Tag: "Charlie Sykes"
Mary Walter Joins WMAL-AM/FM, Washington’s ‘Mornings On The Mall.’ Radio pro Mary Walter is named the co-host of the “Mornings On The Mall” program on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington. Walter is working with co-host Brian Wilson. She takes over for Larry O’Connor, who recently moved to the afternoon drive daypart. Walter was most recently with iHeartMedia’s WHAS, Louisville, hosting the evening program. She’s been a frequent guest host on WMAL in addition to guest host stints on FOX News Radio and SiriusXM’s The Patriot channel. WMAL program director Bill Hess comments, “Mary’s experience, energy, and familiarity to our audience made her the perfect addition to our team.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee Announces New Midday Show. The new midday show at E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee is being unveiled. The station moved Jeff Wagner to the late morning slot that opened up with the retirement of Charlie Sykes at the end of last year. Now, taking over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot is the “Scaffidi & Bilstad” show with Steve Scaffidi (center) and executive producer Erik Bilstad (left). Scaffidi was most recently mayor of suburban Oak Creek and an account executive at the Leonard & Finco Public Relations firm. He’s resigned from both posts to join WTMJ. Station VP/GM Tom Langmyer states, “We’re pleased to welcome Steve to our team. He brings a great depth of knowledge and local connection to add to his take on the news of the day. Steve is a Wisconsin native, has a deep background and so much life experience, beyond broadcasting.” News anchor and reporter Colleen Boland (right) will man the newsroom during the program. The show debuts on February 28.
ABC News Radio Makes Staffing Changes; Gearing Towards Covering Breaking News. An ABC News Radio spokesperson tells TALKERS magazine that the news organization is making staffing changes that signal a shift from putting its primary resources into newscasts and focusing more intently on the coverage of breaking news, “reflecting immediacy and producing additional program content” for their approximately 1,575 affiliates. ABC News Radio says it has parted ways with a handful of employees but is in the process of hiring for a number of positions that will exceed those eliminated. Those include: Affiliate Solutions Manager, Associate Producer, Country Reporter/Producer, Urban Reporter/Producer, and WGA Newswriter/Producer. An ABC News Radio spokesperson tells TALKERS, “These changes allow ABC News Radio to provide more two-ways, breaking news and anchored coverage which have become more important to stations. It is never easy when fellow employees leave and we wish the very best to these colleagues. The media landscape is always evolving and it’s critical we’re meeting stations’ needs every step of the way.”
Erik Kuselias to Host Daily Talk Show on Genesis Communications Florida Talk Stations. Known primarily for his work in the sports media business, Erik Kuselias is expanding his reach in Florida by hosting a daily, two-hour talk show on Genesis Communications-owned news/talk outlets WWBA, Tampa and WIXC, Titusville (on the Space Coast). Kuselias – a former ESPN and NBC Sports personality – currently hosts a morning drive sports talk show on the company’s sports talk duo WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando. He’s continuing in that role in addition to the new program that airs from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. WWBA program manager Tom Paleveda states, “This is a natural progression for EK. We launched EK on the sports stations in both Tampa and Orlando last year. He is incredibly talented and will produce one of talk radio’s best programs. He will also continue to provide his brand of content on the company digital platforms, ‘News Talk Florida’ and ‘Sports Talk Florida.’”
Bubba the Love Sponge Files New Counterclaim Against Nielsen. The first time Bubba the Love Sponge filed a counterclaim against Nielsen, the court denied the motion ruling that it was difficult to discern the relevant facts due to the heavily redacted documents supplied by plaintiff Nielsen. That counterclaim included third parties Cox Media Group and CMG employee (and WHPT, Tampa personality) Mike Calta. But the denial was without prejudice, allowing Bubba’s lawyers to try again. And he has, this time leaving Cox and Calta out of the counterclaim. The counterclaim still alleges Nielsen entered into a conspiracy with Cox Media Group to get Bubba off the air in Tampa and interfere with his ability to do business with Beasley Media Group (owner of Tampa affiliate WBRN). The specific counterclaims are: Tortious Interference with Contractual and Business Relationships, Violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and Civil Conspiracy.
KFYO, Lubbock, Texas Names Dave King & Matt Martin Morning Hosts. Friday (2/17) was the last day for the “First News with Tom Collins and Laura Mac” on Townsquare Media’s news/talk KFYO, Lubbock, Texas. Assuming the morning show role are Dave King (right) and Matt Martin (left). The station says, “Both Dave and Matt are easy going, view the world from a conservative viewpoint, and want to interact with KFYO listeners. King is owner of Dave King Advertising in Lubbock. Matt Martin is a realtor with The Wyatt Team at Keller Williams.
Neuhoff Ups Byerly to DOS and Associate GM for Decatur Station Group. Moving up from her general sales manager position at Neuhoff Communications’ Decatur, Illinois cluster is Kathy Byerly. She’s now director of sales and associate general manager for the group that includes news/talk WSOY, sports talk WDZ, hip hop WCZQ “HOT 105.5,” CHR WSOY-FM “Y103,” and country WDZQ “95Q.” Neuhoff COO Mike Hulvey states, “Kathy is a wonderful success story. She has grown a career from the front desk to market leadership. You can’t get much better than that. The group of Decatur stations and digital products are not only the market leaders, they also have been recognized among the best in the industry. Kathy will help support those traditions while driving more business to our advertising partners.”
Hanging Out at the Club. Nationally syndicated Westwood One talk host Michael Savage and his son, Rockstar energy drink founder Russ Weiner, crossed paths with President Donald Trump at the chief executive’s famous Palm Beach, Florida private club, Mar-a-Lago, this weekend. They were attending a dinner hosted by Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy when the president stopped by to say hello. Pictured (l-r): Ruddy, Trump, Savage, and Weiner.
Limbaugh-Touted Book Debuts at #6 on NYT Bestseller List. The latest book by conservative writer David Horowitz – Big Agenda: President Trump’s Plan to Save America – debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list at #6 in the hardcover nonfiction books and e-book/hardcover nonfiction categories. Newsmax reports that the book was released the week of President Trump’s inauguration and is being praised by Rush Limbaugh, among other conservative media figures, for its predictions about Trump’s agenda. Horowitz is founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
New Trump Travel Order, McMaster Named National Security Advisor, Trump’s Sweden Comment, McCain vs Trump, UK’s Anti-Trump Debate, Uber Sexual Harassment Scandal, Yiannopoulos Controversies, and NBA-NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/20). The Trump Administration issues new travel order exempting green card holders; President Donald Trump names Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster national security advisor; the controversy over Trump’s allusion to crime in Sweden and filmmaker Ami Horowitz’s allegations that violent crime there has spiked due to immigrants; Republican Senator John McCain’s role as a major critic of Trump’s policies; the British House of Commons debates denying President Trump’s state visit; the allegations of sexual harassment at Uber’s corporate headquarters and the company’s hiring former AG Eric Holder to investigate; the controversies surrounding media figure Milo Yiannopoulos, including his being uninvited to CPAC and Simon and Schuster refusing to release his book; and NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. Phoenix market broadcast legend Pat McMahon is being roasted on March 15 at local comedy club Stand Up Live in an event being organized by Bonneville news/talk outlet KTAR-FM. The “Tip of the Hat to Pat” roast is being hosted by KNIX personality Tim Hattrick and will feature rock legend Alice Cooper, as well as local celebrities Jude LaCava from Fox 10, John Holmberg from KUPD, authors Jana Bommersbach and Rita Davenport and former ADL director Bill Straus. McMahon says, “I’m feeling both honored and terrified at the prospect of this event. But you can be sure that I’ll be able to dish it out, just as well as I can take it.”…..New York Mets flagship station WOR, New York announces it will air play-by-play for 15 spring training games, beginning on February 24 when the Mets take on the Boston Red Sox…..The New York Times recently published a feature story about Premiere Networks host George Noory. In the piece, the “Coast to Coast AM” host discusses how “Coast to Coast AM” has evolved over the years, his open approach to stories and topics, and his relationship with his audience. Read the story here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At the Atlanta cluster of Cox Media Group, Jaleigh Long is promoted to director of sales. She moves up from her general sales manager role. She’ll oversee the sales efforts for news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, CHR WSB-FM “B98.5,” classic hits WSRV “97.1 The River,” urban contemporary WALR “Kiss 104.1 FM,” and country simulcast WNGC/WTSH “Your Georgia Country.”…..At Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s rock WXRX, Rockford, Illinois “104.9 The X,” Zander – who’s been morning host and PD since joining the station in August of last year – moves to the afternoon drive slot. At the same time, Lori joins the station from crosstown competitor WKGL “96.7 The Eagle.”…..In the Lexington, Kentucky market, iHeartMedia drops sports talk on the simulcast of WWTF-AM and translator W239DJ at 97.7 FM and flips it to rock as “WTF 97.7 Lexington’s Rock Alternative.” Air personalities include Aly, Big Rig, Audrey, and Shroom…..Binnie Media says good bye to classic music on its WBQX, Thomaston, Maine and translator W245AA, Portland at 96.9 FM. WBQX takes on the classic hits format “FRANK FM” while the translator is simulcasting country station WTHT, Auburn “99.9 The Wolf.”
iHeartRadio Music Awards Announces Best New Artist Nominees. When the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards take place on Sunday, March 5 at the Forum in Los Angeles, one of the awards to be given will be the Best New Artist. The ultimate winner will be chosen by fans from all categories of popular music. The first step was naming the nominees in each category. Now, the finalists have been named. They are: Best New Rock/Alternative Rock Artist: The Strumbellas; Best New Country Artist: Kelsea Ballerini; Best New Hip-Hop Artist: Chance the Rapper; Best New Latin Artist: CNCO; Best New Regional Mexican Artist: Joss Favela; Best New Pop Artist: The Chainsmokers; and Best New R&B Artist: Bryson Tiller. The awards show will be televised live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET and simulcast on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide, as well as on iHeartRadio.
CBS Reports Q4 2016 and Full-Year Financials; CBS Presented as Discontinued Operation. The latter is due to the pending merger of CBS Radio with Entercom and it means that CBS did not present any revenue information or operating income metrics for the radio division. Here’s what the company has to say about the Entercom deal: “In connection with the transaction, which is expected to be tax-free to CBS Corporation and its stockholders, the Company intends to split-off CBS Radio through an exchange offer immediately prior to the merger. The merger will create a well-capitalized company with a market cap in excess of $2 billion, a strong balance sheet, significant free cash flow, and the ability to pay an attractive dividend. The combined company is expected to generate meaningful cost synergies within 12-18 months after the merger. The Company expects to complete the transaction in the second half of 2017, subject to customary closing conditions.” In a press statement, CBS Corporation chairman and CEO Les Moonves states, “2016 was a phenomenal year for the CBS Corporation, with all-time highs in revenue, operating income, and EPS [earnings per share] that came in above $4 for the first time in our Company’s history; and as we begin 2017, I couldn’t be more excited about our growth prospects in the years ahead.” During yesterday’s investor conference call, COO Joseph Ianniello addressed the radio deal, saying, “CBS shareholders who participate in this split-off will own 72% of the combined company which will have best-in-class assets and will clearly be the best capitalized radio company in the industry. The combined radio business will benefit from increased scale, stronger cash flow and real operational synergies which should drive higher profitability. The new company will also have the ability to pay an attractive dividend.”
Cumulus Extends Early Tender Date for Note Exchange. This is the third extension of Cumulus Media Inc’s offer for its previously announced private exchange offer for 7.75% Senior Notes due 2019 issued by Cumulus Media Holdings Inc. Obviously not satisfied with the number of takers, the company is extending the early tender date to March 6 (5:00 pm ET). The company explains that “Eligible Holders tendering their Outstanding Notes prior to the Early Tender Date, as extended that are accepted for exchange, will receive the ‘Total Exchange Consideration.’” That exchange includes “revolving loans, the participation interests, the trust certificates and the shares of Class A common stock (or warrants, if applicable), Class D common stock and Class E common stock.”
TALKERS Editorial Board Tackling Freedom of Speech Award Decision. The TALKERS magazine editorial board has begun the sensitive and often-controversial task of deciding its annual roster of major award recipients in the categories of “Lifetime Achievement,” “Woman of the Year,” “Humanitarian of the Year,” and “Freedom of Speech” – the latter being the most potentially contentious of all – especially in today’s highly charged, politically polarized news/talk environment. In his weekly address to the editors, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated, “This award is always a sensitive issue because freedom of speech is one of the most difficult concepts to explain and the award is doubly difficult to defend – especially when a significant percentage of people immediately assume that the organization presenting the honor necessarily endorses the political position of the recipient.” Harrison continued, “TALKERS has a distinguished history of non-partisanship in its editorial coverage of political news/talk media and this has been reflected in the diversity of positions held by the recipients of this prestigious award over the decades. The award is not a reward for saying something ‘controversial’ with which we necessarily agree but, rather, for conducting oneself as a broadcaster in a manner that clearly displays the tenets of the First Amendment in action, as well as showing the courage of one’s convictions in facing the negative blowback and consequences of one’s public stance.” Harrison cited Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity, Salem Radio Network’s Michael Medved and former WTMJ, Milwaukee host Charlie Sykes among worthy candidates to be considered for this year’s honor, stating, “Hannity showed amazing courage coming out early and unswervingly for Donald Trump when it was not clear which way his core audience would swing and what the outcome of the primary and general election would be. Medved, also a conservative, came out early against Trump and then stuck to his guns as an objective observer of the candidate and now-president’s pros and cons as he sees them – even against negative criticism from his listeners and even members of his own syndication company. Sykes actually let his cool job in Milwaukee slide away rather than back down from his perception of the truth.” Harrison concluded, “And there are many more examples of news/talk hosts having to take a principled stand with uncertain consequences as a result of this turbulent but exciting chapter of talk radio history in the making.” The TALKERS awards will be presented on Friday, June 2 at Talkers 2017: A New Era in New York City. For information about the 20th annual installment of the talk industry’s longest running and most important national convention, please click here.
TALKERS News Notes. Beginning with this year’s 2017 NFL season, Washington Redskins football play-by-play (including some pre- and post-game programming) will be heard on Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington. The games will continue to air on Red Zebra properties WTEM, Washington “ESPN980”; WWXT, Prince Frederick, Maryland; and WWXX, Buckland, Virginia. This is a homecoming of sorts for Redskins football; the team’s games have aired on WMAL-AM from time-to-time as far back as 1942. WMAL-AM/FM vice president and GM Jake McCann comments, “We are excited and honored to be working with the Redskins again. The Redskins and WMAL were partners during the team’s three glorious Super Bowl-winning seasons. We look forward to bringing the combined assets of WMAL to this exciting, renewed partnership.”…..NBA All-Star 2017 begins today and SiriusXM is offering coverage with special, live programming from New Orleans on its NBA Radio channel, in addition to the live broadcast of the 66th NBA All-Star Game. Coverage will be hosted by Milwaukee Bucks guard Jason Terry, former players Eddie Johnson and Tim Legler, as well as Frank Isola, Jason Jackson, Joel Meyers, Justin Termine and Brian Geltzeiler…..The Forbes on PodcastOne network premieres “The Forbes List” today (2/16), featuring an in-depth look at the world’s top billionaires. The show – hosted by Jordan Harbinger dives into the stories behind Forbes’ most famous lists, including the Forbes 400 list featuring the wealthiest Americans, as well as lists covering celebrities, music, sports, entrepreneurs, companies and the world’s most powerful people. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz comments, “This makes our third launch of a new Forbes podcast and points out the strong relationship between Forbes and PodcastOne. Jordan Harbinger has hosted “Art of Charm,” which consistently ranks in iTunes’ top 10. This provides a combination that’s tough to beat.”
Violent Tragedy Strikes Dominican Radio Station. Two radio journalists were shot dead and a third staffer was seriously wounded in a raid on a radio station in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday. Numerous news outlets are reporting that news presenter Luis Manuel Medina and station director Leonidas Martinez were killed when unidentified men entered the station and shot Medina while he read a newscast and Martinez as he sat in his office. Medina was streaming his newscast live on Facebook at the time of the attack. It took place at radio station 103.5 FM in San Pedro de Macoris, a town near Santo Domingo. The AFP reports that the organization Reporters without Borders states that journalists that investigate corruption and the drug business are often the victims of violent attacks.
Sports, Music, Politics and Talk Media. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is joined in a free-wheeling dialogue by his long-time friend, New York City radio broadcaster Richard Neer as his guest on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out.” The two talk about the public’s and media’s obsession with Donald Trump, with an emphasis on the infiltration of sports and entertainment by political passions. Richard Neer brings his diverse background as a legendary Big Apple music radio host (WNEW-FM), sports talker (WFAN) and best-selling author of the landmark book FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001) to the discussion which focuses on the rapid morphing of the traditional left/right talk media paradigm into a more complex resistance/revolution chess game. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Trump Campaign Russia Communications/Flynn Exit, Puzder Withdraws From Labor Secretary Nomination, Reince Preibus’ Status, Trump vs Intelligence Community, Fate of ObamaCare, and NBA-NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/15). The controversy over the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn and questions about the depth of communications between the Donald Trump campaign and Russian agents; Labor Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder withdraws from consideration for the cabinet position; questions about the status of White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus after unconfirmed reports President Trump is unhappy with his work; the contentious relationship between Trump and the intelligence community; the fate of the Affordable Care Act after Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told the Wall Street Journal the program is in a “death spiral”; and NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. The performer and host lineups have been announced for the March 5 iHeartRadio Music Awards taking place at the Forum in Los Angeles. The evening will be hosted by Ryan Seacrest and will air live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET will be broadcast on iHeartMedia-owned stations nationwide, as well as on the iHeartRadio. Performers will include: Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, The Chainsmokers, Shawn Mendes, Thomas Rhett, Noah Cyrus and Big Sean, in addition to the previously announced Bruno Mars…..Entercom San Diego is expanding the platform for its culinary audio feature, “Lick the Plate,” which has been airing on alternative KBZT “FM94/9,” adult contemporary KXSN “Sunny 98.1,” and country KSON. The David Boylan-hosted program will now be available in podcast format via the stations’ websites. The radio stations will continue to promote the show via on-air teaser segments. These changes take effect on February 27…..Radio programming for the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards from Westwood One is being announced. Westwood One and Cumulus Media are the official national radio partners for the ACM Awards. There will be a three-hour ACM Nomination Special, hosted by Thomas Rhett, on March 25 from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight as part of “NASH Nights Live.” The ACM Radio Row will take place on Friday, March 31 from 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm ET and Saturday, April 1 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm ET. Then, the five-hour ACM Night Of Event Coverage will happen on Sunday, April 2 from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight…..Beasley Media Group’s adult hits WBEN-FM, Philadelphia is announcing a new weekend program featuring Kathy Romano. The show is titled, “Her Story,” and will air Sundays at 7:30 am. Romano – who works for sister rock station WMMR as part of the “Preston & Steve” show – says, “I’m thrilled to be the host of ‘Her Story’ on 95.7 BEN FM! This is giving me the opportunity for some girl talk that just doesn’t make sense on WMMR’s ‘Preston & Steve’ show. There are so many amazing women with fascinating stories that we just don’t get to hear. Every Sunday morning I’m going to bring listeners the great stories these dynamic women have to tell!”…..Radio One hip hop outlet WKYS, Washington announces that Danni Starr is joining “The Fam in The Morning” as co-host alongside QuickSilva. Radio One DC SVP and general manager Jeff Wilson comments, “Danni is the full package. She’s amazingly smart, well versed in music and community activism. Danni is authentic and transparent about her struggles and victories. That kind of energy and wit will serve our listeners well on-air, in social media and on the street.” Starr has worked in radio for more than a decade and is the face of TLCme on the TLC network.
