Tag: "Clark Howard"

Solutions to AM Radio’s Problems: Here’s How the Industry Can Revive AM and Make it a Viable Force Again

| September 3, 2014

By Bill Brady
Futures & Options, Inc.
President/CEO


bradybill
JUPITER, FL — There is nothing fundamentally wrong with AM radio.

AM stations that offer quality programming that effectively serve listener’s needs are doing just fine.  There is no problem at WLW, WTMJ, KNBR, the CBS all news stations and many other well-programmed AM stations.

There is a problem at the many stations which have “run up the white flag” and surrendered to paid programming, wall-to-wall syndication, religion, or my personal favorite…drumroll please…the irresistible opportunity to become the fifth sports station in their market.

The two biggest issues for AM radio today are the commitment level of corporate owners, and the congealed nature of the syndication marketplace.

Read More

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

| July 22, 2014

2014 NYC logo 150Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted.  Up Today: Joyce Kaufman of WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale Receives the TALKERS “Humanitarian of the Year” Award.  Today (7/22) marks the sixth 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 part 1 of the event’s traditional “Talkers Awards Ceremony” emceed by legendary Westwood One talk show host Jim Bohannon and featuring the presentation of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community kaufmanMarksNYC14Service by a Radio Broadcaster by Talk Media, Inc. CEO Carole Marks (pictured here at left) to WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale personality Joyce Kaufman (pictured here at right).  Kaufman gives a powerful acceptance speech in which she expresses her humble appreciation and encourages her fellow talk show hosts to exercise their radio programs’ full potential as a service to their communities, which she says are becoming increasingly disconnected due in part to the very technology of the modern era.  She states, “If not us – who?  If we don’t move people from merely talking into actually doing, we are missing the blessing that this platform gives us.  If we don’t help the people who deserve our help, we will feed into the notion that we are a dispassionate nation that needs government to take care of us.”  View the video of the award presentation here.  Coming tomorrow:  part 2 of the Talkers Awards Ceremony in which last year’s recipient of the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Radio Industry by a Woman (also known as the “Woman of the Year” award), Heather Cohen EVP, The Weiss Agency presents the honor to this year’s recipient, Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.

mancowMancow Sues Maverick Radio Partners.  From a story in today’s Chicago Tribune, Chicago-based talk show host Erich “Mancow” Muller is suing Maverick Radio Partners – led by Rodney Rainey – for allegedly trying to defraud him of $50,000 purported to be targeted to radio station investments.  The Tribune story relates that Muller was approached by Rainey in December 2011 to be an investor in a project that would acquire a number of radio stations — beginning with WFRE and WFMD in Frederick, Maryland – and that the company had financial backing from Spartacus Partners Group.  Based on a verbal deal, Mancow transferred $50,000 to Maverick with the understanding it would be held in escrow until Mancow was provided with documented proof that the additional funding for the station purchases was secured.  That never happened and when Mancow sought his money back from Maverick, he alleges he received promises the money was on its way but it was never returned.  Mancow is suing Maverick for fraud and breach of contract and is seeking the $50,000, plus interest and attorneys’ fees.  See the Tribune story here.

dibiasechristaChrista Dibiase Named GM of Clark Howard Brands.  Accepting the promotion from executive producer of the Clark Howard show to general manager of Clark Howard Brands is Christa Dibiase.  Effective immediately, Dibiase will be responsible for overseeing the Clark Howard nationally-syndicated radio show, television products, and all digital products, including ClarkHoward.com and consumer apps.  In addition, she will continue to oversee the operation of The Consumer Action Center, a national service outreach that advises the public on money, financial and consumer questions via phone and internet.  CMG Atlanta VP/market manager Ben Reed says, “We know Christa was the perfect person to take on this role.  She led the radio show to become the most prominent consumer talk show in the country, and has repeatedly demonstrated her leadership abilities.  She has been a key collaborative player in our organization over the years, working with radio, digital, television, and newspaper on many successful projects.”  Dibiase comments, “I’m grateful for this opportunity to work with Clark and showcase what CMG is all about – collaborating with TV, radio, digital, and newspaper to create and distribute excellent content for our audience.  In addition, the assistance provided by the Consumer Action Center is right in line with Clark and CMG’s commitment to serving others in our communities.  I’m amazed every day by the 80-plus volunteers who give their time and energy to help others with their consumer dilemmas.”

adamsseanKVET, Austin Names Sean Adams Midday Personality.   Sports talk radio pro Sean Adams lands a daily gig on Clear Channel’s sports talker KVET-AM, Austin “Sports Talk AM 1300 The Zone” where he’ll hold down the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm show beginning August 4.  In addition to hosting “The Adams Theory,” he’ll also have a prominent role in game day broadcasts for University of Texas football. KVET-AM is the flagship station for radio play-by-play.  Adams says, “I’m really excited to join the team at ‘AM 1300 The Zone.’  To cover the Texas Longhorns, and sports in general, on the official Longhorn station — backed by the power of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment — is a tremendous opportunity.”

patrickPortlandDan Patrick Broadcasts Live from KXTG-AM, Portland.  The shot of Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV personality Dan Patrick is from the Bing Lounge in Portland where Patrick did his show live for Alpha Media affiliate KXTG-AM “750 The Game” on Friday, July 18.  In addition to the live broadcast, Patrick and The Danettes also held a listener meet and greet at Buffalo Wild Wings in Beaverton, Oregon from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm where the crew took pictures and signed autographs.  Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick says, “We were thrilled to be able to bring Dan and the Danettes to the Pacific Northwest.  They took time to genuinely connect with the listeners.  This is definitely an experience all of us will remember for a long time.”  The sports talk station recently began simulcasting on its new translator K274AR at 102.7 FM in the market.

giordanodomWPHT, Philadelphia Presents Live Event as Part of Speaker Series.  Midday talk show personality Dom Giordano will host WPHT, Philadelphia’s next speaker series event tomorrow evening as he’ll conduct a sit-down interview with former Marine Colonel Tom Manion about his book, Brothers Forever.  The interview will take place aboard the Battleship New Jersey in Camden, New Jersey.  Manion’s book details the courageous lives of his son, Marine 1st Lieutenant Travis Manion who died in the Al Anbar province of Iraq in 2007 and Travis’ former roommate U.S. Navy Seal Brendan Looney who also perished in battle.  Manion will sign copies of his book for attendees.

nbcsportsromanonealonHangin’ with the Stars in Lake Tahoe.  Pictured here is NBC Sports Radio weekend personality Brian Webber (left) with comic and television star Ray Romano (center) and SNL alum and movie and TV celeb Kevin Nealon (right) at the recent American Century Celebrity Golf Championship in Lake Tahoe.  NBC Sports Radio broadcast from the charity tournament on Thursday and Friday and throughout the weekend.

Downing of Flight 17/Russian Responsibility Question, Gaza Strip Violence, Illegal Child Immigrants Crisis, NYPD Choke Hold Death Controversy and Clinton, Inc. Book, and Tony Dungy’s Michael Sam Comments Among Top Stories Yesterday (7/21).  The continuing global controversy over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17, Russia’s connection to the crash and the United States’ role in determining responsibility; the escalating violence in the Gaza Strip and Secretary of State John Kerry’s role in brokering peace; the influx of illegal child immigrants in the Southwest and the larger topic of immigration reform; the death of a New York City man who was put in a choke hold by police; the new Clinton, Inc. book; and Tony Dungy‘s comment he would not have drafted openly gay football player Michael Sam in order to avoid controversy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, May 16, 2014

| May 16, 2014

ramseydaveClear Channel to Go ‘Real Talk 760’ in Denver.  The flip of progressive talk KKZN, Denver “Colorado’s Progressive Talk” reported earlier this week is confirmed with details.  The station will feature financial and personal help programs and take the positioning statement “Real Talk 760 – Real Life, Real Solutions.”  The lineup, beginning Monday (5/19), is as follows: Bloomberg  Radio and Wall Streetbohannonjim Journal Radio Network programming during the 3:00 am to 10:00 am “Money in the Morning” program block; a simulcast of sister news/talk KHOW’s Troubleshooter Tom Martino from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; Dave Ramsey from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm (starting June 2); Clark Howard from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Dr. Joy Browne from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm with Jim Bohannon from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm.  In a statement, CC Denver market president Pat Connor says, “We’re excited to bring a new genre of talk programming to Colorado.  We’re confident ‘Real Talk 760’ will be a trusted source of information and entertainment for our listeners.”

compasslogoNancy Abramson Named VP Affiliate Sales & Strategic Partnerships at Compass.  Respected talk radio pro Nancy Abramson joins Compass Media Networks in the newlyabramsonnancy created position vice president of sales & strategic partnerships.  In the new post she’ll “drive strategic partnerships with radio stations and content providers.”  Compass CEO Peter Kosann states, “We are incredibly lucky to have Nancy join us.  Great people are the key to this business and Nancy fits this description.”  Abramson will work out of the company’s Rye, New York offices.  She comments, “It is an honor to join Compass Media Networks.  The company has done a brilliant job amassing an incredible content portfolio and I cannot wait to work with our distribution partners.”

osgoodcharlesWestwoodOne Inks Charles Osgood to Multi-Year Renewal.  Iconic CBS News figure Charles Osgood and WestwoodOne will continue their relationship for some years to come as the two sides agree to terms to continue producing “The Osgood File” series.  Osgood states, “I’m looking forward to bringing morewestwoodone logo of ‘The Osgood File’ to the millions of listeners across the country who tune in each weekday morning.  My producer Ray Bassett and I look forward to continuing the great partnership with our colleagues at CBS News and WestwoodOne who make it all possible – and so enjoyable.  See you on the radio!”  Osgood’s radio work has been honored over the years with two Peabody Awards, the RTDNA Murrow Award, an NAB Marconi Award, and a Radio Mercury Award.

Fourth Round of April PPM Data Released. PPM data from the fourth of four groups of 12 markets for the April 2014 period (March 27 – April 23) has been released by Nielsen Audio.  Those markets include: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication, RadioInfo, has all the (subscriber) numbers here.  Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.

2014 NYC logo 150Four Dynamic Solo Speakers to Present Spectrum of Views and Information at Talkers New York 2014 – Hannity, Francesa, Edelman and Del Colliano to Appear in Key Addresses.  The agenda continues to grow as the 17th annual installment of talk media’s longest running and most important convention – Talkers New York 2014 — is now less than five weeks away.  The power-packed, one-day, industry-only gathering will provide its luminous attendees with more than 65 speakers participating in five panel discussions, an awards ceremony, the legendary and original Talk Rumble, a product and idea exhibit, and four dynamic solo presentations.  Kicking off the day with the traditional TALKERS General Keynote Address will be Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity discussing key issues including his vision of news/talk’s future.  That will be followed by WFAN, New York legend Mike Francesa delivering the second annual TALKERS Sports Keynote Address in his unique, no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is style; highly respected, personal finance advisor and syndicated radio host, Ric Edelman will deliver a special presentation offering retirement planning information specifically geared to radio professionals shifting from employee to self-employed status during this economically transitional era in the business; and noted radio industry observer and Inside Music Media publisher, Jerry Del Colliano will offer up a serving of potent insights about “Radio in the Digital Era.”  According to TALKERS publisher and conference director Michael Harrison, “Each of these solo speakers brings something very special to the table and we couldn’t be more delighted having them serve our attendees in their key roles.”  The event takes place on Friday, June 20 at the iconic India House located at One Hanover Square in the heart of New York City’s historic Financial District.  Registration (open only to people who are employed in the radio industry or associated media companies and broadcasting students) is $249 per person and covers all events, presentations and sessions including breakfast, lunch, day-long refreshments and closing reception.  Talkers New York 2014 is expected to be sold out before June.  Registrations can only be booked by telephone with credit card.  For registration or sponsorship information call 413-565-5413. To see up-to-the-minute agenda details and hotel information, please click here.

boomercartonWFAN, New York’s Boomer & Carton Welcome the Gin Blossoms to ‘Summer Kickoff Party.’  The event will take place at D’JAIS in Belmar, New Jersey next Friday, May 23 as WFAN, New York morning drive team Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton will broadcast their show live for the inaugural Memorial Day “Summer Kickoff Party” on the CBS RADIO sports talk station.  The Gin Blossoms will perform live during the show and will serve as special guests on the program.

lordrichOdds & Sods. Sports talk KILT-AM, Houston personality Rich Lord is being replaced as the sideline reporter for Houston Texans radio broadcasts by John Harris, who recently joined the Texans as a media contributor.  He most recently worked at KGOW, Houston and the affiliated Yahoo! Sports Radio network.  According to David Barron in the Houston Chronicle, the move was not a reflection on Lord but a means of raising Harris’ profile…..CBS RADIO Philadelphia partners with the Schuylkill Navy of Philadelphia around the Stotesbury Cup Regatta presented by the Tri-State Toyota Dealers, the largest high school rowing event in the world.  As part of the partnership, the CBS Radio Sponsorship Group will serve as a marketing, media and sponsorship arm for the Stotesbury Cup, which has been held continuously on the Schuylkill River since 1927, attracting almost 6,000 high school athletes from over 200 high schools and over 30,000 spectators for the two-day event.  The 2014 Stotesbury Cup Regatta takes place today and tomorrow.

hartmannthomTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Radio America’s “Dana Show” with Dana Loesch joins new stations KXL-FM, Portland; KFQD-AM, Anchorage; WIBW-AM, Topeka; WGKA-AM, Atlanta; WAAM-AM, Ann Arbor; and KNWZ, Palm Springs…..“Gun Talk” with host Tom Gresham is now part of the program schedule at KWQW, Des Moines “98.3 The Torch.”…..WYD Media’s Thom Hartmann moves to afternoon drive on Saga Communications’ progressive talk WNYY, Ithaca…..New affiliates for The Wall Street Journal Radio Network‘s “MarketWatch Reports” include: KROI, Houston; KQTH, Tucson;  and KOA and KKZN, Denver.  KKZN also picks up “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” and “The Wall Street Journal This Weekend.”…..The “Motley Fool Stock Watch” daily feature is added to the programming at WNOS, New Bern, North Carolina.

koznmanning‘OMAHA, OMAHA!’ Peyton Manning’s in Town.  Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning – whose use of the word “Omaha” when barking out audible signals on the gridiron was the subject of much discussion and jocularity last season – visited the city for the 60th Annual B’nai B’rith Charity Sports Banquet on May 15 at Century Link Center.  The event was attended by more than 1,200 people and KOZN, Omaha “1620 The Zone” morning hosts Gary Sharp (left) and Damon Benning (right) got the chance to snap a pic with Manning (center) while welcoming him to the city.

