ESPN Confirms Reports of Stephen A. Smith’s Return to the Company; LeBatard Show Bumped to ‘ESPN Deportes’ in NYC. Yesterday, numerous media reports predicted sports media personality Stephen A. Smith’s exit from Mad Dog Sports on SiriusXM and his return to the ESPN Radio platform. Today, ESPN confirms the matter, stating he’ll bring his current two-hour radio show from Mad Dog Sports to ESPN Radio where it will also air on one of the sports giant’s SiriusXM channels. In addition to being available nationally in radio syndication, it will air on ESPN Radio O&Os WEPN, New York from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET and KSPN, Los Angeles from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon PT, effective Tuesday, January 17. It will originate from ESPN Audio’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut. The move bumps WEPN’s “Hahn & Humpty” show to the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm timeslot. But, this addition also pushes the “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” off WEPN-FM and over to WEPN-AM “ESPN Deportes” (12:00 noon to 2:00 pm). Also, back on SiriusXM, the first two hours of Russillo & Kanell (1:00 pm to 3:00 pm) will move to the ESPN Xtra channel while the third hour will remain on the ESPN channel.
Retiring WSCR, Chicago Personality Terry Boers to Host Farewell Toast. “670 The Score” operations manager Mitch Rosen tells TALKERS that the CBS RADIO sports talk station will bid adieu to retiring Windy City sports personality Terry Boers during a special broadcast tomorrow (1/5) from 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm at the Blue Cross Blue Shield Performance Stage inside the CBS RADIO Chicago offices. Boers is retiring after 25 years with WSCR (the station celebrated its 25th anniversary as a sports talk station on Monday), and he’s hosting the “Toast To Terry” that will include past and present hosts at “The Score.” A limited amount of fans are able to win tickets while listening to the station.
Analysis: 2017 Consumer Electronics Show. Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas at the gigantic 2017 Consumer Electronics Show reporting for TALKERS magazine. True, this isn’t a media show, but a lot of what is being displayed at the mega-convention affects the radio business – mostly because of the relationship between the Internet and high-tech automobiles. Cooke writes, “Cars we’re test-driving here talk to each other…the cars, not the drivers. ‘Texting each other’ actually. 2017 Cadillac CTS Sport Sedans can share information about driving conditions — weather, speed, sudden braking, and accidents. The term is ‘V2V,’ meaning vehicle-to-vehicle communication, your car’s sensors feeding, and reading, the cloud, to tell you what’s beyond your line of sight. With real-time information, instantly updated, why wait until the 8s for an old-school radio traffic report?” Read more from Las Vegas here.
Nick Cattles Leaves WVSP, Virginia Beach for Gig at ‘98.5 The Sports Hub’ in Boston. Sports talk personality Nick Cattles is leaving Max Media’s Newport-Virginia Beach sports station WVSP “ESPN 94.1” to return to his native New England to take an on-air position with CBS RADIO’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub.” His last show on WVSP will be Monday, January 9. WVSP VP/GM Mark McKay tells his staff the station will be “methodical” in its search for Cattles’ replacement and will use fill-in hosts during the interim. Interested hosts should see the application details below. Meanwhile, CBS RADIO has not announced Cattles’ arrival yet, so it’s unclear in which daypart he’ll work.
Darnell to Program iHeartMedia’s Connecticut N/T and Sports Stations. Programmer Ben Darnell joins iHeartMedia Connecticut to handle programming duties for the company’s news/talk and sports talk stations there. He’s now in charge of programming news/talkers WPOP, Hartford and WELI, New Haven and sports talk outlets WUCS-FM, Hartford “97.9 ESPN” and WAVZ, New Haven “ESPN Radio 1300.” Darnell was most recently serving with Sunrise Broadcasting’s sports talk WMFD, Wilmington, North Carolina.
KCRS-AM, Midland’s Hallmark and Verlei Morning Hosts Retire. Today (1/4) was the last “Morning Drive” program for co-hosts Robert Hallmark and Kurt Verlei at Ica Radio Ltd.’s news/talk KCRS-AM, Midland, Texas. The duo is retiring after 14 years on the air together waking up West Texans. Hallmark has been with the station since 1992, serving in numerous positions including as program director. The “Morning Drive” show launched in the spring of 2001. The station has not announced the morning show’s replacement host.
New Affiliates for Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann. The new year brings new affiliates for WYM Media Management’s Stephanie Miller show and the Thom Hartmann show. Miller’s program is now heard on KTMS, Santa Barbara; KBZZ-AM, Reno; KTOX, Needles, California; KKNW, Seattle; and KEVT-AM, Tucson. The Thom Hartmann show also joins KEVT-AM, Tucson as well as KSZL, Barstow, California.
December Brings 23 New Affiliates to Envision Networks. Content and service provider Envision Networks announces it inked 23 new affiliate stations during the month of December for programming and services across numerous formats. In the talk realm, WKXO, Lexington, Kentucky added “On Air with Doug, Jen, and Victoria.” Envision also formed a partnership with Sun Broadcast Group to offer Shazam for Radio. Additionally, it launched new programming including: Today’s Comedy Network, Drive By Funny, and Collin Raye’s Rewind Country.
