By Jeff McKay
Special Features Correspondent
NEW YORK — Peter Senerchia, Cari Champion, and Farnoosh Torabi. One is a former champion professional wrestler known in the ring as Taz, one is a TV reporter and anchor for ESPN, and the other works in her Brooklyn apartment. However, all three have something in common – they have carved out their own niches and become stars in the world of podcasting… and with their advertisers.
Digital audio has been on a roll over the past 18 months, and this is especially true among younger listeners. A February survey by Edison Research found approximately 46 million people listened to podcasts in February. Meanwhile, ad spending on podcasts is soaring. A recent survey by eMarketer says ad spending for digital audio is expected to reach $2.75 billion, up over 27% from a year ago.
NAB Issues Statement on Virginia TV Slayings. In response to the shooting deaths of WDBJ-TV Roanoke’s Alison Parker and Adam Ward this morning, the following statement was issued by NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith: “Today’s news of the tragic murders of broadcast journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward is heartbreaking and horrifying. These were two young journalists who were simply trying to serve and inform their communities. Our broken hearts go out to the families of Alison and Adam, to the staff at WDBJ, and to the employees of Schurz Communications.” Obviously, today’s attack and the subsequent search for the alleged killer and his relationship with the victims and the television station has been the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio today, according to TALKERS magazine.
PodcastOne Adds Five to Sales and Marketing Staff. In the aftermath of the recently announced deal with Hubbard Radio in which the broadcasting company acquired a 30% share in the Norm Pattiz-founded podcast platform PodcastOne, the latter announced five additions to its sales and marketing team. In a press statement, PodcastOne says “now that the recent investment from Hubbard Broadcasting is in the bank,” it is wasting no time as it welcomes Lori Spencer and Linda McHugh in the Los Angeles offices, Keith Goldstein in New York, Dave Boretti in Chicago and Joe Laffey in Dallas. At the same time, Dana Senit – who joined the company in February – is promoted to West Coast general sales manager. McHugh comes to PodcastOne from programmatic audience targeting platform Netmining, previously with GoldSpot Media and Maxim. Spencer joins the team after working with TargetSpot and Sirius XM. Goldstein held posts at ESPN Audio and Jelli and brings an entertainment and technology sales background. Boretti was most recently in an executive position at Spanish Broadcasting Solutions. He’s also previously held executive posts at Westwood One and Univision Radio. Laffey joins from EFG Companies, where he served as SVP, strategic partnerships. Previously, Laffey was a sales executive at Westwood One/CBS Radio Networks, and a partner in digital advertising agency, Slingshot, LLC. PodcastOne president Kit Gray comments, “I am excited to welcome our newest team members to PodcastOne. We’ve put together a talented and experienced group of people and I look forward to working with Greg Batusic, our COO, in leading the team to the many successes ahead.”
Beasley Names Dave Carney and Chad Forster KDWN, Las Vegas Morning Hosts. The official name of the show is “Live in Las Vegas with Dave and Chad” and it’s heard daily from 6:00 am to 9:00 am on KDWN “News Talk 720.” Dave Carney and Chad Forster have been on the air since the station parted ways with longtime Vegas talk radio pro Alan Stock several weeks ago, but now the station makes their appointment official. KDWN program director John Shaffer states, “Dave and Chad are two high-energy, creative talents, who are merging their terrific track records with a lively, diverse talk radio format that ‘asks the questions most dare not to ponder’ and our listeners respect and enjoy that kind of talk. These two are combining their experience, insight, wisdom and witty remarks, with large doses of comic relief, mixed with controversial commentary on issues ranging from sports to politics to breaking news!” Carney is a Las Vegas radio pro who’s also worked as the voice of the Las Vegas Wranglers pro hockey team and with ESPN Radio on the Jim Fassel show. Forster has worked in Las Vegas radio as a producer, air talent, and ops manager.
KXL, Portland and WMBD, Peoria Talk Host Scott Robbins Suffers Heart Attack, Awaits Open Heart Surgery. According to his radio show partner Jamie Markley (right), Scott Robbins (left) had a heart attack early Monday morning, was resuscitated by CPR and is currently in the hospital while doctors are stabilizing him for open heart surgery. Markley writes on the show’s Facebook page, “He’s pretty much sedated and out of it. While we could talk with him on Monday, yesterday he could only acknowledge different people’s presence but was not able to talk. The docs will keep him in this state until his condition improves to where he’s ready for open heart surgery.” Robbins and Markley co-host the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show on KXL-FM, Portland that is also heard on Alpha Media’s news/talk WMBD, Peoria from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The duo recently inked a multi-year renewal with the company.
Kitroser to Gen Media Partners As VP/Integrated Sales. Regional director of corporate partnerships for The American Red Cross – Sharon Kitroser – joins Gen Media Partners as vice president of integrated sales. Gen Media Partners chief executive officer Kevin Garrity states, “I know the developmental work that Sharon does will deliver higher ROI for advertisers and new business for our media partner clients. She is known across radio and advertising circles for her innovative marketing programs. Programmatic buying is imminent; traditional avails are dwindling; and radio is too often being packaged as a commodity. Gen Media Partners is the only national representation company that monetizes localism across radio, high school sports, community events, shopping malls, and more. I am delighted that [Sharon] is bringing her talent to Gen Media Partners and Gen Media Connect.” According to Kitroser, “Today’s advertisers need to reach and connect with consumers at multiple touch-points throughout their day. With the wide swath of options in the Gen Media Partners’ suite of platforms, we have an opportunity to produce integrated campaigns that meet those needs and deliver results for advertisers and client partners.” Prior to working at American Red Cross, Kitroser was director of sales for ABC Radio/Disney (Interep), CBS, and Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia), as well as director of strategic alliances for Daniels & Roberts; Kitroser and Garrity worked together at ABC Radio/Disney.
Entravision’s CMNH Radio-thon Sets Record. Raising just shy of $2.9 million, Entravision Communications boasts the most successful Spanish-language radio-thon to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in 2015; the actual total ($2,856,182) surpasses last year’s $2.1 million tally. Entravision chief operating officer Jeffery Liberman remarks, “Now in our eighth year of collaborating with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, we are thrilled to have broadcast this phenomenal 72-hour radio-thon. We are very happy to know that its success will benefit more hospitals and children than ever before. The overwhelming accomplishments achieved in this year’s radio-thon reflect the vast reach of Entravision’s national radio platform, our growing digital presence, and our on-air talent and staff who rallied the great force of our Spanish-language listeners.” Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals vice president of Hispanic programs Joe Trevino declares, “We are once again extremely proud of the great partnership we enjoy with the entire Entravision team. This year’s radio-thon success is a testament to the personal dedication, creativity, and commitment by everyone involved to engage Entravision listeners to participate with the radio-thon. It was a comprehensive team effort by Entravision.” Entravision’s “Jose,” “Super Estrella,” and “La Tricolor” network formats kicked off the event, broadcasting from Children’s Hospital Orange County and the following day from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The event concluded from Children’s Hospital Phoenix. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals raises funds for 170 children’s hospitals.
Pinky Kravitz Retires from WOND, Atlantic City After 57 Years. His last live program on Longwood Media’s WOND, Atlantic City was back on May 14, just before his open heart surgery. Now, 88-year-old Pinky Kravitz is officially retiring from the station at which he’s worked since 1958. Kravitz, host of “Pinky’s Corner,” decided to retire after careful consultation with his family following a prolonged recuperation from the surgery. Longport Media president Dave Coskey comments, “We’re obviously sorry to see Pinky leaving our air, but we support him in this decision. Pinky has always been instantly identified with Atlantic City, South Jersey and WOND. Pinky may be leaving our air physically, but he will always possess a special place here at WOND and in the hearts of his many listeners throughout South Jersey.” Kravitz became a fixture on South Jersey radio and television beginning in 1956, when he began hosting a live call-in program on WLDB-AM, now WBSS. Two years later, he found a new home at WOND. Kravitz also hosted a weekly television program, “WMGM presents Pinky!” for many years on WMGM-TV, and for years he wrote columns for a variety of publications, most recently for The Press of Atlantic City. WOND has not announced a permanent replacement for Kravitz on the station.
Trump Debates Hispanic Journo in Iowa, Immigration Policy Debate, Obama Blesses Biden Presidential Run, Hillary Clinton Email Server Investigation, Volatile Global Financial Markets, and Caitlyn Jenner Halloween Costume Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/25). GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s Iowa press conference at which he first ejected, then debated a Univision reporter; the ongoing debate over America’s immigration policy; Vice President Joe Biden gets approval from President Obama to run for the office; the investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; investor nervousness over the global markets sell-off and concerns about another recession; and the flap over a Halloween costume based on the Caitlyn Jenner Vogue magazine cover were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Chip Franklin Named Midday Host at KGO, San Francisco. The next step in returning KGO to its talk roots from the newsy experiment that began a few years ago comes as Chip Franklin takes over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot beginning December 8. Franklin has had long talk radio stints – most recently with KOGO, San Diego from 2007 to 2013 and with WBAL, Baltimore from 1999 to 2007 – and is also working writing position pieces and prep for guests on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” “Good Morning America” and “Face the Nation.” He also regularly appears at comedy clubs across the U.S. On his new gig, Franklin comments, “The current narrative is that San Francisco is all liberals, progressives and Democrats mixed in with the occasional 4.9. Maybe, but I see it more as a city that simply embraces freedom and more to the point, the free expression of ideas regardless of ideology. Whether it’s politics, art, music or comedy, it all starts with a passion for discovery – discovery of life here in the Bay area, the wider world, and our inner lives.” Cumulus Media EVP of content and programming John Dickey says, “KGO strives to inform and entertain the Bay Area with relevant news and compelling talk hosted by big personalities. Chip Franklin’s point of view, intelligence and wit are going to drive some amazing conversations on KGO.”
Odds & Sods. WABC, New York and CBS “Inside Edition” special correspondent Rita Cosby celebrated her 50th birthday hosting a special benefit for the Wounded Warriors Project at the Hotel Edison in New York City recently. Among the 1,000-plus guests and celebs attending the fundraiser were fellow WABC personalities Curtis Sliwa and Geraldo Rivera. Cosby is pictured here in this photo, (courtesy of Nicole Vranjican), with Broadway’s Tomaczek Bednarek at the event. Read more about the party here…..WPGG, Atlantic City talk show host Harry Hurley is named to the PolitickerNJ’s “2014 Power List.” This is the eighth time Hurley – morning personality on the Townsquare Media news/talk station – has been named to the list…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Tribune’s WGN, Chicago adds former Sun-Times columnist and critic Dave Hoekstra who will host his weekly “Evening Journal” radio program on the station beginning in December. The program will air Saturday evenings.
‘Sports Fix’ Celebrates Five Years on WTEM, Washington. Washington, DC midday sports talk show “The Sports Fix” with Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro is celebrating its fifth anniversary on Red Zebra Broadcasting’s WTEM “ESPN 980.” The station says the program “has been a ratings leader, achieving #1-ratings in its time slot throughout the five-year run.” Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza adds, “‘The Sports Fix’ has been a constant performer. Kevin, Thom and producer Marc Sterne perform at a high level every day and it shows in their consistency and ratings success.”
Clear Channel Satellite Services to Serve iHeartMedia Only. In a story by Leslie Stimson at Radio World, iHeartMedia, the parent company of Clear Channel Satellite Services, is informing clients that it will no longer provide satellite services to non-iHeartMedia operators. Contracts currently existing will be honored until they expire and the company will not accept new ones. A memo from CCSS reads, in part: “In the coming weeks, our team will be working with the existing customers to discuss the best way for a smooth transition to a new provider. Customers with soon-expiring contracts will have the option to continue their service on a month-to-month basis until we’ve found a suitable assignee for the business.”
October Revenue Gains Reported in Los Angeles, San Diego. According to Miller Kaplan Arase‘s October summary report, Los Angeles posted increases of 3% for local spot and nearly double that (5.7%) for national spot. Meanwhile, San Diego was +1.3% local spot and a substantially higher +18% for national spot. Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan comments, “Our entire region produced a very robust October as the critical fourth quarter began. The sluggish third quarter performance we had is a distant memory, as advertisers once again looked to Southern California radio for increased market share and real revenue results. Our combined market growth in October should set the stage for a dramatic and positive finish for [fourth quarter] and 2014. Our members’ efforts to provide proactive solutions to client challenges really came together in October. We see enormous positive energy in our markets and our continued regional focus on radio’s ROI is making a difference for all of our member sales teams.” Revenue in the “NTR/Network/Other” category improved last month by a whopping (approximately) 63% in Los Angeles and 26.3% in San Diego. October’s total market revenue for Los Angeles was 7.1%, while San Diego’s was 8.8%. Year-to-date total market revenue though is -2.2% (Los Angeles) and 2.9% (San Diego).
