WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa Show to Air on Cable’s Fox Sports 1. According to a report by Neil Best in Newsday, sources indicate the cable TV simulcast of New York sports talk icon Mike Francesa’s afternoon drive sports talk program will be Fox’s fledgling Fox Sports 1 cable channel. The deal that had Francesa’s program simulcast on the Fox-owned and Yankees-operated YES Network for the past 12 years ended last week and though the MSG Network was anticipated being the eventual destination for Francesa’s show, the official news of the Fox Sports 1 deal could come sometime this week. Best writes that Fox presumably wants Francesa’s show to help raise its visibility even though it’s a New York-centric show. Interestingly, WEPN-FM’s afternoon host Michael Kay is now seen in Francesa’s old slot on YES and if Francesa does land on Fox Sports 1, the two shows will appear on side-by-side channels 69 and 70 on New York’s Cablevision system.
Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks Outsource Affiliate Relations and Marketing to Compass Media Networks. Executive editor for the Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks John Wordock says in a memo to affiliate stations, “We are deeply committed to our audio business and appreciate our partnership with your station…The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks will continue to provide the best money news coverage in the business, from Wall Street to Main Street to your street. Together, Dow Jones and Compass look forward to working with you and your station and we’re both dedicated to providing top-notch customer service.” This move to take the affiliate relations and marketing department out of house is not entirely unexpected after the cuts the company made in the fall eliminating executive positions within that department.
Mark Levin to Keynote Tea Party Anniversary Celebration. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mark Levin will serve as the keynote speaker at the five-year anniversary celebration of the Tea Party Patriots taking place in Washington, DC on February 27. Levin, whose program is syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks, says, “The Tea Party, which consists of millions of hard-working taxpayers, is to be celebrated not condemned. The ruling class must be trounced and its media cheerleaders must be exposed if the republic is to survive. The Tea Party is our only hope. It’s a great honor to be asked to speak to such outstanding and courageous patriots.” Other high-profile participants include: Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots.
Todd Schnitt: Not the Same-Old, Same-Old. Nationally syndicated talk show host Todd Schnitt credits his background in CHR radio and his passion for finding the topics that intrigue him that he believes will also intrigue his listeners for making his show a different-sounding sort of conservative talk radio show. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s profile of the man who worked for years as the successful “MJ Kelli” at Clear Channel’s WFLZ, Tampa before branching into drive time talk radio at sister station WFLA delves into the mind of a personality working to grow his national program in the post-Sandra Fluke era. Schnitt says, “My feelings have been bolstered by many experts and consultants in the field regarding the burn on conservative talk radio…You hear the same pounding on Democrats and liberals every single day. It is to the point with a bunch of hosts in my space where you can pull one of their shows from last month and it would sound the same as what they are saying today. I have always approached a talk radio show so that it fits on any conservative radio station, but with more of an intrinsic entertainment value.” Read Mike Kinosian’s story here.
TALKERS Launches Three-Part Special Today, Tomorrow and Wednesday (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks. Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal of winding up in television production. Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations. Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year. It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide. When Clear Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks (now simply “Premiere Networks”), he became VP of affiliate relations. However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel. Wolkoff faced a career crossroads and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio. His vision was “Envision Radio Networks,” (now simply “Envision Networks”) — a highly successful and forward-thinking company that creates over four dozen content products and services for radio stations and media outlets nationwide, customizing solutions for clients, producers and affiliates. It was a company literally founded after another syndication and programming company decided they had a good product that despite making money, didn’t make enough money for their bottom line. What Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry. He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows. His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets. Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that later) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication. In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward. I’ve seen this movie many times before. Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.” To read part one of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here.
CBS Reports Record Digital Traffic Month. It’s a new record for a single month as CBS Local Digital Media reports its websites and mobile applications attracted 56.8 million unique users during January topping the previous all-time high of 50.6 million in April 2013. The January 2014 number was up 37% compared to a year ago. CBS Local is happy with its performance in this arena last year reporting year-to-year growth of 21% in average unique users per month. CBS Local Media COO Anton Guitano says, “Our continued integration of digital into all parts of our local business is yielding dividends. The great mobile presence our stations have via mobile websites, Radio.com and CBS Local apps creates a presence that gives the consumer a great user experience.”
Lars Larson’s Busy Week: Subbing for KVI’s John Carlson; Keynoting Nevada Republican Dinner. There are few in the talk radio business who work harder than talk show host Lars Larson. Lars tells TALKERS that in addition to his regular radio programs – middays on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland and nationally syndicated from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET via Compass Media Networks – he’s filling in on morning drive today and tomorrow (2/10-11) on KVI, Seattle for John Carlson. This evening he’ll be hosting a station event for KXL and then heads to Reno on Thursday to do both regular shows from affiliate KKFT-FM before keynoting the Washoe County Republicans’ annual Lincoln Dinner on Friday. Lars reports he’ll be able to fly home in time on Friday to spend Valentine’s weekend with his “very patient wife,” Tina.
Michael Smerconish Jumps to CNN. The SiriusXM talk show host is leaving MSNBC and will join up with CNN for a role that includes regular appearances during the week providing analysis and commentary plus a weekly Saturday morning program, reports the Washington Posts’s Eric Wemple. In a release, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker says, “We are thrilled to have Michael join CNN. At a time when the cable news landscape has become increasingly polarized, his independence and passion for reasoned dialogue makes him the perfect fit for CNN.” Smerconish joins CNN at a time of flux. Zucker has been making programming changes to reverse the cable news/talk channel’s floundering ratings. CNN announced recently it is cancelling Anderson Cooper’s “AC 360 Later.”
Honoring Ann. ABC News Radio White House correspondent Ann Compton (left) is pictured here at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s 70th Annual Congressional Dinner on February 5 at which she was honored with the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognizes an individual whose outstanding accomplishments promote the journalistic profession and enhance the role of women journalists.
Odds & Sods. The Akron Beacon Journal reports that weekend and fill-in host Bob Early resigned from his position with WNIR-FM, Akron after a disagreement over a guest for his weekend talk show. Early hosted the Saturday and Sunday evening show on the station and he tells the paper he and management were not in agreement about Early booking the owner of an erotic goods chain on his program. Read the whole story here…..Patrick Ryan joins Magnum Broadcasting to serve as general manager for talk WEEO-FM, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania/ Hagerstown, Maryland and corporate brands strategist. Ryan was most recently local sales manager at Albany Broadcasting. He says, “I’m thrilled to put my talk radio expertise back to work and look forward to buying-building new brands with Michael Stapleford and his incredible team.”…..KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh morning host Larry Richert announced that Pittsburgh Pirates president Frank Coonelly will serve as the keynote speaker at his “Larry Richert Honors Our Hometown Heroes” event at the Lexus Club at PNC Park on Thursday, March 6. The annual even created by Richert honors five ordinary individuals in the community who have done extraordinary things and it benefits the Wounded Warrior Project.
Steak Shapiro Appears on CNN to Discuss Steve Gleason Bit. As TALKERS wrote yesterday, many in the industry were wondering how three veteran sports talk show hosts could have decided a bit mocking ALS-stricken former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason was a good idea. On a certain level, one has to hand it to former “Mayhem in the AM” host Steak Shapiro for going on CNN Tuesday and explaining – not rationalizing – what the trio was thinking and how the bit that got them fired evolved. After all, he could have hid from the widespread media attention the story is getting but he chose to, in a way, “take his medicine.” Some might call it an “apology tour” with the ultimate goal of working in the business again, but the fact is Shapiro did not try to defend the action and stated the obvious: the bit was offensive, hurtful and wrong. Moreover, Gleason himself has accepted the trio’s apologies and writes that he hopes the incident will serve to bring understanding and attention to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. See the CNN appearance here.
John Hancock Moves to PM Drive at WBT, Charlotte. Talk personality John Hancock makes his move to the coveted afternoon drive position at Greater Media’s WBT, Charlotte, flipping dayparts with the duo of Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire who move to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot. Hancock has worked in numerous dayparts at the station over the years. He began in 2000 in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot, moved to PM drive before leaving the station for a period between 1999 and 2001. When he came back to WBT he did so as the night host. Senior vice president and market manager Rick Feinblatt says, “John Hancock has been a staple of WBT for years, earning him the title of Charlotte’s Most Beloved. We are excited to have him with our listeners for the drive home.”
Talkers Los Angeles 2013 is Set for Thursday, October 10. The third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention has been set for Thursday, October 10. It will again be presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and will be held at the historic Steve Allen Theater located on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. In making the announcement, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are very enthusiastic about the growth and positive impact of this Southern California gathering. It started out three years ago as an experimental LA regional get-together and blossomed into an exciting companion event to our big New York convention.” The event - open only to members of the working media – will feature a power-packed day of panel discussions, keynote addresses, special presentations, technology and services exhibits, tremendous networking opportunities and abundant food and refreshments. Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone and the event is expected to be a very early sellout. So don’t wait to avoid being shut out. For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413. Speakers and agenda details will be announced here shortly.
Dave Graveline’s ‘Into Tomorrow’ Joins Envision Radio Networks. Consumer electronics expert Dave Graveline becomes part of the Envision Radio Networks family as his “Into Tomorrow” weekly talk program joins Envision’s talk network. Envision states Graveline’s program is heard on 180 stations in its talk network. Graveline states, “We are proud to be a part of the growing Envision Radio Networks family. We’re pleased to be part of their commitment to provide outstanding programs and after 18 years covering the latest in consumer tech, that is exactly our goal as well! And…we are very affiliate-friendly.”
Beasley Broadcast Group’s WWCN, Fort Myers to Flip to Spanish Sports in Late Summer. Earlier this week TALKERS reported the addition of the FM signal of WJBX, Fort Myers to sports talk WWCN beginning tomorrow (6/20). The two signals will carry the newly branded “99.3 ESPN” until later in the summer when the AM 770 signal will become “ESPN Deportes” to serve the growing Hispanic community in Southwest Florida, according to station officials. Market manager Brad Beasley explains the thought process. “Last year, we added key FM translators that covered our market to the ESPN brand. The response was phenomenal. What we heard back from our listeners and advertisers was that having it in one place on FM would be best. As our audience levels reached record numbers last fall, we decided this was an opportunity to take this powerful sports brand and have it in one place on FM and grow it even more. In addition, Southwest Florida has a significantly growing Hispanic population, and the move of ESPN to 99.3 now gives us the ability to shift 770 to ‘ESPN Deportes’ and the great programming and play-by-play they provide.”
Is the Radio “WOOOSH” Dead? According to Michael W. Dean, co-host of the GCN syndicated radio program “The Freedom Feens,” it should be. The “WOOOSH” is that fast sweeping white-noise sound, sometimes ending in a reverbed explosion that radio production people use as a shorthand to imply excitement, even where there is none. It’s also used as an interstitial to delineate the end of program material and the start of the ad block, or at the beginning of an ad, at the end of an ad, or during an ad…or all of the above. Dean makes a case for retiring the sound (which he describes as being ”soooooo damn old”) from radio’s production repertoire. To read his entire piece. click here.
New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference Underway; Greater Media’s Peter Smyth to Help Induct Tony Marano into HOF. The annual New Jersey Broadcasters Association conference in under way in Atlantic City and today will feature the Hall of Fame Induction Awards Luncheon. Being inducted today are legendary broadcaster Tony Marano, New Jersey 101.5 morning drive host Jim Gearhart, and Jim Morris. Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth will present the award to Tony’s family on behalf of the NJBA.
Colonel Allen West Subs on WMAL. With WMAL, Washington morning drive co-host Brian Wilson on vacation, Colonel Allen West (r), filled in alongside program co-host Larry O’Connor (l) on June 19. The duo welcomed guests Senator Rand Paul and Congressman Steve King to their show, among others.
G8 Summit, AZ Voter Registration Law Quashed, ‘Gang of 8’ Bill, U.S.-Taliban Talks, NSA Phone-Email Record Gathering, and Brazil Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/18). The G8 gathering in Berlin; the quashing of Arizona’s voting law requiring proof of citizenship; the “Gang of 8” amnesty bill; the possibility of U.S.-Taliban talks in Afghanistan; the National Security Agency’s collecting of phone and email records; and the violence in Brazil were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Charlie Wolf
LONDON — Working in London, England, as an American talk show host has its challenges. For instance, for the first two-three years of my six year stint as a host on commercial national talk station, TalkSPORT, (Talk Radio UK) doing a political/news-based show – it was the audience’s view that I was not allowed an opinion at all, either as a host and especially as a “Yank.”
For years on the BBC – where there is “speech radio” (drama, news, news analysis – and done very well) there had been very little interactive talk, and even then the host – though he would occasionally explore or challenge a point – was mostly a moderator not an instigator or opinion former. Talk shows on the BBC, now more opinionated than they used to be, are very much in the mould of “on the one hand there is …. But on the other hand…. what do you think?” British radio – due to over-regulation, a fairness doctrine, dominant licence funded BBC, a lack of competition, and a “scared-of-one’s-own-shadow” attitude to regulators – will never have a thriving talk radio market as in the US. There is not the space for talent to truly develop in talk commercially.
SiriusXM Reports Positive Q1 with Revenue Up 12%; Company Involved in Digital Dashboard Technology Rollout. That 12% percent increase over the same period a year ago is on revenue of $897 million. New permanent CEO Jim Meyer had every reason to be bubbly during his first investor conference call as official chief executive officer of the satcaster. He reports the company grew its subscriber base to a new record high on new subscriptions of 453,000 during the quarter. From a financial perspective he stated, “We are proud to have achieved the highest suggested EBITDA margin in the history of the company in the first quarter. We expect to achieve a 30% adjusted EBITDA margin this year, up from 27% last year and we continue to target 40% plus margins over time. You will see us move over the next few years to become one of the highest margin businesses among major media companies in the United States. Our ability to convert the bulk of that EBITDA in the free cash flow is also unmatched in the subscription media world.” He said the company is riding the “tailwind in the new car market as it recovers.” Meyer told investors the company is committed to having the best content, spoke about new channel additions as well as new talent joining the company and mentioned talk host Michael Smerconish. Addressing the specific question about GM’s plans for its future “digital dashboard,” Meyer said he couldn’t talk about any one manufacturer’s plans but was able to state, “I believe GM is on a leadership strategy in terms of where I believe the auto industry will go in general. And that is, I believe, over a mid and long period of time — you can define how many years that is — you will see automakers move to what I will call embedded connectivity that will be LTE-based that will give them lots of options for what they want to do for their customers and their vehicles. I think it’s very important that Sirius XM participates in that rollout of technology as it occurs over the next three to seven years and that’s exactly what we’re all about when we referred to our connected-car strategy. This is something that…I want to reiterate again today, that we’re moving and reprioritizing a lot of our technical resources and frankly now our commercial programming resources towards making that goal happen as we go out over time.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. You can read the whole shebang here.
Tom Wheeler Gets Nod from Obama for FCC Chief. On the political side of things, many Democrats wanted to see President Obama select a woman for the post being vacated by Julius Genachowski, but the president nominated a man with a telecommunications background who was very helpful in getting him elected. Politico reports that managing director of Core Capital Partners, Tom Wheeler, (along with his wife) worked Iowa for six weeks straight during the president’s first campaign. Although Wheeler will get some grief from those who are suspicious of his past tenure as a lobbyist with both the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and the CTIA (Cellular Telephone Industry Association), he has experience in the industry having founded numerous cable and communications services businesses. National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith states, “NAB welcomes the nomination of Tom Wheeler as chairman of the FCC. He has the experience and temperament to serve the agency with distinction, and we look forward to working with him.”
Talkers New York 2013 Approaching Sellout Today. At the present rate of registration bookings, all available seats to the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 will be sold out by the end of business today (5:00 pm ET). The 16th annual installment of the talk industry’s longest-running and most important annual convention has broken the record for reaching advance registration earlier than ever before. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are amazed and gratified that this conference has reached a sellout almost five weeks in advance of its actual date, which is a testimony to the vibrancy of the talk format and the enthusiasm of the industry that produces it.” The one-day, power-packed event takes place on Thursday, June 6 in New York City between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. It features a speaker roster of more than 50 industry leaders from programming, sales, talent, management, technology and ownership. Registration ($199 for all events and food services) is open exclusively to members of the working media and can only be booked by phone with credit card. Call 413-565-5413. For complete registration and sponsorship information including an up-to-the-minute agenda, click here.
Walton & Johnson Take Over Mornings on KPRC, Houston. Just four months after the Walton & Johnson [John Walton (left) and Steve Johnson (right)] morning show was dropped from Clear Channel’s classic rock KKRW, Houston “97.3 The Arrow,” the program is brought back to the Houston airwaves as the new morning program on the company’s news/talk KPRC. The duo was replaced on “The Arrow” by longtime St. Louis radio personality J.C. Corcoran. Clear Channel Houston director of AM programming Bryan Erickson says, “We are thrilled to have Walton & Johnson back on KPRC. They have a proven track record of great ratings and we look forward to them continuing that success on KPRC.” Walton & Johnson made KPRC their flagship beginning in 2007 but moved to “The Arrow” in 2009. Off KPRC as a result of the move is Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo who is based at Clear Channel’s WOAI, San Antonio and is heard there and on other Clear Channel news/talk stations.
Armstrong & Getty to Join KFMB, San Diego in June. Morning show duo Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty will be heard in the San Diego market beginning June 3 as their program bumps current morning host Mike Slater to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Armstrong & Getty are based at Clear Channel’s KSTE, Sacramento and heard in other markets in Northern California including San Francisco on KKSF. This is a big move for the duo as they are added to a non-Clear Channel station – Midwest TV’s KFMB. Program director Dave Sniff states, “Like any great radio morning show, Armstrong and Getty have that unique ability to not only connect with the listener but to become their companions. They fit in amazingly well among the great storytellers that are part of 760 KFMB’s character and lineage. They’re not so much a ‘talk show’ as a ‘mock show.’”
Cox Media’s WOKV, Jacksonville Adds 104.5 FM Signal. Market news/talk powerhouse WOKV got a little more powerful as Cox Media Group gives the 104.5 FM signal long-occupied by now-defunct rock station WFYV to the station to boost its coverage of the region. WOKV program director Mike Dorwart says, “Our listeners told us loud and clear that we needed more power. Moving to 104.5 FM means that, for the first time, our listeners can hear us crystal clear, everywhere in northeast Florida, both day and night. The most noticeable improvement will be heard by listeners in Baker, Clay, St. Johns, and Nassau counties. They now have full coverage from WOKV, 24/7, on 104.5 FM. Duval residents will also hear a big difference, especially those who listen at work. Our new signal also gives reliable coverage to listeners in Flagler, Putnam, Bradford, Union and Columbia counties in Florida, as well as Camden and Charlton counties in Georgia.” The station has been simulcast on the 106.5 FM frequency but that class A FM is much smaller. WOKV will continue to be heard on 106.5 as the company directs listeners to the new 104.5 frequency.
Five Critical Steps for Radio to Achieve Success with Online Video. Noted media consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo outlines five crucial pointers that radio broadcasters should keep in mind when utilizing video in their digital initiatives. In a column posted today (5/1) he suggests: 1) bad equipment is usually the best; 2) online video is NOT television (TV); 3) 80% of all videos are watched within 72 hours of posting; 4) most of the biggest stars of the internet (“webstars”) are self-cast; and 5) late evening is the best time to post. To read the entirety of this timely and informative article, click here.
The End of an Era for Knoxville News/Talk; Country to Take Over 100.3 Frequency. With Journal Broadcast Group’s acquisition of Oak Ridge FM’s news/talk WNOX, Knoxville about to close, the company is preparing to move the country format currently heard on its WCYQ to the much stronger 100.3 signal currently occupied by news/talk on WNOX. A country simulcast will begin tomorrow on the two FMs (5/2) and the news/talk programming now on WNOX will move to Blount Broadcasting’s WKVL, a daytime AM at 850.
KTRS, St. Louis Newest Affiliate for Envision’s ‘America Weekend.’ The weekend news/talk radio program being nationally syndicated by Envision Radio Networks announces CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis is the latest station to add the programming to its weekend offerings. Envision calls “America Weekend” “the winning antidote to bad brokered programming and tiresome ‘Best-of’ shows. Hosted by Paul Harris, Rick Roberts, and Turi Ryder, ‘America Weekend’ is designed to increase ratings while providing an innovative system for maintaining or even increasing revenue from brokered programs. The flexible ‘America Weekend’ system provides the perfect platform to break away for sports and other special programming as needed. Since ‘America Weekend’ is broadcast live via satellite, it is able to stay current by addressing breaking and developing stories of national interest as they happen. The program airs live each Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.”