Obama Lame Duck Actions, GOP Ethics Office About-Face, GOP ObamaCare Strategy, Russian Hacking Allegations, Megyn Kelly Exits Fox News Channel, Jeff Sessions Protests, Trump vs Ford and GM, and NFL Playoffs Chatter Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/3). The moves being taken by President Barack Obama to prevent President-Elect Donald Trump from undoing some of his legislation; Republican House leaders elect not to try to eliminate the Independent Ethics Office on the advice of Trump; the GOP’s potential strategies for altering the Affordable Care Act; ongoing debate over the allegations of Russian hacking of the DNC’s emails; FNC personality Megyn Kelly announces she’s leaving Fox for NBC; the protests over Trump’s nomination of Jeff Sessions for attorney general; Trump’s fight with Ford and General Motors over expansion of plants abroad versus investment in U.S. facilities; and the NFL playoffs and coaching vacancies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cool Sports Talk Gig. “ESPN Radio 94.1,” a locally owned and operated, top 50 market radio station located in Virginia Beach, VA, is searching for a full-time afternoon sports talk host. Qualified candidates will have the ability to host solo but also be a strong team player, must be a champion across all social media platforms and go beyond the headlines to create unique and compelling content. This individual will have relationships with key local and national contacts, as well as the ability to develop and grow new associations. If this is you, please send resume, air check – mp3 demos of your latest work and anything else to support your qualifications to email@example.com. EEO.
Save the Date! Talkers 2017 Set for Friday, June 2, 2017 in New York City. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine is pleased to announce the date and location of the 20th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. Titled, Talkers 2017: A New Era, the power-packed, one-day event will take place on Friday, June 2, 2017 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan in New York City. The conference will feature top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age at the dawn of the Trump Era. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology – the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing the modern day talk broadcaster and broadcasting organization. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. The event will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch and a closing cocktail reception. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “As has always been the case with this annual gathering, all the way back to its days as ‘The New Media Seminar,’ Talkers 2017: A New Era will focus on the future. There is no doubt about it; we are at the dawn of an exciting new era – full of both daunting challenges and fabulous opportunities. Good things happen at this convention. We pack three days’ worth of content and activity into one dynamic day and comfortable space. It is not to be missed!” Complete agenda and hotel details will be posted in the coming days and weeks. As is customary, Talkers 2017: A New Era is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
iHeartRadio Music Awards Nominees Announced. The list of nominees for this year’s 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards is announced by iHeartMedia and Turner. The winners will be announced on Sunday, March 5, at a broadcast event at the historic Forum in Los Angeles. It will be televised live on TBS, TNT and truTV and will be simulcast on iHeartMedia stations and iHeartRadio. See the complete list of nominees here.
iHeartMedia Names DZL Program Director for ‘XL102’ in Richmond. Programmer Chuck “DZL” Thompson is the new program director and midday host for alternative WRXL, Richmond “XL102.” iHM Richmond SVP of programming Zac Davis says, “‘XL102’ is an extremely valuable heritage station in our iHeartMedia Richmond market. We needed to find the right fit to oversee its day-to-day operations – someone who had good relationships with our label partners and had experience in coordinating and managing large-scale events. ‘DZL’ stood out as someone who possessed this unique skill set and we’re looking forward to having him lead our ‘XL102’ brand.” Thompson most recently spent eight years at WEND, Charlotte as APD/MD and afternoon personality.
KSHE, St. Louis to Unveil the ‘KSHE 50th Anniversary Real Rock Museum.’ St. Louis rocker KSHE “Real Rock Radio” – which just celebrated its 50th anniversary as an FM rock station – announces it is opening its vaults of rock history to listeners in the form of “The KSHE 50th Anniversary Real Rock Museum” to be launched on January 9 at kshe95.com. The Emmis station says there are eight wings in the museum: The KSHE 95 Audio Wing is filled with KSHE audio history, including air-checks of air personalities from throughout the decades, fascinating interviews and listener favorite audio clips; each gallery in The KSHE 95 Photo Wing has a theme such as Air Personalities, Rock Stars and St. Louis Concerts; the KSHE 95 Hall of Fame is made up of videos that each focus in on an artist or band that has had a very special long-standing relationship with the station. In each video, these rock stars share KSHE and St. Louis memories. The KSHE 95 Video Wing is an amazing collection of videos ranging from moments with rock stars caught backstage at concerts to KSHE events through the years and old KSHE TV commercials. In the KSHE 95 Essentials Wing, you’ll find what have been selected as albums and songs that rise to the top of all the great rock that has been played on the station since the beginning. The KSHE 95 John “U-Man” Ulett Wing is a toast to this 40-plus year KSHE air talent. The KSHE 95 You-seum Wing is dedicated to KSHE listeners. Listener submitted photos include themes such as Generations of Rock, World Famous KSHE and Show Us Your Schtuff. The KSHE 95 Collections Wing is a wide array of Real Rock Radio history including: magazine and newspaper articles highlighting KSHE, early KSHE playlists, and unmistakable KSHE humor on display in Sweetmeat’s Gallery. Station PD Rick Balis says, “So many talented people have contributed, throughout our 50 years, to make KSHE 95 what it is today. It’s actually, amazing. More amazing, though, is the incredible listeners that we have had and have today. It’s rare. And, we cherish those relationships. The relationships are ‘generational.’ Grandparents, their kids and the kids of those kids are listeners today.”
Townsquare Media Renews with Compass Media Networks for Syndication of Weeknight Music Radio Shows. The four evening music shows are produced by Townsquare Media and are affiliated with their namesake websites, also owned by Townsquare. Under the terms of the multi-year extension, Compass Media Networks will continue to provide advertising sales and affiliate marketing for the rock program “Loudwire Nights,” CHR show “PopCrush Nights,” “Taste of Country Nights,” and “Ultimate Classic Rock.”
