Phil Valentine Kicks Off ‘Spreading the Truth’ Tour. Nashville-based syndicated talk show host Phil Valentine is launching what he’s calling the “Spreading the Truth” tour to promote the newly released DVD of his film “An Inconsistent Truth.” Valentine will be in Pensacola, Florida at the Cordova Mall on Sunday, November 10 in conjunction with his Pensacola affiliate station WCOA. Valentine reports that the movie – which challenges the notion of runaway, man-made global warming and takes its title from a twist on Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth – “hit the #1 spot on Amazon.com’s documentary list shortly after its release. It’s the winner of three film festival awards including the Nevada Film Festival. The film enjoyed a limited run last year in select theaters and was the top-grossing movie per screen in the entire country its first two weeks out. It’s the 20th top-grossing nature documentary of all time, out-grossing films like “Cool It, Gasland and Fuel.” Valentine states, “I think the fact that we hit #1 on Amazon so quickly is a testament to the appetite out there for the truth. People inherently know carbon dioxide is not some kind of poison. They instinctively know they’re being lied to. We just arm them with the facts.” The Spreading the Truth tour kicks off in Pensacola then moves to Nashville. Other tour dates are being added.
Odds & Sods. Chicago Cubs radio color analyst Keith Moreland is stepping down from his role. WGN, Chicago announces the former Cub has made the decision to leave the broadcast booth to spend more time with his family. In a note to the WGN staff, Moreland stated, “I would like to thank the fans, the folks at WGN Radio, my colleagues in the booth, the Ricketts family, and the Cubs for this great opportunity. After spending three years doing it, I’ve simply decided that I want to spend more time at home in Texas.” Moreland became a permanent fixture with play-by-play broadcaster Pat Hughes in February of 2011…..Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston announces the return of its off-season baseball show “Red Sox Hot Stove,” a weekly, one-hour program hosted by WEEI.com editor Rob Bradford and Red Sox reporter Alex Speier that will air every Thursday night from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm through February. The program will focus on all off-season moves made by the Red Sox and in Major League Baseball, including free agency and trades, the GM and owners’ meetings and the league’s annual Winter Meetings, taking place this year from December 9-12 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, FL. Bradford and Speier will be joined on a recurring basis by Red Sox manager John Farrell, general manager Ben Cherington and assistant general manager Mike Hazen. In addition, listeners will regularly hear from other managers, general managers, agents and players from around baseball.
‘There She/He Is, Miss Indiana…’ Okay, so that’s not exactly how the song goes. Nonetheless, the attractive woman you see here is Mekayla Diehl (right) who was crowned Miss Indiana USA 2014 this past Sunday. The handsome lad seated and wearing the tiara is Federated Media news and programming guru Jon Zimney of ‘95.3 FM MNC’ (Michiana News Channel) in South Bend, Indiana, and WOWO-AM/FM in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Miss Diehl visited the broadcasting facility to talk about her being crowned to represent the state of Indiana.
ObamaCare Criticism, Election Day Results, Benghazi Case, GOP 2014 and 2016 Strategies, Iran Nukes, Miami Dolphins ‘Bullying’ Story and Tony Dorsett Health Issues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/6). The ongoing scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; Tuesday’s election results; renewed criticism of the handling of the deadly Benghazi attacks; Republican prospects and strategies for the mid-term elections in 2014 and the presidential election in 2016; Iran’s nuclear weapons program; controversy over the suspension of Miami Dolphins player Richie Incognito; and former NFL great Tony Dorsett’s admission he suffers from possible effects of football injuries were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Posts 2% Revenue Increase in Q2. That’s for the Media and Entertainment division – the radio stations, Premiere Networks and Total Traffic Network – on revenue of $805.6 million for the second quarter of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago. During yesterday’s investors’ conference call, chairman and CEO Bob Pittman spoke positively about the growth of iHeartRadio and SVP of investor relations Gregory Lundberg noted that it has 34 million registered users and that represents growth of 162% year-over-year. Regarding the makeup of the company’s revenue, he stated, “National sales for the stations grew 5%, with local up 1%. Excluding the impact of political advertising, in both quarters, national sales rose 7% and local was up 2%. Our strongest performing ad categories remained financial services, retail and telecom. Digital sales continue to grow in the double digits as we monetize our station’s online presence and keep growing iHeartRadio, where total listening hours were up to 36% in the second quarter. We also saw good year-over-year growth at Premiere Networks. Partially offsetting this growth rate were revenue declines in the traffic business from lost contracts and from lower sales resulting from integration activities. Operating expenses increased $42 million or 9%, reflecting a $21 million expense credit from one of our performance rights organizations, which we received in the second quarter of last year.” He stated pacing for the third quarter for the stations was up 3% and up 1% for the division as a whole. Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read it all here.
Clear Channel Sells Its SiriusXM Interests for $135.5 Million. Way back in 1999 when XM Radio was gearing up its operations, Clear Channel was an initial investor putting in $83.1 million and getting the right to program some of the satcaster’s music and talk channels. Now, CC sells its interest in the company for $135.5 million – the value of the stock – and that means most of the CC-programmed content will disappear from the XM Radio platform. That’ll include some of the company’s music FMs such as hip hop WGCI, Chicago; country signal WSIX, Nashville and hot AC WLIT, Chicago. But two of the CC-radio channels are expected to stay on the XM platform – WHTZ, New York and KIIS, Los Angeles. It also means the talk radio channel on the XM platform will see talent like Glenn Beck, Bob & Tom, Todd Schnitt as well as Fox Sports Radio programming go away.
Arbitron Reports Q2 Revenue Rises 2.9%. As it prepares to be acquired by ratings giant Nielsen, Arbitron issues its 2013 second quarter financial reports and states that on revenue of $107.4 million dollars it is reporting net revenue of $7.1 million or $0.26 per share. The cost of the potential Nielsen deal ate into the company’s earnings before interest and income tax expense (EBIT) as it shelled out $6.1 million during the quarter in preparation for the acquisition. President and CEO Sean Creamer states, “In the second quarter, we maintained focus on our long-term priorities: investing in and growing our core radio services, evaluating and implementing quality initiatives to enhance the value and utility of our offerings, and exploring emerging opportunities with an emphasis on those that allow us to highlight the power and advantages of radio. As the media and advertising marketplaces continue to evolve and new technologies permit consumers to consume content virtually anytime and anywhere, it is important we keep pace with these changes to ensure radio gets full credit for its audience – regardless of the delivery platform. Radio is growing and vibrant – and we are committed to helping the radio industry tell and validate its complete and compelling story.”
The Job of the Program Director in Five Years. According to noted consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo, if you want to know which way the job of PD is heading in radio, just take a look at what has happened to the same titled position at television stations. In a new column posted today (8/2) Sabo writes “As more on-air content decisions are made at the corporate level and delivered from a central source, the program director job will morph to meet the demands of the tasks that must be completed. Smart companies will evolve the position to one that has been desperately needed: ‘Program and Public Relations Director.'” Sabo goes on to list other combinations of tasks and responsibilities that will be added to the title “Program Director” on the radio station level. To read his entire column, please click here.
KBME, Houston Ousts Adam Wexler and Matt Jackson from AM Drive; Adds Fox Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr to Middays. In a realignment of programming at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s sports talk KBME, Houston, Adam Wexler and Matt Jackson have been let go from the station and their morning drive gig and Lance Zierlein and Adam Clanton take over the AM show. Zierlein co-hosted the afternoon show with Charlie Pallilo but, as the Houston Chronicle notes, had also worked on the morning drive show alongside Wexler and Jackson in the past. Adam Clanton has hosted sports talk radio in the market at CBS Radio’s crosstown KILT as well as having worked at KPRC-TV. The addition of Fox Sports Radio’s nationally syndicated Jay Mohr to the lineup from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm forces some other changes. Greg Koch and N.D. Kalu now air from 9:00 am to 11:00 am; Charlie Pallilo hosts solo from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm; and Matt Thomas is on the air from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
Michael Harrison to Speak at NAB Radio Show. In what promises to be a riveting and inspirational hour, TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison will address the forthcoming NAB Radio Show in Orlando (September 18-20) on “Radio’s Evolving Role in Popular Culture.” Harrison, fresh off a rousing keynote speech at the Conclave, will further elaborate on the theme of the challenges facing radio in its quest to remain societally iconic in the digital age of the 21st century at a specially scheduled Info-Session sponsored by TALKERS. Harrison says that for radio to remain competitive with all the emerging “exotic” competition of this “wildly new era,” it must maintain “ownership” of the scenes it addresses whether they are music, politics, news, sports or any other expression of the human condition. He says radio should maintain a foreground, active position that protects it from being marginalized as a passive delivery system and discusses options and opportunities to carry out the mission. (To see a brief clip of Michael Harrison’s Conclave keynote speech addressing these subjects please click here. The full speech will be posted to both RadioInfoTV and TalkersTV shortly, stay tuned.) Consultant Holland Cooke introduces this popular annual NAB Radio Show session featuring the venerable programmer, air personality, entrepreneur and trade magazine publisher who has been accurately describing radio and popular media’s road ahead for the past 45 years. The Info-Session is scheduled on Thursday, September 19 between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm and is open to all attendees of the NAB Radio Show.
Clear Channel Makes Morning Changes at KTCN, Minneapolis. Morning drive talk show host Bob Davis and Clear Channel Minneapolis part company and the station fills the morning drive slot with former evening hosts Jack Tomczak and Ben Kruse, at least for now. Bob Davis had been paired up with Tom Emmer for mornings but Emmer exited the station in June to make a run for the congressional seat being vacated by Michele Bachmann. Davis made national news when, during a discussion about gun control, he said on the air he would tell the Newtown families to “go to hell” for their role in shaping the gun debate. He later apologized for the tenor of his comments.