Fargo Stations Sales Close: Fargo-Moorhead Radio Cluster to Midwest Communications; Triad Broadcasting Group to Larry Wilson’s L&L. The sales of both of these Fargo market station groups were announced last year and were approved by the FCC months ago. Now the transactions close with Wausau, Wisconsin-based Midwest Communications taking ownership of the former Fargo-Moorhead Radio cluster that includes: news/talk KFGO, sports KVOX, CHR WDAY “Y-94,” country KBVB “Bob FM,” talk KRWK “101.9 Talk FM,” and adult hits KMJO “Popster FM.” Midwest Communications vice president of programming Jeff McCarthy tells the Forum of Fargo Moorhead he doesn’t anticipate any immediate programming changes. Larry Wilson, whose Alpha Broadcasting operates stations in Portland, Oregon, also is a principal in L&L Broadcasting and his company is closing on Triad Broadcasting’s stations that include: oldies KQWB “True Oldies,” classic rock KPFX “The Fox,” hot AC KLTA, country KVOX “Froggy 99.9,” full service KBMW, and rock KQWB “Q98.” Triad vice president and market manager Michael Brooks also tells the paper he does not anticipate any immediate changes.
WEEI Names John Ryder to Red Sox Broadcast Team; Grande and Merloni to Handle Fill-In Role. In announcing John Ryder’s ascension to a permanent role on Red Sox broadcasts as host of pre- and post-game coverage, the company says, “Ryder has been with WEEI since 1998 and is a regular contributor to the ‘Planet Mikey’ show, in addition to hosting ‘Red Sox Review’ and ‘Celtics Rewind’ after Sox and Celtics games.” The company is also announcing that Sean Grande and Lou Merloni will join the broadcasts filling in for Dave O’Brien, who will miss Monday night games during the season due to his responsibilities for ESPN. Grande has been the voice of the Boston Celtics since 2001, after having served as the TV voice of the Minnesota Timberwolves for three years. Merloni is currently co-host of the “Mut and Merloni” show on WEEI 93.7 FM. Merloni also enjoyed a nine-year professional career in Major League Baseball, the first five with the Red Sox. Entercom Boston vice president of programming Jason Wolfe says, “John has done a stellar job in every role we’ve had for him and has absolutely earned this promotion. He’s hosted the pre- and post-game shows for the Sox many times before and was a natural choice for us to fill this important job. Sean’s play-by-play experience speaks for itself. He’s one of the greats in the industry right now, and Lou’s expertise is second to none. There’s no baseball man in Boston who knows the Sox better than Lou.”
Odds & Sods. Result Radio’s Christian contemporary KJJK, Fargo will flip to sports talk on Monday, May 6 using programming from Fox Sports Radio Network including Dan Patrick, Jay Mohr and the “Loose Cannons” with Pat O’Brien and Steve Hartman. The station will continue to serve as a Minnesota Twins affiliate…..Personality J.D. Hayworth – co-host of the “Hacksaw & Hayworth” show on sports talk XEPRS, San Diego – does some news/talk fill-in work this week when he sits in for Cumulus Media Networks host Michael Savage tonight through Friday from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. He’ll also sit in for the company’s Mike Huckabee tomorrow from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET…..Bouyed by coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and the Texas fertilizer warehouse explosion, cable news/talk channel CNN has improved in the ratings compared to the same period a year ago. Based on April Nielsen numbers as reported in Deadline.com, CNN saw its total day viewers number rise 79% compared to April 2012. CNN was also up in prime time, achieving an 81% increase in total viewers over the same period a year ago. The network was able to climb over MSNBC into second place behind Fox News Channel in both ratings categories.
Benghazi Cover-up Investigation, ObamaCare Effects, Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath, Slow Job Growth Reports, and Immigration Legislation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30). New inquiries into the Benghazi attack; the effects of the Affordable Care Act; the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing and the search for possible co-conspirators; newly released reports indicating slow job growth in the United States; and debate over immigration legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
NAB Crystal Award Winners Named; Dave Ramsey Inducted into NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame. At the NAB Show Radio Luncheon on Monday, nationally syndicated talk show host Dave Ramsey was inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Ramsey’s induction was part of the program that included the announcement of the winners of the 2013 NAB Crystal Awards. Spoken-word stations that claimed the honor included Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington and Bonneville International’s KIRO-FM, Salt Lake City. Here is the list of winners: KIRO-FM, Seattle; WKDZ-FM, Cadiz, Kentucky; KSFI-FM, Salt Lake City; WPEG-FM, Charlotte; KUZZ-FM, Bakersfield; WQHT-FM, New York; WCVQ-FM, Clarksville, Tennessee; WTOP-FM Washington; WHUR-FM, Washington; and WYCT-FM, Pensacola. Since 1987, the NAB Crystal Radio Awards have recognized radio stations for their outstanding year-round commitment to community service. The 2013 NAB Crystal Radio Award recipients listed above were chosen from among 50 finalists honored at yesterday’s NAB Show Radio Luncheon. The NAB Show Radio Luncheon also featured a presentation of the NAB Crystal Heritage Award to KNOM-AM/FM, Nome, Alaska. The Crystal Heritage Award honors those stations that have won a total of five Crystal Radio Awards. Entertainer, musician, author and broadcast personality John Tesh provided a keynote address. The luncheon was sponsored by ASCAP.
2013 NAB Show: “It doesn’t feel like 2009.” Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports from the NAB Show in Las Vegas: Cue tympani roll for the official attendance count: 92,414, up from 91,565 in 2012. Notable: Exhibit space is up 10% over last year, and exhibitors I’m speaking with say that stations are here shopping, not just window shopping. That tracks my conversations with station people here, who came with shopping lists. The vibe is upbeat generally, despite some cold water thrown on radio:
“Right now, whether FM is on the phone is a very small issue for our customers and it’s not going to be a priority until I hear that’s what consumers want.” That’s from Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam being interviewed by NAB President Gordon Smith indicating that his company isn’t ready to make the kind of deal Sprint has agreed to: FM receiver chips in wireless phones, in exchange for radio spot inventory. McAdam is unconvinced that his target prospects think radio when they think music: “It looks to me as if the trend is among younger folks customizing the station or getting the playlist they want [from streaming sources]. They will be the ones consuming this stuff and we have to be responsive to what they want.” They’re also consuming billable data time, which is, after all, what wireless carriers sell; whereas listening to over-the-air radio via a receiver chip would stop the clock. Recent blizzards and other incidents have demonstrated wireless networks’ limitations, and AM/FM radio’s value as first informer. Nowhere was that more obvious than in Hurricane Sandy’s path, and New Jersey Broadcasters Association president Paul Rotella is gung-ho for the Sprint deal. I asked him about some broadcasters’ concern that spot inventory Sprint would turn over to a rep firm could end up competing with member stations’ own sales efforts, and Rotella agreed that’s a key deal point.
Programming Changes at Entercom’s Sports KCSP, Kansas City. Entercom’s “610 Sports Radio” moves Danny Parkins and Carrington Harrison from middays to the PM drive slot for a new show called “The Drive with Danny Parkins” that features Harrison and former Kansas City Chief Jayice Pearson. At the same time, the station brings Henry Lake aboard to host the midday program alongside Jay Binkley for “The Dayshift with Lake and Bink.” Lake comes to the station from Clear Channel’s “KFAN” in Minneapolis where he’s been working since 1998. There he hosted “Sludge and Lake,” and more recently “The Lake Show.” He also hosted postgame call-in shows following Minnesota Vikings, and University of Minnesota football games. KCSP program director John Hanson states, “Minneapolis was sad to lose him and we’re glad to get him. He’s earned the respect of his listeners and colleagues alike. ‘610 Sports Radio’ is the most-listened-to sports station in Kansas City, and we know Henry’s experience, sports knowledge and energetic personality will help solidify that position.” Regarding the move of Parkins and company to afternoons Hanson states, “Listeners have been asking for this move. Danny and Carrington have built a great chemistry over the past year, so this move is a great one for us. And to add the player perspective and unique life experience Jayice provides, it will offer a great dynamic to the show.”
Odds & Sods. It’s been a busy week for WHO, Des Moines PM drive talk host Simon Conway. The London, England native was an in-demand guest this week commenting on the passing of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He appeared on radio shows in Texas, Florida, Arkansas and others as well as with Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” – a program on which he regularly fills in. On Friday of this week, Conway will fill in on the AM drive show on Clear Channel’s WFLF, Orlando “News Talk WFLA.”…..As CNN continues to re-tool under the guidance of CNN Worldwide chief Jeff Zucker, Deadline.com reports that in addition to bringing back the old “Crossfire” political debate program, the cable news/talk channel is planning to air a 10-week interview program this summer hosted by CBC personality George Stroumboulopoulis. The show would be taped in Los Angeles before a live audience…..Boston Sports Media Watch’s Bruce Allen is reporting that the Boston Red Sox Radio Network – based at Entercom’s WEEI – is losing studio host and fill-in announcer John Rish who resigned his position and will leave by April 24. Rish is a fill-in play-by-play voice when Dave O’Brien is away on his ESPN duties. Rish has been with the network since 2006 and in 2008, he was appointed as the third announcer in the booth to fill in for either O’Brien or Joe Castiglione…..This Saturday, April 13, WYD Media nationally syndicated talk host Stephanie Miller brings her Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour to Chicago for a stop at the historic Chicago Theatre! As usual, Miller is joined on the tour by comics and radio show cast members John Fugelsang and Hal Sparks.
WGOW-FM, Chattanooga’s Wally Witkowski Passes Away. The man known on the radio as “Wally Witkowski,” whose real name was Tom Bolden, died in Nashville at the age of 59 after a battle with cancer. Bolden, who co-hosted “The Village Idiots” with partner Jim Reynolds on WGOW-FM, Chattanooga for years, had suffered with a variety of illnesses over the years but was working as recently as several weeks ago. According to WRCB-TV, Chattanooga, Bolden was long active in local advertising sales and promotional businesses and became “Wally” in the early 1990s doing traffic reports for the radio station each morning. WRCB-TV reports that Bolden partnered with Reynolds some 20 years ago and the chemistry between the two was apparent from the beginning.
Talk Show Host is Huge Fan of the Comrex Access. Technology has changed every part of our lives and that is especially true for those in the arts, particularly broadcasting. What it used to take a truck to do, now takes less than a briefcase and cost 1/100th the original price. Radio today is changing; no longer is it just terrestrial, it’s the stream, it’s the podcast, Twitter, YouTube, it’s moving at the speed of sound. But, as one talk personality points out in a post today, many hosts are not. They are stuck in their studios doing the same type of radio that worked 20 or more years ago. According to Charles “Karel” Bouley, host of “The Karel Show” (KGO, San Francisco; GCN and CRN), hosts need to be out interacting with the community. They need to be at events, not just covering them. They need to be creating events, not just advertising them. They need to show up at unexpected places and do unexpected things. They need to be entertaining and relevant, and that means they need to get out of the studio. Karel states, “The Comrex Access unit makes that possible in ways never before imagined.” To read his entire article, click here.
New Affiliates for the Leslie Marshall Show. WYM Media Management’s Leslie Marshall show adds some new affiliates to the nationally syndicated talk show. Beginning April 22, KMA Broadcasting’s KMA-AM/FM, Shenandoah, Iowa starts carrying the program live 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Also, Saga Communications’ WHMP, Northampton and WHMQ, Greenfield – both in Massachusetts add the show to their schedules beginning April 15.
North Korea Missile Threat, Gun Legislation Proposals, Washington Budget Battle, Brad Paisley ‘Racist’ Song Flap, Obama White House Concert, and Hillary Clinton in 2016 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/9). The ongoing threats by North Korea to launch a long-range missile at the United States; the battle over new gun legislation; the Washington tug-of-war over the nation’s budget and the deficit; controversy over country singer Brad Paisley’s song “Accidental Racist”; the recent White House soul concert; and chatter about Hillary Clinton’s possible run for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cuttin’ the Cake with Corporate. Staffers from the Beasley Broadcast Group Las Vegas and the company’s corporate execs show off a tasty looking sheet cake bestowed upon them as the big bosses saw fit to throw a little soiree for the Las Vegas staff to recognize them for the good job they’ve been doing lately. Vice president of corporate communications Denyse Mesnik tells TALKERS, “We all agree that this is what makes Beasley so special!” Pictured here (from l-r) are: Bruce Beasley, news/talk KDWN program director John Shaffer, Mesnik, VP digital Kathleen Bricketto, Brian Beasley, rhythmic oldies KOAS and classic hits KVGS program director John Candelaria, VP digital production Kimberly Sonneborn, vice president and market manager Tom Humm, and country KCYE program director Justin Chase.
Heidi Harris Exits KRLA, Los Angeles. After almost a year co-hosting the morning show on Salem Communications’ KRLA/KTIE in Southern California “AM 870 The Answer,” Las Vegas-based talk show host Heidi Harris has left the program. It appears co-hosts Brian Whitman and Ben Shapiro will be joined by another female co-host but who that is has not yet been announced by Salem. Harris doesn’t say what her plans are but posts this on her Facebook page, “I have some news that is GREAT news for me, and bad news for those of you who like me. After a very interesting year, filled with changes I could never have anticipated, I have left Salem LA. This has been in the works for months, and my recent “absences” were intentional, so management could audition someone to replace me. They have finally decided on someone, so my last day was yesterday. I could tell you who she is, but I’ll leave that to management to announce. She’s a darling girl, and I wish her the very best.” Harris has worked at KXNT and KDWN in Las Vegas.
Verizon to Cease Taking orders for ISDN in the Northeast Starting May 18. The fact that ISDN is on the way out is no surprise to anyone in the radio industry who has gone through the headache of trying to order it over the past five or more years. Simply put: The phone companies are not thrilled to install it. It doesn’t make money for them. It was originally created for use as “high-speed” internet. Now there are better and faster ways to increase internet speed. Broadcasters (who make up a rather small percentage of the population) adopted ISDN as a standard way of getting remote audio from point A to point B with good quality. For the most part, the phone companies could care less. They didn’t create it for that purpose. Now, the imminent demise of ISDN has taken a giant step closer to being a reality. Verizon stated yesterday (3/28) that they will no longer take orders for the service, at least in the Northeast, beginning May 18. What does this mean to radio broadcasters who have come to depend on ISDN for a majority percentage of their remote broadcasts? Noted consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray provides the details and advice. Read his exclusive column here.
Clear Channel Cincinnati Announces Winner of “Final Format Tournament” for Soon-to-Be WLW FM Signal. On May 1, translator W233BG, Cincinnati will become the permanent FM simulcast signal for news/talk WLW (it’s been simulcasting CHR “Kiss 107”). However, the company ran a contest giving the winner programming control of the signal for a month and WEBN OM and PD Chris Williams announces that Florence, Kentucky resident Josh Field won the contest with his “Cincy Rock 94.5” entry. Following the Cincinnati Reds’ opening day broadcast on Monday, April 1, the signal becomes a rock outlet programmed by Field and dedicated to the “undiscovered rock of Cincinnati.” Williams states, “Before turning 94.5 over to ‘The Big One, 700 WLW,’ we wanted to take the opportunity to make Cincinnati radio history. Never before has a radio station been given away as a prize and placed in the control of a single fan. We’re excited that the audience selected a format that will support the local music scene with ‘Cincy Rock 94.5.’”
American General Media Names Bob Lewis Regional PD. Bob Lewis will be in charge of American General Media’s seven-station cluster in Albuquerque/Santa Fe and seven-station cluster in Bakersfield and as regional director of programming he’ll “be instrumental in the evolution of AGM’s established brands, as well as the launch of new stations, for both markets.” AGM president Rogers Brandon states, “I am delighted to have Bob rejoin our company in this important new capacity. We have a broad array of great radio stations in both Bakersfield and Albuquerque. I look forward to working with Bob to grow our stations with great heritage and develop new and exciting product lines.” Bob Lewis has worked as marketing and brand manager/program director for Trumper Communications‘ KMVA-FM in Phoenix and at Emmis Communications’ KDHT-FM and KBPA-FM in Austin. Prior to joining Emmis, Lewis was director of FM operations/marketing & programming for AGM’s Bakersfield cluster. He says, “I am beyond thrilled to be rejoining American General Media and look forward to learning and partnering with the exceptional PDs and staffs in Albuquerque and Bakersfield.”
Progressive Talk Show Host Thom Hartmann Provides Inspiring Model of Multi-Platform Delivery System – Exclusive Tour of DC Facility on TALKERS TV. He is a progressive national and internationally syndicated talk show host (WYD Media) whose shows – because of a creative, multi-platform approach (and a huge, growing fan base to support it) – are now available in over a half-billion homes worldwide. Thom Hartmann‘s radio show is distributed on for-profit radio stations nationwide by Dial Global, on non-profit and community stations nationwide by Pacifica, on cable systems nationwide by CRN, on its own YouTube channel, via Livestream on its own Livestream channel, via subscription podcasts, worldwide through the US Armed Forces Network, and through the Thom Hartmann App in the App Store. The radio show is also simulcast as TV in real time into nearly 40 million US and Canadian homes by the Free Speech TV Network on Dish Network, DirectTV, and cable TV systems nationwide. (In addition, his evening TV program, “The Big Picture,” is wholly owned by his own production company, produced in the RT studios, and licensed to and carried by Free Speech TV in the US and into over 600 million homes in 104 countries by the RT TV network and distributed worldwide on Hulu.) TALKERS TV caught up with this five-time Heavy Hundred member (currently ranked #8 in the nation) at his Washington, DC broadcast headquarters where he gives TALKERS readers an exclusive ”tour” of the multi-media model facility. To see it click on the TALKERS TV box in the upper right hand column on this page.
Pssst, Hey Buddy, Wanna Buy a Record Company? TALKERS has gotten a line on an incredibly interesting and rare opportunity for the right person or company who would like to enter the music business or expand their present operation by acquiring a long-standing (decades) independent record company whose owners are retiring due to health issues and looking to liquidate some very interesting and valuable intellectual property. This acquisition would include a veritable treasure trove of 701 original master tapes – 380 of which are full albums, 341 containing 2-5 tracks covering approximately 225 artists from the early rock ‘n’ roll and big band eras. We are talking about many major names and hits as well as a number of almost-forgotten collector items. The owners are looking for a quick sale and are willing to make a great deal with the right buyer willing to give these treasures a good home and proper presentation in the marketplace where there is significant niche demand for this era of music. Interested parties should contact Barbara Kurland at TALKERS by calling 413-565-5413 or emailing Barbara@talkers.com for more details.
Is Moss Growing on Your Website? If so, radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke offers advice on how to maximize its impact as a numbers and revenue inducing ally to your on-air dial frequency. In a nuts and bolts column posted today (3/29) Cooke responds to the often-asked question, “Should I move from Facebook to Twitter?” His answer: “I sure would NOT: a) bother with MySpace, b) abandon Facebook, or c) under-utilize Twitter.” He goes on to state, “Wisely, stations and personalities are prioritizing Twitter, a darn opportune tool which listeners have adopted as-fervently as they did Facebook…and MySpace, in its day.” He goes on to say, ”If you’re thinking that ‘The Next Shiny Object’ is your very own iPhone app, STOP. Save the money, for reasons I will explain on June 6 in my Talkers New York 2013 presentation ‘Resourceful + Remarkable.’” To read Holland Cooke’s entire column, click here.
Odds & Sods. CNN announces a new morning show lineup in an effort to get out of the #3 spot behind Fox News Channel and MSNBC. According to the Los Angeles Times, Chris Cuomo will be joined by CNN congressional correspondent and “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” co-anchor Kate Bolduan. New CNN president Jeff Zucker is charged with bringing CNN’s morning show out of the cellar and he’s also brought Michaela Pereira aboard as news anchor…..Entercom’s WEEI, Boston teams up with Miller Lite to sponsor a promotion that wraps up at tonight’s Boston Celtics game. The station has already qualified four local listeners as contestants during lead-up events and between the first and second quarters of the game, each will get a shot at $50,000 if they can sink a half-court shot…..CRN Digital Talk brings legendary Los Angeles radio personality to its network for a Saturday program beginning tomorrow. Dave Hull, who became a star on KRLA in the 1960s, returns to the air alongside Mandy Armstrong for the “Dave Hull & Mandy” show. Hull was known for his close relationship with the Beatles during their rise to stardom. He helped push the growth of rock music by helping plan the Beatles’ 1966 Hollywood Bowl concert as well as promoting clubs, other concerts and his own nightclub. About his new program he states, “I took some time off a few years ago to write a book and do some other things, but now I’m excited about coming back to radio and working with CRN…We’re going to have a humorous look at today’s news topics in a way that you’ve never heard on talk radio before. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
SNL Kagan Releases Rankings of Top 25 Media and Entertainment Companies. Based on 2012 figures and broken into two bases – net income and operating revenue – the SNL Kagan rankings of the top-earning media and entertainment firms are dominated by companies with diversified interests. That’s not surprising. Based on net income, CBS Corp. ranks #6 (down from #5 last year); Liberty Media (owner of SiriusXM) ranks #7 (up from #10 last year); and News Corp. (Fox News, et al) came in at #8 (down from #2 in 2011) all made the grade. When basing the rank on operating income, CC Media Holdings – parent of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – ranked #10 (same as in 2011). Interestingly, Nielsen Holdings N.V. – which may soon own Arbitron – ranked #17 in net income and #12 in operating revenue.
