Ebola Dominates Talk Radio as Matter Is Top-of-Mind with Public. The issues surrounding the outbreak of Ebola in Africa and its spread to other nations including the U.S., make it the ongoing top story being discussed on talk radio. The different aspects of the issue – the political, the medical, the immigration-related and the economic – are making it an ongoing topic worth examining from different angles. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington presented a panel discussion about the issue at Washington’s Newseum on Monday (10/20). Pictured here at the Newseum’s Knight Studio are (from left to right): Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene for the state of Maryland; Dr. Jesse Goodman, professor of medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center (who is also former chief scientist for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration); Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institutes for Health; Bruce Alan, WTOP midday anchor and Debra Feinstein, WTOP midday anchor. The live event, carried on WTOP, featured the medical experts answering audience questions about the virus, the outbreak and response in the United States. It was attended by more than 100 guests including healthcare workers and media representatives from CNN, BBC, C-SPAN, Associated Press, U.S. News and World Report, WJLA, WUSA 9, NBC Washington, FOX 5, and more.
KTTH, Seattle Sells Out Gun Rights Debate. This is the third panel discussion Bonneville Seattle news/talk KTTH will host in the “Freedom Series.” It takes place tomorrow (10/22) at Pigott Auditorium at Seattle University from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm and the event is sold out. The panel is being moderated by KTTH host David Boze. Also taking part from the station are KTTH pm drive host and New York Times bestselling author Ben Shapiro and Salem Radio Network-syndicated host Michael Medved. Dave Ross, heard on sister news/talker KIRO-FM, is also taking part. Representing Washington Ceasefire is president and activist Ralph Fascitelli. KTTH program director Jason Antebi states, “There is a conflict between honoring the Second Amendment rights of Washingtonians and tackling the issue of needless gun violence. Without examining both sides of the issue, I’m not sure we can find any solutions. It’s my hope that this panel can provide us all with meaningful information and find common ground among folks on either side of this issue.”
ABC News Radio, Fox News Radio Set Midterm Election Coverage. Two weeks from tonight (Tuesday, 11/4), Aaron Katersky will anchor ABC News Radio‘s 7:00 pm – 2:00 am (ET) midterm election coverage. Alex Stone is among the network’s team of more than a dozen correspondents – he will be in California; Steven Portnoy will report from Kentucky; and Jim Ryan will report from Dallas. Special contributor Ann Compton joins the coverage from Washington, while Richard Davies will be stationed at the network’s “Decision Desk.” ABC News Radio will provide one-minute Election Day “Status Reports.” It will continue doing so four times an hour for seven hours, starting at 7:00 pm (ET), on (Wednesday) November 5. Meanwhile, Fox News Radio will air an hour-long Dave Anthony-hosted “Balance of Power” weekend special before Election Day. The FNR morning anchor will take a final look at various key races around the country. Fox News Radio’s Lisa Brady and Fox News Channel‘s Kelly Wright are slated to co-anchor election night coverage (6:00 pm – 2:00 am, ET), with additional contributions provided by FNR political analyst Jeff Birnbaum and FNC’s Molly Henneberg. FNR correspondents will report from various election headquarters. FNC’s Eric Shawn and Julie Banderas co-host a two-hour “Morning after Election” on Wednesday, November 5.
LDR Interactive’s TopicPulse Partners with E.W. Scripps TV and WTOP, Washington. The real-time social media monitoring system TopicPulse is now being used by E.W. Scripps Television and Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington. LDR Interactive says that its TopicPulse system “scans social media including Twitter and Facebook, local message boards, and news sources to track trending topics in a local market.” Additionally, producers can access trending videos and images, and see which primary demo (gender and age group) is most inclined to engage with the topic on social media. TopicPulse also features a Tweetmap that showcases the market’s most popular tweets and hashtags on a local map, enabling producers to create hyper-local content based on up-to-the-minute social trends. LDR reports that E.W. Scripps Television is using TopicPulse to fuel a nationally syndicated show called “The Now,” which uniquely focuses on trending topics and social buzz in each local market. With WTOP, TopicPulse is being used to track social media engagement within the beltway. Hubbard Washington SVP and GM Joel Oxley says, “TopicPulse has been a difference maker and a smart addition to our newsroom toolkit. The more information we have to track what our audience is interested in, the greater the opportunity is to better serve their needs, and TopicPulse helps us get there.” LDR CEO Daniel Anstandig says, “We’ve been quietly deploying TopicPulse in major markets across the US this year. Whether you are creating content for a national TV show or a local market radio morning show, TopicPulse provides the real-time insights that on-air talent and producers need in an instant. It’s a secret weapon for content producers.”
WYD Media Ad Sales Partners with Spreaker. This partnership puts together WYD Media Ad Sales LLC and Spreaker, “an international digital company that provides a diverse community of broadcasters, musicians and producers a platform where they can listen to original content and/or upload their own content and seamlessly distribute it on www.Spreaker.com.” WYD Media Ad Sales president John Murphy says, “Spreaker’s technology is exceptional because it allows broadcast capabilities and sharing of all entertainment genres in both spoken-word and music. This is a great opportunity for our advertising clients because we can actually create and distribute content specifically for them in any format imaginable.” Spreaker CEO Francesco Baschieri comments, “I’m excited to see yet another piece of our vision fall into place. We’re contributing to a new type of media with Spreaker as the internet’s new home for spoken-word content. Thanks to this collaboration with WYD Media Ad Sales, we’ll be able to give our hosts a way to build on their talent and monetize. Anyone who thinks they can step up to this game is welcome to join.” WYD CEO Ron Hartenbaum adds, “The platform is an organic community of people who really want to be there and are actively participating. I’m excited about tapping into that marketplace by creating and aggregating cohesive content with Francesco and our clients.”
Odds & Sods. Longtime Twin Falls, Idaho radio personality Kelly Klaas is retiring after a 45-year career that started on top 40 station KEEP (now KEZJ-AM). Klaas has been hosting a talk show on Townsquare Media’s news/talk KLIX since 2007…..James Crystal Radio’s sports talk WMEN, West Palm Beach “640 Sports” names Steve White afternoon drive host. White replaces Orlando Alzugaray who exited in August to join WQAM, Miami.
Cool Job Opportunity. KARN-FM, Little Rock and the Arkansas Radio Network are looking for the next great news anchor/producer to join Arkansas’ largest radio newsroom! You have to be a great news writer and multi-tasker, because you’ll be anchoring newscasts on “Newsradio 102.9” KARN and the Arkansas Radio Network. You’ll also contribute to our live morning and/or afternoon drive talk shows. Must be able to work nights and weekends. Please send resumes, broadcast writing samples and airchecks to: email@example.com with “Little Rock News” in the subject line. Cumulus Media Little Rock maintains a drug-free workplace and is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer. Women and minorities are strongly encouraged to apply.
‘The Beast 980’ to Open Los Angeles Clippers Season with Special Broadcast. When the 2014-15 NBA season kicks off and the Los Angeles Clippers host their home opener, KFWB “The Beast 980” is celebrating the event with a special, live broadcast featuring Jim Rome and Fred Roggin outside Staples Center on Thursday, October 30 from 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm. The station says its exclusive Clippers insider coverage kicks off with the Fred Roggin show from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm followed by “The Drive,” with Brett Winterble and former NFL tight end George Wrighster from 3:00 pm to 6:30 pm. Rome, who will broadcast his CBS Sports Radio Network-syndicated show earlier in the day from Orange County, makes his way up to Staples Center for a special appearance as co-host from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm.
Ebola Pandemic Threat, Mid-Term Elections, Campaign Against ISIS, Pistorius Sentenced, New Green Cards Plan/Amnesty Policy, Monica Lewinsky Speech, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/20). The ongoing threat of a global Ebola pandemic and the Obama Administration’s handling of the crisis; the looming mid-term elections and the potential for a majority shift in the Senate; the political landscape in the Middle East with ISIS gaining more power in Iraq; former Paralympics sprinter Oscar Pistorius sentenced; a reported plan by the Obama Administration to issue new immigrant workers green cards and the possibility of a new amnesty policy; reaction to Monica Lewinsky’s recent speech blaming the Drudge Report for her public reputation; and the weekend’s NFL action were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WYD Media Ad Sales Debuts. The New York-based sales venture being launched by WYD Media Management is called WYD Media Ad Sales, LLC and former Westwood One EVP of talk sales John Murphy takes the helm as president. WYD CEO Ron Hartenbaum announces the company will focus on personality-created spoken word content that’s distributed across multiple platforms such as audio, digital, video and more. He adds, “Based on his 30-year track record of success in national radio ad sales, specifically in the spoken word format, John is the ideal sales and marketing executive to build WYD Media Ad Sales.” Murphy, who spent more than a decade with Westwood One, comments, “This is the best time to start a new venture that focuses on monetizing spoken word content as the format expands across numerous distribution platforms. I look forward to working with WYD’s existing clients as well as creating new partnerships and content opportunities.” During his career Murphy has repped such talent as: Charles Osgood, Laura Ingraham, Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Clark Howard, Herman Cain, Mark Levin, Dennis Miller, John Gibson, John Tesh, Brian Kilmeade, Thom Hartmann, Lars Larson, Neal Boortz and more.
Ginny Morris Transitions to CEO of Hubbard Radio; Bruce Reese to Special Advisor Role. Since 1996, Bruce Reese had been serving Bonneville as president and CEO prior to the acquisition of the Bonneville stations by Hubbard in 2011. He kept his president and CEO role and joined Hubbard. Ginny Morris has been chair of the Hubbard board since 2011. Now, Reese will step back into a special advisor role and Morris will become chief executive officer. The company states that Reese has been “instrumental in the transition when the 17 Bonneville radio stations across four markets (Washington, D.C., Chicago, St. Louis and Cincinnati) were purchased by Hubbard Radio. The acquisition also meant the addition of 547 Bonneville employees.” Morris says, “Working with Bruce over these last three-and-a-half years on the integration, first on the Bonneville assets and subsequently those we bought from Sandusky and merged into a new Hubbard Radio, has been a great experience. Bruce is smart and strategic and he shares many of the values that our family holds dear — a commitment to localism, honesty and integrity. He has helped to establish a great foundation for the company and we are grateful to still have the benefit of his wise counsel.” Reese comments, “Over the last two decades, I’ve had the opportunity to run two great radio companies. After Bonneville was brought into Hubbard Radio, we all worked to preserve the values and spirit of both organizations while creating one corporate identity and culture. The success of the transition has exceeded my hopes, and I am grateful for the trust shown to me by Ginny and the entire Hubbard Radio family. Our company is performing well, and the time is right for Ginny to step into this role. I look forward to continuing to work with the Hubbard team in an advisory capacity while eagerly looking forward to the next chapter in my life.”
O&A Fans in ‘Watch and Wait’ Mode After Anthony Cumia’s July 3 Firing. Fans of the Opie & Anthony show on SiriusXM are waiting to see if co-host Gregg “Opie” Hughes continues the show without longtime partner Anthony Cumia after Cumia was fired from the satcaster on Friday, July 4. By now you’ve probably heard about Cumia’s vulgar rant about his confrontation with an African American woman in Times Square who was reportedly upset she was in his camera’s field of view as he took photos on the street. An altercation took place during which Cumia says the woman began punching him. Police were not called to the scene. Cumia took to Twitter to talk about the incident and used foul language while making the woman’s race part of the issue. After being fired, he Tweeted that SiriusXM “decided to cave” and fired him for something that didn’t happen on air and wasn’t illegal. TALKERS is not aware of the content of Cumia’s contract with SiriusXM but it appears the satcaster was within its rights to terminate him. He’s neither the first nor will he be the last radio personality to lose his gig after a Twitter rant. The advice seems obvious: Your employer will ultimately see what you do in the digital world; consider how the company would view your actions before posting.
Ethan Bearman Produces and Performs One-Hour Independence Day Special on WPHT, Philadelphia. Rising talk star Ethan Bearman, who is regularly heard weekends on Cumulus O&O KSFO, San Francisco and nationally on Genesis Communications Network (GCN), has expanded his broadcasting footprint to include CBS O&O WPHT, Philadelphia. Bearman was smartly recruited by WPHT, PD Jared Hart to do a live hour of Independence Day content last Friday between 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm ET on Philly’s 50k flamethrower and reports from the TALKERS monitoring corps indicate that it was a provocative, informative and powerful hour of spoken word radio. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Bearman analyzed the historical, cultural and political fabric of the American institution of the 4th of July in a meticulous and precise manner that had a number of ‘aha!’ moments. He took intelligent calls and made a number of really relevant points that left the audience thinking. I especially like the way he compared the leaders of that period – those folks we call the ‘Founding Fathers’ – to today’s crop of politicians asking the question, “Are there any political leaders today who would sign a document supporting an issue and campaign in which they believed at the significant risk of their lives?” Bearman was part of a larger WPHT July 4th salute in which station morning and midday hosts Chris Stigall and Dom Giordano broadcasted their shows from the Independence Hall Visitors Center.
Jason Lewis to End GCN Syndication Run. As tipped by “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman, nationally syndicated talk show host Jason Lewis will cease his syndication efforts with Genesis Communications Network effective August 1. Lewis first ventured into syndication from his Twin Cities home base several years ago with Premiere Networks. After his relationship with Premiere Networks ended, he joined GCN for national syndication three years ago. There’s no indication whether Lewis will leave flagship station KTLK, Minneapolis at that time.
Brad and Britt Debut Podcast Today from Branded Studio. Following up on last week’s report about the new podcast project being produced by talk radio personalities Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire, the two inform TALKERS that when they begin their podcast show – available for download by 3:00 pm ET today – they will be doing so from their sponsored studio: The Brad and Britt Tarheeldentist.com Studio. In a piece about the duo’s exit from WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte in the Greensboro News & Record, Krantz says they believe that money is starting to flow in the direction of audio on demand and are excited about the new venture.
Alpha Media Promotes Portland Cluster Marketing Pro Randi P’Pool to Corporate Position. This promotion for Portland market director of marketing Randi P’Pool comes shortly after the completed merger of Alpha Broadcasting, L&L Broadcasting and Main Line Broadcasting. P’Pool’s new title is corporate VP of marketing and promotions. Alpha Media president/CEO Bob Proffitt states, “I’m very happy Randi has accepted this position, as she has proven to be an invaluable asset to our Portland cluster and now will be true resource to the Alpha Media markets. She is creative, intelligent, and relentless – perfect qualifications for a corporate VP of marketing and promotions.” P’Pool comments, “I owe much gratitude to Bob Proffitt, Scott Mahalick and Larry Wilson for giving me the opportunity to be part of this exciting journey not only in radio but within our company. I look forward to continuing to grow and promote the live and local brand across all of our markets.” Prior to joining Alpha Broadcasting three years ago, P’Pool served with Citadel Broadcasting in the Salt Lake City market.
AdLarge Ups Tom Fleming. Adding more duties at AdLarge Media is Tom Fleming who is promoted to vice president, Midwest sales and sports sales. In this expanded role, Fleming will be responsible for the AdLarge repertoire of live, play-by-play NFL and NCAA football offerings, Yahoo Sports Radio, and all Midwest sales, including the Detroit office. Fleming had been serving as vice president, Midwest sales since joining AdLarge in October, 2013.
Pascagoula, Mississippi Radio Personality Walter Thornton Dead at 53. The Pascagoula-Moss Point community is mourning the death of local morning radio host and sportscaster Walter Thornton, who died over the holiday weekend of an apparent heart attack. The SunHerald reports the 53-year-old broadcaster was a standout high school athlete who remained involved in the local sports scene and became a sports talk host covering the prep scene in the area. Most recently he hosted the morning show and sports talk programs at Tri City Radio-owned WPMO, Pascagoula-Moss Point and sister station WVGG, Lucedale.
Will It Be “Governor Freeman?” Probably not, as “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman admits he’d have trouble “governing” anyone even if he beat the odds and is elected. But the co-host of the New Hampshire-based, GCN nationally syndicated show says his goal with the campaign is two-fold: “First, to needle the current governor, Maggie Hassan, on her refusal to decriminalize or legalize cannabis in NH, while admitting she smoked it in college; second, to promote the idea of NH declaring independence from the United States.” Freeman says he’s available for interviews from interested broadcasters about these issues. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Freeman is pictured here at far right while broadcasting from the recent Porcfest 2014 – the yearly camping gathering of libertarians that drew over 1,500 attendees, many of them FTL listeners. Also pictured are (from left to right) Free Talk Live’s Mark Edge, Nick Gillespie of Reason.com, and Jeffrey Tucker of Liberty.me.
Reaching Out to His Peeps. KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller rouses the crowd at the 48th annual Treasure Valley God and Country Festival. Miller tells TALKERS he was honored to fire up the crowd of some 9,000 that attended the festival to honors “faith and the military in Idaho.”
Cool Job Opportunity. Station Group in Little Rock Arkansas is looking to hire a General Manger to oversee all station operations for news/talk and sports talk. Sales acumen and experience in news and sports talk field a plus. Contact Steve Renfro at 479-287-4211 or by email at email@example.com.
XtreMEDIA Debuts News Package. This short-form news package is titled, “The News That Makes You Think,” and is the fourth broadcast venture from entrepreneur Kevin McCullough. The XtreMEDIA chief hosts nationally syndicated daily shows as well as a WMCA, New York program. He says the new feature is designed for morning drive and middays on affiliate stations. “The content is designed to offer a substantive look at national, political, and human interest stories. But every newscast will also provide information important to families and people of faith. And at the end of the day it’s about telling great stories!” The venture will launch June 2 on WMCA during morning drive. The product is a combined venture of XtreMEDIA Broadcasts and TheBingeThinker.com. McCullough adds, “We expect this to take off quickly. We’ve had requests from stations taking our other shows asking for it for a while but it has been configuring logistics that has slowed the roll out.” For information and market availability, reach out to Kevin McCullough at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rob Dibble Comes Home to Connecticut for PM Drive at WUCS, Hartford. Former MLB star Rob Dibble is taking over the afternoon drive show on Clear Channel’s sports talk WUCS, Hartford “97.9 ESPN” as host of “The Rob Dibble Show with Paul Nanos.” The 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program will be simulcast on Clear Channel’s WAVZ, New Haven “ESPN 1300.” Dibble – son of award-winning Connecticut radio newsman Walt Dibble – has worked in broadcasting since retiring from baseball in 1996. He most recently worked for Fox Sports Radio Network. He’s also done stints as ESPN, Fox Sports TV and SiriusXM. Dibble comments, “After years of being in the broadcast industry and working around the country, it was always my dream to follow in my father’s footsteps and broadcast out of the great state where I was born. Connecticut has the most passionate sports fans anywhere and I’m lucky to be a part of it with ’97.9 ESPN’ and ‘ESPN 1300!’”
Seattle Talk Media Personality Ken Schram Dead at 66. Longtime KOMO, Seattle personality Ken Schram died at age 66 after a long illness. Schram worked for 35 years at KOMO-AM, Seattle before exiting the station in 2012. He had been handling fill-in duties with Bonneville’s KIRO-FM prior to being hospitalized last fall after suffering kidney failure. During his Seattle career, Schram also worked at KOMO-TV. During his time with KOMO-AM, he co-hosted the left-right “The Commentators” program taking the progressive stance against conservative foil John Carlson.
WOLB, Baltimore Hosts Gubernatorial Debate. Next Thursday morning, Radio One Baltimore’s news/talk WOLB will host a gubernatorial debate on the “Larry Young Morning Show.” Host Larry Young will moderate the debate in which candidates Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Del. Heather Mizeur, and Attorney Gen. Doug Gansler will take part. The debate will air live from 8:00 am to 9:30 am. The debate will be simulcast on the company’s gospel WWIN “Spirit 1400” and sister news/talk WOL, Washington.
Bill to Give Children Access to Ailing Parents Moves Forward. It’s not named after radio legend Casey Kasem, but bill number AB 2034 certainly was the result of work between California Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Kasem’s daughter Kerri. Broadcasters are aware of the problems Kasem’s children have faced trying to see their father who is struggling with a form of dementia called Lewy Body Disease. Jean Kasem has refused to allow visits from Kasem’s children from his first marriage. Bill AB 2032 passed the Assembly on a 70-0 vote. The bill seeks to protect children from being denied access to a parent by a parent’s future spouse or child. Assemblyman Gatto says, “Conflict among family members is the last thing our loved ones want to see as they approach their final hours. I hope this bill will help decrease the heartache and stress of families already facing difficult circumstances…The law must do more to keep up with the changing norms of modern families. AB 2034 brings the law into the 21st century and allows family members to focus on caring for their loved ones.”
WestwoodOne’s ‘First Light’ Celebrates 25 Years. The early morning news magazine “First Light” with Dirk Van is celebrating its 25th anniversary on Monday, June 2. Van, host of the show since its debut in 1989, says, “What an honor to be on the air for a quarter century, hosting a show with so many great affiliates – not to mention getting an earful from listeners each day. I’ve always felt I just guided this program along from day to day. The real stars are the First Light crew: producer David Oziel, the man with the Devorecast – Dean Devore, our sports geek Robert Workman, Marketwatcher Charlie Turner, and our peerless movie critic Chuck Rich.”
Chuck Custer Celebrates 30 Years at WGY, Albany. Morning drive co-host and program director Chuck Custer is celebrating 30 years with Albany market news/talker WGY. It was Memorial Day weekend in 1984 when Custer began working for the station anchoring evening newscasts. Since that time he’s served as morning news anchor alongside the legendary Don Weeks, as news director and now program director and morning show co-host with Kelly Lynch. Custer says of his career at the Clear Channel station, “I’ve been truly blessed to have the opportunity to do what I love to do, at a great station, with a group of people – past and present – who mean so much to me.”
Laura Smith on the Wall of Fame. WABC, New York talk personality Laura Smith has been honored in a most unusual way after interviewing Palm Restaurant manager Nick Maracz. Smith tells TALKERS she spoke with Maracz on the radio about the famous New York City eatery on her show “The Saturday Café.” A couple of weeks went by and she received the picture you see here showing her caricature right next to Liza Minelli! Smith says, “The restaurant has been there for 80 years and back in the day, when all the syndicated newspapers and comic book illustrators would go there for lunch but couldn’t afford to pay, they would draw pictures on the wall in exchange for food.”
Savoring the Gracie. Pictured here holding her Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media at the 39th Annual Gracie Awards Gala in Beverly Hills last week is CBS Radio News correspondent Heather Bosch. Bosch was honored for her work in the Soft News Feature category for her story on “Autism on Broadway.” The judges said her submission displayed superior quality in writing, production and programming. Heather has won multiple national awards since joining CBS three years ago after an illustrious career at KIRO-FM, Seattle.
UCSB Killings/Gun Laws Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 26-30. The deadly shootings at University of California Santa Barbara and the debate over gun laws in America that followed were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the VA Hospitals scandal. Coming in at #3 was the dip in the GDP and the state of the U.S. economy followed by the Edward Snowden interview 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.
Long Set To Program Clear Channel, San Diego Combo. Former senior director of programming for Bonneville Seattle’s KIRO-AM “710 ESPN,” Brian Long, has been tapped to program Clear Channel, San Diego’s news/talk KOGO-AM and KLSD “Xtra Sports 1360.” Vice president of programming John Peake comments, “Brian will bring a diverse perspective from multiple markets and stations to our spoken-word brands. We are excited to add Brian’s management and broadcasting experience to the San Diego programming team. We are confident that KOGO-AM and ‘Xtra Sports’ will prosper under his tutelage.” Long previously was assistant program director and “In the Zone” host on Los Angeles’ KSPN “710 ESPN.” Prior to that, the Kansas City native programmed in Palm Springs, California for KXPS “The Team 1010,” KFUT “Fox Sports 1270,” and KNWZ “K-News.” Long begins his San Diego assignment in two weeks (1/21).
Caplis to Host Late Morning Show on KNUS, Denver. Salem Communications-owned news/talk KNUS, Denver adds local TV and radio personality Dan Caplis to the program lineup in the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot. Caplis – an attorney – most recently worked in radio at Clear Channel’s crosstown news/talk KHOW with co-host Craig Silverman. KNUS general manager Brian Taylor says, “With the upcoming election cycle, plus the compelling local issues that have put Colorado in the forefront recently, it is significant for us to offer another powerful local voice like market veteran Dan Caplis. Combined with Peter Boyles and Steve Kelley, 710 KNUS will now offer more daily, live local conservative talk programming than any other station in the Denver market.”
New Year Changes at Facebook That Affect You. Digital media consultant Chris Miller informs us that Facebook recently made some important changes that affect how users get to show the content they do. Miller writes, “The news and entertainment site Buzzfeed first picked up on it before Facebook made it official. The folks at Buzzfeed noticed that, all of a sudden, online content publishers were getting a huge increase in hits. That group of publishers includes a wide variety of content providers, but the way to think about it is ‘sites that find and write about stuff that others should find interesting.’” Miller says that all social platforms are getting more sophisticated about how they determine what their users will see. Facebook has adjusted their formula that determines what content we all get shown, emphasizing the interesting over the merely silly and self-serving. Here’s how to help insure that more of your posts get shown to your fan base. Read Miller’s column here.
Analysis: 2014 NMX Podcasters Conference. Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas this week covering the New Media Expo and the enormous 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show. First up, Cooke reports from the weekend’s happenings at 2014 NMX. Cooke says the standing-room-only crowd was replete with people focused on talking targeted, passionate interests with its audience. “And they’re not just talking to your geographical area. And they are not merely, as clichéd station imaging assures, ‘talking-about what-you’re-talking-about,’” says Cooke. “Instead of belaboring Benghazi, they’re bonding with ‘ovewhelmed adoptive moms, by telling the truth about the post-adoption journey, so they feel validated and encouraged for the road ahead.’ If more station websites offered narrowcast content that’s specifically appealing, and used transmitters to invite those moms to engage, new digital revenue would follow.” Read Cooke’s entire report from 2014 NMX in Las Vegas here.
Jason Rantz Promoted to Daily Evening Show at KIRO-FM, Seattle. Bonneville Seattle news/talk KIRO-FM ups Jason Rantz from his year-old weekend show on the station to the daily 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program effective this evening. KIRO-FM program director Pete Gammell says, “Jason is an extremely knowledgeable and thoughtful host who always seeks opposing views to further listeners’ understanding. We always strive to connect entertainment to value and discussion to understanding. This is Jason’s strength and I’m sure listeners will agree.” Speaking about his new gig, Rantz states, “I’m excited by the opportunity to talk with Western Washington as a part of KIRO’s weekday team. I’ve enjoyed interacting and engaging the KIRO Radio listeners during my previous weekend show and now I’m thrilled to bring this same dynamic to weeknights. There are so many important issues affecting our community and the nation, and it is vital that we come together to have a civil but challenging and vigorous discussion. I hope my evening show will become that forum.”
Bonneville Gives Sports Talk KTAR-AM, Phoenix FM Simulcast. Shuttering adult hits KPKX “98.7 The Peak,” Bonneville Phoenix gives sports talker KTAR-AM an FM signal on which to simulcast. The company has been building multi-platform sports content destination “Arizona Sports” using the AM radio station and a local sports content-heavy website and now adds an FM signal to the mix. Vice president and market manager Scott Sutherland states, “Putting ‘Arizona Sports’ on FM is an opportunity too big to ignore. Our live, local and exclusive sports content has never been better. We have world-class local talk personalities who deliver powerful opinions and insights that engage, entertain and positively impact the communities we serve. We also have amazing team partners. And all of this attracts a passionate and loyal audience, which in turn, attracts a lot of marketing interest from small and medium business owners, major brands and C-Suite decision makers.” The stations serve as flagship broadcaster for the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Coyotes, Arizona State University and broadcasts Arizona Interscholastic Association prep sporting events from around the state.
Red Zebra Re-Ups with Steve Czaban at ‘ESPN 980’ in Washington. Red Zebra Broadcasting and sports talk host Steve Czaban have agreed to terms on a new three-year deal that will keep the afternoon drive co-host with WTEM, Washington, DC “ESPN 980″ through 2016. Czaban has been co-hosting the afternoon drive time slot for WTEM for the last 13 years. Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza comments, “Czabe is integral to the success of our station. We look forward to three additional years of Czabe, Cooley and Galdi.” Steve Czaban co-hosts “The Drive with Cooley & Czabe” from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm and also hosts the golf program “Sunday Tee Time,” at 8:00 am on Sunday mornings during golf season.
Glenn Beck’s ‘TheBlaze Radio News’ Launces Today. “TheBlaze Radio News” – the latest AM/FM program offering from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze – hits stations on the AM/FM dial today after debuting on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel several months ago. The service offers hourly newscasts from anchors and reporters around the nation providing news and information specifically targeted to talk radio listeners. The casts draw on the reporting from TheBlaze television network and its website TheBlaze.com which it says “generates over 20 million unique visitors per month and is one of the 100 most trafficked websites in America.” The service is airing today in markets including Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas and Birmingham, Alabama.
Compass Names Ingold Sales Exec. Compass Media Networks brings Doug Ingold aboard as senior director of affiliate sales for entertainment & music programming beginning January 20. The company says Ingold “will be based in Los Angeles and assume a vital role in the expansion of Compass’ long-form entertainment and music shows including Big D & Bubba, “Free Beer & Hot Wings,” “Off The Record,” “Out of Order,” Rick Dees and “Skratch N Sniff.” Compass VP of affiliate sales Adam Wilbur comments, “Our entertainment portfolio is growing rapidly and the time is right for us to add someone of Doug’s caliber to spearhead day-to-day affiliate marketing.”
McMurray Show Expands at WGN. According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, late night talk show host Pete McMurray’s show will expand with a new earlier start time at 10:00 pm (and end at 2:00 am), shaving an hour off David Kaplan’s evening sports talk program. Feder quotes WGN vice president of creative content Todd Manley saying, “Pete has become our all-purpose star in a variety of fill-in roles. I think he gets what we’re trying to do very well, especially in providing lots of video content. Between Pete and [producer] Scott Miller, they do an amazing job of booking great guests and being about the city.” Read the story here.
Hotchkiss Transfers to Charlotte as Director of Sales. As of today (1/6), Keith Hotchkiss is Clear Channel Charlotte’s director of sales. He joins that operation from Cleveland where he was general sales manager of Clear Channel-owned CHR WAKS “Kiss-FM,” news/talk WTAM, rock WMMS, and WMMS-HD2 “99X.” Regional Market Manager Charlie Wilkinson remarks that, “Keith’s proven sales leadership will have an immediate impact in Charlotte. I’m confident he will be an integral part of our success now and well into the future.” Clear Channel’s five-station Charlotte cluster consists of alternative WEND “The End,” CHR WHQC “Channel 96-1,” country WKKT “The Kat,” adult hits WLKO “The Lake,” and classic rock WRFX “The Fox.”
Odds & Sods. WABC, New York radio personality Laura Smith is sitting in for the first few shows with new 5:00 pm program host Pat Kiernan starting today. Smith currently hosts two weekend programs on WABC – “Living Better with Laura Smith” and “The Saturday Café.” Kiernan is an anchor on cable’s NY1 and his show is part of the newly revised program lineup at the station…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago resumes its “Blackhawks Live” live broadcast promotion on Thursday, January 13 featuring defenseman Duncan Keith at the Old Town Pour House in Chicago. “Blackhawks Live” is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the year featuring current Blackhawks players, legends and management. Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray host the event that includes a question-and-answer format between the hosts and the featured Blackhawks guests.
Four New Integrations for iHeartRadio. Clear Channel announces its iHeartRadio digital entertainment platform is headed to dashboards in three auto makes, including Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo and Kia. In addition to these OEMs, iHeartRadio will also be available via platform solution provider Bosch. The company states that in 2014, Jaguar Land Rover vehicles equipped with Bosch SoftTec’s innovative InControl Apps platform, Volvo vehicles equipped with the Sensus Connect infotainment solution and Kia vehicles with UVO will have access to iHeartRadio.
“Oh Doctor!” – Jerry Coleman Passes Away. That was one of the favorite on-air expressions uttered by the 89-year-old Jerry Coleman, whose death was confirmed Sunday night (1/5) by the San Diego Padres, the MLB team for whom he called games since 1972. A portion of the team’s prepared statement read, “On behalf of Padres’ fans everywhere, we mourn the loss of a Marine who was truly an American hero as well as a great man, a great friend and a great Padre.” He played parts of nine seasons with the New York Yankees (1949 – 1957). After retiring, he began a broadcasting career with CBS-TV (1960 – 1962), where he conducted pregame interviews on the network’s “Game of the Week” broadcasts. He did play-by-play for the Yankees on WCBS-AM and WPIX-TV (1963 – 1969), Angels (1970 – 1971), and Padres (1972 to this past season). He also called regular-season and postseason broadcasts for CBS Radio from the mid-1970s to the 1990s. For three years of Coleman’s tenure with the Padres, his on-air partner was sitcom writer par excellence-music radio on-air talent Ken Levine, who writes on KenLevine.blogspot.com, “I loved Jerry. He was your favorite uncle – always cheerful, always there for you. His passion for the game of baseball was infectious and his zest for life was inspiring. Other than having to broadcast meaningless spring training games, I cannot think of anything Jerry Coleman didn’t view in a positive light. He was also incredibly humble. When we were on the road, I picked his brain for hours, and he graciously and patiently answered all of my questions. Jerry Coleman worked Padres games up until his death. He led a rich full life and he would often point out how lucky he was. So many of his friends had died young in a war – he lived to be 89 in relatively good health.” In 2005, Coleman received the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence; two years later, he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. As of the 2010 season, he reduced his broadcast schedule to approximately 25 home day games.
Clear Channel Goes with DC-Based Elliot Segal for WOR, New York Morning Show. In announcing its new program schedule for news/talk WOR, New York (which includes the Arrival of Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity), Clear Channel Media + Entertainment throws a curveball to industry watchers and names “DC101” morning drive host Elliot Segal the new morning drive show, replacing the retiring John Gambling. The “Elliot in the Morning” show will continue to air on Clear Channel’s rock WWDC as well as rock WRXL, Richmond “XL 102.” Segal says, “I’m excited to be coming back to New York, to a station with such a legendary history. We have built something very special in Washington, DC and Richmond and I’m beyond thrilled that the show will continue airing on DC/101 and XL-102. Now, WOR will be home to ‘Elliot In The Morning’ and I couldn’t be more anxious to get going.” This move is particularly significant because it is the first time in recent memory that a major market heritage AM news/talk station will be carrying the same show that is running on a major market heritage FM music station. Although there is nothing new about major FM music stations running talk (or talk-oriented) programs in their lineups (usually in morning drive), this move marks a significant breakthrough in mixing the cultures within a single outlet’s stationality. The implications of this, should it be successful, will be huge. Clear Channel notes Mark Simone follows Segal from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. After that it’s Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Andy Dean and Dave Ramsey. Joan Hamburg – a longtime WOR personality – moves to weekends with programs airing on both Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. President and market manager Joe Puglise states, “This is an incredibly exciting time for WOR. Bringing America’s top two talk show hosts to our lineup, the entertaining Elliot Segal and his team to the mornings and becoming the flagship station for the Mets will allow us to create unprecedented marketing opportunities for our partners and unbeatable programming for our listeners.”
John DePetro Apologizes for ‘Whores’ Comment. WPRO, Providence late morning talk show host John DePetro has issued an apology for calling union protestors “whores.” This latest development comes less than a week after TALKERS reported that DePetro had filed a police complaint stating two men had threatened him outside the WPRO studios because of the comment. Back in September, DePetro railed against the union-supported protest taking place outside a fundraiser for State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo. During that broadcast he reportedly directed his words toward a female union leader, saying, “What a disgrace. You are an embarrassment…You are parasites. You are cockroaches. You lie. You are union hags. There’s another word I’d like to use…it begins with a W. and an H. and an O. and an R. and an E. and an S. See if they can spell that.” DePetro was off his program last week and the Associate Press reports it’s unclear if his absence had anything to do with the remarks. Still, he called into his own program and told listeners, “The language I used was not in keeping with the family friendly atmosphere that I try to maintain for the thousands of people who listen to me. Going forward I intend to approach debates on the current topics that we talk about in a more sensitive style.”
Saunders Begins Daily Talk Show. WBNQ, Bloomington, Illinois morning drive host Susan Saunders is adding a daily talk show on sister station news/talk WJBC-AM/FM. Saunders leads the CHR morning show alongside Ray Wagner. Now, she’s adding a two-hour 9:00 am to 11:00 am talk program to her duties at the Cumulus Media cluster. She says, “It’s official, and I couldn’t be more excited about joining the legendary, Marconi- and Crystal Award-winning staff of WJBC-AM/FM. After 15 years (on the morning show), it was time to expand my horizons into pure form talk radio. Over the last four months I have been auditioning my non-musical style with WJBC’s audience, and it works!”
Beasley Declares Cash Dividend for Share Holders. The dividend will be paid on January 10 to shareholders of record on December 27 and will pay $0.045 per share. Chairman and CEO Geroge Beasley states, “The re-initiation of a regular cash dividend reflects the free cash flow generated by our operations as well as our commitment to deliver value to our shareholders, and follows the one-time special dividend of $0.085 paid to shareholders in December 2012. Importantly, taking into consideration the proposed annual capital allocated to dividend payments, based on current conditions we believe Beasley Broadcast Group‘s total free cash flow should provide us with the liquidity needed to further reduce leverage, consider potential station acquisitions and to enhance long-term shareholder value.”
Flora and DeLucca Join Clear Channel, Phoenix as GSMs. Coming onboard effective immediately as general sales managers are George Flora and Libia DeLucca. Flora will oversee sales operations for Clear Channel, Phoenix outlets KFYI “Newstalk 550,” KOY “Business 1230,” and KGME “Fox Sports Radio 910.” In addition to her GSM duties, DeLucca will assist with brand manager responsibilities for the cluster’s rhythmic hot AC KYOT “Eva 95.5.” Clear Channel Phoenix vice president of sales Linda Little states, “George Flora is the perfect addition to our sales management team. He will add a wealth of knowledge and experience in driving revenue and creating solutions for clients utilizing our spoken-word brands. Libia brings with her years of experience selling integrated marketing solutions with digital, newspaper, and TV assets in Phoenix. I know she will take her team to new levels as they become even stronger digital marketers for their clients.” Prior to the six years he just spent at ESPN Los Angeles, Flora was with CBS Radio Los Angeles for 12 years. DeLucca had a 14-year run with Gannett Media Phoenix – most recently as digital sales manager.