Radiate Media Promotes Ivan Shulman to President. Seven months after joining Radiate Media as executive vice president of sales and chief revenue officer, the company promotes Ivan Shulman to president. CEO Chris Rothey states, “Ivan has a deep background in sales, marketing and media, and his leadership experience makes him a great fit for us. Since joining us in November of 2012, we have experienced quarter-over-quarter revenue growth, including the launch of Radiate360 – our integrated marketing platform to drive hyper-local business. Ivan will continue to lead that initiative as well as overseeing the day-to -day activities of our broadcast radio, TV and digital lines of business.” The company is bullish on its new product Radiate360 which it describes as “an easy-to-use, online platform that empowers businesses to expand their reach and connect with their customers. With Radiate360’s revolutionary suite of tools, businesses can establish an online presence, engage customers through social and mobile media, and promote to the local audience that matters most.” Shulman says of his promotion, “I joined Radiate because I was excited about future opportunities. Our growth on both the broadcast and digital side has been phenomenal and I look forward to working with broadcasters to help bridge the gap between digital and traditional media.”
Dan Sileo Takes Over Midday Program at WMEN, West Palm Beach. Florida sports talk personality Dan Sileo – most recently midday host at WQAM, Miami – moves into the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot at JCE Licenses’ WMEN, West Palm Beach “640 Sports” effective Tuesday, August 6. Sileo – who worked for years at WDAE, Tampa prior to his stint with WQAM – is filling in for Travis Rodgers on KLAA, Los Angeles today and on August 5. Sileo is, by his own admission, an edgy personality whose willingness to push the envelope has gotten him fired from his last two radio gigs. He maintains he achieved excellent ratings while with Clear Channel at WDAE and that the station pulled in a lot of revenue from his program.
Eric Deggans to Leave the Tampa Bay Times for Gig at NPR. Journalist Eric Deggans has covered first music, then media for the Tampa Bay Times for the past 18 years. Now, he exits the Times to become a TV critic and correspondent for NPR News. Deggans has been a contributor to NPR in the past but joins the organization full time. He states in a press release, “For many years, I have been a fan of NPR’s super-smart journalism and I often fantasized of what it might be like to join their ranks as a contributor. A position like this one is beyond my wildest dreams; I’m honored and excited by the opportunity to help shape NPR’s coverage of television and pop culture.” Deggans has been an excellent reporter covering the Tampa Bay media scene over the years but also could be viewed as a polarizing writer. He’s been a critic of talk radio on a number of levels as indicated in his recent book Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation (Palgrave Macmillan 2012). Photo by Carrie Pratt.
Odds & Sods. Dial Global announces it has signed an exclusive terrestrial, three-season deal with London-based talkSPORT to broadcast live coverage of Barclays Premier League, FA Cup and Capital One Cup. The partnership includes play-by-play commentary of nearly 400 soccer matches per year, in both English and Spanish….. “The Black Sphere” talk show host Kevin Jackson joins the advisory board of the Steamboat Institute, an institution that “defends freedom and advocates for liberty.” Jackson says, “Witnessing the progress of the organization first hand, I am overjoyed to be part of the advisory board and play a role in the future direction of the Steamboat Institute, an organization that will undoubtedly mold political discussions and policy in the future.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. Statewide syndicated sports talk host Bill Michaels is added to the lineup at WOZN, Madison, Wisconsin…..Kevin Jackson’s “Black Sphere Radio” show is now airing on WEZO, Augusta, Georgia…..Talk Media Network announces affiliate additions for three of its programs: “Fat Guys At The Movies with Kevin Carr & Kristin Dreyer Kramer” joins WKVL, Knoxville; “The Financial Fitness Show with Chip Cummings & Tony Rubleski” is added to WRSB, Rochester, New York; and “Frontlines of Freedom with Lt. Col. Denny Gillem” joins the lineup at WZFG, Fargo.
ObamaCare Implementation Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of July 29 – August 2. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the cost of the program was the top news/talk topic during the week. Following at #2 was the Anthony Weiner sexting case and the political fallout. At #3 was the 2016 presidential race followed by the Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity contracts flap at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Bob Pittman to Take Over Chairman of the Board Role at Clear Channel. CC Media Holdings, Inc., in an SEC filing announcing the annual meeting of stockholders on May 17, moves to replace Mark Mays as chairman of the board with current board of directors member and company CEO Bob Pittman. The filing states, “We believe that having the chief executive officer also serve as our chairman of the board provides us with a clear leadership structure. As our chairman and chief executive officer, Mr. Pittman will continue to provide our board with insight into our operations and help facilitate the flow of information between management and the board. Subject to his re-election as a director, Mr. Mays will remain a member of our board and we will continue to benefit from his experience as our previous chief executive officer.”
Good Karma’s WKNR and CBS Radio’s WKRK Team Up to Grab Cleveland Browns Football from Clear Channel. The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that Cleveland Browns football – for years heard on Clear Channel’s rock WMMS and news/talk WTAM – will air on WKNR “ESPN Cleveland” and WKRK “92.3 The Fan” beginning this fall. Obviously, the unusual aspect of this is WKNR is owned by Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma and WKRK is CBS Radio’s sports outlet in Cleveland – both stations competing for the same listeners. According to the piece, games will also air on CBS’ classic rock WNCX. The Plain Dealer reports that CC, CBS and Good Karma were all bidding for the rights when the latter two decided to work together. Here’s how it is supposed to happen in the fall: a Rob Chudzinski coach’s show will air (on which station it’s not yet known) and the “Cleveland Browns Daily Show” on WKNR will expand from one hour to two. Game days will see WKNR broadcast a four-hour pre-game show and WKRK will broadcast a two-hour post-game program. It is expected that the booth team of Jim Donovan and Doug Dieken will remain in place.
Entercom Ups Weezie Kramer to Station Group President. Weezie Kramer has been with Entercom as a regional president since 2005. Now, the company promotes her to station group president putting her in charge of all 121 Entercom radio stations. In this post she will supervise Entercom regional presidents Michael Doyle and Deborah Kane and chair the company’s operating committee. She’ll also continue to be in charge of a number of the company’s 23 markets and report directly to Entercom president and CEO David Field, who says, “For years we have operated with three wonderfully talented regional presidents, but the time has come to align our station group under a single operational leader to drive stronger organizational cohesiveness and effectiveness. In elevating Weezie to this role, we will enhance our coordination and clarity and drive faster decision-making. She will continue to work closely with Deborah Kane and Michael Doyle, providing an outstanding leadership team for our markets.”
Doug Stephan’s “Good Day Crowdfunding Show” to Put Entrepreneurs in Front of Giant Audience. Doug Stephan’s nationally syndicated morning radio program – now in its 25th year – is inviting entrepreneurs to the largest crowdfunding pitchfest ever. In a statement, Doug Stephan says, “‘The Good Day Crowdfunding Show’ brings the buzz of a broadcast radio reality series and pits crowdfunders in a contest judged by crowdsourcing industry thought leaders. Entrepreneurs and businesses interested in raising capital, social lending and fundraising websites for their products, charity projects and creative ideas are invited to ‘pitch the experts’ on the first crowdfunding radio reality series.” Good Day Crowdfunding has launched its own pre-launch to build community where crowdfunders can engage at http://GoodDayCrowdfunding.com. Inside the community is a unique incubator project, Startup America Crowdfunding, where participants are guided from start to finish through successful money-raising campaigns. The release continues, “As part of the project, creators of the best ideas will get a shot on the ‘Good Day Crowdfunding Show,’ to pitch their idea to millions in a fast-paced reality format. The incentive is simple: The better the idea, the more promotion and airtime to over 3 million daily listeners across the US and online.” The addition of the crowdfunding segment to Stephan’s program comes as the program begins working with Mike Hayes, current host of “StartUp America News” and an expert in entrepreneurship. Hayes states, “This new reality based radio program is the ‘American Idol’ of crowdfunding. Our intention is to help boost the impact of crowdfunding on America’s economy by creating and supporting crowdfunding success stories across any available platform. We want to enable anyone, anywhere to follow, and fund their dream projects.” Others joining Good Day for this project include: PR expert Ronjini Mukopadhyay, who has been central to several highly successful crowdfunding campaigns including StickNFind; entrepreneur Danny Kastner, a contestant on ‘The Apprentice’ and developer of Crowdjammer, a crowdfunding community solution designed to drive campaign backers to any crowdfunding project; and social impact marketer Robin Eschler, host of “Socially Conscious Investing” online radio and a pro in social lending, impact investing and online marketing.
Dentists are Prime Prospects for Radio Advertising. Have you noticed when you visit your friendly family dentist lately that the office has likely evolved from projecting a serious “professional” environment to more “commercial” one with signs promoting elective cosmetic procedures (such as teeth whitening), electric toothbrush sales, awards programs for recruiting new patients and “like us on Facebook” display cards? The fact is, dentistry has changed over the years and today’s young crop of dentists find themselves in a business that requires far more media promotion than their cavity-filling forebears ever thought about (or would consider appropriate). In a helpful article posted today (3/27) noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke sinks his canines into a potentially lucrative sales lead category. Read it here.
