Tag: "Britt Whitmire"

Friday, August 29, 2014

| August 29, 2014

whptlogoCox Revamps ‘102.5 The Bone’ in Tampa – without Bubba the Love Sponge.  Saying that it is “taking the station in a different direction,” Cox Media Group Tampa announces the redesign of talk outlet WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” and moves afternoon personality Mikecaltamike Calta to AM drive.  The rest of the day looks like this: Billy Madison from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; Shannon Burke from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; “In Your Face with Drew Garabo” from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm followed by “The Bone Daily Rewind Show” from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  CMG Tampa VP and market bubbamanager Keith Lawless states, “CMG periodically changes direction, talent and format of its various media programs in order to provide our audiences with fresh perspectives and compelling content.  ‘The Bone’ has proven to be one of America’s most outspoken radio stations.  Tampa Bay can expect ‘The Bone’ to continue to deliver ‘Real, Raw, Radio’ every day.”  The station says that although it is discontinuing the Bubba the Love Sponge show, it will continue to be the technical head end to the Bubba Radio Network through the end of 2014.  The Bubba the Love Sponge Show is heard on KRZQ, Reno; WTRS, Ocala; WRXK, Ft. Myers; WZLB, Ft. Walton Beach; WYBB, Charleston, South Carolina; and WRSO, Orlando.

facebooklogoSocial Media Dominator? Facebook. According to NuVoodoo‘s latest “Ratings Prospects Study,” Facebook remains the prevailing social media outlet of choice among those who are 14 – 54 years old.  Moreover, as NuVoodoo vice president of research Leigh Jacobs states, “Despite all the hype surrounding them, both Snapchat and Vine are comparatively small players overall. While other players get more coverage, Instagram has the deepest penetration among teens [14 - 17] after YouTube and Facebook; it is getting traction among [those] 18 – 34.  We found continuing positive momentum for Facebook, even among 14-17-year-olds.  Other platforms have stronger momentum, but given its tremendous reach, Facebook remains a powerful tool for connecting with listeners.”  NuVoodoo executive vice president of marketing Mike O’Connor comments that, “Radio marketing is about influencing the most likely ratings respondents at the lowest cost possible.  It is clear from our findings that heavy users of both broadcast and Pandora can be reached in numbers on Facebook and YouTube that rival the home phone of a decade ago.  Imagine knowing the exact music taste of everyone and then only calling the most likely listeners.  It is that precise targeting and cost-efficiency that makes social media the great equalizer.”  NuVoodoo interviewed nearly 1100 respondents, ages 14-54, in all PPM markets for this study.

krantzwhitmireBrad and Britt Join WJZY-TV, Charlotte for Commentary Duties.  Radio talk show hosts-turned-podcasters Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire – formerly of WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte – are now part of the weekend staff at Fox TV O&O WJZY-TV, Charlotte as they begin handling commentary duties on the new show, “Good Morning Carolinas.”  They report they will be offering takes on politics and happenings of local and national importance.  They’ll also be on the station’s “Ten O’Clock News” on Wednesday (9/3) to offer analysis of the first debate between Senator Kay Hagan (D) and challenger Thom Tillis (R).  Of course, they will continue their daily podcast, which is available on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, SoundCloud, and BradandBritt.com.

ERE_banner_575x112

wfan logoWFAN, New York Names Argaman GSM.  Promotions in the sales department at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN, New York include WFAN/Yankees Radio Network sales chief Sean Argaman being named general sales manager for WFAN effective immediately.  At the same time, CBS RADIO EVP of operations Scott Herman announces Brian Rooney has been promoted to sales manager and will assume additional responsibility working alongside Argaman.  Steve Kalman takes over the role of head of Yankees sales.

berryPTSDcheckMichael Berry Helps Raise More than $200k for PTSD Foundation of America.  Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry – the “Czar of Talk Radio” – helped raise a total of $207,598 for the PTSD Foundation of America, an organization for which he is the national spokesman.  Partnering with Gringo’s and Jimmy Changas, popular Tex-Mex restaurants in the Houston area, and calling upon his listeners to join him at four concerts the restaurants underwrote, Berry and his cohorts donated all ticket revenue to the cause.  Berry says, “Live radio has the ability to bring together listeners, show sponsors, and people in need, in real time, and make magic.  When the roll is taken up yonder of the effect of radio in communities in America, we should tally all the work being done by local hosts across the country who are doing this in their cities every single day.  Every year, I listen to Rush speak from his heart about leukemia and lymphoma during his Cure-a-Thon.  And it makes me think that we all need to do more, and use our powerful microphone for good.  THIS is what makes radio fun.”  Pictured here at the presentation ceremony are (from l-r): Berry, Camp Hope executive director David Maulsby (Camp Hope is run by the PTSD Foundation of America); two unidentified veterans who received peer counseling at Camp Hope; and local restaurateur Russell Ybarra who donated $125,000 and hired the bands to help raise the rest of the money.