Midland Pays Valentine’s Day Visit to NASH Campus. New country act and Big Machine recording group Midland is pictured here with “NASH Nights Live” co-hosts Elaina Smith (second from left) and Shawn Parr (second from right).
PPM Analysis: Country. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the ratings performances of country-formatted stations based on Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2016 PPM survey. In this report, see charts detailing country stations’ (6+) numbers over the past six PPM surveys, fluctuations from December to the Holiday survey, comparisons to performances in the Holiday 2015 and Holiday 2016 surveys, station market ranks and more. Click here for more.
Report: Laura Ingraham Considering Run for Virginia Senate Seat. According to a report in the Washington Examiner, talk show host – and Trump adviser – Laura Ingraham is seriously debating whether to throw her hat into the ring for a run for the Virginia U.S. Senate seat currently held by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 running mate, Tim Kaine. The Examiner’s Paul Bedard writes that “several party insiders have approached the media giant to run and that she is considering it. In preparation for a bid, her business partner, Peter Anthony, has begun buying website domains for Ingraham to use should she decide to move forward. It includes: ingrahamsenate.net, ingrahamsenate.com, ingrahamforvirginia.com and ingraham2018.com.” The story also notes that Virginia U.S. Representatives Barbara Comstock and Dave Brat – both Republicans – are considering challenging Kaine. See the Examiner story here.
iHeartMedia Execs Nab Big Bonuses. These bonuses – approved last Tuesday by the iHeartMedia board of directors – are retention bonuses. Here’s what the board approved: chairman and CEO Bob Pittman gets $1.75 million; COO and CFO Rich Bressler gets the same; and SVP of corporate finance Steven Macri is awarded $750,000. Because they are retention bonuses, the three must remain employed by the company for two years after the effective date of January 12, 2017 or they must repay 100% of the after-tax value of the bonus. If either is terminated without cause, leaves for a “good reason,” or due to death or disability before the first anniversary of the effective date, they must pay back 50% of the after-tax value. Additionally, the board of directors approved the 2017 Key Employee Incentive Plan in which Pittman and Bressler can earn bonuses of up to $7,000,000 and $3,000,000 respectively during the year for hitting quarterly performance goals set by the compensation committee of the board of directors.
Cumulus Media’s Mary Berner Pockets $1 Million-plus Bonus. Unlike the retention bonuses paid to iHeartMedia’s Bob Pittman and others (see story above), this payment to Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner is a “one-time discretionary cash incentive compensation award” of $1,087,500 for “her exceptional efforts and contributions during 2016, both individually and as a member of the management leadership team, in the initial phase of the company’s operational turnaround plan and ongoing operational and financial restructuring.” The board of directors notes that this award is in lieu of any award she may have received under its annual incentive plan for 2016.
Charlie Sykes to Take Part in Public Radio Show. The Milwaukee radio icon retired from E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ at the end of 2016 after a 23-year career with the news/talk station. Now, Charlie Sykes is part of a new, national call-in talk show being produced in what is a cooperative venture by WNYC, New York, Minnesota Public Radio and The Economist. According to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sykes will be one of four co-hosts of the program titled, “Indivisible.” The other hosts are: WNYC’s Brian Lehrer, The Nation features editor Kai Wright, and MPR’s personality Kerri Miller. Sykes will not be heard on the radio in his home market because his non-compete prevents local pubcaster WUWM from airing the show. Under the terms of Sykes’ deal with WTMJ, any radio show on which Sykes appears during the term of the non-compete must air on WTMJ. The station asked to air the new show but NPR is not giving consent.
Will Talk Show Hosts Get Access to Trump Press Conferences? On Sunday (1/15), Trump Administration Press Secretary Sean Spicer told FOX News that the president-elect is considering moving press briefings to a larger location due to “off-the-charts” interest in the new administration. Spicer said, “There’s a lot of talk radio and bloggers and people that can’t fit in right now and maybe don’t have a permanency because they’re not part of the Washington elite media, but to allow them an opportunity to ask the press secretary or the president a question is a positive thing. It’s more democratic.” The Brady press room (pictured) in the West Wing only holds 49 people. However, the White House Correspondents’ Association is concerned about the move, in part because it fears the media could be moved from the press work space behind the Brady press room, according to a statement from WHCA president Jeff Mason. He says that space is important because it is close to West Wing staffers whom the press rely on for news. Spicer says he’ll work with the WHCA on any changes.
Trump Inauguration Protests, ObamaCare Replacement Plans, U.S.-Russia Relations, Orlando Cop Killer Search, Davos Economic Forum, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Ringling Brothers Circus to Close, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The planned protests and Democratic members of Congress planning to skip Donald Trump’s Inauguration on Friday; the GOP’s plans to replace the Affordable Care Act; the relationship between Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the United States with Trump set to take office; the search for the man police believe killed Orlando police officer Debra Clayton; this week’s meeting of world leaders at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland; today’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday; Ringling Brothers’ decision to shutter the 146-year-old circus; and the NFL playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds new affiliates to its roster, including: WNIX-AM/FM, Greeneville, Mississippi; KLKS-FM, Brainerd, Minnesota; KHMO-AM, Hannibal, Missouri; and WBNW, Concord/Boston…..Teenage conservative talk show host Caiden Cowger announces his show is added to the program schedule at Kol Ami Havurah-owned WDUQ-LPFM, Benwood, West Virginia “Beautiful Music 99.1.” This is the fourth affiliate station for Cowger’s program. The one-hour show airs evenings at 9:00 pm…..In the San Antonio market, Cox Media Group drops the sports talk programming on KONO-AM after three years as a CBS Sports Radio affiliate and is now airing an oldies format.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In San Diego, air personality Sam Bass moves from middays to weekends on hot AC KYXY for personal reasons. Moving into his slot on the CBS RADIO station is Joe Rosati, who slides over from sister CHR KEGY “Energy 103.7.” Program director Chris Patyk promotes evening personality Alexia Gloria to middays on KEGY to fill Rosati’s old slot…..There are a few promotions to report at the Nashville operations of Midwest Communications. First, Barbara Bridges – currently adult contemporary WJXA brand manager – is upped to operations manager for the entire cluster. Second, afternoon drive host Joe Breezy is adding brand manager duties to his work at CHR WNFN “i106.7.” Finally, WNFN midday personality Butter Harper takes on assistant brand manager responsibilities for the station…..Chad Valentine exits iHeartMedia’s CHR WHYI, Miami “Y100” as the result of his position being eliminated. He was assistant program director and music director there…..Alexa Smith exits her role as program director at Sierra H Broadcasting’s hip hop KNRJ, Cordes Lakes, Arizona and rhythmic oldies KAJM, Camp Verde, Arizona after three months in the position. Prior to that, she’d been APD at CBS RADIO’s rhythmic AC KTWV, Los Angeles “94.7 The Wave.”
Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano to Host Late Mornings at WLS-AM, Chicago. A little more than a week after the Jonathon Brandmeier show was cancelled, Cumulus Media announces that it is bringing well-known Windy City broadcasters Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano aboard to host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program on WLS-AM. The husband-and-wife team most recently worked on radio at Tribune’s crosstown WGN, handling the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show. Cumulus Chicago VP/market manager Peter Bowen states, “Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano are deeply rooted in Chicago and are well known to the community. With their addition, WLS is more local and more relevant to Chicago listeners and advertisers.” At the same time, the station announces its new program lineup starting in January: Big John and Ray, 6:00 am to 10:00 am; Sirott and Murciano, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; Rush Limbaugh, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Steve Dahl, 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Mark Levin, 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. The host of the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm show is still to-be-announced.
Aircheck D.I.Y. Media consultant Holland Cooke writes today that, due to numerous changes in the radio business, talk radio personalities don’t huddle for aircheck meetings with program directors like they used to. Because of this, talk hosts are often missing a valuable tool for improvement. If you’re a young programmer with some talk talent to coach, or a music PD who isn’t used to coaching talk talent, Cooke offers this handy primer on airchecking talk radio personalities. Read more here.
Wainwright: Make it Part of the Show. WSYR, Syracuse morning show host Mark Wainwright tells TALKERS magazine that after viewing a recent Talkers TV video from consultant Holland Cooke titled, “Making Money with Endorsement Spots,” he felt compelled to share some of his experiences and strategies for endorsement spots. Wainwright says his overarching belief about the effectiveness of live endorsements is that they must become part of the show in order to achieve their maximum effect. Read more here.
WMAL, Washington’s Larry O’Connor Joins The Weekly Standard. In a memo to the staff, The Weekly Standard editor-in-chief Steve Hayes announces that WMAL, Washington personality Larry O’ Connor is joining the organization as online editor. Hayes calls O’Connor’s arrival at TWS “part of an aggressive expansion of the TWS online presence.” Hayes goes on to say, “As you might expect, Larry has a very good ear for the kinds of issues that resonate with grassroots conservatives and we’re eager for his input as we continue to improve and expand the digital side of the magazine.” His previous work in digital media includes time at Hotair.com and Independent Journal Review. Earlier this fall, it was announced that O’Connor is leaving the “Mornings on the Mall” AM drive show to take over the afternoon drive daypart (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm).
WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes Pens NYT Op-Ed Piece ‘Where the Right Went Wrong.’ Longtime Milwaukee conservative talk personality Charlie Sykes is stepping down from his role as a talk show host on E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ at the end of this month. It’s no secret in the industry that Sykes – along with other Wisconsin talk radio hosts – has been a vocal opponent of President-Elect Donald Trump. In an opinion piece published in The New York Times over the weekend, Sykes lays out why he believes Trump won the election, how the conservative media helped him win and, as the title implies, where he thinks the conservative movement has gone wrong. Read it here.
John Ziegler Ends Syndicated Sunday Night Radio Talk Show. Conservative media personality John Ziegler announces he’s ending the live Sunday night broadcasts of his talk show, originally called the “John & Leah Show” that featured co-host Leah Brandon for most of its run (though he hopes to continue it as a podcast). Ziegler, a strong opponent of President-Elect Donald Trump, gives shared credit for his decision to shutter the show to Trump’s ascension to the Oval Office, some bad business moves for which he accepts the blame, and the state of the talk radio business. Ziegler also writes for Mediaite and he lays out his decision for leaving AM/FM radio in a piece in the publication here.
Odds & Sods. News/talk WOWO, Fort Wayne – with the help of two local co-sponsors – helped raise $343,808 for Community Harvest Food Bank and Super Shot during its recent two-day radiothon. Program director Ryan Wrecker says, “The generosity was overwhelming this year.” The Penny Pitch Radiothon raised $171,094 but Brigadoon Fitness and King of Carts matched that to double the total raised. Community Harvest Food Bank’s Hope for Heroes program focuses on providing groceries at no cost to veterans and military families in need. Super Shot helps provide vaccinations for low-income, uninsured, under-insured and Medicaid eligible people. The WOWO staff is pictured at right around the phone bank…..The Salem Media Group Minneapolis cluster – news/talk WWTC “AM 1280 The Patriot,” Christian talk KKMS “AM 980 The Mission,” business talk KYCR “Business Radio 1440,” talk KDIZ “Wellness Radio 1570,” and stream theFishTwinCities.com are presenting a “Crisis & Security Summit” on Thursday, January 26. It’s a free, informational event that will feature experts discussing topics such as IT security, personal safety, community preparedness, and child protection. Salem Minneapolis GM Nic Anderson comments, “In this day and age, we must plan ahead, be informed, and ensure personal and community safety from all angles. We at Salem feel a sense of duty to our local churches and schools.”
Trump Cabinet Nominations, Today’s Electoral College Vote, Allegations of Russian Hacking, ‘Fake News’ Controversy, China Nabs U.S. Submersible Drone, Rogue One Opening Weekend, Cold Snap, and NFL Action Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The transitioning of the Trump Administration and President-Elect Donald Trump’s nominees for cabinet posts; today’s electoral college vote and the numerous pleas from celebrities to not vote for Trump; the allegations that Russia is responsible for hacking the DNC’s servers in order to influence the election; the hot topic of “fake news” and its role in politics; China’s intercepting of a U.S. drone submarine and tensions between China and the U.S. over China’s military build-up in the South China Sea; the opening weekend of the new Star Wars film Rogue One; the bitter cold weather affecting parts of the country; and National Football League action were some of the top stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cumulus Shareholders Approve Reverse Stock Split. The vote among Cumulus Media shareholders took place today and becomes effective at 5:00 pm ET. This move consists of a 1-for-8 reverse split – eight shares of the company’s Class A common stock will be converted into one share – to increase the price of each share. There will be no fractional shares issued; they will be rounded up to whole shares. This obviously results in a reduction of the number of authorized shares of common stock. Cumulus Media’s stock has been trading for less than $ 0.75 per share for most of the past year.
Charlie Sykes’ Exit from WTMJ, Milwaukee Presents Options for New Show. In a piece published in the Milwaukee Business Journal, WTMJ VP/GM Tom Langmyer says that the station will not be limiting its search for a replacement for talk host Charlie Sykes to a “political host.” Sykes’ national profile has grown over the last year due to his refusal to support the candidacy of Donald Trump for president. As a conservative media icon in the state – Sykes founded the conservative media site RightWisconsin.com – his approach to his radio program has also been politically focused. Langmyer has already announced that Jeff Wagner’s program will move into the 8:30 am to 12:00 noon slot currently occupied by Sykes, leaving the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart the one to be filled. Referring to the station’s programming philosophy, Langmyer says, “Over the last couple of years, (we have) focused on a more inclusive feel. We have definitely broadened our scope and appeal to what WTMJ means to the community overall.” You can read the entire piece here.
Evening Personality Joe DeCamara Exits WPEN-FM, Philadelphia. Both Crossing Broad and Philly.com are reporting that evening sports talk host Joe DeCamara has exited Greater Media’s WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” where he’s been host of the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm show since April of 2015. DeCamara first joined the station in 2005. WPEN-FM, along with the other Greater Media signals in Philly, is in the process of being acquired by Beasley Broadcast Group. Just last month, Jon Marks exited the WPEN-FM morning program hosted by Anthony Gargano. Three other staffers were let go at the time the Greater Media-Beasley deal was announced. There’s no word from Greater Media about its plans for replacing DeCamara. Staffer Matt Lombardo hosted the show last night (10/11).
William O’Shaughnessy Goes to Bat for Billy Bush. New York broadcaster William O’Shaughnessy pens an opinion piece addressing the character of embattled NBC-TV personality Billy Bush. O’Shaughnessy says, in so many words, what a shame it would be for Bush to lose his position with NBC due do his role in the Donald Trump hot-mic case that’s plaguing the Republican nominee. Read it here.
New Episode of International Talk Show ‘London Calling with Graham Mack’ Posted Today. Episode 4 of the exciting new TalkersRadio weekly program “London Calling” is posted today (10/12). The experimental show that swaps news, views and information between the US and Great Britain, hosted by award-winning English talk host Graham Mack, features a conversation with an icon of British broadcasting who happens to be an American, Paul Gambaccini. Mack talks about a possible fist fight in the European Parliament and he hears from a listener named Linda Lee King in California who discovered the show via an interview Mack did on Chicago radio, plus Michael Harrison checks in from Massachusetts to discuss Brexit. To hear the show in its entirety please go directly to TalkersRadio by clicking here.
Odds & Sods. At iHeartMedia’s Tampa sports talker WDAE, the local morning drive program co-hosted by Tampa Bay Times writers Rick Stroud and Tom Jones is cancelled in favor of ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” show…..WTMJ, Milwaukee is once again producing a holiday radio show. This year, the Scripps-owned station is doing “It’s a Wonderful Life,” featuring radio personalities Charlie Sykes, Jeff Wagner, Gene Mueller, Greg Matzek, Wayne Larrivee and a cast of other WTMJ hosts and local voices. It will take place live at Milwaukee’s Turner Hall on November 29 and be replayed on the radio throughout the holiday season.
The Presidential Race/Debate and Trump Hot-Mic Aftermath, Clinton Wikileaks Docs, Syria Civil War/Russian Military Involvement, Hurricane Matthew Destruction, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 Crisis, MLB Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/11). The presidential race, including the Sunday evening debate and the “Access Hollywood” hot-mic issue; the Wikileaks release of revealing emails between Hillary Clinton and John Podesta; the civil conflict in Syria and the Russian military’s role in recent deadly attacks on civilians; the destruction in the Carolinas from Hurricane Matthew; the problems facing Samsung due to the exploding Galaxy Note 7 phone; the Major League Baseball playoffs; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes to Retire from Radio in December. Longtime Milwaukee conservative voice Charlie Sykes announces that he will step away from his daily radio show and weekly television show at the end of this year after a 23-year stint hosting the mid-morning show on Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ. Sykes is also the host of “Sunday Insight” on WTMJ-TV “Today’s TMJ4.” The station will move current early afternoon host Jeff Wagner into the 8:30 to 12:00 noon slot and will seek a new host for the open 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show. Sykes states, “It has been both a pleasure and honor to work here. It has been an extraordinary privilege to be a part of the momentous changes that have taken place in Wisconsin over the last two decades. This is not a decision that I made either lightly or recently and it was not driven by this year’s political season. I made this decision more than a year ago for both professional and very personal reasons. My father died when he was 63, and I will turn 62 this year, so this year has always been circled on my calendar. Frankly, if I was ever going to make a move, it was now. While I am stepping back from my daily radio duties I intend to remain an active voice. I want to write more, travel more and pursue new opportunities.” In addition to his work for Scripps, Sykes created and served as the editor-in-chief of RightWisconsin.com. RightWisconsin.com is an online community that distributes the conservative perspective on the day’s news through a website, audio, video and a daily newsletter. WTMJ VP/GM Tom Langmyer comments, “Charlie Sykes is one of the most talented broadcasters in America. His voice is not only an important one in Wisconsin, but across the country. His daily impact has influenced public thought for decades.”
