Journal Communications Announces Merger of Broadcast Operations with E.W. Scripps. In a surprise move – at least as far as the public is concerned – Journal Communications announced late Wednesday (7/30) that it has struck a deal with Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps to merge the two companies’ broadcast operations into one company and to spin off their respective print businesses and merge them into a separate company that will also be publicly traded. The Journal Broadcast Group will go away and the broadcast operations will continue under the Scripps banner. The newspaper and print businesses will operate under the Journal Media Group banner. This means an exit for Scripps from the print business. In a video message, Journal Communications chairman and CEO Steve Smith states, “These two independent companies will build upon the strong local brands Journal and Scripps have built over the years.” The newspaper company – with 14 dailies and affiliated digital media – will be headquartered in Milwaukee. Scripps owns only TV stations and, after the merger is complete, the new group will be the fifth largest television group in the country – with 34 TV stations in 24 markets – with Journal’s radio assets also in that group. Journal operates 35 radio stations in eight markets. WXYZ-TV, Detroit reports that Scripps CEO Richard Boehne states the companies will gain about $35 million in “combined transaction synergies” but he said it would be months before it would be known if there would be staff reductions or requests for employees to relocate. The deal, pending regulatory approval, is expected to close in 2015. Since Scripps owns no radio assets, there are no duplicative positions there but the question to be asked is how dedicated to the radio business will E.W. Scripps be? Will it ultimately put them up for sale? Only time will tell.
Cumulus Strikes Deal with CNN for Radio News Product. The product will not be branded CNN but will allow stations to make the content that comes from CNN Newsource their own. A statement from Cumulus Media today about the news service to be made available via Westwood One, says, this new service will offer radio stations nationwide access to broadcast, breaking news, wire service and digital content provided by CNN for use on the air and on their websites. Westwood One owns the patented STORQ technology that Cumulus says provides a local feel to syndicated content. “The addition of this new service will for the first time enable local radio stations to broadcast the latest national and international news acquired by CNN but branded with their own call letters and station slogans.” Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey says, “Our affiliates and advertising partners know they can count on us for news and information products that reflect how people today consume content through various platforms, and this exclusive access to CNN’s newsgathering will ensure we can provide stations nationwide an unmatched array of news formats.” Dickey described the service to the New York Post calling it a “differentiated product. For some who want hard news, this isn’t the service, but there are fewer of those types of stations across the country. The emphasis is more on shorter stories, less hard news and ‘give it to me when I want it.’” Cumulus Media’s Westwood One reps other news services – including ABC, NBC, CBS and CNBC Business Radio. CNN shut down the CNN Radio division two years ago.
Fox TV and Entercom Mend Fences – and Restore $$ — After Minihane Comments. Some industry insiders were critical of Fox TV’s dropping advertising on Entercom-owned stations after WEEI-FM, Boston’s Kirk Minihane made controversial comments about Fox TV reporter Erin Andrews – charging Fox with pulling the boycott strategy. However it appears the move by Entercom CEO David Field to apologize and to suspend Minihane for a week placated Fox and, according to a story by Chad Finn in the Boston Globe, the company will resume its advertising of its TV shows and movies on Entercom stations which is reportedly in the neighborhood of $1 million per year. Fox Sports SVP of media relations Lou D’Ermilio stated, “We appreciate Entercom’s recognition and response to the inappropriate comments made by the WEEI host. It is our sincere hope both organizations can now move forward.” Finn reports Entercom Boston VP and market manager Phil Zachary commented, “On our end, we consider the matter 100 percent resolved.” Read the whole story here.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: “The Talk Rumble.” Today (7/31) marks the 13th consecutive business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with a Talkers Conference tradition – “The Talk Rumble.” Moderated by the dynamic multi-media talk star Lionel of LionelMedia.com with a special introduction by syndicated icon, Dr. Joy Browne of Radio America, the freewheeling debate of today’s hottest talk radio issues features: Bubba the Love Sponge, Bubba Radio Network; Alan Colmes, Fox News Radio/FNC; Mike Gallagher, Salem Radio Network; Thom Hartmann, WYD Media; Joyce Kaufman, WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale; Kevin McCullough, XtreMEDIA; and David Webb, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. To view this spoken word extravaganza, please click here. The Talkers New York 2014 conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Questions About Political Correctness. WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer writes in an opinion piece published today at Talkers.com, that although he believes we should all avoid words or phrases that are likely to offend, he fears that “a ‘gotcha’ mentality is running amok, looking to punish anyone who has the temerity to take an unpopular stand.” Neer points to two recent cases – one involving Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, the other Stephen A. Smith’s current suspension from ESPN – in which both men went to great lengths to clarify statements that many people would, upon hearing the clarification, not find offensive. Still, the controversy continued and in Smith’s case, he was suspended. Read Neer’s insightful piece here.
Larry King Says Piers Morgan Failed Because He Was ‘Pompous.’ Appearing on Cumulus Media’s classic rock WGRF, Buffalo on the “Norton in the Morning” show via Envision Networks’ Guest Services booking service, radio and TV legend Larry King – promoting his “Larry King Now” daily interview show that appears on Ora.tv and Hulu.com – told the show’s listeners that Piers Morgan had a tough transition to replace him as host of the CNN interview show. “Any person who has been on for 25 years in one place and you have an audience who is used to you…it’s very hard to step into those shoes no matter who it is.” Speaking about Morgan, King said, “Personally, I like him fine, but it was all about him. It was the opposite of the way I interview. He was the opposite. So now they not only had someone who was British, different, but then he would use the word ‘I’ every other word…He became, I thought a bit, in my opinion, pompous, but that’s the way I looked at it. So I had trouble watching Piers Morgan’s show, and I guess a lot of other people did too.”
Dan Le Batard Denied LeBron James Ad by Cleveland Plain Dealer. It’s hard to say how far along ESPN and WAXY, Miami sports talk host Dan Le Batard was in actually trying to place an ad in the Cleveland Plain Dealer to get a dig in at LeBron James, but the paper forestalled any such plan by saying it would not accept the ad, according to a report in the Washington Post. The paper reports Le Batard was discussing the Miami Heat fans’ reaction to James’ departure for Cleveland and he suggested taking out an ad similar to the mock-up you see here that would razz James for not thanking Miami fans after his four-year stint with the Heat. Le Batard jokingly suggested a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money for the ad. Still, for Le Batard’s part, he got a fair amount of national press over the bit.
Odds & Sods. The nationally syndicated Leslie Marshall show – produced by WYM Media – permanently shifts its live broadcast time to 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET…..Red Rock Radio Corp. is flipping two stations – standards WXCE, Amery, Wisconsin and standards WHSM-AM, Hayward, Wisconsin – to sports talk using NBC Sports Radio effective August 4.