More Career Moves and Music Radio News. In Philadelphia, market radio pro Marilyn Russell joins classic hits WOGL as part of the “Breakfast Club” morning show alongside co-hosts Frank Lewis and Bill Zimpfer. WOGL program director Anne Gress says, “Marilyn’s got tons of enthusiasm and a rich history of delivering compelling Philadelphia morning radio. I’m excited about the fresh, new perspective she’ll bring to the show alongside Frank and Bill, and look forward to her contributions both on-air and at our many events.” The Philly native started her radio career in 1993 at modern rock WDRE…..Chicago radio pro Robin Rock is back hosting middays on iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary WLIT “93.9 MYfm.” Rock takes over for Brooke Hunter, who exits. Rock hosted middays at the station until June of 2013 when the company re-branded the station from “LITE FM” to the “93.9 MYfm” and made across-the-board talent changes…..Former news/talk station WOBM-AM, Lakewood Township, New Jersey is now an oldies outlet as Townsquare Media re-brands the station as “BEACH RADIO 1160/1310.” Townsquare says the format change was made to better serve the influential adult audiences in Monmouth and Ocean Counties…..In the Los Angeles market, Entravision Communications the official launch of its new radio format: La Suavecita. The company calls is a regional Mexican format focused on playing a mix of grupero and cumbia music from the 80s and 90s. The format airs on KSSE-FM.
By Holland Cooke
LAS VEGAS — Hot buzzwords here at the Consumer Electronics Show are “The Internet of Things,” meaning devices-talking-to-each-other; often referred to as “connected” or “smart” devices. Sensors and software in your home, even your clothing, monitor your environment and your health, and fulfill your needs.
Maybe your washing machine isn’t yet auto-ordering detergent, based on how many loads you’ve run, but new washers already can. Amazon, Sam’s Club, Target, and others are setting up subscription delivery, based on your use patterns. It’s a new-tech throwback to the milkman leaving-and-retrieving bottles from your grandparents’ porch in olden times. And it’s a curveball for the traditional retail advertising broadcasters sell.
WPRO-AM, Providence and Talk Host John DePetro Go Separate Ways. During the month of December, the late morning talk show hosted by longtime WPRO-AM personality John DePetro was handled by a rotating cast of fill-in hosts. DePetro had referenced a “health situation” on his website. Then, just before Christmas, DePetro notified listeners via his website of his departure from the station. He wrote, in part, “At this time, I have decided to conclude my entertaining weekday 9:00 am -12:00 noon radio show on WPRO. Thank you to all my listeners for making 2016 my best year ever in radio, with my coverage of the Trump campaign, my many exclusives, plus my national work on ‘The Savage Nation’ and CNN. I am very grateful for the many loyal listeners who have been entertained by my program on WPRO over the past 10 years.” So far, WPRO has not named a replacement host, nor has the Cumulus Media news/talk station officially addressed DePetro’s departure.
Programming Moves at iHeartMedia Denver. This affects both news/talk KOA and sports talk KDSP. First, at KOA “NewsRadio 850 AM & 94.1 FM,” the new afternoon show is Lewis & Logan from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm featuring Rick Lewis and Dave Logan. The duo will be joined by Kathy Lee as co-host and Robbyn Hart as news anchor. In June of 2014, iHM tweaked afternoons by bringing Denver TV and radio pro Susie Wargin aboard to co-host with Logan for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm hours and the show moved away from being sports-centric. Wargin then co-hosted a newsy program with Mike Rice from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Wargin moves to the company’s classic rock KRFX. Also at KOA, Cory Lopez is the new host of “PrimeTime Sports,” airing weeknights from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. At sports talk KDSP, “Denver Sports 760,” Mike Rice hosts the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show. The new duo of Ed McCaffrey and Andy Lindahl will co-host the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm program.
KCMO-AM, Kansas City Announces New Program Lineup. There are two talk personalities returning to Cumulus Media’s news/talk simulcast KCMO-AM/K279BI as the station announces its new, 2017 program lineup. Longtime Kansas City talk personality Greg Knapp is back on the station after a nine-month absence to host the morning drive program. Knapp hosted the afternoon show at KCMO until late April of 2016. Westwood One’s rollout of the national Chris Plante program brings him back to KCMO in the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm slot. Tom Becka remains in the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot, while Mike Ferguson moves from middays to afternoon drive (4:00 pm to 6:00 pm) with co-host and producer Jared Carter. Nationally syndicated superstar Dave Ramsey also remains in his current 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm timeslot. Knapp takes over mornings for Rob Carson, who exited late last year.
‘PowerTalk’ in Fresno Launches New Early Evening Program. Fresno news/talk simulcast KALZ-FM/KRZR-AM “PowerTalk 96.7 and AM 1400” announces the debut of the Guillermo Moreno program, this evening from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The iHeartMedia station says Moreno “will take a conservative approach to local and national issues – including politics, business headlines and pop culture – from the perspective of a Latino millennial and for listeners of all ages.” Moreno comments, “I’m excited to continue breaking the political and radio establishment mold and thrilled to be among the first young Latino millennial hosts in the Central Valley. Fresno is the greatest city in America and I’m honored to continue my passion for politics with my generation here at home.”
December PPMs: Some Notable Occurrences. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at some significant happenings, from a ratings perspective, relative to Nielsen Audio’s December PPM survey. Among them are the return to earth for CBS RADIO’s sports talk WSCR, Chicago and iHeartMedia’s WTAM, Cleveland – both of which benefitted mightily from the performances of the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians leading up to and including the World Series. See more interesting highlights here.
165 THOUSAND of us – from 150 countries – are heading to the massive, mind-boggling Consumer Electronics Show.
This year is the 50th annual CES. Back in 1967, there were ooohs and ahhhs for console color TVs. Are you old-enough to remember the handsome woodwork? Some had built-in stereo systems…but only for the vinyl you played on the turntable. Stereo TV sound? Someday.
50 years ago, only 14 companies were showing-off their stuff, in 100,000 square feet of exhibit space. Back-to-the-future: Today, when they cut the virtual ribbon, four THOUSAND companies will display in 2.4 MILLION square feet of Las Vegas Convention Center. Picture FIFTY football fields.
And that’s just inside. Outdoors, there’ll be drones up above, and down-below we’ll be test-driving cars with no gas tank, and cars with no driver.