Josh Innes Takes Over Afternoons at KBME, Houston. Sports talk personality Josh Innes returns to Houston to begin hosting the afternoon drive slot on iHeartMedia’s KBME “Sports Talk 790,” effective October 10. Innes worked at CBS RADIO’s KILT-AM from 2010 through 2013 – partnered with KILT’s Rich Lord for part of that time. Innes was brought by CBS to its Philadelphia sports talker WIP where he started in evenings and moved to afternoon drive. Innes exited WIP in August. Lord is now partnered with Sean Pendergast and Ted Johnson in afternoons on KILT and Innes will be competing with the trio. Innes tells the Houston Chronicle, “After I left Houston, I missed it. The opportunity at 790 is perfect. They said they want me to be who I am and to do what I do, and they will support what I do.” Innes replaces longtime station personality Charlie Pallilo on the KBME afternoon show. Read the Chronicle piece here.
iHeartMedia Creates New Southwest Division; Kevin LeGrett Named President. This realignment will create a new division within iHeartMedia – a Southwest Division that will include many regions formerly in its Central Division. Other former Central Division Regions will be moved into the West and Midwest/Southeast Divisions to better align them with the right resources and operating structure, according to the company. Kevin LeGrett, formerly iHeartMedia’s Los Angeles region president, becomes president of the new Southwest Division which now includes the Los Angeles, San Diego/Riverside, Arizona, Red River, Houston, Dallas and Austin/San Antonio regions. He will continue to report to Greg Ashlock, president of iHeartMedia West, and will also become a member of the company’s senior executive Operating Committee. In addition to overseeing the new Southwest Division, Ashlock will add the Denver, Western Great Lakes and Omaha regions to his existing West Division. The St. Louis, Nashville and Mid-South regions will move to the Midwest/Southeast Division under president Tom McConnell. The Pittsburgh region, formerly part of the Midwest/Southeast Division, will now move to the Northeast Division under president Hartley Adkins. Both LeGrett and Ashlock will continue to operate from iHeartMedia West’s headquarters in Los Angeles.
Opie Stays with SiriusXM Reluctantly. Tweeting about his new contract with SiriusXM, Gregg “Opie” Hughes announces he’s back on the air with the satcaster, but not in his morning drive slot. He’s now in afternoon drive. The New York Post reports Hughes said, “I did not want to leave mornings. Short-term deal. They wanted longer. I said, no [bleeping] way. We do a great show.” Hughes has been off the air since his previous contract expired and former partner Jim Norton has been co-hosting the morning show with producer Sam Roberts and they reportedly will remain in that slot. Hughes tells The Post he took a pay cut but remains the third-highest paid talent there.
Veteran Illustrates the Emotional Power of Talk Radio. During a discussion on SiriusXM’s Joe Madison show about PTSD and the suicide rate of U.S. veterans spurred by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s speech to a veterans group in Virginia, a retired Marine Corps serviceman called in to tell his personal story and how his life was saved by Madison’s program. Listen to the audio here.
The Amazing Kreskin Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the world’s most prolific performers and established pop cultural icons, The Amazing Kreskin, is interviewed on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Harrison and Kreskin dive into an in-depth conversation about how the power of persuasion can shape the public’s perception. According to Kreskin, there is no such thing as hypnosis, per se – but, rather, people can be made to believe things and take action by a charismatic personality who knows how to engage in psychological manipulation. He points out that the larger the number of people in an audience, crowd, mob or population, the easier it is for them to relinquish individual responsibility for their actions and follow the pack. This is a compelling conversation of significance to anyone involved in talk media – especially during election season. To hear this conversation in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
The Presidential Race/Tuesday’s VP Debate, Syria Civil War/U.S.-Russia Tensions, Wikileaks Doc Drop Threat, Oregon H.S. White Privilege Survey, Kim Kardashian Robbery, Hurricane Matthew, MLB Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/3). The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and this evening’s vice presidential debate; the U.S.’ cessation of bi-lateral talks with Syria and Russia over the besieged city of Aleppo and U.S.-Russia military tensions; Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s threat to begin dropping documents that could be harmful to Hillary Clinton’s campaign; the controversy over an Oregon high school class’ assignment that included a white privilege survey; the widely reported holdup of Kim Kardashian West and theft of $10 million in jewelry; Hurricane Matthew hits Haiti and heads toward the U.S.; the Major League Baseball playoffs begin; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Covering Tonight’s VP Debate. In advance of tonight’s Vice Presidential Debate at Longwood University in Virginia, Lou Dobbs (left) will be delivering his Salem Radio Network financial reports and co-anchoring FOX Business Network’s live coverage of the debate. After the debate, Dobbs will join Fox’s Neil Cavuto for live, post-debate coverage before filing his early-morning Market Preview for SRN affiliates. Pictured with Dobbs is Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup.
Allen Shaw Talks Radio and More with Walter Sterling on WPHT. Pictured here outside the WPHT, Philadelphia studios are Allen Shaw (right), former president of ABC FM Radio and current vice chairman of Beasley Broadcasting, and WPHT, Philadelphia talk host Walter Sterling (left). During a discussion of the history of album rock radio, Allen fully credited TALKERS magazine and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison with creating the format name album oriented rock – AOR – and shared how to sell a new idea to a stubborn company.
Boyce: Why Talk Radio Is Not Dying, Part 2. Talk and news radio programming pro Phil Boyce writes a follow-up to the TALKERS magazine piece he penned two years ago titled, “Why Talk Radio Is Not Dying, Part 1.” Boyce says, “Usually when you find people predicting the demise or death of this format it comes from two sources: a) people who don’t truly understand this format and, b) people who do understand it, and loathe it.” Boyce outlines his case for the sustained health of the format and cautions his peers who wish to steer talk radio away from news and politics. “Do that if you will. It only makes my stations stronger because I know the number-one reason listeners come to talk radio: for breaking news, big stories, and what to think about it.” Read his piece here.
NYTimes Piece Highlights GOP’s Trump Split Set Against Talk Radio Backdrop. A Robert Draper-penned piece in The New York Times delving into the divisions in the GOP and conservative media over Donald Trump uses WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta personality Erick Erickson as its hub. Erickson – former RedState.com writer – along with several other prominent conservative media personalities, including Sean Hannity, George Will, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Charlie Sykes, Stephen K. Bannon, and Bill O’Reilly, are featured in Draper’s piece illustrating the splintering of the media wing of the GOP party. Erickson and Will are two conservative media personalities who have not given their support to Trump and in the piece, they related how that unwillingness to back Trump has affected their relationships with fellow conservatives and the mega-players in the conservative media. Read the piece here.
Memorial Tribute Planned Tomorrow Evening in NYC for Dr. Joy Browne. A group of industry figures have organized “A Celebration of Joy” memorial tribute to talk radio legend Dr. Joy Browne, who died unexpectedly on August 27. It will take place at an intimate theater in the Chelsea district of Manhattan and feature a roster of speakers who will eulogize and share stories about their memories of the famed radio psychologist. The program will be co-hosted by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Salem Radio Network syndicated star Mike Gallagher. Speakers will include (in alphabetical order): Ted Anderson of Genesis Communications Network; David Bernstein of TalkersRadio; Pierre Bouvard of Cumulus Media/Westwood One; Tracy Cramer of the Alzheimer’s Association of America; Bernadette Duncan of Talkers Books; Joan Hamburg of WABC, New York; Stephen M. Silverman of Time, Inc.; and Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia. The program will be video recorded and posted on Talkers.com, DrJoy.com and GCNlive.com. Attendance for industry-members only (and personal friends of Dr. Joy Browne) is free of charge but there are only a handful of seats remaining. Call 413-565-5413 to inquire about registering. Michael Harrison served as temporary host of Dr. Joy Browne’s daily three-hour syndicated show on GCN through the month of September providing three days of memorial broadcasts and a three-week transition period to give the network and its affiliates a chance to reorganize their plans for her time slot. Upon finishing up the run, Harrison states, “I was very touched by the outpouring of emotion and love Joy’s listeners expressed on these shows. As exhausting as it was hosting three hours a day of intense live radio dealing with the human condition on top of my regular job, it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career and I’ll never forget it. Rest in peace, dear Dr. Joy.”
Philly Sports Talker Jon Marks Wraps AM Show Gig at ‘97.5 The Fanatic.’ This morning was Jon Marks’ last show with Anthony Gargano at Greater Media’s sports talker WPEN-FM, Philadelphia. Marks bid adieu to his WPEN listeners and thanked management for allowing him to work through the end of this deal and say his goodbyes. Marks can be reached at: JonMarksRadio@gmail.com.
The Presidential Race, LAPD Kill Black Man/Cops Shoot St. Louis Teen, 9/11 Widow to Sue Saudi Arabia, Wikileaks Threatens Clinton Info Dump, Deutsch Bank Troubles, Looming Hurricane Matthew, MLB Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the fatal shooting of a black man by Los Angeles police and the wounding of a St. Louis teen by police there; a 9/11 widow is the first to file suit against Saudi Arabia under the recently changed policy; Wikileaks founder Julian Assange teases a Tuesday release of documents that could relate to Hillary Clinton; potential DOJ-levied $14 billion fine against Deutsch Bank and the “IT failure” that prevented Germans from accessing their accounts this weekend; the threat that Hurricane Matthew brings to Jamaica, Haiti and Cuba; the Major League Baseball playoff matchups are solidified; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. Seven new affiliate stations are beginning to carry Stacy Washington’s “Stacy on the Right” radio program. In seven urban markets served by the Urban Family Talk network, Washington’s “national and conservative voice” will be heard daily in Memphis, Cleveland, Madison, Tupelo, Toledo, Boise, and Atlanta…..Is this the end for Gregg “Opie” Hughes at SiriusXM? Last week, Hughes indicated that SiriusXM offered him at new deal that he rejected. He’s been off the satcaster since his previous contract expired and his former partner comic Jim Norton and producer Sam Roberts have been hosting the show…..CBS RADIO’s sports talk KILT-AM, Houston “Sports Radio 610 is bringing Derek Fogel aboard to serve as a sports news anchor and weekend/fill-in host. Fogel was most recently with Max Media’s sports WXLT-FM, Carbondale/Marion, Illinois “103.5 ESPN Southern Illinois.” He’ll also write for CBSHouston…..Cox Media Group news/talk WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville adds Radio America’s Chad Benson show to its weekend lineup…..“FOX News Headlines 24/7” – the radio station heard exclusively on SiriusXM – is celebrating its one-year anniversary on Wednesday. The station provides subscribers with around-the-clock, original reporting on national news and real-time headlines.
Dr. Joy Browne Dead at 71. This report – confirmed by a Facebook post by her sister Alannah Sinclaire and a conversation today between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and her brother David Oppenheim – indicates that talk radio star Dr. Joy Browne died on Saturday, August 27 at age 71. The exact cause is unknown at this time, but Sinclaire writes that she was on the phone speaking with Dr. Joy “chatting about movies reviews, recipes, and favorite memories from a recent birthday party for our 95-year-old mom when the phone suddenly disconnected; her heart had stopped as well.” At the time of her death, Browne’s long-running talk show had been syndicated to stations across the country by Genesis Communications Network. Browne received her M.A. and a Ph.D. from Northeastern University in Boston. It was in Boston that she got her start in talk radio but she launched into national syndication from New York’s heritage WOR in the early 1990s and built a strong roster of affiliate stations all across the country. After the demise of the WOR Radio Network, Browne continued to host her syndicated program via various independent distributors, finally working with GCN. Browne was also the author of numerous self-help books and well known for her love of theater and movies. Dr. Joy Browne was ranked at #25 on the TALKERS magazine 2016 Heavy Hundred – The Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America. Memorial services are pending. Friends and admirers of Dr. Joy Browne will likely be encouraged to make donations in her memory to her international charitable foundation, the Joy to the World Foundation. In a statement, released moments ago Michael Harrison says, “I am personally devastated, Joy was one of the greatest talents in the history of radio, a humanitarian and wonderful human being. All of us in radio and her vast listening audience have suffered a terrible loss.”
Conservative Talk Hosts Debate Their Role in the Rise of Donald Trump. Several weeks ago, TALKERS magazine published a story about a coming piece in Business Insider by Oliver Darcy in which WTMJ, Milwaukee conservative talk host Charlie Sykes wondered if decades of mainstream media bashing by he and his colleagues has created a “monster” – an ultra-conservative constituency that won’t believe anything that doesn’t come from Fox News, Breitbart, or Drudge. The full piece was recently published and you can read it here. Quoted in the story are talk hosts Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and John Zeigler, as well as a few political operatives, and, of course, Sykes. TALKERS editors are not prepared to conclude that conservative media alone created Trump’s presidential campaign success. After all, it likely took more than just conservative media junkies to get Trump the nomination. But the piece is an interesting read and certain to be the subject of debate among talk radio people and media theorists.
Nielsen Audio Releases First Round of August 2016 PPM Data. The first of four rounds of August 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The August 2016 survey period covered July 14 through August 10. You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
KFTK-FM, St. Louis Weekend Host to Appear in NRA Documentary. From a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is the news that KFTK-FM weekend personality Stacy Washington will be part of a recently filmed National Rifle Association documentary. Washington is host of the Sunday evening “Stacy on the Right” program and makes appearances on the station’s morning drive program hosted by Jamie Allman. Washington tells the Post-Dispatch that the filming consisted of her answering questions about guns and gun rights. She is an Air Force veteran who also appears on the “NRA News” show that airs on SiriusXM.
TTWN Looks to Bolster Services with Baron Partnership. This cooperative effort between iHeartMedia’s Total Traffic & Weather Network and “weather intelligence” firm Baron is a multi-year, data-collaboration partnership. The technological agreement will combine TTWN’s real-time traffic incident and flow data, with Baron’s expertise in location-specific weather products, including the patented Baron Telematics Weather safety solution. In a press release, the companies say that this partnership will “create the next generation of integrated traffic and weather solutions offering enhanced road and weather safety capabilities to automotive manufacturers, tier-one suppliers, insurance companies, media and public safety markets. The first integration is designed to enhance the connected car driving experience providing better road guidance, smoother commutes and increased safety, and will be immediately available for all TTWN automotive traffic and weather partners.”
Odds & Sods. As reported by Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch, today (8/30) Kayla Blakeslee rejoins Federated Media’s news/talk WOWO, Fort Wayne as news director. She’s been serving with the Ohio Department of Transportation…..A new golf show launches on Emmis’ news/talk KLBJ-AM, Austin with hosts Ed Clements and Scotty Sayers. Titled, “The Fifteenth Club,” the program airs Saturdays from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm and will involve the hosts taking calls and interviewing golf pros and celebrities…..SiriusXM is airing live coverage of the 2016 US Open Tennis Championships from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York. Coverage began yesterday and runs through the Women’s and Men’s Finals on September 10 and 11…..Just because broadcasting legend Charles Osgood is retiring from his Sunday morning television program after 22 years doesn’t mean he’s leaving his radio gig. Westwood One assures stations Charles will still “see you on the radio” with his daily “Osgood File” programs delivered four times a day, five days a week.
The Presidential Race, Weiner-Abedin Separate, Hacking of Election Systems, Shooting Death of Dwayne Wade’s Cousin, Colin Kaepernick National Anthem Protest, ObamaCare Troubles, Gene Wilder Dies, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/29). The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; Clinton aid Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner separate after Weiner’s latest sexting incident; elections systems in Arizona and Illinois are breached by hackers; the aftermath of the Chicago shooting death of NBA star Dwayne Wade’s cousin, Nykea Aldridge; the response to Colin Kaepernick’s statements about not standing for the National Anthem; the troubles facing ObamaCare exchanges; the death of actor Gene Wilder; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to research from TALKERS magazine.
‘99.9 The Fan’ in Raleigh to Broadcast Town Hall on Race Relations in Sports. As part of its ongoing “Fan Town Hall” series, Capitol Broadcasting’s Raleigh-Durham sports talker WCMC “99.9 The Fan” is presenting a live multi-cast of a town hall focusing on the question, “Do today’s African-American athletes bear any responsibility to commenting on today’s social issues?” The event takes place on Tuesday (8/30) at 7:00 pm. It is being moderated by WRAL-TV anchor/reporter Gerald Owens and features the following seven panelists: sport business professor at UNC-Charlotte Dr. Deborah Stroman, former ECU head football coach Steve Logan, former UNC and NBA player George Lynch, former NC State and NFL player Brandan Bishop, “99.9 The Fan” afternoon drive host Adam Gold, and “Buzz Sports Radio” morning drive hosts Erroll Reese and Kevin McClendon. The social media desk and interaction with Twitter will be managed by 99.9 The Fan’s afternoon drive host Joe Ovies. The program will air with live video and audio on WRAL-TV 2, “99.9 The Fan,” WRALsportsfan.com and the WRALsportsfan app. Capitol Broadcasting sports radio operations manager, program director and executive producer for the Fan Town Hall series, Dennis Glasgow, says, “This discussion is long overdue and we have a diverse and opinionated panel to tackle this polarizing topic. I’m also excited that our viewers and listeners can participate with their feedback and commentary in real time via Twitter.”