Yankees Add Syracuse’s Rock “TK 99″ to its Radio Network. Galaxy Communications, Syracuse classic rocker WTKW “TK 99″ signs a multi-year agreement with CBS Radio to air all 162 regular season games of the NY Yankees beginning with the 2014 season. Galaxy Communications president/chief executive officer Ed Levine remarks, “We intend to go far beyond just broadcasting the games on the radio in Syracuse. We’re going to enhance the experience for Yankee fans in Central New York in a myriad of innovative ways.” CBS Radio vice president of sports programming Mark Chernoff comments, “CBS Radio and the New York Yankees are very excited to be partnering with ‘TK 99′ and Galaxy. They have shown a great ability through their work with Syracuse University athletics to enhance what is already a strong presence in Syracuse. We look forward to that continuing with the Yankees.” In April 2007, WTKW became the flagship play-by-play outlet of Syracuse University men’s football, men’s basketball, and men’s lacrosse games.
KIRO-FM’s Twelve-Hour Fundraiser Collects More Than $489,000. Local foster children will be aided by money amassed through listener donations and sponsor matching funds via the Bonneville Seattle talk outlet’s 7:00 am – 7:00 pm radio-thon last Thursday (12/5). KIRO-FM conducted the annual “Holiday Magic” on-air event in conjunction with Treehouse, a nonprofit organization addressing essential education and enrichment needs of kids in foster care. Bonneville Seattle Media Group vice president/market manager Carl Gardner comments, “Again this year, our community has dug deep to support foster children. Treehouse does a tremendous job of strengthening foster families and helping children realize their full potential. It is a joy and privilege to connect our generous audience with good neighbors who just need a little help.” Treehouse chief executive officer Janis Avery remarks, “We are absolutely thrilled with the success of the 25th ‘Holiday Magic’ radio-thon. We are so grateful to the KIRO radio team and listeners for once again helping Treehouse give 6,000 kids in foster care across Washington State happy holidays.” Founded in 1988, Treehouse recently set a goal that, by 2017, King County foster kids will graduate high school at the rate of their peers. Major community contributors to the KIRO-FM radio-thon included Carter Subaru, Safeway Foundation, and GEICO.
WMAL-AM/FM, Washington Helps Raise $330k-plus for Fisher House Foundation. WMAL-AM/FM, Washington program director Bill Hess tells TALKERS magazine that it was a big weekend for the Cumulus Media station and its listeners as the 10th Annual Fisher House Radiothon raised $330,630 for the charity that helps provide housing for the loved ones of U.S. servicemen and women begin treated for injuries suffered in the line of duty. Hess calls it an “incredible response by our wonderful WMAL listeners” and reports that this year’s total beat last year’s total by $40,000 and the 2011 total by $75,000. The two-day radiothon was anchored by morning hosts Brian Wilson and Larry O’Connor, along with midday host Chris Plante and weekender Rick Fowler.
Beasley Las Vegas Holiday Bash. The Beasley Broadcast Group Las Vegas cluster took time over the weekend to get together for a holiday party at the Blue Martini. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Beasley Las Vegas VP of programming Justin Chase, corporate VP of operations Brian Beasley, Beasley Las Vegas general manager Tom Humm, KDWN talk show host Alan Stock, KDWN and syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs, and KDWN program and news director John Shaffer.
Tornado Damage Reported Via Multi-Media on McGraw Milhaven Show. The series of tornadoes that swept across the Midwest on Sunday left serious damage in New Minden, Illinois – about an hour East of St. Louis. The photo you see here is from the video component of KTRS, St. Louis morning host McGraw Milhaven’s online platform. Since the spring, Milhaven has been partnering with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s StlToday.com site to present his program in a video format. Today, he used that medium to his advantage as reporter Michael Golde was able to report back to the studio via Skype and show viewers scenes from the storm-damaged town and converse with Milhaven and news anchor Kelly Jackson. In posting the video on YouTube, Milhaven comments, “KTRS Radio in St Louis is the only radio station in the country to show live video of storm-damaged areas of Ill. to listeners on laptops, desktops and smartphones as well as the radio.”
JVC Media to Flip Rock WRCN, Long Island to News/Talk After Christmas. Longtime rocker WRCN, Riverhead, New York has stopped playing “everything that rocks” and has gone Christmas music through the holidays. But after Christmas, the station will emerge as a news/talk outlet dubbed “LI News Radio 103.9.” JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo explains the company’s thinking in a statement: “WRCN has a long history and heritage on Long Island – many of us have grown up with the station and it has become an intricate part of our lives. But as our lives change so does our soundtrack. What we listened to growing up is not necessarily what we listen to now and what was important to us as teenagers maybe doesn’t seem so important anymore. That’s why we made the decision to change WRCN and develop and program a radio station that fits the needs of Long Island…Long Islanders are starving for local news and information. Why should we have to wait 22 minutes to hear about the world when all we really want is Islip to Southampton? What’s the traffic like on the 347 merge or Sunrise Highway in Oakdale? This station will not only serve as your information source but it will be your sounding board for issues that influence your life, your community and your business.” Talent that has been announced to be part of the new format includes Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Sean Hannity and Cumulus Media Networks personality Mark Levin as well as local hosts Ernie Fasio, Vic Fusco, John Gomez, Kevin Law, Steve Levy, Frank McKay, and Jay Oliver.
Linda Thomas to Exit KIRO-FM, Seattle. Morning news anchor and reporter Linda Thomas announces she will be leaving Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle at the end of the year for a new opportunity that, as she says, “doesn’t involve being at work by 2:00 am.” In a blog post at the company’s Mynorthwest.com, she writes, “My Bonneville Seattle bosses understand and support my decision too, even though they don’t want me to leave. That’s what family members do. I’ll always be grateful for them, and for you.” Thomas first worked at KIRO in 1988 as an overnight editor and became morning drive anchor in 1993. She left the station to work as a freelancer but returned to KIRO-FM as morning anchor in 2010. She adds, “KIRO’s news, talk and online teams are the best in the business. It’s been an honor to work alongside amazing talent. I’ve learned a lot from all my co-workers. They encourage me, challenge me, and make me laugh on a daily basis. I really do love them.”
Michelle Wright Let Go from All-News WYAY, Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho tips us that morning drive co-anchor Michelle Wright has been let go from Cumulus Media’s all-news WYAY, Atlanta “All-News 106.7.” Andy Rose remains in AM drive solo. The speculation is that the recent hiring of Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson to host a talk show in middays and the acquisition of Atlanta Braves baseball required some cuts in other areas of the station and Wright was the unfortunate victim. She was one of the original staffers when Cumulus decided to turn WYAY into an all-news station in May of 2012. She had previously worked at Atlanta-based CNN Radio before joining Cumulus.
CEOs Make the Grade. Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman and Emmis’ Jeff Smulyan were both the subjects of feature stories in newspapers over the weekend – Pittman in The New York Times and Smulyan in the Indianapolis Star. In a Q&A titled, the Value of Dissent, Pittman says he encouraged dissenters in his organization because they serve a valuable purpose. “I want us to listen to these dissenters because they may intend to tell you why we can’t do something, but if you listen hard, what they’re really telling you is what you must do to get something done. It gets you out of your framework of the conventions of what you can and can’t do.” Read that piece here. Jeff Smulyan tells the Star in his Q&A that the best piece of advice he’s received has to do with employer-employee relationships, “Attract the best people, treat them well, and let them do their job. If you want people to go through walls for you, you have to go through more walls for them.” Read that story here.
The View of Radio from the Digital World’s Perspective. Noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller writes, “Those of us in digital media know that our world will continue to change drastically, over and over again. We also know that we will be bigger and better three years…five years…10 years from now. Plus, we hear how radio compares itself to online listening choices, and we see how you use your digital platforms. And here’s what we think.” In a new column posted today (11/18) Miller goes on to state that digital-only people still have “transmitter envy” and that even though more and more people and media are moving online, the stick is still a formidable asset. Regardless, he points out that many digital-only professionals think that over-the-air radio companies are “crazy” for cutting talent, still selling 60-second commercials, and not being cognizant of just how much entertainment is changing. He clearly explains what digital pros see as radio’s “dangerous assumption.” He observes, “I look at a lot of different radio social media, websites, database emails and texting programs, and it’s clear you’re making some dangerous assumptions. Digital content doesn’t work like you think it should. It doesn’t work like you wish it did. It works like it works. We see you on Facebook and Twitter talking about almost anything…except what people really love about you. Your websites are a mish-mosh of broad-based content, but if you look at your web stats, there are fewer than half-a-dozen features at your site that, combined, get the lion’s share of your page views. There is nothing special or exclusive about the emails you send your listeners, and your open rates prove it. Radio people know a lot about how people use radio. Meanwhile, you are using all these other media as if knowing how they work doesn’t matter. One key thing we’re doing to drive our online success is to track everything we can to see what really makes a difference. We don’t have the luxury of having opinions about what should work. Either the clicks are there, or they aren’t. What we do either works, or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, you dig in, diagnose the problem, and adjust.” To read Chris Miller’s entire column, please click here.
Premiere Reverses Course; Keeps Randi Rhodes on Syndication Menu. There are no reports indicating just what happened between Randi Rhodes and syndicator Premiere Networks but the latter is confirming the widely reported news that Rhodes will continue to be syndicated by Premiere, at least through 2014. Premiere SVP of affiliate relations Peter Tripi emailed affiliates, “In a happy turn of events, we are pleased to announce that Premiere Networks will continue to produce and distribute the Randi Rhodes show. In an industry of constant change, it’s a pleasure to provide good news about a talk talent we think so highly of. We apologize for any inconvenience the previous announcement caused, but look forward to a very successful 2014 with the Randi Rhodes show.” Several weeks ago, Rhodes began telling her audience she was foreseeing the end of her program and later Premiere notified affiliates the relationship would be ending.
It’s Pop-Up Time. No, not the kind of pop-up we associate with websites – pop-up ads – but those retail stores that “pop up” in vacant storefronts during the holiday shopping season. Sales maven and H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz writes about getting these seasonal businesses advertising on your station this year. He notes that many of these retailers are big name brands that choose to expand their physical space during this time of year and they include Vera Bradley, Louis Vuitton and the National Football League. Read Al Herskovitz’s entire column here.
ABC News Radio Offers Kennedy Assassination Programming. As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, ABC News Radio is offering a two-hour special broadcast, “Three Shots Rang Out: An ABC News Special – The JFK Assassination 50 Years Later,” anchored by ABC News’ Diane Sawyer. It’s an audio-only program that will be heard by ABC News Radio affiliates. In addition, a special expanded show will be available via download at Audible.com as part of a new digital audio relationship between ABC News Radio and Audible. The Audible.com version of this program will include an additional 40 minutes of historical audio available exclusively to Audible listeners.
Ron Ruth Passes. Former 19-year Radio Advertising Bureau executive vice president of stations Ron Ruth died early Saturday (11/16) in Florida of a heart attack. The 75-year-old Ruth had been struggling with health issues the past two months. CBS Radio president and chief executive officer Dan Mason was among those quickly noting their sympathies regarding Ruth’s passing. “I just spoke with him at the Radio Show this past September in Orlando,” Mason writes on Facebook. “He was so up and happy – I am sad tonight.” Also on that social media platform, Tom Birch notes, “Ron lived life to its fullest and was a joy and inspiration to everyone who had the opportunity to know him. Ron was the midwife to Birch Research. He opened doors for me, encouraged me and guided me. I am deeply honored to have worked for Ron at WQAM, Miami in the 1970s, and to have remained friends with him for the next three decades.” According to former RKO General eastern vice president Perry Ury, “Ron Ruth was a friend and our house skeptic at RKO.” Former Tele Media Broadcasting vice president and chief operating officer Ira Rosenblatt adds, “We’ve lost a friend and true broadcaster.” Doing afternoon drive in Boston early in his radio career, Ruth roomed with two other on-air talents who went on to stardom – George Carlin and Jack Burns of Burns & (Avery) Schreiber. He held sales manager positions for Unistar Radio Networks, as well as at the local level in markets such as New York (WOR-FM), Chicago (WNUS), Washington, DC (WGMS), and Buffalo (WYSL). Ruth left Unistar to join the RAB in 1992. Most recently, he was consulting the Radio Advertising Bureau.
A Man of His Word. The man having his head shaved live on the air on Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington, DC is former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino. Not too long ago, Bongino said on the WMAL airwaves that he would shave his head if President Obama apologized for the gaffes in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. And since the president did offer an apology of sorts, Bongino agreed to honor his statement live on the air and did so on Friday, November 15.
Talk Radio Network Sues Epic Times in U.S. District Court for Tortious Interference and Misuse of Trade Secrets. EpicTimes.com is the website developed around talk show host Jerry Doyle – who is currently embroiled in legal issues surrounding the recent dramatic changes and financial issues at Talk Radio Network. At the core of this most recent action is a two-pronged complaint by TRN. It alleges Epic – the company of which Jerry Doyle is president and CEO – is interfering with contracts TRN has with both Doyle himself and talk host Rusty Humphries by using their services for content for the EpicTimes.com site. The interference claim is based on TRN’s assertion that it has exclusive content creation deals still in effect with Doyle and Humphries. The complaint also alleges that Epic is misusing trade secrets through Epic’s conversion to its own use of the “confidential and proprietary business information of plaintiffs provided to Doyle in confidence and subject to nondisclosure agreements.” TRN is seeking an injunction to prevent further use of the proprietary information and $150,000 in damages plus legal fees.
L&L Broadcasting Acquires Border Media Trust San Antonio Stations. What’s been rumored to have been in the works turns out to be true as Larry Wilson’s Portland, Oregon-based L&L Broadcasting announces its buying the San Antonio radio stations from the Border Media Business Trust. The stations include adult hits KJXK “102.7 Jack FM,” regional Mexican tri-mulcast KLEY “La Ley 95.7,” KSAH-AM/FM, CHR KTFM, news/talk KTSA, sports talk KZDC and Spanish KHHL. The additions put the L&L station count at 43. Wilson says, “This is a great cluster of radio stations located in a beautiful market operated by a very talented group of people. We are excited to add them to our growing company.” Trustee Larry Patrick adds, “We could not be happier to have found a wonderful home for our San Antonio stations. Larry Wilson and his L&L Broadcasting represent the best in broadcasting. We wish him continued great success with this cluster.” Piper Jaffray & Co. assisted L&L Broadcasting in the transaction and Patrick Communications was the broker for the Border Media Business Trust.
Talkers Los Angeles 2013 a Success. More than 250 radio and associated industry professionals gathered and 55 speakers participated in a non-stop day of speeches, special presentations, and panel discussions tackling the major issues facing the talk media industry at Talkers Los Angeles 2013 this past Thursday (10/10). Among the major issues covered are the growing need for the radio industry to have an accurate cross-platform ratings system; develop new ways to program commercials that generate results for the advertisers without chasing away listeners; explore new spoken-word formats that tap into unfulfilled opportunities; attract younger demos to talk radio; and bring back more live and local programming to the broadcast day. To read an overview of the event and see photos of its key sessions, speeches and attractions, please click here.
Entercom Debuts Hybrid Talker in New Orleans. Today is launch day for Entercom’s new hybrid talk station WWWL, New Orleans “3WL.” Calling it an extension of its “Gulf South POWERhouse” WWL-AM/FM, the company says it “builds on the success of this legendary New Orleans station by offering a branch focused on the passions of New Orleans.” Vice president and general manager Chris Claus says, “‘3WL 1350’ celebrates the three greatest passions of New Orleanians: sports, food and fun! Think of ‘3WL’ as a radio station as tasty as gumbo, as fun as Mardi Gras and as passionate as Saints fans on Sundays. In the three weeks since we announced ‘3WL,’ the response has been overwhelming. ‘3WL’ is perfectly set up to succeed and deliver real results for our advertisers.” WWL operations and program director Diane Newman is overseeing the station’s programming. The lineup is as follows: “Morning Drive with T-Bob Hebert and Kristian Garic”; NBC Sports Radio’s Erick Kuselias in late mornings; “The Food Show” with Tom Fitzmorris from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; and “The Lighter Side of The Spud Show” with John Spud McConnell from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. NBC Sports Radio rounds out the rest of the day. Newman says, “Today is the culmination of a lot of hard work and planning. Our lineup from top to bottom is as good as any in the country. With sports in the morning, food at lunch, and a larger-than-life personality, Spud McConnell, in the afternoon, ‘3WL’ launches with tremendous strength, proven talent, and unquestioned passion.”
Another #1 Finish for KKOB. The Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talker finished #1 12+ for the 53rd straight Nielsen Audio book in a row. Program director Pat Frisch tells TALKERS magazine, the station finished #5 in Adults 25-54 and #2 in Men 25-54. “Our TSL is a high 9:15 minutes a week in Adults 25-54, that’s #1 in the market.” Frisch also reports that he’s especially proud of afternoon talk show host Scott Stiegler who took over the afternoon program seven months ago and has taken it to #1 Adults 25-54. Frisch says, “Morning drive personality Bob Clark finished #1 again in mornings. He’s been #1 for seven straight years in that daypart.”
Talent Shuffle at WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Resort Broadcasting’s FM news/talk WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware “The Talk of Delmarva” makes some personality changes as late morning host Mike Bradley becomes part of the morning drive show alongside Judy Mangini. Bill Colley leaves the morning program and now heads up the PM drive show. Jim Rash moves from afternoons to the late morning slot.
Bryan Switzer to Exit Cumulus Media Networks. After eight years in the radio business, Bryan Switzer announces he’s leaving his VP of affiliate sales position with Cumulus Media Networks. Switzer started his career in network radio with ABC Radio Networks in April of 2006. During his time in the music industry, he served as VP/GM of Atlantic Records and senior VP of national promotion at Universal South. He says, “Since moving from records to broadcast eight years ago, this is without a doubt the most exciting company I’ve been associated with. I have a great deal of respect for what Lew and John Dickey have built and are building. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time for me to move on and turn a page. I can’t thank Dennis Green enough for the opportunity to continue my role through the Cumulus acquisition of Citadel two years ago. It’s been a privilege to work under his leadership. As for me, it’s time I get back to serving my creative genes, and though I’ve made no commitments as of yet, I’m extremely excited by the prospects!” Switzer can be reached at email@example.com or 615-838-0809.
Bonneville’s KIRO, Seattle Turns 78 Tomorrow. Radio history buffs can learn more about the history of one of the Emerald City’s most famous radio signals at Bonneville’s MyNorthwest.com right here. The station – now a sports talker – began its life spinning records on October 15, 1935 and would play second fiddle to the Fisher family’s KOMO until getting a power upgrade to 50,000 just prior to Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor. The war kept the FCC from handling any power upgrade requests and KIRO was, for some time, the most powerful signal in the Pacific Northwest.
Marilu Henner Rocks Sun Broadcast Group Upfront Party. Nationally syndicated talk show host Marilu Henner (pictured here with SBG CEO Jason Bailey) appeared at the Sun Broadcast Group’s 2014 Upfront Party at the Penthouse Lounge in New York City on October 11. The day after making an appearance at the Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference where the TV and film star introduced herself to the talk radio industry, Henner was one of the stars representing her show before the hundreds of media people in NYC including agency reps, programmers, station managers, and network suppliers who attended the party. Speaking about the now-five-year-old event, Bailey told the attendees, “I am so humbled as I look around at all the people here supporting us. We’ve been working so hard to be a very different kind of network for all of you over the last five years and tonight you’ve welcomed us into your busy lives with open arms. I can’t thank you enough for standing by us and believing in our mission as we aim to transform radio.”
Broadcasters Foundation of America Names BMI’s Del Bryant ‘Golden Mike’ Recipient. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces Broadcast Music Inc. president Del Bryant is its recipient of the 2014 Golden Mike Award. The award will be presented on Monday, February 24, 2014, at a black-tie fundraising gala at the Plaza Hotel in New York City to benefit the Foundation’s mission of helping broadcasters in need. BFoA chairman Phil Lombardo says, “Del has been an admirable and inspiring supporter of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation for many years. Well-known and respected across the broadcasting and music industries, his contribution as a longtime member of the Foundation’s board of directors is immeasurable. We are proud to award him the 2014 Golden Mike.” Bryant comments, “I am honored to be recognized by the Broadcasters Foundation of America with the Golden Mike Award. I have always felt strongly about giving back to the community, both from a professional and personal standpoint. It has been a privilege to support the Foundation and to collaborate with them throughout the years. I commend them for the exceptional work they do for broadcasters and the sweet and understanding attitude with which they do it.” The son of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant – the legendary songwriters who penned classics such as “Bye, Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” All I Have To Do Is Dream,” the Tennessee state song, “Rocky Top,” and more – Bryant’s rich musical heritage inspired his accomplishments and passion for the business. He joined BMI in 1972, and worked in numerous areas of the company for 32 years, rising to president and chief executive officer in 2004.
KIRO-FM, Seattle’s Tony Miner Gives Up Full-Time Position. Longtime KIRO-FM, Seattle news anchor Tony Miner has ended his full-time afternoon news anchor position with the Bonneville news/talk outlet but will continue to do fill-in and other part-time work at the station. In a piece on Bonneville-owned MyNorthwest.com, Miner says he’s not calling it semi-retirement, “I look upon it as a transition to more of a part-time thing here, filling in across the board, doing some commercial work, and just not doing the five day a week grind and coming down all the way from the Miner Ranch in the Skagit Valley every day.” Miner had been commuting more than an hour each way from his home to the studios. He was heard daily during the afternoon drive Ron & Don program.
Randy Galloway to Exits ESPN 103.3 in Dallas as Cumulus Begins Operations. Dallas sports media personality Randy Galloway’s “Galloway and Company” program will air for the final time on KESN, Dallas today (10/7) as Cumulus Media takes over the operations of the Disney/ESPN-owned station. Galloway’s contract with ESPN runs out at the end of this year and the Dallas Star-Telegram reports that Galloway’s lawyer advised him that his ESPN contract is non-transferable so he gets paid for the rest of the year by leaving the program. If he were to say on with Cumulus, ESPN would be off the hook. Galloway – a Star-Telegram columnist – says he’s had discussions with ESPN about contributing on national issues but doesn’t say if anything has been agreed to.
Islanders Renew with Hofstra; Add Signal on Eastern Long Island. The NHL’s New York Islanders renew their deal for Hofstra University’s non-com WRHU, Hempstead to serve as the flagship station for the team’s games this season. In addition, Long Island-based JVC Broadcasting enters into an agreement with the club to air games on its rock WRCN, Riverhead, New York. The addition of WRCN gives the Isles a radio presence in the central and eastern Long Island areas. Hofstra dean of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, Evan Cornog, tells Newsday, “WRHU is a college radio station that holds itself to the highest professional standards, so we are delighted to enter into a fourth year as the flagship radio station for a great professional sports franchise, the New York Islanders.” JVC’s Matthew Goldapper adds, “JVC Broadcasting is incredibly proud to partner with Hofstra University and the New York Islanders to carry the games in Suffolk County. Residents from Islip to Montauk will now have the ability to listen to all of the action on 103.9 FM.”
Bruce DuMont to Seek New Executive Director for Museum of Broadcast Communications. After founding the Chicago-located Museum of Broadcast Communications, Bruce DuMont says he will recommend to the board of directors that it consider hiring an executive director or general manager to oversee the day-to-day operations of the organization. According to a story by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the 69-year-old DuMont will continue to serve as president and CEO of the non-profit that he founded in 1983. DuMont, who still hosts his weekly “Beyond the Beltway” political talk show from studios in the Chicago facility, says he intends to spend more time raising visibility and funds for the organization. The museum on North State Street re-opened last year after being closed for almost 10 years due to state funding and other fiscal problems that impeded construction of the $27 million building.
Odds & Sods. United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia tells New York Magazine that his favorite talk show host is (former Secretary of Education) Bill Bennett. In the piece, Scalia is asked about his media consumption and he says he gets most of his news while driving and cites Salem Radio Network’s Bennett as his favorite, “My good friend Bill Bennett. He’s off the air by the time I’m driving in, but I listen to him sometimes when I’m shaving. He has a wonderful talk show. It’s very thoughtful. He has good callers. I think they keep off stupid people.” Bennett says of Scalia’s comments, “I couldn’t be happier to know that ‘Morning in America’ is a part of Justice Scalia’s morning routine. Now, if we can just get four more of his colleagues to tune in before they put their robes on, maybe the country will be in better shape.”…..Sports talk personality Steve Hayward returns to Good Karma’s WAUK, Milwaukee hosting his daily 6:00 pm program after a year away from the mic due to health reasons. WITI-TV, Milwaukee reports Hayward has been suffering from cardiomyopathy, diabetes and kidney failure…..WTAG, Worcester morning drive host Paul Westcott sits in for Andy Dean on Premiere Networks‘ “America Tonight” show this evening (10/7).
WEEI Red Sox Radio Network “Believes” in Castiglione for Two More Seasons. With their team just one win away from advancing to the American League Championship Series in a miraculous turnaround campaign, Boston Red Sox fans are being made aware that play-by-play caller Joe Castiglione will be infusing his trademark “Can you believe it?” exclamation for at least two more years. The popular Castiglione has been a Red Sox fixture for 31 years. He will continue in his current role alongside Dave O’Brien through the 2015 season, in what Castiglione describes as, “the best job in New England.” Previous Red Sox play-by-play announcers have included such outstanding stalwarts as Curt Gowdy, Ned Martin, and Ken Coleman; however, Castiglione is the longest-tenured announcer in the team’s illustrious history. “From spring training, to opening day, to that famous final out in St. Louis in 2004, I have had the best seats in the house,” he remarks. WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham adds, “Joe is more than a just broadcaster; he’s become as iconic as Fenway Park or the Green Monster. One of the reasons the Boston Red Sox are such a part of the fabric of New England is because of the work and the voice of Joe Castiglione.” Nominated earlier this week by The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for the Ford C. Frick Award, Castiglione has broadcast some of the most memorable moments in Red Sox history. He called Carl Yastrzemski’s last game in 1983; Roger Clemens’ 20-strikeout game; Dave Roberts’ steal in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees; and the Red Sox 2004 and 2007 World Series Championships.
Former CBS Radio Broadcaster W. Ron Sailor, Sr. Passes. Bishop W. Ron Sailor, Sr., Pastor of Christ the King Baptist Church and former radio personality at CBS Radio’s talk WAOK and urban contemporary WVEE “V-103” passed away on October 6 at age 63. Sailor originally worked for WAOK in 1971 and returned to the station in 2002 when it flipped to a news/talk format. Sailor won accolades for his television works as well winning local EMMYs Outstanding Commentator in the Southeastern United States three-times. He was the first African-American to serve as commentator for the evening news for a major southern television station on WSB-TV and also the first African-American to host an afternoon television program in Atlanta, when he hosted the “Backtalk” program on WXIA-TV.
Still More Positive News/Talk Radio Stories. For the past several days, TALKERS magazine has been writing about some of the individual success stories of news/talk stations that are performing well or even enjoying a ratings bounce during a time when the mainstream media (and some of the trades) are presenting the idea that news/talk radio is dead, dying or, at the very least, suffering from some malady. TALKERS editors believe this too-broad approach to describing the state of a whole radio format that’s heard across an entire continent is detrimental to the industry. And apparently many of the industry’s practitioners agree as we are being besieged with accounts of success from PDs, talent and anonymous station staffers (who want to keep a low profile). Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque has long been a ratings-getter in the market and program director Pat Frisch tells TALKERS things are going particularly well for new PM drive host Scott Stiegler. “He is #1 Persons 25-54 in afternoon drive. It took Stig just six months to take the afternoon show from 8th to 1st in Persons 25-54. They are also listening to the Stig show an hour longer a week than they were six months ago in the key demo.” Frisch also commends Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh for his recent success. “The rock of the station, Rush, is #1 Persons 25-54 and they are listening an hour longer per week to Rush in the key demo, as well. Conservative talk still works and works well if you are a true conservative and stick to your principals.” At NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha, talk radio pro Tom Becka says his story – exiting crosstown KFAB, doing a year in Fargo, and returning to the market on KOIL – is indicative of how success can be achieved without headline-grabbing stats. “We hit our sales quota for the year two months ago and I am beating or competitive with KFAB in my time slot in the demo. Advertisers that are looking ahead to 2014 are putting us in their mix when we were a non-issue at this time last year. I don’t have to beat (Clear Channel’s) KFAB to win. But it is good to know that good local programming that responds to the needs of the listeners still wins.” Reports from KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno (a Peak station soon to be owned by Cumulus Media) indicate the station’s efforts to rebuild its programming after losing Premiere shows to Clear Channel’s new crosstown news/talker have worked in “retaining format leadership in the Fresno market.” Finally, TALKERS is getting reports that the Cox Media Group-WestwoodOne effort syndicating Herman Cain is getting good traction and results. The WSB-AM, Atlanta-based Cain is #5 in that market with Men 25-54 (6.1 share); #1 at WHIO, Dayton with Men 25-54 (10 share); and #3 with Men 18-49 at KRMG, Tulsa (8.1 share). Thanks to all the folks who’ve reported positive news/talk stories over the past few days. We look forward to hearing – and reporting – more of them in the future! For those attending the Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood next Thursday, this will be one of the focal points of the event.
WQAM, Miami Names Andy King PD; Channing Crowder and Brandon Guzio to PM Drive. Beasley Broadcast Group’s Miami sports talker WQAM fills the afternoon drive slot and program director position that had been open since Jorge Sedano left to join ESPN. The station ups APD Andy King to PD. King started at WQAM in 2005 as producer of the Dan Le Batard show, eventually became executive producer of the Jorge Sedano show and took the position of assistant program director in May 2012. WQAM reports that in King’s first year there, he helped the station grow nearly a full share point in the coveted Men 25-54 target audience. The new permanent PM drive program is the Channing Crowder show featuring the former University of Florida and Miami Dolphins star along with co-host Brandon Guzio. Crowder began his radio career with WQAM while still playing professional football and joined the station full time in October 2012 as co-host of the “Kup & Crowder” show. Guzio joined the station’s Jorge Sedano show in 2013 and is also currently the host of “The Post Game Show” following every Miami Dolphins game. With Crowder moving to afternoons, longtime WQAM personality Captain Curtis Stevenson joins Adam Kuperstein for the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm “Kup & Curtis” show.
Prime Opportunity for Conservative Talker in Seattle. As Bonneville’s conservative talk outlet KTTH, Seattle celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, program director Jason Antebi tells TALKERS he is preparing to add another local talk show to the station’s lineup. Antebi says, “The station has been sharpening its vision – who do we want to talk to, what do we talk about and what unique value can we provide to our listeners? We are passionate about our beliefs, yet we also want to move the community conversation forward in a meaningful way and make a difference where we live and work. I’m lucky to work at a company like Bonneville where we’re able to truly provide a place to passionately advocate for traditional American values (like freedom, community, and personal responsibility) without having to be a bomb-thrower.” Antebi says he’ll be looking for “talk show hosts who feel they have what it takes to stay on top of breaking news with insightful, civil and forward-thinking analysis and constructive conversation.” Those interested in learning more about the position should contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Progressive Talk Radio to Return to Portland on New FM. KXRY, Portland (HERP of 8 watts at 91.1 MHz) is currently dark but owned by not-for-profit Common Frequency, Inc. and is expected to go on the air as a non-commercial station in the near future with a progressive talk and music hybrid format. Writing on BlueOregon.com, Carla Axtman says the goal of “XRAY.FM” is to fill the gap left by the demise of former progressive talker KPOJ. It plans to air former KPOJ AM drive host Carl Wolfson (who is running his own internet station) as well as WYD Media’s Thom Hartman, who made Portland his home base for a number of years. Axtman also writes, “Why the sudden audio activism? October 2013 marks the only opening for new independent radio licenses granted by the FCC – a one-week window after a 15-year battle. Congress has allowed commercial radio stations to snatch up nearly all available frequencies (and the ears of billions of listeners) for a long time. This is XRAY.FM’s chance to bring Thom Hartmann, Carl Wolfson and the music of independent artists back to your local dial. XRAY.FM is partnering with community organizations around Oregon to make sure that the whole state can enjoy the sweet sounds of progressive radio once again.”
Odds & Sods. The Los Angeles Lakers and ESPN agree to extend the club’s relationship with KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPNLA” for another seven years with the station airing Lakers play-by-play through the 2019-2020 season. John Ireland and Mychal Thompson will continue to call the games…..WBBM-AM and WCFS, Chicago part-time anchor and reporter Brandis Friedman leaves CBS Radio to join public television station WTTW-TV, Chicago as a full-time correspondent for the “Chicago Tonight Program,” according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Dave Rutherford begins contributing daily commentaries to Rogers’ CFFR, Calgary. Rutherford exited Corus’ crosstown CHQR where he hosted a talk show prior to the expiration of his contract after he criticized that station’s coverage of the flooding in Alberta in June.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin show becomes part of the programming at WEZO, Augusta, Gerogia; KVML, Sonora, California; and WLVA, Roanoke, Virginia…..Cumulus’ Mike Huckabee is added at WGDJ, Albany; KVRC, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; and WBKK, Wilton, Minnesota…..The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” is added to the lineup at KOKC, Oklahoma City and KJCE, Austin. Additionally, KFAQ, Tulsa expands its carriage of the show to 4:00 am to 6:00 am…..GCN’s “The Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program schedule at WSZL, Barstow, Californnia…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters joins the programming at WGTK, Louisville, Kentucky.
Jennifer Hudson on ABC News Radio. Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson (right) sits down with ABC News Radio’s Joi-Marie McKenzie (left) to discuss her latest movie “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete” which hits theaters on October 11.
Government Shutdown Tops Talkers TenTM. The shutdown of the federal government and the political battle to re-open was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of September 30 – October 4. Coming in at #2 this week was the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. At #3 was U.S.-Iran relations and at #4 was the IPCC’s climate change report. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
More News/Talk Radio Success Stories. Yes, you read that right, contrary to the pronouncement – largely in the mainstream media (but some trades are generalizing as well) – that news/talk radio is suffering an overall ratings decline because there’s something wrong with the programming, the signals or its P1s, there are news/talk stations that are doing well. In a piece published yesterday (see Wednesday’s news below) we mentioned a few news/talk stations that are performing well such as WMAL, KMOX, WSB-AM, KIRO-FM and others but more have come to light and we believe it’s worth delving into again. The editors at TALKERS magazine understand we are running the risk of sounding like cheerleaders but it’s not because we are blind to reality, it’s that we are irked by sweeping conclusions based on less-than-complete information that brands an entire format as dead or dying. Yes, some news/talk stations are dealing with low ratings and, yes, there are some entire markets that have seen – at least according to Nielsen Audio’s data – listening to news/talk decline. But for those who work at Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL-FM, Portland; Clear Channel’s KFBK, Sacramento, KNRS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City or WLW, Cincinnati; Bonneville’s KSL, Salt Lake City; Cox Media Group’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando; or Entercom’s KMBZ, Kansas City, are enjoying the fruits of their hard work in the form of news/talk stations that are performing well in their markets in spite of this gloomy environment. Digging a bit deeper at KXL-FM, the midday shows – Jim Villanucci from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and Lars Larson from 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm – are both in the top six spots in Persons 25-54. Villanucci (brand new to Portland listeners) is ranked #6 in the market with Persons 25-54 and Larson, a conservative political talker, ranks #2 in the market with Persons 25-54. Larson is also tied for #1 with Men 18-34 with a 9.2 share. And he does it in liberal Portland! In conclusion, it is not only in the best interests of the country for news/talk radio to remain a vital medium — it is in the interests of the entire radio industry because – let’s face it – most of the buzz, news, high-profile personalities, controversy, and hoopla concerning radio as an iconic component of contemporary culture has emanated from news/talk radio. After that, a close runner up has been the more general (lifestyle and entertainment) approach to “talk” radio as practiced by talents such as Howard Stern (incorrectly described by mainstream media as “shock jocks.”) Can you imagine what the state of radio would be today had it not been for news/talk and general talk radio during the past 25 years? The industry should not be so quick to discount the viability of this genre of radio and the key it holds to the continued pertinence of radio itself. Lars Larson says his philosophy about the focus of his show is simple: “I figure the future of talk is in young listeners who get into the habit and like the format and what we put on the air. I hope to keep them in my audience for the next 20 years.”
Brief Tenure at WBZ-AM, Boston for Jen Brien. Just three months after beginning her position as permanent overnight host at CBS Radio’s WBZ-AM, Boston, talk show host Jen Brien exits with no reason given by management. An announcement was made at the beginning of the overnight program on Thursday morning (10/3) that Brien was no longer the host of the show. Brien won the job after Steve LeVeille retired in June of 2012. The station featured a number of fill-in hosts in the overnight slot for a year before giving Brien the gig. She had previously worked at crosstown WRKO hosting midday show.
Jay Mohr Visits ‘The Tonight Show.’ Fox Sports Radio Network nationally syndicated host Jay Mohr is pictured here on the set of “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno. Mohr appeared on the program to talk about his sports talk radio show as well as his upcoming stand-up comedy shows in his Houston and San Antonio markets. Mohr plugged the fact that his show can be heard on iHeartRadio – prompting a shout from an audience member who, Mohr quipped, “has the app!”
CBS Radio Brings Soccer to NYC. CBS Radio sports talk WFAN-AM/FM, New York agrees to a multi-year deal with the New York City Football Club to begin broadcasting the team’s matches on the stations beginning in 2015. WFAN says it is “the first radio provider to broadcast Major League Soccer (MLS) in English in New York City.” Manchester City Football Club owns the NYC Football Club and CEO Ferran Soriano says, “We’re thrilled to partner with a station as prestigious as WFAN. This is a huge opportunity for the team to bring football to all New Yorkers, right from the onset of our playing debut.” Clearly, growing interest in soccer in the U.S. is something CBS Radio hopes will continue to blossom. CBS Radio SVP and market manager Don Bouloukos adds, “As the nation’s leading sports radio station, we always look for ways to bring every type of sport to the New York area’s fans. Soccer is beloved across the world, and with the New York City Football Club coming to New York, it’s the perfect time to further ignite the passion soccer fans have and bring coverage and play-by-play of this new team to the Tri-State area listeners.”