beasleyawards14Beasley Broadcast Group Announces Corporate Award Winners.  At its annual management meeting held at the corporate offices in Naples, Florida this week, Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. gathered corporate management and station leadership from the eleven markets in which it operates to celebrate achievements and contributions from individual employees and radio stations over the preceding twelve months. The 2014 honorees include: WXKB-FM, Fort Myers-Naples – Radio Station of the Year; Brad Beasley – General Manager of the Year/Fort Myers-Naples; Donna Williams – Business Manager of the Year/Augusta, Georgia; AJ Lurie – Sales Manager of the Year/Fort Myers-Naples; Tee Gentry – Program Director of the Year/Augusta; Lamar Smith – Engineer of the Year/Las Vegas; Natalie Conner – CEO Award of Excellence/Executive Vice President.  Founder, chairman and CEO George Beasley states, “It is a sincere privilege each year to honor our company’s highest achievers.  The level of professionalism within Beasley Broadcast is tremendous.  The ladies and gentlemen we recognize for 2014 worked very hard to earn this recognition, and for that they have also earned my respect.  I am very proud of each of them.”  Pictured here at the corporate meetings are (from left to right): VP of programming Justin Chase; EVP of operations Brian Beasley; VP market manager Kent Dunn (Augusta); chairman and CEO George G. Beasley; president and COO Bruce Beasley; EVP and CFO Caroline Beasley; VP of engineering and CTO Mike Cooney; VP market manager Brad Beasley (SW Florida); retiring VP market manager Natalie Conner (Philadelphia); VP of sales Heather Monahan; director of sales AJ Lurie (SW Florida).

WXKS-AM, Boston Augments UMass Sports Coverage. In Beantown, Clear Channel-owned WXKS-AM “Bloomberg Radio 1200″ signs a three-year deal with the University of Massachusetts department of athletics and multimedia rights holder UMass Sports Properties and Learfield Sports.  The pact begins with the 2014 – 2015 athletic season and allows 50,000-watt WXKS-AM to air all UMass football games and men’s basketball contests that do not conflict with Bloomberg programming.  Learfield Sports regional general manager Pam Batalis comments that WXKS-AM is “the perfect complement to an already thriving UMass sports network.  When you combine the positive momentum building around UMass football with the national attention achieved by our men’s basketball program, the timing was right to deliver these two teams to our significant fan base in the metro-Boston area.”  UMass director of athletics John McCutcheon states, “We are very excited to bring [WXKS-AM] on-board as one of our radio partners for football and basketball.  The partnership gives us a great home in the Boston media market and really gives those programs fantastic exposure in eastern Massachusetts.  When looking at the package and a multi-year agreement, we feel very strongly that this relationship will help us reach our fans and alumni in the eastern-half of the Commonwealth.” Josh Maurer returns for his seventh season handling play-by-play duties for both “Minuteman” football and men’s basketball.  Three UMass graduates will join him on football broadcasts: analyst Matt Goldstein, sideline reporter Cody Chrusciel, and program host Adam Frenier.  In addition to WXKS-AM, the UMass sports network includes Entercom Boston flagship (sports) WEEI-FM, Entercom sports WVEI, Worcester, and Marshfield Broadcasting adult contemporary WATD-FM, Marshfield.  The affiliation begins with tomorrow’s (Saturday, 8/29) football opener against Boston College.

cosbyritaOdds & Sods.  With election season kicking into high gear, Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York is presenting the second in a series of exclusive “Election Central” roundtables on Saturday (8/30) at 3:00 pm ET.  The program is being hosted by Rita Cosby and features a preview of the November mid-term elections with a discussion featuring some of New York’s most influential political reporters: WNBC’s Andrew Siff, NY1’s Errol Louis, and WPIX 11’s Marvin Scott.  The roundtables can also be heard on the “Election Central” page at wabcradio.com…..As in seasons past, CBS RADIO’s WIP, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94WIP” will produce the “Howie Roseman Show” each Monday during the NFL season.  WIP afternoon host Anthony Gargano and Eagles play-by-play announcer Merrill Reese will co-host the program with the Eagles GM live from Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm…..Yahoo! Sports Radio announces the debut of its weekend football programming that begins with “Rivals Saturday” and wraps up Sunday night with “Postgame” with Peter Brown.

ISIS Campaign/U.S. Military Policy in Iraq and Syria Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 25-29.  Landing atop the Talkers TenTM this week is the ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria and the Obama Administration’s military policy there.  At #2 this week is the mid-term elections and the prospects for the 2016 presidential race.  Coming in at #3 is the plans by President Obama to bypass the Congress to sign a global climate change treaty and to use executive orders to pass immigration legislation followed by the Michael Brown death aftermath at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, July 7, 2014

| July 7, 2014

murphyjohnWYD 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.

morrisginnyGinny 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.  Ginnyreesebruce 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 hubbardradio logomany 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.”

opieanthonyO&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.

bearmanethanEthan 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.

lewisjasonJason 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.

krantzwhitmireBrad 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.

p'poolrandiAlpha 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.

flemingtomAdLarge 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.

ftlPorcfest14Will 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 ian@freetalklive.com.  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.

millerfaithgodfestReaching 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 srenfro@capitalcb.com.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

| July 3, 2014

krantzwhitmireBrad Krantz and Britt Whitmire Take Show to RELM Network.  After exiting WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte recently, talk radio pros Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire of the “Brad and Britt Show” are going digital as they join the RELM Network to distribute their show as a podcast.  The duo relm networkworked together at former talk outlet WZTK, Raleigh-Greensboro for eight years prior to joining WBT two years ago.  About the new podcast show, Whitmire says, “This is exactly what our fans have wanted.  A chance to hear us without being interrupted by traffic and weather every ten minutes or having to wait through long commercial breaks.”  Krantz adds, “I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to connect with our fans.  The podcasting world opens up a lot of possibilities for us and we love what the guys at RELM are doing.”  The daily show will be uploaded in the early afternoon Monday through Friday.