Colin Cowherd’s Digital Platform Launches. The launch of FOX Sports Radio and FS1 personality Colin Cowherd’s new digital platform is a cooperative effort between Cowherd, Premiere Networks, and Chris Balfe’s Red Seat Ventures. It’s called TheHerdNow.com and serves as “the digital home for content created and curated by Colin Cowherd including bold opinion pieces, viral news stories, exclusive podcasts, and original video series. The new site also serves as a portal for fans to find stories covering the best moments and interviews from Cowherd’s radio show, as well as the daily podcast and streaming audio of ‘The Herd.’” Cowherd says, “I’ve chosen to work with the best people in the industry and the support I’ve received has been like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I feel incredibly lucky to launch this venture for fans to connect with my best content whenever and wherever they happen to be.”
Hogenson Tapped by RNC for Help with Radio During Campaign. Consultant and radio expert Scott Hogenson is working for the Republican National Committee to consult on and assist with radio for the campaign election cycle. Hogenson started working with the RNC today (8/29). He also served as radio director for the GOP convention in Cleveland this summer. He is president of the Washington, DC public affairs firm Hogenson Communications, LLC. He served in the George W. Bush Administration as deputy assistant secretary for public affairs for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. During his career he has worked on three presidential campaigns as a senior member of the press office at the Republican National Committee.
New Sales Managers Named at Entercom Boston. Moving over from her sales manager position at Entercom’s news/talk WRKO to the same post at rock WAAF is Alison Harris. Assuming the open sales manager post at WRKO is Denise DiLuca, who returns to Entercom from her most recent gig with iHeartMedia as VP of sales in Providence. DiLuca worked in the business development department at Entercom Boston before joining iHeartMedia in 2012. Entercom New England VP/market manager Phil Zachary says both Harris and DiLuca embody the cluster’s inexorable work ethic. “Alison and Denise are natural sales leaders. Both are highly regarded in the marketplace for their uncompromising integrity, outstanding training skills, intensity of focus and ability to recruit the very best local sellers. I have no doubt our Boston cluster will continue to outperform the market with these proven professionals in key roles.”
Scott Robbins Easing Back into Radio on WMBD, Peoria a Year After Heart Attack. Before suffering a major heart attack a year ago, Scott Robbins and on-air partner Jamie Markley were co-hosting a three-hour talk show simulcast on Alpha Media’s WMBD, Peoria and KXL, Portland. But that major health issue put Robbins in the hospital for four months. The Peoria Journal Star, in a piece by Steve Tarter, reports that Robbins is back on the radio with a weekly show airing on WMBD Saturdays from 6:00 am to 8:00 am with co-host Joe Greenwood. After Robbins’ heart attack, David van Camp began filling in alongside Markley and was later named permanent co-host of the show.
Cumulus Ups Hach to VP, Digital for San Francisco. After serving as digital and integrated sales manager for Cumulus Media’s San Francisco and Minneapolis clusters, Justin Hach is promoted to vice president, digital for the company’s San Francisco station group that includes sports talk KNBR, triple A KFOG, classic rock KSAN, news/talk KGO, news/talk KSFO and Asian KSJO. Hach’s charge will be to lead a team that is responsible for all digital and social strategies, development, content and revenue. Vice president and market manager Justin Wittmayer says, “I’m really proud of the team that Justin has built and the way that they’re connecting our brands and fans. His content strategy is driving database growth, engagement, revenue and, most important, a better user/client experience.”
Nigel Burton Partners with Dan Sheldon on KPOJ, Portland for Mornings. Sports talk KPOJ-AM “Rip City Radio 620” adds Pacific Northwest sports analyst Nigel Burton to its morning show with current host Dan Sheldon. The new show is called “Rip City Mornings with Dan and Nigel,” airing weekdays from 6:00 am to -9:00 am. Burton is an analyst for Pac-12 Networks and a college football analyst for CSNNW. Newly appointed “Rip City Radio” program director Rich Moore says, “Adding Nigel Burton with his background and associations is very exciting and we are looking forward to partnering him up with Dan Sheldon in the morning.”
Jess Hanson to Head Up Horizon Broadcasting’s Central Oregon Station Group. Most recently with Townsquare Media’s Abilene, Texas operations, Jess Hanson heads north to join Horizon Broadcasting Group’s Central Oregon media properties as market manager/general sales manager. He’ll oversee the company’s five radio stations – classic hits KQAK-FM, hot AC KWPK “The PEAK 104.1,” AC KLTW “95.7 MY FM,” news/talk simulcast KBNW-AM/FM, and classic country KRCO – as well as the company’s digital assets and event productions. Horizon president and CEO Keith Shipman states, “I am pleased to hand over the day-to-day operations of our Central Oregon assets to an experienced and successful leader. Jess has demonstrated his passion for the radio industry over the past three decades and has built successful sales and programming teams throughout his career. He has a proven track record in broadcast, digital and event sales – all of which are key to our clients’ marketing plans.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes Announces 2016 Right Wisconsin Award Winners. WTMJ, Milwaukee talk show host Charlie Sykes operates the digital news platform RightWisconsin.com and each year, he presents awards to conservatives in the state. This year – at a banquet to be held this Friday (9/2) – Sykes announces that former Governor Tommy Thompson and Mary Kohler will be presented lifetime achievement awards. Kohler will be presented the Margaret Thatcher Award and Thompson will receive the Ronald Reagan Award. The Thatcher and Reagan Awards are the top honors being given at this fourth annual event. The evening will be hosted by Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Sykes.
The Presidential Race, Dwayne Wade’s Cousin Killed in Chicago Violence, Italy Earthquake Aftermath, Kaepernick Sits Out National Anthem, Weiner Sexting Again, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the Chicago shooting death of Nykea Aldridge, cousin of NBA star Dwayne Wade; the aftermath of the deadly earthquake in central Italy; controversy over NFL star Colin Kaepernick’s sitting out the National Anthem in protest; former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner caught in another sexting case; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
Odds & Sods. There’s a new PM drive show on Entercom’s sports talk WROC, Rochester “ESPN Rochester.” Replacing “The Radio Press Box with Scott Pitoniak and Dan Borrello” is “The Sports Bar with Mike Danger and Gene Battaglia.” Danger is also programming WROC in addition to his programming role at sister CHR WPXY…..SiriusXM is enhancing its college sports play-by-play offerings with a new five-year broadcasting agreement with Learfield and IMG. The deal now includes both streaming and satellite radio broadcast rights and greatly expands the number of college games that will be available to subscribers on the SiriusXM app…..Alpha Media is announcing that adult contemporary KUIC, Vacaville, California has become an affiliate of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. KUIC will air full broadcast of all Warriors games including playoff games for the 2016-2017 season…..WUUB, Jupiter, Florida “ESPN West Palm” is dedicating its Friday night programming to the biggest high school football matchups in the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast. “Football Night in South Florida” on the Good Karma-operated station is sponsored by Papa John’s Pizza. Also the station adds ESPN’s Paul Finebaum show to its daily lineup, airing from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..The final chapter of the Todd Schnitt vs Bubba the Love Sponge defamation suit has been written, but it doesn’t involved either broadcaster – it’s about three of Bubba’s former attorneys. Regular TALKERS readers will remember that attorneys Stephen Diaco, Robert Adams and Adam Filthaut – with the assistance of legal assistant Melissa Personius and then-cop Ray Fernandez – orchestrated the DUI of Schnitt attorney Philip Campbell in hopes of helping their case. (How would that help? We’re not really sure.) Regardless, Diaco tried to man up and voluntarily gave up his law license in hopes the Florida Supreme Court would go easy on his colleagues. No such luck. The Court has permanently stripped Adams and Filthaut of the right to practice law. For more on the case, see Fox13 News’ summary here.
Howie Carr Sits in on WOR, New York. Syndicated, Boston-based talk host Howie Carr made his New York City debut on Friday (8/26) filling in on the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot on iHeartMedia’s 710 WOR for the vacationing “Mr. New York” Mark Simone. Carr’s program is syndicated on numerous signals throughout New England. Pictured above are Carr (left) and Simone (right) who met for the first time at TALKERS magazine’s annual conference in New York several years ago.
WISN, Milwaukee’s Mark Belling Reverses Course on Trump. Usually, who a talk show host says he or she is going to vote for in a presidential election is not news, but WISN, Milwaukee personality Mark Belling is one of six Wisconsin talk show hosts who gained national attention for vigorously opposing Donald Trump during the contentious Wisconsin GOP primary race. Recently, Belling wrote a piece for the Waukesha Freeman in which he explained that his decision to now support Trump is because he believes Hillary Clinton is a worse candidate. At WISN’s crosstown rival WTMJ, host Charlie Sykes – one of the six aforementioned personalities – tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he’s still against both Trump and Clinton. “So I’ll probably be spending a lot of time this fall talking about the Packers.”
WJOX-FM, Birmingham Drops Evening ‘Matt and Scot’ Show. The Cumulus Media sports talker cuts ties with evening duo Matt McClearin and Scot Harrison. The two worked for Cumulus at KTCK, Dallas before moving to Birmingham to host at WJOX-FM. According to AL.com, the station is airing repeats of the syndicated Paul Finebuam show during the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot for now. McClearin tweeted the following to listeners, “JOX is a phenomenal station with a lot of talent, very thankful we were able to be a part of it for 3½ years, love my time here in BHam.”
Police Violence Against Blacks Top News/Talk Story of the Week. Deadly police violence against blacks was the most-talked-about story in the wake of the deaths of men in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis, landing at #1 on the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Dallas cop slayings. Coming in at #3 was the presidential race followed by the Hillary Clinton email case 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 magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Bill Kristol Show to Launch on PodcastOne. Leading conservative media voice Bill Kristol — editor of The Weekly Standard and an ABC News contributor – is launching a new podcast titled, “The Kristol Clear Podcast,” on PodcastOne. Kristol will be joined by Media DC creative director Michael Graham in the weekly conversation about politics. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Bill is a tremendous voice in the world of politics, which makes bringing an additional program to his fans each week all the more important this election season. Michael and Bill have built great content across The Weekly Standard brand and we’re excited to launch this next MediaDC show with Bill’s well-known personality.” Earlier this year, MediaDC and PodcastOne announced a partnership, kicking off with the launch of podcasts “Weekly Standard Confab” and “Washington Examiner’s Examining Politics.”
Odds & Sods. Portland and nationally syndicated talk show host Lars Larson is hosting a fundraiser today (7/15) to benefit the Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. The event at Paradise Harley-Davidson in Tigard, Oregon is in partnership with Leader Capital and prominent Portland businessman Harry Merlo. Leader Capital is pledging to match total donations up to $15,000, while Harry and Flo Merlo have pledged to match total donations up to $5,000 for a combined pledge to match total donations up to $20,000. Larson will broadcast both his regionally syndicated Pacific Northwest show – based at KXL, Portland – and his nationally syndicated program from 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm PT…..Alpha Media Amarillo’s three stations – including news/talk KGNC-AM – set a record with 332 units of blood collected during the June 24 “Boots vs Badges Blood Drive.” This is an annual blood drive and this year local law enforcement and first responders cooked for the community and set up emergency vehicles for display and tours during the drive…..The NFL’s Baltimore Ravens and Hearst-owned stations news/talk WBAL and rock WIYY are extending their deal to have the two stations serve as the flagship for the team’s radio broadcasts for another six years. This season, every Ravens game will continue to be called by the radio team of play-by-play voice Gerry Sandusky and analysts Stan White and Qadry Ismail. The team will also handle pre-season television broadcasts…..FOX News Radio will be in Cleveland broadcasting live from the Republican National Convention. Jared Halpern and analyst Tony Sayegh will anchor primetime coverage throughout the week. Live hourly updates, interviews and special feature reports will air on Fox News Headlines 24/7 on SiriusXM…..Midway Broadcasting Corporation’s WVON, Chicago is presenting its “Sixth Annual Taste of WVON” neighborhood festival tomorrow (7/16) from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm at Lorraine Dixon Park. The event will feature more than 100 food and craft vendors, live entertainment, a children’s pavilion and much more!…..The folks who run the charity Kars4Kids are launching a cool promotion based on the notoriety of their ubiquitous radio and TV jingle. They write, “After receiving death threats to our jingle writer and being bombarded with cries for help from the torture our listeners are enduring, we decided to create a platform that would give our listeners an outlet to vent out all that anger and frustration…We just launched the official Kars4Kids Jingle Fever Game at karsforkidsjingle.com. Listeners can now actually get a chance to kill the jingle once and for all and truly bring back peace of mind to mankind. Our jingle plays in all major markets across the US with a reach of an estimated 80 million listeners/viewers.” Check out the creative video that promotes the game – and the charity – here
TALKERS 2016 Conference Wraps; Coverage of Annual Talk Media Event Forthcoming. The 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention took place at Hofstra University on Long Island on Friday (5/20), drawing a sell-out crowd of several hundred talk media professionals. TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations was presented by TALKERS magazine in association with Hofstra University’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication and WRHU Radio. The full day of panel discussions and speaker presentations was video streamed live by Livestream. Detailed coverage of the event, including archived video from the Livestream content, will be presented here on Talkers.com in the coming weeks. Reflecting on the event, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This was one of the smoothest and productive content-laden installments of this historic convention in its storied 19 years of service to the radio industry. We are grateful to all the speakers, panelists, displayers and sponsors for making it so. We are especially grateful to Dean Evan Cornog of Hofstra’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication and WRHU (Radio Hofstra University) station manager Bruce Avery and operations director John Mullen for their phenomenal support as partners in the successful event.” Pictured here are: (top, left) TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity engaging in a “fireside chat”; (top, right) Westwood One star Mark Levin accepting the annual Freedom of Speech award; (above, left) Hubbard Radio CEO Ginny Morris accepting the 2016 TALKERS Woman of the Year Award; and (bottom, right) WFAN, New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa addressing the attendees.
Donald Trump Seeks to Build Support from WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes. Milwaukee talk show host Charlie Sykes and several other Wisconsin talk radio personalities were publicly chastised by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump during that state’s primary election for their opposition to his candidacy. Now, Trump is seeking to bring the influential WTMJ host around. The image you see here is a copy of The New York Times with a hand-written note from Trump to Sykes. It references an article in the paper about groups that’ve previously been against Trump reversing their course. The note to Sykes reads: “Charlie, I hope you change your mind. Looking forward to coming back on your show. I WILL WIN!” WTMJ posted the photo and an accompanying story in its website. Sykes comments, “He’s reaching out. I’m surprised that he would reach out to somebody who has been as critical. Obviously, he understands the need to unify the Republican party and reach out to some conservatives. I figured maybe there would be some conservatives who would be beyond the pale, including #NeverTrump guys like me, but apparently he’s doing that. I will give him credit for reaching out to people that I did not think he was going to reach out to.” Read the WTMJ piece here.
The Presidential Race, EgyptAir Crash Investigation, TSA Efficiency Issues, Facebook Anti-Conservative Bias Allegations, Islamic State Calls for Civilian Attacks, and NBA and NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president; the investigation into the downing of EgyptAir flight 804; efficiency issues plaguing the TSA in screening airline passengers and statements from the agency that lines will get worse this summer; the controversy over allegations that Facebook manipulates its trending stories to downplay conservative issues; a high-ranking Islamic State official’s call for renewed attacks on European and American civilians; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
Odds & Sods. KBET, Las Vegas-based talk show host Wayne Allyn Root will appear on this Friday’s edition of HBO’s “Real Time” with Bill Maher. Also on the show will be Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders. Root tells TALKERS his role will be to defend Donald Trump…..Two Fox News Radio programs are being made available on the CRN Digital Talk Radio platform. “Kilmeade & Friends” with Brian Kilmeade and the Alan Colmes show are both the CRN 2 “Bulls and Bears” channel…..The GCN-distributed “Freedom Feens” show with host Michael W. Dean adds new affiliate KZLS, Enid, Oklahoma.
Herskovitz: Hall Talk 2016. Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz writes today in the aftermath of last Friday’s TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations conference. He says the sales pros attending the conference with whom he spoke all agreed that political advertising and digital sales were the hot topics this year. He says, “The unusual circumstances surrounding the current national candidates are posing unique sales problems. Yes, just about all with whom I spoke, acknowledged that they benefited from the ad wars affecting the primary season. But now local and regional battles are upon us. And numerous aspiring candidates are not allying themselves with the traditional wings of their political parties. Some candidates with no clearly defined affiliations are emerging.” Read Herskovitz’s column here.
WFAN, New York Personality Richard Neer Publishes Second Mystery Novel. Did you know that The Martian began as a self-published book? As did Still Alice and Legally Blonde. Do you think you’ve written a great book but the publishing industry won’t give it the attention it deserves? Richard Neer of WFAN, New York has just released the second of his Riley King series of mysteries through Amazon and CreateSpace — cutting out the middleman. Both are selling briskly without a traditional publisher. “Publishers are skeptical that radio, other than a few syndicated giants, can sell books. I’m happy to be proving them wrong,” Neer says. His traditionally published book, FM, the Rise and Fall of Rock Radio was released in 2001 by Villard, and Neer believes that it wouldn’t stand a chance with a major publisher today. “I’ve had radio friends with great stories to tell inform me that their manuscripts have been rejected because there aren’t enough sordid tales of sex and drugs. They’re not interested in great writing — just sensationalism and what seems trendy today.” The Master Builders is the title of Neer’s latest effort. As a result of promoting it on his WFAN sports talk radio show, his first novel, Something of the Night, is also selling well. Both are murder mysteries featuring private investigator Riley King and his radio sidekick Rick Stone as they battle crime and corruption up and down the Eastern Seaboard. “Just like with the music and film industry, there’s a revolution in publishing where traditional gatekeepers are less important. People can be introduced to fine work that otherwise might be ignored. It’s a lot more democratic. Sometimes those books can be as important or entertaining as the big blockbusters,” Neer says. “As much as I lament the demise of many great bookstores, most readers are buying online these days.” Richard is available for interviews about the business of publishing your own work and can be contacted at Rneer@wfan.com. All his books can be purchased at Amazon.com here.