Gay Marriage Bumps Sequester from Top Spot on Talkers TenTM. The gay marriage debate – spurred by this week’s arguments at the Supreme Court – became the most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio, overtaking the sequester effects which had been at the top for the past five weeks. At #2 this week was North Korea’s military threats. Coming in at #3 was gun legislation tied with the Jim Carrey song followed by the slow economic growth figures at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Master marketer Vince McMahon continues to build a vast “Sports Entertainment” empire largely owing to his uncanny knack of giving the “universe” of WWE fans the product they crave, a philosophy congruous with that of Massachusetts-born entrepreneur Marshall Field, who stressed that his Chicago-based department stores should, “Give the lady what she wants.”
Not only is the same applicable to an intensely entertaining and astute talk radio personality, it is his program’s cornerstone mantra.
Ronn Owens Signs New Deal with KGO, San Francisco. The iconic Bay Area talk radio fixture begins his 38th year in the radio business after signing a two-year guaranteed deal with an option for a third year. Ronn Owens was reported by Bay Area media blogger Rich Lieberman to be on his way out at the Cumulus Media heritage talker back in the fall – a story TALKERS picked up on – but that did not happen and it appears Owens is likely to mark his 40th anniversary in the business at KGO in a couple of years. At a time when legendary personalities across the country are being ousted from their programs due to budget cuts and programming changes, it’s nice to see a figure of Owens’ magnitude sign up for a new tour of duty!
Boston Media Personalities Margery Eagan and Jim Braude Land at Pubcaster WGBH. Boston Herald columnist Margery Eagan and Boston TV and radio personality Jim Braude will begin hosting a daily 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm talk program on public radio outlet WGBH, Boston beginning February 25, almost two months after they exited Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston due to a format change. Eagan and Braude hosted mornings at WTKK for much of the 13 years they were at WTKK. The Boston Herald reports the current midday hosts at WGBH – Callie Crossley and Emily Rooney – will be featured on the new program as well.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai to Address AM Band at NAB Show in April. The National Association of Broadcasters announces FCC Commissioner Ajit V. Pai will lead a session on AM radio revitalization at the NAB Show in Las Vegas on Monday, April 8. The NAB states, “Broadcasters are exploring the challenges and opportunities related to revitalizing AM radio while continuing to provide the popular, local programming that millions of listeners rely on daily. This session, held within the Broadcast Management Conference, will address possible options for sustaining and enhancing AM radio as a unique entertainment medium. Commissioner Pai, who has expressed special interest in the future of AM radio, will moderate a panel of AM radio leaders, engineers and policy experts.”
Trevor Oliver Exits Premiere Networks. After 15 years with Premiere Networks, Trevor Oliver exits his SVP of operations position. Oliver tells TALKERS magazine he leaves the company on very good terms and that he’s looking forward to his next opportunity. Oliver, who joined Premiere in 1998, has an excellent reputation in the industry and TALKERS has no doubt he’ll put his numerous talents to use in the business somewhere very soon.
Talk Host Sam Malone to Return to Houston Airwaves (and Cablewaves!). Houston radio personality Sam Malone – most recently heard in the market on Dan Patrick-owned news/talk KSEV – will begin a new program on Phonoscope Cable and the show will be simulcast on a local talk radio station to be named later. The Houston Chronicle reports that Malone, who is serving as president of Phonoscope New Media, says the idea for a video and audio show grew out of his experience with Phonoscope. “This is where radio will be going in the future. We need to get the message to smartphones and iPads, not just car radios.” In addition to KSEV, Malone has also worked at music outlets KRBE and KHMX in Houston. He tells the Chronicle he’ll announce the radio station he’ll be on next week but says it’s a station he has not worked for in the past.
Former Congressman John Sweeney to Host Albany Talk Show. Four-term Republican Congressman John Sweeney begins a daily one-hour talk show on Capital Broadcasting’s WGDJ, Albany “Talk 1300.” Sweeney joined president and general manager Paul Vandenburgh on his morning program to announce he’ll begin the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon program on Monday, February 11. Sweeney says, “One of the things I miss about being in the public eye is my day-to-day interaction with the people.” Vandenburgh states, “John has consistently been a leader in the Capital District. Our goal from day one has been to provide a local product on a daily basis and John will be a marvelous addition.”
Dave Ramsey Knocks ‘em Dead in Knoxville. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey presented his “Building Your Legacy” event to a sold-out crowd in Knoxville recently. Ramsey talked about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence and worked with his daughter Rachel Cruze, who joined him on stage for the presentation. Ramsey teamed up with local affiliate WNOX-FM to promote this event. WNOX general manager Ed Brantley states, “Dave Ramsey’s ‘Building Your Legacy’ was a huge success not only for WNOX-FM and our sponsors but for the community. Dave’s up-close-and-personal approach captured the sold-out crowd.”
LA Talk Radio Celebrates 5th Anniversary. The Los Angeles-based internet talk radio station is celebrating its fifth year “on the air.” Founder Sam Hasson says, “LA Talk Radio has found its success in emerging radio talent in Los Angeles and the rest of the world. We now provide over 80 shows of quality programming, giving ambitious hosts a vocal platform where they can build their listening audience.” LA Talk Radio was born on February 4, 2008, as BBS Talk Radio launched in a “small but comfortable office” in a luxurious high-rise building in downtown Los Angeles. It wasn’t long before Hasson had three daily shows and six weekly shows and soon thereafter began broadcasting 24 hours a day.
KTRH and KPRC, Houston’s Matt Patrick Faces Off with Piers Morgan on Gun Issue. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment personality Matt Patrick (r) – whose programs air on KTRH, Houston in AM drive and on sister KPRC in afternoons – is pictured here at a live remote broadcast from Tactical Firearms in Houston. Patrick tells TALKERS magazine the remote was a “spirited and interactive show to a live audience of listeners.” Patrick’s program aired live before CNN personality and gun legislation advocate Piers Morgan (c) brought his television show to the same location later that evening to argue for the proposed ban on high volume semi-automatic weapons. “Piers Morgan Tonight” aired from Tactical Firearms after Morgan agreed to come and use the gun range and try to experience why Texans love their guns. Morgan agreed to appear on the final segment of Patrick’s program in front of a live audience.
KYKN, Salem, Oregon’s Bill Post Draws Crowd to Gun Rally. Willamette Broadcasting’s KYKN, Salem helped draw a crowd of some 3,000 to the Oregon State Capitol on January 19 for a rally dubbed, “Guns Across America.” A key speaker at the event was 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk host Bill Post (at the mic) who addressed the crowd about the gun legislation issue. The station reports that requests for autographs and photos with Post were overwhelming.
Deficit Reduction Debate; Obama Drone Killing Controversy; Gun Legislation Proposals; Chris Christie Weight Flap and Obama Care Costs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6). The debate in Washington over reducing the deficit via tax and spending cuts; President Obama’s insistence on the right to use drones to kill U.S. citizens; the move to enact new gun control legislation; the media flap over Governor Chris Christie’s weight; and the looming costs of the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
It’s Official: Tom Cuddy to Program WOR, New York. The rumor of former WPLJ, New York PD Tom Cuddy’s new gig as programmer of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WOR turns out to be true as the company officially announces his joining the station. He says of his new position, “I’m beyond excited to be joining a news/talk station that enjoys legendary status in New York. We have amazing plans to grow WOR and make it the hottest spot on the AM dial. WOR has one of the best signals on the East Coast.” Cuddy will work under former WABC, New York general manager Steve Borneman who recently joined WOR, as well.
Jolana Smith Named PD at Cumulus Media’s WFAS, Westchester, New York Combo. In her new position, Jolana Smith will program both the news/talk AM and the adult contemporary FM Cumulus is operating in Westchester. She comes to the stations from Cox Media’s AC WEZN, Bridgeport, Connecticut “Star 99.9” where she co-hosted morning drive and did the midday shift. In addition to programming both stations, Smith will host the midday shift on WFAS-FM. Smith states, “What an amazing opportunity to be part of the Cumulus programming ranks and to be working with SVP/programming Mike McVay and VP/AC format captain Emily Boldon…Somebody pinch me!”
David Sirota Exits KHOW, Denver. Progressive writer and columnist David Sirota exits Clear Channel’s KHOW, Denver where he’d been paired up with conservative Michael Brown for the past six months. Prior to that Sirota hosted the morning show at progressive talk sister station KKZN. The Denver Post reports neither side is saying much, obviously agreeing to not discuss the change in the press. But Sirota confirmed he’s no longer with Clear Channel and CC Denver VP of programing Greg Foster offered the obligatory “we thank him and wish him well” statement.
Rick Sanchez Lands Radio Gig at WIOD, Miami. Former CNN personality Rick Sanchez had been seeking a talk radio gig since his departure from CNN in the fall of 2010. Now, Sanchez takes over the afternoon drive slot at Clear Channel’s WIOD, Miami, replacing Rich Minaya. The hiring of Cuban-born and Spanish-speaking Rick Sanchez is interesting in as much as his media experience doing bi-lingual talk and news programs will give him a unique approach to connecting with the Miami audience. Sanchez was let go from CNN after making a comment on a radio program about Jews as minorities in the media business that was construed at politically incorrect.
Steve Deace Show Clears New York City. The Iowa-based Steve Deace talk show clears the Big Apple on Salem Communications’ WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” airing weeknights from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. Deace’s program is in its second year of national syndication. Deace states, “To go live in New York City after only 13 months in syndication is quite an honor. There are good hosts on hundreds of radio stations around the country who can’t get cleared in New York City, so I’m well aware of what this means for the future of our show.” Salem director of spoken-word format Phil Boyce says, “We’re excited to see what one of the real rising talents in our industry can do in the nation’s number one market. Many of us have been waiting for the next generation of talk radio to emerge, and Deace represents that next generation.” Deace hosted a local program on WHO, Des Moines prior to going into syndication. His national show is carried on WHO.
Daily Kevin McCullough Show Adds Nine Affiliates in 2013. The nationally syndicated Kevin McCullough show adds nine new affiliates including: WWRC, Washington, DC; WGKA, Atlanta; KRCN, Denver; and WCRU, Charlotte. The program is syndicated by McCullough’s XtreMedia Inc. and the recent additions put McCullough’s program over the 300-affiliate mark. XtreMedia also syndicates the Dani Johnson radio program as well as the weekend Baldwin/McCullough show featuring McCullough and actor Stephen Baldwin.
Sports Offers Social Success Templates. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas covering the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show but prior to that, he took in the New Media Expo (formerly the Blogworld conference). Cooke reports on the nuances of understanding and using social media for radio station promotion after hearing Amy Jo Martin’s keynote speech. Cooke says Martin believes, “One of the fundamental adjustments broadcasters need to make the most of social media is to understand that tools like Facebook and Twitter aren’t just transmitters. They’re conversations.” And social media tools can help jocks and talk hosts be more authentic to their audiences. Read more of Holland Cooke’s analysis here.
Alex Jones Takes on Piers Morgan. Nationally syndicated talk show host Alex Jones appeared on CNN on Monday evening with host Piers Morgan to debate the gun control issue and the petition to have British citizen Morgan deported in the wake of his high-profile call for new gun laws after the Newtown massacre. Traditional talk show hosts tend to shy away from gun issues on their programs but the right to bear arms is a cornerstone of Alex Jones’ belief system and a regular topic on his program. The feisty exchange on CNN was good TV theater and raises Jones’ national profile. See the program here.
Obama Cabinet Nominations, Debt Ceiling Issue, NFL Playoffs, Gun Legislation Discussion and Aurora Theater Massacre Hearing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/7). President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel for defense secretary and John Brennan for CIA chief; the issue of the nation’s debt ceiling; the weekend’s NFL playoff games; debate over changes to the nation’s gun laws; and the hearing in Colorado for Aurora theater massacre suspect James Holmes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cool Job Opportunity. Townsquare Media has an opportunity for the position of operations manager in Wichita Falls. If you have experience in country, rock, CHR and news/talk formats this could be the job for you. The OM will also serve as brand manager for our CHR station, 92.9 NIN, and must have a track record in that format. You will also host an on-air shift on 92.9 NIN. In addition to a strong ratings record, candidates should demonstrate a deep, rich understanding of interactive branding including social media, loyalty programs, content creation, e-commerce, streaming platforms, mobile and texting. This job is much more than picking the hits. The successful candidate will be a great leader, a talent coach, and a highly organized strategist. You’ll need exceptional teamwork skills to produce results with experienced talent, programmers, sales and digital teams. Strong working knowledge of music scheduling systems, digital audio systems and online media platforms are required. You’ll manage multiple tasks at once, and great communication skills, attention to detail and a sense of humor are all a must. We work hard and have fun doing it! If you’re a fun, dynamic, creative, proven winner who loves working in media, contact Chuck Armstrong at Townsquare Media: firstname.lastname@example.org. Townsquare Media is an equal opportunity employer.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — If you haven’t already noticed, you’ve got to see this. Grab a copy of USA Today. Any day will do, but it has to be the newsstand hard copy. No digital version will work.
Radio is reeling from another Clear Channel bloodbath, just in time for Christmas. It wasn’t the first, it won’t be the last, and it’s not just Clear Channel. But heartless timing. The nerve of ‘em.
In the words of Eric Stratton, Rush Chairman: “Let me tell you the story of another loser…”
“The Answer” Gets Manhattan Street-Level Presence. Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” has Manhattan street-level presence as the PM drive show featuring Curtis Sliwa and Jeffrey Lichtman are now hosting their show from a studio in the department-store type window setting at the historic Hotel Pennsylvania in Midtown Manhattan. Pictured here are Sliwa (r) and Lichtman (l) hosting a recent edition of their program. Salem Communications vice president director of spoken-word format Phil Boyce states, “This not only gives our hosts a bird’s-eye view of Midtown Manhattan, but allows literally thousands of daily passersby to see ‘Curtis & Jeffrey’ and ‘WNYM AM 970 THE ANSWER’ prominently displayed in the heart of our listening area. This marquee location on 7th Ave and 33rd Street, is located across from the Long Island Railroad, Penn Station, a subway hub, Macy’s and is around the corner from the NJ PATH train. The value of this degree of exposure and publicity for our station and two of our best known hosts is incalculable. It’s also across from the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, which on any given night might host the Knicks, the Rangers or innumerable other sporting and entertainment events.”
Russ Rollins and Dirty Jim Re-Up with WTKS, Orlando; Daniel Dennis Exits. The Monsters in the Morning program at Clear Channel’s hot talk WTKS, Orlando is one talent fewer after co-host Daniel Dennis declines to sign a new three-year contract with the station. Program founder and host Russ Rollins, along with co-host Dirty Jim, both signed new three-year deals to continue broadcasting the AM drive program on the station but Dennis tells the Orlando Sentinel he didn’t want the contract but would rather have continued as an at-will employee. He hosts a weekly internet talk show called, “A Mediocre Time with Tom and Dan” that can be heard at tomanddan.com.
Alan Eisenson Exits Clear Channel Sacramento. Talk radio programmer Alan Eisenson leaves his position as operations manager for Clear Channel’s Sacramento cluster where he served as operations manager for news/talk KFBK-AM/FM and talk KSTE. Eisenson was also in charge of programming at CC’s San Francisco talk outlets KKSF and KNEW.
Odds & Sods. SiriusXM brings iconic film star and polarizing historical figure Jane Fonda to its “Town Hall” series. The actress will be part of the “SiriusXM Town Hall” on Thursday, December 6 at 10:00 am when she’ll sit down with journalist Perri Peltz and speak about her new yoga DVD and take questions from the audience…..On Thursday, November 29, radio pro Turi Ryder will sit in for John Williams on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago on the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program…..ABC TV’s “Good Morning America” is preparing to do something it hasn’t done in 17 years: Win the coveted November sweeps. Broadcasting & Cable reports the show is beating NBC’s “Today” in both total audience and viewers 25-54 as the end of the sweeps approaches.
CNN Has a New Chief: Jeff Zucker. That’s not official but The New York Times and Deadline.com are reporting that Time Warner has agreed to terms with former NBCUniversal CEO and current executive producer of Katie Couric’s syndicated talk show, Jeff Zucker. The official announcement is expected to be made very soon. Zucker would replace Jim Walton at CNN. Walton announced he would leave the cable news channel at the end of the year. CNN has been roundly beaten up in the consumer press for its woes in the prime time ratings race but it should be noted that, ratings aside, CNN continues to be a profitable operation for Time Warner. Still, Zucker’s charge would be to revitalize its prime time ratings that have fallen farther behind Fox News Channel and are regularly challenged by MSNBC.
ESPN Begins Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research; Announces $1 Million Donation to the Cause. Yesterday began sports entertainment broadcaster ESPN’s Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research and the company announced it is committing $1 million to the fundraising effort for the endowment fund. ESPN executive chairman George Bodenheimer made the announcement on Tuesday, November 27 and Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg made it public via their radio and TV program that day. ESPN’s sixth annual Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research – a multiplatform initiative which drives awareness of and donations to The V Foundation for Cancer Research – tipped off yesterday at 7:00 pm ET with a simulcast of former NC State coach Jim Valvano’s 1993 ESPYs speech across ESPN domestic media networks, as well as on the ABC SuperSign in Times Square. The week will conclude with the Jimmy V Women’s and Men’s Basketball Classics Presented by Corona Extra on Monday, December 3 and Tuesday, December 4. For more information on Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research, visit ESPN Media Zone.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Launches Holiday Giving Campaign. The organization that exists solely to assist broadcasters in need is announcing the start-up of its Holiday Giving Campaign. The Broadcasters Foundation of America – which disbursed more than $675,000 in assistance last year – is urging broadcasters to become members and to spread the word about this campaign. BFoA chairman Phil Lombardo says, “The Broadcasters Foundation exists solely to provide financial relief to broadcasters in need. These are individuals who we have worked with over the years, and whose lives have been devastated by unthinkable circumstances. Aid from the Broadcasters Foundation can be life-saving, in many cases. I urge every broadcaster to consider making a donation or becoming a member.” Over the past 60 years, the Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars in aid to hundreds of broadcasters who lost their livelihood through a catastrophic event, debilitating disease, or unforeseen family tragedy. In addition, one-time emergency grants are provided in the aftermath of a devastating circumstance or natural disaster, like the Joplin tornadoes and Hurricane Sandy. Individual membership is only $150 a year and can make a difference in the life of a colleague who has fallen on desperate times. To become a member, make a personal donation to the Guardian Fund, or a corporate contribution to the Angel Initiative, please contact the Broadcasters Foundation at 212-373-8250, email@example.com, or visit the website at www.broadcastersfoundation.org.
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, OECD Global Economy Report, Black Friday/Cyber Monday Numbers, Benghazi Attack/Susan Rice-GOP Meeting, and Powerball Jackpot Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/27). The battle in Washington over tax hikes and entitlement program changes; the OECD global economy report that predicts slow growth over the next two years; initial numbers from holiday season’s two big shopping days; the spat over U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice’s meeting with GOP leaders; and the $500 million Powerball jackpot in Wednesday’s drawing were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Phil Valentine
Talk Show Host
Cumulus Media Networks
NASHVILLE — We should’ve seen it coming but it was so insidious that we hardly noticed it. We had our antennae up for political correctness. I guess we never even factored in being afraid for our lives.
The recent events in the Middle East have given many of us pause to scratch our heads and marvel at the utter naivete of an administration whose embassy in Cairo issues a preemptive press release condemning a movie no one had ever heard of in hopes of appeasing the barbarians at the gate. Surely, we thought to ourselves, the Neville Chamberlain Society wasn’t running the whole country.
It’s one thing to fear for your life in the midst of radicals who would just as soon slit your throat as look at you but here in America? More specifically, in Sacramento?
Ronn Owens Disputes Reports of His Demise at KGO. Addressing yesterday morning’s lead story on the TALKERS magazine morning headlines, attributed to San Francisco media blogger Rich Lieberman, KGO talk show host Ronn Owens tells TALKERS there is no truth to the report that his contract will be bought out before it ends on December 31 and that the station will replace him with a newsy program. Owens also tells TALKERS he has no knowledge of Cumulus Media’s plans beyond his contract but says, “Cumulus has been totally nice to me.” Owens says Lieberman “has been attacking me for over a year for the changes that have taken place at KGO,” referring to the dismissal of other talk show hosts and staffers that took place after Cumulus assumed control of the station. Owens says Lieberman’s blog story is “totally made up.” He says, in fact, his agent is not Don Buchwald but is David Katz. He also says he does not make a seven-figure salary and never said that his ego is too big to be paid $300,000, as Lieberman reported. Regarding his future at KGO, Owens tells TALKERS, “San Francisco is the crown jewel of places to live and whatever happens after December 31 happens.”