Washington-Based Talker Joe Madison Exits WOL, Washington. Talk radio personality Joe Madison’s program has been based at SiriusXM for several years and the show was carried by Radio One’s WOL, Washington after the latter had served as Madison’s base for more than a decade. Now, Madison’s program is off WOL and solely available on SiriusXM’s “The Power” channel. Radio One doesn’t appear to have a permanent AM drive replacement for Madison yet as midday host Ron Thompson has been sitting in.
Birmingham Sports Media Personality Paul Finebaum Inks Book Deal. Former WJOX, Birmingham sports talk host Paul Finebaum has signed a deal with Harper Collins that, according to SBNation.com, will tell the story of his radio show and its effect on the SEC. Finebuam tells Al.com, “Primarily, it’s about the culture of the show and how the culture of the show interacts with the SEC. But it does quickly go through my career and how we got to this point. There will be commentary on why the SEC is better than everyone else. It will certainly talk about the dominance of not only Alabama, but the conference. The radio show will be woven in and out of the book, featuring little vignettes on the callers.” Harper Collins plans to officially announced the deal this week. Finebaum’s regionally syndicated radio show – now off the air after he left Cumulus Media’s WJOX and is sitting out a non-compete period – was also heard on SiriusXM. It is expected that once the non-compete period elapses in late April, Finebaum will cross the street and base his program from WZNN, Birmingham “ESPN 97.3 The Zone” which is in the process of being sold by Cox Media Group to SummitMedia.
BIA/Kelsey Sees Radio Station Online Growth Rising at Faster Pace. The media advisory firm reports that, according to its first 2013 Investing in Radio Market Report, “Radio industry over-the-air revenues inched slightly upwards in 2012, increasing to $14.3 billion, a 1.5% change from the year before.” The company goes on to say that the “slight change is due in large part to the sluggish overall economy for 2012 and the increased competition radio faces in the local media market.” It notes “station revenue mix will continue to shift somewhat and income from online advertising is expected to rise at a rate of about 10.8% annually over the next five years versus 2.5% from over-the-air.” For 2013, BIA/Kelsey forecasts over-the-air radio revenues should see 2.3%, or $14.7 billion, again due to the slightly stronger economy. BIA/Kelsey forecasts radio’s online revenue growth will reach $818 million by 2017, while the industry’s combined total revenue will reach $17 billion by 2017. Vice president and chief economist Mark Fratrik states, “As the digital marketplace continues to rise in all sectors of advertising, radio is improving its listener engagement online and benefitting from the value of its web and mobile assets. Overall, the industry is still recognized as an important part of the media mix as it continues to meander around, rising slightly with the rate of inflation but not keeping up with the economy.”
Arbitron Names Monica Narvaez Hispanic Broadcaster Account Specialist. In a role newly created, Arbitron Inc. appoints Monica Narvaez Hispanic broadcaster account specialist. The company reports her duties will include: promoting the power of Spanish-language radio; generating solutions to help address Hispanic radio group needs; and developing programs for Spanish radio group training initiatives. Narvaez has been with Arbitron for 10 years. Prior to joining Arbitron she served with Nielsen as a web trainer, working with TV station research directors and sales executives using Scarborough Research.
Odds & Sods. Dial Global’s Dennis Miller interviews former Massachusetts Governor and former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on his nationally syndicated show today (3/27)…..Legendary actor and CRN Digital Talk Radio personality Robert Conrad says he is doing fine despite rumors on the internet this week that he has passed away. Conrad, who hosts his own show on the network on Thursdays from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm PT, says, “I’m feeling well and in good health so I’m very surprised to hear that I’ve passed away, I must’ve missed that memo.” The CRN studios received numerous calls from his listeners about the report…..Current.org reports that University of Alabama Birmingham-owned non-commercial WBHM, Birmingham news director Tanya Ott is moving to Georgia to take on the vice president/radio for Georgia Public Broadcasting.
The FCC Approves Move of WAXY-FM, Miami Signal. Lincoln Financial Media’s acquisition of CBS Radio’s former AC WEAT, West Palm Beach was executed with the intent of bringing the now-WAXY sports talk FM simulcast signal closer to the Miami market. After Clear Channel objected to the move, the FCC overruled that objection and LFM gets the okay to move the signal to its new city of license Miramar. The 104.3 signal has been simulcasting WAXY since LFM took control.
New Jersey Broadcasters Association Backs FM in Smart Phones. The New Jersey Broadcasters Association passed a resolution on Tuesday, March 26 at its board meeting in support of the Sprint FM Chip proposal, reaffirming the absolute need to enable all cell phones within the United States to include (and activate) FM receiver capabilities in smartphones and other consumer electronic devices. NJBA president Paul Rotella states, “This is a matter of vital importance to inform and protect our citizens especially in times of natural disaster, severe weather or other emergencies that require the unequalled power of radio to reach the public.” The NJBA believes that because of the strength of broadcast and the power of the airwaves, local radio and TV stations are often the only available communications medium during disaster situations. Rotella continues, “New Jersey Broadcasters see the value of making radio receivers available and installed in all telecommunications devices owned and used by the public, foremost of those is the ‘smart phone’ and, therefore, the New Jersey Broadcasters Association supports the agreement with Sprint to produce and sell over 30 million smart phones in three years with fully functional FM radio receivers as part of their ‘smart Phones’ and service for same.”
SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, Costs of ObamaCare, North Korea Threats, Euro Zone Jitters, Dow Continues to Soar, and Amanda Knox Re-Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/26). The debate over the legality of gay marriage as the Supreme Court hears arguments; the costs of the Affordable Care Act; North Korea’s military threats; uncertainty in the euro zone after the Cyprus affair; the still-soaring Dow; and the Italian court’s ruling to re-try Amanda Knox were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
News Corp. Splits Its Assets in Two. News Corporation officially announces it will chop its company into two separate, publicly traded companies, one consisting of its entertainment properties and the other its publishing assets. The issue was decided at yesterday’s board meeting. Under the plan, the entertainment division will include the TV and movie businesses – Twentieth Century Fox, the Fox broadcast network, Fox News Channel and the other cable networks. The publishing arm will consist of the newspapers – The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London and The Australian as well as the other publishing assets — including Harper Collins. This will presumably also include The Wall Street Journal Radio Network. SNL Kagan reports the two primary reasons for executing the split are to distance the more profitable entertainment assets from the phone hacking scandal — this reason has been denied by CEO Rupert Murdoch — and to encourage investors who are keen on the entertainment side but not the publishing business. The first nine months of News Corp.’s 2012 fiscal year saw the entertainment division bring in $18.66 billion in net operating revenue while the publishing division’s net operating revenue was $6.22 billion. However, analysts are not in agreement that the split will encourage that much investment and ultimately be as valuable to the entertainment side’s stock as it might appear at first blush.
Yahoo! and Clear Channel Agree to Content Sharing Deal. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and Yahoo! partner on a distribution and cross-promotional deal in which Yahoo! will use the iHeartRadio digital platform as its official digital radio service while Yahoo! will be able to promote its content across CC’s 850 radio stations. Yahoo! recently entered into deals with ABC News and CNBC to distribute jointly produced content across websites and television. Interim Yahoo! CEO Ross Levinsohn – who is working to turn the struggling digital media company around and give it a focused direction – says of the pact, “This partnership will expand our ability to provide consumers and advertisers with the best premium content available and provide Clear Channel with unmatched digital reach.” Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman says, “We were thrilled when Ross approached us about this partnership. We like the direction Yahoo! is going and by working together we can accelerate growth for the both of us.”
The NFL’s Buffalo Bills Sue Cumulus Over “Incentive Rights Fee.” Buffalo Bills play-by-play aired on Cumulus Media’s (and previously Citadel’s) WGRF-FM and WEDG-FM, Buffalo for the past 13 seasons through the 2011 season and now the team is suing Cumulus for what it says is the company’s failure to pay the “incentive rights fee” of about $1 million, according to the Buffalo News. The suit states the incentive rights fee equals half the broadcaster’s gross revenues from the sale of related programming or advertising in connection with any Bills game, after accounting for certain costs. The suit also contends, “For the 2011 NFL football season, the reasonable value of the exclusive radio broadcast rights and perquisites was believed to be at least $2.4 million, of which an amount believed to be at least $1 million remains due and owing.” Attorneys for the team say Cumulus was to provide an independent auditor’s report on gross revenue and net revenue for the 2011 season and that has yet to happen. The Buffalo News reports attempts to get a comment from Cumulus had not been successful.
Tom Leykis and Lionel on Strategies for Taking Talk Content to the Web. This video from the recent 2012 TALKERS New Media Seminar – New York features The New Normal chief and talk radio legend Tom Leykis and LionelMedia.com personality Lionel discussing from-the-trenches strategies for bringing talk content – live streaming shows and podcasts – to the web. The biggest challenge to this initiative is letting people know you are there and enticing them to listen. Hear Leykis and Lionel speak about their work in this medium on this exclusive panel discussion in the TALKERS TV box on this page. (Videography by Art Vuolo of Vuolo Video)
TuneIn Brings Major Broadcasters Cox Media Group, Emmis and Entercom Aboard. Digital audio service TuneIn continues to build its roster of content with the signing of three of America’s big broadcasting companies to deals to distribute their audio. Cox Media Group, Emmis Communications and Entercom radio stations will be heard on the TuneIn service that boasts 30 million monthly active listeners. In announcing the deal, the chiefs of the three companies tout the enhanced distribution this will give their content. Cox president Doug Franklin states, “As we transform into a digital media company, Cox Media Group is extending our great local brands to as many digital platforms as possible to seamlessly provide our audiences with the programming they want where and when they want it. TuneIn leads the industry with their listener-first approach to everything they do, and we are excited to offer our broadcasts to the growing and vastly important digital audience.” Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan comments, “Emmis is excited by today’s announcement. We want to follow our listeners and deliver our content to the platforms they choose to use. The TuneIn platform will provide our listeners from coast to coast another connection point with their favorite radio brands.” And Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “This is a great deal for Entercom, for TuneIn and most importantly for our listeners. We are very pleased to align Entercom with such an innovative company as TuneIn, which will deliver our terrific local programming to a wider, digitally engaged audience. Together, Entercom and TuneIn will deliver existing and new fans the best listening experience possible.”