zollermarthaZoller and Bryant Recognized by Georgia Association of Broadcasters.  The annual awards handed out by the Georgia Association of Broadcasters are dubbed the “Gabby Awards” and Cox Media Group’s Athens/Gainesville/Greater Atlanta stations were among those recognized this year.  The company announces that WGAU, Athens picked up two Large Market category awards – one for Martha Zoller’s and Tim Byant’s coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombing, the other for Best Morning Show Personality or Team which recognized Zoller and Bryant.  CMG Athens-Gainesville VP/GM Scott Smith says, “I’ve always known what an exceptional staff we have here at CMG Athens/Gainesville, but I’m also a bit biased.  But it really is a great honor to have our hard work recognized by our peers in the broadcast industry.  I’m very proud of these awards.”

wiglesworthcarlTalk Radio Pioneer Carl Wiglesworth Dies.  Texas local talk radio pioneer Carl Wiglesworth died on Tuesday at age 73.  He suffered a massive heart attack on Friday and never regained consciousness.  Wiglesworth was a high-profile talk radio personality during the 1980s and 1990s – the period during which the format rose to prominence in the popular culture.  He spent most of his career at WOAI, San Antonio, famously quitting that station on the air in 1999 after delivering a rant against the state of the talk radio business.  He also worked at KTSA and KAHL in the San Antonio market.  On the WOAI website, former co-worker Eliza Sonneland says of Wiglesworth’s program, “To talk to people who had differing opinions from the status quo, that was the bread and butter of Carl’s program.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Carl Wiglesworth was in a league of his own in terms of his courage, independence, preparedness, localness and authenticity.  Although described as a conservative, it should be pointed out that the conservative movement that marked the phenomenal growth of talk radio in the wild ’90s – typified by Wiglesworth – was far more of a blend of issues-driven libertarian populism than the partisan ideological approach to talk radio that came later.  Carl’s self-imposed departure from corporate radio more than a decade ago was a severe loss for our industry.  His death this week is an even greater loss for humanity.”

ussiowaWHO, Des Moines’ Simon Conway to Broadcast from USS Iowa.  The image you see here is the USS Iowa which is docked in the Port of Los Angeles.  Today is the second day WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive host Simon Conway will broadcast his program from the deck of the battleship.  For the third year in a row, Conway has broadcast from the WWII flagship battleship.  He tells TALKERS that WHO Radio was instrumental in saving FDR‘s flagship from certain death.  This Iowa Class Battleship was the 2013 Museum Ship of the year.

morganmccaslinMelanie Morgan and John McCaslin Reunite for ‘Troopathon 7.’  For a brief period, Bay Area news/talk radio pro Melanie Morgan (left) and Washington-based journalist and radio broadcaster John McCaslin (right) co-hosted “America’s Morning News” syndicated by Talk Radio Network.  The two were back together at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California raising funds for care packages for U.S. troops serving overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The goal of the fundraiser is $350,000 by July 4.  Morgan is currently morning news anchor at KSRO, Santa Rosa, California and McCaslin, who exited TRN last fall, reports he’s in charge of content for ESPN co-founder Scott Rasmussen‘s “not-yet-announced but much-anticipated multi-platform national news operation, set to launch this fall.”

hancockjohnWBT-AM/FM, Charlotte’s John Hancock to Spearhead Summer Food Drive.  Food drives usually are charity projects that are most common around the holidays but WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte personality John Hancock is, for the third consecutive year, heading up a summertime project to help benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina.   Partnering with Harris Teeter and Jif, Hancock and the station will lead the Peanut Butter N’ July campaign.  Because it is high in protein, peanut butter is one of the most valuable commodities for a food bank and is one of the most requested items for those who benefit from their services.  WBT is placing donation bins in 37 participating Harris Teeter Stores throughout Mecklenburg County and around the Charlotte area and listeners are encouraged to stop by to donate a plastic jar of fresh unopened peanut butter.  Each Saturday during July, Hancock will be on hand at one of the participating stores helping to collect peanut butter and spreading the word about the cause.

wrjn logoPrice of Four-Station Magnum Wisconsin Acquisition: $2.25 Million.  The recently announced sale of two radio stations in Racine, Wisconsin – news/talk WRJN-AM and AC WEZY “Lite Rock 92.1” – and two in West Bend, Wisconsin – country WBWI and news/talk WBKV – has been filed and the sale price of the four stations is $2.25 million.  Magnum Communications is acquiring the stations from Bliss Communications.

sorbosamTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Three new affiliates add Talk Radio Network’s Sam Sorbo show to their lineups: KBYR, Anchorage; WPNW-AM/FM, Grand Rapids; and KADI, Springfield, Missouri…..“America Tonight” with Kate Delaney announces the addition of two affiliate stations: WSRQ, Sarasota joins for the Monday through Saturday program and KSMD, Searcy, Arkansas is the newest Saturdays affiliate.

alphamedia longCool Job Opportunities.  Never work another day…L&L Broadcasting, Alpha Broadcasting, and Main Line Broadcasting are merging into one company named Alpha Media.  68 radio stations in 12 beautiful markets and we need the best, brightest, most aggressive, confident, and talented market managers, programmers, on-air personalities and account executives that are looking to be part of the radio industry in 2014.  At Alpha Media, we work as a team.  Your chairman, Larry Wilson and CEO, Bob Proffitt will be available to go on sales calls, meet your clients, brainstorm with programming and assist with marketing.  We firmly believe that the best people do the best radio.  We are looking for passionate, progressive candidates that breathe creativity and are live and local thinkers.  Climb aboard this fast-moving train and bring your talent home to the Alpha Media Family.  Send cover letter and resume to jobs@landlbroadcasting.com with Alpha Media in subject line.  No phone calls.  Alpha Media is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.