CBS Radio’s Atlanta Sports FM Will Be “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game.” Set to debut in mid-October, CBS Radio’s new FM sports talk outlet – the soon-to-be-former Triple A WZGC, Atlanta will take the handle “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game.” Media chatter around Atlanta is that the station may reveal its lineup as early as next week in order to give the sales staff something concrete to pitch to clients prior to the launch. Earlier media reports alluded to the possibility that “Two Live Stews” Doug and Ryan Stewart – recently dropped from crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone” – might pop up on the station but TALKERS sources indicate that will not be the case. The programming philosophy we’re hearing about for this station is being termed as “fresh.” Stay tuned!
Nation’s Biggest Talk Hosts Sign On to Petition Against TV Networks for Biased Election Coverage. The missive detailing a complaint against ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN for “rigging this election and taking sides in order to pre-determine the outcome,” is penned by the conservative Media Research Center’s L. Brent Bozell III but it is signed by some of the country’s top nationally syndicated talk show hosts. Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh, TRN’s Laura Ingraham and Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin signed the open letter. In it, Bozell writes, in part: “A free and balanced media are crucial to the health of this country. It is your duty as journalists – as outlined in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics – to ‘distinguish between advocacy and news reporting,’ while simultaneously ‘seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.’ There is a reason why the media are viewed with such disdain by the American public, as evidenced by every recent poll on the issue.”
Armstrong & Getty Reportedly Suspended for Call to Criticize Islam. The suspension has not been confirmed by Clear Channel Sacramento management but the duo of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty were off their KSTE, Sacramento flagship station as well as KKSF, San Francisco (where the show is simulcast) on Tuesday morning after the show sent out a press release promoting its call to listeners to post videos and photos critical of Islam and the prophet Muhammad to “flood the world with cartoons, movies and songs saying bad things about Muhammad until they finally grow up. In other words, free speech,” stated Jack Armstrong. The political blog The Right Perspective is reporting the duo have been suspended though it doesn’t state a period or confirmation of the sanction. KTXL-TV, Sacramento produced a piece on the controversy and also was unable to get a comment on record from Clear Channel’s Sacramento management.
Radio’s Strengths in the Media Landscape. Radio consultant Holland Cooke says the best session he attended at the recent 2012 Radio Show in Dallas was by Arbitron senior VP/marketing Bill Rose and highlighted how “Radio provides opportunities to reach consumers when advertising is relevant to what they are doing.” Cooke says, “This document [the study cited] is a powerful selling tool, and real instructive to programmers and on-air talent…especially on-air talent that sells (and smart on-air talent does).” The data Rose used in his presentation was from USA Touchpoints, a national sample that captures media usage, shopping behavior, emotional mindset, via smartphone app, every half hour, from 10-day panelists. Read Holland Cooke’s report and analysis here.
WWNC, Asheville AM Drive Co-Host Jerri Jameson Moves On. Morning drive co-host Jerri Jameson announces she will exit the Clear Channel station October 12 to pursue other interests. Jameson writes on her station blog, “After more than 10 years with Clear Channel Asheville, it is time for me to move on from radio. It was a difficult decision. I have gotten to know some truly wonderful people in our great community and for that I will always be grateful. Waking up each morning to share the daily goings on around town, the state and the world with you has truly been an honor I will treasure forever.”
The Young Guns of Talk Radio. Ask anyone, especially those working for the consumer media, and they’ll tell you that personalities working as hosts on news/talk stations are all old, white men. Radio’s general lack of a “farm system” doesn’t help that misconception much, but the truth is there are young people – some men and some women – working in news/talk radio today. Tomorrow at Talkers.com, executive editor Kevin Casey writes about some of those broadcasters and their thoughts on being young and on the air in the news/talk business.
Willie Geist to Join NBC’s “Today.” According to Brian Stelter’s Media Decoder in The New York Times, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” cast member Willie Geist will become co-host of the 9:00 am hour of NBC’s “Today” program. The deal has not been officially announced and Stelter reports Geist will still appear on “Morning Joe,” probably during the 6:00 am hour but will give up the “Way Too Early” 5:30 am newscast he’s been anchoring. It’s also believed Geist will fill in for Matt Lauer when he is absent.
Rumors of Big Names Being Sought to Run CNN. Sony chairman Howard Stringer is one of the executives rumored to be on the list of those being sought to take charge of struggling CNN when current chief Jim Walton leaves at the end of the year. The New York Post reports a source inside CNN states, “We should know something in a month, perhaps before the elections. Unlike CNN International, we just don’t have someone with a mission. We need our Roger Ailes.” Other media execs reportedly being considered are former NBCUniversal president and CEO Jeff Zucker, former ABC News president David Westin, and former NBC News chief Neal Shapiro.
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles takes its “KNX on Your Corner” live remote series to Glendale, California on October 19. The day of programming will include features about Glendale’s history, current issues and plans for future growth. Coverage will include live interviews with city officials and other special guests. The station will continue the series in Beverly Hills on December 7…..SiriusXM will present live coverage of the 2012 Ryder Cup golf tournament. The biennial event pits the US against Europe and is being played this year at Medinah Country Club in Illinois.
Part of the Skyline. CBS Radio’s all-news KYW, Philadelphia is now a part of the city’s skyline after the station put up a new, lit call letter sign atop its offices at 400 Market Street in downtown Philly. The KYW logo and the iconic CBS “eye,” were hung over this past weekend and faces east, making it visible from Camden, New Jersey, I-95 and the Ben Franklin Bridge. The station notes this was not a simple building procedure. “The difficult process of hanging an illuminated sign above street level, particularly in the downtown area, took five years before receiving city zoning and art commission approval. KYW is now the only radio station in Philadelphia County to be granted this right.”
Obama on ‘The View’ and at the UN, Iran’s Bluster, Criticism of Religious Figures, Libya Aftermath, and NFL Replacement Officials Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/25). President Obama’s Appearance on ‘The View’ and his speech at the United Nations; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s blustery speech at the UN and his appearance on Piers Morgan; criticism of religious figures; analysis of the aftermath of the Libya attack and furor over the NFL’s replacement officials were some of the most-talked-about-stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Day One from the Democratic National Convention. WYD Media’s Stephanie Miller (c) is pictured here in an “action” shot that shows the expansive media center in Charlotte from which she is broadcasting her nationally syndicated morning drive program. In this photo, she’s joined by Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes (l) and Stephanie Miller show regular Jim Ward (r). There are more than 100 talk show hosts joining the news organizations covering the DNC in Charlotte that wraps up Thursday with President Obama’s evening speech accepting his party’s nomination for the ticket.
Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston Makes Brand Change and Boost to News Product Official. As TALKERS magazine reported yesterday, Greater Media news/talk outlet WTKK has re-branded itself and is rededicating itself to providing Bostonians with more news and information and program director Grace Blazer makes that official. She says the station “will provide listeners in the Boston Metropolitan area with consistent ‘live and local’ news, traffic, and weather reports around the clock on-air, online and on their mobile devices. Through a partnership with Total Traffic, Greater Media Boston’s News Talk 96.9 FM-WTKK will deliver newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour 24 hours a day and traffic and weather reports every 15 minutes. In addition, WTKK will refer to itself as NEWS TALK 96.9 both on air and online to more accurately reflect its product.” Blazer says, “We are proud to be the only FM radio station with a 24 hour live and local staff of newscasters delivering timely, local and breaking news, accurate traffic reporting, and dependable weather forecasts. The addition of services to our already strong talk lineup makes News Talk 96.9 FM unique within the Boston market and also presents immediate opportunities for our advertisers.” Total News Source VP Chris Berry says of the new relationship, “An amazing amount of news is generated daily in Boston and New England. We are very pleased to be working around the clock with the team at News Talk 96.9 to assist in gathering and delivering news and information.”
Glenn Beck Gets Apology from American Airlines After Rude Service. The Premiere Networks-syndicated radio host told his audience he was treated rudely by a flight attendant on a weekend flight from Newark to Dallas – ostensibly for his political views – and would never fly American again. Beck told his national radio audience the male flight attendant “fawned over” the other passengers but slammed a can of soda down in front of him and “barked” at him, treating him as “subhuman.” The airline tweeted an apology and went further issuing the following statement, “We are sorry for the experience Mr. Beck had on a recent flight. The comfort and satisfaction of our customers are very important priorities to us and we take these matters seriously. We have reached out to Mr. Beck’s office and are actively looking into the situation.”
Matt Fox Exits NextMedia’s WHBC, Canton. The morning show at NextMedia’s WHBC, Canton, Ohio will consist of co-host Pam Cook and Canton Repository sports columnist Todd Porter for now as Matt Fox exits the station to take a position outside the radio business. The Repository reports Fox cited the early morning hours – a 3:45 wakeup call – as one of the reasons he’s choosing to leave the show he’s been co-hosting with Cook since February of 2011. He took over for Fred Chenevey at that time and the program was his first full-time radio gig. He continues to co-host the “Around the House with Matt and Shari” home improvement show that airs on the local PBS TV outlet.
Big Changes at Chicago Public Media; Big Shoes to Fill at WBEZ. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports on the announcement that afternoon talk host Steve Edwards is leaving his “The Afternoon Shift” talk show on CPM’s WBEZ, Chicago to take a new post at the University of Chicago. Edwards has been with Chicago Public Media for 14 years, serving in a number of capacities during that time, including as director of content development and program director. It was just last February that the 41-year-old public media pro returned to the air to host “The Afternoon Shift.” On his new position as deputy director, programming at the University of Chicago’s new Institute of Politics, a public policy and public service institute led by David Axelrod, Edwards tells Feder, “What motivates me is trying to create a deeper understanding of the world around me and trying to share that with people. How do I touch and transform people and communities? How do I uncover insights and share them with others? Journalism has been an amazing place where those values and skill sets intersect. And I think my new role at the Institute of Politics represents another place where they do as well.” Meanwhile, CPM has retained Livingston Associates to help find Edwards’ successor. Read Robert Feder’s full story here.
Clear Channel Takes Aim at CNN with Its ClearVision In-Airport TV Network. Providing what it calls an alternative to CNN’s news-only airport network with a debut at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Clear Channel Outdoor’s Clear Channel Airports division unveils ClearVision. The company says it’ll provide content to travelers from numerous sources, including: “CBS with offerings from CBS News, CBS Entertainment, CBS Daytime, and CBS Interactive, among others; NBC, with shows including The Today Show, Smash, The Voice, Grimm, America’s Got Talent and The Office; daily headlines from around the world from The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Live; and sports from the Tennis Channel with original programming like the travel series Destination Tennis and highlights from major tournaments like the French Open and US Open.” This is a partnership with connectVISION Digital Networks and CCO says it “provides airports, content partners, and advertisers with an unparalleled ability to reach and engage air travelers – through customized content ranging from local news to top network shows and live events. Airports ultimately will be able to leverage WiFi services to provide travelers accustomed to on-demand content access to the ClearVision network on their smartphones, iPads, and laptops.” There’s no word from Clear Channel on what other American airports with which it’s negotiating but the company sounds very dedicated to this market and you can bet there will be more airport deals announced in the near future.
Sports Biz Today Produces Daily Updates. Sports Biz Today is launching a new daily product called “Sports Biz Update” – a two-minute feature in which host Fred Wallin gives listeners the headlines of what is going on in the world of sports business. Fred Wallin is a veteran of sports talk radio, both locally in Southern California and nationally. Wallin has hosted ‘Dodger Talk,” “Angel Talk,” “Kings Talk,” and “Bruins Talk” on various Southern California radio stations. He has hosted programs on KABC, KFI, KLAC, KIEV, KFOX and 1150 AM in Los Angeles. Nationally, Wallin has hosted programs on The Sports Radio Network, The American Sports Radio Network, Prime Sports, The Sports America Radio Network, and the Cable Radio Network, and presently on Sports Overnight America, Fox Sports Radio Las Vegas and KCAA Riverside, California.
Odds & Sods. Clear Channel names Melissa Forrest market manager for the San Diego cluster. Forrest most recently served with CC at the Atlanta cluster where she was president and market manager in charge of the company’s radio stations, the Total Traffic Network and the Georgia News Network…..TRN and WGST, Atlanta talk show host Rusty Humphries is putting his passion for cigars together with his own brand and is working with Cuban-born cigar-making legends to create his own limited-edition El Presidente cigar. Working with Don Lino creator Nestor Miranda and master blender José “Pepin” Garcia – both Floridians now – Humphries made 300 boxes of the cigars. He says, “It’s not made to be an everyday smoke. There’s not that many of ‘em. I only wanted to do a limited amount. I wanted to honor a president each time. When they’re gone, they’re gone. So each cigar is a collector’s item in its own right.” Humphries is pictured here with U.S. Senator Marco Rubio who declared the cigar “bueno.”…..Nationally syndicated home improvement radio show “The Money Pit” partners with TuneIn to create a 24/7 home improvement channel on the audio service. “Money Pit” co-host Tom Kraeutler says, “We’ve experienced rapid growth of our program through our existing online assets. But with over 40 million monthly active listeners, TuneIn has the infrastructure and leadership to help us expand that listener base in ways never before possible and we’re thrilled with the opportunity to share our home improvement insights with this new audience.”…..Dr. Michio Kaku – renowned theoretical physicist, best-selling author and host of Talk Radio Network’s “Science Fantastic” – has been selected through a vote of IPC members to keynote the trade group’s biggest electronics industry event next spring in San Diego. “Kaku’s keynote will present a vision of life in the year 2100 culled from ideas of 300 of the country’s most influential scientists. He will explore revolutionary advancements in medicine, energy production, artificial intelligence and aeronautics that will forever change our way of life – including innovations like internet-enabled contact lenses, cars that will drive (or even fly) themselves and brain sensors that will let us move objects using only the power of our minds.”…..Mike Rosso joins Continental Electronics as vice president of sales and marketing, where he’ll be responsible for maintaining and developing Continental’s global market presence. Continental bills itself as a “global leader in broadcast transmitter equipment. It is the foremost supplier of advanced RF transmission technology and the world’s most experienced designer and builder of the highest power radio broadcast equipment.”
Fox Sports Radio Network Launches Daily Big Ten Football Show. The new show, an extension of the weekly Big Ten show, debuted yesterday on affiliates including WDFN, Detroit, KFXN, Minneapolis and WSSP, Milwaukee. Dubbed “BTN Live,” the show airs live daily from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET and is hosted by Big Ten Network personalities Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and others.
WEEI, Boston Announces Patriots and NFL Coverage. The Entercom sports talk brand – heard throughout New England on numerous company-owned stations and affiliates – announces its fall football programming. VP of programming and operations for Entercom Boston Jason Wolfe reports coverage of Patriots football features the return of Patriots Friday and Patriots Monday that includes exclusive interviews with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Its “Gameday” broadcasts on home game days will emanate from Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill at Patriot Place in Foxborough. WEEI has also secured a number of current and former Patriots players as well as NFL experts – including (WFAN, New York and “NFL Today” host) Boomer Esiason who chats with morning hosts Dennis & Callahan each Monday – to join coverage of the team on its shows throughout the week during the football season. Wolfe states, “We’ve made it a priority to provide Patriots fans with the most compelling and comprehensive coverage of the team that we can. With Patriots Monday and Friday and our slew of NFL Insiders, WEEI will be the place to be to keep up with the Pats throughout the season.” Actual game play-by-play rights are owned by WEEI’s crosstown competitor – CBS Radio-owned WBZ-FM, Boston 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Are Hard Times Hitting Television Talk, Too? The New York Post reports on rumors that Comcast’s NBC is taking a serious look at morning television talk’s “Today” for possible budget cuts in the wake of its “ratings woes.” With the story of Jay Leno’s recent voluntary pay cut to help save staffer jobs at “The Tonight Show,” the story questions whether “Today” co-host Matt Lauer will take the same path there to save the positions of lower-level staffers such as makeup artists and writers. In the piece, one person is quoted saying, “It will be the little people who go first — the makeup people, writers, but these people have families, and it will put pressure on Matt to do the right thing.” Lauer reportedly makes $25 million per year. Commenting on the rumors, a rep for “Today” states there will be “absolutely” no staff cuts at the program.
Michael Strahan Officially Named Kelly Ripa’s Co-Host. The former New York Giants football great is officially named the permanent co-host of the “Live!” show, replacing Regis Philbin, who retired from the show late last fall. Kelly Ripa has been hosting the show solo and with a parade of potential co-hosts doing live auditions since then. But, according to People, Ripa made the announcement official that Strahan would be her new co-host.
Presidential Campaign/Democratic National Convention, National Debts Hits $16 Trillion, and Syria Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/4). The presidential campaign and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte; the national debt hitting the $16 trillion mark; and the ongoing violence in Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Networks’ John 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.
Arbitrator Rules in Favor of Former XEPRS, San Diego Hosts Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith. Sports talk hosts Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith were fired by XEPRS, San Diego – XX Sports Radio 1090 – in February after Kaplan made derogatory comments about the appearance of Mountain West TV Network sports personality Andrea Lloyd. Kaplan and Smith contended they were let go in violation of their contract which outlined a process by which the station was to address content issues in case of a disagreement. An arbitrator – retired Superior Court Judge Linda Quinn ruled in the hosts’ favor and has awarded the two more than $490,000 in damages based on their respective salaries, commissions, endorsements and incentives as provided by their contracts. U-T San Diego (for which Kaplan now works co-hosting an online TV show called “Scott, B.R. + Amber”) reports Kaplan and Smith feel vindicated with Kaplan stating, “I feel vindicated. They breached the contract. I knew that from the beginning. There was a lot of embarrassment that came with the termination. I spent 11 great years on the radio…I loved what I did and I loved who I worked for.” XEPRS has not paid the duo yet and has filed a motion asking Quinn to reconsider her decision.
NPR Hires Lobbying Firm to Fight GOP Effort to Defund CFPB. Congressional Republicans are again organizing efforts to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and NPR is hiring the lobbying firm Navigators Global to help shut that down. The Hill reports NPR spokesperson Dana Rehm says that the organization is a content provider but is also a trade organization representing member stations. “It is part of our mission to represent the interests of NPR member stations to Congress, executive, regulatory and judicial bodies. At a time when the federal government is running a large deficit, every program and function of the government deserves to be scrutinized, and a review of federal funding to public broadcasting is fair and to be expected.” Rehm says the firm’s job is to explain “how the federal investment in public radio stations and larger public broadcasting system provides one of the most effective returns of any program authorized by Congress.”
Talk Radio Rises to the Occasion in Covering Aurora Massacre Aftermath. The natural progression of the analysis and coverage of the killing of 12 and wounding of dozens of others at the Aurora, Colorado premiere of “Dark Knight Rises” continues and talk radio is rising to the occasion to serve its listeners with compelling and responsible discussion. Examples of talk outlets rising to a high level of performance through the use of experts in the fields of psychology, law enforcement, media violence, gun control and more are being reported to TALKERS from all over the country. Here two examples of similar coverage: Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt featured an interview with shooting victim Pierce O’Farrill, who was hit three times by bullets from the shooter’s gun. O’Farrill described live on the air the chilling events at the theater, his perspective on the gunman, the death penalty, and his visit with President Obama. XtreMedia president Kevin McCullough tells TALKERS several of his company’s programs – his own Kevin McCullough show, the Saturday evening “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE” broadcast and the Sunday night Dani Johnson show spent the bulk of their collective platforms allowing hurting, confused and stunned listeners to respond to the attacks. Actor Stephen Baldwin took time out from a publicity tour in neighboring Cheyenne, Wyoming (90 minutes from Aurora) to meet with those in Aurora whose lives have been touched by the shootings. While there, CNN‘s Don Lemon asked Baldwin (see photo) to weigh in on his perspective of the events. Baldwin told CNN, “It may be time for those of us in the Hollywood community to re-examine how we advance violence through films, television, and video games. It also blows my mind that someone could purchase 6,000 rounds of ammo in 45 days. I’m a gun enthusiast but a red flag should’ve gone off somewhere.”
Progressive Town Hall Forum in Seattle. Premiere Networks syndicated talk host Randi Rhodes (center) was one of eight panelists who took part in “Showdown 2012: Recapturing Democracy,” a progressive town hall forum presented by Seattle’s Progressive Talk AM1090 (CBS Radio’s KPTK) at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington on Saturday, July 21. Rhodes appeared on a panel focused on the evolving role citizens play in the political and public policy process, including strategies to protect our role in democracy and to build a better future for everyone. Panelists in this picture are (from l-r): Congressman Jim McDermott, WYD Media talk host Thom Hartmann, talk host Mike Papantonio, Compass Media Networks talk host Norman Goldman, Rhodes, talk host Sam Seder, talk host Ron Reagan, and panel moderator David Postman, former chief political reporter for the Seattle Times.
KESN, Dallas Renews Contract with Cowboys Great Drew Pearson. ESPN O&O KESN, Dallas – ESPN Dallas 103.3 – announces it is renewing its deal with Dallas Cowboys great Drew Pearson for another season. Under the terms of the contract, Pearson will join “Ben & Skin” co-hosts Ben Rogers & Jeff “Skin” Wade on Mondays from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon, do Friday call-ins to the “Galloway and Company” show, and co-host the “5th Quarter Cowboys” post-game show. Pearson will act as the “go-to guy” for any breaking Cowboys or NFL news, and do a weekly video segment with “Galloway and Company.” Pearson states, “I am very happy and excited to be joining the ESPN Radio team for my third season as Cowboys/NFL analyst. My role with ESPN provides a platform for me to express my sports opinions and it also allows me the opportunity to continue my association with the ‘Worldwide Leader in Sports’ – ESPN – which to me is priceless.”