Odds & Sods. Entercom’s WEEI, Boston kicks off the Red Sox post-season play with a live remote broadcast following a shortened edition of the Salk and Holley show. A “Red Sox Roundtable” will be broadcast live from Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar and Grill in Fenway Park from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Mike Salk, Michael Holley and fellow WEEI personalities John Dennis, Mike Mutnansky, Lou Merloni, Mikey Adams, Kirk Minihane, Alex Speier and Rob Bradford, as well as the Sox broadcast team of Dave O’Brien and Joe Castiglione will be on hand to discuss the Sox’ impending American League Division Series matchup…..Speaking of Joe Castiglione, he’s been nominated as one of 10 finalists for the Ford C. Frick award, given to baseball broadcasters of long and meritorious service. Castiglione has been calling Boston Red Sox games on the radio for 31 years, having joined their broadcast team in 1983…..Northwestern alumnus, Mike Greenberg, and “Mike & Mike” co-host Mike Golic, will broadcast their show live from Northwestern’s Evanston, Illinois campus tomorrow morning (10/4) in advance of Saturday’s Homecoming game between the Wildcats and the Ohio State Buckeyes, as part of the third annual ESPN Audio Fall Football Tour. Greenberg will also serve as grand marshal of University’s 2013 Homecoming Parade tomorrow evening.
Media Day with the Heat. Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talker WAXY-AM/FM, Miami “The Ticket” morning drive hosts Marc Hochman (left) and Jonathon Zaslow (right) attended Miami Heat media day recently and took the time to pose for a shot with Heat center Joel Anthony (the tall guy in the middle).
Government Shutdown, ObamaCare Implementation, IPCC Climate Report, U.S.-Iran Relations, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/2). The political maneuvering to fix the government shutdown; the beginning of the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act; the release of the latest climate report from the IPCC; speculation about future relations between the U.S. and Iran; and financial markets activity were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Eyes (and Ears!) on News/Talk Radio as Recent Ratings Trends Spur Criticism. As the September PPM data continues to roll out, industry watchers and mainstream media writers and analysts are scrutinizing talk radio’s numbers – as well as its programming. Citing a perceived slow-but-steady decline in ratings for the news/talk format in general, critics are wondering if the political “right-versus-left” programming philosophy has become tiresome to all but the staunchest news/talk radio fans and is resulting in the generally lower numbers in Nielsen Audio’s PPM and diary ratings. Some high-profile cases have been cited, including KFI, Los Angeles’ decline in 6+ PPM ratings over the past year from being one of the country’s best-performing news/talk stations in one of America’s most vibrant markets. Just today (10/2), Chicago media writer Robert Feder writes about the state of Cumulus Media’s WLS, Chicago and its declining place in the ratings race. The reasons for the states of these stations are open to analysis – including, but not limited to, the possibility that Nielsen Audio’s PPM methodology is less than perfect – and could easily vary from market to market. When talking ratings, what are usually not included in the recent criticism of news/talk as a format are: the #1 showing for Cox Media’s WSB-AM, Atlanta (which carries the oft-maligned Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity); Cumulus’ WMAL, Washington’s rise in the September PPM; CBS Radio’s high-flying KMOX, St. Louis; Bonneville’s steady-performing KIRO-FM, Seattle; Cox’s WOKV, Jacksonville; and the two Milwaukee news/talk outlets that have consistently performed as two of the top six stations over the last year – Clear Channel’s WISN and Journal’s WTMJ. Constant awareness and analysis of the sound and perception of one’s stations are the hallmarks of good operators and effective programmers should care about how the format is perceived. But discovering what’s “wrong” with a format or a station is not easy and not always possible given the limited information available. In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “The first people out there ready to proclaim news/talk radio as being dead are usually people who see the world primarily through a political lens who disagree with the ideology of the hosts they dislike. Political news/talk radio is cyclical and will always come back from the brink when there’s inevitably a new chapter in contemporary issues. Regardless, the good thing that hopefully will come out of this ratings down-tick will be some of the major operators giving consideration to different forms of talk and even news/talk that are just being ignored. There are so many potential ways of doing ‘talk radio’ it is crazy for so many stations to bunch up around one predominant style. Everyone should spread out and claim and develop new territory on the spectrum of possibilities.” This topic will be one of those addressed at the Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference taking place next Thursday, October 10 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.
Nielsen Begins Synergies; Sean Creamer and Debra Delman to Exit Ratings Giant. Nielsen responded quickly to TALKERS last week after we reported that the “$20 million in synergies” the company hopes to realize with the acquisition of the former Arbitron would cost jobs. The company stated it had “no plans to reduce headcount at this time.” Perhaps that applies to the rank and file and not the executive strata because it’s now being reported that former Arbitron CEO Sean Creamer and CFO Debra Delman will leave Nielsen at the end of the year. Though Nielsen has not released a statement about the changes, it’s expected that other executives may also be headed for the door. Both Creamer, Delman and most of the other high-level execs who might follow the two have clauses in their contracts that will give them very nice golden parachutes. Creamer could realize almost $7 million in total compensation and Delman’s take is just shy of $2 million.
ESPN Deportes Radio Extends NFL Deal. Sports giant ESPN reports that its ESPN Deportes Radio unit has reached a new multi-year agreement for media rights to the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 National Football League seasons. Under the agreement, the network will have exclusive Spanish-language rights to Monday Night Football, the 2013-2014 National Football Conference Playoffs, the 2014 Super Bowl, 2015 Pro Bowl and the 2014-2015 American Football Conference Playoffs. ESPN Deportes Radio general manager Oscar Ramos says, “We’re incredibly excited to add NFL to our diverse roster of programming. U.S. Hispanics are becoming avid NFL fans and this new deal allows us to deliver the content they want in the language they prefer.”
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Diane Warren and Jean Robinson - MMTC Media Brokers (run by Bounceology). In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media brokers Diane Warren and Jean Robinson of MMTC Media Brokers (run by Bounceology) located in San Antonio, Texas. MMTC Media Brokers specializes in locating properties and selling them to potential minority, multicultural and women buyers. In addition to telling their fascinating story, they share several outstanding opportunities that they have among their listings that would be of interest to first-time buyers. To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
CNBC’s Jim Cramer Featured on SiriusXM ‘Town Hall.’ CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer (left) recently took part in SiriusXM’s “Town Hall” series for a Q&A with SiriusXM personality Pete Dominick (right). The program will be aired on Friday, October 4 on its Indie channel. The conversation – which took place before an audience of SiriusXM listeners – covered financial markets, fiscal trends, the economic state of the nation, and the story of Cramer’s personal road from hedge fund manager to popular CNBC host. Dominick is a stand-up comedian who has opened up for Cramer on his “Mad Money Back to School Tour.”
Two Weeks in a Kennel Reaps Rewards for KIDO’s Kevin Miller. KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (right) is pictured here with ASPCA senior director Tami McReynolds (left) and Canyon County Animal Shelter director Barb Hutchinson (center) showing off the check for $35,000 the CCAS received after Miller helped get more than 300 animals adopted. To achieve that and win the $35,000 prize, Miller spent two weeks living in a makeshift kennel from which he broadcast his morning program. The contest is national in scope and – with Miller’s help – the CCAS is the only shelter to win the prize twice.
Government Shutdown, ObamaCare Enrollment Begins, Scrapped Hillary Clinton Programs, U.S.-Iran Relations, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/1). The battle between the GOP and the Obama Administration and the government shutdown; the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act begins; two television projects on the life of Hillary Clinton are scrapped; possible diplomatic relations between Iran and the U.S. and the former’s nuclear program; and the effects of the government shutdown on the U.S. financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Nielsen’s Arbitron Acquisition a Done Deal; Say Hello to ‘Nielsen Audio.’ Nielsen Holdings N.V. announces that, as expected, its acquisition of U.S. radio ratings giant Arbitron has been completed and the new name for the division will be Nielsen Audio. Nielsen CEO David Calhoun says in a press release, “This is a great day for Nielsen and a natural step in our evolution. Arbitron will allow us to analyze and understand an additional two hours of the U.S. consumer’s day while bringing us another opportunity to provide advertisers with metrics on the effectiveness of the mediums that they advertise on.” Along with the re-branding of Arbitron into Nielsen Audio, the unit will be integrated into Nielsen’s U.S. Watch business segment, which provides information and insights primarily to the media and advertising industries across television, online, mobile and radio. With Arbitron, Nielsen says it now measures eight hours a day per person of dynamic media consumption. Calhoun continues, “Our combined capabilities offer opportunities to measure unmeasured areas that are important to the industries and clients we serve, like streaming audio, out-of-home measurements for television consumption and deeper measurement of multicultural audiences in the U.S. Globally, this is an opportunity to expand our measurement of consumer behavior and introduce audio measurement capabilities in new markets.” Nielsen will have more to say about its business now that Arbitron is in the fold at its October 23 conference call.
Cumulus Media Files with SEC to Sell $100 Million in New Securities. There’s no slowing down at Cumulus Media as the company files a $100 million common shelf registration with the SEC that allows the company to sell securities. According to the company’s filing, the proceeds from the sale could be used for paying down debt, capital expenditures or future acquisitions. The term shelf registration refers to Cumulus offering a single prospectus on potentially multiple future and as yet undefined stock offerings. Right now, it doesn’t mean Cumulus is offering new shares, but if and when that time comes, the company can clarify and update any changes in the business or its finances prior to actually selling shares.
Do You Know Your Twitter Followers? Wouldn’t it be great to know more about who’s following your station or your on-air personalities on Twitter? Well, now you can, says Bonneville Seattle creative director Chris Pendl. He offers a step-by-step approach to using a free tool to find out more demographic information about who’s following you on Twitter. Plus, Pendl has a few thoughts about some cool uses for all this newly minted data. Click here for more.
Jeff Brown Jumps to Cumulus Media’s Atlanta Cluster. After leading Entercom’s Boston cluster that includes news/talk WRKO and sports talk WEEI for the past 18 months, Jeff Brown agrees to take on the vice president and market manager position at Cumulus Media’s six-station Atlanta operation that includes: all-news WYAY; CHR WWWQ “Q100”; rock WNNX “Rock 100.5”; and country WKHX “Kicks 101.5.” In a statement, Cumulus COO Jon Pinch says, “Jeff brings high energy and an unequaled desire to win to our already successful Atlanta cluster. We are confident Jeff will contribute significantly to Atlanta’s continued growth.” Brown adds, “I am honored to have been selected as VP/market manager for Cumulus Atlanta. The team in Atlanta is driving growth on these power brands as we speak. I look forward to connecting with them and adding value to their already successful effort.”
Houston Talk Host Michael Harris Exits KCOH in Dispute with Owner. According to KHOU-TV, talk show host Michael Harris has removed himself from his position as a talk show host on KCOH, Houston after accusing owner Jesse Dunn of misusing station funds. According to the television station, Harris says he secured loans for the station – for operational purposes – and he alleges Dunn used the money for personal expenses and gambling. Dunn tells the TV station he did use some money for gambling but that the money belongs to him since he is president of the station. He also maintains the station is able to pay its bills. Harris has filed a criminal complaint with the Houston Police Department and has said of Dunn, “He has ruined KCOH radio’s future.”
HOLLAND COOKE: Halloween? Boo! Radio consultant Holland Cooke says don’t let the holiday that is second place in the amount of money Americans spend only to Christmas pass your station by. Whether it’s on the air or online, Cooke has three quick ideas for getting some attention and making some money off of Halloween this year. To read more, click here.
WBT, Charlotte Host Keith Larson Authors Book to Benefit Kids Cancer Charities. Charlotte talk show host Keith Larson’s new book, That Season of Hope, is being published and its official release will be recognized during a press conference tomorrow (10/1) at the Carolina Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium. Larson’s book is “the true story of the ‘Cardiac Cat’ Carolina Panthers run to the Super Bowl, Hope Stout’s wish to grant the wishes of the other 155 kids on the Charlotte Make-A-Wish list, and the beautiful blur they all became in the Carolinas – and far beyond – in 2003/2004.” Proceeds from the sale of Larson’s book benefit three charities: Make-A-Wish, Carolina Panthers Keep Pounding Cancer Fund, and March Forth with Hope Foundation.
Audio Summit 2013. Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo (l) is pictured here with The Newhouse School Dean Lorraine Branham (r) during the Audio Summit held in New York City last week where radio executives gathered at the event organized by Newhouse School (Syracuse University) grads Sabo and Steve Leeds of SiriusXM (both class of ’73). Walter Sabo reports that panelists were enthusiastic about the importance of live and local radio. Ed Levine, owner of Galaxy Media explained that there are two basic models for running radio stations and both will succeed. One is that decisions are made at the local level and programming is 100% tied to the community. The other is a corporate national template executed at the station level. All panelists believed that radio is the original social medium and it often drives the success of digital initiatives.
Cool Job Opportunities. Attention talk radio producers and board operators, SiriusXM is launching Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School and this 24/7 channel will originate from a studio SiriusXM is building on the Wharton campus at U Penn in Philadelphia. While the full launch is still a few months away, SiriusXM is now interviewing for positions on the channel. SiriusXM is in Philly on October 3 and 4 to interview candidates so anyone interested should apply on-line ASAP right here.
A Man Hug Between Old Friends. Fox Sports Radio Network talk host – not to mention comic and actor – Jay Mohr (right) embraces “Ray Donovan” co-star Dash Mihok (left) who stopped by the Fox studios on Friday, September 27 for a candid conversation about acting and sports. Mihok shared thoughts about his methods in acting and reminisced about losing acting roles to Mohr. He even talked a little New York Knicks.
Bonneville Seattle Re-Tools KIRO-FM Mid-Mornings with ‘The Tom and Curley Show.’ This is John Curley’s third daypart on KIRO-FM, Seattle and this time the station pairs him up with “veteran pop-culture enthusiast” and film critic Tom Tangney (left) for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show. Curley (right) – a well-known Seattle media personality – began with KIRO-FM hosting the evening program, then moved to morning drive alongside Linda Thomas for a brief period. The station moved Dave Ross to AM drive leaving Curley out for a period. Now, management says this new show “will bring an energetic insight into the news. The show will keep listeners informed, entertained and connected to the latest news in the region and around the world. The combination of Curley’s enthusiasm and Tangney’s intellect is the perfect mixture for KIRO Radio’s weekday lineup.” Program director Pete Gammell says, “The partnership between John and Tom is electric and we’re excited to offer our audience such a great program to keep them informed and connected to Seattle.” Curley comments, “Tom is the brother-in-law I always wanted to have, a guy I can argue with sometimes and laugh with almost all the time.” And Tangney adds, “I have a blast talking with John Curley three hours a day. I hope and trust listeners will find our show as fun and invigorating as I do.”
Marilu Henner to Speak at Talkers Los Angeles 2013. Accomplished actress and author — and recently syndicated radio talk show host (Sun Broadcast Group) – Marilu Henner, will be joining the stellar roster of more than 50 speakers who will be on the power-packed program at Talkers Los Angeles 2013. Marilu Henner will present an opening greeting titled “Hello Talk Radio” at the start of the event in which she will welcome attendees to the conference and talk about the appeal of the medium and its potential to serve a variety of topics and interests outside the realm of partisan politics. Henner’s new show that deals with health topics and day-to-day lifestyle issues of interest to a broad segment of the public has been drawing critical raves. Conference director Michael Harrison states, “One listen to Marilu Henner makes it clear that she is a bright, confident, media ‘natural’ who will make a difference in this field. Her smart, original and fearless approach to health and well-being issues is enhanced by her extraordinary charisma and all around strong media presence. What a welcome addition to the talk radio community! We are honored to have her play a key role in the morning kick-off of what promises to be a fantastic day!” For sponsorship and other information about the sold-out conference which takes place at the historic Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood on Thursday, October 10, please call 413-565-5413.
CBS Radio Moves Morton To STL as Director of Sales. Sam Morton transfers from Dallas to become director of sales for CBS Radio, St. Louis properties news/talk KMOX, AC KEZK “Fresh 102.5,” and hot AC KYKY “Y98.” He will arrive in St. Louis on October 14, after being general sales manager for CBS Radio, Dallas’ sports talk KRLD-FM, adult hits KJKK “100.3 Jack FM,” and classic hits KLUV. Senior vice president/St. Louis market manager John Sheehan remarks, “I have seen the success Sam has had in a very competitive radio market. His strategic leadership and management experience in Dallas, along with his understanding of CBS Radio business philosophies, will make him a great partner for us in St. Louis.” In addition to his DOS duties, Morton will serve as KMOX’s general sales manager.
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Brett Miller – MCH Enterprises, Inc. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Brett Miller of MCH Enterprises, Inc. located in Bakersfield, California. Like many of the professional media brokers spotlighted in this feature, Miller is extremely friendly to displaced radio personnel looking to go into ownership for themselves, as well as first-time buyers. He specializes in small market radio and believes that small market radio is the heart and soul of broadcasting and community service. He tells it like it is: “In our little corner of the industry, we are experiencing roughly the same number of buy/sell transactions as when we started; only now the deals are smaller and buyers’ struggles to obtain financing grows bigger. Seller financing is almost a requirement as all-cash deals are becoming harder to find and fewer between. In addition to brokering transactions, our consulting side has grown to include transaction management and FCC support as first-time buyers enter the market, and we are doing more appraisals as banks are experiencing greater scrutiny from their examiners or coping with bankruptcies and liquidations. We see a good number of first-time buyers with solid experience, but with no financing and no ability to collateralize licenses in order to obtain financing (hello, FCC? there’s a hint there), we sense a lot of frustration in the marketplace…not only with prospective buyers, but with sellers. There remains a fairly large gap between buyer and seller expectations. The margins are slim and the multiples are shrinking as the new economic reality sets in. To some degree, what buyers want, they can’t afford and what buyers can afford doesn’t interest sellers. While it frustrates everyone, there are still good opportunities for the right person: someone who knows how the business works, someone who is not afraid to get out on the street and make sales, and someone who wants to become an integral part of the community. In our opinion, it is the power of radio that will ultimately lead the way for the economic recovery of Main Street. To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
CRC Broadcasting Adds FM Signal for Phoenix Money Talker. CRC Broadcasting’s KFNN, Phoenix “Money Radio 1510” now has an FM signal on which its programming is being simulcast. Translator K257CD at 99.3 FM covers the center of the metro. Company founder and president Ron Cohen states, “The addition of an FM channel not only provides listeners with greater access to hear ‘Money Radio,’ but also comes at a strategically pivotal time in Phoenix radio. We’ve built our reputation on providing more useful information than just business news. ‘Money Radio 1510’ talks about money: how to make it, invest it, and how to be smart spenders of it. We will continue to serve the local community with our relevant and informative programming.”
Larry Wilson’s L&L Broadcasting Buys YMF’s Columbia Cluster. YMF Media LLC inks an agreement to sell its Columbia, South Carolina cluster consisting of urban contemporary WWDM “The Big DM 101,” classic rock WMFX “Fox 102,” rock WARQ “Rock 93.5,” hip hop WHXT “Hot 103.9,” adult hits WZMJ “The Lake,” and talk WOIC to L&L Broadcasting. YMF Media was represented by Media Venture Partners in the transaction. The price for the five-station cluster is $13 million.
Michael Harrison to Present Blockbuster Speech at NAB Addressing Key Issues of Both Talk and Music Radio. As a matter of fact, the publisher of talk radio trade TALKERS and music radio trade RadioInfo states that in order for both talk radio and music radio to continue to play an important role in the new digital era – at least within the context of being “AM and FM” radio, and within the broader context of “radio” having certain cultural identifiers that keep it special – is for BOTH to continue to exist in a healthy way side by side. Harrison also believes that music radio and talk radio still have much to share with and learn from each other. Harrison’s speech will be a hard-hitting, non-stop 45-minute “pitching machine” of challenges and solutions facing today’s radio as it braces for the “whitewater ride” of finding its natural home in the digital era, which he says “will inevitably prevail in changing our entire media/cultural landscape within the next decade – at most.” Harrison strongly advises that radio is first and foremost a connection to popular culture and that’s what it should stay in order to remain vital. Among the suggestions Harrison will deliver include his top 10 concepts to keeping radio vital as a pop cultural entity: 10) Celebrate radio’s “radioness” – don’t let it fade; 9) Spread out formatically and stop bunching around a mere handful of viable format options; 8) Be a hero – everyday, and in every way; 7) Strive for localness and here’s why; 6) Take “ownership” of your subject matter and slice of the humanities pie; 5) Eliminate commercial tune outs – commerciality MUST be reinvented ASAP; 4) Maintain an active “skunk works” component to your operation - garages, not corporate boardrooms, are where great new ideas are born and incubated; 3) Learn about intellectual property – it is the foundation upon which we will build most business/talent/management deals in this new era; 2) Integrate radio into the new digital age without being assimilated – the internet is a “ground” not a platform – keeping in mind that in spite of what everyone is saying, content is NOT king, platform is king; and 1) Eliminate debt – radio cannot survive within its current financial paradigm…it is time to put the brakes on consolidation and begin to think about deconsolidation. Harrison states, “As long as every other news story we seem to be writing about in the trades is about a ‘deal’ that will create the ‘largest this or that’ in the industry, we are still headed in the wrong direction and will never make it across Bill Clinton’s metaphorical ‘bridge to the 21st century.’ Radio has always been and will always be a mom-and-pop business. We need fewer CEOs, COOs, presidents and vice presidents – and more mom-and-pops.” Harrison, who will be introduced by consultant Holland Cooke, will be speaking on Thursday, September 19 between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm in the room Gatlin E2. It is open to all attendees of the NAB Radio Show. For information call 413-565-5413.
Arbitron Brings NextMedia Aboard for Diary Ratings in Three Markets. NextMedia signs a multi-year deal with Arbitron to subscribe to the company’s diary ratings service for its stations in Canton, Ohio; Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville, North Carolina; and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. NextMedia also re-ups its PPM contract for Chicago and San Jose. NextMedia president and CEO Jim Donahoe states, “Radio continues to be a vibrant medium that reaches consumers at a very local level. Subscribing to Arbitron’s radio ratings services gives NextMedia the opportunity to demonstrate radio’s continued strength to our current and potential advertisers.”
Saga Communications Revises Projected Revenue. The third quarter of 2013 doesn’t end until September 30 but Saga Communications is issuing a statement in which it “anticipates gross revenues for the third quarter ending September 30, 2013 to be flat to up 2.0% in comparison to the corresponding period last year.”
Midwest Communications Inks Regional Reps for Six Markets. Independent sales rep firm Regional Reps Corp. is contracted by Midwest Communications to be the exclusive national sales rep firm for its stations in the following markets: Duluth; Hibbing, Minnesota; Holland, Michigan; Lansing; Sioux Falls; and Terre Haute. The Midwest stations in Sheboygan, Wisconsin have been represented by Regional Reps since 2007. Midwest CEO Duke Wright states, “We’re very excited about working with Regional Reps in a number of our markets. Regional Reps has demonstrated to us that they are innovative, produce results for the stations they represent and take the initiative in developing new revenue streams for their clients.”
Odds & Sods. Fox News Radio brings Tonya Powers aboard to serve as a national correspondent based in the New York headquarters. In her new role, Powers will report on breaking news and provide daily live reports covering stories in the Northeast and across the country. Prior to joining FNR, Powers was a news director and morning show anchor at Clear Channel’s news/talk WREC, Memphis “Newsradio 600.”…..Blackstrap Broadcasting’s WUFC, Boston changes sports network affiliations and leaves NBC Sports Radio and is re-branding as “Yahoo! Sports Radio 1510.” This move comes after station general manager and midday host Anthony Pepe becomes part of the Yahoo! lineup.
Navy Yard Slayings, U.S. Syria Policy, Iran’s Threats to the U.S., Quest for New Fed Chief, and Colorado Floods Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/16). The killings at the Navy Yard in Washington; the ongoing debate over the United States’ policy regarding Syria’s civil unrest; threats by Iran against the United States and its allies; the process of determining who will be the next Fed chief; and the deaths and destruction from the floods in Colorado were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
KOGO, San Diego Debuts New Lineup; Chip Franklin Exits AM Drive. After a six-year run at KOGO, San Diego, Chip Franklin exits the station as the programming lineup is tweaked at the Clear Channel news/talker. Moving into AM drive is former afternoon personality Chris Merrill. He’s followed by Rush Limbaugh. At 12:00 noon, LaDona Harvey – who had been partnered with Franklin in AM drive – is on air solo from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and Bob “Sully” Sullivan moves from the early afternoon slot into PM drive. Franklin came to San Diego after a long and successful run at Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore. He tells the San Diego Union Times he has no hard feelings about the change. “I had a great run at KOGO, and they have and continue to treat me in a highly professional manner. Believe it or not, I have been very lucky. I still have a lot of great friends there and I sincerely wish them the very best. The new morning guy, Chris Merrill, is a friend and a tremendous talent. Don’t underestimate him.”
Salem Communications to Move New York Stations into Current WOR Facilities. Salem Communications announces it will move its two New York properties – news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian talk WMCA – from their current New Jersey location to Lower Manhattan into what is now the studios of Clear Channel’s news/talk WOR in the Trinity Building next to Trinity Church at 111 Broadway where WOR has been located since 2006. Since Clear Channel bought WOR from Buckley Broadcasting more than a year ago, plans have been made for WOR to move into CC’s larger New York studios. Salem VP director of spoken word format and regional VP for New York Phil Boyce says, “Salem has a major commitment to winning in New York and this move will help us take both stations to the next level. We know for years great radio came out of this building when it housed WOR and now we have the opportunity to continue that tradition with both WMCA and ‘AM 970 The Answer.’ As an added plus, WMCA, known as ‘New York’s Christian Talk,’ will be re-locating next door to historic Trinity Church, founded in 1697, as the oldest church in New York City. There is some divine providence going on here, as WMCA, which is licensed to the city of New York now moves next door to the oldest church.” The move is expected to be completed before the end of this year.
CHRIS PENDL: Help Your Best Clients Thrive in Local Searches. Bonneville Seattle creative director Chris Pendl writes that some of radio’s best advertisers can be the most difficult to find when it comes to mobile-based local searches. What’s more, there can be a huge difference between how one of your clients rates on a desktop search and where they rate – if at all – on a mobile search. Pendl notes, “With smartphone ownership now 56% among American adults, searching on smartphones is increasingly becoming a part of the consumer’s journey before making a purchase. A recent local search study revealed, there’s an 87% increase in local searches via mobile apps. It is in this mobile space where some of radio’s best advertisers, local and regional businesses, have poor visibility and are often non-existent.” Pendl offers simple solutions to help your valuable advertisers appear where they should in mobile searches. Read his column here.
KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle Scores Exclusive Interview with ‘Green River Killer.’ This morning, Sinclair Radio’s KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle begins broadcasting an exclusive interview series with serial killer Gary Ridgway, conducted by the station’s Charlie Harger. Titled, “Voice of Evil,” it begins with a special preview at 7:15 am (PT) on ‘KOMO Newsradio.’ Reports will be broadcast at 7:15 am, 12:15 pm and 5:15 pm all this week and mark the culmination of a near year-long investigation. The station says “Harger spoke exclusively with Ridgway on six separate occasions in what are the killer’s only media interviews since his incarceration in 2001. Ridgway was convicted on 49 counts of murder but reveals to KOMO that he committed many more. In his conversation with Harger, Ridgway shares frightening details of his crimes, tells detectives where to look for additional remains and even explains why he did it. Is he sorry? KOMO posed that question to the man serving a life sentence at Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla and his answer stunned the veteran reporter.” Harger adds, “I think it’s important that people understand just why we’re giving voice to a guy like this. People deserve answers and the families deserve some kind of closure.” KOMO-AM/FM program director Paul Duckworth adds, “It’s also about justice. There are a number of unsolved cases and we’re hopeful that our investigation will prompt the task force to reopen its investigation.”
KNX, Los Angeles to Present Health Care Town Hall. CBS Radio all-news KNX, Los Angeles “1070 NEWSRADIO” is presenting an “unprecedented town hall event and day-long series of special reports, titled ‘KNX 1070 Healthcare Uncovered,’ on Thursday, October 3 giving Californians a broad range of information about choosing health insurance under the newly enacted Affordable Care Act.” The station reports that more than a dozen guest speakers representing various entities involved with healthcare reform, from federal, state and local officials to health professionals and consumer advocates, will appear at the town hall forum at The Autry in Los Angeles from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. Guests will include Peter Lee, the executive director of Covered California, the state’s overseer and marketplace for health insurance coverage beginning in January 2014. Also scheduled to appear are Herb K. Schultz, regional director for the Department of Health and Human Services; Carmen Balber, executive director of Consumer Watchdog; Victor Parker, district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration, Janice Rocco, California’s deputy insurance commissioner; Rocky Delgadillo, CEO of the L.A. County Medical Association, and many others including doctors and consumers of different demographics. The event will be hosted and moderated by KNX news anchors Diane Thompson, Bob McCormick and Frank Mottek and investigative reporter Charles Feldman who is co-producing the event with Laraine Herman. Feldman states, “This is the biggest change to our healthcare system since Medicare was rolled out in 1966 and a lot of people are confused. Because this law is so new, we’re bringing together panelists with knowledge covering a wealth of issues so that whether you’re self-employed, a business owner, the head of household or just entering the workforce, we’ll provide answers to questions you’ve never had to think about before.”
Haaga Gets Nod As NPR’s Acting President/CEO. Two-year NPR board member Paul Haaga, Jr. is named acting president/chief executive officer. The appointment takes effect at the end of this month for Haaga, who most recently was vice chair of the board and finance committee chair. He will succeed Gary Knell, who leaves for similar duties at the National Geographic Society. “Paul has made many valuable contributions to NPR during his tenure on the board,” comments NPR board chair Kit Jensen. “His intimate knowledge of our organization, his unwavering commitment to the highest quality of journalism and programming, and his financial acumen make him particularly well-suited to lead NPR as we begin our search for a permanent chief executive.” The retired chair of the board of Capital Research and Management Company, Haaga is the former chair of the Investment Company Institute, and he was a senior attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead one of the world’s leading providers of news, music, and cultural programming on an interim basis,” he remarks. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on the board and senior leadership team to help this great organization build on its success.” The former National Public Radio renamed itself NPR in July 2010.
Star Over Orlando Retakes Control of WRSO, Orlovista, Florida; Doubles Transmitting Power. Star Over Orlando operators Carl Como Tutera and his son Carmine announce they have taken back WRSO, Orlovista which operates as a sports talk outlet carrying CBS Sports Radio Network programming. The Tuteras also announce that they have received FCC approval to increase the daytime power to 20 kw and the night-time power to 1 kw — double the power of its original license. Earlier in the week, the FCC placed the Carl Como Tutera FM Translator application for Channel 226 in Orlando on a ‘singleton’ list for the operation of an FM on 93.1 with 250 Watts of Power. The pair built the AM station in 2005 and it began operations in early 2006. WRSO operates from a studio location in Altamonte Springs and at a tower site in Orlando. They say CBS Sports will continue to be an affiliate and be heard on both the AM and FM.
Jerry Sharell Stable After Being Held Hostage, Stabbed. The Los Angeles radio and music communities remain stunned this morning following news that broke last night involving former five-year (1987 – 1992) Westwood One senior vice president of talent marketing Jerry Sharell, who was reportedly held hostage and attacked in Woodland Hills (San Fernando Valley – Los Angeles). Sharell was with his girlfriend when her ex-husband was said to have arrived with flowers and a machete at approximately 8:00 am yesterday (Sunday, 9/15). He apparently held the couple hostage for more than three hours. “Sometime during that time, [Sharell] had been stabbed repeatedly,” Los Angeles Police Department sergeant Jeff Nuttal told KABC-TV, Los Angeles. The woman was injured when she tried to halt the attack, but was able to escape and called authorities. Police say that owing to a history of domestic violence, she had a restraining order against her ex-husband. Sharell, who hosts “Sundays with Sinatra” on Los Angeles public outlet KKJZ “KJazz” – is in critical, but stable condition at Northridge Medical Center with injuries to his head and neck. The unidentified attacker turned the weapon on himself; his condition is listed as critical as well but both he and Sharell are expected to survive. The alleged attacker is in police custody at the hospital. Sharell was co-executive producer of Ronnie Milsap‘s 2004 Grammy-nominated “Just for a Thrill” album. He began his career as a Mercury Records promotion rep, before joining Main Line Distributors in 1962. Sharell held executive positions at Buddah Records and A&M Records. He has helped the careers of artists such as Herb Alpert, Jackson Browne, Carpenters, Cars, Joe Cocker, Eagles, Curtis Mayfield, Joni Mitchell, Queen, Linda Ronstadt, and Carly Simon. He is past president of City of Hope, Entertainment Division, and is on the advisory board of MusiCares. From 2002 – 2010, he was president/CEO for the non-profit Society of Singers. Sharell’s wife of 48 years, Joanne, recently died after losing her fight against cancer.
‘Boomer & Carton’ Off MSG Network as Contract Expires. Last week TALKERS reported that the Yankees-owned YES Network is in talks with WFAN, New York’s Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton to do a cable TV simulcast of their AM drive show on the CBS Radio sports talk station. Up until last week, the duo had been seen on the Madison Square Garden Network (MSG), but that deal elapsed on Friday and for now, Boomer & Carton are only available on the radio.
Odds & Sods. Entercom’s WEEI, Boston adds ESPN “Monday Night Football” play-by-play voice Mike Tirico to its stable of football experts. Tirico will call in to the Salk & Holley show every Thursday afternoon at 4:30 throughout the season…..Plain Talk Radio Network’s internet radio show “Talk Live with Peter Gantenbein” – a “weekly news and commentary program that engages in straight talk not for the faint of heart,” has been recognized as must-hear radio with an “Editor’s Pick” recognition from Windows Media Guide…..Good Karma flips WEFL, Tequesta, Florida to Spanish–language sports talk using ESPN Deportes. The company had been simulcasting English-language sports on WEFL and WUUB-FM, Jupiter and the latter remains English-language sports talk…..CRN Digital Talk Radio‘s popular wine dinners return to Los Angeles on Tuesday, September 17. Tobin James of Tobin James Winery in Paso Robles pairs a variety of wines with a prix fixe menu at Colombo’s Italian Steak and Jazz Club at 1833 Colorado Blvd. in Eagle Rock. CRN CEO and president Michael Horn says, “People still talk about our Tobin James wine dinner from a few years ago. Toby brings a world-class selection of wines people enjoy. He’s also a fun, down-to-earth person that everyone relates to. Colombo’s provides a great atmosphere and delicious food that will make the night all that more special.”…..Today ABC Radio re-launches its popular “Dancing with the Stars” station on Slacker, providing fans with behind-the-scenes access to the ABC hit reality TV show. Now in its third season, “Dancing with the Stars” Radio will deliver an on-demand audio experience and unlimited access to key moments throughout the competition. Each week “Dancing with the Stars” Radio will follow the Season 17 cast as they battle it out on the dance floor for the coveted Mirror Ball trophy. Season 17 of “Dancing with the Stars” premieres on tonight on the ABC Television Network.
Newhouse School Presents Audio Industry Summit. The half-day event will take place in New York City on Friday, September 27 and will feature two panels of experts from 8:30 am to 12:00 noon at Syracuse University Lubin House, 11 E 61st St. The event is free and open to the public but seating is limited. RSVP with your name and professional affiliation to Ed Gorham at email@example.com by Wednesday, September 18. Newhouse Dean Lorraine Branham states, “Given the seismic shifts in radio and newer audio platforms, much attention is being paid to the medium’s future. It is crucial that we understand where the industry is headed so we can appropriately prepare our students. We want to hear from thought leaders in management, programming and other key areas so we can get a better handle on best practices in radio moving forward.” Industry players attending will include: Jeff Smulyan, founder and CEO of Emmis Communications; Dan Mason, president and CEO of CBS Radio; Buzz Knight, vice president of program development for Greater Media; Chris Oliviero, executive vice president of programming for CBS Radio; Deon Levingston, vice president and general manager at WBLS Radio (New York); Kevin Straley, vice president of programming at TuneIn; and Ed Levine, president and CEO of Galaxy Communications, among others.
CBS Radio Makes Changes to Programming at Sports Talk KHTK, Sacramento. The big change here is the move of Don Geronimo from AM drive to middays – airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and the return of Carmichael Dave to the station. Carmichael Dave – who exited the station in May of last year and was recently hosting an internet program – is being paired up with Keith Brooks for the new morning show that will debut on July 8. It appears the station will re-brand itself as “KHTK Sports 1140” from its current “CBS Sports Radio Sacramento.” The station also notes that “Jason Ross will rejoin the afternoon sports desk in the ‘KHTK Sports 1140’ update studios and continue to fill in for Grant Napear. Dave ‘Deuce’ Mason will continue to be an important part of Sports 1140 and local sports programming for KHTK.” Don Geronimo has been a successful personality on KHTK in the midday slot going back to the days of the old Westwood One-syndicated Don & Mike show.
Legal Snag Hits Salem’s Attempt to Bring Peter Boyles to KNUS, Denver. Longtime KHOW, Denver radio personality Peter Boyles – recently fired by Clear Channel after a physical altercation between Boyles and his producer Greg Hollenback – was supposed to resurface on Salem Communications’ crosstown news/talk KNUS on July 1. But it appears a legal complication – probably a non-compete in his contract with Clear Channel – is preventing that from happening for the time being. Local reports said Boyles may be hosting the morning show as early as Wednesday (7/3) but as of today the morning drive show is being hosted by regular KNUS fill-in host Jimmy Sengenberger.
Valuable Formula to Determine the Financial Value of Each Listener Measured by Arbitron. What if you knew how much an average listener as measured in your Arbitron ratings contributed in daily, monthly, or even annual revenue to your station? And what if you could use that data to help drive decisions in what promotions make sense for existing listeners and which marketing channels are best for new listeners? You can, and in a new article posted today (7/2), Chris Pendl, the brilliant creative director of Bonneville Seattle and TALKERS columnist, shows you how to do it. All it takes (ugh) is a little math. To read this valuable information, click here.
Steve Cochran Fills in for Jonathon Brandmeier on WGN, Chicago. As Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports, longtime WGN personality and former crosstown WIND host Steve Cochran (who exited WIND just last week) is sitting in for the vacationing Jonathon Brandmeier today (7/2) on the morning show – possibly adding fuel to the speculation that Cochran will return to WGN. But WGN president and general manager Jimmy de Castro is either being coy or truly is still considering the future of the station’s lineup when he tells Feder, “We haven’t even talked about an agreement because he’s just doing fill-ins. I know Cochran really well. I love him. I’d love to figure out if there’s a way to have him in WGN’s family. I don’t know. I’m doing research and looking at a lot of stuff. I want him to fill in on different dayparts — mornings, middays, afternoons — and hear what happens.” The two worked together at WLUP-FM and WLUP-AM (now sports WMVP) in the 1990s.