Boko Haram Kidnappings/Militant Islamism Top News/Talk Stories for Week of May 12-16.  Landing atop the Talkers TenTM this week is the kidnapping of the schoolgirls in Nigeria by the militant Islamic group Boko Haram and the U.S.’s role in the situation.  At #2 was the report on Antarctic glacial melt and debate over climate change.  Following at #3 was the 2016 presidential race and the matter of Hillary Clinton’s health and at #4 was the mid-term elections and primary race results.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

| November 26, 2012

CBS Sports Radio Network Announces National Morning Show: Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson.  When the CBS Sports Radio Network officially begins on January 2, former New York Giants great Tiki Barber, sports talk personality and current KGME, San Francisco afternoon co-host Brandon Tierney and longtime ESPN broadcaster Dana Jacobson will make up the morning drive show airing from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET.  CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason states, “CBS Sports Radio has been able to attract some of the most renowned names in the business, and Tiki, Brandon and Dana are just the latest example of the network’s star power.  We’ve assembled an impressive group of professional athletes and accomplished broadcasters to bring fans unrivaled sports commentary, and the most entertaining lineup in all of sports radio.  The launch of CBS Sports Radio provides an additional way for us to use our content, debuting original programs to millions of listeners across the country on day one.  The network’s reach in the major markets is unsurpassed, and the marketplace has taken notice of our depth and broad range of offerings.”  CBS Radio is announcing the morning show will clear on such outlets as: WIP-AM, Philadelphia); WFOM-AM, Atlanta; WXYT-AM, Detroit; WJZ-AM, Baltimore; KFNZ-AM and KJQS-AM, Salt Lake City; and WSJZ-FM, Orlando.

Another Look Back at the Harsh Reality of Sandy and its Intense Relationship with Radio.  American voters are conditioned every four years to believe that the presidential ballot they are about to cast will be the most crucial such decision they will make in their entire lifetimes.  That was certainly a dominant theme of the 2012 campaign, yet less than 10 days before Election Day, something else began percolating that had approximately 20% of the country hitting the “pause” button to politics: Sandy.  Innocuous as the name sounds, “Sandy” unfortunately arrived as advertised and now, weeks later, harsh reality remains in its wake.  It is impossible to factor precious loss of lives and the shattering of countless dreams into the billions of dollars of wreckage caused by one of the unkindest of oxymorons – a so-called “perfect storm.”  As another testament to our democracy, the November 6 election went off without a hitch and the country would ready itself for one of its proudest traditions – setting aside a day of thanksgiving (albeit followed by the dubious recent sales custom known as “Black Friday”).  Radio stations though in locales that include the country’s #1 market – New York City – are continuing to focus on what has been consuming them since (roughly) Saturday, October 27.  Suffering through Sandy was brutal.  For many, enduring the aftermath is considerably worse.  As the radio industry returns from the Thanksgiving weekend, TALKERS takes another look back at the our medium’s intense relationship with the “weather event” that was so dominant a factor in current events that it even upstaged a presidential election – as seen through the eyes, lives and dedicated work of broadcasters at CBS Radio‘s all- news WCBS-AM, New York and Cumulus Media‘s news/talk WMAL, Washington, DC.   To read TALKERS managing editor/west coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian‘s epic article click here.

WTDY-AM/FM, Madison Drops News/Talk; Stunting with Christmas Music.  The Wisconsin State Journal reports that “several broadcasters” have been let go by Midwest Family Broadcasting as the simulcast of news/talk programming on WTDY AM 1670 and WTDY FM 106.7 ended late on Wednesday and was replaced with Christmas music.  Talk personality John “Sly” Sylvester and news director Amy Barrilleaux both communicated via social media that they had been let go by the station and that it is flipping formats but that they knew no more.  Midwest Family owns seven stations in the market that include: rock WJJO; AC WMGN; rhythmic CHR WJQM; country WWQM; WLMV Spanish music; and oldies WHIT.  The word on the street is that the simulcast will become a CBS Sports Radio Network affiliate on January 2 but that has not been confirmed.

ESPN in Agreement for Exclusive Rights to College Football Playoff Contests.  The sports giant announces it has reached agreements in principle to obtain exclusive rights to broadcast the games and the affiliated programming for the college football championship and playoff games that will begin after the 2014 season and begin in January of 2015 when the new playoff system begins.  ESPN Radio will be part of the broadcast of these games.  The announcement was made Wednesday by ESPN president John Skipper and Bill Hancock, executive director of the BCS and the future college football playoffs.  Skipper states, “Because of college football’s widespread popularity and the incredible passion of its fans, few events are more meaningful than these games.  We are ecstatic at the opportunity to continue to crown a college football champion on ESPN’s outlets for years to come, the perfect finale to our year-round commitment to the sport.”  ESPN is in the midst of a four-year agreement for the Bowl Championship Series (BCS).  The network televises all five games from the current format, including the Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta Bowls, as well as the BCS National Championship Game.  The two BCS National Championship Games on ESPN (2011, 2012) have generated the two largest audiences for any program in the history of cable television.  The new playoff will be administered by the Football Bowl Subdivision conferences and independent institutions.  The agreement in principle is subject to completion of definitive documentation and all necessary approvals.

Stephen King-Owned WZLO and WZON, Bangor Progressive Talk Simulcast Splits.  “The Pulse” website states the stations have split their simulcast of progressive talk and are featuring Christmas music on the FM signal with a “BIG surprise” the station will reveal after Christmas.  The stations have been a simulcast for the past 2 ½ years – first as a sports talk station, then as the progressive talk outlet.  The FM side had been playing a triple A format prior to the simulcast.  WZON at 620 AM continues to air a progressive talk format featuring a local morning show with Don Cookson, WYD Media’s Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Premiere NetworksRandi Rhodes, Thom Hartmann, Cox Media’s Clark Howard and Leslie Marshall.

April NAB Show to Feature Q&A with News Corp’s Chase Carey.  The National Association of Broadcasters announces the spring NAB Show scheduled for April 6-11 in Las Vegas will feature a question-and-answer session with News Corporation president and chief operating officer Chase Carey.  NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith will conduct the session.  Smith says, “As a leading executive of one of the world’s preeminent media companies, Chase Carey has valuable insight into today’s multi-platform global media environment.  I look forward to our conversation at the NAB Show and hearing Mr. Carey’s vision of what the future holds for the media business worldwide.”  Carey has served in his role at News Corp since July of 2009.  Prior to that he was president and CEO at DIRECTV, Inc.

French-Language Quebec Talk Host Suspended for Anti-Semitic Incident.  CHMP, Quebec late night talk show host Jacques Fabi has been suspended from his program after allowing a female caller to his program make anti-Semitic statements.  The caller was responding to Fabi’s discussion of the violence in Israel and Gaza and blamed the Jews, then went on to intimate that Hitler should have been allowed to finish the job.  Fabi never stopped her and, according to complaints to the CRTC and the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, seemed to encourage her rant.  The CBC reports station spokesman David Crete said, “The comments that were aired earlier this week are unacceptable…hosts and journalists are subject to ethical rules.  If they are not met, penalties are applied.”  It is not clear how long Fabi’s suspension will be.  CHMP is owned by Cogeco.

British Broadcaster Fined for Anti-Gay Remarks.  The British agency that regulates broadcasting content – Ofcom – levied a $6,400 fine against the company that owns a Leeds, England station that serves the South Asian community.  The incident stems from a program hosted by Rubina Nasir – known as Sister Ruby – in which she interpreted passages in the Koran that indicated homosexuals should be punished – physically and mentally – for practicing their sexuality.  Ofcom ruled the statements made during the broadcast were likely to “encourage or incite the commission of a crime.”

Rock 102 Thanksgiving Tradition.  WAQY, Springfield, Massachusetts morning drive team Bax & O’Brien helped gather food and money for those in need in the area with the broadcast of their annual Mayflower Marathon food drive over the Thanksgiving week.  Hosts Mike Baxendale (center) and John O’Brien (far right) are pictured here announcing a donation of $10,000 to the Open Pantry – a local organization that provides food to those in need.  The annual charity event is a signature of Saga Communications’ “Rock 102” and the Bax & O’Brien morning show during which the duo broadcast continuously for two days while encouraging listeners to fill a Mayflower moving van with food staples for the hungry.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

| October 2, 2012

TRN Promotes Jerry Doyle to Network Slot Where Savage Aired.  Calling it the show with which “stations will get more light and less heat, a show that they can sell locally with pride, but also a show that will respect its stations, advertisers and audiences with a brilliance that sets great shows apart from good ones,” Talk Radio Network moves Jerry Doyle into the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT time slot formerly held by Michael Savage.  TRN states, “For too long, we’ve had to choose between ratings and salability, but no longer…Jet pilot, Wall Street investment banker for 10 years, Hollywood star for 12 years, former congressional nominee and now radio giant who has earned his right to this spot for close to nine years, Jerry Doyle is the future of talk radio.  He will bring massive audiences through word of mouth because he is brilliant and funny, showing both emotional and intellectual range that is beyond rare.”  As it announces Doyle’s move into the West Coast afternoon drive slot, TRN promises, “He understands the advertising business like few others; Jerry is a triple-rated William Morris Agency voice-over artist who has voiced national ads for AT&T, Chevrolet, TGI Fridays, Anheuser-Busch, Panasonic, The US Armed Forces and many others.  Jerry will work with his stations reading their ads and promos, because he understands radio isn’t about host ego, it’s about high levels of performance, and it’s about business.”  Michael Savage exited TRN last week after winning in arbitration to get out of his contract with the syndicator.  Filling in for Doyle’s program in his previous network time is Dr. Bill Wattenburg until a permanent replacement is named.

CBS Sports Radio Announces Scott Ferrall to Be Late Night Host.  When CBS Radio’s new 24/7 national sports talk network kicks off in January, longtime sports talk pro Scott Ferrall will hold down the 10:00 pm to 2:00 am ET slot with his “Ferrall on the Bench” program.  So far, we know the new CBS Sports Radio network will feature Jim Rome for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot followed by Doug Gottlieb from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  Network director of programming Eric Spitz says, “Scott is widely recognized as having set the standard for what a successful national evening sports radio show should be.  He’s got an amazing knowledge of sports that rivals even the most noted experts, and with his fast-paced style of high-octane sports talk, listeners and our affiliates are guaranteed to get the very best program each and every night.”  Ferrall is currently hosting a sports talk show for SiriusXM.  In the past he has worked for SportsNet New York, several NHL properties, Fox Sports Radio, and Sportsfan Radio Network, as well as major market stations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Miami and Pittsburgh.

Don Wade Update from Chicago.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that WLS-AM, Chicago morning host Don Wade came through his brain surgery successfully and is resting at home, according to wife and on-air partner Roma.  In case you missed it, the longtime WLS-AM morning personality was diagnosed with a growth in early September for which he underwent surgery last Thursday.  Now, the Wades’ agent, Eliot Ephriam, tells Feder, “The surgery went as expected and Don came out of it really well.  We’re awaiting the results of tests and that will determine what’s next.”  Don Wade is expected to remain at home for several weeks.  Station executives report the duo had good ratings news as the September PPM numbers indicate WLS-AM was #1 with listeners 12+ from 6:00 am to 10:00 am scoring a 7.0 share – the program’s highest ratings in more than four years.

