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By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
SHAKER HEIGHTS — As you read here in TALKERS, Boston Herald Radio debuted on Monday 8/5. The internet-only radio station plans to draw on talent and content from their print and online editions to create a new Boston-based news/talk outlet.
A newspaper used to be just something you held and read. TV news was what everyone sat down and watched a half-hour of on the tube back in the day. Radio news was the immediate one, the one that could go with you. Those days are gone. We’re no longer defined by our method of distribution.
Don Barrett’s “Labor of Love” Closes its Doors after 15 Years. LARadio.com uploaded its final daily news on Saturday – actually the news was a goodbye from publisher Don Barrett. Barrett started tracking and posting news of Los Angeles Radio People – LARP – in 1996 and his self-described “labor of love” was unique in the American radio scene: a regional radio-only news service for fans, insiders and Southern California radio history freaks. While the service was appreciated by many current and former LARP and their fans, the times aren’t kind to a subscription-based business model and Barrett was forced to shut the daily news feeds down. Los Angeles-based personality Doug McIntyre who hosts Cumulus Media’s nationally syndicated “Red Eye Radio” and WABC, New York’s “Talking the News,” wrote a letter to TALKERS magazine about the end of LA Radio.com published in the current print edition. It reads: “In radio as well as in life, change is the only thing that stays the same. Shows get the axe, new shows try their luck, formats flip as battalion after battalion of consultants airlift in to fix mornings, tweak afternoons or transform imagining. In Southern California, the man who kept track of it all wasn’t actually in the radio industry — he’s a movie publicist by trade — but harbored a deep love for the spoken word and those who do the speaking. Don Barrett’s LARadio.com website was the morning must-read for 15 years in Los Angeles. Sadly, for his small army of fans, the final posting was uploaded on September 24th andLARadio.com is no more. Focusing mostly on the Southern California radio scene, all formats were covered with countless breaking industry stories first reported by Barrett. ‘LARadio.com was the glue that held the industry together,’ says KABC Los Angeles’ John Phillips. ‘In an industry where people don’t get to see each other often, Don’s website created a community.’ And that community could sometimes be contentious, snarky, occasionally nasty, but always 100% real. Barrett’s LARadio.com forum allowed radio professionals and partisans learn, leak and love the medium that has been sadly and inexplicably ignored by other media, despite the incredible reach and connection to its audience. There are other great radio writers around America, including David Hinckley of the New York Daily News and Gary Lycan of the Orange County Register, but Barrett’s column went a step beyond reporting, it was in a way a shoulder to cry on; therapy for a community of professionals whose world was shrinking consolidation and recession and the fickle fate of changing tastes and trends. Broadcasters down on their luck physically or financially always found a sympathetic ear from Barrett and his readers. Increasingly rare job openings were posted. Practical advice for career development or re-invention was offered on a daily basis. Profiles of working pros both on-air and off-air included put a spotlight on the many unheralded craftsmen who rarely got the respect they merited. Making the ‘LA.Radio.com Annual Top 10 Readers Poll’ was always an honor, even though everyone knew Vin Scully would and should win. We were okay with fighting for 2nd place. And of course, there were always rumors and personal feuds just to keep it fun. After carrying the torch for a decade and a half, Don is ready to move on. The Los Angeles radio community will miss our daily dose of Don, but will never forget his love for the art and craft of radio and those who make it happen.” TALKERS is pleased to present Don Barrett as a special solo speaker at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum set for October 20. At that time he will be presented with a special TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award for what publisher Michael Harrison describes as “Don Barrett’s years of unique, selfless service and invaluable contributions to the Southern California radio broadcasting community.” Harrison adds, “All of us at TALKERS appreciate just what intense dedication such a commitment demands. Thus, we are honored to honor one of our own.” For complete information about the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum click here.
