Tag: "Bubba the Love Sponge"
Terrible News: Clear Channel Managers Slashing Another 5%. Numerous reliable sources throughout the radio industry are saying Clear Channel Media + Entertainment market managers are under the gun to find another 5% of their budgets they can trim to come into compliance with the corporate dictate. What was rumored just a week or so ago appears to be true and as positions at CC-owned stations are eliminated over the coming weeks and months we’ll see what departments are going to feel it the most. Regular readers of TALKERS are aware of the on-air positions that have been cut and industry watchers say some of the most obvious solutions in the programming departments at stations are: double-duty for talk hosts (two shows per day), voice tracking multiple dayparts for jocks, and the importation of national shows such as Bobby Bones for country outlets and Elvis Duran for CHR stations, which greatly reduces the money spent on morning shows.
Bubba the (Country) Love Sponge? No name change is impending but Florida-based hot talk star Bubba the Love Sponge is reporting success as morning show host at Asterisk Communication’s country duo WTRS-FM, Dunnellon and WYGC, High Springs “My Country” in the Ocala and Gainesville markets, respectively. Bubba reports he’s thankful to station management for taking a chance on his show on a country outlet. His Bubba Radio Network reports “WTRS-FM moved from 12th to 4th place with Men age 25-54, an all-time high for the station. Bubba was very excited and thankful that women have taken to his program so well. ‘You ladies get what’s hot and new and we love you for that.’ The Bubba the Love Sponge syndicated morning show also proudly reports it currently ranks top three Men 25-54 and top five Persons 25-54 in all markets it currently airs. Bubba expresses interest in working with additional program directors to bring his program to country and urban format stations.”
SCBA Reports 6.3% Revenue Surge in December. The latest figures from Miller Kaplan Arase are giving the Southern California Broadcasters Association reason to cheer and the organization announces the Los Angeles radio market “enjoyed a robust 6.3% growth rate for the month of December 2013.” SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “December was a great month for our region as we were finally out from under the political comps from 2012 and the market flexed its true revenue muscles as only Southern California Radio can. All key revenue segments posted impressive gains: local and national spot combined was up 3.6%; digital posted an impressive 20.7% gain; and NTR/network was up 19.6%.” For the 12 months ending December 2013, total market revenue growth was 1%, according to Miller Kaplan Arase. Callahan says he’s more optimistic about the region than the 1% hike indicates. “In our view, our real growth rate for 2013 was 4.4%, when factoring out 2012’s huge political revenue of $20.5 million. It’s more than fair to deduct those comps, which are never a true indicator of market growth or the health of our business. Political revenue on a YTD basis is not an apples to apples comparison. As any station will tell you, it’s impossible to replace $20.5 million in 12 months, yet these incomplete YTD revenue comparisons continue. These lopsided revenue reports help feed the misguided narrative that radio is a legacy medium, and nothing, I repeat nothing, is further from the truth.”
New York Market Boasts 6% Revenue Hike in 2013; 5% in December. On the Right Coast, the New York Market Radio Association reports that not only was its December up – 5.3% for all revenue – the year was way up over 2012 notching a 6% increase in total revenue. The NYMRAD says for the month of December 2013, total revenues, including total spot, digital, and network/NTR/other, were up 5.3%. For the 12 months ending December 2013, market growth was up across all sectors: +5.6% for local spot, +5.1% for national spot, +5.5% for total spot and +6.0% for grand total market revenue. NYMRAD executive director Debbie Beagan comments, “New York radio is healthy, vibrant, and strong. Advertisers and their agencies are investing in our medium and utilizing radio’s audio, online, mobile, and social platforms to reach engaged and loyal listeners. The robust revenue results for the 2013 and December position the market well as we head into 2014.”
Sabo: HD Radio Is Going to Explode. In a new opinion column posted today (1/16) in TALKERS, noted consultant Walter Sabo makes eight predictions pertaining to the radio industry for 2014. They include his prognostication that it will be a good year for HD based on iBiquity’s claim of 16 million automobile installs, stating “HD is radio’s best real estate grab for the connected dash.” He also comments on the immediate future of websites and social media as well as the difference between corporate debt and personal debt. To read Sabo’s entire piece, please click here.
Creative Advisory Council Scholarship Winner Announced. The Berlin School of Creative Leadership and Clear Channel Media + Entertainment are announcing Sam Bergen, SVP and creative director of Deutsch Inc., is the winner of the Berlin School’s “Clear Channel Scholarship for Leadership in Audio Innovation” program. Bergen will receive a full-tuition scholarship (worth 53,000 Euro) to attend the Berlin School’s prestigious Global Executive MBA in Creative Leadership Program starting in March of this year. The Berlin School and Clear Channel’s recently formed Creative Advisory Council (CAC), featuring advertising thought leaders who focus on the development of innovative approaches to the audio and out-of-home media landscape, reviewed over 40 entrants from more than 20 countries around the world, based on their professional and academic profile, as well as their response to a special essay question about innovative audio strategies. Berlin School of Creative Leadership founding president Michael Conrad states, “We are pleased to welcome Sam Bergen into our Executive MBA program. Focused on leading radio and audio commerce to the forefront of media thinking, the Berlin School-Clear Channel scholarship drew an amazing amount of high-quality applications from around the world. We were extremely impressed by the caliber of applications as well as the many compliments applicants had of our young school. We thank Clear Channel for this exciting and collaborative opportunity.” CC’s Bob Pittman adds, “Driving education and awareness on the value audio advertising offers is a key initiative for us. We are proud to work with the Berlin School and our new Creative Council to award this scholarship to the audio industry’s next creative innovator. Sam Bergen distinguished himself among a very elite group of applicants and I am confident that with his continued development at the Berlin School, Sam will be a trailblazer on the media landscape for both audio and out-of-home.”
Digital Pure Play Radioio Takes RDIO Stock Ticker in Post-Merger Organization. The digital music service Radioio – operated by Radioio Inc. – is being traded under the new stock ticker RDIO on the OTC market. The merger resulted in the company’s name being changed from ioWorldMedia, Incorporated to Radioio, Inc. In a statement, the company’s board of directors says it believes that the name change is consistent with the direction of the company. President and CEO Zach McAdoo says, “Radioio is a marquee name and brand of great distinction.” He added that RDIO is a fitting ticker symbol for the company’s new name.
Deadline for Newhouse School’s ’14 Mirror Awards is February 14. The Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University’s ’14 Mirror Awards is accepting entries through February 14. The Mirror Awards competition for “media covering media” – established in 2006 by the Newhouse School – “honor the reporters, editors and teams of writers who ‘hold a mirror to their own industry’ for the public’s benefit. They are the most important awards for recognizing excellence in media industry reporting.” The competition is open to anyone who conducts reporting, commentary or criticism of the media industries in a format intended for a mass audience. Eligible work includes print, broadcast and online editorial content focusing on the development or distribution of news and entertainment. All entries must have been published or broadcast between January 1 and December 31, 2013. Entries are evaluated based on three criteria: Excellence of craft; framing of the issue; and appropriateness for the intended audience. Winners are chosen by a group of journalists and journalism educators. An awards ceremony will be held in June 2014 in New York City. For more information, click here.
Chris “Mad Dog” Russo to Host History of New York NFL Championship Games Special. For those who are critical of the NFL’s decision to locate the Super Bowl in chilly New York (okay, New Jersey) this year, some may not be aware that this will not be the first championship that ever took place in the New York area. SiriusXM’s Chris “Mad Dog” Russo will host “Deep Freeze: A History of NFL Championship Games in New York,” a special broadcast to air first on Tuesday, January 21 with encore airings to follow. Special guests on the program will include NFL greats Frank Gifford, Paul Hornung, Jerry Kramer, Raymond Berry, plus more. The three-hour special will focus in-depth on four of the most memorable championships in NFL history – played in 1934, 1956, 1958 and 1962.
Obama Executive Order Threat, Chris Christie Scandal, ObamaCare Criticism, GOP IRS Investigation Push, New Mexico School Shooting/Indiana Grocery Slayings, and ‘Duck Dynasty’ Returns Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/15). The statement from President Obama about using executive orders to accomplish his administration’s goals; the aftermath of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s lane closure scandal; criticism of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the effort by GOP members of Congress to investigate the process by which the IRS is being scrutinized for allegedly targeting conservative organizations; the school shooting in New Mexico and the double murder at a grocery store in Indiana; and the debut of the new season of “Duck Dynasty” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cox Media Trims Two Positions at Hot Talk “102.5 The Bone” in Tampa. The Tampa Bay Times’ Eric Deggans reports the firing of two air personalities at Cox Media Group’s hot talk WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” – evening host Matt “Spice” Lloyd and early morning personality Chris Fisher. Fisher tells Deggans he wasn’t surprised by his dismissal saying he didn’t believe Cox was going to continue to pay him a full-time salary to host the 3:00 am to 5:00 am “The Fisher Experiment” program. “I knew overnights were just a placeholder until they could figure out what to do with me. It wasn’t about performance…I just realized this is part of the business.” As for Lloyd – a former member of WHPT-based Bubba the Love Sponge’s morning show – he Tweeted that his ratings were good (#1 in his demo and time slot) but that his contentious relationship with Bubba may have led to his departure. “Revenge is the best revenge…right Bubba? Just checking…” How much influence Bubba has over the station’s lineup is unknown. Regardless, there’s a hole in the station’s lineup from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on the WHPT website for now.
Rumors of the Biggest Radio Deal of the Year Wake Industry from End-of-Summer Doldrums. Numerous industry sources and trade journals are speculating that Cumulus Media is very close to announcing a deal to acquire Dial Global. The enticing story is further enhanced by rumors that the Dial Global programming could soon be heard under one of its previously-owned and utilized banners, Westwood One – the name to which Dial Global still has the rights after the high profile “merger” of the companies back in 2011 in which parent company Triton Media Group absorbed Westwood One into its Dial Global property – and that Cumulus Media plans to offset some of the cost of the acquisition by selling some of its small- and medium-market stations to Townsquare Media which has been in an acquisition mode. If consummated, Cumulus would have the sports play-by-play that’s been the bread and butter of the former Westwood One and would also obtain the Dial Global 24/7 music formats, some of which would be duplicative of its own music formats that came with the acquisition of the old ABC Radio Networks. This is not to mention, of course, the sales and programming staff that come with each. The big question on everyone’s mind is what does this all mean in terms of a master business strategy and how implementation of that strategy will influence jobs and the various players’ control over the marketplace? First of all, everything already published in the industry about this has been based on rumor and speculation with little clarified information being directly provided by the principals involved. That being acknowledged, should such a deal or set of deals come to fruition, it is highly likely that the answers to these questions will come as an afterthought…or certainly after the deals are consummated. As for now, the main impetus at work is the intense need on the part of both Cumulus and Dial Global to avoid or at least forestall the debt crisis facing each of them in a mutually advantageous way and, hopefully, make some sense out of the pieces after the new configuration resulting from such a deal fall into place. As far as Townsquare is concerned, if all of this is true, they are being intelligently opportunistic in their move to build a larger and more potent ownership of viable radio broadcasting outlets and are probably staying up late at night sharpening their pencils. Stay tuned!
HOLLAND COOKE: The Best of the West. Radio consultant Holland Cooke’s end-of-summer vacation to California provided him the chance to pocket some consultant “gold nuggets” in the form of in-market observations of some the best radio in the West. There’s a lot of good radio being done in the Golden State but Cooke offers up three examples that really stuck with him and that apply to practitioners of both talk and music formats. Take a few minutes to dig into HC’s thoughts about KGO’s Ronn Owens; CBS Radio’s “K-Earth” and baseball on the radio here.
Helen Glover Out at WHJJ, Providence; Ron St. Pierre to Take Over AM Drive. The Providence Journal’s Andy Smith reports that Clear Channel news/talker WHJJ, Providence has let morning host Helen Glover go and will replace her with Ron St. Pierre. Though the hiring of St. Pierre for the morning show has not been confirmed, Glover – a 2002 “Survivor” finalist – confirms to Smith she’s out, “I always knew this would happen one day, I just didn’t know it would be today.” Glover had been with WHJJ for almost eight years. Ron St. Pierre exited WPRO earlier this year. He had served as program director at WPRO for many years, hosted morning drive and was executive producer of the Buddy Cianci program at the time he left the Cumulus Media news/talk station.
Stan Piatt Announces Retirement from WNIR, Akron After 36 Years. Morning drive personality Stan Piatt will retire from Media Com’s WNIR, Akron at the end of July next year – or earlier depending on the success of the station’s search for a replacement. The Akron Beacon Journal reports that Piatt has a girlfriend working in Pittsburgh to whom he’d like to be closer and that he’s finally decided to leave for the Steel City. As for WNIR, program director Bill Klaus is beginning the hiring process for the next morning show host at one of the country’s first FM talk stations. He says, “We are seeking a morning drive personality or team with the skills to be fun, funny and engaging in a live ad-lib environment. Applicants should email a resume and aircheck to email@example.com. Media-Com is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon Fires at Texas Governor Rick Perry Via Ad on KTRS, St. Louis. Regarding the story TALKERS reported on Monday (8/26) about CH Holdings-owned news/talk outlet KTRS, St. Louis pulling the ads purchased by the state of Texas after it was discovered they were not promoting tourism but were touting reasons Missouri businesses should consider moving to Texas, there’s been a development. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon voiced his own spot that’s been airing on KTRS that counters many of the arguments Governor Rick Perry tries to make in support of Texas’ business-friendly atmosphere. According to a transcript published by KDSK-TV, St. Louis, Nixon states: “One: Missouri has lower property taxes than Texas. And lower sales taxes. Two: Our students score higher on standardized tests. Graduation rates are higher. Three: Missouri’s unemployment rate; below the national average for 4 years. And unlike Texas, Missouri has a perfect Triple-A credit rating…And as for the Governor of Texas, he’ll learn you don’t mess with folks here in the Show Me State.” Nixon says the money KTRS received for his spot makes up for what it lost by cancelling the Texas ad. KTRS morning drive host McGraw Milhaven tells TALKERS he will have Rick Perry on his program Thursday morning to discuss the issue.
SiriusXM and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo Extend Contract. Sports talk host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo extends his deal with SiriusXM for another three years. The extension means the Mad Dog Radio channel will continue through the end of 2016. In addition to the extension, Russo – who gained his fame as a sports talk host working alongside Mike Francesa on CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York – will also host a program on the MLB Network that will be simulcast on the MLB Network Radio channel on SiriusXM. In addition to programming the Mad Dog Radio channel, Russo hosts “Mad Dog Unleashed,” – a three-hour afternoon program. Russo states, “I’ve always loved the on-air freedom that comes with being on SiriusXM. I can do the kind of show here that I wouldn’t be able to do anywhere else and I’m fortunate to be able to continue to give my listeners my kind of sports talk radio each and every day on ‘Mad Dog Unleashed.’ I’ll also get to emphasize my passion for baseball with my new role on MLB Network Radio and MLB Network, where I’ll be talking to dyed-in-the-wool baseball fans like me throughout the year. This is a terrific opportunity that allows me to do what I do best, while also reaching new audiences.”
WestStar MultiMedia Entertainment Turns to Aguilera. In this case, we are referring to the parent company of “The Kim Komando Show” appointing Christine Aguilera chief operating officer of WME and president of WestStar Merchandising. As part of Aguilera’s duties in this brand new role, she will oversee network advertising and digital sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy, and communications.” Christine’s unparalleled marketing, advertising, direct response, and consumer experience make her a natural fit for our company’s future,” comments Kim Komando, who in addition to her high-profile, on-air capacity, is WestStar’s chairman/chief financial officer. Aguilera previously was president of SkyMall, where she spent 16 years. On the board of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Christine – not Christina Aguilera – mentioned in a Huffington Post interview that she frequently has to “explain” her name so she is not confused with the famous pop star, whose string of hits includes “I Turn to You,” “Beautiful,” “Genie in a Bottle,” What a Girl Wants, and “Feel This Moment.” Christine jokes, “That happens a lot.”
Erica Farber to Moderate “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” at Talkers Los Angeles 2013. In what promises to be a “don’t-miss” sequel to one of the highlights of the recent Talkers New York 2013 June convention, RAB president/CEO Erica Farber will follow-up her excellent performance as moderator of the panel discussion, “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” at the forthcoming Talkers Los Angeles 2013 on Thursday, October 10 in Hollywood, California. Only this time around, it will be with a new set of panelists and the focus will be on the local level of radio station and program operations. Scheduled to joining Farber on the panel are Terry Fahy, VP/GM, Salem Los Angeles; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO/president, WYD/WYM Media; Christopher Pendl, creative director, Bonneville Seattle; Paul Vandenburgh, president/GM/host, WGDJ, Albany, NY; and one more to be announced. The panel will take a sweeping overview of the issues facing radio sales today including concerns about commercial quality and clutter, selling in a PPM world, maximizing ratings-credit, the image of talk radio on the agency level and marketing across multi-media platforms, among others. The gathering is already closing in on being an advance sellout so it is advisable for media professionals interested in attending to register now. A sellout is expected by the end of this week. It is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and held at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone. So don’t wait – avoid being shut out. For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413.
NAB’s Valerie Schulte to Retire. National Association of Broadcasters announces the retirement of NAB general counsel Valerie Schulte, effective Friday. Schulte has served with the NAB since 1980 and, according to EVP of communications Dennis Wharton, “has worked on many of the most important issues before the FCC for free and local broadcasters – including children’s television regulations, the digital TV transition, digital radio issues, and legal issues related to satellite radio. The NAB family wishes Valerie nothing but the best in her retirement.”
Curtis Media Buys Greensboro Translator CP. Through Eastern Airwaves LLC, Curtis Media purchases the construction permit for FM translator W228CM in Greensboro, North Carolina. Curtis is buying the property for $125,000 from Wake Forest University. Bob Heyman of Media Services Group was the exclusive broker representing Curtis.
U.S. Weighs Syria Attack, March on Washington Anniversary, Fort Hood Verdict, Miley Cyrus MTV VMAs Performance, and Spokane Vet Beating Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/27). President Obama’s looming decision whether attack Syria; the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington; the verdict in the Fort Hood slayings; ongoing commentary about Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV VMAs on Sunday; and the aftermath of the beating death of a Spokane WWII veteran were some of the most talked about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Lex Staley Apologizes After On-Air Comment Angers LGBT Community. While discussing a news story in which a 16-year-old boy shot a transsexual after a sexual encounter, Lex Staley quipped, “I don’t blame him. I would have shot his ass, too!” The comment received attention – enough to get the United Stations Radio Networks-produced “Lex & Terry” program removed from the Clear Channel-operated “Extreme Talk” channel on SiriusXM. Staley has apologized, issuing the following statement via his agent: “I want to reach out the best way I can to the transgendered community. I deeply apologize for an insensitive remark concerning a news story being discussed on my radio show where a 16-year-old boy shot a transgendered person after they had intimate contact. Please know that my off-the-cuff remark was not intended to offend or hurt anyone, but after listening to the audio I understand why the comment caused hurt and anger. I had originally hoped to explain the context of what I said, but quite honestly, what I said was just plain wrong and there is no context in which my statement is acceptable and I take responsibility for it. I would like to clarify two things: One is that I work every day on a very liberal program. We are an advice show that has helped the LGBT members of our audience for the past 21 years. We have consistently supported LGBT equality rights on our show, well before it was popular to do so. Secondly, as a father of a young daughter, I am always distressed when I hear of adults having inappropriate contact with minors. But instead of properly expressing my distress in this situation I made a stupid comment that had no place and failed to express what I was actually thinking. I deeply regret the insensitive and hurtful remark I made. My on-air partner and I will be devoting a segment on an upcoming show to discuss the serious issue of discrimination in the LGBT community. We’re all human and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity – as members of the media, we embrace our responsibility to use our platform to help our greater community.”
Todd Schnitt Sues to Get Legal Fees Back in from Fired Attorney. The key decision in this case will probably not be made until September when Circuit Judge Charles Bergmann will decide if Todd Schnitt’s case against former attorney Philip Campbell goes to trial or arbitration. Regular TALKERS readers are aware that WFLA, Tampa-based Compass Media Networks talk host Todd Schnitt sued WHPT, Tampa-based talk host Bubba the Love Sponge for defamation earlier this year. The case was eventually settled after a high-profile – and dramatic – trial. During that trial, Schnitt attorney Campbell was arrested on DUI charges after leaving a restaurant with a paralegal from the firm Adams & Diaco representing Bubba the Love Sponge, though Campbell did not know her employment status. Schnitt eventually fired Campbell after paying his firm $1 million for services rendered. But the firm says Schnitt owes another $1 million. Schnitt is suing not only to contest the additional $1 million but to recoup the initial sum asserting legal malpractice. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Campbell’s firm says the case must go to arbitration based on a clause in their contract but Schnitt’s new attorney – Wil Florin – says that’s not so. Regarding allegations Adams & Diaco sent the paralegal there to “set up” Campbell for the DUI, state investigators are looking into that but the firm has released information to the press with the goal of showing there was no “set-up.”
Glenn Beck Freedom of Speech Acceptance Address Now on TalkersTV. Premiere Networks and TheBlaze talk star Glenn Beck received the 2013 Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech at the recent Talkers New York 2013 convention this past Thursday (6/6). See the entire speech by clicking the TalkersTV box at the top of the column on the right hand side of this page.
How to Tweet Effectively. Digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller advises his clients, “When it comes to social media, either you’re building your brand, or spinning your wheels.” He says, “Twitter has turned into a huge wheel-spinning exercise for many businesses!” In a column posted today (6/11) titled “How I Tweet,” Miller shares what he has found works for him. He suggests 1) not waiting to be followed; 2) choosing wisely when it comes to following others; 3) being yourself and writing in a natural, personable voice; 4) don’t sell – share; 5) treat your subjects the way you treat your power rotation; 6) re-tweet effectively, and 7) don’t forget to respond. Read Chris Miller’s entire column here.
Beasley Announces Ruben Perez New Promotions and Non-Traditional Revenue Director for Fort Myers Cluster. Ruben Perez moves from Beasley Broadcasting’s hip hop WPOW, Miami “Power 96” to the company’s five station Fort Myers cluster that includes AC WJPT “Sunny 106,” CHR WXKB “B103.9,” talk WRXK “96 K-Rock,” rock WJBX “99X,” and sports talk WWCN. The company says Perez will be “responsible for the coordination and execution of all promotions for the stations in the Fort Myers-Naples market. Additionally, he is charged with creating and implementing large-scale community events such as festivals and concerts that bring awareness to – and non-traditional revenue for – Beasley’s SW Florida cluster.” Vice president and market manager Brad Beasley states, “Ruben brings a wealth of radio knowledge and experience to our Southwest Florida team. We believe his abilities to generate large-scale events and brands will greatly benefit both our listeners and advertisers.”
David DuBose Sues Cox Media Group for Breach of Contract. In a suit filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama Southern Division, former Cox Media Group Birmingham market manager David DuBose (now serving with SummitMedia at the same group of stations) is alleging the company is in breach of contract after failing to pay agreed-to compensation for work done outside the bounds of his normal duties in improving the signals of Cox-owned stations to improve their value as well as a “special retention bonus” for remaining with the company through the sale to SummitMedia. In the complaint, DuBose also alleges Cox Media Group used “inflated and unrealistic figures” in the revenue reports for the Birmingham stations and stations outside that metro “for the purpose of enhancing the sale price of those stations.” In the complaint he also notes that former Cox chief Bob Neil stated the enhancement of the signals improved the value of the company’s station portfolio by some $200 million. DuBose is not seeking a specific damage amount in the complaint.
Odds & Sods. KSCJ, Sioux City talk show host Sam Clovis throws his hat into the ring for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Tom Harkin who has announced he will not run for re-election in 2014. No word when Clovis plans to end his radio program…..CBS Radio Minneapolis market manager Mick Anselmo and the late Eleanor Mondale are being inducted into the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the Pavek Museum. Mondale, who was a personality on news/talk WCCO, died in 2011 at age 51 after a battle with brain cancer…..Clear Channel-operated Total Traffic Network (TTN), is named the 2013 Telematics Update Award winner for Best Navigation Solution. The Telematics Update Awards recognize the leading players in the telematics space during Telematics Detroit, the world’s largest and most influential business focused conference and exhibition for the entire telematics ecosystem…..SiriusXM talk show host Joe Madison is elected to the board of governors for the American Red Cross…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington picks up eight Chesapeake Associated Press awards including for Outstanding Website, Outstanding Spot News and Outstanding Newscast.
AnG Services Launches Imaging Production Service. Las Vegas-based AnG Services Inc. announces the launch of its new brand, angaudio.com, that offers “top-notch creative radio imaging production services from copywriting, sweepers and promos to radio imaging demos for voice talent at prices that consider the client experience.” AnG Services CEO G.A. Simon states, “There are many imaging companies out there whose customer service is deplorable. A lot of these other guys don’t even pick up their phone when you call. We feel that creative imaging cannot be produced from a template. There has to be open communication between the creatives and the program director to fit the vision for the station’s brand.” The company says that it offers cutting-edge creative from copywriters and producers in New York, Las Vegas and Orlando with one focal point: customer satisfaction. “We are working towards creating a support system for stations that otherwise cannot have internal creative services, or for those in need of support,” says Simon.
Scott Slade Honored by Fisher House Foundation. WSB, Atlanta morning host Scott Slade was recently honored by Fisher House Foundation for his work hosting the organization’s Memorial Day special, “A Grateful Nation.” The three-hour salute to the military and their families raised awareness and funds for Fisher House, which builds comfort homes at military and VA hospitals where the families of wounded warriors and vets can stay at no cost while their loved ones recover. The show aired on 145 news/talk stations, Sirius/XM and Glenn Beck‘s TheBlaze.
C.Crane Radio “Talkers New York 2013″ Raffle Winners Named. The winners of cool radios at “Talkers New York 2013″ from C. Crane Company – one of the nation’s most respected manufacturers and distributors of radio receivers – have been pulled out of the jar. They are Peter Tripi of Premiere Networks who won a CC Radio-2 AM/FM/Weather and 2-Meter Ham Band Radio; Michelle Jerson of MichelleJerson.com who won a CC WiFi Internet Radio; John Boltz of Saratoga Public Affairs who won c CC Pocket AM/FM/Weather Radio; and “Diamond Joe” Covais of TalkSuperStation.com who won a CC Solar Observer AM/FM/Weather Emergency Radio. C. Crane Company is a long time friend of and advertiser on talk radio around the country and served as an exhibitor at the TALKERS event this past Thursday (6/6). Congratulations to the winners.
NSA Data Collection Case, George Zimmerman Trial Begins, Morning-After Pill Policy, Turkish Unrest, and Tebow Signs with Patriots Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/10). The expanding case of the National Security Administration’s massive data collection project and the status of source Edward Snowdon; the beginning of the trial of George Zimmerman, charged with the death of Trayvon Martin; the Obama Administration’s approval of the morning-after pill for girls under 17; the ongoing unrest in Turkey; and the signing by the New England Patriots of controversial player Tim Tebow were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Fisher Communications to Be Acquired by Sinclair Broadcasting for $373.3 Million. Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. announces that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire Fisher Communications, Inc. for $373.3 million. The deal will see Fisher shareholders get $41 in cash for each share of Fisher common stock. That’s 44% over the closing price of Fisher stock on January 9 of this year. Fisher only owns three radio signals – hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5,” all-news KOMO-AM and news/talk KVI (it manages South Sound Broadcasting-owned KOMO-FM as a simulcast of KOMO-AM). It owns 20 television stations. Sinclair president and CEO David Smith states, “We are excited to acquire Fisher and expand our coverage westward, especially in the two key markets of Seattle (DMA 12) and Portland (DMA 22). Started in 1910, Fisher’s history of operating television and radio stations in the northwest corner of the U.S. has played an important role in its communities and in producing high-quality local news. We look forward to expanding upon those traditions and improving the cash flow of the stations through the benefits that come with our scale.” Sinclair began selling off its radio stations in the 1990s and sold the final bunch in 2000. It seems very likely that the TV-centric company would turn around and sell the Seattle radio stations, however it has not indicated its intent regarding a return to radio.
KNX, Los Angeles to Celebrate 45 Years as All-News Outlet. On Monday, April 15, CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles will recognize its 45th year as an all-news radio station. As the company notes in a statement, “A stunned nation was still in shock following the assassination of Martin Luther King when just 11 days later on April 15, 1968, CBS-owned KNX-AM significantly increased the time it devoted to news coverage, essentially launching an all-news format that continues today…Less than two months after the King shooting in Memphis, KNX would be covering another national tragedy, this one with indelible ties to Los Angeles, when Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was killed at the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard. Before the 60s drew to a close, KNX would cover a moon landing and a Manson massacre, symbolic of the mix of prominent national and local events that were to become the fabric of KNX’s dedication to reporting major news stories.” KNX director of news and programming Andy Ludlum says, “Since 1968 we’ve seen eight U.S. presidents, six California governors and five L.A. mayors. We’ve had riots, fires, earthquakes, mudslides, hosted the Olympics, lost a couple of football teams, rooted the Lakers to 11 titles, watched OJ run wild on the freeways and recently endured a nightmarish hunt for a fugitive cop-killer. And through it all, KNX has embodied trust, integrity and credibility. We all feel a sense of responsibility to follow in the footsteps of so many great KNX news people like Bill Keene, Alex Sullivan, Jon Goodman, Barry Rohde, Beach Rogers, Dave Zorn and Harry Birrell, to name just a few. You hear the pride in the great heritage of KNX in the work of today’s anchors like Dick Helton, Vicky Moore, Tom Haule, Linda Nunez, Diane Thompson, Jim Thornton and Chris Sedens.”
Roby Wiener Joins Courtside Entertainment Group. Ad executive Roby Wiener becomes part of the Courtside Entertainment Group in a newly created position: executive vice president of client strategy. Courtside says that in this post, Wiener will oversee branding, client strategy and market research for all of Courtside’s divisions, including radio, Launchpad Digital Media and PodcastOne.com. She will be based in New York and will report directly to Courtside chairman Norm Pattiz. Pattiz states, “I can’t think of a better person to communicate the value of the changes that are going on in media today. I’ve known Roby longer than I’ve known my wife and I love her almost as much. I couldn’t be happier to have her as a part of our team on this very exciting ride.” Wiener most recently served with Dial Global, joining the company after its merger with Westwood One which she’d been with since 2006 as chief marketing officer and EVP of marketing. Previously, Wiener served as executive vice president client strategies & services for the Premiere Radio Networks for eight years and spent over 11 years at Warner-Lambert, a leading consumer product company that was among the top five largest national radio advertisers, as senior media manager of the company’s Advertising Services Department. She says, “Technology continues to shape the way people share ideas and my passion has always been to help advertisers be an important part of that dialog. Launchpad’s communication platform provides a remarkable new approach for advertisers to tell their stories with an authenticity that truly resonates with consumers, engaging with them on their terms. I have had the pleasure of working with both Norm Pattiz and Dan Yukelson at various stages of my career and I am eager to collaborate with them and the team in this new venture.”
Longtime Bubba the Love Sponge Producer Brent Hatley Exits. The man who’s been Bubba the Love Sponge’s right-hand man for the past 13 years tells the Tampa Bay Times that there is no acrimony between he and Bubba the Love Sponge – he simply wants to branch out into other things and he’s unable to pursue those interests while continuing to work on the program. Bubba told his audience that Brent Hatley would be leaving, admitting he’s surprised by the move but saying the door is always open to Hatley coming back should he choose to. In the meantime, Shannon Burke – former WTKS, Orlando talk show host and current personality on Bubba’s online radio channel Radio IO – will get a weeklong tryout to take over Hatley’s role with the WHPT, Tampa-based program.
KFWB, Los Angeles Adds Sports Programming. L.A. news/talk outlet KFWB announces it is adding sports talk content to its news and talk programming. Using content from CBS Sports Radio Network and NBC Sports Radio Network, the station will air Jim Rome’s commentaries (CBS) as well as the Amani & Eytan show (NBC) with Amani Toomer and Eytan Shander for the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot plus the Eric Kuselias program (NBC) from 3:00 am to 5:00 am. KFWB is also adding the locally produced “KFWB’s Sports Knight with Michael Knight” for the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot. Knight serves as an anchor with the station. KFWB general manager Valerie Blackburn says, “As the flagship station of the Los Angeles Clippers, we want to give our sports fans more of an opportunity to be part of the sports conversation. We continue to look for ways to give our listeners and clients the best possible programming options available.”
Local Group to Buy Five-Station Santa Rosa Cluster. The investors – Sonoma Media Group — is headed by former owner of the stations, Lawrence Amaturo, who sold the cluster in 2000 for almost $30 million. The price to re-acquire the stations from Connecticut-based Maverick Media is $4.5 million according to a piece in the Press-Democrat. The stations include news/talk KSRO, classic rock KVRV “The River,” CHR KHTH “Hot 101.7,” country KFGY “Froggy 92.9,” and hot AC KMHX “Mix 104.9.” Amaturo tells the paper, “The opportunity was irresistible. More than half of this community is listening to these stations each week…They’re more popular than when I sold them in 2000, but their revenue is down and their profit is down. I’m able to reinvest in these radio stations, in programming and promotion, which the current owners were not able to do. There was too much debt.” Amaturo says he has no plans to make changes to the stations and may consider bringing local programs that were recently cancelled back to the air.
IP Codecs, Transmitters, the Future of AM and other Cool Stuff. These are the topics addressed in this week’s column by TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray, inspired by his visit to the 2013 NAB Show in Las Vegas. According to Ray, “Just about everything I saw at the NAB was IP, IP, IP.” The engineering wizard also shares his seasoned insights into the revitalization of AM approaching the subject from angles ignored by most industry observers. On the subject of transmitters (yes, we still use them in radio), Ray says the trend is to deliver more in less space. Read the entire installment of the engineering column that “isn’t just for engineers because in today’s radio environment programmers and management have to worry about engineering a lot more than they used to” by clicking here.
Southern California Radio Writer Gary Lycan Dies at 68. The longtime Orange County Register radio columnist had been battling prostate cancer for the past several years and died in his sleep on Tuesday at age 68. Gary Lycan’s final column ran in the OC Register on Saturday. He began his career with the paper in 1962 as a copy boy and worked his way up to assistant managing editor for features – a post he held until he left his full-time position with the paper in 2002. Since that time and up to his death, he continued to write his radio column as a freelancer. It was widely regarded as a special window into the radio and media world for Southern California readers.
Dave Ramsey Enters the Hall of Fame. At the NAB Show Luncheon on Tuesday, nationally syndicated talk show host Dave Ramsey was inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame. He’s pictured here (r) with NAB chief executive officer Gordon Smith (l) accepting a commemorative plaque.
Gun Legislation Proposals, Immigration Overhaul Bill, North Korea Missile Threats, Mitch McConnell-Ashley Judd Case, and Obama’s Budget Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/10). The continuing efforts to pass gun legislation; the immigration overhaul bill offered by Senate Democrats; tension over North Korea’s missile threats; the controversy over the recording of Republican Senator Mitch McConnell’s Ashley Judd strategy; and President Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Former WGN and KMOX Exec Tom Langmyer to Consult Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee. The Business Journal of Milwaukee reports that former WGN, Chicago vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer has been hired to consult Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee as it transitions from programmer Joe Scialfa, who has left the post. WTMJ EVP Steve Wexler tells the publication, “I can confirm that we have made a change and are recruiting for a new program director. Tom Langmyer is working with us during the transition to help recruit a new program director and work with our staff.” Langmyer worked his way up from program director to general manager of KMOX, St.Louis. After years in that post he moved to Tribune’s WGN, Chicago where he served as VP/GM until last October.
Todd Schnitt and Bubba the Love Sponge Settle in Mediation. After a jury found Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) not guilty of defamation in the case brought against him by former crosstown rival Todd Schnitt, Schnitt got a new lawyer and prepared to take Bubba back to court claiming misconduct on the part of Bubba’s attorneys as a result of the DUI and misappropriated briefcase of his former lawyer, Phillip Campbell. But, after a 12-hour mediation session before mediator Jim Murman, the sides have agreed to end their spat – sort of. According to TampaBayOnline, Bubba has agreed to leave Schnitt’s wife and children out of any future radio attacks, incurring a $5,000 fine per mention if he fails to keep his word. Schnitt himself is fair game. Bubba had intended to go after Schnitt to recoup his nearly $1 million in legal fees from the first trial but will withdraw that bid. Bubba is heard in morning drive on WHTP, Tampa and was a rival of Schnitt’s when Schnitt – as MJ Kelli – held down mornings on WFLA-FM. Now, Schnitt does only the PM drive show on news/talk WFLA-AM in the market. But there is still some acrimony and possible legal action – between Phillip Campbell and Schnitt. After Schnitt fired Campbell, the latter went to court seeking about $1 million in legal fees from Schnitt. But Schnitt’s new lawyer, Wil Florin, tells TampaBayOnline that Schnitt should not have to pay the money and that Campbell should have to refund almost $1 million previously paid because Campbell assured the Schnitt’s, after a 2008 DUI, that it would not happen again.
NBC Sport Radio Network Names Newy Scruggs Midday Host. As the NBC Sports Radio and Dial Global 24/7 sports talk radio format is prepared for its round-the-clock debut on April 1, the network announces that KXAS-TV, Dallas sports director and former KRLD-FM, Dallas personality Newy Scruggs will host the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart with his program, “Voices of the Game with Newy Scruggs.” The theme of the show is Scruggs will be joined each day by a major renowned and recognizable sports “voice” during the entire second hour of the show. Personalities will include Chipper Jones, Adrian Wojnarowski, Stan Van Gundy, Bobby Valentine and Chris Mannix. Jones will begin baseball season in this hourly role on Tuesdays and then move into a weekly major contributor role as NBC Sports Radio’s MLB senior analyst once baseball season is fully underway. Mannix, Valentine and Van Gundy are already part of the NBC Sports Radio roster and are expanding their roles. Dial Global EVP and general manager Chris Corcoran states, “Hands down, ‘Voices of the Game’ is going to be special. Not only is Newy one of the smartest and most reputable personalities around, but our unmatched and incredible daily guest hosts are going to deliver such a unique and informative show for affiliates, listeners and advertisers.”
News/Talk Format Back to Place as Leading Format in February PPMs. With Arbitron’s February PPM data set to be released after 5:00 pm today (3/18), some of the conclusions we can draw are that the news/talk format is coming back from its usual holiday lull and – across all 48 PPM markets, not any market in particular – the format is back to its spot as the leading format. Industry pros who’ve been watching the performance of stations by format over the years are aware that formats in general can be said to be affected by seasonal factors. The biggest and most obvious is how AC stations are buoyed by the public’s affection for Christmas music during the holiday period. News/talk has historically – going back to the days prior to the PPM as well – performed well in the fall and spring periods and dipped a bit in the winter and summer periods. Obviously, baseball tends to help news/talk stations avoid the summer drop. With the recent uptick of concern about news/talk’s future – being aired in both the consumer and trade press – no doubt market managers and corporations will be eager to see how their individual news/talk stations performed in the PPM markets during the February period.
KXTG-AM, Portland’s John Canzano Re-Ups with Alpha Broadcasting. Midday sports talk personality John Canzano, host of “The Bald-Faced Truth” signs a multi-year extension with Alpha Broadcasting’s “750 The Game.” He currently airs in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Canzano is a popular sports media figure in the market serving as lead columnist for The Oregonian and as a regular commentator on KGW-TV. He is also the co-founder of the Bald Faced Truth Foundation, a 501(c) 3 non-profit that helps children participate in music, art, sports and other co-curricular activities. Alpha Broadcasting director of programming Scott Mahalick states, “John’s deep connection to the community through his Bald Faced Truth Foundation is just one of many reasons we are proud to have him on board with Portland’s premiere sports radio ‘750 The Game.’”
Sabo Says Radio Stations Are Becoming More and More Like TV Stations. In a provocative article posted today in TALKERS (3/18), noted radio consultant Walter Sabo points out that the radio station of the not-too-distant future will appear similar in many ways to the television station of today. As a matter of fact, this is a trend that is already becoming quite apparent. To read Sabo’s column – which also includes insights into the danger of radio’s economic dependency on retail, the importance of bringing back research, and (for music programmers) the pitfalls of letting labels tell you when the songs they promote are at the peak of their hit potency – click here.
Chad Adams to Exit Wilmington, North Carolina Talk Duo. Hometown Wilmington Media general manager Beau Gunn announces morning drive personality Chad Adams will leave his position as morning host on March 29. Adams is heard on WLTT, Bolivia, North Carolina and WNTB, Topsail Beach – stations branded “The Big Talker.” Gunn states, “Chad has served the community and our company with hard work and dedication for the past three years. We are sad to see him go and wish him the best in all of his new endeavors.” In addition to hosting the morning show, he has appeared as a regular featured commentator on local cable news channel News 14 Carolina‘s ‘Capitol Tonight’ and as a guest political analyst on WWAY-TV.
Americom Las Vegas Shutters Progressive Talk KJFK, Reno. After eight years as a progressive talk outlet, Americom Las Vegas announces it has been losing money on the station for some time – “thousands of dollars a month” – and its hand is being forced. The station says on its website, “Since we launched the station with an appearance by Al Franken in 2005, when nearly 500 people joined us at the Atlantis for now-Senator Franken’s appearance just days after we hit the air, we’ve known a passionate audience has been with us all along. Unfortunately, this station was never able to generate the revenue necessary to sustain, and we simply cannot absorb the financial loss any longer.” The station will continue to make some shows available online for now.
“Brent Seltzer, Still at Large” Syndicated Short-Form Series Picked Up by XM. The quick-witted, two-minute commentary series hosted by legendary Southern California-based news personality Brent Seltzer is now heard daily on XM Satellite Radio talk channels 165, 166 and 168 in all dayparts. Premiere Networks brokered the deal and describes the series as ‘funny, informative, creative and well-produced’. The series, designed to air on both talk and music formats, is heard on KSRO, Santa Rosa, CA and is one of the most popular features on PodJockey.com.
Odds & Sods. Talk about being in the right place at the right time, pictured here is WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (right) interviewing Florida State Senate President Don Gaetz during his annual “Legislative Listening Tour” from the Capitol in Tallahassee on the very day Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll resigned amidst a federal probe of internet cafes statewide…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington this week begins a special series called “Spy In The Sky” – an exclusive multimedia series that takes an in-depth look at the use of drones worldwide. A federal appeals court has ruled that the CIA must provide a more detailed response to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU, seeking records about drone attacks. This decision from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is part of an ongoing national debate about the use of drones. “Spy In The Sky” is a 10-part series that’s airing on WTOP this week. Each report is also available on WTOP.com accompanied by exclusive photos and video. In the piece, WTOP focuses on the use of drones both abroad and at home and how policy makers, police, and civil rights advocates are shaping their future…..In sunny Arizona, “Rosie on the House,” the home improvement talk show that has reached out to Arizona homeowners for almost 25 years, has added another radio station affiliate KGVY, Green Valley, south of Tucson. The show was founded by Rosie Romero and his son Romey in 1988 and is heard on KTAR-FM, Phoenix; KNST, Tucson and several others across the state. It’s syndicated by the Skyview Network.
KNX, Los Angeles Director of News Programming Andy Ludlum Honored. CBS Radio’s Andy Ludlum was honored at the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists’ 2013 awards banquet on March 14. The KNX director of news programming is pictured here (right) alongside KNX news anchor and longtime friend Bill Polish (left) who presented the award to Ludlum. SPJ/LA presents the Distinguished Journalist awards to members of the profession who demonstrate good news judgment, a strong sense of ethics and a passion for getting the story right. Honorees are journalists who have achieved a record of accomplishments over the course of several years.
Power-Packed Sales Panel Set for Talkers New York 2013. The agenda for the forthcoming 16th annual installment of the talk radio industry’s largest and longest-running convention – Talkers New York 2013 – continues to grow as the speakers for a major sales panel have been named. Titled “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales,” the session will be moderated by RAB president and CEO Erica Farber and feature (in alphabetical order): Spencer Brown, CEO, Dial Global; Jeff Smulyan, CEO, Emmis Broadcasting; Jerry Crowley, VP/general manager, WNYM (The Answer), New York; and Dan Metter, SVP/network advertising and sales, Premiere Networks. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We always try to bring the element of sales and revenue generation into these conferences, but this year with advertising and the element of ‘monetization’ being such a crucial issue not only in talk radio – but the entire spectrum of radio – we organized a panel that we are proud to say covers all bases. It should be enlightening and certainly productive.” Talkers New York 2013 takes place Thursday, June 6 and is on track to being an early sellout. Because of space limitations, registration is only open to working members of the media and can only be taken via telephone at 413-565-5413. Among those already announced as speakers include morning keynoter, Sean Hannity; sports keynoter, Mike Francesa; special guest speaker, Norm Pattiz; “State of the First Amendment” address presenter, Michael Smerconish and Arbitron‘s Jon Miller who will deliver a special report on “The PPM and Spoken Word Radio.” Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more agenda details about speakers, panels, presentations and award recipients coming in the immediate days ahead.
Traffic Reports on Radio Attract Listeners Says Research Director. A study of five PPM markets in Canada done by Research Director, Inc. and commissioned by the Canadian Traffic Network indicates “traffic reports on the radio attract listeners and boost ratings during the time that the reports air,” the company says. Research Director says this is the fourth study of PPM data in the five Canadian markets and the most recent study continues to show positive results for traffic reports. The company says some the highlights of the study include: 1) The three minutes around the traffic report have higher listening levels compared to non-traffic periods; 2) This was the case in each of the five markets examined; 3) On average for Persons 18+, Canadian Traffic Network’s reports deliver 20% greater audience than when traffic is not being broadcast; and 4) Among Adults 25-54, traffic reports deliver an even greater audience (+20%) than non-traffic times. This data comes as the industry debates the future value of general traffic reports in an era when smartphones and other in-car services are able to deliver real-time traffic information for specific routes to commuters.
Is Radio Losing Audience or Gaining It? And What About the Kids? If you add in the HD multicasts and AM/FM/HD streaming stations, as Arbitron did for its just-released March 2013 RADAR 116 National Radio Listening Report, “radio’s audience increased year over year, adding more than 1.6 million weekly listeners. Radio now reaches 242.8 million listeners on an average weekly basis.” Furthermore, Arbitron states, “Teens aged 12 to 17 shows the largest gains among the major age demographics. Radio now reaches nearly 23 million teens in an average week. Radio listening also remains steady among Adults aged 18 to 34, reaching 66.5 million people, or 92%, in this demographic.” The ratings company reports that “the data shows that radio is using new platforms effectively to reach more listeners. According to the RADAR March 2012 report, HD multicasts reach nearly 3.6 million persons aged 12 and older. Streams of AM/FM/HD radio also reach a broad audience. More than 5.4 million persons aged 12 and older tune into AM/FM/HD streams during an average week. Adults aged 18 to 49 make up the majority of this audience, with more than 3.5 million people in this demographic accessing streaming AM/FM/HD stations in an average week.”
The CBS Radio Product “World News Roundup” Celebrates 75 Years on the Air. The longest-running radio newscast – CBS Radio News’ “World News Roundup” – celebrates 75 years on the air this month. The company will honor the occasion tomorrow and Wednesday with special programs. The network will look at that first broadcast in 1938, its significance at the time and how the “Roundup” has evolved to remain an important source of information three-quarters of a century later. Vice president of CBS News, Radio, Harvey Nagler, states, “In an era with so many choices for the latest news, 75 years is truly a remarkable milestone. We are so proud that this broadcast that started it all is still something millions of Americans depend on every day. By combining the great traditions of CBS News with technology, our affiliates and their listeners receive relevant, accurate, immediate information they can trust, every day. From shortwave to satellites and from the Murrow Boys to multimedia platforms, ‘The World News Roundup’ is still setting the standard for quality journalism.” CBS says the program made broadcasting history on March 13, 1938 when it aired a riveting 38-minute program, anchored by Robert Trout, that reported the Nazi invasion of Austria. Revolutionizing news coverage, “The World News Roundup” gave listeners access to live reports from multiple reporters on the field, including a young CBS executive making his on-air debut in Vienna that night, Edward R. Murrow. In the following decades, the program was anchored by legendary CBS journalists, including Douglas Edwards, Dallas Townsend and Christopher Glenn. The current program is anchored by Steve Kathan and is produced by Paul Farry. Bill Whitney anchors the Late Edition of the “World News Roundup” which is produced by Greg Armstrong.
J.D. Hayworth to Co-Host AM Drive on Sports “The Mighty 1090” in San Diego. Former Arizona congressman and longtime issues talk host J.D. Hayworth takes an interesting turn in his radio career as he joins Broadcast Company of the Americas’ sports talk XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” to co-host the morning drive show with Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton beginning March 18. The station says the pairing of Hayworth with Hamilton completes a three-month search that spanned “six time zones.” Program director Mike Shepard states, “We really appreciated all the ‘players’ who gave their time to this search and in the end, J.D.’s extensive background in radio, and true chemistry with Hacksaw made the difference. When the two of them were on together it was what we call ‘lean forward and listen’ radio. San Diego’s sports fans will truly be entertained every morning.” Hayworth, who’s been doing a lot of fill-in work in issues talk radio over the past year or so, says, “Hacksaw and I go way back. As a TV sportscaster in Phoenix, I got to know Lee during his days at KTAR, which was his radio home before he came to San Diego years ago. The preparation and dedication that Lee brings to his broadcasts impressed me then, and inspires me now. What an honor to become his partner. We will not rest until we are the best sports morning show in the country!”
Loan Investigation Ends for WWL-AM-FM, New Orleans Talk Host Garland Robinette. Federal prosecutors are ending a probe into allegations the River Birch company paid bribes to close two New Orleans landfills so that its own facilities could receive the bulk of debris from Hurricane Katrina. WWL-AM/FM talk host Garland Robinette became involved in the probe after he received a personal loan from River Birch owner Fred Heebe. Robinette had also used his program to criticize the re-opening of the landfills that would have taken business from Heebe’s company. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Friday’s announcement puts to an end the investigation that included scrutiny of Robinette’s $250,000 interest-free loan from Heebe. Robinette’s attorney issued this statement: “I’m happy to announce that we’ve received notice that the Department of Justice in Washington has concluded their investigation regarding Garland as it relates to the River Birch case…and the matter is now closed. We want to thank the Public Integrity section for reaching the right result and for considering all the information. As Garland said from the beginning he never had done anything wrong. Garland and his family are glad they can now put this behind him.”
St. Louis Sports Stations KFNS and KXFN to Flip to Guy Talk and Ladies Talk in May. The Grand Slam Sports-owned AM stations will take a different programming tack in May under the leadership of new company president Dan Marshall. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KFNS will alter its programming to reduce the sports talk content to about 30% with “guy talk” comprising the other 70%. Marshall tells the paper’s Dan Caesar the announcement of who will be the new morning host on KFNS will be made on SiriusXM’s Howard Stern show today, leading to the conclusion that Stern pal Bubba the Love Sponge’s Tampa-based program will take over mornings. Other show hosts will be announced between now and May 1. Marshall is owner of a wireless communications company in the St. Louis area that’s been buying time on sports talk. Marshall’s company made an investment in Grand Slam Sports under the condition he would take over as general manager with control over programming. Current GM Katy Pavelonis stays on as sales manager. As for KXFN, how the move to female-targeted talk will be realized is less clear, although Marshall says, “I’ve already interviewed a few people who seem excited. And I believe our future advertisers will be excited to reach a women’s audience.” The current morning show at KFNS is hosted by Tim McKernan, Jim Hayes and Doug Vaughn and is owned by insideSTL Enterprises LLC and apparently brokers the time on KFNS. McKernan tells the paper insideSTL Enterprises is investigating the possibility of working with outside investors to put a new station on the air. The company operates insideSTL.com.
Strategizing Facebook’s Plans to Decrease Clutter. On Thursday, the social media giant announced a new format for their news feed, which Mark Zuckerberg referred to as “the best personalized newspaper in the world.” The big change? Pictures are going to get even bigger. That’s a bigger change than it sounds like. The headline Facebook puts on it is, “Goodbye, clutter.” According to radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, “This is good news for radio stations and other brands that are doing a good job using social media as loyalty content marketing. It will be easier for your fans and their friends to see what you post and enjoy it!” Today in TALKERS Miller offers five quick guidelines to help you make the most of your Facebook posts, especially once the new news feed kicks in for everyone. To read Chris Miller’s piece, click here.
Is Michael Smerconish’s Departure from AM/FM to Satellite the Canary in Talk Radio’s Coal Mine? Radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke thinks it might very well be the case. In an extremely candid look at the meaning behind the highly profiled defection, Cooke advises industry professionals how to read the message this move conveys in addition to dissecting the impact it will likely have on Smerconish’s career. To read this article by Holland Cooke, click here.
A Not So High-Tech Solution to a High-Tech Headache. Sometimes the remedy to what seems like a complex technical disaster can be found in cleverly utilizing the services of a commonly found, everyday low-tech product. Noted radio engineering wizard and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray had one such situation pop up recently and he shares how he solved it using…would you believe it…cat litter! Check out the story by clicking here.
Mike Francesa to Address Industry at Talkers New York 2013. The list of major speakers continues to grow as WFAN, New York afternoon drive sports talk goliath Mike Francesa joins the roster of industry leaders who will be speaking at “TALKERS New York 2013,” the 16th annual installment of talk radio’s longest-running and most important annual convention. Francesa will deliver a solo keynote address titled, “The Sports Talk Radio Phenomenon.” He will discuss how sports talk fits into the general radio industry, where it is going both locally and nationally and how it operates within the business model of the PPM world. Francesa, who has been a major host on WFAN since the late 1980s, is also seen across the nation on the YES Network simulcast of his radio show and hosts a syndicated weekend program “The NFL Now” in addition to participating in numerous other sports broadcasting projects. He is currently ranked number one on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio Hosts holding the position as the Most Important Sports Talk Radio Host in America. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “The addition of Mike Francesa as the sports talk radio keynote speaker at this year’s conference puts it over the moon. One of the big buzzes of the business is the relentless growth of this exciting branch of the talk radio universe. Who better than the king of the format to give insights into the genre’s place in the scheme of things? We are delighted!” More headliners will be named in the coming days along with the 50-plus speakers that will be participating in the conference. The event is set for Thursday, June 6, 2013 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side. Registration for the day including all activities and food service is $199 per person. An advance sellout is expected due to space limitations. Registration is limited to members of the working media and can only be taken via telephone. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413. Complete agenda details are being posted daily. Stay tuned.
Todd Schnitt Not Giving Up on Bubba the Love Sponge Lawsuit. The Tampa Bay Times reports talk show host Todd Schnitt has fired his legal team, hired a new lawyer and is continuing to pursue legal action against former crosstown rival Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem). The first trial ended in a victory for Bubba as the jury decided not to award Schnitt and wife Michelle damages for defamation over a series of criticisms and accusations Bubba leveled at Schnitt when he competed with Bubba in morning drive as MJ Kelli. Now, Schnitt has fired C. Phillip Campbell and Jonathan J. Ellis and has hired Wil Florin to represent him and his wife. Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the bizarre elements of the previous trial: Campbell being pulled over for DUI while driving the car of a young paralegal who, unbeknownst to him, worked for Bubba’s lawyer’s firm; the tip-off to police that Campbell was driving the car was made by someone from that same firm; and Bubba’s lawyers had possession of Campbell’s briefcase for 18 hours (though they say they didn’t open it). That missing briefcase is the basis for the new suit. How this will end is anybody’s guess, but one thing is for sure: Both Schnitt and Clem are spending a lot of money on legal fees. Yes, they are getting a lot of publicity for their radio programs but it is very expensive publicity.
Laura Ingraham Added to American Forces Network. Courtside Entertainment Group announces today that the Laura Ingraham show is being added to the American Forces Network with the opportunity to be heard by more than one million U.S. service members and their families. Ingraham states, “It is fantastic to be back on the air – and it feels even more special knowing that all of our friends listening on Armed Forces Network can hear us around the globe. The energy and enthusiasm from listeners, affiliates and advertisers since I returned to the airwaves has been overwhelming. From Tucson to Jacksonville, from Washington, DC to Seattle, Americans are energized and enthusiastic about our daily conversation about our country’s past, present and future. Politics is important – but so is the culture around us. As a single parent of young children and a cancer survivor, I have a unique perspective that connects me with listeners of all political stripes. Our conversation is a fun-filled ride that moves beyond the Beltway to the real-life ups and downs we all face.”
Veteran Media Executive Lynne Constantini Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze. The former EVP of affiliate sales and marketing at Scripps Networks Interactive and SVP of programming at Time Warner Cable joins TheBlaze as president of business development. In her new position Lynne Constantini will oversee the growing network’s content distribution efforts, as well as affiliate marketing, advocacy, business affairs and business development initiatives. She previously negotiated TheBlaze’s successful carriage deal with DISH as an outside consultant. Constantini says, “As a cable industry executive and consultant, I have been attracted to the rare independent network that has strong, unique content and a passionate engaged audience that drives results for operators and that is what I have found with TheBlaze. TheBlaze is unlike other start-up networks; it has a built-in loyal audience, a full slate of live, original programming, speaks to an underserved and growing conservative audience and has extensive marketing reach through affiliated media assets including on radio and on the web. I am excited to work with Glenn, Chris Balfe and the rest of the team on building TheBlaze and continuing the network’s success in improving the businesses of its distribution partners.”
Listeners Are Busy and Talent Is Spooked. That’s the assessment of radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke who asks broadcasters the provocative question: “RU@Speed-of-Life?’ In today’s article, Cooke says radio programmers must get up to speed (literally) with the intense pace of modern life which, when coupled with the PPM, puts tremendous pressure to manage air time in a way that is in keeping with today’s breakneck tempo. For example he advises hosts not to begin their shows by listing all the things they’ll be doing before the show ends. He says programming clock designers should go the extra step in designing transitions between programming elements (such as newscaster to talk show host segments) in a completely seamless manner. Never stop the action through over-explanation. Don’t miss this timely and informative piece. Read it here.
Talk Host Ralph Bailey Begins KERN, Bakersfield Program Next Monday. After quitting his talk show at Buckley Broadcasting’s crosstown KNZR on Thursday after an eight-year stint, Ralph Bailey will take over the PM drive program on American General Media’s KERN. Bailey wrote on his Facebook page, “It is official!!! I signed a contract today to join American General Media. I’ll be Scott Cox‘s guest today at three and begin my own 3-6 p.m. drive time show on Monday, March 4. I could not be happier! I have security in a business that is not that secure and for the first time in my life I’m making a little scratch! I’d like to thank Rogers Brandon and Toni Snyder. It is great to feel wanted and appreciated.”
KERN, Bakersfield’s Scott Cox to Anchor The Californian-AGM Morning Show Endeavor. Talk radio personality Scott Cox is moving away from the PM drive slot that Ralph Bailey is taking over in order to host a new morning program that is a joint effort of American General Media and The Bakersfield Californian. The show – “First Look with Scott Cox” – will emanate from The Californian newsroom in which a radio studio has been built. While KERN will provide the producers and technical expertise, the newspaper’s reporters will be regular guests during talk segments. Californian CEO Richard Beene says of the initiative, “The Bakersfield Californian has always prided itself about being on the cutting edge of technology (our website bakersfield.com was launched back in 1995) and we are keenly aware that readers and advertisers are finding new ways to obtain content and reach their advertisers. That’s why change is part of our company culture, and serving our readers and advertisers on multiple platforms is something we talk about every day.” The program will also be streamed live in high-definition video on the paper’s website. Beene writes in his editorial in the paper, “’First Look’ will add to The Californian‘s existing video programming, which includes ‘BVarsity Live,’ live local sports and breaking news. The Californian plans to expand its live video programming later this year. So yes, newspapers are alive and well, changing and evolving. Join us in March for ‘First Look.’”
Not All That Glitters is Gold. According to radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, broadcasters should avoid falling under the spell of Facebook “likes” and the impulse to “go viral” — which he describes as “shiny, distracting objects.” He advises, “The number of Facebook ‘likes’ you have is almost completely without meaning. In addition, working to have something go viral is probably taking you away from what you should be doing!” Read Chris Miller’s informative and valuable article here.
ESPN O&O KESN, Dallas Parts Company with Ben & Skin. Sports talk KESN, Dallas and midday personalities Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade were not able to come to terms on a new contract and the duo have left the station. They wrote on their Facebook page. “We have declined a final offer from ESPN on a new deal. We’re parting ways with them for now. Future is unwritten. Thank you for your support throughout the years. We are eager to write the next chapter of our adventure. Stay tuned.”
John Sweeney Exits WGDJ, Albany. The former Republican congressman from New York began a one-hour daily talk show at Capital Broadcasting’s “Talk 1300” two weeks ago but has left the station. The Albany Times-Union reports John Sweeney’s exit comes after it became apparent that the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon time slot was too much for the attorney and political consultant. Owner and GM Paul Vandenburgh told the paper too many unforeseen scheduling conflicts have made the show untenable.
TECHNICAL WATCH: Radio Moves Beyond ISDN to Deliver Studio Quality Remote Audio. Welcome to the Age of the IP Codec. Back in the “good old days,” if you wanted to get audio from point A to point B you had basically two choices: a dedicated land line from good old Ma Bell (a.k.a, the phone company) or you sent a tape. Then, Ma Bell decided to get rid of dedicated equalized services – at least interstate. These days, it’s very difficult if not impossible to get a dedicated broadcast service even in the same city. This prompted devices like the Comrex two-line and three-line frequency extender systems. These allowed someone to utilize two or three dial-up lines to get audio from one place to another with reasonable audio quality. The next step was ISDN – a digital dial-up service. With the development of devices such as the Telos Zephyr, FM quality audio was easily passed, with very little audio delay, between two locations. This has been the norm now for close to 20 years. Enter the IP codec – essentially ISDN on steroids. IP codecs utilize the internet as the transport medium. Now, for just the cost of the internet service you already have installed, you can literally transport audio all around the world – in many instances with slightly more round-trip delay than with ISDN, but that is easy to work around using mix minus. Noted radio technical consultant and TALKERS columnist Tom Ray brings us all up to speed on this new era in remote audio delivery in a must-read clear and concise article, here.
Salem Radio News Series Spotlights “The Poorest of the Poor.” SRN vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (pictured here in Guatemala) spent the last week in that Central American country as Salem Radio News prepared a news series titled, “The Poorest of the Poor.” Speaking about his experience there, Tradup tells TALKERS, “Guatemala is only a few hours by plane from the U.S., but living conditions for youngsters are light years away. And the statistics take on heartbreaking new meaning when you actually spend time with children there. We embedded with the American relief agency Food for The Poor to cover both the tragedy and the hope for impoverished children in Guatemala.” Tradup says Guatemala has the highest malnutrition rate of any country in the Western Hemisphere. The week-long SRN News special series will profile the challenges facing government and private agencies targeting ways to reverse the grim statistics on malnutrition and infant mortality in Guatemala.
Odds & Sods. Lisa Bloom – daughter of former radio and television talk show host (and high-profile attorney) Gloria Allred – is joining NBC’s “Today” show as a legal analyst says TVNewser. Bloom hosted the CourtTV show “Lisa Bloom: Open Court” from 2001 to 2009…..Arbitron’s Carol Hanley is named to the Allliance for Women in Media board of directors. Hanley serves as SVP, chief sales officer for Arbitron.
Harlem Shake Takes Over KDKA. The YouTube phenomenon “Harlem Shake” invades the newsroom at CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh. This still shot is from a video posted on the KDKA-TV website and shows late morning talk host Marty Griffin (in the Santa hat) leading the rest of the crew – including morning hosts Larry Richert and John Shumway and Shelley Duffy, PM drive host Bill Rehkopf, midday host Mike Pintek, sports reporter and weekend host Rob Pratte and creative services director Kelly Pidgeon – in boogeying to the tune.
Ron Paul Joins Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment for Daily Feature. Longtime Texas congressman and former presidential candidate Ron Paul will begin a deal to produce two daily one-minute features with the help of libertarian talk radio pro Charles Goyette as sidekick. (Pictured here are – from left to right – Paul, Pattiz and Goyette.) The program will be available as a podcast and will be distributed to radio stations nationally via Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group and Launchpad Digital Media beginning March 18. Pattiz states, “There’s no questioning the fact that Ron Paul is one of today’s most impactful leaders. His thoughts and opinions have created a significant and loyal following that has made its presence known throughout the country. That following includes college campuses, corporate offices and everything in between. His new radio show for Courtside and his digital presence via podcasting create a platform that will be hugely successful.” Paul says, “I am very excited to have this opportunity to take the message of freedom to more people than ever, especially now when our country needs it so much. Radio and podcasting are a much more powerful means of communication than speaking on the floor of Congress. I welcome this chance to work with Norm and Courtside and interact with America in a new way, delivering a message that is timelier than ever and a philosophy that people are clearly hungry to hear more about.”
Schnitt Versus Bubba: Take Two? According to the Tampa Bay Times, Todd Schnitt has filed a motion for a new trial in his complaint against Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) based on the fact that Bubba’s lawyers had his attorney’s briefcase for 18 hours and that Bubba’s lawyers should have been disqualified from representing Bubba. This all stems from the bizarre situation that happened toward the end of the three-week trial when a paralegal named Melissa Personius — who worked for Bubba’s attorneys (from the firm Adams & Diaco) but did not identify herself as such — had drinks with Schnitt lawyer C. Phillip Campbell, Jr. at a local steak house. Campbell left the restaurant with Personius in her car and was pulled over for DUI five blocks later. At the time, circumstances indicated the possibility Campbell was set up by Personius – something Schnitt’s team believes was the case. Personius and Adams & Diaco attorneys all pleaded the Fifth when questioned by the judge at the time. New statements from the restaurant’s valet could help Schnitt’s case in that regard. But the Times reports Bubba’s legal team is also collecting evidence and preparing for additional legal action. On January 30, the jury found Bubba not guilty of defaming Schnitt and his wife.
Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Helps WWII Veteran and Vandalism Victim. After 93-year old decorated World War II veteran Elbert Wood’s home was vandalized in mid-January by two local teenagers, KTRH, Houston talk host Michael Berry got the word out about the case via his radio show. Very soon, more than $45,000 in cash donations had been pledged and local contractors promised to help Mr. Wood restore his home. The work was completed and Wood is living in the home. The case has been a big local story in Houston for the past month.
Radio Should Follow TV’s Lead. Noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist, Holland Cooke cites Netflix‘s new original movie “House of Cards” starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright as an example of how radio should approach the presentation of its varied menu of products in the new digital age. Cooke points out that just like this variety of media and appliances that we now lump together under the umbrella of “TV,” radio must also become extremely mindful of its emerging multiple configurations and program/distribute content accordingly, saying we’re not just AM and FM anymore. Never before has it been more imperative for radio to differentiate between its live and on demand products – as well as its imported and original content. Read Holland Cooke’s article here.
CBS Radio’s WWJ, Detroit Names Tom Jordan AM Drive Co-Anchor. The CBS Radio all-news outlet will add Tom Jordan to the morning drive program alongside current news anchor Roberta Jasina. Jordan, currently a San Diego morning TV anchor with KUSI-TV, San Diego is a three-time Emmy Award-winning anchor and reporter. Mlive.com reports he co-anchored two Emmy award-winning newscasts for coverage of the September 11th terrorist attacks and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan. He was also awarded an Emmy for coverage of the 2007 Southern California wildfires. Jordan is expected to join the WWJ team on March 4.
Dr. Gina Loudon Launching National Show. Although she has yet to become a talk media “household name,” multi-media talker Dr. Gina Loudon is becoming increasingly well-known within the industry for her numerous star qualities and unique profile among the upcoming crop of conservative politically-oriented hosts. Loudon’s new radio talk show, the “Dr. Gina Show,” scheduled for launch February 25 will originate in San Diego and air two-hours live daily between 10:00 am and 12:00 noon PT. Produced and distributed in conjunction with Chesapeake Portsmouth Broadcasting and Liberty Alliance, the Dr. Gina Show will be initially carried by Virginia outlets WHTK, Portsmouth; WLVA, Lynchburg; and WLES, Bon Air. Dr. Gina was a regionally syndicated PM drive host in Birmingham, AL with Crawford Broadcasting until May of last year, when she gave up her show to move with her family to the West Coast. Since then, she has been a sought-after guest host on KRLA and KABC, Los Angeles; KOGO, San Diego and others, while appearing on Fox News Channel, Fox Business, and other TV talk shows for signature blend political and psychological commentary. She is also the anchor for the popular online program PolitiChicks.TV. Loudon has a background in Psychology (two MA degrees and a PhD) that she integrates as a major part of her on-air presentation. She has accrued practical insider know-how in politics, as the wife of a senior Missouri State Senator for two terms and dips into her insight to real life issues as the home schooling mother of five, including one adopted son who has Down Syndrome. Stations interested in the new Dr. Gina Show can contact it executive producer, Jason Browning at firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-653-2238.
WBEZ, Chicago and PRI Prepare to Air Chicago School Violence Programs. The WBEZ, Chicago-produced and Public Radio International-distributed “This American Life” program tackles the school gun violence problem in Chicago – specifically at Harper High School – on shows to air this weekend and next. But the program did more than just do research about the problem, it went into the school and experienced it. WBEZ states that Harper’s administration gave three reporters unusual access for a full semester, five months. When violence struck, the reporters recorded the staff as they jumped into action. They recorded private, difficult meetings with families and students. The result is a portrait of school administrators who know their students well, and take energetic measures to keep these teenagers alive. Program host Ira Glass says, “For everything we’ve all heard about children and gun violence, there are basic things we don’t hear so much about. Like what it’s like to live in neighborhoods that have to cope with so much bloodshed. This is a school that knows this problem in a way that most of us around the country don’t.” Last school year, 29 current and recent Harper students were shot. Twenty-one were wounded; eight died. The special episodes begin airing the same day President Obama travels to Chicago to talk about urban gun violence. The number of murders in Chicago climbed last year, while in many big cities like New York and Los Angeles, the number has been steady or declining. Last weekend, 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was buried. Her death made national news after being shot in a Chicago city park a week after performing at an inaugural event in Washington.
Clear Channel Rochester to Begin Two-Day Radiothon to Benefit Children’s Hospital. Two of Clear Channel’s Rochester radio stations – news/talk WHAM and triple A WDVI “The Drive” – will broadcast a two-day radiothon to benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital. The annual “Drive for Miracles Radiothon” hits the air tomorrow and Friday and will feature appearances by local personalities including: Chet Walker, Bob Lonsberry, Joe Lomonaco, and Bob Matthews from WHAM and JP Hastings, “The Mayor” Pete Kennedy, and Julie from “100.5 The Drive.” Over the past decade, the annual “Drive For Miracles,” conducted with the support of the Children’s Miracle Network, has raised over $1 million for the hospital.
Dixon OmniMedia Launches Radio reMIND. Dixon OmniMedia founder Derrick Jonzun calls it “a new listener loyalty tool for ‘front loading listeners.’” The concept is pretty simple: it’s a service that calls each of your opt-in listeners and plays a personalized message, reminding them your program is about to air. Dixon OmniMedia states that stations can now connect with listeners on a personal level with show reminders in their talent’s own voices. It calls it appointment listening on an organic level, plus a great way to increase listener engagement. Jonzun says, “As host of a weekly syndicated show, I’ve always looked for ways to connect to my audience beyond the normal social sites. In an industry that centers around the human voice, there is no tweet, email nor text that can match a personal call from an air-talent. Radio reMIND is a must have for internet stations and specialty shows.”
Diane Rehm Named Arab American of the Year. The WAMU, Washington-based public radio host and journalist is named ‘Arab American of the Year for 2013’ by ACCESS, the Detroit-based Arab American human services nonprofit organization. Diane Rehm will be honored at the prestigious 42nd Annual ACCESS Anniversary Dinner on Saturday, April 27, at the Marriott Detroit Renaissance Center. Rehm has hosted her eponymous program from the WAMU studios for the past 30 years. It is distributed nationally by NPR.
Obama State of the Union Address, Christopher Dorner Case, North Korea Nuke Threats, and ObamaCare Costs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/12). The president’s state of the union address; the case of alleged killer and former cop Christopher Dorner; the threats of nuclear attacks by North Korea; and the costs of the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Free Speech Isn’t Always Pretty. The jury that heard arguments in the case of Todd Schnitt versus Todd Clem (Bubba the Love Sponge) didn’t believe that the actions by Clem on his radio program rose to the level of reckless disregard for the truth that would have been required to find him guilty of defamation. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes that because all parties were public figures by virtue of their occupations, the bar is set higher for them than it would be for private citizens. “Clem’s attorney argued to the jury that the case was a matter of free speech and that no one listening to a radio talk show host who specializes in bombastic rhetoric would take what is said as a serious representation of fact,” states Weisman. Schnitt’s legal team tried to make the connection that some incidents in which Schnitt and his wife felt physically unsafe during and after encounters with Clem’s fans – members of the Bubba Army as they are known – but apparently the direct connection to Clem’s on-air rhetoric was not strong enough. Read Weisman’s analysis of the case here.
Newsmax Broadcasting’s Steve Malzberg Program to Air on SiriusXM. The new radio and internet talk program developed by Newsmax Broadcasting and featuring talk personality Steve Malzberg will also be featured on SiriusXM’s America’s Talk channel from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm beginning February 4. Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy states, “Our surveys show a very significant part of the Newsmax audience subscribes to SiriusXM. This new outlet will allow SiriusXM subscribers and our online viewers to easily enjoy ‘The Steve Malzberg Show’ in their car anywhere through America’s Talk.” Newsmax recently announced the launch of this program – a new nationally syndicated radio show that will be simulcast on Newsmax TV, an online media station that features news, commentary, lifestyle and entertainment programming.
The Super Bowl Means Wing Bowl for WIP, Philadelphia. This is the 21st year that CBS Radio’s sports talk WIP, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94WIP” will present the “Wing Bowl” chicken wing eating contest. The promotion begins this afternoon at 5:00 pm when WIP’s Al Morganti and Rhea Hughes host the official “weigh-in” for all 27 contestants live from Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia. The actual contest takes place Friday at 6:00 am at the Wells Fargo Center. What started as a smallish radio promotion 21 years ago has developed into one of the world’s largest wing eating contests and provides WIP with enormous visibility. A portion of the proceeds from the sold-out event will go to charity. Here’s the list of prizes in this year’s competition: $20,000 cash prize, a one-of-a-kind Wing Bowl Champion ring and a gold medal from Steven Singer Jewelers; a 2013 Nissan Pathfinder S-L from Montgomeryvillle Acura; a new Harley Davidson 883 Sportster Motorcycle from Barb’s Harley Davidson, West Collingswood, NJ; earrings and necklaces from Steven Singer Jewelers; and all inclusive Apple Vacations to the new Barcelo Bavaro Beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Jay Mohr Broadcasts Virtually from Super Bowl Media Week. That’s Fox Sports Radio Network personality Jay Mohr on the video monitor chatting with NFL Hall-of-Famer Emmitt Smith who’s seated on the Fox Sports set in New Orleans. Mohr is on the road this week on a comedy tour and he’s taking advantage of his travels to visit some affiliate stations while doing his program virtually from the media center at the Super Bowl. Mohr’s program – airing live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET on FSRN – has reached the 100 affiliate mark adding stations including WDFN, Detroit; WINZ, Miami; KRKO, Seattle; KGME, Phoenix; KLSD, San Diego; WDAE, Tampa; KPOJ, Portland; KTKR, San Antonio; WSAI, Cincinnati and more.
KJR, Seattle Moves Dave “Softy” Mahler to PM Drive. Clear Channel’s Seattle sports talk duo of KJR, Seattle and KNBQ, Centralia announces midday personality Dave “Softy” Mahler moves to the PM drive slot that opened up when longtime station personality Mike Gastineau retired from the station in December. Taking over the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program are Seattle Times columnist Jerry Brewer and former Gastineau co-host Elise Woodward.
KDKA, Pittsburgh to Hold 5th Annual Warmathon. CBS Radio’s news/talk KDKA, Pittsburgh is broadcasting the 5th annual Warmathon – a live, two-day broadcast in conjunction with Dollar Energy Fund, Inc. on February 7 and 8 – to benefit Dollar Energy Fund’s Hardship Program. The program helps limited-income families maintain or restore basic utility service. The event has raised more than $1.15 million since 2009 and more than 3,500 limited-income families in the greater Pittsburgh region have benefited from the generosity of Warmathon donors.
3 Daughters Media Files Petition to Deny in WLNI, Roanoke-Lynchburg Acquisition. Gary Burns-led 3 Daughters Media has filed a petition to deny with the FCC contesting the pending acquisition of talk outlet WLNI, Lynchburg by Mel Wheeler Inc. from Centennial Licensing LLC. Burns contends that if Mel Wheeler is allowed to acquire WLNI, it will put him in control of 48% of the market revenue – well over the 40% rule. The fact that the two cities of Roanoke and Lynchburg are some 60 miles apart but are part of the same market for sales purposes adds confusion to the situation but Burns maintains the designation is flawed and points to the Commission’s forcing Cumulus to spin off stations in Flint, Michigan and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania as comparable examples.
Cool Job Opportunity. Talk Radio Producer/Guest Booker extraordinaire required. The successful candidate has access to A-level guests, stars and newsmakers. They have demonstrated initiative delivering breaking news in context and have shown innovation generating unique angles to Topic A stories, as well as original topics that connect with target listeners or viewers in personal ways. They have major market experience producing entertaining news and talk programs in television or radio stations or network newsrooms. They live and breathe current events, business, politics, pop culture, social media, new technology, etc. Please send resume & cover letter to: email@example.com. Do not attach audio files. Los Angeles-area applicants with a giant Rolodex are strongly preferred. We are an EOE.
Immigration Reform, 4th Quarter GDP Drop, Giffords Gun Testimony, Chuck Hagel Confirmation Hearing, and Israel-Syria Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/30). The debate in Washington over immigration reform; the unexpected drop in the U.S.’ GDP in the fourth quarter of 2012; former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ testimony at gun legislation hearing in Washington; Chuck Hagel’s pending Senate confirmation hearing; and Israel’s attack on suspected weapons inside Syria were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Steven J. J. Weisman
TAMPA — The circus has left Tampa, Florida. Four years after statements by Tampa talk show host Bubba The Love Sponge (Todd Clem) ignited a lawsuit by rival morning show host MJ Kelli (Todd Schnitt) and two weeks of trial, a jury took a mere three hours to reject Schnitt’s and his wife’s claims of defamation and dismissed all 24 counts of the complaint.
The bizarre case became even more bizarre when during the trial, one of Schnitt’s lawyers, Charles Campbell Jr., was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. A motion for a mistrial was denied when the judge was satisfied that the jury had not heard of the charges. It was even alleged by the Schnitt legal team that Campbell had been set up for the arrest after drinking with a paralegal who unknown to him worked for the law firm that represented Clem.
Blogging to Grow Your Tribe. Radio personalities and station programmers have great opportunities to use social media and blogging to build more interactivity and loyalty with fans and P1s, writes radio consultant Holland Cooke. In today’s piece, Cooke passes on some very salient points from the recent New Media Expo. He notes that the old paradigm of radio sales is passé and radio personalities are positioned to take advantage of the new paradigm. “The E-word en vogue is engagement, and money is flowing to digital opportunities that talk-with customers, rather than simply talk-at-‘em.” Cooke states that blogging has concrete benefits for anyone in the personality business. “If you’re an on-air host, blogging can deepen your connection with listeners, especially if you’re working music radio, and keep hearing ‘keep it moving.’ Blogging can also become the digital ‘inventory’ that agencies now expect to see included with on-air spots…or for you to monetize yourself.” Read Holland Cooke’s entire piece here.
Chris Duncan Returns to WXOS, St. Louis After Near Four-Month Absence. Former St. Louis Cardinals star and current member of “The Fast Lane” PM drive program on Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN,” Chris Duncan returned to his full-time position after almost four months. Duncan has been dealing with intensive surgeries, treatments and physical/occupational therapy for a brain tumor, which was diagnosed in 2012. He has been absent from his full-time co-host seat since October 8, 2012 but recently has been appearing on “The Fast Lane” for brief interviews during his treatment. He expresses his gratitude for all of the listener and fan support during his ordeal. “I’m really excited and grateful to be back on ‘The Fast Lane’ with Randy [Karraker] and D’Marco [Farr]. I’m blessed to work at a great place like ‘101 ESPN’ with such outstanding people, and the timing couldn’t have been better with spring training a couple of weeks away.” Program director Kent Sterling states, “Having Chris back makes the station whole again. He’s such a positive person on ‘101 ESPN’ and in the halls that he was missed on many levels. To have him back every day makes everyone smile around here, and hopefully the same is true for listeners of ‘The Fast Lane’.”
Dave Ramsey Takes Over Evenings in Memphis. Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey will be the evening talk talent at Clear Channel’s WREC, Memphis on April 19 when “The Daily Wrap” from The Wall Street Journal Radio Network ends. WREC program director Forrest Goodman states, “Dave has a powerful track record on radio. I am excited to add him to the station, where we feature the strongest names in talk, like Rush, Hannity and Beck.”
Welcome Back to Mike Gallagher After Recent Hospitalization. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher returns to the air today after being hospitalized in Greenville, South Carolina for double pneumonia early last week. The Salem Radio Network host tells TALKERS, “It was like Christmas in January for Piers Morgan, Bill Maher and Alan Colmes — Mike Gallagher with no voice. But I’m tanned, rested and ready to fight the good fight again starting Wednesday.”
Mapleton Shifts KYNS, San Luis Obispo from Progressive Talk to All-News. Mapleton’s KYNS, San Luis Obispo has been a progressive talk outlet since the days of Air America but now the signal is airing an all-news format under the brand “SLO Radio News 1340.” The station is using the long-form news blocks from America’s Radio News Network.
Odds & Sods. Talk personality Joe Madison will be the host for SiriusXM’s “Roots Town Hall” featuring original cast members from “Roots,” the groundbreaking television mini-series. Madison will interview LeVar Burton, Leslie Uggams, and Louis Gossett, Jr. before a select group of listeners at the SiriusXM studios in New York City. The program will commemorate the start of Black History Month and air live Tuesday, February 5 at 2:00 pm ET…..Buckley Radio names Mary Lou Gunn general manager of its Bakersfield cluster that includes hot AC KLLY, news/talk KSMJ, news/talk KNZR, and rhythmic oldies KKBB…..Clear Channel’s WTAM, Cleveland renews its agreement with Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians to be the flagship station through the 2017 season. As part of the deal, CC will air 144 of the games on FM rock station WMMS…..ESPN Audio prepares to debut a new podcast on February 4 featuring Michael Smith and Jemele Hill called, “His & Hers with Michael Smith and Jemele Hill.” Smith is host of “Numbers Never* Lie,” and Hill is an ESPN.com columnist and frequent contributor on various ESPN shows.
Immigration Reform, Kerry Confirmed/Hillary in 2016?, New Pro Athlete Doping Probe, North Korea Nuke Threat, and Gun Control Debate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/29). The debate over immigration reform legislation; John Kerry’s succeeding Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and Clinton’s possible run for president in 2016; the latest pro athlete doping probe; North Korea’s nuclear threat; and the controversy over gun control proposals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Schnitt vs Bubba: A Crazy Friday. There are two aspects of the Todd Schnitt vs Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) defamation suit to report from Friday: First was Michelle Schnitt’s testimony, the second was the circus revolving around Schnitt attorney Charles Philip Campbell, Jr.’s arrest on DUI charges two days prior. On Friday, Michelle Schnitt took the stand while the prosecution played recordings of Bubba calling her a “whore.” She testified that he meant she was sexually promiscuous and unfaithful to her husband and said it was “the most disrespectful thing you could say about somebody.” She told the jury she was very worried about public reaction to the accusations. She stopped practicing law to raise their children but testified that she believes her professional reputation has been harmed. Also at issue is whether Michelle Schnitt is a public figure because she appeared regularly on Schnitt’s MJ Kelli program. She denies making any money from the appearances. She also denied having anything to do with getting Bubba charged with felony animal cruelty while working as an assistant state’s attorney – something Bubba accused her of on the radio and in his defense in court. Meanwhile…Schnitt’s attorney asked for a mistrial and the judge is expected to rule on that request today. Here’s why: According to the Tampa Bay Times, Clem’s lawyers had possession of attorney Charles Campbell, Jr.’s briefcase for almost a day, having access to transcripts, depositions, notes and more. How they got it is straight out of a TV law drama. Campbell and fellow attorney Jonathan Ellis were at a steak house having dinner and drinks when they met a pretty paralegal named Melissa Personius who chatted them up. She said she worked at a firm other than the one she really does, but they didn’t know that at the time. Campbell talked about the case to the young woman. The two left together in Melissa’s car and were pulled over with Campbell behind the wheel. He refused a breathalyzer and was booked. Melissa was set free. The Times reports that an attorney at Adams & Diaco (which represents Bubba and for whom Melissa actually works) called the police to report a man (Campbell) about to the leave the restaurant drunk. In the back of Melissa’s car was Campbell’s briefcase. She later retrieved her car with the briefcase. Adams & Diaco denies ever opening the case before Campbell got it back some 20 hours later. On Friday, Personius took the stand to answer questions by the judge but she pleaded the Fifth to each question. Ironically, Personius’ driver’s license has been suspended for a prior DUI and other moving violations. The obvious conclusion is that Campbell was set up by Melissa Personius, but whether her bosses put her up to it is not known since she pleaded the Fifth.
Cumulus Media’s All-News WYAY, Atlanta Names Jennifer Perry PD. Cumulus Media’s all-news WYAY, Atlanta “All News 106.9” announces Jennifer Perry is named program director. Perry most recently worked with Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries on his local WGST, Atlanta afternoon drive program before the station flipped to Spanish sports talk. She has also served as news director at WLAC, Nashville. In announcing the hire, Cumulus corporate PD of news/talk/sports Jim Mahanay says, “We’re fortunate to have someone of Jennifer’s credentials to lead the team at ‘All News 106.7.’ She is one of the most talented people in the news business. She brings vast experience as a journalist, anchor and administrator. She is a great fit for our all news operation in Atlanta.”
If I Were the CEO of YouTube. Media consultant Walter Sabo offers a “modest proposal” about what he would do if he were CEO of YouTube. In this piece, Sabo explains that each medium creates its own stars and pushing them to other media platforms rarely works. In the case of YouTube, web stars have blossomed on the service and Sabo says the key to success and making money on the web involves integrating advertising into the programming these web stars have created. Sabo believes media platforms must not try to be something they are not. Maybe there’s a lesson for radio in this, too. Check out the five things Walter Sabo says he would do if made CEO of YouTube in his piece here.
Talk Host Paul Westcott Moves to WTAG, Worcester for Mornings. Radio personality Paul Westcott has been with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WGIR and WQSO in Manchester, New Hampshire for the past two years. Now, he’s making the move South to take over the morning drive show at the company’s news/talk WTAG, Worcester. Westcott states, “WTAG has a great heritage with unlimited potential to find a younger and broader audience both locally and regionally.” Westcott spent three years at Clear Channel digital headquarters in New York and created a channel called the “White House Brief” which he’ll continue to produce. CC regional programming manager Rob Anthony says. “We couldn’t be happier to have Paul joining the team at WTAG. He has a very strong political background and a wonderful concept of how important it is to be local.” Westcott replaces Jim Polito who left to join Fox TV O&O WFXT, Boston.
Dynamic Coast-to-Coast Conversation. The power of issues-oriented talk radio and its unlimited positioning options were amply demonstrated this weekend as two fresh-on-the-scene mavericks hooked up on the phone and showed that there can be more to this medium than predictable partisan polarization. Shown at left, GCN syndicated weekend talent Ethan Bearman, a relative newcomer to the field located in his Northern California studio yesterday, interviewing Jonathan Miller (right) in the Washington, DC offices of No Labels. Miller, a former two-term Kentucky State Treasurer, is co-founder of the DC-based, bi-partisan political organization dedicated to finding common ground between today’s political extremes. Their slogan is, “Stop fighting, start fixing.” Bearman, described recently by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as “the Colin Kaepernick of young talk show hosts,” positions his independent brand of politics as “left, right and forward.” His program airs live on Sundays from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT. The industry should take note.
NBC Sports Radio Is in New Orleans for Super Bowl Coverage. Fledgling sports talk network NBC Sports Radio is taking its stars and production to New Orleans to originate from the site of Super Bowl XLVII. The Dial Global and NBC Sports initiative announces it will have a “major presence in New Orleans as the excitement builds for Super Bowl XLVII. There will be live talk, reports, highlights and features throughout the week from Super Bowl Radio Row, Super Bowl Media Day and the NBC Sports Network television set.” NBC and Dial Global report that the Erik Kuselias show will air live every evening from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET. “Amani and Eytan,” featuring former NFL pro Amani Toomer and Eytan Shander, will air live each evening from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET. “Speaking of Sports with Rob Simmelkjkaer” will air the morning of Super Bowl Sunday from 8:00 am to 9:00 am in addition to other NBC Sports Radio weekend shows. NBC Sports Radio Update anchor Kay Adams will also contribute interviews during the week.
SiriusXM Broadens Pete Dominick’s Role with AM Drive Show. Comedian Pete Dominick has been hosting a PM drive program on the satcaster’s politically oriented POTUS channel. Beginning February 11, he’ll move to morning drive on the newly re-named Indie channel for a new show called “Stand Up! with Pete Dominick.” With the change in dayparts, Dominick will be allowed to go well beyond political issues to a more broad selection of topics. Dominick began working at Sirius in 2006 on the Raw Dog comedy channel. The new gig will mean he has to give up his daily job warming up the crowd at Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.”
WBEZ, Chicago Devises Promotion to Get New P1s (and Have Them Make Some More!). Working with creative partner Xi Chicago, public station WBEZ, Chicago is executing a promotion called “Radio for the Curious Class” designed to gather P1s based on the fact that they are interesting people – and encouraging them to make more interesting people via their “Go Make Babies” campaign. The station says the campaign is being dubbed the “2032 Membership Drive” and inspires interesting people to hook up with interesting people and make more interesting people, thereby creating the next generation of listeners. This campaign aims to populate the curious class with a call to action to visit www.GoMakeBabies.com, where people can take an “Interesting Assessment.” Visitors will then be offered up links to current WBEZ content based on their tastes, along with potential mates who share their interests. The app also features a Future Viewer gallery where people can upload photos of their interesting child/future listener and in return receive a “Future Curious Class Member” onesie. The campaign elements include local print outlets, WBEZ.org promotion and mobile experience; digital banners, Pandora and Facebook ads; contextual out of home, wallscapes, train platforms, bus shelters and street decals, taxi tops and bumper stickers and T-shirts with messaging and taglines such as: Do it. For Chicago; We want listeners tomorrow. Go make babies today; Hey Interesting People, get a room already. And then put a crib in it; To anyone NOT currently running a virtual farm: GoMakeBabies.com; and You’re an interesting person. Pass it on. Like, literally. Through your DNA. Chicago Public Media vice president Daniel Ash says, “We tasked Xi with developing an attention-getting campaign that speaks directly to young adults who’ve never heard of WBEZ and who respond positively to tongue-in-cheek irony and playfulness. Certainly it’s a different approach than what one would expect from a public media station but we hope this will reach, and resonate with, younger news consumers who’ve never heard of us.”
Hubbard’s WXOS, St. Louis Announces “Sportscaster Factor” Contest. Sports talk outlet “101 ESPN” WXOS, St. Louis is conducting a promotion to give a lucky and talented St. Louisan a chance to become a weekend talk host on the station. Unlike some of the other contests for sports talk gigs, auditioning for this one won’t start in a bar or restaurant. The first rounds take place at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Participants who audition will get the chance to present their on-air delivery and show hosting skills alone in a room via a microphone with the judging panel present. During these initial auditions, listeners will be given a “yes” or “no” vote by each of the judges, and those who impress the panel of experts during the preliminaries will be invited back for the Final Round. The Final Round of the “Sportscaster Factor” will be held on Saturday, March 2 at the Main Gym inside the Vadalabene Center on the SIUE’s campus, and the general public is welcome to attend this final set of auditions. During the Final Round, those participants deemed “the best of the bunch” will be given tips and pointers by the 101 ESPN pros, before being given a chance to make their last best impression with the judging panel. After a detailed evaluation of all the finalists conducted at the conclusion of the Final Round of auditions, the “Sportscaster Factor” winner will be named that evening, with a weekend show of their own on 101 ESPN to follow in the near future.
WBAP, Dallas’ Hal Jay and Brian Estridge Credited with Saving a Life. A Dallas-area man is saying information he heard about the signs of a stroke while listening to Hal Jay and Brian Estridge on Cumulus Media’s WBAP, Dallas caused him to go the hospital because he believed he was having a stroke. Turns out he was and he may be alive today as a result of that broadcast. Several weeks earlier Hal and Brian did a broadcast from North Hills Hospital where they discussed the signs of a stroke. The man happened to be listening that morning and it very well may have saved his life.
CRN Digital Talk Radio Star Robert Conrad Attends Hollywood Collectibles Show. Television star and CRN Digital Talk Radio personality Robert Conrad appeared at the recent “The Hollywood Show,” film and TV collectibles event at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel. Along with Larry Manetti – co-star of the “Magnum P.I.” series and a fellow talk show host with CRN Digital Talk – Conrad greeted hundreds of fans who waited in line to meet him, get autographs and chat about his career. Conrad says, “I’m very honored and excited to be asked to participate in this show and I’m especially happy to see so many fans who came out to give me a wonderful welcome.”
Schnitt vs Bubba Trial Delayed for One Day After Schnitt’s Attorney Arrested for DUI. It’s a rather bizarre twist in what is a high-profile case in Tampa. The judge in the case granted a one-day delay in the trial after Charles Philip Campbell, Jr. was taken into custody Wednesday evening on suspicion of DUI. He refused to take a blood alcohol test and was released on $500 bond. The trial will resume today as nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is suing Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) for defamation. Schnitt spent most of two days on the witness stand Tuesday and Wednesday. Clem’s attorney tried to score a few public sympathy points telling Fox 13 Tampa, “I’m shocked that the case was continued. I feel horrible for this jury that has been sequestered and pulled from their jobs, their lives and their families.” He told the TV station he didn’t understand why Schnitt’s other attorneys couldn’t handle the case.
KFI, Los Angeles Adds J.R. Martinez for Sunday Evening Program. The “Dancing with the Stars” champ, best-selling author and retired U.S. Army soldier begins his permanent role as host of the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm Sunday program on Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles this Sunday. J.R. Martinez was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and, shortly after arriving, his Humvee hit a roadside bomb that trapped him inside the burning vehicle. He suffered severe burns over 34% of his body and spent 34 months at Brooke Army Medical Center recovering. In October of 2012 he published Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength and Spirit (Hyperion 2012) that became a New York Times best-seller. KFI program director Robin Bertolucci says, “He’s so inspirational and dynamic. He filled in for Bill Carroll during the holidays and I just had to have him join our line up! I’m thrilled he jumped at the opportunity and I’m excited to see what he will do with his own show.” Martinez replaces the David Cruz program. Cruz is concentrating on his four-hour daily program on sister progressive talk station KTLK.
WCNN, Atlanta Goes Local in Late Mornings. Dickey Broadcasting’s sports talker WCNN, Atlanta “Sports Radio 680 The Fan” is adding the new local show “The Front Row” for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart. The show stars Ray Mariner, Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran (pictured here from left to right). Golden and Finneran are also part of the “Rude Awakening” AM drive show (which will be trimmed by an hour to a 9:00 am stop beginning Monday). Mariner was co-host of the morning show on Lincoln Financial Media’s crosstown CHR WSTR “Star 94” until he exited that post back in May of 2012. The show replaces Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick program.
Are You Ready for Some Baseball? Okay, so much of the country is in Super Bowl mode right now, but radio consultant Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS that with so many news/talk stations (as well as sports talk signals) carrying MLB play-by-play in their markets, now’s a good time to begin preparing to take advantage of those expensive rights. Cooke writes about ways to take ownership of the play-by-play beginning during spring training. Once the season starts, use brief promotional slots – like top-of-the-hour IDs – to promote the next game. Check out more on this in Holland Cooke’s Friday piece here.
Boomer Esiason Tackles TV and Radio on Super Bowl Sunday; Dial Global Handles Exclusive Radio Coverage. The NFL’s Super Bowl is usually the biggest TV event of the year but for the millions of Americans who can’t be near a TV, Dial Global’s exclusive radio play-by-play delivers the game. This year, Boomer Esiason and Kevin Harlan will be in the booth calling the game for Dial Global. But Boomer is also a CBS Sports employee (in addition to his AM drive work on WFAN, New York) and he’ll be on CBS TV as part of the pre-game show and the halftime broadcast. After he finishes the pre-game show from the field, he’ll move upstairs to the radio booth to call the game with Harlan. Talk about a busy day for Boomer! Dial Global’s coverage of the event also includes such experienced talent as James Lofton, Mark Malone, Jim Gray and Scott Graham. Joining Jim Gray for pre-game and halftime programming are NFL stars Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald. Hall of Fame defensive back Rod Woodson will also be part of the extended pre-game program.
WFVA, Fredericksburg, Virginia Returns to News/Talk on Monday. After two years as an adult standards-formatted station, Centennial Broadcasting’s WFVA, Fredericksburg returns to airing a news/talk format using largely syndicated talent. The program schedule will include: Cumulus Media Networks’ Don Imus, Mike Huckabee, Mark Levin and Michael Savage as well as Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck. Ten year WFVA veteran Ted Schubel will continue as the station’s news director and will also host a one-hour local program titled, “Town Talk With Ted,” airing weekdays at 8:00 am. The show will introduce listeners to local businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence the Fredericksburg region. Centennial Fredericksburg market manager Tom Hamilton says, “It has been nearly two full years since WFVA changed from a news/talk station to adult standards format. During that time, we have paid attention to what our listeners have said. Overwhelmingly, they told us they wanted news/talk back on WFVA. By providing many of the most-listened-to talk show hosts in the nation, along with community involvement, local news and public affairs programming, we will better serve our listeners, our local businesses and our community.”
KFNX, Phoenix Adds New Syndicated Programming. Genesis Communications Network’s Alex Jones is part of the new lineup at Francis Battaglia-owned KFNX, Phoenix where he airs in the overnight time slot. Also added to the station’s program schedule is Dial Global and Cox Media’s Herman Cain from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Dial Global’s Dennis Miller from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; and Cumulus Media Networks’ Michael Savage who returns to the station to air in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot.
Obama Second Term Agenda Top News/Talk Story During Week of January 21-25. The second term agenda of President Obama as outlined in his Inauguration Day speech was the top story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 this week was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi testimony. At #3 was the battle in Washington over reducing the deficit and at #4 was the North Korea nuclear threat. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America and is based on ongoing research from TALKERS. View this week’s entire chart here.
“Hold Their Feet to the Fire” Washington Radio Row Scheduled for April 17-18. The annual convergence of radio talk show hosts on Washington, DC to raise awareness about the United States’ immigration policies will take place this year on April 17 and 18. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is organizing the radio row at which talk hosts from across the country will broadcast live for two days from Capitol Hill debating immigration reform while interviewing members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists and citizens who live along the border. FAIR says that since the spring of 2007 when “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” successfully helped defeat the McCain-Kennedy Amnesty Bill, the event has grown each year due to mounting public concerns about illegal immigration and talk radio’s expanding influence on the public policy process. The organization also states that with an illegal alien bill likely in spring, this year’s event is expected to be the largest yet with 60 or more hosts attending. FAIR communications director Bob Dane tells TALKERS magazine reservations are required and hosts/producers should call now. There is no cost to attend and all technical engineering, ISDN lines and long distance is included. Silver Lake Audio of New York is the official engineering firm for “Hold Their Feet to the Fire.” Congressional guests, activists, high-profile media personalities, and immigration experts will be in attendance and available throughout the event for wall-to-wall interviews. Dane or event manager Kristen Williamson can be reached at 202-328-7004.
Programmer Gavin Spittle Returns to Dallas as VP of News/Talk/Sports for CBS Radio. Sports and talk programmer Gavin Spittle lets go of the reins at CBS Radio’s sports talk KILT-AM, Houston “SportsRadio 610” to move back to the company’s Dallas cluster to oversee sports talk KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan,” KRLD-AM “NewsRadio 1080” and the Texas State Networks beginning February 4. Three and a half years ago, Spittle left his VP of news and talk post in Dallas where he programmed KRLD-AM and KRLD-FM when it was hot talk “Live 105.3.” Spittle also oversaw the change of the station to sports talk. On returning to Dallas, SVP and market manager Brian Purdy says, “Under Gavin’s leadership, ‘SportsRadio 610’ dominated Houston sports talk. During his time with the station, ratings among Men 25-54 more than doubled. We’re fortunate to have Gavin as part of our CBS Radio family, and we’re looking forward to having him back in Dallas-Fort Worth.”
Talk Radio Network Welcomes Steve Wall as National Affiliate Consultant. Joining TRN Syndications Ltd. is radio pro Steve Wall as national affiliate consultant. TRN notes that Wall is a “veteran with over 30-years of experience including programming some of America’s highest-rated radio stations across multiple formats in many markets including San Diego, Kansas City, Monterey, Bakersfield, Richmond, and Spokane.” Chief executive officer Mark Masters states, “I am pleased to have Steve in our affiliate department. With our recent launch of ‘The Andrea Tantaros Show’ and the new times for ‘The Jerry Doyle Show’ and ‘The Rusty Humphries Show,’ the timing is perfect to expand our affiliate department to better serve our growing affiliate customer base. Steve is a proven radio professional who can help stations realize their true potential with quality programming.”
Schnitt vs Bubba: Day 5. On the fifth day of testimony in the trial in which Compass Media Networks talk show host Todd Schnitt is suing Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) for defamation, Schnitt was on the witness stand for the second day. Schnitt and his lawyers are trying to convince the jury that Bubba’s “radio war” against him (Schnitt’s MJ Kelli CHR morning show competed against Bubba’s program in the Tampa market) went over the line and fans – known as Bubba’s Army – harassed him and his family. During Schnitt’s testimony Wednesday, he said the incidents where a Bubba fan tried to run him off the road or accosted him at a supermarket in front of his daughter made his family more reclusive and it changed their lifestyle. According to Tampa Bay Online, he testified he should be compensated in the suit to prevent Bubba “from ever doing this in the future.” Schnitt also states that Bubba’s accusation Schnitt rigged a national contest negatively affected his professional integrity. Under cross examination Schnitt admitted he and his family do go out but he said he makes limited public appearances because of the harassment. Before the cross examination he stated, “There’s no amount of damages that will compensate me, my wife my family, for what we experienced. But the jury should award damages that will enable us to believe we did all we could possible to clear our good names.”
Chris Baker Exits KSEV, Houston PM Drive Slot. Talk show host Chris Baker is exiting Dan Patrick-owned news/talk station KSEV, Houston where he’s been PM drive host since February of 2011. The station is bringing market pro Edd Hendee back to the airwaves for the morning drive show. Hendee has been out of radio since the untimely death of his son in February of 2010. Taking over the afternoon slot is Mack Machowicz. The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports Baker is not announcing where he may go next but had nothing but good things to say about owner Dan Patrick. “He has been the most gracious and accommodating guy that you could ask to work for. Dan always wants people to better themselves. In this day and age and in this industry, it is rare to have a manager who will always root for peoples’ success.”
Odds & Sods. MSNBC host Martin Bashir has been slowed by a brain tumor diagnosed back in 2008. The Huffington Post reports Bashir missed his regular slot on MSNBC last Friday as the result of a small growth on his pituitary gland. Bashir told DC Fishbowl that when the tumor was diagnosed doctors advised him to take no action but to monitor it monthly…..CNN names Dana Bash chief congressional correspondent. TVNewser reports Bash has been on the Capitol Hill beat since 2006. CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist says in a memo to staff, “Week in and week out, Dana’s reporting and analysis make our air better. And we saw it again yesterday with Dana’s relentless efforts to land interviews in the Capitol Rotunda during our Inauguration coverage.”…..New York Magazine is reporting that Donald Trump is exploring ways to purchase The New York Times. The piece, written by Joe Hagan, notes that “Trump has engaged in more than one meeting to discuss how he might buy the Grey Lady. Details of Trump’s strategy remain scant. And it seems unlikely, to say the least, that the Sulzberger family, which controls the company’s voting shares, would welcome his offer.”
KGMZ, San Francisco Holds Sports Talk Host Contest. Entercom’s 95.7 The Game in San Francisco is executing a sports talk host competition promotion called “Lucky Break 2” – “the return of the Bay Area’s only sports reality competition, where local sports fans compete for the chance of a lifetime: to get paid to host a sports talk show on the radio.” Program director Jason Barrett says, “After seeing the amazing talent and passion that Bay Area sports fans brought to ‘Lucky Break’ last year, we had to bring ‘Lucky Break’ back for 2013. ‘Lucky Break’ is a chance to win one of the best jobs in the world: becoming a sports radio talk show host in a major U.S. market.” ‘Lucky Break 2’ begins with the first open audition on February 5 Halftime Sports Bar in Oakland. It’s being hosted by KGMZ’s Guy Haberman and Gianna Franco and contestants will be coached by Dan Dibley from ‘The Rise Guys’ and Chris Townsend from ‘Bucher & Towny.’ Judges include KGMZ PD Jason Barrett, host John Lund and celebrity athletes from local Bay Area sports teams. Last year’s celebrity judges included Golden State Warriors forward David Lee, San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco 49ers TE Delanie Walker and more. Last year, more than 600 contestants showed up to audition for ‘Lucky Break 1,’ which was eventually won by Daryle “The Guru” Johnson, who can be heard weekends on “95.7 The Game.”
SiriusXM’s Joe Madison to Interview Activist Harry Belafonte. As part of the satcaster’s Town Hall series, talk show host Joe Madison – whose program is also heard on terrestrial station WOL, Washington – will sit down with actor, singer and activist Harry Belafonte at SiriusXM’s New York City studios. Belafonte will also take questions from the audience. The premiere of the program is Friday, January 25 at 5:00 pm ET.
Dick Broadcasting Wins Decision in 12-Year-Old Case. The upshot is that the Tennessee Supreme Court is sending Dick Broadcasting’s suit against John Pirkle’s Oak Ridge FM over WOKI, Knoxville back to a lower court where Dick can sue for damages. (By the way WOKI is currently owned by Cumulus Media.) Here’s the background: In 2000, Dick sold 11 stations to Citadel for $300 million, of which WOKI would have been one. At the time Dick had a time brokerage agreement with WOKI owner Oak Ridge FM to operate WOKI with a clause that gave Dick the right of first refusal to buy the station. Oak Ridge refused to consent to the transfer of the station and honor the transfer. A year later Dick sued Oak Ridge but lost in a lower court but the appellate court ruled the lower court judge should not have dismissed the case. Oak Ridge challenged that at the Tennessee Supreme Court where the six judges ruled unanimously that the appellate court had it right and Dick can sue for damages.
Colorful Broadcaster and Host Blanquita Cullum Returns to Talk Media with New TV Series, “The Hard Question™.” Veteran talk industry figure, Blanquita Cullum (pictured here at the podium) launched ‘The Hard Question™’, her new signature TV series devoted exclusively to the issue of energy in the 21st century, last night (1/23) before a packed audience of well-wishers and reporters at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The videotaping consisted of two back-to-back lively discussions collectively titled “Setting the Course on Energy” that delved into the future of American energy policy with points of view expressed by panels of diverse experts in the field. The pilot programs were aired on June 24 and July 15 of 2012 on KTRK-TV (ABC) in Houston, Texas and won the top spots in their time periods (visit www.thehardquestion.com to view). The network version will be a weekly debate series on MHz Networks hosted by Cullum. MHz Networks reaches over 42 million households nationwide. “The energy industry is going through a renaissance; it is full of hope,” Doug Cain, CEO of Lake Truck Lines, who served on the first panel: “The President’s Agenda – the Future of Traditional Energy versus Alternatives,” expressed in an interview following the panel discussion. In addition to Cain, the panelists included: W. Herbert Hunt, Petro-Hunt; John Hofmeister, former president of Shell and founder of Citizens for Affordable Energy; Kevin Book, Clear View Energy Partners; Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, ACORE; David Martineau, Chairman TIPR and Bruce Vincent, Swift Energy. The second panel addressed the question: “Climate Change – Science or Hype?” Panelists included Leighton Steward, Plants Need CO2; former NASA scientist Harold Doiron; Scott Sklar, The Stella Group; Daniel Weiss of the Center for American Progress; Kevin Book, Clean View Energy Partners and David Kreutzer of the Heritage Foundation. Blanquita Cullum, who was a high-profile, nationally-syndicated, “Heavy Hundred” host in the 1990s and early 2000s, left day-to-day radio to become a presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed governor on the United States Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees all U.S international broadcasting, where she served for a number of years followed by a series of public policy consulting projects. “No issue touches people across the globe like energy, and ‘The Hard Question’ will never shrink from tackling the real-life obstacles of such a life-changing issue,” she tells TALKERS. “Now, as we embark on a new era with the historic re-election of President Obama, the country will set a course on energy that will have critical implications for this planet for decades to come.” Photo by Jamie Cullum.
Cool Job Opportunity. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s “Newsradio WOOD 1300 & 106.9 FM” is looking for its next great News Director. Applicant must have a minimum of three years of experience in a news/talk environment plus be a digital-first (web, mobile, and social media), community-focused leader in covering and reporting local and regional news, traffic and weather. Candidate will also possess excellent communication, leadership, and organizational skills, as well as the ability to coach and lead individuals within our award-winning news operation. Email cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls please. Clear Channel Radio is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Testimony, North Korea’s U.S. Threats, Deficit Reduction Battle, U.S. Military Opens Combat Roles to Women and Manti Te’o Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/23). Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s testimony before Congress on the Benghazi attack; new nuclear threats against the United States by North Korea; the battle in Washington over reduction of the deficit; the opening of combat roles to women in the U.S. military and the Manti Te’o phony girlfriend saga were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Conservative Talk Host Steve Malzberg Begins New Project with Newsmax. Longtime New York City conservative talk host Steve Malzberg – he’s worked at WABC and WOR – is joining the talk media initiative of Newsmax, the Florida-based conservative news and opinion outlet. Malzberg is doing an afternoon drive program (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET) that will air online in both audio and video formats and for which Newsmax will seek terrestrial radio affiliates. Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy states, “When I first heard Steve Malzberg on WABC he was an innovator in bridging radio content with other media. He developed that talent further at WOR with ratings success and I think he will bring the same type of innovation and success to Newsmax TV.” The program will emanate from Newsmax’s New York City offices and begin on February 4.
Schnitt Versus Bubba: Day 4. The defamation case Compass Media Networks talk show host Todd Schnitt filed against Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) was back in session Tuesday after a break for the Monday holiday. Plaintiff Schnitt took the stand (as did Bubba producer Brent Hatley) and told the jury how his life and career changed after Bubba returned to the air in Tampa in 2008 and the morning show battle began. In order to win the case, Schnitt must convince the jury that he suffered damages and that’s what he tried to do on the stand yesterday as he painted a picture of feeling harassed both via email and telephone and in person through physical confrontations with the “Bubba Army” as Todd Clem’s radio fans are called. WTSP, Tampa reports that when asked if his reputation had been harmed, Schnitt replied, “Yeah, I consider myself, still, a broadcaster in good standing. But um… not as good as it used to be.” That Schnitt and his wife were affected by the battle being waged by Bubba is pretty clear. The goal for Schnitt’s attorney is to get the jury to believe that Bubba the Love Sponge was responsible for their pain and suffering.
WTOP’s Jim Farley to Retire. He’s not going anywhere right away but WTOP, Washington vice president of news and programming Jim Farley announces he’ll work full time through 2013 and step down into a consultant role with Hubbard and WTOP after that. In his official announcement, he says he’ll remain dedicated to the brand. “I bleed WTOP blood and am deeply invested in our continued success. I plan to stay involved until I start to drool conspicuously. I’ll be a proactive resource for Joel Oxley, Laurie Cantillo, WTOP, and Hubbard, and I will visit often. I have so many good friends in this building and spent the best part of my long career here. On to the next chapter, but not until 2014.”
Sports Talk Host Paul Finebaum Begins Sitting Out a 90-Day Non-Compete. Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum has exited Cumulus’ WJOX, Birmingham and, according to the Birmingham Business Journal, his representatives say he will not entertain any media offers until the 90-day window has closed. Finebaum had been in a legal battle with Cumulus earlier this year but after numerous back-and-forths in court ended up working to the end of his deal with the company. That deal ended Monday. The smart money is on Finebaum landing at Cox Media’s crosstown WZNN but Finebaum’s camp is saying nothing until the 90-day period is over. (WZNN is one of a number of signals that Cox Media has put up for sale.) The paper also reports that Cumulus does have the right to match any offer Finebaum receives within the 90-day period but after that, Finebaum’s a free agent.
CBS Radio to Flip WNEW-AM, Washington to Sports Talk. For four months, CBS Radio aired “1580 Gov.Biz Radio” on WNEW-AM, Morningside, Maryland in the Washington, DC metro in hopes of competing with Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFED “Federal News Radio.” Now TALKERS learns that CBS will flip the AM signal to sports talk using the national programming from CBS Sports Radio Network. The station will also apply for the WJFK-AM call letters to match up with sister DC sports talker WJFK-FM.
Clear Channel Gives WLW, Cincinnati an FM Presence. It’s not a big presence – 99 watts on the translator W233BG at 94.5 – but according to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter, the signal reaches most potential listeners within the market’s I-275 loop. Clear Channel bought the translator from Northern Kentucky University and then moved the city of license from Port Union, Ohio to Cincinnati. Kiesewetter reports there’s been no comment from Clear Channel about why the need for an FM presence for “The Big One,” but speculates getting the market dominating talk station on FM where more people are listening is what local management wants in the long run. Another thing to consider is smart phones with radio receivers get FM, not AM.
KHRO, El Paso Talk Host Hector H. Lopez to run for Mayor. KHRO, El Paso afternoon drive host Hector H. Lopez has filed papers to run for mayor of El Paso. The election is May 11 and at this time there’s no indication when Lopez will step down from his radio show.
The VP Meets the Governor. New Townsquare Media regional vice president Greg Janoff (second from right) meets New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (second from left) on Tuesday, January 22 before he goes on the air on WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” for his monthly “Ask the Governor” program. Pictured here with the governor and Janoff are “Ask the Governor” host Eric Scott (right) and New Jersey 101.5 brand manager Eric Johnson (left).
Obama’s Second Term Agenda, Israel Parliamentary Election, Benghazi Attack Testimony, and Gallup American Optimism Poll Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/22). The agenda for President Obama’s second term as outlined in his Inauguration speech; the parliamentary elections in Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu’s likelihood to remain as prime minister; the pending testimony from Hillary Clinton on the Benghazi attack; and the Gallup poll that concludes American optimism is at its lowest point since the Carter Administration were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
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.
Dr. Joy Browne Joins Radio America. The longtime WOR Radio Network syndicated talk star signs with Radio America for national distribution of her radio program. Dr. Joy Browne – a licensed clinical psychologist – had been a staple of WOR, New York and the associated network for more than 15 years. Now, she makes her debut in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot on the Radio America network on Monday, January 21. Browne states, “What a great way to start the New Year, surrounded by loyal affiliates, being discovered by a whole new audience and working with the terrific group at Radio America. Yay!” Radio America CEO Mike Paradiso says, “We are very excited about working with Dr. Joy. Talk radio listeners are hungry for engaging programming that covers relevant issues outside of politics and Dr. Joy is a perfect fit. She will be a great addition to our existing lineup.”
Day One of Testimony in the Bubba the Love Sponge –Todd Schnitt Case. Nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt (a former CHR morning show host in Tampa) is suing Bubba the Love Sponge (a.k.a Todd Clem) for defamation and day one of that trial got underway in a Hillsborough County, Florida court room yesterday. Clem spent about six hours on the stand answering questions from Schnitt’s attorney. He defended his use of the word “whore” in describing Schnitt’s wife Michelle, implying his listeners did not really think she’s a prostitute because he used the word. Schnitt’s lawyer is going to try to paint a picture of a battle in which Clem went overboard, causing the Schnitts and their kids to fear for their safety as the result of attacks from the “Bubba Army.” It’s difficult to predict how a jury is going to respond to the evidence but the key for Schnitt appears to be convincing them Clem went too far in encouraging the kind of behavior that caused the Schnitts’ house to be egged and to have ice cream thrown at their car. Case law would indicate Schnitt and his wife are public figures and even Clem’s use of the word “whore” to describe Michelle Schnitt is protected speech. Proving actual damages in this case might be difficult and it will be Schnitt’s lawyer’s job to convince the jury the Schnitts were truly in fear and thus, suffered psychological damage as a result of Clem’s behavior. There are more than 150 potential witnesses and the case could go on for another three weeks.
KLAA, Anaheim Names Bob Agnew Program Director. Sports talk programming pro Bob Agnew takes the PD post at Arte Moreno-controlled KLAA, Anaheim – the flagship station for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Agnew spent years programming KNBR, San Francisco and building it into one of the nation’s most successful sports talk outlets. KLAA general manager David Baronfeld says of Agnew, “If there were a Mt. Rushmore for sports radio programmers, Bob would be one of the faces you’d see. His impact in creating the most successful sports radio station on the West Coast is undeniable and having him join KLAA is truly exciting.” Of his new gig, Agnew says, “This is a great opportunity to continue to grow and develop AM 830 KLAA into one of Southern California’s premier sports radio stations. There has been a tremendous growth of sports programming across the county and I am excited to put my experience and expertise to work with the KLAA staff. I look forward to working alongside Roger Lodge, Travis Rogers and the rest of the very dedicated staff.”
Fox Sports Radio Network Announces Super Bowl XLVII Coverage. As the sports world prepares for the Super Bowl, Fox Sports Radio Network announces its broadcast plans for the week leading up to the game. For the 13th straight year, FSRN will be producing talk shows live from radio row, this year at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, with Andy Furman, Artrell Hawkins, Steve Hartman, Pat O’Brien, Matt “Money” Smith and Petros Papadakis leading the coverage. Fox Sports Radio reports that “as part of the week-long broadcast, ‘Jay Mohr Sports’ will host the first-ever virtual experience from radio row at the Super Bowl. Utilizing video conferencing technology, Mohr will transport his show to New Orleans each day via a 46” big screen TV, enabling him to chat with athletes, celebrities and guests in real-time as they come face-to-face with his life-size image atop the official Fox Sports Radio stage.”
Howard Stern Producer Gary Dell’Abate’s HIV/AIDS Prevention Work Includes New Initiative. The man most know as Baba Booey – Howard Stern producer Gary Dell’Abate – also serves as president of the nonprofit organization Lifebeat whose goal is to use the music industry to reach young people with messages of HIV/AIDS prevention. Dell’Abate got involved with LifeBeat after his brother died of AIDS. Lifebeat: Music Fights HIV/AIDS and the MTV Staying Alive Foundation are hosting a celebration today for The Arches of Hope interactive art installation. The event takes place at The Out NYC Hotel. The art installation was conceived and created by Patrick Duffy, creative director of the gay-oriented hotel. The Advocate reports that today through January 24, Lifebeat is asking people from around the country to participate in the campaign by tweeting messages that recognize the installation’s message of hope for an HIV-free generation with the hashtag #ArchesofHope. Messages will then be beamed to jumbo screens in Times Square and displayed via digital ticker tape embedded in the installation, and then shared across 12 major social media sites. Dell’Abate says, “We are also encouraging the public to sign a petition calling on President Obama and Congress to designate April 10 as National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day.”
SiriusXM Sports Talk Host Adam Schein Offends “Snooki.” “Jersey Shore” star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi was visiting the SiriusXM studios to promote her new TV show when sports talk host Adam Schein walked past her in the hallway. Schein tweeted that after the encounter, he “needed a shower.” The Tweet was quickly found by Polizzi and the followers of the two engaged in a Twitter war. According to Breitbart.com Polizzi complained to SiriusXM management and is “trying to get Schein fired” for the Tweet. This is one of those special moments that cause all of us at TALKERS to reflect on the beauty and value of social media.
Obama Signs Gun Controls, Americans Taken Hostage in Algeria-Mali Violence, Notre Dame Star Hoax, and Boeing 787 Fleet Grounded Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/16). President Obama signs gun controls, and asks Congress to do more; American’s taken hostage in Algeria in response to French involvement in Mali; Notre Dame star Manti Te’o’s involvement in a death hoax; and Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner is grounded after numerous battery fires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Randy Michaels Speaks About Tribune Company in Newspaper Piece. Sam Zell declined to be interviewed for a four-part series in the Chicago Tribune about the parent company’s financial and legal odyssey but former Tribune CEO and radio executive Randy Michaels did contribute to the story. The piece charges that both Zell and Michaels never really understood the business (newspaper) or the culture of the place they were trying to save. But Michaels tells the Tribune he believed he had to get the newspaper’s staff to move quickly adapting to the digital age or it would be too late. Michaels says, “I cared a lot about that company, and while I recognize that there’s plenty that people might disagree with, I worked hard to keep those brands relevant in a changing world. We thought that by knocking down some of the walls, by bringing in a looser culture and getting rid of all the bureaucracy, that we had a chance to outperform. I thought it was my role to challenge everything.” The piece cites the reluctance among the Tribune staffers to accept the forced change in culture and highlights some of the resentment felt when Michaels’ former radio colleagues were brought into executive positions.
Programmer Kevin Metheny Named WJR, Detroit PD. Programming pro Kevin Metheny is the new program director at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR, Detroit. Metheny had been interim program director at Clear Channel’s country KMNB, Minneapolis “Buz’n 102.9” after leaving WGN, Chicago in November of 2010. Prior to his stint at WGN, Metheny was operations manager a Clear Channel’s Cleveland cluster. Metheny states, “I’ve long admired WJR from 90 miles across Lake Erie where I put 760 on a button the day I landed in Cleveland. ‘The Great Voice of The Great Lakes’ is a gold standard collection of impossible-to-duplicate treasures and I’m thrilled to join the Cumulus team.” Cumulus news/talk/sports corporate programmer Jim Mahanay adds, “Kevin brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the spoken-word format to the legendary WJR. We are excited to have him on the team!”
Talk Radio Network Unveils Seven New Weekend Programs. In what Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters calls a focus “on helping our affiliated stations make more money,” the company launches seven new programs this weekend, beginning with “Making America Laugh with Louie Anderson.” The comic brings “his brand of humor and warmth to the radio airwaves – covering topical news, taking listener calls, and riffing with comedic and celebrity guests.” Other programs lifting off this weekend include: “Nutzz & Knight Radio” hosted by Gordon “Lug Nutzz” Stewart and actor Christopher Knight (Peter Brady from “The Brady Bunch”). TRN calls it “a hysterical, fast-paced, and irreverent action/motorsports lifestyle and entertainment radio program, featuring interviews with personalities from NASCAR, the NHRA, and IndyCar to action sports athletes, musicians, and the entertainment industry.” “All Action Sports Radio” is dedicated to complete coverage of the action sports industry – surfing, skateboarding, BMX, Motocross, skiing, snowboarding, and more. “The Brian Oxman Show” features the former high-profile attorney for Michael Jackson and the Jackson family. “Blueprint of a Champion Radio Show” is a proprietary goal-setting and success program for student athletes brought to life through radio hosted by Neil Mason, a standout college athlete, Olympic coach and successful entrepreneur. “The Anthony Vultaggio Show” is a general issues talk program. “The Hibbard Show” is hosted by husband and wife team, Dave and Marhnelle Hibbard and is geared toward helping people in both their professional lives and in their personal lives.
Scott Sands to Program WSPD, Toledo. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces programmer Scott Sands will take over the program director role at news/talk WSPD, Toledo and sister rock outlet WIOT. Sands most recently was involved in launching CHR WWHX, Bloomington, Illinois with Vallie/Richards/Donovan. He also partnered with Vallie/Richards/Donovan to launch and program Main Line Broadcasting’s modern rock WCLI, Dayton “Click 101.5.” Until earlier in the fall, Brian Wilson had been serving as program director and afternoon drive host.
Cox Media Settles with Todd Schnitt; Jury Seated in Complaint Against Bubba the Love Sponge. The Tampa Bay Times reports that the defamation suit by talk show host Todd Schnitt against long-time Tampa market rival Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) continues as a jury was seated yesterday morning. However, Schnitt’s suit against Cox Media (Clem’s employer) has been settled. The paper reports that Cox Media and Schnitt reached a settlement on Friday, the terms of which were not disclosed. Cox Media Tampa market manager Keith Lawless is quoted telling the Times, “(The settlement) was a business decision, but in no way reflects that we are not in support of Bubba. It’s not such a bad thing that all our focus is now on defending Bubba.” Meanwhile, a jury of six with four alternates has been seated in Schnitt’s suit against Clem but not without some drama as the Times reports both sides initially agreed to the make-up of the jury, then Schnitt’s lawyers asked to reconsider. Immediately Clem’s attorneys asked for a mistrial but the judge declared the jury selection final and swore in the jurors.
Odds & Sods. With Compass Media Networks talk host Todd Schnitt tied up in court in his suit against Bubba the Love Sponge, he’ll be missing some time on the radio. KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive host Pat Campbell is subbing for Schnitt on his 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET program on Thursday, January 17…..Former WTKK, Boston talk host Michael Graham fills in for crosstown WRKO afternoon drive host Howie Carr on Thursday…..The big Oprah Winfrey interview with Lance Armstrong will air on Winfrey’s OWN cable channel on Thursday evening but SiriusXM will get the first crack at distributing the audio of the interview on Friday on its Oprah Channel…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington is hosting a special “Ask The Doctor” program featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, today at 10:00 am to help listeners learn more about the flu. The hour-long Q&A session will answer a number of concerns related to this year’s harsh flu season and more with WTOP mid-day anchors Mark Lewis and Debbie Feinstein hosting and taking calls from listeners…..Michael Patrick Shiels, host of “Michigan’s Big Show,” will broadcast his syndicated morning show live from Monte Carlo, in the principality of Monaco, on Friday, January 25. The special, international broadcast will originate from the historic Hotel de Paris next to the famed Casino de Monte-Carlo and guests on the program will include: actor Roger Moore, singer Shirley Bassey, residents of Monaco, as well as a representative of Monaco’s Royal Family.
Dial Global Sports Distributes NFL Conference Championships. The NFL’s conference championship weekend takes place on Sunday and Dial Global Sports brings affiliate stations exclusive radio play-by-play of the San Francsico 49ers vs Atlanta Falcons matchup and the Baltimore Ravens vs New England Patriots game. The NFC Championship game is being called by Dave Sims alongside Hall of Famer James Lofton as analyst and Tony Boselli on the sidelines. The AFC Championship game is being announced by Kevin Harlan with the play-by-play, Hall of Famer Dan Fouts as analyst and Mark Malone on the sidelines.
WGN, Chicago and NHL’s Blackhawks Agree to Five More Years. Now that NHL hockey is set to return, Tribune’s WGN, Chicago and the Chicago Blackhawks have announced they will extend their deal for the station to be the exclusive market radio home of the team’s play-by-play broadcasts. The new, five-year deal will keep WGN as the team’s flagship station through the 2018-19 NHL season. WGN Radio DOS and interim general manager Jeff Hill says, “We are proud to extend our relationship with the Blackhawks and bring the excitement of hockey play-by-play to our listeners. The fast pace of the broadcasts provide an incomparable energy and we look forward to delivering the best hockey broadcasts for the next six years.”
Debt Ceiling Debate, Gun Legislation Proposals, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Controversy, ObamaCare Costs, and Lance Armstrong ‘Oprah’ Interview Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/15). The battle between the Obama Administration and Congress over raising the debt ceiling; threats by the president to use executive powers to write new gun legislation; the controversy over the movie “Zero Dark Thirty”; the costs brought about by the Affordable Care Act; and Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Gow Communications to Pay $5.17 Million for KFNC, Houston. The sale of sports talk outlet KFNC, Houston to Gow and Educational Media Foundation that was announced in the spring is coming close to the finish line as David Gow and company should begin LMAing the station Cumulus put into bankruptcy protection as early as September 1. The station – positioned as ESPN 97.7 – is expected to continue to broadcast ESPN programming at least for a while. Gow also operates crosstown sports talk KGOW and Yahoo! Sports Radio and there have been some changes there with Travis Rodgers moving to the early afternoon slot on both KGOW and the national network. KGOW is preparing to debut Adam Clanton and John Wessling in the afternoon drive slot, according to David Barron of the Houston Chronicle. Clanton currently works for KPRC-TV but will wrap up his role with the station this weekend. As for the Yahoo! Sports Radio network, a new PM drive show is being developed and will be announced soon. The network’s Craig Shemon returns to weekends from the midday slot.
Heidi and Frank Return to the Terrestrial Airwaves in Los Angeles. Cumulus Media names Heidi Hamilton and Frank Kramer the new morning show on KLOS, Los Angeles, taking over for Mark & Brian beginning September 4. Brian Phelps surprised the industry last week announcing he would also be leaving the Cumulus classic rocker at the same time Mark Thompson would, although Thompson made his decision to retire public earlier this summer. Cumulus COO John Dickey told TALKERS over the weekend that Brian Phelps was “part of a large consideration pool” of candidates for the new morning program. In announcing “The Heidi and Frank Show,” Dickey states, “After a long and thoughtful search which overwhelmed us with great, established talent and new talent waiting to be discovered both in and out of radio, I couldn’t be more pleased with the selection of ‘The Heidi and Frank Show’ to continue on the tradition that Mark and Brian set in place with 25 years of Hall of Fame radio.” Hamilton and Kramer have been producing an internet radio show since CBS Radio shut down hot talk KLSX, Los Angeles in a format flip. The Frosty, Heidi and Frank program (with Frosty Stillwell) aired there successfully for years. They also worked at KABC after the demise of KLSX. Prior to the KLSX era Hamilton and Kramer hosted the morning show at crosstown Hot AC KYSR. On the new gig, Heidi Hamilton states, “KLOS is rock. KLOS is the definitive iconic rock radio station in the world. It’s one of those stations that evokes a feel good emotion while you’re driving in your car. I’m beyond honored that Frank Kramer and I have been invited to become a part of something so legendary! The ‘Heidi and Frank Show’ fans are second to NONE and I know they will be with us on this long fun ride together.” Frank Kramer comments, “If it would have been any other station than KLOS, I would have said no. We have a huge following across the world and only a station as large and iconic as KLOS could lure us back to radio. To be given this opportunity is an honor and a privilege. With the continued support from my partner, Heidi Hamilton, and the fans that never left us, and the fans waiting for us to return, the next 25 years are going to be one hell of a ride.”
The Battle for Control over Sirius XM Continues and the Momentum Seems to be Shifting in Favor of John Malone’s Liberty Media. Yes, what seemed like an odd story just a matter of months ago has developed into a high stakes big business drama. John Malone and Liberty Media, the company that rescued the merged satellite radio company from burning up in the atmosphere back in 2009 by gobbling up 40% ownership at what has turned out to be a super good deal for them has asked the FCC for approval to take outright control of Sirius XM Radio, noting it plans to raise its stake in the satellite radio company above 50%. The request follows disclosure earlier this week that Liberty, SiriusXM’s largest shareholder, was inching up its collection of shares in Sirius from approximately 46.2% to an aggressively postured 48%. In last week’s filing, Liberty said it will “have purchased sufficient shares of Sirius’s common stock and will convert its preferred shares such that the transfer of control will be completed within 60 days of commission consent.” Raising its stake above 50% and being granted FCC approval to take absolute control opens the way for Liberty to replace Sirius management and spin its Sirius stake off to Liberty shareholders. But would replacing Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin be a wise move? Probably not. Although coldly brash and hard-nosed as they come, Karmazin is an extremely effective radio broadcast executive and business strategist who has done a world class job of getting Sirius XM to its present state of health. Reports from inside Liberty indicate that John Malone recognizes that and is giving “Mel” wiggle room to back pedal off his earlier blurts that he wouldn’t work for anyone else. There is a huge lesson here for wannabe broadcast industry moguls (and there sure are a lot of them out there): When you turn to venture capitalists and outside big money investors to save your ass, they will likely wind up owning it.
In Search of the Effective Commercial. There’s a trend away from humorous commercials in radio, according to H-and-H Communications president Al Herskovitz. Research indicates Madison Avenue is questioning the effectiveness of funny ads and, as it applies to talk radio advertising, Herskovitz writes that the “recognizable spokesperson” – read, the talk show host – is much more effective. But there are still problems there that need to be solved. Read Al Herskovitz’s piece here.
Courtside Entertainment’s “Loveline” Clears Tampa Market. Cox Media’s FM hot talker WHPT, Tampa – The Bone – adds Courtside Entertainment Group’s “Loveline” featuring Dr. Drew Pinsky, Mike Catherwood and Simone Bienne for the 1:00 am to 3:00 am slot. “Loveline” becomes part of Cox’s young male-targeted talk outlet that features Bubba the Love Sponge in morning drive and Cowhead in PM drive.
Odds & Sods. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington hosts a special “school” edition of its “Ask the…” program today at 10:00 am. Mark Seagraves serves as moderator for the commercial-free hour featuring a Q&A session with superintendents and school board officials from Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Fairfax County and the District of Columbia…..Entercom’s New England sports talk juggernaut WEEI produces the 11th Annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon beginning today and running through tomorrow. The fundraising extravaganza takes place live from Fenway Park from 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight both days. Last year the event raised more than $3.3 million for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute…..Nationally syndicated radio host Phil Grande of the “Phil’s Gang” program will broadcast his show live from the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week with broadcasts starting at 3:00 pm ET. Grande will have special guests Donald Trump, Florida Governor Rick Scott and Sarasota Republican Chairman Joe Gruters plus many other guests. In addition, he will have up to the minute news, updates and of course his own commentary. The 2012 Republican National Convention is being held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum August 27-30, 2012.
CBS Radio News Announces Convention Coverage. Dial Global and CBS Radio News will deliver coverage from the two national conventions – the Republican National Convention in Tampa August 27 through 30 and the Democratic National Convention September 4 through 6. Coverage plans include anchored coverage, updates, special reports, special features, and one-on-one interviews with correspondents, pundits and political experts. CBS Radio News states it will “provide expert reporting and analysis, featuring an experienced lineup of respected and award-winning correspondents and commentators, including Howard Arenstein, Pam Coulter, Peter King, Dan Raviv, Peter Maer, Andrew Mollenbeck, Brian Montopoli and Professors Dotty Lynch and Leonard Steinhorn.
Los Angeles Radio Personality Paul Crosswhite Passes Away. Southern California newsman and DJ Paul Crosswhite died on August 17 after a long illness. Crosswhite served as a news person at both KFI and KNX-FM during his career. He also was an evening and morning drive host at KTWV, Los Angeles – The Wave – for 10 years. According to LARadio.com’s Don Barrett, “Crosswhite did news during most of his tenure in Southern California radio and has received Golden Mike Awards for documentary, feature and best newscast. He did news during the glory years of KNX-FM. During the Gulf War, he won the Associated Press Award for best newscast. When he moved to “the Wave,” he gave up news to become a DJ, originally in the evenings and, later, mornings after the female morning drive team collapsed.”
Romney-Ryan Team, Obama Medicare Cuts, Facebook Stock Plummets and Syria Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20). The Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket hitting the campaign trail full-swing; President Obama’s cuts to Medicare; the sagging stock price of Facebook; and the ongoing violence in Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Salem Builds Up the Morning Show at KRLA and KTIE in Southern California. Las Vegas-native Heidi Harris has been hosting the morning drive show on Salem Communications’ KRLA, Los Angeles and sister KTIE, Riverside/San Bernardino (positioned as 870 The Answer and 590 The Answer, respectively) since late April. Now, the company brings Brian Whitman and Ben Shapiro aboard to build a morning team. Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce states, “We’re committed to providing L.A.’s morning commuters with a show that informs, entertains and makes them want to stay in the car once they get into the parking lot at work. We think that Heidi, Brian and Ben create a unique mix for L.A. that will do just that.” Brian Whitman is a 15-year Los Angeles resident who worked at CBS Radio’s KLSX-FM when it was a hot talk outlet. Ben Shapiro is an L.A. native, editor-at-large for Breitbart News and a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School. Boyce says, “Creating an on-air radio team is tricky, but these guys all developed chemistry and camaraderie instantly. You would think they had been on the air for years together. Heidi continues to drive the bus on the air, and the guys seem to bring out the best of her many talents.” KRLA/KTIE program director Chuck Tyler says, “When we threw these three people together we honestly weren’t sure what would happen, but we knew that each of them brought a unique and important element to the mix. After hearing a week of shows we realized that something very special was coming out of the speakers.”
George Plaster Returns to Nashville Sports Radio July 23. Nashville sports talk personality George Plaster and co-host Willy Daunic left WGFX, Nashville when Cumulus Media closed on the Citadel purchase back in September of 2011. Since then, the Tennessee sports talker has been off the radio due to a non-compete. Daunic joined Cromwell Group’s crosstown sports talk outlet WPRT in November of 2011. Now, the stage is set for Plaster (pictured here with Cromwell Group market manager Tincy Crouse) to rejoin co-host Daunic on the PM drive show on July 23. A report in The Tennessean says the program is headed for regional syndication as “Sports Night on The Game Radio Network,” although affiliates are not being announced just yet. Station manager Jeff Kolb tells the paper, “George has been the biggest radio sports personality in this market for 20 or so years and carries a huge fan base. We started this station last year by getting ESPN Radio (as the national network affiliate) and the Predators broadcasts, and then we added the Nashville Sounds. George is a staple of Nashville sports talk radio, so adding him is huge.”
Why Not Just Say, “Don’t Listen?” Consultant Holland Cooke cringes at amateur mistakes made by talk hosts bemoaning working during a holiday week. Are you (or your staff) making those same mistakes? Plus, a new study sheds some light on the public’s sentiments about civility in American political discourse (or lack thereof). Read Holland’s entire piece here.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Genesis Communications sports talk WHOO, Orlando adds Central Florida News 13 sports anchor and reporter David Baumann to host the daily 9:00 am to 11:00 am show…..Grantland.com features another of its “oral histories,” this time writers Alex French and Howie Kahn write an oral history of sports talk pioneering station WFAN, New York. Grantland.com is a sports and pop culture website founded by ESPN.com writer Bill Simmons…..In response to the recent weather-related power outages, WTOP, Washington is hosting an “Ask the Utility Execs” live Q&A hosted by WTOP investigative reporter Mark Seagraves today at 10:00 am and will include reps from Pepco, BG&E, SMECO, NOVEC, Potomac Edison and Rappahannock….. WXKS, Boston morning drive talk host Jeff Katz is pictured here speaking at a Greater Boston Tea Party rally at Christopher Columbus Park at Boston Harbor to encourage the repeal of President Obama’s Affordable Care law…..Tampa-based Bubba the Love Sponge calls on his Bubba Army for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the beating of a 17-year-old in Land O’ Lakes, Florida on July 2 that sent him to the emergency room with multiple injuries. Bubba is offering a $500 reward for information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of those involved…..Talk show host and candidate for Congress in Georgia’s 9th District, Martha Zoller, picked up some momentum in her bid for the seat as she won the Fannin County Tea Party Patriots’ Primary Preference Poll this weekend and earned the endorsement of the American Conservative Union PAC (ACU-PAC).
On a Pilgrimage. KARN-FM, Little Rock program director and PM drive host Dave Elswick (c) is pictured here with his wife Lynda (r) and Cumulus Media Networks talk host and Fox News Channel personality Governor Mike Huckabee (l) during a visit to a production of Huckabee’s FNC program. Elswick tells TALKERS he was in New York City with 50 listeners on his “Dave Elswick Patriot Tour 2012” and the group landed tickets to the taping.
ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic Raises $1 Million for V Foundation. The 12th annual ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic was held at the Industry Hills Golf Club in Industry Hills, California as part of the V Foundation events that happen in conjunction with the 2012 ESPYS which air tonight on ESPN. The golf outing helped raise $1 million for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. Pictured here are (from l-r): ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, ESPN executive chairman George Bodenheimer, ESPN’s Mike Golic, Olympic Skiing Gold Medalist Lindsey Vonn, actor Joe Mantegna and ESPN’s Stuart Scott.
House to Take Up ObamaCare Repeal, Bush Tax Cuts Repeal for Wealthy, 2012 Presidential Race, and Russia-Syria Connection Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/10). The U.S. House plans to vote on repeal of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; the response to the president’s plan to repeal the Bush tax cuts for Americans making more than $250,000; the 2012 presidential campaign; and Russia’s sending of warships to aid Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
10 Things You Need to Know About Live Endorsements. The live endorsement is one of the most powerful advertising vehicles talk radio has to offer. But KTRH, Houston talk show host and TALKERS Heavy Hundred member Michael Berry writes that advertisers and sales personnel too often force the talent into making mistakes that undermine its effectiveness. For starters, Berry says that forcing the talent to work with a script takes away from his or her ability to put the message in unique terms. The best way is to have the talent use the good or service and like it. “We can sell what we like because then it’s not ‘selling.’ It’s simply sharing what we like, and it’s what we do. Make sure your endorser understands you, the individual who owns the business.” Read Michael Berry’s 10 points about live endorsements here.
WYD Media Management Announces Formation of Sister Firm for Affiliate Sales and Marketing. WYD Media founder Ron Hartenbaum states the formation of WYM Media Management LLC will serve the purpose of handling the affiliate marketing strategies for its planned expansion of new talk programming. “WYM is a natural expansion of the business. WYD manages and produces programming, while WYM will focus on multiple platform distribution of that product.” Industry pro Liz Laud joins the company as the first affiliate sales and marketing associate. Hartenbaum says, “Liz is an accomplished industry veteran whose track record from Westwood One, Jones Radio and Dial Global speaks for itself. We are absolutely ecstatic with Liz on the team as WYM’s first affiliate sales & marketing associate.” WYD Media Management has been a key figure in the growth of talk shows such as the “The Stephanie Miller Show,” “The Thom Hartmann Program” and “The Michael Smerconish Show.” Ron Hartenbaum has also worked with numerous highly successful talk talent including Rush Limbaugh, Dennis Prager, Neal Boortz, Mike Malloy, Clark Howard, Mike Gallagher, and “Ring of Fire” with Sam Seder, Mike Papantonio and Robert Kennedy Jr. WYM Media will be based in New York and Los Angeles and is expected to announce new programming shortly. Liz Laud says, “This is a wonderful opportunity to participate in new, fun, informative, and entertaining long form programming and to participate in the growth of WYD as a key player in national radio programming.” She can be contacted at Lizlaud@mac.com or 310-625-9753.
Former San Diego Sports Talk Host Scott Kaplan Joins U-T San Diego TV Initiative. The San Diego newspaper U-T San Diego – formerly known as the Union-Tribune – is developing TV programming for cable and the web and one of its first efforts is a roundtable program designed to discuss San Diego topics. Scott Kaplan (pictured here at left), who most recently worked hosting the AM drive sports talk show at XEPRS, San Diego, is part of the cast alongside Amber Mesker (c) and Billy Ray Smith (r). U-T San Diego CEO John Lynch is quoted in the U-T saying, “We’re going to be, every moment of the day, talking about San Diego. We realize that we have a very valuable asset and that is unique, exclusive content that is hyper-local and all about San Diego — from sports to business to the news.” U-T San Diego was purchased by hotelier Doug Manchester in November of 2011 and so far has spent $3 million constructing a professional studio and hiring about a dozen of the 50 people it will need to operate the station.
Mike Scott Named OM/PD at WCAR, Detroit. Mike Scott previously served as assistant program director and midday host at CBS Radio‘s country WYCD-FM, Detroit. He recently left the market to take the programmer’s post at KZKX-FM, Lincoln, Nebraska but exited that position after just four months. Now, he returns to the Motor City market as operations manager and program director of Birach Broadcasting‘s sports talk WCAR, Livonia, Michigan.
Comrex Corporation’s STAC VIP Gains Skype Certification; Paves Way for Hi-Fi Skype Calls on Talk Radio. The engineers at Comrex Corporation are celebrating the fact that their Comrex STAC VIP VoIP Call Management Systems has passed qualification by Skype to allow it to process Skype calls alongside all other calls for radio call-in shows. This certification means the STAC VIP meets the guidelines to be called “Plugged into Skype” and can carry the Skype logo. What it means to radio talk shows is the ability to have one unit that processes calls from numerous formats – including Legacy POTS, ISDN, VoIP, IP-based PBX systems and now Skype – into the call screener and control unit and onto the radio. Skype provides “studio quality” sound for users. Comrex technical director Tom Hartnett states, “Skype support was an important factor in development of the VIP product. Skype, by its nature, carries very high-fidelity audio when being used between Skype clients. Skype support means stations that use STAC-VIP for their call-ins can take wideband calls from anyone who has Skype installed on their PC or smartphone.”
Talk Radio Legend Barry Farber Featured on TALKERS TV. Pioneering talk radio host Barry Farber – currently heard in national syndication via Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk – was honored at the recent New York City edition of the TALKERS New Media Seminar on Thursday, June 7 with a “Lifetime Achievement Award.” During the event, Farber found time to sit down in front of the Talkers camera and speak about his craft and his career. View the video in the TALKERS TV box on this page.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Independently syndicated talk show host Leslie Marshall is named one of the Top 50 Fabulous Women by Pasadena, California’s THE Magazine. The publication recognizes Marshall for her charity work to build schools and provide education, especially for girls in Islamic countries such as Pakistan, through various charities such as “Shine For Humanity.” She was also recognized for using her talk show to bring people together on issues and to raise awareness of human suffering worldwide in order to change it…..KNX, Los Angeles continues its Business Breakfast series with a June 22 event dedicated to creating a winning culture in the workplace. “KNX Business Hour” host Frank Motek moderates a discussion that includes: Chester Elton, co-author of the New York Times bestseller All In; G.J. Hart, the chief executive officer and president of California Pizza Kitchen; Jodi Walker, president of Success Alliances; and Yvonne Trupiano, director of talent acquisitions at Avis Budget Group…..Michigan-based talk host Michael Patrick Shiels broadcasts his morning drive radio and TV show (heard on WDTW, Detroit; WTKG, Grand Rapids; and seen on Fox 47 TV in Lansing) from Kennebunkport, Maine today, the day after former President George H.W. Bush‘s 88th birthday party. Shiels will interview Bush family and friends at the Cape Arundel Golf Club where the former president’s charity is holding a golf outing…..Tampa-based talk host Bubba the Love Sponge‘s charitable foundation is assisting local mother Christine Dean in paying for her trip to Los Angeles this summer to take part in a fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s Children’s Cancer Research. Gary Kompothecras – founder of the attorney and doctor referral service 1-800-ASK-GARY – heard Dean on Bubba’s program talking about her child’s leukemia diagnosis and her desire to go to L.A. for the event. He donated the $1,000 necessary to make the trip.
Sports Talker Dan Sileo Addresses Power of the NFL in Shaping its Coverage. WQAM, Miami afternoon drive talk host Dan Sileo writes about the problem sports talk hosts – and sports journalists – face covering the mighty National Football League, especially in light of controversies such as the recent Saints bounty case in which several players received suspensions. Read his column here.
Attorney General Eric Holder Under Fire, 2012 Presidential Race, Jerry Sandusky Trial, Texas Beating Death and Los Angeles Kings Win Stanley Cup Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/12). Republican scrutiny of Attorney General Eric Holder in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program; the 2012 presidential campaign; testimony from alleged victims in the Jerry Sandusky case; the beating death of an alleged child molester in Texas; and the Los Angeles Kings’ first franchise Stanley Cup were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Beasley Las Vegas Helps Raise $165k for Children’s Miracle Network. That’s KDWN, Las Vegas-based talk host and physician Dr. Daliah Wachs (r) appearing at the recent radiothon interviewing an unnamed guest. Dr. Wachs reports to TALKERS that Beasley Broadcast Group‘s Las Vegas stations partnered with St. Rose Dominican Hospitals for the cause and brought in $165,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network – a foundation raising money for specialized medical equipment, family needs, and more for pediatric patients.
Ed Schultz Added to Growing Lineup of Movers, Shakers and Stars at New Media Seminar. “Big Eddie,” star of MSNBC’s nightly “The Ed Show” and nationally syndicated progressive talk radio sensation has been named to deliver the annual “State of the First Amendment” address at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7. The speech, which has a rich history dating back more than two decades, is a longtime tradition in the talk show industry and will take place during the Freedom of Speech Ceremony at this year’s event. WTOP, Washington VP of news and programming, Jim Farley will be this year’s recipient of the prestigious Freedom of Speech Award. This year’s NMS/NY will feature a lineup of more than 50 industry speakers addressing a variety of topics including the state of programming in talk radio, methods of generating revenue during tough times, the challenge of selling controversy, designing successful digital and social media strategies, the changing role of news, the continuing growth of sports talk, and lots more. A detailed agenda for the June 7 event will be posted at Talkers.com this coming week. This year’s New Media Seminar marks the innovative launch of an updated model sensitive to the tough economic and stressful conditions of the times. Significant restructuring has been applied to lower the costs of registration (only $99), accommodations and travel as well as moving the event from the weekend to a weekday. According to TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, “Both conferences will be national in scope and regional in flavor, a recipe that worked amazingly well at last year’s successful experiment, the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum.” NMS 2012 will consist of two one-day conferences. The first will be held in New York City on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side. According to its organizers it is on the verge of a sellout. The second – presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club – will take place on Thursday, October 11 in Los Angeles at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. Harrison says, “We learned a tremendous amount at last year’s ‘happening’ in L.A. There is something very exciting, fulfilling and productive about one single, power-packed day with no time-wasting fat or money-wasting frills. It was executed purposefully under the radar to test the waters for this new model on a national scale and it succeeded beyond our wildest expectations, reaching maximum registration capacity in a matter of days. Although the New Media Seminar has actually grown consistently larger and has been a sell-out every year of its existence, we recognize that conditions are such that a change would eventually be necessary as well as beneficial to the working person in our business – at least during this stressful period of tight budgets and high industry economic uncertainty. At TALKERS we insist on being ahead of the curve. Industry conferences need to include and be accessible to professionals in the trenches as well as the corporate elite. This new model is a gift to the business.” Because quick sell-outs for each event are expected, registration is limited to working media. (As indicated, New York is on the verge of a sellout.) For registration and sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or e-mail her at email@example.com.
UPDATE!!! HOTEL INFORMATION FOR NEW YORK ATTENDEES. The Doubletree by Hilton Metropolitan New York at 569 Lexington Avenue (3 blocks away) has rooms available for $359 per night for a limited time. You may register online via www.dtnewyork.com. On the main page, click on reservations and type the letters TNM in the group code box. Or you can call 800-222-8733 and give the code TNM when speaking to the guest services staff.
Arbitron Reports Q1 Revenue Up 5.5%. The first quarter of 2012 has been good to Arbitron Inc. as the company states net income increased 9.6% on revenue growth of 5.5% during the period that ended March 31. Total revenue for the quarter was $106.4 million and it came primarily from annual rate increases, including the continued phase-in of price increases for the PPM. Arbitron CEO Bill Kerr states, “Our results and our activities in the first quarter are well aligned with our long standing priorities for enhancing our core services and for generating revenue growth. We unveiled our marketing mix modeling service at the recent Advertising Research Foundation convention. We expect to have the complete service up, running and ready to improve radio’s visibility among the top agency media planners by the middle of the summer.” Kerr also said, “Digital radio remains a key priority as we continue our work to follow radio onto its new digital platforms in order to quantify this growing audience segment thereby enabling customers to monetize it.” Guidance for the rest of 2012 indicates Arbitron expects revenue to be up between 5% and 7%.
Cox Media Announces Talent Lineup for New Tampa FM Talker “The Bone.” Last week Cox Media Group announced it would drop the rock music on WHPT-FM, Tampa – “The Bone” – built around the success of AM drive talent Bubba the Love Sponge and PM drive counterpart Cowhead. Now, the company announces the rest of the lineup consisting of talent already working in the Cox stable. Following Bubba from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon is former WTKS-FM, Orlando – Real Radio 104.1 – personality Drew Garabo, who currently is AM drive host on the Cox Tampa cluster’s rock WSUN-FM. From 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm Cox imports Billy Madison and his KISS-FM, San Antonio morning show crew for a midday talk program. Following Cowhead in PM drive is Bubba cast member Matt “Spice” Lloyd who’ll host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program. Cox Radio Tampa vice president and market manager Keith Lawless says of the new direction of The Bone, “The top-rated performance on our current shows clearly tells us that Tampa Bay likes what they hear and is asking for more. We have worked hard to insure we are giving them what they want with these compelling new shows. This is an exciting time in Tampa Bay radio.”
Clark Howard Sponsors 46th Habitat for Humanity House. Cox Media nationally syndicated financial and consumer issues talk host Clark Howard announces he’s challenging the Tulsa community to help him build a Habitat for Humanity house in the city. Howard is putting up half the money it’ll take to build the house — $35,000 – and is asking listeners to Tulsa affiliate news/talk KRMG-AM/FM to donate the rest. The Tulsa Habitat build will be parallel to a build in Joplin, Missouri that Clark is also sponsoring on the one-year anniversary of the devastating tornado as part of his on-going “Project Home” campaign. The Tulsa home will be the 46th Habitat for Humanity home that Howard has helped sponsor.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. New York talk radio personality Loose Kannon – Rob Stevens – is heard on the WOR, New York internet stream from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm daily beginning Monday, April 23. Stevens previously was heard on Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York internet stream. He tells TALKERS he’ll be heard between former New York Governor David Paterson and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee on the stream…..Main Street Radio Network president Jane Silk is publishing a new book on May 5 titled The Poetic Gourmette (Changing Lives Press 2012). The book is billed as a “compilation of uniquely formed recipes inspired by emotional challenges experienced by the author at the time of creation.” Silk says, “I would move on to cooking and experimenting with various ingredients, which to me were like words. Every time I mixed an ingredient, I was expressing another feeling. When I completed my recipes, I felt that I had dealt with whatever the world had sent my way.”…..ESPN Radio and USC agree to a multi-year deal to allow the sports giant the exclusive national broadcast rights to Trojans home football games…..The Automotive Journalism Society of America names talk host Jeff Shade’s syndicated, KRKO, Seattle-based “Talk About Cars” the “Best Automotive Radio Show” for 2012. Shade’s program is heard on KRKO, Seattle; WIXC, Melbourne, Florida; and WAMT, Orlando to name a few and is gaining new affiliates each week…..KYKN, Salem, Oregon talk host Bill Post’s program is expanded from two to three hours daily, now airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. General manager and station owner Mike Frith states, “I’m delighted with the way in which Bill Post has taken the show from a compelling hour to a second hour and now a third hour of great local, Oregon oriented talk. He has consistently kept the show topical, fun and informative and our listeners have responded very positively to the show.”
2012 Presidential Campaign Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 16-20. The ongoing 2012 presidential campaign returned to the #1 spot on the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio. Following at #2 this week was President Obama’s proposed oil industry regulations. At # 3 was ongoing debate in Washington over the federal budget deficit and the death of the ‘Buffett Rule’ in the Senate. And at #4 was the scandals involving the Secret Service and the Government Services Agency. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published each Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Revolution on the Hill. That was the name of the first event held on the Capitol Hill lawn on Monday, April 16 and sponsored by former presidential candidate Herman Cain. The purpose of the rally was to draw attention to tax reform, fiscal responsibility and the importance of electing true conservatives in government and included such speakers as Dick Morris, Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist. Also taking part were some important talk show hosts. Pictured here at the event are (from l-r): Cox Media’s Neal Boortz; Talk Radio Network and WGST, Atlanta’s Rusty Humphries; and WLAC, Nashville-based Radio America-syndicated host Steve Gill.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds WRHL, Rochelle, Illinois and Montana tri-mulcast KYLW, Billings; KBSR, Laurel; and KHDN, Hardin…..Better Health Network’s Dr. Bob Martin health talk program is added to the weekend lineup at KFWB, Los Angeles.
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.
“Hold Their Feet to the Fire” Immigration Radio Row Set for May 8 and 9 in Washington. What has become a major annual talk radio event is again shaping up to be an important focal point for the issue of America’s immigration policy. Federation for American Immigration Reform announces the “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row, led by nationally syndicated talk host Roger Hedgecock, will take place May 8 and 9 in Washington, DC. This annual event began in 2007 when hosts converged on Capitol Hill and helped defeat the Senate Amnesty Bill. This year FAIR expects more than 60 talk hosts to take part in the broadcasts. FAIR communications director Bob Dane states, “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.” For talk hosts interested in attending, there is no cost to broadcast – all technical engineering, ISDN lines and long distance is included. Congressional guests, activists, high-profile media personalities and immigration experts will be in attendance and available throughout the event for wall-to-wall interviews. Contact event managers Bob Dane or Kristen Williamson at 202-328-7004 for further information and to reserve a broadcast slot.
Beasley Broadcasting Develops Male-Targeted Southwest Florida FM Talk Station. Referencing the success it had in the past when Howard Stern was still on terrestrial radio in AM drive, Beasley Broadcasting’s Southwest Florida cluster alters the programming of two of its FM signals in the Ft. Myers/Naples market turning classic rock WRXK-FM into “96 K-Rock Talk That Rocks.” The station features Bubba the Love Sponge in AM drive followed by local hosts Zito and Garrett in the midday and Stan and Haney from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Evenings and overnights include the syndicated Lex and Terry, Premiere’s Nick and Artie and Fisher Entertainment’s John and Jeff. Vice president and market manager Brad Beasley states, “In the early 1990s when Joe, Stan and Mark Haney did mornings, we saw that listeners responded positively. In the late 1990s through 2004, Howard Stern did mornings and created a huge following. Over time we have found that Southwest Florida listeners really enjoy entertaining talk, so beginning Monday that’s what 96 K-Rock will provide.” Beasley morphs alternative WJBX-FM into a blend of new and heritage rock as “99X – Southwest Florida’s Rock Station.”
WKZO-AM/FM, Adds Local PM Drive News Block; WSJ’s Daily Wrap. Mid-West Communications’ news/talk WKZO-AM/FM, Kalamazoo, Michigan adds a local news hour called “Kalamazoo’s Afternoon News” from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm followed by the Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s Daily Wrap with Michael Castner from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Program director Jay Morris tells the Kalamazoo Gazette the station elected to change the programming and drop Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck due to ratings in the time slot that he said had been dropping over the course of the past year and a half.
Genesis Communications Network Announces Addition of Baldwin-McCullough Show and Dani Johnson Show. Two weekend talk shows join the lineup at Genesis Communications Network. The first is the Baldwin-McCullough show co-hosted by actor Stephen Baldwin and talk media personality Kevin McCullough. The show was founded in 2008 and now gets a new distribution channel via GCN for its live Saturday 9:00 pm ET broadcasts. The network also announces the debuts of the Dani Johnson show airing Sundays at 9:00 pm ET. Johnson is a success coach who’s authored several best-selling books and has co-founded charities to assist those in need.
Lou Dobbs Financial Feature Debuts with Salem Radio Network. When Lou Dobbs decided to end his long-form radio show with United Stations Radio Networks to focus on his Fox Business Network duties, sources close to the matter said it was likely Dobbs would develop a daily feature to remain on radio. Now, that’s come to fruition as Salem Radio Network will distribute the three-times-daily “Lou Dobbs Financial Report” – delivered before the opening bell on Wall Street, during the midday and after the closing bell – beginning February 20. Dobbs States, “There has never been in American history when up-to-the-minute business reports are more important to men and women from coast to coast. I’m really looking forward to my new partnership with SRN and the opportunity it provides to reach an entirely new audience on a daily basis.”
Israel-Iran Tensions, Whitney Houston Death/Grammy’s, President Obama’s 2013 Budget and the 2012 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/13). The escalating tensions between Iran and Israel in the wake of attacks on Israeli diplomats and Iran’s purported nuclear weapons program; the death of singer Whitney Houston and Sunday’s Grammy’s broadcast; President Obama’s 2013 budget and the 2012 presidential race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Compass Media Networks to Open New Marketing Division; Continues Relationship with Dial Global. In a major, two-pronged announcement Compass Media Networks announces it is launching a national ad sales firm called Compass Media Marketing – an advertising representation firm for the audio industry. CEO and founder Peter Kosann built Compass Media Networks three years ago as a programming and distribution company. He says they now see a similar opportunity for a sales rep firm “leveraging on our brand, relationships, and expertise.” Kosann continues, “We are extremely excited to build a focused advertising sales organization that can work hand-and-glove with program suppliers to help them maximize their advertising sales by, in turn, super-serving the advertiser.” Kosann says they will announce a full roster of programs and networks shortly and they have signed an agreement with Dial Global under which Dial Global will provide Compass Media Marketing with support systems and marketing services. At the same time, Compass enters into a long-term relationship with Dial Global to continue representing the company’s programming – including entertainment-talk shows “Free Beer & Hot Wings,” the Lars Larson show, Norman Goldman and Schnitt Show plus services and short-form reports as well as Compass’ sports play-by-play that includes college basketball, college football, NFL Doubleheaders and Compass’ presentation of the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders Radio Networks. Kosann says, “Dial Global has done a tremendous job for us and we are extremely appreciative of their hard work and support.”
Tom Leykis to Begin Internet Talk Show in April. Radio personality Tom Leykis is being paid by CBS Radio not to do a talk show since the company blew up hot talk KLSX-FM, Los Angeles in February of 2009. Now, with that agreement to end in April, Leykis tells the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan he’s set to debut his new talk program on April 2. But, as Leykis tells Lycan, it seems unlikely he will appear on any terrestrial stations – the show will be available only through digital means. He says, “I’ve had my tires kicked over the last few months and I am having a hard time getting excited about joining in on the non-stop ‘Obamacare’ or all-politics talk formats that currently exist.” TALKERS readers know Leykis has not been idle during his talk show exile. He’s told TALKERS TV and New Media Seminar attendees about his New Normal venture that’s currently distributing music and other talk via the internet. New Normal will be the company that owns and operates his new talk program as well. Leykis says, “There will be a 24/7 stream devoted to the show. We will do it live for anywhere from 2 to 5 hours every weekday, followed by continuous replays until the next show. Apps such as TuneIn, Windows Media Player, Winamp, WunderRadio, even iTunes will receive the show. PCs, Macs, iPads and all Android tablets, all smartphones and WiFi enabled vehicles. All you need to listen will be found at www.blowmeuptom.com.”
Analysis: Holland Cooke on Social Media Research, Radio and the Auto, and Multi-Platform Use. McVay/Cook & Associates news/talk specialist Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS from the recent Arbitron Client Conference on several topics: He cites recent research into effective ways radio stations can use social media – and pitfalls to avoid; plus how one of the most important demographics – women running households with children – use Facebook and other social media. He reports significant data on media use in the automobile and explains how multi-platform media usage is a boon for those who do it right. Cooke distills the info-packed Abritron event in this easy-to-read piece here.
Rob “T-Man” Tepper Named Fox Sports Radio Evening Co-Host. Longtime Seattle radio personality Rob “T-Man” Tepper begins co-hosting Fox Sports Radio Network’s 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET “Fox Sports Tonight” program alongside former baseball great Rob Dibble on January 9. Tepper says, “Being on the air in more than 200 cities across the country on ‘Fox Sports Tonight’ is very exciting. I’m hoping my crazy personality can add to what Rob Dibble is starting to build. I can’t wait to get started.” Tepper hosted the AM drive show on CHR KUBE-FM, Seattle for 14 years. Recently he’s been doing fill-in work at Fox Sports Radio.
Clear Channel Houston Tweaks AM Talk Lineups; Matt Patrick Adds More Air Time. Beginning Monday, January 9, talk host Michael Berry will be heard exclusively on KTRH, Houston while KTRH morning co-host Matt Patrick will also do a show on sister crosstown talker KPRC. Berry keeps his 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show on KTRH but drops his 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm KPRC show and instead will host the 8:00 am to 11:00 am show on KTRH. He replaces Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck who moves over to KPRC in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Meanwhile, “KTRH Morning News” co-host Matt Patrick adds the KPRC 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm show to his duties. To make room for Beck on KPRC, Dave Garfield moves his show to the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot which knocks Outlaw Dave to the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm time slot. Whew!
Entercom’s WGR, Buffalo Grabs Bills Play-by-Play. The NFL’s Buffalo Bills have been heard on Cumulus Media’s classic rock WGRF-FM and active rock WDGE-FM for the past several years. After Cumulus exited the negotiating table Entercom swooped in and is nabbing Bills play-by-play for sports WGR as well as the Rochester market’s sports WROC and classic rock WCMF-FM. Entercom Buffalo VP/GM Greg Ried says, “With our 24/7 WGR 550 AM Sports station, partnering with the Bills and adding them to our lineup complements our other programming, enhances the experience for loyal fans and attracts new listeners. Big-time sports on a big-time sports station is what listeners expect and the Bills certainly help provide all of that.”
Former KTAR, Phoenix Host and Wife Found Dead in Apparent Double Suicide. Bill Heywood and his wife Susan were found dead in a motel room in Scottsdale, Arizona yesterday (1/4) in what authorities say is a double suicide. A note was found in the room and although police are not stating the specific content of the note, it points to suicide. KTAR is reporting that longtime market personality Pat McMahon saw Heywood at a recent holiday party and learned of Susan’s illness which he said was more serious than he had previously realized. Reports in local media indicate the couple had been dealing with financial problems as well. Heywood hosted the morning show on KTAR and crosstown KFYI for many years.
Bubba the Love Sponge Re-Signs with Cox to Remain on Terrestrial Radio. After pursuing other options – including talking to Clear Channel, the company that fired him in 2005 – Bubba the Love Sponge inks a three-year deal to stick with Cox Media Group’s WHPT-FM, Tampa Bay – “The Bone” – as his home base. The show is regionally syndicated to stations in Fort Myers, Florida and Charleston, South Carolina. In a statement, Bubba says, “After weighing my options and much consideration, I am happy to return to The Bone. Cox believed in me when no one else did and I am excited to return the love. I have a great relationship with local management and The Bone will remain my home in Tampa Bay.”
Cumulus Media Names Two to Affiliate Sales Positions. Cumulus Media announces Marcella Turk is the new VP of affiliate sales in the Dallas offices where she’ll manage affiliate sales for the entertainment products and the company’s 24/7 formats. In New York, Nick DeGregorio is appointed affiliate sales director where he’ll be in charge of affiliations for production libraries as well as special projects. Both Turk and DeGregorio most recently worked at Westwood One/Dial Global.
Santorum Surge and Bachman Suspends, Obama Administration Defense Strategy, L.A. Arson Case and Iran Military Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/4). The surge of GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum and the suspension of Michele Bachmann’s campaign, the Obama Administration’s soon-to-be announced new U.S. defense strategy, the bizarre Los Angeles arson case and Iran’s continued military saber-rattling were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.