Tag: "Chris Balfe"
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — The third and final installment of our recap of last week’s Hivio 2016 conference sums up three of the 17 sessions presented Thursday (6/2) and Friday (6/3) on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, literally steps away from the famous Comedy Store. Most of the agenda featured one-on-one interviews conducted by event co-organizer Mark Ramsey, who declares, “Contests on radio are pathetic.” The “attraction to listen,” he notes, is “a one in a million chance to win something.” That incentive to listen, Ramsey stresses, “makes no sense” and the San Diego-based media advisor-strategist/research analyst seamlessly utilizes that statement to introduce Omaze co-founder/co-chief executive officer Ryan Cummins, who Ramsey comments has a “different – better – way [that] will change the way you view contesting.”
Alpha Media Names Bruce Collins OM for Portland Talk Stations and Radio Northwest Network. Talk programmer Bruce Collins comes to Alpha Media’s Portland station group after his most recent gig with iHeartMedia serving as a programmer and news/talk/sports format captain. At Alpha, Collins is talk operations manager for news/talk KXL-FM “FM News 101,” sports talk KXTG/K275CH “750 The Game,” news/talk KUFO “Freedom 970,” and the Radio Northwest Network. Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick comments, “Bruce is a star programmer and talent mentor with a great sense of news, sports, and entertainment. He is the perfect fit for our talk brands in Portland.” Collins says, “What a wonderful opportunity Alpha Media has given me to lead their talk stations in such a beautiful city as Portland, Oregon. Alpha truly believes in staying connected to the community with their stations and they believe in being informative through live and local programming. I am looking forward to working with the great teams at FM News 101 KXL, Sports 750/102.9 The Game, and Freedom 970 and calling Portland home.”
FCC Commissioner Michael O’Reilly Emphasizes Need for Action Ownership Issues. A recent court decision struck down a 2014 FCC rule affecting joint sales agreements. At the same time, the court chided the commission for its failure to complete not one, but two congressionally mandated Quadrennial Reviews. Republican Commissioner Michael O’Reilly writes in a blog post that the time is now to move on eliminating cross-ownership bans. He writes, “Consumers are demanding 24/7 access to media content on numerous platforms, but artificial silos created by the cross-ownership bans are keeping broadcasters and newspapers from innovating into multi-platform entities that could better serve these needs. Evidence of synergies already exists in the form of grandfathered combinations and giving the opportunity for more, with additional outlets and platforms, could generate a boom in local content or perhaps prevent a further erosion from occurring in some markets.” Prepared for the possibility that the cross-ownership ban won’t be repealed, O’Reilly suggests that, at the very least, provide more waivers and grandfathering. He says the Commission should “reform [the] current waiver processes to make them clear and realistically obtainable, provide more opportunities for waivers, and allow grandfathering of existing combinations. The market size waivers proposed by various parties could mitigate the constrictive impact of these outdated rules on broadcasters in smaller markets.” Read the entire blog here.
Michael Harrison Gets ‘Up Close and Far Out’ with Retired CBS RADIO President Dan Mason. In this week’s new episode of the PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out,” retired CBS RADIO president/CEO Dan Mason joins host Michael Harrison for a wide-ranging dialogue about the state of radio broadcasting in the digital era. The discussion focuses on Mason’s recent change of career direction that includes assuming the chairmanship of the 60-year-old, non-profit charity, the Broadcasters Foundation of America (BFOA) as well as putting on the headphones again and becoming a CBS Sports play-by-play announcer for college athletics. Mason discusses his passion for women’s basketball as well as his roots in radio programming going back to his days as a teenage top 40 fan (a “contest pig”) in Louisville, Kentucky. The two talk about the fine work being done by the BFOA on behalf of broadcasters in acute need and the satisfaction Mason is getting by being able to “give back” to the industry. The discussion covers the viability of the “stick” as a business going forward, HD radio, and the role of the computer screen in digital audio media. Not to be missed! To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” players located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
KIRO-AM, Seattle Expands Local Programming; Gee Scott to Host Nightly Show. Beginning June 13, Gee Scott will host the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm show on Bonneville’s KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle.” The station says, “Scott will also deliver unique perspectives from inside the locker room in a new, comprehensive role for 710sports.com. After developing close, personal relationships with many Seahawks players, coaches and staff, Scott will be able to connect Seattle sports fans with their favorite athletes like no one else can.” Program director Mike Salk says, “This show will be a great complement to the rest of the 710 ESPN Seattle lineup. Gee has a special relationship with both listeners and players. He is so adept at bringing those two worlds together in a compelling way.” Scott’s journey into the Seattle sports scene began in 2003 cleaning the vehicles of Seahawks’ players and coaches. After a decade developing valuable relationships within the local sports community, Scott worked on “The Barbershop” radio show alongside former local football stars Marcus Trufant and Terry Hollimon. Since then, Scott has become a prominent motivational speaker, auctioneer and emcee, in addition to his duties with 710 ESPN Seattle.