Elite Broadcast Panel Discusses Social Media at SMW Panel in Chicago. Social Media Week – last week’s international four-day, nine-city conference devoted to discussing the big-picture impact of social media – included activities in Los Angeles and Chicago. These cities represented the U.S. among concurrent activities also taking place in Beruit, Berlin, Bogata, Buenos Aires, Glasgow, Milan, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, San Paulo and Vancouver. The week closed in Chicago this past Friday evening with an insightful and often hilarious panel titled, “Reinventing a Media Career on Alternative Platforms.” Panel participants included Emmy winning WGN-TV reporter, Nancy Loo; Robert Feder, the authority on the Chicago radio and television community for 28 years at the Chicago Sun Times, and now with his daily blog through Time Out Chicago; Richard Roeper, co-host of Roe/Roeper on WLS-AM, Chicago Sun-Times columnist, and former co-host of Ebert & Roeper “At the Movies.” Completing the quartet was very-longtime Chicago talk radio host Steve Dahl who currently produces and hosts a subscription-based podcast. Bill Adee, VP digital for the Chicago Tribune moderated the event and kept things rolling along quite effectively in spite of all the jokes and jabs among the panelists. Some of the notable comments from this quartet of traditional media pros who have reinvented themselves to be received on alternative digital platforms include Steve Dahl stating, “CBS paid me to not work for two and a half years. I started podcasting out of boredom for something to do. It was either that or drinking. I bought dahl.com in 1995 and paid a lot for it. As a comparison, the Chicago Tribune bought their domain in 1998. I can do my complete show in ninety minutes, vs. Roe (Conn at WLS) who takes a whole shift because of all of the commercials. What is your time worth? The podcast model does not support advertising because no one will sit there and listen to twenty minutes of commercials. Content has always been king, even more so now. Talent will win out.” Robert Feder said, “There was a time when I had no cell phone and didn’t know how to text. After 28 years at the Chicago Sun Times I had to learn a lot or call it a day. I had to see media as part of the real world, get educated or get ready to take tickets at Disney World. The Sun Times was happy with the way things were for 30 years. You can’t depend on big media anymore. They’re like the old Hollywood Studios that did everything. Now we’re all independents. Journalists have to find out where the audience is – where people are receiving their information. Quality of content is what matters.” Nancy Loo added, “Web metrics are as important as broadcast ratings. Generation Z has never picked up a newspaper…all their info is from tablets and phones.” Loo then raised the question, “17% Twitter vs. 80% on Facebook — are twitterers the more influential crowd, the media elite, those with the ability to get their point across in a concise, clear fashion?” Roeper shared his perspective: “I acquired the richardroeper.com domain in the late 90’s after a series of frustrating conversations with Disney who was reluctant to do original content on their website. I activated it when I left “Ebert & Roeper” and in 2008 started tweeting from the Oscars.” Regarding people who comment, he asked, “How much time do these people have on their hands? My favorite is YouTube because you get the global idiocy like the kid from Finland who wants to kill you because you gave ‘The Green Lantern’ a bad review.” (Story covered for TALKERS by Beverly Padratzik)
Report: Sports Talk War in Boston Hits WEEI’s Glenn Ordway in the Wallet. A report in the Boston Globe states WEEI, Boston “Big Show” co-host Glenn Ordway took a big hit in the paycheck recently after a clause in his contract was exercised by Entercom that allows it to reduce his compensation based on the program’s ratings. According to the piece, Ordway’s salary has been almost halved from its $1 million annual level. Many programmers and talent are paid bonuses for hitting certain ratings goals but, according to the Globe report, sources say Ordway’s contract had a clause that allows the company to cut his pay if the show’s ratings dropped out of the top three in the Men 25-54 demographic in the Boston PPM. It’s not clear how often the ratings are calculated for this purpose as Boston gets PPM ratings monthly, but the Globe’s report appears based on the seasonal Arbitron “books.” It states “The Big Show” was #5 in that demo in the Spring Book. CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM has given WEEI competition in the sports talk format in which it previously enjoyed a monopoly since signing on in August of 2009. Ordway’s contract was signed in January of that year.