Old Friends. Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller (r) poses for a shot with former “Saturday Night Live” cast member and co-star David Spade (c) and show promoter Bill Blumenreich (l) at Miller’s recent live concert at Boston’s Wilbur Theater. Spade snuck into the theater and found his way to Miller’s dressing room where they chatted and caught up.
Fox Sports Radio and Yardbarker Enhance Content Relationship. The latter is described by Fox Sports Radio as a sports opinion site and blog network. It’s a property of Fox Sports Interactive Media and now it and Fox Sports Radio Network will begin working together more closely beginning with incorporating FSRN’s “Loose Cannons” into Yardbarker’s content. FSRN states “‘Loose Cannons’ will feature a daily segment with co-hosts Pat O’Brien, Steve Hartman and Vic ‘The Brick’ Jacobs as they take listeners into O’Brien’s ‘backyard’ for all the dirt from Yardbarker. Fox Sports Radio will soon add similar segments across other network programs. In addition, Yardbarker will feature select content from Fox Sports Radio on its website and social media platforms.” Yardbarker VP of operations Jack Kloster states, “Yardbarker is incredibly excited to partner with Fox Sports Radio and to introduce our content to the loyal listeners of ‘Loose Cannons.’ The partnership is a natural fit. Our content is inherently conversational and Fox Sports Radio is home base for sports conversation.”
Geoff Neuhoff Passes Away at Age 59. Neuhoff Communications president and CEO Geoff Neuhoff died Sunday after falling ill suddenly on Saturday. Neuhoff owned and operated stations in rural Illinois including clusters in Springfield and Decatur. The company operated news/talk WSOY, Decatur and sports talk WFMB, Springfield. Neuhoff COO Mike Hulvey tells the State Journal-Register, “Geoff Neuhoff was a giant among small- and medium-market broadcasters. Geoff demanded from all of us a dedication of greatness and excellence no matter the market size or the power of the station. Geoff believed strongly that innovation was the way forward and he embraced new technologies with enthusiasm. He will be missed by his team, but the legacy he leaves behind will last for years to come.” Neuhoff is survived by his wife and three children.
Aurora Movie Theater Massacre, Penn State Penalties, Syria Instability, and European Debt Worries/Financial Markets Activities Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/23). The aftermath of the massacre at the “Dark Knight Rises” showing in Aurora, Colorado; the severe penalties levied against Penn State in the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal; Syria’s political instability and threat to use weapons of mass destruction; and ongoing concerns over the debt of some European nations and the effect on world financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Istook Enters Syndication Arena. Former 14-year Oklahoma City congressman Ernest Istook will host a daily 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET news/talk show – “Istook Live!” beginning July 16 that, according to its producers, will “drill deep into the hottest issues facing Americans.” A production of the media division of The Heritage Foundation’s sister organization Heritage Action for America, the show will emanate from Heritage’s Robert H. Bruce radio studios at the think tank’s Capitol Hill headquarters. Istook, well-regarded in talk radio circles as a sought-after guest and fill-in host, has been a Distinguished Fellow at the conservative think tank since 2007 and has represented and explained many of its positions on the issues on stations all across the country. Sources at Heritage tell TALKERS that in addition to “getting the real deal about the issues from the most relevant Washington players, Istook will also field calls from listeners across the country.” Istook tells TALKERS, “Amid the punditry and spin of the 24-hour news cycle, we intend to clarify the real threats to freedom and the American Dream, and talk about how American taxpayers can counter those threats.” Heritage Action for America CEO Michael A. Needham states, ”Heritage Action worked tirelessly to promote individual liberty and the free enterprise system. Talk radio long has been a part of that effort. Now, ‘Istook Live!’ will further discussion of the biggest issues facing our country and provide Americans with a better understanding of the battle of ideas that shapes the news. We’ll give them virtual access to the halls of Congress and inner-workings of Washington.” The launch, production, syndication and sales of “Istook Live!” will involve the coming together of a variety of formidable forces that TALKERS founder Michael Harrison described as “what appears to be talk radio’s version of the dream team.” Ron Hartenbaum of WYD Media Management and Liz Laud of WYM Media Management will lead syndication and affiliate sales, Gary Shonfeld’s AdLarge Media will handle advertising sales and Gabe Hobbs of Gabe Hobbs Media will consult the project. The show initially will be broadcast via www.istook.com as affiliate stations are built out.
SiriusXM Enjoys Good Q2. The second quarter of 2012 has been good to SiriusXM. The satcaster reports adding 622,042 net subscribers during the period and more than 1 million in the first two quarters of this year. CEO Mel Karmazin says he expects revenue to approach $3.4 billion in 2012. “SiriusXM continues to demonstrate robust growth and strong operating execution despite a challenging economy. Our second quarter subscriber gains mark a record quarter of net additions since the merger of SIRIUS and XM in July 2008. While we continue to be conservative in the face of a weak U.S. economic outlook, customers continue to embrace our unparalleled programming lineup, allowing us to raise subscriber guidance for the second time this year.”
“Loveline” Gains Major Market Clear in Boston. The late night sex and relationships show “Loveline,” featuring Dr. Drew Pinsky, Mike Catherwood and Simone Bienne, is added to the evening schedule at Entercom’s rock WAAF-FM, Boston. The Courtside Entertainment-produced program show tackles listeners’ questions about love, relationships and sexuality with the help of its expert hosts and advice from a regular line up of popular guests. “Loveline” airs on WAAF-FM weeknights from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
CNN Enters Digital Audio News Realm with CNN Radio Soundwaves Destination. The digital arm of news giant CNN unveils CNN Radio Soundwaves – “the network’s online destination for news content formatted in an original listening experience.” CNN says this new audio beat will enhance the way users consume news by offering content in four forms: audio, text, photo and video. CNN Radio president Tyler Moody says, “Soundwaves is a new frontier for CNN Radio. Some stories are enhanced by an audio format, and we want to deliver a product that gives people that option. Also, being able to socialize Soundwaves gives us the opportunity to engage in two-way communication with our audience – not just broadcast to fans.” Powered by SoundCloud, users are able to embed sound clips across social networks.
Rusty Humphries Launches New Cigar Line. Talk Radio Network and WGST, Atlanta PM drive talk host Rusty Humphries adds a new product to his line of official Rusty items – the Rusty Humphries El Presidente cigar line and its first product, The George Washington. Humphries says the cigar line, only available in select cigar shops across the country and online via his website, has been met with immediate demand from cigar connoisseurs across the country. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (r), pictured here with Humphries (l) in Atlanta, is a big fan. Humphries has marketed numerous products bearing his name in the past, including beef jerky, Bar-B-Q sauce, salsa and more. He says the cigar venture just makes sense. “One of the reasons I decided to make a cigar line was because after visiting several cigar lounges around the country, I realized that patrons of cigar shops were very loyal not only to their favorite cigar but to talk radio as well. Why not combine the two together?”
Fox Sports Radio Network Talent Broadcast from London 2012 Olympic Games. Fox Sports Radio talent will be front and center when the 2012 Olympic Games begin on July 27. First, Dan Patrick, host of the DirecTV/FSRN sports talk show, and Pat O’Brien, co-host of the “Loose Cannons” show on FSRN, will serve as NBC anchors for the games. “Fox Sports Tonight” co-host (and six-time Olympic gold medalist) Amy Van Dyken will join co-host Rob Dibble with daily updates and interviews from the London games. Also, tennis star Andy Roddick – who co-hosts the “Roddick & Bones” weekend show on FSRN – will be competing in the games on the U.S. tennis team.
WCHV, Charlottesville-Based Joe Thomas to Broadcast from Freedom Fest 2012. Virginia talk show host Joe Thomas – based at WCHV, Charlottesville and regionally syndicated – will take his show on the road to Las Vegas where he will broadcast both his WCHV morning drive show and his regionally syndicated PM drive show from “Freedom Fest 2012” at Bally’s Hotel. Thomas states, “I’m looking forward to reinforcing my show’s theme of free markets, opportunity and liberty from this great annual event.”
CRN Digital Talk Host Larry Manetti Airs Ernest Borgnine Tribute Today. Actor and nationally syndicated talk show host Larry Manetti will pay tribute to his good friend Ernest Borgnine – who passed away over the weekend at age 95 – on his CRN Digital Talk program today. Manetti says, “We were close friends who shared a lot over the years so I’m happy to join with our other good friends and listeners in a tribute to Ernie’s life and work.” Manetti and Borgnine worked together on the upcoming film, “The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vincente Fernandez,” which turned out to be Borgnine’s final film. The film was directed by Elia Petredis, who will appear on today’s program along with actors Robert Wagner and Dennis Farina. Manetti’s program airs live at 4:00 pm PT.
Talk Star Mark Levin to Emcee WABC and WPLJ-FM Promotion. The promotion in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey is the 2nd Annual Bark in the Park being held Saturday, July 14 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm and is designed to allow dog owners and their pets to enjoy a day in the park. Dog lover, author and talk host Mark Levin will emcee the event that will include contests and activities for dogs, with various pet exhibitors, demonstrations and plenty of food and drink. There will be many puppies available onsite for adoption through the North Shore Animal League America and the Bergen County Animal Shelter. Mark Levin will be joined by Mark Simone of 77 WABC and Bill Evans, senior meteorologist for Channel 7 Eyewitness News and will also be broadcast on WPLJ-FM.
Obama Proposes Middle-Class Tax Cut Extension, Weak Jobs Creation Numbers, Affordable Care Law, and 2012 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/9). President Obama’s proposal to eliminate the Bush tax cuts for Americans making more than $250,000 per year; the weak job creation numbers and their effect on the financial markets; the Affordable Care law and how it will impact employers and families; and the 2012 presidential race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
News Corp. Splits Its Assets in Two. News Corporation officially announces it will chop its company into two separate, publicly traded companies, one consisting of its entertainment properties and the other its publishing assets. The issue was decided at yesterday’s board meeting. Under the plan, the entertainment division will include the TV and movie businesses – Twentieth Century Fox, the Fox broadcast network, Fox News Channel and the other cable networks. The publishing arm will consist of the newspapers – The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London and The Australian as well as the other publishing assets — including Harper Collins. This will presumably also include The Wall Street Journal Radio Network. SNL Kagan reports the two primary reasons for executing the split are to distance the more profitable entertainment assets from the phone hacking scandal — this reason has been denied by CEO Rupert Murdoch — and to encourage investors who are keen on the entertainment side but not the publishing business. The first nine months of News Corp.’s 2012 fiscal year saw the entertainment division bring in $18.66 billion in net operating revenue while the publishing division’s net operating revenue was $6.22 billion. However, analysts are not in agreement that the split will encourage that much investment and ultimately be as valuable to the entertainment side’s stock as it might appear at first blush.
Yahoo! and Clear Channel Agree to Content Sharing Deal. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and Yahoo! partner on a distribution and cross-promotional deal in which Yahoo! will use the iHeartRadio digital platform as its official digital radio service while Yahoo! will be able to promote its content across CC’s 850 radio stations. Yahoo! recently entered into deals with ABC News and CNBC to distribute jointly produced content across websites and television. Interim Yahoo! CEO Ross Levinsohn – who is working to turn the struggling digital media company around and give it a focused direction – says of the pact, “This partnership will expand our ability to provide consumers and advertisers with the best premium content available and provide Clear Channel with unmatched digital reach.” Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman says, “We were thrilled when Ross approached us about this partnership. We like the direction Yahoo! is going and by working together we can accelerate growth for the both of us.”
The NFL’s Buffalo Bills Sue Cumulus Over “Incentive Rights Fee.” Buffalo Bills play-by-play aired on Cumulus Media’s (and previously Citadel’s) WGRF-FM and WEDG-FM, Buffalo for the past 13 seasons through the 2011 season and now the team is suing Cumulus for what it says is the company’s failure to pay the “incentive rights fee” of about $1 million, according to the Buffalo News. The suit states the incentive rights fee equals half the broadcaster’s gross revenues from the sale of related programming or advertising in connection with any Bills game, after accounting for certain costs. The suit also contends, “For the 2011 NFL football season, the reasonable value of the exclusive radio broadcast rights and perquisites was believed to be at least $2.4 million, of which an amount believed to be at least $1 million remains due and owing.” Attorneys for the team say Cumulus was to provide an independent auditor’s report on gross revenue and net revenue for the 2011 season and that has yet to happen. The Buffalo News reports attempts to get a comment from Cumulus had not been successful.
Tom Leykis and Lionel on Strategies for Taking Talk Content to the Web. This video from the recent 2012 TALKERS New Media Seminar – New York features The New Normal chief and talk radio legend Tom Leykis and LionelMedia.com personality Lionel discussing from-the-trenches strategies for bringing talk content – live streaming shows and podcasts – to the web. The biggest challenge to this initiative is letting people know you are there and enticing them to listen. Hear Leykis and Lionel speak about their work in this medium on this exclusive panel discussion in the TALKERS TV box on this page. (Videography by Art Vuolo of Vuolo Video)
TuneIn Brings Major Broadcasters Cox Media Group, Emmis and Entercom Aboard. Digital audio service TuneIn continues to build its roster of content with the signing of three of America’s big broadcasting companies to deals to distribute their audio. Cox Media Group, Emmis Communications and Entercom radio stations will be heard on the TuneIn service that boasts 30 million monthly active listeners. In announcing the deal, the chiefs of the three companies tout the enhanced distribution this will give their content. Cox president Doug Franklin states, “As we transform into a digital media company, Cox Media Group is extending our great local brands to as many digital platforms as possible to seamlessly provide our audiences with the programming they want where and when they want it. TuneIn leads the industry with their listener-first approach to everything they do, and we are excited to offer our broadcasts to the growing and vastly important digital audience.” Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan comments, “Emmis is excited by today’s announcement. We want to follow our listeners and deliver our content to the platforms they choose to use. The TuneIn platform will provide our listeners from coast to coast another connection point with their favorite radio brands.” And Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “This is a great deal for Entercom, for TuneIn and most importantly for our listeners. We are very pleased to align Entercom with such an innovative company as TuneIn, which will deliver our terrific local programming to a wider, digitally engaged audience. Together, Entercom and TuneIn will deliver existing and new fans the best listening experience possible.”
Glenn Hall Named Managing Editor at TheBlaze. Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts announces former editor in chief at TheStreet joins TheBlaze as managing editor. The company states Glenn Hall will “oversee the day-to-day management and long-term editorial planning of TheBlaze.com’s editors and writers.” Hall served as editor in chief at TheStreet until this past March and, according to comScore audience rankings, helped grow TheStreet into the 10th largest online financial media group, surpassing CNBC.com. TheBlaze president and chief strategy officer Betsy Morgan says, “In under two years, we have attracted a growing team of over 25 reporters with a diverse range of experience ranging from a former CIA officer to CNN contributors. We are excited to take our team to the next level with Glenn Hall who brings a strong track record of leading and overseeing high-quality coverage and award-winning journalism to TheBlaze.” Hall comments, “TheBlaze is an amazing web phenomenon that shows media can thrive in the new digital age provided the focus and mission are aligned with the needs of the audience. I am excited about the opportunity to help grow this brand and raise the bar for digital journalism.”
CNN Suffers Worst Primetime Ratings Quarter in 21 Years; Cable News/Talk Network Makes Programming Changes. TVNewser reports CNN’s 2012 second quarter primetime ratings were at their worst in 21 years with 446,000 total viewers and 129,000 in the adults 25-54 demo. Compared to the second quarter of 2011, CNN is down 35% in total viewers in Total Day. The numbers are similar in primetime with the network down 35% in total viewers and 41% in the adults 25-54 demo. For individual shows, it’s hard to compare since the schedule has shifted and the same shows didn’t air at the same times last year. But “Piers Morgan Tonight” (which hasn’t moved) is down 29% in total viewers and 33% in adults 25-54. There is a bit of good news for the network as TVNewser reports June Nielsen numbers show younger viewers are increasing boosting Piers Morgan 9% in June, Anderson Cooper 5% and Erin Burnett 24%. Meanwhile, the Time Warner cable news/talk network makes some programming changes: The seven-month-old “Early Start” show sees co-host Ashleigh Banfield move to the 11:00 am ET slot and newcomer John Berman becomes co-host of the program with Zoraida Sambolin. Also, Kyra Phillips leaves CNN for duties at sister channel HLN.
KOZN, Omaha’s Kevin Kugler Transitions to National Correspondent Duties. Sports talk host Kevin Kugler, currently co-host of the “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” afternoon show at NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha – 1620 AM The Zone – will become a national sports correspondent for the station as he moves to a full-time position with the Big Ten Network – the conference’s TV network. Kugler also serves as a play-by-play announcer for NFL football and NCAA basketball on the Dial Global Radio Networks and he will remain in that capacity. KOZN program director Neil Nelkin states, “Kevin now gets a chance to cut his teeth as a play-by-play host for the Big 10 and still stay on The Zone. It has been a joy and a privilege to watch Kevin as he evolved into a national sports correspondent.” Kugler’s duties with The Zone will be as analyst, interviewer and guest anchor. On his career transition, Kugler says, “This opportunity affords me the chance to remain on The Zone and stay in Omaha. Although this is a new chapter for my career, I am still staying on my ‘home’ at 1620 The Zone but I will have even more insight to offer as a result of the various exclusive interviews and event coverage I will be able to do on BTN.”
KXL, Portland Names Dan Mitchinson PM Drive Co-Anchor. Dan Mitchinson has been evening news anchor at Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle. On July 9 he begins his new position with Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland where he’ll co-host the station’s “Portland’s Afternoon News” with Lacey Evans. In a statement, Mitchinson says, “KXL is certainly one of the best-known news/talk stations in the country and one of the things that excites me the most it’s not just telling stories, but the way we’re able to start conversations with our listeners. Anyone can read the news or check their Twitter account. What KXL does best is tell passionate stories that make you feel even more involved with the city I now get to call home.”
The Anticipated ObamaCare Ruling, the Aftermath of the Arizona Illegal Immigration Law Decision, the 2012 Presidential Campaign, the Colorado Wildfires, and Eric Holder Contempt Vote Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/27). The anticipation of the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; the aftermath of the Court’s decision on the Arizona illegal immigration law; the ongoing 2012 presidential campaign; the wildfires raging through Colorado and the attempt by House Republicans to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
End of an Era at KLOS-FM, Los Angeles as Mark Thompson Announces Retirement. The duo Mark & Brian have hosted their very successful morning drive show on Cumulus Media‘s classic rock KLOS-FM, Los Angeles since 1987. But as Mark Thompson tells LARadio.com‘s Don Barrett, he and his wife want to take time to enjoy the things that retirement brings. Thompson’s last show will be August 17. That gives KLOS time to figure out what to do with the morning show. Thompson’s partner Brian Phelps wants to keep working at the station in the morning and reportedly Cumulus is working on making that happen.
Columbus Gains All-Newser. Two Columbus radio outlets drop their formats to become an AM/FM all-newser. North American Broadcasting Co. flips classic hits WTDA-FM and standards WMNI-AM to all-news as WMNI. The station is airing a local morning drive news program hosted by news director Mark Nuce, anchor Kelly Quinn and sports director Mark “The Shark” Howell. The rest of the day will use America’s Radio News Network programming with local news inserts. Evenings and overnights will air Dial Global‘s Jim Bohannon and Cumulus Media Network‘s “Red Eye Radio.” The station is filling the weekends with newsy and business-related programming including Cumulus Media’s “Moneytalk with Bob Brinker” and “Bloomberg Businessweek.”
Former Connecticut Governor and WTIC, Hartford Host John Rowland Draws Ire of Unions. The former Governor of Connecticut hosts the station’s PM drive show and today the CBS Radio news/talk station will face some sort of protest at its Farmington studios by a collection of construction, public sector and building and trade unions for Rowland’s opposition to the CTfastrack project – a controversial road, light rail and bike path project between Hartford and New Britain. Connecticut Laborers District Council business manager Charles LeConche states, “The John Rowland that I remember as Governor of Connecticut always supported public projects and understood how to grow the local economy. His present show is now all trash talk radio. It’s really become ‘hate’ radio every weekday afternoon. We’re supporting a boycott of his advertisers and the radio station as well. Our organization will also be petitioning the Federal Communications Commission about this CBS Radio outlet’s handling of trash talk and biased information without offering the opportunity to present different points of view.”