Technology accounts for 15 million American jobs. Not everyone becomes a billionaire, by inventing, for instance, the smartphone. But someone became a millionaire by accessorizing it with the Selfie Stick.
Much of what we’ll see here this week is here-today-gone-tomorrow. Many of these companies didn’t exist a couple years ago, and many won’t be around a couple years from now. Innovation is the-name-of-the-game, and that makes CES a welcome pump-up for radio broadcasters attending.
Look for my reports here in TALKERS all this week, and listen for updates on “America in the Morning” and “The Jim Bohannon Show,” or at www.HollandCooke.com.
Terry Foster Returns to WXYT-FM, Detroit’s Afternoon Drive Show. After missing a lot of time on the air during the latter part of 2016 due to a stroke caused by high blood pressure, Terry Foster is returning to the “Valenti and Foster” program with co-host Mike Valenti on sports talk “97.1 The Ticket.” Program director Jimmy Powers states, “We are excited that Terry is returning to the ‘Valenti and Foster’ show. His humor and insight have been missed not only by his co-workers, but by the listeners. I sincerely appreciate and would like to thank Jeff Riger for sitting in for Terry while he was out; the show didn’t miss a beat.” Foster comments, “I have been on the sidelines for too long. I missed a lot of good stories and a lot of good times. I’m glad to be back on the train again. I want to thank all of the listeners and my co-workers for their encouraging words, they got me through a tough time.”
Dan Lovallo Joins AM Show on Connoisseur’s ‘Talk of CT.’ The news/talk multi-cast heard on Connoisseur Media’s “The Talk of CT” (WDRC-AM, Hartford; WMMW, Meriden; WWCO, Waterbury; and WSNG, Torrington) is adding well-known Connecticut radio personality Dan Lovallo to the Brad Davis morning show. Lovallo has been with the stations in various capacities over the years. In addition to news duties on the company’s sister classic rock WFOX, Southport (Bridgeport-Stamford market), Lovallo will also host his own Connecticut politics-focused show, “CT On The Hill,” on “The Talk of CT” every day at 9:00 am. This is one of a number of changes at the Connecticut operations of Connoisseur and OM Keith Dakin comments, “These changes, across our portfolio, indicate a strong commitment to localism. Radio will continue to be vibrant if it remains a true fabric of the community with more local morning shows, local news and people from Connecticut behind the microphones.”
Free Talk Live Hosts Prevail at NH Supreme Court. This case goes back three years to a suit filed against “Free Talk Live” hosts Ian Freeman and James Cleaveland by the City of Keene, New Hampshire. The long-running courtroom saga of the “Robin Hood of Keene” all started when Freeman and Cleaveland began plugging the parking meters of citizens whose time was running out and were about to get parking tickets issued by the city’s parking enforcers. The city sued, alleging among other things that Freeman and Cleaveland were “threatening, intimidating, and harassing” the parking enforcers – something the court ruled the city was unable to prove. The pair won their case at the superior court level but the city took the case all the way to the state supreme court. Freeman informs TALKERS that “the supreme court agreed with the superior court that the city’s proposed injunction, which would keep us away from their enforcers, was unconstitutional. It’s a victory for freedom of speech in the public streets.”
‘Kilmeade & Friends’ Adds 24 New Affiliates. The nationally syndicated “Kilmeade & Friends” late morning show hosted by Fox News personality Brian Kilmeade and produced and distributed by Fox News Radio, adds 24 new radio affiliates. Some of the stations adding the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET program include: WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton; WOKV, Jacksonville; WRHI, Charlotte; WMMI, Flint, Michigan; KZRG, Joplin, Missouri; WFIN, Toledo; and WNIX-AM, Greenville, Mississippi.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated, San Antonio-based talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo is now heard on an number of new affiliate stations across the country, including: KZRG, Joplin, Missouri; KHVH, Honolulu; KMBZ, Kansas City; KSTE, Sacramento; WATX, Cookeville, Tennessee and more…..Syndicated morning show “Walton & Johnson” changes affiliates in both New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The program is moving from Entercom classic rocker WKBU to iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRNO in New Orleans and from Guaranty’s classic rock WDGL to iHM’s news/talk WJBO in Baton Rouge…..Westwood One is celebrating the 25th anniversary of “The Dave Ross Show” and announces it is extending its relationship with Ross (who also serves as morning news host at KIRO-FM, Seattle). The daily feature is heard on more than 200 stations nationwide including: WCBS-AM, New York; KNX, Los Angeles; WBBM-AM, Chicago; and WTOP-FM, Washington. Ross also guest hosts for Charles Osgood on “The Osgood File.”…..Robert K. Tanenbaum, trial attorney, author of 31 books, and former mayor of Beverly Hills, will be featured in a new segment titled, “Book Buzz,” on Patzi Gil’s “Joy on Paper” radio show, which airs twice weekly on Radio Works’ WTAN, Clearwater, Florida…..Executive vice president Paul Cramer exits Triton Digital after 16 years with the company and its predecessors. He’s excited about his next challenge in the digital solutions space and can be reached at PaulCramer@Outlook.com or 716-508-4104.