E.W. Scripps Acquires Stitcher for $4.5 Million. This is another addition to its on-demand portfolio. Stitcher doesn’t have a huge number of registered users – about 8 million – but it aggregates some 65,000 podcasts and is included in the digital dashboard of more than 50 auto models. Last July, E.W. Scripps acquired Los Angeles-based podcast platform Midroll Media. The company says that Stitcher will operate as part of Midroll Media. Scripps chief digital officer Adam Symson says, “The Stitcher brand is recognized to be an early mover and innovator in on-demand audio, especially with connected cars. Stitcher’s data-driven technology has made it a leader in podcast discovery and audio distribution, which will complement Midroll’s leadership in content creation and advertising sales.” Founded in 2008, Stitcher was purchased by French music streaming service Deezer in 2014. Now, Deezer agrees to sell Stitcher to Scripps. Twelve Stitcher staffers will join Scripps as part of the deal.
The Presidential Race, Stanford Rape Case Sentencing, Muhammad Ali Death, Battle Against Islamic State, IRS Conservative Groups Scrutiny, Immigration Bureaucrat Cited in San Bernardino Report, Weak U.S. Job Growth, and NBA and NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/6). The activities of the candidates for president and media reports that Hillary Clinton has clinched the Democratic nomination ahead of today’s California primary election; the controversial light sentence for a Stanford student convicted of raping a fellow student; the death of Muhammad Ali; the intensifying war in Iraq against Islamic State; the information pulled from the IRS about its targeting conservative groups; the case of an Immigration bureaucrat who prevented Homeland Security Agents from detaining the man who allegedly provided the San Bernardino terrorists with weapons; the recent report of weak job growth during the last month; and the NBA and NHL Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Analysis: Final Hivio Highlights. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a wrap-up of his analysis of the recent Hivio 2016 conference in Los Angeles. It includes a different view of contesting from Omaze co-founder Ryan Cummins; Red Seat Ventures founder (and former Mercury Radio Arts president/CEO) Chris Balfe speaking about AM/FM broadcasters truly seizing the digital opportunities available to them; and MaximumFun.org chief Jesse Thorn presenting his philosophy of operating a podcasting platform. Read the entire story here.
Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal – Of Me I Sing! Published in Paperback Format. The ebook memoir written by nationally syndicated talk show host Stephanie Miller is now being published in paperback format by Gival Press. The publisher says Sexy Liberal! Of Me I Sing, is “both deeply personal and hilariously political. But most of all it is Stephanie’s unique voice, her jokes, her happy clappy optimism, and her truth that they tune into day after day, that they download as a subscription podcast, that they buy tickets for, to see her unbleeped and in person. That’s what Sexy Liberal! delivers. Like an uncensored comedy drone right to your door!” Miller’s Sexy Liberal comedy tour has been wildly successful as have her comedy albums. She has recently had her second and third #1 comedy albums in the country with her Stephanie Miller’s Happy Hour, Volume One and Stephanie Miller’s Happy Hour, Volume Two.