Ferguson Grand Jury Tensions, Jerusalem Terror Attacks, Keystone Bill Vote, Early Cold and Snow, ObamaCare/Gruber Controversy, and Bill Cosby Rape Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/18). The simmering tensions in Ferguson as the public awaits the grand jury’s decision whether to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown; Tuesday’s slayings in a Jerusalem temple; the failed vote in the U.S. Senate to move ahead with the Keystone Pipeline project; the six feet of snow that blanketed Buffalo and the cold affecting the rest of the country; the ObamaCare controversy surrounding plan architect Jonathan Gruber; and the new allegations of rape against Bill Cosby were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Dave Ramsey Hits the Big Screen. Regular TALKERS readers are kept up-to-date on the live events that nationally syndicated talk star Dave Ramey presents in cities around the country. Now, Ramsey is taking his presentation to the big screen as Fathom Events will produce “Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze Present: The Legacy Journey” for select cinemas nationwide for one night only on Wednesday, November 19 at 7:00 pm local time. The production is from the recent event in Grand Rapids that was taped before a live audience. The event will be presented in nearly 600 select movie theaters around the country through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network. Fathom Events is listing the participating theaters on its website. Ramsey states, “‘The Legacy Journey’ is about you taking control of your money; being debt-free, saving and investing. When you start to see your future becoming secure, you will naturally become concerned with the next generations of your family. When you do the things we teach, your vision expands and you start to see the world’s needs and how you can make a difference.” Ramsey’s daughter Rachel Cruze is a seasoned communicator and presenter. She recently published a new book titled, Smart Money Smart Kids, co-authored by Ramsey.
Net Revenue Dips 5% for Beasley During Third Quarter. That figure is for continuing operations – the stations Beasley is keeping, excluding those slated to be sold to CBS. Due to the pending transaction between Beasley and CBS in which it’s trading five of its stations for 14 CBS signals, the company is required to report both continuing operations and discontinued operations. The net revenue from the combination of both continuing and discontinued operations was -5.9%. The company reports that the decline “primarily reflects lower advertising revenue at the Company’s Wilmington and Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville market clusters which more than offset net revenue increases at the Company’s Las Vegas and Ft. Myers market clusters.” Company chairman and CEO George Beasley comments, “We don’t believe third quarter operating results from continuing operations reflect the strength, ratings and local relevance of our platform, as the lower level of reported net revenue from continuing operations is temporarily mismatched with certain expenses that will be better amortized across the Company’s larger revenue base once we complete the asset exchange with CBS Radio. We are very excited by the potential presented by the CBS transaction…The planned asset exchange with CBS Radio addresses these strategic objectives and upon completion, we will expand our owned and operated station base by nine stations increasing Beasley’s portfolio to 53, including 33 FM and 20 AM stations, in 12 markets with approximately 7.7 million weekly listeners. Importantly, we will add completed clusters in the Tampa and Charlotte markets which complement our already strong mid-Atlantic presence.”
Nielsen Q3 Revenue Up 14%. That’s on a constant-currency basis. The company reports that its core top-line growth (excluding the Arbitron and Harris acquisitions) was 3.4%. Nielsen CEO Mitch Barns says that increase was “driven by strong growth in Audience Measurement, double-digit growth in Ad Solutions and double-digit growth in the emerging markets, offset somewhat by anticipated softness in our Insights business in North America.” Barns adds that “Adjusted EBITDA was up nearly 20% or 22% on a constant-currency basis, reflecting the impact of our Arbitron acquisition as well as great execution by our operating units…And our free cash flow of $289 million was up 17% in the quarter versus the prior year.” During yesterday’s investors conference call, Barns discussed the integration of ratings systems for television and digital but only spoke of radio and digital ratings integration in passing, saying the company is “making progress” and it would keep the industry “posted.”
Madison Talk Personality Mitch Henck Returns with Internet Show, Broadcast Plans. After being let go from iHeartMedia’s Madison news/talker WIBA in June, Mitch Henck says he’s been “hounded” by fans to get back behind the mic. Starting Monday, October 27, Henck begins an internet-based talk show airing live daily from 8:00 am to 11:00 am CT. Podcasts of the show will be available after the conclusion of each live show. The program will be web only for the rest of the year but Henck has plans to roll out the show into AM/FM syndication in 2015. The show will take live callers and feature guests. Henck says, “It’s exciting to be back with a great team in place. We’re committed to bringing you the highest quality programming every day. And I can’t wait.”
Former Talk Host Warren Ballentine Convicted in Chicago Mortgage Fraud Scheme. The Chicago-based real estate lawyer was syndicated nationally by Radio One and his talk show was carried by as many as 37 affiliate stations before he was indicted on real estate fraud charges. The Chicago Tribune reports that Warren Ballentine will be sentenced in January and could face up to 30 years in prison for bilking lenders out of some $10 million as part of the fraudulent loan scheme. Ballentine’s attorney says they will appeal and that his client knew nothing of the fraud and served only as the closing agent, accruing about $8,000 in fees for the real estate transactions. He also noted several of Ballentine’s co-defendants testified against him after striking deals with prosecutors. See the Tribune piece here.
Michael Harrison to Serve as Keynote Speaker at College Radio Conference – Agenda Includes Presentation by Holland Cooke. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (pictured here) will deliver the keynote address at the 7th Annual Intercollegiate Broadcasting System East Coast Radio, Webcasting & Media Conference held tomorrow (10/25) at Simmons College in Boston. Harrison’s speech is titled “The Precarious Position of Audio-Only Media in the Age of Video Screens.” Harrison will discuss the psychological processes at play in the different ways in which the human brain processes various forms of sensory stimulation. According to Harrison, “I enjoy speaking at events with college broadcasters because they are still, shall we say, academically inclined and it gives me the opportunity to put on my media theorist hat and address some of the abstract concepts underlying general communications in our electronically accelerated relationships. I believe it is very important for people involved in anything having to do with the aurally based art forms of ‘radio’ and music to at least have an understanding of the mind’s different relationships with the eye and the ear.” Harrison also plans to include a serious discussion of the sensitive relationship between form and content in the art and science of media in his address. Also speaking at the event will be noted media consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke whose address is titled, “The Future of Talk Radio: YOU – The Revolution is Over.” He will identify the major challenges facing talk radio in this new era and offer solutions and encouragement for young broadcasters entering the field. For more information about the one-day event, please click here.
Odds & Sods. The new SiriusXM program hosted by Jenny McCarthy debuts on Monday, October 27. The show is called “Dirty, Sexy, Funny with Jenny McCarthy” and is set to air daily from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET…..NBCSportsRadio.com is unveiling its first-ever digital-only show called “The 2 Robbies ‘Football’ Show”, a Premier League-focused program which stars NBC Sports Group analysts Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe. The soccer show launches tomorrow at 5:00 pm ET…..Sports talk KWTO, Springfield, Missouri “98.7 The Jock” is changing network affiliations, moving from Fox Sports Radio Network to ESPN. The Meyer Communications station inked a three-year deal with ESPN.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the weekend program schedule at WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. The program also recently began airing on KFNN, Phoenix; and KCOX, Jasper, Texas…..The GCN-distributed “Freedom Feens” show is added to the lineup at WSRQ, Sarasota…..The “Motley Fool Money” radio show is part of the weekend programming at WAFS, Atlanta.
Ebola Pandemic Threat Tops Talkers TenTM for Third Straight Week. Discussion about the threat of an Ebola pandemic and the Obama Administration’s handling of the matter was again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of October 20-24. At #2 this week was the terror attacks that happened in Canada. Coming in at #3 was the battle against ISIS in Iraq followed by the looming mid-term elections at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Milhaven Named PD at KTRS, St. Louis. Morning drive host McGraw Milhaven has been promoted to program director at CH Holdings-owned KTRS, St. Louis. Milhaven takes over for Lauren Ryan who remains with the station in a promotional capacity. In a statement published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, general manager Mark Dorsey says, “He [Milhaven] sees where radio is going in the next 10 years.” Part of Milhaven’s duties will include handling the social media strategy for the station. Milhaven – who previously worked at CBS RADIO’s crosstown KMOX, has been with KTRS for the past 10 years. Meet McGraw Milhaven at Talkers New York 2014 on Friday, June 20.
More Murrow Award News. Adding to the list of winners of the Radio Television Digital News Association’s National Edward R. Murrow Awards published by TALKERS yesterday is ABC News Radio which won for Overall Excellence in the radio category. ABC News Radio was also recognized in the Breaking News category for its coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombing. Public radio station WBEZ, Chicago was honored for Overall Excellence in the radio, large market category and WDEL, Wilmington, Delaware was recognized for Overall Excellence in the radio, small market category. CBS RADIO’s WBZ-AM, Boston won in the radio, large market Continuing Coverage category for work on the Boston Marathon bombing. See the entire list of radio winners here.
First Round of May PPM Data Released. PPM data from the first of four groups of 11 markets for the May 2014 period (April 24 – May 21) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). TALKERS magazine’s sister publication, RadioInfo, has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
FAIR Names Giaritelli Press Secretary. The Federation for American Immigration Reform announces that in response to increasing demands from talk radio looking for comment on the escalating immigration crisis, it has made a strategic new hire as Anna Giaritelli assumes the role of press secretary for the organization. Giaritelli has worked at CQ Roll Call, Cox Media Group and the Washington Examiner, to name a few. She joins the FAIR media team consisting of communications director Bob Dane and media director Ira Mehlman. Hosts and producers seeking to book Dane or Mehlman for interviews can reach her at 202-328-7004 or at email@example.com.
Odds & Sods. San Antonio-based talk radio host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo will be heard nightly on Clear Channel’s KHOW, Denver beginning Monday, June 16 from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. Joe Pags’ daily program is based at CC’s WOAI, San Antonio and simulcast on the company’s KPRC, Houston…..At the San Francisco cluster of Cumulus Media, market manager Steve Sklenar exits after a year in the position. Sklenar was in charge of the company’s eight market signals including news KGO, news/talk KSFO and sports talk KNBR…..In addition to ESPN Radio’s recent announcement that its programming and live sports events are now available on Apple’s iTunes Radio, the sports giant’s radio content will also be made available to TuneIn users. TuneIn VP of programming Kevin Straley says, “ESPN channels are very popular on TuneIn, and have already been followed approximately 1.5 million times. We are excited to continue to add more personalized content for ESPN fans, from dedicated 24/7 channels for the most popular podcasts, to live international events like the World Cup.”
Cantor Primary Defeat, Immigration Amnesty-Child Refugees Case, Hillary Clinton Book, Gun Violence, Iraq Instability, Bergdahl Prisoner Swap, and NBA-NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/11). The aftermath of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary election defeat; speculation about a renewed push for an illegal immigration amnesty bill and the case of child illegals being shipped to locations in Arizona; Hillary Clinton’s prospects for president in 2016 and her tour supporting her latest memoir; talk about the recent cases of gun violence in the U.S.; the political instability in Iraq as al Qaeda threatens to assume control of the country; the continuing analysis of the Bowe Bergdahl-terror suspects prisoner swap; and the NBA and NHL finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.com Claims Increased Unique Visitors. The website that’s a part of Glenn Beck’s digital efforts is growing rapidly, according to the company. TheBlaze.com reports that, according to data from Omniture, it had its best month ever in March, attracting more than 35 million unique visitors and becoming the 43rd most trafficked site in the U.S. Further, the company claims the site generated 198.7 million page views in one month. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood comments, “TheBlaze.com’s mix of original reporting and curation has quickly made it one of the leading sites in America. Editor-in-chief Scott Baker and his team have done a tremendous job and we are proud of how the site continues to grow alongside our TV network.”
Opie & Anthony to Celebrate 20 Years Together at Carolines on Broadway. The hot talk duo of Greg “Opie” Hughes and Anthony Cumia will celebrate 20 years together on the radio as Opie & Anthony with a special edition of its “Unmasked” comedy series broadcast live from Carolines on Broadway – New York City’s premier stand-up comedy nightclub. The program – “O&A20: Unmasked” – will air on SiriusXM live at 4:00 pm ET. SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “We want to toast Opie & Anthony on reaching this milestone and for being one of the most outrageous and daring duos in all of talk radio. SiriusXM has been proud to give Opie & Anthony the freedom to give fans and listeners their intense, edgy talk and uncensored comedy. We are thrilled to have SiriusXM listeners across the country celebrate their decades in radio with an evening that will be without a doubt an outrageous and unpredictable show.”