YouSendIt to Launch Half Million Dollar Talk Radio Advertising Campaign. YouSendIt, Inc. – a leading business content collaboration service – has announced it is embarking upon its first national radio advertising campaign designed to reach professionals who listen to a wide range of talk radio programs while they commute. The campaign utilizes five leading talk personalities who will share their own personal experiences using YouSendIt and recommend it to their listeners. The campaign will run from today until the end of the year. Participating hosts include Howard Stern, Sirius Satellite Radio; Jim Rome, Premiere Networks; Mark Levin, Cumulus Media; Neal Boortz, Dial Global; and Stephanie Miller, Dial Global. Sandra Vaughan, chief marketing officer of YouSendIt, tells TALKERS, “YouSendIt is well known for its file transfer service, but today we offer much more. By leveraging a proven medium such as radio, we are able to introduce our business content collaboration services and mobile application to a broader audience. Listeners will enjoy hearing how these radio personalities are using our new services.”
Westwood One Gets into the Web Content Game. With its new WestwoodOneSports.com, the syndicator begins competing directly in the consumer content business with a website that offers sports fans network exclusive radio audio. The company states the new site “features pregame interviews with coaches and players, exclusive online commentary from Westwood One broadcasters, including Boomer Esiason, Jim Gray, James Lofton, Terry Donahue, Eddie George, Mark Malone, Tony Boselli and more. In addition, WestwoodOneSports.com features broadcast schedules, announcer bios and a station finder to help fans locate local stations airing Westwood One Sports broadcasts.” Other attractions include Tom Brady’s Monday Night Football pre-game conversation with Jim Gray, 1995 Heisman Trophy-winner Eddie George’s “Heisman Watch,” Hall of Fame wide receiver James Lofton’s interview with a fellow Pro Football Hall of Famer on “Legend to Legend,” and College Football Hall of Famer Terry Donahue’s coach’s perspective on NCAA Football in “T.D.’s Extra Point.”
Michael Savage’s Abuse of Power Debuts at #4 on NYTimes Bestseller List. Talk Radio Network star Michael Savage’s new fiction thriller debuted at #4 on the New York Times Bestseller List this weekend. Abuse of Power (St. Martin’s Press 2011) – the story of a “smeared network journalist who uncovers a terrorist plot” — is Savage’s first novel. He’s written 26 books over the course of his career with eight bestsellers to his name. The book’s protagonist – Jack Hatfield – is a hardened war correspondent who’s “smeared as a bigot and extremist by a radical leftist media-watchdog group, he ultimately loses his job and finds himself working in obscurity as a freelance news producer in San Francisco.” It is there he uncovers a terrorist plot that sets the story in motion. Savage has said he used his experience being banned from Britain by former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith as a catalyst for his book.
CBS Radio’s WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia Deals Programming to Atlantic City Outlet. Longport Media’s WBSS, Atlantic City and CBS Radio’s WIP-AM/FM Philadelphia have a deal in which the former is airing WIP’s programming 24/7 as the station flips from news/talk to sports. The change took place on Friday (9/23). There are no details on the financial structure of the deal.
Orlando’s Shannon Burke Goes “Internet Only.” The former WTKS-FM, Orlando talk host – who served time on a weapons charge that cost him his job at the Clear Channel hot talk outlet – is leaving his current terrestrial radio job at Star Over Orlando-owned WEUS, Orlando to host the PM drive time slot on RadioIO. He’ll be on the “Bubba’s Army” video channel, the same on which Bubba the Love Sponge’s program is distributed in morning drive.
Sage Analysis. WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (l) covers the Fox News/Google GOP candidates debate with expert analysis from Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol (r) on his afternoon drive program. Bernier was part of the radio row at the event held in Orlando, Florida.