Obama Impeachment Chatter/House Obama Suit Vote, Ebola Outbreak Scare, Gaza Strip Violence, Flight 17 Probe/Russia’s Ukraine Aggression, Lerner’s Anti-GOP Emails, and Stephen A. Smith Suspension Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/30). The controversy over possible impeachment of President Obama and the Dem’s purported use of the threat in fundraisers combined with the U.S. House’s vote to sue the president for unconstitutional actions; the Ebola outbreak scare; Israel’s continuing attack on Hamas in the Gaza Strip; the investigation into the downing of Flight 17 and the complications due to Ukrainian instability and Russia’s involvement; the flap over IRS staffer Lois Lerner’s anti-GOP emails; and ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith’s suspension for his comments on the Ray Rice suspension were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Former Connecticut Governor John Rowland Resigns from WTIC, Hartford Show as New Corruption Probe Intensifies. The former Connecticut governor resigned from office in 2004 amidst corruption charges to which he eventually pleaded guilty and served 10 months in federal prison. He began a talk show host career on CBS RADIO’s WTIC, Hartford in 2010 – for the first two years with co-host Pastor Will Marotti of the New Life Church in Meriden before going solo – but now that gig is over as Rowland stepped down yesterday without addressing the new allegations. The Hartford Courant reports that testimony from local businessman Brian Foley and his wife, Lisa Wilson-Foley (a former congressional candidate) stated in federal court that they used a phony consulting contract with Rowland to pay him for political assistance to Wilson-Foley’s failed 2012 campaign. Rowland faces possible indictment by a grand jury. WTIC program director Jenneen Lee tells the paper Pastor Will Marotti will step into the afternoon drive slot beginning Monday. Read the entire Courant piece here.
Big Changes at KARN-FM, Little Rock; PM Driver Dave Elswick Out along with AM Drive’s Bob Steel and ND. Longtime afternoon drive personality and program director Dave Elswick announces via Facebook that he’s out at Cumulus Media’s KARN-FM, Little Rock. Here’s his post: “I ask for your prayers tonight. After nearly 14 years on KARN I was fired by Cumulus Media. Bob Steel and news director Jack Heintz were also fired. I have no idea what will be on the station tomorrow. Know that I love every one of you who have supported me over these years. God Bless.” There were rumors of change at the news/talk outlet swirling but nothing concrete had been put out. As of now, the KARN-FM website lists the AM and PM drive dayparts generically. It’s possible Cumulus is clearing the afternoon deck to move Michael Savage into a live slot from the current late night delayed broadcast.
Criticism of Mets Infielder’s Paternity Leave Reversed as WFAN’s Boomer Esiason Apologizes. The decision by New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy to miss two games to be with his wife in Florida after she delivered their son on Opening Day was a hot topic of conversation on New York sports talk radio and both WFAN afternoon host Mike Francesa and morning drive co-host Boomer Esiason opined that two games was too many to miss. But during the initial chatter, Esiason said that he’d have asked his wife to schedule a C-section in order to be with his teammates for the games. The MLB CBA allows for up to three days of paternity leave. Esiason apologized on WFAN’s morning show today (4/4), calling his comments “insensitive” and expressing contrition for having put the Murphy family’s personal lives “under a spotlight.” He also said his C-section comment was not intended to mean he was telling women what to do with their bodies.
Nielsen Audio Quantifies the Obvious: Opening Day Is Big for Radio. What’s well known to radio practitioners is put into numbers by Nielsen Audio from this season’s Opening Day. While baseball – from a ratings standpoint – will be good to most MLB flagships this year, some of the Opening Day numbers are truly spectacular. In Cincinnati, flagship WLW pulled a 46.6 share with Men 25-54 on a 12+ cume of 270,700. Also, it’s interesting to note the difference in cume and share from the Cubs at Pirates broadcasts where the woebegone Cubs fans in Chicago didn’t appear to have the same passion (via radio, anyway) as the recharged Bucs backers in Pittsburgh. Check out the data here.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network Reports Streaming Success. The digital side of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network reports that it makes its debut as one of the top 20 most-listened-to streams in America, according to Triton Digital‘s February 2014 ranker. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “When we launched TheBlaze Radio Network in January 2013 we did so with the goal of being one of the top online radio stations in America. In our first month of accredited measurement, it is exciting to see our single stream on the same list as these established multi-stream services.”
Entercom Boston Boosts Mozdiez to Director of Integrated Media Strategies. It is a position the cluster specifically crafts for Carlson Mozdiez, who is elevated from director of digital operations. New responsibilities for the Syracuse University graduate include developing/executing customer-facing brand messaging, including live events, contesting and promotions, external advertising, websites, video, and social media. Entercom Boston vice president/market manager Phil Zachary comments, “Streamlining our ever-expanding array of digital and marketing channels, which connect the most valuable radio consumers in New England to our brands and our advertisers, makes logistical sense. Carlson is the ideal leader to spearhead these innovative efforts.” Mozdiez remarks that, “It is an exciting time as we continue to develop and optimize the ways people interact with our stations while creating new means for advertisers to access our audiences.” Entercom Boston consists of rock WAAF, sports WEEI-FM, sports WEEI-AM, news/talk WRKO, the Boston Red Sox Radio Network and their respective web properties. Mozdiez joined Entercom in 2002 as promotion coordinator for WEEI and WRKO.
Dennis Miller Celebrates Radio Anniversary. Today marks the seventh anniversary of entertainer Dennis Miller’s nationally syndicated WestwoodOne radio program. The “Saturday Night Live” alum is commemorating the day with special guests including: Mark Steyn, nationally syndicated columnist and author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon; Bob Saget, comedian and author of Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian; Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky; David Spade, comedian; Frank Sinatra Jr.; and fellow SNL alum Dana Carvey.
KDKA-AM’s Larry Richert to Be Roasted for Charity. Pittsburgh talk radio personality Larry Richert – co-host of the “KDKA Morning News on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA” will be the guest of honor at a Roast & Toast on Friday, April 25 to be roasted and toasted by friends and co-workers to benefit the Roxsan Betters Albanese Foundation. This foundation helps financially challenged families with children who are terminally ill or face a life threatening situation. Fellow KDKA-AM talk host Rob Pratte will serve as Master of Ceremonies.
Odds & Sods. When Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” hits the air tonight, WTAG, Worcester morning drive talk show host Paul Westcott will be in the host chair. Westcott has become a regular fill-in for Dean when he’s away…..This weekend’s NCAA Final Four is being covered by SiriusXM. The satcaster says it’ll offer subscribers comprehensive coverage of this weekend’s action plus analysis on the College Sports Nation channel from hoops experts such as three-time ACC Coach of the Year Bobby Cremins, Hall of Fame Michigan State guard Mateen Cleaves, former Villanova and UMass coach Steve Lappas, former University of Vermont coach Tom Brennan, plus Tim Brando, Mark Packer, Chris Childers and Jason Horowitz…..Birach Broadcasting’s sports talker KXRQ, Des Moines announces it’s the newest affiliate for Kansas City Royals baseball play-by-play……Sunrise Broadcasting strikes an agreement with Sea-Comm Media to use the latter’s translator W240AS, Wilmington at 95.9 FM to augment the signal of its sports talk WMFD “ESPN Wilmington,” heard on 630 AM.