Glenn Hall Named Managing Editor at TheBlaze. Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts announces former editor in chief at TheStreet joins TheBlaze as managing editor. The company states Glenn Hall will “oversee the day-to-day management and long-term editorial planning of TheBlaze.com’s editors and writers.” Hall served as editor in chief at TheStreet until this past March and, according to comScore audience rankings, helped grow TheStreet into the 10th largest online financial media group, surpassing CNBC.com. TheBlaze president and chief strategy officer Betsy Morgan says, “In under two years, we have attracted a growing team of over 25 reporters with a diverse range of experience ranging from a former CIA officer to CNN contributors. We are excited to take our team to the next level with Glenn Hall who brings a strong track record of leading and overseeing high-quality coverage and award-winning journalism to TheBlaze.” Hall comments, “TheBlaze is an amazing web phenomenon that shows media can thrive in the new digital age provided the focus and mission are aligned with the needs of the audience. I am excited about the opportunity to help grow this brand and raise the bar for digital journalism.”
CNN Suffers Worst Primetime Ratings Quarter in 21 Years; Cable News/Talk Network Makes Programming Changes. TVNewser reports CNN’s 2012 second quarter primetime ratings were at their worst in 21 years with 446,000 total viewers and 129,000 in the adults 25-54 demo. Compared to the second quarter of 2011, CNN is down 35% in total viewers in Total Day. The numbers are similar in primetime with the network down 35% in total viewers and 41% in the adults 25-54 demo. For individual shows, it’s hard to compare since the schedule has shifted and the same shows didn’t air at the same times last year. But “Piers Morgan Tonight” (which hasn’t moved) is down 29% in total viewers and 33% in adults 25-54. There is a bit of good news for the network as TVNewser reports June Nielsen numbers show younger viewers are increasing boosting Piers Morgan 9% in June, Anderson Cooper 5% and Erin Burnett 24%. Meanwhile, the Time Warner cable news/talk network makes some programming changes: The seven-month-old “Early Start” show sees co-host Ashleigh Banfield move to the 11:00 am ET slot and newcomer John Berman becomes co-host of the program with Zoraida Sambolin. Also, Kyra Phillips leaves CNN for duties at sister channel HLN.
KOZN, Omaha’s Kevin Kugler Transitions to National Correspondent Duties. Sports talk host Kevin Kugler, currently co-host of the “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” afternoon show at NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha – 1620 AM The Zone – will become a national sports correspondent for the station as he moves to a full-time position with the Big Ten Network – the conference’s TV network. Kugler also serves as a play-by-play announcer for NFL football and NCAA basketball on the Dial Global Radio Networks and he will remain in that capacity. KOZN program director Neil Nelkin states, “Kevin now gets a chance to cut his teeth as a play-by-play host for the Big 10 and still stay on The Zone. It has been a joy and a privilege to watch Kevin as he evolved into a national sports correspondent.” Kugler’s duties with The Zone will be as analyst, interviewer and guest anchor. On his career transition, Kugler says, “This opportunity affords me the chance to remain on The Zone and stay in Omaha. Although this is a new chapter for my career, I am still staying on my ‘home’ at 1620 The Zone but I will have even more insight to offer as a result of the various exclusive interviews and event coverage I will be able to do on BTN.”
KXL, Portland Names Dan Mitchinson PM Drive Co-Anchor. Dan Mitchinson has been evening news anchor at Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle. On July 9 he begins his new position with Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland where he’ll co-host the station’s “Portland’s Afternoon News” with Lacey Evans. In a statement, Mitchinson says, “KXL is certainly one of the best-known news/talk stations in the country and one of the things that excites me the most it’s not just telling stories, but the way we’re able to start conversations with our listeners. Anyone can read the news or check their Twitter account. What KXL does best is tell passionate stories that make you feel even more involved with the city I now get to call home.”
The Anticipated ObamaCare Ruling, the Aftermath of the Arizona Illegal Immigration Law Decision, the 2012 Presidential Campaign, the Colorado Wildfires, and Eric Holder Contempt Vote Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/27). The anticipation of the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; the aftermath of the Court’s decision on the Arizona illegal immigration law; the ongoing 2012 presidential campaign; the wildfires raging through Colorado and the attempt by House Republicans to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Dave Ramsey Has More Than 1 Million Friends. Really! Facebook has more than 900 million users worldwide and 1 million of them count nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey their friend. With all those friends and more than 400,000 Twitter followers, Ramsey’s organization says, “Not only are they seeing the value in Dave’s message on social platforms, but the web as a whole as ‘The Dave Ramsey Show’ is among the top 25 of all iTunes podcasts and the number one podcast in the business section.”
“The Future of Audio” the Focus of House Subcommittee Hearing; Cross-Ownership a Major Topic. Today’s hearing before the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will center around four topics: broadcast radio ownership caps, low-power FM, FM chips and royalties. Among the witnesses scheduled to testify are Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan, Commonwealth Broadcasting president, CEO Steven Newberry, Pandora founder Tim Westergren, and RIAA chairman and CEO Cary Sherman. A committee memo states, “This hearing will examine how advances in communications services and consumer electronics equipment are affecting the distribution and consumption of audio content.” There is again movement among Republicans to eliminate or relax the cross-ownership regulations in light of changes in technology and how they affect competition. Also, more arguments over performance royalties are expected to be raised at the hearing, especially with Clear Channel‘s groundbreaking record industry news announced yesterday (see next story).
Clear Channel Creates Groundbreaking Relationship with Big Machine Label Group. This is purely a music radio story but still has the potential to reverberate throughout the entire radio business. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is the first broadcast company to strike a deal with a label group that pays the label (and hopefully the artists as well) a performance royalty for music aired on terrestrial radio stations. The two sides did not release specific numbers but Big Machine Label Group produces recordings for artists including Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Edens Edge and Ella Mae Bowen and Valory Music Co. artists Reba McEntire, Justin Moore, Brantley Gilbert, The Mavericks and Thomas Rhett. Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman says of the Big Machine Label Group president and CEO, “Scott Borchetta has reinvented the music business in many important ways over the years, from distribution and artist development to promotion and advertising. Focusing that same creativity on how best to grow the music business, Scott has developed this new model with us to let his labels and artists participate in the revenue of broadcast radio immediately and in digital radio as it builds. This is a big step, but we think this investment is an opportunity worth taking to align our interests in all of our revenue streams and grow digital listening to its full potential with record labels and their artists as our partners. This landmark agreement creates a structure that makes sense for both our companies, but most of all for music fans.”
Cumulus Media Announces Tony Mascaro Named WABC, New York Operations Manager. Confirming what TALKERS reported on Monday, June 4, Cumulus Media makes official the announcement that CHR WPLJ-FM, New York operations manager Tony Mascaro takes the same title for sister news/talk WABC, New York.
WBZ, Boston Overnight Host Steve LeVeille to Retire. The 57-year-old host of the overnight talk show on CBS Radio‘s WBZ, Boston announces his decision to retire at the end of next week after 13 years hosting the show and 21 years with WBZ. “This is a quality-of-life decision for my wife, Diane, and me. We have been making moves during the past number of years to be able to do this without any particular date in mind. We have just reached a point where we said the time is right now. After spending most of our weekends and vacation time in Maine for the last 15 years we are looking forward to making it our year round home.” Steve LeVeille is a native of the Boston area and was familiar with WBZ NewsRadio as a teenager saying, “I grew up in the Boston area listening to Larry Glick on WBZ. And as cliché as it sounds, it was the dream of a teenager to do the overnight show on WBZ and I am proud to be able to retire from that position.”
Dan Dibley Signs on With Entercom’s San Francisco Sports FM for Another Year. “The Rise Guys” morning drive co-host Dan Dibley extends his deal with Entercom‘s KGMZ-FM, San Francisco – 95.7 The Game. Dibley co-hosts the program with Whitey Gleason and Mark Kreidler. Program director Jason Barrett states, “Dan is a big reason why The Rise Guys are the best sports radio morning show in the Bay Area. His energy, passion, sense of humor and work ethic define what the Bay Area’s ‘New Sound for Sports’ is all about.” Prior to joining KGMZ-FM in May of 2011, Dibley served as executive producer at crosstown KNBR.
Merlin Media Changes Blagojevich Billboards in Chicago. The two billboards you see here are before-and-after versions of the outdoor campaign employed by Merlin Media‘s all-news WIQI-FM – FM News 101.1. After the company put up about 200 of the billboards in the Chicago area, attorney Sheldon Sorosky (who represented former Governor Rod Blagojevich in his corruption trial) contacted Merlin notifying the company the billboards may violate an Illinois law that prevents one’s image from being used for commercial purposes without permission. Merlin’s John Gehron tells Crain’s Chicago Business they made the move because, “Listeners were concerned that we were insensitive and we wanted to be responsive.” At the same time, Gehron tells Crain’s the campaign has been positive for the fledgling all-news outlet, “It’s done well and it’s gotten some nice talk.”