WGN, Chicago Officially Comments on Staff Changes. TALKERS reported the exit of WGN, Chicago late night talk host Turi Ryder last week as she addressed her departure from the station on her radio program – by the way a classy move for management to allow her to say “good-bye.” Now, WGN announces the evening sports show content and news staff changes confirming “the David Kaplan show will air from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight with a focus on the Chicago sports scene and national sports landscape. Listeners will hear a variety of sports topics discussed by Kaplan and various guests from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, followed by an hour of sports talk from Mark Carman and Jordan Bernfield. Kaplan is a staple in the Chicago sports industry, having joined WGN Radio in 1995. He most recently held the position of afternoon drive sports reporter and host of various shows including, ‘WGN Sports Night’ and ‘Cubs Insider.’ Bernfield is the current host of ‘Cubs Weekly’ and Northwestern basketball and football broadcasts. Carman comes to WGN radio from Yahoo! Sports Radio, where he was previously the afternoon co-host since August of 2012.” The new schedule also includes a lineup shift for news anchors Andrea Darlas and Steve Bertrand. Darlas will anchor mornings and Bertrand returns to the afternoons/evenings. WGN president and general manager Jimmy deCastro states, “We’re making changes in an effort to give Chicagoans more of the things they want to hear. Thank you to our WGN Radio listeners, the most loyal and attentive family, for helping us navigate through this and stay tuned for the best of the old and new coming soon.”
Brian Kilmeade’s Fox News Radio Show to be Featured on his Fox News Channel TV Show. In what promises to be a creative and interesting piece of cross-platform promotion tomorrow morning between 6:00 am and 9:00 am (7/3), multimedia talk star Brian Kilmeade‘s midday Fox News Radio show “Kilmeade and Friends” will be featured in “realty show” style on Fox News Channel‘s “morning show “Fox and Friends” (in which Kilmeade is a co-host). The behind the scenes package will show Brian’s transition as he goes from TV to radio — the cameras followed him and stayed in the radio studio for the three hours where some of Brian’s regular “friends” stopped by and had a little fun with him.
NYMRAD Touts Positive New York Market Revenue Data. Based on numbers from Miller, Kaplan, Arase and Co., the trade group New York Market Radio is announcing spot revenue is up 7.6% for the first five months of 2013. NYMRAD executive director Deborah Beagan says, “It’s quite a story to see New York Radio Market revenues up by over 7% year-to-date through May, 2013…The key to New York Market Radio’s success is live-and-local content that engages the audience. For the 92% of New Yorkers who listen to radio, this is their hometown and their favorite stations. In addition, New York Market Radio stations have significantly invested in the digital arena to provide multi-platform options to advertisers. The future of effective advertising lies in the smart integration of traditional and digital media. I am extremely enthusiastic about the second half of 2013.”
WLS-AM, Chicago Brings Susan Carlson Aboard for PM News Duties. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS, Chicago is hiring former WBBM-TV “CBS 2” morning news anchor Susan Carlson to serve as news anchor for the afternoon drive show hosted by Roe Conn and Richard Roeper. She replaces Jim Johnson who recently retired from the station after 45 years. Carlson is no stranger to WLS having served as a news and traffic reporter from 1998 to 2002, also working with Roe Conn. Feder reports Carlson is under contract to WBBM-TV until July 18 and will join WLS-AM after that.
Sports Reporting: Dealing with Prickly Coaches. WFAN, New York sports talk host and TALKERS columnist Richard Neer offers advice to sports reporters and talk hosts who interview sports coaches as part of their jobs. Neer’s experience dealing with some of the top coaches leading New York sports teams has taught him a few lessons, especially about dealing with skippers who don’t enjoy post-game press conferences. Neer writes about the tactics of asking questions during post-game pressers and eliciting useful responses from reluctant managers. Read his piece here.
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Burt Sherwood of Burt Sherwood & Associates. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Burt Sherwood of Burt Sherwood & Associates. Sherwood brings years of experience (he was one of the early WMCA Good Guys) to his brokerage firm optimistically stating, “Station sales should be strong, ethnic operators will grow, youth will be served by over-the-air stations which will have apps for their iPhones and iPads, and the audience will grow proportionately — I think better than 30%. You will be able to track listeners and TV viewers and get them to respond directly…broadcasting and the internet will be partners.” To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, click here.
Veteran Talk Show Host Mark Wainwright Dips Toe in On-Air Water After 16 Year Hiatus. He was one of the big players in talk radio back in the 1990s doing stellar airwork – perhaps most notably at WBAP, Dallas – before leaving the industry in 1997 to pursue other endeavors. Now Mark Wainwright is back, at least temporarily as a fill in, returning to WBAP this Friday, July 5 subbing in the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot. He’ll also be heard doing fill-in during morning drive on WGY, Albany next Thursday and Friday (7/11-12) and morning drive on WSYR, Syracuse the week of August 12-16 and August 19 and 20. Welcome back to the game, Mark – we hope we get to hear even more of you in the coming days. For old friends looking to reconnect, Mark Wainwright can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
KMZQ, Las Vegas Re-Brands as ‘Fox Sports 670AM Las Vegas.’ Kemp Communications’ sports talk KMZQ picks up Fox Sports Radio Network programming and re-brands as “Fox Sports 670AM Las Vegas.” The station is airing “Fox Sports Daybreak,” “Jay Mohr Sports,” “Fox Sports Primetime featuring Pat O’Brien with Steve Hartman,” “Petros & Money,” “Fox Sports Tonight,” J.T. The Brick and the network’s complete weekend lineup. It will continue to air TRN-FM’s “Mancow in the Morning” on the station from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. General manager Deirdre Palmer states, “We are very excited to add Fox Sports Radio programming to 670AM. We’re confident the Fox Sports brand, combined with the Network’s quality programming, will elevate KMZQ-AM to the next level in Las Vegas.”
Katherine Galanty Joins Yahoo! Sports Radio. Yahoo! Sports Radio has a new vice president of affiliate relations as Katherine Galanty joins the company. Galanty’s resume includes stints with Sports USA, ISP Sports, and Westwood One. Yahoo! Sports Radio program director and chief operating officer Craig Larson states, “Katherine brings a wealth of affiliate relations experience in sports talk radio. We expect her to play a critical role as we continue to emerge in the years ahead.”
NAB Spotlights Importance of ‘First Informers’ in Moore, Oklahoma Video. The National Association of Broadcasters, in an effort to highlight the importance of “first informers” in saving lives during natural disasters and weather emergencies, has posted a condensed version of a documentary by University of Oklahoma media arts professor Scott Hodgson and his students that features interviews and never-before-seen footage on broadcasters’ efforts before, during and after the storm. The video is on the blog post page by NAB vice president, communications, Ann Marie Cumming. See it here.
Arizona Firefighters Deaths, U.S. Spying Program/Edward Snowden Case, Egyptian Violence, Western Heat Wave, Student Loan Rate Hikes and ObamaCare Promotion Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/1). The deaths of 19 firefighters battling the Arizona wildfire; the ongoing issue of the United States’ spying program and the fate of Edward Snowden; the anarchy in Egypt as protests demand Mohamed Morsi’s ouster; the scorching heat affecting the Western United States; the debate over government-backed student loan rates; and promotion of ObamaCare by libraries in the U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Faces Suit by Photo Company Alleging Illegal Use. National Photo Group LLC has filed a complaint in United States District Court Western District of Texas alleging Clear Channel radio stations infringed on its copyrights by using pictures of various celebrities on the websites of some of its radio stations. The complaint names 11 CC radio stations and alleges photos of celebrities including Jason Aldean, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Drew Barrymore and others were used without permission and with knowledge that the photos were copyrighted. NPG is seeking $150,000 per infringement plus legal fees and any other relief the Court deems just and proper.
WCBM, Baltimore Extends Talk Host Tom Marr’s Contract Through 2017. Baltimore talk radio institution Tom Marr will be heard on WCBM through 2017 as the station’s vice president, Nick Mangione. Jr., announces the station extends his no-cut contract for another four years. The official announcement was made June 24 by WCBM program director and operations manager Sean Casey at the start of Marr’s show that day. Mangione, Jr. states, “I am delighted we have reached the agreement on the extension. To quote my late father, Tom is still at the top of his game both as a broadcaster in general and talk show host in particular. We are delighted he will be on the air until 2017 with WCBM and he just may decide to stay longer. There will always be room for him in the WCBM family. Tom has a good sense for the business. As an example, he is the first one to suggest that we add both Sean Hannity and Mark Levin to our lineup. Tom has a large following within the reach of our 50 thousand watt transmitter and is building a solid national and international following on WCBM’s worldwide reach via the internet.” Marr, who began his career as a high school sports broadcaster on WWDC-AM, Washington, DC in 1960, says, “I am deeply honored that Nick and the Mangione Family Enterprises agreed to the extension. I look forward to the challenges ahead for talk radio and its increasing role in the media especially in view of our relationship with the digital world.”
WBZ-AM, Boston Names Jen Brien Overnight Talk Host. After the retirement of Steve LeVeille last year, the station has been featuring a number of talk radio personalities in the overnight slot. Now, program director Peter Casey announces Jennifer “Jen” Brien is named to the permanent position. The station says the program “will be a mix of pop culture, current events, politics, and the comings and goings of people in New England.” In addition to WBZ-AM’s monster signal that penetrates the entire East Coast at that time of night, the show can be heard on CBS Radio’s Radio.com. Brien joined WBZ from Entercom’s crosstown news/talk WRKO where she hosted a daily program. She has also hosted shows on WPRO and WHJJ in Providence, and WCOD and WXTK on Cape Cod. Before beginning her career in radio, Brien spent more than five years as a soldier in the United States Army where she was selected for the prestigious “Soldier of the Year” award.
SiriusXM Cancels Long-Running Alex Bennett Show. One of modern talk radio’s true pioneers, Alex Bennett, has reportedly been let go “without cause” from SiriusXM Satellite Radio‘s “Sirius Left” channel where he was doing the daily 7:00 am to 10:00 am program. Bennett has been with Sirius for almost a decade and, according to insiders close to the host, was caught by surprise and is “distraught” over what transpired. Bennett has had a colorful, unique on-air career that goes back to the late-1960s when he was the lone talk show host on the old WMCA, New York when it was still the “Home of the Good Guys.” He subsequently went on to do both rock music and talk broadcasting serving as one of the original prototypes for the pop culture-oriented (some call it “shock jock”) and “progressive” genres of modern day talk radio. Between WMCA and Sirius, he served in ground-breaking stints at such great stations as WPLJ in New York and KMEL, KITS (“Live 105″) and KQAK (“The Quake”) in San Francisco. At press time, it is not clear if this was a cost-cutting move on the part of Sirius or indicative of a re-direction in programming. Bennett is still on the air and is reportedly doing his final program for the satellite radio service this Friday. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “In my opinion Alex Bennett is one of the most important talents ever to grace a microphone during my lifetime. His show on WMCA — in which he did extremely progressive talk about the issues of the day such as the Vietnam War – was on a station that was otherwise a hip music station. In the midst of all the fun, cool hipness of the rock ‘n’ roll and the zany DJs of that fabulous station, Bennett was fearlessly talking to the kids about extremely important controversial issues. That show served as the original inspiration for me to launch an issues-oriented talk show (“Harrison’s Mic”) five years later on rocker KMET in Los Angeles and my own talk career that paralleled my music radio work. If I had not heard Alex Bennett in 1969, there might not have ever been a TALKERS magazine.”
HOLLAND COOKE: The Future of AM/FM in the Car. Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports from the Consumer Electronic Association’s Connected Car Conference in New York City and her says that the bottom line after “four-and-a-half-hours of thoughtful discussion, research, and prognostication by automotive, electronics, and media thinkers: Whatever the dashboard is about to morph into matters less to AM/FM radio than what’s already happened.” Cooke writes that people who matter have already connected their media to the car speakers and offers some thoughts about what radio programmers can do to stand out from the digital competition. Read his analysis here.
SummitMedia to Pull the Plug on Sports Talk In Birmingham. SummitMedia announces it will drop the sports talk format on WZNN, Birmingham “97.3 The Zone” and flip to a different – most likely music – format. SummitMedia EVP and COO David DuBose tells the Birmingham News, “We have been evaluating the sports format in light of multiple factors, including [Paul] Finebaum‘s placement. After nearly two years, it became clear the market did not support two competing sports stations. “Therefore, we have determined we should focus on other format opportunities.” SummitMedia purchased the Birmingham cluster from Cox Media Group earlier this year. The station was flipped to sports in August of 2011 when Cox had its eye on building the station around mega-successful Southeast sports personality Paul Finebaum by bringing him over from Cumulus Media’s crosstown sports WJOX. Finebaum, who’d had legal squabbles with WJOX and wanted out of that relationship, ended up working out his contract there, sat out a non-compete and will begin a new sports talk radio venture with ESPN based out of Charlotte. It’s believed he will return to WJOX via ESPN syndication when the new program debuts later this summer.
Bonneville Seattle Brings Unique Talk to MyNorthwest.com. The Bonneville Seattle cluster that includes news/talk KIRO-FM, sports KIRO-AM and talk KTTH is beginning a series of unique audio programs to the web venture it calls MyNorthwest.com. Dubbed “MyNorthwest Chats,” the weekly, one-hour programs will stream on Wednesday’s from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm beginning with today’s chat featuring nationally acclaimed restaurateur Tom Douglas. MyNorthwest.com editor Stephanie Klein says, “We’re excited to have the opportunity to connect our readers directly to the experts and start an inspiring dialogue that makes an impact. We want the conversation to spark a chain of discussion in our readers’ lives.” Other chats lined up for July include talk show host Michael Medved and Seattle Mariners insider Shannon Drayer.
Programming Changes at WGN, Chicago; Turi Ryder to Exit. Chicago radio pro Turi Ryder has been in the late night slot at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago since the beginning of this year but now the company says it’s going in a different direction and will end her program. Ryder will get a chance to say goodbye to her WGN listeners as she’ll work this evening and Thursday before wrapping things up there. The station has not announced what will air in the time slot. Ryder also hosts “America Weekend” for Envision Radio Networks.
Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence Tackles Immigration Issue with Live Debate. News/talk WPRO-AM’s Tara Granahan is moderating a debate that will take place today at the Providence Marriott from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm called, “Green Light on Green Cards,” featuring a panel of experts from each side of the illegal immigration issue. The discussion will be streamed live online at the station’s 630wpro.com and will be the center piece of a “WPRO Special Report” scheduled to air during the “WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti” the week of July 1. The debate features two immigration lawyers, a state representative, a member of the local clergy and the head of an illegal immigration enforcement organization. The stations states, “The debate will address the issues that have emerged from illegal immigration including; licenses for illegal immigrants, how immigration effects the Rhode Island economy, and potential solutions moving forward.”
TeleSouth Communications to Buy WOSM, Ocean Springs, Mississippi. TeleSouth operates the Mississippi talk radio network known as “SuperTalk Mississippi” and the purchase of WOSM, Ocean Springs (103.1 FM) – between Biloxi and Pascagoula on the Gulf Coast – will be added to that network. The company states, “The addition of WOSM to the network will give coast listeners the best choice in Mississippi programming with ‘The Gallo Radio Show,’ ‘The JT Show’ and ‘Head to Head with Matt Wyatt and Richard Cross,’ all homegrown programs that keep a watch on state government, entertainment, sports, unique happenings in Mississippi, with a local take on national issues.” In addition to Mississippi-based programs, ‘SuperTalk’ is also home to Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee and Compass Media Networks’ Lars Larson and Todd Schnitt. WOSM is owned and operated by Charles Cooper and airs Christian programming. TeleSouth CEO Steve Davenport states, “We are excited about growing the ‘SuperTalk Network’ with the addition of WOSM. Mr. Cooper has worked hard for years building an audience loyal to traditional family values. We are confident that WOSM listeners will hear those values in the programs featured each day on ‘SuperTalk.’” Long-time coast talk show host and programmer Kipp Greggory will serve as general manager of WOSM.
CHQR, Calgary Talk Host Dave Rutherford to End Daily Show. Canadian talk show host Dave Rutherford will wrap a 21-year career hosting a daily talk show at CHQR, Calgary after his last show on July 26. The conservative personality and pedigreed newsman tells the Edmonton Journal he believes the broadcast news industry is dumbing down and there may be no place for a broadcaster like him. “I don’t think there’s the desire to ask the next question, maybe to ask any questions. But I sense that the whole industry, the broadcast news business, television and radio, is dumbing down.”
The End of the Line for CNN Radio. The service was a shell of its former self after Dial Global ended its distribution of the news product and replaced it with NBC News Radio last year, effectively becoming a digital-only product. Now, CNN states that after completing “a review of its radio business,” it “has made the decision to cease production of CNN Radio podcasts, effective immediately.” CNN has indicated that some of the staff will be relocated to positions elsewhere in the company.
Allen Hunt to End WSB, Atlanta Program. Christian broadcaster Allen Hunt announces he’ll end his Sunday evening program that has aired on WSB, Atlanta since its inception after the June 30 broadcast. Hunt says he was approached by Cox Media to move the time of his program and he decided that due to his busy schedule with the Dynamic Catholic Institute and the requested change, he decided it would be better to end the show. Hunt built the program at WSB and, for a couple of years, put the show into national syndication.
The Roving Jay Mohr Billboard. Fox Sports Radio Network nationally syndicated host Jay Mohr’s flagship station, “AM570 FOX Sports LA” (KLAC, Los Angeles) surprised Mohr with a mobile billboard promoting his program. While Mohr was on the air, the billboard stopped by the studio during its route through Los Angeles and the show crew seized the opportunity for a quick photo-op. Pictured here (from l-r) are: intern Ben Haley, technical producer John Ramos, social media producer Matty Cox, assistant producer Justin Frosburg, Mohr, update anchor “Diamond” Dan Beyer, associate producer Mike Lingard and executive producer Greg “Hong Kong” Toohey.
Former KMOX, St. Louis Personality Bruce Bradley Dies. Bruce Bradley was a personality on CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis from 1986 to 1992. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports he passed away on Saturday, June 22 in Lake St. Louis at age 79. Prior to his career in St. Louis, Bradley also worked in the New York, Philadelphia and Boston markets.
President Obama’s Global Warming Policy, SCOTUS Gay Marriage Rulings, George Zimmerman Trial, Paula Deen Freefall, and Texas Anti-Abortion Bill Fails Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/25). President Obama’s policy to bypass Congress to enact greenhouse gas emissions regulations; the Supreme Court’s rulings on gay marriage issues; the trial of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin; the demise of Paula Deen’s media career in the wake of allegations of racist language; and the failure of anti-abortion legislation in Texas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Chris Pendl
SEATTLE — If you’ve made the investment on play-by-play sports on your station, it’s important to maximize the return on your investment by trying to recycle that audience to another day part on your station.
Arbitron tells us that MLB drives cume increases anywhere from 50%-65% on flagship stations when the baseball season starts. This influx of audience is one of the reasons we pay rights fees, share revenue, or give up inventory to carry this programming. In a climate with little or no external marketing dollars, I’ve often joked that our promotional time within baseball play by play is the closet thing we’ll get to an interstate billboard or TV campaign.
A few years ago in Seattle, we decided to take a different approach to how we used our in-game promotional inventory during Mariner broadcasts. We wanted something that was more dynamic than a recorded promo — something that cut through and made the listener feel like someone was watching the game with them.
Pioneering Talk Radio Host Gene Burns Dead at 72. Longtime talk radio host and broadcasting pioneer Gene Burns has died, succumbing to a long illness marked by a series of strokes. In the words of TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison, “Gene was one of the greatest of the great and classiest of the classy – a true ‘wordsmith’ and gentleman who symbolized everything good about talk radio and served as one of the major engines that drove the ascent of its modern era.” Until recently forced by illness into retirement from on-air performing, Burns had spent a decade and a half as a key host on KGO, San Francisco where he did a general news/talk program as well as a very popular restaurant and entertainment show. The veteran of a number of great stations, he made his mark in the late-1980s and early-1990s as a member of the legendary lineup at WRKO, Boston that also included the late Jerry Williams. That was followed by a brief but high-profile stint at WOR, New York and national syndication on the WOR Radio Network. Harrison adds, “Gene Burns practiced a brand of libertarian-based, intellectual populism in his approach to political news/talk that set the standard for the format’s emergence as a voice for the average person to stand up to big government, big business, big media and big anything. Although ‘conservative’ in his orientation, he eschewed blatant partisanship, avoided banal cookie-cutter left-versus-right talking points and dealt with each issue in an academically probing and credible manner.” Burns’ ground breaking work in the early-1990s stood as the inspiration for TALKERS magazine’s annual Freedom of Speech Award and the tradition of the annual State of the First Amendment Address delivered at the publication’s conventions. He is ranked the 23rd most important radio talk show host of all time by TALKERS in its “Heaviest Hundred” feature which is updated twice a decade. Harrison concludes, “His rich, baritone voice coupled with the artistry of his word selection and ability to construct a logical argument was about as close to music as one could hear within a spoken word context.” A special honoring the life and work of Gene Burns aired on Sunday, May 26 on KGO hosted by David Weintraub and a special tribute will be presented honoring his legacy at Talkers New York 2013 on Thursday, June 6.
Adult Contemporary is a Relatively Low-Involvement Format on Facebook. According to digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, “There are several major-market adult contemporary stations on Facebook who have a ton of followers, but very little interaction going on. As a former AC programmer, I absolutely feel their pain; AC is a low-involvement format. At the same time, most of these stations have fallen into a rut about what they post. The quality of the post is in the level of engagement you get from it. When thousands or tens of thousands follow you, and you get two or three ‘Likes’ on your posts, you gotta shake up your thinking.” In a new column posted today (5/28) Miller suggests that although consistency is basically a good and necessary thing, there is a dark side to it and to avoid falling into a rut, radio broadcasters of all formats should make changes to approximately 10% of their posts on a regular basis. To read the details and Miller’s entire piece, click here.
Kent Sterling Returns to Indy on Sports Talk WFNI. News/talk and sports radio pro Kent Sterling re-surfaces on the air at Emmis’ sports talk WFNI, Indianapolis for a weekend program with Chris Hagan called, “Ahead of the Curve with Hagan and Sterling.” He most recently served with Bonneville at its St. Louis sports talker WXOS but exited that post to return to Indianapolis. Prior to his work at WXOS, Sterling served as program director at Emmis’ news/talk flagship WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. Sterling’s and Hagan’s weekend program airs from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays.
NBA on Radio Is a Different Breed of Sports Play-by-Play. Major League Baseball is the sport that could be called radio’s best friend and the NFL’s astounding popularity makes its games and surrounding programming popular with listeners. While the NBA’s regular season games are not generally thought of as “programming gold” across the country, it appears that having even a moderately successful team combined with a flagship station with a strong nighttime signal, can be a recipe for success with basketball play-by-play. According to information from Arbitron based on PPM data from 27 NBA teams in 25 PPM markets, certain places are simply basketball towns – the Los Angeles Lakers rule Los Angeles on KSPN with average game estimates larger than the Dodgers, Angels, Kings and Ducks grabbing a 4.0 share with Men 25-54 (average of all 82 games). And perennial contenders the San Antonio Spurs dominated on WOAI with a 9.8 share with Men 25-54. However, less successful teams on strong flagships performed well during the regular season: the Milwaukee Bucks just squeaked into the playoffs but on heritage WTMJ garnered a 10 share with Men 25-54; the Cleveland Cavaliers missed the playoffs yet grabbed a 9.7 share (M 25-54) on WTAM; and the Detroit Pistons also missed the playoffs but notched an 8.0 (M 25-54) share on the highly rated WXYT-FM. Considering games in the East and Midwest air in the evenings, numbers for the stations cited above – and others not cited here – are impressive nighttime ratings.
Flagship Stations Should Capitalize on Cross-Promotional Opportunities within Baseball PBP. According to Bonneville Seattle creative director Chris Pendl, “If you’ve made the investment on play-by-play sports on your station, it’s important to maximize the return on your investment by trying to recycle that audience to another daypart on your station.” Arbitron reports that MLB drives cume increases as much as 50% to 65% during baseball season. Pendl tells TALKERS, “This influx of audience is one of the reasons we pay rights fees, share revenue, or give up inventory to carry this programming. In a climate with little or no external marketing dollars, I’ve often joked that our promotional time within baseball play-by-play is the closest thing we’ll get to an interstate billboard or TV campaign.” In an exclusive article posted today (5/28) Pendl describes and shares a production/promo technique conducted by Bonneville to cross-promote the station via the baseball audience that he calls “situation baseball return liners.” To read the entire piece and hear examples of its execution, click here.
Buckley to Sell KYZZ, Salinas, California to Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters. Buckley Communications announces it is selling sports talk KYZZ, Salinas, California to Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters. The price is yet to be announced. KYZZ is the FM side of the sports talk simulcast that also airs on Buckley’s KIDD, Monterey and Buckley says it will continue with its ESPN Radio affiliation on KIDD. Mt. Wilson has not announced its format plans for KYZZ. Saul Levine’s Mt. Wilson also owns country KKGO, Los Angeles and classical simulcast KMZT-AM, Beverly Hills and KMZT-FM, Big Sur, California.
WTOP Hacking: Why You Should Worry. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes about the recent hacking of the websites of Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington and its sister WFED “Federal News Radio.” Weisman is one of the nation’s foremost experts on scams, he operates the website Scamicide that presents up-to-date information about scams, fraud and identity theft, and is the author of The Truth About Avoiding Scams (FT Press 2008). In this column, Weisman explains the methods used by the WTOP hackers and explains the steps users can take to avoid becoming the victim of similar attacks. Read Weisman’s entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. Martz Communications’ WPDM, Potsdam, New York flips from a simulcast of FM sister WSNN to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio Network…..Wilks License Company’s sports talk WZOH, Columbus becomes part of the Cleveland Browns radio network based at CBS Radio’s WKRK, Cleveland…..WTOP, Washington crowns Nathan Stanford from Harrington, Delaware the 2013 winner of “Commuter Idle” – an “extreme commuter” competition for listeners experiencing the daily horrors of commuting in and around Washington. Stanford’s commute begins with a 3:00 am alarm and a one-hour drive. He then boards a commuter bus for a 90-minute ride from Kent Island to Foggy Bottom, rides the Metro, and hustles on foot to his office in Rosslyn. Stanford’s travels from Delaware to Virginia average more than five hours a day, though the commute can be much longer in the summer months with Friday beach traffic. He receives $1,000 in gas money and will enjoy a limo ride to and from work from Reston Limousine. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “The question that we hear most often is, ‘Why do these people do it?’ It’s fascinating to hear their personal stories and accompany them on their crazy commutes. We feel their pain, and as DC’s traffic authority we’re here to help.”
KOIL, Omaha’s Mulberry Lane Meets the Beach Boys and John Stamos. Musical act Mulberry Lane opened for the Beach Boys (which includes actor and musician John Stamos) in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Saturday, May 25. Pictured here are (from l-r): Bo Mulberry, Bruce Johnston, Rachel Mulberry, Mike Love, Allie Mulberry, and John Stamos. The Mulberry sisters – based in Nebraska – also host a weekend talk show on NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha called the “Mulberry Lane Radio Show.” The station describes the ladies’ program saying the sisters “decided to bring their busy lives to live radio with a show based on sisterhood, womanhood, motherhood, and the humor and mishaps of trying to juggle it all – woven together with music, harmony and a dash of wit.” It airs Saturdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.
Longtime KNX, Los Angeles Anchor Harry Birrell Dies. Longtime Los Angeles news personality Harry Birrell died on May 26 after a battle with lung disease at age 85 in Thousand Oaks, California. Birrell was an anchor at all-news KNX, Los Angeles for more than three decades – beginning in 1968 when the station flipped to the all-news format and ending with his retirement in 1999. Birrell switched from his anchor role at the station to Ventura County correspondent in 1993.
Kevin Miller Stops By TheBlaze. KIDO, Boise morning drive talk show host Kevin Miller was visiting Dallas – home of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze – and took some time to stop by the studios to check out the production of the Glenn Beck program. Here’s a shot of Beck (l) and Miller (r) inside the spacious former movie/TV studios that are home to Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts production facility.
CBS Radio’s WPHT, Philadelphia to Add Dick Morris for PM Drive. The station is making programming moves in anticipation of Michael Smerconish’s departure to SiriusXM Satellite Radio in April and announces political consultant, author and media personality Dick Morris will begin hosting the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm shift. Currently, Smerconish is on from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm followed by Rich Zeoli and Steve Martorano from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. WPHT does not say if Zeoli and Martorano will remain with the station and be moved to the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot or if it has other plans yet to be announced. CBS Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “Dick is a great addition to our lineup of live and local personalities, and provides a voice that will raise the audiences’ interest in what’s happening in politics today. As someone who isn’t afraid to express his opinions or make bold predictions, his show won’t just be a win for Philadelphia and WPHT, it’s a win for radio.”
MSNBC’s Ed Schultz to Move to Weekend Slot. News/talk personality Ed Schultz announced at the end of his Wednesday evening program that he will be vacating the 8:00 pm ET time slot on MSNBC to begin hosting a two-hour weekend program on both Saturday and Sunday – from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm beginning in April. Saying it is “a big opportunity for ‘The Ed Show’ and my brand.” Schultz said on the air that the five-nights-per-week gig isn’t for him and he’s looking forward to more time to prepare stories. He told viewers, “I raised my hand for this assignment for a number of personal and professional reasons…My fight on ‘The Ed Show’ has been for the workers and the middle class. This new time slot will give me the opportunity to produce and focus on stories that I care about and are important to American families and American workers.” MSNBC offered a congratulatory statement from Phil Griffin but is not announcing just yet who will take over the slot leading into the channel’s prime time star, Rachel Maddow. Schultz’s program has performed well for the network. On Tuesday, March 12, for example, Schultz came in second to Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly but beat CNN’s Anderson Cooper in most demographics (in Persons 25-54 Schultz grabbed 195,000 to Cooper’s 170,000, according to TVByTheNumbers.com). Schultz also fared better than his lead-in, Chris Matthews. Schultz continues to host his nationally syndicated talk radio program.
Bonneville Seattle Announces Programming Appointments. Vice president and market manager Carl Gardner promotes KIRO-FM news director Pete Gammell to program director for news/talk KIRO-FM; KIRO-FM assistant program director Jason Antebi to PD of sister news/talk KTTH and sports talk KIRO-AM “710 ESPN” program director Brian Long to senior director of programming for the Bonneville Seattle stations. Gardner says of Long, “Brian is a talented programmer and proven ratings winner. He brings experience, focus, and a leadership style that will be invaluable to our content teams on all three stations.” The programming positions opened up when programmer Larry Gifford announced he would be leaving the KIRO-FM and KTTH stations back in early February. On Gammell’s rise to PD, Gardner states, “Pete instinctively understands KIRO Radio. He was born and raised in Tacoma, educated in Seattle, came up through the KIRO Radio newsroom and has been a leader in shaping KIRO’s distinctive blend of news and conversation. More than anyone, Pete just gets the unique role this station plays in our community.” Gammell began his radio career at KIRO Radio in 2000 and moved to San Francisco to work as associate news director at KCBS, San Francisco from 2006 to 2008. Jason Antebi, who will run the day-to-day programming of KTTH and continue in his role as the architect of KIRO Radio Weekends, worked as a producer in Los Angeles at KLSX, KRLA and KFI (2006-08). He served as executive producer at Greenstone Media and as an executive producer of the TRN-syndicated Phil Hendrie show.
TALKERS magazine Unveils the 2013 Heavy Hundred. The editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, present the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America –– a popular annual feature that has come to be known as the “Heavy Hundred.” This is one of the most challenging tasks that TALKERS undertakes each year considering that there are thousands of talk show hosts across the country, ranging from national icons to those laboring in relative obscurity. Aside from the hosts whose sheer numbers and fame demand their inclusion on this list, the selection process is subjective with the goal being to create a list reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor as well as giving credit where credit is due. The TALKERS magazine editors who painstakingly compile this super-list draw upon a combination of hard and soft factors when evaluating candidates. These include (in alphabetical order): courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, ratings, recognition, revenue, service, talent and uniqueness. We acknowledge that it is as much art as science and that the results are arguable. There is one concrete qualification for inclusion. Hosts must be working at the time TALKERS magazine initially posts the list in order to be considered. They must have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station at “press time.” The list remains intact from that point forward until the next year’s edition. In past years, TALKERS magazine has included sports talk hosts in the Heavy Hundred. Last year, due to the massive growth in the sports talk genre, sports talk radio has earned a Heavy Hundred of its own, the 2013 installment of which will be published by TALKERS in the coming months. TALKERS magazine salutes the fine broadcasters who made this year’s list. To view it, click here.
Martha Zoller’s Gettin’ Busy. Georgia talk show host Martha Zoller recently returned to the radio after an unsuccessful run for Congress last year. She’s heard on Cox Media Group’s WGAU, Athens in AM drive with co-host Tim Bryant and – she tells TALKERS – now on about 10 affiliate stations across the state.
KMOX, St. Louis Brings Chris Hrabe in from Memphis for Evening Sports Show. The 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight “Dave Sinclair Sports Hub” has a new host as KMOX brings Chris Hrabe in from Flinn Broadcasting’s WHBQ, Memphis, beginning April 4. Hrabe (pronounced RAY-bee) will host Cardinals and Blues post-game shows in addition to the aforementioned shift. He’ll also be responsible for contributing content to KMOX.com. Director of programming and operations Steve Moore states, “Chris is a terrific addition to our sports team. He’s a talented and accomplished broadcaster, with roots in the Midwest. He’s well versed in Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and his recent career experience has provided him tremendous insight into the Southeastern Conference. Sports fans in St. Louis will be pleased to hear his fresh insights and we are confident he’ll make an immediate impact on our programming.”
Savvy Texas Broadcaster Brings Pontiff Selection to Local Audience. Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS about KTBB, Tyler, Texas owner Paul Gleiser’s taking ownership of the new Pope selection story. He writes: Station managers across the US were already coping with ownership demands for digital and social media revenue as two news items this week complicated such planning: Arbitron issued a “Social Media Do’s & Don’ts” memo and the Federal Trade Commission issued guidelines for sponsored social media content. Meanwhile, KTBB, Tyler owner/GM/pundit Paul Gleiser (pictured at left in Vatican City) spent a week in Rome…making money with internet content…in market #142. Full disclosure: Paul is my longtime, long-suffering client; and, admittedly, his coverage of this week’s papal transition hit the ground running because he covered the same story eight years ago. In both cases, he sold the sponsorship to – you guessed it – the local Catholic hospital. And he’s a Methodist! Other local advertisers fund his on-site coverage of the national political conventions every four years, and the full week he and his sports guy spend at the Super Bowl run-up, and other special stuff. Those sponsors get extra bang for their buck when the local TV station Paul also filed for let him plug them on the tube. Win-win-win. All accomplished with equipment in checked luggage, and an assist from ABC News Radio, of which KTBB is an affiliate. See/hear/read what Paul filed from Rome here, and ask yourself “Why not?” What can you craft for advertisers that delivers them, and your listeners, something special?
KINB, Oklahoma City Flips to Sports Talk. The Kingfisher, Oklahoma-licensed FM station had been airing a standards format for the past two years (it was an alternative outlet before that). The station is part of the Last Bastion Trust including other stations Citadel had to jettison in order to complete the 2007 ABC Radio deal. A proposed sale to Ferris O’Brien in 2010 never was consummated and the station’s remained in the trust ever since. The flip from “105.3 The Martini” to “105.3 The Pro” using CBS Sports Radio Network’s programming happened on March 12.
Odds & Sods. Keith Olbermann settles with Current TV over his firing. According to numerous media reports – including The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.com – though the details are confidential, Olbermann and Current TV have settled his $50 million suit against the Al Gore-owned cable network that’s in the process of being sold to Al Jazeera…..Clear Channel’s sports KTKR, San Antonio agrees to renew its deal with the Houston Astros to carry the team’s games during the 2013 season…..Mark Evans moves from adult contemporary WIKY, Evansville, Indiana to sunny San Diego to become the news man on the “Mornings with Chip and LaDona” AM drive show at Clear Channel’s KOGO.
Washington Sequester/Deficit Battle, New Pope Named, North Korea Threats, Upstate New York Shootings, and Gun Legislation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/13). The debate in Washington over the sequester and moves to reduce the budget deficit; Catholic Church names new Pope; ongoing threats by North Korea; fatal shooting rampage in Upstate New York; and gun legislation proposals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Spencer Brown to Sole Dial Global CEO Post; David Landau Resigns. In a major top-level management move, Dial Global ditches its three-person CEO structure and Spencer Brown becomes the sole CEO of the corporation. Former co-CEO David Landau resigns and former co-CEO Ken Williams takes on the president title and reports to Brown. In a statement, Dial Global says the reason for the changes are to “sharpen the company’s strategic focus and provide greater clarity to its advertising clients, station affiliates, producer partners and stockholders.” Spencer Brown states, “Along with me and Ken, David has led Dial Global since its formation in 2002, and he has been a cornerstone of the company’s growth and success. I am personally grateful for his significant contributions over the years, and I know that the entire organization feels the same. While David will certainly be missed, I am excited to lead the company forward and am convinced that Dial Global’s best days lie ahead.” David Landau adds, “Working with Spencer, Ken and many of the other talented executives at Dial Global over the last 10 years has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life, both personally and professionally. I have tremendous respect for Spencer and believe that he has the necessary qualifications and passion to lead the company through its next stage of growth. I remain a meaningful shareholder of Dial Global and its most ardent supporter.”