Kraig Kitchin to Serve as Interim CEO at TheBlaze. After six months as CEO of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, Betsy Morgan is leaving the company and radio executive Kraig Kitchin will take over the post on an interim basis. Morgan was promoted from her president and chief strategy officer position in December of last year when longtime Beck associate Chris Balfe left the company. She joined TheBlaze in 2011 after years with the Huffington Post. Re/code’s Peter Kafka is reporting that Morgan told staffers in a memo that over the course of the past six months “we found ourselves on a rough sea, but stayed true to our course.” Kitchin was the longtime president and COO of Premiere Networks, exiting the company in 2007 and starting his own firm, Sound Mind LLC.
McKay: Report from the NJBA Conference & Gala. TALKERS magazine special features correspondent Jeff McKay writes about the recently concluded New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference & Gala in Atlantic City. In addition to the ceremony inducting five New Jersey greats into the NJBA Hall of Fame, the conference included panel discussions and presentations. McKay spoke with WCTC, New Brunswick program director Bert Baron who notes that New Jersey’s unique position being sandwiched between New York and Philadelphia means using localism to stand out. “It’s important now more than ever. What sets WCTC apart is we provide great national coverage but also the local content people really want. We talk the local issues in both mornings with me and with Tommy G in afternoon drive. That setup gives our listeners a local feel with local perspectives.” Read McKay’s entire report here.
Salem’s ‘Road to Majority’ Conference Underway in DC. The Salem Radio Network’s “Road to Majority” conference began on Wednesday with a VIP dinner and runs through tomorrow. This photo captures presidential hopeful and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (at left) chatting with SRN personality Bill Bennett (center) at the dinner that was hosted by Bennett and fellow SRN talk hosts Mike Gallagher and Michael Medved. FOX News Channel commentator Charles Krauthammer was guest speaker. The “Road to Majority” features every announced GOP candidate for president plus other political conservatives.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Talk Media Network nationally syndicated “Frontlines of Freedom” program with host Lt. Col. Denny Gillem adds new affiliates: WGKA-AM, Atlanta; WTIS, Tampa; KJCE, Austin; KGED, Fresno; WEBY, Pensacola; and WLFJ, Greenville, South Carolina to its roster.
2016 Presidential Prospects/Trump Enters Race Top News/Talk Stories for Week of June 15-19. The vast slate of candidates running for president in 2016 and the addition of real estate magnate Donald Trump to the GOP field was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Charleston church slayings tied with the greater topic of gun control. Coming in at #3 was the Rachel Dolezal case followed by the military progress of ISIS in Iraq and the U.S. military’s policy there. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It’s published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Howie Carr to Return to WRKO, Boston. As Entercom puts it – “one of the more public divorces in Boston media history turns out to have been just a trial separation” – as Howie Carr resumes his talk radio career on the company’s WRKO effective March 16 hosting the afternoon drive show from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and replacing interim host Mike Siegel. After exiting WRKO at the end of December, the Howie Carr show was heard on Blackstrap-owned WMEX, Boston. Entercom Boston VP and market manager Phil Zachary comments, “As the weeks passed, it became obvious to me that WRKO and Howie belong together. It’s that quirky relationship that everyone says will never last but ends up enduring longer than most because both partners enhance the other’s strengths and talents.” Carr began his radio talk career on WRKO in 1994 and it is now syndicated via his own Howie Carr Radio Network (HCRN) throughout the Northeast. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Howie Carr is one of the most potent local hosts in talk radio today bringing an extremely loyal and active listenership with him no matter what station he’s on. He is so popular in New England that his appeal has spread from the Hub [Boston] to almost 20 major stations across the six-state region making his network a model example of regional syndication. There is no question, however, that Howie Carr and the legendary WRKO are a natural fit – I am so pleased to see they’ve worked out their differences.” Howie Carr and his dynamic wife Kathy Carr, who serves as VP of sales and marketing for HCRN and is one of the chief architects of his network, will be among the 65 speakers appearing at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12.