Three Broadcast Groups Join TuneIn for Strategic Digital Alliance. Digital audio distribution service TuneIn announces Beasley Broadcast Group, Midwest Communications and Federated Media are aligning with the service to bring more than 100 stations to its more than 30 million monthly active listeners. TuneIn CEO John Donham says, “We want to make the best audio available to anyone, no matter where they are. Aligning with Beasley Broadcast Group, Midwest Communications and Federated Media gives our listeners unlimited access to some of their favorite hometown stations, while increasing the listener bases of these three major U.S. Broadcasters.” Midwest SVP Michael Wright states, “At Midwest Communications, Inc., we’ve received numerous requests from our radio brands’ listeners asking how they can listen to our content via mobile phone streaming. Our new alliance with TuneIn allows us to give our listeners exactly what they want – their favorite personalities and music, whenever they want, wherever they want. TuneIn gives Midwest Communications another way to superserve and grow our audience.”
CNN Cancels John King USA; Adds Another Hour of Wolf Blitzer. Executives at Time Warner have reportedly become impatient with the performance of cable news/talk channel CNN in the evening and prime time. Now, it appears John King‘s program is the first casualty of a programming shift as “John King USA” is being dropped and another hour of “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” picks up the 6:00 pm ET hour. John King remains with CNN as lead national campaign correspondent. CNN/U.S. chief Ken Jautz states, “John will be providing reports for ‘SitRoom,’ ‘AC360′ and other programs and CNN platforms. This is John’s seventh presidential campaign – fourth with CNN – and making him available across our programming lineup allows us to better tap his skills and experience, especially on the ground reporting in major battleground states and among critical voting blocs.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Compass Media Marketing announces the hiring of Bob O’Connor as account director. O’Connor comes to Compass with experience working in the sales and marketing departments at CBS Radio, Eastman Radio, ABC Radio Networks and Cumulus Media…..WQAM, Miami afternoon drive host (and TALKERS contributor) Dan Sileo will fill in at Yahoo! Sports Radio on June 21 and 22 on the morning drive program…..Entercom‘s sports talk WEEI-FM, Springfield, Massachusetts grabs the broadcast rights for University of Massachusetts football and men’s basketball for the next five seasons. In addition to play-by-play, the station will air “The Charley Molnar Show” and “The Derek Kellogg Show’ – the weekly coach’s shows for football and basketball, respectively…..The Radio Television Digital News Association announces ESPN is honored with two 2012 Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for excellence in electronic journalism. “E: 60″ won the Outstanding Sports Reporting award and “The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap” won the Audio Sports Reporting award…..Hubbard Radio‘s WTOP, Washington is awarded five 2012 Edward R. Murrow awards including Best Newscast and two for Overall Excellence.
2012 Presidential Race, Russia-Syria Arms Connection, NYC Snack Food Ban, Eric Holder-’Fast and Furious’ Case and EU Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/13). The 2012 presidential campaign; Russia’s unapologetic supplying of arms to Syria; more considerations of snack food bans in New York City; the GOP’s move to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program; and the state of the debt crisis in the European Union were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WBZ, Boston Hosts Scott Pelley. The anchor and managing editor of the “CBS Evening News” visited Boston on Tuesday, June 12 as a special guest at the WBZ NewsRadio Business Breakfast where more than 500 people packed the Boston Westin Copley Hotel. WBZ anchor Joe Mathieu interviewed Scott Pelley about topics including the presidential campaign, healthcare, the economy and his career in the news business. Pelley arrived in town the evening prior to the event and brought with him a full staff of producers and writers to produce the Monday evening news. Pictured here are (from l-r): CBS Radio Boston VP & market manager Mark Hannon, WBZ, Boston news anchor Joe Mathieu, Scott Pelley, and WBZ news and programming director Peter Casey. (Photo courtesy of Jodi-Tatiana Charles, La Capoise Galerie)
Harris Poll Respondents Say TV and Radio Talk Shows Have Too Much Political Influence. A recent poll by Harris Interactive – an April telephone poll of 1,016 adults – suggests 65% of Americans believe television and radio talk shows have too much political power and influence. That’s a 14-point shift from the 51% who believed the same thing when the poll was first conducted in 1994 and a 12-point jump from just last year. This is obviously a poll about perception and groups that are perceived by the public to have power and money, in general, ranked high in the “too much” influence in Washington category while those traditionally perceived to be less wealthy and “for the people” ranked lower in that regard. For example, small business, public opinion and non-profits were deemed by the respondents to have “too little” power and influence in Washington. Churches and religious groups and opinion polls fell somewhere in the middle. It’s clearly difficult for anyone to gauge the exact influence any group has in Washington across the large spectrum of issues that arise over time.
Cox Media Group Sets Sights on Young Americans with iHigh Investment. The announcement that Cox Media Group is investing $11.7 million in the Kentucky-based tech company iHigh signals its interest in finding ways to reach young demos via digital media. iHigh provides free web-based tools and live video streaming capabilities that enable organizations to connect to their audiences by broadcasting live content on the internet to PCs, smartphones, tablets and any other internet-connected device. Developed initially to support high school athletics and having spread to colleges and other affinity groups, iHigh enables students, coaches, boosters and other school supporters to easily connect with parents, their communities and local and national advertisers, anywhere and at any time. Cox Media Group president Doug Franklin states, “This strategic investment in iHigh is a long-term opportunity for Cox Media Group, and aligns with our mission of creating scalable content and advertising services businesses. We believe iHigh’s solutions – giving audiences the ability to watch any event live over desktops, tablets or smartphones – are uniquely designed to help organizations reach a devoted and distributed fan base, while giving advertisers a highly targeted and hyper-local approach to reaching their customers. We’re looking forward to growing with iHigh, reaching new markets and expanding opportunities for dedicated fans and advertisers alike.”
Steve Bryant Joins KHTK, Sacramento’s Don Geronimo Morning Show. Versatile media talent Steve Bryant will become part of the AM drive show on CBS Radio‘s sports talk KHTK, Sacramento hosted by Don Geronimo. Bryant most recently handled weekend duties at WGMD-FM, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. He was a longtime host on home shopping channel QVC and is known for crafting song parodies which have aired on Geronimo’s program. Bryant will begin his new duties on June 11.
CNN Adds New Personality to Early Morning Show. The cable news/talk network brings John Berman aboard to join Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida Sambolin as hosts of its “Early Start” show that airs from 5:00 am to 7:00 am ET. Berman had been a correspondent with ABC News contributing to “Good Morning America.” He’ll also contribute to other CNN programs including “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” CNN EVP Ken Jautz states, “We are so fortunate to have this talented and seasoned journalist join our morning show and become a regular presence on our air throughout the day. John is a skilled reporter with a passion and personality that shines through, whether he’s covering the political season or his beloved Red Sox.”
Copper Thieves Knock Sports KQTM-FM, Albuquerque Off the Air.Team Broadcasting‘s KQTM-FM, Albuquerque – ESPN Radio 101.7 – is on backup power for at least another day after copper thieves ripped some 200 feet of copper out of the ground by affixing it to the back of a vehicle and driving away. Station general manager David Dominguez tells KKOB-TV he’s very surprised no one was hurt because they cut live wires and could easily have been electrocuted. Repairs at the sports talk signal are estimated to be around $20,000.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WGY-AM/FM, Albany renews with IMG College to continue to broadcast Syracuse University men’s basketball and football play-by-play through the 2016-17 season. The company’s sister sports talker WOFX will also carry select games…..Salem Radio Network News goes “across the pond” next week to cover Queen Elizabeth II‘s Diamond Jubilee. The network is using part-time British resident and former Chicago TV executive Fred Weintraub to cover the event……CNBC names Kelly Evans co-host of “Worldwide Exchange” alongside Ross Westgate. Evans replaces Christine Tan who remains with the cable network to host its “Managing Asia” program…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment names Nick Gnau president and market manager for its Detroit operations. Gnau replaces Til Levesque.
2012 Presidential Race, Donald Trump-Wolf Blitzer Flap, Syria Civilian Massacre, Wisconsin Recall Election and Iran Nukes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/30). The battle between President Obama and Mitt Romney; the tense CNN segment with Wolf Blitzer interviewing Donald Trump; the aftermath of the Syrian civilian massacre; next week’s recall election of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the ongoing concern over Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to research from TALKERS.
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 Times’ Bill 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!
Clark Howard Takes on Expanded Role at HLN. Consumer affairs expert and nationally syndicated talk radio host Clark Howard is going to get more face time at Time Warner’s HLN cable channel. Howard, who does a weekend program at HLN and contributes to the channel’s “Morning Express” program, will be part of an ensemble weekday afternoon news program titled, “Evening Express” airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET. Howard will be partnered with TruTV’s Ryan Smith, who will handle lead anchor duties, and British journalist Isha Sesay who has worked for CNN International and serves as a correspondent for CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.” In a statement, HLN says the new program is designed to take a “solutions-oriented look at the day’s news, accompanied by deeper discussions and reporting on stories and issues that resonate in the American household – including parenting, education, health, personal finance and relationships.”
Utah Jazz Owner Confirmed to Buy Salt Lake City Sports Talk Combo. The reported sale of the former Simmons Media sports talk duo KZNS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City to the Larry H. Miller Group is being confirmed by broker Patrick Communications. The price for the two signals is $3.25 million. The deal means Utah Jazz play-by-play will move to the new stations after being heard on Cumulus Media’s KFNZ which the Larry H. Miller Group had been operating under an LMA. At the same time, Fox Sports Radio Network announces it will continue to provide programming for the stations under the new ownership with both the AM and FM sides airing “Fox Sports Tonight,” JT the Brick and the slate of weekend Fox Sports shows. Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome will also be heard on the stations. The FM side of the broadcast will also carry “Fox Sports Daybreak” and the “Petros & Money” show. Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment SVP of broadcasting Chris Baum states, “We are very pleased to continue our affiliation with Fox Sports Radio as we move to 1280 The Zone and Fox Sports Radio 97.5. The FSR shows complement our local lineup very well on our new 50,000-watt AM signal, and the additional coverage on our FM signal will allow us to better reach and serve sports fans, and Jazz fans in particular, all along the Wasatch Front.”
Kevin Sheehan Extends Deal with Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington. Red Zebra Broadcasting announces midday co-host Kevin Sheehan – who co-hosts “The Sports Fix” with Thom Loverro – has signed a two-year deal to remain with the company. Sheehan also continues with the Washington Redskins Radio Network where he hosts the “Official Redskins Pre-Game Show.” Sheehan will also contribute to the Tony Kornheiser program and co-host the “Monday Morning Quarterback” after each Redskins game. Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “Kevin is as versatile as anyone in the field. He does so much for us. I look forward to working with him through 2014 and many years to come.”
Former New York Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro Co-Hosting with WOR’s Governor David Paterson. As per New York Post gossip columnist Cindy Adams, former New York Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro is sitting alongside former Governor David Paterson as he hosts the PM drive show on WOR, New York as a sort of tryout to see if a duo concept works for the program.
ESPN Hosts Affiliates at “Audio Avenue II” Day in Bristol, Connecticut. The outdoor quad at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut will be busy today as the company hosts talent from its four O&O stations and from 12 affiliate stations for a daylong live broadcast event. ESPN Audio SVP Mo Davenport states, “Audio Avenue brings the concept of ‘ESPN Everywhere’ to life. Each of these shows and markets represent what our listeners love, the opportunity to hear from experts locally, nationally and globally.” Along with the hosts and producers broadcasting from “Audio Avenue,” participants will include network and affiliate management, account executives, program directors, clients, ESPN employees and those involved with ESPN Audio’s promotions, marketing and sales. The day will also include two “Block Party Breakout” luncheons focusing on the production of “Mike & Mike in the Morning” and listener demographic research.
Courtney Smith Promoted to Director of New Business at Beasley Las Vegas. The Beasley Broadcasting Las Vegas cluster names Courtney Smith director of new business development and marketing & events manager. Smith has served at the company since 2006 when she joined as a promotions assistant. She was promoted to marketing director and added events coordinator to her duties in 2009. Vice president and general manager Tom Humm states, “I’m constantly amazed with the promotions and events that Courtney conceptualizes from scratch and pleased by the successful results they achieve. She always makes Beasley shine. Courtney has earned this promotion and I’m very proud of her for that accomplishment.”
Facebook IPO Case, 2012 Presidential Election, Euro Zone Instability and Georgia Teacher Criticizes Student for Questioning Obama Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/22). Securities regulators investigate Facebook IPO; the 2012 presidential election and questions over whether Hillary Clinton will replace Joe Biden as vice presidential candidate; Greece’s status as a member of the European Union; and the case of the Georgia teacher who bullied a student for criticizing President Obama were some of the most talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Merlin Media’s Philly FM Talker Debuts Today. News/talk outlet WWIQ-FM, Philadelphia (licensed to Camden, New Jersey) debuts its morning show today co-hosted by market TV news personality Larry Mendte (pictured here). Former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte morning host (and Philly native) Al Gardner is co-hosting the program with Mendte. Over the weekend Mendte posted a YouTube video promoting the new station being operated by the innovative Randy Michaels and his Merlin Media. In it, Mendte asks Philadelphians to submit suggestions for the new station (ideas used could win the people who submit them Phillies tickets!). He also suggests the current news outlets – other stations, the newspapers and TV are outdated and/or in trouble financially and he believes WWIQ-FM will give listeners what they need. In the video, Mendte is clearly ribbing CBS Radio’s all-news KYW even though he doesn’t mention the company or station by name. See Mendte’s video here. WWIQ-FM has been stunting with wall-to-wall Sean Hannity for several weeks and today it’s believed the station will debut with the morning show, Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. Rush Limbaugh is expected to move over from WPHT soon. Other programming has yet to be announced.
FCC Says “No Go” to Liberty Media’s SiriusXM Takeover Bid. Liberty Media had petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to take “de facto” control of SiriusXM after supplying $530 million to the satcaster in 2009 to help it avoid bankruptcy. But, as SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin said recently, “Forty percent is not the new 50 percent.” Liberty Media owns 40% of SiriusXM as a result of the 2009 deal but the FCC denied its request saying that Liberty’s filing lacked details and rejected its claim for control. During the recent SiriusXM Q1 conference call with analysts, Mel Karmazin stated the company’s relationship with Liberty was not “combative.” Liberty Media has five of the 13 seats on the SiriusXM board of directors.
WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas Names Ben Ferguson Late Morning Host. Cumulus Media’s WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas cut ties with market legend Mark Davis after the two sides were unable to agree on a new contract. Now, Memphis-based talk host Ben Ferguson is named permanent host of the 9:00 am to 11:00 am program. Ferguson had been filling in during the time slot since Davis left the air. He hosts the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm program at Cumulus Media’s WKIM-FM, Memphis and will continue to host that show as well. Additionally, Ferguson is the host of his own nationally syndicated weekend program that is heard on both WKIM-FM and WBAP-AM/FM. Ben Ferguson was the first recipient of the Young American Broadcasters‘ scholarship award given at the TALKERS New Media Seminar several years ago. Ferguson won the award while still in college and, due in part to winning the award, fulfilled his dream of becoming a working radio talk show host.
St. Louis Personality John Carney Joins News/Talk KTRS for Nights. Gateway City radio personality John Carney – son of the late KMOX, St. Louis legend Jack Carney – joins CH Holdings’ news/talk KTRS to host the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight program beginning June 4. Carney most recently was a jock at CBS Radio’s crosstown classic hits KEZK-FM – Fresh 102.5 – until he exited that station in April. He also worked at KMOX for 11 years prior to KEZK-FM. Carney’s addition to KTRS comes as the station shuffles its programming. Chicago-based talk host Steve Cochran had been hosting two programs on KTRS – 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm – in addition to his afternoon drive show at WIND, Chicago. Cochran will continue to host the late morning show. John Hadley’s sports talk show slides down to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot and Martin Kilcoyne takes over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show formerly hosted by JC Corcoran.
KTAR-FM, Phoenix and News Director Part Company. Bonneville International and news director Adam Thomas part ways after less than a year together. Thomas joined KTAR-FM in June of 2011 – Thomas moving west from Minneapolis where he’s worked at CBS Radio’s WCCO. Thomas had also worked for Bonneville at KSL, Salt Lake City prior to joining WCCO. Details on Thomas’ exit from KTAR-FM are few but it appears there’s a news director position to be filled in Phoenix.
WTDY, Madison Promotes Amy Barrilleaux. Mid-West Family Stations announces WTDY-AM/FM, Madison afternoon anchor and “Everything@Five” host Amy Barrilleaux is promoted to news director for the station. WTDY-AM/FM program director Rex Charger says, “I am pleased to announce Amy Barrilleaux as WTDY news director. Amy has been instrumental in helping grow our news product and brand and I look forward to her continued leadership in the newsroom. Amy will continue to anchor afternoon newscasts and host ‘Everything@Five.’”
Media Personality Jack Rice Hosts Weekend Talk Program in Twin Cities. Talk media personality Jack Rice – who left the daily talk radio business more than two years ago – returns to a regular talk program with his Sunday morning show on KTNF, Minneapolis airing from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. Jack Rice is a former CIA agent, a practicing attorney in Minneapolis and is regularly seen on such news/talk media outlets as MSNBC, CNN and Al Jazeera offering expert analysis on issues, especially those surrounding foreign intelligence and terrorism. He previously hosted daily talk shows on WCCO, Minneapolis and KOGO, San Diego. His investigative style of talk radio, his travels to the world’s hot spots and willingness to put himself in harm’s way to get the story earned him the Freedom of Speech Award from TALKERS magazine in 2009. Of his new program, Rice states, “I’m very excited to be back on the air on a regular basis. This business gets in your blood and once you’re in, you’re in. And while I recognize the realities of the business, nothing allows for a deep connection with an audience like radio.” Rice tells TALKERS he is exploring the possibility of developing a national program dedicated to international events including terrorism, the economic collapse in Europe, the Chinese economic juggernaut, the drug wars in Mexico and more. He says his experience as a former CIA officer and international journalist give him a unique experience and take on such events.
Dave Ramsey Live in Grand Rapids. Nationally syndicated personal finance talk sensation Dave Ramsey filled the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids on Saturday, May 5 for his “Total Money Makeover Live” event there – more than 8,000 fans attended. Ramsey is heard on news/talk WOOD-AM/FM and Clear Channel Grand Rapids market manager Tim Feagan says, “Having another sellout with Dave is the only way I know of for a news/talk station to touch thousands of our core listeners. Music stations can sometimes do it by owning a concert, but when it comes to the talk format Dave is it!” Pictured here during Ramsey’s visit to Grand Rapids are (from l-r): Feagan, Ramsey, WOOD general sales manager Henry Capogna, and WOOD program director Phil Tower.
CNN Ratings Cause for Concern at Headquarters. The executives at Time Warner and subsidiary CNN/U.S. are displeased with cable news/talk channel CNN’s performance in the April Nielsen ratings after much time and money has been spent tweaking the programming there. The New York Times’ Brian Stelter reports that sources say Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes has made his dissatisfaction with the channel’s performance known to his subordinates. Over the past 18 months CNN has made numerous programming changes including replacing Larry King with Piers Morgan in the 9:00 pm ET slot; the addition of Soledad O’Brien as host of the morning show; and a new 7:00 pm ET show with Erin Burnett. CNN has long stated publicly that it delivers a unique news product around the clock with which advertisers like being associated. In fact, the entire CNN unit (including other domestic and international channels) is poised to make a record $600 million in operating profit this year. The company issued the following statement in response to reports about the April ratings. “Despite the perennial ratings stories and quotes from anonymous sources, CNN continues to deliver quality journalism which is uniquely valuable to audiences, advertisers and distributors. In fact, CNN is on track to deliver its highest profits in its history and continues to reach more people on more platforms than any other TV network.” Still, as Brian Stelter writes, “Performance of CNN/U.S. drives public perception — and employee pride — and declines there may gradually damage CNN’s networks as a whole.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “CNN would probably do better in both ratings and revenue if they stopped obviously competing with Fox News Channel and MSNBC in trying to be entertaining and opinionated concentrating, rather, on really being journalistic on a level not seen for years on American television. There is an opening in the marketplace for such a product a mile wide and a deep need and hunger for it by a significant segment of the public.”
CC Media Holdings Reports Q1 Revenue Hike of 3%. That 2012 first quarter revenue increase comes as CC Media Holdings posts $1.36 billion in revenue compared to the $1.32 for the same period a year ago. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – which excludes the parent company’s outdoor divisions – was up 6% or $39 million compared to the first quarter of 2011. CC Media Holdings CEO Bob Pittman states, “Since the start of 2012, we have continued to invest in our rapidly growing digital products and services, while strengthening our operations to better serve our marketing partners and our consumers. We have enhanced our ability to help our partners take advantage of the unique size and scale of our media, entertainment and outdoor assets, with a particular focus on multi-platform solutions that no other company is able to deliver.”
KTRS, St. Louis Officially Announces Martin Kilcoyne Midday Host. Monday’s story announced CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis was parting company with midday talk host JC Corcoran and would replace him with KTVI-TV, St. Louis sports director Martin Kilcoyne. The station makes that official with general manager and partner Mark Dorsey stating, “Martin is a proven broadcaster, both in television and radio, and KTRS looks forward to bringing his personality, wit and opinions to the airwaves.” Kilcoyne will assume the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show beginning Monday, May 14. He says of his new gig, “I am thrilled to have an opportunity like this. I’m a sports guy, but I love to talk about all things. The plan is to have a show that St. Louis will find lively, topical and fresh. I’m not Ted Koppel, but I’m also not Ted Baxter.”