Immigration Policy Protests/Influx of Minor Illegals, SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Ruling, ISIS Violence in Iraq, Hurricane Arthur, Obama Executive Orders Controversy, Israeli-Palestinian Turmoil, Low Obama Approval Ratings, and World Cup Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/2).  Increasing protests against the government’s transferring of refugee immigrants and the Obama Administration’s handling of the crisis; reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby health care/birth control decision; escalating violence in Iraq from ISIS activities; Hurricane Arthur threatens the Eastern Seaboard; the controversy over President Obama’s use of executive orders and the Supreme Court’s ruling on recess appointments; the turmoil in Israel over the Hamas-suspected  teen murders; recent polls indicating sinking approval ratings for President Obama; and the U.S.’s exit from the World Cup were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, June 13, 2014

| June 13, 2014

krantzwhitmireChanges in Evenings at WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte; Krantz & Whitmire Exit.  The duo ofwbtlogo Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire are out at Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte where they hosted the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm show for the past two years.  The station moves late evening host Doc Washburn up to the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot and is airing the newsy “Charlotte at Six” from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Krantz and Whitmire worked together at Curtis Media’s former talk outlet WZTK-FM, Greensboro, North Carolina and at WPTF, Raleigh.  Krantz worked at WBT from 1999 through 2003 alongside Richard Spires in afternoon drive.  The Charlotte Observer’s Mark Washburn reports that Krantz is unhappy with the lack of support he believes the duo received from station management over the course of their two-year stint.  He also says he believes the reason the show didn’t track well with WBT listeners is because of the swerve toward the far right the station took in recent years.  “We were hired to break the WBT noon-to-6:00 pm right-wing sewer that had been led by Jeff Katz, Tara Servatius and Vince Coakley.  We did that, got high ratings but got no support from management.”  Read Washburn’s entire piece here.

gardneralAl Gardner Partners with Marty Hurney at ‘ESPN 730’ in Charlotte.  Longtime Charlotte talk personality Al Gardner – 14 years as morning drove co-host at crosstown WBT-AM/FM – is paired up with former Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney for the mid-afternoon program (1:00 pm to 3:00 pm) on HRN Broadcasting’s sports talk WZGV “ESPN 730.”  The “Hurney and Gardner” show moves to the earlier time slot beginning Monday, June 16 and “The Pulse with Bobby Rosinski and Chris Allison” moves into the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot.  In addition to his stint with the Carolina Panthers, Hurney also worked for the Washington Times as a sports writer.

nielsen logoFinal Round of May PPM Data Released.  PPM data from the final round of four groups of 12 markets for the May 2014 period (April 24 – May 21) has been released by Nielsen Audio.  Those markets include: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication, RadioInfo, has all the (subscriber) numbers here.  Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.

Jwtmj logoournal News/Talk WTMJ, Milwaukee Credits Ratings Growth to ‘Broader Appeal.’  The just-released PPM numbers for the Milwaukee market show Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ in the top spot (Persons 6+) with a 9.4 share in Nielsen Audio’s May 2014 PPM survey.  Vice president and GM of radio operations for the Milwaukee market for Journal, Tom Langmyer, comments, “We returned WTMJ to its roots of being broad in appeal and have seen strong results.”  Milwaukee market media observers tell TALKERS the “broader approach” is evident in numerous dayparts, including morning and afternoon drive where hosts Gene Mueller and John Mercure, respectively, are entertaining a wider variety of topics during what had been a more tight rotation of hard-news issues.  The station usually sees a summer ratings surge due to its position as flagship station for Milwaukee Brewers baseball, but Langmyer hints recent ratings growth doesn’t appear to be just the result of baseball cume.  Meet Tom Langmyer at Talkers New York 2014 on Friday, June 20.

conwaysimonOdds & Sods.  Even being on vacation won’t stop WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway from cracking the mic when he’s in demand.  Today, Conway filled in as morning drive personality on Clear Channel’s WFLF, Orlando “Newsradio 102.5 WFLA” and he’ll be back behind the mic this evening sitting in for Andy Dean on Premiere Networks’ syndicated “America Now” program…..Morning drive host and general sales manager Brian Collamore is taking time away from his on-air duties at Catamount Radio-owned news/talk WYSB, Rutland, Vermont to run for state senate.  According to WCAX.com, Collamore will continue his sales duties while running.  Collamore says he believes his years of experience on the air have given him the opportunity to interact with the people of the region and learn what their needs are.

vicratner honorABC News Radio’s Vic Ratner Honored.  Longtime ABC News Radio newsman Vic Ratner (left) was honored by the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association on Thursday evening (6/12) Washington, DC.  Ratner, pictured here with ABC News Radio’s Cheri Preston (right), was honored with the Career Achievement Award for Distinguished Reporting on Congress.

wqamTysonWatch Out for Your Ear, Marc!  Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson visited the Marc Hochman show in Beasley Broadcasting’s WQAM, Miami studios yesterday prior to attending game four of the NBA Finals.  He spent almost an hour on air chatting about the Heat and his own life.  Pictured here are (from left to right): Victor Bermudez, Sha Tabb, Hochman, Tyson, and Zach Krantz.