WEEI, Boston to Stick with Dale Arnold and Michael Holley in PM Drive. Well, for as long as anything is stuck with in radio these days. Those are our words, not those of Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Phil Zachary, who tells the Boston Globe that the station is “going forward with Dale and Holley” several weeks after parting ways with Mike Salk, who returned to his adopted hometown of Seattle to serve as program director at KIRO-AM. Salk and Holley were paired up in afternoon drive for almost a year after Glenn Ordway was ousted from the station (Ordway has subsequently begun his own digital venture SportsTalkBoston that features his “The Big Show Unfiltered” also airing live in PM drive). Michael Holley and Dale Arnold had been partners in middays on WEEI for almost six years before their show was broken up in 2011 to bring Lou Merloni into middays. Boston radio observers speculated that WEEI management felt the knowledgeable-but-not-very-hip Arnold is the antithesis of what CBS is doing successfully at rival WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” so they took him out of the daily lineup. Arnold stuck around WEEI hosting weekend shows, sports pre-game programs and doing fill-in work. Now, Zachary tells the paper, “We will continue to evaluate and enhance the program as we start to get some Nielsen feedback.”
SABO: Introverts Are Taking Over the Business World. Media consultant Walter Sabo asks what kind of workforce are you building with respect to the personality types of staffers? Are they introverts or extroverts? Or a mix of the two? According to Sabo, the different personality types prefer to communicate in different ways – extroverts, verbally and introverts, with the written word. “An interesting fact about radio stars is that they are shy as hell. They thrive working alone in a room where they have absolute control of their environment. They hate to meet new people.” With emails and texting taking over the way people – yes, especially young people – communicate, it may just be that introverts are taking over the business world. Read Sabo’s entire column here.
LDR Interactive Adds Two to TopicPulse Executive Team. The growing firm LDR Interactive announces two executives join its TopicPulse leadership team. Hank McMonigle is named vice president, sales for TopicPulse and Dana Hall joins as TopicPulse support and client services manager. The company says in a statement that McMonigle and Hall will lead client development and service for TopicPulse, its real-time, social media monitoring system for local newsrooms and content producers. TopicPulse scans social media including Twitter and Facebook, blogs, comment/message boards, and news sources to track trending topics in a local market. McMonigle comes to LDR Interactive with more than 30 years of experience in the media industry, most recently serving as vice president/general manager at NextMedia Group in Dallas. Dana Hall is a broadcast and music industry journalist who’s covered formats ranging from urban, hip-hop, gospel, rhythmic, and top 40 for Radio & Records, Billboard, Airplay Monitor, and RadioInfo. She also programmed urban outlet WILD, Boston. LDR Interactive CEO, Daniel Anstandig comments, “Hank and Dana bring exceptional talent and perspective to our growing team. They are media industry thought leaders and relationship builders. Their enthusiasm for innovation and forward-thinking mindset is already driving TopicPulse’s growth in the days since they’ve joined our team.”
The 2014 Hersky Award Winners Are Announced. For the 7th year running, TALKERS magazine is proud to deliver news of the winners of the annual Hersky Awards for talk radio advertising excellence. Okay, so maybe the Herskys aren’t as big as some other industry awards, but radio pro Al Herskovitz is an accomplished sales pro and a serious observer of today’s radio advertising landscape and, even though we have a little fun with it, his accolades are delivered with utmost sincerity. Check out his story and why Fox Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr, Compass Media’s Todd Schnitt, Cumulus Media and others are being recognized this year by clicking here.
Catching Up with Lionel: One of Talk Radio’s True Originals Performing at the Top of His Game in Experimental Radio Space. One of the most unique and original performers to grace the airwaves during talk radio’s modern era is a quirky former trial lawyer, prosecutor and talk show caller from Tampa, Florida named Michael William Lebron who is known in his many media-related activities (radio, television, books, live performances) by the professional name “Lionel.” As Lionel, he has enjoyed a stellar career as a talk show host on such great call letters was WABC and WOR in New York, WFLA, Tampa as well as in national syndication on such networks as the WOR Radio Network and Air America. He even hosted a cool show on Court TV. These days he is familiar to New York television viewers as a commentator and legal analyst for WPIX-TV Channel 11 and to the elite audience of industry professionals and hard core talk show fanatics glued to TalkersRadio – the “experimental talk radio space” operated by TALKERS magazine on its website (www.talkers.com) as a laboratory for new ideas and formats for the industry. It is within this endeavor that Lionel has begun raising eyebrows and is receiving praise for having delivered some of his most remarkable spoken-word performances to date. In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “When Lionel is left to his own on-air devices and not squished into an existing talk ‘format,’ ‘formula’ or cookie-cutter political ideology, he is capable of creating a level of compelling content the quality of which we haven’t heard since the days of Jean Shepherd. All we have done at TalkersRadio is encourage him to do whatever he wants and as a result we have benefited from the brilliant results of that strategy. What he does for us would fit any talk format out there today if the programmers didn’t ‘try to make it fit’ what they think is the only way to make talk radio work.” In a new feature story written by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian posted today (3/31), we look back at the amazing career of this most unusual talk show host, tap into his views and opinions about the state of the format, and reveal his hopes for the future. To read the entire piece, please click here.
Comrex to Unveil New Streaming Appliance at NAB Show. For broadcasters involved in streaming content and who may be attending the NAB Show in Las Vegas, a visit to the Comrex Corporation booth will be informative. There, the company will introduce the new P1L0T IP Streaming Server. The company states that P1L0T is a dedicated streaming appliance designed with hardened Linux-based hardware and software. There are no moving parts…not even a fan. AES3 and analog balanced inputs, special audio processing options enhanced for streaming and an intuitive web-based interface are included. P1L0T can deliver your source stream to any SHOUTcast/lcecast-based streaming server and, given enough bandwidth, can deliver 100 streams directly to listeners. Listeners connecting to your audio stream have a choice of formats, either HE-AAC, Opus or MP3 because P1L0T is capable of encoding in each mode simultaneously. P1L0T is a compact unit occupying 1/2 U of rack space, at a very low cost. The Comrex booth will be #C2221 in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Odds & Sods. A new album featuring the songs of Bob Dylan has been released by the Charlie Daniels Band titled Off the Grid and Charlie Daniels visited the Fox News Radio studios in New York City to promote the record. Daniels (right) is pictured here with Fox News Radio morning anchor Dave Anthony (left) who is sporting Daniels’ hat for the photo…..Last week TALKERS announced CBS News Radio was recognized with National Headliner Awards. This week, we have two more to announce. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington wins seven National Headliner Awards including first place in the Newscast, News Series and Website categories. Also The Wall Street Journal Radio Network is honored with two National Headliner Awards. “Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal” takes 3rd place in the Breaking News Category and MarketWatch.com Radio is recognized with a 2nd place finish in the Radio Affiliated Website category…..Chicago Public Media, which operates WBEZ, Chicago, announces Goli Sheikholeslami is named the new president and CEO of the organization. She most recently served as chief product officer at Everyday Health but also served with the Washington Post, leading the digital division.
Sometimes It Is Fool’s Gold. Despite how perceptive you might think you are, or the conscientious pains you take to be aware, there is still a better-than-average chance you were duped about something yesterday – even if it was for a split-second. It is a national pastime and we are not talking about the beginning of the baseball season. Hopefully, the intention is always harmless, yet inevitably, something a bit wonky can happen when the calendar flips to the first day of April. Okay – more specifically – countless on-air April Fool’s Day pranks were hatched yesterday; here is a quick look at two of them – one nationally and the other on a local level. Registered 501(c)3 nonprofit car donation charity Kars4Kids changed their long-running radio jingle, although listeners of more than 50 stations in 14 markets wondered if they were hearing correctly when they heard the new “message.” The radio spot indicated Kars4Kids is launching a new division – Kids4Kars. The kid donation program supposedly provides free pickup of all donations of kids and offers a free lifetime vacation to donors in return. Kars4Kids spokesperson Morris Franco alleges that, “We had been getting requests for this service on social media and from callers for years. People would call up saying they have a kid they would like to donate and wondered what they can get in return. After we got enough of these parents calling, we realized that there was a real need for kid donation that wasn’t being filled by anyone else, so we decided to step up to the plate.” Prospective donors were directed to the charity’s website, where they could “submit a donation” by using an online form. The website stated the program could “accept kids up to age 12 in any condition, provided the donor is the child’s legal parent.” Anyone getting to the confirmation part would receive an “April Fool’s” statement, followed by, “Your kids are worth more than you think.” According to a Boston Medical Center study, 73% of parents pay more attention to their mobile phones than to their children during mealtime. The Kids4Kars campaign encourages parents to ignore their devices during times reserved for their children. “We felt we needed to hit hard to get the gravity of the message across,” Franco states. “With the increasing temptations of our mobile devices, it is harder and harder to stay focused on our children. The shock value of an April Fool’s prank allowed us to wake parents up to the damage they can do to their children by focusing on their devices instead of their kids.” It is estimated that this particular stunt reached at least 50 million people. Meanwhile in Connecticut, Chaz & AJ – the morning team at Connoisseur Media‘s WPLR, New Haven “Connecticut’s #1 Rock Station” and co-owned classic rock WFOX, Stamford-Norwalk “The Fox,” reported that state taxpayers could double their tax rebate check from $55 to $110 by registering with a new database program instituted by the Department of Revenue Service. According to Chaz, it was difficult to establish the exact number of calls the stations received, especially since, “The high volume that came in ultimately caused the phone system to crash. We did not think it would generate that many calls.” Shortly after 9:00 am, the morning duo fielded a call from the Governor’s office and Chaz points out, “They complained that the revenue department was overwhelmed with phone calls – they were not happy.” A voicemail message declared it was an April Fool’s Day joke, but the Department of Revenue Services received calls about the supposed “rebate” throughout the day.
ObamaCare Criticism, Global Warming Debate, Ryan Budget Cuts, Benghazi Hearing, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Investigation, Russian Aggression, and MLB Season Opens Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/1). Scrutiny of the White House’s claim that the Affordable Care Act has reached its stated goals; renewed debate over the theory of man-made climate change; Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposal to cut $5 trillion from the proposed federal budget; today’s House Intelligence Committee hearing at which former deputy CIA director Michael Morell will testify on the Benghazi case; new conflicting information about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370’s last communications and a renewed criminal investigation; Russia’s aggression in Ukraine; and the opening of the 2014 Major League Baseball season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Short Ideas for a Short Week. As the industry returns from a holiday weekend, digital media consultant Chris Miller offers some quick thoughts regarding your digital efforts. If you’re still wondering about the changes Facebook made that affect the way content lines up on your news feed, Miller has three items to consider. Also check out his thoughts on the type of content you put on your station website and whether that content lines up with your brand’s “message.” Plus, Chris has a final word about attitude. Check it all out here.
Promotions Conflict at Philly Eatery Brings Abrupt End to Live Broadcast. The Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that the quick shutdown of a WIP, Philadelphia remote broadcast with afternoon hosts Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis at Chickie’s & Pete’s may not have been the result of an ISDN breakdown but the fact that rival Greater Media sports talker WPEN personality Jon Marks was also at the establishment for a personal appearance. The paper reports that about 30 minutes into Gargano’s and Ellis’ broadcast, WPEN’s Marks arrived along with rock WMMR jock Matt Cord for a $1,000 MetroPCS giveaway in another part of the pub. The Daily News goes on to write that Chickie’s & Pete’s management tried to move Marks and Cord to a different part of the restaurant but Greater Media refused. CBS tells the paper the ISDN problem was the issue and while no one else is commenting, it appears it could have been nothing more than a scheduling snafu that ruffled the feathers of the stations involved.
Linder Joins WMEN, West Palm Beach for Afternoons. The JCE Licenses-owned sports talk station names Jon Linder host of the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show, replacing Andy Slater who left for Clear Channel’s sports talk WINZ, Miami “The Sports Animal” in December. Linder joined WMEN as a fill-in host last year. He’s worked at Beasley’s WQAM, Miami serving as a sports reporter and studio host during Miami Hurricanes football broadcasts from 2010 through 2012.