Entercom’s WEEI, Boston Gets Attention in Hometown Media Over Focus Group. The Boston Globe is reporting that Entercom’s sports brand WEEI, Boston conducted a focus group of 15 young men – believed to be on the younger side of the 25-54 demo – in late January. The key aspect of this is the subjects are reported to have been converts from WEEI to CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.” The questions by the moderator of the focus group zeroed in on the perceptions about the morning and afternoon drive personalities, how they discovered WBZ-FM and what they think of various WEEI contributors and co-hosts. WEEI PD Jason Wolfe responded to a question from the Globe in an email simply stating, “These things are common. All companies do market research from time to time to gain insight into how they can improve.” Globe writer Chad Finn goes on to give his opinions about the WEEI personalities in the piece. That WEEI-AM/FM and WBZ-FM are locked in a battle in a lucrative sports town is not news, nor is the fact that WBZ-FM tends to beat WEEI in the younger demos while the strength of Boston Red Sox baseball pumps up WEEI during baseball season. Clearly each station has its own sound and one doesn’t have to listen very long to hear why they appeal to different demographics. The question for WEEI is, do they want to re-tool their lineup and alter their programming philosophy to go head-to-head with WBZ-FM for the younger demos or stick with the programming that has made them iconic in the region and sell the fact that they appeal to an older demo that has more disposable income. Decisions, decisions…
Attention Radio Managers: Time Cannot be Managed – but Tasks Can! TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison once described the job of managing an active radio station as feeding human time and energy into a black hole in space. No matter how much you shovel in, it keeps demanding more and wants to be fed quicker and quicker. In today’s frenetic world of inter-connective multi-tasking, this observation rings truer than ever and it impacts all levels of communications industry management. Radio consultant Holland Cooke offers several valuable ways to navigate the time demands placed upon today’s radio managers. First of all, he says, “Time cannot be managed – don’t even try! But tasks can!” Read Cooke’s strategy for staying on top of the mountain of tasks facing today’s radio manager while avoiding the pitfalls and wipeouts of the non-stop stream of distractions, interruptions and nightmarish disorganization by clicking here.
Midway Broadcasting’s urban talk WVON, Chicago to Address City’s Deadly Violence. The market’s urban talk outlet is hosting and broadcasting a special live forum this evening addressing the ongoing violence that is plaguing the young African American population. Station personality Kendall Moore will host the event in front of a live, selected audience. Appearing on the program will be: Nathaniel Pendleton, father of Hadiya Pendleton; Tio Hardiman, director for Cure Violence Illinois; the Rev. Dr. Michael Pfleger, senior pastor of The Faith Community of Saint Sabina; Richard Wooten, member of the Chicago Police Department; Che’ Rhymefest Smith, recording artist, writer and community activist; Harold “Noonie G” Ward, former high-ranking Gangster Disciple gang leader and members of the Guardian Angels; Chicago’s Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has also been invited. The broadcast will air tonight from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Larry Gifford to Exit Bonneville Seattle. Programmer Larry Gifford has been at the helm of news/talk KIRO-FM and conservative talker KTTH in Seattle for the past two years. But Gifford says that after some soul searching, he’s decided to resign from the post. In a memo to the staff he writes: “I am a big fan of Bonneville Seattle, the brands, philosophies, purpose, and the people who breathe life and personality into our products. I believe KIRO-FM and KTTH are positioned for success. I also recognize the stations have both evolved greatly in the two years I’ve been here. As stations evolve, their leaders need to evolve as well. As I’ve considered where we are and the road ahead, it has become clear to me that the type of leadership needed to keep moving these stations forward requires someone with different strengths and passions than mine. So, with mixed emotions, I have resigned my position at Bonneville Seattle. At Carl’s [GM Carl Gardner] request, I will be here through March 1 to help both stations through this transition. As to what comes next? I don’t know. Though, Becci, Henry and I are planning to go on a month-long RV adventure this Spring to visit friends, favorite places and make some memories.”
Tom Ray Resigns from Engineering Post at WOR, New York; Will Launch Consulting Business. After a 15-plus year career based at the former Buckley Broadcasting facility in Manhattan, engineer Tom Ray announces his resignation from the station via Facebook. He writes in a press release: After 15-1/2 years, Tom Ray is leaving WOR Radio in New York City. During Tom’s tenure at WOR, he had taken the station from an older analog facility into the digital world, culminating in the move of the WOR studio facility to downtown Manhattan. This was the world’s first large scale Axia deployment. Subsequently, he built WOR a new state-of-the-art transmitter facility in the New Jersey Meadowlands, retiring the former Lyndhurst, NJ facility that had served WOR for 40 years…Tom has been on the Board of Directors of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, was Chairman of SBE Chapter 15 in New York City for 9 years, has been on the NAB’s Broadcast Engineering Conference Committee several times, serving as Chairman of the Committee twice. Until the acquisition of WOR by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, he was corporate director of engineering of Buckley Broadcasting and chief engineer of WOR Radio. Tom’s immediate plans are to consult as Tom Ray Broadcast Consulting. He can be reached at email@example.com, or at 845-418-5065.
KGMZ, San Francisco Adds Sean O’Connell to Midday Show. Entercom sports talk KGMZ, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” names college footballer and current MMA fighter Sean O’Connell to the midday program alongside Matt Steinmetz. O’Connell hosted AM drive and middays at Cumulus’ KFAN, Salt Lake City. In college, O’Connell played for the University of Utah, where he was a teammate of San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith and was coached by Urban Meyer (now with Ohio State). He was part of the undefeated 2004 team, which won the Fiesta Bowl and finished the season ranked #4 overall. After finishing his playing days, O’Connell began competing in MMA and was part of the cast of the UFC’s “Ultimate Fighter” Season 8 on Spike TV. KGMZ PD Jason Barrett says, “To say that Sean O’Connell is a unique talent would be a tremendous understatement. Bay Area sports fans are going to love his passion, plus, now we also have a guaranteed bodyguard at future events, which will come in handy since our hosts have a tendency to fire up the fan base.” O’Connell begins his duties February 21.
SCPR’s Craig Curtis to Leave Pubcaster. Program director Craig Curtis will exit his role with Southern California Public Radio at the end of this week. LA Observed reports it’s not known if Curtis has a new position lined up or if recent turbulence at SCPR (the demise of Patt Morrison’s show and the matching of A Martinez with Madeleine Brand on the KPCC morning show and the popular Brand’s departure soon thereafter) had anything to do with Curtis’ exit. In other recent news about SCPR, the newsroom staff voted to unionize with SAG/AFTRA. Curtis received accolades from VP of content Russ Stanton in an email to staffers. He wrote, in part, “Craig has played an integral role in the growth and success of SCPR. From his then-perch as program director at Minnesota Public Radio, Craig oversaw the transformation of KPCC’s programming from its music and news format into the 24/7 news and information programming we deliver today. He also has been involved in the hiring of virtually all of our on-air talent, as well as the broadcast production staff. He is responsible for KPCC’s distinctive on-air sound which, among other things, boasts a core audience loyalty of 74%, a remarkable achievement.”
Jeff Katz Reports from the Heart of Nemo! Talk radio pro Jeff Katz didn’t waste the opportunity to take a few minutes from shoveling the two-plus feet of snow from his Boston-area driveway to appear on radio stations across the country on Friday. Katz shared his observations with the Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated Todd Schnitt show; Simon Conway’s WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive program and on the Kitty O’Neal and Pat Walsh morning show on Clear Channel’s KFBK, in snowless Sacramento. We couldn’t help noticing that, in the heart of Boston Bruins country, Jeff is sporting a Montreal Canadiens jacket. He is truly fearless!
Cumulus Wins First Round in Birmingham Non-Compete Case. A federal judge in Birmingham has ruled that sports talk WZNN “ESPN 97.3” program director Ryan Haney cannot work for the Cox Media station until more evidence is heard at a hearing scheduled for March 4. The Birmingham News reports Cumulus sought the prohibition after Haney – who had been with its crosstown competitor WJOX for the past 14 years – left the PD job there on January 21and began working at WZNN a week later. Cumulus claims Haney breached the six-month non-compete in his contract. Cumulus also states Haney could not work for a competitor during that time without giving Cumulus a chance to match the prospective employer’s offer. The animosity between the two sports talk stations did not begin with Haney’s case. In 2012, Cumulus and Birmingham sports talk personality Paul Finebaum engaged in a legal tussle over his employment situation but Finebaum eventually worked out his contract with WJOX and is sitting out a six-month non-compete after which it is widely assumed he’ll join WZNN. On a side note, Cox Media has put its Birmingham properties – including WZNN – up for sale.
Lew Dickey Tells Bloomberg “We’re Seeing a Shift in Spoken-Word Radio.” During an appearance on Bloomberg TV’s “In the Loop” program, Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey discussed his company’s plans involving marketing vertically based on the lifestyle appeal to consumers interested in certain types of entertainment. Although still bullish on Mike Huckabee and Geraldo Rivera, Dickey sounded much more behind sports than news/talk. “We’re seeing sort of a shift in spoken-word radio from political-based talk over to sports.” When asked why he stated, “I think people may be tired of all the partisan bickering so the ratings are a bit down in talk but they’re moving up nicely in sports.” Dickey said the reason sports is so popular among advertisers is because advertisers follow the audience and sports is popular right now.
Question of the Day: Why Do Radio Stations Still Announce School Closings? As the big Blizzard of ’13 begins to rumble across the Northeast (2/8), TALKERS monitors have been hearing morning shows across the region reading the perfunctory long lists of school closings within their listening areas. While there is no doubt that localism is proving to be a valuable asset to radio – especially when the medium rises to the occasion of serving the public interest during natural disasters and weather events - we have to shake our heads and wonder why so much valuable airtime is spent on reading these seemingly endless lists. Is it a matter of serving the public or just trying to sound like you’re doing so? It is a well-known (to parents and students alike) fact that most school districts in America post their snow status on their websites as soon as the information is available. If stations want in on that action they can list all the closings on their websites as well and announce that availability on the air. Considering that most, if not all, schools in a region close for blizzards, it would make a lot more sense to only announce those schools that might be choosing to remain open. Programmers might think that announcing school closings on the air over long chunks of time makes the station sound local and in touch – but in truth, it makes the station boring and seem out of touch.
Cumulus Birmingham Imports Sports Talk Duo from KTCK, Dallas. In a story related to the one above, Cumulus sports talker WJOX, Birmingham is bringing the duo of Matt McClearin and Scot Harrison from its Dallas sports outlet KTCK “The Ticket” in to take over the midday slot. The position opened up after Paul Finebaum exited the PM drive show at the end of his contract and the station moved “The Jox Roundtable” with Lance Taylor, Ryan Brown and Jim Dunaway to the PM drive position. McClearin and Harrison hosted a weekend program at KTCK.
TALKERS Spotlight: The Talk Radio Watchdogs. There was a time in the early days of the modern talk radio era when most markets could lay claim to at least one talk show host considered to be the local “watchdog.” He or she was feared by the power brokers in city hall and had a reputation for having the backs of the regular folks. They are not as prevalent in the format as they once were but they are still out there. Does the industry still value this breed of talk host? Does the public still want to listen to them? Do their station managers support them? TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian speaks with some of today’s “watchdogs” to get answers to these and other questions about their craft. Read his story here.
CBS Radio’s WHFS, Tampa Makes Lineup Changes. The new FM sports talk station CBS Radio put on the air in Tampa in August undergoes some changes. “Sportsradio 98.7 The Fan” cuts the morning show with Kirk McEwen and Chris Dingman to three hours and shifts Gary Shelton and Justin “The Commish” Pawlowski to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. The PM drive show with Rich Herrera and Anthony “Booger” McFarland moves to 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome slides into the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Evening host Todd Wright exits the station and The Fabulous Sports Babe moves from overnights to the evening show. CBS Sports Radio Networks’ Scott Ferrall and Damon Amendolara round out the late night and overnight shifts, respectively.
TuneIn Adds Four Pubcasters to its Offerings. Digital content aggregator TuneIn announces it has agreed to strategic alliances with major public broadcasters KQED, San Francisco; KCRW, Santa Monica; KEXP, Seattle; and American Public Media, which includes Southern California Public Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, Classical South Florida and nationally distributed programs. TuneIn VP of programming Kevin Straley states, “KQED, American Public Media, KCRW and KEXP have a rich history of offering listeners engaging, cutting-edge programming while supporting the radio community. Our goal at TuneIn is to bring the best programming from around the world to everyone, for free, wherever they are, and partnering with these respected public broadcasters brings us one step closer to that goal.” TuneIn also just unveiled a new website design featuring a new content-first display with large album cover photos and trending stations.
Odds & Sods. Tribune’s WGN, Chicago resumes its “Chicago Blackhawks Live” promotional series on February 18 at the city’s Old Town Pour House. The promotion is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the 2012-2013 season featuring current Blackhawks players, legends, and front office executives with “WGN Sports Night” hosts David Kaplan, Brian Noonan, and Andrea Darlas. WGN began hosting these events during the 2011-2012 season and sold them out in record time…..SiriusXM announces legendary recording artist Tony Bennett will sit down for an intimate Q&A session with an audience of SiriusXM listeners, moderated by Alec Baldwin, at the SiriusXM studios in New York City as part of its “Town Hall” series. It’ll take place on Wednesday, February 13, and will air on Valentine’s Day, Thursday, February 14, on the Siriusly Sinatra channel and on the SiriusXM Stars channel…..Clear Channel announces that Houston Astros play-by-play will shift from news/talk KTRH to its sports talk KBME “Sportstalk 790” beginning this season…..In another baseball note, Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati re-ups with the MLB’s Reds through the 2017 season…..The Boston Red Sox and the Jimmy Fund – which benefits Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – are celebrating their 60th year working together to raise funds for cancer research and treatment. Part of that celebrating will include the 12th annual Red Sox Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon on Entercom’s WEEI and New England Sports Network on August 27 and 28. The event, which started in 2002, has raised more than $31 million for research, treatment, and care at Dana-Farber.
KYW, Philadelphia Awards Scholarship. CBS Radio’s KYW Newsradio awards the Richard Monetti Scholarship to local high school student Kimberly Coterwas (second from right) – one of the 86 students to graduate from KYW Newsradio 2012 Fall Newstudies program. She receives a $2,000 scholarship. The award was announced at the Newstudies Graduation ceremony on January 31. The Richard Monetti Scholarship is awarded every year to the Newstudies student who demonstrates the most potential and enthusiasm throughout the six-week student reporter program. The scholarship is named for Richard Monetti, a 1986 Newstudies graduate who was killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. Additionally, 11 other students who participated in the Newstudies program received awards. CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “KYW Newsradio is proud to continue the tradition of introducing high school students to the broadcast industry. It’s also nice to be able to award those that did exceptionally well, and keep the memory of a former Newstudies graduate alive.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Radio America’s Peter Schiff program picks up new affiliates for the program including: KPAM, Portland; WGUF, Ft. Myers, Florida; WEZS, Concord, New Hampshire; KFAR, Fairbanks, Alaska; and WTIM, Taylorville, Illinois….. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the program schedule at WTBF, Troy, Alabama. Also, existing affiliate combo WGVA, Geneva and WAUB, Auburn in the Finger Lakes region of New York adds Free Talk Live’s live Sunday show.
Sequester Cuts and Tax Hikes Issue Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 4-8. The debate in Washington over the coming sequester budget cuts and more tax increases was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, earning it the top spot on the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was immigration reform. At #3 was the costs of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and at #4 was gun legislation proposals. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America based on ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Bubba-Schnitt Trial: Day Two. On day two of testimony in the Hillsborough County, Florida courtroom where nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is suing Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) for defamation, the questioning surrounded Bubba’s on-air language calling for the “death” of Schnitt – who was hosting mornings at WFLZ, Tampa as MJ Kelli. Schnitt’s attorney focused on Bubba’s statements that included: “We seek and destroy,” “I will not be happy until I have an MJ funeral in the streets in Tampa, Florida,” and “MJ, that’s the only person I really want to die, seriously.” On the witness stand for part of the day was former Clear Channel Tampa market manager Daniel DiLoreto who said on the stand that he was “stunned” by Bubba’s comments about wanting Schnitt “to die.” Schnitt’s attorney is trying to convince the jury that Bubba’s language went beyond typical radio disc jockey feuding to putting Schnitt and his family in fear for their safety at the hands of members of the “Bubba Army,” as Clem’s fans are known. Clem’s attorney is trying to paint all the on-air talk as simply the words of feuding disc jockeys with no real threat to anyone’s safety. When questioned by Clem’s attorney if he ever heard Clem actually ask anyone to hurt Schnitt, DiLoreto replied he had not.
John O’Connell Named PD at CBS Radio’s Tampa Sports Stations. Programmer John O’Connell moves to the Tampa cluster of CBS Radio stations from the company’s West Palm Beach operations where he most recently served as OM and PD. O’Connell will program WHFS-FM, Tampa “Sports Radio 98.7” and WHFS-AM “CBS Sports Radio 1010.” O’Connell came to South Florida after spending 15 years working in the Boston market at such outlets as Kiss 108, WBMX and WEEI. He became program director for alternative rocker WPBZ-FM in 1996 and later increased his responsibilities to oversee several stations in the region. CBS Tampa SVP and market manager Ben Hill says, “I have complete confidence in John’s experience and leadership, having worked closely with him over the years. He is confident and ‘walks the walk’ when it comes to achieving results. And the fact that no one can match what we offer when it comes to sports programming will enable John to create a listener experience that is completely driven by the fans.”
Seth Payne Joins Midday Show at KILT-AM, Houston. Former Houston Texan Seth Payne becomes part of the “Mad Radio” midday show at CBS Radio’s sports talk KILT-AM, Houston “SportsRadio 610” beginning Monday, January 21. Payne replaces Brad Davies who remains with the station on a part-time, fill-in basis. He’ll co-host the program with Mike Meltser. KILT-AM program director Gavin Spittle says, “I can’t thank Brad enough for being a part of ‘Mad Radio.’ In one year, we have seen a 100% increase in this time slot and while we will miss him on a daily basis, I’m glad that he wants to remain on the team in a part-time capacity. Seth is a natural fit and from day one, he’s impressed us. We’re really excited about the all-new ‘Mad Radio.’” Payne states, “I’m grateful to Gavin Spittle for this opportunity and I appreciate all the guidance I’ve received from him and the talented people at ‘SportsRadio 610.’ I especially look forward to working with Mike Meltser. He is an extremely talented and intelligent individual, and I know we’ll have a lot of fun.”
Celebrating in the Holy Land. XtreMedia nationally syndicated talk host Dani Johnson (pictured here at left with Israeli comic Yisreal Campbell) celebrates her one-year anniversary in talk radio with a trip to Israel. Johnson, along with fellow XtreMedia talk hosts Kevin McCullough and Stephen Baldwin, were invited by representatives of the Israeli government to come and witness Israel’s progress in agriculture, culture, and technology. Johnson is producing her weekly radio program from Israel and Campbell will appear on the edition of her program that airs live on Sunday, January 20 from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Johnson’s program is heard on more than 85 affiliate stations.
Fox News Channel Brings Dennis Kucinich Aboard as Contributor. Liberal ex-Congressman Dennis Kucinich – who served eight terms in the House of Representatives – becomes part of the cable news/talk channel’s contributor corps. In a statement about his new endeavor, Kucinich says, “Through 16 years in Congress and two presidential campaigns, Fox News has always provided me with an opportunity to share my perspective with its enormous viewership.”
George Noory Debuts On-Demand Video Show. The Premiere Networks nationally syndicated late-night talk star begins his new weekly internet television program titled, “Beyond Belief with George Noory.” The program is a project with GaiamTV.com and delivers new episodes every Friday evening at 7:00 and on demand daily. As you might expect, the program is billed as “dynamic discussions on paranormal phenomena, conspiracies and all things unexplained.” Noory is pictured here on the set interviewing Dr. Katherine Albrecht for a show about privacy and RFID chips.
KIRO-FM, Seattle Debuts Weekend Pet Show. Dubbed, “It’s Raining Cats and Dogs with Shawn Stewart,” the program has its premiere airing Sunday, January 20 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle. The show features pet experts from the Ahimsa Dog Training Center who will take listener questions regarding everything they need to know about raising their beloved best friends. “In this case, the tail does wag the dog,” says KIRO Radio’s assistant program director Jason Antebi. “I’ve never seen a city more in love and obsessed with their companions than Seattle! This show is the perfect addition to the KIRO Radio weekends.”
Comrex Moves Full-Force into Digital Video Delivery Market. Devens, Massachusetts-based Comrex Corporation announces it is shipping its new LiveShot Video IP Codec – the first video product for professional broadcasters in the company’s 51-year history. Comrex says the new technology provides high-quality, low-latency, full-duplex video and audio over both wired and wireless IP data services, including challenging internet links such as 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi with end-to-end delay as low as 200ms. Comrex managing director Kris Specht states, “Our core customer for the past several decades has been the radio broadcaster. It was in response to requests from some of our longtime customers that had worked in radio — and who had subsequently moved over to television — to create a product that would do for TV what our ACCESS IP Audio Codecs have done for radio. LiveShot provides the small form factor, unmatched reliability, high-quality performance and easy operator experience that Comrex customers have come to expect.” The LiveShot Video IP Codec system consists of the LiveShot Portable, a small, lightweight, camera-mounted unit that attaches to the camera’s 3-stud or V-mount battery mount with the battery attaching to the outside of the LiveShot Portable. On the studio side, the LiveShot Studio rack-mount unit interfaces with the facility’s audio/video router or switcher. The units connect via an IP data connection and utilize Comrex’s CrossLock™ VPN which provides a one-button connection from either the studio or the field once the units have an internet connection. CrossLock also provides data encryption and intrusion protection for added reliability. Complete details on the LiveShot Video Codec’s features and specifications can be found by visiting www.comrex.com.
Face Time with Dr. Drew. WFAS-AM, Westchester personality Lisa Wexler appeared on HLN’s “Dr. Drew on Call” to discuss the case of Jodi Arias – accused of stabbing her boyfriend 29 times – and the Steubenville, Ohio rape case. In addition to her work as a talk show host on WFAS, Wexler is an attorney and an author.
Filling In. WFED, Washington afternoon drive host Francis Rose subs for Cumulus Media Networks’ John Batchelor on his WABC, New York-based program this Sunday evening from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am ET.
The Alliance for Women in Media Announces 2013 Board of Directors. With Kay Olin, president of Local Focus Radio serving as the National Chair, the 2013 board of directors of the Alliance for Women in Media will convene on January 25 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, for its first board meeting and then will participate in judging the 2013 Gracie Awards on January 26 and 27. The following individuals will serve as Directors at Large: Christina Anderson from Silver Spring, MD; Lori Conkling, executive vice president, distribution, A+E Networks, New York; Cyndee Everman, vice president, DW/BI, care and marketing tools, Time Warner Cable, Charlotte; Nancy Giles, contributor, CBS Broadcasting, Inc., New York; Sandy Girard, vice president, brand management and development, SiriusXM Radio, New York; Carol Hanley, chief sales officer, Arbitron Inc., Chicago; Annie Howell, executive vice president, corporate communications and media relations, Crown Media Family Networks, New York; Kimberly Maki, vice president, corporate communications and web strategies, Bright House Networks, Orlando; Janet Noll, national sales director, Rural Media Group – RFD-TV & Rural TV, Omaha; Deborah Parenti, executive vice president of radio, Radio Ink, New York; Roni Selig, senior executive producer/director, health, wellness and medical unit, CNN, New York; Keisha Sutton-James, vice president, Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, New York; Christine Travaglini, president, Christal Radio, New York; and Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee, president and chief executive officer, NAMIC, Inc., New York.
Obama Executive Gun Actions Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 14-18. President Obama’s executive gun actions landed atop the Talkers TenTM this week as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio. Coming in at #2 was the legislative arms debate. At #3 was the debt ceiling tied with the tax cut battles and following at #4 was the American hostages in Algeria tied with the Mali Violence. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people of the week as discussed on news/talk radio. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Carl Wolfson Back in the Talk Media Business. The former KPOJ, Portland morning drive host returns to the talk media game on Inauguration Day via the internet after raising $52,000 and counting via Kickstarter. Carl Wolfson was the morning host on Clear Channel’s former progressive talk outlet KPOJ, Portland before it flipped to sports talk in the New Year. Wolfson decided to use Kickstarter to fund a new avenue to get his brand of talk to the public and the “Elect ‘Carl in the Morning’ to a Second Term” campaign raised more than $52,000. So, beginning on January 21, Wolfson will stream live from 7:00 am to 8:30 am and make his show available via podcast. Wolfson says the money will go to buy office space, utilities, equipment, server costs and more. KPOJ was one of the country’s longest-running and more successful progressive talk stations and the news of its flip to sports talk that broke in November was disappointing to progressive talk fans in the market. As morning drive anchor and the local host, Wolfson attracted a loyal following on KPOJ. Now, he’ll get the chance to make a go of it in the digital realm.
WLS-AM, Chicago’s Jake Hartford Dead at 63. Chicago talk radio personality Jake Hartford (Jim Edwards) passed away after suffering a heart attack. Hartford was a longtime weekender and fill-in host on WLS, beginning his career there in 1989. Most recently he had been co-hosting the late morning show with John Kass from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. His family, via the WLS-AM website, gives the following statement: “We’re currently mourning the loss of Jake Hartford, a husband, father, and friend. This is devastating news for everyone in our family, and we greatly appreciate all of the kind words that have been offered to us during our struggle. It’s truly incredible how many people he has affected positively through pursuing the work that he loved so dearly. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts as we do our best to ‘spring forward.’”
The Todd Schnitt-Bubba the Love Sponge Case Goes to Trial Today. Actually the jury selection process begins today in Hillsborough County, Florida. The real interesting part will follow and is expected to last about three weeks. Todd Schnitt – who then battled Bubba the Love Sponge in morning drive in Tampa – filed suit against Todd Clem (BTLS) in 2008 claiming “false, highly offensive and defamatory statements” made by Clem about Schnitt and his wife Michelle. Specifically, Schnitt’s suit claims that Clem’s attacks on him and his wife – an assistant state attorney – went beyond name calling between public figures. He alleges Clem accused him of illegal activities including rigging the Arbitron ratings and taking “plugola.” Schnitt also claims Clem encouraged his listeners to physically attack him and his wife and that led to four encounters with Bubba listeners including being forced off the road by another car, being harassed at dinner and having their house egged. Schnitt’s claims are going to be hard to prove. First, he’ll have to show actual malice on the part of Clem plus he’ll have to prove some real harm came to himself and his wife. But the cast of witnesses should prove interesting in and of itself. The Tampa Bay Times reports Randy Michaels, Hulk Hogan, Cowhead, and other local media personalities are listed as possible witnesses.
Platform Plays Huge Influence on Public’s Perception of Content. According to noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke, the stage upon which a production is delivered plays a significant role in shaping the potential audience’s expectation of its content and value. Keeping this important piece of media theory in mind, FM and AM radio still have a tremendous advantage over podcasting and internet radio in giving its content instant gravitas simply because it is “on the radio.” Of course, as time goes by, this psychological advantage will dissipate unless radio continues to deliver product worthy of high expectations. Cooke illustrates this point by citing the fascinating story of the world-class concert violinist, Joshua Bell who performed as a non-descript street musician playing a $3.5 million Stradivarius in the Washington, DC subway system. If you don’t know the story, you should — especially if you are a podcaster. To read Holland Cooke’s piece, click here.
Truth is More Effective than Hype in the Online Space. According to noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, broadcasters should be mindful that the kind of hyperbole that marks the tone of on-air promotion doesn’t translate well on the internet. Radio broadcasters should tone down the sizzle and hype when translating on- air messages to their websites. In an exclusive article for TALKERS, Miller writes, “For anyone old enough to tell truth from fiction when the internet first really got hot, there is still a stigma about online information. It’s automatically suspect. What you say online (especially on your site) needs not only be true; you also need to present it in a way that convinces your fans that you are telling the truth. On the air, we like to add sizzle and excitement to what we promote, so we write promos and liners in call-to-action language and we gloss over important detail points. That’s fine on the air. When I was a PD, I would not have accepted a promo that was just a laundry list of rules for a particular promotion. When you go online with that info, your tone needs to change.” To read Chris Miller’s entire piece click here.
The Wall Street Journal Radio Network to End “The Daily Wrap” Program. Launched in the spring of 2011, the early evening program hosted by Michael Castner will end in 90 days as The Wall Street Journal Radio Network has decided to pull the plug on “The Daily Wrap.” WSJRN brought Castner to the show from Clear Channel’s WRNO, New Orleans where he’d been hosting the morning drive program. “The Daily Wrap” is a newsy look at the top stories of the day airing from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET. Whether the end of the program is the result of intense competition in the syndicated talk radio marketplace or the inability to have it make financial sense at a time when ad sales in the news and talk radio realm are extremely challenging, either way the show’s departure from the landscape will leave one less well-produced, newsy product on the air.
The DirecTV-Produced “Nick & Artie Show” Becomes “The Artie Lange Show.” Affiliates of the “Nick & Artie Show” – featuring comedians Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange – will hear just Artie Lange when the DirecTV-produced late night talk show returns this evening. On the show’s Facebook page, it simply states that Nick DiPaolo is pursuing “some great opportunities” and the show becomes the Artie Lange show immediately. The program airs on DirecTV’s Audience Network channel and is distributed to radio affiliates via Premiere Networks. The program has a handful of radio affiliates including Cox Media’s WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone,” Beasley’s hot talk WRXK, Ft. Myers and Americom’s sports talk KBZZ, Reno “The Buzz.”
Americom Flips KBZZ, Reno to Sports. The former hot talk outlet adopts the sports talk format using CBS Sports Radio Network. It will continue to air the Don Geronimo morning program (imported from CBS Radio’s KHTK, Sacramento) and the local Panama show in middays.
Hubbard Broadcasting Brings Jeff Dubay Back on KSTP, Minneapolis. Twin Cities sports talk personality Jeff Dubay returns to the radio after an absence of more than four years due to a high profile drug bust and his rehabilitation. Dubay worked at Clear Channel’s crosstown “KFAN” for 14 years before his dismissal in 2008. Now, Dubay joins Judd Zulgad for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program beginning today. Dubay had been very open about his arrest and subsequent rehab for substance abuse. He appeared on numerous Twin Cities media outlets over the past year or so to talk about his rise and fall. KSTP makes other lineup changes set to take effect in February: Patrick Reusse and Phil Mackey move to 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and Joe Soucheray’s “Garage Logic” slides to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot. Soucheray and Reusse continue to host the 3:00 pm hour together.
WPHT, Philadelphia’s Dom Giordano Featured in Philly Magazine Piece. Late morning WPHT, Philadelphia talk host Dom Giordano is the subject of a full-length feature piece by Sandy Hingston in Philly Magazine this month. The piece is written with the November election as its backdrop and with a hint of admiration for Giordano by the writer who is clearly far to the left of Giordano on the political spectrum, but who finds his success and his story fascinating. Read the piece here.
WGN, Chicago and Northwestern Agree to Three-Year Sports Extension. Wildcats football and Men’s basketball will continue to air on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago through the 2015-16 season the two sides announce. The Big Ten school’s football and Men’s basketball play-by-play have been heard on WGN since 1996. The school’s vice president for athletics and recreation Jim Phillips states, “The Northwestern athletics brand has experienced substantial growth over the past several years due in part to the massive reach and presence of WGN radio. We’ve been extremely proud to call the station home for 17 years, and to have a wonderful partner in telling the stories of our world-class student-athletes.”
Dave Ross to Host One Hour with Luke Burbank on KIRO-FM, Seattle. In TALKERS magazine’s report about Seattle radio personality Dave Ross moving to the news-intensive morning drive daypart (1/11/13), we stated that Ross is giving up his talk show with midday host Luke Burbank on Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle. That’s not exactly true. Ross and Burbank will work on the air together for the 9:00 am to 10:00 am hour before Burbank goes solo from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.
On a Blustery Seaside California Day. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison paid a visit last week to the Monterey Bay area of California and the good folks at Zwerling Broadcasting’s AM talk siblings KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz as part of a fact finding tour on the effectiveness, importance and future of local radio in America. According to Harrison, “KSCO and KOMY are exceptional examples of the magic and special place that the good old-fashioned local radio station maintains in our culture. I came away from my visit there invigorated and optimistic about the future of this industry.” Pictured seated on what is affectionately referred to as the “corporate bench” overlooking Monterey Bay and the blue Pacific are (l-r) Michael Zwerling, owner and CEO, Zwerling Broadcasting; Harrison; and Rosemary Chalmers, PD of KSCO/KOMY and morning host of KSCO.
Gun Control Issue Surges as Talk Radio Topic. The Newtown, Connecticut tragedy has stimulated a tremendous amount of talk about guns in America. Usually it is one of those topics — like abortion — that hosts and programmers try to avoid because there are seldom new angles and little give and take between sides. Sandy Hook has changed that. It is this week’s number one talk radio topic. So, how have talk hosts and stations been handling this issue? TALKERS recently spoke with a number of leading talk hosts and programmers across the country about their views both on and off the air on this issue. Find out what personalities including Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Lionel, Lars Larson, Thom Hartmann, Doug Stephan, Kevin McCullough and others are saying about this here.
Dave Ross Moves to AM Drive on KIRO-FM, Seattle. The two-month experiment of having talk host John Curley do the morning drive show with Linda Thomas on Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM is over and KIRO and market veteran Dave Ross has moved to the seat alongside Thomas for the news-intensive morning program. KIRO-FM general manager Carl Gardner told Curley they were moving him off the show because, simply put, “It isn’t working. I thought that it would, but it’s not.” That quote comes from the Seattle Times’ story about the change, as told by Curley. John Curley was hired for the evening talk show and did well there. Management thought he would work well in AM drive but ratings started to plummet after the move. Curley stays on the payroll and the Times story indicates the station would like to find a place for him. As for Ross, he’s not thrilled with a 3:30 am wake-up call but understands the business. “(Changes) always happen. That’s part of the job,” he says. He had been co-hosting the late morning program with Luke Burbank, who will continue solo.
Ken Coleman Begins Daily PM Drive Show on WDUN-AM/FM, Gainesville. The Jacobs Media Corp. station ups talk host Ken Coleman from his weekly Saturday afternoon program to a new, two-hour PM drive show airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm starting Monday. Director of radio operations for Access WDUN and Jacobs Media Bill Maine states, “We are all very excited about this move. Ken Coleman has proven himself to be a dynamic interviewer and his fan base just continues to grow. Ken Coleman just has this energy about him, and instead of just talking at you, he talks to you. It really is a one-on-one conversation. Ken leaves you with information you can actually use in your everyday life. I think Ken Coleman will add a much-needed voice to the weekday line up, and we are all very excited to see what new guests he will bring.” Coleman is eager to begin a new stage in his media career. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to create a new and refreshing conversation that is needed now more than ever. Radio was the first medium to create community over the airwaves. The entire focus of my show is to be a place that offers insightful, invigorating and inspiring conversations about personal growth, marriage, parenting, careers, money and legacy. It’s going to be real-life conversation that matters.”
2013 Consumer Electronics Show: Big Implications for Radio. Radio consultant Holland Cooke has been at the huge Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and he reports the relevant news for radio operators. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the new technology and to be impressed by such items as the “connected TV” and the voice activated TV remote from LG. But Cooke says the gadgets won’t impress in the long run, “But even with transmitters making radio ‘real,’ people will filter it out unless it’s real special, no matter how many dashboard buttons we get.” Read Holland Cooke’s report from the 2013 CES here.
Odds & Sods. Providence-based, nationally syndicated weekend talk host Dr. Ellen Kenner celebrates the beginning of her 17th year hosting her eponymous radio program. Dr. Kenner is a romance author and clinical psychologist…..Dr. Daliah Wachs – a Las Vegas-based physician and talk show host whose program is distributed via Genesis Communications Network – celebrates her 4th anniversary on the radio…..WEPN-AM, New York “ESPN Deportes Nueva York” and Madison Square Garden Company reach an agreement for the station to carry select New York Knicks games in Spanish throughout the remainder of the season. Play-by-play coverage will be led by Clemson Smith Muñiz, who is also the voice of the New York Jets on 1050AM, and Tiny Cains. Jerry Olaya and Felipe López will also contribute.
CBS Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb Visits Albuquerque. Nationally syndicated sports talk radio personality Doug Gottlieb was in Albuquerque on Wednesday to handle TV color commentary for CBS of the New Mexico vs. UNLV basketball game. He did his national program from Cumulus’ KNML, Albuquerque studios and made some appearances on the station’s local programs. He’s pictured here on the station’s “Sports Bar” program speaking with personality David Jubb.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Kevin McCullough show – produced and distributed by XtreMedia – adds nine affiliates to push it over the 300-station mark. Some of the new adds include: WWRC, Washington, DC; WGKA, Atlanta; KRCN, Denver; and WCRU, Charlotte…..Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck program is added to the lineup at Emmis’ KLBJ, Austin. The program airs in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot…..“America’s Financial Headquarters” talk show is added to the program schedule at WTKF, Atlantic, North Carolina and KRMS, Osage Beach, Missouri.
Gun Legislation Debate Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 7-11, 2013. The debate over new gun legislation and the administration’s threat of executive order was the most-talked-about story of the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was President Obama’s cabinet nominees. At #3 was the proposed Afghanistan troop withdrawal and at #4 was the looming debt ceiling and the trillion dollar coin flap. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Cool Job Openings.
Farm Broadcaster/News. WNAX Radio in Yankton, South Dakota, your Big Friend in the Midwest, is looking for a farm/markets/news broadcaster. WNAX has one of the largest radio signals in the United States and signed on in 1922. This is an EXCELLENT broadcast opportunity for the right person. If you want to work for an incredible company, RUSH your audio, resume and cover letter to: Steve Crawford, OM WNAXJOBS@sagacom.com Saga Communications is an equal opportunity employer.
Townsquare Media has an incredible opportunity for a News/Talk Brand Manager. You must have a proven track record in programming news/talk. In addition, candidates should be digitally savvy and demonstrate a deep, rich understanding of interactive branding including social media, loyalty programs, content creation, streaming platforms, mobile and texting. Additionally, you should feel comfortable being on-air. Candidates need to possess outstanding verbal and written skills as well as being highly organized, driven and comfortable delegating responsibility. You will be working in unison with digital, sales, promotion and engineering staff. It is essential that you have a strong working knowledge of digital audio systems and online media platforms, develop production and schedule all on-air content. In addition to the above, you will work to build the identity of the station within the community. If you can’t tell, this isn’t your typical 9-5 job. But don’t worry, we work hard and we have fun doing it! If you’re a fun, dynamic, creative, proven winner, send all of your materials, including references, to Chuck Armstrong at firstname.lastname@example.org. Townsquare Media is an equal opportunity employer.