National Radio Hall of Fame 2016 Nominees Announced. Today, industry voting begins for the 2016 National Radio Hall of Fame inductees. The 24 nominations in six categories were determined by the organization’s nominating committee. Four of those categories will be voted on by a voting participant panel comprised of 400 industry professionals, while the other two will be voted on by the public. Public voting commences June 20 for eight nominations for Music Format On-Air Personality and Spoken Word On-Air Personality. National Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “The sheer depth of talent in our industry never ceases to amaze me. After much discussion and deliberation, our nominating committee is very proud of this year’s class of nominees. We’re all looking forward to seeing the voter outcome from our industry peers and listeners nationwide.” Inductees will be announced July 11. The induction ceremony will be held Thursday, November 17 at the Museum of Broadcast and Communications in downtown Chicago. Nominees are: Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more): Jeff & Jer (Jeff Detrow & Jerry Cesak), San Diego; Charles Laquidara, Boston; Bobby O’Jay, Memphis; and Garland Robinette, New Orleans. Active Local/Regional (10 years or more): Tom Barnard, Minneapolis; BJ & Migs (BJ Shea & Steve Migs), Seattle; Eric & Kathy (Eric Ferguson & Kathy Hart), Chicago; and Preston and Steve (Preston Elliot & Steve Morrison), Philadelphia. Networks/Syndication (10 years or more): American Top 40 & On-Air With Ryan Seacrest, Ryan Seacrest; The Fabulous Sports Babe, Nanci Donnellan; The Steve Harvey Morning Show, Steve Harvey; and Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, Peter Sagal. Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more): Delilah, Delilah; Gospel Traxx with Walt “Baby” Love, Walt “Baby” Love; The Jim Rome Show, Jim Rome; and The Kim Komando Show, Kim Komando. The following are to be voted on by listeners. Music Format On-Air Personality: Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton; Tom Kent; The Kevin & Bean Show (Kevin Ryder & Gene Baxter); and Bob Kingsley. Spoken Word On-Air Personality: Diane Rehm; Mike Francesa and Chris Russo; Michael Savage; and Sean Hannity.
Gracies Awards Ceremony Take Place Tomorrow in Beverly Hills. The 41st annual Gracie Awards are taking place tomorrow (5/24) in Beverly Hills and actress Marika Domińczyk will serve as host. Also, Grammy Award-nominee Andra Day will perform her hit, “Rise Up.” The Gracie Awards honor outstanding individual achievement and programming by, for and about women. Alliance for Women in Media Foundation chair and SVP, Global Content Operations at Discovery Communications, Kristen Welch, says, “The talent that Marika holds, along with her contagious energy and sense of humor, makes her an ideal host for the Gracie Awards Gala. In the spirit of The Gracies, our host, presenters and performances will be unapologetically diverse, loud, personal, funny, emotional and bold.” The Gracie Awards Gala will be live streamed in partnership with Cumulus on websites nationwide.
The Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 21-25. The activities of the candidates for president and the primary races were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Brussels terror attacks. Coming in at #3 was the battle against Islamic State followed by President Obama’s trips to Cuba and Argentina 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 magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
WPGG, Atlantic City’s Harry Hurley Gets National Attention for Governor Christie Interview. The fiscal crisis being faced by Atlantic City, New Jersey – the city will run out of money on April 8 – is a regional issue but Governor Chris Christie has national visibility, so the media pays attention when he speaks. Christie did a 40-minute interview with WPGG morning host Harry Hurley on March 24 that was reported on by the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, The Washington Times, the Philadelphia Enquirer, and a New Zealand-based organization called Foreign Affairs, in addition to the New Jersey media. Christie has proposed a state takeover of the city that has support in the New Jersey legislature but New Jersey Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto opposes the plan. Hurley tells TALKERS magazine Christie appeared on his show without interruption from 7:35 to 8:15 and was followed by a 40-minute interview with Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, who responded to the governor. Hurley says he’s amazed at how the interview went viral. Harry Hurley was recently named the 2016 recipient of the prestigious Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host (“Humanitarian of the Year”). It will be presented to him during the Awards Ceremony at the forthcoming TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations conference set for Friday, May 20 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. Hurley is one of more than 60 speakers set for what promises to be a memorable and productive day. The conference will be an early sellout. For information, please click here.
KXL, Portland Hosting Democratic Presidential Primary Debate. This primary election debate will be between representatives from the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders camps who will discuss the issues along with local student campaign supporters. A media panel comprised of KXL talk host Lars Larson, KXL morning news anchor Rebecca Marshall, and KOIN-TV news reporter Jeff Gianola will moderate. It will take place at Alpha Media’s Skype Live Studio on March 29 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm with a social hour from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Alpha EVP of programming Scott Mahalick says, “‘FM News 101 KXL’ owns the leadership position with the presidential debate coverage so this Skype Live Studio debate is a natural extension of our election coverage strategy.” The debate is open to the public.
WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes Hosts Ted Cruz at Annual ‘Insight’ Event. This year’s version of the annual “Charlie Sykes Insight” live event featured GOP candidate Senator Ted Cruz as he launched his campaign to win the Wisconsin GOP Primary. He took part in a one-on-one interview with WTMJ, Milwaukee talk show host Charlie Sykes on Wednesday (3/23). Cruz and Sykes spoke for an hour. As the station has done in past years, audio from the event was broadcast on Sykes’ midday show. Pictured here are (from l-r): Cruz, Sykes and Heidi Cruz.
Nielsen Investigates Millennials. The Holy Grail of advertising in 2016 is to reach the Millennial generation – defined roughly as those ages 18-35 (as of 2015). But as the Nielsen Insights report highlights, not all Millennials (nor Boomers nor Gen-Xers for that matter) are at the same points in their lives – and that matters when trying to understand their media behavior. In looking at technology penetration and media usage, Nielsen breaks the Millennial generation into three types: Dependent Adults (living in someone else’s home), On Their Own (living in their own home without children) and Starting a Family (living in their own home with children). Obviously the three types have different lifestyles and, consequently, different media habits. Much of the report explains differences in digital device penetration and usage, but about radio it has this to say: “The report found that radio reaches 90% of Millennials who are Dependent Adults and 89% of Millennials who are On Their Own. But that number rises to 92% among Millennials who are Starting a Family. This group contains a higher percentage of Hispanics, who tend to be heavy users of radio.” See the whole report and more here.
Narcissism and Talk Radio. Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Renee Kohanski writes in a piece for TALKERS magazine about the topic of narcissism. The presidential campaign has brought this subject front-and-center as commentators analyze political candidates and media figures. But it’s important to understand what the terms mean as they apply to personality types. Read this enlightening article to learn about the difference between narcissism and self-esteem and the gray areas in between. Click her for here.
Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2016. The Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame was created in 2008 to “to celebrate the storied history of the industry in Rhode Island, and to honor the men and women who have played a part in its growth.” This year’s class of inductees includes regular TALKERS magazine/RadioInfo contributor Holland Cooke who began his radio career at WPRO-AM, Providence as a disc jockey and served as program director for WSNE, Providence. Other inductees include: Bob DeCarlo, Bill George, Mike Gorman, Bruce Palmer, and Debbie Rich. Additionally, the Shepard Award – created to recognize the founders of radio in the Ocean State (John and Robert Shepard, owners of the Shepard Department Stores) and to honor present-day contributors to the industry through leadership, dedication, achievement, innovation and spirit – goes to Karen Kutniewski. The Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Denise Laprise to celebrate her more than 25 years as support staffer for Providence media. This year’s induction ceremony will also include recognition for the Legacy Station of the Year. Created to recognize outstanding Rhode Island radio stations of the past, their formats, and their personnel on and off the air, this year they remember “JB 105.” Proceeds from the May 12 ceremony will benefit Special Olympics of Rhode Island.
Odds & Sods. The GCN-syndicated “Doctor Daliah” show – hosted by Dr. Daliah Wachs – is added to the program lineup at Florida Talk Radio-owned WSRQ, Sarasota, Florida…..Author, voice-over artist, audio producer, and cancer survivor Robin Marshall is collaborating with Flatlands Avenue Productions for marketing and promotion of her exclusive, “Sugar Mom Podcast.” Debra Grobman and Rita Rich, principals at Flatlands, describe in the podcast, how Marshall encourages women to step out of their comfort zone and be all they can be!
Presidential Race, U.S. Immigration Policy, Apple vs FBI, Scalia Replacement Debate, and Oscars Ceremony Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/29). The activities of the candidates for president prior to the Super Tuesday primary; the debate over the future of United States immigration policy; Apple’s court fight to avoid providing the FBI with a back door into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists; the fight in Washington over the timeline for replacing late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; and the post-ceremony analysis of the Academy Awards show were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WTMJ, Milwaukee and RightWisconsin.com Present ‘Charlie Sykes Insight 2016.’ Milwaukee news/talk WTMJ and Charlie Sykes’ RightWisconsin.com are announcing the guests for the 2016 edition of “Charlie Sykes Insight” – a live taping of WTMJ’s “Midday with Charlie Sykes” radio show featuring politicians, commentators and pundits. Tickets for the luncheon-style event are available to listeners. Guests are expected to include: U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), WI State Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield), WI Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley, Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., political strategist Mary Jo Baas, Milwaukee County supervisor Deanna Alexander, Edge Messaging president Brian Fraley, former State Representative Michelle Litjens, political science professor Dr. John McAdams, Media Trackers communications director Brian Sikma, WTMJ-AM host Jeff Wagner, and RightWisconsin.com managing editor Collin Roth. Sykes says, “The year 2016 has seen the political world turned on its head, and the playbook rewritten. Once again, we will take an in-depth look at the tight U.S. Senate race, the battle for a seat on the WI Supreme Court, and the examination of the ‘snowflake rebellion’ sweeping the nation’s college and university campuses. We’ll also feature expert analysis of the campaign and two all-star pundit panels. And, of course, we will give the audience a chance to participate in a live ‘Charlie, What I Don’t Get’ session.”
Odds & Sods. Comic Jim Breuer’s podcasts are now being repped by AdLarge Media. Two shows – “The Metal In Me” and “Mets And More” – are already available and new podcasts are in development. They also will be represented exclusively by AdLarge Media. “The Metal in Me” explores Breuer’s love of heavy metal music with a comic bent, featuring impressions, bits, guest interviews, and an ensemble cast of musical friends. “Mets and More” is about Breuer’s “take on life, love, work, and baseball.”…..A new voice is joining the radio broadcast booth for Milwaukee Brewers games beginning this season. Lane Grindle – who has been with the University of Nebraska Husker Sports Network for the past 10 years – will travel with broadcaster Jeff Levering for games that baseball radio legend Bob Uecker does not work. E.W. Scripps news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee is the flagship station for Brewers baseball…..SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio channel will begin its “2016 MLB Spring Training Tour.” The programming will emanate from spring training sites in Florida and Arizona through March with a two-hour show focusing on each MLB team. Programs will include conversations with managers, players and executives.
Baltimore Newsman Bob Schilling Dead at 75. Baltimore news figure Bob Schilling died on February 28 at the age of 75 after a battle with lung cancer. Schilling was a news reporter and news director at WCBM-AM, Baltimore for 19 years. He also was a managing editor for WBFF-TV, Baltimore.
Former WOAI-AM, San Antonio News Anchor Bob Guthrie Dies. In addition to serving as the longtime morning drive news anchor at WOAI-AM, San Antonio, Bob Guthrie also worked at WOAI-TV. Guthrie served with the stations for more than 50 years, joining WOAI-AM in 1956. He retired in 2009.
Cool Job Opportunity. The Kim Komando show is seeking an experienced director of affiliate relations. In this position, you will work closely with current radio affiliate stations and prospective radio affiliate stations. You are a very important link between our programs and the stations. You will work to understand station’s needs and objectives and liaise closely with them from contract to broadcast and finally, always ensuring their satisfaction with our programming. You also manage administrative and marketing work as it relates to current and prospective radio affiliates across the United States. You also work with other teams including editorial, digital marketing and production. To see more about this position and to apply, click here.
Ramsey Entertains and Informs in The Valley. Nationally syndicated talk radio star and best-selling author Dave Ramsey (pictured here on stage at beautiful Symphony Hall in Phoenix) visited The Valley with the promotional help of affiliate station KTAR “News 92.3.” He presented to a sold-out audience his “Smart Money” program – which explains how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence – on Wednesday, March 25. Financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan joined Ramsey on stage. While in Phoenix, Ramsey also hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” which addresses how to run a business using the same common-sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 400 employees. Pictured at right is Ramsey (center) with vice president of content and operations for Bonneville Phoenix Ryan Hatch (right), and Bonneville Phoenix VP and market manager Scott Sutherland (left). Hatch comments, “Dave’s consistent success in providing important and helpful content that delivers large audiences on KTAR ‘News 92.3 FM’ is well known. What really puts Dave over the top is the personal touch and powerful connection he makes with our market when he comes to Phoenix. It’s become a must-see event for our listeners and clients, which is why you see sold-out crowds on March 24 and 25.”
Talk Host Kevin Wall Returns to Air in Nevada. Las Vegas talk radio personality Kevin Wall returns to the air in the market on Silver State Broadcasting’s KBET “790 Talk Now” and in the Reno market on Evans Broadcasting’s KKFT-FM “99.1FM Talk” beginning March 30. The show is produced by Battle Born Radio Corp. and is titled, “Live and Local Now!” It will air weekdays from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Wall comments, “I am so excited to be reunited with my thousands of listeners across southern Nevada. The opportunity to talk with thousands of new listeners in northern Nevada is something I’m really looking forward to. What a brilliant idea, linking northern and southern Nevada. These two independent broadcasters, without the shackles of corporate radio, are preparing to unleash a whole new brand of conservative talk on listeners across the Silver State. I can’t wait to get started on March 30th!”
WEEI to Host Baseball Show at Gay Boston Sports Bar. Boston sports talk outlet WEEI says it will make history this weekend when it broadcasts its Hot Stove Baseball Panel live from Cathedral Station Sports Bar and Pub – a prominent gay bar in the city – on Sunday (3/29) from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. The Entercom sports talker says the program will feature panelists Rob Bradford and John Tomase of WEEI.com, former Red Sox player and WEEI-FM midday personality Lou Merloni and Sam Kennedy, EVP/Chief Operating Officer of the Boston Red Sox. The moderator will be Boston Herald sports columnist and WEEI-FM fill-in host Steve Buckley. Entercom Boston VP and market manager Phil Zachary says, “When you look at just how far we’ve come as a society at large, it makes sense to openly embrace sports fans from every segment of our richly diverse community. Sunday’s event is WEEI’s official and public declaration of welcoming Boston’s LGBT sports fans to our extended radio family.” The event is co-hosted by Boston Spirit Magazine, the premier LGBT publication in the Massachusetts and New England area.
Annual Charlie Sykes ‘Insight’ Show to Feature Scott Walker One-On-One. The WTMJ, Milwaukee personality is announcing that the 2015 edition of his annual live event titled, “Insight,” will feature an exclusive one-on-one interview with Governor Scott Walker. The live program takes place on Wednesday, April 1 from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm at the Harris Theater in suburban Brookfield and audio will be played on WTMJ at 8:30 the next morning. The station says, “620 WTMJ’s Charlie Sykes Insight is a radio show taped in front of a studio audience. Charlie Sykes will interview the All Star panel and the audio will be played back on 620 WTMJ…The show features the biggest and brightest conservative leaders to review policy and politics in a unique setting.” In addition to Governor Scott Walker, guests appearing on the panel include: Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson (via video), Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, Jr.
Odds & Sods. Sports author, columnist and media personality John Feinstein begins hosting a weekly golf show on SiriusXM’s PGA Tour Channel. The show will be a one-hour production titled, “A Good Walk Spoiled with John Feinstein,” and will air Monday’s from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm. Feinstein recently exited the CBS Sports Radio Network. He comments, “I’m happy to be back at SiriusXM and I’m grateful to Scott Greenstein and Steve Cohen for the chance to talk golf, as well as hoops.”…..New York media personality (and WOR talk host) Mark Simone made a recent appearance on Australian television speaking about his relationship with and knowledge of Frank Sinatra and his music as the late singer’s 100th birthday would have been this year. Simone is pictured here at left appearing on Melbourne, Australia’s “9News.”…..ESPN Radio is announcing it is preparing to begin its 18th Major League Baseball season of broadcasting more than 66 games that will include multiple appearances from several top teams, including the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants, defending American League Champion Kansas City Royals, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. The sports giant notes that its radio network will also be the home to the Gillette Home Run Derby and the 86th MLB All Star Game from Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati on Monday, July 13, and Tuesday, July 14. Every MLB postseason game will be broadcasted for the 18th consecutive year….. CBS RADIO Pittsburgh stations KDKA-AM and KDKA-FM have been honored by the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters with 2015 Excellence In Broadcasting Awards. “Newsradio 1020” KDKA-AM received honors for Outstanding Radio Commercial for “Alcosan Open House,” and for Outstanding Public Service Announcement/Campaign for “A Salute to Veterans.” Sports talker “Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan” KDKA-FM received the award for Outstanding Coverage Of A Local Sporting Event for its coverage of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 2014 postseason.
NJBA Hall of Fame Class Includes WPGG, Atlantic City’s Harry Hurley. The New Jersey Broadcasters Association is announcing the inductees for its 2015 Hall of Fame Class. This year’s group includes: Harry Hurley, Dan Finn, and Kevin Williams. NJBA president and CEO Paul Rotella comments, “In addition, Richard Swetits was named our Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient, and he will enter the NJBA Hall of Fame as part of this extraordinary honor for a lifetime dedicated to our industry and the NJBA. The 2015 NJBA Hall of Fame Class of Inductees is comprised of true pioneers, innovators, and visionaries, with their accomplishments spanning the state and the region.”