Eric Cantor Defeat Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of June 9-13.  The primary election defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and related discussion about the looming mid-term elections was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week.  Landing at #2 on the Talkers TenTM was talk about Hillary Clinton’s latest memoir.  At #3 was the 2016 presidential race followed by the political instability in Iraq at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people 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.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

| June 19, 2013

shapiroCNNSteak Shapiro Appears on CNN to Discuss Steve Gleason Bit.  As TALKERS wrote yesterday, many in the industry were wondering how three veteran sports talk show hosts could have decided a bit mocking ALS-stricken former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason was a good idea.  On a certain level, one has to hand it to former “Mayhem in the AM” host Steak Shapiro for going on CNN Tuesday and explaining – not rationalizing – what the trio was thinking and how the bit that got them fired evolved.  After all, he could have hid from the widespread media attention the story is getting but he chose to, in a way, “take his medicine.”  Some might call it an “apology tour” with the ultimate goal of working in the business again, but the fact is Shapiro did not try to defend the action and stated the obvious: the bit was offensive, hurtful and wrong.  Moreover, Gleason himself has accepted the trio’s apologies and writes that he hopes the incident will serve to bring understanding and attention to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.  See the CNN appearance here.

hancockjohnJohn Hancock Moves to PM Drive at WBT, Charlotte.  Talk personality John Hancock makes his move to the coveted afternoon drive position at Greater Media’s WBT, Charlotte, flipping dayparts with the duo of Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire who move to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot.  Hancock has worked in numerous dayparts at the station over the years.  He began in 2000 in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot, moved to PM drive before leaving the station for a period between 1999 and 2001.  When he came back to WBT he did so as the night host.  Senior vice president and market manager Rick Feinblatt says, “John Hancock has been a staple of WBT for years, earning him the title of Charlotte’s Most Beloved.  We are excited to have him with our listeners for the drive home.”

TalkersLA2013Talkers Los Angeles 2013 is Set for Thursday, October 10.  The third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention has been set for Thursday, October 10.  It will again be presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and will be held at the historic Steve Allen Theater located on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm.  In making the announcement, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are very enthusiastic about the growth and positive impact of this Southern California gathering.  It started out three years ago as an experimental LA regional get-together and blossomed into an exciting companion event to our big New York convention.”  The event - open only to members of the working media – will feature a power-packed day of panel discussions, keynote addresses, special presentations, technology and services exhibits, tremendous networking opportunities and abundant food and refreshments.  Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone and the event is expected to be a very early sellout.  So don’t wait to avoid being shut out.  For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413.  Speakers and agenda details will be announced here shortly.

gravelinelogoDave Graveline’s ‘Into Tomorrow’ Joins Envision Radio Networks.  Consumer electronics expert Dave Graveline becomes part of the Envision Radio Networks family as his “Into Tomorrow” weekly talk program joins Envision’s talk network.  Envision states Graveline’s program is heard on 180 stations in its talk network.  Graveline states, “We are proud to be a part of the growing Envision Radio Networks family.  We’re pleased to be part of their commitment to provide outstanding programs and after 18 years covering the latest in consumer tech, that is exactly our goal as well!  And…we are very affiliate-friendly.”

wjbx logoBeasley Broadcast Group’s WWCN, Fort Myers to Flip to Spanish Sports in Late Summer. Earlier this week TALKERS reported the addition of the FM signal of WJBX, Fort Myers to sports talk WWCN beginning tomorrow (6/20).  The two signals will carry the newly branded “99.3 ESPN” until later in the summer when the AM 770 signal will become “ESPN Deportes” to serve the growing Hispanic community in Southwest Florida, according to station officials. Market manager Brad Beasley explains the thought process.  “Last year, we added key FM translators that covered our market to the ESPN brand.  The response was phenomenal.  What we heard back from our listeners and advertisers was that having it in one place on FM would be best.  As our audience levels reached record numbers last fall, we decided this was an opportunity to take this powerful sports brand and have it in one place on FM and grow it even more.  In addition, Southwest Florida has a significantly growing Hispanic population, and the move of ESPN to 99.3 now gives us the ability to shift 770 to ‘ESPN Deportes’ and the great programming and play-by-play they provide.”

deanmichaelwIs the Radio “WOOOSH” Dead?  According to Michael W. Dean, co-host of the GCN syndicated radio program “The Freedom Feens,” it should be.  The “WOOOSH” is that fast sweeping white-noise sound, sometimes ending in a reverbed explosion that radio production people use as a shorthand to imply excitement, even where there is none.  It’s also used as an interstitial to delineate the end of program material and the start of the ad block, or at the beginning of an ad, at the end of an ad, or during an ad…or all of the above.  Dean makes a case for retiring the sound (which he describes as being “soooooo damn old”) from radio’s production repertoire.  To read his entire piece. click here.

njbaconferenceNew Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference Underway; Greater Media’s Peter Smyth to Help Induct Tony Marano into HOF.  The annual New Jersey Broadcasters Association conference in under way in Atlantic City and today will feature the Hall of Fame Induction Awards Luncheon.  Being inducted today are legendary broadcaster Tony Marano, New Jersey 101.5 morning drive host Jim Gearhart, and Jim Morris.  Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth will present the award to Tony’s family on behalf of the NJBA.

oconnorwestColonel Allen West Subs on WMAL.  With WMAL, Washington morning drive co-host Brian Wilson on vacation, Colonel Allen West (r), filled in alongside program co-host Larry O’Connor (l) on June 19.  The duo welcomed guests Senator Rand Paul and Congressman Steve King to their show, among others.