WGN, Chicago Revamps Program Schedule; Milt Rosenberg Out After 39 Years. The 87-year-old host of “Extension 720” will do his last program for Tribune’s WGN, Chicago on Thursday evening. In announcing its new programming schedule set to take effect on January 2, the station is eliminating Milt Rosenberg’s “Extension 720” program that began in 1973. New to the schedule will be a late evening show featuring former WLS-AM night host Turi Ryder who’ll broadcast from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. Other changes include a later start for Jonathon Brandmeier’s morning show – 6:00 am to 10:00 am – and a split shift for midday personality Mike McConnell who’ll host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot and the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot. In between, the station adds “The Noon Show” hosted by author Carol Roth. Roth is a business strategist and former investment banker who frequently contributes to the topics of business and entrepreneurship on Fox News, MSNBC, Fox Business, and WGN TV. As for Rosenberg, he tells Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder he has no hard feelings toward the people at WGN, “It’s certainly amicable as far as my relations with the people I deal with. There’s been no particular bad feeling, no insults, no shouting.” And Rosenberg indicates he’ll seek other opportunities to continue his radio career, perhaps with other spoken-word stations in the market.
Consolidation Hits the Ratings Industry; Nielsen to Acquire Arbitron. Consolidation is not for radio stations only. Today, Nielsen Holdings N.V. announces it will begin the process of buying Arbitron Inc. through the acquisition of the outstanding common stock of Arbitron for $48 per share in cash, representing a premium of approximately 26% to Arbitron’s closing price on December 17, 2012. Nielsen has a financing commitment for the total transaction amount. The transaction has been approved by the boards of both companies and is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory review. Nielsen had tried to compete with Arbitron in the radio ratings business in the United States in the past but shut down that effort after minimal success gaining enough subscribers to make the project profitable. Clearly, Nielsen sees value in the radio ratings business as Nielsen chief executive officer David Calhoun states, “U.S. consumers spend almost two hours a day with radio. It is and will continue to be a vibrant and important advertising medium. Arbitron will help Nielsen better solve for unmeasured areas of media consumption, including streaming audio and out-of-home. The high level of engagement with radio and TV among rapidly growing multicultural audiences makes this central to Nielsen’s priorities.” With cross-platform marketing becoming so important Nielsen sees this acquisition as completing a part of that puzzle for marketers in the U.S. In a statement, Nielsen says – with Arbitron assets – it intends to further expand its “Watch” segment’s audience measurement across screens and forms of listening. “These integrated, innovative capabilities will enable broader measurement of consumer media behavior in more markets around the world,” says Steve Hasker, Nielsen president of Global Media Products and Advertiser Solutions. “We will also bring local clients greater visibility to empower more precise advertising placement and campaign effectiveness.”
KKLA, Los Angeles Host Frank Pastore Dies After Motorcycle Accident. The 55-year-old former MLB pitcher and talk host on Salem Communications’ Christian talk outlet KKLA, Los Angeles died after going into cardiac arrest on Monday, December 17. He had been in a coma for several weeks after being involved in a motorcycle accident on the 210 freeway near Los Angeles. Salem Communications president David Santrella issued the following statement: “Frank has been an integral part of KKLA for nine years as our afternoon talk host and, in many ways, as a Salem ambassador to the Christian community in Southern California. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Gina Pastore, their family and the KKLA family at this time.”
Beasley’s WQAM, Miami Inks Joe Rose to Contract Extension. Morning drive sports talk host Joe Rose – The Big Dog – signs a contract extension with Beasley Broadcasting to remain in the AM drive seat on WQAM for the next three years. The former Miami Dolphins tight end joined WQAM’s morning show in 1992. He also serves as color commentator for the Dolphins radio broadcasts as well as sports anchor for WTVJ-TV, Miami “NBC 6.” Beasley Miami VP/GM Joe Bell states, “Joe Rose is the gold standard for athletes who become broadcasters. He had a seven-year NFL career, but as good as he was, his broadcast career has eclipsed what he accomplished in the NFL. Joe is an easy listen…he’s the guy next door that you can talk sports with over the backyard fence. He has become the face of WQAM and we’re proud and excited to have him on board through 2015.”
TALKERS Presents Massive Four Month News/Talk Radio PPM Overview. As a follow up to yesterday’s (12/17) analysis by Mike Kinosian about how the non-stop, dramatic events of the past six weeks have presented radio, in general, and news/talk radio, specifically, with the challenge and opportunity to process an enormous amount of compelling material, TALKERS presents a PPM overview of some 140 stations leading up to and including this period. Reflecting on the format’s extremely dramatic November (2012) survey, where more than seven of 10 stations in our large sample were either up or steady (6+), compared to their October stats. Stations qualified to appear in this multi-faceted recap by ranking within the top 20 (6+) in any of Arbitron’s 48 PPM-measured markets (November 2012). Talk has the distinction of being the lone format to have at least one station in the top 20 of all 48 PPM markets. To see the survey please click here.
Rick Ucchino Named Sports Anchor at Blue Chip’s Soon-to-Be Sports WCFN, Cincinnati. When Blue Chip Broadcasting’s WCFN, Cincinnati flips to sports on January 2, local sports talk personality Rick Ucchino will serve as the station’s full-time sports anchor. WCFN will air the CBS Sports Radio Network programming when the new radio network debuts. Whether the station will carry all of the network programming is unknown at this time. Ucchino currently serves at Christian Broadcasting System’s crosstown WQRT “Real Talk 1160” hosting the afternoon drive program. In a Facebook announcement, Ucchino says, “As some of you might know, MOJO 100.3 is flipping to an all new CBS Sports station starting January 2nd. And I am happy to announce that I have officially accepted an offer to become their full-time morning sports anchor! I am grateful for the opportunities ‘Real Talk 1160’ has given me over the years but I am excited for the next chapter of my career!”
Doug Meehan Exits WTKK, Boston for TV Gig. It’s tempting to read into WTKK, Boston afternoon drive host Doug Meehan’s departure from the station as being related to rumors Greater Media plans to flip the station from talk to a music format in the near future, but there’s no indication that’s the case. Meehan, who took over the PM drive slot in 2011 and served as a TV traffic reporter and general assignment reporter at Fox 25 in Boston prior to that, is leaving the station to pursue a “major-market television opportunity” that he’ll announce soon. While Greater Media has been registering domain names that could indicate a flip to any number of music – or even sports – formats, the company has simply stated it is always considering programming options for its stations.
NBC/Dial Global Lays Out Weekend Schedule. The new NBC Sports Radio network announces its weekend programming schedule that affiliate stations will air beginning Saturday, January 5. The Dial Global-NBC Sports Group initiative is already offering “The Safety Blitz with Rodney Harrison” and now announces the rest of the weekend lineup. It includes the following talent: Brian Webber of NFL Network’s “NFL AM” morning show, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports, and Clay Travis, NBC Sports contributor and owner/contributor of OutKicktheCoverage.com. Also suiting up for the NBC Sports Radio weekends team is Newy Scruggs, sports director and on-air personality at NBC-5 Dallas/Ft. Worth and formerly of 105.3 The Fan, Dallas; Jason Page, recently withESPN Radio New York, among other stops, and Anita Marks, part ofthe New York Giants TV/Radio broadcast team and formerly of SportsRadio 105.7 The Fan, Baltimore. Plus, NBC Sports Radio update anchor Jon Stashower, formerly of ESPN Radio, adds a Sunday morning show and NBC Sports’ Rob Simmelkjaer will also host a weekend show. Other contributors to the programming will include: Hines Ward, Stan Van Gundy, Michelle Beadle, Amani Toomer, and Doug Flutie. The network has already launched late night and overnight shows and says it will launch the rest of its weekday 6:00 am to 7:00 pm lineup on Monday, April 1, 2013.
Gow-Yahoo! to Offer Bob Costas Programs. The Gow Broadcasting-operated Yahoo! Sports Radio network is offering affiliate stations two programs featuring Bob Costas. The first is a weekly “Costas Coast to Coast” program culled from the archives of the syndicated radio show that aired from 1986 to 1996. Yahoo! Sports Radio CEO David Gow states, “Bob is universally regarded as one of the top sports journalists. The ‘Costas Coast-to-Coast’ shows offer timeless content delivered in Bob’s inimitable style. We are thrilled to offer these very special programs to our growing number of affiliate radio stations.” The second program is a vignette titled “Stars and Stories” and is best-of content from his interviews over the years. Gow has secured the licensing of this programming via Olympia Networks.
Odds & Sods. Content aggregator TuneIn offers the 24 college bowl games being played this season and being broadcast by ESPN Radio…..WFED, Washington, DC morning drive host Francis Rose sits in for WYD Media nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish on his program on December 24 and 31.
KIRO-FM, Seattle Raises $500,000-Plus for Local Foster Kids. During its 24th Annual Holiday Magic Radiothon, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM helped raise more than $500,000 to assist foster children in the Treehouse program. The money raised will help provide each child in the program with one significant holiday gift along with support for programs and services throughout the year. Treehouse serves 6,000 foster kids each year through programs that help them succeed in school, fulfill key material needs, and provide important childhood experiences every child deserves. Bonneville Seattle VP/market manager Carl Gardner says, “The KIRO Radio community has stepped up once again We’re so grateful to have listeners and partners who care and stand ready to help wherever there’s a need.” Pictured here are PM drive hosts Ron and Don manning the radiothon mics on Wednesday, December 12.
Newtown Massacre, U.S. Gun Laws, ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, Syria/Egypt Instability, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/17). The aftermath of the Newtown school massacre; debate over gun laws in the United States; the political fight in Washington over solving the “fiscal cliff” problem; continued violence and instability in Syria and Egypt; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio across the country, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Howard Stern Returns for Another Season on “America’s Got Talent.” The rest of the judges panel is not set but SiriusXM superstar talk host Howard Stern announced to his listeners on Monday that he’s back for another season of “America’s Got Talent.” Access Hollywood reports Stern said, “I really feel my work is unfinished there. I really do think I can find a superstar act. I really just feel like I can do something great.” Stern says he’ll miss Sharon Osbourne, who has elected not to return to the program this season. But in true Howard Stern fashion, he mentioned he’s concerned about who the other judges will be, saying if they’re not good, it makes the job a drag. “That’s gonna make the job tedious, and boring and aggravating.”
KIRO-FM, Seattle Promotes Andrew Walsh to Evening Host. Producer and radio personality Andrew Walsh is named the host of the evening program on Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle, filling the slot left open when John Curley was promoted to anchor of the station’s morning drive show. Walsh has been a fill-in host at the station in addition to his work as producer of the “Ross and Burbank Show” and co-host of the “Too Beautiful to Live” podcast with Luke Burbank. Program director Larry Gifford states, “Andrew continues to impress me with his news sense, story-telling ability, self-effacing humor and unique point of view. Andrew will be a terrific addition to our daily KIRO Radio programming lineup.” Walsh started his radio career in New Hampshire where he served as a public radio producer for eight years. He spent one year at KUOW Public Radio in Seattle as producer. About his new position, Walsh says, “I’m going to use this show to try to pull listeners a little closer to their radios, and sometimes pull them right into the radio with us. I see this as a chance to develop a new type of relationship with the KIRO audience — and not the unhealthy kind that my therapist keeps warning me about.”
Sabo Media Launches Internet Radio Initiatives; Enters into Relationship with Party 934. Media consultant Walter Sabo announces his company, Sabo Media, through its Internet Radio Initiatives, is identifying “several online entertainment companies that are at the cutting edge of presenting fresh, new shows.” One of the products of that is his new relationship with The Freeform Radio Initiative’s PARTY 934. Sabo states, “PARTY 934 curates its programs in a stunning, easy-to-use manner. The shows are passionate, fun and involve the community. It is in the best spirit of progressive rock, free-form radio and compelling talk radio. In working with PARTY 934 we will help the organization achieve its goals in content creation while preserving the spirit of citizen broadcasters…For a decade we have advised media clients to deliver on the promise of the first name of the internet: World Wide. PARTY 934 brings that promise to life, giving listeners a fresh, global radio experience.” Party 934 is an official project of The Freeform Radio Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It is the mission of The Freeform Radio Initiative and Party 934 to provide diverse and innovative online broadcasting that reflects the interests and concerns of the community, thus, creating broad cultural and educational experiences for communities impacted negatively by the lack of digital and technological advancement in innovative new media. Freeform Radio Initiative founder Scott McWilliams says, “Walter is helping to make our on-air personalities more professional. As a station that encourages ‘regular people’ to do radio shows, people like Walter mentor and guide our personalities to be the best they can be. Walter is a great addition to our team because of his extensive background and attention to detail. We are glad to have him on board.”
Dave Ramsey to Be Inducted into NAB Hall of Fame. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dave Ramsey will be inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters’ Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the NAB Show in April. The NAB’s executive vice president of radio John David says in announcing the honor, “Dave Ramsey has influenced countless Americans through his sound financial advice and inspirational messages. We are pleased to induct him into NAB’s Broadcasting Hall of Fame.” The induction will take place during the NAB Show Radio Luncheon, on Tuesday, April 9 in Las Vegas and sponsored by ASCAP. Ramsey will join such radio greats as Bob Uecker, Gerry House, Ron Chapman, Vin Scully, Jack Buck, Harry Carey, Larry Lujack, Rick Dees, Dick Purtan and Dick Orkin in the Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
KIDO, Boise and Host Kevin Miller Help Score Cash for Local Animal Shelter. Peak Broadcasting’s KIDO, Boise and morning drive talk host Kevin Miller (pictured here as you-know-who at a recent fundraiser) worked to help the local Canyon County Animal Shelter take second place in the national ASPCA/Rachael Ray $100,000 Adoption Challenge. The Canyon County Animal Shelter, with the help of Peak Broadcasting donating PSA time to the cause and Kevin Miller’s PR stunt of living in a cage for a week, won the second-place prize of $50,000. The shelter was able to get 2,082 animals adopted coming in second only to San Antonio, which won the first-place prize.
Talk Pro Jeff Katz Heard in Miami This Week. Talk radio personality Jeff Katz, most recently working for Clear Channel at its former news/talk outlet WXKS-AM, Boston, is heard this week in Miami as he fills in on Clear Channel’s news/talk WIOD in the afternoon drive slot today, Thursday and Friday.
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Status, Syria Chemical Weapons Charge, Jovan Belcher Case, and UN Internet Regulation Plans Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/3). The ongoing posturing in Washington over the coming “fiscal cliff”; intelligence claims that Syria is preparing chemical weapons to use on rebel fighters; the murder-suicide of NFL player Jovan Belcher and Bob Costas’ anti-gun comment; and the UN-proposed internet regulations were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Whither Laura Ingraham? Affiliates Hear Tammy Bruce Today. The Talk Radio Network star has left the air amidst saying that she is leaving TRN, perhaps with plans to be back via another avenue in the near future. Although the departure seems abrupt, it comes as no surprise to industry observers who have long known of the not-so-secret friction that has existed for years between Ingraham and TRN’s top management. TALKERS has reached out to Talk Radio Network for information but has yet to receive a response. Former TRN syndicated talk host and current popular internet talk personality Tammy Bruce is filling in on the network slot where Ingraham’s program aired. On her website, Ingraham has posted the following message. “After more than 9 years with the distributor Talk Radio Network, I decided it was time to move on. After much thought and reflection, I have decided to pursue my first loves — modern dance and the xylophone. In the highly unlikely event that these efforts do not prove fruitful, I intend to return to radio. Seriously — to the more than 300 stations that carry the Laura Ingraham show and to all my loyal listeners, I feel the time is right to expand and retool my radio program and to explore other syndication options, which I am now actively pursuing. During this brief hiatus, my team and I will continue to deliver thought-provoking and entertaining analysis via my website.”
Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco Names Chris Townsend PM Drive Co-Host. With the departure of Brandon Tierney to CBS Radio Sports Network for the morning show beginning in January, the Entercom sports talker fills Tierney’s spot as co-host of the afternoon “The Drive” show with midday co-host Chris Townsend. He’ll partner up with Ric Bucher in the afternoon slot and Matt Steinmetz will host the late-morning “The Pulse” solo, at least for now. Townsend was upped from his evening show at “95.7 The Game” in September to the late-morning slot. In addition to his daily talk show work, he hosts the Oakland A’s radio pre-game show “The Dugout.”
WBEN, Buffalo Talk Host Tom Bauerle Shares Cardiac Diagnosis with Listeners. Last week, long time Buffalo talk host Tom Bauerle told his audience that he’ll be undergoing a procedure to have a pacemaker/defibrillator put in after being diagnosed with Brugada syndrome – or as Bauerle describes it to TALKERS – the “he was so healthy and he just dropped dead” disease. Bauerle says he’s always believed in being honest with his audience. “I have a very close bond with people who’ve listened to me because I do not pretend to be something I am not and the real people appreciate the truth in the era of spin.” So he explained that he had a routine EKG prior to planned elective surgery when doctors discovered he has the syndrome that can cause a sudden and fatal arrhythmia. Bauerle, still in his 40s, recently signed a long-term contract extension with Entercom’s WBEN back in October. We at TALKERS wish him the best in dealing with this condition.
Bay Area Media Blogger Rich Lieberman Debuts Weekend Talk Radio Show. San Francisco-based media blogger Rich Lieberman’s 415 Media has been the source of opinions and news scoops for Bay Area media (and beyond) for years. He’s also made a number of enemies in the region who don’t like his style or his willingness to publish speculation about their business. Now, Lieberman is taking to the air at Michael Zwerling-owned KOMY, Santa Cruz with a three-hour weekend program that airs on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Lieberman tells Fishbowl LA the show will be guest-oriented. He opened the first program speaking to KTVU-TV, Oakland evening news lead anchor Frank Somerville who discussed his adopting a black daughter. He also interviewed KKSF talk host John Rothmann. Lieberman tells Fishbowl LA, “Next weekend, I will be talking with actor Patrick Warburton as well as Alan Colmes, formerly of ‘Hannity & Colmes.’ Colmes has a new book out, and we’ll also take a look back at the 2012 presidential election…The show is guest-oriented right now. I wanted to charge it up during the holidays and start with a splash. But in the long run, the zeitgeist of ‘The Rich Lieberman Show’ is going to be my rants and opines, and talking about those topics with callers.”
Bonneville’s Arizona Sports 620 KTAR-AM Adds Mixed Martial Arts Program to Lineup. The fast-growing popularity of mixed martial arts (MMA), especially among young men, has a number of sports enterprises exploring the possibility the sport can draw audience on a level worthy of dedicated programming. Bonneville’s “Arizona Sports 620 KTAR-AM” is adding a new program to its lineup beginning Saturday, December 1 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm called “The Power MMA Show” hosted by Jim Grieshaber, along with world-class MMA fighters and former ASU wrestling stars Ryan Bader and Aaron Simpson (pictured here, Bader at left, Simpson at right). The station describes the show as one that “will focus on the biggest stories of the week, the lives of fighters – from superstars to local talent, the growth of Arizona into an MMA hotbed and more.” Written and video content will be hosted on a new MMA section at ArizonaSports.com, with a team of Power MMA contributors providing local and national coverage. Bonneville Phoenix vice president of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says, “MMA is one of the fastest growing and most exciting sports in the world. We’re thrilled to launch the first-ever show of its kind in this market, hosted by world renowned experts and top notch fighters. This is going to be fun.”
Sports Talk’s Dino Costa Sparks ‘Battle’ with Chris Russo at SiriusXM. Sports talker Dino Costa – whose program airs on Chris Russo’s “Mad Dog Radio” on SiriusXM – has been getting some attention lately for his on-air jabs at the channel’s namesake and founder Chris Russo. A two-part interview with Costa appears on ShermanReport.com and Costa speaks frankly with publisher Ed Sherman about his battles with Russo – admitting to calling him a “has-been” on the air – and their strictly “professional” relationship. The bomb-throwing is even more interesting since Russo operates the channel and could oust Costa if he wanted. Costa is also not shy about expressing his desire for a bigger role in the sports talk world. Read the entire interview here.
Washington Tax Battle, Post-Sandy Clean-Up Costs, Liberty University-ObamaCare Case and Morsi’s Egyptian Power Grab Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/26). The struggle between the Obama Administration and House Republicans over coming tax hikes and spending cuts; the price tag for cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey; the Supreme Court’s ordering lower court to reconsider Liberty University’s argument ObamaCare violates school’s religious freedom; and the power grab by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Is CBS Radio’s KPTK, Seattle the Next Progressive Talker to Flip? Seattle-based blog Blatherwatch (cool name!) is reporting the WYD Media-produced Stephanie Miller talk show indicated on Monday’s broadcast that CBS Radio’s KPTK, Seattle would flip from progressive talk after the holidays. No report on what the station may become and the report has not been confirmed by CBS Radio. If this comes to pass, it would be the second West Coast progressive talk outlet to recently shuck the format as Clear Channel’s KPOJ, Portland did Monday (11/12). It’d also be the second progressive talk station that’s been in the format for a relatively long period of time – eight years for each station – and located in “progressive” cities, to change formats.
Stacey Simms to Exit WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. “Charlotte’s Morning News” co-host Stacey Simms announces she will exit the Greater Media news/talk outlet after the December 14 edition of the program due to personal reasons. Simms has co-hosted the show at WBT for 10 years, first with Al Gardner (now in Philly on WWIQ) and currently with Bo Thompson. Simms is a well-known media personality in the market having worked in television news at WBTV-TV before beginning her talk radio career. Senior vice president and market manager Rick Feinblatt says of Simms, “Since 2002, Stacey has been instrumental in the development and success of ‘Charlotte’s Morning News’ and has always displayed the highest level of professionalism and dedication to WBT and all our listeners. We wish Stacey the best as she pursues new opportunities and adventures.”
KFNS, St. Louis Parts Ways with Host Kevin Slaten After Racial Rant. Sports talk host Kevin Slaten wasn’t an employee of Grand Slam Sports – owner of KFNS, St. Louis – rather he brokered the time and sold his own advertising. As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, his contract was cancelled after he went on a rant last Thursday charging African Americans who voted for Barack Obama with being bigoted if they voted for Obama because he’s black. Station manager Katy Pavelonis tells the paper she asked Slaten to take his conversation in a different direction. “The topics of Thursday weren’t homing in on where I want to go.” Slaten was with KFNS previously but was fired from the station in 2008 after putting St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan on the air without informing him the conversation was being broadcast. Speaking of the mixing of sports talk and political talk; WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer has some thoughts on the matter. See the next story…
The Risk of Talking Politics on a Sports Station. The 2012 campaign is behind us but WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer has some thoughts on mixing politics and sports talk that some may want to consider for the next election cycle. Neer says that the very close popular vote in the presidential election – almost a 50/50 split – means it’s possible almost half your audience could disagree with you no matter whom you support, so is it worth “campaigning” for your guy? Neer writes, “A few undecideds may be persuaded by your arguments, but more likely you’ll either be preaching to the choir or turning off the other side. Another unintended consequence is if you show yourself to be poorly informed or blindly biased, it could undermine steady listeners’ trust in your authority when it comes to an area that you know more about — sports.” Read the rest of Richard Neer’s argument for avoiding politics here.
Opinion Piece: Five Trends About to Make a Buck. Noted industry idea man and Sabo Media chairman Walter Sabo offers five companies and concepts that he believes are closing in on what he describes as “the event horizon for making profits.” They include internet radio, Jumpwire Media, kid-targeted tablets (Toys“R”Us), Kickstarter.com, and companies that learn from TMZ. For the juicy details, click here.
Major Development at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago…New Call-in Number. Okay, so it’s not the biggest news to come out of Tribune Tower recently, but mid-morning talk host Mike McConnell played up the announcement of the changing of the station’s 46-year-old call-in phone number dramatically in a bit that surely had a fair number of WGN P1s on the edges of their collective seats. WGN promoted a “change of historic proportions” announcement during morning drive and when it came time for McConnell to break the news, he did so in a dramatic – some might call it melodramatic – fashion, building up to it by reading a list of the names of famous WGN broadcasters who’ve graced the station’s studios over the years. After delivering the punch line – the new call-in number – he explained that the new studios and the change to all-digital equipment required a new phone number as of today (11/13).
St. Louis Talk Hosts in War Over A-List Guests. The kinds of battles that happen between mega-broadcasters like David Letterman and Jay Leno can also happen between local talk radio hosts. The race to get the guest “first” is something most listeners are not aware happens among the hosts at their local media outlets, but St. Louis talk radio fans are learning about an kerfuffle between former station-mates Charlie Brennan at KMOX and McGraw Milhaven at crosstown KTRS (Milhaven previously worked at KMOX). The St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes about how the competition has escalated after Milhaven went public with what he considers Brennan’s unfair play. He points to a memo from publisher Random House’s public relations office regarding a St. Louis appearance by Pulitzer-prize winning author Jon Meacham on December 6 that details the cancellation of Meacham’s appearance on Milhaven’s show due to a conflict with a KMOX live broadcast event at the St. Louis Library and that state’s KMOX’s requirement it be the first radio appearance. Brennan’s Fontbonne University book club has been booking author appearances in the market for some time. Brennan tells the paper, “And it’s only a radio exclusive if the author wants to be a KMOX/Fontbonne University selection, which means the book will get a month’s worth of publicity and anywhere from 400 to 800 book buyers at the club’s monthly meetings…I’m not sure why (Milhaven) is making an issue of it. If he could offer the author a better agreement, I’m sure the author would take it. Then it would be ‘goodbye Charlie.’”
Bonneville Seattle and NFL’s Seahawks Agree to Multi-Year Extension. Bonneville’s KIRO-AM was the original radio partner for the Seattle Seahawks when the franchise joined the NFL back in 1976 and has been its sole partner ever since. Now, Bonneville extends its relationship with the team in a multi-year deal that will have Seahawks games and programming continue on sports KIRO-AM and news/talk KIRO-FM. The deal also includes the two stations’ coverage of Seattle Sounders soccer, which will have the football club’s matches heard on KIRO-FM. Bonneville Seattle Media Group vice president and market manager Carl Gardner says, “After 37 years, fans in the Northwest have come to think of Seahawks Radio and KIRO as one and the same, and we’re proud of that tradition. We also love helping build a new culture and tradition around Sounders FC and Major League Soccer, extending our strong partnership is a win for the fans, for the clubs, and for Bonneville.”
CBS Radio’s Sports WJFK, Washington Improving its Signal. According to Dave Hughes’ DCRTV.com, CBS Radio sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington is getting some engineering attention to help improve its signal. By altering the coverage patterns of two of its adjacent channel outlets WJFK should see improved penetration to the northeast, into DC itself and into Prince George’s County. In order to accommodate WJFK improvement, CBS will move the transmitter for WWMX, Baltimore “Mix 106.5” which will, to a degree, adversely affect its coverage. Over the years, more than one person associated with WJFK has told TALKERS that the sports talk station suffers from signal problems that are limiting its ratings potential.
Timely Guest. WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (l) is pictured here on the stage at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach interviewing U.S. Senator Bill Nelson in the 85th edition of the Town Hall speaker series at the school. Nelson, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, answered questions about the scandal involving former CIA chief David Petraeus before a full house of students and the public.
Petraeus Scandal, Benghazi Investigation, ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Businesses Prepare for ObamaCare, and Post-Sandy Frustrations in New York Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/12). The widening David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell scandal; the Benghazi attack investigation and Petraeus’ role in it; Washington addresses the “fiscal cliff”; American businesses prepare to pay for ObamaCare; and the post-Sandy frustrations still affecting some New Yorkers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
SHAKER HEIGHTS — I can tell that we radio folks are more stressed out than ever, because I’ve been in on a few conversations recently where the subject was how people out there don’t understand the value of radio anymore. That’s a change from the previous sentiment, which was that we just needed to get more compelling content on our websites and in our social media. The feeling seems to be now that we have to make potential fans and clients understand what we’re all about, and what we offer.
Then, I see here in TALKERS (10/17) last Wednesday that Bonneville in Seattle is putting one of their key on-air people “in the driver’s seat for bringing unique, local content to both KIRO-FM and the company’s digital space, MyNorthwest.com.” So wrap your head around this. Linda Thomas, who’s been part of KIRO-FM’s morning drive news block … that’s morning drive in the 13th largest market … is moving online. That’s a real commitment on Bonneville’s part.
Michael Savage Signs with Cumulus Media Networks; Push for Affiliates and Programming Changes at O&O Stations to Begin. Not too long after vowing he’d be back on terrestrial radio, talk radio host Michael Savage joins Cumulus Media Networks for a syndication deal that will have his program distributed nationally live from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. The terms of the contract are not available but in a press release announcing the pact, Cumulus COO John Dickey states, “As we aggressively create radio’s most compelling mix of show hosts the addition of Michael Savage is a milestone in our determined efforts to provide our listeners nationwide with the best programing in the business.” Savage won freedom from his contract with Talk Radio Network in court several weeks ago, freeing him to sign anywhere for national distribution. Savage states in the release, “Cumulus and Savage will make radio history. The turbulent times we live in give talk radio a new power. This is the biggest move of my radio career and I look forward to reaching many millions of new listeners on their flamethrower signals.” Savage has broadcast from his home studio in the San Francisco Bay Area for years and most likely will continue to do so. Cumulus will want to put him on as many O&Os as possible so here’s a rundown of what programming airs during the live broadcast time of Savage’s soon-to-be program. In San Francisco, O&Os KGO and KSFO air a local evening news show and its own syndicated John Batchelor program respectively; WABC, New York airs Batchelor; KABC, Los Angeles airs its own syndicated Mark Levin; WLS-AM, Chicago airs the last hour of Premiere’s Sean Hannity followed by Levin; WMAL, Washington airs Batchelor; WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas airs local host Chris Krok; and WJR, Detroit airs Mark Levin. With Savage’s program to debut next Tuesday, October 23, look for some programming changes on Cumulus Media O&O talk outlets.
Dan Patrick’s Radio and TV Simulcast Exits Fox Sports Net; Speculation About New Cable Partner Begins. To be clear, we’re talking about the regional cable TV networks when we talk about Fox Sports Net, not Fox Sports Radio Network which distributes the radio version of the DirecTV-produced program. Dan Patrick’s sports talk show is still available on DirecTV’s Audience Network but Patrick said on his program they expect to have a new cable partner soon and here’s where the speculation begins. AwfulAnnouncing.com’s Matt Yoder writes that a deal with NBC’s fledgling cable sports network could use a show like Patrick’s in morning drive as a show around which to build the rest of its programming. As Yoder points out, Dan Patrick already works for NBC hosting “Football Night in America,” so there’s a relationship in place. If NBC and Patrick agree to work together for the cable TV distribution of his program, whether that would affect the distribution of his radio program or not is unknown. NBC is also building a sports talk radio network for which it needs quality programming. However, the Fox Sports Radio Network distribution of the radio program has it on more than 250 stations. Ad sales for the radio side are handled by Premiere Networks and presumably there is a contract for this relationship.
Mancow TV Show Producer Resigns. With less than a week to go before the debut of Erich Mancow Muller’s Chicago TV show on Fox Television’s WPWR-TV, director and producer Don DuPree leaves the project. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports DuPree had issues with Fox Television that centered on compensation and job duties unrelated to the Mancow program. Mancow’s morning radio show — syndicated nationally by TRN-FM — is set to begin a two-hour radio/TV simulcast (during the 6:00 am to 8:00 am CT hours) on Monday, October 22. DuPree has been involved with the soon-to-debut show for several weeks. He tells Feder, “I really want to see the show succeed, and I want Mancow to succeed. Working with Mancow was why I was attracted to the project to begin with, and I’m still a big fan. I hope I get to work with him again one day.” DuPree was director of the “Siskel & Ebert” program for 16 years and also served as executive producer for “Ebert & Roeper.”
Talent Shuffle at Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle. A day after Bonneville announced that morning news anchor Linda Thomas would exit the AM on-air post to take an enterprising new role with the station and its affiliated digital presence, it promotes evening talk host John Curley to host of “Seattle’s Morning News” beginning Monday, October 22. Curley, a popular media personality in the market who joined KIRO-FM in February of 2011 to host the night show, is partnered up with current AM drive co-host Tom Tangney and news anchor Ursula Reutin. Program director Larry Gifford states, “John is unbelievably talented. He brings a lifetime of lessons to add a personal perspective and a storyteller’s sensibility to ‘Seattle’s Morning News.’ He also has an irresistible charm and enough energy to fuel the entire Pacific Northwest.” Curley spent 14 years hosting “Evening Magazine” on KING-TV and currently serves as a member of the Sammamish City Council. Exiting the morning program is host Bill Radke.
WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus Suspends Host for Tweet. RadiOhio’s sports talk WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus “97.1 The Fan” suspends talk host Scott Torgerson – co-host of “The Common Man & The Torg” – after he Tweeted regarding ESPN’s Desmond Howard, “I wish that Desmond Howard would get fired or die so I can watch ‘Gameday’ again.” It’s uncertain how long Torgerson will be suspended but yesterday he remained off the program with co-host Mike Ricordati.
Genesis Communications Network Purchases New Headquarters. The company that syndicated such talk radio stars as Alex Jones, Jason Lewis and Bradlee Dean is moving into new headquarters in Burnsville, Minnesota. The company, headed by CEO Ted Anderson, is moving from its current base in Eagan, Minnesota to a former Coldwell Banker office near I-35W in the Twin Cities region. The building was purchased for $1.4 million.
Newsweek Announces End of Paper Edition. This isn’t a radio story but it is an interesting media development. Editor-in-chief of The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, Tina Brown, announces the iconic weekly news magazine will cease publication of its printed product at the end of this year and will move into a strictly digital business model in 2013. Brown writes, “Newsweek Global, as the all-digital publication will be named, will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context. Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscription and will be available through e-readers for both tablet and the Web, with select content available on The Daily Beast.” Brown makes it clear why the transition is taking place. “It is important that we underscore what this digital transition means and, as importantly, what it does not. We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it. We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents. This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism — that is as powerful as ever. It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution.”
Second Presidential Debate Aftermath, Presidential Race Polls, Libya Attack Investigation, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/17). Analysis of the performance of the candidates in the second presidential debate; the polls in the presidential race; the ongoing investigation into the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi; and the Major League Baseball playoffs are some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Creating Content Available Nowhere Else at Bonneville Seattle. News/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle and parent company Bonneville announce a changing role for “Seattle’s Morning News” anchor Linda Thomas that puts the radio personality and journalist in the driver’s seat for bringing unique, local content to both KIRO-FM and the company’s digital space MyNorthwest.com. Bonneville says Thomas will “devote 100% of her time and energy to original enterprise reporting for radio and digital channels in a groundbreaking new role announced today by KIRO Radio and MyNorthwest.com. As senior features reporter at KIRO Radio and MyNorthwest.com, her role is to meet intriguing people and tell their stories. In her role as digital journalist, Linda will continue her award-winning blog and file original reports to MyNorthwest.com covering topics from parenting and politics to technology and trends.”
During numerous presentations at industry gatherings, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has stated that what radio must do to survive this convergence of media and the changes in consumer behavior it is fostering, is to create content that is only available in one place – your radio station. KIRO’s move combines this notion with the concept of a “media station” – a digital destination for unique multi-media content. Bonneville’s radio and digital news director Peter Gammell says, “Original local reporting is what fuels KIRO Radio’s conversations and drives our users to visit MyNorthwest.com. Linda has a proven ear for the compelling story, and she’s one of our most prolific reporters. This role frees her to focus on what only she can do.”
Thomas relishes her opportunity to pursue her journalistic endeavors. “I believe everybody has a story, and I want to know what’s yours. I meet so many people whose stories have value, and someone hearing or reading them is going to have their life changed by their bravery and originality.” Program director Larry Gifford states, “I’ve always been impressed with the compassion in Linda’s reporting. She finds real, interesting people in the community, has a personal conversation with them and shares what she’s learned. I can’t wait to hear who she introduces me to next.”
Thomas will continue her popular “News Chick” efforts. Tweeting and posting on social media as “The News Chick,” Thomas is among the most-followed local journalists in the U.S., according to Bonneville. The company says she promises her social media followers on Twitter @thenewschick and Facebook will continue to be fed her customary stream of sharable gems. “The value of social media for me is connecting – in real life when possible – with people in the community, and being there when they want to interact with me.” In addition to her longer-form radio and online feature reporting, social media are where she will continue sharing viral videos, photos, links to eye-catching stories from Seattle to Hollywood and around the world — along with Thomas’ famed fascination with her boots.
Cumulus Media Inks Agreement to Buy New York Market FM. Pending approval from the FCC, Cumulus Media will have a third New York City station after closing on Family Stations, Inc.’s WFME, Newark, New Jersey. Cumulus states in a press release that it will announce format plans for the Class B FM at 94.7 upon closing and expects that to happen sometime in the fourth quarter of this year. Crain’s New York Business cites an industry insider saying Cumulus got WFME for a bargain: $40 million. Family Stations has undergone changes during the past year and is said to be cash-strapped after Family Stations chief Harold Camping’s apocalyptic predictions on the date of Christ’s reappearance last year failed on two occasions. CEO Lew Dickey says, “This strategic acquisition of our second FM in the nation’s largest market will enable us to provide compelling new programming for our listeners and a powerful marketing vehicle for our advertising partners.” Of course, although Cumulus is remaining vague about the specifics of its programming intentions with the new acquisition, industry observers are actively speculating as to what might be in store for the Big Apple’s soon-to-be competitive commercial FM. For years, through several ownerships, WABC program directors have privately confessed that they wished talk-formatted WABC had a NYC FM outlet for its programming. But the fact that its only sister FM, hot AC WPLJ (95.5) has been such a consistent ratings and revenue success put up a roadblock to that happening easily. Now with the New York talk market in flux per Clear Channel‘s soon-to-be-completed takeover of WOR and Cumulus launching new high-profile syndicated talk shows such as Mike Huckabee and Geraldo Rivera, and with the end of their contracts with Premiere Networks‘ Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity shows looming – it makes sense that they would be looking for a new Gotham outlet for their considerably valuable talk properties. Of course, this is just speculation.
Tavis Smiley Takes on WBEZ, Chicago in Open Letter After Public Station Cancels Weekend “Smiley & West” Program. Talk media personality Tavis Smiley wrote an open letter to Chicago Public Media president and CEO Torey Malatia after the station cancelled his weekend program “Smiley & West,” co-hosted by Princeton professor Cornel West. In the letter, Smiley reacts to his work being called “less than inclusive” and being compared to Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly but Malatia in response to WBEZ cancelling his program. Read the entire letter here.
KTTH, Seattle Announces New Schedule; Names David Boze AM Drive Host. Beginning in January, Seattle talk radio personality David Boze will have a new role with the Bonneville talk station. Boze currently does a one-hour program at 3:00 pm on KTTH that serves as a local hour between Salem Radio Network’s Michael Medved and Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity on the station. In January, Boze will host the three-hour morning drive show and bumps Premiere’s Glenn Beck from the AM drive slot on the station. Bonneville Seattle program director Larry Gifford states, “David is a stand-up guy with a traditional Northwest sensibility. He’s someone you’d want as a neighbor – who happens to host a great radio show. He always leaves me better informed and mentally energized.” Boze, who began his talk radio career as a producer for Peter Weissbach at KVI in 1999, has been with KTTH for 10 years. He says, “I try to live my life with the same traditional values as my listeners do; decency, liberty, hard work, and doing what’s right. I want to create a friendly gathering place where people can digest the news and we can talk about important stories that other media misinterpret or miss altogether.”