The Artist’s Secret: The Force that Guides Successful Radio Personalities. Talk radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Bill McMahon says that in his 25-plus years of coaching talent, he has discovered a force common to successful radio personalities, as well as all outstanding artists. He calls it “The Artist’s Secret” and it consists of three basic elements: 1) instinctive reactions – the inspiration for their ideas which come from inside; 2) audience of one – their focus on pleasing themselves, first and foremost; and 3) “I matter” – the belief that what they think and do actually can make a difference. In an advice piece posted today (3/9) in TALKERS, McMahon cites three (of many) examples he’s collected of well-known creative figures and shows how they embody these principles. They include controversial actor/film maker, Mel Gibson; the genius behind Pixar’s success, John Lasseter; and radio icon, Howard Stern. To read McMahon’s piece, please click here.
Former Glenn Beck Execs to Launch Own Digital Venture. Two of the former executives involved in the building of Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts and its subsidiary TheBlaze, are partnering up to launch a new digital venture but are mum on just what it will be. Regular TALKERS readers remember that Chris Balfe was CEO of Mercury Radio Arts and that he left in December of last year. Betsy Morgan was promoted to CEO. Now, come reports that president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood quietly left the company last month. Beck’s camp issued a statement from Beck praising the two men. “Chris and Joel helped me build one of the industry’s first truly independent multi-media companies. I am sad to see them go but they left our company with an incredible foundation. I am truly grateful that we remain friends and am very excited to see what they do next.” CNN reports that TheBlaze has been working to get carriage on the nation’s largest cable and TV systems but have not been able to secure deals with Comcast (the largest cable operator) or DirecTV (the top satellite provider).
Cooke: Weekend Call Screener Tips. Media consultant Holland Cooke provides this quick primer for call screeners to weekend talk shows. Among some of the advice included are:
“Prepping callers before they go to the host on-air is real important. Not-doing-so is where lots of shows drop the ball on the one yard line.”; “Our goal is to keep…listeners…listening…by coming-to-the-point, at-the-speed-of-life. So help the caller boil-it-down to an opening statement that communicates his/her point succinctly.” And there’s much more advice that is crucial for weekend call screeners helping to improve the show. You can either read more here, or view the video in the Talkers TV screen on the upper right-hand side of this main page at Talkers.com.
Mennuto to CBS RADIO for Marketing Post. Joining CBS RADIO as vice president, branded content solutions, is marketing pro Tony Mennuto. The company says he’s being charged with developing “unique audio and video marketing opportunities for advertisers that can be distributed across a variety of platforms, building awareness and increasing brand recognition. Among his responsibilities will be to create entertaining and experiential storytelling programs that leverage the broadcast reach and expertise of CBS RADIO.” Mennuto will report to Rich Lobel, executive vice president and CMO, Altitude Group, CBS RADIO’s team of local engagement experts tasked with helping Fortune 500 brands connect with consumers using its 117 stations and live events platform, along with assets from CBS Television Stations, and CBS Local Digital Media. Previously, Mennuto was founder and CCO of MisterFace.
‘Piolin’ Joins PodcastOne Roster. The first Hispanic entertainment program available on-demand via PodcastOne is that of Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo. PodcastOne chairman and chief executive officer Norm Pattiz comments, “It is very exciting to be entering the high-demand Hispanic marketplace with one of the most popular personalities in Spanish entertainment. ‘Piolin’ leads the way in his field with a massive, loyal audience. Building off PodcastOne’s proven history of results, this opens an additional demographic reach for new and existing advertisers across our digital platform.” Sotelo (“Piolin”) remarks that he is “thrilled and honored” to be part of the company’s initial Spanish-language podcasting venture. “I am incredibly excited to make ‘El Show de Piolin’ available to listeners on demand through our new podcasts on PodcastOne. It will strengthen my connection with listeners and give them another way to access the show whenever they want to listen. I know how much it will mean to the industry that Norm Pattiz chose our show to be a part of [this] forward-thinking, trailblazing platform.” In 2002, HBC hired “Piolin” to do mornings on KCSA, Los Angeles. The Mexico native was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame 16 months ago and the NAB has named Sotelo “Top Spanish Format Personality” in 2006, 2008, and 2010. He formed Los Angeles-based production/syndication company Alliance Radio Networks, which launched “El Show de Piolin” this past January. The program airs in approximately 40 markets in the United States. Effective immediately, PodcastOne has exclusive rights to advertising sales and distribution of the podcast, with new episodes available weekdays on PodcastOne.com and iTunes.
WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware Personality Gone After Islam Rant. It’s actually been more than three weeks since Jake Smith was Mike Bradley’s on-air partner on the morning drive show on Resort Broadcasting’s news/talk WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Smith did not return to the air after the February 20 program during which he went on an anti-Muslim diatribe that included the statement, “As far as I’m concerned, not every Muslim is guilty, but every Muslim is suspect.” For his part, Smith is unapologetic and tells DelawareOnline that the company treated him well and had the right to dismiss him.
Krebs Upped to LSM of Portland Quartet. Two-year Alpha Media Portland account executive Joel Krebs is boosted to local sales manager of FM talker KXL, sports KXTG AM & FM “The Game,” and talk KUFO “Freedom 970.” Senior vice president and market manager Milt McConnell remarks, “Joel has distinguished himself as both a leader and mentor; he is very deserving of this promotion.” Director of sales Amy Leimbach comments, “Joel Krebs has been a very positive asset to the Alpha sales organization. I am confident that his leadership skills will generate great success with our talk properties in Portland.” Krebs notes, “I am excited to continue the growth of this solid sales department and stations with our rapidly growing company.” Prior to joining Alpha Media Portland, Krebs had a 13-year tenure – five of which as sales manager – with the Portland stations owned by Entercom.
Odds & Sods. Joining the BlogTalkRadio podcast community is the Pac-12 Conference. BlogTalk Radio announces the conference produces two podcasts focusing on the football and basketball seasons. They are hosted by Mike Yam and feature analysts Kevin O’Neill and Rick Neuheisel…..Greater Media Boston announces co-hosts Candy O’Terry and Sue Tabb will receive Gracie Allen Awards from the Alliance For Women in Media in the categories of Portrait/Biography series and Best Soft News feature for “Love Is All Around,” a series about three Boston-based charities: Love Lane Special Needs Horseback Riding Program, Lucy’s Love Bus and Lovin’ Spoonfuls.
Betsy Morgan Succeeds Chris Balfe as CEO at TheBlaze. The departure of Chris Balfe from his CEO post at Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze ends a 12-year relationship between Balfe and Beck. Glenn Beck says in a press release, “Chris Balfe has been my friend and the CEO of Mercury Radio Arts for 12 years. He will be an incredibly hard act to follow. Under Chris’ watchful eye we have done things that no group of people our size has ever done, things that people thought were impossible. And I think that under the leadership of our new CEO, Betsy Morgan, we will continue to prove that there is another way and we’ll confound the skeptics again.” Morgan moves up from her president and chief strategy officer position. Morgan joined TheBlaze from The Huffington Post where she served as CEO. Prior to joining HuffPo, Morgan was senior vice president for CBS Interactive and the general manager of CBSNews.com, where she was in charge of the network’s 24-hour broadband, on-demand news service. The press statement notes that Balfe helped Beck transform a “two-person company into a 300-person, multi-media business with a television network with more than 80 operators and hundreds of thousands of subscribers, a website with over 30 million unique visitors per month, a top-20-ranked audio streaming network, the third-highest rated radio show in the country and a book division that published more than 15 bestsellers.”