G8 Summit, AZ Voter Registration Law Quashed, ‘Gang of 8’ Bill, U.S.-Taliban Talks, NSA Phone-Email Record Gathering, and Brazil Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/18).  The G8 gathering in Berlin; the quashing of Arizona’s voting law requiring proof of citizenship; the “Gang of 8” amnesty bill; the possibility of U.S.-Taliban talks in Afghanistan; the National Security Agency’s collecting of phone and email records; and the violence in Brazil were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, June 11, 2012

| June 10, 2012

Right and Left Come Together at the TALKERS New Media Seminar to Denounce the Practice of Organized Advertiser Boycotts.  They might not agree on many things but a love for the business of talk broadcasting and its role as a vehicle for the practice of the First Amendment can indeed make for strange political bedfellows.  In a rare display of unity, two of the highest-
profile and distinctly politically opposite talk show hosts in the business condemned the increased practice of organized advertiser boycotts by political organizations as a means of shutting down voices on radio and television with which they disagree. 
Conservative host Sean Hannity (Fox News Channel and Premiere Networks) and progressive host Ed Schultz (MSNBC and the independently syndicated Ed Schultz show) delivered their powerful remarks at the TALKERS New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7.  Hannity included the statement as part of his keynote address which opened the conference.  Schultz presented his opinion while delivering the event’s “Annual State of the First Amendment Address.”  During his presentation at the non-partisan, industry-wide gathering, Hannity played excerpts from a variety of well-known talk show hosts making controversial statements on the air that subsequently resulted in calls for advertiser boycotts and/or the firing of the hosts.  The clips included hosts from all over the spectrum – left, right and popular culture (still referred to by many as “shock jocks”) – with ear-perking clips from Don Imus, Howard Stern, Opie & Anthony, Mike Malloy and more.  Both Rush Limbaugh’s reference to Sandra Fluke and Ed Schultz’s description of Laura Ingraham as “sluts” were included to underscore the point that no single faction of the talk radio universe was exempt from participating in the practice of political or artistic controversy.  Hannity’s remedy: Change the dial.  Schultz concurred.  Both made their cases for the sake and survival of the talk radio industry as well as protecting the spirit of the First Amendment. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for complete coverage of the New Media Seminar in the coming days and weeks.

Cumulus Media Officially Announces Geraldo Rivera Rollout.  This has been expected since shortly after Geraldo Rivera made his talk radio debut on Cumulus Media‘s WABC, New York and KABC, Los Angeles in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Now, Cumulus says it will expand the show to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET time slot and begin a national rollout on August 13. In a statement, Cumulus Media COO John Dickey says, “When Geraldo agreed to host shows for Cumulus stations in New York and L.A. we had a hunch there’d be substantial national listener interest in his incisive and insightful style. And now we’re thrilled that with Geraldo such a success in those two markets, the show will be available across the country.”

Glenn Beck Renews with Premiere Networks for 5 Years and a Reported $20 Million per Year.  That figure is according to The New York TimesBrian Stelter who cites a “person with direct knowledge” saying the deal will pay Glenn Beck $100 million over the course of the new, five-year deal. In addition to handling affiliate and ad sales for Beck’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET nationally syndicated radio show, Premiere Networks also assists in ad sales for some of Beck’s non-radio efforts including his internet video channel GBTV on which his daily afternoon talk show is broadcast.

NBC Partners with Dial Global for Syndication of Sports Radio Content as NBC Sports Radio Network.  According to what Rob Simmelkjaer, senior vice president of NBC Sports Ventures and International tells USA Today, the new project will start with hourly sports updates and a couple of short-form features. But Simmelkjaer says NBC hopes to have two three-hour evening sports talk shows (one each for 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm ET starts) ready for syndication by fall. He says, “The goal is to start with a beachhead of programming and gradually expand to 24 hours per day, seven days per week maybe in 3 to 5 years.” Dial Global will handle affiliate and ad sales for the service and Simmelkjaer says it will be sold in tandem with Dial Global’s NFL radio broadcasts.

Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire Surface at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  Talk show hosts Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire had most recently hosted the morning drive show on Curtis Media Group‘s WZTK-FM, Burlington, North Carolina before the station flipped formats to Spanish music earlier this year. Now, the duo will replace Vince Coakley in the PM drive slot beginning July 2. In June of last year, Coakley took over the afternoon show for Tara Servatius who currently hosts mornings on WRNN-AM/FM, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. WBT program director Carl East says, “These guys bring a great sense of energy and fun to the air. Those who have been in Charlotte for a while already know what Brad is capable of. They are very clever observers of the issues of the day, whether they are local or national. The audience is going to love engaging them.” Brad Krantz previously hosted afternoons at WBT alongside Richard Spires for four years from 1999 to 2003.

KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Names Chuck Meyer News Director.  CBS Radio‘s news/talk KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas brings news pro Chuck Meyer aboard as news/director and anchor for the station’s PM drive news block. Meyer previously served as news director at WIOD, Miami and KING, Seattle and as program director at KVET, Austin and KCUB, Tucson. KXNT-AM/FM program director Andrew Paul says, “Chuck brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our staff. We are thrilled to have him lead our news team on multiple platforms.” The move allows former news director Joe Gillespie to focus on his duties as host of the station’s morning drive news program.