ObamaCare Criticism Remains Atop Talkers TenTM. The major political issue of the past year – the passage of the Affordable Care Act – continues to be one of the top news/talk radio stories and was again the most-talked-about topic this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Coming in at #2 this week was the deadly Fort Hood Shooting. At #3 was the looming mid-term elections tied with the potential candidates in the 2016 presidential election, and at #4 was this week’s Supreme Court campaign donation ruling. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Borrell Associates New Study and Forecast Predicts Radio Revenue Flat but Listening Minutes Continue to Decline Over Next Five Years. Research firm Borrell Associates has published a new study titled, “The Future of Legacy Media: With 5 Years of Digital Disruption Ahead, What Happens Next?” As the title implies, it looks at the effect the digital revolution has had over the past five years on time spent with each medium and ad dollars spent and then goes on to predict what is likely to happen over the next five years. The conclusion for AM/FM radio is probably not going to be shocking to most. Borrell predicts that minutes spent with AM/FM radio (which have already dropped from 124.1 in 2008 to 93.5 in 2013, according to the study) will continue to erode even though the number of individuals listening at least once per week (that figure we hear reported by Nielsen Audio so frequently) may remain fairly constant. By 2018 Borrell predicts minutes spent with radio will further drop to 81.9 (for a total decrease from 2008 to 2018 of 34%). On the revenue front, Borrell notes that radio ad spending has dropped by almost a third over the past 13 years and predicts the level the industry is at right now – about $14.3 billion – is roughly where it will be in another five years. Here’s what the study has to say about AM/FM radio’s future: “If trends hold true, traditional radio ad spending will continue to tread water, remaining largely unchanged while growth moves online – especially among national advertisers. Detroit is already equipping some new cars with Pandora service, so even that industry sinecure may have been breached. Losses – where they occur – will be most felt in the larger metros, while suburban and rural areas will still depend on the local flavor of stations that have been good friends to their fathers and grandfathers.” Which media will experience growth in minutes spent with through 2018? Borrell predicts cable TV, out-of-home, video games and pure-play mobile, which it says will have realized a 1,145% increase in minutes spent with during the 10-year period examined in the study. Read more here.
SiriusXM Reports Total Subscribers Top 25 Million. Satellite radio service SiriusXM announces it ended the year 2013 with 25.56 million subscribers – an addition of 1.66 million net subscribers during the course of the year. The company reports that self-pay net additions in 2013 were 1.5 million for the full year, bringing self-pay subscriptions to over 21 million. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer states, “SiriusXM had an outstanding 2013, and we expect to meet or exceed all other guidance we have provided for the year. Automotive distribution is hitting on all cylinders and an increasing number of households, at all income levels, are subscribing to SiriusXM. In a world where consumers have many choices, millions of subscribers continue to love our unmatched and easily affordable lineup of exclusive talk, live news, major sports events, and commercial-free and curated music channels.” At the same time, the company offers guidance for 2014 that includes: Net subscriber additions of 1.25 million; free cash flow approaching $1.1 billion; revenue of over $4.0 billion; and adjusted EBITDA of approximately $1.38 billion.
2014 International CES: Day Two. Media consultant Holland Cooke reports from Las Vegas where he’s covering the enormous 2014 International Consumer Electronic Show for TALKERS magazine. Some tidbits for radio people include how Yahoo! is revamping its content to fit what consumers want with regard to size and frequency and how new global anchor Katie Couric is integrating “citizen reporting” into her work. Also, read what radio execs attending a session on internet radio are saying about building a connection with consumers in Holland Cooke’s piece here.
Compass Media Brings Research Pro Len Klatt Aboard. Research pro Len Klatt spent the last 16 years with Premiere Networks (ultimately as SVP of research) and 11 years with Westwood One before that. Now, Compass Media Marketing announces it has hired Klatt as a research consultant and advisor, effective immediately. Klatt comments, “It is an incredibly exciting time to be a part of the changing audio entertainment landscape. Compass is well positioned for continued growth and my goal is to work closely with the Compass team to best serve our advertisers, affiliates and programming partners.”
Kirk Minihane Inks Multi-Year Deal with WEEI, Boston. The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn reports that staffer Kirk Minihane – a recently added member of the Dennis & Callahan morning show – has been rewarded for his positive impact on the show and the station with a new multi-year deal. Minihane became part of the morning show featuring John Dennis and Gerry Callahan in February of last year and Finn reports that the morning show has been gaining ratings ground over the past several months. Minihane was already employed by Entercom Boston writing for WEEI.com at the time he joined the show. The Dennis & Callahan show – and the station in general – has been under the microscope since the start-up of CBS Radio’s crosstown WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” debuted, gained ground on WEEI and overtook many of WEEI’s shows in the ratings. Now, Finn reports that the Dennis & Callahan show recently finished in second place in the Nielsen Audio PPM ratings behind WBZ-FM’s Toucher & Rich program with a 9.0 share.
Odds & Sods. At Salem Communications’ New York City news/talker WNYM “AM 970 The Answer,” comic Joe Piscopo is guest hosting the morning show today (1/8) through the end of the week. The permanent morning show slot is vacant right now after Curtis Sliwa split for Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WABC for a midday show with co-host Ron Kuby. The station says Piscopo will “have top name guests, give his take on the news of the day and do a variety of other comedy bits.”…..At Clear Channel’s Cincinnati cluster, Bo Matthews is named vice president of programming for the station group. While Matthews’ recent day-to-day experience has been with music radio – he comes to Cincinnati from the company’s Cleveland cluster where he programmed rock WMMS and CHR WAKS “Kiss FM” – he will ultimately oversee news/talk WLW, talk WKRC and sports talk WSAI in his new position…..In the public radio sphere of the Rochester market, WXXI listeners are hearing new host Evan Dawson in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot held for so long by market pro Bob Smith. Dawson is a familiar face as he spent six years as morning anchor at WHAM-TV. The new show is called “Connections with Evan Dawson.” Smith stepped down from his position in August after suffering a stroke in the spring. He’s currently in long-term rehabilitative care.
Rick & Bubba Celebrate 20th Anniversary. The nationally syndicated Rick & Bubba show – featuring Rick Burgess and Bill “Bubba” Bussey – celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The Syndicated Solutions Inc.-distributed program has special plans to commemorate the show’s birth. Burgess and Bussey, along with cast members Calvin “Speedy” Wilburn, “The Real” Greg Burgess, Michael “Helmsey” Helms, Chris “Eddie Van” Adler, along with past/present show interns and related show contributors, will be performing live before sellout crowds during at least five special one-night only events in concert halls/theaters in select cities beginning in May. SSI reports that “each ‘20th Anniversary Tour’ event will include hilarious, unforgettable Rick & Bubba moments, show favorites such as Good ‘ol Boys Theater, Willie & Wanda, The Giant Game of Rick & Bubba Knowledge, The Wacky World, Fact or Crap, and more. There will be prizes, video tributes reliving the past 20 years, musical performances, special Q&A sessions and more…All behind-the-scenes and on-stage activities will be video recorded so excerpts can be shared during the Rick & Bubba show television/radio broadcast, and a full 20th Anniversary documentary will be available later in 2014.” SSI president Bob Carey states, “Congratulations Rick and Bubba…I am so proud of what you’ve accomplished all these years and the special relationship that we share. Although we’ve been business partners for just nine of your 20 years on air together, the Rick & Bubba show continues to evolve and gets better day after day, which is a testament to you both never taking your successes for granted or never stopping to work hard and improve upon yesterday.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Bill “Bubba” Bussey (sitting), Michael “Helmsey” Helms, Rick Burgess (center/sitting), Calvin “Speedy” Wilburn, “The Real” Greg Burgess and Chris “Eddie Van” Adler.
Outstanding Talk Producer on the Loose. One of the personnel casualties of WWRL, New York’s recent switch from progressive talk to regional Mexican Spanish-language entertainment is Jeffrey Haveson. Haveson, an accomplished veteran radio broadcaster is known in talk circles as one of the most hard-working, versatile and dependable producers in the business, is without a home base for the first time in more than a decade. He served at WWRL as an executive producer working with a wide variety of hosts and formats ranging from urban talk to liberal politics and then some. In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Jeffrey Haveson is one of the most competent and multi-faceted facilitators of talk programming I’ve ever met. This guy can handle all the chores that go on behind-the-scenes in making a great show happen from nurturing hosts of all political and cultural stripes, booking guests, executing remotes and creating superb production to writing an effective press release and managing social media. He is located in the New York area and should be grabbed by one of the many media outlets looking for a solid producer.” Haveson can be phoned at 973-207-3095 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robert Gates Criticizes Obama in New Book, Dennis Rodman in North Korea, Boehner-Benghazi Connection, Polar Vortex Chills U.S./Global Warming, and Janet Yellen Confirmed New Fed Chief. The new book by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates that is critical of the Obama Administration; the controversy over former NBA star Dennis Rodman’s latest trip to North Korea; questions about what House Speaker John Boehner knew about the Benghazi mission; the frigid temperatures across the U.S. and the connection to global warming; and Janet Yellen is confirmed as new chief of the Federal Reserve were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom Reports Q3 Revenue Down 4%. Bucking the trend of recent third quarter reports from other broadcasters showing generally moderate revenue growth, Entercom’s Q3 2013 financial statement indicated revenue down 4% on $98.4 million. President and CEO David Field stated that station expenses increased 5% and the resulting adjusted EBITDA was down 22% to $26.2 million. Field did tell investors during yesterday’s conference call that the company has been paying down debt, “We also continued to direct our substantial free cash flow towards debt reduction. During the third quarter alone, we cut our net debt by $20 million, and have now lowered our net debt by nearly $450 million over the past six years.” Field reported that local sales were down 5% and national revenue was basically flat. Field admitted the company’s sales effort was the problem, stating that in the markets in which the company operates, total radio revenue was up 1%. “Plain and simple, our sales performance in the third quarter was poor. We failed to get the job done and that is unacceptable. We lagged our radio peers by a significant margin, and failed to capitalize on our strong brands, ratings and marketing capabilities.” Field reminded investors that the company anticipated a down third quarter due to recently enacted changes in the company’s sales strategies and practices and that the changes will make the company stronger in the long run.
Saga Communications Inches Up 1.6% in Net Revenue. For the third quarter of 2013, Saga Communications says the $35.8 million (ex political) resulted in a net revenue increase of 1.6%. CEO Ed Christian told investors during yesterday’s conference call that considering how much the company is down from the loss of political from last year to this, the results are not bad though he had hoped to be up 2%. Christian can be downright chatty during these conference calls and he took the time to reference a Barron’s article indicating America may be at the beginning of decades of slow growth and suggested radio’s prescription for adapting to such an economy is to focus on rebuilding radio’s image. He says research shows people like radio but there needs to be more trust and respect. “If we blend the community – and you can define community any way that you like it – if we blend the community and we blend radio into one, we’ll continue to survive and prosper, even in a 2% GDP world.”
Salem Communications’ Broadcast Division Announces Flat Q3 Numbers. The broadcasting division of Salem Communications was up just a hair – 0.3% on $46 million dollars for the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago. During yesterday’s conference call, CFO Evan Masyr broke down the company’s performance by format, reporting, “Thirty-nine of our radio stations are programmed in what we call our foundational format Christian Teaching and Talk, these stations contributed 45% of total broadcast revenue and increased 1% for the quarter. Block programming increased 2.3%, while infomercials were down 29.7% as we continue to reduce the infomercials on our radio stations to improve the overall programming on the stations. Our 26 news/talk stations had a decrease of 6% in revenue for the quarter. Overall, these stations contributed 14% of total broadcast revenue. The revenue from the 12 contemporary Christian music stations contributed 24% of total broadcast revenue and had an increase of 5% for the quarter. Again, we continue to see strong results from many of our music stations, most notably in this quarter Los Angeles and Dallas. The seven stations that we have programmed in Spanish language, Christian Teaching and Talk grew by 26%, and these stations comprised 2% of our broadcast revenue. Finally, with respect to the formats that we focus on the 10 stations in a business talk format, and that format contributed 3% of our broadcast revenue and had a decrease of 2% in revenue.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. Members can read the entire call here.
Nielsen Promotes Mitch Barns to CEO. The ratings giant – which recently brought radio ratings into its fold with the acquisition of Arbitron – announces that Dwight M. “Mitch” Barns will succeed David L. Calhoun as chief executive officer effective Jaunary 1, 2014. Barns has been with Nielsen for the past 16 years, currently serving as president, global client service, which oversees $5.5 billion in revenue and leads the efforts of Nielsen’s Watch and Buy client service teams worldwide. Upon Barns’ succession, David Calhoun will become executive chairman of the board of directors, at which time Nielsen’s current Chairman of the Board, James M. Kilts, will step down as chairman, but will remain a board member. Calhoun states, “Nielsen is successfully implementing its global strategy, and the time is right to name the next leader to take the company to its next phase of growth. Mitch’s strong track record at the helm of a number of key Nielsen business units around the world – combined with his vision and commitment to our strategic plan – puts the company on solid footing for continued global expansion and value creation. I will continue to remain invested in Mitch’s success in my new role.” Barns adds, “I am honored by this opportunity to serve Nielsen as its chief executive officer, and I am thankful for the board’s vote of confidence. Throughout my 16 years at this company, I’ve been privileged to work side-by-side with talented leaders and associates in Nielsen businesses across the world. I look forward to continuing our work together to anticipate client needs with ongoing innovation and expand our footprint in developing markets, while consistently delivering growth and enhancing shareholder value.”
KFI, Los Angeles Critic Files Petition to Deny License Renewal. It’s probably not surprising to anyone at Clear Channel’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles that Alex Nogales, representing the National Hispanic Media Coalition, has filed a Petition to Deny the station’s license renewal application. Nogales has long been a critic of the station’s programming. It’s hard to say whether Nogales actually believes the FCC would act on his assertions that because hosts such as John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou speak against illegal immigration that their show is “harmful and dangerous” and this could qualify as actionable or whether he just wants to get some publicity by announcing the filing of the Petition. Regardless, as we’ve seen countless times before – and most recently with the Commission’s refusal to deny license renewal for Cumulus’ WMAL-AM/FM, Washington – disagreements with the opinions of talk show hosts are not valid reasons for non-renewal. As it wrote in the recent WMAL case, the FCC states, “The Commission is prohibited from exercising any power of censorship over broadcast stations with respect to content-based programming decisions. A licensee has broad discretion – based on its right to free speech – to choose the programming that it believes serves the needs and interests of the members of its audience.”
Programmer and Consultant Greg Moceri’s Son Tony Writes New Hannity Theme Music. Tony Moceri is the 13-year-old son of talk radio programmer and consultant Greg Moceri and resides in Ada, Michigan. Tony has been playing piano since he was five and currently is a percussionist in his middle school’s band. Greg Moceri tells Mlive.com that, though he’s worked with Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity in the past, his connection didn’t influence the use of his son’s work. He says Hannity’s staff was seeking new music, “They wanted a change and asked for something upbeat and lively for the show opening. I wasn’t thrilled with what I was finding and then I remembered Tony’s piece and sent it to some people that I work with. They all thought it was perfect and so I sent it to Sean. I didn’t tell him where it came from; I didn’t want him to feel obligated. But he loved it and now they are using it.” Hannity told Mlive.com, “Isn’t this a great story? When Greg sent me the music, I thought it was a pop song and wondered why I had never heard it. I have a son about the same age…and I listen to a lot of kids music. I love music and this is spectacular.”
Odds & Sods. Hockey is back and so is WGN, Chicago’s broadcast series, “Chicago Blackhawks Live,” a number of one-hour radio remotes during the 2013-2014 season that take place over dinner and feature current Blackhawks players, legends, and front office executives. It’s hosted by Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray and the season premiere will feature Blackhawks forwards Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw. It takes place on November 11 at 7:00 pm at Old Town Pour House in Chicago…..Cuts at Rogers Communications are affecting some of the company’s spoken-word outlets. The Ottawa Citizen reports that CIWW, Ottawa is losing seven staffers as the station will simulcast sister CJCL, Toronto “Sportsnet 590” for weekends and part of the weekday programming. In all, Rogers is reportedly laying off 94 staffers…..MLB‘s Miami Marlins games will be heard on Clear Channel‘s sports talk WINZ, Miami beginning with the 2014 season. This past season, Marlins play-by-play was heard on Lincoln Financial Media‘s WAXY, Miami.
KIRO-FM, Seattle’s Dori Monson to Take on Governor Inslee in Hoops Challenge. KIRO-FM, Seattle talk show host Dori Monson gets to face off with Washington Governor Jay Inslee in a charity basketball game tonight that will be broadcast live on KIRO-FM. The “Clash on the Court” will benefit Food Lifeline and Sports in Schools. The program consists of a five-on-five co-ed game between local youth, coached by Monson and Inslee, followed by a five-on-five game featuring show hosts from KIRO Radio and “710 ESPN Seattle” up against local politicians handpicked by Jay Inslee. The event will conclude with a one-on-one game between Monson and Inslee. Monson jokes, “This may be my first and only opportunity to force a local politician to go right! This proves that, for us aging basketball players, we check our politics at the gym door. I’m thrilled Governor Inslee and I – along with our colleagues – are able to get together to raise money for two great organizations.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Presidential Approval Polls, Election Day, Toronto Mayor Crack Case and NFL Bullying Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/5). Criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; new lower numbers for President Obama’s approval ratings; the high-profile races in Tuesday’s elections, including gubernatorial contests in Virginia and New Jersey; the admission by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford that he’s used crack cocaine in the past; and the accusations of bullying within the Miami Dolphins organization were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity Return to Philly on WPHT. CBS Radio brings Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh back to Philly on its news/talk WPHT. Premiere’s Sean Hannity will also return to the station delay broadcast in the evening. WPHT drops no daytime local programming but changes the times of the current shifts to accommodate Limbaugh. Morning drive host Chris Stigall wraps his show at 9:00 am, Dom Giordano airs from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. After Limbaugh, Dick Morris and Gary R’nel begin the PM drive show at 3:00 pm. It does appear that Casey Bartholomew’s late night program will end to make way for the Hannity show. CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “We couldn’t be more pleased to bring Rush and Sean home to WPHT. They are leaders in the format and the standard by which talk radio is measured. Rush will be the lead-in for Dick Morris who has been developing a strong program the past six months.”
Michael Savage to Conference Call with New Station Management. On Thursday at 12:00 noon ET, Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Michael Savage will host a conference call with program directors and station managers in anticipation of his move to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET show time to which the program moves in the New Year. In a statement, Savage says, “I am thrilled that the new timeslot debut is just around the corner. This call will give station managers the chance to hear direct from me what the coveted drivetime means for ‘The Savage Nation.’” The company reports that the program will air on more than 200 affiliates of Cumulus Media Networks, including 60 stations owned and operated by Cumulus. It says “Some of the cities where ‘The Savage Nation’ will air during drivetime include: New York (WABC), Chicago (WLS), Dallas (WBAP), Washington(WMAL), San Francisco (KSFO) and WJR (Detroit).
Bob & Tom to Leave Premiere Networks for Cumulus Media Networks. Longtime WFBQ, Indianapolis-based morning drive team Bob Kevoian (left) and Tom Griswold (right) – known simply as Bob & Tom – are leaving longtime syndicator Premiere Networks and are partnering with Cumulus Media Networks for “operational and advertising sales” beginning in January 2014. The show is currently heard on some 130 affiliate stations across the country as well as on the American Forces Radio Network. Griswold states, “We have enjoyed a tremendous relationship with Premiere Networks and Clear Channel Media & Entertainment for many years. Cumulus Media stations have always supported the Bob & Tom show in some of our largest markets, and once I had an opportunity to meet with John Dickey, it became clear that our visions aligned for the future. We really appreciate the years of dedication from Julie Talbott and the staff at Premiere Networks, and we look forward to continuing to work with Clear Channel stations in the future.”
Cincinnati Trombo Looks to Lewis as VP/GM. Radio One‘s Blue Chip Broadcasting, Cincinnati appoints John Lewis vice president/general manager. He will oversee urban contemporary WIZF “The Wiz,” urban oldies WOSL “Old School 100.3,” and talk WDBZ “The Buzz.” Regional vice president Jeffrey Wilson comments, “John brings an outstanding blend of experience, vision, professionalism, and integrity to our mission to lead and serve the people of Cincinnati.” Lewis notes, “I look forward to helping Radio One, Cincinnati realize its full potential.” Lewis previously held management positions for Cumulus-owned stations in Lexington, Kentucky; Pensacola, Florida; and Albany, Georgia.
Brahmin Broadcasting Brings in Murphy as Group PD. Veteran programmer Jim Murphy is appointed group program director for 24 Brahmin Broadcasting Western Division stations. Murphy – who most recently was director of career services at the Ohio Center for Broadcasting - will begin his new duties next Monday (10/21); he will be based in Cheyenne, Wyoming. “Jim will direct and oversee the programming and operations for all our Western stations,” explains Brahmin Broadcasting Corporation president Steven Silberberg. “Jim started his broadcast career in New England, but for the last 20 years, he has managed the day-to-day operations and programming for a number of top broadcast companies in the Rocky Mountain West.” Murphy spent 15 years at Jones Radio Networks, where he was vice president/country and recently programmed Cumulus country outlet KATC, Colorado Springs for 14 months.
Former MLB Pitcher Mark Knudson to Manage KREL, Colorado Springs. Radio Colorado Network announces former Major League Baseball pitcher Mark Knudson is named general manager for its sports talk outlet KREL, Colorado Springs “ESPN 1580.” After retiring from baseball Knudson entered sports media working as an on-air host at KOA, Denver; AM 950 ‘The Fan’ and ESPN Radio. He’s also been a contributing editor for Mile High Sports Magazine and helped launch Mile High Sports Radio. Additionally, the company announces Warren McCarty is named program director for the station. McCarty spent 11 years in pro football coaching, scouting, and in management prior to launching the “My Passion is Football” radio show.
KNX, Los Angeles Begins Quarterly ‘Ask the Mayor’ Show. Newly elected Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will make his first appearance on CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles on October 24 at 10:00 am for the first in a quarterly series of “Ask the Mayor” programs. The live, listener call-in-formatted show will be hosted by KNX news anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman and, says the station, “will give Angelinos the opportunity to put the mayor in the hot seat.” Angelinos can call the show or Tweet their questions to the mayor.
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio names Craig Heist sports reporter at its Washington, DC cluster. Heist will do sports updates on all-news WNEW-FM and on sports talker WJFK-FM. Heist worked in the market for almost 15 years at Hubbard’s crosstown all-news WTOP…..Texas Governor Rick Perry appeared on Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher show on Monday to promote his Americans for Economic Freedom non-profit that will buy ads on cable news/talk and talk radio to promote conservative policy. On Gallagher’s show he said of the organization, “These are some folks that wanted to highlight the differences in policies between the states, and identify what works to create jobs, freedom and opportunity.”…..WEEI, Boston midday sports talk host (and former Red Sox player) Lou Merloni is sitting in the broadcast booth alongside Joe Castiglione and Dave O’Brien as a commentator for all of the ALCS games at Fenway Park. Merloni co-hosts the midday show on WEEI with Mike Mutnansky.
Chicago Radio Legend Bob Sanders Passes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder tips us that longtime WBBM-AM, Chicago personality Bob Sanders has died at age 89. Sanders and his wife Betty were a duo who reigned in middays on WBBM-AM as the station transitioned from music to talk and later all-news. Sanders joined WBBM in 1956 and the two began broadcasting as a husband-and-wife team in 1972. They were let go from the station in 1982 and worked at crosstown WCFL for two years after that.
Former KDKA Sports Personality Goose Goslin Dies. CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh reports that Marvin “Goose” Goslin died over the weekend. Goslin, who retired from radio in 2003, was a sports personality on the station for 25 years. During much of his time at KDKA, Goslin would do both morning and afternoon drive sports. He is also being remembered for singing the national anthem before Penguins games and for knowing how to sing the Canadian national anthem in French.
Government Shutdown, Debt Ceiling, ObamaCare Implementation, MLB Playoffs and ‘Redskins’ Controversy Among Top News Stories Yesterday (10/14). The negotiations on Washington to end the government shutdown and its effects; the congressional battle over the debt ceiling; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the Major League Baseball playoffs; and the controversy over the Washington Redskins name were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talkers Los Angeles 2013 Takes Place Today. More than 250 broadcasters from the talk media industries will be gathering in Hollywood, California today to hear more than 57 speakers analyze the key issues facing talk radio and talk internet at Talkers Los Angeles 2013. Among them, Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting CEO Larry Wilson, who will deliver the keynote address, “Radio at the Crossroads,” and Courtside Entertainment, LLC CEO Norm Pattiz and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison who will engage in a keynote conversation, “Okay…Now What?” at the sold-out event. Talkers Los Angeles 2013 — a presentation of TALKERS magazine in association with the Los Angeles Press Club — takes place today between 9:00 am and 6:15 pm at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood, California. Full coverage of the conference will be provided at Talkers.com in the coming days and weeks. To see the up-to-date, power-packed agenda, please click here.
PodcastOne Signs Kathie Lee Gifford to Deal for One-Hour Program. Bringing marquee talent to the podcast genre is what Courtside Entertainment Group CEO Norm Pattiz promised when he debuted PodcastOne. Now, the company signs “Today” co-anchor Kathie Lee Gifford to host a one-hour podcast on the platform. When the show debuts on October 23, Gifford will host with her former “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee” partner Regis Philbin. Gifford says, “I’m so looking forward to this new podcast adventure. I feel like I’m in an episode of the Jetsons, soaring into unknown territory on my podcast. It will be the first time for me in a 45-year career where I’ve been able to completely control the content. And best of all? I won’t need my hair or makeup done and there’s no need for Spanx!” Pattiz adds, “What can I possibly say about Kathie Lee Gifford that hasn’t already been said? How about this – bringing Kathie Lee to on-demand audio via PodcastOne is a very big deal. We’re doing business with the best of the best, and that list just got better.” Other PodcastOne personalities and brands include Adam Carolla, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Steve Austin, Dennis Miller, Ron Paul, Jay Mohr, Jillian Michaels, NPR New York, NPR Los Angeles, and “60 Minutes.”
KFTK, St. Louis Personality Dana Loesch Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze. St. Louis-based talk radio personality and writer Dana Loesch has subbed for Glenn Beck in addition to her full-time work on Emmis’ KFTK, St. Louis and WIBC, Indianapolis. Now, she’ll serve as a contributor and host for TheBlaze. In addition to continuing to fill in for Beck, what audio or video contributions Loesch will make remains unclear at this time. Loesch says, “I’m excited to join TheBlaze team. I love the fight in this group and their dedication to creating the best content available on multiple platforms. They’ve been at the forefront of new wave media…I can’t wait to get started.” Glenn Beck said of her on his TV program, “We are thrilled to have her. She is one of the people that is on the front lines fighting the good fight. We have wanted to have her as a part of TheBlaze for a very, very long time.” Loesch founded the St.Louis-area Tea Party and previously worked as an editor at Breitbart.
Mike McConnell Exits Tribune’s WGN, Chicago. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that talk radio personality Mike McConnell – off the AM 720 signal at Tribune’s WGN since early October and relegated to airing a show on wgnradio.com – is leaving the company. McConnell came to WGN from Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati where he worked with former Tribune CEO Randy Michaels when Michaels was running WLW and later serving as president of Clear Channel Radio. When Jimmy de Castro took over the reins of WGN earlier this year, it was suspected that the on-air lineup might change dramatically and that’s what’s happened. Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder were brought in for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon shift and Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano took over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show. Feder reports that sources say McConnell and Tribune have a tentative settlement on the remaining two years of his reported $500,000 annual salary but there’s no official word from Tribune at this time.
KFH, Wichita Brings Shane Dennis Aboard for PM Drive. Entercom sports talk radio outlet KFH-AM/FM, Wichita the addition of a new live and local sports talk show hosted by Shane Dennis beginning October 21. Dennis comes to the station with a sports pedigree. He was director of baseball operations for 13 years at Wichita State. During that time, he worked with Mike Kennedy as color analyst for WSU baseball games. He pitched for the WSU Shockers from 1991–1994 and earned All-American honors in 1994. Program director Tony Duesing says, “We’re excited about adding Shane to our powerful sports lineup on KFH. Shane is a big sports radio fan and he is a great personality who will only make people want to tune in.”
Former KCOH, Houston Talk Radio Personality Files Civil Suit Against Station President. Recently, TALKERS reported the case of Houston urban talk radio personality Michael Harris quitting his position at KCOH after alleging station president (and local minister) Jesse Dunn was misusing station funds. Now, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle, Harris is filing a civil suit against Dunn and the South Houston Community Development Corporation. The paper reports that in the suit, Harris says Dunn made false representations to induce him to secure two personal lines of credit totaling $130,000 for station financing and back a $38,000 loan for equipment. Harris also alleges that Dunn was able to acquire a debit card to use on one of the lines of credit and that Dunn has been using those funds for personal expenses including trips to Las Vegas and Louisiana. Harris’ attorney says no contract exists between the two men and states, point blank, that his client “got hustled.” Dunn had previously said whatever money he used was his and is currently running recorded announcements on the station assuring listeners that the station’s finances are strong and that claims to the contrary are misrepresentations.
Internet Advertising Bureau: Digital Ad Revenue Hits $20.1 Billion in First Half of 2013. According to the Internet Advertising Bureau, that total for the first half of 2013 marks an increase of 18% over the 2012 first-half-year total. Some other highlights from the organization’s report include: Report highlights include: Mobile revenues soared to $3 billion in the first half of 2013, representing triple-digit growth at 145% from $1.2 billion in the same period last year; Digital video, a component of display-related advertising, took in $1.3 billion in revenue during the first six months of 2013, an uptick of 24% over the first half of 2012 at $1.1 billion; Search revenues in the first half of 2013 totaled $8.7 billion, up 7% from $8.1 billion in the first half of 2012; Display-related advertising revenues in the first half of 2013 totaled $6.1 billion, accounting for 30% of revenues in the time period, up 9% from $5.6 billion in the first half of 2012; and the top three advertising verticals accounted for 46% of advertising revenue, including Retail at 20%, Financial Services at 14% and Automotive at 12%. IAB president and CEO Randall Rothenberg states, “Digital has steadily increased its ability to captivate consumers and then capture the marketing dollars that follow. Mobile advertising’s breakneck growth is evidence that marketers are recognizing the tremendous power of smaller screens. Digital video is also on a positive trajectory, delivering avid viewership and strong brand-building opportunities.”
J.D. Hayworth in for Huckabee. Former U.S. Congressman J.D. Hayworth (and former KFYI, Phoenix talk host) sits in for Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk personality Mike Huckabee on Friday, October 11 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET.
Debt Limit/Government Shutdown, ObamaCare Implementation, Obama Approval Ratings, Financial Markets Activity, and Baseball Playoff Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/9). The struggle in Washington to come to agreement on a debt limit and to undo the government shutdown; the failure of the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act website; the sinking approval ratings for President Obama; the response to the government shutdown by the world’s financial markets; and the MLB playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talk Radio Day at the United Nations Set for Friday, June 7. After a one-year hiatus, TALKERS magazine announces the revival of its annual international initiative, “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations.” Presented in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and in association with the United Nations Foundation, the event consists of a massive radio row held in the heart of the United Nations’ iconic headquarters on the East Side of Manhattan. Approximately 25 talk show hosts and programs from around the country are given the opportunity to do live shows or simply record interviews on the scene for later playback with a wide variety of special guests including UN officials, foreign ambassadors, international policy experts and representatives of the arts and sciences from around the world. “This is one of our most prideful annual events,” states TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “and I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to bring it back after a year off in 2012.” Harrison says, “It accomplishes a number of important things – most notably, it gives a variety of talk show hosts and millions of their listeners in every corner of the country the opportunity to shift gears and discuss international news stories of significant consequence that rarely, if ever, are covered or discussed in the mainstream American media. Some of these stories have enormous implications on war, peace, life and death.” Harrison also points out, “Hosts of just about every political and ideological persuasion have raved about this event over the many years we have been doing it saying that it has proven to be a personally rewarding experience for them as much as it has provided a spectacular bit of special programming to their stations and networks.” Talk Radio Day at the United Nations conveniently takes place the day after Talkers New York 2013 when many talk show hosts are already in New York City. Hosts on board include Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio; Doug Stephan of the “Good Day” show; Joe Madison of SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Mark Riley of WWRL, New York; Larry Young of WOLB, Baltimore; Dr. Joy Browne of Radio America; Martha Zoller of WGAU, Athens, GA; Ethan Bearman of GCN and KSCO, Santa Cruz; Timothy Spangler of KRLA, Los Angeles; Lisa Wexler of WFAS, Westchester; Dr. Evelyn Higgins of CRN Digital Talk Radio and GCN; Gary Duff of WRHU, Hempstead, NY; Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” and more. Talk Radio News Service will broadcast the entire day to its hundreds of affiliates across the nation with more to be announced. All equipment and broadcast set ups are provided at no cost for the convenience of the participants – but placement is limited and this will fill up rapidly, so interested hosts should call 413-565-5413 quickly to inquire about signing up.
RAB: Radio Flat at $3.5 Billion in Q1. The Radio Advertising Bureau releases data indicating that the first quarter of 2013 remained flat “aided by an uptick in Spot in March after a sluggish start to the year. Both Digital and Off-Air performed well throughout the quarter and were up 9% and 5% respectively.” The report breaks out data on advertising categories. A synopsis shows “spot spending by communication/cellular advertisers soared by over 1/3 (36%) for this quarter, propelling the category to #1 for the period. Also up – in rank order based on spending – were financial services (+13%), department/discount stores & shopping centers (+58%), and home furnishings/floor coverings (+6%). While dollar volume was virtually flat for television/networks/cable providers (-3%) and restaurants (-2%), these were solid contributors to radio’s bottom line in the #2 and #4 spots; automotive declined 20% and slipped to the #3 rank.” RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Major increases in radio advertising by communications/cellular and financial services went a long way to offset a drop in automotive spending. Additionally, spending is up in the department/discount stores category – reflecting increased confidence among retailers who have experienced radio’s ability to drive traffic and sales. Radio’s digital sector revenue continues to grow as radio stations invest in and promote their digital offerings to listeners, driving increased attention by the ad buying community.” The report features data from Miller Kaplan Arase LLP and the Q1 revenue figure does not include network radio data. Read the entire report here.
Beasley Broadcasting Names David Wolfman WQAM, Miami LSM. Beasley Broadcasting’s sports talk WQAM, Miami announces David Wolfman is the new local sales manager at the station. Wolfman reports to director of sales Keriann Worley. He comes to Beasley from his most recent position as general sales manager for Clear Channel Miami. Prior to that, he spent several years with Interep National Radio Sales. Worley states, “David Wolfman is a proven sales leader and he will be directly responsible for revenue growth on 560 WQAM. His passion for sports, innovative thinking, and his knowledge of the Miami market make him a perfect fit for this dynamic position. We are thrilled to have him join our team.”
Dave Ramsey Visits The Queen City. Nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey is in Cincinnati this week. Earlier he presented to a packed house his new, intimate “Building Your Legacy Live Event” in which he talked about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. Speaker and author Jon Acuff joined Ramsey on stage. Ramsey joined with local affiliate WKRC to promote the event. WKRC general sales manager Bill Mountel says, “Cincy has been starved for a taste of Dave and now they can get a ‘double dose’ of Dave Ramsey. Cincinnati fans and 55KRC listeners are excited to have Dave in town and are already looking forward to his next visit to the Queen City!” Today, Ramsey is hosting his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” at Vineyard Church. Ramsey, along with speakers Jon Acuff and Chris Hogan, will speak about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 300 employees. Pictured here with Ramsey are: (front row) WKRC GSM Bill Mountel, Ramsey, WKRC personality Brian Thomas, (back row) WKRC PD Scott Reinhart and CC Cincinnati market president Chuck Fredrick.
Hubbard’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” Stands Alone. With the recent moves of KFNS and KSLG to guy talk and female-targeted programming, respectively, Hubbard Radio’s sports talk WXOS, St. Louis stands as the only full-time sports talk station in the market. In a piece by Dan Caesar in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch chronicling the station’s four-year history as a sports outlet, general manager John Kijowski discusses where the station is now and what the state of the market is for sports talk radio. Among the tidbits from Kijowski in the article is his belief in FM for sports talk: “In the sports genre, having a big FM signal in today’s world is vital for success. Then the format can’t be done on the cheap, you have to invest in it. From that respect, I feel good about what we do and I still think we have a ways to go.” It should be noted that though WXOS is the last sports station standing, its place among the stations seeking men 25-54 is not what it was a year ago, having dropped to sixth place in the most recent Arbitron PPM data. However, one of the most interesting points in the piece is Kijowski’s admission that it took four years in the format for the station to make a profit. So much for the notion that sports talk radio is an automatic money press! Read the entire piece here.
Food Nation Radio Network Signs On with Business TalkRadio Network. In a move that will take effect June 1, the weekly food talk radio show “The Food Nation Radio Network with Elizabeth Dougherty” joins the roster of Business TalkRadio Network. BTRN consulting operations officer Jeff Weber says, “We are all really excited that hosts Elizabeth Dougherty and Michael Serio are bringing this compelling program to a national audience. We’re proud to be a part of this show which is informative and fun. It’s truly a one of a kind program.” The program is based out of Genesis Communications’ WWBA, Tampa and is described by the producers as “an adventure of good food, food-related stories and compelling interviews.” Host Elizabeth Dougherty has an extensive background in food writing and culinary arts training. She has written hundreds of articles on food that have appeared in many major publications. She says of the new relationship, “We are pleased to partner with the Business TalkRadio Network as ‘Food Nation Radio’ continues to grow so that we can continue to concentrate on the cutting-edge and entertaining content we provide to our listeners each week.”
Odds & Sods. Fred Lucas’ book about talk radio, The Right Frequency (History Publishing 2012) is soaring high on two of Amazon’s Kindle best-seller lists. The book is #1 in the Public Affairs category as well as #1 on the digital texts chart…..XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” morning drive co-host J.D. Hayworth is sitting in for Cumulus Media Networks personality Mike Huckabee all next week and on Memorial Day as well…..Fox Sports Radio continues its UFC coverage as the network simulcasts “UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Rockhold” on Saturday, May 18. The event will take place at the Arena Jaragua in Jaragua, Santa Catarina, at 9:00 pm ET. After the fights, mixed martial arts expert Larry Pepe will host a Fox Sports Radio wrap-up show with interviews and call-ins from 11:00 pm to 1:00 am ET…..CBS Radio News presents a Memorial Day Weekend special program titled “Combat Stress: Finding the Way Home” that focuses on the impact post-traumatic stress has on the lives of our military veterans. “60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft anchors and speaks with veterans and top experts. The program features personal stories from veterans and their families, an in-depth exploration of treatment options, and stories of encouragement for those suffering with combat stress.
Second Amendment Petition Delivered to Congress. Salem Radio Network vice president, news & talk programming Tom Tradup (right) delivers more than 125,000 signatures in support of the Second Amendment. Accepting the signatures is Republican U.S. Representative from Texas Louie Gohmert (center) and flanked by United States Concealed Carry Association CEO Tim Schmidt (left). The network began the petition drive in response to calls for new gun legislation in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.
Talkers Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “The Freedom Feens” – syndicated by Genesis Communications Network – picks up new affiliates KTGO, Tioga, North Dakota and WZFG, Fargo-Moorhead…..Talk Media Network’s “Frontlines of Freedom,” a syndicated military news and talk radio show hosted by two-time purple heart recipient Colonel Denny Gillem, is added to the program schedule at Bonneville’s KTTH, Seattle. Additionally, Colonel Gillem will also analyze military news and issues for sister station, KIRO-FM.…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters is added to the program schedule on WIBQ, Terre Haute, Indiana.
IRS Targeting of Conservative Groups Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of May 13-17. The IRS’ scrutinizing of conservative organizations for taxes was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of May 13-17, putting it atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 this week was the Benghazi attack investigation. At #3 was the AP phone records search by the Justice Department and Attorney General Eric Holder’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee. Following at #4 was Syria-Israel tensions. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. View this week’s entire chart here.
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.
WLS, Chicago Receives $44k Notice of Apparent Liability for Improper Ad Content. The Cumulus Media news/talk station admitted to airing content during the spring of 2009 paid for by Workers Independent News in the form of 90-second spots, 15-second promotional announcements and several long-form programs. The issue was whether the content was properly identified as sponsored content. (The violation took place while WLS was still owned and operated by Citadel Broadcasting, which does not alleviate Cumulus of responsibility.) The text cited here by the commission illustrates the issue. In this newsy-sounding segment listeners heard: “Workers Independent News, I’m Doug Cunningham. As Federal Economic Stimulus dollars flow to Chicago, State Representative Joe Lyons says it’s more critical than ever that the State put together a capital bill to take maximum advantage of the stimulus to put Chicago back to work.” Cumulus argued the “Workers Independent News” phrase was sufficient to identify the content as paid for. The FCC disagreed saying, “Since the subject matter of the 11 announcements at issue related to a state legislative issue impacting the local economy of Chicago, it would not have been apparent to listeners from the announcements themselves that they were sponsored programming, even if commercial programming preceded and succeeded the 11spots. In addition, the name ‘Workers Independent News,’ content, format and duration of the announcements were not consistent with typical commercial matter.” The FCC levied a $4,000 fine for each of the 11 instances for a grand total of $44,000.
Beasley Broadcast Group Announces Net Income Gain. The news for Beasley was a mixed bag. During the fourth quarter of 2011 revenue was down by $1.8 million compared to the same quarter one year ago but a drop in interest expense allowed the company to realize a 1.7% gain in net income. In a statement, chairman and CEO George Beasley said, “Radio advertising remained relatively stable despite widespread economic concerns and volatility in the capital markets throughout the year. Importantly, during the fourth quarter and throughout 2011, we continued to make progress across the organization in enhancing operating efficiencies and maintaining a disciplined approach to spending. Overall, the industry recorded seven consecutive quarters of growth through the third quarter of 2011 which underscores our belief that radio remains both resilient and highly relevant in a digital world.” For Beasley, and most other radio operators for that matter, national business was the problem with a drop of almost 24%.
Talk Host Doc Thompson Out at WRVA, Richmond. The talk host who, until very recently was doing PM drive at Clear Channel’s WRVA, Richmond and the late morning show at the company’s WLW, Cincinnati, is not working at either after announcing Friday evening on his Facebook page he’s off WRVA. Thompson was let go from WLW – while on his honeymoon – as that station made changes to its lineup and now, eight days later, he loses his Richmond gig. Thompson is positive, though, writing: “I am no longer hosting my Richmond show. In the world of radio broadcasting… sometimes these things just happen. As I said earlier in the week it will all work out for the best and I am blessed.” Thompson and his new bride – WHIO-TV, Dayton reporter Yuna Lee – recently relocated to Ohio. They met while both working in Richmond and Lee found a reporter’s job in Ohio so the two could make the move to be closer to WLW.
Jason Jackson New Midday Host at WAXY, Miami. The Lincoln Financial Media sports talk station announces longtime Miami sports personality Jason Jackson hosts the new 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daily program on WAXY, Miami. Jackson is known in the market for his work at WSVN-TV and on Sun Sports coverage of the NBA’s Miami Heat in which he hosts pre-game, halftime and post-game shows as well as provides courtside analysis. Prior to his work with the Heat he worked for ESPN. WAXY program director Marc Hochman says, “Adding Jason Jackson to the lineup solidifies 790 The Ticket’s standing as the destination for outstanding sports talk radio in South Florida. Jason adds more strength to our existing lineup and bolsters our commitment to the highest quality of sports talk radio in South Florida.” Jackson takes over for “The Sports Brothers” – Ed Freeman and Jeff Fox.
Controversial Memphis Host Thaddeus Matthews Returns to Air After Battle with Licensee. Talk host and local political lightning rod Thaddeus Matthews leases WPLX, Memphis from owner Bill Pollack and Matthews’ recent, news-making on-air spat with Republican congressional candidate Charlotte Bergman was the incident that caused Pollack to shut off the transmitter on the afternoon of February 1. Matthews returned to the air Friday, February 2 after getting a judge to issue a temporary restraining order to force Pollack to turn the transmitter back on. The back story went viral via YouTube but here it is in a nutshell: Matthews was interviewing African-American Republican candidate Bergman on his show. When she didn’t answer questions to his liking, he lashed out at her in a raw, epithet-filled tirade and finally refused to shake her hand for fear her “whiteness might rub off” on him. WPLX is positioned as a blues station but Matthews’ talk show airs every afternoon. Matthews tells WHBQ-TV, Memphis his LMA includes and option to buy the station which he intends to do.