Music Radio Trade Publication RadioInfo to Be Absorbed into TALKERS Magazine. Beginning today, January 3, 2017, the music radio industry trade publication RadioInfo is folded into an expanded incarnation of TALKERS magazine (www.Talkers.com and the daily TALKERS email newsletter) and ceases to be distributed as a stand-alone entity. According to TALKERS/RadioInfo VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This has been a transition in the works for a number of months now. Because, RadioInfo has shared main headquarters and staff with TALKERS for the past five years, there has been a significant degree of duplication between the publications, especially regarding general industry stories that cover all formats. It makes sense from a standpoint of economy, proficiency and expediency to combine these into one ‘super’ trade journal. We will continue to provide RadioInfo readers and newsletter subscribers with the latest news events and personnel changes in music radio within the pages of TALKERS. We also are expanding our coverage of the talented talk-oriented hosts heard across America on music station morning programs that we categorize as ‘pop culture talk.’” Subscribers to the daily RadioInfo email newsletter, not already signed up for TALKERS, will be added to the TALKERS list so they will continue to receive the service. RadioInfo was founded as a set of radio discussion boards and an accompanying general online industry news platform in 1999 by young radio enthusiast and entrepreneur Doug Fleming who tragically passed away in 2005 at the age of 25. The entity, known as Radio-Info.com, continued to be published by Doug’s parents Diana and Rick Fleming until 2012. At that time, the discussion boards were acquired by trade publication Radio Ink’s parent corporation Streamline Publishing and eventually discontinued. The trade publication side was acquired by TALKERS magazine’s parent company Talk Media, Inc. and transitioned into the music radio incarnation of RadioInfo.
Talent Moves at KRFX, Denver. At iHeartMedia’s Denver classic rock KRFX “103.5 The Fox,” 25-year morning personalities Rick Lewis and Kathy Lee renew and extend their contracts with the station. At the same time, the station announces Denver radio and TV pro Susie Wargin is the new midday personality and market radio pro Uncle Nasty assumes the afternoon drive daypart.
Talent Moves at Connoisseur Connecticut. At the Connecticut operations of Connoisseur Media, operations manager Keith Dakin announces changes to a number of the company’s stations designed to increase their commitment to focus on “being more local and involved in the community.” First, Ken Tuccio is named the new morning drive host at classic rock WFOX, Southport (Bridgeport-Stamford market). He’ll be joined by news broadcaster Dan Lovallo with Fairfield County-centric news updates every 30 minutes. The station will air local news throughout the day during the shifts of new midday host Pam Ciaburri and afternoon host Allan Lamberti. Additionally, Cari Edwards is the new evening personality. At rock WPLR, New Haven, Kevin Begley adds programming duties for the station to his current responsibilities serving as PD for hot AC WEZN “Star 99.9” and WFOX. Finally, at classic rock WDRC-FM, Hartford “102.9 The WHALE,” Allan Lamberti takes over the programming duties (in addition to hosting evenings). The jock lineup consists of: Michael Picozzi in morning, Suzi Klonk in middays, and Keith Dakin in afternoons.
iHeartMedia Adds ‘Mojo in the Morning’ to CHR WSNX, Grand Rapids. The AM drive show “Mojo in the Morning” – featuring Mojo, Shannon, and Spike – based at iHeartMedia’s CHR WKQI, Detroit “Channel 95.5,” is the new morning show at the company’s West Michigan CHR WSNX, Grand Rapids, effective January 16. Mojo says, “We love Michigan and are so excited to have the show heard in West Michigan. As a big fan of SNX, we are honored to be on the two best CHR radio station brands in Michigan!”
KKHH Hits ‘The Spot.’ Among stations making format modifications over the holidays was CBS RADIO Houston CHR KKHH “Hot 95-7,” which transitions to adult hits “95.7 The Spot.” Supplementing “The Spot” identity is the slogan “Your Place – Your Music – Your Way – A Radio Station Unlike Any Other in Town.” The format change means Cumulus Media’s KRBE will now have the market’s CHR lane to itself. CBS RADIO senior vice president and Houston market manager Sarah Frazier comments, “We worked exhaustively to understand what Houston listeners were missing from their local radio stations. They told us they wanted their own ‘spot’ to hear their favorite music hits, a ‘spot’ to relax and energize at work, and a ‘spot’ to feel comfy and complete.” Representative “Spot” artists include Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, and U2. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s December 2016 PPM report, KKHH is flat at 2.7 (#18), while KRBE gains two-tenths to 3.5 (#14); iHeartMedia adult contemporary KODA “Sunny 99.1” is #1 (7.3, 6+).
JVC Goes True Oldies in the Palm Beaches. This change is the result of a partnership with Scott Shannon’s True Oldies format. JVC Broadcasting announces that WBGF, Belle Glade, Florida flips from rock as “93.5 The Bar” to oldies as “True Oldies 93.5.” JVC Broadcasting of South Florida vice president and general manager Matt Goldapper says, “True Oldies is the perfect fit for the West Palm Beach market – lots of jingles, lots of voices and all the hits all the time. This music is just missing from the radio here in South Florida and with our sister stations ‘95.9 The Palm’ and ‘900 AM The Talk of the Palm Beaches,’ we are just super-serving this market. The best part of this radio mix is the partnership with radio legend Scott Shannon who is the genius behind this entertaining and upbeat radio format.”
More Career Moves and Music Radio News. At the Kansas City cluster of Cumulus Media, the company announces that the Premiere Networks-syndicated Steve Harvey show is now airing in mornings at urban contemporary KMJK “Magic 107.3.” Meanwhile, at sister classic hits KCMO-FM, Kansas City radio pro Steve-O assumes the afternoon drive host duties, following Lance Tidwell, who takes over the middays program…..The syndicated “Ace & TJ Show” announces the official return of former cast member Guenn (Peterson) Schneider. She was previously part of the Ace & TJ team from 2007-2011. Following her departure from the show, Guenn worked with various media outlets in Charlotte…..Alpha Media launched a new contemporary rock outlet on translator W259CL, Orangeburg, South Carolina at 99.7 FM in the Columbia market on December 27. The station will feature such core artists as Green Day, Kings of Leon, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blink 182, and the Foo Fighters. Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick comments, “Alpha continues to grow and invest in Columbia with our latest addition of a contemporary rock station. ‘Rock 99.7’ will be a great companion to our classic rock station ‘Fox 102.3’ WMFX.”…..Refuge Media closes on its purchase of classic rock KMFG, Nashwauk, Minnesota. Refuge bought the station from Midwest Communications, Inc.