Jay Cutler to Join WMVP, Chicago for Weekly Appearance.  ESPN Chicago announces Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will be live in the studio with ESPN 1000′s Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman each Monday from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm. In announcing the multi-year deal, ESPN 1000 president and general manager John Craven states, “ESPN Chicago could not be more excited to welcome Jay Cutler to our already solid on-air lineup. Waddle & Silvy’s extended access to Jay will give Bears fans his insights into the game and a glimpse of his personality they have never heard before both on air and online.” ESPN has sold the show to Miller Lite, the official beer of the Chicago Bears.

Talk Host Michael Smerconish to Welcome NAB Crystal Radio Award Winners Tonight.  Nationally syndicated WYD Media talk host Michael Smerconish will use the “magic” of technology to gather together all 10 NAB Crystal Radio Award winners at the NAB Education Foundation’s “Service to America” black-tie fundraiser taking place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC this evening. Smerconish will welcome the winners to the stage and acknowledge their accomplishments.

The End of an Era as NPR’s “Car Talk” Hosts Retire in September.  Hosts of the ubiquitous weekend public radio show “Car Talk” on NPR – brothers Tom and Ray Magliozzi – will retire in September and record no more calls from Americans with questions usually having to do with their cars. But the show will go on for at least a few more years. NPR will continue to produce the show with previously aired audio from the show’s dense library of content. TALKERS magazine spoke with “Car Talk” producer Doug Berman several years ago for a feature story about the production of weekend talk programs. Unlike many shows, car talk is not a “live” call-in show. Calls are recorded during the week or callers are asked to call in at specific production times. As a result, the show has probably gathered more content than necessary at times and, in addition to “repurposed” content, there may be some calls to “Car Talk” that have not seen the light of day. Also, Berman tells the Boston Herald that they’ve reviewed the ratings for new shows and repeats and have found no difference. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was asked about the future success of “Car Talk” by the Los Angeles Times and he stated, “Not many shows that are maintenance, how-to shows can carry it off where people listen to be entertained. That makes the show extremely potent.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Cox Media Group‘s WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta nabs 11 from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. Among the accolades WSB picked up include “Station of the Year” large market and “Best Radio Program” and “Best Talk Host” honors for WSB-based nationally syndicated star Neal Boortz…..Beasley Broadcasting‘s news/talk WGAC, Augusta, Georgia wins the Georgia Association of Broadcasters “Radio Station of the Year” award in the mid-sized market category. The station’s personalities also were individually recognized with coveted “Gabby” Awards: News director and morning show host  Mary Liz Nolan won “Best Newscast; sports director Ashley Brown won “Best Sportscast” and “Best Sports Story or Series” and Dallas Reece was honored for the year’s “Best Commercial.”…..WBZ, Boston news anchor Joe Mathieu interviews “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley at the WBZ NewsRadio Business Breakfast about his first year as anchor of CBS’ evening news program Tuesday, June 12 at 8:00 am…..Fox Sports Radio continues its coverage of mixed martial arts with simulcasts of FX‘s “UFC on FX: Fight Night.” FSRN simulcast last Friday’s program and will do it again on June 22 at 9:00 pm ET with a two-hour post-fight call-in show beginning at 11:00 pm ET.

You’re Never Too Old…to Play Pro Football.  That’s 50-year-old Stan Nawalaniec of the Stan & Haney PM drive show on Beasley Broadcasting‘s hot talk WRXK-FM, Bonita Springs, Florida – 96 K-Rock Talk That Rocks – suited up with two unidentified players on the United Indoor Football League‘s Florida Tarpons. Stan signed on for a one-game deal with the undefeated team and was a member for its last regular season game Saturday, June 9 played at Southwest Florida’s Germain Arena in Estero.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

| March 13, 2012

Cumulus Reports Net Revenue Down 5.6% in Fourth Quarter of 2011; Company High on Geraldo and Huckabee.  Cumulus Media Group CEO Lew Dickey and chief financial officer J.P. Hannan appeared together on yesterday’s conference call to tell analysts the company’s plans for consolidating the former Cumulus Media Partners (former Susquehanna stations) it brought into the fold in August and the former Citadel stations it closed on in September are coming together allowing them to realize the “synergies” — $10.5 million worth — within the time frame originally predicted.  As far as revenue is concerned, the company saw revenue down only 1% if you exclude political advertising from Q4 one year prior.  Dickey told analysts there was growth in the automotive, financial services and retail sectors in Q4 and he – like many – expects this to be a big year for political dollars.  Dickey addressed the coming launch of the Mike Huckabee program and stopped short of saying Cumulus could capitalize on Rush Limbaugh’s current PR challenge but told analysts his company sees a real upside for the April launch of Huckabee’s program for which it says it has about 110 affiliates lined up already.  Dickey also said that Geraldo Rivera – currently heard on WABC, New York and KABC, Los Angeles only – is ripe for national syndication and calls the New York and Los Angeles placement a “precursor” to a national rollout.

Rush Limbaugh Takes Monday Off; Premiere Networks Suspends Airing of Barter Spots for Two Weeks.  Things are quieting down with regard to the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke controversy but El Rushbo took yesterday (3/12) off to play golf with regular fill-in Mark Steyn sitting in the host’s chair.  Public relations and crisis management expert Brian Glicklich is working with Limbaugh’s team and it sounds as though the day off was probably his idea.  At the same time, Premiere Networks issued a memo to traffic departments at news/talk affiliates and is suspending the requirement that stations run barter spots – the ones that air in addition to the network spots actually contained within Limbaugh’s and other Premiere shows – for this week and next.  Premiere gives no reason for this but one could surmise it doesn’t want to have any clients’ spots air within “controversial programming” and a cool down period like this will allow it to get a handle on where these spots are to air and where they should not.