Genesis Communications’ SportsTalkFlorida Aligns with NBC Sports Radio.  Several months ago, Genesis Communications stated it was going to drop the ESPN Radio affiliation for its sports talk stations WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando.  Now the company reveals its programming plans and its new affiliation with the fledgling NBC Sports Radio network.  The stations have been named “NBC Sports Talk 1040 The Team Tampa Bay” and “NBC Sports Talk 1080 The Team Orlando,” respectively.  The new lineup at the two stations includes: local host David Baumann in AM drive; DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; local host Whitney Johnson from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; for PM drive, WHBO airs local host Charlie Bernstein and WHOO broadcasts local duo Mike Tuck and Jerry O’Neill; both stations air NBC’s Erik Kuselias.  Both outlets are carrying sports news updates from NBC Sports Radio.

Clark Howard Returns to Middays at WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando.  The Mel Robbins program, heard from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at Cox Media’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando will exit that time slot and Clark Howard will return to that time slot beginning October 12.  Howard was bumped to the late night 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot back in March when WDBO brought Robbins aboard for a live midday program.

 

KOZN, Omaha Names Damon Benning Morning Co-Host.  Former Nebraska running back and 1996 Orange Bowl MVP Damon Benning is named co-host of the 7:00 am to 11:00 am show alongside Gary Sharp on NRG Media’s “1620 The Zone.”  Benning has served as an analyst on the Big Ten Network, NET Television, Cox Communications, and made numerous guest appearances on “1620 The ZONE” over the years.  Today he begins on-air duties on “Sharp & Benning in the Morning” with KOZN sports director Gary Sharp.  NRG Media Omaha market manager Andy Ruback says, “For years we have had Benning on the station as he has been a vital part of our broadcast team and our extensive Husker coverage.  Now, we will be able to take advantage of his expertise full time, all year long.”

WISN, Milwaukee Talk Host Mark Belling Faces Backlash for “Thug” Comments.  Community activists in Milwaukee are promising a rally on Thursday to demand an apology from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment talk host Mark Belling who hosts the PM drive show on news/talk WISN.  Activists in the market are upset with comments Belling made about Derek Williams – an African-American man – who died in the back of a Milwaukee Police squad car.  An account from the Milwaukee Journal states Williams pleaded with officers for help saying he could not breathe but they ignored his pleas and he died.  The case was recently reclassified as a homicide.  Critics say Belling’s characterizing Williams as a “dirty, rotten thug” was inappropriate and not relevant to the care he should have received while in police custody.

Odds & Sods.  CBS Radio’s KRLD-AM, Dallas “Newsradio 1080” announces the hiring of award-winning weatherman Bob Goosmann as chief meteorologist for the station.  VP of news/talk/sports Bruce Gilbert states, “Bob lives and breathes North Texas weather and greatly respects KRLD’s commitment to accurate and dependable forecast information every ten minutes.  ‘NewsRadio 1080 KRLD’ listeners can rely on him, not only for accurate forecasts, but also for the information they need to stay safe when severe weather strikes.”  Goosmann most recently served as chief meteorologist for KDAF-TV, Dallas…..Clear Channel’s Quad Cities cluster enters into a deal with New Young Broadcasting Holding Company’s KWQC-TV, Davenport, Iowa that has the TV station producing news and weather content for news/talk WOC and other cluster stations in exchange for CC creating daily entertainment reports for the television station.

Clear Channel’s WTAM Scores Indians Renewal.  According to Northeast Ohio’s Chronicle-Telegram, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WTAM, Cleveland has won the rights to Indians baseball – for how long, though, is not known.  The report has not been confirmed by Clear Channel.  WTAM – which has been the home of Indians baseball for the past 14 years – was reportedly getting a strong challenge for the play-by-play rights from CBS Radio’s crosstown sports talk WKRK “92.3 The Fan.”

Obama-Romney Debate Preview, Iran Nukes Threat, Potential New ObamaCare Challenge, and Fate of ‘Fast and Furious’ Guns Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/1).  The looming presidential candidate debate; concern over Iran’s nuclear weapons program; a new, potential  Supreme Court challenge to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; and the charge that guns from the ‘Fast and Furious’ program ended up in Mexican drug cartel’s hands were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

| September 27, 2012

Big Changes in Atlanta Talk Radio: Clear Channel to Flip WGST-AM/FM, Atlanta to Spanish or Comedy and Rush Limbaugh Moves to Cox’s WSB-AM/FM.  Exactly what format Clear Channel Media and Entertainment will flip longtime news/talk WGST-AM (which is simulcast on an FM translator at 92.3) to – whether it will be a Spanish format or a comedy format – remains to be seen.  But talk pro Rusty Humphries, who handled PM drive for the station is gone and Premiere’s Glenn Beck ran in his place Wednesday.  The status of morning hosts Rob Johnson and Dave Merlino is not known, however WGST is airing “The Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal” in place of Johnson and Merlino.  Humphries, who hosts a separate program that is nationally syndicated via Talk Radio Network, tells TALKERS magazine, “It is always sad to see a news/talk facility such as WGST change to another format but I am grateful for the time I had there and was able to spend doing local radio in Atlanta.  The people at Clear Channel are fine people and I enjoyed working with them.  For me, the good news is that I will have a lot more time to devote to my nationally syndicated TRN program which is growing by leaps and bounds.”  Attempts by TALKERS to get response from Clear Channel management in Atlanta confirming the format change have not been successful.  Meanwhile, across town at Cox Media’s WSB-AM/FM, the station announces Rush Limbaugh, who is heard on WGST, will move to WSB beginning Monday, October 1.  At the same time WSB announces a new long-term deal with Premiere’s Sean Hannity for the PM drive slot and the return of “Atlanta’s Evening News” airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm hosted by Erick Erickson.  Cox Media’s Clark Howard will still emanate from WSB for his nationally syndicated program heard on some 200 affiliates across the country but will move to the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot on WSB.  In order to accommodate the Limbaugh acquisition, the Neal Boortz program moves to the 8:30 am to 12:00 noon slot.

Armstrong & Getty Return Today.  KSTE, Sacramento-based morning duo Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty are back on the air this morning with Armstrong telling Sacramento TV station KTXL “Fox40” that the reason the duo was off the air on Tuesday and Wednesday was due to an “internal” reason and not because of their call to have listeners post cartoons, photos etc. that criticize Islam.  It had been widely reported the two had been suspended for the incident.  In fact, Armstrong tells the TV station the audio file of Monday’s controversial show will return to the online archives soon.  He says they will address the matter first thing today on the program at 6:00 am PT.

Talk Host Phil Valentine Decries Political Correctness.  Writing that the fear of offending those groups of people from which terrorists have sprung has put the shoe on the other foot and now the media is being terrorized, nationally syndicated talk host Phil Valentine laments the state of the media in America.  He says, “I’ve often joked that the only two groups we in talk radio can get away with offending are the deaf and the Amish.  Other offenses might require throwing yourself at the mercy of Jesse Jackson or apologizing to some LGBT group.  Now there is an offense from which you may never come back and that is offending a Muslim.”  Valentine penned this piece for TALKERS after hearing about the case of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty.  Valentine’s piece is an interesting look at the intersection of politics and media in our current age.  Read it here.

Media Blogger Rich Lieberman Stands By Ronn Owens Story.  Rich Lieberman, who operates the 415 Media blog, wrote a post recently predicting that KGO, San Francisco talk legend Ronn Owens would have his contract – which expires at the end of this year – bought out and he would disappear from KGO early with the station moving in a newsier direction.  TALKERS reported this and Owens responded that Lieberman’s report is “totally made up.”  He also told TALKERS Lieberman has been attacking him for the past year for the changes that have taken place at KGO since Cumulus Media took over the station.  Now, Lieberman tells TALKERS he stands by his story.  “My sources are strong and I believe in them.  This has been a story I have sat on for nearly three weeks.  I finally went with it after talk and e-mailing Bay Area broadcast people familiar with the subject at hand.  I do NOT just dish out any speculation and innuendo without first trying to get it right.”  Apparently, only time will tell what the future holds for Ronn Owens at KGO.

20 Years and Going Strong.  Nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey is pictured here holding the pewter statuette of a classic radio microphone given to him by his staff in honor of his 20th anniversary in the talk radio business.  Ramsey’s “official” anniversary is tomorrow – September 28 – and commemorates the day he and some friends took to the air on WWTN-FM, Nashville in a brokered time deal with the then-bankrupt station.  On Friday, a special episode of the program will air and include well-wishes from celebrities, friends and family; glimpses into the party at Ramsey’s Financial Peace Plaza; a look back at the history of the show; and calls from long-time listeners and second-generation callers.  Video of the show will be streamed live online.   Ramsey says, “I’m still surprised and honored that people call me at some of the most difficult and personal moments in their lives.  Giving people hope for their future and seeing lives changed is why I do this every day.”  He also credits his team for helping him achieve the success he has.  “I didn’t do this on my own.  Our producer, Blake Thompson, associate producer, Lara Johnson, engineer Matt Aaron and many other people have made it what it is today.  I have the best crew in radio, and we’ve been together for a long time, which is unheard of in the radio industry.”

The Young Guns of Talk Radio.  Ask anyone, especially those working for the consumer media, and they’ll tell you that personalities working as hosts on news/talk stations are all old, white men.  Radio’s general lack of a “farm system” doesn’t help that misconception much, but the truth is there are young people – some men and some women – working in news/talk radio today.  TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey writes about some of the young broadcasters working in news/talk now.  Not all of them agree that by being young, they have the ability to attract a younger audience to the format.  But some believe it can be a factor.  KNST, Tucson host and PD Garret Lewis, for example, says, “The fact that I’m 35 and my friends are around my age gives me an advantage because I know what makes a person in their late 20s and 30s get fired up emotionally and what interests them.”  Hosts talk with Casey about the issues of the demographic, who inspired them, how they approach their programs and what, if anything, can be done to get young people into the talk business.  Read this story here.

Looking for Political Ad Dollars.  Getting those political ad dollars – even getting them late – is a nice boost to a station’s or group’s revenue.  TALKERS magazine managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian talks with Portland Radio Group president and general manager Cary Pahigian about status of political money.  Pahigian says if you’re not in a potential swing state, the numbers (at least for presidential dollars) for radio are not rosy – at least not yet.  “With the exception of a few states, there does seem to be a lull,” Pahigian says.  He says the same pattern has developed over the past few election cycles.  “Depending on the landscape and circumstances, television is first in line and radio is second.  Everything changes though if there are issues and/or a tight race going on.”  Read Mike Kinosian’s full story here.

Three Senators and a Hopeful.  WIBC, Indianapolis late morning host Greg Garrison was visited by three U.S. Senators and one who hopes to become the next senator from the state of Indiana on his program on Wednesday during a campaign swing through the state capital.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: WIBC’s Todd Meyer, Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Garrison, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Indiana State Treasurer and senatorial candidate Richard Mourdock, and Senator Dan Coats (R-IN).

Presidential Campaign Polls, Libya-al Qaeda Connection, Iran/Middle East Tensions, and NFL Referees Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/26).  The conflicting presidential election polls; the continuing query into the cause of the Libya terrorist attack; the state of Iran’s nuclear weapons program and the political climate in the Middle East; and the status of the NFL’s referee situation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, June 4, 2012

| June 4, 2012

Tom Leykis and Lionel to Discuss Their High-Profile Pioneering Digital Efforts at NMS.  Two questions (or variations thereof) regularly fielded by the TALKERS editorial staff these days are “How’s Tom Leykis doing with his new online talk show?” and “What’s Lionel up to these days with his online project?”  Both will be answered in detail straight from the horses’ mouths at the New Media Seminar’s Digital Workshop in New York City this Thursday, June 7.  As West Coast-based Leykis approaches the two-month mark into the launch of his “New Normal Network” online project and East Coast-based Lionel chalks up two years of operating “LionelMedia.com,” both individualistic graduates of the terrestrial talk show scene continue to gain traction on both the audience and revenue fronts as the industry watches with great interest.  Leykis tells TALKERS, “We had over 1.1 million sessions from our debut on April 2nd until April 30th. That number would most closely approximate cume. In our first week of 24/7 streaming, we had exactly 401,180 listeners. That was more listeners than the weekly cumes of 14 L.A./Orange County radio stations in March.”  On the revenue front, Leykis is also very pleased with immediate results saying, “At the current pace, we will make over 100K in revenue, but we are conservatively estimating 100K for the year.”  Leykis explains the key to making an online radio operation work is to provide specific listeners something they cannot get anywhere else.  He tells TALKERS, “You really have to super-serve your P1s…even in the process of selling advertising.  We go out into the marketplace and ask radio-friendly businesses the question, ‘Are you being priced out of radio?’  Because our operating costs are so much lower than radio we can offer these small businesses very affordable deals.  And when you specifically target business owners who are already in your audience as listeners, well it just makes a lot of sense.  This is what we are doing and it is working.”  Lionel describes his digital effort to TALKERS as follows: “This month is the second anniversary of the launch of LionelMedia.com, a paid subscription podcasting outlet. I podcast an hour daily of uninterrupted, unedited, commercial and break-free freeform-yet-structured spoken word. It, frankly, knows no peer. Every day I post news stories, columns, ideas, opinions and the like that supplement the subject or content of that day’s podcast. I’ll also attach a YouTube video of my latest PIX11 commentary on myriad subjects. To be most precise: I do exactly what I want. Let that sink in. My podcasts are not profane or blue in the least — in fact they could be played in their entirety on terrestrial radio. That, I feel, is a drawing point and basis for much of our success.”  Although Lionel no longer does a terrestrial radio talk show, he does regularly scheduled commentaries on Tribune television stations including New York’s WPIX channel 11 and Merlin Media’s all-news FMs in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago in addition to appearing as a regular guest on a number of terrestrial radio talk shows…exposure that helps drive traffic to his online media station.  The Digital Workshop will be moderated by Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News Service and Dan Patterson of KoPoint.  The June 7 industry-only New Media Seminar/NYC is an advance sellout.  For information call 413-565-5413.