WVNN, Huntsville Personality Dale Jackson Stages ‘Die-In’ Protest. Morning drive personality (and WVNN program director) Dale Jackson writes on his blog that he didn’t think the police would allow him to block traffic in Huntsville in a “protest” of the recent student protest on the same city street. In short, Jackson (pictured here lying on the street holding a sign that reads: “Police Lives Matter” and “The Truth Matters”) was surprised when he not only wasn’t told he couldn’t hold his one-man protest, but even more so when a large number of police cars turned up to escort him to the site and block traffic during his brief protest. Read Jackson’s explanation for the stunt and see more pictures of it here.
USRN Begins Distributing ‘Something You Should Know.’ The long-running radio feature “Something You Should Know” is being distributed by United Stations Radio Networks. Radio pro Mike Carruthers hosts the program that is produced by his own Strand Media and “provides both radio stations and listeners with informational content that host Mike Carruthers describes as ‘wisdom and advice for life.’ The feature was started on one radio station in 1980 and after moving into syndication has grown to a substantial national network of features heard on roughly 140 radio stations all across the nation.”
Odds & Sods. Sitting in for WSYR, Syracuse morning host Joe Galuski this week through the 19th is talk radio personality Mark Wainwright…..A changing of the guard is taking place at Bloomberg News with John Micklethwait – formerly editor-in-chief at The Economist – taking over the same role at Bloomberg as Matthew Winkler steps down…..For the second year in a row, The Motley Fool (producer of the “Motley Fool Money” radio show) is named the #1 place to work in the small/medium business category by Glassdoor. In case you were wondering, Google takes the #1 spot for large companies.
Flint Radio Newsman Les Root Dead at 75. Flint, Michigan radio news icon Les Root died on Monday, December 8 in Fenton, Michigan after a brief illness. Root was the news director at WFDF-AM, Flint from 1970 until the station was sold in 2002. He then worked for Cumulus Media’s Flint operations until his position was eliminated in 2009 and he retired. Root worked in radio news for his entire 53-year career. In a story published at MLive.com, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton (who worked for Root as a young man) said, “He was like the local version of Walter Cronkite…We used to call him the dean of Mid-Michigan newsmen — a real pro. He was a throwback news guy who would make all the calls to police and fire departments in the morning, write his own news, edit the wire, and put together a newscast on the hour and the half-hour.” Read the MLive.com obit here.
Police Killings Protests, Gruber Testifies Before Congress, CIA Torture Report, Government Shutdown, and Rolling Stone Rape Story Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/9). The continuing protests taking place around the country in response to non-indictments of police accused of killing unarmed blacks; Jonathan Gruber’s testimony before Congress about the Affordable Care Act; the release of a report investigating the CIA’s methods of interrogation; the work by Congress to avoid a government shutdown; and the backlash over the UVA rape story published by Rolling Stone were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Les Moonves Tells Investors Network Sports Radio Biz is “Found Money.” That CBS is bullish on sports is not news – CBS CEO Les Moonves has said that before. But he reiterated his company’s dedication to the industry and – citing the new CBS Sports Radio Network venture – called it $10 million to $15 million worth of “found money.” Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference in Beverly Hills yesterday, Moonves told the conference the sports radio network business is a $150 million industry, “With our deal with Cumulus, we have reach. We’re in nine of the top 10 markets. We have the capacity to put on a lot of stuff. We think right away we’re going to get about 10% of the market. That’s going to be a significant hit right away and that should grow. It’s a great marketplace; rather easy to do. As far as we’re concerned it’s 10 or 15 million [dollars] of found money that we think will grow.” CBS is entering into a fast-growing marketplace already dominated by ESPN and with entrenched radio players Fox Sports Radio Network, Yahoo! Sports Radio and new entrant NBC Sports Radio – a partnership between NBC and Dial Global. Sure, there’s a ton of money in sports media right now, but how fast this market gets saturated is a question industry watchers are pondering.