Curtis Media Blows Up “FM Talk 101.1” WZTK-FM; Programming Changes Affect WPTF, Raleigh and WSJS, Winston-Salem.  Curtis Media shocks the news/talk world with the sudden announcement that eight-year-old FM talker WZTK-FM, Burlington – serving both the Triad and Triangle markets of North Carolina is signing off its talk format and will re-emerge within a few weeks.  But some of the talent heard on WZTK-FM is being spread out among Curtis Media’s other news talkers in the Raleigh-Durham and Winston-Salem/High Point/Greensboro markets.  Here’s what’s happening: First, in the Triangle market of Raleigh-Durham, Curtis drops country on WKIX at 850 AM and will operate two outlets – NewsRadio 680 WPTF and TalkRadio 850 WPTF.  WPTF VP/GM David Stuckey states, “NewsRadio 680 WPTF is where people will hear about the big events of the day, while TalkRadio 850 WPTF is where they’ll talk about those stories.”  Stuckey says that while WPTF has proudly conservative roots dating back to 1924, the two stations will strive for balanced news coverage and an open exchange of all opinions across the ideological spectrum.  “Unlike some media outlets, we’re not going to force-feed the same political agenda ad nauseum.  We’ve seen ratings slippage on stations and channels with a hard-leaning approach, and more advertisers are telling us they want media platforms that are less toxic and more civil.”  As far as talent is concerned, Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire survive the cut at WZTK-FM and will host PM drive on WPTF and WSJS.  Dial Global’s Neal Boortz and Clark Howard are also landing on WPTF and WSJS.  Shows that “didn’t make the cut” include local host Allan Handelman, TRN’s Michael Savage and Phil Hendrie and Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes.

Larry King to Host Show on Internet TV Network.  American television and radio icon Larry King is returning to the interview desk with a start-up online TV network called Ora.TV being financed by Mexican media mogul Carlos Slim. A debut date for the site has not been announced yet but the Ora.TV website says it’s coming this year.  The site states, “From its inception, Ora is an internet-based on-demand network producing a wide range of programs that transcend traditional formats.  Our programs will resemble broadcast TV in terms of quality, but viewers will watch when and where they like with interactive capability.”  Former News Corp. president of digital journalism Jon Housman will lead the network.

Journal Broadcasting’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Holds “Insight 2012” with Major Political Guests.  The annual “Insight 2012” program hosted by WTMJ, Milwaukee talk host Charlie Sykes has become a must-listen for Wisconsin political aficionados the morning after it takes place.  The actual event is a ticket-holder-only live event the night prior – in this year’s case, last night.  Sykes hosted fellow WTMJ host Jeff Wagner and other journalists plus Wisconsin State Senate candidates Jeff Fitzgerald, Tommy Thompson, Mark Neumann and Eric Hovde.  Also appearing were U.S. Representatives Paul Ryan, Reid Ribble and Sean Duffy along with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.  Last evening’s event is being re-broadcast this morning from 8:30 am to 12:00 noon on WTMJ.

Tribune’s WGN, Chicago Signs on with TuneIn.  The “Voice of Chicago” can now be heard around the world via the free, internet service TuneIn, which boasts 30 million monthly active listeners.  TuneIn vice president of programming Kevin Straley says, “WGN is known all over the country and has a rich history in Chicago.  Our goal is to share all of the best programming from around the world with over 30 million monthly listeners, and partnering with WGN brings us one step closer to that goal.”

KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh Announces Pirates Broadcast Talent.  CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh announces former Chicago Cubs third baseman Kevin Orie will be paired with radio host Dan Zangrilli to handle the game-day shows before and after each Pirates baseball game throughout the season.  The two will host a one-hour preview program and a one-hour post-game show.  Pirates broadcasters (Greg Brown, Tim Neverett, Steve Blass, Bob Walk, and John Wehner) will continue to be featured during the pre- and post-game shows, as well as calling all the action during the games.

Report:  3MTR Abandons Talk Format in Melbourne.  TALKERS Australia bureau chief Trevor Smith reports on the demise of talkback radio 3MTR in Melbourne.  Smith notes the station had been having financial difficulties for months and was unable to compete with Melbourne’s talk 3AW.  Read more here.

Afghan Civilian Massacre, 2012 Presidential Race, HBO Palin Movie, Rush Limbaugh Controversy and Iran Nukes Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/12).  The case of a U.S. Army sergeant who killed 16 civilians in Afghanistan; the GOP candidates’ battle to win the nomination to face President Obama in November; HBO’s “Game Change” film about Sarah Palin and the 2008 presidential race; the ongoing controversy surrounding Rush Limbaugh; and the Iran nuclear weapons issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Phil Hendrie Walks the Red Carpet.  Sure, he’s not wearing a glitzy, designer gown but he is walking on a red carpet!  That’s Talk Radio Network personality Phil Hendrie at the Los Angeles Animation Festival on Saturday, March, 10.  Hendrie – whose voice appears in numerous animated films and TV programs – was a cast member in Trey Parker’s and Matt Stone’s “Team America” film.  Hendrie states, “I was happy to be involved in any way that I could, because that was a great work experience for me…Every time that it’s mentioned that I was in ‘Team America,’ people instantaneously recognize it.  They know the voice of I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E., they know the voice of the terrorist, they know the film, so it’s like my instant credibility button.”