First Quarter Positive for Salem Communications. The first quarter of 2012 has been pretty good for Salem Communications and subsidiary Salem Broadcasting. The parent company is reporting an increase of 6.1% on revenue of $54.3 million compared to the same period one year ago. On the broadcasting side, Salem is up 2.9% on revenue of $44 million. Broadcasting still makes up the bulk of Salem’s revenue but digital continues to perform well rising 33% over the same period in 2011 on revenue of $7.4 million. The company is bullish about Q2 projecting a revenue increase of a couple percentage points with a total revenue goal of more than $55 million for the quarter.
Legal Battle May Ensue Over Merlin Media’s Blago Billboard. This billboard pictured here is one of several purchased by Merlin Media in the Chicago area promoting all-news WIQI-FM – FM News 101.1. Crain’s Chicago Business reports Merlin consultant John Gehron commenting on the marketing campaign saying, “We wanted to have something that we thought would be fun and get people’s attention.” And apparently it has. Attorney Sheldon Sorosky, who represents former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich – currently serving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption – says the use of Blagojevich’s image may violate an Illinois law prohibiting one’s image from being used for commercial gain without one’s consent. Sorosky tells Crain’s it’s called the Right to Publicity Act and it states, “A person may not use an individual’s identity for commercial purposes during the individual’s lifetime without having obtained previous written consent from the appropriate person or persons.” Sorosky says they have not decided whether to take legal action or not at this point.
Ric Edelman Celebrates 20 Years on the Radio This Weekend. Nationally syndicated talk show host Ric Edelman, host of “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman,” marks 20 years on the radio with his broadcast this weekend. Edelman, an award-winning financial advisor, heard along with financial advisors Brandon Corso and Anderson Wozny, is heard in 56 markets including on WABC, New York; WLS, Chicago; and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, DC. He says, “It is a genuine privilege to do this show. As I always say, ‘Money doesn’t come with instructions,’ so I’m honored for the opportunity to share my knowledge with so many listeners from across the country.” Edelman, a member of TALKERS 2012 “Heavy Hundred,” is also seen on public television across the country as his TV program of the same name is in its second season.
Pamela Furr to Join New Atlanta All-Newser. Talk show host and news anchor Pamela Furr confirms via Facebook that she’s headed to Atlanta to become part of the Cumulus Media FM all-news outlet slated for WYAY-FM in a few weeks. The company has confirmed it will turn the outlet into an all-news station soon and obviously has begun hiring. Furr most recently worked full time at Clear Channel’s WPTI-FM, Greensboro-Winston-Salem as co-host of the morning drive show. She’s been freelancing doing news at CC’s WRDU-FM, Raleigh the past few weeks.
Atlanta Business Chronicle to Provide Content for Cumulus’ “All News 106.7.” When Cumulus Media flips the switch on WYAY-FM, Gainesville, Georgia turning it into “All News 106.7,” the Atlanta Business Chronicle will provide exclusive business updates at :20 and :50. In a statement, Cumulus co-COO John Dickey says, “Our partnership with the Atlanta Business Chronicle is consistent with our mission of bringing the most credible news and information to Atlantans 24 hours a day, seven days a week. ABC is the definitive business news brand in Atlanta and 106.7 will be the definitive radio news and information brand in Atlanta.” ABC publisher Ed Baker states, “It’s exciting that intelligent Atlantans are finally getting a much-needed all-news format. We’re very excited to be a part of something new and different. Quality business reporting is more important than ever and this partnership will allow us to deliver something special to our community.”
Cumulus Brings Celebrity News Blogger Perez Hilton Aboard for Nightly Radio Show. At the same time the company announces that the new “Perez Nights Live” will replace Dial Global’s “Billy Bush Show” on stations where it airs and expects the show to debut on about 50 affiliate stations. “Perez Nights Live” will feature Perez Hilton and co-host Adam Bomb and will consist of celebrity news chatter and music. Cumulus co-COO John Dickey states, “Successful contemporary stations all have one thing in common: They keep their listeners on the cutting edge of music and pop culture. Leading stations in our business set trends. Perez doesn’t report on pop culture, he is pop culture. ‘Perez Nights Live’ will take the important evening daypart and turn it into a brand enhancing experience.”
2012 Presidential Race Lands Atop Talkers TenTM for Fifth Straight Week. The 2012 presidential campaign was again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of April 30 – May 4, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. The race barely beat the case of Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng which landed at #2 followed very closely by President Obama’s Afghanistan visit and the government’s release of Osama bin Laden documents tied at #3. The shocking death of retired NFL star Junior Seau came in at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published each Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart for this week here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup. The “At Home with Bob Vila” feature from Compass Media Networks debuted this week on such signals as KOGO-AM/FM, San Diego; WTKK-FM, Boston; KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; KFNN, Phoenix; and KVON, Napa, California…..Courtside Media Group’s “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew” is being aired on Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP-FM, Washington…..“The Small Business Advocate with Jim Blasingame” is picked up by WZFG, Fargo; WHTX, Youngstown; and WGGH, Marion, Illinois….. “The Doctor’s Orders Radio Show” with Dr. Kipp Van Kamp is added to WTKI-AM/FM, Huntsville, Alabama and WEKI-AM/FM, Decatur, Alabama.
Profiling Courage. That’s KIRO-FM, Seattle talk show host Dave Ross (r) pictured with Sgt. Leroy Petry (l). Ross recently interviewed the Medal of Honor recipient for inclusion in the Memorial Day radio special “A Grateful Nation” – a one-hour program produced by the Fisher House Foundation and distributed by Premiere Networks. Sgt. Petry is an Army Ranger who lost his hand while saving two comrades after he grabbed and tossed an enemy grenade during a battle in Afghanistan.
Latest Cable News/Talk Ratings Not Good for CNN. The April Nielsens are not being kind to cable news/talk network CNN. The channel’s total-day viewership average was 357,000 – down 21% compared to the same period in 2011. Ratings in that category haven’t been this low for CNN since August of 2001. “Anderson Cooper 360” led the decline in shows down 26% with 522,000 total viewers in the 10:00 pm ET slot. Other CNN shows with declines in April were: “John King USA” – down 24%; “Erin Burnett Out Front” – down 22%; and “Starting Point” – down 26%. Fox News Channel remains firmly in first place for April with a total-day viewership average of 1.1 million (up slightly) and MSNBC stays in second place with an unchanged 425,000.
Keith Larson Stays with WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte After All. Last week WBT-AM/FM Charlotte late-morning host Keith Larson told his listeners his days with the Greater Media station may be numbered because the station was unwilling to extend his contract but was willing to keep him on the radio as an at-will employee. At the time he said he wasn’t sure he wanted to do that. A week later, he tells the Charlotte Observer he and WBT management have struck a deal to keep him with the station, though he wouldn’t give details about their agreement. He does say, “I’m very happy to be plugging away at WBT. We had a good conversation this week. I’m happy to continue eye-poking at WBT and looking forward to developing Larson Advertising and Media as well.”
WQXI, Atlanta Merges Two Midday Shows into One. Lincoln Financial Media sports talk outlet 790 The Zone – WQXI – combines the “Two Live Stews” show featuring Doug and Ryan Stewart with the Tony Barnhart and Wes Durham show to make “The Red Zone” airing from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. This move comes a week after the station announced it was extending “Mayhem in the AM” to 11:00 am and moving Archer and Bell up an hour to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm time slot. As the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reported last week, Barnhart and Durham have been the highest-rated show on the station lately but they have other professional obligations which make them all but unavailable during May and June. The “Stews’” ratings haven’t been what they once were and they are not as prominently featured by the station as they used to be. The Stewarts’ agent, Norm Schrutt, acknowledges to the AJC that he’s not happy with the new arrangement but says Doug and Ryan are “team players” and are doing what they are asked. The new show is expected to have a rotating cast of characters along with the four principal hosts. WQXI general manager Andrew Saltzman tells the paper, “This is more topic driven and less specifically host driven.”
Wisconsin Group Seeks Conservative Talk Radio’s Help in Preventing Recall of Governor. An ad hoc group of Wisconsin business people has formed an organization called Businesses for Wisconsin Jobs with the goal of getting conservative talk radio shows from Milwaukee and Madison to be aired in the northern and western parts of the state in hopes those shows will reach enough people to prevent the recall of Governor Scott Walker and other politicians. An article by Brien Farley for Heartland.org, points out how Walker and others have credited conservative talk shows such as WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes and WIBA, Madison’s Vicki McKenna helped them get elected via their conservative messages. The group hopes to convince other stations in the state to add such shows to their lineups in order to get a conservative message to key voters. WISN, Milwaukee program director Jerry Bott is quoted in the piece saying, “Hosts on conservative talk radio affect public opinion by making a convincing case that conservative principles are powerful, proper and effective. This has an effect on public opinion in areas where conservative talk radio can be heard which, in turn, provides a fertile environment for conservatives seeking public office to be elected.” So far the group claims to have had success getting Vicki McKenna’s program added to WMEQ, Menomonie in the northwestern part of the state. The recall election of Governor Walker takes place June 5.
Stitcher Launches 2012 Election Center to Serve Demand for Political Audio Content. Digital spoken-word content provider Stitcher Smart Radio is targeting users interested in the 2012 political season with the creation of the 2012 Election Center. Stitcher says the channel allows “users to easily follow, listen and engage with political candidates, commentators, pundits and topics that interest them most. From podcasts and candidate speeches, to exclusive content on hot trending topics, listeners can now stay up-to-date on all things election related from one central audio hub.” Stitcher CEO Noah Shanok says, “There’s an avalanche of coverage during election season and it can be tough to get the best information when you need it. We’re rolling out trending topics on demand, a first in the industry. We see this as part of our mission to further the evolution of radio by making it more relevant and accessible than ever.” The service features audio messages directly from the campaigns, commentary from major broadcasters such as Fox News Channel, NPR and CBS News plus the service is integrated with Facebook. Stitcher is employing a transcription technology so users can literally search the bevy of available audio for specific topics by typing in key words. Content creators get feedback from Stitcher about the about the most-sought-after topics.
Nikki Sixx’s Personality-Intensive Show to Air Mornings on KEGL-FM, Dallas. The Premiere Networks distributed “Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx” show will be heard in AM drive on Clear Chanel Media and Entertainment’s KEGL-FM, Dallas beginning May 7. The talk-intensive rock radio show featuring Motley Crue star Nikki Sixx and Kerri Kasem airs in evenings on 90-plus affiliate stations. Now, Premiere will create a customized morning show for KEGL-FM. In a statement, Premiere says, “Each morning on “Sixx Sense,” Sixx will discuss music and lifestyle topics as he gives listeners an exclusive look at the world and mind of a rock star…Sixx will provide his unique perspective and attitude as the duo welcomes celebrity guests, recording artists and fascinating characters from all walks of life.” Sixx himself is quoted saying, “Bringing ‘Sixx Sense’ to mornings has always been our goal. Who better to start your morning with than a rock star and a hot chick? It’s a dream come true to have a morning show on one of America’s best rock stations.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Sports WBNS-FM, Columbus promotions director Todd Reigle takes his bicycle on a five-day ride from Sylvania, Ohio to Cincinnati – an event called the Honor Ride Ohio – to try to reach his goal of raising $100,000 for six veterans’ organizations. The ride will take place from June 30 to July 4…..ESPN’s Mike Greenberg pays his “gambling debt” to co-host Mike Golic on May 8 as loser of the “Mike & Mike” show’s March Madness “Sheets of Integrity Challenge.” Greenberg will dance to “Livin’ the Vida Loca” live on the ESPN Radio program (simulcast on cable’s ESPN 2) with professional dancer Anna Trebunskaya who’s appeared on the “Dancing with the Stars” franchise…..Former University of Florida quarterback Chris Leak (who led the team to a National Championship) joins SiriusXM’s College Sports Nation sports channel where he’ll host “College Sports Coast-to-Coast” along with Chris Childers several nights a week…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment partners with the Ad Council to promote the anti-childhood obesity campaign We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity and Nutrition). The effort involves airing and making visible online a number of public service announcements…..Attorney Ed Gadrix debuts a new weekly talk show on WNJC, Washington Township, New Jersey called “The Eddie Esq. Show.” Gadrix says the goal of his show is to involve more fathers in custody after divorces. Gadrix states, “Divorce courts and the legal system are destroying the next generation of Americans and I hope our new talk show opens up an entirely new dialogue toward changing that system…unless we take a different approach to handling divorce and custody matters, we’re doomed to continue creating children who grow into dysfunctional adults and families.”
2012 Presidential Race, U.S.-Afghanistan Security Agreement, John Edwards Trial, Chinese Activist Case, Junior Seau Death, French Political Situation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/2). The 2012 presidential race; the newly signed U.S.-Afghanistan security agreement; the testimony from John Edwards’ trial on campaign corruption charges; blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng’s appeal to the U.S. to leave China; former NFL star Junior Seau’s apparent suicide; and Nicolas Sarkozy’s fight for his political life in France were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Fox Sports L.A. Meets New Dodgers Owners. KLAC, Los Angeles – AM 570 Fox Sports L.A. covered yesterday morning’s press conference with the new Los Angeles Dodgers ownership — Guggenheim Baseball Management Team. PM drive hosts Petros Papadakis (r) and Matt “Money” Smith (l) are pictured here interviewing L.A. Lakers great Magic Johnson (c), a member of the new ownership group.
Controversy and Misinformation of Radio Advertising Keeps Rush Limbaugh in the News; Host Reportedly Refuses to Take Back Advertiser. The consumer media continues to hang onto the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke issue with numerous stories and segments being published and produced over the weekend about the extent to which the controversy may be hurting advertising on Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh show as well as a wider swath of conservative talk radio. In addition to the fluctuating count of advertisers that may or may not have left the Limbaugh program (depending on whether or not they actually advertised on the show in the first place as many reports cite firms that did not), outlets such as New York Magazine and The Daily Beast are writing about a memo from Premiere to affiliate stations detailing 98 companies that don’t want their goods or services advertised on controversial programming. The memo gives examples of hosts including Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis (shows how old that memo is), Michael Savage, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. TALKERS has pointed out to countless consumer media that have contacted our offices regarding this issue that “no controversial programming” dictates are common and practically as old as talk radio itself and not a unique reaction to the Limbaugh case – although certainly reiterated as a result of it. TALKERS has also pointed out that monitoring a station’s internet feed does not reflect the same commercial content as the air feed since union regulations affect the degree to which union talent-voiced spots can air on the web. Meanwhile, the Sacramento Bee is reporting Rush Limbaugh is refusing to take retailer Sleep Train back as an advertiser. The story cites Limbaugh spokesman Brian Glicklich stating the company sought to return to the Limbaugh show and the program replied to the Sacramento-based mattress retailer, “Rush received your requests personally. Unfortunately, your public comments were not well received by our audience, and did not accurately portray either Rush Limbaugh’s character or the intent of his remarks. Thus, we regret to inform you that Rush will be unable to endorse Sleep Train in the future. Rush appreciates your long friendship and your past support, and we wish you good luck in the future.”
Celebrity-Founded Women’s Media Center Piles on Rush Limbaugh. The organization co-founded by Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda and Robin Morgan is using the Rush Limbaugh controversy to call to arms like-minded activists to petition the FCC to take Limbaugh off the air. In an op-ed piece on CNN.com, the group reasons that Limbaugh – through his language and political opinions – is a purveyor of “hate speech” and therefore is not acting in the public interest. The group is suggesting the stations whose licenses are up for renewal that carry Limbaugh’s program are not serving the “public interest” and need either pull the show or not have their licenses renewed. The group states in the piece, “This isn’t political. While we disagree with Limbaugh’s politics, what’s at stake is the fallout of a society tolerating toxic, hate-inciting speech. For 20 years, Limbaugh has hidden behind the First Amendment, or else claimed he’s really “doing humor” or “entertainment.” He is indeed constitutionally entitled to his opinions, but he is not constitutionally entitled to the people’s airways.” It’s hard to tell what the motive here is – beyond polemicizing – since the FCC does not deal with issues of content in this way during the license renewal process.
Special Interest Group Intent on Hounding KFI, Los Angeles; Picks on Bill Handel’s Comment. Time will tell if the latest salvo from the Los Angeles-based Black Media Alliance sticks to Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles or ricochets back to harm the goals of the very organization that fired it. What’s for certain is the Black Media Alliance is taking a page from other special interest media “watchdog” groups and is recording every minute of KFI’s broadcasts and, when it hears something it doesn’t like, is firing off press releases and hoping for some traction. It used a March 9 broadcast from the Bill Handel show for this purpose. During a segment in which Handel comments on the news of the day with Gary Hoffman and Neil Saavedra, the topic of a California bill that would allow nurse practitioners to perform aspiration abortions came up. Handel commented on a law in Kansas where doctors are required to have the women see sonograms prior to having an abortion and offered his opinion that those who don’t already understand the procedure are “dumb-ass women.” BMA is using this comment to imply Handel has attacked all women. Listen to the segment here. There are numerous issues at play here but TALKERS will address the primary ones. The tenor of Bill Handel’s program hasn’t changed and presumably his advertisers know what they’re buying. If an advertiser boycott of Handel’s program is what the BMA seeks, it may find the going tougher for Handel’s Southern California show than national groups are for the Rush Limbaugh controversy. That’s generally the way these cases work. Handel broke no FCC rules and we believe it’s unlikely he or KFI will apologize – so far neither has. During the discussion, you can hear both sides of the issue being debated by the air talent. This is exactly the kind of public debate of important issues Supreme Court rulings, such as New York Times v. Sullivan, protects and which the Court admits could be controversial. Justice Brennan even wrote of the “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.” The most important issue for the BMA is whether this tactic will cause it to be perceived by the public as nitpicking and a pest instead of being seen as an organization with goals of diversity and fairness.
Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York Rebrands as “The Answer.” The New York news/talk outlet formerly known as “The Apple” hits the air today with an altered programming schedule and the new handle, “The Answer.” Salem Communications VP and director of the spoken word format Phil Boyce states, “The new name will more accurately reflect who we are and what the benefit is to listening to us. ‘The Answer’ just popped into my head my first week here, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. We are the answer to so many questions, from ‘what happened while you slept?’ to ‘is it gonna rain?’ to ‘why am I stuck in traffic?’” The company notes the new station lineup is as follows: Salem Radio Network syndicated Bill Bennett‘s “Morning in America” from 5:00 am to 7:00 am, local host Curtis Sliwa from 7:00 am to 10:00 am, Dial Global’s Dennis Miller from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, SRN’s Dennis Prager from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, SRN’s Michael Medved from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm; Curtis and attorney Jeffrey Lichtman from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm; and SRN’s Hugh Hewitt from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Boyce says new imaging will create a hip, younger sound for the station, heavy on a New York-style attitude. ”New Yorkers are slightly jaded and a little sarcastic, so we wanted the sound of our station to reflect the city we serve.” In describing his collaboration with voiceover talent Lonnie Perkins, Boyce gushed, “I told him to sound like that ‘Mayhem Man’ commercial for Allstate Insurance.” The new imaging includes new top of hour ID’s, promos, and show opens. Boyce wanted to re-arrange the lineup to “put the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle” together in the right order.
Heidi Harris Exits KDWN. Word from Las Vegas is that KDWN, Las Vegas morning talk show host Heidi Harris has exited her position at the Beasley Broadcasting-owned news/talker. Sources inside the station tell TALKERS that the relationship between Harris and KDWN management had been strained for some time now and finally reached the breaking point. Heidi Harris, a multi-repeat member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred is considered by industry observers to be a rising star. The conservative host has been a regular contributor and guest on the progressive Ed Schultz Show on MSNBC and speaker at the New Media Seminar. Harris has not responded to e-mail requests by TALKERS for comment and confirmation but her presence on the KDWN website has been removed. More details as they are available.
WMAL, Washington Re-Positions AM Drive Show; Mary Katherine Ham Exits. The former “Morning Majority” AM drive show at Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington is now “Mornings on the Mall” with Brian Wilson and Bryan Nehman as Mary Katherine Ham – who joined WMAL last summer – leaves the program. Ham wrote on her blog earlier this week, “It has been a pleasure to work with Bryan Nehman and Brian Wilson – two consummate broadcast professionals who generously taught this n00b as much as they could. And, though I’m new to radio, it’d be hard to imagine a producer more capable than our executive producer Heather Smith, who I remain convinced does not require sleep (in an industrious way, not a vampire way). The folks at the company had a vision for a different, independent role for me at the station, but we just weren’t able to come to an agreement that would make it work, so I’m off to do my other jobs. I’m constantly thankful I have the freedom to make decisions like that, and realize it’s a tremendous blessing to have such options.” Ham is an analyst at Fox News Channel and is a contributing writer for The Daily Caller.