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Gets Television Profile with DISH Network Deal. Talk show host and digital media pioneer Glenn Beck is soon to be seen on television after his TheBlaze, Inc. agrees to a deal with DISH Network to have his online 24-hour news, information and entertainment network available on the satellite TV provider. Under terms of the deal, TheBlaze will be available to DISH viewers on channel 212 as part of DISH’s America’s Top 250 package or a la carte for $5 a month. The channel launched Wednesday at 5:00 pm ET. It’ll be available as a free preview for all DISH customers through September 26. In a statement, Beck says, “TheBlaze has helped revolutionize television over the internet and now we are excited to bring the revolution back to traditional television. TheBlaze will be home to news, information and entertainment programming with the facts and stories people care about most and we look forward to kicking things off with DISH.” Mercury Radio Arts president Chris Balfe blogged about the success of Beck’s new venture and how this deal came to pass. “Prior to our initial launch I was often asked why we didn’t pursue a traditional cable channel. There were several factors, but the biggest was that we wouldn’t have been able to build the channel we wanted back then without giving up control. To get on the air we would have had to partner with a large media company that could provide us with the staff, infrastructure and distribution necessary to launch a new network. That was something that we simply were not willing to do. The whole point of starting our own network was to be free from outside influences — giving that independence up right away in exchange for distribution was a non-starter. And so we found another way. But now, a year later, everything has changed. Our subscribers’ enthusiasm and support has allowed us to make the necessary investments in programming and infrastructure, and we’re now in a position to launch a cable and satellite channel without losing control.”
Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Promotes Julie Talbott. The president of content and affiliations for Premiere Networks is upped to a new post – president of content and affiliations for CC’s National Media Groups. Talbott retains her oversight of Premiere Networks but adds new duties as she’ll answer to Kevin Dorsey, president of the National Media Groups who, in turn, reports directly to chairman and CEO John Hogan. A statement from Clear Channel notes Talbott’s “new role will include leading and maintaining key affiliate relationships to sell and service Premiere Networks, Total Traffic Network and iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s industry-leading digital radio platform. The new position will provide the company’s affiliates with a simplified and streamlined point of contact for communicating and conducting business across Clear Channel’s diverse group of subsidiaries.” Talbott says, “I enjoy working with our clients and partners, and this alignment of our affiliate efforts will allow us to better serve and communicate with stations throughout the U.S. I’m looking forward to working with the amazing teams across the company as we continue to demonstrate the unique relationship CCM+E has with our audience.”
Cox Media’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa Names Levi May Program Director. The PD post at KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa opened up when long-time programmer Drew Anderssen moved to Cox Media’s Orlando news/talker WDBO-AM/FM. Levi May served as WDBO’s assistant PD prior to his new position in Tulsa.
Talk Radio Weekends: Two Sure Shots. Talk radio consultant Holland Cooke offers advice on weekend programming for talk radio stations that fits in with the P1’s weekend lifestyle and has the opportunity for bringing in revenue. Sure, it’s lifestyle-oriented stuff but while many of those categories are well-serviced by nationally syndicated programs, Cooke says these two suggestions are tailor-made for local professionals. Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.
WVON, Chicago News Pro Sharon McGhee Loses Battle with Cancer. Journalist, writer and radio news director Sharon McGhee died in Columbia, Missouri on September 11 at age 54 after a long battle with ovarian cancer. She joined urban talk WVON, Chicago in 1997 and was promoted to news director the following year. She left the radio business to focus on her love of the arts and entertainment and in 2007, wrote the critically acclaimed “The Pocketbook Monologues” and subsequently directed multiple staged performances across the United States. McGhee returned to WVON in 2008 as news director and resigned from that position in 2010 due to health reasons. WVON president Melody Spann Cooper states, “Sharon McGhee was one of the most creative people I’ve ever known. Her determination, passion and drive brought her to Chicago where she excelled in everything that was on her professional and personal agenda. She was a rare breed determined to do it her way, and she did.”