Wisconsin Recall Spurs Question of “Equal Time” on Milwaukee News/Talk Outlets – and Beyond.  Progressive political groups are charging Clear Channel‘s WISN, Milwaukee and Journal Broadcasting‘s WTMJ, Milwaukee with violating the FCC‘s “Zapple Doctrine” which mandates “equal time” to all qualified political candidates within 60 days of an election under certain circumstances. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes that talk hosts often benefit from exemption from the “Zapple Doctrine” by qualifying as a “news interview program.” But that exemption is not always a slam dunk. Read Weisman’s column about how the courts tend to interpret this section of FCC regulations here.

WPLJ-FM, New York OM Tony Mascaro to Program WABC?  Some posts on the New York Radio Message Board indicate inside sources are reporting Cumulus Media New York is naming CHR WPLJ-FM operations manager Tony Mascaro program director of its news/talk WABC. As of the posting of this item, there is no confirmation or denying of the report from Cumulus. WABC APD Chuck Armstrong has been serving as interim program director for the station filling the role left vacant when Laurie Cantillo exited the post last fall. Stay tuned.

Tony Kornheiser Re-Ups with WTEM, Washington for Two Years.  The Red Zebra Broadcasting station announces high-profile personality Tony Kornheiser renews his deal to remain host of the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program on ESPN 980 WTEM, Washington, DC. As part of the new contract, Kornheiser will contribute to the Washington Redskins Radio Network‘s “Official Pre-Game Show” during the football season. WTEM CEO Rick Carmean states, “Tony’s unique brand of humor and entertainment fits perfectly into our strong and highly rated midday lineup.” Kornheiser is joined weekdays by a rotating cast of co-hosts including Gary Braun, Jeanne McManus, Torie Clark, David Aldridge and longtime producer Nigel. Frequent contributors include Tony’s “Pardon the Interruption”co-host Michael Wilbon.

WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta Gives Adam Goldfein Nightly Program.  Local attorney and auto dealership owner Adam Goldfein has hosted a weekend program about cars on Cox Media‘s WSB-AM/FM for some time. Now, the station adds more air time to his schedule. The consumer issues expert begins hosting a program airing nightly from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Goldfein had been filling in for Clark Howard on the station and Cox Radio Atlanta VP and market manager Dan Kearney tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “He was doing a great job filling in for Clark Howard and his Sunday show was getting great ratings. We wanted him on more consistently.” 

Stephen King’s WZON, Bangor Drops Local Sports Talk; Dismisses Two.  Give WZON, Bangor owner Stephen King credit for manning up and personally delivering the news to sports talk hosts Dale Duff and Clem LaBree that they were being dismissed for financial reasons. Duff and LaBree hosted the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm sports talk show on WZON-AM as well as covering a slew of local sports events, including high school and college games. The Bangor Daily News reports King told the two the change had nothing to do with the quality of their work but because the programming was losing money. WZON-AM had ceased being a full-time sports talk station in November of 2010 and was carrying much of the progressive talk format from sister WZON-FM ­- The Pulse. Duff had been with the station for 19 years. Both are receiving severance from the company. Duff and LaBree’s show will be replaced by a simulcast from WZON-FM although the station will continue to air sports play-by-play.

SRN’s Tom Tradup Makes Statement on End of “Richard Land Live” Program.  The Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention issued two reprimands to Dr. Richard Land for comments he made about the Trayvon Martin case that it deemed “irresponsible, insensitive and racially charged.” It also ended his radio program that it produced that was distributed via Salem Radio Network. The controversy surrounding the statements was enhanced further by allegations Land read them from another published opinion that was not cited. SRN vice president of news/talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “Theologians have a different perspective on talk radio than the rest of our industry does. What some see as “hurtful language” on the Trayvon Martin case is, in reality, part of a free and open exchange of ideas and opinions that is the keystone of talk radio. And by talk radio standards, nothing Dr. Land may have failed to “fully attribute” on the air or on his website rose to the level of so-called plagiarism. Nevertheless, we respect the ERLC’s decision and thus the final edition of ‘Richard Land Live’ aired Saturday, June 2.

Twin Cities Radio Personality Dark Star Dies at Age 66.  Longtime Minneapolis radio personality Dark Star – real name George Chapple – was found dead in his home in Minnetonka, Minnesota. He co-hosted the “Sports Show” along with Sid Hartman on CBS Radio‘s WCCO, Minneapolis during part of his 25 years on the air there before accepting a buyout from the station in November of 2010. Recently he had been working at crosstown KFAN. He failed to show up for his Friday show there and authorities found him dead in his apartment.

Compass Media Marketing Named Exclusive Radio Sales Agent for Point-of-Purchase Service.  This story is really about the acquisition of InStore Broadcasting Network by POP Radio and the new company becomes InStore Audio Network. It delivers in-store advertising messages to more than 33,000 retail outlets – grocery, drug stores, etc. – and provides music content to some 14,000 stores. The company is enlisting Compass Media Marketing as exclusive national radio sales agent. Compass CEO Peter Kosann says, “I have been a longtime partner with POP Radio and the expanded footprint of the new company creates an exciting and compelling media product that network radio buyers will need to consider.”

KSFO, San Francisco Listeners Help Raise $135k for Fisher House Construction.  Cumulus Media‘s news/talk KSFO, San Francisco held a Memorial Day weekend fundraiser for the Fisher House Foundation that began with a live remote broadcast of Brian Sussman‘s morning drive show. Sussman (r) is pictured here interviewing Fisher House representative Cindy Campbell (l). Fundraising continued over the Memorial Day weekend and more than $135,000 was collected for the construction of the Palo Alto Fisher House which provides no-cost housing and the comforts of home for family members of military personnel while their loved ones rehab and recover from various injuries and ailments. Sussman states, “This gift of over $135,000 illustrates the abundant generosity of our KSFO radio family. The Fisher House provides our troops and their families with genuine American hospitality and it’s an honor to be associated with their vital endeavor.

Iowa Farm News Broadcaster Mark Pearson Dead at 54.  Mark Pearson worked at Iowa Public Television where he hosted the “Market to Market” show and at Clear Channel‘s WHO, Des Moines where he co-hosted “The Big Show,” a program that highlighted agricultural news. Pearson died of an apparent heart attack at his home on Sunday. WHO talk show host Jan Mickelson told the Des Moines Register, “Everyone at every level in the farm community respected the guy.”

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

| May 23, 2012

Clark Howard Takes on Expanded Role at HLN.  Consumer affairs expert and nationally syndicated talk radio host Clark Howard is going to get more face time at Time Warner’s HLN cable channel.  Howard, who does a weekend program at HLN and contributes to the channel’s “Morning Express” program, will be part of an ensemble weekday afternoon news program titled, “Evening Express” airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET.  Howard will be partnered with TruTV’s Ryan Smith, who will handle lead anchor duties, and British journalist Isha Sesay who has worked for CNN International and serves as a correspondent for CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.”  In a statement, HLN says the new program is designed to take a “solutions-oriented look at the day’s news, accompanied by deeper discussions and reporting on stories and issues that resonate in the American household – including parenting, education, health, personal finance and relationships.”

Utah Jazz Owner Confirmed to Buy Salt Lake City Sports Talk Combo.  The reported sale of the former Simmons Media sports talk duo KZNS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City to the Larry H. Miller Group is being confirmed by broker Patrick Communications.  The price for the two signals is $3.25 million.  The deal means Utah Jazz play-by-play will move to the new stations after being heard on Cumulus Media’s KFNZ which the Larry H. Miller Group had been operating under an LMA.  At the same time, Fox Sports Radio Network announces it will continue to provide programming for the stations under the new ownership with both the AM and FM sides airing “Fox Sports Tonight,” JT the Brick and the slate of weekend Fox Sports shows.  Premiere NetworksJim Rome will also be heard on the stations.  The FM side of the broadcast will also carry “Fox Sports Daybreak” and the “Petros & Money” show.  Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment SVP of broadcasting Chris Baum states, “We are very pleased to continue our affiliation with Fox Sports Radio as we move to 1280 The Zone and Fox Sports Radio 97.5.  The FSR shows complement our local lineup very well on our new 50,000-watt AM signal, and the additional coverage on our FM signal will allow us to better reach and serve sports fans, and Jazz fans in particular, all along the Wasatch Front.”

Kevin Sheehan Extends Deal with Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington.  Red Zebra Broadcasting announces midday co-host Kevin Sheehan – who co-hosts “The Sports Fix” with Thom Loverro – has signed a two-year deal to remain with the company.  Sheehan also continues with the Washington Redskins Radio Network where he hosts the “Official Redskins Pre-Game Show.”  Sheehan will also contribute to the Tony Kornheiser program and co-host the “Monday Morning Quarterback” after each Redskins game.  Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “Kevin is as versatile as anyone in the field.  He does so much for us.  I look forward to working with him through 2014 and many years to come.”

Former New York Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro Co-Hosting with WOR’s Governor David Paterson.  As per New York Post gossip columnist Cindy Adams, former New York Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro is sitting alongside former Governor David Paterson as he hosts the PM drive show on WOR, New York as a sort of tryout to see if a duo concept works for the program.

ESPN Hosts Affiliates at “Audio Avenue II” Day in Bristol, Connecticut.  The outdoor quad at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut will be busy today as the company hosts talent from its four O&O stations and from 12 affiliate stations for a daylong live broadcast event.  ESPN Audio SVP Mo Davenport states, “Audio Avenue brings the concept of ‘ESPN Everywhere’ to life.  Each of these shows and markets represent what our listeners love, the opportunity to hear from experts locally, nationally and globally.”  Along with the hosts and producers broadcasting from “Audio Avenue,” participants will include network and affiliate management, account executives, program directors, clients, ESPN employees and those involved with ESPN Audio’s promotions, marketing and sales.  The day will also include two “Block Party Breakout” luncheons focusing on the production of “Mike & Mike in the Morning” and listener demographic research.

Courtney Smith Promoted to Director of New Business at Beasley Las Vegas.  The Beasley Broadcasting Las Vegas cluster names Courtney Smith director of new business development and marketing & events manager.  Smith has served at the company since 2006 when she joined as a promotions assistant.  She was promoted to marketing director and added events coordinator to her duties in 2009.  Vice president and general manager Tom Humm states, “I’m constantly amazed with the promotions and events that Courtney conceptualizes from scratch and pleased by the successful results they achieve.  She always makes Beasley shine. Courtney has earned this promotion and I’m very proud of her for that accomplishment.”

Facebook IPO Case, 2012 Presidential Election, Euro Zone Instability and Georgia Teacher Criticizes Student for Questioning Obama Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/22).  Securities regulators investigate Facebook IPO; the 2012 presidential election and questions over whether Hillary Clinton will replace Joe Biden as vice presidential candidate; Greece’s status as a member of the European Union; and the case of the Georgia teacher who bullied a student for criticizing President Obama were some of the most talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, May 21, 2012

| May 21, 2012

The State of News in News/Talk Radio.  The rise of digital news sources, today’s quickening news cycle and the economic realities of our times are forcing news/talk radio stations to evaluate their news product and adapt to continue to serve their listeners.  In a feature story by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey, some of today’s top news/talk programmers speak on the record about their news philosophy, how they are integrating digital tools, news as a cume builder, the relationship between news and talk and their thoughts on the state of journalism.   Read this feature piece here.

NOW-Organized Protest of Rush Limbaugh at WMAL, Washington Fizzles.  The National Organization for Women-sponsored “Enough Rush” campaign got off to an ignominious start outside the studios of affiliate WMAL, Washington, DC Friday, May 18 as just seven protesters marched.  As reported by Fox News, NOW announced the campaign against the Premiere Networks talk radio superstar in April and has partnered with Media Matters for America to target affiliate stations and their advertisers.  Friday’s event in DC was part of a national protest scheduled for that day.  Reports of substantial protests at other Limbaugh affiliate stations have not surfaced.