Cleveland Host Faces Jury Trial in Domestic Violence Charge. WKNR, Cleveland sports talk host Tony Rizzo will appear in Medina Municipal Court on February 27 for a jury trial after being accused of domestic assault by his wife Catherine Rizzo in December. Rizzo remains on the air at Good Karma-owned WKNR. The company issued a statement after the incident leading to the charge calling Rizzo “an exemplary teammate and member of the community and his status with us is unaffected.” Police were called to Rizzo’s home after his wife called them saying she had locked herself in the bathroom after Rizzo choked her and hit her in the face. Rizzo pleaded not guilty on December 9.
KCAA, Lorma Linda, California First to Accept Bitcoins for Airtime. The Fred Lundgren-owned news/talk station that serves the Riverside/San Bernardino market is claiming it’s the first radio station in North America to Bitcoins as payment for advertising and airtime. The station says it signed its first programming agreement purchased with Bitcoin on January 17. KCAA utilized a service called “Coinbase” to process the payment. Lundgren comments, “Our first transaction paid us 9.4 Bitcoins, which Coinbase displayed as approximately $7,200.00 USD. These funds will appear in our bank account in two to three business days.” Lundgren adds, “The value of Bitcoin as a digital currency will grow as more businesses accept it. I predict it will become a viable alternative to ever increasing bank charges.”
Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Emcees Senate Campaign Fundraiser. KTRH, Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry is headlining a fundraiser for U.S. Senate candidate Col. Rob Maness (USAF, Ret.) on Friday, January 24, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Berry’s program is heard on stations across the U.S. including on WJBO, Baton Rouge from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Maness is running for the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Mary Landrieu.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Sochi Olympics Terror Threats, Syria Torture Allegations, ObamaCare Criticism, Wendy Davis Bio Questioned and Chris Christie Sandy Aid Charge Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/20). The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday; concerns over security at the Sochi Winter Games; new allegations of the Assad regime’s use of torture in Syria’s civil conflict; criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis’ life story disputed by critics; and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie faces charges of misappropriating Hurricane Sandy aid were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Jacksonville Judge to Arbitron: Try Again…or Else. Or else the complaint against Renda Jacksonville will be dismissed. U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard struck Arbitron’s complaint that Renda Jacksonville illegally used its property – PPM ratings data it had allegedly acquired from a local ad agency – calling it an impermissible “shotgun pleading” and giving Arbitron until July 26 to file an amended complaint or it will be dismissed. The court writes “A shotgun complaint ‘contains several counts, each one incorporating by reference the allegations of its predecessors, leading to a situation where most of the counts . . . contain irrelevant factual allegations and legal conclusions.’…Consequently, in ruling on the sufficiency of a claim, the Court is faced with the onerous task of sifting out irrelevancies in order to decide for itself which facts are relevant to a particular cause of action asserted.” To be clear, this not a judgment about the legitimacy of Arbitron’s claim but it’s a smack down of the way the complaint was written and the judge was clearly not happy about it. Paraphrasing what the TALKERS legal department tells us, “Judges hate it when litigants waste the Court’s time.”
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Glen Dingley of Kingtron, Inc. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Glen Dingley of Texas-based Kingtron, Inc. Dingley brings years of experience as a chief engineer to his brokerage firm stating, “So much equipment is outdated and incompatible out there. My clients really respect my insights and advice. When you are buying or selling a station, you are mainly purchasing equipment with which to broadcast. Station personnel, policies, and other assets can change, but without good equipment, you are not competitive.” Dingley’s advice to first-time buyers, many of whom are currently displaced station managers, is to try to connect with an investment firm or individual. He says, “There is still a lot of glamour involved with owning a station, but investors need direction and guidance. Go locate those people and show them what you know and how you can assist them in the industry and help them make money in the broadcasting business. Also try to stay in the media-related industry to keep your pulse on the state of the business and the changes it will take in the next 10 years.” To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, click here.
KDWN, Las Vegas PD John Shaffer Named President of APTRA. That’s the Associated Press Television and Radio Association and it means that Beasley programmer John Shaffer will spend the next year heading the organization that represents 13 western states including: California, Nevada, Hawaii, Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Washington, Colorado, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Alaska and Oregon. The passing of the gavel took place at APTRA’s annual Mark Twain Awards Banquet, held Saturday, June 22 at the Pasadena Convention Center, in Pasadena, California. Shaffer has served as vice president of the APTRA Board of Directors for the last two years and as the Nevada Radio representative on the board for the past four years. Beasley Las Vegas market manager Tom Humm says, “John serves as program director and news director for KDWN and is perfect for this position. He is a perfectionist, and believes in the importance of both maintaining integrity and getting information out to our communities in a timely manner. These skills will serve him well as president of APTRA.”
New York State Broadcasters Association Recognizes Outstanding Achievement at Annual Ceremony. The New York State Broadcasters Association held its 47th annual “Awards for Excellence in Broadcasting” on Monday evening at the Sagamore Resort Hotel in Bolton Landing. Winners in radio included: WNOW-FM, a CBS station, received recognition for “Outstanding Commercial” (Guiffre Auto Group — Forget About It), “Outstanding Promotion Announcement or Series” (We’re All Sandy Hook) and “Outstanding On-Air Broadcast Personality Or Team” (Zann On 92.3 NOW). Emmis Communications-owned WQHT-FM picked up an award for “Outstanding Station Sponsored Event” (Hot 97’s Summer Jam 2012 Nicki Minaj) and WNYM-AM was singled out for “Outstanding Sportscast” (Al Gattullo Sports Report). WFUV-FM, the region’s NPR member station, collected awards for “Outstanding Public Service Announcement/Campaign” (Striking a Chord), “Outstanding Public Affairs Program Or Series” (Cityscape), “Outstanding Spot News” (Sandy’s Aftermath), “Outstanding Feature Story” (Big Andy, Little Andy, And The Gift of Hope”) and “Outstanding Commentary/Editorial” (Roommating 101).
Georgia Tech Football and Hoops Off WQXI, Atlanta. IMG College – the agency that negotiates the rights to play-by-play for Georgia Tech (and many other schools) announces that the school’s football and men’s basketball will not air on Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk WQXI, Atlanta this season as they have since 2001. Games are also broadcast on Cumulus Media’s FM all-news WYAY and the signal more than covers the area, according to Georgia Tech athletic director Mike Bobinski. He states, “We will continue to maintain a relationship with WQXI as a significant local sports talk station, but the flagship designation, by mutual agreement, will come to an end.”
With a Little Help from My Friends. KXL, Portland mid-morning host (and longtime TALKERS Heavy Hundred host) Jim Villanucci tells TALKERS that he survived the trauma of not having his contract renewed after 14 years of service as afternoon drive host at Cumulus‘s heritage talk outlet KKOB, Albuquerque because of a little help from his friends in the industry – some of whom he had never even met in person. The best way to describe Villanucci – who admits that upon losing his position at the Albuquerque talker he was “scared” and went through some “rough stuff” emotionally – is grateful. He tells TALKERS he is grateful and “happy” to now be working with a new team at Larry Wilson‘s Alpha Broadcasting hosting the late morning show on news/talk KXL, Portland, giving praise to Wilson as well as Scott Mahalick, Milt McConnell and Bob Profitt and mentions a bunch of “random names” in the industry who rose to the occasion of giving him support – even if it just meant “listening” and giving him encouragement during the dark days between jobs. These include Laurie Cantillo, Andrew Paul, Tom Becka, Mark Davis, Joe O’ Neil, Heidi Harris and Marc Germain, among others.
WIOU, Kokomo, Indiana to Flip to Sports Talk. The Hoosier AM/FM, LLC news/talk WIOU, Kokomo will flip to sports talk beginning July 1 using content from ESPN Radio including “Mike and Mike in the Morning,” Colin Cowherd, SVP & Russillo and “Coach & Company.” Longtime WIOU staffer and current program director Rob Rupe keeps his position with the station. According to a piece in the Kokomo Tribune, station manager Ernie Caldemone says, “I feel as long as we continue to be local in our community, we’ll do extremely well. I think we’ve been known as the sports station, because we already carry a half-day schedule. I just felt like with the sports we already have, why not go to all sports, 24/7?”
Connectivity Is the Watchword at CE Week in NYC. Radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke reports from New York City where the Consumer Electronic Association is hosting CE Week. He says the buzzword everyone is using is “connectivity” as more and more consumers expect the electronics they purchase to be able to connect to the internet. “Thus Blu-ray has flatlined. It’s the highest-quality hardware for viewing hard-copy software. But as we spend more time watching Hulu and Netflix and other streaming video, physical video disks seem to be going the way of audio CDs obsoleted by iTunes and other download depots.” Read Holland Cooke’s complete report here.
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio announces the CBS Sports Radio Network hits the 300-affiliate mark just nine months after launching the network. CBS Radio SVP of programming Chris Oliviero states, “Hitting the 300-affiliate mark in less than a year is a significant milestone and testament to the overwhelming love of, and support for sports radio in this country.”…..Media and advertising analysis firm BIA/Kelsey announces the expansion of its executive team with the promotions of analyst Michael Boland to vice president, content, and analyst Jed Williams to vice president, consulting. In addition, veteran digital media executive Warren Kay has joined the firm as executive-in-residence…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFED, Washington “Federal News Radio” debuts a new logo that celebrates it as a multimedia source of federal news and information. Program director Lisa Wolfe says, “I’m very happy with our new logo. It gives appropriate recognition to our two major distribution platforms and streamlines our public-facing image. Our new branding more accurately reflects the multimedia news organization we always have been.”
Fisher House PSAs and Public Affairs Show Available for Fourth of July Programming. Bloomquist Media reports that stations interested in airing PSAs and public affairs programming that makes an emotional connection with listeners can conveniently get them from a Dropbox link right here. The Fourth of July-themed PSAs and the 30-minute Fisher House public affairs program help promote the Fisher House Foundation which builds comfort homes at military and VA hospitals where the families of wounded warriors can stay at no cost while their hero is recovering. Radio stations across the country continue to help Fisher House and their mission to support military families in their time of greatest need.
‘Gang of 8’ Amnesty Bill, IRS Scandal, NSA Surveillance/Snowden Asylum Issue, Obama Climate Change Policy, George Zimmerman Trial, and SCOTUS Rulings Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/24). The immigration bill that would give amnesty to illegals already in the U.S.; the ongoing investigation into the IRS scandal; the battle over extradition of Edward Snowden and the NSA surveillance program; President Obama’s move to sidestep Congress to push his climate change policy through; opening arguments in the trial of George Zimmerman and the Supreme Court rulings were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Feature: Tom Leykis One Year Later. Talk radio legend Tom Leykis is preparing to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the digital-only version of his eponymous talk program. Operating under the umbrella of his New Normal content company, the show began last April 2 and, Leykis tells TALKERS magazine managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian, “In terms of listenership and media recognition, we are ahead of where we expected to be at this point.” The venture got off the ground after Leykis’ old contract with CBS expired and he was able to move ahead on his own. Using Triton Digital‘s Webcast Metrics, Leykis says he is on a projected pace of 9.6 million connections for 2013. This version of his show is embarking on new frontiers but he says he wouldn’t have it any other way. “Many people in the radio business, including some I really respect, said I was insane. They felt I had a long history in radio and should not be walking away from it at this time. I was leaving the big-box, broadcasting business to be in the hand-crafted, small-batch business. This is a boutique content company in the P1 business, as opposed to trying to get P1s, P2s, P3s, P4s, and P5s.” The candid Leykis admits the show is not profitable yet, but points to start-up costs in the first year as a major factor for that. He’s very bullish on this delivery system for content and his business plan. Read this entire piece here.
Talkers New York 2013 Adds “Navigating A Talk Radio Hosting Career” Panel. Being a radio talk show host in 2013 involves a lot more than just getting a good job at a good station (or network) and doing a great show every day (although there’s certainly nothing wrong with that). Managing a meaningful and productive career as hosts in today’s turbulent radio industry demands an increased level of entrepreneurism in addition to a keen knowledge of the internet and social media. Add to the mix an understanding of the role intellectual property plays today as a negotiating chip in talent/management (employee/employer) deals as well as a sensitivity to the demands of sales and it becomes apparent that today’s talent lives and works in a far more competitive, complex and economically challenging environment than ever. These subjects and more will be discussed on the panel titled, “Navigating a Talk Radio Hosting Career,” at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 conference by the following personalities (in alphabetical order): Michael Berry, KTRH, Houston (and others); Alan Colmes, Fox News Radio; Andy Dean, Premiere Networks; Thom Hartmann, WYD Media; Tom Leykis, The New Normal; Steve Malzberg, Newsmax.com; Phil Valentine, Cumulus Media; David Webb, Sirius/XM; and Lisa Wexler, WFAS, Westchester, New York. The panel will be moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey. 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. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more agenda details about speakers, panels, presentations and award recipients coming in the immediate days ahead.