Former Merlin Media News Pros Land with Virtual News Center. News staffers Veronica Carter and Katherine Kelly were two of the news pros who worked at Merlin Media’s FM news outlet in Chicago and exited the station when it flipped formats. They join the team at Virtual News Center which describes itself as “the largest independent provider of local news for radio heard on over 175 stations in nearly 80 markets.” The company works on a cash direct basis or via barter through Envision Radio Networks. Veronica Carter spent her 25 year radio career in Illinois, Indiana, and California, heavily involved in all facets of news reporting and anchoring. On her Merlin experience she says, “Working for Merlin Media was short lived, but an adventure to say the least! Glad to be with Virtual News Center, it’s actually fun doing newscasts all over the country!” Katherine Kelly worked in Peoria, Illinois and the Quad Cities as well as in Seattle and Chicago. Kelly anchored news as a part of some of the country’s top morning shows. She also helped launch the Oprah Radio Network on Sirius XM. She states, “I am incredibly honored to be joining the team at Virtual News Center. Now I can cover just as many cities without leaving home!”
New Jersey 101.5 Reporter Honored for Series on Teen Drug Abuse. The New Jersey Governor’s Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse honors New Jersey 101.5 reporter Stacy Proesbtle with its Community Service Award. Proesbtle is pictured here (from l-r) with NJ 101.5 brand manager Eric Johnson, NJ 101.5 news director Eric Scott, Proesbtle, and Council executive director John Hulick at the Council’s 21st annual Summit at the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick, New Jersey. Proebstle’s five-part series about the abuse of heroin and other opiates among New Jersey’s youth focused on prescription drug abuse, accidental overdoses, how abuse often begins at home and the fact that prescription drug abuse can happen to anyone. Proebstle talked to recovering addicts, parents, prevention specialists, substance abuse professionals and law enforcement officers to address current trends and issues along with possible solutions. On receiving the honor, Proesbtle says, “I’m absolutely delighted to receive this honor on behalf of the station and most genuinely grateful. It validates the importance of community service and giving back to one’s community.”
Cumulus San Francisco Inks 49ers for 12-Year Extension. Appearing on sports talk KNBR, San Francisco’s Murph & Mac morning show, Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey joined 49ers CEO Jed York to announce the stations and the NFL clubs have agreed to a 12-year contract extension to keep the team’s games on KNBR, news/talk KGO and rock KSAN in the market. During that appearance on the program, Dickey said, “While the trend in radio has been for shorter deals with sports teams, this 12-year partnership demonstrates the commitment of KNBR and Cumulus to the 49ers, and further cements KNBR as the ‘Sports Leader in Northern California’ for almost 25 years.”
WEEI, Boston Helps Celebrate Red Sox Broadcaster Joe Castiglione’s 30th Anniversary. Prior to last night’s Boston Red Sox game, Entercom sports talker WEEI celebrated the 30th anniversary of play-by-play announcer Joe Castiglione with an appearance at the WEEI studios by Castiglione on the afternoon drive “Big Show” with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley. The evening also featured a half-hour pre-game tribute show that included a video at Fenway Park and on-field recognition from the team.
Conservative Chuck Morse and Liberal Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan Split. Veteran Boston-based conservative talk host Chuck Morse and California-based liberal Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan have ended their left-right internet talk radio program, “Fairness Radio with Chuck Morse & Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan,” after it became impossible to work together, according to Morse. The two will host separate programs on the internet and affiliated radio stations.
Long-Running Speaker Series Continues with Author of ‘Fast and Furious’ Book. WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (at left) conducted his 80th “Town Hall” interview and live broadcast in The Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University “President Speaker Series,” with Townhall.com investigative reporter Katie Pavlich (at right) before a live audience on Wednesday, September 12. Pavlich is author of Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up (Regnery 2012). Photo: Arthur J. Byrnes.
U.S. Ambassador Killed in Libya Strike, Cairo Unrest, Obama-Netanyahu Relations, and Chicago Teachers Strike Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/12). The death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens after a violent assault on the U.S. consulate; violent anti-American protests in Cairo; reports of President Obama’s snubbing of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Obama Administration’s Iran policy; and the continuing Chicago teachers strike were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.