Talk Radio’s Unique Sales Advantage. H & H Communications president Al Herskovitz says the unique place talk radio occupies in the stew of formats is that it is a foreground format that brings a better value to its advertisers. This is not a new concept but Herskovitz writes that talk sales staffers can be very creative in taking advantage of this in bringing new categories of advertisers to the format. “It would be hard to believe that the Rolls Royce manufacturer or even the local Rolls dealer would want to buy a spot in that Sunday 5:30 am auto show,” Herskovitz states. “But an Atlanta station saleswoman I know did sell that very program to a salvage yard in her market coupled with a weekday spot package and a handful of promos. Now that’s creative salesmanship!” Read Al Herskovitz’s entire piece here.
WHNZ, Tampa to Add Sports Talk from Fox Sports Radio. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WHNZ, Tampa – currently airing a combination of brokered local shows and syndicated news/talk fare, begins adding Fox Sports Radio content to the station beginning with the overnight “J.T. the Brick” program airing from 1:00 am to 5:00 am. In 2013, the station plans to add FSRN’s “Petros & Money” and “Fox Sports Tonight” programs to the lineup. Program director Steve Versnick states, “We are excited to launch the powerful brand of Fox Sports Radio on WHNZ in Tampa Bay. This adds star power to the station for us.”
Fox Sports Radio Changes “Loose Cannons” Lineup; Vic “The Brick” Jacobs to KLAC Duties. The trio of Pat O’Brien, Steve Hartman and Vic “The Brick” Jacobs – known as the “Loose Cannons” on Fox Sports Radio Network – will continue with just O’Brien and Hartman as Jacobs has been re-assigned to the sports news updates role at flagship KLAC, Los Angeles. He’ll also serve as a reporter covering Lakers basketball.
Second Presidential Debate, Libya Attack Investigation, Malala Yousufzai Case, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/16). The second presidential debate from Hofstra University on Long Island; the ongoing investigation and controversy over the attack on the Banghazi consulate; the case of Pakistani wounded teen Malala Yousufzai; Iran’s nuclear weapons program; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom’s Sports WEEI Splits AM and FM Signals Today. The AM and FM signals of Entercom’s Boston-based sports talk radio giant WEEI split earlier this morning with the Boston FM signal at 93.7 continuing the local talk with the established lineup of Dennis & Callahan, Mut & Merloni, “The Big Show” with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley, and “Planet Mikey” with Mike Adams. The AM signal at 850 is now “ESPN on WEEI” and features the lineup of ESPN Radio sports talk shows beginning with “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” SVP & Russillo, “ESPN Today,” Hill & Schlereth or play-by-play, “SportsCenter Tonight,” and “SportsCenter All Night.” Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic are broadcasting from Gillette Stadium this morning to celebrate their arrival in the Boston market. ESPN senior vice president, production business divisions Traug Keller states, “We’re pleased to team with Boston’s preeminent sports radio outlet and one of the nation’s best radio broadcasting companies in Entercom to bring the number one national network into New England. This move, coupled with the existing presence of ESPNBoston.com, provides Boston’s passionate fans the best of ESPN’s national and local coverage and analysis.”
Cox Media Group to Debut Georgia News Service in January. The multi-media service will be based out of Cox Media Group’s WSB, Atlanta studio and bring together the assets of WSB, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and ABC TV affiliate WSB-TV to produce news content. Scott Smith – market manager for Cox Media in Athens, Georgia – is being charged with heading the operation. Cox Media Atlanta vice president and general manager Ben Reed says, “The Cox name has long been synonymous with excellent news coverage throughout the state of Georgia. This gives us the opportunity to bring our experience and assets together in order to provide a high-quality news service to outlets across the state of Georgia. We believe the Georgia News Service will very quickly become an invaluable audio, visual, and digital resource for news outlets across the state. We look forward to providing them with the high-caliber news coverage that has become a Cox tradition.” Clear Channel has been operating the Georgia News Network out of former news/talk WGST’s studios but is closing down the bureau.
ESPN Radio Extends Contract of Ryen Russillo; Changes Name of Afternoon Show to ‘SVP & Russillo.’ Ryen Russillo has been the co-host of the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET Scott Van Pelt show on ESPN Radio since May of 2009. Now, the sports entertainment giant extends Russillo’s deal and, to give him more visibility, changes the name of the show from “The Scott Van Pelt Show” to “SVP & Russillo.” He says, “Over the last three years ‘The Scott Van Pelt Show’ has been my number one priority, and I couldn’t be happier that, for the next few years, it will remain my priority. I believe in the direction of this show and am really looking forward to where we are going.” In addition to his co-hosting duties with Van Pelt, Russillo also hosts the 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm ET edition of College GameDay during the football season.
Dave Ramsey Goes West. Nationally syndicated talk radio sensation Dave Ramsey was in Phoenix and Fresno this week for two live events. First, Ramsey presented his brand new, intimate “Living a Legacy Live Event” in Fresno for the benefit of the audience and affiliate KMJ-FM. Ramsey discussed how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage. Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-FM saw the direct benefits of the live event for their audience and their station. PD Skip Essick says, “Dave Ramsey has an incredible, loyal following, and selling out Saroyan Theater not only speaks to the quality of talent we have in him, but the drawing power of ‘105.9, The FM KMJ.’” Ramsey hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” in Phoenix on Wednesday for a packed house at Central Christian Church. Brett Rogers is the sales manager for affiliate KTAR-FM and he says, “KTAR is proud to be a part of bringing this unique training to Arizona’s business community. Through this event, we’ve been able to bring some of our best local partners and provide them the opportunity to change their business and also personally meet Dave Ramsey and have a money-can’t-buy experience. This event has given us the opportunity to engage with our clients in a unique, personal environment.” Dave Ramsey is pictured here with the sales staff of Bonneville’s KTAR-FM.
Brown Corners Hickenlooper. That’s KHOW, Denver talk show host (and former Undersecretary of Homeland Security in the Bush Administration) Michael Brown in the center with the microphone trying to get Democratic Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (left) on the air on KHOW during the live broadcast prior to Wednesday’s presidential debate at the University of Denver. Brown co-hosts “The Rundown” with author, columnist and talk host David Sirota during PM drive on KHOW and program director Dan Mandis tells TALKERS the duo have had a hard time getting Governor Hickenlooper to appear on their program so Brown took advantage of the governor’s appearance at the event to ask some questions. However, shortly after this photo was taken the governor had to make other appearances and promised to stop by the KHOW remote broadcast booth later but did not.
WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia’s Angelo Cataldi Donates to Heart Association. Making good on his pre-season pledge to donate $10 to the American Heart Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania in honor of Richie Ashburn Memorial Homeruns for Hearts for each home run hit by the Phillies this season, WIP morning drive host Angelo Cataldi is pictured here writing the ceremonial check for $1,580 dollars matching the Phillies’ 158 homers. The Homeruns for Hearts event was designed to give ordinary citizens the chance to live out their major league dreams. It made its debut in 1997, after the sudden passing of Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn, who succumbed to heart disease. In addition, the event also honors longtime Phillies announcer Harry Kalas, who also died of heart disease in 2009.
Stitcher Launches Podcast and On Demand Radio Awards. The web aggregator Stitcher has announced the launch of the Stitcher Awards, to celebrate the best of on demand radio and podcasts for 2012. Listeners can nominate their favorite shows across 20 different categories – from Best Comedy to Best New Show. Stitcher now has over 10,000 different shows streaming on demand. Nominations will be open until October 19th. Fans can nominate their shows every day for the next two weeks at www.stitcher.com/stitcherawards or on the company’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/stitcherradio. The finalists will be announced shortly afterwards for each category and the winners will be named live in San Francisco in December.
Rick Kaplan Joins NAB as EVP, Strategic Planning. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that former top FCC staffer Rick Kaplan has been hired as executive vice president, Strategic Planning. In this newly created position that will deal primarily with television, Kaplan will lead NAB’s efforts related to spectrum and innovation policy. His first day is Oct. 22. “We are delighted to announce the hiring of Rick Kaplan, whose credibility and integrity are well-recognized both at the Commission and in telecom circles in Washington,” says NAB president/CEO Gordon Smith. “His expertise on spectrum issues will benefit broadcasters greatly as we work with policymakers to ensure a robust local television business for decades to come.”
Odds & Sods. Mixed martial arts is a big draw for the young male demo and “UFC on FX” has been good to the Fox-owned cable channel. Fox Sports Radio Network has been simulcasting “UFC on FX” and continues with tonight’s “UFC on FX: Browne vs. Bigfoot” live from the Target Center in Minneapolis. After the fights, mixed martial arts expert Larry Pepe hosts a Fox Sports Radio wrap-up show with interviews and call-ins from 7 pm to 10 pm PT…..Talk host Tom Donahue announces he’s ending his daily live internet talk show due to financial considerations but will continue with various multi-media projects including his new YouTube channel, podcasts and blog. Donahue says he remains available for guest hosting and for guest interviews…..Dave Raymond and Brett Dolan are out as the radio play-by-play announcers for Houston Astros baseball. The club announces it is beginning the search for their replacements immediately. Clear Channel’s KTRH, Houston is the club’s flagship station.
NJBA Comments Incorporated into Federal Legislation. Pro-radio crusader Paul S. Rotella, president/CEO of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, reports positive progress in his organization’s efforts to influence the interests of the radio industry in government circles. The House of Representatives recently passed the FEMA Reauthorization Act of 2011 (H.R. 2903), which authorizes the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) and makes improvements to the system including language that broadcasters requested in several key areas: 1. The bill creates an IPAWS Advisory Committee to ensure that the various federal agencies that have a part in the governance of the IPAWS are conducting an ongoing dialogue with message disseminators. (Broadcasters will be represented on the IPAWS advisory committee); and 2. The bill establishes a comprehensive and periodic training program to instruct and educate Federal, State, Tribal, and local government officials in the use of the Common Alerting Protocol enabled Emergency Alert System. Importantly, the bill requires that this training be integrated into the National Incident Management System, which is the Department of Homeland Security’s emergency management doctrine used across the United States to coordinate emergency preparedness and incident management and response. By incorporating the NJBA’s comments regarding EAS training into the National Incident Management System, state and local emergency managers will have to participate in EAS training in order to receive federal homeland security grant funding. The bill now heads to the Senate, which has been considering its own IPAWS bill.
14.8 Million More Americans Watched the Presidential Debate. According to a report from TVbytheNumbers, the first presidential debate of the 2012 campaign on Wednesday evening saw a big spike in the number of people who tuned in compared to the first debate in 2008 between Barack Obama and John McCain. Then, 52.4 million Americans tuned in. On Wednesday, 67.2 million people watched the debate on one of the 12 networks that carried it. Of the big three networks that carried it, ABC grabbed the most viewers with 11.2 million.
First Presidential Debate Victory Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 1-5. The build-up to the first presidential debate and the post-debate analysis was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week and landed atop the Talkers TenTM. The investigation of the Libya consulate attack that claimed the life of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and others was #2. At #3 was the controversy over President Obama’s 2007 speech before a black audience in which he questions why the largely African-American victims of Hurricane Katrina didn’t receive the same assistance as victims of other disasters. Following at #4 was analysis of the presidential campaign polls. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top people and stories discussed on news/talk radio during the week, based on ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
September PPM Numbers Continued: Highlights of Talk and Sports Stations. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian reports on the September PPM numbers rolling in and writes about the movement of some talk and sports stations.
- In market # 11 Detroit…this is the second straight month that CBS Radio controls the top four spots; however, country WYCD (+.5 from August) trades places with sports sibling WXYT-FM, which is down one full share.
- In market # 13 Seattle, Bonneville’s talk KIRO-FM remains in the top three with a slight jump (+.1 from August) to a 4.8 share while sister sports talk KIRO-AM slides (- .4 from August) to a 3.8.
- In Phoenix – market #14 – Clear Channel’s news/talk KFYI rises nicely one full share to a 5.3 while Bonneville’s KTAR-FM slides (- .4 from August) to a 3.2.
- In market #16 Minneapolis, news/talk WCCO tumbles seven-tenths to 6.4 (#3 to #5). The last time the CBS Radio talk powerhouse had a 6+ stat that low was in July 2011 (6.4, as well). Also, tied in August at 3.1, sports rivals Clear Channel-owned KFXN (+.3, #13) and Hubbard‘s KSTP-AM (-.4, #16) are now separated by seven-tenths.
For more PPM data and ratings analysis, visit our sister publication RadioInfo’s ratings section here.
KDWN, Las Vegas Talk Host Alan Stock to Host Special Election Season TV Program. Morning drive host Alan Stock also hosts a nightly interview and news show produced for Vegas TV (cable 14/HD1014) airing at 9:30 pm called “Eye on Vegas with Alan Stock.” This month, Stock will add a special weekly show to his work on Vegas TV called “News & Views 2012” set to air Wednesdays at 5:30 pm. Stock tells TALKERS, “It is a special series for the election season only on during the month of October. The great news is it is already sold out from an advertising standpoint. The show includes a panel of four people – two liberals and two conservatives. The first show aired on Wednesday the 3rd on the topic of the economy. Other topics will include civil rights (gay marriage, etc.), illegal immigration, foreign policy and Obamacare/medical care in general although the topics might be modified depending on what news is breaking.”
WTKK, Boston Sells Out ‘Ultimate Town Hall Meeting.’ Greater Media news/talk outlet WTKK, Boston “News Talk 96.9” announces its “Ultimate Town Hall Meeting” set for Saturday, October 13 at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall has sold out all 800 seats but the station will give away five Presidential Packages (including front row seats, exclusive meet-and-greets, and more) to listeners starting next week. The “Ultimate Town Hall Meeting” is moderated by WTKK morning hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan and includes a prominent panel of WTKK’s on-air hosts and contributors including local personality Michael Graham, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish, Cumulus Media Network’s John Batchelor, Compass Media Networks’ Ron Insana and the Boston Globe’s Brian McGrory. Program director Grace Blazer states, “News Talk 96.9’s all-star panel will debate the ‘state of the state’ of the 2012 presidential election and the hotly contested Scott Brown-Elizabeth Warren Massachusetts Senate race. Our entire team is looking forward to engaging in smart and entertaining debate for our audience and our advertisers.”
WGN, Chicago Honored at 2012 Radio Mercury Awards. Tribune’s news/talk WGN, Chicago won a 2012 Radio Mercury Award in the “Radio Station Produced” category for the “Shifty Eyes” spot created for local business Oak Park Natural Pet & Fish. The commercial was written and produced by WGN Radio commercial services manager Jason Skaggs. WGN vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “We’re honored as a station and proud to have such a talented person in Jason on our team. Jason creates unique and memorable messages that deliver real results for our advertisers. He gets it.” The 2012 Radio Mercury Awards are part of the 2012 Advertising Week Conference in New York. The Radio Mercury Awards, the only competition exclusively devoted to radio, was established in 1992 to encourage and reward the development of effective and creative radio commercials. For more on other winners, see the coverage at our sister publication RadioInfo’s site here.
Changes at the Top at Blue Star Media Group. Effective immediately, Blue Star Media Group president and CEO Michael Metter exits to pursue interests outside the radio business and former executive vice president Jeff Weber returns to the company to lead it as consulting operations executive. Blue Star owns and operates Business TalkRadio Network; Lifestyle TalkRadio Network; WLFP, Pittsburgh; WGCH, Greenwich, Connecticut and recently sold KNUU, Las Vegas. Weber, who resigned from Blue Star in December of 2011 after 10 years of running the operations, says, “What a great opportunity to return to work with our exceptional staff and the fine content product we provide our more than 1,000 affiliates and the outstanding programs our owned stations air for their listeners.”
Breaking with Your Church on a Secular Talk Station. KDKA, Pittsburgh weekend talk show host Johnna Pro writes about a recent discussion about contraception on her program that led to, as she calls it, a crisis of faith. Pro’s experience is one many religious talk show hosts who work on secular stations face – agreeing with or breaking with Church teachings in the course of discussing the issues and having an opinion – something talk show hosts must have to survive in this business. Read Pro’s story of how one Catholic talk show host handled a real on-the-air conflict here.
Kuhner in Boston. Washington Times columnist and host of “The Kuhner Report” on Entercom’s WRKO, Boston (airing from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon daily) Jeff Kuhner is pictured here in the Boston studios of WRKO. Kuhner visited the station earlier this week. WRKO assistant program director Bill Cooksey says, “The response to Jeff has been overwhelming. He’s going to be a star in no time at all, and I’m glad he’s with us.”
Presidential Debate, Libya Consulate Attack Investigation, Obama ‘Race Speech,’ and Iran Nukes Program Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/3). Anticipation of last night’s presidential debate; the ongoing analysis of the fatal attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya; controversy over the video of a 2007 Barack Obama campaign speech in which he questions why largely African-American Katrina victims were treated differently than other disaster victims; and Iran’s nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Paul Ihander Named News Director at Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix. Paul Ihander leaves his role as director of news, talk and sports programming at Clear Channel’s Albany cluster to take on the role of news director and assistant program director at Bonneville Phoenix Media Group’s “News/Talk 92.3 KTAR.” Ihander states, “My career’s taken me to some incredible stations and cities across America, and my family and I are truly blessed to have the opportunity to join another first-class media organization. I’m looking forward to joining the talented Phoenix crew – continuing KTAR’s rich traditions and establishing new ones.” Bonneville Phoenix vice president of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says, “Paul is a team leader who raises the level of everyone around him and has been a proven winner everywhere he’s been. His innovative spirit and vision of news for a new generation of consumers on radio, online, and on-the-go, make him the perfect fit for the KTAR brand.”
Rhode Island Supreme Court Clears WPRO, Providence Talk Host Dan Yorke of Slander Charge. The state Supreme Court in Rhode Island upheld a lower court ruling that dismissed a slander charge against WPRO, Providence midday talk host Dan Yorke leveled by local restaurateur Robert Burke. The case also involved a libel charge against the Providence Journal and writer Katherine Gregg. Here’s the basic story: Gregg wrote a piece in the Journal about a St. Patrick’s Day roast of local dignitaries and politicians that was held at Burke’s restaurant. The press was invited but was told – unlike in previous years – that all jokes would be “off the record.” On his radio show, Dan Yorke read Gregg’s article about the event, obviously critical of the “off the record” request, and teed off on Burke in what the court called “an acrimonious and childish on-air rant.” Yorke himself referred to his rant as “a bit of a bender.” Regardless, ultimately the court wrote that, “the plaintiffs failed to allege any intentional acts by Yorke or Citadel that were aimed at interfering with a potential client relationship. The plaintiffs have pointed to nothing to suggest that the effect of Yorke’s comments – if any – was more than ancillary or incidental. Because the plaintiffs did not allege any intentionally disruptive conduct by Yorke or Citadel, the count was correctly dismissed by the motion justice.”
Spoken Word Radio: The Big Picture. One of the hottest panels at the recent TALKERS 2012 New Media Seminar/NYC was this discussion involving eight key industry leaders seen in the video in the Talkers TV box on this page. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison presented topics including the precarious nature of radio ratings, dealing with advertiser boycotts, employing damage control in the face of controversy, negativity about the formats’ ad models and more. Taking part in this sizzling presentation were (from l-r in banner above and as you watch the video): Tom Langmyer, VP/GM, WGN, Chicago; Phil Boyce, VP/director, spoken word format, Salem Communications; Nancy Abramson, executive director, The Wall Street Journal Radio Network; Chris Oliviero, SVP programming, CBS Radio; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Mark Masters, CEO, Talk Radio Network; Mike McVay, SVP programming Cumulus Media; and Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC. The June 7 New York event was the first installment of the TALKERS bi-coastal 2012 New Media Seminar. The second installment takes place October 11 in Los Angeles. Details coming soon. (Videography by Art Vuolo of Vuolo Video.)
WGN, Chicago Promotes Judy Pielach to Managing Editor of News. Award-winning news pro Judy Pielach has been with Tribune’s WGN, Chicago since 1986 and she now moves up from her newsroom coordinator role to managing editor. In her new post she’ll be leading day-to-day operations of the WGN Radio news department, handling news assignments, coordinating coverage and setting and implementing newsroom policy and procedures in conjunction with WGN’s director of programming and news, Bill White. She will also continue to be heard as the station’s midday news anchor. Her 2008 series on her struggle with breast cancer, “Why Not Me?” and her 2007 series on suburban teen heroin addiction, “Smack in the Suburbs,” earned her two Edward R. Murrow awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association. In 2007, she was also named best reporter by the Illinois Associated Press.
Mancow to Simulcast Radio Show on Chicago TV. The Chicago Tribune reports Erich “Mancow” Muller is in the process of finalizing a deal to have two hours of his nationally syndicated Talk Radio Network morning radio show simulcast on Fox Television’s WPWR-TV channel 50. The show will begin in the fall and air from 6:00 am to 8:00 am. The Tribune story notes the Mancow show will replace infomercials and the national “Better TV” lifestyle program.
“Coast to Coast AM” Host George Noory Launches Anti-Obesity Campaign. Premiere Networks personality George Noory is announcing the beginning of his campaign to encourage his listeners to lose 15 million pounds. Noting that the Centers for Disease Control states one-third of adult Americans are obese, Noory will dedicate the first hour of his Thursday evening program in July to encouraging his millions of late-night listeners to improve their health, shed excess pounds and help fight weight-related diseases. As part of the effort, he’ll welcome special guests to give advice on nutrition, weight loss, health benefits and much more. Noory says, “Listeners of ‘Coast to Coast’ know that in addition to exploring the mysteries of the universe, I’m also interested in improving my health and wellness. This ‘Shape Up’ campaign is a great opportunity for America to encourage and inspire each other to increase our longevity and live better lives.”
Talk Host Laura Smith and Cumulus Debut New Show on AC WFAS-FM, White Plains, New York. Radio personality Laura Smith hosts “Living Better with Laura Smith” on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York on Saturday afternoons. Now, Smith is resurrecting a show she hosted on SiriusXM back in 2008 called, “Above and Beyond with Laura Smith.” Smith tells TALKERS the show is “a hybrid of psychics, mediums and self-help experts with the best music variety, in a Sunday night soiree.” She says her guests will include the best and most renowned in the category, like John Edward, Susan Miller, Thomas John, James Van Praagh, Lisa Williams, The Feng Shui Guy, The 30-Second Therapist and countless others. Smith goes on to say, “The country and world are starving for comfort, love, and advice and the number of people seeking it in ways that are a little less conventional, such as with psychics, mediums, astrologers, or life coaches, is unprecedented.” It airs at 9:00 pm ET.
ABC News Radio Announces Olympic Coverage. The 2012 Summer Olympics begin in London on July 27 and run through August 12 and ABC News Radio announces its schedule for affiliate stations. The network is delivering one-minute updates at :10 and :40 from 5:10 am ET to 6:40 pm ET. In London covering the games for ABC are news correspondents Alex Stone, Tom Rivers and Todd Ant. ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones says there is no additional inventory for ABC News affiliates and ABC Sports affiliates to air the coverage that is being delivered for the duration of the games.
The Supreme Court’s ObamaCare Decision Aftermath Claims Top Spot on the Talkers TenTM. The aftermath of the SCOTUS ruling on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of July 2-6. Coming in at #2 was the 2012 presidential campaign. At #3 was the Mid-Atlantic storm damage tied with the Colorado wildfires and at #4, the Fourth of July holiday tied with the summer weather. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published at Talkers.com every Friday. View the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds WVKO, Columbus and WAMM, Woodstock, Virginia to its roster of affiliates…..The George Jarkesy show is added to the program schedule at KDOW, San Francisco; KYCR, Minneapolis; and KVCE, Dallas/Ft. Worth…..The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Wall Street Journal Reports” are now airing on the American Forces Radio Network’s “The Voice” channel as part of the top-of-the hour newscast…..“On the House” with the Carey Brothers and Rebecca Cole adds KPSI, Palm Springs, California to its affiliate list.
Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey Reports Limbaugh Boycott Cost Company Millions. During Monday’s first quarter conference call with analysts, Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey announced that the advertiser boycott of Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh show – which is carried on 38 Cumulus-owned stations – cost his company “a couple of million” in the first quarter of 2012 and another “couple of million” in the second quarter. Dickey says everything seems pretty much back to normal for June but he blames about 1% of the company’s 3.5% drop in revenue on the Limbaugh boycott. Dickey also addressed the debut of the Mike Huckabee show which airs live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot and is seen by some observers as a direct competitor to Limbaugh. He says they are very close to having Huckabee on 200 affiliates and he’s viewing the show as a long-term project.
Cumulus Media’s 2012 Q1 Revenue Down 3.5%. The first quarter of 2012 saw Cumulus Media report net revenues down 3.5% on earnings of $245.3 million – down from $254.2 million for the same period a year ago. Free cash flow was up almost 95% to $37 million, up from $19 million for the first quarter of 2011 and EBITDA was up 12.2% to $76.8 million. CEO Lew Dickey states, “The first quarter of 2012 was marked by significant progress in our integration of Citadel as we build Cumulus into a robust platform company that strategically monetizes content, distribution and technology. Complementing this progress was the continued deleveraging of our balance sheet, as well as strategic portfolio management that will enable us tremendous financial flexibility going forward.”
FCC Up to Full Complement. Six months after they were nominated, Republican Ajit Pai and Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel have been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to seats on the Federal Communications Commission. Senator Charles Grassley had been keeping the confirmation from taking place due to his concern over the commission’s handling of the LightSquared case. Grassley has been investigating the FCC’s dealings with the troubled satellite venture suspecting that LightSquared has been given special treatment by the commission.
Pat Miller Cuts Back Duties at WOWO, Fort Wayne; Gregg Henson to PM Drive. Afternoon drive talk show host Pat Miller is leaving his role at the legendary Federated Media station to focus on his own local business. Director of programming operations Gregg Henson takes over the PM drive host duties effective immediately. Miller will remain with the station in several capacities. He’ll host a weekly Saturday afternoon program and he’ll make regular appearances as the station’s expert political analyst. Henson says of Miller, “Pat is a great asset to WOWO and we look forward to redeploying him in other areas to take advantage of his strengths. He is a tremendous resource. Pat’s loyalty and love for Fort Wayne are indisputable and we look forward to his continued relationship with WOWO.” Henson assumed the programming duties at WOWO and sister station WKJG a year ago. He says he’s excited about taking over the PM drive show. “WOWO has a special relationship with this community and I look forward to being a part of it.”
Talk Radio Hosts Converge on Washington, DC for “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” Radio Row. More than 60 talk radio hosts are in Washington, DC today and tomorrow for a radio row sponsored by the Federation for American Immigration Reform. The event is being led by Radio America syndicated talk show host Roger Hedgecock who organized the first radio row dedicated to this issue in 2007 to protest the Senate Amnesty Bill. Talk show hosts taking part have the opportunity to interview numerous legislators and experts on illegal immigration and related topics over the course of the two days. FAIR communications director Bob Dane tells TALKERS, “Once again, talk hosts from across the country are gathering to focus on immigration reform and this election year is the most critical of all. The Obama administration continues to dismantle interior enforcement at a frightening pace and is using unconstitutional backdoor methods to grant amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens. With November looming, May is the ideal time to set clear expectations for candidates of all stripes. Responsive politicians respect and listen to the electronic town hall of talk radio and ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ is a yearly bellwether of public sentiment on the immigration issue.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Peter Sessa has been the vice president of marketing and communications at Westwood One for the past five years. He stayed with the operation after it was merged with Dial Global but now exits and is seeking his next opportunity…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago eliminates a news position as midday anchor Jim Gudas is let go for financial reasons…..Phil Cioppa joins the Greenwich, Connecticut-based Business TalkRadio Network where his show which “tackles global and national events and translates them into how they affect the average American’s pocketbook” now airs on some 140 affiliates…..SiriusXM announces it is launching an expanded suite of 30 play-by-play channels dedicated to streaming the official radio broadcasts of every MLB team on the SiriusXM Internet Radio App and online at SiriusXM.com…..WTOP-FM, Washington offers prizes to listeners in the area with the worst commute. Dubbed “Commuter Idle,” listeners must submit stories of their commute online and the winner receives $1,000 in gas money and a limo ride. Runners-up get $150 gas cards…..Merlin Media’s WEMP-FM, New York lets managing editor Doug O’Brien go. The Former WINS, New York staffer has been with FM News 101.9 since its inception last summer…..Yahoo! Sports Radio pairs up Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel with college sports writer Pat Forde for a weekly Thursday evening sports talk show on the network…..Bonneville’s KSL, Salt Lake City (the AM side) celebrates its 90th anniversary serving the market…..Sports USA announces its 18-game college football schedule for this fall that kicks off with Michigan State hosting Boise State and wrapping up with the Sun Bowl on New Year’s Eve.
Putin Returns, Anti-Austerity Backlash in Europe, 2012 Presidential Race, New American Obesity Stats, Student Loan Rate Debate, and Terror Plot Foiled Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/7). The return of Vladimir Putin to power in Russia; voters in Europe show anti-austerity backlash; the 2012 presidential race; the latest statistics on obesity in America; Congress to take on student loan rate debate; and a plot to destroy a U.S. airliner is foiled were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Generations. Television stars Robert Conrad (l) and Jorge Garcia (r) pose for a photo at the Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles at the grand opening of an exhibit titled, “50 Years of Warner Brothers.” Conrad, who hosts a weekly talk radio program on CRN Digital Talk Radio, was the star of “The Wild, Wild West.” Garcia starred in “Lost” and currently is featured in “Alcatraz.”
Cox Media Group Goes Hot Talk in Tampa on “The Bone.” The rock music stops on Cox Media Group’s WHPT-FM, Tampa – The Bone – on Monday, April 23 as the company builds a hot talk station around morning drive star Bubba the Love Sponge and PM drive personality Cowhead. Cox will add the DirecTV-produced Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange show for late nights and is considering programs for middays and early evenings. Cox Tampa VP/market manager Keith Lawless says, “‘The Bone’ dominates the morning and afternoon drive talk shows and has room to grow in the midday and evening classic rock shows. Evolving this station into an all-talk station is an obvious move. Bubba plays no music and is clearly the market’s leader in mornings. Filling in the other dayparts with compelling talk and removing all music from the already successful Cowhead show will make ‘The Bone’ dominant with men and adults all day long.”
KNBR, San Francisco Parts Company with Ralph Barbieri After 28 Years. Ralph Barbieri – the Razor – has been a part of sports talk on KNBR, San Francisco since 1984 but he’s been let go by Cumulus Media as the result of a “management decision,” according to the San Jose Mercury News. Barbieri’s co-host Tom Tolbert – Mr. T – continues as solo host of the PM drive show. Barbieri wrote for Sport magazine before joining KNBR in 1984 and became one of the pillars upon which KNBR was built. Last fall, Barbieri revealed to the San Francisco Chronicle that he’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2005 and that he disclosed the diagnosis to Cumulus as the two sides began negotiating a contract renewal. Barbieri said he believed it was only fair to Cumulus. He also reported that CEO Lew Dickey told him the company wanted him back. Barbieri wrote to the Mercury News stating: “…All I can say is that I’m weighing my options, which are considerable. I’ll have more to say later on. For now, I just want to say that I’ve seen a couple of articles that have characterized this as an amicable parting. Well, that’s not exactly the case. I came to work (Tuesday) morning with no idea that anything of this nature was afoot, especially since my contract does not expire until November 1. I was immediately told that the general manager wanted to see me. I went to his office and the program director was there as well. I was told that I was being terminated and that April 10, was to be my last day at KNBR.”
All-News WBBM Top Biller in Chicago in 2011. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports data from BIA/Kelsey that indicates all-news has been good for CBS Radio in the Windy City. The most recent quarterly “Investing in Radio Market Report” from BIA/Kelsey ranks the top five radio billers in Chicago and ranks WBBM – with its recent FM simulcast addition – at the top with $48 million in billing in 2011 (an increase from $42.5 million in 2010). Hubbard Broadcasting’s AC WTMX-FM is in second place followed by Tribune’s news/talk WGN in third ($35.5 million). Univision’s Regional Mexican WOJO-FM comes in fourth and CBS Radio’s country WUSN-FM is in fifth place.
Tribune’s WGN, Chicago Jumps on Board iHeartRadio. Stating that the new platform provides listeners with greater access to WGN, station VP/general manager Tom Langmyer announces Tribune Company’s news/talk WGN will be heard on Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio digital platform. “This additional platform provides even greater access to WGN, and exposes new listeners to one of America’s premier personality-based talk, news and sports stations.” Clear Channel Digital president Brian LeKamp says, “Adding a station like WGN to iHeartRadio further delivers on our mission to be wherever our listeners are with the products and services they expect, expanding our ability to offer our users an even more diverse and exciting listening experience. As one of the top stations in Chicago, WGN features news, information, entertainment and sports and is an excellent addition to our platform.”
Jorge Sedano Leaves Post as AM Drive Host at WAXY, Miami. South Florida sports talk host Jorge Sedano tweets to his fans that he’s left Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk WAXY, Miami’s morning drive show: “After four great yrs at 790 THE TICKET I’ve decided 2 move on effective immediately. W/ all the new projects I’m working on its just too hard 2 do it all. I want to thank all wonderful people I worked with in my time there. Also, thank you the audience for some great radio. Without you guys, I wouldn’t be in this great position to make this move. I’m looking forward to the next chapter & hoping u all come along. Thanks again for all your support. You have no idea what it means to me. All the best. Love JORGE.” Chatter in the sports talk world is that Sedano, who has previously worked at Fox Sports Radio Network, is developing a show to air on the new CBS Sports Network – possibly as a lead in to Jim Rome’s new show on the cable channel. For now, Brandon Guzio is hosting the morning show at WAXY.
Salem Communications Partners with TuneIn. Camarillo, California-based Salem Communications is the latest broadcaster to partner with internet audio company TuneIn to broadcast its stations via the web. Salem makes its almost 100 radio properties available to listeners everywhere via the service. Salem Radio president David Santrella says in a statement, “Through our partnership with TuneIn, we have expanded the number of access points to our content. We have made it easier for our current listeners to access our programming from wherever they are and have opened up our broadcasts to new audiences. Overnight we’ve expanded our footprint in digital and have gained a suite of first-of-their-kind analysis tools from TuneIn that help us further tailor programming to our listeners everywhere.”
Arbitron CFO Richard Surratt to Leave the Company. A press release from Arbitron headquarters in Columbia, Maryland says Richard Surratt is leaving his role at the ratings giant for personal reasons and that EVP/COO Sean Creamer will take over the CFO role when Surratt’s exit takes place in May. Meanwhile, the company has hired Crist Kolder Associates to search for a new CFO.
2012 Presidential Race, Charges Filed Against George Zimmerman, Obama Care Status, Tepid U.S. Jobs Creation and European Economic Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/11). Mitt Romney’s apparent capturing of the GOP nomination and the 2012 presidential campaign, second degree murder charges filed against George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin, the legal status of President Obama’s Patient Accessibility and Affordable Care Act, meager job growth in the U.S. and economic tensions in the Euro zone were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Bonneville Seattle Gets Behind Fisher House Campaign. Bonneville Seattle – which includes news/talk KIRO-FM, talk KTTH, and sports talk KIRO – is supporting a campaign to upgrade the Fisher House at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Washington. The current house – which provides lodging for the families of American service personnel recovering from treatment after being wounded in the line of duty – has been in use since 1992 and there is a need for a larger facility. Bonneville VP/market manager Carl Gardner states, “Healing our wounded warriors and caring for their families is a mission all of us in the Pacific Northwest want to join. At Bonneville, we’re excited to pull together our community of friends and bring this new Fisher House to life, to give something back to the soldiers and their families who have given us so much over these past ten years.” Pictured here are Bonneville Seattle staffers and military personnel from the base.
Stephanie Miller Riding High on Radio, Live Show and Comedy Record Success. WYD Media Management and Dial Global syndicated progressive talk radio host Stephanie Miller rolls into 2012 surfing the wave of success she began in 2011 using her popular radio show – and social media – to help promote her “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” and the recently released comedy album of the same name that’s topping the charts. With the help of comedian pals John Fugelsang and Hal Sparks – both of whom make weekly appearances on Miller’s Los Angeles-based radio show – the “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” has been selling out shows across the country and grossed more than $1.4 million over the last 12 months. Miller is astounded by the success of the tour and the album. “Last spring when we performed in Madison, Wisconsin to support the recall efforts of Governor Scott Walker we had no expectations that the show would be as well received as it was, let alone set upon a nationwide tour raising money for locally focused progressive causes,” Miller says. The resulting comedy album, released digitally, has been hugely successful. Miller tells TALKERS, “The ‘Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour’ has become the first political comedy album to reach # 1 on the comedy charts for iTunes, Amazon and Billboard, and has remained on the Billboard Comedy Album charts for six weeks since its release in late-December, 2011. The idea of progressive comedy making such a connection to people across America must be causing some serious Republican angina…at least I hope so!” Miller, Fugelsang and Sparks continue to hit the road with the live show stopping at the Orpheum Theatre on Phoenix on February 25 and the Chicago Theatre in Chicago on March 3.
WQAM, Miami’s Sid Rosenberg Back in the News with Alleged Gambling Debt. The Miami Herald is reporting that WQAM, Miami PM drive sports talk host Sid Rosenberg has a gambling debt of more than $44,000 he owes to an offshore gambling operation called www.1betvegas.com. Gossip Extra columnist Jose Lambiet quotes a man named Frank Soviero who says he works for the gambling site – based in Costa Rica – and says he’s been in Miami for two months now trying to collect the debt. Soviero tells Lambiet, “We can’t sue Sid since what we do is illegal in the United States. I’ve tried everything. He comes up with 100 bucks here and there, and he gives me a big hug. It ticks me off because I talked my boss into giving Sid a few chances. And I’ve seen [my boss] do things when he gets mad.” Neither Rosenberg nor WQAM have commented to the paper. Rosenberg was off the air for six weeks prior to the holidays and there was speculation then that he was being punished by the station for trying to repay a gambling debt via plugola – something Rosenberg vehemently denied to TALKERS. Station management also did not confirm the story to local media but only said that Rosenberg was off and would return on January 2, which he did. When asked by TALKERS to specifically clarify why he was off the air during that time, Rosenberg did not reply. Read the Miami Herald story here.