ABIP: Being Prepared for an FCC Inspection. TALKERS magazine technical editor Tom Ray says there is help for most broadcasters in preparing for – and in most cases avoiding – an FCC inspection. And it’s not about getting away with anything, it’s about finding possible violations before they become FCC violations. Ray writes about the Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program, “Just about every State Broadcaster’s Association runs an ABIP program. For a nominal fee, the Association will send an inspector in to run your station through an FCC-type inspection. The good news is, we’re not the FCC. If we find something amiss, you have the opportunity to fix it.” Ray continues, “When the [ABIP] certificate is issued, the local FCC office is informed that your station(s) have passed the ABIP inspection. The FCC will then stay away from your facility for three years when they are going around doing routine inspections. The inspection immunity does not count if they show up on a complaint, or if they are going around checking a specific item, like EAS compliance or tower lights.” Find out more about the ABIP in Tom Ray’s most recent column here.
Twitter as Talk Radio Teleprompter. Radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke offers this quick tip for talk show hosts: Try writing your on-air hour open on Twitter. For two reasons: 1) The loud-and-clear headline we’ve gleaned from PPM data: Every…single…syllable…matters. And…any…given…minute…could earn you another Average Quarter Hour of listening credit. Why your hour open needs to be so distilled and instantly inviting? Listeners believe station promos, which invite more occasions of listening from your P1s, and invite cross-cuming music radio P1s to “CHECK-IN, FOR A QUICK NEWS, TRAFFIC, AND WEATHER UPDATE, EVERY HOUR, ON-THE-HOUR, THROUGHOUT YOUR BUSY DAY.” Then, many of those music listeners are back-to-the-tunes…unless, quicker than an index finger can make it from the steering wheel to the FM button, you can engage. So imposing Twitter’s 140-character limit on your open is a useful discipline. 2) And doing this does double duty! Not only have you distilled your on-air proposition, you’ve got a ready-to-launch Tweet. Try this. You’ll like the results. For 8 more reasons radio talkers should bear-hug Twitter – and some specific recommendations for making yourself darn handy to The Boss – don’t miss my session, “Resourceful and Remarkable” at Talkers New York 2013 on June 6.
ESPN O&O WMVP, Chicago Makes Program Schedule Changes; ‘Waddle & Silvy’ to PM Drive. Chicago sports talker “ESPN 1000” swaps midday and PM drive shows, moving former Chicago Bear Tom Waddle and Marc “Silvy” Silverman from their midday slot to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. Current afternoon hosts John “Jurko” Jurkovic and Carmen DeFalco move to the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm shift. The change allows the station to air the first hour of ESPN Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” from 9:00 am to 10:00 am. Changes take effect on April 1.
WDAE, Tampa Bay’s Steve Duemig Forced Off Air by Management. According to a piece in the Tampa Bay Times by columnist Eric Deggans, WDAE sports talk host Steve Duemig is off his afternoon drive show indefinitely at management’s insistence. Duemig tells the paper he’s still under contract, ready and willing to work but Clear Channel management has pulled him from his show with two months left on his deal. According to Duemig, a clause in his contract allows him to talk with other stations 60 days before the contract ends (presumably with the right of first refusal if it matches the new offer). He says management tried to pressure him to sign a new deal before that window opened. That contract was signed before ratings-challenged WHFS “Sports Radio 98.7” was put on the air by CBS Radio and it’s possible the company will try to steal him away. For now, Tom Krasniqi is hosting the PM drive show.
Premiere Networks Nationally Syndicated Andy Dean Hits 100-Affliate Mark. Talk show host Andy Dean, with the addition of new affiliates including WOR, New York; WLAN, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; KEEL, Shreveport, Louisiana; WHYN-AM, Springfield; KTSM, El Paso; and WMAN-AM/FM, Mansfield, Ohio, tops the 100 affiliate mark. Syndicator Premiere Networks reports that “the program’s audience has increased by more than 170% year-to-year (Source: Arbitron FA’11 to FA’12, Nationwide, Exact Times, AQH, P 12+) and is currently heard by approximately one million weekly listeners.”
SportsBusiness Journal to Honor Good Karma Chief Craig Karmazin. The publication will recognize Good Karma Broadcasting founder and CEO Craig Karmazin as one of its “Forty Under Forty” for 2013 at a black-tie gala on Thursday, April 4 at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Florida. Karmazin, son of media executive Mel Karmazin, founded Good Karma in 1997 shortly after his college graduation from Emory University with the purchase of three radio stations in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. Since then, he’s expanded the company into five additional markets, including Milwaukee, Madison and Janesville, Wisconsin; Cleveland and West Palm Beach, Florida. His company operates nine ESPN-affiliated sports talk stations. Karmazin has expanded beyond broadcasting into the sports marketing field as well as the events and wireless retail businesses.
WABC, New York Adds Live Saturday Evening Program. The new show, “The Saturday Cafe with Laura Smith,” airs in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot that opened when longtime WABC personality Mark Simone left for crosstown WOR. Smith tells TALKERS magazine the evening variety show focuses on a weekend mindset and “is all about fascinating conversations with fascinating people — everyone from celebrities, actors, authors, gurus, non-profits, musicians and the best psychics/mediums — the whole gamut on the spectrum of interesting stories and conversations for listeners.” She says a recent program involved guests such as: a psychic interior designer, a beautiful singer songwriter who lost her leg in a tragic accident and now is a motivational speaker to returning troops, a NY deacon talking about the new Pope, a non- profit organization called Heart 911 that is rebuilding homes after Hurricane Sandy, and an upcoming Aretha Franklin concert.
‘Frontlines of Freedom’ Wins Michigan Association of Broadcasters Award. The weekly military news/talk radio program, “Frontlines of Freedom,” hosted by Lt. Col. Denny Gillem, U.S. Army (Retired)(pictured here at right), wins “Best in Category” Regularly Scheduled Weekend Broadcast Personality or Team; and “Best in Category” Special Show Broadcast Personality from the Michigan Broadcasters Association. Gillem says, “To be recognized again for producing a top-notch program is not only good for our show’s team, but it sends the message to all radio stations that you too can add winning shows to your station’s weekend schedule. Our affiliates already know that, and we thank them for it.” Executive producer Josh Leng (pictured at left) notes, “We made the decision to expand ‘Frontlines of Freedom’ to two hours based on listener response, the host’s desire, advertiser demand, and radio program directors’ feedback to have a longer show that offers a better TSL opportunity to improve their ratings. The two-hour program also ensures we always have enough time to fully cover all the important military news and issues of the day.”
Universal Broadcasting Network Launches. The initiative is the effort of Global Voice Broadcasting founder Tony Sweet and award-winning TV, film and stage actress Ann Walker. The duo have partnered on the launch of Universal Broadcasting Network – what they describe as “a brand new, international media platform that includes an internet-based multimedia radio network. The Hollywood-based operation broadcasts from the Sunset Gower Studios and is already host to a diverse spectrum of talk radio shows, including those geared towards entertainment, children and family, love and relationships, LGBT and women’s issues, and sports and fitness, among many others. UBN says it currently broadcasts 16 shows, and is quickly growing, with the capability to host up to 100 in the future. Tony Sweet – who hosted his own program, “On Air with Tony Sweet,” — says, “Universal Broadcasting Network is my child, my vision and my creation of what I have always dreamed to build: a multi-media company that entertains, inspires and educates. To me, UBN Radio is a place that combines Reality Radio with honesty, integrity and entertainment without limits. My vision is for it to become an international Internet television and radio station that will take us into the new age of technology and media.” Ann Walker was originally a co-host with Sweet on his program but then also became a host of her own popular show which now broadcasts on UBN. She now serves as CEO of the company and says, “When Tony approached me about starting a new station, I was intrigued by the possibility and opportunities that new technologies bring to our industry and decided to jump on board as his partner. Having been an actress for 35 years, I was excited about a new adventure that still holds true to what I set out to do all those years ago, which is to entertain, inspire and connect. UBN not only allows me to do this, but provides a platform for other voices and entertainers to do the same.”
Broadcasters Seeking Input in Ithaca Radio History. As CBS News Radio correspondent Peter King notes, a number of the radio business’ successful talent got their start working at radio stations in Ithaca, New York. King, in association with his brother Rick Sommers – former WLTW, New York staffer and currently broadcast liaison for the New York Local of SAG-AFTRA – are gathering material to chronicle the history of radio in Ithaca New York. He tells TALKERS, “We both got our professional starts as students at Ithaca College (and WICB-AM/FM), and later, WTKO, and the litany of talent that came through town is amazing – not just at WICB and WTKO — but WVBR, WHCU and later, the FMs that began broadcasting there!” King says this labor of love could use some help from other broadcasters who’ve worked in the market. They are looking for cans of photos, memorabilia, sales material, promotional items, etc. Anyone wishing to help can contact the project via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Rick Sommers can be contacted directly at email@example.com .
President Obama Visits Israel, Sequester Effects, North Korea Tensions, Gun Legislation, and Cyprus Bank Tax Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/19). President Obama’s trip to Israel; the ongoing discussion over the effects of the sequester; North Korea’s alleged cyber-attack on South Korea; legislative moves to advance new gun legislation; and the bank tax on Cyprus financial institutions and its repercussions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Les Moonves Still Says CBS Likes Radio. If CBS is interested in selling its radio properties, CBS president and CEO Les Moonves isn’t spilling the beans. CBS presented at Deutsche Bank’s DbAccess 21st Annual Media and Telecom Conference yesterday and when asked by Deutsche Bank’s Douglas Mitchelson about the flat performance of radio in general, Moonves said the company still likes radio for its cash. “We like radio. Once again, low-single digit growth, revenue, OIBDA. It’s still a very great cash business with great margins. We still like running it. We have no intent to sell it as many people are watching terrestrial radio today as watching 10 years ago, even with all these things going on with satellite and everything else. It is what it is. We like the business, it produces cash every year. We like having the amount of cash we have, where our balance sheet is certainly in great shape, partially because of radio.”
Cumulus-Cox Suit Over Birmingham Sports Programmer Settle; PD Returns to WJOX. The battle between sports talkers WJOX – owned by Cumulus Media – and crosstown start-up WZNN – owned by Cox Media Group but soon to be officially acquired by SummitMedia along with Cox’s other Birmingham stations – has been a hotbed of legal action over the past couple of years. But as the closing by SummitMedia on WZNN “97.3 The Zone” nears, one battle appears to have been settled. Programmer Ryan Haney – who jumped from WJOX to WZNN back in late January only to have his move challenged in court by Cumulus – returns to WJOX. The Birmingham News reports neither side is commenting on any such deal. Haney’s contract had expired more than two years ago but he’d been working as an at-will employee. He left WJOX the same day popular sports talk personality Paul Finebaum left at the expiration of his contract. Finebaum is not working in the business as he is expected to join WZNN after his non-compete expires.
So, You Want to be Syndicated? Noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke says, “I can help you…but first, can I talk you out of it? Even though being syndicated seems to be the dream of most local or even wannabe radio talk show hosts, having your show run on a string of stations around the country is a goal that 1) is extremely difficult to attain; and 2) might not be worth the effort at this point in the industry’s evolution. Read Holland Cooke’s fascinating, eye-opening explanation of what you will be facing, in addition to suggesting workable and realistic alternatives, in a blunt, informative article by clicking here.
KYW, Philadelphia Promotes Cherri Gregg to Community Affairs Reporter. CBS Radio all-news KYW, Philadelphia ups reporter Cherri Gregg to community affairs reporter. In this new role, Gregg will be shedding light on the numerous issues, neighborhoods and area leaders affecting community life in the Delaware Valley across a variety of time periods for the station. Gregg joined KYW in 2011 as a general assignment reporter while completing a Masters in Journalism at Temple University. She came to the station from the legal field where she had practiced for eight years at two Am-Law 100 law firms. The company says that although she enjoyed the practice of law, her true passion is reporting on stories that matter to the community. In January 2010, she quit her job at a top Philadelphia law firm to pursue her passion full time. Director of news and programming Steve Butler states, “Cherri has been a terrific addition to the KYW Newsradio staff and we’re pleased she will be focusing on developing stories from the grass roots, Covering all aspects of the Delaware Valley community is job-one for our staff, and we’re glad to have her continue that Newsradio legacy.”
KGOW, Houston Shuffles Lineup; Granato and Pendergast to PM Drive. The lineup at Gow Broadcasting’s KGOW, Houston will feature Yahoo! Sports Radio morning personality Steve Czaban and current AM drivers John Granato and Sean Pendergast will move to the PM drive slot beginning Monday, March 11. The Houston Chronicle reports Adam Clanton and John Wessling – the afternoon drive team since last August have exited the station. In the Chronicle piece, owner David Gow addresses the station’s recent poor ratings which have failed to have the station appear in the most recent survey. “We look forward to our ratings coming back up with this lineup. We’ve been frustrated with the Arbitron results for a period of months. But the driving factor is the chance to put together this new lineup that will roll out on Monday.” Czaban will be followed by DIRECTV/Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick with John Harris hosting the 11:00 am to 3:00 pm program.
Odds & Sods. Sports USA is presenting exclusive national terrestrial radio coverage of all three legs of horse racing’s Triple Crown. The company is partnering with Mike Penna’s Horse Racing Radio Network for the events. Each two-hour broadcast will begin at 5:00 pm ET and will feature the live call of each race from the track announcer along with live trackside reports…..ESPN Radio’s Championship Week coverage begins with the inaugural “Greenberg & Greenberg in the Morning” show this Friday, March 8 from 6:00 am to 10:00 am ET where Mike Greenberg will be joined by former Virginia Tech men’s head basketball coach Seth Greenberg for a hoops-heavy, four-hour broadcast. The network is also airing the Big 12 Semifinals and Championship as well as every game of the ACC Tournament……SiriusXM teams former NFL QB Rich Gannon with Bruce Murray for “The SiriusXM Blitz” program that airs weekdays from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm ET on its NFL Radio channel.
A Capitol Idea. KARN-FM, Little Rock afternoon drive host and program director Dave Elswick is hosting live broadcasts twice per week from the Arkansas State Capitol in order to keep his listeners up-to-date on the latest state political news (and, of course, Dave’s opinions concerning said news!). Pictured here at a recent broadcast from the capitol building are (from l-r): guest host Laurie Lee, Elswick, Saline County Clerk Dennis Milligan, and Arkansas Tea Party activist David Crowe.
Sequestration Issue, North Korea Threats/Dennis Rodman Remarks, Iran Nuclear Build-Up, Surging Dow, and Jeb Bush in 2016 Rumors Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/4). The ongoing sequestration issue; North Korea’s threats against South Korea and Dennis Rodman’s cozying up to Kim Jong-Un; Iran’s nuclear build-up; the surging Dow Jones industrial average; and Jeb Bush’s not ruling out a run for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Ronn Owens Disputes Reports of His Demise at KGO. Addressing yesterday morning’s lead story on the TALKERS magazine morning headlines, attributed to San Francisco media blogger Rich Lieberman, KGO talk show host Ronn Owens tells TALKERS there is no truth to the report that his contract will be bought out before it ends on December 31 and that the station will replace him with a newsy program. Owens also tells TALKERS he has no knowledge of Cumulus Media’s plans beyond his contract but says, “Cumulus has been totally nice to me.” Owens says Lieberman “has been attacking me for over a year for the changes that have taken place at KGO,” referring to the dismissal of other talk show hosts and staffers that took place after Cumulus assumed control of the station. Owens says Lieberman’s blog story is “totally made up.” He says, in fact, his agent is not Don Buchwald but is David Katz. He also says he does not make a seven-figure salary and never said that his ego is too big to be paid $300,000, as Lieberman reported. Regarding his future at KGO, Owens tells TALKERS, “San Francisco is the crown jewel of places to live and whatever happens after December 31 happens.”
CBS Radio’s Atlanta Sports FM Will Be “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game.” Set to debut in mid-October, CBS Radio’s new FM sports talk outlet – the soon-to-be-former Triple A WZGC, Atlanta will take the handle “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game.” Media chatter around Atlanta is that the station may reveal its lineup as early as next week in order to give the sales staff something concrete to pitch to clients prior to the launch. Earlier media reports alluded to the possibility that “Two Live Stews” Doug and Ryan Stewart – recently dropped from crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone” – might pop up on the station but TALKERS sources indicate that will not be the case. The programming philosophy we’re hearing about for this station is being termed as “fresh.” Stay tuned!
Nation’s Biggest Talk Hosts Sign On to Petition Against TV Networks for Biased Election Coverage. The missive detailing a complaint against ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN for “rigging this election and taking sides in order to pre-determine the outcome,” is penned by the conservative Media Research Center’s L. Brent Bozell III but it is signed by some of the country’s top nationally syndicated talk show hosts. Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh, TRN’s Laura Ingraham and Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin signed the open letter. In it, Bozell writes, in part: “A free and balanced media are crucial to the health of this country. It is your duty as journalists – as outlined in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics – to ‘distinguish between advocacy and news reporting,’ while simultaneously ‘seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.’ There is a reason why the media are viewed with such disdain by the American public, as evidenced by every recent poll on the issue.”
Armstrong & Getty Reportedly Suspended for Call to Criticize Islam. The suspension has not been confirmed by Clear Channel Sacramento management but the duo of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty were off their KSTE, Sacramento flagship station as well as KKSF, San Francisco (where the show is simulcast) on Tuesday morning after the show sent out a press release promoting its call to listeners to post videos and photos critical of Islam and the prophet Muhammad to “flood the world with cartoons, movies and songs saying bad things about Muhammad until they finally grow up. In other words, free speech,” stated Jack Armstrong. The political blog The Right Perspective is reporting the duo have been suspended though it doesn’t state a period or confirmation of the sanction. KTXL-TV, Sacramento produced a piece on the controversy and also was unable to get a comment on record from Clear Channel’s Sacramento management.
Radio’s Strengths in the Media Landscape. Radio consultant Holland Cooke says the best session he attended at the recent 2012 Radio Show in Dallas was by Arbitron senior VP/marketing Bill Rose and highlighted how “Radio provides opportunities to reach consumers when advertising is relevant to what they are doing.” Cooke says, “This document [the study cited] is a powerful selling tool, and real instructive to programmers and on-air talent…especially on-air talent that sells (and smart on-air talent does).” The data Rose used in his presentation was from USA Touchpoints, a national sample that captures media usage, shopping behavior, emotional mindset, via smartphone app, every half hour, from 10-day panelists. Read Holland Cooke’s report and analysis here.
WWNC, Asheville AM Drive Co-Host Jerri Jameson Moves On. Morning drive co-host Jerri Jameson announces she will exit the Clear Channel station October 12 to pursue other interests. Jameson writes on her station blog, “After more than 10 years with Clear Channel Asheville, it is time for me to move on from radio. It was a difficult decision. I have gotten to know some truly wonderful people in our great community and for that I will always be grateful. Waking up each morning to share the daily goings on around town, the state and the world with you has truly been an honor I will treasure forever.”
The Young Guns of Talk Radio. Ask anyone, especially those working for the consumer media, and they’ll tell you that personalities working as hosts on news/talk stations are all old, white men. Radio’s general lack of a “farm system” doesn’t help that misconception much, but the truth is there are young people – some men and some women – working in news/talk radio today. Tomorrow at Talkers.com, executive editor Kevin Casey writes about some of those broadcasters and their thoughts on being young and on the air in the news/talk business.
Willie Geist to Join NBC’s “Today.” According to Brian Stelter’s Media Decoder in The New York Times, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” cast member Willie Geist will become co-host of the 9:00 am hour of NBC’s “Today” program. The deal has not been officially announced and Stelter reports Geist will still appear on “Morning Joe,” probably during the 6:00 am hour but will give up the “Way Too Early” 5:30 am newscast he’s been anchoring. It’s also believed Geist will fill in for Matt Lauer when he is absent.
Rumors of Big Names Being Sought to Run CNN. Sony chairman Howard Stringer is one of the executives rumored to be on the list of those being sought to take charge of struggling CNN when current chief Jim Walton leaves at the end of the year. The New York Post reports a source inside CNN states, “We should know something in a month, perhaps before the elections. Unlike CNN International, we just don’t have someone with a mission. We need our Roger Ailes.” Other media execs reportedly being considered are former NBCUniversal president and CEO Jeff Zucker, former ABC News president David Westin, and former NBC News chief Neal Shapiro.
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles takes its “KNX on Your Corner” live remote series to Glendale, California on October 19. The day of programming will include features about Glendale’s history, current issues and plans for future growth. Coverage will include live interviews with city officials and other special guests. The station will continue the series in Beverly Hills on December 7…..SiriusXM will present live coverage of the 2012 Ryder Cup golf tournament. The biennial event pits the US against Europe and is being played this year at Medinah Country Club in Illinois.
Part of the Skyline. CBS Radio’s all-news KYW, Philadelphia is now a part of the city’s skyline after the station put up a new, lit call letter sign atop its offices at 400 Market Street in downtown Philly. The KYW logo and the iconic CBS “eye,” were hung over this past weekend and faces east, making it visible from Camden, New Jersey, I-95 and the Ben Franklin Bridge. The station notes this was not a simple building procedure. “The difficult process of hanging an illuminated sign above street level, particularly in the downtown area, took five years before receiving city zoning and art commission approval. KYW is now the only radio station in Philadelphia County to be granted this right.”
Obama on ‘The View’ and at the UN, Iran’s Bluster, Criticism of Religious Figures, Libya Aftermath, and NFL Replacement Officials Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/25). President Obama’s Appearance on ‘The View’ and his speech at the United Nations; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s blustery speech at the UN and his appearance on Piers Morgan; criticism of religious figures; analysis of the aftermath of the Libya attack and furor over the NFL’s replacement officials were some of the most-talked-about-stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Les Moonves Tells Investors Network Sports Radio Biz is “Found Money.” That CBS is bullish on sports is not news – CBS CEO Les Moonves has said that before. But he reiterated his company’s dedication to the industry and – citing the new CBS Sports Radio Network venture – called it $10 million to $15 million worth of “found money.” Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference in Beverly Hills yesterday, Moonves told the conference the sports radio network business is a $150 million industry, “With our deal with Cumulus, we have reach. We’re in nine of the top 10 markets. We have the capacity to put on a lot of stuff. We think right away we’re going to get about 10% of the market. That’s going to be a significant hit right away and that should grow. It’s a great marketplace; rather easy to do. As far as we’re concerned it’s 10 or 15 million [dollars] of found money that we think will grow.” CBS is entering into a fast-growing marketplace already dominated by ESPN and with entrenched radio players Fox Sports Radio Network, Yahoo! Sports Radio and new entrant NBC Sports Radio – a partnership between NBC and Dial Global. Sure, there’s a ton of money in sports media right now, but how fast this market gets saturated is a question industry watchers are pondering.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Gets Television Profile with DISH Network Deal. Talk show host and digital media pioneer Glenn Beck is soon to be seen on television after his TheBlaze, Inc. agrees to a deal with DISH Network to have his online 24-hour news, information and entertainment network available on the satellite TV provider. Under terms of the deal, TheBlaze will be available to DISH viewers on channel 212 as part of DISH’s America’s Top 250 package or a la carte for $5 a month. The channel launched Wednesday at 5:00 pm ET. It’ll be available as a free preview for all DISH customers through September 26. In a statement, Beck says, “TheBlaze has helped revolutionize television over the internet and now we are excited to bring the revolution back to traditional television. TheBlaze will be home to news, information and entertainment programming with the facts and stories people care about most and we look forward to kicking things off with DISH.” Mercury Radio Arts president Chris Balfe blogged about the success of Beck’s new venture and how this deal came to pass. “Prior to our initial launch I was often asked why we didn’t pursue a traditional cable channel. There were several factors, but the biggest was that we wouldn’t have been able to build the channel we wanted back then without giving up control. To get on the air we would have had to partner with a large media company that could provide us with the staff, infrastructure and distribution necessary to launch a new network. That was something that we simply were not willing to do. The whole point of starting our own network was to be free from outside influences — giving that independence up right away in exchange for distribution was a non-starter. And so we found another way. But now, a year later, everything has changed. Our subscribers’ enthusiasm and support has allowed us to make the necessary investments in programming and infrastructure, and we’re now in a position to launch a cable and satellite channel without losing control.”
Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Promotes Julie Talbott. The president of content and affiliations for Premiere Networks is upped to a new post – president of content and affiliations for CC’s National Media Groups. Talbott retains her oversight of Premiere Networks but adds new duties as she’ll answer to Kevin Dorsey, president of the National Media Groups who, in turn, reports directly to chairman and CEO John Hogan. A statement from Clear Channel notes Talbott’s “new role will include leading and maintaining key affiliate relationships to sell and service Premiere Networks, Total Traffic Network and iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s industry-leading digital radio platform. The new position will provide the company’s affiliates with a simplified and streamlined point of contact for communicating and conducting business across Clear Channel’s diverse group of subsidiaries.” Talbott says, “I enjoy working with our clients and partners, and this alignment of our affiliate efforts will allow us to better serve and communicate with stations throughout the U.S. I’m looking forward to working with the amazing teams across the company as we continue to demonstrate the unique relationship CCM+E has with our audience.”
Cox Media’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa Names Levi May Program Director. The PD post at KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa opened up when long-time programmer Drew Anderssen moved to Cox Media’s Orlando news/talker WDBO-AM/FM. Levi May served as WDBO’s assistant PD prior to his new position in Tulsa.
Talk Radio Weekends: Two Sure Shots. Talk radio consultant Holland Cooke offers advice on weekend programming for talk radio stations that fits in with the P1’s weekend lifestyle and has the opportunity for bringing in revenue. Sure, it’s lifestyle-oriented stuff but while many of those categories are well-serviced by nationally syndicated programs, Cooke says these two suggestions are tailor-made for local professionals. Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.
WVON, Chicago News Pro Sharon McGhee Loses Battle with Cancer. Journalist, writer and radio news director Sharon McGhee died in Columbia, Missouri on September 11 at age 54 after a long battle with ovarian cancer. She joined urban talk WVON, Chicago in 1997 and was promoted to news director the following year. She left the radio business to focus on her love of the arts and entertainment and in 2007, wrote the critically acclaimed “The Pocketbook Monologues” and subsequently directed multiple staged performances across the United States. McGhee returned to WVON in 2008 as news director and resigned from that position in 2010 due to health reasons. WVON president Melody Spann Cooper states, “Sharon McGhee was one of the most creative people I’ve ever known. Her determination, passion and drive brought her to Chicago where she excelled in everything that was on her professional and personal agenda. She was a rare breed determined to do it her way, and she did.”
Former Merlin Media News Pros Land with Virtual News Center. News staffers Veronica Carter and Katherine Kelly were two of the news pros who worked at Merlin Media’s FM news outlet in Chicago and exited the station when it flipped formats. They join the team at Virtual News Center which describes itself as “the largest independent provider of local news for radio heard on over 175 stations in nearly 80 markets.” The company works on a cash direct basis or via barter through Envision Radio Networks. Veronica Carter spent her 25 year radio career in Illinois, Indiana, and California, heavily involved in all facets of news reporting and anchoring. On her Merlin experience she says, “Working for Merlin Media was short lived, but an adventure to say the least! Glad to be with Virtual News Center, it’s actually fun doing newscasts all over the country!” Katherine Kelly worked in Peoria, Illinois and the Quad Cities as well as in Seattle and Chicago. Kelly anchored news as a part of some of the country’s top morning shows. She also helped launch the Oprah Radio Network on Sirius XM. She states, “I am incredibly honored to be joining the team at Virtual News Center. Now I can cover just as many cities without leaving home!”
New Jersey 101.5 Reporter Honored for Series on Teen Drug Abuse. The New Jersey Governor’s Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse honors New Jersey 101.5 reporter Stacy Proesbtle with its Community Service Award. Proesbtle is pictured here (from l-r) with NJ 101.5 brand manager Eric Johnson, NJ 101.5 news director Eric Scott, Proesbtle, and Council executive director John Hulick at the Council’s 21st annual Summit at the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick, New Jersey. Proebstle’s five-part series about the abuse of heroin and other opiates among New Jersey’s youth focused on prescription drug abuse, accidental overdoses, how abuse often begins at home and the fact that prescription drug abuse can happen to anyone. Proebstle talked to recovering addicts, parents, prevention specialists, substance abuse professionals and law enforcement officers to address current trends and issues along with possible solutions. On receiving the honor, Proesbtle says, “I’m absolutely delighted to receive this honor on behalf of the station and most genuinely grateful. It validates the importance of community service and giving back to one’s community.”
Cumulus San Francisco Inks 49ers for 12-Year Extension. Appearing on sports talk KNBR, San Francisco’s Murph & Mac morning show, Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey joined 49ers CEO Jed York to announce the stations and the NFL clubs have agreed to a 12-year contract extension to keep the team’s games on KNBR, news/talk KGO and rock KSAN in the market. During that appearance on the program, Dickey said, “While the trend in radio has been for shorter deals with sports teams, this 12-year partnership demonstrates the commitment of KNBR and Cumulus to the 49ers, and further cements KNBR as the ‘Sports Leader in Northern California’ for almost 25 years.”
WEEI, Boston Helps Celebrate Red Sox Broadcaster Joe Castiglione’s 30th Anniversary. Prior to last night’s Boston Red Sox game, Entercom sports talker WEEI celebrated the 30th anniversary of play-by-play announcer Joe Castiglione with an appearance at the WEEI studios by Castiglione on the afternoon drive “Big Show” with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley. The evening also featured a half-hour pre-game tribute show that included a video at Fenway Park and on-field recognition from the team.
Conservative Chuck Morse and Liberal Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan Split. Veteran Boston-based conservative talk host Chuck Morse and California-based liberal Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan have ended their left-right internet talk radio program, “Fairness Radio with Chuck Morse & Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan,” after it became impossible to work together, according to Morse. The two will host separate programs on the internet and affiliated radio stations.
Long-Running Speaker Series Continues with Author of ‘Fast and Furious’ Book. WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (at left) conducted his 80th “Town Hall” interview and live broadcast in The Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University “President Speaker Series,” with Townhall.com investigative reporter Katie Pavlich (at right) before a live audience on Wednesday, September 12. Pavlich is author of Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up (Regnery 2012). Photo: Arthur J. Byrnes.
U.S. Ambassador Killed in Libya Strike, Cairo Unrest, Obama-Netanyahu Relations, and Chicago Teachers Strike Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/12). The death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens after a violent assault on the U.S. consulate; violent anti-American protests in Cairo; reports of President Obama’s snubbing of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Obama Administration’s Iran policy; and the continuing Chicago teachers strike were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Day One from the Democratic National Convention. WYD Media’s Stephanie Miller (c) is pictured here in an “action” shot that shows the expansive media center in Charlotte from which she is broadcasting her nationally syndicated morning drive program. In this photo, she’s joined by Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes (l) and Stephanie Miller show regular Jim Ward (r). There are more than 100 talk show hosts joining the news organizations covering the DNC in Charlotte that wraps up Thursday with President Obama’s evening speech accepting his party’s nomination for the ticket.
Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston Makes Brand Change and Boost to News Product Official. As TALKERS magazine reported yesterday, Greater Media news/talk outlet WTKK has re-branded itself and is rededicating itself to providing Bostonians with more news and information and program director Grace Blazer makes that official. She says the station “will provide listeners in the Boston Metropolitan area with consistent ‘live and local’ news, traffic, and weather reports around the clock on-air, online and on their mobile devices. Through a partnership with Total Traffic, Greater Media Boston’s News Talk 96.9 FM-WTKK will deliver newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour 24 hours a day and traffic and weather reports every 15 minutes. In addition, WTKK will refer to itself as NEWS TALK 96.9 both on air and online to more accurately reflect its product.” Blazer says, “We are proud to be the only FM radio station with a 24 hour live and local staff of newscasters delivering timely, local and breaking news, accurate traffic reporting, and dependable weather forecasts. The addition of services to our already strong talk lineup makes News Talk 96.9 FM unique within the Boston market and also presents immediate opportunities for our advertisers.” Total News Source VP Chris Berry says of the new relationship, “An amazing amount of news is generated daily in Boston and New England. We are very pleased to be working around the clock with the team at News Talk 96.9 to assist in gathering and delivering news and information.”
Glenn Beck Gets Apology from American Airlines After Rude Service. The Premiere Networks-syndicated radio host told his audience he was treated rudely by a flight attendant on a weekend flight from Newark to Dallas – ostensibly for his political views – and would never fly American again. Beck told his national radio audience the male flight attendant “fawned over” the other passengers but slammed a can of soda down in front of him and “barked” at him, treating him as “subhuman.” The airline tweeted an apology and went further issuing the following statement, “We are sorry for the experience Mr. Beck had on a recent flight. The comfort and satisfaction of our customers are very important priorities to us and we take these matters seriously. We have reached out to Mr. Beck’s office and are actively looking into the situation.”
Matt Fox Exits NextMedia’s WHBC, Canton. The morning show at NextMedia’s WHBC, Canton, Ohio will consist of co-host Pam Cook and Canton Repository sports columnist Todd Porter for now as Matt Fox exits the station to take a position outside the radio business. The Repository reports Fox cited the early morning hours – a 3:45 wakeup call – as one of the reasons he’s choosing to leave the show he’s been co-hosting with Cook since February of 2011. He took over for Fred Chenevey at that time and the program was his first full-time radio gig. He continues to co-host the “Around the House with Matt and Shari” home improvement show that airs on the local PBS TV outlet.
Big Changes at Chicago Public Media; Big Shoes to Fill at WBEZ. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports on the announcement that afternoon talk host Steve Edwards is leaving his “The Afternoon Shift” talk show on CPM’s WBEZ, Chicago to take a new post at the University of Chicago. Edwards has been with Chicago Public Media for 14 years, serving in a number of capacities during that time, including as director of content development and program director. It was just last February that the 41-year-old public media pro returned to the air to host “The Afternoon Shift.” On his new position as deputy director, programming at the University of Chicago’s new Institute of Politics, a public policy and public service institute led by David Axelrod, Edwards tells Feder, “What motivates me is trying to create a deeper understanding of the world around me and trying to share that with people. How do I touch and transform people and communities? How do I uncover insights and share them with others? Journalism has been an amazing place where those values and skill sets intersect. And I think my new role at the Institute of Politics represents another place where they do as well.” Meanwhile, CPM has retained Livingston Associates to help find Edwards’ successor. Read Robert Feder’s full story here.
Clear Channel Takes Aim at CNN with Its ClearVision In-Airport TV Network. Providing what it calls an alternative to CNN’s news-only airport network with a debut at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Clear Channel Outdoor’s Clear Channel Airports division unveils ClearVision. The company says it’ll provide content to travelers from numerous sources, including: “CBS with offerings from CBS News, CBS Entertainment, CBS Daytime, and CBS Interactive, among others; NBC, with shows including The Today Show, Smash, The Voice, Grimm, America’s Got Talent and The Office; daily headlines from around the world from The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Live; and sports from the Tennis Channel with original programming like the travel series Destination Tennis and highlights from major tournaments like the French Open and US Open.” This is a partnership with connectVISION Digital Networks and CCO says it “provides airports, content partners, and advertisers with an unparalleled ability to reach and engage air travelers – through customized content ranging from local news to top network shows and live events. Airports ultimately will be able to leverage WiFi services to provide travelers accustomed to on-demand content access to the ClearVision network on their smartphones, iPads, and laptops.” There’s no word from Clear Channel on what other American airports with which it’s negotiating but the company sounds very dedicated to this market and you can bet there will be more airport deals announced in the near future.
Sports Biz Today Produces Daily Updates. Sports Biz Today is launching a new daily product called “Sports Biz Update” – a two-minute feature in which host Fred Wallin gives listeners the headlines of what is going on in the world of sports business. Fred Wallin is a veteran of sports talk radio, both locally in Southern California and nationally. Wallin has hosted ‘Dodger Talk,” “Angel Talk,” “Kings Talk,” and “Bruins Talk” on various Southern California radio stations. He has hosted programs on KABC, KFI, KLAC, KIEV, KFOX and 1150 AM in Los Angeles. Nationally, Wallin has hosted programs on The Sports Radio Network, The American Sports Radio Network, Prime Sports, The Sports America Radio Network, and the Cable Radio Network, and presently on Sports Overnight America, Fox Sports Radio Las Vegas and KCAA Riverside, California.