WTOP, Washington Reporter Shoved by DC Council Chairman. This was no aggressive push but observers say District of Columbia Council Chairman Kwame Brown, after being asked a question by WTOP, Washington reporter Mark Seagraves, pushed the reporter up against a wall with enough force “to send a message” while saying, “No questions.” Seagraves was asking Brown about a report by another media outlet that federal investigators have revealed part of their case against him involving campaign wrongdoings.
Wisconsin Recall Election, 2012 Presidential Race, Jittery Global Financial Markets and Sandusky Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/5). The recall election in Wisconsin between Republican Scott Walker and Democrat Tom Barrett and its impact on the future of public sector unions; the 2012 presidential campaign; the state of the world’s financial markets; and the looming trial of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Kings of L.A. With the Los Angeles Kings on the brink of their first NHL Stanley Cup Championship (the Kings lead the New Jersey Devils 3-0 with game 4 tonight) Clear Channel‘s KLAC, Los Angeles – AM 570 Fox Sports L.A. – is enjoying the ride. Pictured here is a scene from the station’s live broadcast from L.A. Kings fan-fest at L.A. Live, adjacent to the Staples Center arena. “Petros & Money” broadcast their show live from the event and here you see Matt “Money” Smith (l), Kings broadcaster Jim Fox (c) and NHL great Luc Robitaille (r) on stage.
Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman Addresses Limbaugh Case in AP Interview. In a far-reaching interview with the Associated Press given at the American Association of Advertising Agencies conference in Los Angeles, Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman answered questions about the controversy over the Rush Limbaugh–Sandra Fluke incident and the war being waged against Limbaugh and Premiere Networks by Media Matters for America. Pittman – who hadn’t commented on the case since it exploded a month ago – told the AP Limbaugh is the “king” of radio and he’s sticking by him and he called the controversy “part of the normal day-to-day of talk radio.” Pittman also said the resulting campaign by Media Matters and boycotts on sponsors has not had a major impact on the company nor has there been a move by stations to drop the show. When asked about Cumulus Media Networks’ strategy of using the Limbaugh case to promote soon-to-be-syndicated talk host Mike Huckabee, Pittman stated, “It basically says Rush is the king. Rush is certainly the leader, and we’re delighted to have him.”
Courtside Entertainment Lands Dr. Drew in Major Markets. Courtside Entertainment Group announces the “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew” is picked up in Los Angeles by KFWB; KPTK, Seattle; KEXX, Phoenix; and KDWN, Las Vegas. The feature is already heard in Chicago and New York on Merlin Media’s two all-news FMs. Courtside president Bob Moore states, “‘Minute Clinic’ provides listeners with important information on medicine, relationships, and coping with the problems of everyday life. It’s interesting, informative and entertaining from one of media’s most trusted and reliable experts – Dr. Drew Pinsky. It’s exactly the kind of specialized programming that we are focusing on at Courtside.” The feature is repped by Compass Media for ad sales and support.
Election Year Making FAIR’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” Radio Row a Hot Event. The annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row sponsored by Federation for American Immigration Reform and taking place in Washington, DC on May 8 and 9 is packed with talk radio hosts and stations taking part but election year interest is prompting FAIR to expand the event and allow even more broadcasters to take part. Event manager Bob Dane says, “The fact that this annual radio row has a history of providing access to A-list guests and includes all equipment, ISDN lines, engineering support and long distance at no charge is really increasing demand to participate.” For those who think the event is for conservatives only, Dial Global talk host Thom Hartmann explains why he’s attended in the past. “I’ve attended because a core part of my show is bringing on people with whom I disagree so we can let listeners and viewers see/hear the issues in sharp relief and make up their own minds. That said, I also – having lived and worked on several continents, and having had to go through arduous processes to get work permits in Germany and Australia – know how important it is to have a work force that matches the demand for labor, and the best ways to insure that are through rational/sane immigration and trade policies. We have neither right now.” WCBM, Baltimore talk host Tom Marr says, “After taking my show to the border twice, ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ is a chance for invaluable access to the folks on the front line of the problem that I did not see, while at the same time being with those in Washington, DC who make the policy to secure the border and if one desires to get another side. Capitol Hill is a short walk across the street. It also gives one the ability in free time to visit the Hill and talk with Members about other problems faced by our nation every day. Would not miss it for the world. Hands down the best organized event for people in the talk business if its kind.” For stations whose P1s care very much about immigration issues, it’s a can’t miss, according to KARN-AM/FM, Little Rock talk host Dave Elswick, “I go every year to ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ because illegal immigration is a hot topic to my listeners but most importantly the issue impacts other important issues. Welfare reform, importance of protecting each man’s vote, and health care reform to name a few. Two strong days of experts dealing with all those issues can’t be missed.” WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale talk host Joyce Kaufman says she’s used the event to connect with her audience and the Congress members serving her listener area. “I get invited to a lot of ‘radio row’ events each year. The only event that I participate in year after year is FAIR’s ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ rally. From the first year when I dumped 5,000 ‘soles’ (shoes with listeners’ messages written on the sole) to subsequent years, my audience supports my effort and some even come along and lobby Congress.” For information about the event, contact Bob Dane at 202-328-7004.
KKOB, Albuquerque Charges Local Pol with Slandering Station. There are no legal charges being filed but Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque feels it’s the victim of a slur by City Councilman Ray Garduno. Program director Pat Frisch reports that during a council meeting debate over a controversial road project of which KKOB morning host Bob Clark has encouraged listeners to call Garduno’s office about, Garduno referred to the station as K-K-KOB – a reference to the Ku Klux Klan. In the audio, Garduno quickly corrects himself but Frisch says this isn’t the first time the station has been referred to as K-K-KOB by a local Democratic politician. Frisch says State Senator Eric Griego did the same last year. As for Garduno, Frisch states, “His racist remark is an attack on our listeners and to find a true racist, Garduno only needs to look in the mirror.”
JetBlue Pilot Incident Sparks Buzz on Talk Radio. As talk radio hosts will tell you, one never knows when the next big story will come out of the “blue” and that is exactly the case this morning as talk show hosts of just about every format – political, lifestyle, pop culture, and medical – are feasting on the multi-dimensional aspects of yesterday’s frightening JetBlue pilot incident. According to PodJockey.com resident psychiatrist Renee Kohanski, MD, “It is not like the experience of going to the airport and flying in today’s environment alone doesn’t foster an atmosphere of stress, yesterday afternoon’s unfortunate outburst by a pilot on the heels of a similar situation two weeks ago involving a flight attendant only serves to increase the level of passenger anxiety building across the nation. From a medical and psychiatric perspective, this case is rife with questions and all sorts of speculation. People want to know why things like this happen but the answers are not always immediately apparent!” Dr. Kohanski is available today for phone interviews to discuss the story from a medical perspective citing the many questions and possible causes of yesterday’s shocking and disturbing story. She can be reached at 860-334-4576.
Cumulus Media Providence Launches “Putting Rhode Island Back to Work” Campaign. The cluster of Cumulus Media stations in Providence – including news/talk 630 WPRO & 99.7 – is beginning an on-air campaign titled “Putting Rhode Island Back to Work.” With the support of sponsor Twin River Casino, the cluster is reaching out to and airing stories about Rhode Island businesses that have recently hired. General manager Barbara Haynes says, “News Talk 630 WPRO & 99.7 FM, 92 PRO-FM, HOT106, Lite Rock 105 and 790 Business reach hundreds of thousands of listeners every day – we are excited to be able to highlight some of the companies helping refuel our local economy in front of our massive audience.” The vignettes will also appear on the cluster’s digital properties.
Dial Global Partners with Yamanair Creative Worldwide. Dial Global subsidiary TM Creative enters into a partnership with Yamanair Creative’s Cash by Creative production and creative service. In a statement, DG notes TM Creative will serve as a creative arm to Cash by Creative, providing copywriting, commercial production and retail jingles. This will further enhance Cash by Creative’s ability to offer world-class creative and production to its growing list of clients. TM Creatvie VP/GM Chris Long says, “We are excited about this kind of creative partnership, as TM continues to expand its reach with both radio stations and advertisers.”
Entercom Portland Names Tim McNamara VP/Market Manager. Tim McNamara is no stranger to the Portland, Oregon radio market. He previously managed at Paul Allen’s Rose City Radio there and now he returns with Entercom to serve as VP/Market Manager for the company’s seven-station group that includes sports talk KFXX.
Supreme Court ObamaCare Hearing, Trayvon Martin Case, GOP Primary/2012 Presidential Race, Jet Blue Pilot Incident and Gas Prices Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/27). The Supreme Court arguments over the validity of President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act; ongoing scrutiny of the Trayvon Martin shooting; the Republican primary race and the larger 2012 presidential campaign; the case of the Jet Blue pilot; and soaring gas prices were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
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 Times’ Tom Jones. Jones reports that WQYK assistant program director Mike Pepper says the station is airing Yahoo! Sports’ Tim 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.