Cooke: C.T.A. in Santa’s Sleigh. Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports for TALKERS from the Consumer Technology Association’s annual preview of the enormous Consumer Electronics Show scheduled for Las Vegas in January. (Yes, the Consumer Electronics Association has changed its name to the Consumer Technology Association.) As Cooke notes, the data from the CTA is instructive for radio people. According to CTA research, the top five items being sought by consumers this year are (in order of desire): TVs, tablets, smartphones, notebook/laptop computers, and videogame consoles. Read Cooke’s entire report here.
WPHT, Philadelphia Adds Award-Winning Journalist Dawn Stensland to Rich Zeoli’s PM Drive Show. Respected television journalist Dawn Stensland is joining CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia, as part of the afternoon drive show with Rich Zeoli. According to the company, she’ll join him to provide news, traffic and weather updates as well as her views on the day’s trending stories. Stensland joined CBS’ KYW-TV in 1997 and anchored afternoon and evening newscasts. She hosted the “CBS News Saturday” morning network broadcast in New York and in 2001, she began an eight-year run as the anchor of WTXF-TV’s “Fox Philadelphia’s 10 O’Clock News Hour.” She has numerous “Best of Philly” honors from Philadelphia Magazine under her belt. Station OM Andy Bloom comments, “Dawn is a well-known voice and face to the Philadelphia public. She has two decades of success in Philadelphia, New York and other major markets that will be an asset to ‘Talk Radio 1210 WPHT.’ In getting to know Dawn, I’ve been struck by her charismatic presence and infectious laugh. I think the audience will truly enjoy what she brings to the ‘Rich Zeoli Afternoon Show.’”
Colin Cowherd Performing for FOX Sports. The arrival of sports media personality Colin Cowherd at FOX Sports produced satisfying numbers in its first month for the company. According to FOX Sports and radio syndicator Premiere Networks, “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” had a “total reach” of 19.5 million people between September 8 and October 9. Here’s how FOX and Premiere break it down: video clips of the show drew 11.7 million video views via Facebook, YouTube, FOXSports.com, FOXSportsRadio.com, the live-streaming FOX Sports Go app and Twitter video player; on television, a combined 5.8 million viewers watched at least one minute of the program on FS1 and FS2 (based on Nielsen data); and program podcasts ranked #2 in the Sports & Recreation podcast category on iTunes, netting 1.2 million downloads. On the radio, Los Angeles affiliate KLAC “experienced a 106% gain” in its time slot with Men 25-54 over the previous year.
Odds & Sods. Chicago radio legend Milt Rosenberg’s program at Kovas Communications-owned suburban talk station WCGO, Evanston will end soon with the company citing financial reasons for canceling the two-hour afternoon drive program. Rosenberg’s “Extension 720” program aired for years on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago…..iHeartMedia Denver extends its deal to broadcast University of Colorado sports for another four years. The deal extends Buffalos play-by-play on KOA “NewsRadio 850 AM & 94.1 FM” with select games airing on sister station talk KKZN “Real Talk 760.”…..PodcastOne reports that the first episode of “Heather Dubrow’s World” – the new podcast from the “OC Housewives” star – debuted at #3 on the iTunes chart. PodcastOne says that Dubrow trended on Twitter when the episode was released resulting in hundreds of thousands of downloads.
Chris Krok in ‘The Office.’ WBAP, Dallas evening personality Chris Krok (right) is pictured in this selfie with actor John Krasinski (left) at this year’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Krasinski was the race’s Grand Marshal. Krok is celebrating his third year partnering with the track. This year’s “Krok and His Flock” offered listeners a chance to get a tour of the Sprint Cup Series Garage, a concert with Sammy Hagar and the opportunity to hold the American Flag during the National Anthem, all before watching the race.
2016 Presidential Race/Debate Aftermath, Immigration Policy, Hillary Clinton Wig Flap, Climate Change Controversy, University of Missouri Racial Tensions, Veterans Day, Russian Airliner Crash Investigation, and Early Snow Hits Midwest Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/11). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and discussion about Tuesday night’s GOP primary debate in Milwaukee; talk about the United States’ immigration policy; speculation about whether Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is wearing wigs; the threat of climate change and the international climate talks scheduled for December in Paris; the racial tensions at the University of Missouri; the observance of Veterans Day; the ongoing investigation into the downing of a Russian airliner in the Sinai desert; and early snow hitting the Upper Midwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TALKERS Consumer Electronics Show coverage by radio consultant Holland Cooke
By Holland Cooke
The last several years’ conversation about radio’s position in the new-tech dashboard remains largely academic. As new non-AM/FM audio competitors appear there – and drivers’ attention is shared with so many non-audio apps now factory-installed – draconian radio cutbacks continue to dilute the localism that would continue to make stations unique among competitors.
This has been a long time coming. Over a decade ago, we were plugging-in iPods. Ford’s ground-breaking Sync system is now in 10 million cars in the USA, and lets you take the apps you use on your phone and iPad on the road. In catch-up mode here at CES, General Motors is showing off their souped-up OnStar system.
Talkers coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show
By Holland Cooke
LAS VEGAS — Radio take note: Some of what’s-new here is…what’s-old. Big signs all around the Convention Center boast, “When people think instant, they think Polaroid,” a brand that’s leveraging its 50-year product position for the selfie era. Its smartphone-size Zip Mobile printer prints without ink. The color is embedded in the paper. And new-tech has updated old-fashioned pinball machines, with WWE and other now-popular themes.
Today, Ford’s CEO will keynote, and I’ll give you his connected car update in tomorrow’s TALKERS. CBS CEO Les Moonves will also keynote.
TALKERS Consumer Electronics Show Coverage
By Holland Cooke
More pictures and video are now shot with smartphones than cameras.