Cox Media Offers to End Paul Finebaum Issue with Contract Buyout.  The Birmingham Business Journal is reporting that Cox Media – which put sports talk outlet WZNN-FM, Birmingham on the air last September – is again offering to buy out sports talk host Paul Finebaum’s contract with Cumulus Media and its WJOX-FM, Birmingham.  Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the ongoing legal battle between Cumulus and Finebaum that goes back to when the station was part of the Citadel group.  Finebaum’s popular sports talk show has been based at WJOX-FM and regionally syndicated.  While Cumulus would probably like to stop paying legal fees in the ongoing dispute, it may not want to have Finebaum working for a competing station in the market – at least not right away – however it’s likely he’ll end up working there eventually.  There’s no response yet from Cumulus on the offer.

RAB Reports Radio Revenue Up 1% in First Quarter of 2012.  The Radio Advertising Bureau issued a report on Friday, May 18 concluding advertising revenue for all of radio was up 1% for the first quarter of 2012 – the third consecutive Q1 increase – for total revenue of $3.814 billion.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Q1 2012 results confirm that radio commands a solid position in brands’ total marketing plans.  While advertisers continue to capitalize on radio’s spot and network efficiencies, they’re increasingly utilizing local digital capabilities and audience engagement that this medium affords.”  From a category standpoint, spot revenue was flat, network was up 8%, digital rose 10%, and off-air was up 3% for Q1 in 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  WXKS, Boston – Talk Radio 1200 – morning drive talk host Jeff Katz wins two Associated Press Awards – one for “Best Talk Show in Boston” and the other for “Best Public Affairs Broadcast” for his special remote from the Fisher House in Boston…..Salem Radio Network talk host Dennis Prager co-hosts CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report” alongside Brian Sullivan tonight at 7:00 pm ET.  SRN states, “With the just-launched IPO for Facebook as well as the unfolding 2012 battle between Mitt Romney and President Obama, Dennis Prager brings his unique background as a talk radio host, author, lecturer and societal observer to CNBC in what will surely be an eye-opening experience for ‘Kudlow Report’ viewers!”…..SiriusXM announces veteran soccer commentator and former player and coach Ray Hudson will host ‘The Football Show’ alongside fellow soccer experts Charlie Stillitano, Neil Barnett and John Harkes.  Hudson has been a commentator for Gol TV since 2004 and is widely known for his elaborate and excitable play-calling style.  Also from SiriusXM, three-time SEC Coach of the Year Houston Nutt has joined SiriusXM as an analyst on its 24/7 college sports channel.  Nutt will host multiple shows each week on SiriusXM College Sports Nation including ‘College Sports Today’ with Mark Packer and ‘College Football Playbook’ with Jack Arute…..Former WGNU, St. Louis talk host Leonardo Drisdel was found guilty of the 2005 murder of Cassandra Kovack on Friday.  He’ll be sentenced on June 29.

Clark Howard to Help Break Ground for New Home for Joplin Tornado Victims.  Cox Media syndicated talk show host Clark Howard heads to Joplin, Missouri tomorrow along with a team of his listeners to break ground on a new home for a family that lost its home to last spring’s tornado that hit the city.  Howard will broadcast his Tuesday program live from the build site to recognize the one-year anniversary of the tornado.  Clark Howard is funding the Joplin home himself.  However, he joined forces with Cox’s KRMG, Tulsa to promote the build and KRMG even had advertisers chip in for a storm shelter for the house and due to the listeners’ overwhelming support for the build in Joplin, they teamed with Clark to build a home in Tulsa this past weekend.  The home is being funded by monies raised by listeners and Howard.  He says, “I love Habitat for Humanity because it is a hand up and not a hand out.  Homeowners have to meet strict qualification guidelines and put in hundreds of hours of sweat equity to build their own home and other Habitat homes.  It is not a free house.  It is a low-cost mortgage.”

Vic “The Brick” Jacobs Rides the Zamboni at L.A. Kings Game.  Yes, that’s Fox Sports Radio sports talk host Vic “The Brick” Jacobs – of the network’s “Loose Cannons” show – on the zamboni during last Thursday’s L.A. Kings NHL playoff game.  In addition to being at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the game, Jacobs (decked out in his Kings jersey and crown) did a post-game interview with Kings rookie Dwight King who scored the winning goal.

Friday, April 20, 2012

| April 20, 2012

Ed Schultz Added to Growing Lineup of Movers, Shakers and Stars at New Media Seminar.  “Big Eddie,” star of MSNBC’s nightly “The Ed Show” and nationally syndicated progressive talk radio sensation has been named to deliver the annual “State of the First Amendment” address at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7.  The speech, which has a rich history dating back more than two decades, is a longtime tradition in the talk show industry and will take place during the Freedom of Speech Ceremony at this year’s event.  WTOP, Washington VP of news and programming, Jim Farley will be this year’s recipient of the prestigious Freedom of Speech Award.   This year’s NMS/NY will feature a lineup of more than 50 industry speakers addressing a variety of topics including the state of programming in talk radio, methods of generating revenue during tough times, the challenge of selling controversy, designing successful digital and social media strategies, the changing role of news, the continuing growth of sports talk, and lots more.  A detailed agenda for the June 7 event will be posted at Talkers.com this coming week.  This year’s New Media Seminar marks the innovative launch of an updated model sensitive to the tough economic and stressful conditions of the times.  Significant restructuring has been applied to lower the costs of registration (only $99), accommodations and travel as well as moving the event from the weekend to a weekday. According to TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, “Both conferences will be national in scope and regional in flavor, a recipe that worked amazingly well at last year’s successful experiment, the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum.”  NMS 2012 will consist of two one-day conferences.  The first will be held in New York City on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  According to its organizers it is on the verge of a sellout.  The second – presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club – will take place on Thursday, October 11 in Los Angeles at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.  Harrison says, “We learned a tremendous amount at last year’s ‘happening’ in L.A. There is something very exciting, fulfilling and productive about one single, power-packed day with no time-wasting fat or money-wasting frills.  It was executed purposefully under the radar to test the waters for this new model on a national scale and it succeeded beyond our wildest expectations, reaching maximum registration capacity in a matter of days.  Although the New Media Seminar has actually grown consistently larger and has been a sell-out every year of its existence, we recognize that conditions are such that a change would eventually be necessary as well as beneficial to the working person in our business – at least during this stressful period of tight budgets and high industry economic uncertainty.  At TALKERS we insist on being ahead of the curve.  Industry conferences need to include and be accessible to professionals in the trenches as well as the corporate elite.  This new model is a gift to the business.”  Because quick sell-outs for each event are expected, registration is limited to working media. (As indicated, New York is on the verge of a sellout.)  For registration and sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or e-mail her at barbara@talkers.com.

UPDATE!!!  HOTEL INFORMATION FOR NEW YORK ATTENDEES.  The Doubletree by Hilton Metropolitan New York at 569 Lexington Avenue (3 blocks away) has rooms available for $359 per night for a limited time.  You may register online via www.dtnewyork.com. On the main page, click on reservations and type the letters TNM in the group code box.  Or you can call 800-222-8733 and give the code TNM when speaking to the guest services staff. 

Arbitron Reports Q1 Revenue Up 5.5%.  The first quarter of 2012 has been good to Arbitron Inc. as the company states net income increased 9.6% on revenue growth of 5.5% during the period that ended March 31.  Total revenue for the quarter was $106.4 million and it came primarily from annual rate increases, including the continued phase-in of price increases for the PPM.  Arbitron CEO Bill Kerr states, “Our results and our activities in the first quarter are well aligned with our long standing priorities for enhancing our core services and for generating revenue growth.  We unveiled our marketing mix modeling service at the recent Advertising Research Foundation convention.  We expect to have the complete service up, running and ready to improve radio’s visibility among the top agency media planners by the middle of the summer.”  Kerr also said, “Digital radio remains a key priority as we continue our work to follow radio onto its new digital platforms in order to quantify this growing audience segment thereby enabling customers to monetize it.”  Guidance for the rest of 2012 indicates Arbitron expects revenue to be up between 5% and 7%.

Cox Media Announces Talent Lineup for New Tampa FM Talker “The Bone.”  Last week Cox Media Group announced it would drop the rock music on WHPT-FM, Tampa – “The Bone” – built around the success of AM drive talent Bubba the Love Sponge and PM drive counterpart Cowhead.  Now, the company announces the rest of the lineup consisting of talent already working in the Cox stable.  Following Bubba from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon is former WTKS-FM, Orlando – Real Radio 104.1 – personality Drew Garabo, who currently is AM drive host on the Cox Tampa cluster’s rock WSUN-FM.  From 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm Cox imports Billy Madison and his KISS-FM, San Antonio morning show crew for a midday talk program.  Following Cowhead in PM drive is Bubba cast member Matt “Spice” Lloyd who’ll host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program.  Cox Radio Tampa vice president and market manager Keith Lawless says of the new direction of The Bone, “The top-rated performance on our current shows clearly tells us that Tampa Bay likes what they hear and is asking for more.  We have worked hard to insure we are giving them what they want with these compelling new shows.  This is an exciting time in Tampa Bay radio.”

Clark Howard Sponsors 46th Habitat for Humanity House.  Cox Media nationally syndicated financial and consumer issues talk host Clark Howard announces he’s challenging the Tulsa community to help him build a Habitat for Humanity house in the city.  Howard is putting up half the money it’ll take to build the house — $35,000 – and is asking listeners to Tulsa affiliate news/talk KRMG-AM/FM to donate the rest.  The Tulsa Habitat build will be parallel to a build in Joplin, Missouri that Clark is also sponsoring on the one-year anniversary of the devastating tornado as part of his on-going “Project Home” campaign.  The Tulsa home will be the 46th Habitat for Humanity home that Howard has helped sponsor.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  New York talk radio personality Loose KannonRob Stevens – is heard on the WOR, New York internet stream from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm daily beginning Monday, April 23.  Stevens previously was heard on Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York internet stream.  He tells TALKERS he’ll be heard between former New York Governor David Paterson and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee on the stream…..Main Street Radio Network president Jane Silk is publishing a new book on May 5 titled The Poetic Gourmette (Changing Lives Press 2012).  The book is billed as a “compilation of uniquely formed recipes inspired by emotional challenges experienced by the author at the time of creation.”  Silk says, “I would move on to cooking and experimenting with various ingredients, which to me were like words.  Every time I mixed an ingredient, I was expressing another feeling.  When I completed my recipes, I felt that I had dealt with whatever the world had sent my way.”…..ESPN Radio and USC agree to a multi-year deal to allow the sports giant the exclusive national broadcast rights to Trojans home football games…..The Automotive Journalism Society of America names talk host Jeff Shade’s syndicated, KRKO, Seattle-based “Talk About Cars” the “Best Automotive Radio Show” for 2012.  Shade’s program is heard on KRKO, Seattle; WIXC, Melbourne, Florida; and WAMT, Orlando to name a few and is gaining new affiliates each week…..KYKN, Salem, Oregon talk host Bill Post’s program is expanded from two to three hours daily, now airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.  General manager and station owner Mike Frith states, “I’m delighted with the way in which Bill Post has taken the show from a compelling hour to a second hour and now a third hour of great local, Oregon oriented talk.  He has consistently kept the show topical, fun and informative and our listeners have responded very positively to the show.”

2012 Presidential Campaign Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 16-20.  The ongoing 2012 presidential campaign returned to the #1 spot on the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio.  Following at #2 this week was President Obama’s proposed oil industry regulations.  At # 3 was ongoing debate in Washington over the federal budget deficit and the death of the ‘Buffett Rule’ in the Senate.  And at #4 was the scandals involving the Secret Service and the Government Services Agency.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published each Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Revolution on the Hill.  That was the name of the first event held on the Capitol Hill lawn on Monday, April 16 and sponsored by former presidential candidate Herman Cain.  The purpose of the rally was to draw attention to tax reform, fiscal responsibility and the importance of electing true conservatives in government and included such speakers as Dick Morris, Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist.  Also taking part were some important talk show hosts.  Pictured here at the event are (from l-r): Cox Media’s Neal Boortz; Talk Radio Network and WGST, Atlanta’s Rusty Humphries; and WLAC, Nashville-based Radio America-syndicated host Steve Gill.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds WRHL, Rochelle, Illinois and Montana tri-mulcast KYLW, Billings; KBSR, Laurel; and KHDN, Hardin…..Better Health Network’s Dr. Bob Martin health talk program is added to the weekend lineup at KFWB, Los Angeles.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

| January 3, 2012

Walter Sabo Leaves COO Position at Merlin Media.  Noted radio consultant Walter Sabo has parted ways with Randy Michaels Merlin Media, the heavily venture capital-backed firm that acquired a majority share of three radio stations this past summer from Jeff Smulyan’sEmmis Broadcasting including WEMP-FM, New York and WWWN-FM, Chicago and is in the process of picking up a fourth from Harold Camping’s Family Broadcasting – WKDN-FM, in the Philadelphia market.  Merlin launched a relatively experimental all-news format at these stations targeted to what Sabo described as “working families” with an emphasis on the 25-54 female demographic.  The stations (FM News 101.9 in New York and FM News 101.1 in Chicago) received a tremendous amount of attention (and intense scrutiny) in the media before, during and after their launch prompted by former Tribune Company CEO Michaels’ negatively colorful and controversial profile, in addition to the fact that they were taking a startlingly innovative and youthful approach to delivering the all-news format.  Sabo was recruited to serve as architect of this approach due to his impeccable reputation as a longtime champion of the concept of targeting female listeners on FM and proven track record for success with spoken word on FM as a longtime consultant for WKXW-FM, Trenton (New Jersey 101.5).  When a notable rise in ratings failed to materialize in immediately subsequent survey periods coupled with widespread criticism by radio industry observers of the stations’ formats and execution – further exacerbated by Michaels receiving negative publicity in the midst of all this for being arrested on DUI charges – the heat was on and Michaels began facing enormous internal and external pressure to modify the programming approach.  He succumbed and the Merlin stations began moving in a more traditional all-news direction putting them in head-to-head competition with CBS’s long-established, traditional and wildly successful all-news outlets in New York and Chicago (WINS, WCBS and WBBM).  With this repositioning, the challenge of competing against successful, established news outlets has not produced increased ratings and the Merlin all-news initiative has become prematurely tagged throughout the industry as a monumental failure.  Sabo’s withdrawal from day-to-day operational and programming decisions, including his subsequent departure from Merlin, has been quietly happening below the radar for some time now.  Up until this article’s publication (1/2), there has been no official press release, acknowledgement or statement from either Merlin or Sabo confirming or commenting on his exit.  However,TALKERS sources inside Merlin and close to Sabo confirm that it is indeed true with Sabo telling TALKERS,“At this time my work with Merlin is complete.  The primary job was to build the most competitive team on and off the air – Merlin has the best.  Our initiatives gave investors the confidence to buy a station in a third market and grow the company.  GTCR deserves enormous credit for investing in the radio medium.  FM spoken-word is so hot that the demand for Sabo Media services has never been greater.  Our clients find that our decades of experience in the FM talk format protects their investment and shortens the profit horizon.  More importantly my beautiful wife Katie is seven months pregnant during the holidays.  That’s the news.”  Sabo will continue to serve as CEO of his consulting firm Sabo Media and internet branding and marketing company, HitViews.

Fox Sports Radio Network Debuts New Morning Program Featuring Andy Furman and Artrell Hawkins.  Today is the debut of Fox Sports Radio Network’s new morning show – “Fox Sports Daybreak” – heard from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET and featuring former Cincinnati sports talk host Andy Furman and retired NFL defensive back Artrell Hawkins.  Furman’s resume includes an 18-year run hosting “Sports Talk” at WLW, Cincinnati and, recently, the PM drive show at WQRT, Cincinnati.  Hawkins is a contributor to the Cincinnati Bengals Radio Network.  Furman has been hosting a weekend show with former NFL star Lincoln Kennedy for more than a year and that Sunday evening program with Furman and Kennedy will continue.  Fox Sports Radio VP/GM Don Martin states, “We couldn’t be happier to have Andy and Artrell hosting our new morning drive program.  The combination of a sports talk pro like Andy and a former professional football player like Artrell will be a great addition to our weekday lineup.”  Fox Sports Daybreak replaces the Zakk and Jack program on the FSRN schedule.

Cumulus Media Flips WMTI-FM, New Orleans from Oldies to Sports Talk.  The Big Easy gets a new sports talk outlet as Cumulus Media drops the oldies on WMTI-FM and goes sports talk with programming from Fox Sports Radio Network, Premiere NetworksJim Rome and a PM drive show hosted by New Orleans Hornets broadcaster Gerry Vaillancourt.

New FM Talk Outlet for Little Rock.  Crain Media Group drops the active rock on KKSP-FM, Bryant, Arkansas (located to the Northwest of Little Rock) and debuts a talk format it’s calling “Fresh Talk 93.3.”  The lineup includes market news personality Neal Gladner in morning drive, Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham, Dial Global’s Clark Howard, Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” and more.

Progressive Talk Appears on WVKO, Columbus.  The station at 1580 AM is owned by Bernard Ohio LLC and its website indicates it’s doing business as Clear Conscience Communications.  The progressive talk lineup that debuted on January 2 includes Dial Global’s Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann and Bill Press plus Mike Malloy and Leslie Marshall.

Chris Schoenewald Exits Virginia-Based “Daily Constitutional” Program.  The regionally syndicated “Daily Constitutional” – based out of WCHV-AM/FM, Charlottesville, Virginia and co-hosted by Joe Thomas and Chris Schoenewald – is undergoing changes as Schoenewald is leaving the program to run for office.  He plans to announce which office he’ll seek soon.  Thomas tells TALKERS the program will continue.  “Adam Forster of Virginia Living Television and private investigator/TV anchor Nikki Lewis will be purchasing Schoenewald’s share and we’re hopeful to continue to grow and help stations in this area program locally oriented talk while freeing up their resources for news and marketing efforts.”  The “Daily Constitutional” airs live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  In addition, Thomas hosts the morning drive program on WCHV-AM/FM.

Sam Malone in Israel.  KSEV, Houston morning host Sam Malone is pictured here inspecting the cockpit of an Israeli F-16 during a tour of the Hatzor Air Force Base while on a trip to Israel.  Malone broadcast his program live back to his Houston audience (via the very capable technology of the Comrex ACCESS) during which he interviewed numerous Houstonians serving in the IDF, important Israeli media figures and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.  Malone tells TALKERS magazine his audience loved the content and his marketing department was able to get the broadcast event sponsored.

Iowa Caucuses, Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions, Holiday Sports Action and New Year Retrospectives Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/2).  Today’s Iowa Caucuses for GOP candidates, the nuclear ambitions of the Iranian leadership, college and pro holiday sports action and 2011 retrospectives were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

| December 13, 2011

Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage Offers Newt Gingrich $1 Million to Drop Out of Race.  TRN nationally syndicated talk host Michael Savage says he’s putting his money where his mouth is and is offering former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich $1 million to drop out of the presidential race.  Savage says he’s been enumerating the reasons on his radio program why Gingrich cannot win a campaign against President Obama – only Mitt Romney can – and since that, in his opinion, is the most important problem the country faces, he’s making the financial offer.  “If Newt Gingrich really loves this country as much as he says he does, if he really wants what is best for America, he will set his ego aside, call me and accept my offer.  His continued candidacy spells nothing but ruin for conservatives, Republicans and all true American patriots.”  Savage is giving Gingrich 72 hours to accept.  There’s no word from the Gingrich camp but one competing syndication executive (who prefers to remain anonymous) says Gingrich better read the fine print, “It would be too bad if Newt deprives GOP primary voters of his ideas and energy, only to find out he’s getting $1 million worth of unsold Savage Nation t-shirts and jerky treats.”

Sacramento Occupy Protesters Target Clear Channel Sacramento.  Organized by activist Sue Wilson’s Media Action Center, people upset by the loss of progressive talk programming were encouraged to “occupy” Clear Channel stations across the country yesterday (12/12) by asking to see the stations’ public files to learn about complaints to the stations and about the stations’ sales of political ads to candidates.  About 11 protesters made their concerns known to KFBK, Sacramento management and, in an orderly fashion, inspected the station’s public file.  Sheriff’s officers were on hand and protesters were not allowed to occupy the station.  As is often the case, many people misunderstand a station’s obligation to provide programming that appeals to all citizens – a misunderstanding promulgated by the old Fairness Doctrine (now off the books).  Wilson is quoted in the Sacramento Bee saying, “All our voices need to be heard.”  But TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison puts it succinctly to a Bee reporter stating, “Fairness is not guaranteed by the First Amendment – freedom from government censorship is.”  In what is apparently a separate movement, some Bay Area residents are planning an Occupy KGO event on Thursday (12/15) to protest Cumulus Media’s recent changes at KGO, San Francisco, although their argument doesn’t seem to imply unfairness – just anger at the changes made to the station’s programming.

Geraldo Rivera to KABC, Los Angeles Too?  Respected Southern California radio trade writer Don Barrett is reporting that Don Imus said on his program that Geraldo Rivera – officially announced to be taking over the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show at WABC, New York in January – will also be heard on Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles.  Barrett writes that it wasn’t clear whether in which daypart Rivera would be heard but that it obviously raises the question of whom it may affect at KABC – specifically Larry Elder who hosts the late morning program there.  Stay tuned.

Clark Howard Clarification.  A number of industry readers may have glossed over yesterday’s story published by TALKERS about Dial Global financial talk host Clark Howard’s program and come away with an incorrect conclusion.  Howard’s show is still three hours long.  What’s changing is that Howard is repurposing some content for the third hour so that he can cut back on some of the long hours he’s putting in due to the multitude of media ventures in which he’s involved.

Bob Agnew Joins Carey Brothers as GM of On the House Media.  Longtime sports and talk programmer Bob Agnew has been named general manager of James and Morris Carey’s “On the House Media” syndication firm.  Agnew, who has served as program director of such diverse outlets as KNBR, San Francisco and KXNT, Las Vegas, will be responsible for developing the sales staff, managing affiliate relations, new business development and programming at the Brentwood, California firm that has syndicated the popular talk radio home improvement show “On the House with the Carey Bothers” for more than a quarter century.  He will also work closely with the operation’s PR firm Kleber and Associates with regard to media relationships, client services and the expansion of the website.  Upon making the announcement, James Carey tells TALKERS, “Morris and I and our entire team are thrilled to have Bob Agnew ‘take the reins’ and lead our media franchise as it enters its 26th year.  We have had the pleasure of knowing Bob for over 20 years and have enjoyed an enduring professional and personal relationship.  Bob’s unique combination of management, leadership and people skills make him superbly qualified to guide On the House Media in realizing its full potential.  As one of the leading radio programmers in the U.S., Bob ‘gets’ what local radio stations – programming and sales – need to make their businesses successful.  We are confident that Bob’s keen insight will be of tremendous benefit to our radio affiliates, marketing partners and audience.”  OTH is a multi-media operation with a four-hour live Saturday show, weekday tips, podcasts, accessible on iPhones and iPads with the new OTH app.  OTH has 140 radio show affiliates and 125 affiliates taking the daily tips.

Clear Channel Names Bob Stohrer Chief Marketing Officer for Clear Channel Digital.  Stohrer will work with Clear Channel Digital president Brian Lekamp.  He’ll oversee the national marketing plans, brand execution and social marketing efforts for CC Digital with an emphasis on iHeartRadio.  Lekamp states, “Bob’s extensive experience in both brand positioning and creative development brings the innovative vision and tactical expertise that will increase brand awareness, drive growth and unlock our full potential moving forward.  We look forward to the leadership and insight he will bring to the Clear Channel Digital team.”

CBS TV Expands “Face the Nation.”  Bob Schieffer announced that CBS TV is turning its “Face the Nation” Sunday morning issues program into a 60-minute program beginning in April.  The show has been a 30-minute production since its inception.  Schieffer said on last Sunday’s program that the show will expand, “because more and more of you have been turning to ‘Face the Nation’ during this campaign season, so we thank you.”

Holiday Program Available to Stations.  A three-hour program called “The Gift” is available to radio stations across the country for air between December 24 and 26.  The program is produced by the Fisher House Foundation and created especially for the holiday season.  It features interviews with wounded warriors Matt ZajacTammy Duckworth and Dale Beatty; the mother of an injured service member, Becky Ziegel; and a father who lost his son in combat, Robert Stanton.  The stories – equally heartbreaking and inspiring – are vehicles to a greater understanding of the sacrifices our military and their families make every day, so that our nation may be home, safe and with their own families during the holidays.  Fisher House Foundation chairman and CEO Ken Fisher says, “Just one percent of Americans serve in the military, protecting and safeguarding a population that does not fully appreciate the depth of sacrifice these people make.  These people are true heroes.  We want to let the world know just how much they do for us every day, and ensure that if they have a need, that it is met.”  The Fisher House Foundation raises money to create housing for the families of wounded service personnel so they have a place to stay near them while they recuperate.  Stations interested in carrying the program should contact Ron Rivlin at: ron.rivlin@cumulus.com.

Obama on “60 Minutes,” SCOTUS to Hear AZ Illegal Immigration Law Challenge, Weekend GOP Debate and Euro Zone Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/12).  President Obama’s interview on Sunday’s “60 Minutes” program, the Supreme Court’s agreement to hear arguments challenging Arizona’s illegal immigration law, the GOP presidential candidates debate that took place over the weekend and the ongoing euro zone debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Monday, December 12, 2011

| December 12, 2011

Cumulus Brings Geraldo Rivera to Radio at WABC, New York.  Geraldo Rivera has done a lot of media in his career (including WABC-TV) but he’s never hosted a regular radio talk show.  Beginning in January he’ll get his chance with the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon daily program following Don Imus and leading into Rush Limbaugh on Cumulus’ WABC, New York.  Cumulus COO John Dickey tells The New York TimesBrian Stelter the company’s research indicates “people are interested in hearing a different perspective, a different voice, a more balanced opinion” and although Rivera is actually a registered Republican, he’s more liberal than WABC’s Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin.  Dickey also states he expects Rivera to draw in younger listeners and females to the station.  Rivera’s program will be a New York-only show but Dickey doesn’t discount the idea of going into syndication with Rivera if the show is a success.  Rivera tells the Times, his show will have two positioning statements that help define him as a different kind of radio talk show host: “I’m Geraldo and I’m not always right” and “Not red, not blue, but red, white and blue.”  Rivera still works at Fox News Channel where he’s been a correspondent since 2001 but his “Geraldo at Large” show airs just once per week though he also does daytime reporting and makes regular appearances on the channel’s midday “Happening Now” program.  The late morning slot at WABC opened up when the station let Joe Crummey and Patty Steele go last week.

KABC, Los Angeles Confirms New Doug McIntyre Morning Drive Show.  The host of the nationally syndicated Cumulus Media Networks late-night show “Red Eye Radio” begins his duties as host of “McIntyre in the Morning” on KABC, Los Angeles in January.  Last week Cumulus announced it would merge the Eric Harley and Gary McNamara-hosted “Midnight Radio Network” program with “Red Eye Radio” and Doug McIntyre would leave those duties.  Now, speculation that McIntyre moves back to morning drive at KABC – the program he hosted from 2004 to 2009 – is confirmed.  News pro Terri-Rae Elmer – who announced her exit from Clear Channel’s crosstown KFI last week – is co-host of the new program.  In a release, Cumulus says, “The show will feature McIntyre’s unique sense of humor and ability to get to the heart of the biggest stories affecting Los Angeles and Orange County.”  McIntyre says, “I’m excited to return to the morning drive with leading radio station, KABC.  I look forward to keeping my audience informed and entertained as they wake up with me each morning.”  Current KABC morning host Peter Tilden appears to be staying with the company in a capacity to be announced later.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Morning Host Al Gardner to Program Merlin Media’s Philly Station.  Philadelphia native Al Gardner has been co-hosting the morning drive show at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM since 1997.  In January he’ll return to his hometown to take on the vice president of programming position at Merlin Media’s WKDN-FM Philadelphia – a station Merlin is expected to flip to an all-news format.  The Charlotte Observer reports the 64-year-old Gardner has been doing some consulting for the recently formed Merlin Media and Gardner tells the paper of his new gig, “This is a pinch-me job.  It couldn’t be better.”  Greater Media is letting Gardner out of his contract a year early to pursue the Merlin position.  As for WBT, program director Carl East tells the paper sports anchor Jim Szoke will take on a bigger role on the morning program alongside current morning co-host Stacey Simms.

Dial Global Star Clark Howard Cuts Live Portion of Program to Two Hours.  Saying he’s been burning the candle at both ends, money guru Clark Howard tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho he’s cutting back on his radio work and will only do two hours of live programming daily.  Affiliates that want to continue with three hours will get a third hour composed of best-of segments from the live show content.  Clark Howard tells Ho that he’s just finished touring to promote his latest book, “Living Large in Lean Times,” and he recently had to take two weeks off after a bout with laryngitis.  Howard, with some 600 radio affiliates, is a busy guy.  In addition to his radio work, he does TV segments for 15 Cox-owned TV stations, hosts a weekend show on cable TV’s HLN and operates the digital media station clarkhoward.com.

Robert Wuhl and Doug Urbanski Shows to Be Dropped by Dial Global.  That’s not the official word from Dial Global, it’s what TALKERS is hearing through the grapevine.  Both Robert Wuhl’s and Doug Urbanski’s shows were Westwood One properties that came to Dial Global with the merger of the two companies announced back in August.  Lean times make broadcast companies assess where they are spending money and we can only assume that the shows are not bringing in the kind of cash required to justify their continuation.  It’s expected the shows’ affiliates have been quietly notified so they can make programming plans for 2012.

WWRL Morning Host Mark Riley on TALKERS TV.  In an exclusive interview conducted by TALKERS magazine managing editor Kevin Casey on the scene at last Thursday’s “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row, the veteran New York City broadcaster discusses the evolution of Big Apple urban talk radio as well as his own.  Mark Riley points out that his AM drive program is heard by a variety of listeners including both African Americans and whites. He talks about the positive aspects of being local in the nation’s largest market and the spectrum of issues covered in a major metropolis including the impact of guns and violence in daily city life.  Riley was one of more than 20 talk media personalities participating in the seventh annual radio row designed to raise consciousness about domestic violence presented by TALKERS and Talk Radio News Service in conjunction with corporate sponsor, Liz Claiborne, Inc. at the company’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters.  See the interview with Mark Riley now at TALKERS TV in the column on the right side of this page.

WGN, Chicago Partners with Ad Agency for Holiday Fundraiser.  Tribune Company talk station WGN, Chicago is partnering with ad agency Schafer/Condon/Carter to present “Carols for KidsSM” on Thursday, December 15 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.  During that time listeners are encouraged to join WGN and Schafer/Condon/Carter staffers for the mass caroling event, the second hour of which will be broadcast live on WGN.  The event included carols and entertainment from Chicago Blackhawks national anthem singer Jim Cornelison and Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo, the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, WGN Radio’s Orion Samuelson and more.  Donations to the “Neediest Kids Fund” will be accepted on site during the event and online at www.SCCCarolsForKids.org.  Lou Malnati’s will also be providing slices of pizza for all attendees for a suggested donation of $3 per slice.  WGN VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “We are so pleased that Schafer|Condon|Carter used its creativity to come up with this wonderful concept and chose the WGN Radio ‘Neediest Kids Fund’ as its beneficiary.  We look forward to working with them to continue to raise money for the WGN Radio ‘Neediest Kids Fund’ and help children all over Chicagoland.”

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

| November 30, 2011

Clear Channel to End Progressive Talker KKGN in San Francisco.  The progressive talk programming currently heard on KKGN, San Francisco – Green 960 – will not go away entirely; it’ll be available online and on the HD-2 channel of sister oldies KKSF-FM, but since so few people have HD radios anyone seeking shows such as Dial Global’s Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann and Compass Media NetworksNorman Goldman will have to find them online.  The “death” of Green 960 comes as Clear Channel makes other changes to its Bay Area talk programming.  In the New Year, KKGN flips calls to KNEW, picks up the Fox News Radio affiliation and a new lineup including Glenn Beck in AM drive, followed by Dave Ramsey, then Premiere’s Randi Rhodes (the only holdover from Green 960), and Fox News Radio’s John Gibson.  Back at what is currently KNEW (910 AM), that station will take on new calls KKSF and become “San Francisco’s Talk 910 – KKSF.”  Armstrong & Getty (piped in from Sacramento) remain in mornings with Dial Global’s Clark Howard, Fox News Radio’s Tom Sullivan and a local PM drive show yet to be announced.  What does this mean for the progressive format?  Obviously it is a setback for the struggling format, simply because of the loss of a major market.  Some observers will point to this situation as an example of the format’s inherent weakness by saying it can’t even make it in San Francisco – one of the most liberal regions in the nation.  However others will note that it is harder for a radio format targeted to a political orientation to make it in an area heavily populated by like-minded people because it doesn’t serve a unfilled need.  Radio, being a niche medium, often works best in an area where the targeted audience is in the minority and it thus serves to galvanize a critical mass necessary to support a format.  That is likely the case in San Francisco.

Detroit Media Personality John Mason Hosts PM Drive on WCHB-AM/FM.  Longtime Detroit radio and TV personality John Mason is the new PM drive host on Radio One’s urban news/talk WCHB-AM/FM.  Mason most recently hosted the morning drive show on Radio One’s WGPR-FM until late October when the company flipped the format to hip hop.  Mason is known for his work as an R&B disc jockey but tells the Detroit News he’s ready for the challenge, “Talk is different – I’m comfortable with it.  Quite frankly, the timing is in the vibe of the universe.  It’s a progression for me.”  Mason’s program airs from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

ESPN Affiliation Bumps Local Sports Duo in Denver.  When ESPN programming moves from Lincoln Financial Media’s KEPN to Front Range Sports Network’s KDSP-FM in January, morning hosts Vic Lombardi and Gary Miller will be off the air.  The two KCNC-TV sports anchors currently host the 7:00 am to 9:00 am program but the infusion of ESPN programming that is coming with the new affiliation  will put ESPN’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” on the station from 5:00 am to 9:00 am.  The Denver Post reports the two would like to land another radio sports talk gig in town.  With four sports talk outlets in the market, they may be able to latch on somewhere else.  Stay tuned.

Sean Baligian Returns to Sports Talk in West Michigan.  Sean Baligian exited the Clear Channel sports talk simulcast of WDFN, Detroit and WMAX-FM, Grand Rapids back in October after his show with co-host Ryan Terpstra was cancelled.  Now, Baligian returns to Clear Channel’s WMAX-FM to host the PM drive show.  Terpstra, who had been hosting the PM drive show solo, will not be a co-host with Baligian but remains with the station in a different capacity.  Baligian tells the Grand Rapids Press, “I like the idea of doing my thing again, just doing my show.  I think that’s going to be the biggest difference.  It’s just kind of me.  No disrespect towards Terp, but it was enticing just to do the solo show again.”  Baligian says the show will not be simulcast to Detroit and will focus on West Michigan.

Kevin Matthews Podcast Show Now Available Via Steve Dahl’s Internet Station.  Chicago radio fans can now get podcasts from two of its famous (or infamous) broadcasters from one source.  Steve Dahl has been podcasting for a couple of years now and the two tell Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder that Kevin Matthews is producing a weekly podcast as part of the $9.85 monthly fee for Dahl’s content.  Matthews – who had an 18-year career on Chicago radio – had been hosting a morning drive show in Grand Rapids until he was recently let go in a budget move.  Now, “Kevheads” need look no further than dahl.com for Matthews’ show.  Matthews tells Feder, “My vision is to provide unique content, my personality.  What is so exciting about this adventure is no rules. A podcast may last 45 minutes, maybe two or three hours.  Content is key.  I know when to exit a program.”  Steve Dahl says he hopes to expand.  “I’m hoping that after we post his first show and he sees the response, he’ll start thinking about making it a daily show.  We are set up to do that technically…This is the future of personality radio and anybody who is delivering good content will sooner or later be charging for it.”  Matthews returned to Grand Rapids – the city where he got his start in radio – after losing his Chicago radio job.  He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008 and says he prefers to take things more slowly these days.

WXOS-FM, St. Louis Does Live Remote Charity Toy Drive.  Hubbard Broadcasting’s ESPN 101 (WXOS-FM) in St. Louis is taking its “Fast Lane” afternoon show on the road to five different locations over the course of five days to solicit toy donations to benefit the St. Louis Crisis Nursery.  WXOS-FM program director Kent Sterling says, “We have some of the best jobs in the world, but the most rewarding part of our work is when we dedicate ourselves to helping those who often do without – especially during the holidays.”  Pictured here are (from l-r) show hosts Bob Ramsey, an unidentified man, Randy Karraker and D’Marco Farr.

Occupy L.A. Cleared, 2012 Presidential Race, Michael Jackson Doctor Sentenced and European Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/29).  The police action to clear the Occupy Los Angeles protesters, the GOP candidates for president in 2012, the sentencing of Michael Jackson doctor Conrad Murray and the ongoing European debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Monday, November 21, 2011

| November 21, 2011

Fisher’s Plans for KVI, Seattle Outlined.  An e-mail to clients of Fisher Communications’ oldies-formatted KVI, Seattle announces the former talk stations will revert to talk – but not as a conservative talk station.  After the holidays, KVI will be called “Smart Talk 570 KVI” and will be positioned as “Smart talk for a Sound life.”  The memo states the station will feature “lifestyle, health, local and entertainment news.”  In addition to Friday’s story about Dial Global’s Clark Howard joining the station, the morning show will be called “Sunrise Seattle” hosted by Mark Christopher and Elisa Jaffe of KOMO TV 4.  TRN’s Phil Hendrie and The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “Daily Wrap with Michael Castner” are on the schedule along with a local program, “The Buzz” hosted by Scott Carty.

Political Influence of Conservative Talk Radio Analyzed in Timely Politico Article.  A hard-hitting article posted this morning (11/18) on the popular political news and opinion website Politico presents a particularly insightful and fascinating analysis of the role conservative talk radio hosts play in the process of presidential elections.  The story written by Keach Hagey and Glenn Thrush looks specifically at the meteoric candidacy of Herman Cain – a former radio talker – and examines the direct influence radio personalities such as Rush LimbaughSean Hannity,Laura Ingraham, and Mark Levin have had and are still having on his unexpectedly prominent position in the polls and national conversation.  The interesting and timely article appearing in one of the political world’s leading news websites poses the question, “How long will the love last now that Cain is on the rocks?” — referring to radio talk show hosts’ reaction to Cain’s propensity toward gaffes such as the Libya incident and embroilment in an alleged sexual harassment scandal.  Read the Politico story here.