WLW, Cincinnati’s Bill Cunningham Gets Big Network Pickup for TV Show. Tribune Company launched “The Bill Cunningham Show” last September on a number of its O&O TV stations. Now, Tribune announces the show is being picked up by the CW Network and will air in the 3:00 pm ET slot beginning in September. Tribune Broadcasting president of programming and entertainment Sean Compton – one of the few remaining former Clear Channel execs brought to Tribune by Randy Michaels – tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter, “Since the launch of ‘The Bill Cunningham Show’ six months ago, the show has exceeded expectations and found a strong voice in the daytime talk landscape…The renewal and expansion of the show to a national platform are a testament to Bill’s staying power.” Kiesewetter reports that Cunnigham’s TV show is more popular in New York, Chicago, Miami and Dallas than it is in his hometown of Cincinnati. While taping the show, Cunningham does his WLW program from studios in Manhattan.
Lou Sipolt and Heather Burnside Exit WOW-FM, Des Moines After Five Weeks. The duo moved over to the news/talk sister station from Cumulus Media Group’s classic rock KGGO-FM in January after 13 years as a duo in morning drive there. But after just five weeks hosting the AM drive show on 98.3 WOW (KWQW-FM), Sipolt and Burnside surprised their listeners with an 8:40 am announcement on Friday, February 10 that they were leaving local radio to pursue other interests. Sipolt does a motorsports talk show on Fox Sports Channel. Burnside isn’t saying what she’ll do next.
Fox Business Network Drops Three Prime Time Shows; Will Replay Early Evening Programs. The four- and a half-year-old Fox Business Network cancels the three prime time shows airing between 8:00 pm and 11:00 pm ET – “Freedom Watch,” hosted by Andrew Napolitano; “Power & Money” with host David Asman; and “Follow the Money” with Eric Bolling – and will re-air its 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm programming. The move puts what Fox execs consider their top personalities on in prime time: “The Willis Report” with Gerri Willis; “Cavuto” with Neil Cavuto; and “Lou Dobbs Tonight” hosted by Lou Dobbs. David Asman co-hosts the 4:00 pm “After the Bell” program and will continue in that role while Eric Bolling remains in his role on Fox News Channel co-hosting “The Five.” Fox executive vice president Kevin Magee states, “Neil Cavuto, Lou Dobbs and Gerri Willis are the most trusted names in business news, and this new lineup affords Fox Business viewers additional access to their no-nonsense take on the day’s financial events.”
Talk Show Hosts Wow 275 at American Jewish University Panel. Approximately 275 avid talk radio fans showed up for a two-hour panel discussion held Sunday (2/12) afternoon at American Jewish University in Bel-Air, California. Moderated by veteran Los Angeles broadcaster Bill Moran, the panel featured Bill Handel and Bill Carroll of KFI, Los Angeles; Patt Morrison of KPCC, Los Angeles and Southern California Public Broadcasting; and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. The fast-paced discussion blended a spectrum of hot topics in the news – everything from health care to Israel/Iran tensions to social media to Whitney Houston – plus behind-the-scenes radio shop talk and ended with a spirited question and answer session with the audience. This was the fifth annual installment of this panel, one of AJU’s most popular events in its outstanding speakers series.
Salem Radio Network and Radio America Reach News Service Deal. A pact between Dallas-based Salem Radio Network and Washington-based Radio America is being struck that will make SRN News the exclusive top- and bottom-of-the-hour news service distributed by Radio America. This move adds some 400 Radio America affiliates as potential carriers of SRN’s news product. SRN president Greg Anderson states, “The potential of adding up to 400 Radio America affiliates to our roster of almost 1,300 current SRN News affiliates is very exciting for us. We look forward to a great partnership with Radio America and their affiliates in the days ahead.” Radio America COO Mike Paradiso comments, “SRN News is a great fit in our lineup of talk programs and will serve our 400-plus stations well in this election year. We’re excited to be partnering with SRN on this venture.”
Blue Star Media Promotes Jon Patch to VP of Affiliate Sales. Jon Patch has been with Blue Star Media Group’s Business TalkRadio Network and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network for the past 15 years serving in numerous capacities, most recently working in affiliate sales and hosting the 21 year-old talk radio show “Talkin’ Pets.” Now, Blue Star ups Patch to vice president of affiliate sales for the organization. Patch says, “I believe in working with our stations as partners and offering the best service possible since, by keeping them happy, it in turn keeps the hosts, listeners and all others involved satisfied and happy as well.”
Bonneville’s Arizona Sports Enters into Marketing Agreement with University of Phoenix. Bonneville International’s Phoenix-based sports media initiative – Arizona Sports – agrees to a broadening of its relationship with University of Phoenix that includes the naming rights to the Arizona Sports studios. Bonneville describes Arizona Sports as “a first-of-its-kind sports marketing and media super brand encompassing all of Bonneville Phoenix sports media properties including: Arizona Sports 620 KTAR-AM, Arizona Sports.com, Arizona Diamondbacks baseball, Arizona Cardinals football, Phoenix Suns basketball, Arizona State football and men’s basketball, ESPN radio, AIA and the Fiesta Bowl.” Bonneville Phoenix VP of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says, “Bill Pepicello (University of Phoenix president) and his entire team have been a great partner of ours for many years. We’re excited that – from “Mike and Mike in the Morning” to “Doug and Wolf” on the drive home – all of our shows will now be broadcast from the University of Phoenix Studios.”
CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles Continues “On Your Corner” Series in Culver City. The CBS Radio Los Angeles all-news outlet will broadcast live from the Culver Hotel in Culver City on Friday, March 9 as part of its series that provides an “in-depth look at Southern California’s diverse communities.” The day’s broadcasts will include civic and business leaders, along with colorful personalities connected to Culver City’s rich history and revitalization who will be featured guests as the city marks its 95th anniversary. Additionally, a business mixer open to the public beginning at 5:00 pm will culminate the day’s events. A special luncheon for invited business leaders will be hosted by Frank Mottek prior to his KNX Business Hour broadcast.
KMOX, St. Louis Holds Spring Training Correspondent Contest. In conjunction with sponsor Lindenwood University, CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis is conducting a contest to give one lucky winner a spring training correspondent position alongside sports director Tom Ackerman in Jupiter, Florida. The winner gets an all-expenses-paid trip and will perform on-air and online Spring Training reports. The station has been holding open auditions for the past month. Nearly 200 people auditioned and 10 finalists have been announced. Listeners to KMOX can vote on their favorite through February 21.
Randy Michaels Gets $650,000 Settlement from Tribune Co. Former Tribune Company CEO – and current Merlin Media LLC CEO – Randy Michaels is getting a $650,000 settlement from Tribune after being ousted from the company this past fall. Michaels sought the pro-rated portion of his 2010 management incentive bonus — $900,000 – arguing he was terminated without cause. Tribune considered challenging the assertion with which it disagreed but decided to settle to avoid a drawn out legal battle. Michaels will also get $50,000 to cover his legal fees. According to the Chicago Tribune, part of the settlement includes a non-disparagement clause, provisions to protect Tribune’s intellectual property and a limit of its future liability to claims brought by Michaels.
Report: NBC Still Negotiating with Howard Stern to Judge “America’s Got Talent.” The New York Post is reporting that NBC is still in talks with Howard Stern to bring the Sirius/XM personality aboard its “America’s Got Talent” program to take the place of Piers Morgan who’s exiting to concentrate on his CNN duties. Some industry watchers are skeptical that NBC would pay Stern $20 million and move the show from Los Angeles to New York to have Stern join the show but the Post says some sources close to the process say creator and executive producer Simon Cowell really wants Stern for the role. Neither NBC nor Cowell are commenting stating their policy of not addressing ongoing negotiations in the media.
KTAR-FM, Phoenix Adds Two Local Programs to Weekend Schedule. Bonneville’s KTAR-Phoenix announces the addition of two new local programs to the Saturday schedule. Author and business owner Steve Henry hosts his eponymous program from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm focusing on small business and the role it plays in the country’s economy. Henry states, “I couldn’t be more excited to bring our show to one of the best news stations in the country. It’s time to take back control of our financial future by starting our own small businesses and investing in ourselves.” Henry’s program is followed by current KTAR producer and on-air contributor Rob Hunter paired up with Phoenix market radio pro Mark Devine for the Rob and Mark show. Hunter says, “Mark and I come from different perspectives in life as he’s a dad raising two kids and I’m recently married. This dynamic will provide a fun, interesting and relatable Saturday afternoon show for the KTAR audience.” KTAR-FM vice president of news and sports content Ryan Hatch says of the additions, “Unfortunately in our business, most media companies are filling weekends with more syndicated shows and less local programming to save money. At KTAR, we see the world differently and believe strongly that weekends provide the perfect opportunity to develop new, engaging local content for our audiences regardless of expense.”
Seventh Annual Domestic Violence Radio Row Set for December 8. For the seventh consecutive year, TALKERS magazine will present “It’s Time to Talk Day” — a massive radio row produced in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc. Held in the fashion showroom of the Midtown Manhattan corporate offices of Liz Claiborne, Inc., the ambitious event brings together more than 20 talk media hosts from around the country who broadcast their shows live or record interviews for delayed broadcast speaking with a non-stop parade of experts, victims, celebrities and public officials from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm on the insidious societal problems of domestic violence and teenage dating abuse. This year’s participants include Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio; Dr. Joy Browne of WOR Radio Network; Mark Riley of WWRL, New York; Curtis Sliwa of WNYM (The Apple), New York; Roberta Facinelli of “Doug Stephan’s Good Day;” John Fugelsang of “The Stephanie Miller Show;” Kevin McCullough of “The Kevin McCullough Show” and “Baldwin/McCullough;” Maria Bailey of “Mom Talk Radio;” Gary Baumgarten of Paltalk; Lionel of WPIX-TV, New York Channel 11 and LionelMedia.com; Barry Farber of Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk Radio; Lisa Wexler of “The Lisa Wexler Show;” Ken Pittman of WBSM, New Bedford, MA/Providence, RI; Dr. Renee Kohanski of PodJockey; Dan Patterson of KoPoint and Ellen Ratner and Geoff Holtzman of Talk Radio News Service who will be broadcasting throughout the day to several hundred of the news service’s affiliates. Joining the lineup this year will be representatives of college talk radio with WRHU, Hempstead of Hofstra University; WLIU, Brooklyn of Long Island University and WNEK, Springfield, MA of Western New England University in attendance. Included among those who will be taking live and recorded feeds from the event are Thom Hartmann of “The Thom Hartmann Show;” Dom Giordano of WPHT, Philadelphia; and Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” with several more to be announced. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “‘It’s Time to Talk Day’ is certainly one of our most important annual events. It raises consciousness about a societal problem that impacts a frighteningly large segment of the population and it cuts across all gender, ethnic and demographic boundaries. There isn’t a spoken-word format that doesn’t find the topic of domestic violence applicable to its audience and extremely compelling. Most importantly, we get feedback each year that this radio row, upon reaching millions of talk radio listeners, really does make a huge difference in the lives of real people. It doesn’t get better than that. We are grateful to Liz Claiborne, Inc. for their public-mindedness in supporting such a valuable project.” Talkers.com will provide full coverage of the event.
Connecticut Talk Host Lisa Wexler Joins WFAS, White Plains, New York; Station to Flip to Talk. Cumulus’ WFAS, White Plains currently airs soft AC but will flip to talk soon and former WSTC, Stamford/WNLK, Norwalk, Connecticut talk host Lisa Wexler will host the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program. Wexler exited WSTC and WNLK when Cox Media Group agreed to sell the two stations to Sacred Heart University which is taking them non-commercial. Wexler will broadcast live from the “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row in New York City on December 8. The event is designed to raise awareness of domestic violence and is produced by TALKERS magazine in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc. Back to WFAS, the Westchester County station will reportedly also air Dial Global’s Clark Howard as part of the talk lineup.
WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia Brings Former Flyers Lindros and LeClair Together to Benefit Children’s Hospital. Greater Media’s Philadelphia sports talk outlet “97.5 The Fanatic” is bringing former Philadelphia Flyers Eric Lindros and John LeClair back together for a series of events to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in conjunction with sponsor TD Bank. Lindros and LeClair will appear on Mike Missanelli’s PM drive program from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on December 14; they’ll be part of a charity luncheon at Morton’s The Steakhouse the following day; and will appear at a public signing at the Granite Run Mall in Media, Pennsylvania on Friday, December 16. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the events will benefit the hospital. WPEN-AM/FM program director Matt Nahigian says, “It’s really going to be great. For Eric and John to partner with the station and to do so for a terrific cause such as CHOP is really tremendous. I know the listeners will enjoy the opportunity to attend these events. We’re very excited.”
Milwaukee Media Writer Tim Cuprisin Passes Away at 53. Tim Cuprisin covered radio and TV for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for 23 years before accepting a buyout from Journal Communications in 2009. Since exiting Journal, he’d been continuing to cover the Milwaukee radio and TV beat via the blog OnMilwaukee.com. The Chicago native died on November 23 after complications from advanced melanoma.
Critiquing talk radio talent in the modern era proves challenging as the role of the PD and structure
of the industry undergo massive changes
By Mike Kinosian
Special Features Correspondent
“This could hurt your feelings, but it is being said for your own good.”
Quite possibly even more so than ever and as hyperbolic as it may sound, a program director supremely performing duties as a motivating talent coach is worth his or her weight in gold, silver, bronze and platinum.
“Directing” is, of course, a derivative form of the program director title. Analyzing on-air personalities while simultaneously providing key components of constructive criticism, positive encouragement and guidance was once a basic calling card for anyone aspiring to be an upper-echelon programmer. To say it is a dying, if not lost, proficiency is the height of understatement. It is however clearly a two-way process, deeply rooted on a foundation of reciprocated trust. If or when that is shattered, progression for the two parties becomes tenuous at best.
Achieving the elusive goal of “success” can have its downsides since that particular nebulous description can lead one to think he or she is above any form of critique or direction – especially from someone they perceive to be a “lowly” program director. Chaos becomes the inevitable and seamy result.
Foreground Nature of Talk Radio and Emotional Intensity of Content Make it Desirable Environment for Advertisers. Continuing with a fall tradition, the latest numbers have been compiled for TALKERS magazine’s annual release of its Talk Radio Research ProjectTM (TRRP). Primarily designed as an in-house vehicle to provide the TALKERS editorial staff with intelligence about the national talk radio audience as a resource for general background and to help answer basic FAQs from the press (such as “What kind of people listen to talk radio?”), the publication began honoring requests from radio stations to share this information. It has proven extremely valuable as a supplemental sales tool that provides a thumbnail qualitative overview of several leading spoken word formats’ audience profiles including demographics, political orientation, income, education and consumer tastes, habits and disposition. These include the mainstay news/talk format as well as the recent additions of the sports talk and pop culture talk genres. The latest figures indicate that news/talk radio maintains its historic position as the most reliable attraction to draw adult audiences and inspire them to action in all audio broadcast media. So do the relatively recent additions of sports talk radio and pop culture talk radio (with several specific differences indigenous to these formats). These spoken-word genres also deliver attentive and highly desirable audiences that consume foreground radio with passion and attention. The people who regularly listen to news/talk, sports talk and pop culture talk radio are more than listeners –– they are radio fans! In a nutshell, the foreground nature of commercial spoken word radio indicates that sponsors receive approximately three times the bang per advertising buck on talk radio than they do on music radio. Other interesting aspects of this illuminating information include: sports talk listeners are culturally (and ethnically) diverse. Caucasians constitute only slightly more than half the sports talk audience (51%) followed by African Americans (26%) and Hispanics (19%) making it one of the most multi-ethnic/racial buys in radio. This is a crucially important aspect/asset of the sports talk audience that for the most part is lost on advertising agencies and radio sales departments which are still glued to selling demos as opposed to mindsets. The ethnic diversity of sports talk radio’s listenership is a rare and valuable quality of the format that sets it apart from the rest of radio! And if advertisers wish to reach “younger demos” via the power of spoken word, they simply need to turn to popular culture talk radio (still erroneously referred to as “shock jock” radio) strewn across the FM dial as talkative morning shows on otherwise music-formatted stations. See the complete data here.
Clear Channel Announces National Programming Platforms Personnel. In concert with its latest round of company-wide layoffs of staff at the station level, Clear Channel introduces the corporate staff that is charged with creating programming for multiple platforms for its stations that is ostensibly designed to “improve local programming in smaller markets by using assets and resources in those markets that their competitors don’t have.” Recently, Tom Poleman and Darren Davis were brought aboard to serve as president of national programming platforms and SVP/GM of national programming platforms, respectively. They will be joined by the following staff: Guy Zapoleon, vice president of digital music programming; Dennis Clark, vice president of talent development; Zena Burns, VP of digital programming platforms; Darren Pfeffer, VP of music & entertainment marketing; Alissa Pollack, EVP of integrated music marketing at Mediabase, expands her role to include national programming platforms; Marissa Morris is manager, artist relations and promotions; and Melissa Webb, senior director at National Programming Platforms. Tom Poleman states, “Clear Channel already has unmatched scale and promotional power. Our competitive advantage is strengthened by our mission to be everywhere our listeners are with the products and services they want and expect. Now, I’m proud to say that we’ve assembled an equally unmatched group of talent to lead our new National Programming Platforms division. This division will enable us to be even more relevant and effective for our audiences, partners and advertisers, and build our national scale and reach by putting together products, events and relationships that nobody else can.”
KABC, Los Angeles PD Jack Silver to Program Sister KLOS-FM. With the recent firing of KLOS-FM, Los Angeles PD Bob Buchmann, KABC PD Jack Silver tells Orange County Register columnist Gary Lycan he’s been named PD of KLOS-FM. There’s no indication the assignment of duties to Silver is temporary but the rumors are starting in Los Angeles that changes may be coming to the classic rock outlet. Those kinds of rumors often start after a round of firings but AM drive team Mark & Brian are very successful and although the production directors for both stations were also let go, it may just be that Cumulus has other plans for saving money in the production department at the stations.
Talk Host Michael Smerconish Signs with WYD Media; Renews Distribution and Sales Deal with Dial Global. The effect on affiliates – as well as listeners – should not be noticed at all as talk host Michael Smerconish’s program is now produced by Ron Hartenbaum’s WYD Media Management while Dial Global continues to handle affiliate sales and ad sales for the show. Smerconish says, “We’re entering the most fascinating election cycle ever. And yet, despite the intense media coverage, there remains a void when it comes to clear thinking and independent viewpoints. I’ve been charting a course to fulfill that role. I know Ron Hartenbaum shares my outlook. For several months we’ve been speaking about the need to grow the talk radio tent by offering a forum not predicated on ideology or anger, and now we’ve decided to pursue that goal together. I intend to rely heavily on his vast experience over the span of many years. Industry-wide he is known for being smart, engaging and personable, and I think big things are about to happen to us both.”
Dave Ramsey Clears 500th Affiliate; KTTH, Seattle. Independently syndicated financial talker Dave Ramsey announces his national program has hit the 500-affilliate mark with a deal to air on Bonneville International’s KTTH, Seattle from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am daily. Vice president of affiliate relations Suzanne Simms says, “The fact that the Dave Ramsey show now has 500 radio affiliates indicates the staying power that we have and have been touting all along. The loyalty of our listeners coupled with the growth of our brand on a national level has contributed to this milestone. The future bodes well for the Dave Ramsey show!” Ramsey is currently touring the country promoting is latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books 2011).
Lars Larson Flips Seattle Affiliates. Compass Media Networks’ Portland, Oregon-based Lars Larson show moves to a new affiliate in Seattle. As Dave Ramsey takes over the late-night slot at Bonneville’s KTTH, Seattle, Larson’s program takes up residence in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot at Inspiration Media’s “Freedom 1590” – KLFE, Seattle. Station general manager Andrew Adams says, “All of us at ‘Freedom 1590’ are excited to have Lars as part of the station. Lars Larson has a larger-than-life persona in Seattle and we are already getting positive listener response to the move.”
On the Campaign Trail. Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher is pictured here to the left of presidential candidate and former U.S. Congressman Newt Gingrich (at center) as he’s interviewed on the campaign trail. Gallagher is “embedding” with several GOP candidates during the run-up to the primary elections in order to give his listeners a taste of the campaign trail. Gallagher broadcast “from the road” in Cedar Rapids, Iowa yesterday (10/27) and will host Gingrich for a “live-from-the-campaign-trail” interview at High Cotton Restaurant in upstate South Carolina today on his program. Salem Radio Network VP/news and talk programming Tom Tradup says, “Mike Gallagher’s unique, up-close-and-personal approach to the candidates will give SRN listeners a better understanding about the people seeking to become the next President of the United States. This will go beyond sound bites and photo ops and take our audience behind the scenes for a perspective unavailable anywhere else in American broadcasting.”
Alan Stock to Emcee Las Vegas Veteran’s Day Parade. For the past 12 years, Las Vegas talk show host Alan Stock has emceed the nation’s second largest Veteran’s Day parade in Sin City and he’ll do it again this year on Friday, November 11. Stock hosts the late-morning show on Beasley’s news/talk KDWN, a corporate sponsor of the parade.
OWS Movement Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 24-28. The ongoing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement is number one on the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories heard on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from Talkers. The Talkers TenTM chart is published every Friday at Talkers.com. Coming in at #2 this week is the 2012 presidential race. At #3 is the Euro Zone stability/financial markets activity and following up at #4 is the Obama Administration’s economic policy. View the entire chart by clicking on the banner below.
KFI, Los Angeles Cancels Meeting with Immigrant Rights Group. Clear Channel Los Angeles market manager Greg Ashlock tells the Los Angeles Times he canceled a meeting with heads of regional immigrants’ rights advocacy groups because their request to meet became an ultimatum that John & Ken be fired. The groups became upset after KFI PM drive hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou gave the cell phone number of activist Jorge-Mario Cabrera over the air telling listeners to let him know how they feel about his support for California legislation called ‘The Dream Act’ that would provide educational financial assistance to illegal aliens. Cabrera says he received more than 400 phone calls – some very angry and filled with foul language. KFI management had initially agreed to meet with activist leader to discuss the issue but Ashlock tells the Times, “I’m more than happy to sit down with anybody who has a concern and talk it out but we’re not going to be held hostage to demands that are outlandish.” Leaders of the groups say they will boycott the John & Ken show.
Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix to Debut New Local Show. Yesterday we told you Premiere’s Glenn Beck was joining the lineup at Clear Channel’s crosstown KFYI. That’s because he’s leaving KTAR-FM and Bonneville responds by getting back to “its old roots” with an “all-local-news daytime focus.” The Karie & Chuck show hits the air later this month in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot featuring 20-year KTAR staffer Karie Dozer and market sports talk personality Chuck Powell. Powell and on-air partner Vince Marotta have been hosting the AM drive show at Sandusky’s sports KDUS since January. Powell, Marotta and sales pro Lee Rosenthal formed GOAT Media Group to create, produce and sell the program to the station. Powell is wrapping up that deal before joining KTAR-FM. Bonneville Phoenix VP for news and sports content Ryan Hatch says of the new show, “The chemistry between Karie and Chuck is off the charts. They are two distinct, smart and fun personalities who bring unique perspectives from their life experiences. This show will connect emotionally and intellectually with our audience in a meaningful, relatable way.” The new program is described as being “built around conversations on current events and the biggest news stories of the day. It features local and national news stories, political issues, pop culture and entertainment along with regular interviews with newsmakers.”
Willy Daunic Exits Cumulus’ WGFX-FM, Nashville. Willy Daunic worked alongside longtime WGFX-FM PM drive host George Plaster since 2003 on “The Sports Zone” program. Now, just a month after Plaster left the station, Daunic fails to come to contract terms on a renewal of his deal that expired August 31 and he exits. The Tennessean reports Daunic says of his exit, “My time at 104.5 The Zone was the best eight years of my radio career. The success that we’ve had and the fun that we’ve had is something I’ll always cherish. Starting the show from scratch and seeing it build into what it is today was tremendously rewarding.”
Premiere Networks to Distribute DIRECTV’s “Nick and Artie Show.” The sports/comedy program featuring comic personalities Artie Lange and Nick DiPaolo, being produced by DIRECTV and currently being streamed on the web is being offered to radio stations via Premiere Networks. DIRECTV says a video simulcast of the program will be added to its Audience Network “next year.” The program was developed over the summer with Lange and DiPaolo doing some sub work for the Tony Bruno show on Fox Sports Radio. However, the program is not airing on Fox Sports Radio Network. FSRN filled Tony Bruno’s old 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot with “Fox Sports Tonight” hosted by Mike North and Lincoln Kennedy. The “Nick and Artie Show” also airs live in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am time slot.
NRG Omaha Adds Two Veteran AEs to its Sales Team. NRG Media general sales manager Heather Gossett announces Omaha market sales pros Vickie Majorek and Kim Earl join the sales staff at its seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KKAR and sports KOZN. Gossett states, “Vickie’s and Kim’s passion and love for radio makes them the problem solvers for clients in the Omaha Metro Area. They never fail to make a difference in the life of a client and their business. They strive to provide results in all that they do…it’s truly what makes the difference at NRG Media in Omaha.”
TALKERS Affiliation Roundup. Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck joins KFYI, Phoenix for the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot…..Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis picks up WVNJ, Oakland, New Jersey as an affiliate…..KCJJ, Iowa City signs United Stations Radio Networks’ Lex & Terry for middays at the station…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street” with Chris Markowski adds KNIF-FM, Boise…..The Dr. Dahlia show joins the Genesis Communications Network and picks up affiliates KBOZ, Bozeman, Montana; WSRJ, Traverse City, Michigan; WSRT, Petoskey, Michigan; and WGGH, Marion, Illinois…..“Gun Talk” with Tom Gresham is added to the program schedule at KZYM, Joplin, Missouri; WHUB, Cookeville, Tennessee; KVFC, Cortez, Colorado; KNPT, Newport, Oregon; and KBSZ, Apache Junction, Arizona…..Delta Media’s “Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds the program to affiliates WEBY, Milton/Pensacola, Florida; KJJR, Kalispell, Montana; and KWKC, Abilene, Texas…..“The Rose Hollywood Report” with Shannon Rose picks up CKTB, St. Catharines, Ontario.
Obama Jobs Bill/Economic Policy Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 3-7. President Obama’s jobs bill and his administration’s economic policy was the topic that landed at the top of the Talkers TenTM this week. According to ongoing research from TALKERS, the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests were the #2 story of the week. The 2012 presidential race was #3 and coming in at #4 was the European economic jitters and the strike and violence in Greece. The Talkers TenTM is published weekly at Talkers.com. To view the week’s entire chart, click on the banner below.
WABC, New York’s Joe Crummey Gets NY Radio Pro Patty Steele for Producer/Sidekick. Late morning talk show host Joe Crummey has a well-known New York radio personality in the producer/sidekick role for the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program beginning Monday, September 26. Patty Steele most recently worked in the Big Apple at Cumulus sister FM WPLJ as news director alongside Scott Shannon and Todd Pettengill. She’s also worked with Elvis Duran at crosstown WHTZ-FM, with Danny Bonaduce at New York’s former Big 105 and as a news anchor at WCBS, New York. WABC program director Laurie Cantillo says, “Patty is smart, warm, funny and she gets what our listeners care about. We’re thrilled about the strong news background and big ideas that she’ll bring to 77WABC.”
Internet Talk Radio Company Stitcher Raises $10 Million in New Funding. Stitcher reports it has closed a Series C round of venture capital financing, led by New Enterprise Associates (whose general partner Ravi Viswanathan joins Stitcher’s board of directors) that allows the company to “fuel growth, build out a direct sales team and drive product development including enhancing its platform for content partners.” Stitcher offers more than 6,000 different shows encompassing news, sports, entertainment, comedy and more from such personalities as Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh, NPR’s Terri Gross, Adam Carolla and many more. Stitcher is available on the internet, via smartphone apps and in cars via the Ford SYNC platform and the Buick IntelliLink in-car connectivity system. Stitcher CEO Noah Shanok tells TALKERS he expects the company to make more announcements about in-car availability in the near future. He also states that for talk content providers, his service is about the ability to be everywhere. “In the near term, one of the benefits that the internet provides is the ability to be where the audience is. As you grow and build a listenership you want to be effectively where it’s most convenient for them.” Battles between providers to grab headline-making deals for unique content may come down the road, according to Shanok, but for now, “it’s about getting users used to the same benefits they have in their home and on the internet – such as on-demand and personal information – that are now extending to the radio industry and content providers are taking advantage of.” Shanok acknowledges that, especially for talk, the car is a crucial listening location and his company’s primary goal is to make using the technology as painless as possible for seamless integration into the car. “We’ve been able to stay ahead and differentiate ourselves by having laser focus on product and technology by focusing on just talk.” Shanok says content partners benefit greatly by the feedback they get from Stitcher in the form of audience metrics and other data to assist in sales.
Cenk Uygur’s “Young Turks” Lands at Current TV; Leads in to Olbermann. Talk show host Cenk Uygur, who filled in extensively at MSNBC earlier this year and had hopes of landing a permanent gig there (Al Sharpton got it instead), takes his “Young Turks” progressive talk show to Current TV. Uygur’s program will air at 7:00 pm ET and leads in to Keith Olbermann’s “Countdown” at 8:00 pm ET. In a statement, Uygur says, “Current is the perfect home for our show. We wanted to be in a place that is both independent and truly progressive — not owned and encumbered by a media conglomerate. Does it get any better for a progressive than working where Al Gore and Joel Hyatt are your bosses and Keith Olbermann is your colleague? It’s an honor to be the lead-in program for Keith Olbermann. Add to that we will work with David Bohrman, who has been creating unique and great television programming for decades. His vision for Current is exactly in line with ours.” The show will debut later this year, according to TVNewser.
ESPN Partners with Slacker for Customizable Listening. ESPN Audio’s deal with the Slacker personal radio service gives users options for listening to ESPN-created content depending on which Slacker service they subscribe to. Listeners using the free Slacker Basic Radio service now have access to an interactive, programmed ESPN station. Slacker Radio Plus and Slacker Premium Radio subscribers have unlimited access to the ESPN Radio integration, including an ad-free programmed station with unlimited skips and the ability to create highly personalized, myESPN Radio sports stations based on favorite sports, teams or ESPN programs. Subscribers also have the option to add hourly “SportsCenter” updates to any Slacker station.
Hubbard Radio’s Federal News Radio in Washington Revamps Web Presence. Hubbard Radio’s WFED, Washington and FederalNewsRadio.com announces a complete overhaul of its website that it says makes information “more accessible and interactive for information seekers and decision makers of the federal government.” The radio station and web destination serve the large number of DC-area residents who work for or contract to the federal government. Program director Lisa Wolfe says, “Our new website is the next step in Federal News Radio’s continuing process to meet the news and information needs of our busy and time-crunched audience. Our site is better organized, more searchable and has a nice aesthetic.”
KIRO, Seattle Inks MLB’s Mariners to New Play-By-Play Deal. The length of the contract and the financial terms are not being disclosed but Bonneville Seattle crows its 710 ESPN KIRO will continue to be the place for Seattle Mariners baseball on the radio in the Emerald City for years to come. Station general manager Dave Pridemore says, “It has been a pleasure working with the Seattle Mariners for the past three years and we look forward to continuing this partnership in the years to come. Combined with our additional coverage of the team on MyNorthwest.com, we are striving to maintain our status as the number one place for fans to find Mariners news and information.”
Canadian Specialty Sport TV Channel The Score Reportedly for Sale. Sources say owner Score Media wants as much as $200 million (Canadian) for a business that earned less than $8 million dollars last year. By the numbers The Score is Canada’s number three cable sports station. It doesn’t have the deep pockets of rivals TSN and SPORTSNET. Rather than carry hockey, Major League Baseball and football, The Score generally reports on sports and carries live sports talk programming. It does broadcast some events including NBA games, WWE wrestling and pro poker tournaments.
Obama Debt Reduction Plan, 2012 GOP Candidates, European Economic Tensions and U.N.-Palestinian Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/20). President Obama’s debt reduction plan, the field of GOP candidates for the 2012 presidential election, the instability of the European economy as Greece teeters on default and the Palestinian bid for statehood at the U.N. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WTOP-FM, Washington Entertainment Editor Joe Barber Dies at 53. Barber was found dead at his home in Washington, DC on Monday (9/19) and no cause of death has been made public. Barber served as entertainment editor at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM since 1997. The Washington Post reports that Barber suffered from diabetes and had been in failing health.
On Tour with Dave Ramsey. This beautiful custom-wrapped tour bus is carrying nationally syndicated talk star and bestselling author Dave Ramsey around the country as he promotes his latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books 2011). Ramsey and company started in New York yesterday (9/20) with an appearance on CBS TV’s “The Early Show” and winds across the country through early November hitting such markets as Phoenix, Los Angeles, Knoxville, Nashville, Dallas, Atlanta and more.
WGN Informal Tour Now Playing on TALKERS TV. While TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was in Chicago last week attending the NAB/RAB Radio Show, he ducked out briefly and headed across the street to the headquarters of the Tribune Company to pay a visit to his friends at WGN. With video camera in hand, and upon extremely short notice, Harrison was graciously given an informal, off-the-cuff, tour of the facility by the station’s program director Bill White. The video of that tour makes its TALKERS TV debut today. Although it offers just a quick and limited slice of the rich world that is WGN – a radio station with a historic pedigree stretching back to the early 1920s – it does capture a provocative glimpse of the heritage station’s unique specialness. Bill White takes us into the locked and almost forgotten — but still intact – record album and 45 rpm singles library, a fascinating reminder of big time radio as it was back in the day. We visit the green room where today’s news/talk radio air guests are greeted, seated and offered beverages…a room that has hosted an endless list of the powerful and famous including heads of state. We watch Leslie Keiling of WGN Traffic Central doing traffic reports and share a few words with her. We talk with Jackie Paulus, WGN director of marketing & digital strategies about the station’s digital sales initiatives. We meet assistant program director Alex Quigley in the WGN radio newsroom — situated against the dynamic backdrop of the main newsroom of the Chicago Tribune, located in the same building. We peek in on the huge main studios of the iconic radio station. A highlight of the visit is chatting with John Williams during a break during his midday show in the WGN street level Showcase Studio and barging in on the staff prep meeting conducted by afternoon drive star Garry Meier. View this must-see video in the TALKERS TV box on this page.
It’s Official: George Plaster Exits WGFX-FM, Nashville. Speculation over whether sports talk host George Plaster would stay with the company he sued for his freedom eight years ago (Cumulus) when it became owner of WGFX-FM is over. Plaster tells The Tennessean he made the decision on Friday, “It’s the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make in radio. It was very emotional for me because of the people that I’ve worked with. The people at 104.5 The Zone are as professional as any radio station that I have ever dealt with. These are friends and we’ve had unbelievable success at this station.” The new crosstown sports talk station owned by Cromwell Group – WPRT-FM – is a possible destination for Plaster but he says he’ll take some time to decide what he’s going to do next. There is probably a non-compete that Plaster will have to wait out before going back to radio in Nashville. At WGFX-FM, “The Allstate Sports Zone” continues on with Willy Daunic and Chad Withrow.
Premiere Networks Announces Goldline Exclusive Precious Metals Dealer Sponsor of Sean Hannity Show. Sean Hannity’s nationally syndicated radio show – heard on more than 500 affiliate stations – reaches an extremely dedicated core group of conservative talk radio listeners. That target demo must be exactly what Goldline International Inc. is looking for as it announces it is the exclusive precious metals sponsor of the Sean Hannity show. Goldline CEO Scott Carter states, “Sean Hannity clearly represents the pinnacle of talk radio with millions of loyal listeners following Sean’s unique take on politics, culture and current events. Goldline is thrilled to be a sponsor of the Sean Hannity show and help Americans across the country learn more about diversifying with precious metals.” Speaking about the exclusive advertising deal, Sean Hannity says, “I am looking forward to working closely with a gold company that has such a stellar reputation in the industry. For those who are thinking about investing in gold, the place I highly recommend is Goldline.”
KIRO, Seattle Extends Contracts of Kevin Calabro and Jim Moore. Bonneville’s 710 ESPN Seattle (KIRO) adds an hour to the Kevin Calabro show – now airing from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily – and gives contract extensions to host Kevin Calabro and co-host Jim Moore. Station GM Dave Pridemore notes the program is currently the #1-rated show in the Men 25-54 demo and says, “We are thrilled to have Kevin and Jim continue to anchor our afternoon drive into the future. Kevin’s connection to the Seattle sports audience, dedication to the craft and loyalty make him a true professional and advocate for this entire region.”
WTKK-FM, Boston Adds Pollster Scott Rasmussen for Weekly AM Drive Appearance. Rasmussen is the founder of Rasmussen Reports – the public opinion polling firm – and a frequent guest on cable news/talk TV shows as well as a talk show host in his own right. Now, Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston announces Rasmussen will make a weekly appearance on its AM drive show with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan every Wednesday at 7:45. Braude says, “Scott Rasmussen is as good as they come, his insight on topics that Bostonians and New Englanders care about is unmatchable.” Eagan notes, “He knows what Americans are thinking about, everything from politics to laundry detergent.”
Pop Culture AM Drive Hosts Chaz and AJ Simulcast in New Haven and Norwalk, Connecticut. Cox Media Group gives talk-intensive rock WPLR, New Haven morning drive hosts Chaz and AJ another market as the duo’s program begins a simulcast on the company’s classic rock WFOX, Norwalk, Connecticut. The show is described as a mix of humor, politics and water cooler talk. Keith Dakin, who programs both stations, says, “This move just makes sense. I am extremely excited to extend the reach of Chaz and AJ to the residents of Fairfield County who have never been able to hear the show. These guys really deliver for Connecticut and I expect big things from them on WFOX.”
Marty Basch Joins CBS Radio Las Vegas as VP/Director of Sales. Basch has worked for CBS Radio in the recent past. He left two years ago to take the EVP/GM position with Kemp Broadcasting. Now he returns to the company as vice president and director of sales for the six-station cluster that includes news/talk KXNT-AM/FM.
Obama Deficit Reduction Plan, Palestinian-U.N. Issue, European Economic Jitters and 2012 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/19). President Obama’s plan to cut the nation’s deficit, the Palestinian plea to the U.N. for statehood, continued jitters in Europe over Greek debt and the GOP contenders for president in 2012 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.