Iran Nukes Issue, Obama-Netanyahu Relationship, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ObamaCare, Germanwings Flight 9525 Mystery, Bo Bergdahl Case, Yemen Tensions, Russian Military Aggression, and March Madness Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/25). The negotiations over a West-approved nuclear program for Iran; the strained relationship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; the potential candidates for president in 2016; scrutiny of the effectiveness of the Affordable Care Act; the investigation into the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps; the decision to charge Bo Bergdahl with desertion; tensions in the Middle East as Saudi Arabia begins military operations in Yemen; the ongoing buildup of military activity by Russia; and the NCAA men’s hoops tourney were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
News/Talk Off to Strong 2015 Start in Brew Town. While taking heed of the standard disclaimers about putting too much stock into Nielsen Audio’s 6+ Mon.-Sun. numbers when judging news/talk stations, it’s still pretty impressive that Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ and iHeartMedia’s WISN combined for a 16.8 share (AQH share, persons 6+, Mon.-Sun. 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight, February 2015 PPM survey). These two news/talk outlets together present some of the nation’s most successful local programming and syndicated talk shows along with a healthy serving of successful sports play-by-play. Certainly, some markets are just good news/talk markets due to demographics, history, political intrigue, heritage signals and successful sports franchises. And, yes, Milwaukee fits that mold. But care has to be taken to give credit to the programmers and air talent (both talk hosts and news personnel) who make these stations sound like Milwaukee. By the estimation of TALKERS editors, the triumvirate of Charlie Sykes, Jeff Wagner (both at WTMJ) and Mark Belling (at WISN) is worthy of being singled out for praise. (Also noteworthy and heard on WISN is WIBA, Madison-based host Vicki McKenna.) These personalities have contributed heavily to their stations’ success. For the last six PPM surveys – October 2014 through February 2015 – WTMJ has scored between 8.8 and 10.9 (persons 6+), while WISN has notched from 4.3 and 6.5. There’s no guaranty of continued success in the radio business but with the local talent on board these signals and Wisconsin appearing to remain in the nation’s political spotlight as long as Scott Walker is in the governor’s office, the smart money will remain on both of these stations. For related data on the entire news/talk format, see the latest news/talk format PPM analysis from TALKERS magazine managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian here.
It’s Back to Music Radio for Mancow. As has been reported for several weeks now but just officially confirmed by Cumulus Media over the weekend, Erich Mancow Muller will assume morning drive duties on the company’s WLUP-FM, Chicago “Classic Rock 97.9 The Loop” effective March 30. After winning the “listener-generated morning show talent search,” Mancow will return to the Chicago airwaves to produce the entertainment-based “Mancow Morning Show on 97.9 The Loop.” Show cast members will include: Al Roker, Jr., Luv Cheeze and Cathy Vlahogiannis, providing the female prospective with Carrie Ann DeYoung, as well as new talent Abe Kanan, famous for his show on SiriusXM. Cumulus says that “after a month of on-air auditions by multiple candidates vying to host mornings on ‘The Loop,’ Mancow garnered an impressive listener response to The Loop’s Morning Show Web Survey during his five-day run. Mancow brought back the funny and served up the fast-paced entertaining show that put him on the map with Chicago radio listeners from 1994 to 2006. Fans of the original “Mancow Madhouse” came out of the woodwork to show their support, and thousands of positive comments flooded the station website. Comparing the voting traffic to the other candidates, it was no contest: Mancow won the ‘election’ in a landslide.” After leaving Emmis and former alternative WKQX in 2006, Mancow reinvented himself as a conservative talk show host and was syndicated by TRN-FM for a number of years. Speaking about his new gig, Mancow comments, “This is my final act because I don’t believe I’ll ever top this! Chicago is a tough city for commuters and our ONLY goal with this show is to provide an escape and make our listeners laugh. There will be radio theatre. We will be three-dimensional and break out of the speaker. This show will pop like no other. We believe it will cut through the clutter and seize an audience that hasn’t been served in years. Cumulus and John Dickey brought me back into radio. He is a leader I can follow into this great radio battle to victory. This guy is committed to talent and committed to winning. It doesn’t matter how much you love radio (and I do); if you don’t have the right people around you, you are doomed. Finally, I have my dream team cast of characters and a company that actually wants to win. Lately in radio it seems like people are listless and don’t know what to do. That is not the case with ‘The Loop.’ We have a direction and we know where we’re going. This is the most exciting time ever.”
Eric Von Joins Lineup at Urban Talker WNOV, Milwaukee. Spoken-word and urban music outlet WNOV, Milwaukee is owned by Courier Communications Corp. – publisher of the market’s African American newspaper the Milwaukee Courier. The station announces it is adding local radio personality Eric Von to its programming lineup, hosting the 7:00 am to 9:00 am daily show beginning April 6. Von had been an air personality at WMCS, Milwaukee – a former urban-formatted station – before that station’s format flip in February of 2013. WNOV general manager Sandra Robinson comments, “We’re excited to have Eric Von join the lineup. He brings to progressive radio his own unique style that engages audiences in calm and rational tones. Eric’s ability to raise awareness among listeners and keep them tuned in to those issues that are important in their lives is critical in a city where so many feel left out and ignored.”
Radio Show Leadership Breakfast. Radio consultant Holland Cooke was on the scene for TALKERS Thursday morning at the NAB/RAB Radio Show Leadership Breakfast to report all of the great one-liners delivered by some of the industry’s most outspoken leaders. Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting chief Larry Wilson’s brutally frank assessment of the concept of voice tracking and the state of radio commercials were some of the highlights. Wilson was joined by Cumulus Media’s Lew Dickey, NRG Media’s Mary Quass, and Connoisseur Media’s Jeff Warshaw as the group heads were interviewed during the program. Read Holland Cooke’s coverage of the Leadership Breakfast here.
NAB/RAB Radio Show Day 1. Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports from Orlando and sales was on HC’s mind as he sat in on sessions throughout the day yesterday. Sales expert Paul Weyland’s session on producing better commercials was chock-full of useful tidbits that sales people and production personnel can take to the bank. Plus, get Holland’s summary of some of the key speeches – RAB CEO Erica Farber’s presentation at the Advertiser Luncheon, NAB CEO Gordon Smith’s speech and acting FCC chairman Mignon Clyburn’s address. Read more here.
Consultant Valerie Geller Wows at “Art of Storytelling” Session. Geller Media International consultant Valerie Geller presented a session targeted largely, but not exclusively, to talk radio talent and programmers titled, “The Art of Storytelling.” In addition to Geller, talk show host Turi Ryder (recently of WGN, Chicago and heard nationally on Envision Radio Network’s “America Weekend”) and nationally syndicated personality Phil Hendrie (who appeared via phone from L.A. due to illness) took part. The session focused on developing the skills of effective storytelling – a skill crucial to pulling in and keeping listeners. Geller stated, “The key to growing an audience one by one by one is to engage them. And the crack cocaine of engagement is, ‘Let me tell you a story, once upon a time…’ and the moment you think in your heart of hearts, ‘and then what happened?’ we have now hooked the fish and that is the essence of human communication. It is the essence of the pleasure in connection with other people, the essence of humor…the story is the goal of the power of radio.”
‘105.3 The Fan’ in Dallas Moves ‘G-BAG Nation’ to Middays. KRLD-FM, Dallas’ Gavin Spittle says, “We are excited to move Gavin and Chris and the ‘G-BAG Nation’ to middays, as well as to welcome the newest Nation member, (former Rangers pitcher) Mike Bacsik. The Nation has great entertainment value; it makes you feel like you’re part of a big, fun, crazy family.” Spittle is vice president of news/talk/sports for CBS Radio Dallas-Fort Worth and he’s talking about Gavin Dawson’s (left) and Chris Arnold’s (right) program and the new lineup. The other change is “K&C Masterpiece” taking over the 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm timeslot at the station, moving in from the weekend schedule. Spittle says, “’K&C Masterpiece’ is a natural fit for the evening timeslot as Kevin Hageland and Cory Mageors have done a great job for us. They’re both native North Texans who have followed our local teams their entire lives.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee Host Charlie Sykes and Journal’s RightWisconsin.com Name Margaret Thatcher Award Winner. Former Wisconsin Lt. Governor Margaret Farrow is honored with the first annual Margaret Thatcher Award celebrating Farrow’s “contributions, courage and leadership as one of Wisconsin’s ‘Iron Ladies.’” RightWisconsin.com is a business unit of the Journal Broadcast Group and WTMJ, Milwaukee midday personality Charlie Sykes serves as editor-in-chief. Farrow will receive the award at a black-tie dinner on October 18 at which Wisconsin Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Sykes will host the awards event.
Odds & Sods. Greater Media’s sports talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “The Fanatic” announces “The Peter Laviolette Show,” featuring Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette will debut on October 1 from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and air weekly throughout the season with co-hosts former Flyer and radio play-by-play color analyst Chris Therien plus Jason Myrtetus…..Hubbard Radio’s sports talk WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” signs a contract extension to air St. Louis University men’s basketball games through the 2014-15 season with an option for a third season. Bob Ramsey and Earl Austin, Jr. will continue to call the games…..Digital content aggregator TuneIn announces a partnership with Radio Disney that will bring the kids- and tweens-friendly radio format to the TuneIn platform. TuneIn CEO John Donham says, “TuneIn strives to make the best content available to people regardless of where they are. With Radio Disney on TuneIn, millions of people can enjoy some of the best family friendly programming available, for free.”
NAB Announces ‘Unprecedented’ Support for ‘OK2Talk’ PSA Campaign. The National Association of Broadcasters announces local radio and TV stations across America have donated airtime valued at over $12 million for its ‘OK2Talk’ mental health public service announcement campaign that includes over 106,600 airings on local TV and radio stations. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “NAB salutes the efforts of broadcasters across America to make a real difference on the issue of mental health. As stewards of the airwaves, local radio and television broadcasters and our network partners have a unique megaphone and a remarkable capacity to change attitudes in a positive way. Mental health issues are often the common thread in tragedies like the Navy Yard shooting this week. We thank our broadcast brothers and sisters for their support for the NAB campaign, and urge them to continue carrying these pro-social messages that encourage a meaningful dialogue on mental health.” The PSA campaign, launched on July 23, directs people to OK2TALK.org, a Tumblr-based community where teens and young adults struggling with mental health problems can share personal stories of recovery, tragedy, struggle or hope. By inviting young people, their families and friends to add their voice in a safe, moderated space, the campaign encourages an organic conversation about mental health challenges and recovery stories. The site also includes resources for those seeking help.
KNX, Los Angeles to Report Live from Sunday’s Primetime Emmy Awards. CBS Radio all-news KNX, Los Angeles boasts its coming coverage of the Primetime Emmy Awards show from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday. KNX says it will be the only radio station reporting live from the Emmys beginning at 3:00 pm PT featuring news anchors Jim Thornton and Brian Ping along with KNX’s entertainment reporter Ross Crystal.
Talk Host Tom Donahue Takes on New Roles. Talk radio pro Tom Donahue is named program and promotions manager at Talk Stream Live. Donahue has served TSL as a media consultant previously. At the same time, Donahue is debuting a new program called “TSL Talks” – a joint venture “teaming the digital and social media platform of Talk Stream Live” with Donahue’s experience. The interview-formatted program will “seek to engage our political and media guest newsmakers and elicit their candid comments for dissemination in micro clips and long form interviews through TSL’s cutting edge social and new media venues.” Also, Donahue is returning to Orion Talk Radio to host a weekly talk show beginning Sunday, September 22 at 7:00 pm ET.
FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell to Step Down. Republican FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell announces that he will exit his seat within the next few weeks – 14 months before his term was set to expire. The National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith says of McDowell, “Robert McDowell has been a remarkably gifted public servant during his seven-year tenure at the FCC. His good humor and grace have been matched only by his ardent support for fair media ownership rules and full-throated support for a vibrant First Amendment. Commissioner McDowell will succeed in whatever path he chooses, and NAB wishes him well.”
New York Public Radio Shows Repped by Launchpad Digital Media; Available on PodcastOne.com. The Norm Pattiz-founded Launchpad Digital Media and digital content site PodcastOne.com work out a deal with New York Public Radio-produced content including “Freakonomics,” “RadioLab,” “Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin” and “On the Media.” The podcasts of these shows will be represented for advertising sales by Launchpad and available on PodcastOne.com. Launchpad says, “PodcastOne.com is already home to over 200 popular podcasts including CBS News, Adam Carolla, Dennis Miller, Ron Paul, Penn Jillette, Laura Ingraham, Maria Menounos, Tom Green, Dr. Drew and many more.” Westwood One founder and Launchpad/PodcastOne.com chairman Norm Pattiz says, “New York Public Radio produces some of the most compelling, popular programming and we are proud to welcome these powerhouse audience magnets to the Launchpad/PodcastOne.com family.” Director of digital underwriting for NYPR Sarah van Mosel states, “We’re so excited that Launchpad Digital Media has recognized the value of reaching the on-demand audience. By harnessing this amazing content, Launchpad is paving the way for brands to finally connect intimately with listeners on a grand scale.” According to Launchpad president Kit Gray, “These four podcasts alone are already downloaded more than 10 million times every month. We are delighted to give our clients access to this loyal, educated and affluent audience that will continue to grow.”
NBC Sports Radio and Dial Global Name Brian Kenny Late Morning Host. Filling the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET slot on the national sports talk radio network will be former ESPN personality and well-known sports media figure Brian Kenny. The NBC Sports and Dial Global 24/7 sports talk network project debuts on April 1. Kenny hosts “Clubhouse Confidential” on MLB Network and covers boxing for Showtime. NBC and Dial Global say Kenny is a “respected interviewer who will go one-on-one with some of the biggest names in sports. Additionally known for his adept skill as a ‘numbers cruncher,’ he will also go beyond the scores and delve into the data, breaking down the analytics of the games.” Kenny hosted his own show on ESPN Radio and also anchored “SportsCenter” and “Baseball Tonight,” and called play-by-play for ESPN’s “Wednesday Night Baseball” and the “World Baseball Classic.” Kenny was named “Media Personality of the Year” by SI.com in 2004. He states, “I’m thrilled to be joining the team at NBC Sports Radio and Dial Global and I am excited to be back on the airwaves. We look forward to building a show that fosters intelligent sports conversation with in-depth analysis. It’s going to be a blast.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee Personality Charlie Sykes Hosts Annual “Insight 2013” Event. The annual “Insight” live program is a big promotional event for Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee and late-morning personality Charlie Sykes. “Insight 2013” takes place at a local hotel from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm on Wednesday, March 27, is broadcast live on WTMJ and features Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, United States Senator Ron Johnson, United States Congressman Paul Ryan and other office holders and media personalities. Sykes’ own RightWisconsin.com – a digital destination for conservative content – is sponsoring the event. In addition to being broadcast live, the program will be recorded and re-broadcast on Sykes’ 8:30 am to 12:00 noon show.
Eric Deters Leaves Morning Show Role on ClassX in Cincinnati. The practicing attorney and well-known Cincinnati talk radio personality is leaving his role as morning host at Spryex Communications’ classic rock duo WMWX, Miamitown, Ohio and WKCX, Crittenden, Kentucky. Eric Deters’ law practice is growing too much for him to dedicate the time necessary to hosting a three-hour morning program, ClassX manager Bill Spry tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter. “Eric is taking a sabbatical possibly through the end of the year due to his law business exploding. He may be doing a weekly show, or possibly a daily morning segment. We’re not sure.” Deters, who’s hosted shows for Clear Channel on WLW and Christian Broadcasting Systems’ former talk WQRT, began hosting the morning show in September of 2012. Spryex brings Snake & Carson aboard to host the 6:00 am to 9:00 am program.
TuneIn and Dial Global Agree to Sports Programming Deal. Digital content aggregator TuneIn and Dial Global strike a deal for the former to feature select Dial Global-produced sports content. The arrangement begins with full, live coverage of the 2013 NCAA College Basketball Tournament. TuneIn VP of programming Kevin Straley says, “TuneIn is excited to align with a company known for delivering superior programming. We’re thrilled by the opportunity to deliver exciting play-by-play basketball to all our listeners around the world.” TuneIn will also feature Dial Global’s play-by-play coverage of the Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, Men’s Frozen Four, the Men’s and Women’s College World Series and the Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship semifinals and championship.
Arbitron and Edison Research to Offer ‘Infinite Dial’ Webinar. Scheduled for Tuesday, April 2, “The Infinite Dial 2013: Navigating Digital Platforms” from Arbitron and Edison Research will address the latest trends in consumer use of media, technology, and digital platforms. Some of the issues to be reviewed include: the growing penetration of smartphones and tablets and the ways people use these devices; radio’s continuing role in the lives of the digital consumer: at-work, in the car and as the “last word” before shopping; the continued growth of online radio usage and time spent listening; an update on social media use by brand and age demographics; and the devices people use to wake up in the morning.
Sequester Effects, Obama in Israel, Dr. Ben Carson-mania, North Korea Bluster, ‘Honors Night’ Cancellation, and the Soaring Dow Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/20). The effects of the sequester; President Obama’s trip to Israel; the sudden popularity of Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson among conservatives; North Korea’s bellicose posturing; the cancellation of “honors night” at a Massachusetts High School; and the high-flying Dow were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TALKERS Spotlight: THE WATCHDOGS
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Contrasted to national talk radio hosts who can sometimes get deeply mired in a monotonous right against left (or vice versa) onslaught, many of their local counterparts emerge as bona fide folk heroes for standing up against a coterie of injustices inflicted on their fellow residents.
Actions taken by this band of “watchdogs,” in the overwhelming number of instances, have nothing to do with political leanings or a partisan playbook.
Legendary for rooting out the “bad guys,” afternoon talk hosts “John & Ken” (John Kobylt & Ken Champiou) expose what they consider dirty dealings to their very large audience on Los Angeles’ KFI. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, WRKO, Boston’s Howie Carr is a thorn in the side of the “powers that be” in New England. Everywhere in between, intense professional satisfaction comes when they go toe-to-toe with pit bull-like tenacity against the establishment. In that same sort of imagery, “hold their feet to the fire” has actually become a talk radio slogan as on-air talents attempt to expose and defeat “the bad guys.”
Praise Pours In for Los Angeles Talk Conference – Video Coverage to Come. It was a packed house sold out two weeks in advance as some 275 talk media broadcasters from across the country, with a distinct emphasis on the Western states, rocked the old Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood this past Thursday (10/11). Approximately 50 speakers — including Robin Bertolucci, Phil Boyce, Kevin Casey, Holland Cooke, Jerry Doyle, Skip Essick, Ian Freeman, Bill Handel, Heidi Harris, Michael Harrison, Ron Hartenbaum, Sam Hasson, Michael Horn, Rusty Humphries, Karel, Mike Kinosian, Kraig Kitchin, Lars Larson, Kevin LaRue, Garret Lewis, Tom Leykis, Andy Ludlum, Carole Marks, Don Martin, Mike McVay, Stephanie Miller, Bob Moore, Bill Moran, Patt Morrison, Harvey Nagler, Norm Pattiz, Ken Rutkowski, Walter Sabo, Brent Seltzer, Dave Sniff, Eric Stanger, Doug Stephan, Shadoe Stevens, Alan Stock, Chuck Tyler, Jeff Wasserman, Eric Weiss, and Michael Zwerling – tackled a variety of hot industry topics including the economic, technological and cultural challenges facing talk radio broadcasters in 2012. This full day event was part two of TALKERS magazine’s new 2012 format in which the New Media Seminar was broken into east and west coast segments. The first was a sellout event held in New York on June 7. The event has drawn praise from numerous attendees including the following quotes:
“Everybody’s talking about what a great day it was!”