When Eric Garner’s take-down for selling untaxed cigarettes turned fatal, bystander video turned an already painful national conversation about race even more-painful.
When video of North Korea’s hack attack against Sony Pictures spooked movie theaters, “The Interview” was released on YouTube.
Wall Street Journal to Shutter Radio Division at Year’s End. Inside sources tell TALKERS magazine that the Wall Street Journal is going to shut down its radio division at the end of the calendar year. The announcement was made to staffers today (11/12). The WSJ and MarketWatch Radio Networks division has produced money and finance-focused feature reports as well as the daily morning drive program, “The Wall Street Journal This Morning,” hosted by Gordon Deal and Gina Cervetti plus a weekend edition of that program. It’s unclear how many staffers this change will affect but the company has employees in New York, Washington and South Brunswick, New Jersey.
WSJ Radio Demise a Repercussion from Anti-Limbaugh Campaign? The above story about the end of the Wall Street Journal’s radio products is bringing some strong reactions from within the news/talk radio industry. Former WTOP, Washington vice president of news and programming and current principal of Florida-based News Doctor, Inc, Jim Farley, suggests people are missing the connection with this story. He says, “Since the high-powered leftie campaign against Rush Limbaugh advertisers after the Sandra Fluke controversy, spoken-word brands as benign as AccuWeather and Charles Osgood have been on ‘Do Not Buy’ lists from ad agencies. The announced shutdown today of Wall Street Journal and Marketwatch Radio makes them collateral damage in this chilling war on the First Amendment which is crippling non-controversial, fair and accurate radio news and information outlets.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison reacted quickly to Farley’s comments as well as other buzz generated around the industry per the alleged Limbaugh connection to the demise of WSJ Radio stating, “With all due respect to Jim – a past recipient of the TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award – industry observers and the trade press have been connecting these dots for quite some time now. Consultant Holland Cooke even ran a big headline in his newsletter distributed at our conference in June proclaiming, ‘THE BOYCOTT WENT TOO FAR.’ The problem is nobody seems to know what to do about it or has the clout to do anything about it….or worse, wants to do anything about it. This whole issue is wrought with a social disease common in political circles left and right – namely hypocrisy… the pursuit of victory at the cost of truth… and it is proving extremely detrimental to one of America’s most vibrant platforms of public policy conversation. Perhaps the folks at the NAB and the RAB (and even Media Matters) – if they really care about free speech and fairness, not to mention the beleaguered radio industry as a whole — should mount a unilateral campaign to educate the advertising community that has been unjustly persecuting the ‘innocent’ in its broad-brush blitzkrieg against political controversy. Perhaps the rest of us (meaning anyone even loosely associated with talk radio) should be more vigorously defending Rush instead of conveniently making him the scapegoat for our mounting economic woes, because looking at the big picture – it would be the right thing to do. This whole thing stinks and we are all to blame.”
Glenn Beck Opens Up About Health Issues. Now that he’s feeling better and recent medical treatments have him on the mend, Premiere Networks syndicated talk host and TheBlaze founder Glenn Beck told his audience on Monday that his health issues go back almost five years to when he was still hosting a show on Fox News Channel. Beck said he thought he had a painful form of neuropathy that was affecting his vision, his vocal chords, and his limbs but it turns out that was not the case. He also was not sleeping well, if at all, and says he’s been told he hadn’t had any real REM sleep in 10 years. Since going to the Carrick Brain Centers in Irving, Texas, he’s been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and adrenal fatigue and since undergoing hormone treatment, physical therapy, and making changes in how he eats, sleeps, and works, he’s “reversed the process.”
WMMS, Cleveland’s Rover Sets Up Fundraiser for Former Producer’s Family. Former producer of the “Rover’s Morning Glory” program on rock/talk hybrid WMMS, Cleveland – Rob Garguilo – exited that show recently to take a similar position with WHPT, Tampa’s Mike Calta program. Tragedy entered his life as his girlfriend Sarah and the couple’s children, 5-year-old Ben and five-week-old Serena were hit by a car while crossing a Largo, Florida street. The three are in critical condition in a Tampa hospital and Garguilo Tweets that Serena is on life support with no signs of brain activity. Now, Shane “Rover” French has set up a GoFundMe.com donation page to assist the family of his former producer. As of Wednesday morning, almost $18,000 has been raised for the family.
What Listeners Will Find Under the Tree. Each year, radio consultant Holland Cooke spends a week in early January in Las Vegas attending and reporting back to TALKERS readers about the technology being displayed at the massive Consumer Electronics Show. 2015 will be no different and recently Cooke was in New York for the annual preview show called CES/Unveiled. He writes that the top five wish-list items for this holiday season are (in order): tablets, notebook computers, TVs, smartphones, and video game consoles. Find out more of what’s being touted as big consumer electronics spending decisions during the next year here.
WAKR, Akron Names Bourquin Afternoon Host. Moving from his most recent position as host and sports director at WHBC, Canton, Sam Bourquin joins Rubber City Radio Group to host the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm program at WAKR. RCRG president and general manager Thom Mandel says, “Having Sam become available is very serendipitous for us. We think he is smart and talented. He really understands how to communicate with a radio audience. We like that he is committed to our Akron-Canton area and Northeast Ohio.” Bourquin adds, “I’m looking forward to starting a new chapter in radio with a wonderful radio family at the Akron Radio Center. This is a great way to remain connected with old friends, make new friends and remain a part of the greater Akron-Canton community.”