Clear Channel Forges into Future of Entertainment; Names John Sykes President of Entertainment Enterprises. If there comes a time in the future when radio companies are forced to address why their business plans failed as technology and media tastes were changing all around them, for Clear Channel it certainly won’t be for lack of trying to use its enormous radio station base from which to move forward. On the heels of last week’s announcement of the name change – jettisoning the “radio” part and tacking “media” and “entertainment” onto its name – the company announces it is bringing entertainment pro John Sykes aboard to serve as president of entertainment enterprises. In announcing the hire, CC states, “Sykes will use the unparalleled assets of Clear Channel – including its 238 million monthly broadcast radio listeners, the 141 million people it reaches with Outdoor in the United States and the 374 million internationally, as well as the more than 75 million monthly listening hours for its digital properties – to develop new businesses for the company across a range of media, including television and live events, as well as create value for Clear Channel advertisers and key partners.” Sykes has served as president of VH1, president of network development for MTV, CEO of the old Infinity Broadcasting, president of Champion Entertainment, president of Chrysalis Records, and an agent for Creative Artists Agency. Most recently he was with the private equity firm Pilot Group – the connection to Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman. Pittman says of Sykes, “John’s experience and relationships in so many sectors of the entertainment and media business make him the perfect choice to lead this new initiative.” Clear Channel doesn’t have a lot of time. It has some $20 billion in debt hanging around its neck that comes due in chunks over the next four years and the pace at which media and technology is changing is faster than anyone can anticipate – including those new-tech operators who say they’re ahead of the game. But, in so many words, Clear Channel is making the statement it is bound and determined to use its large base of radio listeners to build something that will exist – and hopefully make money – in the future. And bringing in connected players from outside the traditional radio business could be the strategy that helps it survive.
CBS Radio Detroit Brings Bob Wojnowski and Jamie Samuelsen Back to the Airwaves on “The Ticket.” Detroit sports media pros Bob “Wojo” Wojnowski and Jamie Samuelsen are being paired up for a 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show on WXYT-FM “The Ticket.” Both have worked on sports talk radio in the market previously on Clear Channel’s WDFN. WXYT-FM program director Jimmy Powers says, “We are extremely pleased to have Jamie and Wojo join our line-up. They are a natural fit. They have been dialed into the Detroit sports scene for many years, giving fans information on their favorite teams. Jamie and Wojo will continue to entertain listeners on their way home from work or to the stadium.” Wojnowski is also currently a columnist for the Detroit News and Samuelson is a regular blogger for the Detroit Free Press.
KMBZ, Kansas City Makes PM Drive Changes. Mike Shanin leaves his role on the “Shanin and Parks” afternoon show at Entercom’s KMBZ, Kansas City and takes the business editor role at the station. The station says it will continue to rely on Shanin’s “expertise and knowledge for political commentary.” Filling his seat alongside Scott Parks is KCTV-TV investigative reporter Dana Wright. She says of her new radio role, “This is really a dream opportunity for me. Journalism is my passion and I look forward to this exciting new step in my career.”
When Radio Was Insanely Fun. Beleaguered by the contemporary world of corporate radio? Pining for the days when radio stations were inhabited by creative and (quite possibly) unstable personalities? Talk radio host, WPIX-TV, New York commentator and LionelMedia.com “podcast titan” Lionel re-lives a bit of crazy radio history from his uniquely skewed perspective and personal experience. Prepare to laugh your tuchus off and click here.
CBS Radio’s WNEW-FM, Washington Launch Delayed. Various trade and consumer reports indicate the launch of CBS Radio’s new all-newser in Washington, DC will be Monday, January 23 and not tomorrow as had been planned. The cause is being reported as engineering issues related to the new studios.
Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington, DC Adds College Hoops Expert. ESPN 980 (WTEM) announces former University of Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams joins the station to serve as its college basketball insider. Williams takes the temporary post through the NCAA finals during which he’ll join the station’s “Sports Fix” with Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro and “The Sports Reporters” with Andy Pollin and Steve Czaban for weekly college basketball reports. PD Chuck Sapienza says, “Adding Gary to our team solidifies our dominance in the area of college basketball coverage. He is ‘must listen-to radio’ and adding his expertise on the entire sport of college hoops is a big win for ESPN 980’s listeners.”
ESPN Audio Re-Aligns Management. At ESPN, Jim Roberts moves from his senior director, affiliate sales to senior director, Deportes local radio group. He’ll continue to lead the Deportes Dallas Radio station and in addition be responsible for the on-going relationship with all Deportes Radio affiliates. Patrick Polking, senior director audio national accounts, will transition to senior director II, distribution and business development. Polking will oversee the development and execution of strategies to further monetize ESPN Audio’s products. The company also says that because of the growth in usage of ESPN Audio properties, Scott Masteller, senior director II, radio content, will collaborate with Dave Austin, who was recently promoted to manager, ESPN Digital Audio Group, to ensure ESPN Audio is aligned in the production of its digital audio.
GOP Primary Race, Internet Anti-Piracy Bills, European Debt Crisis and Italian Cruise Disaster Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/17). The battle to win the GOP presidential primary race, the internet anti-piracy bills being debated in Washington, the continuing European debt problems and the Italian cruise ship disaster were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Drops the “Radio”; Becomes Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. Clear Channel Media Holdings chief executive officer Bob Pittman announces the “radio division” of the company is changing its name to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment to reflect its mission to deliver content via means beyond just terrestrial radio. “Over the last few years, I’ve watched as Clear Channel Radio has pushed beyond the traditional boundaries of radio to reach more Americans every month than any other media company through an unmatched combination of broadcast, satellite, online and mobile assets,” states Pittman. “Under John Hogan’s continued strong leadership, the new Clear Channel Media and Entertainment brand underscores that we are taking our brands and content wherever our listeners expect to find it. And, in the future, as new places emerge where people want to access our powerful brands and content, we’ll be there, too.” At the center of Clear Channel’s initiatives to move beyond radio station transmitters is the iHeartRadio website and app that delivers audio from its O&O radio stations of all formats, offers user-customizable stations plus audio from Cumulus Media, and soon, Greater Media radio stations as well. The company is clearly putting forth the iHeartRadio internet site and mobile and tablet application as its primary weapon in the battle for ears being waged by Pandora, Slacker, Spotify and others. John Hogan states, “Radio is both our history and the foundation upon which we will grow our company moving forward. That will not change. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment represents our evolution as we prove our relationship with our listeners is so much more than just our transmitters and towers. We will continue to serve our increasingly diverse audiences and local communities with the best content – music, news, emergency information, and public service – wherever they expect it, while supporting advertisers, strategic partners, music labels and artists with creative, multi-platform marketing opportunities that reach, activate and engage target audiences like no one else.” It clearly appears that this move on the part of the largest owner/operator of terrestrial radio station licenses crystallizes the reality of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison‘s forecast originally published in 2007 that the entity known as the “radio station” would evolve into something more aptly described as the “media station” — a multi-tiered broadcasting entity the ranks of which are comprised of both licensed and unlicensed outlets operating on the even playing field of the internet. According to Harrison, “Hogan’s statement that ‘radio is both our history and the foundation upon which we will grow our company moving forward’ is quite revealing and says it all… basically that a ‘radio’ station that defines itself as being just that — a ‘radio’ station – is behind the times. An audio-only media brand in this new era is as incomplete as a newspaper without photographs or a motion picture without sound and as limited in its accessibility as the old yellow pages.” Harrison goes on to comment, “Stick owners should beware of this inevitable development. Although strategic use of the internet and digital distribution expands the radio station’s brand and evolves it into the media station, it also serves as a catalyst for non-licensed media stations to share the same space and compete for the same audience while unencumbered by the debt of stick ownership.”
Boston Herald Blasts Entercom Chief David Field’s Memo. This is one of those motivational missives that some will think is right on and others will shake their heads at, but the Boston Herald’s Jessica Heslam pulls no punches in criticizing a memo from Entercom CEO David Field in which he uses his recent African safari vacation as a backdrop and the animal kingdom as a metaphor for the working world. Field writes about the need for all employees – including himself – to bring their “A-game” to work because the tough business world is a survival-of-the-fittest place just like the African savannah he witnessed on his trip. He alludes to American society as pampering us and not always holding us accountable as the wild of Africa does to its inhabitants. He beckons the reader to strive for greatness at every moment of each workday generously stating his belief in everyone’s “untapped potential.” Critics of this memo will point to Field’s elitist use of a transcontinental holiday as the basis of his memo, an unwitting comparison of his employees as animals, the assumption that they are not “giving it their all” in the first place, and that they are quick to blame others for any lack of success. Some might go so far as to point to Field’s naiveté in needing to witness the wild close up to be reminded that life and the business world are both challenging and unforgiving. Still, supporters of Field’s action will state that he’s only trying to point out that harnessing our talents and pushing ourselves to succeed is what makes great companies great, and that whining about tough circumstances will achieve nothing. Heslam’s criticism could also cause managers and employees alike to debate – either internally or out loud – whether this type of motivational memo is truly effective. How do the majority of employees see it? As a thought-provoking pep talk…or an insulting memo from “corporate?” See Heslam’s story and the entire memo here.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to Impact Talk Radio Conversation. Most Federal holidays cause slow-downs in the normal processes of running live radio in the form of fill-in hosts, repeats and a diversion from the serious issues of the day. However, MLK, Jr. Day has a history of doing just the opposite. Although Federal agencies and a number of private business offices close today – it is even more than “business as usual” on the radio talk show airwaves of America as the holiday inspires discussion of a wide variety of compelling issues including civil rights, social justice, race relations and more.
Former New Jersey 101.5 Host Tommy G Launches Internet Show. As a growing number of terrestrial broadcasters who find themselves off the air are doing, former WKXW-FM, Trenton overnight host Tommy G (Tom Gordon) is taking his talk host talents to the internet. Gordon says he wants to cut out the “middleman” and bring his programming straight to the listener digitally. In an exclusive piece for TALKERS magazine, Tommy G explains his mission and how he’s making it happen. Read it here.
Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels Beats OVI Rap. Media executive Randy Michaels pled guilty to driving improperly in a construction zone and the prosecutor agreed to drop the charge of operating a vehicle while impaired after Michaels’ attorney Steve Adams argued successfully that the officer had filled out the citation incorrectly and failed to fix it within the allotted 90-day period. Michaels was charged in October of 2011 after Middletown, Ohio police found his car disabled in a road construction area during a rain storm. The officer recorded that Michaels smelled of alcohol and failed roadside sobriety tests although he declined to take a breathalyzer.
Talk Radio Network Names Dave Nourie National Affiliate Consultant. TRN CEO Mark Masters makes the announcement that Dave Nourie is joining his team to grow Talk Radio Network programs that include Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, Rusty Humphries, Jerry Doyle, Phil Hendrie, Mancow and the America’s Radio News Network news blocks. “We are all very happy to have Dave join the Talk Radio Network family of companies, with the incredible growth of the news network, we needed someone with his skills and expertise to help serve our ever-growing list of affiliated stations.”
KOA, Denver Talk Host Dave Logan Loses High School Football Coaching Job. The former Denver Broncos great and current Broncos radio play-by-play voice and PM drive host on Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver is out of his football coaching gig after independent Catholic high school Mullen High chose to take a different road. It wasn’t for lack of victories or Dave Logan’s popularity with the students and team – in nine years at Mullen, Logan’s teams won four state titles with a record of 110 – 12. School CEO Ryan Clement tells the Denver Post that the issue was Logan’s celebrity combined with the school’s desire to have a full-time staff member serve as coach. Logan worked the gig with no pay. But the Post reports Clement said Logan “had become the face of the school and that’s not what the new administration wanted, especially from someone who didn’t work at the school full time.” Some students protested the firing and the paper notes Logan may surface to coach somewhere else as other schools are already seeking to talk to him about coaching.
Newsman Kevin Patrick Leaves Chicago for Washington, DC. Chicago Radio and Media is reporting that Kevin Patrick is leaving Merlin Media’s WIQI-FM, Chicago – FM News 101.1 – to take a position with CBS Radio’s new all-news outlet WNEW-FM, Washington. Though the move hasn’t been officially announced by either CBS or Merlin, the site reports WIQI-FM overnight anchor Mike Wilson will move onto the daytime schedule to fill Patrick’s role. It’s unclear exactly what Patrick’s new position at WNEW-FM will be.
Arizona Broadcasters Hold Two-Hour Tribute to Bill Heywood. A little more than two weeks after Phoenix-market radio legend Bill Heywood and his wife Susan took their lives in a Scottsdale hotel room, numerous Arizona broadcasters who knew and worked with Heywood took part in a two-hour tribute broadcast to him on Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix. Hosts and jocks taking part in the Friday afternoon broadcast included: Pat McMahon, Preston Westmoreland, Bruce Kelly, Tim Hattrick, Jeff Scott and Michael Dixon. Susan Heywood had been ill for some time and friends say the couple had been beset by financial troubles. A memorial service was held on Saturday for Heywood and his wife.
Dial Global Co-CEOs New Employment Contracts Revealed. The three co-CEOs of Dial Global have signed four-year employment contracts with the now publicly traded company that pay each a base salary of $600,000 per year. Spencer Brown, David Landau and Kenneth Williams will each get a bonus of $250,000 for this year with future discretionary bonuses based on half their annual salaries. In addition, each is entitled to two years salary if he leaves the company. There are other components such as $15,000 each for an annual country club allowance and a $1,250 per month parking allowance.
Dial Global’s Stephanie Miller to Publish New Book in 2013; Comedy Album Tops iTunes Download Chart. Progressive talk host Stephanie Miller has a deal with Grand Central Publishing – a division of Hachette Book Group – to publish a book titled Sexy Liberal! to hit stores in 2013. In a release from syndicator Dial Global, the book is described as follows: “Mixing the personal and the political, she takes on the politicians, the media, and the issues, with her own unique blend of fearless humor and optimism.” Concurrent with the book announcement, iTunes reports Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour, Volume 1 is the #1-selling comedy album in the iTunes store. The album features comedy bits from Miller’s live stage show of the same name with comedians John Fugelsang, Hal Sparks and Miller herself. WYD Media Management president Ron Hartenbaum says, “Today’s audience response shows how powerful and impactful marketing on radio can be. We have a vibrant medium, we have an effective medium and we all need to remind advertisers how effective radio is in moving product.” Hartenbaum notes it was announced the album was for sale on Friday, December 16 at 10:00 am and by 10:45 it had reached the #1 spot.
Clear Channel Names Steven Cutler to VP/Corporate Strategy Post. The newly created position is created by CC Media Holdings CEO Bob Pittman as he brings Steven Cutler into the company fold to “execute key initiatives and strategies as determined by the CEO and operating division leadership.” Cutler worked with Pittman at the private investment firm Pilot Group. He has worked in the investment banking industry and also has worked as a financial analyst.
Dave Ramsey Rewards Listeners in “Giving Challenge.” Nationally syndicated financial talk host Dave Ramsey rewards three listeners with $5,000 each for charity work inspired by his Giving Challenge. In early November, Ramsey encouraged listeners to “give like no one else” during the holidays, resulting in some 7,500 stories of how listeners had given of their time and money throughout the year and especially as the holidays approached. Ramsey calculates more than $9 million and some 68,000 hours were donated by listeners reporting their charity work. He then surprised three of the winners of The Giving Challenge with cash rewards of $5,000. Those recognized were: Rayme Dorsey of Champaign, Illinois who organizes an annual golf tournament benefiting Crisis Nursery in honor of her best friend killed in a car accident two years ago at Christmas. Crisis Nursery is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and neglect; JV Cotterell of Durham, North Carolina. Cotterell founded Triangle Special Hockey to eliminate barriers that keep special needs kids from getting involved in hockey; and Alisha Ballinger of Knoxville, Tennessee. Ballinger works for Knoxville Inner-City Kids Outreach which provides after school programs and service projects for inner city children ages K through 12.
Three New Talk Programs Debut on CRN Digital Talk Radio. Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio announces the debut of “The Pet Project” program hosted by well-known Los Angeles radio personality Tammy Trujillo; the current events-themed Mark Larson show and the Christian-themed Janet Mefferd show. CRN describes Trujillo’s new weekly program stating the “award-winning newscaster and pet lover will talk with experts about the latest news on pet products, pet adoption, medical issues and much more about the amazing world of pets.” Larson’s program will air daily from 6:00 am to 9:00 am and Mefferd’s show airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm daily.
Payroll Tax Cut Battle/Congress Adjourns, Iowa Caucuses and Post-Kim Jong Il North Korea Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/21). The congressional impasse over extending the payrolls tax cut, the coming Iowa caucuses in the GOP race for president in 2012 and the implications of the death of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
“Johnny B” Takes Over Mornings on WGN. Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago announces Chicago radio legend Jonathon Brandmeier replaces Greg Jarrett as host of the morning drive program effective December 9. WGN vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “Jonathon Brandmeier is a Chicago superstar and we’re thrilled to have him on the air at the station where he belongs. Johnny’s high energy, humor and unique Chicago experience make him an exceptional fit as ‘The Voice of Chicago’ evolves with another generation of listeners.” Brandmeier had a successful 14-year career at WLUP-AM/FM but in 1997 the station made a change and he worked at WCKG-FM, Chicago before moving to Los Angeles to host programs at KLSX-FM and KCBS-FM. He returned to WLUP-FM to host mornings from 2005 through 2009. He’s also hosted various television projects and recorded numerous music/comedy projects. The change in mornings at WGN and the ousting of Jarrett represents another move away from the programming brought to the station under the leadership of former Tribune CEO Randy Michaels and the PD he brought to WGN, Kevin Metheny. Jarrett moved to WGN in June of 2009 after spending more than eight years at KGO, San Francisco in the news department. WGN notes changes in the news department includes news anchor Steve Bertrand moving to mornings with Brandmeier and Jim Gudas shifting to middays/afternoons. While Chicagoans may welcome the return of Johnny B to the radio, some will be upset with the replacement of husband-and-wife team Steve King and Johnnie Putman in the 12:00 midnight to 5:30 am slot with Bill Leff. King has been with WGN for more than 25 years and Johnnie almost as long.
Clear Channel and Cumulus Partner Up for Two-Pronged Deal. The New York Times is reporting that Clear Channel and Cumulus – the two largest radio operators in America – have struck a deal that will give Cumulus spots for its SweetJack daily-deals program on Clear Channel radio stations and that will put Cumulus radio stations on CC’s iHeartRadio platform. Cumulus has SweetJack operating in 16 markets with plans to expand. Recently, Clear Channel struck a deal to work with daily-deals operator LivingSocial. Under the terms of the deal, all 570 Cumulus stations in 120 markets will be available on the iHeartRadio platform. Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman is quoted saying the deal provides “one more data point that proves radio is not a laggard, that we do see the future, and that we’re moving toward it in a smart and fast way.” SweetJack was created by Cumulus in April and has local market salespeople working in all 16 markets. Cumulus reports it has approximately 1 million users at this time. Clear Channel and Cumulus have a revenue-sharing deal for SweetJack. Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey says of the service, “SweetJack is our exciting new social commerce platform. It’s a break-through brand in a sea of sameness that’s fueled by the power of radio to connect local merchants with consumers. This agreement with Clear Channel enables us to scale SweetJack into a true nationwide platform which we believe is essential to competing successfully in this rapidly growing space.”
KGO, San Francisco Update: Peter Finch and Doug McIntyre in for Nights. In the wake of last week’s blockbuster news of the dismissal of four of its longtime talk hosts for a more news-intensive program schedule comes the news that former KFOG-FM, San Francisco morning host Peter Finch is the new 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm news anchor and Doug McIntyre’s “Red Eye Radio” is in for the 12:00 midnight to 4:00 am slot. McIntyre’s show is a Cumulus Media Networks production and costs the station nothing – in fact, it gives the company a nice San Francisco affiliate.
Kevin Straley Joins TuneIn as VP of Programming. The former XM Satellite Radio and WRKO, Boston programmer becomes vice president of programming for the free service that allows users to listen to music, sports and news from around the world. Kevin Straley – who most recently was founder and president of KMS Media Partners – will work with audio content distributors to optimize their digital strategies. TuneIn CEO John Donham states, “We’re thrilled to welcome Kevin Straley to the TuneIn executive team. His track record of building strategic relationships and working with audio partners in innovative ways will help us take the company to the next level.” TuneIn describes itself as a service that “offers over 50,000 AM, FM, HD and internet radio stations and more than one million on-demand shows and programs streaming from every continent. The company’s mobile applications are highly ranked worldwide. TuneIn is available in 10 languages across all major smart phones and tablets, connected home stereos, smart TVs, connected automobiles and online at tunein.com. Straley says, “Now, more than ever, audio content creators are looking for complimentary platforms to deliver their content to the growing audience that embraces digital…TuneIn is a powerful way to drive new listening and new opportunities for everyone.”
New Host for KLAC’s “Dodger Talk” Program Expected. The Los Angeles Daily News reports Josh Suchon and Joe Block will not be retained to host the “Dodger Talk” post-game show as the Dodgers transition to Clear Channel’s KLAC, Los Angeles this season. The Daily News’ Tom Hoffarth reports former big league manager Kevin Kennedy is likely to be the new host of the show for the 2012 season. Kennedy is a Fox Sports baseball analyst.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Launches “Holiday Giving Campaign.” The 60-year-old foundation that provides aid to broadcasters and their families in need, is kicking off its “Holiday Giving Campaign” encouraging donations and memberships at this time of year. BFoA chairman Phil Lombardo says, “The sole purpose of the Broadcasters Foundation is to provide financial relief to broadcasters in need. Through the generous support of individuals and corporations in our industry, we can maintain the ability to help colleagues whose lives have been devastated by unthinkable circumstances. I ask every broadcaster to consider making a donation or becoming a member.” This year the foundation will grant more than $675,000 in assistance – an increase of 35% over last year with more requests arriving daily. Current recipients include the family of a 20-year broadcast veteran who died of a sudden massive stroke, leaving two children and a wife who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis; an elderly couple who have outlived their savings and are saddled with enormous medical costs; and a man who in the prime of his life and at the peak of his career became paralyzed by a tragic accident that has left him confined to a wheel chair. To make a donation, please visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org, or call 212-373-8250.
Bob Pittman Named CEO of Clear Channel Media Holdings. Acting on the faith it has in Bob Pittman to take Clear Channel into the future, the company’s board of directors announces it is naming him chief executive officer of CC Media Holdings which includes Clear Channel Radio and Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings. He came aboard last November as an investor and chairman of media and entertainment platforms. Pittman’s career includes his visionary work as co-founder of the MTV Network, CEO of AOL Networks, Six Flags Theme Parks, Quantum Media, Century 21 Real Estate, and Time Warner Enterprises. In his new role he’ll join the board of directors of CC Media Holdings, Inc. and Clear Channel Communications, Inc. In addition, he will join the board of directors of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc., as its executive chairman. Bain Capital managing director John Connaughton says, “I’m thrilled we were able recruit Bob into the CEO role at Clear Channel. He is the perfect fit to lead this incredibly powerful media platform. He embraces creativity and has given employees the motivation and freedom to innovate, take risks and succeed. He thinks big, is not afraid of change and is intensely focused on driving new businesses, expanding our creative talent and maximizing the full value of Clear Channel’s extraordinary assets, ideas and people.”
NPR Announces Gary Knell CEO. He doesn’t start until December 1 but the chief of Sesame Workshop will take over the CEO post at NPR left vacant after the spring firing of former CEO Vivian Schiller. Knell’s experience in politics (working in both the California legislature and in Washington, DC as counsel) and in broadcasting make him an appealing candidate to take NPR past the controversy that has dogged it recently. NPR board chairman Dave Edwards calls Knell, “an extraordinary leader with extensive experience in public media, programming and education.” Knell tells NPR’s David Folkenflick he intends to depoliticize the company. “It’s not about liberal or conservative — it’s about fairness. We’ve got to make the case we’re delivering a fair service, not only in the way we do our jobs, but in the way we disseminate the news.”
AURN Cancels the Bev Smith Show. American Urban Radio Networks announces the Bev Smith show will cease being offered by the network after October 28. It was reported recently that Smith would wrap up production of her show due in part to illness but Smith denies that, telling the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the cancellation is “about being a certain age and gender.” AURN president of program operations and affiliations Jerry Lopes tells the Post-Gazette that the audience for Smith’s show made it difficult to sell due to it being much older than the 25-54 demographic. “Her audience numbers were, frankly, skewing a lot older than that, which made the show less attractive to advertisers. We were forced to make some changes, and her show, unfortunately, was one of the casualties.” Smith says she is working on getting another company to support her show so it can continue. She says, “I’m the town crier. I’m the voice of people who never get a chance to express their voice. I believe in this show.”
Entercom Buffalo Names Allan Davis Program Director. Davis becomes program director at Entercom’s sports WGR, Buffalo. Davis most recently served as programmer for Genesis Communications’ stations in Tampa. He has programmed sports talk at KCSP, Kansas City; KFXX, Portland; CJCL, Toronto and more.
Katerina Perez Named Market Manager for CC Norfolk. Clear Channel announces Katerina Perez moves from her post as vice president and market manager at the company’s Melbourne, Florida cluster to the market manager position at its Norfolk, Virginia cluster.
Ian Punnett Writes Children’s Book for Halloween. Multifaceted talk show host Ian Punnett is known as somewhat of a renaissance man, between co-hosting a daily morning show in the Twin Cities with his wife of 27 years, Marge, on Hubbard Radio’s myTalk107.1FM, serving as the regular Saturday night host of Premiere Networks’ Coast to Coast AM, in addition to being the associate producer for two HD-DVD commercial productions of Minnesota Opera, an ordained pastor, a father of two sons, and a loving owner to a very peculiar dog that dreams of catching squirrels. Punnett has now immortalized his Boston Terrier, Jack, (adopted from a local rescue) in a children’s book specifically designed for the coming Halloween holiday and what he describes as today’s “edgier” young readers. Written with a “note of menace,” the book is titled, Jackula the Vampire Dog. Punnett is donating all profits generated by the sale of the book in support of children’s and animal charities nationwide. Published by Beaver’s Pond Press, the hardcover book is available for $16.95 at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell’s Books, Booktopia, and local boutique book stores. Punnett tells TALKERS, “It’s important to me to do creative work for a greater purpose. Children’s books can make kids laugh, bring families together and raise money at the same time.” No stranger to things that go bump in the night, Jackula is the story of a little girl suffering from bad dreams who takes comfort in a stray dog that watches over her while she sleeps. But the dog has a secret – a secret that’s good news for lonely little girls and bad news for the neighborhood squirrels. The book’s dark humor has earned Punnett the honor of being called “Shel Silverstein-esque.”
KGO, San Francisco Raises $200,000-Plus for Bay Area Food Banks. During a 14-hour broadcast on September 16, KGO and its listeners helped raise more than $200,000 for the Bay Area Food Banks. The KGO Fights Hunger Day Radio-thon consisted of special programming about the realities of hunger from both the KGO air staff and directly from families in the area affected by the struggle to provide healthy food even though they are employed. KGO operations director Jack Swanson says, “I am so proud of what our listeners and staff were able to accomplish in just 14 hours. This was an eye-opening experience for all of us and we all now know how much these vital services are needed in our community.” As part of the programming, KGO personalities Jennifer Jones Lee, Ronn Owens, Gil Gross kept the focus on hunger throughout the day and KGO reporters Jeffrey Schaub and Rob Artigo aired interviews and poignant profiles of food bank clients from all walks of life.
31 Survivors in 31 Days. That’s what KFBK, Sacramento morning news anchor Amy Lewis and the station are calling the breast cancer awareness campaign they are airing this month. In conjunction with the local Albie Carson Breast Cancer Foundation, Lewis is airing her interviews with 31 breast cancer survivors – one on each day this month – during morning and afternoon news. Lewis states, “Many of my friends and family are survivors of breast cancer. It was my goal to interview 31 survivors for the 31 days of October to remind people who are currently fighting it that they are not alone. No matter how long and difficult the battle might be, they’re not fighting it by themselves. Because, to fight the battle against breast cancer, to help in the research, and to someday find a cure, we have to fight it – together.”
WGN, Chicago Engineer Ed Wilk Passes Away. Longtime WGN, Chicago engineer Ed Wilk passed away last week. WGN general manager Tom Langmyer posted the following statement on his Facebook page over the weekend: “Ed was an incredible broadcast engineer and a tremendous man. He was positive, resourceful, dedicated and a man of great character & integrity. Ed worked at WGN for more than 30 years. He was a WGN family member who will be sorely missed. Condolences to Adrienne, the rest of his family and many friends.”