– Norm Pattiz, CEO Courtside Entertainment
“A very interesting day of conversation and revelation from a whole lot of people.”
– Kraig T. Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind
“I was glad I attended.”
– Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media
“It struck the perfect balance of schmooze and panel-news and talk!”
– Patt Morrison, KPCC, Los Angeles
“Thanks very much for putting on a great event.”
– Jerry Doyle, TRN
“ It was well worth the trip from England.”
– Graham Mack, BBC, Wiltshire
“An awesome day. It was superb. Can’t wait till the next one.”
– Eric Stanger, VP Operations, Sean Hannity Show/Premiere Networks
“It was great and you know I will be there next time around.”
– Alan Stock, KDWN, Las Vegas
“A hell of a show! Outta da park!”
Dr. Gina Loudon, Host, PolitiChicks
“What a great time I had. The event was a total success.”
– Shadoe Stevens, Host, MentalRadio, SiriusXM
“Great Event !”
– Steve Lehman, Business Rock Stars
“It was a memorable occasion!”
– Sam Hasson, CEO, LATalkRadio.com
TALKERS magazine will provide extensive video coverage of the event including including panels, special presentations and additional interviews conducted on site beginning tomorrow. The photo above is of the “Big Picture” panel featuring (from l-r): Don Martin, Ron Hartenbaum, Phil Boyce, Kraig Kitchin, Mike McVay, Harvey Nagler and moderator Michael Harrison. View a gallery of more photos from the TALKERS New Media Los Angeles here.
Syndicated Talker Lars Larson Say Companies Need to Put Money Back into Programming. In an exclusive audio interview conducted by consultant Holland Cooke at the recent New Media Seminar in Los Angeles, talk show host Lars Larson says that the most important thing he and all talk show hosts need is to have additional resources to bolster the sound and quality of their on-air product. The successful host heard in Portland, Oregon on KXL and nationally via Compass Media Networks says, “If you take care of your listeners they will take care of you, ratings-wise.” Larson also discusses the tenets of what he describes as “talk journalism,” positioning what he does as “information and opinion built from today’s news — solid information, no insanity.” Listen to the complete conversation here.
Journal Broadcast Group Announces “RightWisconsin” Digital Initiative. With WTMJ, Milwaukee talk show host Charlie Sykes taking a leadership role in the new venture, Journal Broadcast Group announces it will soon debut a new blog dedicated to conservative political thought called RightWisconsin. According to a story by Duane Dudek in the Journal-owned Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sykes describes the effort as a “digital community, a rallying point, a one-stop source for conservatives on the front lines here.” Sykes says the blog will have a full-time staff and “multiple platforms including mobile tablet and social media applications.” It also promises commentary from around the state, as Sykes says, “key stories that other media won’t cover.” In the story, Sykes is quoted saying, “We can do all of this because we have the resources of a major media company behind us, including the state’s biggest radio station and top-rated television station. In other words, we have built-in platforms for promotion as well as the infrastructure.” Media Matters called the new venture a “small-scale version” of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze digital media effort. Journal VP of radio and television Steve Wexler says of Sykes and WTMJ, “One of the reasons we are successful is because of the many things we are able to do…that have nothing to do with politics. The talk shows in the middle of the day are right of center, because that’s where the demand is…I am agnostic as a broadcaster about politics. I look for where there is a demand, and the demand in talk radio is for a more conservative point of view.” There is no start date announced for RightWisconsin but already, the company reports interest from the community based on early reports of the project.
Townsquare Media Flips WENJ-AM, Atlantic City to Talk. The Atlantic City market gets a news/talk outlet as Townsquare Media’s WENJ-AM, drops its simulcast of FM sister 97.3 ESPN South Jersey. According to the Press of Atlantic City, the station will feature regional media personality Harry Hurley in morning drive followed by a slate of syndicated programs that include: Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and Sean Hannity from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; John Batchelor from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am and “Red Eye Radio” for overnights. The station will also return to its roots by taking back its original call letters WPG. Hurley tells the paper, “The idea is that we are going to have a healthy blend of live and local that people enjoy and some of the biggest names in the country…Glenn Beck is not in this market. Sean Hannity is not in this market. People are going to notice…We just love the idea of going back and reclaiming the heritage of WPG – for a new generation.” The station plans to add more local programming between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm.
KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Fires Up Florida Campaign Effort. Conservative talk show host Michael Berry is responsible for a call-to-action for conservative-minded people who want to spend time in Florida helping those who support Mitt Romney for president get out and vote. Berry states, “I just threw the idea out there, and listeners across the country responded with an overwhelming willingness to do it. I was half kidding, because the logistics of such a trip are a nightmare. But we brought in 50 listeners to volunteer to coordinate this, and what they’ve done is nothing short of amazing.” The leadership created a website within a couple of days — www.WinFlorida2012.org. Since Berry’s flagship station KTRH is in Houston, the group will caravan from there beginning on October 28 and arrive in Pensacola, Florida that night. They will spend the week driving vans to assist locals in voting for Romney during early voting. One KTRH listener, Kyle Coplen, was tapped by Berry to be a vice chairman for the committee, but he was unable to pay his own expenses. With a pregnant wife, and a new business cleaning swimming pools, he wasn’t able to spare the $1,000 from his family’s finances for the trip. Berry offered to pay his expenses for him, but he decided instead to use this as a “teachable moment” and earn the funds through hard work. Coplen says, “I just made a simple flyer, saying ‘Will Work for Romney,’ which I thought was catchy. I put the flyer on the doors of houses that had Romney signs in the yards.” Requests for his work came pouring in, mostly by people impressed by his work ethic and unique need for money. He says he turned down every offer of a donation, explaining that he wanted to earn his way there, “just as we need to earn our way out of our nation’s problems.” Michael Berry states, “The stories of people like Kyle amaze me. There are plenty more. People want to make this country great. They refuse to lose this election. It’s truly inspiring.”
WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall Hosts Debate Viewing Parties. On the heels of a successful debate viewing party at the Philly sports bar Chickie’s & Pete’s, WPHT morning host Chris Stigall is taking it one step further for tomorrow’s presidential debate at Hofstra University. WPHT listeners and political debate fans will converge upon the Xfinity Live entertainment district in the sports complex area of Philadelphia (where the Wells Fargo Center, Citizen’s Bank Park, and Lincoln Financial Field are located) to watch the debate on a 32-foot, high definition screen. Stigall and WPHT hosted the previous party at Chickie’s & Pete’s (Stigall is pictured here speaking to KTW-TV from the event) and said it was fun watching presidential debates as you’d watch Sunday afternoon football – complete with bartenders, free appetizers, prizes, and of course wall to wall TVs with the sound blaring. Stigall says the Xfinity Live center is designed for concertgoers and sports fans to gather pre- and post-event and is hopeful for a big, raucous turnout tomorrow night.
Tom Leykis Shows Off Impressive September Online Numbers. No, Tom Leykis won’t actually be playing the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California as the press release teases – but the number of people who sampled the show during three weeks in September – 115,684 – is enough to practically fill the iconic football stadium. Leykis began employing Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics, which measures unique ip addresses, on September 8. Leykis states, “It’s great to have accreditation for what we are doing. Everyone else who does a show on the net brags about having hundreds of thousands of listeners, but they never put their money where their mouth is.” Leykis, who spoke about his web-based radio program at the TALKERS New Media Seminar in Los Angeles last Thursday (stay tuned for more from that event, including coverage of Leykis’ participation), began his new show on April 2 after a 37-month hiatus from radio. He says, “I figure at the rate we are going, we should have over 175,000 unique people listening to our show every month. Again, these will be accurate and honest numbers, not some random Arbitron sample.”
Beasley Talk Hosts Honored by Street Name; Raise Funds for Military Families. WRXK, Ft. Myers, Florida talk hosts Stan and Haney had the street leading to the Beasley Broadcasting facility in Southwest Florida named after them. More than 200 loyal fans of the program turned out to christen “Stan and Haney Boulevard” and share in live music, food and celebration. The duo turned the event into a worthy cause as proceeds from the sale of “Stan and Haney Blvd.” t-shirts raised $2,100 for the Stan and Haney D.R.A.F.T. Fund. Stan says, “Haney and I started the DRAFT Fund nearly nine years ago along with Captain John Lazzaro (USNR). Thanks to our listeners and the Southwest Florida community we have distributed nearly $40,000 in assistance to local troops and their families.” The duo are pictured here drinking champagne and announcing the unveiling of the new street sign.
Odds & Sods. KDWN, Las Vegas takes home some awards from the Electronic Media Awards held in conjunction with the Nevada Broadcasters Foundation. KDWN morning host Alan Stock is recognized with the “Best Radio Talk Show Host” honor and KDWN program director John Shaffer picks up the “Program Director of the Year” honor as well as the “Best Morning Newscast” award…..SiriusXM broadcast live from New York Comic Con 2012 this weekend. The broadcasts included celebrity interviews, exclusive panels hosted by SiriusXM hosts and fan reactions from the floor – inviting listeners and fans nationwide inside the biggest comics and pop culture convention on the East Coast…..Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” broadcast an interesting program over the weekend on Saturday hosted by John B. Wells that included four of the most influential musicians from the dawn of rock and roll. Paul Rodgers of Bad Company and Free, Leslie West of Mountain, Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull spoke with Wells discussing living through the heyday of rock and what it was like being at the forefront of a musical movement that is still significant today.
Live from South Bend, Indiana. ESPN Radio’s nationally syndicated morning team Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg broadcast their program from the campus of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana on Friday, October 12. Golic played football at Notre Dame serving as captain of the team during his senior year. His sons Jake and Mike, Jr. currently play for the Fighting Irish and his daughter Sydney is a freshman on the swim team. The duo broadcast in advance of Saturday’s contest between Notre Dame and Stanford from which ESPN’s “College GameDay Built by The Home Depot” also emanated. In the photo, Golic and Greenberg are holding a pair of swim trunks – a gift from Golic’s daughter Sydney’s swim coach.
Latest Cable News/Talk Ratings Not Good for CNN. The April Nielsens are not being kind to cable news/talk network CNN. The channel’s total-day viewership average was 357,000 – down 21% compared to the same period in 2011. Ratings in that category haven’t been this low for CNN since August of 2001. “Anderson Cooper 360” led the decline in shows down 26% with 522,000 total viewers in the 10:00 pm ET slot. Other CNN shows with declines in April were: “John King USA” – down 24%; “Erin Burnett Out Front” – down 22%; and “Starting Point” – down 26%. Fox News Channel remains firmly in first place for April with a total-day viewership average of 1.1 million (up slightly) and MSNBC stays in second place with an unchanged 425,000.
Keith Larson Stays with WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte After All. Last week WBT-AM/FM Charlotte late-morning host Keith Larson told his listeners his days with the Greater Media station may be numbered because the station was unwilling to extend his contract but was willing to keep him on the radio as an at-will employee. At the time he said he wasn’t sure he wanted to do that. A week later, he tells the Charlotte Observer he and WBT management have struck a deal to keep him with the station, though he wouldn’t give details about their agreement. He does say, “I’m very happy to be plugging away at WBT. We had a good conversation this week. I’m happy to continue eye-poking at WBT and looking forward to developing Larson Advertising and Media as well.”
WQXI, Atlanta Merges Two Midday Shows into One. Lincoln Financial Media sports talk outlet 790 The Zone – WQXI – combines the “Two Live Stews” show featuring Doug and Ryan Stewart with the Tony Barnhart and Wes Durham show to make “The Red Zone” airing from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. This move comes a week after the station announced it was extending “Mayhem in the AM” to 11:00 am and moving Archer and Bell up an hour to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm time slot. As the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reported last week, Barnhart and Durham have been the highest-rated show on the station lately but they have other professional obligations which make them all but unavailable during May and June. The “Stews’” ratings haven’t been what they once were and they are not as prominently featured by the station as they used to be. The Stewarts’ agent, Norm Schrutt, acknowledges to the AJC that he’s not happy with the new arrangement but says Doug and Ryan are “team players” and are doing what they are asked. The new show is expected to have a rotating cast of characters along with the four principal hosts. WQXI general manager Andrew Saltzman tells the paper, “This is more topic driven and less specifically host driven.”
Wisconsin Group Seeks Conservative Talk Radio’s Help in Preventing Recall of Governor. An ad hoc group of Wisconsin business people has formed an organization called Businesses for Wisconsin Jobs with the goal of getting conservative talk radio shows from Milwaukee and Madison to be aired in the northern and western parts of the state in hopes those shows will reach enough people to prevent the recall of Governor Scott Walker and other politicians. An article by Brien Farley for Heartland.org, points out how Walker and others have credited conservative talk shows such as WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes and WIBA, Madison’s Vicki McKenna helped them get elected via their conservative messages. The group hopes to convince other stations in the state to add such shows to their lineups in order to get a conservative message to key voters. WISN, Milwaukee program director Jerry Bott is quoted in the piece saying, “Hosts on conservative talk radio affect public opinion by making a convincing case that conservative principles are powerful, proper and effective. This has an effect on public opinion in areas where conservative talk radio can be heard which, in turn, provides a fertile environment for conservatives seeking public office to be elected.” So far the group claims to have had success getting Vicki McKenna’s program added to WMEQ, Menomonie in the northwestern part of the state. The recall election of Governor Walker takes place June 5.
Stitcher Launches 2012 Election Center to Serve Demand for Political Audio Content. Digital spoken-word content provider Stitcher Smart Radio is targeting users interested in the 2012 political season with the creation of the 2012 Election Center. Stitcher says the channel allows “users to easily follow, listen and engage with political candidates, commentators, pundits and topics that interest them most. From podcasts and candidate speeches, to exclusive content on hot trending topics, listeners can now stay up-to-date on all things election related from one central audio hub.” Stitcher CEO Noah Shanok says, “There’s an avalanche of coverage during election season and it can be tough to get the best information when you need it. We’re rolling out trending topics on demand, a first in the industry. We see this as part of our mission to further the evolution of radio by making it more relevant and accessible than ever.” The service features audio messages directly from the campaigns, commentary from major broadcasters such as Fox News Channel, NPR and CBS News plus the service is integrated with Facebook. Stitcher is employing a transcription technology so users can literally search the bevy of available audio for specific topics by typing in key words. Content creators get feedback from Stitcher about the about the most-sought-after topics.
Nikki Sixx’s Personality-Intensive Show to Air Mornings on KEGL-FM, Dallas. The Premiere Networks distributed “Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx” show will be heard in AM drive on Clear Chanel Media and Entertainment’s KEGL-FM, Dallas beginning May 7. The talk-intensive rock radio show featuring Motley Crue star Nikki Sixx and Kerri Kasem airs in evenings on 90-plus affiliate stations. Now, Premiere will create a customized morning show for KEGL-FM. In a statement, Premiere says, “Each morning on “Sixx Sense,” Sixx will discuss music and lifestyle topics as he gives listeners an exclusive look at the world and mind of a rock star…Sixx will provide his unique perspective and attitude as the duo welcomes celebrity guests, recording artists and fascinating characters from all walks of life.” Sixx himself is quoted saying, “Bringing ‘Sixx Sense’ to mornings has always been our goal. Who better to start your morning with than a rock star and a hot chick? It’s a dream come true to have a morning show on one of America’s best rock stations.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Sports WBNS-FM, Columbus promotions director Todd Reigle takes his bicycle on a five-day ride from Sylvania, Ohio to Cincinnati – an event called the Honor Ride Ohio – to try to reach his goal of raising $100,000 for six veterans’ organizations. The ride will take place from June 30 to July 4…..ESPN’s Mike Greenberg pays his “gambling debt” to co-host Mike Golic on May 8 as loser of the “Mike & Mike” show’s March Madness “Sheets of Integrity Challenge.” Greenberg will dance to “Livin’ the Vida Loca” live on the ESPN Radio program (simulcast on cable’s ESPN 2) with professional dancer Anna Trebunskaya who’s appeared on the “Dancing with the Stars” franchise…..Former University of Florida quarterback Chris Leak (who led the team to a National Championship) joins SiriusXM’s College Sports Nation sports channel where he’ll host “College Sports Coast-to-Coast” along with Chris Childers several nights a week…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment partners with the Ad Council to promote the anti-childhood obesity campaign We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity and Nutrition). The effort involves airing and making visible online a number of public service announcements…..Attorney Ed Gadrix debuts a new weekly talk show on WNJC, Washington Township, New Jersey called “The Eddie Esq. Show.” Gadrix says the goal of his show is to involve more fathers in custody after divorces. Gadrix states, “Divorce courts and the legal system are destroying the next generation of Americans and I hope our new talk show opens up an entirely new dialogue toward changing that system…unless we take a different approach to handling divorce and custody matters, we’re doomed to continue creating children who grow into dysfunctional adults and families.”
2012 Presidential Race, U.S.-Afghanistan Security Agreement, John Edwards Trial, Chinese Activist Case, Junior Seau Death, French Political Situation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/2). The 2012 presidential race; the newly signed U.S.-Afghanistan security agreement; the testimony from John Edwards’ trial on campaign corruption charges; blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng’s appeal to the U.S. to leave China; former NFL star Junior Seau’s apparent suicide; and Nicolas Sarkozy’s fight for his political life in France were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Fox Sports L.A. Meets New Dodgers Owners. KLAC, Los Angeles – AM 570 Fox Sports L.A. covered yesterday morning’s press conference with the new Los Angeles Dodgers ownership — Guggenheim Baseball Management Team. PM drive hosts Petros Papadakis (r) and Matt “Money” Smith (l) are pictured here interviewing L.A. Lakers great Magic Johnson (c), a member of the new ownership group.