Tough Q3 for Radio One as Radio Division Posts Net Revenue Decline of 8.1%. The company as a whole saw net revenue dip 5.3% but the radio division alone was hit worse as net revenue sank 8.1% compared to the same period a year ago on $112.2 million in net revenue. Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins comments, “Our radio business experienced a very soft quarter. We had a perfect storm of weak market revenues and soft ratings in our four largest markets, and political revenues were less than anticipated. We had some ratings challenges in Washington DC, Baltimore and Atlanta in addition to the new competitor in Houston. Management has taken steps to remedy these issues, including a format change in Houston from news to classic hip hop. The initial ratings for our new station, ‘Boom 92,’ are extremely encouraging, and should mean we reverse the annual $1.5 million of losses that we were incurring on the news format. Outside our top four markets, radio revenues for the third quarter were +1.5% against a flat market. Overall Q4 radio revenue is currently pacing 1.9% and I believe we will have positive momentum going into the New Year. Reach Media experienced a similarly weak third quarter, but is performing better in 4th quarter, consistent with the radio division.”
U.S.-China Carbon Emissions Deal, Lame Duck Congress, Iran Nuclear Talks, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Battle Against ISIS, Upper Midwest Cold and Snow, Net Neutrality Debate, and Kim Kardashian Mag Cover Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/11). Controversy over the carbon emissions deal struck between President Obama and China’s Xi Jinping; the possible legislation to be addressed by the lame duck congress; uncertainly about negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the ongoing fight against ISIS and the organization’s potential alliance with al Qaeda; the early cold and snow hitting the Upper Midwest; debate over the “net neutrality” issue and President Obama’s public statement about it; and Kim Kardashian’s recent nude magazine cover were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Holland Cooke
NEW YORK — Even before Thanksgiving, we know what will be in Santa’s sleigh, if just-released Consumer Electronics Association research nails it as well as in recent years. The outlook is good generally, according to CEA chief economist & director of research Dr. Shawn DuBravac, who observes that “consumer credit is accelerating, and lower gas prices will help.” He predicts 2.5% growth over last year’s holiday spending, consistent with other improved economic indicators.
His forecast came Tuesday at CES Unveiled/New York, the perennial press event previewing January’s massive, mind-boggling Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas. Not surprisingly, tech gifts will be big again this year, with 63% of USA adults surveyed planning to buy accordingly.
The Consumer Electronics Association has asked that news media here NOT call this event the “Consumer Electronics Show.” They prefer “International CES,” reflecting its global draw, and because the ways digital technology is changing everyday life go way beyond gadgets. I tried, with mixed emotions, since “CES” is lingo to “real people” listeners. I felt less-guilty reverting when I heard CBS News lapse.
NMX is short for “New Media Expo,” formerly Blogworld, which also pulls an impressively international crowd of bloggers and podcasters. If you missed my notes from NMX Saturday/Sunday sessions: http://www.talkers.com/2014/01/06/2014-nmx-lots-about-branding-not-a-word-about-benghazi/
By Holland Cooke
NEW YORK — Even before Manhattan could dust off its cheery Christmas decorations, it got a dusting of snow Tuesday. A fitting backdrop for the Consumer Electronics Association’s annual Holiday Sales and End-of Year Trend Analysis, a perennial forecast that, year-after-year, reckons whassup at The North Pole.
This research is released each November at the CES Unveiled press event that previews January’s massive, mind-boggling Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which I cover for TALKERS and RadioInfo.
Again this year, we’re giving gadgets.
As in 2012, expect the #1 electronic gift for adults to be tablet computers, 21% more of ’em than last Christmas. For kids, smartphones.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Remember that riveting scene in “Mission Impossible III?” At a swank Vatican City reception, the MI force kidnaps Philip Seymour Hoffman’s villainous character…and nobody knows. The switcheroo is high tech. In a back room, a 3D printer creates a mask that enables Cruise to masquerade as the abducted Hoffman, and walk right out the front door.
Don’t shrug this off as something you only see in the movies. Elsewhere in Hollywood, one Jay Leno has spent a small fortune on high-end 3D printers, to produce otherwise-unavailable engine parts for his couple hundred collectable cars. At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, there’ll be an entire Tech Zone dedicated to 3D printing; so look for my CES coverage here in January, and listen for my reports on “America in the Morning” and my client stations.
Back when ex-DJs my age got into radio, we played the hits. And “a hit” was a song, on a 45-rpm vinyl disc, sold in brick-and-mortar storefronts. Now, songs are digital downloads from Amazon and iTunes. And the definition of “television” has broadened to include Hulu, Netflix, and other interlopers investing aggressively in their own hits. Real soon, “a hit” will be 3D print software code. You’ll order the part or gadget you need from Amazon or iTunes, and the author will print-and-ship to order.
If I had a 3D printer, the first thing I’d print is another 3D printer. But I digress.
Here’s what all this means to radio…
By Holland Cooke
LAS VEGAS — Remember how iPod changed the way we collect and consume music? Decades earlier, Walkman had already rendered songs portable and empowered the listener-as-DJ. Then Apple obsoleted its own game-changer. As lines snaked around the block, again, for 2012’s iPhone 5 debut, sales of iPod and other mp3 players were plummeting 22%. We now tote our tunes on smartphones…which have also disrupted cameras, GPS, etc., etc., etc.
And again this week, 150,000 attendees here oooh’d-and-ahhh’d at 20,000 new products, many seeking to obsolete last year’s 20,000 shiny objects. That alone makes this a useful trek for radio folk. The CES conversation about what’s-new/what’s-next is a real pump-up compared to the “What’s left?” that haunts too much of radio’s shop talk.
By Holland Cooke
NEW YORK — You’ve seen those lines whenever a new iPhone came out? During the recession, and now in recovery, consumer electronics (CE) has been a conspicuous bright spot, and will continue to be. On-track to grow 5.9% to a $206.5 billion business in the USA alone in 2012, CE is projecting a 4.5% increase to $215.8B in the new year.
Each November, the Consumer Electronics Association does a press preview of its Consumer Electronics Show, the mammoth, mind-boggling January convention I cover each year for TALKERS. Here are my notes…and radio should take note, for four reasons: