Tag: "Clear Channel Media and Entertainment"

Thursday, November 14, 2013

| November 14, 2013

bolgerpeterPeter Bolger Named OM/PD at WLS-AM, Chicago.  Most recently with Clear Channel as director of AM programming in the San Antonio market, Peter Bolger joins Cumulus Media to head up programming and operations at its Chicago news/talk WLS-AM.  In a statement, Cumulus COO John Dickey says, “Chicago radio is a competitive and important market where we’re excited to add Peter’s expertise that positions up for future growth.  Bolger adds, “I think Chicago radio is the best there is.  Fortunately, we have incredible talent and deep resources at WLS.  I want to thank John Dickey, Mike McVay and Donna Baker for the opportunity to be part of the historic WLS brand.  I can’t wait to get started.”

walkerdwightWalker Announces His Retirement.  Six-year Entercom, San Francisco vice president/market manager Dwight Walker has been in radio for 30 years – the last 25 in the Bay Area.  He will be departing the company’s four-station (all are on FM) Bay Area operation, which is comprised of adult contemporary KOIT-FM, classic rock KUFX “The Fox,” sports KGMZ “The Game,” and urban AC KBLX.  “It has been a fun, rewarding, stimulating, and fantastic time,” he comments. “I have cherished my years with Entercom, a world-class company.  The vision of Entercom management and their commitment to radio is what will keep our industry and this cluster moving forward in a thriving and robust way.”  Family, travel, and Tahoe will become Walker’s top priorities, but he insists, “San Francisco will always be a part of an amazing and charmed life that I hold near and dear to my heart.”  According to Entercom station group president Weezie Kramer, “Dwight Walker is one of the best in the business.  Everyone at Entercom deeply appreciates Dwight’s years of hard work and leadership.  He will be missed in San Francisco and across the radio industry.”  Prior to joining Entercom, Walker was vice president of sales for cross-town Cumulus-owned KNBR, KFOG, and KSAN.  For nine years (1997 – 2006), he was general manager of KFOG and KSAN when Susquehanna owned those facilities.

ramseydaveDave Ramsey Changes Nashville Affiliates.  Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey moves to a new Nashville affiliate station beginning in the New Year as it joins Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WLAC to air in the 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm time slot.  Since January of this year, Ramsey’s show has been airing on Cromwell Radio Group’s sports talk WPRT “102.5 The Game.”  In a piece in The Tennessean, Cromwell’s Bud Walters admits the melding of Ramsey’s show and sports talk wasn’t the best fit and that the move is a mutual one.  “We have beenwlac logo friends for more than 20 years, and while we enjoyed this partnership from a personal standpoint, we both realize that from a business perspective our brands would be better served if we return to our respective formats.”  Dave Ramsey VP of broadcast Brian Mayfield states, “It’s great to be back on a news/talk station in Middle Tennessee.  WLAC has a long-standing tradition of quality radio in Nashville, and now with the addition of our show, offers the top three talk shows in America back to back.”  CC Nashville OM Michael Bryan adds, “We’re very excited to add the Dave Ramsey show to WLAC in the New Year.  Dave’s a legend in Nashville radio, and this aligns the power of his brand with the very best platform in talk radio.  It is a true home run for our listeners and advertisers.”

schultzedEd Schultz to Launch Live Theatrical Tour in 2014.  Nationally syndicated radio talk show host and MSNBC star Ed Schultz will be taking a show live to theaters in 2014.  Working in conjunction with Ron Hartenbaum‘s WYD Media, “The Ed Tour” commences on Saturday, February 8 with a booking in Fort Lauderdale and then several stops in the West including Seattle on Friday, February 21 with more locations to be announced shortly.  WYD Media has paved the way via an effective working model for talk show hosts to take theater-style shows on the road with the wildly successfully “Sexy Liberal Tour” starring Stephanie Miller which has also revved up for a number of dates in the remainder of 2013 and throughout 2014.

westwoodone logoWeather Channel and WestwoodOne Renew Ad Sales Agreement.  WestwoodOne and The Weather Channel announce that they have signed a multi-year agreement for the former to provide ad sales representation for The Weather Channel’s radio service.  The renewal runs through 2016.  The Weather Channel provides daily, customized cross-platform weather reports to individual radio stations around the country giving up-to-the-minute information on local weather or critical storm warnings.  WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine says, “We are delighted to continue our partnership with The Weather Channel and to represent its superior brand across the radio community.  Weather is a hugely covetable component in the audio space, and serves as a critical resource for listeners.  In fact, we have found that listeners are more likely to tune or tap in for weather information than most all other content.  We are happy to know we can continue to provide our listeners access to the best weather information available.”

sbaaire logoSBS Readies AIRE Radio Networks.  Set to debut January 1, Spanish Broadcasting System‘s AIRE Radio Networks will reach listeners in nine of the top 10 markets with a weekly audience reported to be approximately 12 million listeners – roughly one-quarter of the U.S. Hispanic population.  AIRE Radio Networks will feature shows focused on current events, health and family, finances, education, sports and entertainment.  “This creation solidifies SBS’ expanding presence in Hispanic media and entertainment,” explains SBS chairman/president/chief executive officer Raul Alarcon.  “We’re excited about capitalizing on syndication growth opportunities.  AIRE Radio Networks will extend our top-ranked offerings to advertisers and listeners nationwide.”  Aire Radio Networks senior vice president of network operations & affiliate sales Elisa Torres comments, “We have put together a stupendous lineup to deliver a national platform.  With AIRE Radio Networks’ targeted choices and vehicles, we anticipate rapid growth for clients seeking to embrace nationwide Hispanic listeners.”  The Aire Networks include the “Advantage Network,” targeting Hispanic men; “Young Adult Network,” geared to Hispanics 18-49; “Millennial Network,” targeting Hispanics 18-34; “Prime Family,” aimed at families on weekends; and “The Mandril Network,” featuring Ricardo “El Mandril” Sanchez of Los Angeles’ KLAX “La Raza.”

truesteveWAUK, Milwaukee Sports Talk Personality Steve “The Homer” True Injured in Car Accident.  Sports talk host and Marquette University men’s basketball play-by-play voice Steve “The Homer” True was in critical condition yesterday at a Milwaukee hospital after his car was hit by an alleged drunk driver at 10:00 am on Wednesday morning.  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports WAUK owner Craig Karmazin issued a statement late last night saying, “I spoke with Homer’s wife, Nancy, tonight.  She said Homer is doing pretty well and that doctors want to monitor his condition overnight.  On behalf of the True family and all of us at ESPN Wisconsin, I’d like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers.”  True suffered a head injury in the crash.  He has worked for Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting at WAUK for the past eight years.

nasba logoNASBA Fires Off Letter to Washington Opposing Elimination of Advertising Deductions.  The National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations submitted an official letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp and Ranking Member Sander Levin detailing the opposition by the member state broadcasters associations to the possibility of altering the current deduction businesses may take for advertising expenses.  The letter reminds the legislators that any change to the deduction would harm broadcasters, notes that advertising has been part of the allowed deductions since the Tax Code was adopted 100 years ago and that radio stations generally receive 96% of their revenue from advertising (Television’s percentage is 94).

Odds & Sods.  Clear Channel’s KBME, Houston – flagship station for Houston Rockets hoops – will simulcast some of the team’s games on other CC stations in the cluster.  Some games will air on news/talk KTRH and a select number of Saturday games will simulcast on AC KODA and classic rock KKRW…..ESPN Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” will be broadcasting live from Pardee Plaza on the campus of USC tomorrow in advance of the Stanford at USC game that ESPN Radio will air this weekend.

ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, GOP 2014 Strategies, Iran Nukes Deal, and Typhoon Haiyan Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/13).  The debate in Washington over fixing the rollout of the Affordable Care Act or scrapping it altogether; Republican strategies for the mid-term elections in 2014; the proposed nuclear technology development deal between the United States and Iran; and the aftermath of deadly Typhoon Haiyan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

| November 7, 2013

sportshh2013TALKERS Publishes Second Annual “Heavy Hundred” of Sports Talk Radio.  The editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, have compiled the second annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America.  The eagerly anticipated list is posted today (11/7).  Like its long-established “sister list” – the long-running (18 years) annual “Heavy Hundred” that ranks talk radio hosts working in the news/talk and general talk genres – the editors of TALKERS magazine have ranked sports talk hosts, duos or ensembles from 1 to 100 based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors.  The results are, admittedly, subjective.  Being  true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due.  Those qualities include:  courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness.  The other concrete qualification for inclusion is hosts must be working – that is, have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station at the time of publication.  TALKERS salutes the fine broadcasters who made this year’s second annual list!  To see the entire roster, please click here.

parksdarrylDarryl Parks Exits Clear Channel.  The longtime WLW, Cincinnati steward and architect of so many of the talk shows that aired on the station has been let go by Clear Channel.  Programmer Darryl Parks was PD of WLW from 1999 to 2010 when he was promoted to vice president of news/talk operations for the entire company.  He remained based at the Cincinnati cluster and hosted a Saturday morning talk show on WLW.  The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter broke the news on Wednesday afternoon and in his report calls Parks “arguably the most influential person in Cincinnati radio” during his time as PD of WLW.  As per policy, Clear Channel doesn’t comment on personnel matters but has confirmed that Parks is no longer with the company.  The move is likely a restructuring of management within the company but Parks drew attention to himself last month with a blog post criticizing acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn’s AM revitalization program and referred to the NAB/RAB Radio Show as a “circle jerk.”

cbsradioCBS Corporation Reveals Q3 Numbers: Radio Up 1%.  For the company as a whole, revenue was up 11% but the radio division’s net revenue rose just 1%.  With so much of CBS’ revenue from television and cable, the company doesn’t spend much time talking about radio.  EVP of investor relations Adam Townsend did single out the fledgling CBS Sports Radio Network, saying, “CBS Sports Radio network continues to help drive our results.  Plus, digital revenue was up 19% in the quarter.  And nontraditional revenue, including our growing local events business, was up 9%.”  The company says it expects the radio division to be up in the low single digits in the fourth quarter.

cclogoClear Channel Radio Revenue Up 3%.  CC Media Holdings issued its third quarter 2013 financial results and the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment division’s revenue increased by 3% or $25 million.  Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “Strategically and financially, our third quarter results reflect the growing strength of our Media+Entertainment business, while we continue to make meaningful progress in moving Outdoor forward internationally and in the Americas.  At Media+Entertainment, we outperformed the entire radio sector in revenue growth, including in our major markets. Increasingly, our radio business is benefiting from our strategic approach to advertising that sets us apart in the marketplace.”  Among numerous other points made about the division’s recent achievements, the company notes that there are now “39 million iHeartRadio registered users as of September 30, 2013, up 114% from the end of the 2012 third quarter, and crossing the 30 million registered user mark faster than Facebook, Twitter, Spotify or Pandora, and second only to Instagram.  iHeartRadio’s total listening hours were up 30% in the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.  Mobile represented 60% of iHeartRadio total listening hours during the quarter.”

katztonyTony Katz to Host Evening Show on WIBC-FM, Indianapolis.  Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis and talk show host Tony Katz have agreed to terms for Katz to debut his “Tony Katz Tonight” program on the station airing from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight beginning Monday, November 11.  Katz will be based out of his Tomorrow Media Network studios in Los Angeles.  Katz most recently hosted a weekend program on Emmis-owned KFTK-FM, St. Louis “FM News Talk 97.1” where he also serves as the regular fill-in for the station’s Dana Loesch.  Katz states, “I’m thrilled to be with Emmis, a company that has fought hard to be strong in this ever-shifting radio landscape.  I’ve had a great relationship with the company, with Dana and especially KFTK program director Jeff Allen, who gave me nothing but support, opportunity and encouragement.  To go from there to the capable and fearless hands of WIBC program director David Wood makes me truly believe that this is the start of a long, profitable relationship.”  Katz is a columnist with TownHall and Christian Post and a frequent commentator on “Fox and Friends” and “The Kudlow Report” on CNBC.  He is also a sought after public speaker.

cunninghambillBill Cunningham’s TV Show Renews on The CW.  WLW, Cincinnati talk show host Bill Cunningham can also claim success in his other media endeavor – the Tribune-produced television talk program “The Bill Cunningham Show.”  Now, Cable & Broadcasting reports that the show has been picked up for another season – its third – by The CW Network which airs the show at 3:00 pm ET.  The TV project was one of those that began back when former Clear Channel radio president Randy Michaels was heading up Tribune.  Former Clear Channel programmer Sean Compton is one of the executives whom Michaels brought to Chicago and has risen to president of programming and entertainment for Tribune Broadcasting.  Compton is quoted in the piece saying, “The growth of ‘The Bill Cunningham Show’ over the past three seasons has exceeded all expectations.  When compared to perceptually bigger shows, Cunningham consistently comes out on top.  His demo conversion steadily yields impressive results and we are extremely proud of this show.”

cookehollandA Peek Inside: NAB Futures 2013.  Radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke was recently invited to attend – and deliver a keynote speech! – at the invitation only NAB Futures 2013 that took place in Laguna Beach, California.  Cooke describes it as “a think tank about how broadcasters can embrace and exploit the ‘disruption’ that has changed how consumers consume media.”  He reports back interesting tidbits from such speakers as: James McQuivey, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research and the author of Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation; Scott Burnell, global lead, business development & partner management at Ford Motor Company; Jason Dorsey, “The Gen Y Guy” who wrote Y-Size Your Business: How Gen Y Employees Can Save You Money and Grow Your Business.  Get Holland Cooke’s scoop on the NAB Futures 2013 here.

westwoodone logoWestwoodOne Opens Creative and Production Studio for Radio Marketers.  Saying that it wants to help marketers develop “world-class audio,” WestwoodOne announces the opening of a full-service Creative Services division to be “powered” in part by TM Studios.  The company says it will “provide multi-platform marketing solutions including on-air, digital and experiential components, built upon the company’s core service producing engaging audio experiences that connect people with their passions in life.  The studio is currently preparing to work with marketers to produce audio ads for WestwoodOne’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII.”  WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine states, “Audio plays a vital role in the new media landscape and WestwoodOne is uniquely positioned to help marketers integrate creative, multiplatform audio advertising into the mix.  Marketers need a reliable partner who understands how, where and when today’s mobile consumers are interacting with audio and the ability to develop audio content that can stand out from the competition.  Be it mobile, terrestrial or digital consumption, the team at WestwoodOne Studio has the talent and expertise to create the most compelling and effective advertising to give our marketers the most exposure.”

valentinephilPhil Valentine Kicks Off ‘Spreading the Truth’ Tour.  Nashville-based syndicated talk show host Phil Valentine is launching what he’s calling the “Spreading the Truth” tour to promote the newly released DVD of his film “An Inconsistent Truth.”  Valentine will be in Pensacola, Florida at the Cordova Mall on Sunday, November 10 in conjunction with his Pensacola affiliate station WCOA.  Valentine reports that the movie – which challenges the notion of runaway, man-made global warming and takes its title from a twist on Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth – “hit the #1 spot on Amazon.com’s documentary list shortly after its release.  It’s the winner of three film festival awards including the Nevada Film Festival.  The film enjoyed a limited run last year in select theaters and was the top-grossing movie per screen in the entire country its first two weeks out.  It’s the 20th top-grossing nature documentary of all time, out-grossing films like “Cool It, Gasland and Fuel.”  Valentine states, “I think the fact that we hit #1 on Amazon so quickly is a testament to the appetite out there for the truth.  People inherently know carbon dioxide is not some kind of poison.  They instinctively know they’re being lied to.  We just arm them with the facts.”  The Spreading the Truth tour kicks off in Pensacola then moves to Nashville.  Other tour dates are being added.

morelandkeithOdds & Sods.  Chicago Cubs radio color analyst Keith Moreland is stepping down from his role.  WGN, Chicago announces the former Cub has made the decision to leave the broadcast booth to spend more time with his family.  In a note to the WGN staff, Moreland stated, “I would like to thank the fans, the folks at WGN Radio, my colleagues in the booth, the Ricketts family, and the Cubs for this great opportunity.  After spending three years doing it, I’ve simply decided that I want to spend more time at home in Texas.”  Moreland became a permanent fixture with play-by-play broadcaster Pat Hughes in February of 2011…..Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston announces the return of its off-season baseball show “Red Sox Hot Stove,” a weekly, one-hour program hosted by WEEI.com editor Rob Bradford and Red Sox reporter Alex Speier that will air every Thursday night from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm through February.  The program will focus on all off-season moves made by the Red Sox and in Major League Baseball, including free agency and trades, the GM and owners’ meetings and the league’s annual Winter Meetings, taking place this year from December 9-12 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, FL.  Bradford and Speier will be joined on a recurring basis by Red Sox manager John Farrell, general manager Ben Cherington and assistant general manager Mike Hazen.  In addition, listeners will regularly hear from other managers, general managers, agents and players from around baseball.

zimneymissindy‘There She/He Is, Miss Indiana…’  Okay, so that’s not exactly how the song goes.  Nonetheless, the attractive woman you see here is Mekayla Diehl (right) who was crowned Miss Indiana USA 2014 this past Sunday.  The handsome lad seated and wearing the tiara is Federated Media news and programming guru Jon Zimney of ‘95.3 FM MNC’ (Michiana News Channel) in South Bend, Indiana, and WOWO-AM/FM in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Miss Diehl visited the broadcasting facility to talk about her being crowned to represent the state of Indiana.

ObamaCare Criticism, Election Day Results, Benghazi Case, GOP 2014 and 2016 Strategies, Iran Nukes, Miami Dolphins ‘Bullying’ Story and Tony Dorsett Health Issues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/6).  The ongoing scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; Tuesday’s election results; renewed criticism of the handling of the deadly Benghazi attacks; Republican prospects and strategies for the mid-term elections in 2014 and the presidential election in 2016; Iran’s nuclear weapons program; controversy over the suspension of Miami Dolphins player Richie Incognito; and former NFL great Tony Dorsett’s admission he suffers from possible effects of football injuries were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, August 2, 2013

| August 2, 2013

cclogoClear Channel Posts 2% Revenue Increase in Q2.  That’s for the Media and Entertainment division – the radio stations, Premiere Networks and Total Traffic Network – on revenue of $805.6 million for the second quarter of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago.  During yesterday’s investors’ conference call, chairman and CEO Bob Pittman spoke positively about the growth of iHeartRadio and SVP of investor relations Gregory Lundberg noted that it has 34 million registered users and that represents growth of 162% year-over-year.  Regarding the makeup of the company’s revenue, he stated, “National sales for the stations grew 5%, with local up 1%.  Excluding the impact of political advertising, in both quarters, national sales rose 7% and local was up 2%.  Our strongest performing ad categories remained financial services, retail and telecom.  Digital sales continue to grow in the double digits as we monetize our station’s online presence and keep growing iHeartRadio, where total listening hours were up to 36% in the second quarter.  We also saw good year-over-year growth at Premiere Networks.  Partially offsetting this growth rate were revenue declines in the traffic business from lost contracts and from lower sales resulting from integration activities.  Operating expenses increased $42 million or 9%, reflecting a $21 million expense credit from one of our performance rights organizations, which we received in the second quarter of last year.”  He stated pacing for the third quarter for the stations was up 3% and up 1% for the division as a whole.  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript.  Members can read it all here.

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xmradio logoClear Channel Sells Its SiriusXM Interests for $135.5 Million.  Way back in 1999 when XM Radio was gearing up its operations, Clear Channel was an initial investor putting in $83.1 million and getting the right to program some of the satcaster’s music and talk channels.  Now, CC sells its interest in the company for $135.5 million – the value of the stock – and that means most of the CC-programmed content will disappear from the XM Radio platform.  That’ll include some of the company’s music FMs such as hip hop WGCI, Chicago; country signal WSIX, Nashville and hot AC WLIT, Chicago.  But two of the CC-radio channels are expected to stay on the XM platform – WHTZ, New York and KIIS, Los Angeles.  It also means the talk radio channel on the XM platform will see talent like Glenn Beck, Bob & Tom, Todd Schnitt as well as Fox Sports Radio programming go away.

arbitronArbitron Reports Q2 Revenue Rises 2.9%.  As it prepares to be acquired by ratings giant Nielsen, Arbitron issues its 2013 second quarter financial reports and states that on revenue of $107.4 million dollars it is reporting net revenue of $7.1 million or $0.26 per share.  The cost of the potential Nielsen deal ate into the company’s earnings before interest and income tax expense (EBIT) as it shelled out $6.1 million during the quarter in preparation for the acquisition.  President and CEO Sean Creamer states, “In the second quarter, we maintained focus on our long-term priorities: investing in and growing our core radio services, evaluating and implementing quality initiatives to enhance the value and utility of our offerings, and exploring emerging opportunities with an emphasis on those that allow us to highlight the power and advantages of radio.  As the media and advertising marketplaces continue to evolve and new technologies permit consumers to consume content virtually anytime and anywhere, it is important we keep pace with these changes to ensure radio gets full credit for its audience – regardless of the delivery platform.  Radio is growing and vibrant – and we are committed to helping the radio industry tell and validate its complete and compelling story.”

sabowalterThe Job of the Program Director in Five Years.  According to noted consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo, if you want to know which way the job of PD is heading in radio, just take a look at what has happened to the same titled position at television stations.  In a new column posted today (8/2) Sabo writes “As more on-air content decisions are made at the corporate level and delivered from a central source, the program director job will morph to meet the demands of the tasks that must be completed.  Smart companies will evolve the position to one that has been desperately needed: ‘Program and Public Relations Director.’”  Sabo goes on to list other combinations of tasks and responsibilities that will be added to the title “Program Director” on the radio station level.  To read his entire column, please click here.

kbme logoKBME, Houston Ousts Adam Wexler and Matt Jackson from AM Drive; Adds Fox Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr to Middays.  In a realignment of programming at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s sports talk KBME, Houston, Adam Wexler and Matt Jackson have been let go from the station and their morning drive gig and Lance Zierlein and Adam Clanton take over the AM show.  Zierlein co-hosted the afternoon show with Charlie Pallilo but, as the Houston Chronicle notes, had also worked on the morning drive show alongside Wexler and Jackson in the past.  Adam Clanton has hosted sports talk radio in the market at CBS Radio’s crosstown KILT as well as having worked at KPRC-TV.  The addition of Fox Sports Radio’s nationally syndicated Jay Mohr to the lineup from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm forces some other changes.  Greg Koch and N.D. Kalu now air from 9:00 am to 11:00 am; Charlie Pallilo hosts solo from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm; and Matt Thomas is on the air from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

radioshow2013Michael Harrison to Speak at NAB Radio Show.  In what promises to be a riveting and inspirational hour, TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison will address the forthcoming NAB Radio Show in Orlando (September 18-20) on “Radio’s Evolving Role in Popular Culture.”  Harrison, fresh off a rousing keynote speech at the Conclave, will further elaborate on the theme of the challenges facingharrisonmichael radio in its quest to remain societally iconic in the digital age of the 21st century at a specially scheduled Info-Session sponsored by TALKERS.  Harrison says that for radio to remain competitive with all the emerging “exotic” competition of this “wildly new era,” it must maintain “ownership” of the scenes it addresses whether they are music, politics, news, sports or any other expression of the human condition.  He says radio should maintain a foreground, active position that protects it from being marginalized as a passive delivery system and discusses options and opportunities to carry out the mission.  (To see a brief clip of Michael Harrison’s Conclave keynote speech addressing these subjects please click here.  The full speech will be posted to both RadioInfoTV and TalkersTV shortly, stay tuned.)  Consultant Holland Cooke introduces this popular annual NAB Radio Show session featuring the venerable programmer, air personality, entrepreneur and trade magazine publisher who has been accurately describing radio and popular media’s road ahead for the past 45 years.  The Info-Session is scheduled on Thursday, September 19 between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm and is open to all attendees of the NAB Radio Show.

davisbobClear Channel Makes Morning Changes at KTCN, Minneapolis.  Morning drive talk show host Bob Davis and Clear Channel Minneapolis part company and the station fills the morning drive slot with former evening hosts Jack Tomczak and Ben Kruse, at least for now.  Bob Davis had been paired up with Tom Emmer for mornings but Emmer exited the station in June to make a run for the congressional seat being vacated by Michele Bachmann.  Davis made national news when, during a discussion about gun control, he said on the air he would tell the Newtown families to “go to hell” for their role in shaping the gun debate.  He later apologized for the tenor of his comments.

radiatemedia logoRadiate Media Promotes Ivan Shulman to President.  Seven months after joining Radiate Media as executive vice president of sales and chief revenue officer, the company promotes Ivan Shulman to president.  CEO Chris Rothey states, “Ivan has a deep shulmanivanbackground in sales, marketing and media, and his leadership experience makes him a great fit for us.  Since joining us in November of 2012, we have experienced quarter-over-quarter revenue growth, including the launch of Radiate360 – our integrated marketing platform to drive hyper-local business.  Ivan will continue to lead that initiative as well as overseeing the day-to -day activities of our broadcast radio, TV and digital lines of business.”  The company is bullish on its new product Radiate360 which it describes as “an easy-to-use, online platform that empowers businesses to expand their reach and connect with their customers.  With Radiate360’s revolutionary suite of tools, businesses can establish an online presence, engage customers through social and mobile media, and promote to the local audience that matters most.”  Shulman says of his promotion, “I joined Radiate because I was excited about future opportunities.  Our growth on both the broadcast and digital side has been phenomenal and I look forward to working with broadcasters to help bridge the gap between digital and traditional media.”

sileodanDan Sileo Takes Over Midday Program at WMEN, West Palm Beach.  Florida sports talk personality Dan Sileo – most recently midday host at WQAM, Miami – moves into the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot at JCE Licenses’ WMEN, West Palm Beach “640 Sports” effective Tuesday, August 6.  Sileo – who worked for years at WDAE, Tampa prior to his stint with WQAM – is filling in for Travis Rodgers on KLAA, Los Angeles today and on August 5.  Sileo is, by his own admission, an edgy personality whose willingness to push the envelope has gotten him fired from his last two radio gigs.  He maintains he achieved excellent ratings while with Clear Channel at WDAE and that the station pulled in a lot of revenue from his program.

deggansericEric Deggans to Leave the Tampa Bay Times for Gig at NPR.  Journalist Eric Deggans has covered first music, then media for the Tampa Bay Times for the past 18 years.  Now, he exits the Times to become a TV critic and correspondent for NPR News.  Deggans has been a contributor to NPR in the past but joins the organization full time.  He states in a press release, “For many years, I have been a fan of NPR’s super-smart journalism and I often fantasized of what it might be like to join their ranks as a contributor.  A position like this one is beyond my wildest dreams; I’m honored and excited by the opportunity to help shape NPR’s coverage of television and pop culture.”  Deggans has been an excellent reporter covering the Tampa Bay media scene over the years but also could be viewed as a polarizing writer.  He’s been a critic of talk radio on a number of levels as indicated in his recent book Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation (Palgrave Macmillan 2012).  Photo by Carrie Pratt.

jacksonkevinOdds & Sods.  Dial Global announces it has signed an exclusive terrestrial, three-season deal with London-based talkSPORT to broadcast live coverage of Barclays Premier League, FA Cup and Capital One Cup.  The partnership includes play-by-play commentary of nearly 400 soccer matches per year, in both English and Spanish…..  “The Black Sphere” talk show host Kevin Jackson joins the advisory board of the Steamboat Institute, an institution that “defends freedom and advocates for liberty.”  Jackson says, “Witnessing the progress of the organization first hand, I am overjoyed to be part of the advisory board and play a role in the future direction of the Steamboat Institute, an organization that will undoubtedly mold political discussions and policy in the future.”

gillemdennyTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update.  Statewide syndicated sports talk host Bill Michaels is added to the lineup at WOZN, Madison, Wisconsin…..Kevin Jackson’s “Black Sphere Radio” show is now airing on WEZO, Augusta, Georgia…..Talk Media Network announces affiliate additions for three of its programs: “Fat Guys At The Movies with Kevin Carr & Kristin Dreyer Kramer” joins WKVL, Knoxville; “The Financial Fitness Show with Chip Cummings & Tony Rubleski” is added to WRSB, Rochester, New York; and “Frontlines of Freedom with Lt. Col. Denny Gillem” joins the lineup at WZFG, Fargo.

ObamaCare Implementation Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of July 29 – August 2.  The implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the cost of the program was the top news/talk topic during the week.  Following at #2 was the Anthony Weiner sexting case and the political fallout.  At #3 was the 2016 presidential race followed by the Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity contracts flap at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

| July 24, 2013

iheartradiotalkClear Channel Moves Full-Steam Ahead into Digital Talk with iHeartRadio Talk.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces its newest digital platform – actually a custom feature of the existing iHeartRadio – dubbed iHeartRadio Talk.  The company calls it “the first mass-market audio platform with the ability to offer on-demand, listener-created talk content alongside popular news, celebrity and entertainment ‘audiosodes.’”  The company also says iHeartRadio Talk will feature “Daily Pulse,” a customizable talk channel featuring the most up-to-date news and culture highlights, which allows users to add content that is most important to them.  Clear Channel president of digital Brian Lakamp states, “Talk radio listeners are some of the most dedicated and engaged listeners in the world, and now with iHeartRadio Talk, we are giving those listeners access to their favorite talk content anywhere they are.  Plus, for the first time ever, listeners who have been accepted into the iHeartRadio Talk library will be able to record and instantly share their perspective on any topic they choose – it’s basically like offering ‘audio Twitter.’  We are giving a voice to the everyman, and at the same time are enabling iHeartRadio users to discover and enjoy thousands of ‘audiosodes’ from the best talent around the country – something only Clear Channel is able to offer.”  As part of the initiative, Clear Channel has struck a deal with ABC TV to have the new feature include audio from “Good Morning America,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The View.”

courtsidelogoCourtside Entertainment Brings Greg Batusic Aboard as COO.  Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group announces former Westwood One executive Greg Batusic joins the company in the newly created position of chief operating officer.  Batusic will be based in Los Angeles and report to Pattiz where he’ll be in charge of day-to-day operations of both Courtside Entertainment Group and Launchpad Digital Media/Podcast One.  Norm Pattiz comments, “In the early years of Westwood One, Greg helped lead the way to the multi-billion dollar network radio business.  Now, while we do the same thing to on-demand audio, Greg’s expertise and leadership will be invaluable.  He knows what it takes to build a company and an industry from the ground up and I’m happy to be working together again.”  Batusic spent 15-plus years with Westwood One.  During his career he has also served as executive vice president of global sales for Gibson Guitar.  Prior to Gibson, he co-founded The Promotional, L.L.C. and served as the managing partner of the promotion company.  He oversaw all operational business, marketing development and revenue generation through high profile promotional programs.  Batusic says, “It’s my great pleasure to be working with Norm again.  The vibe at Courtside is very much the same as it was at Westwood One – a lot of life, contagious energy and innovative ideas.  I’m excited to be a part of it.”

raytomCASE STUDY:  How to Launch an Independently Syndicated Talk Show.  In a highly informative column posted today (7/24) noted radio engineering consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray outlines a step-by-step guide to launching an independently syndicated talk show using “Ron Ananian: The Car Doctor” as a case study.  In it, Tom ananianrondiscusses every detail: from building a studio to purchasing satellite time; covering details such as getting the audio from the studio to the satellite, acquiring a toll-free, call-in line; launching an affiliate relations campaign, handling sales and audio production; as well as offering podcasts and building an accompanying website.  Ray says, “Going into independent syndication, while not simple to do, will give you a great sense of satisfaction.”  Actually, if you have a good show, launching an independently syndicated program is quite do-able.  To read Tom Ray’s entire column, which is sure to help you get started, please click here.

sabowalterFive Tips to Instant Cume Growth.  Since the advent of PPM, many programmers have ceased worrying about certain elements that were deemed vital to the diary method but are now considered unimportant in the age of PPM.  They are especially ignoring past-proven, cume-builders based on the premise that once people are listening — you already got ‘em.  This is a huge mistake.  Unless you have a major billboard, TV and newspaper advertising campaign in place you cannot afford to waste the power of your own air in generating cume.  In a new column posted today, noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo addresses the AM radio problem of cume shrinkage and offers five tips to turn this negative trend around.  To read the column, please click here.

entercomEntercom CEO David Field Addresses Employees in ‘Midyear Update.’  In a companywide memo, Entercom CEO David Field delivers what’s termed a “midyear update” that serves as both a pep talk for the immediate future and a slap on the back for what the company has achieved thus far.  Field states that coming fielddavidout of the company’s management meetings in Minneapolis last week where they heard presentations on the state of the business and what the company can do to grow he believes, “We have terrific content, large audiences, outstanding personalities, great ratings, and powerful listener engagement.  I found the meetings extremely motivating and informative and really enjoyed the time with our team of top-notch programming leaders.”  Field then goes on to address numerous items under the subheadings Investing in Our People, Investing in Our Future, Making Entercom a Better Place to Work, and Why We Matter.  Finally, he waxes positive about the radio business, “And radio is thriving.  More people listen to AM/FM radio than ever before in history.  And AM/FM radio has more than 9x the combined listening of all satellite and internet radio combined.  The addition of our digital platforms has enabled us to engage our audiences and serve our advertisers in unprecedented ways.  We have generated hundreds and hundreds of case studies demonstrating our effectiveness in delivering results for our customers.”  To read David Field’s entire memo, click here.

kkoblogoKKOB, Albuquerque Records 52nd Straight #1 Book.  Cumulus Media’s news/talk KKOB, Albuquerque notches its 52nd straight Arbitron ratings book at the top of the heap for Persons 12+ in the Spring ’13 ratings clarkbobperiod.  AM operations manager Pat Frisch tells TALKERS magazine the station is #5 in the market with Men 25-54 (Mon-Sun 6A-Mid) and notes “TSL is driving KKOB up to nine hours, two hours more than the Winter ’13 book.”  Frisch also states, “The station is being driven by the king of mornings, Bob Clark (6:00 am to 10:00 am), and midday giant Rush Limbaugh (10:00 am to 1:00 pm).  Both had over a nine-share in their time slots in the Spring book.  I am finishing up my 14th year here at KKOB and 13 of those years have been at #1 and all of this is accomplished because of a great staff that gets it.”

wdmt logoEntercom to Flip WDMT, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to Sports Talk.  Speaking to the local Times-Leader, Entercom general manager Ryan Flynn says that although the adult alternative format heard on WDMT “The Mountain” had done “OK from a ratings standpoint” over the past 10 years, the company has not been able to monetize the format.  With that, the station will become “The Sports Hub 102.3” on August 5.  It’ll use NBC Sports Radio Network programming but will air a local, three-hour sports talk show in afternoon drive.  The host(s) for that program have not been named.  It’s interesting to note that the “Sports Hub” moniker is also used by CBS Radio in Boston on WBZ-FM which is in vicious competition with Entercom’s WEEI.

mccluresaraSara McClure Named VP of Sales at CC Sacramento.  Sara McClure is a veteran of Northern California radio sales, most recently serving with Entercom in numerous sales capacities.  Now she joins Clear Channel Media and Entertainment as vice president of sales for its six-station Sacramento cluster that includes: news/talk KFBK-AM/FM, talk KSTE classic hits KHLX “Classic 93.1,” adult hits KQJK “93.7 Jack FM,” and rhythmic oldies KHYL “V101,” .  McClure worked with a Bay Area ad agency beginning in 1995 and has also served with CBS Radio.  She says, “With my background in multimedia integrated selling, I know the timing is right to make my move to Clear Channel.  I am looking forward to teaming up with [market president] Dave Milner to lead the Sacramento cluster and leverage the company’s industry-leading capabilities.”

wfsx-wnog logoThom Abraham to Host AM Drive on Fort Myers Sports Duo.  As TALKERS reported on July 23, Sunabrahamthom Broadcasting is splitting the two AM signals off its news/talk trimulcast WFSX-AM/FM and WNOG-AM “92.5 Fox News.”  The sports duo “The Fan” will feature Nashville-based Thom Abraham in the 6:00 am to 9:00 am slot.  Abraham – whose show is heard in Nashville on WNSR as well as on WNTC, Drakesboro, Kentucky and WZZN, Huntsville, Alabama – was heard in the Fort Myers market on former sports talk WJBX from 2001 to 2004.

Celebrity Promotion for ObamaCare, Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath, IRS Scandal, MLB Suspends Ryan Braun, Detroit Bankruptcy Fallout, and Anthony Weiner Internet Sex Issues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/23).  The implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the Obama Administration’s use of celebrities to promote the controversial law; issues of crime and race relations in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict; the IRS policy targeting conservative groups and individuals; MLB suspends Ryan Braun for PEDs – A-Rod believed to be next; the fallout from Detroit’s bankruptcy filing; and the new allegations of sexual dalliances by New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

| January 9, 2013

cclogoClear Channel Hires Bruce Gilbert for New Sports SVP Post.  Most recently, Bruce Gilbert has been the vice president of news, talk and sports programming at CBS Radio Dallas where he’s been in charge of KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan,” KRLD-AM “Newsradio 1080,” and the Texas State Network.  Now he joins Clear Channel Media and gilbertbruceEntertainment for the newly created position of senior vice president of sports operations.  CC says Gilbert will be “responsible for the creation, development and direction of sports programming at CCM+E, including Premiere Networks and the Fox Sports Radio Network.  He will also work with the National Programming Platforms team to expand sports branding across the company’s multiple platforms.”  Prior to CBS, Gilbert headed up Washington, D.C.-based Red Zebra Broadcasting as CEO, where he grew the company from three to 13 stations.  Gilbert also held the role of VP/general manager for the ESPN Radio Network, where he led programming, affiliations and sales for the network, and worked with owned-and-operated ESPN stations.  Premiere Networks EVP of news, talk and sports programming Carl Anderson states, “We are ecstatic to have one of the nation’s leading sports executives join our company.  Bruce has an amazing track record and unmatched dedication to building winning teams.  His credibility in the sports arena brings a wealth of expertise, knowledge and leadership to CCM+E.”  Some industry observers have noted Clear Channel has been lagging behind other major companies – especially CBS Radio and Entercom – in developing sports talk stations.  The arrival of Gilbert could signal a change and the company may begin to consider operating more sports talk stations.

tantarosandreaFox News Channel’s “The Five” Soaring in Ratings.  The 5:00 pm ET program “The Five” on Fox News Channel – co-hosted by Andrea Tantaros – has been climbing steadily in the ratings.  Last Friday, for example, the program logged more than 2 million viewers (Persons 2-plus), 339,000 viewers (Persons 25-54) and 807,000 (Persons 35-64), easily doubling its closest competitors on the other cable news/talk channels.  Andrea Tantaros is also host of her own talk radio program on Talk Radio Network (airing live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon) alongside best-selling author Jason Mattera.  TRN CEO Mark Masters says he believes she’s the only female broadcaster to star in a weekday TV program and host a nationally syndicated talk radio program.  “In a post 2008-2009 economy, we have been seeking shows that are highly entertaining, yet responsible and profitable for our station affiliates and advertisers.  Andrea has the ability to do both.  She’s a fresh voice who will inject new energy to the airwaves.”

moorebobBob Moore Joins Sports USA Media.  He’ll assume the title of president of Sports USA Media in his role with the independent sports play-by-play content syndicator.  Sports USA Media founder and CEO Larry Kahn says of him, “I’ve known Bob Moore for over 30 years.  His experience in working with play-by-play sports rights and creating programming around them is a perfect fit for us.  Bob has worked with multiple teams, including the L.A. Dodgers, the L.A. Kings, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Anaheim Ducks, the Oakland Raiders, the USC Trojans, the New York Giants, and the Brooklyn Nets.  Bob’s knowledge and background will be key factors in the continued growth of Sports USA Media.”  Moore states, “I have long admired Larry for building the largest independent play-by-play sports network and am eagerly looking forward to helping him expand his play-by-play business and making a major statement in the digital space.  We all know the demand for live sports is growing for both the audience and the radio stations.  We will be announcing several major expansions for Sports USA Media over the next several months.  If NBC, CBS and ABC can dedicate 24-hour sports television and radio networks, I think we can say the space is secure.”

thompsondocTalk Host Doc Thompson Joins TheBlaze Radio Network.  Talk radio pro Doc Thompson – recently heard on stations including WLW, Cincinnati and WRVA, Richmond – becomes part of the lineup at Glenn Beck’s online TheBlaze Radio Network hosting the morning drive program.  Program director Dom Theodore says of Thompson, “Doc Thompson has an amazing track record of success at some of America’s biggest talk stations, in addition to his many years of guest hosting for Glenn Beck.  His humorous style and unique approach make him the perfect choice for mornings on TheBlaze Radio Network.”  Also from TheBlaze, Chris Peterson signs on with the network to serve as assistant program director.  Peterson has served with Premiere Networks for the past five years.

zollermarthaMartha Zoller Back on the Radio.  After a run for Congress in Georgia that took her off the radio for the better part of 2012, talk host Martha Zoller returned to the air this week on Cox Media’s WGAU, Athens, Georgia alongside co-host Tim Bryant for the Zoller & Bryant morning drive program.  Prior to her run for office, Zoller was heard on Cox Media’s WXKT.  At the time the station was a talk and sports hybrid but has since flipped to a classic hits format.

wssp logoEntercom’s Sports Talk WSSP, Milwaukee Drops Fox for CBS.  The change will take place on Friday, January 11.  Entercom’s Milwaukee sports talk outlet WSSP “SportsRadio 1250” ends its affiliate relationship with Fox Sports Radio Network to begin airing the new CBS Sports Radio Network.  WSSP airs local programming during much of the day but will use CBS for the evening, late night, overnight and weekend dayparts.

bullmichaelOdds & Sods.  Michael Bull’s Atlanta-based “Commercial Real Estate Show” goes into national syndication via the Wall Street Business Network.  The program was founded in 2010 by commercial real estate broker Michael Bull on WAFS, Atlanta in 2010 to examine national commercial real estate and business issues and feature high-caliber guests from around the country, including well-known analysts, accountants, brokers, lenders, developers, attorneys and architects.  About the expansion, Bull states, “I’ve been delighted at the impact the show has had in just two years, and I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to continue to extend its reach.  We can tell by the location of podcast downloads that the content is relevant to audiences across the globe.  As we continue to add stations, the show’s comprehensive analysis and enlightening bohannonjimconversations will reach a much larger audience.”…..Dial Global nationally syndicated late night and early morning talk host Jim Bohannon will be one of six Inauguration Parade announcers who’ll be stationed along Pennsylvania Avenue on January 21 addressing the crowd.  Bohannon says, “This is quite an honor, and I’m eager to do it again.  I also announced the Carter parade in 1977, so I seem to do this every 36 years.  Guess I’d better enjoy it since I’m not sure how many 36 year increments I have left.  It should be fun announcing, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the Southeast A&P Remedial High Marching 37, as they form a giant grid…and a giant lock…in honor of this year’s inaugural theme!’ (applause).”

pressmanalanDr. Alan Pressman Moves to WOR, New York.  After 11 years on Access.1’s WWRL, New York, Dr. Alan Pressman takes his “Health Radio News” program to Clear Channel’s WOR, New York for a Sunday 8:00 am ET airing.  He says the show will be a live, caller-driven program.  Dr. Pressman states, “There are so many breaking stories about health and nutrition; stories the general public does not have easy access to.  We’ll be discussing issues in the news from around the world.  It’s really hard-hitting information.”

Gun Control Legislation, RGIII Controversy, Looming Additional Tax Battles, Obama Cabinet Nominations, and Flu Epidemic Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/8).  Gun legislation proposals; the controversy over Robert Griffin III’s playing time in the Redskins’ loss to Seattle; future tax hike debates in Washington; President Obama’s cabinet nominations and the flu epidemic that has hospitals overwhelmed were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

| January 3, 2013

johnkenKFI, Los Angeles’ John and Ken Appear on WOR, New York.  New WOR, New York owner Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has begun airing talk radio duo John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou in the evenings on the station.  On Wednesday night, a simulcast hour from the final hour of the pair’s highly rated KFI, Los Angeles wor710program aired at 9:00 pm followed by a 10:00 pm hour of custom programming for the New York station.  John and Ken are no strangers to the region having grown up in the New York area and having gotten their start on radio stations in the Tri-State Area.  They rose to prominence during their stint at Trenton-based “New Jersey 101.5” (WKXW).  John and Ken have been syndicated in the past.  During a brief period in the late 1990s, the duo began a national syndication effort under Fisher Entertainment but that ended when they moved to KABC, Los Angeles to take the morning drive slot.

nbcsportsradioPeacock Sports Network Playing the Hits.  In TALKERS magazine’s second part of its three-part series on the new sports talk radio players (and the growing field in general), managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian gets inside the heads of those involved in the new NBC Sports Radio Network that is launching its weekend programming this weekend and its full daily slate in April.  NBC Sports Radio kinosianmikeprogrammer Jack Silver tells TALKERS his network is focusing on finding talent it believes is the next generation.  “The weekday and weekend lineups mirror the network’s mission statement, which is to be a new wave of sports talk.  We did not hire the more traditional names.  The developmental mindset we have is to find new sports talk talent.  CBS Sports Radio has veterans like Jim Rome and Scott Ferrall.  We are looking for the next versions of people like that, as well as Dan Patrick and [ESPN Radio morning personalities] ‘Mike [Greenberg] & Mike [Golic].’  We are producing this sports network like a rock station, with in-your-face production.  To my ear, it feels like an FM talk station – which is my specialty. It is based on opinions and talk show topics.”  Read Mike Kinosian’s entire piece here.

cumulusCumulus Media Returns 44 Markets to Arbitron Diary Service.  After three years with no Arbitron diary ratings service, Cumulus Media-owned stations in 44 markets will resume subscription to the service effectivearbitron immediately.  Cumulus Media and Arbitron announce they have agreed to a multi-year contract that brings Cumulus stations in the 44 markets back into the fold and renews the company’s PPM ratings service deal in the 17 PPM markets in which it operates.  Arbitron states that the deal covers all 450 Cumulus stations in the 100 Cumulus radio markets currently surveyed by Arbitron.  It also renews ratings agreements in 39 diary markets.  In addition to diary and PPM local market ratings, the agreement also provides Cumulus with access to Arbitron software applications, Scarborough consumer profile services, dickeylewand national and network radio ratings for Cumulus Media Networks.  Cumulus has also agreed to collaborate with Arbitron on cross-platform services that would quantify the total impact of the Cumulus radio brand.  Cumulus chairman and CEO Lew Dickey says, “With this agreement, Arbitron and Cumulus are demonstrating a long-term commitment to collaborate for the benefit of the radio industry.  We will work closely with Arbitron on its ongoing quality and service enhancement initiatives.  Specifically, we look forward to participating in the development of an integrated, total radio audience service that gives broadcasters full credit for our audiences regardless of how listeners access our content.”

cainhermanHerman Cain is Coming and Consultant Holland Cooke Predicts Success.  Businessman, talk show host and one-time presidential candidate Herman Cain is prepping to take over the WSB, Atlanta and Cox Media syndication of the Neal Boortz program when Boortz retires this month.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke predicts Cain will succeed and offers eight reasons why, beginning with: “He’s a radio natural, as we heard when he filled-in for Sean Hannity last summer.  Even if Cain’s primary run hadn’t made it so familiar, his voice jumps-out-of the speaker.  And he speaks in sound bites that are made for AM radio.”  There’s more.  Read Cooke’s piece here.

mendtelarryLarry Mendte Exits Merlin’s WWIQ, Philadelphia.  Announcing his departure from the Philadelphia talk outlet via his Facebook page, talk personality and former market TV news anchor Larry Mendte states the reason was not due to ratings as his show was “by far the highest-rated local show.”  But Mendte, who joined the station in May of last year, says in his post that he believes his exit will spur rumors the station is for sale.  He says he hopes that’s not true as he believes the station “fills an important void.”  Mendte was hired to work the morning show alongside programmer and co-host Al Gardner.  Earlier in the fall, New York-based multi-media star Lionel was brought in to work with Gardner for a portion of the morning program.  WWIQ’s website lists both Gardner and Lionel as co-hosts of the 5:00 am to 9:00 am program.

woky logoClear Channel to Flip WOKY, Milwaukee to Sports Talk.  Beginning Monday, January 7, Clear Channel-owned classic country WOKY, Milwaukee will become a sports talk outlet as “The Big 920.”  The station will feature regional sports talk personalities as well as Fox Sports Radio Network syndicated programming including Dan Patrick and Jay Mohr.  According to a report in The Business Journal, the station will run the same programming that airs on CC’s Madison sports talk station WTSO “The Big 1070.”  The station will air a talk show featuring morning drive hosts Mike Lucas and Matt Lepay from 6:00 am to 8:00 am.  It will be in competition in the market with Good Karma’s WAUK and Entercom’s WSSP.

wqrtlogoWQRT, Cincinnati to Drop Talk; Station Will Go Dark, Launch New Format in February.  The Cincinnati market sports and talk station WQRT “Real Talk 1160” will go dark after the broadcast of the BCS National Championship game on January 7 and take the rest of the month to prepare for a new format.  Christian Broadcast System owner Jon Yinger tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter the station did not perform as the company had hoped despite hiring numerous local personalities over the course of the past few years to challenge competitors in the market.  Local staffers including morning host Dean Miuccio, news staffer T.C. Summers, afternoon sports talk hosts Dennis “Wildman” Walker and Jeff Piecoro have been let go and the station will air syndicated programming until it signs off.  The station recently lost operations manager Rob Williams and sports talk host and producer Rick Ucchino who left to join Cumulus Media’s crosstown WCFN which debuted the CBS Sports Radio Network format on Wednesday, January 2.

currenttvAl Gore’s Current TV Bought by Al Jazeera.  The Al Gore- and Joel Hyatt-owned Current TV cable news/talk channel has been purchased by the Qatar-based Arab world cable news operation Al Jazeera for a reported $500 million.  Bloomberg reports Gore and Hyatt paid $60 million for the media outlet in 2004.  Bloomberg notes in its report that Time Warner Cable Inc., the second-biggest U.S. cable company, said it would stop carrying Current TV with the ownership change.  “Our agreement with Current has been terminated and we will no longer be carrying the service…We are removing the service as quickly as possible.”  Time Warner Cable currently carries the Al Jazeera English-language programming in New York City however it does not offer Al Jazeera in the Los Angeles market.  The Associated Press reports the acquisition will give Al Jazeera access to about 40 million more homes.  It also states that Al Jazeera – owned by the government of Qatar – plans to gradually transform Current TV into a network called Al Jazeera America by adding five to 10 new U.S. bureaus beyond the five it has now and hiring more journalists.  More than half of the content will be U.S. news and the network will have its headquarters in New York City.

mohrjay

Fox Sports Radio Network’s Jay Mohr Debuts on 70-Plus Stations.  The new late-morning program on the Fox Sports Radio Network hosted by long-time FSRN fill-in host, comedian and actor Jay Mohr hit the ground running with about 70 affiliates yesterday.  Fox Sports reports the show aired in markets including: Los Angeles, Atlanta, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Portland and Pittsburgh.  Mohr’s program fills the slot held for so many years by Jim Rome who left Premiere Networks for the new CBS Sports Radio Network.

keelerbillBill Keeler to Host Mornings on WIBX, Utica.  Local media personality Bill Keeler will begin hosting the morning drive program on Townsquare Media’s news/talk WIBX, Utica, New York on Monday, January 14, according to WKTV-TV, Utica.  Keeler, who has been hosting a restaurant program on WKTV-TV, has also worked in the market in radio at CHR WSKS and rock WXUR.  He says, “I am so excited about doing mornings on WIBX.  This is a heritage radio station that’s been around for 87 years and it remains one of the top stations in the market.  I can’t wait to get on the air and get started.”  Keeler will be joined by news anchor Kristine Bellino.

mcmichaelsteveWMVP, Chicago Personality Steve McMichael Pulled from Broadcasting After Equal Time Request.  Former Chicago Bears great and WMVP, Chicago sports talk personality Steve “Mongo” McMichael was yanked from Sunday’s program prior to the final Bears game of the season after the mayor of Romeoville, Illinois filed an equal time request with the station.  McMichael filed papers on December 26 to get on the ballot to run for mayor of Romeoville in April and one of his opponents, current Mayor John Noak, filed the request citing equal time regulations.  McMichael tells the Chicago Tribune, “I was ready to go on and talk football.  I by no means used that pre-game show as a political platform this year.  But if that’s the law, it’s the law and I have to accept it.”

wtmjJournal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Announces Record Results for Holiday Toy Drive.  WTMJ, Milwaukee program director Joe Scialfa announces the Journal Broadcast Group station collected more than 19,000 toys during its 2012 “Kids to Kids Christmas”  Scialfa says more than 50 schools in the region participated in the charity drive that encouraged children to shop with their parents for toys to donate to those less fortunate.  Scialfa states, “The listeners of Newsradio 620 WTMJ are amazing.  Again this year, they have shared the message of giving with their kids in a record setting way!  We couldn’t be prouder to come to work each day to inform and entertain this great audience.”

‘Fiscal Crisis’ Bill Signed, Hurricane Sandy Aid Controversy, Financial Markets Activity, Hillary Clinton Health Status and Gun Control Debate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/2).  The aftermath of the bill signed to avert the “fiscal crisis”; the anger over Congress’ bypassing Hurricane Sandy aid; financial markets respond to “fiscal crisis” legislation; the health status of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and ongoing debate of gun laws in the United States were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, November 12, 2012

| November 12, 2012

Clear Channel Pulls the Plug on Progressive Talk KPOJ, Portland.  The conspiracy theories from listeners and progressive talk fans are already pouring in – especially on the Portland-area blogs and mainstream media sites – but the notion that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is flipping KPOJ to sports talk for political reasons and not because of business factors has no basis in reality.  According to a piece in the local Willamette Week blog site, KPOJ’s recent 12-plus ratings were around a 1.0 share compared to some of its spoken-word competitors (news/talk KEX and KXL posted a 3.5 share and 5.0 share, respectively).  TALKERS is not privy at this time to how well Clear Channel was able to sell KPOJ but it should surprise few in the business that sports content has never been hotter from a consumption standpoint and political talk – whether conservative or progressive – is, from a sales perspective, controversial and therefore a much tougher sell, probably even in a progressive market such as Portland.  Local morning talk host Carl Wolfson was gracious in his public statement about the decision saying, in part, “I appreciate the opportunity they gave me for six years to be a voice for progressive causes in our state and nation.  I will miss all of my fun friends at work (my excellent producer Paul, remains employed!).  I love all of you, my loyal listeners.  It has been my honor to give a platform to all of the outstanding groups, volunteers, elected officials and good people who make Oregon so special.”  The station, considered one of the nation’s more successful progressive talk outlets for many years, also carried WYD Media’s Thom Hartmann, Premiere NetworksRandi Rhodes and Mike Malloy.

Fox Sports Radio Takes Over in Portland.  Beginning Today, KPOJ, Portland becomes “Fox Sports Radio 620” and carries the full lineup of Fox Sports Radio Network programming that includes “Fox Sports Daybreak,” “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, “Fox Sports Tonight” and JT The Brick plus other weekend programming.  Clear Channel Portland has the rights to Portland Trailblazers basketball (which airs on sister KEX) and Oregon State Beavers sports and the “Beaver Nation Live” show will continue to air on KPOJ from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily.  Operations manager Chris Sargent states, “Combining our rich relationship with the Oregon State Beavers and Portland Trail Blazers, and now Fox Sports Radio, this is a win-win situation for us.  We expect the new Fox Sports Radio 620 to serve the community with great access to sports information and entertainment, while setting the standard of sports excellence in Portland.”

Brian Wilson Exits WSPD, Toledo.  News/talk pro Brian Wilson leaves Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WSPD, Toledo where he’s been program director, news director and afternoon drive talk host for more than seven years.  Wilson has long operated his Vacation Relief Services company and has been a host a such outlets as WABC, New York; KSFO, San Francisco; WRC, Washington; and WGST, Atlanta.  Wilson says via his Facebook page: “I am glad to have had the opportunity to preach the gospel of freedom and liberty to Northwest Ohio. Wish I had the chance on the air to say thank you and goodbye to my listeners.  I will continue to make every effort to spread the message of free markets and liberty.”

Cox Media Splits WDBO, Orlando Simulcast; AM 580 to Sports Talk.  The AM/FM simulcast of news/talk on Cox Media’s WDBO, Orlando ends today as the station takes up the ESPN affiliation and begins airing ESPN Radio’s lineup of nationally syndicated programming including “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” and SVP & Russillo.  The move adds another sports talk outlet to the market that already includes Clear Channel-owned WYGM “The Game” the Fox Sports Radio affiliate; Star Over Orlando’s WRSO the Yahoo! Sports affiliate; and Genesis Communications’ WHOO “Sports Talk Florida” the NBC Sports Radio affiliate.  WDBO’s full program schedule should be known soon and it’s not clear at this point if the station will air any local sports talk.

Unlocking the Secrets of Twitter.  One of the radio industry’s most respected digital consultants offers tips on maximizing the use of Twitter to drive listeners to the station and increase ratings. TALKERS columnist Chris Miller of Chris Miller Digital warns that Twitter is not Facebook‘s “little sister” and should not be treated that way.  He says broadcasters can use Twitter to effectively enhance their radio brand by creating a “bulletin service” that promotes one element of upcoming programming and one element only; a “customer channel” that opens a link to a real, live customer serviceperson – a recording; and by creating “mico-targeting” initiatives which separates various factions of the total target audience for very specific aspects of the programming of primary interest to them.  Read Chris Miller’s entire piece here.

WABC, New York’s Geraldo Rivera to Broadcast Sandy Relief Program.  During his midday show today, Cumulus Media Networks’ talk show host Geraldo Rivera will broadcast live from a Salvation Army post on storm-ravaged Island Park on Long Island in order to raise funds for Hurricane Sandy relief.  WABC states, “During the broadcast, singer and actress Katharine McPhee will interrupt filming the next season of her TV show ‘Smash’ to announce that she will match every donation dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000 through her charitable foundation, McPhee Outreach (for a total of $100,000).”  McPhee says,  “I was looking for the organization on the ground that was doing the most to help Hurricane Sandy victims and I found that to be the Salvation Army.”  Rivera will be on the air from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm ET.  He says, “There is no one who does more with less than the Salvation Army.  I’m hoping that my listeners and sponsors will step up and match the McPhee Outreach’s grant to raise more than $100,000 to help people rebuild their lives in the wake of this weather disaster.”

LFM’s KKFN, Denver Re-Signs Clough.  Late-morning talk host Sandy Clough re-ups with Lincoln Financial Media’s Denver sports talker KKFN.  The terms of the deal were not announced and Clough’s extending his contract with the station comes shortly after the sports talk outlet re-upped fellow air talent Scott Hastings and Joel Klatt.

 

Aaron Matthews Named PD at WWSR, Lima, Ohio.  Maverick Media fills the program director position at sports WWSR, Lima “93.1 The Fan” with market veteran Aaron Matthews.  He takes over for Ryan Reker who exited Maverick’s Lima cluster to become program director at Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne.

Opinion: Talk Radio’s Renaissance Requires Open-Minded Ownership.  Talk host and programmer Tom Becka – currently heard on KRWK, Fargo and KOIL, Omaha – says that the post-election reflection on talk radio’s future reminds him of his days as a stand-up comic traveling the country and talking with people whose concerns went far beyond the political process in Washington, DC.  “The truth is what is important to most talk show hosts is not important to most people on the street.”  Becka says hosts must be broader in their approach and management has to be willing to change.  Read his opinion piece here.

Canada’s CRTC Approves New English-Language Talk Station for Montreal.  The new English-language talk formatted station won’t hit the airwaves in Montreal until late spring of 2013 but Canada’s broadcasting regulation agency – the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission has approved the application for the new station.  The company applying for the license is owned by three Montreal businessmen and the outlet will be the sister station to the French-language talk outlet that’s also been approved.  The French station will operate at 940 AM – a signal that’s been dark in Montreal for two years.  Currently, Montreal is served by Astral Media’s English-language talk outlet CJAD.

 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

| October 11, 2012

Sold Out Talkers New Media Seminar Takes Place in Los Angeles Today.  Talk media practitioners from all over the country are gathering in Los Angeles today for the West Coast installment of TALKERS magazine’s two-part New Media Seminar 2012 (the first part took place in New York on June 7).  The NMS Los Angeles agenda includes solo addresses, panel discussions and the presentation of the “Woman of the Year” award to KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci by last year’s recipient Stephanie Miller.  More than 55 speakers will be participating including radio talent, PDs, GMs, producers, syndicators and consultants.  Courtside Entertainment founder and CEO Norm Pattiz will keynote.  KFI, Los Angeles morning drive host Bill Handel will also deliver a solo presentation.  Some of the panel discussions to take place  include: “The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison; “The Challenges of Hosting a Talk Show in 2012” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian; “Making Money in Talk Radio: Challenges and Opportunities” moderated by PodJockey host Brent Seltzer; “The State of Talk Programming” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey; “The Modern Day Pioneers” moderated by KPCC, Pasadena personality Patt Morrison; “The Art of the Show” moderated by Bill Moran & Associates president Bill Moran; and much more.  There will be more than 50 speakers and approximately 250 attendees at this event. The TALKERS New Media Seminar LA takes placed today from 9:00 am and 5:00 pm in association with the Los Angeles Press Club at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.  Check out the full agenda here.  Look for coverage of the event in both RadioInfo and TALKERS in the days ahead.

CBS Radio’s Atlanta FM Sports Talk Announces Lineup and Start Date.  WZGC, Atlanta “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” will debut on October 24 and feature the following personalities in addition to Carl Dukes, whom we already reported is moving to Atlanta from Houston where he worked at Gow Communications’ KFNC.  Morning drive will be hosted by well-known TV NFL analyst and 49ers great Randy Cross, NBA-TV personality Rick Kamla, and former crosstown WBTS “95.5 The Beat” host C.J. Simpson.  The 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot will feature former CNN Headline Sports, Fox Sports Radio and Atlanta Braves and Hawks analyst Jerome Jurenovich paired with former Atlanta Falcon and NFL Network personality Jaime Dukes.  Joining Carl Dukes on the afternoon drive show will be Rachel Baribeau, most recently with Cox Media’s WZNN, Birmingham “97.3 The Zone” and former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart.  The evening show is yet to be announced but TALKERS hears other personalities to be part of the station in either analysis or fill-roles include NBA analyst Bob Neal, former NBA star Dennis Scott, former Toronto Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, two-sport player with the Braves and Falcons Brian Jordan, and former Atlanta Falcon Ovie Mughelli.

Doug Stephan Syndicated Morning Show Reaches Quarter Century Milestone.  This month, Doug Stephan‘s “Good Day,” arguably the second longest running syndicated talk radio show in the country, begins its 25th year on the air.  Stephan and his crew will be celebrating this major milestone with an ongoing schedule of fun, games and trivia.  Every day for the next year, the show will feature clips offering a retrospective of the top news stories, songs, movies and TV shows from the past 25 years.  The celebration culminates in October of 2013 with contests that will be coordinated with “Good Day” affiliates enabling listeners from around the country to win trips and other assorted prizes. The show will also be highlighting other companies and organizations celebrating their 25th anniversary along with “Good Day.”  “‘Good Day’ is as relevant today as it was 25 years ago,” Stephan tells TALKERS, adding “The show’s success and longevity is a testament to our ability to keep it fresh and fun while keeping our audience informed.”

WLS-AM, Chicago’s Don Wade Preparing to Undergo Chemo and Radiation.  From the Windy City, Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that WLS-AM, Chicago morning drive host Don Wade – after a successful operation to remove a growth from his brain will undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatment soon.  His agent, Eliot Ephriam, says the course is not indicative of any bad news but simply the next step in the procedure for the 71-year-old talk personality.  In a statement, Wade says, “I’m going to do everything the doctors tell me to do to beat this thing.  Nothing has altered my most positive and optimistic attitude.  When they say jump, I say: ‘How high?’”  Meanwhile, Wade’s wife and radio partner Roma, thanks the many who’ve sent well-wishes.  “The outpouring of caring from thousands of you, our radio family, has filled our hearts and our home, our coffee table piled high and overflowing with love.  Your letters, cards, emails, messages, flowers and, most important, prayers lift our spirits every single day.  Thank you.”

Clear Channel Sacramento Knocked Off Air by Software Glitch.  The cluster-wide loss of transmitting signal that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Sacramento stations experienced yesterday were caused by a software malfunction, according to coverage in the Sacramento Bee.  President and market manager Dave Milner tells the paper the cluster recently moved into new studios that have a state-of-the-art software system that went down on Wednesday morning around 7:00 and lasted until engineers could repair the problem around 9:00 am.  Milner says the office received a lot of calls from people wondering what happened to their radio stations.  “It’s never fun to go through something like this but it makes you aware of how much people rely on you.”  The company operates news/talk outlets KFBK and KSTE, classic hits KHLX, urban contemporary KHYL, and adults hits KQKJ.

Odds & Sods.  Journal Broadcast Group announces its “2012 Red, White and Blue Election Initiative” – a campaign that commits each of its television news operations and radio news/talk formatted stations to significant election coverage in the 30 days leading up to the November 6, 2012 general election.  News/talk stations taking part include: WTMJ-AM, Milwaukee; KTTS-AM and KSGF-AM/FM, Springfield, Missouri; KQTH-FM, Tucson; KFAQ-AM, Tulsa; KFDI-AM and KLIO-FM, Wichita…..Mark Mueller exits Clear Channel’s WRDU, Raleigh where he’s served as the midday news/anchor and reporter since 2009.

Correction!  Yesterday TALKERS published the news that the FCC has approved Buckley Broadcasting’s sale of WOR, New York to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  In the piece we wrote that WOR was New York’s oldest station, having gone on the air in February of 1922.  WGY, Albany program director Josh Everett writes to correct the record, stating that WGY-AM went on the air on February 20, 1922 – two days prior to WOR-AM signing on February 22, 1922.  Even though we were referencing WOR as New York City’s first station – we want to give credit where credit is due.  But wait! Former Citadel Wilkes-Barre chief engineer Phil Galasso writes to tell us we’re both wrong and that WABC – which first went on the air as WJZ – was first out of the gate on October 7, 1921 from the Westinghouse plant near Lackawanna Station in Newark, New Jersey.  He says WJZ changed its call letters to WABC on March 1, 1953.

Famous Dodgers Join “What’s Cookin’?” Broadcast.  CRN Digital Talk Radio’s “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” program recently broadcast from The Ranch restaurant in Anaheim and had some very special guests on the show.  Pictured here in the back row are: Former Dodger pitcher Charlie Hough, “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” host and master sommelier Michael Jordan, third base coach and former Dodger All-Star Tim Wallach.  Seated at the table are Hall of Fame Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda and “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” co-host Mike Horn.

Obama Confesses ‘Bad Night’ at Debate, Presidential Race Polls, Libya Consulate Attack Investigation, and Sandusky Sentencing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/10).  The Analysis of the first presidential debate and President Obama’s admission he had a ‘bad night’; the latest presidential race polls; the ongoing investigation into the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya; and the sentencing of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

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 13, 2012

| September 13, 2012

Les Moonves Tells Investors Network Sports Radio Biz is “Found Money.”  That CBS is bullish on sports is not news – CBS CEO Les Moonves has said that before.  But he reiterated his company’s dedication to the industry and – citing the new CBS Sports Radio Network venture – called it $10 million to $15 million worth of “found money.”  Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference in Beverly Hills yesterday, Moonves told the conference the sports radio network business is a $150 million industry, “With our deal with Cumulus, we have reach.  We’re in nine of the top 10 markets.  We have the capacity to put on a lot of stuff.  We think right away we’re going to get about 10% of the market.  That’s going to be a significant hit right away and that should grow.  It’s a great marketplace; rather easy to do.  As far as we’re concerned it’s 10 or 15 million [dollars] of found money that we think will grow.”  CBS is entering into a fast-growing marketplace already dominated by ESPN and with entrenched radio players Fox Sports Radio Network, Yahoo! Sports Radio and new entrant NBC Sports Radio – a partnership between NBC and Dial Global.  Sure, there’s a ton of money in sports media right now, but how fast this market gets saturated is a question industry watchers are pondering.

Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Gets Television Profile with DISH Network Deal.  Talk show host and digital media pioneer Glenn Beck is soon to be seen on television after his TheBlaze, Inc. agrees to a deal with DISH Network to have his online 24-hour news, information and entertainment network available on the satellite TV provider.  Under terms of the deal, TheBlaze will be available to DISH viewers on channel 212 as part of DISH’s America’s Top 250 package or a la carte for $5 a month.  The channel launched Wednesday at 5:00 pm ET.  It’ll be available as a free preview for all DISH customers through September 26.  In a statement, Beck says, “TheBlaze has helped revolutionize television over the internet and now we are excited to bring the revolution back to traditional television.  TheBlaze will be home to news, information and entertainment programming with the facts and stories people care about most and we look forward to kicking things off with DISH.”  Mercury Radio Arts president Chris Balfe blogged about the success of Beck’s new venture and how this deal came to pass.  “Prior to our initial launch I was often asked why we didn’t pursue a traditional cable channel.  There were several factors, but the biggest was that we wouldn’t have been able to build the channel we wanted back then without giving up control.  To get on the air we would have had to partner with a large media company that could provide us with the staff, infrastructure and distribution necessary to launch a new network.  That was something that we simply were not willing to do.  The whole point of starting our own network was to be free from outside influences  — giving that independence up right away in exchange for distribution was a non-starter.  And so we found another way.  But now, a year later, everything has changed.  Our subscribers’ enthusiasm and support has allowed us to make the necessary investments in programming and infrastructure, and we’re now in a position to launch a cable and satellite channel without losing control.”

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Promotes Julie Talbott.  The president of content and affiliations for Premiere Networks is upped to a new post – president of content and affiliations for CC’s National Media Groups.  Talbott retains her oversight of Premiere Networks but adds new duties as she’ll answer to Kevin Dorsey, president of the National Media Groups who, in turn, reports directly to chairman and CEO John Hogan.  A statement from Clear Channel notes Talbott’s “new role will include leading and maintaining key affiliate relationships to sell and service Premiere Networks, Total Traffic Network and iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s industry-leading digital radio platform.  The new position will provide the company’s affiliates with a simplified and streamlined point of contact for communicating and conducting business across Clear Channel’s diverse group of subsidiaries.”  Talbott says, “I enjoy working with our clients and partners, and this alignment of our affiliate efforts will allow us to better serve and communicate with stations throughout the U.S.  I’m looking forward to working with the amazing teams across the company as we continue to demonstrate the unique relationship CCM+E has with our audience.”

Cox Media’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa Names Levi May Program Director.  The PD post at KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa opened up when long-time programmer Drew Anderssen moved to Cox Media’s Orlando news/talker WDBO-AM/FM.  Levi May served as WDBO’s assistant PD prior to his new position in Tulsa.

Talk Radio Weekends: Two Sure Shots.  Talk radio consultant Holland Cooke offers advice on weekend programming for talk radio stations that fits in with the P1’s weekend lifestyle and has the opportunity for bringing in revenue.  Sure, it’s lifestyle-oriented stuff but while many of those categories are well-serviced by nationally syndicated programs, Cooke says these two suggestions are tailor-made for local professionals.  Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.

 

WVON, Chicago News Pro Sharon McGhee Loses Battle with Cancer.  Journalist, writer and radio news director Sharon McGhee died in Columbia, Missouri on September 11 at age 54 after a long battle with ovarian cancer.  She joined urban talk WVON, Chicago in 1997 and was promoted to news director the following year.  She left the radio business to focus on her love of the arts and entertainment and in 2007, wrote the critically acclaimed “The Pocketbook Monologues” and subsequently directed multiple staged performances across the United States.  McGhee returned to WVON in 2008 as news director and resigned from that position in 2010 due to health reasons.  WVON president Melody Spann Cooper states, “Sharon McGhee was one of the most creative people I’ve ever known.  Her determination, passion and drive brought her to Chicago where she excelled in everything that was on her professional and personal agenda.  She was a rare breed determined to do it her way, and she did.”

Former Merlin Media News Pros Land with Virtual News Center.  News staffers Veronica Carter and Katherine Kelly were two of the news pros who worked at Merlin Media’s FM news outlet in Chicago and exited the station when it flipped formats.  They join the team at Virtual News Center which describes itself as “the largest independent provider of local news for radio heard on over 175 stations in nearly 80 markets.”  The company works on a cash direct basis or via barter through Envision Radio Networks.  Veronica Carter spent her 25 year radio career in Illinois, Indiana, and California, heavily involved in all facets of news reporting and anchoring.  On her Merlin experience she says, “Working for Merlin Media was short lived, but an adventure to say the least!  Glad to be with Virtual News Center, it’s actually fun doing newscasts all over the country!”  Katherine Kelly worked in Peoria, Illinois and the Quad Cities as well as in Seattle and Chicago.  Kelly anchored news as a part of some of the country’s top morning shows.  She also helped launch the Oprah Radio Network on Sirius XM.  She states, “I am incredibly honored to be joining the team at Virtual News Center.  Now I can cover just as many cities without leaving home!”

New Jersey 101.5 Reporter Honored for Series on Teen Drug Abuse.  The New Jersey Governor’s Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse honors New Jersey 101.5 reporter Stacy Proesbtle with its Community Service Award.  Proesbtle is pictured here (from l-r) with NJ 101.5 brand manager Eric Johnson, NJ 101.5 news director Eric Scott, Proesbtle, and Council executive director John Hulick at the Council’s 21st annual Summit at the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick, New Jersey.  Proebstle’s five-part series about the abuse of heroin and other opiates among New Jersey’s youth focused on prescription drug abuse, accidental overdoses, how abuse often begins at home and  the fact that prescription drug abuse can happen to anyone.  Proebstle talked to recovering addicts, parents, prevention specialists, substance abuse professionals and law enforcement officers to address current trends and issues along with possible solutions.  On receiving the honor, Proesbtle says, “I’m absolutely delighted to receive this honor on behalf of the station and most genuinely grateful.  It validates the importance of community service and giving back to one’s community.”

Cumulus San Francisco Inks 49ers for 12-Year Extension.  Appearing on sports talk KNBR, San Francisco’s Murph & Mac morning show, Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey joined 49ers CEO Jed York to announce the stations and the NFL clubs have agreed to a 12-year contract extension to keep the team’s games on KNBR, news/talk KGO and rock KSAN in the market.  During that appearance on the program, Dickey said, “While the trend in radio has been for shorter deals with sports teams, this 12-year partnership demonstrates the commitment of KNBR and Cumulus to the 49ers, and further cements KNBR as the ‘Sports Leader in Northern California’ for almost 25 years.”

WEEI, Boston Helps Celebrate Red Sox Broadcaster Joe Castiglione’s 30th Anniversary.  Prior to last night’s Boston Red Sox game, Entercom sports talker WEEI celebrated the 30th anniversary of play-by-play announcer Joe Castiglione with an appearance at the WEEI studios by Castiglione on the afternoon drive “Big Show” with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley.  The evening also featured a half-hour pre-game tribute show that included a video at Fenway Park and on-field recognition from the team.

Conservative Chuck Morse and Liberal Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan Split.  Veteran Boston-based conservative talk host Chuck Morse and California-based liberal Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan have ended their left-right internet talk radio program, “Fairness Radio with Chuck Morse & Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan,” after it became impossible to work together, according to Morse.  The two will host separate programs on the internet and affiliated radio stations.

 

Long-Running Speaker Series Continues with Author of ‘Fast and Furious’ Book.  WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (at left) conducted his 80th “Town Hall” interview and live broadcast in The Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University “President Speaker Series,” with Townhall.com investigative reporter Katie Pavlich (at right) before a live audience on Wednesday, September 12.  Pavlich is author of Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up (Regnery 2012).  Photo: Arthur J. Byrnes.

U.S. Ambassador Killed in Libya Strike, Cairo Unrest, Obama-Netanyahu Relations, and Chicago Teachers Strike Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/12).  The death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens after a violent assault on the U.S. consulate; violent anti-American protests in Cairo; reports of President Obama’s snubbing of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Obama Administration’s Iran policy; and the continuing Chicago teachers strike were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, August 6, 2012

| August 6, 2012

Dave Ramsey Joins the iHeartRadio Platform.  Nationally syndicated personal finance talk radio host Dave Ramsey becomes part of the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio digital platform beginning today becoming the first independently syndicated personality channel available on the platform.  Ramsey’s show won’t air live though.  The service will provide fans 24/7 access to the previous day’s content of the Dave Ramsey show and it will be updated daily on weekdays at 5:00 pm ET.  Ramsey VP of broadcast Brian Mayfield states, “We are very proud of what the Dave Ramsey show has achieved with the help of our 500-plus existing radio affiliates.  This new partnership with iHeartRadio provides the perfect platform to expose Dave’s straight talk on life and money to a new audience that now consumes media through mobile and online applications.”

Entercom Reports Q2 Revenue Flat.  The second quarter of 2012 saw revenue flat at $104.6 million compared to the same quarter a year ago for Entercom.  But the reduction in expenses of 5% produced a 10% rise in station operating income.

Entercom’s WEEI to Split AM and FM Signals; AM to Become ESPN Outlet.  In a story from the Boston Globe, Entercom’s Boston sports talk brand WEEI will soon split the current simulcast of the radio station and make the 850 AM signal a full-time ESPN Radio outlet.  WEEI has had a relationship with ESPN Radio for almost three years now with the station airing some ESPN programming and ESPN personalities such as Buster Olney making appearances on WEEI programs.  It’s expected the regular national lineup of ESPN Radio shows will air on the signal when the split takes place in the early fall.

Mike Costa to Co-Host PM Drive at Xtra Sports 1360 in San Diego.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s San Diego cluster moves Mike Costa from his position as host of “The Show “ on rock KIOZ to co-host of the PM drive show on sports talk KLSD – Xtra Sports 1360 effective today.  Costa is partnered up with Judson Richards for the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program.  Costa, who’s been a sideline reporter for San Diego Chargers football for radio broadcasts, will continue in that role.

Award-Winning Journalist.  WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta assistant program director Condace Pressley (c) accepts the 2012 Pioneer Journalist Award from actor Malcolm Jamal Warner (l) and Atlanta Association of Black Journalists president Tenisha Bell of CNN (r).  Pressley received the honor during the 30th Pioneer Black Journalists Awards on July 29.  The awards ceremony is a presentation of the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists.  Tenisha Bell says of Pressley, “Condace has spent her career mentoring and supporting young journalists who aspire to walk in her footsteps.  She has always been an avid supporter of AABJ and its mission and I am thrilled that our membership has chosen her for this well-deserved award.”

Half-Hour Weekend Talk Show’s Success Inspires Music Show Syndicator to Eyeball More Spoken Word Offerings.  Los Angeles-based MannGroup Radio, headed by radio vet and co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, Ed Mann, has avoided talk radio for almost the entire 14 years of its existence as an independent syndicator of such fare as GrooveWorx Imaging and music libraries, CPR consulting with Paige Nienaber, She Prep with Beth Bacall and other products geared to music stations.  In early 2011, MG took on the marketing of a short 30 minute-per-weekend program for talk stations called “Issues Today with Bob Gourley,” the success of which has obviously meant a great deal to Mann.  The fast-paced half hour, hosted by veteran broadcaster and Southern California-based journalist Bob Gourley, chronicles topical subjects from health to the economy.  It began at KPPC where Gourley served as public affairs director.  In a recent extremely candid conversation with the TALKERS editors, Mann reveals, “Extreme polarized talk has always left a sour taste in my mouth, particularly the very far right and left issues that never resolve on a broadcast forum, yet, as an avid listener of talk radio, I’ve always been starved for an intelligent, entertaining approach to issues for the day.  As we’ve taken on this relatively small but meaningful program, Bob Gourley’s ‘Issues Today,’ and watched how it’s grown and how the affiliates and listeners embrace it, I’m more encouraged than ever to hear from producers, stations and hosts in the hope of developing and marketing other like-minded programs for national distribution that can cut a swath in talk radio without sitting on either side of the seesaw and sticking their tongues out at each other.  Some have already come my way, and I sense a shift in the marketplace.  Our company is jazzed at the notion of collaborating with producers, hosts and radio stations who can see the need on the listener level for level-headed broadcasting.”  Independent hosts and producers can contact Mann at 310-346-4991 or via e-mail at ed@manngroupradio.com.

Fourth Station Joins the “Sports Animal Network.”  KITO, Vinita, Oklahoma drops country and becomes the fourth station to join Oklahoma’s “Sports Animal Network.”  The station is airing content from the Tulsa version of the network from KYAL, Muskogee/Tulsa.  The programming includes shows from Cumulus Media’s WWLS, Oklahoma City as well as Yahoo! Sports Radio.  The station will also broadcast Oklahoma University, Oklahoma State University and Tulsa football.

Odds & Sods.  Clear Channel’s WHAM and WHTK, Rochester will be the local radio home of the 95th PGA Championship to be played next summer – August 5 – 11, 2013 – at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester…..The NFL’s San Francisco 49ers will air on heritage news/talk KGO, San Francisco this season after airing on Cumulus Media’s sports KNBR and rock KSAN…..Stephen Giuttari becomes the operations manager for Townsquare Media’s Albany cluster that includes sports talk WTMM…..WXKS, Boston – Talk 1200 – morning drive host Jeff Katz is subbing for Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated personality Todd Schnitt today and Friday…..Account manager Cody Hicks announces his exit from Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk 790 The Zone — WQXI, Atlanta — where he worked his way up from promotions assistant to marketing director to account manager in eight years…..WFED, Washington morning drive host Francis Rose will be a regular substitute for Cumulus Media NetworksJohn Batchelor live from New York once per month.  Rose will also be a stand by fill-in host as needed for the program working from Cumulus’ studios at WMAL, Washington…..The NBA’s Portland Trailblazers jump across town as the team’s new radio flagship is Clear Channel’s KEX, Portland.  Games had been heard on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL for the past 12 seasons.

Katz and West Catch Up.  Old friends Jeff Katz, host of the morning drive show at Clear Channel’s Talk 1200 – WXKS, Boston – and Congressman Alan West, representing Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, pose for a photo on a recent Sunday during which the two participated in a series of speaking events around the Greater Boston area.  Katz got to know West while the congressman was running for office and Katz was working at South Florida talk station WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale.

Friday, August 3, 2012

| August 3, 2012

Entercom News/Talk WRKO, Boston Picks Up Option on PM Drive Host Howie Carr.  It was five years ago that Boston talk radio king Howie Carr had negotiated what was reported at the time to be a lucrative new deal to host morning drive on Greater Media’s crosstown WTKK, Boston after 13 years with WRKO.  But WRKO laid claim to Carr’s services via language in his contract, a legal battle ensued and Entercom came out victorious, winning Carr’s services for another five years plus an option to have him even longer.  Today, Entercom announces it is picking up that option.  Entercom Boston VP of programming Jason Wolfe states, “Howie Carr is a Boston radio legend and I’m looking forward to having him continue to anchor afternoon drive.  This is a great day for our listeners, affiliates and advertisers, and I’m excited that we’ve extended our relationship.”  At the time of Carr’s attempt to join Greater Media five years ago, he made no bones about wanting to break away from WRKO, but that was before the recession hit and altered the marketplace for talk radio hosts – even ones with successful track records, loyal fans and satisfied advertisers.  WRKO’s announcement states that in picking up Carr’s option, he’ll remain with the station “for the foreseeable future.”

CBS Radio Debuts Tampa FM Sports Outlet 98.7 The Fan.  The flip from Hot AC to sports talk on WSJT, Tampa happened at 12:00 noon yesterday (8/2) and the lineup was announced at a press conference at the University of South Florida Sun Dome.  The program schedule is: former Baltimore and Washington, DC personality Kirk McEwen alongside former Tampa Bay Lightning player Chris Dingman in AM drive; Tampa Bay Times columnist Gary Shelton and Justin “The Commish” Pawlowski (who is a carry-over from AM 1010 Sports format) are teamed up for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm shift; for PM drive, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Anthony “Booger” McFarland and Yahoo! Sports Radio and ESPN alum Todd Wright co-host; in evenings, former MLB Network and Tampa Bay Rays air talent Rich Herrera hosts from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm and in the overnight slot, it’s Fabulous Sports Babe Nanci Donnellan.  At the press conference, CBS Tampa market manager Ben Hill announced the station would also serve as flagship for University of South Florida play-by-play.  Mike Pepper is programming the station and producer Jerry Petuck is serving as assistant program director.

Industry Eyes on Atlanta as CBS Radio Prepares to Launch FM Sports Outlet.  This week’s announcement that CBS Radio is flipping Triple A WZGC, Atlanta to sports talk in late September or early October has industry watchers speculating about what talent will fill the program schedule.  CBS’ modus operandi is to go live and local and that will be the case in major market Atlanta.  Rumors are already starting to circulate that programming architects are shooting for some “big talent” – at least some of whom will be considered to have “celebrity” status.

CBS Radio Reports Revenue Down 2%.  CBS Corporation held its quarterly conference call yesterday to discuss results of Q2 2012 and talk about the future.  CFO and EVP Joseph Ianniello reported revenue for the radio group was down 2%.  “The radio revenue comparison was affected by the sale of the West Palm Beach radio cluster, which closed on April 1.  Radio revenue for our top 10 markets was flat for the quarter.  Local broadcasting OIBDA of $248 million was up 8%. And the OIBDA (operating income before depreciation and amortization) margin grew 2 percentage points to 35% driven by growth in high-margin revenue and lower programming costs.”   Addressing the radio end, CEO Les Moonves stated, “At our radio stations, we remain focused on the formats that are performing best, especially news and sports. We’re particularly excited about the upcoming launch of our new CBS Sports Radio network, which right out of the gate, when we debut in January, will be the largest major-market sports radio network in the nation, with outlets in nine of the top 10 markets. This 24/7 network of sports radio stations will feature both national and local content and leverage the resources of CBS Sports, our CBS Sports Network, cable channel and content from our existing local sports radio stations.”  Ianniello added, “The CBS Radio network, the sports radio — the radio sports business is probably $150 million market.  So we’re going to be large coming right out of the gate so it’s all incremental.  It’s not in dollars we play in today at the local segment, so we expect to gain our fair share of that…there’s very little incremental cost for us.  A lot of the talent and the content, we’re already producing, so this made a whole lot of sense for us.  And with the outlook with Cumulus, we do think it is a fantastic partnership with great content and great distribution.  So we do expect some upside, again, starting in 2013.”

Radio One Will Be Patient with Houston All-Newser.  Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins says, “We still believe the #6 radio market can support one all-news station.”  Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports Liggins is bullish on the station it flipped from gospel last fall noting that, in that format, KROI was billing just $4 million a year and doing $2 million in cash flow on a facility for which the company paid $72 million.  News 92 FM has been hovering around a 1-share persons 6+ in the Arbitron PPM ratings.  Liggins says his consultant on the station believes ratings should start to rise above the 1-share mark in 2013.

“Sports Biz Today” Debuts on Business TalkRadio Network August 6.  Host Fred Wallin  and co-hosts Howard Bloom, Beth Silverberg and JB Kaye return to Business TalkRadio Network with their “Sports Biz Today” program that leans heavy on the business aspect of the sports industry.  The program airs daily at 7:00 pm ET.  Fred Wallin says, “In the past few years our sports industry has grown and grown and we want to make ‘Sports Biz Today’ the place where fans, and those in the business, can get together.”  BTRN states, “Sports are big business, whether it’s the multi-million dollar contracts signed by players or the marketing and advertising behind the teams.  Fans will be talking to Fred Wallin about money, events and people that make up the exciting world of sports.”

CRN Digital Talk Radio Launches Weekend Show for Future Hollywood Stars.  It’s called “Breaking In with Rick and Jeff,” and features Hollywood pros Rick  Shoemaker and Jeff Maxwell who’ll give aspiring filmmakers, actors, musicians and others a chance to learn what it takes to make it in Tinseltown.  The program airs live Saturdays at 7:00 pm PT.  Rick Shoemaker has served as president of Warner Chappell Music Publishing, where he helped develop the careers of such artists as Green Day, Sheryl Crow, Nickelback, Dr. Dre, Missy Elliott, Van Halen and many others.  He later headed his own management firm that included clients like Loggins & Messina, Poco, Boz Scaggs, and others.  Jeff Maxwell’s career began when he teamed up with a high school friend as part of a comedy duo that performed around the world for eight years.  Ultimately, Maxwell would turn his attention to acting where he landed the role of Private Igor, the hapless mess cook on “M*A*S*H,” for nine years.  In later years, Maxwell turned his attention to creating and developing a number of television shows and motion pictures.

Odds & Sods.  New York City-based talk show host Steve Malzberg is unveiling his new video channel located on Spreecast.com – developed by the same company that founded StubHub.com.  In one of Malzberg’s first productions, he interviews former Bush Administration defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld…..Georgia Beasley returns to her South Florida roots where she’ll take on the role of interactive sales manager for Beasley Broadcast Miami’s three stations that include sports talk WQAM.  She spent the past year as GSM at the company’s WJBR, Wilmington, Delaware.  Ms. Beasley is the granddaughter of Beasley chairman George Beasley…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Milwaukee cluster acquires the exclusive NFL and NCAA basketball play-by-play rights from provider Dial Global/Westwood One.  CC has six stations in the market including news/talk WISN.

Rich Rapiti Exits Courtside Entertainment Group.  Veteran affiliate sales executive Rich Rapiti is looking for his next opportunity as he leaves his senior director of affiliate relations position with Courtside Entertainment Group.  Prior to working with Courtside, Rapiti worked in the affiliate relations department at Westwood One.  He can be reached at 973-809-3049 or e-mailed at: rapiti@comcast.net.

The Presidential Campaign Returns to #1 Spot on the Talkers TenTM.  The race for president in the 2012 election was the most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio during the week of July 30 – August 3.  Coming in at #2 this week was the Chick-fil-A controversy.  At #3 was a tie between the rising jobless claims and the Fed’s announcement it will take no immediate action to spur the economy.  Following at #4 was the Texas Republican primary victory for the U.S. Senate seat by Tea Party-supported candidate Ted Cruz.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio in America according to ongoing research from Talkers.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck is now heard on KFXR, Dallas…..Cox Media’s Clark Howard is added to the program lineup at KARS, Belen, New Mexico…..The XtreMedia-produced Dani Johnson show is added to the on-air lineup at WNYM, New York; KMET, Riverside-San Bernardino; KFNX, Phoenix; KKVV, Las Vegas; and KPRZ, San Diego…..CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” with Jon Grayson is picked up by WGUL, Tampa-St. Petersburg and WLSS, Sarasota-Bradenton…..Dial Global’s feature “Ask Dr. Phil” is added to WDNY-AM and WDNY-FM, Rochester.  The company’s “Daily Dose with Dr. Oz” joins the program schedule at KIVA, Albuquerque; KLIV, San Jose; and WLPO, LaSalle-Peru, Illinois…..The “Rose Hollywood Report” with Shannon Rose is picked up by WZTC, Traverse City, Michigan.

 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

| August 2, 2012

Chick-fil-A Controversy Fires Up Conservative Talk Hosts; Sparks Movement to Support Fast Food Chain.  The issues of gay marriage and First Amendment rights have been front and center on news/talk radio this week in the wake of Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy’s comments in a Baptist publication about his support for the Biblical definition of marriage that’s grown into a major news story.  Some view his statement as bigoted and divisive while others see this as a free speech issue.  The case has spurred planned demonstrations by same-sex couples and their supporters as well as conservative media personalities who have encouraged their listeners and viewers to support the fast food chain.  Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher is pictured here (at left) in his studio preparing to enjoy his Chick-fil-A lunch and has been encouraging listeners to post pictures of themselves eating at the restaurant on Facebook.  Salem Communications O&O WNYM, New York – AM 970 The Answer – organized a call for support at the Paramus, New Jersey Mall where the station reports some 200 listeners had lined up by lunchtime to support the store.  At right is talk show host Kevin McCullough (l)  – whose weekend talk show is heard on WNYM – with Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce (r) as they prepare to enjoy a sandwich.  In the panoramic photo below.  The Answer morning drive host Curtis Sliwa can be seen at the far right speaking with a listener while the line of customers spreads across the photo to the left.

Bill Handel’s “Cash Mob” Supports SoCal Toy Store.  A “cash mob” organized by KFI, Los Angeles morning drive host Bill Handel put some $9,000 in the register of struggling Corona del Mar toy store Toy Boat, Toy Boat, Toy Boat.  Handel appeared at the store from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm but Handel’s listeners patronized the store all day long after hearing Handel speak on the air about the state of the struggling local business.  Handel show executive producer Michelle Kube reports many of the people who bought toys donated them to Children’s Hospital of Orange County.  Kube states, “This was just the first.  We plan to do more of these across all day parts on KFI over the next few months all over the Southland as our amazing listeners have responded with so many requests to help local small business owners!”

Clear Channel Reports Radio Revenue Up 3%.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – of course, now a private company but one that still publicly reports financials – gives its 2012 Q2 financial report and states revenue was up from $771.8 million in the second quarter of 2011 to $793 million in the second quarter of this year.  CFO Tom Casey reports much of that increase was due to national and in categories including automotive, telecommunications, financial services, political and entertainment.  Casey noted that national business rose at roughly double the rate of local business.

Comedian and Stephanie Miller Show Cast Member John Fugelsang Gets Current TV Show.  Regular Stephanie Miller radio show cast member – and one third of Miller’s “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” – John Fugelsang will have his own Current TV program beginning in the fall.  Talk radio host Stephanie Miller’s show is simulcast on the Al Gore-founded cable TV network in which Fugelsang gets some face time, but now he’ll have a solo gig there.  In a statement, Al Gore says, “We at Current are eager to bring John’s unique perspective on politics and the world around him to primetime.  He’s been a part of the Current family for a while now and we see just how much his voice resonates with our audience.  His new show will nicely complement our growing lineup.”  Fugelsang has guest-hosted prime time shows on the network including Eliot Spitzer’s and Jennifer Granholm’s programs.  The network has not announced what time the show will air.

WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina Flips to Talk.  The Kirkman Broadcasting station drops oldies for news/talk and airs largely syndicated programming with the exception of local PM drive host Rocky D.  Programming consists of: Cumulus Media NetworksImus in the Morning; Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher; Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham; Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and Jim Bohannon; and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” with Jon Grayson.

California Couple Sentenced in Real Estate Ponzi Scheme; Infomercials Aired on KVTA, Port Hueneme.  It’s almost a mystery how stations keep selling infomercials to “investment gurus” who go on to swindle people out of their life savings…but they do.  The latest case in this oft-repeating story is that of Kenneth Powell and Kathryn Rose who pleaded guilty to numerous counts of felony fraud related to a real estate investment Ponzi scheme that scammed some $3 million out of 15 people in Southern California.  The two broadcast shows called “Academy of Real Estate,” “Money Intelligence” and “The Ken & Katie Show” on KVTA.  Investors were asked to put money into real estate development or loans secured by real estate but all investment cash went to pay off previous investors until the scheme went bust.  59-year-old Powell received 18 years in prison and 63-year-old Rose will serve 12 years, 8 months.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Journal Broadcasting’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee gave away a fully restored 1969 Chevy Camaro (pictured here) to winner Aaron Guenterberg in its annual “Free Ride” promotion that saw more than 10,000 people enter the contest…..A Saturday morning talk show hosted by Tony Stiles debuts on news/talk KOIL, Omaha this Saturday…..Jacksonville-based sports talk show “Courts and Sports,” hosted by attorney John Phillips, moves from WOKV to crosstown WFXJ, Jacksonville on August 9.  Phillips’ regular co-host for the program is Jacksonville Jaguars running back Rashad Jennings…..SiriusXM presents “College Sports Nation Camp Tour” on its College Sports Nation channel beginning today.  Hosts Eddie George, Gino Torretta, Rick Neuheisel, Houston Nutt, Randy Cross, Gil Brandt, Jack Arute and Mark Packer will visit 13 camps in 16 days and report to listeners.

20 Gallons of Hat.  WLAC, Nashville-based talk host Steve Gill (r) is pictured here with music legend Charlie Daniels (l).  Daniels appeared on Gill’s syndicated talk program on Tuesday, July 31 and the two talked politics and the state of the country.

Presidential Race, Chick-fil-A Case, Ted Cruz Texas Primary Victory, Fed Economic Report/Financial Markets Activities, and London Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/1).  The campaign for president, the outpouring of support for Chick-fil-A and the issue of same-sex marriage; Tea Party candidate Ted Cruz’s Republican primary victory for U.S. Senate in Texas; the Fed’s economic report and financial markets activities; and the London Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

| July 12, 2012

Survey Says…TV and Public Radio Are Best Hopes for Employment in the News Business.  The Radio Television Digital News Association/Hofstra University 2012 TV and Radio News Staffing and Profitability Survey indicates commercial radio news staffing remains flat but that there were 1,031 more TV news jobs in 2011.  The study was done by Bob Papper, the Lawrence Stessin Distinguished Professor of Journalism and chair of the Department of Journalism, Media Studies, and Public Relations at Hofstra University.  He reports in his survey that “the typical (median) radio news operation had a full-time news staff of one — the same as it’s been since I started doing these surveys 18 years ago.  Radio news remains highly centralized, with the typical news director overseeing the news on two stations and more than three-quarters (77.6%) of all multi-station operations have a centralized newsroom.”  Regarding non-commercial stations, he says, “Non-commercial stations fared much better than commercial ones.  More than twice as many non-commercial stations reported increasing staff compared to commercial stations.  The bigger the staff, the more likely for the station to have increased, and most of that increase came in the biggest markets (1 million and more).”  Papper says more than half of radio news directors surveyed did not know whether their news division was profitable or not.

Premiere Networks Debuts Satellite Radio Show Hosted by Jack Abramoff.  The Clear Channel Media and Entertainment-owned Premiere Networks is developing a talk show for the XM channel that Clear Channel programs – XM Talk 168 – hosted by former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff who finished serving a 43-month federal prison sentence for corruption.  The weekend Jack Abramoff Show has been airing on SiriusXM’s XM Talk 168 since the last weekend of June and, for now, the program is satellite only.  It’s possible this is a road test for a show that may have a future on terrestrial radio.  Premiere Networks president, content and affiliate relations Julie Talbott, says, “From his experience in Washington to his fall from grace, Jack has a unique and interesting point of view and he’s not shy about sharing it.  He’s a natural in front of the microphone and we’re excited to share this new talk program with audiences across the country.”

Emmis First Quarter Net Revenue Up 1.8%.  That small hike is contingent upon removing the Merlin Media stations – in which Emmis still has a non-controlling interest – from the mix.  With the Merlin stations included, the fiscal Q1 revenue for 2012 drops to $40.4 million – and 11% decline from the same period in 2011.

Former Twin Cities Sports Talk Host Jeff Dubay Speaks Out About Drug Conviction.  Sports talker Jeff Dubay was co-host of the popular “PA and Dubay” show (alongside Paul Allen) on Clear Channel’s KFAN-AM, Minneapolis until his conviction on possession of crack cocaine in 2008.  Yesterday (7/11) he went on Chad Hartman’s midday talk show on CBS Radio’s WCCO-AM, Minneapolis to talk about his fall from grace and the conviction that ended his sports talk career.  The Pioneer Press reports Dubay told the audience he began using crack while dealing with a painful divorce after being introduced to it at a party at which “I had no business being.”  Dubay credits former Vikings receiver George Rhymes, whom he met in prison, with helping him get over the addiction.  Dubay says he hopes to get back into radio someday but for now wants to help others by telling his story.

NBC and Microsoft Reportedly Finalizing Their Media Divorce.  The Daily Beast and Newsweek columnist Howard Kurtz is reporting that NBC and Microsoft are in talks for NBC to buy out Microsoft’s remaining 18% stake in MSNBC.com.  The move, when finalized, would bring about a name change to the popular news site and it would become NBCNews.com.  NBC and Microsoft entered into their media partnership back in 1996 with the cable news/talk channel MSNBC and the news website.  The cable TV relationship ended back in 2005.  Now, it appears NBC is ready to take 100 % ownership of the internet site as well.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment brings “veteran venture investor” Joseph Robinson aboard as EVP of strategic development.  The company announces he’ll work closely with president of digital Brian Lekamp and president of national sales marketing & partnerships Tim Castelli…..KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh host Marty Griffin leads a live broadcast event in front of the Bellevue Borough Building today from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm to protest that town’s recently passed grilling restrictions.  Griffin and KDKA-AM are opening the event to the public asking everyone to bring their appetite!…..WXKS, Boston – Talk 1200 – morning drive host Jeff Katz moderates the first live radio debate for the Republican candidates for the Massachusetts Congressional seat being vacated by long-time Democratic Rep Barney FrankSean Bielat, Dr. Elizabeth Childs, and Dr. David Steinhof – who face off in the September primary – will join Katz in the studio from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on Tuesday, July 17…..WQAM, Miami PM drive sports talk host Dan Sileo fills in on the AM drive show on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network on Friday, July 27…..Breitbart News Network editor Larry O’Connor continues his busy fill-in talk host schedule sitting in for WMAL-AM/FM, Washington midday host Chris Plante today and tomorrow.  Next week he’s in for SRN’s Hugh Hewitt on Monday and Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries on Wednesday.

2012 Presidential Race, Texas Voter ID Law Challenge, Obama Tax Cut Repeal, ObamaCare Repeal Efforts, and Municipal Bankruptcies Among Top News Talk Stories Yesterday (7/11).  The 2012 presidential race; the challenge to Texas’ voter ID law; President Obama’s proposal to end the Bush tax cuts for wealthy Americans; the continuing backlash from the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care law; and the spate of municipalities declaring bankruptcy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Hello from the Orient.  That’s “Into Tomorrow” talk host Dave Graveline (l) and show producer Rob Almanza (r) posing for a shot in front of the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai, China.  Graveline and Almanza are in China touring electronics factories and getting the scoop on the latest consumer electronics goods being produced there.  Graveline tells TALKERS this week’s program will feature highlights of the coolest new technologies they discovered on their trip.

Monday, July 2, 2012

| July 2, 2012

Clear Channel Denver Announces Three New Talk Programs.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s three Denver-market spoken-word outlets are adding new live and local programming this month.  At KOA, a new evening sports talk show will debut at 7:00 pm on July 9 called, “PrimeTime Sports with Andy Lindahl.”  Lindahl has been an anchor and sports reporter with KOA since 1999 and is co-host of the station’s “Bronco’s GameDay” and “Broncos PrimeTime” as well as serving as a sideline reporter for Broncos and University of Colorado football.  At KHOW, the station is announcing a permanent show for the afternoon drive daypart featuring progressive David Sirota and conservative Michael Brown called, “The Rundown with Sirota & Brown.”  Sirota is an author and syndicated columnist who had served as host of the cluster’s progressive talk outlet KKZN.  Brown – former Undersecretary of Homeland Security under George W. Bush – had hosted an evening program on KOA.  Sirota and Brown take over the slot held by Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman who hosted the show for the past eight years.   Finally, at progressive talker AM 760 Colorado’s Progressive Talk (KKZN), KCNC-TV, Denver reporter Gloria Neal takes over the morning drive show from 7:00 am to 10:00 am on July 16.  Neal served as a news anchor at KOA in the past.

Lionel Hosts Early Morning Show at WPIX-TV, New York.  Commentator, talk host and podcast innovator Lionel of LionelMedia.com adds to his duties at Tribune’s WPIX-TV where he does commentary for the 5:00 pm and 10:00 pm news as he begins hosting the station’s early morning news program from 4:00 am to 6:00 am beginning today (7/2).  The expanded role for the uniquely talented Lionel allows him to bring his one-of-a-kind perspective on the issues to New York viewers in a broadened format that programmers at WPIX believe will be an effective lead-in to its morning news programming.  As reported by FishbowlNY, a memo from WPIX-TV news director Bill Carey indicates the program will be conversational in style and allow Lionel’s natural delivery to lead the program’s direction.  Lionel also presents several short form commentaries daily on Merlin Media‘s FM properties in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.

Fourth of July Holiday Week a Bonanza for Fill-In Hosts.  This year the Fourth of July holiday falls on Wednesday and that mid-week holiday means more hosts take some or even all of the week off, leading to a whole bunch of programming time to fill and plenty of work for fill-in hosts.  Talk host and former Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth counts himself among the busy talk hosts working this week.  He begins the week sitting in on the morning drive show at Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco today and tomorrow.  On Wednesday, he’ll be the guest host on Cumulus Media NetworksMike Huckabee show and, later that night, he’ll be heard on CBS Radio’s WPHT, Philadelphia from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.  On Thursday and Friday, Hayworth will host the “Morning Rush” program simulcast on WRDU-FM, Raleigh and WPTI-FM, Greensboro, North Carolina.  And on Saturday, he’ll sit in hosting the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program at WLS, Chicago.

Former St. Louis Talk Host Gets Life for 2005 Murder.  Leonardo Drisdel once hosted “The Human Factor” talk show at WGNU, St. Louis.  In 2005, he confessed to his wife that after a drug binge with a local woman named Cassandra Kovack, he beat her to death claiming that a voice ordered him to kill her.  Drisdel was sentenced to life in prison on Friday, June 29.

 

Going for the Gold!  Six-time Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken (c) joins KOZN, Omaha’s “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” co-hosts Mike’l Severe (l) and Kevin Kugler (r) on their program as it broadcast live from the U.S. Olympic swim trials in Omaha.  Van Dyken is co-host with Rob Dibble on Fox Sports Radio Network’s “Fox Sports Tonight.”

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

| June 27, 2012

More Groups Board the iHeartRadio Digital Train.  In what seems to be an industry-wide strategy to battle Pandora in the digital realm, two more groups – Cox Media Group and Emmis Communications – have joined Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio digital audio app.  Cox Media Group will present 86 of its stations from 19 markets and Emmis will offer 20 stations from six markets on the platform.  The iHeartRadio platform now boasts audio from more than 1,000 terrestrial stations from some 150 markets (plus the ability of users to create custom “stations” via song or artist) is available.  Cox Media Group president Doug Franklin says, “Cox Media Group is impressed with the progress that iHeartRadio has made over the last year.  Our strategy is to serve our listeners on as many digital platforms as possible.  We look forward to extending our reach in partnership with iHeartRadio.”  At Emmis, chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan states, “By joining iHeartRadio, we offer our listeners – including listeners of our premiere hip-hop brands Hot 97 in New York and Power 106 in Los Angeles – a great way to continue to enjoy our stations’ content.”

Jacobs Media Study Shows News/Talk Listeners Love Smartphones and Tablets; Not So Big on Social Media.  The results of Jacobs Media’s Techsurvey 8 – data culled from regular radio listeners – indicates regular listeners to news/talk stations like the hardware but are as fond of using social media as primary listeners of other radio formats.  The data was presented in a Jacobs Media webinar yesterday. Jacobs has been offering the webinars in format-specific chunks and yesterday’s focused on news/talk listeners.  Fred Jacobs fed participants data from his company’s annual study and some of the takeaways included interesting data about their media consumption habits such as: News/talk listeners use cellphones, the internet, TV and AM/FM radio on par with listeners to other formats but their using of social media such as Facebook and Twitter is considerably less.  However, when it comes to social media sites, their usage of LinkedIn exceeds that of usage by other format devotees.  As for “first occasion” – which media is consumed first after waking up – 43% of news/talk listeners use radio either at home or in the car.  They are also more likely than users of other formats to check their e-mail or read a newspaper (either in print or online) as their first media experience of the day.  If it’s any inspiration for beefing up the news department, 70% of news/talk listeners cite getting the news/weather/traffic as the number one reason for listening to AM/FM radio compared to 22% for all other formats combined.  Of all the formats, news/talk fans are least likely to “like” a station’s Facebook page but 21% say they check the station’s website every day.  And when it comes to following a station or personality on Twitter, sports talk is the hands-down winner with 51% of sports talk fans saying they do so.  News/talk aficionados do that less than the median with only 24% saying they follow a station or personality on Twitter.  Finally, when it comes to audio and video streaming, 33% of news/talk listeners listen to the station’s stream once per week – below the average of 38% — but 61% of them will stream video once per week – that’s above the average.  When they do, news/talk listeners get their video from network TV first, then cable TV, and their third favorite choice is your news/talk station.

ABC News Radio Partners with Slacker to Offer Lifestyle Talk Channels.  Digital audio service Slacker and ABC News Radio will work together to offer lifestyle talk content targeting men and women – dubbed “Men’s Life” and “Women’s Life.”  Slacker states in a release that the stations can be customized by the user to control the content they hear based on its relevance to them.  Slacker SVP of marketing Jonathan Sasse says, “Our new lifestyle stations capture the most interesting content for men and women from experts in over a dozen subjects.  No other radio service is providing access to content like this, and it is important to us that these stations include the option to customize based on the topics each listener finds most interesting.”  Categories of content available to users include: (for men) Health & Fitness, Games & Gadgets, Food & Drink, Style & Fashion, Cars & Gear, Tech, Travel & Adventure, Entertainment, Money, Relationships, Green Living and Home Improvement. And for women: Hair & Beauty, Style & Fashion, Relationships, Health & Fitness, Money, Entertainment, Food & Drink, Home Living, Tech, Parenting, Travel & Adventure and Green Living.  ABC News Radio VP and general manager Steve Jones says, “Since men and women often have different interests, our new Men’s Life and Women’s Life channels appeal to different sensibilities and styles.  We curate this content to make it unique but ultimately Slacker listeners drive their own experience since they can skip stories within each channel just as they do now with songs.”

Google and SiriusXM Enter into Content Sharing Deal.  Searching for ways to give a boost to its lagging Google TV service, the digital giant has struck a deal with SiriusXM to allow users of Google TV to hear all of the satcaster’s programming – including Howard Stern and the live sports programming.  According to Reuters, the deal is to be announced at a Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco today.  Google TV is a software built in to television sets currently manufactured by Sony, LG Electronics and Vizio.  Major broadcasters have blocked online versions of their content from appearing on Google TV and the service has had a rough start, to say the least.  Netflix and Amazon.com have joined Google TV as well.

Comedian and Morning Show Host Rickey Smiley Extends Deal with Radio One; Two TV Deals in the Works.  Morning radio show host Rickey Smiley inks a contract extension with Radio One that will keep him with the company.  Currently his morning show is heard in 55 markets on urban outlets.  In addition, Smiley is developing a weekly TV sitcom for TV One currently in production in Atlanta.  He will also be part of Fox TV’s “Dish Nation” show that features a number of morning radio hosts from around the country.  Radio One CEO and TV One chairman Alfred Liggins states, “Radio One and TV One are huge believers in investing in quality content.  Rickey Smiley represents a significant multi-media talent and our enhanced backing and long-term investment in his brand represents a commitment we believe is core to our companies’ future strategy.  Rickey Smiley is not only a current star, but he is one of the fastest-growing entertainment brands in any media today.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Adam Carolla’s Carolla Digital enters into a partnership with TuneIn to deliver his content via the digital audio service.  All episodes of every recent Carolla Digital will be available on the service that has some 30 million monthly active listeners…..SiriusXM sports talk host Dino Costa and former college basketball coach Steve Lappas will co-host the satcaster’s coverage of the NBA draft on Thursday, June 28 beginning at 7:00 pm on Mad Dog Radio…..WBZ-FM, Boston – 98.5 the Sports Hub – weekend sports talk host Nick Cattles heads south to become PM drive host at ESPN 94.1 FM (WVSP) serving the Norfolk, Virginia market.  He takes over for Tony Mercurio who exited the station last month…..ESPN Radio presents live, exclusive coverage of the UEFA Euro 2012 Final on Sunday, July 1 at 2:30 pm ET.

Wisconsin Station Flips to Talk Beginning in July.  The La Crosse Radio Group will flip standard WLFN, La Crosse, Wisconsin to news/talk beginning July 1.  The station’s program lineup will feature local talk host Bob Schmidt in morning drive and an eclectic lineup of nationally syndicated talent including: “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” with Gordon Deal, Dial Global’s Dennis Miller, WIBA, Madison-based Vicki McKenna, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish, The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Daily Wrap” with Michael Castner, Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes, and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” with Jon Grayson.  WLFN program director Neil Klos tells TALKERS, “This radio station was designed local first giving our local listeners a voice.  Our design was not to be ‘political,’ but entertaining and informative.”

Arizona Illegal Immigration Ruling, ‘Fast and Furious’ Contempt Vote, Colorado Wildfire, Looming ObamaCare Decision and Charles Rangel Wins Primary Battle Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/26).  The aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling on the Arizona immigration law; a potential House contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder in the ‘Fast and Furious’ case; the Colorado wildfire that’s displaced more than 30,000 people; the expected decision from the Supreme Court on ObamaCare; and New York Congressman Charles Rangel’s primary election victory were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

| June 19, 2012

Ralph Barbieri Sues KNBR, San Francisco.  Longtime San Francisco sports talk host Ralph Barbieri is suing Cumulus Media’s sports talk outlet KNBR claiming the station fired him in April based on his age and disabilities.  Barbieri’s attorney tells the San Francisco Chronicle station officials told Barbieri he was being let go for coming to work late and not preparing.  Barbieri had co-hosted the PM drive show with Tom Tolbert since 1996 as “The Razor and Mr. T” and attorney Angela Alioto says, “If you look at the ratings, Mr. Barbieri and Mr. Tolbert were number one or two until the day he was terminated.  The fact is, before they knew he was sick, those excuses didn’t exist – and they renewed his contract.”  In late 2011, Barbieri announced he’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and the station renewed his contract a month later.  Barbieri, who is seeking $10 million in damages, went on crosstown sports talk outlet KGMZ-FM to explain the suit and said Cumulus market manager Bill Bungeroth and OM Lee Hammer expressed to him he sounded tired on the air and chastised him for having to use the restroom often because of his medications.  He says he was also criticized for being late because of medical appointments.  The Chronicle reports Cumulus Media has not responded to requests for comment.

Glenn Beck Merges GBTV Under “The Blaze” Banner.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio star Glenn Beck has been operating two of his pioneering digital initiatives – The Blaze website and internet video station GBTV – under separate names.  Now, Beck is moving GBTV and the new Marketplace by Markdown, under The Blaze umbrella.  He states in an interview with CNN, “I didn’t like the name GBTV from the very beginning for a couple of reasons; one, it’s a little egocentric, and two, it’s television, which doesn’t describe necessarily what we do.”  So Beck is merging the three properties in to what he calls “a world-class multimedia network” – The Blaze.  Asked about Beck’s move by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “There are cases in which a personal name becomes a platform brand –such as Trump, Forbes and Ford – and they worked out well.  But NBC wasn’t named Sarnoff, CBS wasn’t named Paley and Playboy wasn’t named Hefner.  I think Beck is refining his approach to continuing his successful journey as a 21st century media pioneer.”

Dave Ramsey Jumps to News/Talk KRLD, Dallas.  Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey is now heard on CBS Radio’s news/talk KRLD, Dallas from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm nightly.  Ramsey’s program had previously been carried by Cumulus Media’s crosstown KLIF.  CBS Radio Dallas VP of news/talk/sports Bruce Gilbert, states, “We are thrilled to have Dave Ramsey join our team at Newsradio 1080 KRLD.  His wisdom, knowledge and passion have garnered him many fans in North Texas and we’re proud to be the new home for his growing and successful program.”

iPad Era Creates Opportunities for News Writers.  Consultant Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS from Blogworld/New York and says opportunities for writers adept at concise delivery of information are everywhere.  “As iPod and iPhone have, stable mate iPad is, once again, demonstrating how facile new devices change the way we consume information/entertainment content, and how we interact.”  Read more from Holland Cooke at Blogworld here.

 

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Promotes Darren Davis to EVP of National Programming Platforms.  Darren Davis has worked his way up from programming Clear Channel’s WASH-FM, Washington to his new post as executive vice president of national programming platforms for the company.  CC states Davis “will work closely with Tom Poleman (president of national programming platforms) to oversee all aspects of the division and the ongoing development and execution of Clear Channel’s national advertising and programming integrations.  He will continue to manage the Programming Operations Center; the Brand Management in-house format team; and the company’s highly effective Premium Choice network.”  Poleman says of Davis, “Over the past few years, Darren has been instrumental in transforming everything from our systems of communication to the way we maximize our best programming assets.  His efforts continue to give Clear Channel the competitive advantage and resources to be even more relevant and effective in the evolving market place, offering our listeners, partners and advertisers, products and content that nobody else can.  He has clearly earned the opportunity to grow within our company and he will continue to be an integral part of our team and our future.”

JT the Brick Featured on Las Vegas Newscast.  Fox Sports Radio Network late night talk host JT the Brick was recently featured on local television station KLAS-TV, Las Vegas in a piece on the effect of social media on sports talk radio.  JT broadcasts his nightly FSRN program from studios in Las Vegas.  In the piece, JT explains the pros and cons of using social media – Twitter, Facebook and others – to bring content to his show and to interact with fans.

 

Local Combo Serves Florida Panhandle Market During Flood Emergency.  Program director Paul Stadden tells TALKERS magazine ADX Communications’ news/talk WNRP, Pensacola and sister country FM were on the scene keeping local residents informed when 13 inches of rain fell on Escambia County last weekend causing widespread flooding and some $150 million in damage.  Stadden says, “Using the staffs of both stations, employees covered the flooded streets and reported full time from the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center until the state of emergency was lifted Monday morning.”  Pictured here is WNRP news anchor Cooper Davis on the air during the marathon coverage of the disaster.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  CBS Radio’s all-news WCBS, New York takes home three New York State Broadcasters Awards at ceremonies held last night in Bolton Landing, New York.  The station won for “Outstanding Local Newscast” (Hurricane Irene), “Outstanding Feature Story” (The Sock Lady-10 Years Later) and “Outstanding Local Sporting Event” (The New York City Marathon)…..WBZ, Boston’s Joe Mathieu will host Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo on today’s monthly “WBZ NewsWatch” hour-long interview program as the Massachusetts legislature finalizes its new fiscal year budget…..Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee show will gain a major market affiliate as it joins the lineup at Francis Battaglia-owned KFNX, Phoenix.  The program will air live in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daypart…..Las Vegas-based syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs is being honored by the UNLV Honors College with her selection as the “2012 Honors College Alumna of the Year.”  The school states it is the “highest and most prestigious award given by the college and recognizes Wachs’ impact on UNLV through the significant contributions she’s made to society in your professional field and through her personal achievements.”

2012 Presidential Race, Russia Sends Warships to Syria, Rodney King Dies, George Zimmerman Legal Issues and Roger Clemens Acquitted Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/18).  The 2012 presidential campaign; Russia’s announcement it will send warships to Syria; the death of historical figure Rodney King at age 47; the growing legal troubles for George Zimmerman and his wife; and baseball great Roger Clemens’ acquittal on perjury charges were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Woodhead in The Zone.  That’s New England Patriots running back (and Nebraska native) Danny Woodhead (c) in the booth with KOZN, Omaha’s Damon Benning (l) and Mike’l Severe (r).  The NRG Media sports talk station is broadcasting live from the 2012 NCAA College World Series – six hours daily for 14 days – and had the chance to catch up with Woodhead as he stopped by The Zone’s broadcast booth.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

| June 12, 2012

WPHT, Philadelphia Announces New Limbaugh-Free Schedule; Names Buzz Bissinger and Steve Martorano PM Drive Hosts. With Premiere Networks talk star Rush Limbaugh headed across town to Merlin Media‘s new WWIQ-FM, CBS Radio‘s news/talk WPHT announces Pulitzer Prize-winning author and pundit Buzz Bissinger will take over PM drive with co-host Steve Martorano. Bissinger moves into PM drive as WYD Media‘s Michael Smerconish slides into the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot (his live air time for national syndication). CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP Marc Rayfield states, “With the presidential election only a few months away, there couldn’t be a better time to heighten our focus on how today’s issues affect our friends, relatives and neighbors. The addition of Buzz to the lineup and presenting Michael’s program live to the audience gives us an incredible advantage as a station created in Philadelphia by Philadelphians for Philadelphians. Buzz has one of the most compelling voices in Philadelphia today. He’s intelligent, honest and hard hitting. He doesn’t play favorites; his only goal is to pursue the truth and no one in local media is more qualified to do so.”

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Reorganizes Operating Management Team.  Two Clear Channel executives get promoted as the company restructures. Tom Schurr is named president of operations for major markets and Matt Martin is the new president of operations for regional markets. The changes also include the promotion of Tom O’Connell from SVP of operations for the Northeast regional markets to EVP of operations where he, along with EVP of operations Hartley Adkins, will report to Tom Schurr. Matt Martin was previously SVP of operations for the West region. CCME chairman and CEO John Hogan says, “As a company, we put a priority on recognizing our high performers with advancement opportunities to grow and develop their careers. The proven leadership, experience and performance results of Tom, Matt and Tom M. have shown that they are the perfect candidates to help continue to reinvent how our evolving markets operate.  They have all earned the opportunity to grow their careers and will be an integral part of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s exciting future.” As a result of the moves, EVP of the Western Region Susan Karis exits the company.

New Jersey Broadcasters Association Convention Begins this Evening.  The 65th Annual NJBA Conference and Gala kicks off this evening at Caesar’s Atlantic City. The event, considered by industry observers as one of the most innovative statewide radio conventions in America, begins at 6:00 pm with a spectacular opening reception overlooking the ocean and picks up tomorrow morning with a full schedule of speakers, sessions and presentations under the theme, “The Best is Yet to Come!”  Headline solo presentations will be made by Howard L. Green Humanitarian Award honoree Steve Forbes and TALKERS founder Michael Harrison who will address the topic, “How Terrestrial Radio Can Thrive in the Digital Age.”  Special presentations will be made by ratings expert Charles Sislen and marketing guru John Tkac.  For information call 800-345-7253.

Joy Behar Signs Up with Al Gore’s Current TV.  “The View” cast member Joy Behar will continue her role on that show but will begin a new 6:00 pm ET show – probably called “The Joy Behar Show” – in September. Until then she’ll make appearances on the network including filling in for Eliot Spitzer on “Viewpoint” next week while he’s on vacation. The program will feature a regular, rotating cast of pundits, experts and journalists as cast members to discuss political and social issues. Current TV founder and chairman Al Gore says in a statement, “Joy Behar is a beloved veteran television personality with her finger on the pulse of what viewers care about. Millions of Americans tune in daily to hear her take on the issues along with her inimitable style. We are honored that Current TV will be Joy’s new prime time home.” Until December of 2011, Behar hosted a prime time show on HLN.

MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan to Exit Cable Channel to “Walk the Walk.”  That’s not Dylan Ratigan‘s quote but that’s what the host of his eponymous MSNBC 4:00 pm ET show implies he plans to do. Ratigan, whose three-year-old program (he came over from CNBC in 2009) has often taken on the power structure in American politics – including the close ties between the banking industry and Washington – is quoted by The New York TimesBrian Stelter saying, “Once you’ve said your piece, you can either keep saying it – and then it’s a job, good job, pays well, everybody knows your name, it’s great – or you can decide what you’re going to do about it. And the answer is, I don’t know. But I do know, in order to figure it out, I have to dismount.” MSNBC will move Martin Bashir into the 4:00 pm slot and craft a new show for the 3:00 pm hour.

Gregg Hersholt Debuts as Co-Host of KOMO, Seattle AM Program.  Fisher Radio announces Gregg Hersholt returns to the Emerald City as co-host of KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle’s “The KOMO Morning News” alongside Manda Factor. Hersholt worked at Bonneville International‘s crosstown KIRO for 26 years before departing for Portland to work at KXL. Program director Paul Duckworth says, “We’re so excited to have Gregg join us. He’s a terrific storyteller, knows the news business and is a name that is synonymous with Seattle.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Radio talk show host Akos Jankura (whose show is heard Saturday afternoons on WFLA, Tampa), along with his father and daughter rode as “Team 3 Generations” in the 200 meter bicycle competition “Endridge Ride to Conquer Cancer” in Ontario, Canada. The event raised some $18 million to benefit The Princess Margaret Foundation…..Slacker Radio and ESPN team up to offer a collection of ESPN stations designed to stream ESPN shows and sporting events on Slacker’s service. Four of the stations will feature content from ESPN’s O&Os in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas…..In honor of Father’s Day, SiriusXM launches a week-long series of special programming with Men’s Health Radio. The channel will be hosted by Men’s Health editor Peter Moore and will spotlight a different topic each day: why guys don’t go to the doctor and why they should; how to eat like a man and not look like a Neanderthal; tips from the editor-in-chief David Zinczenko’s bestselling books Eat This! Not That!; and much more…..The “Bobby Likis Car Clinic” show is giving away “The Ultimate Father’s Day Gift Package” this Saturday that includes an Escort Radar detector and a subscription to Escort Live – “social networking for the road.”

Radio Newsman Chris Stanley Passes Away at 64.  Radio news pro Chris Stanley spent the last five years of his career at Fox News Radio. Prior to that he worked at CBS Radio‘s KNX, Los Angeles. Stanley, who died on Saturday, June 10 after a heart attack, had retired from Fox News Radio in April.

2012 Presidential Race, Jerry Sandusky Trial, Commerce Secretary Car Crashes, and Spain Bailout/EU Uncertainty Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/11).  President Barack Obama‘s campaign to win re-election in the face of Mitt Romney‘s challenge; the trial of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky; U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson takes medical leave after two auto accidents in Los Angeles; and a bailout for Spain and the uncertainty of the stability of the euro were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

| June 6, 2012

Dave Ramsey Has More Than 1 Million Friends. Really!  Facebook has more than 900 million users worldwide and 1 million of them count nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey their friend. With all those friends and more than 400,000 Twitter followers, Ramsey’s organization says, “Not only are they seeing the value in Dave’s message on social platforms, but the web as a whole as ‘The Dave Ramsey Show’ is among the top 25 of all iTunes podcasts and the number one podcast in the business section.”

The Future of Audio” the Focus of House Subcommittee Hearing; Cross-Ownership a Major Topic.  Today’s hearing before the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will center around four topics: broadcast radio ownership caps, low-power FM, FM chips and royalties. Among the witnesses scheduled to testify are Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan, Commonwealth Broadcasting president, CEO Steven Newberry, Pandora founder Tim Westergren, and RIAA chairman and CEO Cary Sherman. A committee memo states, “This hearing will examine how advances in communications services and consumer electronics equipment are affecting the distribution and consumption of audio content.” There is again movement among Republicans to eliminate or relax the cross-ownership regulations in light of changes in technology and how they affect competition. Also, more arguments over performance royalties are expected to be raised at the hearing, especially with Clear Channel‘s groundbreaking record industry news announced yesterday (see next story).

Clear Channel Creates Groundbreaking Relationship with Big Machine Label Group.  This is purely a music radio story but still has the potential to reverberate throughout the entire radio business. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is the first broadcast company to strike a deal with a label group that pays the label (and hopefully the artists as well) a performance royalty for music aired on terrestrial radio stations. The two sides did not release specific numbers but Big Machine Label Group produces recordings for artists including Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Edens Edge and Ella Mae Bowen and Valory Music Co. artists Reba McEntire, Justin Moore, Brantley Gilbert, The Mavericks and Thomas Rhett. Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman says of the Big Machine Label Group president and CEO, “Scott Borchetta has reinvented the music business in many important ways over the years, from distribution and artist development to promotion and advertising. Focusing that same creativity on how best to grow the music business, Scott has developed this new model with us to let his labels and artists participate in the revenue of broadcast radio immediately and in digital radio as it builds.  This is a big step, but we think this investment is an opportunity worth taking to align our interests in all of our revenue streams and grow digital listening to its full potential with record labels and their artists as our partners. This landmark agreement creates a structure that makes sense for both our companies, but most of all for music fans.”

Cumulus Media Announces Tony Mascaro Named WABC, New York Operations Manager.  Confirming what TALKERS reported on Monday, June 4, Cumulus Media makes official the announcement that CHR WPLJ-FM, New York operations manager Tony Mascaro takes the same title for sister news/talk WABC, New York.

WBZ, Boston Overnight Host Steve LeVeille to Retire.  The 57-year-old host of the overnight talk show on CBS Radio‘s WBZ, Boston announces his decision to retire at the end of next week after 13 years hosting the show and 21 years with WBZ. “This is a quality-of-life decision for my wife, Diane, and me. We have been making moves during the past number of years to be able to do this without any particular date in mind. We have just reached a point where we said the time is right now. After spending most of our weekends and vacation time in Maine for the last 15 years we are looking forward to making it our year round home.” Steve LeVeille is a native of the Boston area and was familiar with WBZ NewsRadio as a teenager saying, “I grew up in the Boston area listening to Larry Glick on WBZ. And as cliché as it sounds, it was the dream of a teenager to do the overnight show on WBZ and I am proud to be able to retire from that position.”

Dan Dibley Signs on With Entercom’s San Francisco Sports FM for Another Year.  “The Rise Guys” morning drive co-host Dan Dibley extends his deal with Entercom‘s KGMZ-FM, San Francisco – 95.7 The Game. Dibley co-hosts the program with Whitey Gleason and Mark Kreidler. Program director Jason Barrett states, “Dan is a big reason why The Rise Guys are the best sports radio morning show in the Bay Area. His energy, passion, sense of humor and work ethic define what the Bay Area’s ‘New Sound for Sports’ is all about.” Prior to joining KGMZ-FM in May of 2011, Dibley served as executive producer at crosstown KNBR.

Merlin Media Changes Blagojevich Billboards in Chicago.  The two billboards you see here are before-and-after versions of the outdoor campaign employed by Merlin Media‘s all-news WIQI-FM – FM News 101.1. After the company put up about 200 of the billboards in the Chicago area, attorney Sheldon Sorosky (who represented former Governor Rod Blagojevich in his corruption trial) contacted Merlin notifying the company the billboards may violate an Illinois law that prevents one’s image from being used for commercial purposes without permission. Merlin’s John Gehron tells Crain’s Chicago Business they made the move because, “Listeners were concerned that we were insensitive and we wanted to be responsive.” At the same time, Gehron tells Crain’s the campaign has been positive for the fledgling all-news outlet, “It’s done well and it’s gotten some nice talk.”

WTOP, Washington Reporter Shoved by DC Council Chairman.  This was no aggressive push but observers say District of Columbia Council Chairman Kwame Brown, after being asked a question by WTOP, Washington reporter Mark Seagraves, pushed the reporter up against a wall with enough force “to send a message” while saying, “No questions.” Seagraves was asking Brown about a report by another media outlet that federal investigators have revealed part of their case against him involving campaign wrongdoings.

Wisconsin Recall Election, 2012 Presidential Race, Jittery Global Financial Markets and Sandusky Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/5).  The recall election in Wisconsin between Republican Scott Walker and Democrat Tom Barrett and its impact on the future of public sector unions; the 2012 presidential campaign; the state of the world’s financial markets; and the looming trial of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Kings of L.A.  With the Los Angeles Kings on the brink of their first NHL Stanley Cup Championship (the Kings lead the New Jersey Devils 3-0 with game 4 tonight) Clear Channel‘s KLAC, Los Angeles – AM 570 Fox Sports L.A. – is enjoying the ride. Pictured here is a scene from the station’s live broadcast from L.A. Kings fan-fest at L.A. Live, adjacent to the Staples Center arena. “Petros & Money” broadcast their show live from the event and here you see Matt “Money” Smith (l), Kings broadcaster Jim Fox (c) and NHL great Luc Robitaille (r) on stage.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

| May 29, 2012

Mark Davis Back to Talk Host Duties in Big D on Salem’s KSKY.  Longtime Dallas media personality Mark Davis returns to the radio in the market on Salem Communications’ KSKY in the 7:00 am to 10:00 am time slot.  Davis, a Dallas Morning News columnist and television political commentator, exited Cumulus Media’s crosstown WBAP after 18 years in April when the two sides could not agree to a contract extension.  Now, Davis will follow Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett who airs on KSKY from 5:00 am to 7:00 am.  Salem Communications vice president and director of spoken word format Phil Boyce is also re-branding KSKY “The Answer” as he’s done with KRLA, Los Angeles; KTIE, Riverside/San Bernardino; and WNYM, New York.  Boyce states, “Adding an industry icon like Mark Davis, and re-branding the station as ‘The Answer’ will help take KSKY to the next level.  This station will truly be an answer for so many things going on in the metroplex and the world, with smart hosts who know how to help you understand all of those things, not to mention great news, traffic, weather and information.”  Davis begins his new position on Monday, June 4 and he says, “There’s been a lot of attention paid to talk radio lately, about whether companies and stations are losing the commitment to local shows where a bond can build over the years with listeners.  I love seeing the evidence that there is a company and a station looking to grow, rather than shrink that concept, and I am proud to be a part of it.”

Sid Rosenberg to Return to the Air in South Florida.  Mercurial sports talk host Sid Rosenberg appears headed for a new gig at James Crystal Radio’s WMEN, West Palm Beach (licensed to Royal Palm Beach) according to a recent report in the Miami Herald.  Rosenberg most recently hosted the afternoon drive show at Beasley’s WQAM, Miami but exited that position after a well-publicized DUI arrest.  WMEN general manager Steve Lapa tells the Herald he expects WQAM to let Rosenberg out of his contract that runs through August – in exchange for financial concessions – and allow him to start with the station sooner rather than later but that WMEN would be willing to wait if necessary.  Lapa says Rosenberg is “a talented guy and he wants to work” and after meeting with him has no reservations about Rosenberg’s past issues with drink, drugs and gambling.  Where Rosenberg would fit into the schedule has not been announced.  The station is currently live and local from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm with Chris Perkins in AM drive, Troy Stradford in late mornings, Andy Slater in middays and Orlando Alzugaray in PM drive.

KFI, Los Angeles Engineer Tony Dinkel Exits as Position Eliminated.  He was just a day shy of his 29th anniversary at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles when he was notified his position as transmitter site broadcast engineer was being eliminated, but Tony Dinkel has nothing but fond memories of his time with the station.  The 57-year-old engineer tells the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan he’ll always remember all the great people he worked with at the station.  Dinkel also served as the remote engineer and station staffers praised Dinkel’s ability to get remote broadcasts off without a hitch.  Read more about Dinkel’s time with KFI in Lycan’s column here.

Cumulus Media’s Atlanta All-Newser Debuts Today.  All News 106.7 – the new news outlet Cumulus Media is putting on the air in Altanta – debuts today with a special radio documentary about the news business in Atlanta.  The program will repeat for most of the day and the actual all-news format should be live and running after that.  Cumulus made the decision to remove classic hits from WYAY-FM, Gainesville, Georgia more than a month ago and the station will be the first all-news outlet to serve Atlanta since WCNN back in the late 1990s.

Cox Media Drops Sports/Talk Hybrid “Bulldog 103.7”; Debuts Variety Hits Format.  The FM sports and news/talk station that was home to talk-host-turned-Congressional-candidate Martha Zoller – WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia (licensed to Maysville) – becomes a variety hits music station dubbed “Chuck FM.”  The station morphed into “Bulldog 103.7” last fall featuring a combination of sports talk and news/talk.  Gainesville-based talk host Martha Zoller held down the late morning show until her recent exit from the business to run for the open seat in the newly created Georgia congressional district.

WTOP, Washington Names “Commuter Idle” Contest Winner.  Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington held a contest to find – and reward – the person in the DC area with the worst commute.  And the winner – with a 100 mile, five-hour daily commute to and from work – is Brenda Wells from Sparrow’s Point, Maryland.  WTOP states Wells’ commute “begins at 3:00 am and her commute includes a 45-minute drive (complete with two tolls), a 50-minute train ride, two metro rides, a short walk and a metro bus ride.  Wells is a federal worker with the Department of State in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, where she assigns special agents to the consulates and embassies around the world.  She is a single mother of three and lives with her parents in Baltimore for financial and child care reasons.”  Wells wins $1,000 in gas money and a future limo ride to and from work courtesy of Reston Limousine.  WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “As the DC area’s #1 traffic authority, we feel our commuters’ pain.  We received hundreds of incredible stories from listeners who cope with crazy commutes just to make ends meet, and crowning a ‘winner’ was a challenge.  Brenda’s multi-faceted commute, the long distance, and the impact on her family are what put her over the top.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Legendary Southern California media personality Charlie Tuna – currently spinning classic hits at K-Earth 101 in Los Angeles – is named the new station voice of KDOC-TV, Los Angeles…..Sports USA announces the first part of the slate of National Football League games it will be offering to stations for the 2012 season beginning with the New England Patriots at the Tennessee Titans on September 9.  Sports USA says it will announce more NFL play-by-play approximately three weeks ahead of each week’s games…..The Nick Carioti real estate, money and business weekly radio talk show prepares to celebrate its one-year anniversary on Star Over Orlando’s WEUS, Orlando in July…..Performance Racing Network’s Wendy Venturini made history this weekend as the first woman to lead a NASCAR radio broadcast at the Charlotte Speedway’s History 300 on 5/26.  PRN paired her with Doug Rice in the radio booth for Saturday’s race.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

| May 24, 2012

The Future of Tribune Company – and WGN, Chicago – Up in the Air After Bankruptcy Exit.  An article in Crain’s Chicago Business offers some speculation – based on interviews with business consultants and Tribune’s court filings – on the future of the parts of the publishing and broadcasting giant.  While its only radio property – WGN, Chicago – is not mentioned specifically in the piece, the broadcast division is and the theme of the article is that it appears the parts of Tribune are worth more than the whole and they may be sold off.  Tribune is organizing its various newspaper and TV properties into streamlined LLCs in preparation for presenting its reorganization plan to the court next month.  One expert states the synergy of print and broadcast never materialized for Tribune and he expects the parts to be sold.  Hubbard Broadcasting CEO Stanley Hubbard is quoted saying his company might be interested in the broadcasting properties if the price is right but said he has had no discussions with the company.

Martha Zoller Wraps Radio Show; Is Official Candidate for Congress in Georgia.  Georgia-based radio talk show host Martha Zoller did her last radio program for Cox Media’s WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia – talk/sports hybrid Bulldog 103.7 – and is now officially on the campaign trail.  Zoller’s last program was May 11 and her campaign announced yesterday, May 23, that she has qualified for the Republican primary for the newly created 9th Congressional District in Georgia which takes place on July 31.  She will face State Representative Doug Collins and Jackson Commission Chairman Hunter Bicknell in the open primary.  She says in a campaign statement, “For far too long, professional politicians and entrenched bureaucrats have run amuck in Washington without any adult supervision.  I am going to Congress to hold Washington accountable and end the reckless spending, borrowing, and debt that is threatening the future of our nation and the security of the American people.”  WXKT-FM has not announced a permanent replacement host for Zoller’s late morning program.

CNN Ratings Part of Larger News and TV Numbers Slump.  The New York TimesBill Carter writes an analysis of the ratings problems plaguing Time Warner’s CNN on the heels of recent record low showings.  The cable news network’s Nielsen numbers for the week of May 14 were down – averaging just 395,000 total viewers in prime time – while Piers Morgan’s May 15 program garnered just 39,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic.  Carter writes that CNN has been hurt by strong programming from the networks during the May sweeps plus a lack of major breaking news – something that has always helped CNN boost its numbers.  But Carter notes that CNN isn’t the only network affected.  Even though Fox News Channel is head and shoulders above CNN in the prime time ratings, FNC only grabbed 395,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic during that week – a four-year low for Fox.  It should be noted that ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” finale and Fox TV’s “American Idol” performance finale – two of TV’s highest-performing non-sports shows over the past few years, had dramatically lower audiences than the previous year.  While “DWTS” had 17.5 million total viewers, that was down 18% from last spring’s finale.

New Media Seminar/NYC on Verge of Quickest Sellout in Conference’s 15-Year History.  The combination of a power-packed agenda, one-day format and significantly reduced registration fee have combined to make the upcoming New York City installment of the new bi-coastal, recession-era version of the talk media industry’s annual convention an extremely hot ticket.  According to the industry-only event’s organizers at TALKERS magazine, this will be the earliest sellout in its colorful 15 year history.  Due to capacity regulations, the selling of registrations for the Thursday, June 7 event will cease at the close of business on Friday of this week.  After that, registrations will only be issued on a stand-by basis. NMS director Michael Harrison states, “We are extremely gratified by the positive response to this new ‘austerity version’ of the New Media Seminar.  The idea of compacting it into a one-day event, getting rid of the expensive frills, reducing the cost of registration by 75%, and organizing an agenda that can be described as nothing short of relentless, is striking a positive chord in the business.  Also, the fact that there will be a West Coast version of the event in Los Angeles on October 11 is an innovation that has been very well received.  That one will be a blockbuster too.”  To see the full up-to-the-minute agenda of the New York conference, click here.  For registration or sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.

Two Local Sports Talk Shows to Debut on KXPS, Palm Springs.  CRC Media’s KXPS, Palm Springs (licensed to Thousand Palms, California) announces it will bring two new live and local programs to sports talker Team 1010 beginning June 4.  Julie Buehler will host “Buehler’s Day Off” daily from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and Pete Fox joins the station to co-host “On the Air with Fox and Lecair” from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  MyDesert.com reports Buehler is an award-winning radio host who recently worked as part of the Indianapolis Colts broadcasting team.  Fox has served as a host and reporter at KSPN, Los Angeles.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Cox Media syndicated talk star Neal Boortz sits in the anchor chair at CNBC filling in for Larry Kudlow on the cable channel’s “The Kudlow Report” tonight at 7:00 pm ET.  Boortz will work with co-host and CNBC chief international correspondent Michelle Caruso-Cabrera…..WNRP, Pensacola afternoon drive talk host Brandon Rathert wins two awards – a local Edward R. Murrow Award for “Investigative Reporting” and an Associated Press award for “Best Public Affairs” for the documentary he produced on the local sheriff’s office…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment ups Matt Derrick to regional program manager for the Wilmington, Delaware and Salisbury, Maryland markets…..The actual price Clear Channel is paying for Stephen Mindich’s WFNX-FM, Boston is $14.5 million, a bit more than the $11 million we reported after the story broke.

2012 Presidential Race, Facebook IPO Investigations, Egypt Elections, and Pakistan Jails bin Laden Tracker Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/23).  The battle between Republican challenger Mitt Romney and President Obama; the complex controversy over the Facebook IPO and the lawsuits it appears to be creating; the elections in Egypt; and the jailing of the doctor who aided the U.S. in finding Osama bin Laden in Pakistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Jeff Katz Welcomes Israeli Talk Host.  WXKS, Boston – Talk 1200 – morning drive host Jeff Katz  (l) is pictured here with Ari Abramowitz (r) – the leading English-language talk show host in Israel.  Katz tells TALKERS Abramowitz stopped by the program to say hello while visiting the United States and Katz forced him to check out the two Associated Press awards he recently won!

The State of News in News/Talk Radio

| May 21, 2012

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS magazine
VP/Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — It’s understood by anyone in the radio business that the big news stories of the day – whether they are local or national stories – generate the topics that drive the conversation on news/talk radio.  But what are the roles of the newsroom, the reporter and the regular newscasts on today’s news/talk stations?  The move of all-news to FM signals, the development of more national and regional radio news products and the addition of newswheel programs to some of the country’s most respected talk stations seem to indicate radio news has received a shot in the arm.  But the decimation of many radio news departments that occurred in conjunction with consolidation still affects many radio operations and raises questions about the relevance of news elements to the successful operation of the modern news/talk station.

Read More

Friday, May 18, 2012

| May 18, 2012

Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio Hits 10 Million Registered Users in Eight Months.  The digital media player that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has been vigorously promoting is growing, according to CC, “faster than nearly all other entertainment platforms, including Pandora, Facebook, Spotify and Instagram.”  The iHeartRadio player has more than 10 million users since the 10 million figure includes just registered users – only required for the custom station service.  Brian Lekamp, president of digital for CCME, states, “iHeartRadio has demonstrated incredibly rapid adoption, more than two times faster than other leading entertainment services – it’s mind-blowing.  We are thrilled with the consumer reaction and feedback.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, using the tremendous promotional power of our broadcast radio properties, has been able to drive this adoption like no other company could.  iHeartRadio offers a great product supported by unparalleled promotional capabilities.”

NPR Facing Fiscal Downturn; May End Year in the Red.  In a piece by Paul Farhi for the Washington Post, the challenging financial situation NPR is dealing with as the U.S. economy continues to struggle is brought to light.  New CEO Gary Knell tells Farhi NPR has operated at a deficit three out of the past four years and had to dip into its endowment fund to cover expenses.  This comes after the brutal 2008 fiscal year in which NPR was forced to cut 7% of its workforce after coming up $23 million short.  The situation for NPR is that corporate underwriting – or advertising – has fallen dramatically.  Instability in some of the corporate positions responsible for fundraising and underwriting have not helped the content provider, either.  NPR states that through March of this year, it was operating at a deficit of $2.6 million beyond what the endowment covers and when the end of its fiscal year rolls around in September, it may still be in the red.  Knell has told employees the last thing he wants to do is cut staffing and programming but he also states NPR cannot continue to operate as it is.  He tells the Post, “NPR has been withdrawing from the bank and we can’t keep doing that,” he said. “We have to be at break-even or be in a positive position on an annual basis, or I can tell you at some point we’re going to have to turn the lights off.”

CNN Suffers Lowest Prime Time Rating in 15 Years.  Time Warner’s CNN is getting more bad news after getting clobbered in the April Nielsen’s released last week.  Now, TVNewser reports “Piers Morgan Tonight” – which aired at 9:00 ET – pulled in just 39,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo on Tuesday, May 15.  The show garnered 284,000 total viewers which was not a record low.  The piece notes the program faced competition in the form of the season finale of “NCIS: L.A.,” “America’s Got Talent” and “Dancing with the Stars” which, all together, had 39 million total viewers.

WOWO, Fort Wayne Reporter Held in Contempt for Phone Use in Court.  WOWO, Fort Wayne news director Dave Wheaton was found in contempt at the Allen County Superior Court for using a station-owned iPhone while covering a guilty plea at a murder case at the courthouse.  Two sheriff’s deputies noticed Wheaton texting on the phone – a violation of court rules – and confiscated the phone.  Wheaton told Judge Fran Gull he did not see the numerous signs warning of the ban on phones in the courtroom to which the judge replied, “Candidly, I don’t believe you,” reports the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.  The ban has been in effect since 2007 after courtroom attendees were found taking photos.  The judge ordered the phone destroyed but allowed WOWO owner Federated Media to download the contents first.

The State and Future of News on America’s News/Talk Radio Stations.  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 coming to Talkers.com next week, programmers speak on the record about their news philosophy and its practical application.  KMOX, St. Louis operations director Steve Moore says despite the factors some think puts radio at a disadvantage for news, it’s still a very important element.  “Local news is the foundation for everything we do and that includes providing content and information for our programming staffs.  That relationship goes both ways.  Talent use their connections to flesh out stories that are heard on our newscasts.  A strong, local news department should be the perfect complement to a good talk show host.”  Read what some of today’s top news/talk programmers are saying about the state of news on their stations and in the larger media mix at Talkers.com next week.

Michael Harrison to Speak at New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference.  June promises to be a busy month for Michael Harrison.  Less than one short week after the New Media Seminar in NYC, the publisher and founder of TALKERS magazine will deliver a special address at the 65th Annual New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference on June 13.  The address titled, “The Future of the Stick and the Shtick: How Terrestrial Radio can Thrive in the Digital Age,” will provide a realistic focus on the key issues and challenges facing AM and FM radio today as it finds its place in the new and exotic landscape of 21st century technology and culture.  One of the key points that Harrison plans to make is that even though talk radio broadcasters are licking their chops at the prospect of music radio’s demise, one of the keys to talk radio’s growth in the coming years will actually be the survival and revival of music radio as a commercial and cultural force.  Harrison says, “An AM and FM band of only spoken word programming will not be enough to keep terrestrial radio afloat.  For terrestrial radio of all formats to have a healthy place from which to operate, it must reclaim ownership of the music scene - no doubt a daunting task.”  Harrison goes on to say that this can actually be done.  “The music scene in America has a desperate need for big-time leadership in terms of breaking new artists and product as well as defining and creating a cultural environment in which a healthy and  purposeful industry can operate.  This is something that radio has historically done effectively and can do again in the new century.”  Harrison suggests the key to doing this is to bring back the disc jockey as a viable broadcasting art form and the plugged-in music director as a connection to the street and marketplace.  “When music radio gave up its franchise on personalities - on-air talents who can present, deliver, and ‘sell’ a song, it set in motion its own destruction as well as inflicting damage to the music business itself.  It is not too late to correct this.”  The 65th Annual NJBA Conference will take place at Caesar’s Atlantic City June 12-13.  For information call 888-657-2346.

2012 Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for 7th Consecutive Week.  The race for president between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney once again was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of May 14-18, 2012.  Following at #2 was the Greece and Euro Zone fiscal crisis; at #3 was world financial markets activity; and at #4 was President Obama’s gay marriage stance.  The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart of the top stories and people on news/talk radio here.

Commentators of the Year.  That’s ESPN’s Mike Golic – co-host of ESPN Radio’s and ESPN2’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show (c) – holding the awards given to him and co-host Mike Greenberg (not pictured) for being named Team ESPN’s Volunteer Commentators of the Year.  Next to Golic are ESPN EVP of production John Wildhack (l) and president of ESPN, Inc. John Skipper (r).  Golic and Greenberg were honored at a luncheon yesterday (5/17) with the award given to an ESPN commentator “who provides positive impact in the community through his or her volunteer efforts.”  The duo led the way on ESPN Radio for the “Don’t Give Up ESPYs V Foundation Auction” which raised more than $800,000 for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.  They have contributed their personal time to emcee the Jimmy V Basketball dinner, and visit military sites, like the Intrepid this year for ESPN’s Veterans Week.  Each received $1,000 to be donated to the charity of their choice and both elected to give it to The V Foundation.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

| May 17, 2012

Sean Hannity Named to Keynote New Media Seminar in New York on June 7.  The Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar has been named to headline an agenda of talk media industry luminaries that includes leaders from the ranks of talent, programming, management and sales.  Sean Hannity tells TALKERS his address will cover such pressing industry issues as confusion over non-rated platforms, attempts to silence opposition speech, proliferation of multi-media talk venues and the imminent explosion of a wide variety of content. He says, “My speeches in the past have focused on the theme, ‘the best is yet to come,’ which I still fully believe – but we face a number of present-day obstacles that have popped up along the way that we as an industry must address and overcome.”  Hannity joins the ranks of more than 60 speakers who will be addressing a capacity gathering of 500 attendees at the East Coast installment of this year’s New Media Seminar (the West Coast installment is set for Los Angeles on October 11).  Organizers expect the industry-only New York segment to be sold out by early next week.  For last-minute registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  To see the latest complete agenda, click here.

Clear Channel Agrees to Buy Alternative WFNX-FM, Boston for Rumored $11 Million.  Stephen Mindich is the publisher of the Boston Phoenix alt-weekly who’s owned WFNX-FM since 1983.  He says the station has been difficult to keep afloat since the recession began in late 2008 so he’s selling it to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  Now, the format rumor mill begins grinding and there’s certainly reason for CC to give low-ranking news/talk outlet WXKS – at 1200 on the AM dial – an FM boost.  The station carries Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and despite the talent of morning drive talk pro Jeff Katz and PM drive market vet Jay Severin the station continues to underperform.  As is customary, CC is not tipping its hand about a format change but local media reports indicate 17 of the 21 staffers at the station have been notified of their termination.  Releases from both parties do not indicate if Clear Channel will begin operating the station under an LMA or wait for FCC approval of the sale.

Report:  Streaming Media East Confab Provides Insights for Talk Radio.  Talk radio consultant Holland Cooke delivers nuggets like this: “It’s not how many Friends you have, it’s how many are talking about you,” as he distills some of the advice on building media brands via Facebook (and more) that he gathered at this week’s Streaming Media East conference in New York City.  Read Holland’s entire report here

Forbes Releases World’s Most Powerful Celebrities List for 2012; Limbaugh, Beck, and Stern Make the Grade.  The annual World’s Most Powerful Celebrities List has been released by Forbes and Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host Rush Limbaugh is the highest-ranked radio talk host at #19.  Fellow Premiere host Glenn Beck is close behind at #23 and SiriusXM talk star Howard Stern landed at #30.  Forbes ranks celebs based on how they score in five factors: money, TV/radio, press, web and social.

Utah Jazz Owner to Buy KZNS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City.  The Larry H. Miller Group – owner of the NBA’s Utah Jazz – is finalizing a deal to buy sports talk KZNS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City which would become the radio base for the team.  Currently, LHM Group is LMAing crosstown KFNZ but that deal ends this month and owner Cumulus Media is not interested in continuing to LMA the station, according to a report in the Salt Lake Tribune.  LHM Group and Utah Jazz president Randy Rigby tells the paper the group will put together the best sports talk hosts from both KZNS and KFNZ, “This is going to be a super sports powerhouse radio station.”  It is currently negotiating with talent and did not disclose which of the two stations’ current hosts will end up working at KZNS.  The station is owned by the SLC Divestiture Trust operated by Larry Patrick.

Courtside Entertainment Group’s “Loveline” Partners with Ustream for Web Video Distribution.  Fans of Courtside Entertainment Group’s “Loveline” radio show hosted by Dr. Drew Pinsky, Simone Bienne and Mike Catherwood will be able to see streaming video of the program via Ustream.  In addition to the program being seen live on ustream.tv, affiliate stations will have access to the embedded Ustream player for fans to view and interact with on their websites.  Courtside vice president Katie Walsh states, “By partnering with Ustream to offer a video component of ‘Loveline,’ we are able to provide fans with more access and interaction than ever before.  We look forward to extending our reach and providing fans with more ways to connect with ‘Loveline’ through Ustream.”  Courtside reports that after working with Ustream for a month, it saw a 107% increase in “Loveline” viewers on its Ustream channel – more than doubling “Loveline” viewership in a one-month period.

Daily “Sports Biz Today” Program Debuts in Syndication May 21.  The AudioTracks Broadcasting Services-produced “Sports Biz Today” program hosted by Fred Wallin and Howard Bloom goes live and into national syndication on Monday, May 21.  Both Wallin and Bloom have long sports media resumes: Wallin has worked at Fox Sports Radio and The Sports Radio Network as well as at ESPN and Fox Sports Net and Bloom publishes SportsBusinessNews.com and has worked with Fox Sports Radio and Sporting News Radio to name a few.  The program is available for terrestrial stations via Cable Radio Network and is also being broadcast on the web via Passionate Talk Radio and Mile Hi Radio.  It airs live from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm ET.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  CBS Radio names Danny Bortnick vice president and director of sales for its Washington, DC cluster that includes sports talk WJFK-FM and all-news WNEW-FM…..SiriusXM adds “Dan Dunn’s Happy Hour” to its lineup on the SiriusXM Stars Too channel.  The weekly show hosted by the former Playboy writer and mixology expert will air live on Thursday evenings at 7:00…..The nationally syndicated Dawson McAillster-hosted “The Hopeline” names Jessica McVay-Kershner on-air co-host/internet radio coordinator for the show.  Jessica is the daughter of long time consultant and current Cumulus Media VP/programming Mike McVay…..James Ingstad-owned KJOX, Kennewick, Washington – 1340 ESPN Tri-Cities – begins airing programming from Bonneville’s KIRO, Seattle from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.  The station is also the market’s affiliate for Seattle Mariners baseball….. The regionally syndicated, Rochelle, Illinois-based Michael Koolidge program expands to WTAD, Quincy, Illinois and WKAN, Kankakee, Illinois…..KMOX, St. Louis business reporter Rick Desloge died on Monday at age 63 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Montreal Broadcaster Ted Bird Joins CKGM, Montreal Morning Show.  Popular Montreal radio personality Ted Bird becomes part of the morning show at TSN Radio 990 (CKGM, Montreal) alongside Elliott Price and Shaun Starr.  Bird will focus on the Montreal sports scene.  He tells Broadcaster Magazine Canada, “I am extremely excited to join Elliott and Shaun on TSN Radio 990 and indulge in my passion for talking sports.  I feel privileged to work for the flagship radio station of the Montreal Canadiens and hitch my wagon with the TSN brand.  It will be an interesting off-season for the Canadiens, so we’ll have lots to talk about.  I can’t wait to get started.”  Bird recently left CHRK-FM, Montreal in a well-publicized  split that ended with him working at a Canadian aboriginal station.

2012 Presidential Race, Greece Teeters on Brink, Upcoming NATO Summit, Trayvon Martin Case and Budget Debate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/16).  Some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday included the 2012 presidential race; the precarious state of Greece’s fiscal situation and its effect on the euro; the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago, new information in the Trayvon Martin case; and the U.S. budget debate in Washington, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

| May 15, 2012

Power-Packed Agenda Set for New Media Seminar June 7.  According to TALKERS magazine VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “In all the years we have been presenting radio industry conferences, I do not remember one quite like this in which so many outstanding speakers were packed into a single day’s event.  Our innovative model designed for an economically challenging era seems to be striking a very positive chord.  The New York City installment of 2012’s bi-coastal conference is only a few days away from being sold out.”  More than 60 industry leaders will address the key issues facing talk media between 9:00 am to 6:30 pm on Thursday, June 7 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  For registration and sponsorship information for this industry-only event call 413-565-5413.  To see the agenda click here.

Rush Limbaugh Named “Famous Missourian”; Choice Irks State Democrats.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians yesterday in a closed ceremony at the state capitol in Jefferson City.  A bronze bust of the talk host was unveiled during the event.  State Democrats were disturbed by the ceremony that was not announced until 20 minutes prior to it beginning.  It took place in the chambers of the House of Representatives and Democrats were not allowed in.  Missouri House Speaker Steven Tilley told the Kansas City Star the ceremony was closed because of the controversy and so that Limbaugh and his family could attend and be “treated respectfully.”  Democrats were not invited because earlier they signed a letter protesting the induction.  In a speech at the induction Limbaugh stated, “This is something I never, ever thought would happen to me…I want to express my deep gratitude. I’m exceptionally proud to accept this honor, and really very humbled.”  Limbaugh joins the ranks of such famous Missourians as Mark TwainHarry Truman and Dred Scott.

Dial Global’s Dennis Miller to Perform with Adam Carolla in November.  Nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller had comedian, TV star and podcaster Adam Carolla on his program yesterday (5/14) and the two announced they will perform live on stage together at the City National Grove in Anaheim on November 16.  Miller tells Carolla, “You know what I think about the way your mind works – it’s genius.”  In addition to his radio program, Dennis Miller has been doing live performances with Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly on their “Bolder and Fresher Tour 2012.”  The duo recently performed at New York City’s Town Hall.

Anniversary Bash.  Journal Broadcasting’s KQTH-FM, Tucson – 104.1 The Truth – celebrated its fifth anniversary on Saturday, May 12 at the Casino Del Sol Resort.  Program director Ryan McCredden tells TALKERS, “The listeners, speakers, staff and sponsor response to the event was tremendous and we’re looking forward to another five great years of ‘The Truth’ in Tucson!”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Author and townhall.com writer Katie Pavlich, Radio America’s Roger Hedgecock, author and commentator S.E. Cupp, Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle, KQTH-FM morning host Jon Justice and midday host James T. Harris.

New York Festivals Announces 2012 Radio Program and Promotion Awards World’s Best Radio Programs Finalists.  The New York Festivals breaks down the entries by country.  For the United States among commercial talk broadcasters, ESPN Radio is named a finalist in the Best Human Interest Story and Best Investigative Reporting categories.  “The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap” is a finalist for Best Regularly Scheduled Sports Program.  SiriusXM’sHoward Stern is a finalist for Best Special Event.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFBK, Sacramento is a finalist in the Health/Medical category.  Winners will be honored at a gala awards ceremony on June 18 at New York City’s Manhattan Penthouse.  See the entire slate of finalists here.

 

Compass Media Networks Names Booth Talent for Baseball Broadcasts.  For its 25 broadcasts of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim games Compass Media Networks recently announced it would distribute, the company has named its game coverage talent.  Former New York Mets general manager and current SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio morning host Steve Phillipswill be analyst for the broadcasts.  Others, whose appearance on the broadcasts will be determined by travel schedule and other commitments, include play-by-play announcers Chris Carrino and Steve Quis and analyst and former MLB player and executive Darryl Hamilton.

CBS Radio’s Stacie Schmidt Moves from Las Vegas to Cleveland.  Stacie Schmidt currently serves as director of marketing for CBS Radio’s Las Vegas cluster that includes news/talk KXNT-AM/FM.  She’s moving back to her home town of Cleveland to take the integrated sales and marketing position at CBS Radio’s cluster there that includes sports WKRK-FM – 92.3 the Fan.

Obama Newsweek Cover, 2012 Presidential Race, Euro Zone Hangs in Balance, JP Morgan Chase Loss and California Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/14).  The “first gay president”Newsweek cover; the 2012 presidential race; the future of the euro zone as countries threaten to leave; the $2 billion loss at JP Morgan Chase; and California’s enormous debt problem were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Brooklyn in the House.  Sure, it’s easy to get supermodel and actress Brooklyn Decker to visit your radio show when hubby Andy Roddick is co-host of the program.  Decker is pictured here in the Fox Sports Radio studios with husband and tennis great Andy Roddick (c) and radio personality Bobby Bones (l).  The “Roddick and Bones” show airs on weekends on the FSRN.  During the interview Decker promoted her two new films, “Battleship” and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” both being released on May 18.

Monday, May 14, 2012

| May 14, 2012

TALKERS TV: WTOP Reporter Does All Field Reports on iPhone or iPad.  Things have changed, at least technologically, since WTOP, Washington reporter Neal Augenstein joined the heritage all-news outlet in 1999.  The newsroom was still equipped with reel-to-reel tape recorders and the portable bag phones that weighed as much as 15 pounds.  Since 2010, Neal has earned the distinction of being the first major market radio reporter who does all of his field production on an iPhone or iPad.  This week TALKERS TV presents the final installment of an exclusive three-part feature on the inner workings of all-news giant WTOP with an interview with Neal Augenstein in which he explains the theory behind and the method of using Apple’s smart phone as an extremely innovative and convenient tool for gathering, producing and presenting news in a multimedia venue.  See TALKERS TV at the top of the column on the upper right side of this page.

New Media Seminar New York Nears Sellout – Features Power-Packed Agenda.  Thursday, June 7 promises to be an important and exciting day for talk radio and related talk media as the East Coast installment of the industry’s largest and longest-running convention nears a sellout.  More than 60 industry leaders are scheduled to speak including (in alphabetical order): Nancy Abramson, executive director, Wall Street Journal Radio Network; Chuck Armstrong, APD, WABC, New York; Mike “Bax” Baxendale, co-host, “Bax and O’Brien” morning show, Rock 102, Springfield, MA; Rennie Bishop, PD WWRL, New York; Jim Bohannon, host, Dial Global Radio Networks; Phil Boyce, VP/director, spoken word format, Salem Communications; Dr. Joy Browne, host, WOR Radio; Laurie Cantillo, PD, WTOP, Washington, DC; Kevin Casey, VP/managing editor, TALKERS; Michael Castner, host, Wall Street Journal Radio Network; Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Alan Colmes, Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel; Holland Cooke, consultant, McVay/Cook Media; Andy Dean, host Premiere Networks; Dave Elswick, PD, KARN, Little Rock; Boomer Esiason, host, WFAN, New York; Barry Farber, host, Talk Radio Network/CRN Digital Talk Radio; Jim Farley, VP news and programming, WTOP, Washington, DC;  Terry Foxx, PD, KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh; Ian Freeman, co-host, Free Talk Live; Mike Gallagher, host, Salem Radio Network; Dom Giordano, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Heidi Harris, host, KRLA, Los Angeles/KTIE, San Bernadino; Matthew B. Harrison, senior partner, Harrison Strategies; Michael Harrison, publisher, TALKERS; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD Media; Thom Hartmann, host, WYD Media; Bill Hess, PD, WMAL, Washington, DC;  Gabe Hobbs, president, Gabe Hobbs Media;  Jim Horn, PD, WSBA, York;  Gov. Mike Huckabee, host, Cumulus Media/Fox News Channel;  Rusty Humphries, host Talk Radio Network/WGST, Atlanta; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM, WGN, Chicago; Tom Leykis, president, The New Normal; Lionel, president, LionelMedia.com; Mark Masters, CEO, Talk Radio Network; Mike McVay, SVP programming, Cumulus Media; Harvey Nagler, VP Radio, CBS News; Chris Oliviero,  SVP programming, CBS Radio; Cary Pahigian, market manager, Saga Communications/Portland; John Parikhal, president, Joint Communications; Ellen Ratner, bureau chief, Talk Radio News Service;  Mark Riley, host, WWRL, New York; Walter Sabo, president, Sabo Media; Todd Schnitt, host, Compass Media Networks; Ed Schultz, host, MSNBC/The Ed Schultz Show;  Doug Stephan, president, Stephan Multimedia; Chris Stigall, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Alan Stock, host, KDWN, Las Vegas;  Peter Thiele, PD, WMCA/WNYM, New York; Joe Thomas, PD, WCHV, Charlottesville; Paul Vandenburg, president/GM, WGDJ, Albany; Steven J.J. Weisman, senior partner, Harrison Strategies; and Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; with more to be announced. A full agenda will be posted here tomorrow.  Also, today is the final day that discount rooms for seminar attendees at the nearby Doubletree will be available.  For registration and hotel information call 413-565-5413.

Sabo Sez:  If Every Station Was a Talk Station…  “Imagine if every radio station, except one, in every city was programmed fulltime as a talk station.  How would those talk stations differentiate themselves to the listener?  They couldn’t all take the same approach, they would have to appeal to different demos and psychographics,” says Sabo Media president Walter Sabo.  In his latest column for TALKERS, Sabo says that’s why spoken-word radio must be differentiated and targeted just as music-based radio is and therein lays the key to making a profit from an FM talk station.  Read Walter Sabo’s piece here.

Geraldo Rivera to Broadcast from WABC, New York-Sponsored Job Fair.  Cumulus Media news/talk WABC, New York and sister Hot AC WPLJ-FM are sponsoring the “Putting America Back to Work” job fair being held tomorrow (5/15) at the Jacob Javits Center and WABC and KABC, Los Angeles talk host Geraldo Rivera will broadcast his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program live from the event.  Part of the broadcast will feature a panel of experts and CEOs discussing practical advice and tips for job seekers.  Cumulus New York states there will also be some 100 job recruiters from a wide range of industries with positions available on the scene.

KFWB, Los Angeles Re-Ups with NBA’s Clippers.  The NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers and news/talk KFWB, Los Angeles sign a multi-year extension to keep the franchise’s games on the station.  Details of the terms are not being disclosed per team and station policy.  Station general manager Valerie K. Blackburn states, “We are so happy to forge forward with our relationship with the Clippers who have captured the hearts of Southern Californians and fans across the country.  The Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as a fan favorite in this town and are an extremely important part of our ongoing commitment to provide quality programming to our listeners.”  KFWB is operated by the KFWB Asset Trust and the KFWB License Trust, divestiture trusts under the management of Diane Sutter, president and CEO of ShootingStar Broadcasting.

Cumulus Media Signs With Triton Digital for Its Online Platform.  The country’s second largest radio station operator (measured by station count) will move the online platform of its more than 530 radio stations to the Triton Digital platform, according to a story in Radio InkCumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey states the company’s stations will be able to take advantage of the services provided by Triton Digital as well as providing a standard platform which will enable the transition to putting all of the company’s stations on iHeartRadio as announced several months ago.  It is expected the Cumulus stations will be available on Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio within the next 45 to 60 days.

Greater Media Charlotte Names Billy Black Imaging Director.  News/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte and talk intensive sister Hot AC WLNK-FM have hired imaging pro Billy Black to serve as the imaging director for the stations.  For the past 10 years Black has worked at Clear Channel’s rock WRXR-FM, Chattanooga where he served as morning show host, program director and imaging director.  Greater Media Charlotte marketing administrator Jessica Reeves RoBards says, “He has imaged a ton of Clear Channel stations and made work parts and shells from scratch for companies like Frost Bytes.  This is unique because most imaging guys use pre-made beds and work parts, he makes his own.  He also had a stint at Media Base.  He will image both stations.  His ideas and creativity are something these stations have been craving.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Cumulus Media nabs market manager Kevin Waltman from Clear Channel’s Tallahassee operations that include news/talk WFLA-FM.  Waltman heads up Cumulus’ Montgomery, Alabama cluster that includes news/talk WLWI and sports talk WMSP…..Forever Broadcasting is picking up a stronger signal for its “TJ Network” news/talk format based at WTJS, Jackson Tennessee.  It will swap with Grace Broadcasting Services giving Grace its WTJW-FM, Humboldt, Tennessee at 105.3 plus $525,000 and get WTGP-FM, Trenton, Tennessee at 97.7…..SiriusXM names National Soccer Hall of Famer John Harkes host of its daily soccer talk show “The Football Show” that airs from 7:00 am to 9:00 am.  Harkes will be joined on the show by co-hosts Charlie Stillitano and Neil Barnett.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

| May 9, 2012

Boomer Esiason to be Honored at New Media Seminar.  WFAN, New York morning co-host and football legend Boomer Esiason has been named the 2012 recipient of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host.  Esiason (pictured here with son Gunnar) will be presented the award and speak at the New Media Seminar in New York City on June 7 during the event’s Freedom of Speech Luncheon.  Esiason was inspired to begin the foundation when his son Gunnar was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 1993.  It has proven to be extremely effective as a dynamic partnership of leaders in the medical and business communities joining with a committed core of volunteers to heighten awareness, education and the quality of life for those affected by cystic fibrosis, while providing financial support to research aimed at finding a cure.  Esiason says, “One of the first lessons I learned in youth football was that winning requires all of the individual athletes on a team to come together, to cooperate and to support each other.  It’s a lesson I think also applies to cystic fibrosis.  I am honored to be receiving this award.”  For more information about the Boomer Esiason Foundation click www.esiason.org.  Boomer Esiason is one of more than 50 talk media industry leaders scheduled to speak at the June 7 gathering.  The New Media Seminar is on the verge of a sellout.  For information about registering for this industry-only conference, please call 413-565-5413.

New York State Appellate Court Rules in Favor of Talk Host Bob Lonsberry.  The New York Law Journal reports the New York Appellate Division, Fourth Department has sided with WHAM, Rochester and WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse talk host Bob Lonsberry and employer Clear Channel Media and Entertainment in a case that boils down to First Amendment rights.  The case revolves around Lonsberry’s on-air conversation with the sister of John Gisel who was acquitted of murder after a shooting death in a hunting situation.  During the conversation, Lonsberry asked the woman how it felt to have a “cold blooded murderer” in the family and if he “put a notch in the stock of his gun after he kills people.”  The Gisel family sued for defamation but the court ruled Lonsberry’s comments were “obviously intended to be caustic and confrontational, rather than factual” and that his words were “non-actionable expressions of pure opinion.”  Gisel may have believed Lonsberry’s comments were made with malice, thus giving him a case.  And, though not all opinion is protected by the First Amendment, it was in this case.  Read TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman’s analysis of the decision here.

Rush Limbaugh Strikes Back with “Rush Babes for America” Campaign.  Premiere Networks talk star Rush Limbaugh is taking on the notion his program is anti-women – something he tells his listeners is implied by the National Organization for Women’s “Enough Rush” campaign – and opens a “Rush Babes for America” Facebook page.  During his program he told listeners, “What ‘Rush Babes for America’ is about is posting stories and ideas that happen here on the program…and inviting all of you to participate in conversations on Facebook with other women about what matters to you.  As a means of demonstrating just what a minority the National Organization for Women and its so-called affiliates really are.”  Last month, NOW announced its “Enough Rush” campaign to target the talk show host for removal from the air but, so far, there’s been no information released by NOW beyond the initial announcement.

Liberty Media Ups Ante in Bid for Control of SiriusXM.  Liberty Media chairman John Malone appears determined to take control of SiriusXM after being shot down by the FCC last week in his bid to get de facto control over the company with just 40% of the satcaster’s stock and five of the 13 seats on the board of directors.  Liberty is acquiring another 302 million shares of the stock for $602 million – that’s $2.15 per share – to hike its total ownership to 45.2% of SiriusXM’s stock.  Last week the FCC ruled that Liberty’s filing was incomplete.  Now, it appears Liberty is preparing for another crack at that FCC application for control.

Saga Communications Radio Revenue Up 3%.  The first quarter of 2012 was kind to Saga Communications which reports revenue for the radio and TV company was up 4.3% while radio alone was up 3% from the same period a year ago on revenue of $25.2 million.  Saga CEO Ed Christian spoke during yesterday’s conference call about his belief in the core aspect of being a radio and TV operator which he says is selling to local advertisers.

Clear Channel Breaks Up Sports Simulcast on WHTK-AM/FM, Rochester.  Sports talk has been simulcast on Clear Channel’s WHTK-AM/FM, Rochester since 2009 but now the company debuts a new oldies outlet on the FM side and leaves the sports to the AM band.

Compass Media Networks Announces 2012 College Football Schedule.  Compass Media Networks makes its 2012 college football schedule public.  Compass is presenting more than 16 college football games for the 2012 season beginning with Miami at Boston College on September 1, including heritage matchups such as Auburn vs Alabama and Wisconsin vs Ohio State and culminating in the Big Ten Championship game on December 1.  Compass Media CEO Peter Kosann states, “We are once again thrilled to offer our affiliates and partners access to some of the nation’s top match-ups.”  Dial Global is handling ad sales for Compass Media’s college football broadcasts.

Greeny Dances.  ESPN Radio and ESPN2 star Mike Greenberg is pictured here with professional dancer Anna Trebunskaya dancing to “Livin’ La Vida Loca” live on both the radio and cable TV simulcast.  Greenberg lost the “Sheets of Integrity” March Madness challenge to “Mike & Mike” partner Mike Golic and paid his gambling debt by donning the sequined outfit and taking to the dance floor.  Celebrity judges Jerry Rice and Hines Ward both gave Greenberg an 8 for his performance while Greenberg’s wife Stacy gave him a 9.

2012 Presidential Race, NC Gay Marriage Ban, Terror Plot Foiled, Dick Lugar Ousted in Primary and Euro Zone Anti-Austerity Backlash Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/8).  The 2012 presidential race; the ban on gay marriage in North Carolina; the foiling of the al Qaeda plot to blow up U.S. Airliners; Republican Indiana Senator Dick Lugar loses his primary race; and Euro Zone countries fight back against anti-austerity measures were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Get Well, Art Voulo!  TALKERS sends get well wishes out to “radio’s best friend” Art Vuolo who’s in the hospital dealing with a case of cellulitis.  Art is pictured here modeling the latest in hospital johnny fashion while convalescing.  We’re noticing there is no table-top or portable radio (with ear buds) in the picture which forces us to ask if this is the real Art Vuolo.

Monday, April 23, 2012

| April 23, 2012

Tom Leykis’ Return to Talk Draws Loyal Audience to Web-Based Content.  Off the radio for more than three years after CBS Radio blew up KLSX-FM, Los Angeles and his contract kept him from working for anyone other than CBS, Tom Leykis returned to the microphone on April 2 for an internet-delivered talk show.  The show is broadcast live at www.blowmeuptom.com at 3:00 pm PT and on a 24/7 streamed replay via major media players – Tune In, Windows Media Player, iTunes, iPhone, Shoutcast and Winamp.  Leykis says the numbers for the first week of the show were impressive: The total number of listeners from April 2 to Monday, April 9 was 401,180.  The average number of show listeners for that week in any 15 minute period totaled 1,575 and the average time spent listening by each listener was a half hour each day in the seven-day week.  “These numbers are way higher than what we’d anticipated.  We’re way farther along in our progress than I ever could have imagined.  Kind of makes you wonder what competing alternative content like this will ultimately mean for radio.”  Leykis, who will be speaking at the New Media Seminar in New York City on June 7, tells TALKERS that the combination of doing a daily show and running his own business has made him “more focused than ever” stating, “Now is the time for talk talent to think of themselves as more than employees…they must think entrepreneurially for their own survival.  The way to start is by developing a healthy relationship with your advertisers.”

Act Quickly!  Word just in from Bob Dane, event manager for this year’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row is that due to larger than expected demand, they expanded the number of broadcast booths.  As of 10:00 am ET this morning (Monday, April 23), Dane reports there is now one remaining, fully equipped booth in morning, midday and afternoon drive left.  And it’s first come, first serve.  This event is a must-attend-and-no-reason-not-to given that everything is turnkey and at no cost for the convenience of the participating broadcasters…and if you act fast, possibly a hotel room can be part of the package – but availability is extremely limited.  Hold Their Feet to the Fire 2012 is staged annually by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, this year, May 8-9 in Washington, DC focusing on immigration issues facing the candidates in this heated election year.  Contact Bob Dane at 202-328-7004.

Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly Close to Re-signing with Fox News Channel.  The New York Times reports it has confirmed through anonymous sources that Fox News Channel superstars Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly are ready – as early as next week – to sign contract extensions with News Corp.’s cable news/talk network that would keep them in the fold through the 2016 elections.  FNC is declining to comment on the story but the sources seem to indicate that the deals to keep the two most-watched personalities on the network in place for four more years are being cemented quickly and should be announced within the next week or so.  Sean Hannity’s national talk radio show is syndicated by Premiere Networks and Bill O’Reilly’s daily commentary is syndicated to talk radio stations across the country via Courtside Entertainment Group.

NOW Attempts to Inject Life into Anti-Rush Limbaugh Campaign.  The National Organization for Women is firing up a campaign called “Enough Rush” aimed at getting the Premiere Networks talk superstar’s show cancelled.   As these things usually do, the blowback suffered by Rush Limbaugh from his Sandra Fluke comments has all but disappeared.  But NOW – working in conjunction with the anti-conservative organization Media Matters for America – is reigniting its efforts to end Limbaugh’s program.  NOW president Terry O’Neill states, “For more than two decades, Rush Limbaugh has degraded women, people of color and anyone who doesn’t look or think like him.  Like bullies everywhere, Limbaugh uses the age-old tactic of savaging one woman for the purpose of intimidating all women away from the public square.  Rush’s hostile, hateful speech is destructive to our public discourse, our communities and our democracy.”  NOW is organizing rallies in a number of cities designed to build momentum for the campaign.  Meanwhile, PPM ratings for the month of March indicate publicity generated by the campaign against Limbaugh has actually increased his ratings in many markets.

Arbitron Drops Diary-Based Ratings in Seven Markets.  Lack of enough subscribers to make it profitable can be credited for Arbitron Inc.’s decision to eliminate the diary-based ratings in Saginaw-Bay City-Midlands, Michigan (market #139); Ann Arbor, Michigan (#155); Wilmington, North Carolina (#162); Dubuque, Iowa (#237); Columbus-Starkville-West Point, Mississippi (#261); Sebring, Florida (#276); and Mason City, Iowa (#283).

WPRO, Providence Talk Host and Former Mayor Buddy Cianci’s Daughter Dies.  The colorful two-time former mayor of Providence – and PM drive talk host at Cumulus Media’s WPRO/WEAN-FM, Providence – Buddy Cianci has lost his daughter to an apparent drug overdose.  Nicole Cianci’s death at her home in the city was reported Friday and Cianci issued the following statement, “This is a tragic and emotional time for Nicole’s mother and I.  Our entire family appreciates your thoughts, prayers and sentiments.  We ask that our family’s privacy be respected during this difficult time.”  Nicole Cianci was Buddy Cianci’s only child and the mother of his three grandchildren.

TALKERS to Publish Four-Part Series by Walter Sabo on FM Talk this Week.  Sabo Media president Walter Sabo, one of the earliest and most accomplished proponents of FM talk, has written a powerful and informative four-part series on the hot topic that will run exclusively in TALKERS this week.  In the series, one of radio programming’s most prolific visionaries delves into such areas as mistakes to avoid, finding and inspiring great hosts, methods to develop cume, topic management, the differences between AM and FM “share”  and much more.  The series begins tomorrow (Tuesday, April 24) and will run every day this week through Friday.  Sabo will be a featured speaker at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in NYC on June 7.

WFLA-FM, Tallahassee AM Drive Show’s Eggers Exits to Join Think Tank.  Eric Eggers is producer and on-air co-host of the WFLA-FM, Tallahassee’s morning drive show hosted by Preston Scott.  He announces he’s leaving the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment station and the program he’s been producing for the past seven-plus years to join the Government Accountability Institute – a non-profit think tank based in Tallahassee and founded by conservative author Peter Schweizer.  Eggers tells Tallahassee.com, “Peter wrote his last book about insider trading in Congress.  And so it’s going to be more projects along the same vein in terms of focusing on corruption, cronyism, looking at some of the ways the current federal government system is broken and failing us — not looking out for the little guy.”

Ed Tyll Begins Regular Web-Based Talk Show Tonight.  Longtime talk radio host Ed Tyll begins a new regular talk program broadcast via the internet at TalkRadioX (http://talkradiox.com/) at 8:00 pm ET.  TalkRadioX was co-founded by Dan Delgado and Antubert Johnson – two personalities who’ve made the TALKERS “Frontier Fifty” list of internet talk show hosts blazing a trail in the world of web-based programming since the list began being published three years ago.  (The 2012 “Frontier Fifty” list will be published at Talkers.com in September.)  Tyll says TalkRadioX is “a 24-hour streaming talk station that boasts an original line up of enthusiastic talkers, reminiscent of when talk radio was both fun and informative.”  Dan Delgado tells TALKERS, “Getting someone of Ed Tyll’s caliber and stature in the industry is something we at TalkRadioX had been looking to do for some time.  We’re thrilled to be getting someone with his experience on the station.  What he brings in terms of talent and energy is something that will bring all of us to the next level.”  Tyll states, “TalkRadioX represents a key moment in the history of a format that I love hosting.  It’s the perfect place for what I do on the air.  I’m convinced that my success with the Casey Anthony trial in Orlando will be eclipsed by the enormous potential of this network’s unique combination of terrestrial radio and world wide web radio listenership.”  During his career, Ed Tyll has worked at numerous major market talk stations as well has having been nationally syndicated.

The Fight for Freedom in Afghanistan.  WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (l) is pictured here interviewing author and former Army Ranger Captain Sean Parnell (r) as the two discuss his new book Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan (William Morrow 2012).  The interview was conducted before a live audience at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is the 78th such event – broadcast live on WNDB – in Bernier’s live interview series.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

| April 5, 2012

Dave Ramsey and Daughter Rachel Cruze Present Program to Sold Out L.A. Audience.  Nationally syndicated money talk radio star Dave Ramsey appeared at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, April 3 before a sold-out crowd of 1,200 for affiliate KFWB, Los Angeles.  The subject of the evening was family and money and Ramsey’s daughter Rachel Cruze appeared with him as Ramsey shared his key principles on handling money and navigating family relationships.  Cruze answered the oft-asked question, “What was it like growing up in Dave Ramsey’s house?”  She also discussed how to teach kids life lessons, like the dangers of debt and the value of saving and giving.  The event benefitted Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles.  KFWB general manager Valerie Blackburn says, “We are thrilled with the event last night.  It’s always a pleasure working with Dave, and adding his daughter Rachel into the mix just made it that much better.  The audience looked terrific – it was a packed house of multi-generational listeners.  KFWB couldn’t have asked for a more successful evening!”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Howard Freshman, KFWB marketing director; Rosemary Hernandez, general sales manager; Dave Ramsey; Rachel Cruze; Valerie Blackburn, general manager; and Andy Ludlum, program director.

CBS Radio Signs on with TuneIn to Make Spoken-Word Content Available Online.  CBS Radio announces it has inked a non-exclusive agreement with TuneIn to have content from its more than 40 news/talk, sports and all-news stations available via smartphones and the web.  CBS local digital media president Ezra Kucharz states, “We have always believed in the value of great local content, and this agreement validates the demand we know exists for our original programming while at the same time creates a new revenue source for the company.  By forging relationships with premiere distribution services such as TuneIn, CBS Radio will significantly grow its audiences by exposing our content to new listeners.”

Talk Legend Gene Burns Recovering from Stroke.  It’s been no secret that San Francisco talk icon Gene Burns has been off the air at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KKSF.  On Tuesday (4/3), he posted the following on the NewsTalk 910 KKSF website:  “To my listeners and friends in the NewsTalk 910 family.  The past few weeks has brought a great number of changes, and a vast silence.  For the silence, please accept my apologies.  I have been recovering from a stroke, which has affected the speech center of my brain in the form of aphasia.  In this third month of recovery, I am enthusiastic and thankful for the progress I have made, due in no small part to the great amount of help I have received from UCSF, St. Francis, and the Sutter Health care groups. Most days, I have speech therapy and visits from great friends and colleagues.  I would like to wish everybody well, and to say thank you to the NewsTalk910 family for sticking by me.  Many of the NewsTalk 910 line-up of hosts have reached out, including of course Len Tillem, my long time friend and advisor.  A special thank you to my colleagues; to John, Gil, Rosie, Ed, Dr. Bill, James and the rest for stepping up to the plate for me.  Most importantly; thank you to all of you who listen, Tweet, Facebook and tell friends about me, and my program.  Although I do not have a specific date for my return to the air, I listen each day to NewsTalk 910, giving me motivation to re-join the conversation about the issues of the day.”

Dial Global Touts NCAA Final Four Radio Listenership: More Than 20 Million Unique Listeners.  As it did with its coverage of the NFL Conference Championships and the Super Bowl, Dial Global hired Edison Research to study how many Americans heard its coverage of the NCAA Final Four on the 512 radio stations across the country that carried it.  Edison estimates 20.6 million tuned in to hear some portion of the broadcasts on Saturday, March 31 and Monday, April 2.  Dial Global co-president and CEO David Landau says, “We are pleased that our previous research findings still hold true, people desire play-by-play sports on radio in a big way.  Dial Global is proud to connect with fans nationwide through the greatest moments from America’s most popular sporting events.”

Jeff Haley Named CEO at Marketron.  Industry watchers suspected that Jeff Haley had another gig lined up before leaving his position with the Radio Advertising Bureau, making way for Erica Farber to assume leadership of that organization.  Haley will begin his term as president and chief executive officer of Marketron on April 16.  A statement from Marketron says Haley “brings this tremendous experience to Marketron, where he plans to continue the company’s impressive growth since the launch of Mediascape, the media industry’s first open technology platform.  Haley is excited to maintain and grow Marketron’s position as the leader in the space, and continue to provide its customers the standard in business efficiencies to increase revenues.”

Genesis Communications Media Names Bill Bokunic WIXC, Melbourne-Cocoa Beach Market Manager.  Bill Bokunic will have two roles with Florida-based Genesis Communications Media: First, he’ll serve as market manager for 1060 News WIXC, Melbourne-Cocoa Beach; he’ll also serve as director of sales-news business for Genesis’ Orlando radio cluster.  He’ll be handling the planning and marketing for Genesis’ ESPNFLORIDA.com and NEWSTALKFLORIDA.com and its event division which includes a partnership with Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.  Bokunic states, “I have been looking to relocate back to Central Florida in the media business.  I am grateful for this opportunity to oversee the marketing of the digital publications, events, as well as the radio stations for Genesis in Central Florida.  Genesis is moving rapidly into the multi-platform marketing business and I am thrilled to be a part of this business plan.”

Premiere Networks Promotes Bill Hickey to SVP of Engineering.  Bill Hickey moves up from VP to SVP and Premiere notes he takes on some new duties.  In this new position, Hickey will now be responsible for directing all studio operations and administration, while continuing to oversee engineering and technical operations for Premiere Networks’ studio facilities nationwide, including Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Chicago and Florida.  Hickey will also continue to manage the company’s XDS satellite and internet-based delivery systems, Network Operations Center, and other studio and construction projects, as well as supervise a team of nearly 50 employees.

Canadian Pubcaster to Cut 650 Positions to Deal with $200 Million Shortfall.  The CBC is announcing it plans to eliminate some 650 jobs in order to handle a federal government funding decrease of $115 million over three years combined with improvements in service the public broadcasting corporation has vowed to enact that makes for an approximate $200 million shortfall over three years.  Reports indicate about 450 jobs will be lost this year with the rest to come over the next three years.  Marc-Philippe Laurin is president of the CBC/Radio Canada branch of the Canadian Media Guild which represents most CBC employees outside Quebec.  He tells the Globe and Mail, “Mostly, our members work in news.  It’s what the CBC does most of with the staff it has.  So it’s going to have an impact, but we’re expecting more details on that stuff in the days to come.”

Melody Burns Celebrates Three Years On Air in Albany.  Local business consultant Melody Burns began hosting a brokered program on Paul Vandenburgh’s WGDJ, Albany three years ago.  She quickly transitioned to a full-time paid talent and is, as she describes herself, “the only female conservative” on the air in Albany.  Burns’ initial effort – called “Women IN” – focused on showcasing women in business and current events of interest.  Her first program featured a local female cardiologist.  She enters her fourth year on the radio doing the daily 11:00 am to 12:00 noon conservative talk show as well as a three-hour Saturday program.  Burns tells TALKERS, “The best part of everyday is receiving not just the ‘good job – thanks for the ‘information’ e-mails but the ‘you are a right wing radical’ or ‘you are ignorant trash,’ or ‘you’re a right-wing extremist’ or one of my favorites, ‘you are Savage, Limbaugh and Levin in a skirt!’ e-mails.  I would call Paul Vandenburgh the Yoda of talk radio – at least that’s what he has been to me.”

GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Iran’s Role in Afghan Violence, Muslim Brotherhood’s Station in Egyptian Politics, Paul Ryan Budget, and European Economic Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/4).  The Republican primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign; concerns over Iran’s suspected role in Afghanistan violence; the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt’s evolving political scene; debate over the Republicans’ Paul Ryan-authored budget; and new worries about Europe’s economic stability were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

KKOB, Albuquerque Celebrates 90 Years On Air Today.  It was April 5, 1922 when the original KOB went on the air from Las Cruces, New Mexico (original studio pictured here).  The station would move to Albuquerque in 1932.  It moved up the dial to its current 770 frequency and boosted its power to 50,000 watts in 1941.  Cumulus Albuquerque operations manager Pat Frisch tells TALKERS the station’s calls changed to KKOB in 1986 when Hubbard sold the station to Citadel.  Hubbard wanted the KOB calls for the TV station that it still owns today.  New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has declared today “770 KKOB Day.”

Friday, March 30, 2012

| March 30, 2012

Surprise Cuts Across the Board at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  In the past when Clear Channel or other big broadcasters have made sweeping reductions in their workforces there have been hints they were coming.  This one seems to have surprised industry watchers.  Clear Channel vice president Angel Aristone released the following statement about the cuts.  “We are constantly evaluating our organization and structure to make sure we are as well positioned as possible to continue to lead in the evolving marketplace.  We’ve been looking closely at our business to ensure that we are properly staffed and operating as efficiently as possible with the right balance of services and personnel to meet the needs of our listeners/consumers.  Like every successful business, our strategy continues to evolve as we move forward as a company and that creates some new jobs, and unfortunately eliminates others. In the process, some employees were affected.  These are never easy decisions to make; we thank them for their service and wish them all the best for the future.”  This round of cuts affected mostly mid-sized markets including Columbus, Jacksonville, Nashville, Cincinnati, Portland, Louisville, West Palm Beach and Minneapolis.  There was also a restructuring of the company’s Total Traffic operation.  Some of the folks from the news and talk formats ousted include:  WTAM, Cleveland weekend host Bob Becker; WTOK, Oklahoma City news director Jerry Bohnen; WISN, Milwaukee producer Jason Booth; WPOP, Hartford producer Richard Cooke; WTVN, Columbus news staffer Matt Demczyk; KEX, Portland news staffer Jeff Kirsch; KEX, Portland news anchor Mary Loos; WTOK, Oklahoma City talk host Greg Moore; WLAC, Nashville program director Tom Peace; and WTVN, Columbus sports anchor Dan Watson.

Cumulus Media Ousts Michael Damsky from WLS, Chicago President/GM Post.  Cumulus Media COO John Dickey flew into Chicago to deliver the news to Michael Damsky in person that the company is “going in a different direction.”  Damsky was brought on board by Citadel in the fall of 2008 as director of sales and promoted to GM in 2010 and charged with turning around news/talk WLS and sister classic hits WLS-FM.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports he was apparently largely successful but also notes that both sales and ratings have declined over the past six months since Cumulus took over the former Citadel stations.  Damsky is quoted saying, “I’m extremely proud of what we were able to accomplish in three-and-a-half years.  When I took over as general manager, WLS-AM was without direction.  We brought in great talent and worked hard to showcase them.  And WLS-FM withstood the attack of a serious competitor a year ago and is stronger now than ever before.”  Cumulus has not named a successor for Damsky.

Former Clear Channel Exec Dave Crowl Hired by Cumulus.  Dave Crowl will be based out of Cumulus’ Chicago offices as he comes aboard to take the regional vice president post in which he’ll oversee operations and sales in the Midwest region.  Crowl served as senior VP of operations with Clear Channel until being let go in a surprise restructuring of executives in May of last year.

Tom Leykis Preps Fans for Monday Return.  Monday, April 2 will mark the return of Tom Leykis to a regularly scheduled talk program for the first time since CBS Radio blew up his home base of hot talk KLSX-FM, Los Angeles in February of 2009.  Since that time, Leykis has been busy creating music programming and other content for the web via his company The New Normal.  He’ll be broadcasting the new Tom Leykis program at 3:00 pm PT on the web on Monday.  Leykis is streaming his show via a number of urls including his blowmeuptom.com.  He’s signed with TuneIn for delivery to smartphones and tablets and will also offer archived and special content to premium subscribers, although he says the live show and repeats of the previous day’s show will remain available for free.

Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Extends Deal with MLB’s Brewers.  The story from the Journal-owned Milwaukee Journal Sentinel doesn’t give a lot of contract details but reports both the baseball club and WTMJ were very interested in continuing their relationship and the team wasn’t even interested in going out to bid when the contract expired.  Brewers COO Rick Schlesinger tells the paper they had meetings with WTMJ management about the direction of the relationship, “The conversations were, I would say, spirited.  We had a lot of thoughts, as they did, about what they wanted to see out of the relationship.  It’s not just economics these days.  There is a whole range of marketing, branding, programming, production and financial arrangements.  From those discussions we found enough common ground that we were able to forge a new extension.  It was somewhat of a different environment than the last time.”

KGMZ-FM, San Francisco Adds Giants Posey and Cain for Weekly Appearances.  Entercom’s FM sports talker KGMZ-FM, San Francisco announces the regular weekly appearances of San Francisco Giants players Buster Posey and Matt Cain on the afternoon show “The Drive” with Brandon Tierney and Eric Davis.  The Giant Connection will take place every Tuesday at 4:30 pm.  Program director Jason Barrett states, “Buster Posey and Matt Cain will give San Francisco Giants fans the superstar perspective they crave, from the pitcher’s mound to behind home plate and definitely inside the clubhouse.  They’ve made the switch to FM and we’re so proud to be the only radio station in the Bay Area where Giants fans can hear Buster and Matt talking Giants baseball.”

KILT, Houston Adds Texan Arian Foster for Weekly Show This Fall.  Houston Texan Arian Foster will be heard on CBS Radio’s sports talk KILT this fall for his weekly radio show.  He’s jumping from crosstown Yahoo! Sports-affiliated KGOW where he co-hosted the show last year with Bob Berger.  Beginning in September, he’ll appear with Texans director of radio broadcasting Marc Vandermeer.  KILT is the team’s flagship station.  Foster’s Tuesday evening show is one of the media offerings the NFL team is programming and selling since its new deal with KILT in which the team takes its media programming and sales in house.

ObamaCare Supreme Court Arguments Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 26-30.  This week’s Supreme Court hearings of arguments about the constitutionality of President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  The issue landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s most-discussed stories and people on news/talk radio.  At #2 this week was the Trayvon Martin case.  At #3 was the GOP primary and the 2012 presidential campaign and at #4 was rising gas prices tied with President Obama’s attack on big oil.  The Talkers TenTM chart is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart here.

Support for Captured Soldier.  KIDO, Boise morning drive talk show host Kevin Miller recently broadcast live from a local Krispy Kreme store where more than 300 listeners stopped by to sign the giant birthday card (pictured here) for Hailey, Idaho native Bowe Bergdahl.  Military authorities believe Bergdahl is still being held by the Taliban in Pakistan and he is believed to be the only POW from the Afghanistan conflict.  Bergdahl made news late last year after reports of his attempted escape from captivity in late August or September of 2011.  He was free for three days but was recaptured.  Bergdahl was taken by the Taliban in June of 2009.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

| March 19, 2012

Power-Packed Agenda Set for New Media Seminar June 7.  According to TALKERS magazine VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “In all the years we have been presenting radio industry conferences, I do not remember one quite like this in which so many outstanding speakers were packed into a single day’s event.  Our innovative model designed for an economically challenging era seems to be striking a very positive chord.  The New York City installment of 2012’s bi-coastal conference is only a few days away from being sold out.”  More than 60 industry leaders will address the key issues facing talk media between 9:00 am to 6:30 pm on Thursday, June 7 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  For registration and sponsorship information for this industry-only event call 413-565-5413.  To see the agenda click here.

Rush Limbaugh Named “Famous Missourian”; Choice Irks State Democrats.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians yesterday in a closed ceremony at the state capitol in Jefferson City.  A bronze bust of the talk host was unveiled during the event.  State Democrats were disturbed by the ceremony that was not announced until 20 minutes prior to it beginning.  It took place in the chambers of the House of Representatives and Democrats were not allowed in.  Missouri House Speaker Steven Tilley told the Kansas City Star the ceremony was closed because of the controversy and so that Limbaugh and his family could attend and be “treated respectfully.”  Democrats were not invited because earlier they signed a letter protesting the induction.  In a speech at the induction Limbaugh stated, “This is something I never, ever thought would happen to me…I want to express my deep gratitude. I’m exceptionally proud to accept this honor, and really very humbled.”  Limbaugh joins the ranks of such famous Missourians as Mark Twain, Harry Truman and Dred Scott.

Dial Global’s Dennis Miller to Perform with Adam Carolla in November.  Nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller had comedian, TV star and podcaster Adam Carolla on his program yesterday (5/14) and the two announced they will perform live on stage together at the City National Grove in Anaheim on November 16.  Miller tells Carolla, “You know what I think about the way your mind works – it’s genius.”  In addition to his radio program, Dennis Miller has been doing live performances with Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly on their “Bolder and Fresher Tour 2012.”  The duo recently performed at New York City’s Town Hall.

Anniversary Bash.  Journal Broadcasting’s KQTH-FM, Tucson – 104.1 The Truth – celebrated its fifth anniversary on Saturday, May 19 at the Casino Del Sol Resort.  Program director Ryan McCredden tells TALKERS, “The listeners, speakers, staff and sponsor response to the event was tremendous and we’re looking forward to another five great years of ‘The Truth’ in Tucson!”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Author and townhall.com writer Katie Pavlich, Radio America’s Roger Hedgecock, author and commentator S.E. Cupp, Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle, KQTH-FM morning host Jon Justice and midday host James T. Harris.

New York Festivals Announces 2012 Radio Program and Promotion Awards World’s Best Radio Programs Finalists.  The New York Festivals breaks down the entries by country.  For the United States among commercial talk broadcasters, ESPN Radio is named a finalist in the Best Human Interest Story and Best Investigative Reporting categories.  “The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap” is a finalist for Best Regularly Scheduled Sports Program.  SiriusXM’s Howard Stern is a finalist for Best Special Event.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFBK, Sacramento is a finalist in the Health/Medical category.  Winners will be honored at a gala awards ceremony on June 18 at New York City’s Manhattan Penthouse.  See the entire slate of finalists here.

 

Compass Media Networks Names Booth Talent for Baseball Broadcasts.  For its 25 broadcasts of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim games Compass Media Networks recently announced it would distribute, the company has named its game coverage talent.  Former New York Mets general manager and current SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio morning host Steve Phillips will be analyst for the broadcasts.  Others, whose appearance on the broadcasts will be determined by travel schedule and other commitments, include play-by-play announcers Chris Carrino and Steve Quis and analyst and former MLB player and executive Darryl Hamilton.

CBS Radio’s Stacie Schmidt Moves from Las Vegas to Cleveland.  Stacie Schmidt currently serves as director of marketing for CBS Radio’s Las Vegas cluster that includes news/talk KXNT-AM/FM.  She’s moving back to her home town of Cleveland to take the integrated sales and marketing position at CBS Radio’s cluster there that includes sports WKRK-FM – 92.3 the Fan.

Obama Newsweek Cover, 2012 Presidential Race, Euro Zone Hangs in Balance, JP Morgan Chase Loss and California Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/14).  The “first gay president” Newsweek cover; the 2012 presidential race; the future of the euro zone as countries threaten to leave; the $2 billion loss at JP Morgan Chase; and California’s enormous debt problem were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Brooklyn in the House.  Sure, it’s easy to get supermodel and actress Brooklyn Decker to visit your radio show when hubby Andy Roddick is co-host of the program.  Decker is pictured here in the Fox Sports Radio studios with husband and tennis great Andy Roddick (c) and radio personality Bobby Bones (l).  The “Roddick and Bones” show airs on weekends on the FSRN.  During the interview Decker promoted her two new films, “Battleship” and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” both being released on May 18.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

| March 1, 2012

Entercom Kansas City Officially Announces Debut of “The KMBZ Business Channel.”  The news leaked out via a local PR firm earlier this week but now Entercom Kansas City confirms its classical “Radio Bach” – KUDL, Kansas City – is being flipped to financial talk and will be branded “The KMBZ Business Channel on 1660 AM.”  Jack Landreth, program director of the KMBZ brand of stations, states the flip fills a void in the market, “‘The KMBZ Business Channel’ is a natural extension of our award-winning KMBZ News/Talk station.  Building on KMBZ’s many years of success, we are launching a business station dedicated to business leaders and investors.  By offering clear, concise business reports on Newsradio 98.1 FM and expanding those reports on ‘The KMBZ Business Channel on 1660,’ we will create a unique radio synergy.”  Vice president and general manager Dave Alpert says the station will focus on business news as it happens and opinions about financial issues.  “Business news is no longer just a stock market update.  In today’s fast-paced world, business is a 24-hour news cycle…We will deliver the very best business reporting and direct access to the insider opinions that drive business throughout Kansas City and around the country.”  Alpert and Landreth say their target audience is affluent, well-educated, homeowners over the age of 35, with household incomes over $100,000.  “With Newsradio 98.1 FM, KMBZ already delivering a business-to-business audience, the ‘KMBZ Business Channel’ will cultivate a broader base of influential listeners across high-income levels from wired workers and educated professionals to CEOs and managers.”

News Staffers Exit Merlin Media’s FM News 101.9 in New York.  Mediabistro FishbowlNY reports the departure of three on-air staffers from WEMP-FM, New York.  The site says former WWOR-TV anchor Sara Lee Kessler, who’d been with WEMP-FM since its beginning last August, has exited as have evening anchor Maureen Langan and reporter Bob Brown.  There’s no information whether any of the three were let go or left the station voluntarily.  This news comes a week after Eric Seidel was named interim program director at the all-news station.

ESPN Brings Former Colts Exec Bill Polian Aboard as NFL Analyst.  The sports media giant announces former Indianapolis Colts vice chairman Bill Polian is joining ESPN on March 12 – the day before NFL free agency begins – and will be seen on ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” “NFL Live,” “NFL 32,” as well as heard on ESPN Radio.  Polian will also write for ESPN’s digital initiatives and ESPN The Magazine.

Michael Patrick Shiels Exits Lansing-Based “Michigan’s Morning Show.”  Talk show host Michael Patrick Shiels and Cumulus Broadcasting have parted company with Shiels doing his last broadcast based at WJIM, Lansing and the 10-station Michigan Talk Network on Tuesday (2/28). Michigan Talk Network general manager Dave Minock tells Michigan Live, “He’s decided to move on and we’re carrying on as you can imagine.”  Minock says the program – distributed to the company’s WJRW, Grand Rapids and eight other stations around the state – will feature guest hosts until the company finds a permanent replacement for Shiels, who tells the site, “It was an amicable parting and I’m hoping I’ll get the opportunity down the road to reconnect with my Michigan listeners.”

Ric Edelman Public TV Series Wins Six Awards.  Top-ranked financial advisor and talk media personality Ric Edelman’s “The Truth About Money” public TV program is honored with six Telly Awards.  The awards honor outstanding international video and film productionsEdelman’s radio program of the same name is heard in 54 markets on commercial talk stations across the U.S.  His public TV program was just renewed for a second season.  The program won awards in three categories – education, information and editing.  The program is dedicated to educating public television viewers about the latest data and research regarding how to save and invest their hard-earned dollars, while providing an entertaining framework.  Guests have included everyone from wealthy publisher Steve Forbes, to divorce guru Raoul Felder, to CNBC anchorwoman and Wall Street mainstay Maria Bartiromo.

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Names Tim Castelli EVP of Digital Sales.  The longtime digital advertising executive who most recently worked at America Online becomes executive vice president of digital sales reporting directly to chairman and CEO John HoganTim Castelli will be in charge of national digital sales efforts and developing innovative advertising products and programs across several Clear Channel Media and Entertainment divisions, including strategic partnerships, national programming platforms and national advertising platforms and iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s digital radio service.  John Hogan states, “Tim is recognized for his innovation and tactical expertise.  His understanding of advertisers’ needs and objectives will help them take even greater advantage of our unmatched resources.”

Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises More Than $250,000 at Golden Mike Award Dinner.  More than 250 radio and TV broadcasters attended the 2012 Golden Mike Award Dinner at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on Monday, February 27 to honor award recipient Dennis Swanson, president of station operations for Fox Television Stations.  The black-tie fundraiser collected more than $250,000 to support the BFoA’s mission of providing aid to broadcasters in desperate need.  Pictured here is Swanson (second from left) accepting the award from “Inside Edition” host Deborah Norville and Broadcasters Foundation chairman Phil Lombardo (second from right) and president Jim Thompson (far left).  In attendance were broadcasting luminaries serving as presenters including Roger Ailes of Fox News; Dr. Mehmet Oz, the syndicated TV show host and cardiac surgeon; Elsie McCabe Thompson of the Museum for African Art; and Larry Wert of NBC-TV.  Also during the evening, the Foundation recognized Rick Buckley, a longtime supporter of the Broadcasters Foundation who served as its treasurer for many years.  A fund established in Buckley’s name after he passed away suddenly in July has generated $50,000 to help broadcasters in need.

Star on the Rise: Florida Talk Show Host Burnie Thompson Making Statewide Waves from Base in the Panhandle.  Former Air Force Captain and college English teacher Burnie Thompson has been in the talk radio business since 2007 when he began broadcasting from his home base in Panama City, Florida.  Since that time, with the help of Don McCoy of McCoy Media, he’s expanded his daily 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET program from his flagship at Magic Broadcasting’s WYOO-FM, Panama City to stations in Jacksonville, Pensacola and Ft. Walton Beach.  Stations in Tallahassee and the Gainesville/Ocala markets are set to begin airing the daily show within the next few weeks.  Thompson also produces a weekend version culled from the best of the weekday show that currently airs on 13 stations across Florida.  Thompson has made so many inroads in such a short time that U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has reportedly dubbed him “Florida’s Voice of Freedom.”  Thompson is riding what he cites as a trend in talk radio making statewide programs more relevant and potentially popular than in the past.  That, coupled with Florida’s burgeoning image as a center of rapidly growing importance from a demographic and political standpoint on the national scene, gives Thompson’s syndication venture that much more gravity.  He says more important to his affiliates is the fact that his show became one of the highest-rated radio shows in Panama City for four consecutive years.  Many local businesses have hired him to endorse them, making the show a top revenue producer.  Thompson tells TALKERS, “The show is a mix between a 21st century town hall and your favorite saloon; a place where ideas collide and reason prevails.  Every day on the radio, I strive to expand freedom and protect the family budget from government plunder by giving Floridians a place to link arms.  I just want to make a difference in the Sunshine State – perhaps make it a little freer, and a little more prosperous.  Then we’ll expand our horizons.”  Thompson has been a freelance writer for more than a decade having work published in The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Washington Times, The Orange County Register, The Tallahassee Democrat, The Panama City News Herald, and more than a dozen other publications.  He has a master’s degree in journalism from USC, a master’s in English from Penn State and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Cal State Fullerton.

Mitt Romney’s Michigan and Arizona Sweep, Deadly Midwestern Storms, Ohio School Shooting Aftermath, North Korean Nukes Deal, Iran Tensions, Health Care Birth Control Controversy and Pop Icon Davy Jones’ Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/29).  The GOP primary race in the wake of Mitt Romney’s victories on Tuesday; the deadly storms that swept through the Midwest; the Ohio school killings aftermath; the deal struck with North Korea to halt its nuclear weapons program; ongoing tensions over Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions; the action in Washington over the health care birth control controversy and the death of pop icon Davy Jones were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday (2/29).

Alex Jones Rocks Orlando.  Genesis Communications Network nationally syndicated talk sensation Alex Jones is pictured here mugging for the camera at Orlando Jai Alai on February 26 alongside Star Over Orlando‘s WEUS midday talk host Doc Holliday.  Jones’ standing-room-only appearance included a live radio broadcast, a showing of his latest documentary film and an accompanying speech that WEUS says was, “a rousing affair that brought down the house!”  WEUS carries Jones’ radio show live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET.

Friday, February 24, 2012

| February 24, 2012

Big Promotion for John Hogan; Exec Moves Up to Chairman and CEO for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  Clear Channel Media Holdings continues to express its confidence in the man who was promoted from COO to president and CEO of Clear Channel Radio in 2002 after the departure of Randy Michaels.  In announcing John Hogan’s promotion and contract extension through 2015, the company touts Hogan’s record of developing the creative and successful integration of sales, promotional and programming initiatives across multiple platforms.  Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman states, “Under John’s strong leadership and vision, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has integrated the company’s assets so that it is today the leading media and entertainment company in the U.S. with a greater reach than any other radio or television outlet.  It provides a one-of-a-kind national platform for partners in addition to the powerful local activation market by market and demo by demo.”  Hogan says, “I am pleased and honored to be named to this position, which is a clear endorsement of the soundness of our strategy, the value of our assets, and the depth of the incredible team we are building here.  I appreciate the energy and vision that Bob Pittman has brought to the organization and look forward to pursuing with Bob the vision we share as we continue to push the boundaries of the definition of entertainment, giving our audience what they want now and in the future.”

Bill Thomas Out as Market Manager at Cumulus Birmingham.  Cumulus Media Group regional manager John Walker is set to oversee the Birmingham cluster in addition to his responsibility for the Huntsville stations after the departure of Bill Thomas.  There’s no reason to believe that the ongoing legal battle between WJOX-FM, Birmingham personality Paul Finebaum and the company is the sole reason for Thomas’ exit but the possibility exists that Thomas’ role in how the situation was handled could have been a factor.  Remember that Finebaum claims he was strong-armed by Thomas into signing a contract amendment that was less beneficial to him.  That set the legal wheels in motion that includes Cumulus’ recent decision to countersue Finebaum claiming he violated his contract by engaging in negotiations with a competitor and sharing confidential company information.

Journal Broadcast Group Reports Positive Q4; Slight Uptick for 2011.  On the strength of increasing automotive in the fourth quarter of 2011, Journal Broadcast Group reports a revenue increase of 2.3%.  For the entire year, Journal’s revenue rose 1.6% on $70.4 million compared to 2010.  While those numbers aren’t staggering, they beat the negative reports that had become so common over the past few years.  Interestingly, unlike many other radio groups, Journal notes the fourth quarter of 2011 was its best quarter.

Phil Hendrie Ends Local KFI, Los Angles Saturday Show; Busy TV Schedule Cited.  Los Angeles-based radio and television talent Phil Hendrie tweets to fans he is ending his KFI, Los Angeles-only Saturday evening show after this weekend’s performance due to the increasing amount of TV work he’s getting combined with his nightly radio show syndicated by Talk Radio Network.  Radio trade AllAccess.com reports it has confirmed the news.  Hendrie is doing voice work on Fox Television’s “Napoleon Dynamite” and has upcoming work on Fox’s “New Girl.”  Hendrie thanks KFI program director Robin Bertolucci and the KFI staff for their help with the weekend show.

CBS Radio’s WQYK, Tampa Changes Midday Show.  “The King David Show” featuring Toby David and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Shaun King is off the air at CBS Radio’s 1010 Sports (WQYK), according to the Tampa Bay TimesTom Jones.  Jones reports that WQYK assistant program director Mike Pepper says the station is airing Yahoo! SportsTim Brando in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot for now but would like to fill that hole with a local show.  The station needs time to find the right show.  He didn’t rule out either David or King being part of the station in the future.  Toby David tells the paper, “I appreciated the time I worked with Shaun and have a great amount of respect for him.  I also enjoyed working at CBS Radio and have nothing but the utmost respect for those people and I hope to land on my feet locally.”

CCME Announces National Imaging Team.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment organizes the imaging of its radio formats under the Kelly Doherty-led National Programming Platforms group.  The function of this reorganization is to create 15 format-specific imaging coordinator positions and those experts will “produce and distribute compelling and diverse on-air promotional audio spots for Clear Channel’s National Programming initiatives, including format-specific creative efforts across iHeartRadio, Artist Integration Programs and large-scale contests and events including the iHeartRadio Music Festival.”  Doherty states, “This team includes the top producers in each format.  The talent, expertise and ingenuity that this new Imaging Team brings together is unmatched and I am excited to lead such a top-notch group.”  Scott Stanley is named news/talk imaging coordinator and Bob Schmidt is the sports imaging coordinator.

Thaddeus Matthews Off the Air at WPLX, Memphis After Court Ruling.  The case involving Memphis talk host Thaddeus Matthews and WPLX, Memphis owner William Pollack took another turn recently after Chancellor Arnold Goldin of the Shelby County Court denied an injunction Matthews had sought to continue broadcasting his program on WPLX.  Matthews made national news with a YouTube broadcast video of his on-air encounter with Republican congressional candidate Charlotte Bergmann which ended with Matthews refusing to shake Bergmann’s hand because he didn’t want her “whiteness” to rub off on him.  According to The Commercial Appeal, last week’s court ruling revolved around a dispute over money owed by Matthews to Pollack.  Matthews leases the time from Pollack and the latter claims he’s owed in excess of $85,000 in fees.  Matthews disputes that figure and vows to continue his legal battle while broadcasting his program on the internet.

Rob Otto Joins WCAR, Livonia, Michigan in Sports Director Role.  Detroit sports media pro Rob Otto joins Birach Broadcasting’s WCAR, Livonia (west of Detroit) as sports director for the reformatted station positioned as ESPN 1090, according to Michiguide.com.  The site reports Otto “will also be tasked with providing local, on-air sports updates for WCAR and helping the station establish local programming and marketing.  He’ll also be moving his sports-related blog from MLive.com to ESPN 1090’s website at espn1090.com.”  Otto has worked in the Detroit market at WXYT-FM, WWJ, WDFN and WHMI-FM.

Opinion:  Talk Host Phil Valentine Says Prohibition of Ethnic References Reeks of Controlling the Language.  Nashville-based Dial Global syndicated talk host Phil Valentine responds to TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer’s column (When it Comes to Ethnic Slurs, Just Don’t Go There, 2/23/12) that in this age of political correctness, what is said or written in the media – the ESPN/Jeremy Lin case is a great example – doesn’t have to actually be offensive, it just has to sound that way.  Read Phil’s column here.

GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 20 – 24.  The GOP primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign tied atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week.  The primary and the issues surrounding the campaign that leads up to the November 5 general election were #1 for the fourth consecutive week.  Landing at #2 was Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  At #3 was rising gas prices at U.S. pumps and at #4 was the protest in Afghanistan over the desecration of Korans at a U.S. base.  The Talkers TenTM chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio is published each week at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  See the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup.  Dial Global’s “Overnight America with Jon Grayson” picks up KFWB, Los Angeles for the 10:00 pm to 3:00 am slot…..Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” is added for the overnight slot at WPRO, Providence…..“Motley Fool Money” with host Chris Hill adds KPQ, Wenatchee, Washington and KPSF, Palm Springs – Money Radio 1200.

 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

| February 21, 2012

No-Holds-Barred Opinion:  WDAE, Tampa Morning Sports Talk Phenomenon Dan Sileo Says Your Show Is About You!  According to Dan, too many sports talk hosts are putting bad callers on the radio, conducting long, boring interviews and emulating bad radio.  He boldly proclaims the best thing a host can do is listen for bad radio, recognize it for what it is and make sure you’re NOT doing it on your show.  Read more here.

KOGO-AM/FM, San Diego Adjusts Program Schedule; Bryan Suits Exits Station and Chris Merrill Comes Aboard.  Talk show host Bryan Suits had been hosting the midday show from Seattle and he tells his fans via his Facebook page that he and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment could not agree on the terms to bring him back to Southern California in order to move into the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program slot so they’ve parted ways.  The new lineup is LaDona Harvey from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Chris Merrill from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and Bob “Sully” Sullivan from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  Merrill’s “The Voice of Merrill” show airs on Entercom’s KMBZ, Kansas City daily from 9:00 am to 11:00 am.

Plans Being Set for 15th Annual New Media Seminar.  Full details will be announced later this week, as TALKERS prepares to announce plans for the 2012 installment of the talk industry’s longest running and most important national conference.  According to TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “This next conference will be extremely innovative – not just in content, but structure as well — and will be specifically geared to the nature of these economically challenging times.  All I can say at this moment is it will again take place in New York City in early June – but this version of the event will be a significant departure from and improvement over traditional radio business conferences in terms of accessibility to the hard-working folks of our industry.  Stand by!”

Stitcher Integrates News and Talk Programming with Facebook’s Timeline Feature.  Stitcher is an app that allows iPhone and iPad users to listen to news and talk audio content in much the same way Pandora does for music.  Stitcher says users have access to more than 6,000 programs and podcasts ranging from talk titans like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to news from CNN and NPR.  Now, according to CNET, Stitcher has integrated with Facebook’s Timeline feature which essentially allows Timeline users to see what their friends are listening to.  Stitcher CEO Noah Shanok tells CNET this means the ability to discover new programs and share favorites with friends has become even easier.  “We have a huge selection of NPR content but there’s other content like NPR that you might like that could be exposed through a social integration and viewing the listening habits of a friend who you know has similar habits as you do.”

Clear Channel Media Holdings Reports 2011 Financials Today; Positive News for Media and Entertainment Division Expected.  The parent company of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment holds a conference call with analysts this morning and although the company’s financial structure is very different from the days when it sold common stock like other publicly traded broadcasting companies, the industry is always interested in hearing from Clear Channel about its performance as a bellwether for the media industry as a whole.  The industry can expect an announcement coming from this conference call that CC’s radio revenue was up 4% in 2011.  According to the Clear Channel-owned, in-house radio trade publication Inside Radio: “Propelled by the addition of Westwood One’s traffic division in April and higher digital radio billings, Clear Channel Media & Entertainment revenue swung to $6.16 billion in 2011, a 4% increase from 2010. Like most of the industry, fourth quarter revenue was softer, growing 2% to $15 million.”  Today, Clear Channel Media Holdings and subsidiary Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings will give 2011 fourth quarter earnings and revenue numbers for the whole of 2011 as well as guidance for the current year.

Houston Police Looking into Investigation of Hit-and-Run Incident Allegedly Involving KTRH, Houston Host Michael Berry.  Last week TALKERS reported on the story out of Houston in which KTRH talk host – and former Houston City Councilman – Michael Berry is alleged to have hit a car outside a well-known gay bar in the city and left the scene.  At that time, local news reports indicated Berry was also seen inside the bar prior to the incident.  At this time Berry has not been charged with anything but the Houston Chronicle is reporting that Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland is ordering an investigation into his department’s handling of the case.  At issue here appears to be whether police, who initially offered little evidence to the district attorney’s office to charge Berry, may have ignored other testimony from the scene clearly linking Berry’s SUV to the incident.  Berry has said on his radio show that he can’t talk about it but asks people to hold their judgment until all the facts are out.  Berry’s attorney, Dick DeGuerin, tells the paper, “It’s much ado about nothing, it seems to me.”

Independently Syndicated George Jarkesy Show picked up by CRN Digital Talk Radio.  An hour of the recently launched independently syndicated Houston-based program, the George Jarkesy Show recently featured at Talkers.com has added CRN Digital Talk Radio as one of its distribution platforms carried on the Mike Horn-owned venue’s “CRN 5” airing Mondays at 1:00 pm.   A money manager and successful professional investor, respected financial and corporate advisor, George Jarkesy has founded, invested in and helped to build companies engaged in a broad range of industry sectors, including financial consulting, media, real estate investing, natural resources, and healthcare.  He also appears as a regular guest commentator on most of the major cable news/talk channels where he gained talk media industry attention as a solid information resource for the common sense blending of money matters and politics geared to the middle class investor and entrepreneur.  Jarkesy’s daily show runs Monday through Friday 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm with plans in the works to expand to three hours per day.  For more information, visit www.GeorgeJarkesy.com.

GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Race, Iran Oil Blockade Threat, Rising Gas Prices, Greece Bailout and Lin/ESPN Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/20).  The battle among GOP primary contenders and the larger 2012 presidential race; Iran’s threat to block oil out of the Persian Gulf and rising gas prices in the U.S.; the Euro Zone’s approval of another bailout for Greece; and the controversy over a racial slur used by ESPN staffers referencing Knicks player Jeremy Lin were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Charlotte Talk Media Personality to Moderate Debate.  Charlotte, North Carolina talk media personality and regular WBT, Charlotte fill-in host Wayne Powers is set to moderate today’s 8th Congressional District Republican Debate.  The debate, sponsored by the Cabarrus Republican Women, takes place tonight at 7:00 pm at the Vintage Motor Club in Concord, North Carolina.  All six candidates vying for the opportunity to challenge incumbent Democrat Larry Kissell will take part in the debate.

Live from L.A. Plaza.  ESPN Deportes stepped outside its studios to celebrate the first anniversary of Spanish-language sports talk show “Nacion ESPN.”  Pictured here are co-hosts Adriana Monsalve and David Faiteslon.  The two were joined on the program by ESPN’s Rafa Ramos and Bernardo Osuna, Mexican-Brazilian soccer star Luis Alberto Zaque, renowned Mexican soccer stars Ramon Ramirez and Claudio Suarez, and boxing legend Julio Cesar Chavez.  On a state-of-the-art set, Adriana and David welcomed the crowd and its special guests presenting several surprises, heated debates and friendly competitions.

Monday, February 20, 2012

| February 20, 2012

RAB:  Radio Revenue Up 1% in 2011.  Data from Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Company and the Radio Advertising Bureau reports revenue for the radio industry was up 1% in 2011 compared to the year prior.  The majority of radio’s revenue comes from spot sales and that category was down 4% in the fourth quarter of 2011 but down just 1% for the entire year.  Increases in other revenue categories helped boost radio’s total revenue for 2011.  For the year, network revenue was up 3%; digital was up 15%; and off-air revenue rose 7%.

Cumulus Media Group Countersues Birmingham Sports Talk Host Paul Finebaum.  The latest in the legal battle between Birmingham-based regional sports talk giant Paul Finebaum and Cumulus Media Group is a suit by Cumulus suing Finebaum alleging he violated his contract by negotiating with another broadcaster while under contract.  According to the Birmingham Business Journal, the suit alleges Finebaum also shared confidential information about Citadel (which has since merged with Cumulus) as part of the negotiations to move his sports talk show away from Citadel.  Finebaum brought the first suit to court charging the company with coercing him into signing an amendment to his contract that was less favorable under threat of dropping his show and its regional distribution if he didn’t sign.  Finebaum also alleges Citadel’s bankruptcy filing – which occurred after he signed the original contract – violated the terms of that deal.  The cases are being moved from federal court to Jefferson County Circuit Court by request of Cumulus.

WPHT, Philadelphia’s Dom Giordano Hosts Live Broadcast and Luncheon to Salute Local Troops.  Dubbed “Salute Our Troops” and taking place at the Radisson Philadelphia Northeast Hotel today from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, the live broadcast hosted by CBS Radio’s WPHT, Philadelphia and talk host Dom Giordano will welcome home and honor American servicemen and women from the Delaware Valley who served bravely in Iraq and Afghanistan.  CBS News war correspondent Jim Axelrod will be Giordano’s special guest for the event.  The program will include a celebration of the 71st anniversary of the USO, which has provided morale and recreational services to members of the US Military since 1941.  Members of the 131st Transportation Company, the 111 Fighter Wing, the 104th Cavalry Squadron and the 111th Infantry will all be in attendance.

WGY, Albany Celebrates 90 Years On Air.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WGY-AM/FM, Albany is marking its 90th year serving the region today (2/20).  Vice president and regional market manager Kristen Delaney says, “WGY’s family tree includes more than just the decades of respected staff who have walked these local hallways and entertained the community with their songs and stories.  Our family branches out to generations of listeners who have grown up with us, who continue to discover us daily, and depend on us for their news, weather and entertainment.”  WGY notes that the station first signed on February 20, 1922, as program director Kolin Hager stepped up to the microphone and announced, “This is station WGY.  W, the first letter in wireless; G, the first letter in General Electric; Y, the last letter in Schenectady.”

NFL Great Fran Tarkenton Debuts Talk Show on Sirius XM.  Former NFL quarterback and respected business entrepreneur Fran Tarkenton begins a live, weekly call-in talk show on Sirius XM’s SiriusXM Stars Too channel this evening from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  The satcaster states Tarkenton’s show “will tackle a wide range of topics, interview notable guests from the worlds of politics, business, sports and entertainment and take calls from listeners nationwide.”  Tarkenton says, “I’m a longtime advocate of entrepreneurship and creative thinking, and I’m a huge fan of talk radio, so this opportunity is a big thrill for me.  I’m looking forward to connecting with SiriusXM listeners around the country about everything happening in the world of politics, business and sports, the fascinating convergence in these areas and more.”

Financial Talk Host Ray Lucia Joins Gab Radio Network.  The daily, nationally syndicated financial talk show that Ray Lucia hosts has been with Business TalkRadio Network for the past 12 years.  Beginning March 5, Lucia’s program will be syndicated by Vero Beach, Florida-based Gab Radio Network.  GAB president Ron Crider says, “I have been working in the radio industry for over half a century and our new affiliation with Ray is one of the more exciting times in my long career – we are truly pleased to welcome Ray Lucia to our network.”  GAB describes Lucia stating, “Lucia’s charismatic style and years of experience as one of the nation’s leading experts in financial, tax, investing, and retirement planning make him one of the hottest media personalities on the scene today…In addition to his popular daily radio show, Lucia is a best-selling author, much sought after public speaker, and TV personality who is regularly featured on television networks such as Fox News Channel, Fox Business, CNBC, ‘The Today Show,’ and Bloomberg.”  Lucia’s program airs live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.

WTOP-FM, Washington VP Joel Oxley Celebrates 20 Years with Station.  The senior vice president and general manager of Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington joined the all-news giant 20 years ago as an account executive.  He is credited with helping develop WTOP into one of the top news stations in the country.  Pictured here is VP of news and programming Jim Farley (l) presenting Joel Oxley (r) with a certificate of achievement in the studios of the news operation.

 

“Watchdog on Wall Street” Chris Markowski Writes for TheStreet.com.  Financial talk host Chris Markowski, whose weekly talk show is syndicated via Talk Radio Network, adds columnist duties at the digital newsletter TheStreet.com.  In a release, Markowski states he’ll “have a weekly post on this leading internet publication that focuses on politics and things that directly impact our economy.”  His most recent post addresses the $25 billion agreement between the nation’s five largest mortgage services to address mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure abuses.

Enid Goldstein in for KKSF, San Francisco’s Gene Burns.  Talk show pro Enid Goldstein is sitting in for KKSF, San Francisco PM drive talk host Gene Burns today (2/20).

Correction:  On February 17, TALKERS reported that Christine Craft was a co-host with Stacy Taylor on KGO, San Francisco and that the two were let go by the station.  That was incorrect.  Ms. Craft is not affiliated with Taylor, is a solo fill-in talk host for KGO and remains employed with the station in that role.  TALKERS regrets the error.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

| February 1, 2012

Super Bowl XLVI Ground Zero for Sports Radio This Week.  The annual American ritual that is the NFL’s championship game is more than just a sports broadcasting event and has been for many years.  But this year’s game between the New England Patriots and New York Giants is especially intriguing and is creating enormous content, revenue and positive imaging for the spoken-word stations taking part on a level that rivals and perhaps exceeds a national political convention.  Some 100 sports stations, talk stations and network programs are filling the radio row and broadcasting from Indianapolis this week.  CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York is promising to deliver more than 50 hours of coverage leading up to, during and after the game with hosts Mike Francesa, Boomer & Carton, Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts.  Entercom’s WEEI, Boston is similarly situated in Indy broadcasting most of its programs from the site including Dennis & Callahan, Mut & Merloni and “The Big Show.”  Numerous sports talk stations from markets outside New England and New York broadcast from the site as are the networks – ESPN, Fox Sports Radio and others.  Sirius/XM Satellite Radio sports talk maverick Dino Costa is on the scene telling TALKERS, “You have no idea how much fun it is to be here and to be broadcasting from this amazing event.”  Dial Global has the national radio rights to the game (Giants and Patriots local rights carriers WFAN and WBZ-FM, respectively, can broadcast the game) and has cleared the game broadcast on more than 650 stations and has sold out the inventory.  Football is traditionally considered a television sport but football fans can’t always be near a television (or internet video feed) and that usually gives radio a healthy audience – as evidenced by Dial Global’s Edison Research-commissioned poll indicating more than 29 million Americans listened to at least a portion of the conference championship games this year.

KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa Shifts Network Programming; Adds PM Drive News Hour.  Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa brings market news and talk pro Dan Potter back to the station to host a 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm program called “The KRMG Afternoon News with Dan Potter.”  Program director Drew Anderssen says, “KRMG listeners have told us it’s more important than ever for us to give them more frequent news, weather and traffic reports on their way home from work.  So, we’re taking action to address those needs.”  The station is also shifting Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity from a one-hour delay to their live air times of 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm CT respectively.  “With this change, listeners will now be able to hear what Rush and Sean have to say about events as they happen, not one hour later,” Anderssen states.  Dan Potter previously served as KRMG news director and morning news anchor before leaving the station in 2010 to attend to family matters.

Garrett Lewis Appointed to PD Post at KNST-AM/FM, Tucson.  Clear Channel Tucson ups morning drive host Garrett Lewis to the program director position, replacing former PD Chris Patyk.  Lewis – host of the “Morning Ritual” AM drive show since February of 2010 – signs a two-year deal to continue anchoring the morning show and stepping into the programmer’s role as well.  CC Tucson operations director Chris Pickett states, “Being able to keep Garrett is a big part of the evolution of KNST to FM.  His show has become must-listen radio and with his direction, I am confident that KNST will soar to new heights in the not-so-distant future.”

Current TV Enlists Guest Hosts for Ailing Keith Olbermann.  According to Mediaite, “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann’s chair is being filled by Bill Press and others while he recovers from a case of bronchitis.  Earlier, TALKERS reported that former New York Governor and CNN personality Eliot Spitzer was sitting in for Olbermann.  That was not correct as Bill Press has been hosting the show the past four nights.  However, Mediaite is reporting that Spitzer will host the program tonight (2/1).  Speculation is that Olbermann and Current TV have been butting heads lately – something founder Al Gore has publicly denied – and that Current TV may be testing the waters to see who might be a good fit for the network if Olbermann exits.

ESPN Radio Gets Back into the Detroit Metro on WCAR.  The Birach Broadcasting-owned station is licensed to Livonia, Michigan west of Detroit on the way to Ann Arbor.  Sima Birach, Jr. says, “Detroit is nationally recognized as one of the top three sports towns in America and we are ecstatic to bring the full force of the ESPN brand to Detroit’s loyal sports fans.  In addition to local programming which features some of Detroit’s iconic sports figures, we’re confident we’ll serve our listeners with the content they’ve been longing for.”  The station will carry the full lineup of ESPN Radio programming.

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Puts ESPN Deportes on Chicago Translator.  The deal between Clear Channel and ESPN places the latter’s Spanish-language sports format on what has been a translator for Educational Media Foundation’s Christian WNKV-FM, Norco, Louisiana – we’re assuming EMF and CC have a deal for the latter to handle the programming.  According to ESPN, the 3-watt signal in Chicago at 95.7 FM covers “downtown Chicago and will also reach largely Hispanic/Latino neighborhood communities, including Cicero, Berwyn and Pilsen.”  ESPN Deportes Radio GM Oscar Ramos says, “This expansion is a milestone for the ESPN Deportes brand and yet another step forward in our effort to make ESPN Deportes Radio available to Hispanic sports fans nationwide.  We are thrilled with our agreement with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment to bring our comprehensive programming to Chicago fans while also providing a great platform for advertisers.”

Thom Hartmann’s “Big Picture” TV Show Gets International Distribution.  Dial Global nationally syndicated progressive talk host Thom Hartmann produces a TV program called “The Big Picture” which is already distributed to Free Speech TV and RT America.  Now, RT International announces it will distribute Hartmann’s show to cable systems elsewhere including the UK and Europe, Africa, Australia and South America.  RT International states it has a reach into 100 countries containing a half-billion households.  Hartmann says, “This is such an important time, with a U.S. presidential election as important as any I can remember, a global financial crisis, and tensions in the Middle East seeming to rise once again.  I look forward to the opportunity to share my common-sense progressive views on these issues and more with viewers throughout the globe.”

Talk Host Phil Valentine’s Global Warming-Challenging Film Debuts.  Nashville-based talk show host Phil Valentine’s movie “An Inconsistent Truth” hit the theater in Nashville last weekend and grossed more than $20,000.  Valentine produced and stars in the film that challenges anthropogenic global warming with Phil taking the role of a conservative Michael Moore-type documentary host.  (The film was co-produced by Ann Cates and executive producers David Harper, Joseph Edwards and Michael Costanza.)  Valentine used the power of his talk show in Nashville to promote the movie and drew good crowds based on the one-weekend gross.  This kind of project is indicative of the kind of promotional power a good talk show host can have with a quality product like Valentine’s movie.  Valentine says he’s thrilled with the first weekend’s showing in Nashville.  “We thought we may have something but we had no idea the response would be this strong.  I’m speechless.”  Valentine and distributor Rocky Mountain Pictures are weighing their next move in distributing the movie across the country over the next couple of weeks.  Check out the trailer here.

Valerie Geller Consults PBS Documentary.  The president of Geller Media International, Valerie Geller – a leading talk radio consultant – participated as an advisor to the PBS documentary film “Daisy Bates – First Lady of Little Rock” airing nationally on PBS-TV stations tomorrow  night (2/2) and in New York City on February 5.  The Independent Documentary Series production tells the story of  Daisy Bates, a complex, unconventional, and largely forgotten heroine of the civil rights movement who led the charge to desegregate the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957.  In addition to being an informative slice of history, the film is a conversation starter bringing up a number of compelling and controversial questions. The “Little Rock Nine” faced unimaginable verbal abuse and threats to their very lives. Was it ethical for Bates’s NAACP to put children on the front lines of the desegregation battle — even if they volunteered to be there or chose to be there?  Geller tells TALKERS, “One of the joys of consulting work is the opportunity to help other people achieve their dreams. I’m honored to have had the chance to work with documentary producer Sharon La Cruise on her film.

Dave Vieser Exits WCHU-AM/FM, Ithaca Morning Show.  Management at the Saga Communications news/talk station tells CNYRadio.com that Dave Vieser left his APD and morning co-host role for personal reasons.  The move leaves program director/news director Geoff Dunn as solo host of the morning drive show but the station states on its website, “We are currently working on a transition plan for a new host of the program.  We will miss Dave, and wish him well.”

Florida GOP Primary, Syria Violence, Occupy DC, and Taliban-Pakistan Link Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/31).  Mitt Romney’s victory over Newt Gingrich in the Florida primary, the ongoing violence in Syria, the Occupy DC movement that is clashing with authorities and the suspected link between the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s government were some of the most-talked-about stories in news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, January 30, 2012

| January 30, 2012

KTRS, St. Louis Talk Show Host JC Corcoran Responds to TALKERS Feature Story.  St. Louis talk show host JC Corcoran’s Twitter exchange that got him suspended from talk station KTRS last fall was an example cited in the TALKERS feature piece, “Social Media: Handle with Care,” published on Friday.  Corcoran responded with an insightful letter to the editors that adds new levels to the story and the larger issue of social media use by talk and sports radio broadcasters.  Read the piece and Corcoran’s response here.

Talent Shake-Up at WLW, Cincinnati; Eddie Fingers Returns.  Today sees a revamped talk host lineup at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s “Big One” WLW, Cincinnati highlighted by what Queen City media observers are calling the bizarre return of Eddie Fingers to the PM drive show 15 months after he was fired from the same show.  According to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter, Fingers will rejoin co-host Tracy Jones for the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program.  Jones’ partner since October of 2010 – former Cincinnati Reds outfielder Scott Sloan – moves to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot.  That means late morning host Doc Thompson is the odd man out.  Kiesewetter reports Thompson was fired last week while on his honeymoon with WHIO-TV, Dayton reporter Yuna Lee.  Thompson still works for Clear Channel hosting the PM drive show at the company’s WRVA, Richmond.  Back to Cincy, Fingers has been a personality in town since the early 1980s.  He moves from rock WEBN-FM to WLW in 2007.  Kiesewetter reports Fingers has no animosity toward the station for his October 2010 firing, stating, “I never had a problem with anyone in the building all along.  The decision on firing me came from corporate, and I get the impression some of them have moved along.  I loved it there.  I loved those guys.  This is unprecedented.  This is a load off my shoulders.”

Programmer Jack Landreth Named KMBZ-AM/FM, Kansas City PD.  Entercom Kansas City announces talk radio programmer Jack Landreth takes over the PD position at news/talk KMBZ-AM/FM beginning Monday, January 30.  Landreth most recently held the PD post at CBS Radio’s KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas.  During his career he has also programmed KTSA, San Antonio; KNST, Tucson; and WWTN-FM, Nashville.  Landreth says, “KMBZ is the premiere radio station in Kansas City and I could not be more honored to work with such a great team of local, top-notch broadcasters.  My sincere gratitude goes out to Pat Paxton, Ken Beck and, of course, Dave Alpert.  My family and I look forward to coming back to the Midwest and calling Kansas City our true home.”

“Loveline” Tweaking Format to Appeal to Talk Stations as Courtside Offering.  The former Westwood One talk show, now in Norm Pattiz’s growing Courtside Entertainment stable, has been a nighttime music radio mainstay for almost 30 years. It is heard on more than 50 alternative rock, classic rock and CHR stations with a strong base in the top 25 markets.  Hosted by noted medical authority Dr. Drew Pinsky and well-known LA-based pop culture broadcaster Mike Catherwood with the recent addition of British radio and TV personality (and sex therapist) Simone Bienne, the nightly program which airs live 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight PT has evolved and adapted over the years from a free form Sunday night KROQ, Los Angeles show, appealing to a very young audience, to a formatted, highly-planned and targeted production designed to deliver a more mature, diverse 18-54 audience. Along the course of its colorful history, Loveline’s hosts included such figures as Adam Corolla, deejays Jim “Poorman” Trenton and Swedish Egil (Egil Aalvik) and former MTV veejay Riki Rachtman.   Courtside Entertainment founder and CEO Norm Pattiz tells TALKERS, “Unlike many talk shows on music radio, this program does not play music and never did.  However, it does include well-known music personalities among its diverse guests a la Jay Leno and David Letterman.” Pattiz unequivocally states, “Yes we are now going after talkers… the growing number that think a talk show with equal parts information, entertainment and advice is right at night. This show attracts a loyal audience.  Current stations really like what we are doing with Loveline as we have phased it in this new direction over the past six months.  It has a distinct format which is very important in a PPM world.  Every quarter hour is planned with calls, subject, host features and guests. Master programmer Bert Kleinman oversees this aspect of the production on a daily basis.  It is a unique product that has stood the test of time by continuously adapting.”

Clear Channel Gives Hartford an FM Sports Talker.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment puts into effect the changes that had been brewing with its Hartford and Springfield, Massachusetts stations last spring.  The “Kix” country format leaves WPKX-FM as the station becomes an FM simulcast of CC’s sports talk WPOP, Hartford and moves its city of license from Enfield, Connecticut closer to Hartford in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.  That leaves the country format on the former AAA WRNX-FM, Amherst, Massachusetts serving the Springfield market.  The new 97.9 ESPN obviously uses programming from ESPN Radio but it’s being reported that CC Hartford is looking to put a local PM drive show on the station.

WGDJ, Albany’s Paul Vandenburgh to Host Daily Afternoon TV Show.  WGDJ, Albany is co-owned by president and general manager Paul Vandenburgh.  He also hosts the morning drive show on the station.  Beginning Monday, Vandenburgh will host the Paul Vandenburgh Show on Albany’s MyNetworkTV affiliate My 4 Albany from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday.  My 4 TV’s Chuck Hunt says, “Vandenburgh has long been the premiere talk show host in the Capital District and adding his expertise to television increases the reach, visibility and credibility of MY 4 Albany.  His show will be topical each day, keeping people up to date with the major news stories of the Capital District.  Live callers will also be included in the program.  We are thrilled to have Paul on the MY 4 Albany team.”  Prior to his endeavor with WGDJ, Vandenburgh hosted the morning drive show on crosstown WROW.  He also hosted at WQBK, Albany.

Sirius XM Adds Two High-Profile Talk Shows.  Former Indianapolis Colts GM Bill Polian becomes part of the satcaster’s NFL Radio channel with his debut tonight on the “Late Hits” program from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm.  He’ll appear again for shows on Wednesday and Friday prior to the Super Bowl and will host regular shows throughout the year.  Polian says, “I’ve been a guest on SiriusXM NFL Radio many times and it is an outstanding source for league news and information.  Now I get to be the one asking the questions.  I’m excited to get on the air to talk shop with players, executives and coaches around the league and interact daily with many of the great fans who have helped make the NFL the most successful sports league in the world.”  In other Sirius XM news, former New York City police chief Howard Safir is hosting a limited run program called, “The Badge with Howard Safir,” focusing on the “drama, heroism and challenges facing law enforcement today.”  The series will air Sunday evenings and run for six weeks.

Northeast Ohio Sports Media Figure Joe Pete Dies at 45.  Joseph J. Pete, Jr. broadcast the “Sports Report with Joe Pete” on WFUN, Ashtabula, Ohio.  He was a play-by-play announcer for prep athletics in the region and wrote about sports in the region for numerous publications.  He passed away on Thursday, January 26 at the Cleveland Clinic.

Monday, January, 23, 2012

| January 23, 2012

Lou Dobbs Syndicated Radio Show to End in February.  Word has emerged from inside sources at United Stations Radio Networks that the syndicator has sent letters to the affiliates of the Lou Dobbs Show informing them that the four-year-old program is coming to an end in February.  Citing a decision reached with Dobbs by “mutual agreement,” the sources close to the program state that the veteran newsman/commentator wants to devote more of his busy schedule to his nightly program on the Fox Business Network, one of that cable operation’s top-rated shows.  United Stations will also cease production and distribution of Dobbs’ syndicated short-form features but sources close to Dobbs indicate that the former CNN icon might continue that enterprise independently.

Two More Pubcasters Join iHeartRadio Platform.  Popular Southern California public radio outlets KCRW-FM, Santa Monica and KUSC-FM, Los Angeles begin streaming their audio via Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio app.  KCRW-FM is a hybrid news, talk and music outlet while KUSC-FM is a classical station.  KCRW-FM, general manager Jennifer Ferro states, “KCRW is always looking for exciting partnership opportunities knowing that even among hundreds of radio stations, what we offer is entirely unique.  By combining our compelling content and iHeartRadio’s vast reach, we’re inviting a new audience to discover and engage with KCRW.”  CC Digital president Brian Lekamp says, “We want to be everywhere our listeners are with a variety of programming options to appeal to the widest possible audience, and adding these public radio stations to iHeartRadio offers listeners an even more interesting and diverse listening experience.”

Missouri Authorities Consider Charges Against Man for Threatening Language on the Radio.  Police in Arnold, Missouri spoke with a local man who made what could be considered threats against St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke while calling into the McGraw Milhaven show on CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis.  The discussion surrounded Kroenke’s announcement of Jeff Fisher as new head coach of the Rams and Kroenke’s apparent refusal to state he would not consider moving the Rams out of St. Louis.  The caller reportedly stated, “I, I ain’t gonna say nothin’, but the only thing I could put into it other than jack is lead like the dude in Kirkwood.  I don’t blame him a bit for what he did.”  The caller was referencing the killing of six people at the Kirkwood, Missouri town hall in 2008.  KTRS alerted police who’ve interviewed the man.  No charges have been filed yet but prosecutors are considering charges.

Cumulus Media Erie Sports Talk Host Exits; Cites Compensation Issues.  Until Friday, Mike “Chico” Boorman hosted a popular sports talk show on Cumulus Media’s WRIE, Erie – ESPN 1260.  But Boorman tells the Erie Times – News that recent pay cuts and management’s unwillingness to negotiate his salary left him no option.  Boorman is quoted in the paper saying, “They weren’t going to pay me what I felt I needed to continue doing what I was doing.  I was making $40 a day.  As I told a buddy of mine, that’s a nice name for a show on The Food Network, but it’s tough to make a living that way.”  Cumulus Media Erie management declined to comment specifically on Boorman’s contract but GM Jim Riley told the paper, “We regret his decision to depart.  We think we had a very popular show with him and we had a good response from listeners.”

CBS Radio Launches WNEW-FM, Washington on Sunday Afternoon.  CBS Radio took the opportunity of a Sunday afternoon with bad weather approaching to launch its new all-news FM outlet in the Nation’s Capital.  The company moved the hard launch from Thursday, January 19 to this morning (1/23) due to some engineering issues but opted to test the new equipment with staffers yesterday afternoon.

KOGO, San Diego Adds Lynda Martin as News Anchor.  The former XETV-TV and KSWB-TV, San Diego reporter and anchor Lynda Martin becomes part of the news staff at Clear Channel’s KOGO, San Diego morning drive show hosted by Chip Franklin.

Smerconish Book Club Plays Hardball.  Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish (l) interviews author and MSNBC personality Chris Matthews (r) during one of the Smerconish Book Club live events before some 1,000 attendees at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, New Jersey on January 19.  The event, in which Smerconish interviewed Matthews about his recent book Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero (Simon & Schuster 2011) was co-presented by affiliate WPHT, Philadelphia.

 

Radio Rows Have Talk Hosts Focused on Hot-Button Issues.  Talk show hosts from around the nation converged on South Carolina prior to the state’s primary election on Saturday for a two-day radio row organized by Talk Radio News Service and SupportPopularVote.com.  In South Carolina, talk hosts including Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries, Radio America’s Rodger Hedgecock, Nashville-based talk host Steve Gill, Clear Channel Texas host Michael Berry, North Dakota-based talker Scott Hennen and others brought the primary race and 2012 presidential election issues home to their listeners through interviews with people such as former senator and presidential candidate Fred Thompson, tax policy expert Grover Norquist, former candidate Herman Cain and GOP candidate Rick Santorum.  Earlier in the week, more than 20 talk show hosts from around the country took part in the Families USA Radio Row in Washington, DC from the organization’s Health Action Conference.   Hosts including Dial Global’s Thom Hartmann; WWRL, New York’s Mark Riley; “America Tonight” host Kate Delaney; independently syndicated Leslie Marshall; nationally syndicated “Good Day” host Doug Stephan; and nationally syndicated host Carole Marks from “A Touch of Grey” talked health care issues.  The event offered radio hosts a unique opportunity to interview key administration officials, numerous members of Congress, health care advocates from across the country, and leaders within the progressive community while broadcasting live from Families USA’s Health Action Conference.