RAB/Miller, Kaplan, Arase Data Shows Radio Revenue Up 2% for Q3.  That increase is due in large part to gains in digital for the radio industry.  The Radio Advertising Bureau and Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co. report data that shows spot revenue for the third quarter was flat, network revene up 2%, digital up 17%, and off-air up 10%.  The data also indicates that total revenue for the first three quarters of the year is up 2% as well.

“Christopher Walken” Interview on WTEM, Washington Spooks AP After Natalie Wood Case Re-Opened.  It wasn’t exactly a “War of the Worlds” situation but apparently WTEM, Washington producer Marc Sterne does a pretty good Christopher Walken imitation and someone at the Associated Press bit.  The back story is that Sterne does a regular Friday segment on the Red Zebra Broadcasting sports talk station in which “Walken” talks fantasy football.  With the re-opening of the Natalie Wood case in the news and Walken’s link to the case, Sterne referenced the investigation during the segment last Friday and the AP reported it as a real interview, then realized what happened and reported it as a hoax.  However, the Washington Post writes that WTEM PD Chuck Sapienza says the “hoax” part bugs him because it implies underhandedness.  “No one [from AP] called us to see if it was real, and then they call it a hoax,” he told the Post. “A hoax makes it sound like it’s our fault.  We’ve been doing this [impersonation] for two years.  They’re taking no responsibility for shoddy journalism.”  The AP isn’t identifying the person who heard the segment and reported it as fact.

Howard Eskin and Wally Kennedy Inducted by Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia.  The non-profit Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia honors people from every aspect of the broadcasting industry who’ve contributed to the business for at least 10 years.  On Friday, the organization recognized WIP, Philadelphia sports personality Howard Eskin – WIP’s very first talk show sportscaster – and KYW news anchor Wally Kennedy.  Eskin began hosting sports talk radio shows in Philly in 1986.  He recently stepped down from his daily PM drive show to concentrate on Eagles game day coverage and other projects.  Kennedy – who’s worked in Philadelphia radio and television for 30 years – is morning news anchor at KYW.  CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “CBS Radio is fortunate to showcase incredible talent on all of our properties.  Legends like Howard Eskin and Wally Kennedy have been heard in the Philadelphia area for decades.  It’s no surprise that they would be inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame.  Both have contributed greatly to the success of our radio stations.”

Thom Hartmann Co-Authored Kennedy Book to Be Made into Movie by Leonardo DiCaprio.  According to columnist Liz Smith, the book Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination (Counterpoint 2009), authored by Lamar Waldron with Dial Global talk host Thom Hartmann, will be made into a movie by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way film company.  Smith reports that DiCaprio would play FBI informant Jack Van Laningham and Robert De Niro will play Carlos Marcello.  According to its Amazon description, the almost 950-page book suggests three Mafia bosses used John F. Kennedy’s and Robert F. Kennedy’s plan to stage a coup against Fidel Castro to murder the president.

Dave Graveline’s “Into Tomorrow” to Be Produced in New, Street-Level Studios.  Dave Graveline’s nationally syndicated consumer technology program will begin broadcasting and shooting video podcasts at new street-level studios in the Miami Lakes Broadcast Center.  The move will allow passersby to view the program as it’s being produced.

Friday, November 18, 2011

| November 18, 2011

A Complex Web of Debt.  There’s little reason to wonder why large radio companies are trying to find every available dollar – and that is most visible to the industry and the public in the form of reductions in force – when we read today’s news of Cumulus’ bankruptcy filings.  According to Bloomberg, a subsidiary of Cumulus Media Partners (which Cumulus Media Inc finished purchasing in August) — AR Broadcasting Holdings — was put into Chapter 11 bankruptcy as it owes creditors as much as $100 million with assets of between $10 million and $50 million.  AR Broadcasting Holdings consists of stations in San Francisco, Houston and Dallas.  AR Holdings states it has a prepackaged plan “supported by 100 percent of one class of creditors that voted for the restructuring proposal.”  Another Cumulus subsidiary, CMP KC LLC – owner of two stations in Kansas City and two in Houston – has been in default on debt.  It also is filing a pre-packaged bankruptcy protection plan that will cut the debt from almost $95 million to about $20 million and lenders in turn will end up with equity in the stations.

WBAL, Baltimore’s Ron Smith Ends Chemotherapy.  Baltimore talk radio legend Ron Smith announced Thursday (11/17) that he will continue to host his daily talk show on the Hearst news/talk station he’s worked at as a host for 27 years as long as he can, but he is ending his chemotherapy.  Smith announced on October 17 that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that has spread to other organs.  The 69-year-old personality said at the time his doctors believed he had a chance to beat the disease with treatment.  However yesterday he told his listeners he would end chemo and receive only palliative care.

The RTDNA Asks for Electronic Coverage of SCOTUS Health Care Case.  When the United States Supreme Court hears arguments on the constitutionality of the Obama Administration’s health care law, the RTDNA hopes to be able to have TV cameras and audio recording devices in the chamber.  RTDNA chairman Kevin Benz writes to the Court, “Health care overhaul has divided the nation since it was signed into law.  The Court’s ruling undoubtedly will shape the 2012 presidential campaign and most certainly will serve to define Congress’ ability to address national issues.  There is no better time than in anticipation of this watershed case for the Supreme Court justices to suspend the ban on cameras in the courtroom and to allow live electronic coverage of this and other proceedings of keen interest and import to the American public.”  It’s unlikely the Court will allow this as it historically has had little interest in putting itself into the mainstream electronic public media landscape – no matter how convincing the argument for such coverage may be.

Canadian Freedom of Speech Case to Hit Courts.  Damian Goddard was fired from Toronto-based Sportsnet in May after firing off a Tweet that the only “true marriage” is that between a man and a woman.  Goddard is a devout Catholic and believes he has “2,000 years of Christian history” backing him up.  Sportsnet claims it intended to fire Goddard before the Tweet and has documentation of that but Goddard’s attorney says he’s yet to see any such documentation.  What this appears to come down to is Canada’s intense restrictions on free speech.  The six-year-old law that made gay marriage legal in Canada even contains a clause that clearly states citizens have the right to freedom of conscience, religion and speech with regard to this matter.  One attorney anonymously tells the National Post, “Hate speech needs to be related to inciting violence, not hurting feelings.”  The Canadian courts will eventually have to rule on whether citizens – including broadcasters – have the right to express their beliefs if done so responsibly.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The Talk Radio Network/Washington Times produced “America’s Morning News” with John McCaslin and Dana Mills adds WLVJ, Boynton Beach, Florida; KEWI, Little Rock; WRCG, Columbus, Georgia; and WFDM, Fort Walton Beach, Florida…..America’s Radio News Network has its “Afternoon Edition” with Ernie Brown picks up WCFO, Atlanta; WFBL, Syracuse; and WUTI, Utica…..The “Free Talk Live” Sunday evening edition with Mark Edge and Stephanie is added to the schedule at WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina…..Dial Global’s Clark Howard joins the lineup at KVI, Seattle and WIBX, Utica…..Dial Global’s “Jill on Money” with Jill Schlesinger adds WMGG, Dunedin, Florida and WDNG, Anniston, Alabama.

Catching Up with Regis!  ABC News Radio’s Andrea Dresdale (r) interviews TV personality Regis Philbin (l) as he makes his way from an appearance on “The View” to the set of “Live with Regis and Kelly” for one of his final press conferences as co-host of the program.  Today is the 80-year-old Philbin’s last program as he retires from the daily morning talk program he’s hosted since it went from a local New York show into national syndication in 1983. Philbin successfully morphed from a game show host to talk show host and holds the Guinness Book of World Records top spot for most time spent on television – almost 17,000 hours!

‘Occupy’ Shutdowns/Protests Top Talk Radio Topic for Week of November 14-18.  The closing of many of the nation’s ‘Occupy’ encampments and the resulting protests landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week.  Following at #2 is 2012 presidential race. At #3 is the European debt crisis and the related financial markets activity followed by the Penn State scandal at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart by clicking on the banner below.

Friday, October 21, 2011

| October 21, 2011

Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum Rallies So Cal Talk Media Industry.  Some 150 attendees and 30 speakers gathered yesterday (10/20) at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood to participate in the highly anticipated first-time event to discuss the state and future of talk broadcasting in Southern California.  Presented by TALKERS magazine in association with the Los Angeles Press Club, the power-packed, free event drew representatives from leading stations in Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Springs, Ventura, Fresno and even markets outside the region including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson and more.  Formats represented included news/talk, sports talk, all news, public radio, pop culture talk and a number of music radio personalities stopped by as well, adding to the color of a dynamic event described by many as a “grand slam home run.”  Solo speakers included Larry King, Norm Pattiz, Bill Handel, Don Barrett, Holland Cooke, Michael Harrison and a wide variety of leading program directors, operations managers, and air personalities discussing the gamut of issues facing the region specifically and industry in general.  There were technical displays presented by Comrex Corporation and C. Crane Company and a lavish breakfast and lunch for the attendees provided by the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company.  According to TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “There has never been a radio conference quite like this — geared to a specific region, short and to the point, and absolutely free ­­– perfectly suited to these challenging times.  All of us at TALKERS are extremely gratified by the outstanding turnout and positive response generated by this memorable six hour event.”  There will be extensive coverage of this historic talk industry happening in the form of stories, pictures and video coming to Talkers.com in the coming days and weeks.  Stay tuned!

Former KABC GM Bob Moore Launches Sales Consultancy.  Former KABC/KLOS-FM, Los Angeles president and general manager Bob Moore, who recently left his longtime position at the heritage Citadel outlets as a result of the company’s acquisition by Cumulus Media, attended the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum yesterday where he announced the launch of his new sales consultancy, Moore Money, LLC as well as TheVoicesNetwork.com.  Moore, a highly respected talk media management figure in Los Angeles for years, can be contacted at bobmoore27@gmail.com or 213-219-9856.

NPR Blamed for Firing of Documentary Program Host Over Protest Activities.  The problem is, according to NPR, it had nothing to do with the firing of “Soundprint” host Lisa Simeone.  Simeone was a freelancer for Soundprint Media Company which produces the “Soundprint” documentary program.  Simeone also hosts the WDAV-FM, Charlotte, North Carolina-produced “World of Opera” program from which she has not been let go.  That station states it has no problem with Simeone’s activities and her work with its opera program.  However, Soundprint Media distributes the “Soundprint” show to about 35 public radio stations via NPR and the company says it adopted NPR’s employee code for journalists because people associate it with NPR.  Simeone’s work with the Washington, DC-based protest group “October 2011” apparently violated that code.  NPR is making it a point to state that it had no contact with Soundprint management over Simeone’s relationship with the company.  Clearly, NPR wants to avoid another Juan Williams-like public relations problem.

Carl Anderson Named Clear Channel SVP of Programming for West Region.  Carl Anderson was most recently the senior vice president for programming and distribution at Citadel Media. He first joined Citadel as vice president of music programming in 2006.  Now he’s in charge of the programming for Clear Channel’s West Region stations and CEO John Hogan says, “We are thrilled to have Carl join the Clear Channel team.  He joins a growing number of the best and brightest programmers, on-air talent and researchers on Clear Channel’s incredible team.”

WWJ, Detroit Presents “Michigan Money Summit” Live Event.  CBS Radio’s all-news WWJ, Detroit is presenting a free program on Saturday, October 29 moderated by WWJ-TV business editor Murray Feldman titled “Michigan Money Summit.”  The program consists of three panel discussions featuring local financial and real estate experts designed to answer tough financial questions to which Detroit-area listeners are seeking answers.  WWJ program director Robert Davidek says, “The stock market has had some of its worst and best weeks lately and we feel this is a great opportunity for people to gain valuable insight from experts about what to do.  And we’ll also be talking about the economy for the coming year.”

Talkers Affiliate Roundup.  Dial Global’s Neal Boortz picks up WCNF, Dothan, Alabama…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street with Chris Markowski” adds KMZQ, Las Vegas…..Dial Global talk host Thom Hartmann’s program is added to KTOX, Needles, California…..Dial Global’s Clark Howard is now heard on WNDA, Louisville and KTOX, Needles, California…..Dial Global’s Michael Smerconish picks up KROF, Lafayette, Louisiana…..“America’s Healthcare Advocate” with Cary Hall is added to the program schedule at KFRM, Salina, Kansas.

The GOP Debate/2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 17-21.  The GOP candidates debate in Las Vegas and the 2012 presidential race landed at the top of the Talkers TenTM chart for this week.  Coming in at #2 on the chart is the ‘Occupy’ movement followed by the death of Moammar Qaddafi at #3.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the most-talked-about stories and people on news/talk radio during the course of the week according to ongoing research from Talkers and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  To view the entire chart, click on the banner below.