Cumulus Reports Net Revenue Down 5.6% in Fourth Quarter of 2011; Company High on Geraldo and Huckabee. Cumulus Media Group CEO Lew Dickey and chief financial officer J.P. Hannan appeared together on yesterday’s conference call to tell analysts the company’s plans for consolidating the former Cumulus Media Partners (former Susquehanna stations) it brought into the fold in August and the former Citadel stations it closed on in September are coming together allowing them to realize the “synergies” — $10.5 million worth — within the time frame originally predicted. As far as revenue is concerned, the company saw revenue down only 1% if you exclude political advertising from Q4 one year prior. Dickey told analysts there was growth in the automotive, financial services and retail sectors in Q4 and he – like many – expects this to be a big year for political dollars. Dickey addressed the coming launch of the Mike Huckabee program and stopped short of saying Cumulus could capitalize on Rush Limbaugh’s current PR challenge but told analysts his company sees a real upside for the April launch of Huckabee’s program for which it says it has about 110 affiliates lined up already. Dickey also said that Geraldo Rivera – currently heard on WABC, New York and KABC, Los Angeles only – is ripe for national syndication and calls the New York and Los Angeles placement a “precursor” to a national rollout.
Rush Limbaugh Takes Monday Off; Premiere Networks Suspends Airing of Barter Spots for Two Weeks. Things are quieting down with regard to the Rush Limbaugh–Sandra Fluke controversy but El Rushbo took yesterday (3/12) off to play golf with regular fill-in Mark Steyn sitting in the host’s chair. Public relations and crisis management expert Brian Glicklich is working with Limbaugh’s team and it sounds as though the day off was probably his idea. At the same time, Premiere Networks issued a memo to traffic departments at news/talk affiliates and is suspending the requirement that stations run barter spots – the ones that air in addition to the network spots actually contained within Limbaugh’s and other Premiere shows – for this week and next. Premiere gives no reason for this but one could surmise it doesn’t want to have any clients’ spots air within “controversial programming” and a cool down period like this will allow it to get a handle on where these spots are to air and where they should not.
Curtis Media Blows Up “FM Talk 101.1” WZTK-FM; Programming Changes Affect WPTF, Raleigh and WSJS, Winston-Salem. Curtis Media shocks the news/talk world with the sudden announcement that eight-year-old FM talker WZTK-FM, Burlington – serving both the Triad and Triangle markets of North Carolina is signing off its talk format and will re-emerge within a few weeks. But some of the talent heard on WZTK-FM is being spread out among Curtis Media’s other news talkers in the Raleigh-Durham and Winston-Salem/High Point/Greensboro markets. Here’s what’s happening: First, in the Triangle market of Raleigh-Durham, Curtis drops country on WKIX at 850 AM and will operate two outlets – NewsRadio 680 WPTF and TalkRadio 850 WPTF. WPTF VP/GM David Stuckey states, “NewsRadio 680 WPTF is where people will hear about the big events of the day, while TalkRadio 850 WPTF is where they’ll talk about those stories.” Stuckey says that while WPTF has proudly conservative roots dating back to 1924, the two stations will strive for balanced news coverage and an open exchange of all opinions across the ideological spectrum. “Unlike some media outlets, we’re not going to force-feed the same political agenda ad nauseum. We’ve seen ratings slippage on stations and channels with a hard-leaning approach, and more advertisers are telling us they want media platforms that are less toxic and more civil.” As far as talent is concerned, Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire survive the cut at WZTK-FM and will host PM drive on WPTF and WSJS. Dial Global’s Neal Boortz and Clark Howard are also landing on WPTF and WSJS. Shows that “didn’t make the cut” include local host Allan Handelman, TRN’s Michael Savage and Phil Hendrie and Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes.
Larry King to Host Show on Internet TV Network. American television and radio icon Larry King is returning to the interview desk with a start-up online TV network called Ora.TV being financed by Mexican media mogul Carlos Slim. A debut date for the site has not been announced yet but the Ora.TV website says it’s coming this year. The site states, “From its inception, Ora is an internet-based on-demand network producing a wide range of programs that transcend traditional formats. Our programs will resemble broadcast TV in terms of quality, but viewers will watch when and where they like with interactive capability.” Former News Corp. president of digital journalism Jon Housman will lead the network.
Journal Broadcasting’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Holds “Insight 2012” with Major Political Guests. The annual “Insight 2012” program hosted by WTMJ, Milwaukee talk host Charlie Sykes has become a must-listen for Wisconsin political aficionados the morning after it takes place. The actual event is a ticket-holder-only live event the night prior – in this year’s case, last night. Sykes hosted fellow WTMJ host Jeff Wagner and other journalists plus Wisconsin State Senate candidates Jeff Fitzgerald, Tommy Thompson, Mark Neumann and Eric Hovde. Also appearing were U.S. Representatives Paul Ryan, Reid Ribble and Sean Duffy along with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Last evening’s event is being re-broadcast this morning from 8:30 am to 12:00 noon on WTMJ.
Tribune’s WGN, Chicago Signs on with TuneIn. The “Voice of Chicago” can now be heard around the world via the free, internet service TuneIn, which boasts 30 million monthly active listeners. TuneIn vice president of programming Kevin Straley says, “WGN is known all over the country and has a rich history in Chicago. Our goal is to share all of the best programming from around the world with over 30 million monthly listeners, and partnering with WGN brings us one step closer to that goal.”
KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh Announces Pirates Broadcast Talent. CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh announces former Chicago Cubs third baseman Kevin Orie will be paired with radio host Dan Zangrilli to handle the game-day shows before and after each Pirates baseball game throughout the season. The two will host a one-hour preview program and a one-hour post-game show. Pirates broadcasters (Greg Brown, Tim Neverett, Steve Blass, Bob Walk, and John Wehner) will continue to be featured during the pre- and post-game shows, as well as calling all the action during the games.
Report: 3MTR Abandons Talk Format in Melbourne. TALKERS Australia bureau chief Trevor Smith reports on the demise of talkback radio 3MTR in Melbourne. Smith notes the station had been having financial difficulties for months and was unable to compete with Melbourne’s talk 3AW. Read more here.
Afghan Civilian Massacre, 2012 Presidential Race, HBO Palin Movie, Rush Limbaugh Controversy and Iran Nukes Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/12). The case of a U.S. Army sergeant who killed 16 civilians in Afghanistan; the GOP candidates’ battle to win the nomination to face President Obama in November; HBO’s “Game Change” film about Sarah Palin and the 2008 presidential race; the ongoing controversy surrounding Rush Limbaugh; and the Iran nuclear weapons issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Phil Hendrie Walks the Red Carpet. Sure, he’s not wearing a glitzy, designer gown but he is walking on a red carpet! That’s Talk Radio Network personality Phil Hendrie at the Los Angeles Animation Festival on Saturday, March, 10. Hendrie – whose voice appears in numerous animated films and TV programs – was a cast member in Trey Parker’s and Matt Stone’s “Team America” film. Hendrie states, “I was happy to be involved in any way that I could, because that was a great work experience for me…Every time that it’s mentioned that I was in ‘Team America,’ people instantaneously recognize it. They know the voice of I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E., they know the voice of the terrorist, they know the film, so it’s like my instant credibility button.”
Unapologetic Progressive Talk Media Star Ed Schultz Wins Hubert Humphrey Award from Teachers Union; Forging Ahead Undaunted in Election Year. Progressive talk media icon Ed Schultz – seen nightly on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” and heard daily on his nationally syndicated Dial Global radio program – recently accepted the 2012 Hubert Humphrey Humanitarian Award from the United Federation of Teachers at the organization’s Social Studies Conference on February 4. Schultz was recognized for his work backing the stance of teachers unions in 2011. Schultz says, “I’m just excited to receive this award and I’m very appreciative of the recognition. We’ve worked hard in supporting teachers and public education and to have my name on the same plaque with Hubert Humphrey is certainly an honor.” Schultz tells TALKERS magazine he makes no apologies for the fact that he operates a political talk show and he sees his role as disseminating the truth about President Obama’s record. “I think people listening to liberal talk want to see the president defended. There’s been so much negativity…I think we end up becoming a filtering house on what is the truth and what is the record.” From an industrial standpoint, Schultz says he believes his program has all the elements it needs to keep an audience interested and he points to his nine years of success as proof. He takes the opportunity to question the political motives of major broadcasting operators. “There are companies out there that will not program any type of progressive talk. You have a ceiling of maybe 100 stations, you have some independent owners out there…it’s still a right-wing industry. Whether it’s Obama’s re-election campaign, no candidate is going to change the landscape of who owns signals.” Schultz’s anger about the misconceptions he believes the radio industry holds about the potential of progressive talk is hard to miss. He tells TALKERS, “Don’t give me this garbage that we don’t sell because we do, and I’m tired of that conversation. I was supposed to last 90 days; I’m in year number nine.”
KFI, Los Angeles Suspends John and Ken for Whitney Houston Comments. The Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan tips TALKERS that Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles is suspending PM drive duo John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou for comments about Whitney Houston. The station says, “Effective immediately, KFI AM 640 hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou have been suspended for making insensitive and inappropriate comments about the late Whitney Houston. KFI AM 640 management does not condone, support or tolerate statements of this kind.” John Kobylt says in the statement, “We made a mistake and we accept the station’s decision. We used language that was inappropriate and we sincerely apologize to our listeners and to the family of Ms. Houston.” During a discussion of Houston’s passing and reported drug abuse John Kobylt said, “At some point you’re just sick of it all, and so is everybody else in the industry. All her friends and hangers on, everybody who knew had to deal with her. It’s like ‘Ah Jesus…here comes the crack ho again, what’s she gonna do? Ah look at that she’s doin’ handstands next to the pool. Very good crack ho…’ After while everybody’s exhausted. And then you find out she’s dead. It’s like, ‘Really? Took this long?’” The station reports John and Ken will return to the air on February 27.
Clear Channel Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Embroiled in Bizarre Legal Tangle Stemming from Alleged Hit-and-Run. KTRH, Houston talk show host and former Houston city councilman Michael Berry is being accused of hitting another car outside a bar in Houston and taking off. The accuser is the owner of the car that got hit but the complicating circumstances are the pub in question is a well-known gay bar in the city and the establishment’s security cameras appear to confirm the conservative Berry was inside the bar. What’s complicating the issue further is the allegation the city’s hit-and-run division did not investigate the incident fully, perhaps because it involved Berry. KPRC-TV reports the Harris County District Attorney’s office met with Houston Police Department officials for three hours on February 16 asking officers involved why a full investigation wasn’t done. Police are being asked to reinvestigate the matter. Berry said on his radio show that he can’t talk about it but that listeners should “just trust that there are two sides to every story.” At issue according to KPRC-TV is that several witnesses say they told police they saw Berry behind the wheel but authorities maintain they were not told that during the initial investigation after which they decided not to file charges.
The Fox News-Media Matters Battle Heats Up; The Daily Caller Reports MM’s Tax Exempt Status Under Scrutiny. The non-profit Media Matters for America organization makes no bones about its campaign against Fox News and its programming. In May of last year the organization created the DropFox.com website designed to convince advertisers to end marketing campaigns on the cable news/talk channel. Now, The Hollywood Reporter writes that Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel-founded The Daily Caller is supplying Fox News with “ammunition” from its own reporting alleging Media Matters “coordinates its messages with the White House, a no-no for a tax-exempt organization that claims to be nonpartisan.” The Daily Caller also claims Republican lawmakers are looking into the tax status of Media Matters. Tucker Carlson is a regular contributor to Fox News Channel and this relationship led the news and opinion blog Mediaite to ask if Fox and The Daily Caller are working to together to which Fox told Mediaite, “There is absolutely no coordination with The Daily Caller” and Fox doesn’t know what is motivating Carlson’s timing on the reporting. The Daily Caller promises the next in the series about Media Matters alleges the organization has written scripts for NBC News.
Stacy Taylor Weekend Program to Leave KGO, San Francisco. Rich Lieberman 415 Media reports San Diego-based talk host Stacy Taylor is off the weekend schedule at Cumulus Media Group’s KGO, San Francisco. Lieberman says Taylor told him, “I’m disappointed, but that’s the way the business is today.” Taylor’s Saturday and Sunday afternoon program – which will air the final editions this weekend – is reportedly being replaced by a newsier program hosted by the station’s Pat Thurston. Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story stated that Christine Craft was a co-host of the Stacy Taylor program and was also let go from KGO. Craft is a fill-in host at KGO — not affiliated with Taylor — and remains at the station in that capacity. TALKERS regrets the error.
“Coast To Coast AM” Host George Noory Helps Raise Funds for Contributor’s Medical Bills. The host of the Premiere Networks late night program learned that frequent expert guest Mitch Barros – a weather/earth science reporter and creator of the “Earth Changes Media” podcast – was dealing with dreadful medical bills due to his newborn daughter Sophia’s heart complications. George Noory enlisted the help of his loyal listeners and helped raise more than $18,000 to help Barros pay the outstanding bill. Noory states, “I want to thank the “Coast to Coast AM” listeners for their generosity. Thanks to them, Mitch and his family can focus on what matters most – Sophia’s continued health and wellness.”
WOR, New York Celebrates 90 Years on the Air. Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, New York is celebrating its 90th year on the air in the New York City area. The station first signed on February 22, 1922 from Bamberger’s Department Store in Newark, New Jersey. Vice president and general manager Jerry Crowley says, “From the moment we first signed on the air with a broadcast of Al Jolson’s ‘April Showers,’ generations of listeners have counted on WOR for the best in information and entertainment. We are not only proud of our rich history, but also of our present stature as one of the top talk stations in the country and home of New York morning radio’s top-rated show. The years ahead look brighter than ever for WOR.” The station says it will commemorate its 90 years of continuous broadcasting by airing a series of archival audio pieces over the next week and a half, as well as remembrances and reflections from its current air staff. A larger celebration is being planned for later this year.
Ronnie “Night Train” Lane Exits Genesis’ WHBO, Tampa. Afternoon “Prime Time” co-host Ronnie “Night Train” Lane has been let go by Genesis Communications’ sports talk WHBO, Tampa. Lane tells the Tampa Bay Times he was very surprised by the move. “I asked if the decision was performance based. And all I was told was ‘We’re taking the show in another direction.’ That’s all I got. That’s all I was told.” Host Tom Krasniqi continues hosting the PM drive show solo. The two had been together co-hosting the show for the past 18 months. Last summer the station let third personality, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Mark Carrier, go from the program.
Conservative Talk Radio Documentary Getting Attention (and Ratings!) on Public TV in Milwaukee. Former talk radio producer and talk show host Brien Farley’s new documentary film “Liberty or Lies?” examines the popularity of conservative talk radio in the Milwaukee market. The film was initially a graduate level independent study that took off and eventually found a home on Milwaukee Public Television where a two-hour version of the film premiered on January 30 from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm and aired again on February 4. Interestingly, Farley’s work on the film began just before Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Republican state officials faced recall elections in 2011 that put the state in the center of the national discourse about public policy relative to public workers’ labor rights. Farley’s film covers talk radio in the market from the perspectives of its biggest local stars, its biggest media critics and many perspectives in between. He tells TALKERS that local response to the film has been excellent noting that public television audience research firm TRAC Media Services reported the film garnered a 2.7 share for the January 30 airing. Farley is an admitted fan of the format and says he believes the Milwaukee news/talk stations serve the market well. “I think the Milwaukee market is a fantastic example of the vibrancy and power of news/talk radio when done right. The programmers at WISN and WTMJ are very tuned into their audiences and responsive to what the people want…which is the real power of the news/talk format. They’ve also corralled some excellent homegrown talent which means a lot to local listeners.” The question, “Why is conservative talk radio successful?” is an ongoing curiosity among many mainstream journalists. In fact it’s a question TALKERS editors are asked almost daily by journalists working in the consumer media. Farley says he believes his film, in many ways, shows Milwaukee to be a microcosm of news/talk’s success on the national level. “AM radio is perhaps the lowest rung of the broadcast venues and yet the impact of the genre is huge! In Wisconsin, this was manifest in the November 2010 election results in which we saw the most comprehensive turnover in power – from Democrat to Republican – of any state in the country. This would not have happened without Milwaukee’s conservative talk radio. And now with the attempted recall of Republican Governor Scott Walker, conservatives, right-leaning independents and converted Democrats are flocking to talk hosts like Jay Weber and Vicki McKenna of WISN and Charlie Sykes and Jeff Wagner of WTMJ to hear the latest and find out what they can do to join the fight. Like it or not, Wisconsin is becoming a very different place because of conservative talk radio. I believe the same can be said of our nation thanks to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin et al.” Read more about Farley’s film and watch it here.
Phil Valentine’s “An Inconsistent Truth” Premiers in Memphis Tonight. The independently produced film by Nashville-based talk show host Phil Valentine and director Shayne Edwards that challenges contemporary theories of global warming, premiers in Memphis after several weeks in Nashville where Valentine calls it the “top-grossing event in theatres” there. Valentine is getting sponsorship and promotional help from MPS Broadcasting which operates news/talk WMPS, Memphis. MPS Broadcasting president Mark Skoda – who also hosts his own show on the station – says, “Phil’s new film is both entertaining and informative. It not only offers insights into the scientific skepticism of the global warming debate, but entertains as well. I have to say that after watching a copy of the film, this is a completely enjoyable 90 minutes of fun. And Phil brings his wit and sarcasm to the movie as few can. I hope our listeners will come out and join us for some fun in this premier event.”
Jacqueline Cohen Named National Account Manager at Dial Global. Jacqueline Cohen comes to Dial Global after 11 years with Cumulus Media Networks. She’ll be based in Los Angeles. Dial Global EVP of national sales Chris Long states, “It’s exciting whenever you can add someone as talented as Jacqueline to your team. She is a perfect fit for Dial Global and will do a great job representing us to the major agencies and advertisers on the West Coast.”
GOP Primary/2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 13-17. The GOP primary race and the larger 2012 presidential campaign was #1 on the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio. At #2 was the violence in Syria and America’s response. Coming in at #3 was the Iran-Israel tensions and at #4 was President Obama’s 2013 budget. The Talkers TenTM chart is the result of ongoing research by TALKERS and is published at Talkers.com every Friday. See the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Dial Global’s “Overnight America” with John Grayson is added to the lineup at WMPS, Memphis…..WSJM, Benton Harbor, Michigan adds “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge to the weeknight lineup and WKZO, Kalamazoo, Michigan adds FTL’s live Sunday edition…..The independently syndicated Armstrong Williams show recently debuted on WTNT-AM/FM, Washington and WGNU, St. Louis.