Odds & Sods. Clear Channel names Melissa Forrest market manager for the San Diego cluster. Forrest most recently served with CC at the Atlanta cluster where she was president and market manager in charge of the company’s radio stations, the Total Traffic Network and the Georgia News Network…..TRN and WGST, Atlanta talk show host Rusty Humphries is putting his passion for cigars together with his own brand and is working with Cuban-born cigar-making legends to create his own limited-edition El Presidente cigar. Working with Don Lino creator Nestor Miranda and master blender José “Pepin” Garcia – both Floridians now – Humphries made 300 boxes of the cigars. He says, “It’s not made to be an everyday smoke. There’s not that many of ‘em. I only wanted to do a limited amount. I wanted to honor a president each time. When they’re gone, they’re gone. So each cigar is a collector’s item in its own right.” Humphries is pictured here with U.S. Senator Marco Rubio who declared the cigar “bueno.”…..Nationally syndicated home improvement radio show “The Money Pit” partners with TuneIn to create a 24/7 home improvement channel on the audio service. “Money Pit” co-host Tom Kraeutler says, “We’ve experienced rapid growth of our program through our existing online assets. But with over 40 million monthly active listeners, TuneIn has the infrastructure and leadership to help us expand that listener base in ways never before possible and we’re thrilled with the opportunity to share our home improvement insights with this new audience.”…..Dr. Michio Kaku – renowned theoretical physicist, best-selling author and host of Talk Radio Network’s “Science Fantastic” – has been selected through a vote of IPC members to keynote the trade group’s biggest electronics industry event next spring in San Diego. “Kaku’s keynote will present a vision of life in the year 2100 culled from ideas of 300 of the country’s most influential scientists. He will explore revolutionary advancements in medicine, energy production, artificial intelligence and aeronautics that will forever change our way of life – including innovations like internet-enabled contact lenses, cars that will drive (or even fly) themselves and brain sensors that will let us move objects using only the power of our minds.”…..Mike Rosso joins Continental Electronics as vice president of sales and marketing, where he’ll be responsible for maintaining and developing Continental’s global market presence. Continental bills itself as a “global leader in broadcast transmitter equipment. It is the foremost supplier of advanced RF transmission technology and the world’s most experienced designer and builder of the highest power radio broadcast equipment.”
Fox Sports Radio Network Launches Daily Big Ten Football Show. The new show, an extension of the weekly Big Ten show, debuted yesterday on affiliates including WDFN, Detroit, KFXN, Minneapolis and WSSP, Milwaukee. Dubbed “BTN Live,” the show airs live daily from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET and is hosted by Big Ten Network personalities Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and others.
WEEI, Boston Announces Patriots and NFL Coverage. The Entercom sports talk brand – heard throughout New England on numerous company-owned stations and affiliates – announces its fall football programming. VP of programming and operations for Entercom Boston Jason Wolfe reports coverage of Patriots football features the return of Patriots Friday and Patriots Monday that includes exclusive interviews with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Its “Gameday” broadcasts on home game days will emanate from Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill at Patriot Place in Foxborough. WEEI has also secured a number of current and former Patriots players as well as NFL experts – including (WFAN, New York and “NFL Today” host) Boomer Esiason who chats with morning hosts Dennis & Callahan each Monday – to join coverage of the team on its shows throughout the week during the football season. Wolfe states, “We’ve made it a priority to provide Patriots fans with the most compelling and comprehensive coverage of the team that we can. With Patriots Monday and Friday and our slew of NFL Insiders, WEEI will be the place to be to keep up with the Pats throughout the season.” Actual game play-by-play rights are owned by WEEI’s crosstown competitor – CBS Radio-owned WBZ-FM, Boston 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Are Hard Times Hitting Television Talk, Too? The New York Post reports on rumors that Comcast’s NBC is taking a serious look at morning television talk’s “Today” for possible budget cuts in the wake of its “ratings woes.” With the story of Jay Leno’s recent voluntary pay cut to help save staffer jobs at “The Tonight Show,” the story questions whether “Today” co-host Matt Lauer will take the same path there to save the positions of lower-level staffers such as makeup artists and writers. In the piece, one person is quoted saying, “It will be the little people who go first — the makeup people, writers, but these people have families, and it will put pressure on Matt to do the right thing.” Lauer reportedly makes $25 million per year. Commenting on the rumors, a rep for “Today” states there will be “absolutely” no staff cuts at the program.
Michael Strahan Officially Named Kelly Ripa’s Co-Host. The former New York Giants football great is officially named the permanent co-host of the “Live!” show, replacing Regis Philbin, who retired from the show late last fall. Kelly Ripa has been hosting the show solo and with a parade of potential co-hosts doing live auditions since then. But, according to People, Ripa made the announcement official that Strahan would be her new co-host.
Presidential Campaign/Democratic National Convention, National Debts Hits $16 Trillion, and Syria Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/4). The presidential campaign and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte; the national debt hitting the $16 trillion mark; 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.
By Holland Cooke
MCVAY/COOK & ASSOCIATES
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Admittedly, I had a tough time hearing these stations objectively, for two reasons:
• By the time I heard ‘em in-car, I had been predisposed by terms like “abortion” and “crib dead” in published reviews.
• Having programmed WTOP, Washington for seven years, I’m an aficionado, a tough grader for this format.
These conspicuous flops should NOT suggest that news doesn’t belong on FM, where some 80% of Time Spent Listening now occurs, and with music radio’s days now numbered. Heck, WTOP is the USA’s top biller, something no other station outside NY/LA/Chicago ever accomplished.
Victory, But No Clarity at the Supreme Court. The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Fox TV and ABC and against the FCC in a decision announced yesterday. The high-profile cases involving fleeting occurrences of nudity and four-letter words on the two TV networks came to an end with the Court ruling as many, including TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman, thought it would: in favor of the broadcasters. But as Weisman writes, the decision was based on a violation of the Due Process clause and ignored the larger question of the FCC’s definition of indecency. “As for the overriding question of the unconstitutionality of the rules themselves, the Court ruled that it did not even have to answer that question because the application of the FCC’s indecency rule was improperly done in a manner that violated the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment.” Read Weisman’s analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision here.
Sports Talk Radio Gets Another National Network as CBS Radio Teams with Cumulus Media Networks to Offer Talk Shows, News and More. The skyrocketing popularity of sports talk radio is bringing another major network player into the business. CBS announces it will put the resources of CBS Radio and CBS Sports together to build a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week lineup of national programming called CBS Sports Radio. The company is partnering with Cumulus Media Networks which will provide affiliate sales and ad sales for the network and the content will air on 67 of Cumulus Media’s stations. The long-form talk aspect of this network will debut on January 3, 2013 but hourly CBS Sports news updates will begin on September 4 of this year. This entry of CBS into the sports radio game creates a much more crowded field of players once dominated by just a few. Soon ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio Network, and Yahoo! Sports Radio will be joined by the recently announced collaboration between NBC and Dial Global – NBC Sports Radio – and CBS Sports Radio. CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason states, “For more than two decades we have owned local sports radio and appreciate great talent and programming that resonates with listeners and elicits passionate dialogue and debate. We are bullish our expertise and prior achievements will allow us to successfully complement our existing businesses while expanding into what until now has been a largely unchallenged sector of the radio business.” Exactly how CBS will staff the new national sports talk radio network is something we’ll see develop over the next six months. It certainly has a trough of excellent talent at its local sports talk O&Os and the company indicates affiliate stations will have the opportunity to “regionalize their lineup by choosing from select programs currently featured on CBS Radio or Cumulus sports stations.” That means an affiliate station in the Mid-Atlantic, for example, could elect to carry a program that emanates from WIP, Philadelphia or WJFK-FM, Washington. Regardless of how this new enterprise develops, suffice it to say the sports talk radio business is getting much more competitive.
Genesis Communications Announces End of ESPN Relationship in Tampa and Orlando. ESPN Radio has been a part of Genesis Communications’ WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando for the past 10 years but president Bruce Maduri says in a statement that they believe it’s time to develop more local – and exclusive – talent. Maduri states, “ESPN Radio makes its once-exclusive programming readily available to the public on multiple audio and video channels and platforms, such as web radio, satellite radio, mobile devices, broadcast television, cable TV and more.” And Maduri cites the cost of the programming as a factor. He says they’ve enjoyed their 10-year relationship with ESPN but will end their relationship with ESPN by October 1.
Meet One of Talk Media’s Hardest-Working Talents: Larry O’Connor. And today is a very busy day for Larry O’Connor. First, he’s filling in for WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall in AM drive; after an hour break he fills in for Dial Global’s nationally syndicated Dennis Miller; then he joins Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt as a guest on Hewitt’s annual live broadcast from Disneyland in Anaheim. Who is Larry O’Connor? The former manager and producer in the Broadway theater industry joined the Breitbart empire writing for Big Hollywood and became Andrew Breitbart’s choice to run the multi-media arm where he came to be in charge of Breitbart TV and he’s now editor of the video and multi-media arm of the Breitbart News Network. Given his position, O’Connor has an interesting view of the talk media landscape and he tells TALKERS magazine, “I have been fortunate to launch my career in this new age where I could broadcast on the internet for relatively low costs and within months build a loyal and vibrant audience with no more promotion than Facebook and Twitter alerts. Streaming my show at Breitbart News has allowed me to cater to the passionate center-right political news junkie that makes up our audience and it perfectly mirrors the hard-core talk radio audience. I am also fortunate to be the multi-media editor and curator for the Breitbart sites which puts me in the position of seeking out the choicest sound bytes which I hope will end up on playlists for talk radio shows from coast to coast. By having that task all day long, it puts me in the news cycle that is in the wheelhouse of talkers up and down the aisle.” The untimely death of Andrew Breitbart certainly affected the late conservative icon’s business but O’Connor tells TALKERS things there continue to move at a lightning pace. “The radical re-design of our site, which was Andrew’s final project, has been a resounding success. But the new design also has put enormous pressure and demands on our dedicated editorial staff because unlike our old blog format, the new design requires us to be on top of the news cycle and constantly posting fresh, relevant content on a constant basis. The loss of Andrew is a void that, frankly, will never be filled. But it is comforting to know that his business partner and long-time best friend Larry Solov is there every day over-seeing us and keeping Andrew’s vision alive and thriving.” Meanwhile, O’Connor continues to be heard at local stations across the nation. He’s recently filled in at such historic signals as WOR, New York; WLS, Chicago; WABC, New York and more.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Nationally syndicated progressive talk star Randi Rhodes hosted an iconic entertainment figure on her Premiere Networks program as Cher called the show on Wednesday to talk about being vilified for speaking out as an entertainer. Cher told Rhodes, “I…try to do my part, try to do more than my part for helping people with my money and with my speaking…They just can only vilify you by just saying the most heinous things. They don’t talk about your ideas, or what you think. They talk about what kind of a person you are and then they vilify what kind of a person you are.”…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles spotlights the city of Santa Monica in its next “KNX on Your Corner” event. News anchors will broadcast live from the café Back on the Beach throughout the day and “KNX Business Hour” host Frank Mottek will lead a private networking luncheon for local business leaders, titled, “Your Money, the Markets & the Economy,” with special guest, James Hausberg, managing director and partner of HighTower Advisors at Santa Monica Ford Lincoln…..Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago is named Chicago Market Station of the Year by the Illinois Broadcasters Association for the fifth straight year. At the recent awards ceremony WGN picked up six other first place honors including Best Local Radio Newscast, Best Sports Story, and Best Website…..SiriusXM – in association with ESPN Radio – offers subscribers complete coverage of Wimbledon beginning Monday, June 25 through Saturday, July 7.
CRN Digital Talk Radio Adds Three Telecom Systems to Its Affiliate Roster. Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio announces the addition of three new telecommunications systems to its affiliate roster which will carry CRN’s more than 100 shows and talk radio programs on their audio-only video channels for subscribers. Home Net of Kutztown, Pennsylvania; CML Telephone Cooperative Association of Meridien, Iowa; and LISCO (Local Internet Service Company) of Fairfield, Iowa will carry all seven of CRN’s broadcast networks on dedicated audio channels. CRN CEO Mike Horn states, “We are excited to join with Home Net, CML and LISCO and provide their customers with our top-rated and highly entertaining programming for the at-home listening experience.”
‘Fast and Furious’ Case/Executive Privilege Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 18-22. The case of Congressional Republicans’ attempt to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for not delivering documents in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program and President Obama’s invoking executive privilege in the case was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing in the #1 spot on the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 this week was the 2012 presidential race. At #3 was the G20 Summit and the Russia-Syria connection followed by the Euro Zone debt crisis and the global financial markets activities at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week according to ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Dave Ramsey show is added to the program schedule at CBS Radio’s KRLD, Dallas…..KFNX, Phoenix picks up Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee…..Compass Media Networks’ Free Beer and Hot Wings morning drive show is added to the program schedule at WZGM, Asheville, North Carolina; KBAZ-FM, Missoula, Montana; and WQCK-FM, State College, Pennsylvania…..The Money Pit Home Improvement Show joins the lineup at WMCD-FM, Statesboro, Georgia; WTHQ, Paducah, Kentucky; and KQWC-FM, Webster City, Iowa.