Firesign Theater Founder Peter Bergman Dies. One of the founders of the radio comedy show Firesign Theater has died at age 72 after a battle with Leukemia. Peter Bergman and three fellow comedians — Phillip Proctor, David Ossman and Phil Austin – created the radio program that spawned four must-have comedy albums (released between 1968 and 1972) for college-age hippies of the time. Bergman was hosting a late-night talk show on Pacifica’s KPFK, Los Angeles when he started the Firesign Theater program. Bergman revived the Firesign Theater show on the internet in 2010.
Salem Radio Network Correspondent Dan Hackel Passes Away. Longtime news pro Dan Hackel died in Israel over the weekend after a battle with cancer. He had been Salem Radio Network’s primary correspondent in Israel for the past four years. Hackel was a founding anchor for CNN International and a frequent anchor on Headline News. He served as Washington correspondent covering the White House for ABC News, and he reported on the U. S. Congress for the Mutual Broadcasting System.
TRN’s and WGST, Atlanta’s Rusty Humphries Named Kentucky Colonel. Kentucky colonel is the highest title of honor bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Commissions for Kentucky colonels are given by the governor and the secretary of state to individuals in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to a community, state or the nation. Other notable Colonels include Bob Hope, Pope John Paul II, Winston Churchill and of course Col. Sanders. Pictured with Colonel Rusty Humphries is Melissa Forrest, president and market manager of Clear Channel Atlanta where Humphries works at news/talk WGST.
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.
Cumulus Media Networks to Syndicate Daily Mike Huckabee Talk Show in Same Time Slot as Rush Limbaugh. Former Arkansas Governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has been producing a daily feature for Cumulus Media Networks and hosting his weekend show on Fox News Channel since shortly after the 2008 presidential race. Now CMN decides to develop a three-hour talk show for Huckabee – based out of Florida – airing live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET and beginning April 2. Already, industry watchers are viewing the move as Cumulus “taking on” Premiere Networks’ syndication dominance in the time slot with Limbaugh while Cumulus COO John Dickey tells The New York Times that it is positioning the show as an alternative to Limbaugh. Huckabee himself defers to Limbaugh’s success telling Times writer Brian Stelter he doesn’t feel like a competitor, “He’s going to have an audience that will be very loyal and has been for over 20 years. I doubt that will change.” Within the industry, the big question is will Cumulus push Huckabee onto its news/talk stations that currently carry Limbaugh, especially at such major market stations as WABC, New York; WLS, Chicago; WJR Detroit; WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington? All are markets where Premiere parent Clear Channel Media and Entertainment doesn’t have a news/talk outlet (or a strong-performing talk outlet) on which to move Limbaugh. Huckabee is a good broadcaster with a personality all his own, great name recognition and is adept at taking on subjects outside the realm of politics. He’s likeable and smart. But Limbaugh has performed well for the aforementioned stations and it would be a gamble to make a change of such significance. Perhaps far more concerned than Premiere are local talk hosts at the Cumulus stations not mentioned above who understand Cumulus is not making this move without a plan to roll Huckabee out onto as many of its O&Os as possible.
Sports Talk Host Scott Kaplan Admits Fault in Comments About Female Broadcaster. Former XEPRS, San Diego morning drive talk host Scott Kaplan tells the San Diego Union Tribune that he needs to apologize to Mountain West sports broadcaster Andrea Lloyd for comments he made about her appearance that may have led to his and co-host Billy Ray Smith’s departure from the station. Kaplan called Lloyd a “beast” and a “sasquatch of a woman” on the program and was let go from the station more than a week later. Broadcast Company of the America’s VP/GM Tex Meyer had told the Union Tribune he’d spoken with Kaplan in the past about similar issues. But Kaplan’s comments to NBC San Diego prior to being fired strike at the heart of the issue for edgy, sports talk hosts trying to reach a younger, male demo when he stated, “I don’t apologize for the fact that we’re a guy show, a locker-room kind of show. There’s no apology for that. This is what we do.” The reality is that radio hosts targeting young men often comment on the appearances of women – often positively, but sometimes not. It’s certainly the right of any operator to tolerate it or not but points to the fine line such hosts must walk in creating an edgy show and being savvy enough to realize who is “fair game” and who the public will perceive as an innocent undeserving of such criticism. As for Kaplan, he says he can’t talk about his actual firing but tells the paper he doesn’t believe he was validly terminated from the station.
CNN Suspends Roland Martin for Super Bowl Tweets. Numerous media reports indicate CNN is suspending commentator Roland Martin for tweets he sent during the Super Bowl – one of which in response to the David Beckham H&M underwear ad is being perceived by gay rights activists to have been homophobic. In the tweet, Martin wrote, “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl” Martin responded that he was only making fun of soccer. The Washington Post reports CNN issued the following statement about Martin’s status: “Roland Martin’s tweets were regrettable and offensive. Language that demeans is inconsistent with the values and culture of our organization, and is not tolerated. We have been giving careful consideration to this matter, and Roland will not be appearing on our air for the time being.” TALKERS recently addressed the issue of talent using social media in a feature piece titled, “Social Media: Handle with Care.” If you haven’t read it yet, check it out here.
WTKK-FM, Boston Talk Host Michael Graham Sponsors Candidate’s School. Local talk show host Michael Graham broadcasts on Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston but he’s also an experienced GOP consultant. Last night, Graham sponsored a non-partisan workshop at the Café Escadrille in suburban Boston in which Republican, Democratic and independent political professionals donated their time to help educate and train private citizens on becoming candidates in the 2012 election and beyond. Graham says of the event, “We’re answering the question I’ve been asked thousands of times: ‘What can I do to make a difference?’ Here’s what you can do: Run.” This is not Graham’s first workshop. Since 2010 more than 500 New Englanders have attended Graham’s Candidate’s School.
Former Blue Star Media Group Exec “Doesn’t Own Feature Concepts.” That’s the position of Blue Star Media Group president and CEO Michael Metter after former EVP Jeff Weber sent out an industry-wide press release on 2/7 accusing – though not by name – Blue Star’s Business TalkRadio Network and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network of not having the rights to a news feature and a music history vignette. In the release, Weber references the music vignette “Pop Quiz” and the news feature “Heard Around Town” which he says are still available through his company, Jeff Weber Marketing. Metter tells TALKERS when Weber left the company in December he asked that his name and voice be removed from all Blue Star content and the company complied. Metter says his new features – “Heard Across America with Wendy Lowy Sloane” and “Rhythm & Pop with Tony Legg” – are “totally different names with the new content written by the talent. These concepts are as old as radio itself. What ownership does he have?”
Maryland Brewer Makes Beer to Honor the Late Ron Smith; Proceeds Benefit Cancer Research. Brewer Jay Lampart at Johansson’s Dining House in Westminster, Maryland has created a beer call Reason Saison to honor the late WBAL, Baltimore talk host Ron Smith. Lampart tells WBAL, “Ron has been part of my ride home since 9/11, which was also the time I moved to Maryland. I learned a lot about Maryland politics and critical thinking from Ron.” Lampart says proceeds from the brew will go to the Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center where Smith was treated for pancreatic cancer. It’ll remain on sale at the restaurant through the end of the month or until supplies run out. The name of the beer stems from Smith’s calling himself the “voice of reason” combined with the Belgian style of beer known as saison.
Deer Creek’s KCKS-FM, Chico, California Simulcasts Sports AM. KEWE, Chico is Deer Creek’s “Fox Sports Radio 1340” and after a year of trying a CHR music format, the station returns being a simulcast for the company’s sports talk outlet. Although San Francisco and Sacramento AMs get into the market, Chico doesn’t have another local sports talk outlet.
Syrian Violence Escalates, GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Election, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, and L.A. School Sex Abuse Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/8). The international community’s growing conflict over the escalating violence in Syria; Rick Santorum’s victories complicating the GOP primary race and the beginning of President Obama’s campaign; Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the Los Angeles school sex abuse case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey Addresses “Inherently Inefficient” Nature of Old-Line Media Business Model in Bain Capital News Story. The chief executive officer of the second largest radio station operator in America is one of several Atlanta-based business executives to speak to the Atlanta Journal Constitution about his business and the role private equity firm Bain Capital played in its progress. The piece ran Sunday (2/5) online and in print and was written from the perspective of giving insight into Bain Capital – the company formerly run by presidential candidate Mitt Romney. However it also probes the nature of corporate radio as it rides the rough surf of an economic downturn and a dramatically changing media business – complete with layoffs and job consolidation. The story notes Cumulus CFO Joseph Hannan explained to investors at a recent conference that they had to “wholesale re-engineer the way these operations work” in order to cut costs and that the company learned this process while working with the private equity firms. Hannan said the company was able to cut $70 million in costs. Lew Dickey tells the AJC the business has to work that way to survive. He says old-line media companies have become “inherently inefficient. We run the business as efficiently as technology permits us to do.” Interestingly, Bain Capital took a loss on its involvement with Cumulus. Cumulus ended up buying out Bain and the other private equity partners. It worked with other private equity firms to engineer the Citadel Broadcasting deal and it remains to be seen whether that will turn out to be a wise investment for them or whether they will suffer the same fate as Bain. Through it all, Dickey remains confident and tells the AJC he believes his company will add jobs – albeit in different sectors – during this year. “By the end of the year, we’ll have a net increase in jobs. They’ll be different jobs. That’s how business evolves.”
Exit of CBS Radio CHR Programmer and 92.3 Now PD Dom Theodore Fires Up Speculation About Sports or News Moving to the New York Signal. There was big news in the CHR world yesterday as CBS Radio’s format captain and PD of 92.3 Now (WXRK-FM, New York) Dom Theodore left the building. For those awaiting the (some say) way overdue addition of an FM signal for sports talk WFAN, this move gives them plenty to talk about. Still others believe one of CBS Radio’s all-newsers – WINS or WCBS – could end up with an FM simulcast. Right now it’s all guesswork but rumors that the rest of the on-air staff at 92.3 Now may have received news of its imminent demise along with Theodore’s departure have the message boards in the Tri-State area red hot with chatter.
Courtside Entertainment Group Names Rich Rapiti Senior Director of Affiliate Relations. Longtime affiliate relations pro Rich Rapiti is reunited with Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz in his new role as senior director of affiliate relations for Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group. Rapiti will be based in New York City. Courtside president Bob Moore says, “Rich Rapiti is a unique guy. He has worked in the radio business his entire adult life and has mastered the art of working with radio stations in providing quality programming. We are extremely excited about having Rich on our team.” Speaking about his new position, Rapiti states, “I am thrilled to be the newest member of the Courtside team. Rarely does the opportunity occur where you can work with the likes of a Norm Pattiz and his executive team.”
XEPRS, San Diego Makes AM Drive Changes; Scott Kaplan Exits, Dave Palet and Jeff Dotseth In. After 11 years at the station, morning drive host Scott Kaplan and co-host Billy Ray Smith are out as hosts of the program. Station VP/GM Tex Meyer says in a press release the change was made “after very careful consideration and evaluation of several important factors.” However, many San Diego media observers are saying Kaplan’s recent unflattering on-air comments about Mountain West broadcaster Andrea Lloyd put management over the top and forced its hand. Broadcast Company of the Americas brings San Diego market veterans Dave Palet and Jeff Dotseth in to take over the morning drive show.
WGN, Chicago Holds “Cubs Song” Contest. Musically inclined Chicago Cubs fans are being encouraged to write a tribute song to their favorite baseball team and have the chance for it to become part of Cubs radio broadcasts all season long. Tribune Company’s WGN – flagship for Chicago Cubs baseball – will be the judge of the winning submission for this unique promotion. Here are the rules: Write an original song about the Chicago Cubs and e-mail it as an .mp3 file attachment to email@example.com by February 29, 2012. The lyrics must mention the Cubs and WGN Radio, but may not mention names of individual players, coaches or Cubs management. Songs longer than four minutes will be disqualified. You must also include your name, address, daytime phone number, e-mail address, and age in the e-mail. Entries on behalf of a group must provide the required information for each member of the group. WGN will post up to 10 finalists on its website and give fans the chance to vote on the winner. The writer/performer of the winning entry will have the chance to get the song recorded in a professional studio and perform it live during Jonathon Brandmeier’s Opening Day broadcast on WGN.
WBNS-FM, Columbus Debuts “Off-Season with Bobby Carpenter.” The NFL season is over – more or less – until the draft in April and RadiOhio sports talker 97.1 The Fan (WBNS-FM) is taking advantage of the year-round interest in the National Football League by creating a weekly, Friday afternoon show co-hosted by former Ohio State standout and current Detroit Lions linebacker Bobby Carpenter and WBNS-TV’s Beau Bishop. Director of programming and operations Jay Taylor announces the one-hour show airs from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm featuring talk about the NFL, the upcoming draft and Buckeye football and debuts this Friday, February 10.
CNN Names Jim Acosta to National Political Correspondent Role. The cable news channel announces Jim Acosta is promoted to national political correspondent where he’ll appear regularly on several CNN programs including “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” and “John King, USA,” according to TVWeek. CNN SVP and Washington bureau chief Sam Feist states, “Jim has been an outstanding addition to the political team. He has emerged as one of the key reporters on the campaign trail and his astute reporting skills will only help to position the network to dominate this important election cycle.”
CBS Radio Renews with MLB’s Phillies; Games to Air on WIP-FM. CBS Radio’s news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia has been the longtime flagship for Philadelphia Phillies baseball and the company and team just struck a new multi-year deal to keep the team with CBS Philadelphia. This season the games will also air on sister sports WIP’s new FM signal as well. CBS Radio Philadelphia VP/market manager Marc Rayfield states, “It’s a very exciting time for WPHT and WIP, and this partnership with the Philadelphia Phillies only adds to the interest audiences have in these two leading radio stations. We look forward to the future with the most thrilling team in baseball.”
Talk Host Steve Cochran Ready to Return to Action After Health Scare. Chicago-based talk host Steve Cochran – who handles the afternoon program at Salem Communication’s WIND, Chicago and hosts the late morning program for KTRS, St. Louis (which is rerun in the evening) from his home in the Chicago area – took himself off the air last week and went to the hospital after feeling chest pains, according to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder. Cochran underwent some tests and was prescribed medication and reports he hopes to be back on the radio soon. Cochran tells Feder, “The doctor said I’ll be 125 percent, which is great news unless you really hate my show.”
More TV Work for TRN’s Phil Hendrie. Los Angeles-based, nationally syndicated talk radio personality Phil Hendrie scored a recurring role on the hit Fox TV show “New Girl.” Hendrie says, “The entire cast and crew is so hard working, gracious and welcoming. It’s an honor to get to work with them.” Last year, Hendrie taped an episode of the ABC-TV hit show “Modern Family” in which he plays the recurring character “Boots.” That episode is to air soon. Pictured here is the cast of “New Girl” – from left to right: Max Greenfield, Lamorne Morris, Hannah Simone, Hendrie, Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson.
Romney Surges in GOP Primary, Super Bowl Aftermath, Syria Violence and Closure of U.S. Embassy and New Iran Sanctions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6). Mitt Romney’s victory in Nevada over the weekend and his continuing lead over competitors, the aftermath of the Giants’ victory in Super Bowl XLVI, continuing violence in Syria and the U.S.’s closure of its embassy there and new sanctions levied against Iran were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
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 Networks’ Rush 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.
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.
Radio Not Alone in Cuts; CNN Eliminates 50 Positions. Changes in technology and an analysis of its own efficiency have caused CNN to cut some 50 positions in the trenches according to a report in TVNewser. After a three-year study of the news organization’s operations, senior vice president Jack Womack writes in a memo to staffers, “Technology investments in our newsrooms now allow more desk-top editing and publishing for broadcast and online. As a result of these technology and workflow changes, CNN is reducing the number of media editors in our work force in Atlanta.” The report notes 12 positions in the Washington, DC bureau have been eliminated as well as jobs in New York, Los Angeles and Miami.
All-New Cumulus Down 1.9% in Q3. In a conference call with analysts, Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey reported that third quarter revenue for the newly acquired Citadel group of stations was down 2.3%, the Cumulus Media Partners stations – the old Susquehanna group stations that made up CMP which Cumulus finished purchasing in August, down 3.4% while Cumulus proper was down 0.6% in the third quarter compared to the same quarter one year ago. Dickey reports the company is ahead of schedule with its plan to achieve almost $52 million in “synergies” before January. He states, “We now have a true national platform with a large and liquid market capitalization and a flexible, covenant-light debt complex that is designed to optimize free cash flow and de-risk the equity. Our team is making excellent progress on the Citadel integration and is energized by the upside potential of our newly transformed platform.”
RAB Names Erica Farber Executive Vice President. The Radio Advertising Bureau announces it is consolidating its Membership, Professional Development and Services units into one big group and that former Radio & Records publisher and CEO Erica Farber joins the organization as EVP as of January 1, 2012. RAB president and CEO Jeff Haley says of Farber’s joining the organization, “I am thrilled about Erica joining the management team of the RAB. We are at a pivotal time as we look to serve the industry and ensure our product offerings meet the demands of an evolving medium. There’s no better executive for the role than Erica.” In related moves at the RAB, Sheila Kirby exits the RAB’s Professional Development Group to take the senior vice president of sales training and development post at CBS Radio. Michael Weiss, who serves as president of sales at CBS Radio says, “Sheila and I have worked together for close to 20 years, and there is no one I respect more when it comes to motivating a team to perform at their absolute best. Working closely with Sheila, our sales force will have a clear advantage in the marketplace and advertisers will benefit greatly working with such a sophisticated group of salespeople dedicated to constructing integrated programs that guarantee results.” Also from the RAB, Ron Ruth shifts from a full-time position with the RAB to a consulting role.
“The Broadside” Hosts Andrew Langer and Mark Newgent Fill in at WBAL, Baltimore. Andrew Langer and Mark Newgent began their internet program, “The Broadside” several months ago. Now, as Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore is airing various programs in its 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot, Langer and Newgent host their program on WBAL on November 14, 15 and 25. Langer, who serves as president of the Institute for Liberty and the Small Business Political Alliance and was named by Campaigns and Elections as a Top Influencer in Maryland in 2011 and Newgent, who writes for TheExaminer.com and RedMaryland.blogspot.com and does research and analysis of politics and policy, say their plan “is to expand the horizons of traditional conservative talk, bringing in discussions (and guests) whose focuses are not only politics, but also movies, music and sports.”
CBS Radio Transitions ESPN High Desert to AM Signal; Goes All-Christmas on FM. The ESPN High Desert sports talk outlet KVFG-FM, Victorville, California shifts to KRAK-AM as ESPN 910 so the FM signal can flip to an all-Christmas format. There’s no indication what the group’s plans are for the FM signal after the holidays but it seems likely this is a prelude to a change to a music format.
Fox Sports Radio Los Angeles Raises Funds for Paralyzed Veterans. AM 570 Fox Sports L.A. (KLAC) announces it raised almost $100,000 for the Paralyzed Veterans of America during its radiothon on November 9. All the money raised during the “Loose Cannons” and “Petros & Money” shows that day will benefit the charity that provides rehab, access to services as well as research to cure spinal cord injuries. Pictured here (from l-r) are “Loose Cannons” Steve Hartman, Pat O’Brien, Los Angeles Kings president of business operations Luc Robitaille and Vic “The Brick” Jacobs. Robitaille was one of a number of local sports celebs who appeared on the program to help the cause.
SCOTUS to Hear Health Care Reform Arguments, 2012 Presidential Race and ‘Occupy Oakland’ Shut Down Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/14). The United States Supreme Court’s agreement to hear arguments on President Obama’s Health Care Reform law, the 2012 presidential race and the shutdown of the ‘Occupy Oakland’ protests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Blogworld New Media Expo/Los Angeles Hosts Thousands of Communicators. It’s true that the majority of the attendees of last month’s Blogworld New Media Expo in Los Angeles last month don’t make a full-time living with their digital efforts but, as consultant Holland Cooke reports for TALKERS from Los Angeles, that is changing quickly and ad dollars “are simply following listeners from The Old to The New.” Cooke reports what Ford chief marketing officer Jim Farley has to say about new Fords with built-in digital media access, relates thoughts from Edison Research VP/strategy & marketing Tom Webster (keynote speaker at the Blogworld/L.A. event) on understanding digital media and boils down what talk pros can learn from these confabs. Read Holland Cooke’s report here.
Howard Stern Being Considered for Judge Role on “America’s Got Talent.” Piers Morgan is stepping down from his role on the NBC reality show “America’s Got Talent” to focus on his nightly CNN program and The Wall Street Journal reports NBC is in talks with Sirius XM talk star Howard Stern to take over Morgan’s role on the program alongside Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne. The paper reports Stern is asking for $15 million per year and to move the show from Los Angeles to New York. Though the report states the discussions are serious, Howard Stern has a knack for inserting himself into stories like this leaving industry observers to wonder if this is another publicity stunt at which Stern excels so well. Stern was reportedly considered for a judge role on Fox’s “American Idol” several years ago, as well.
KPAM, Portland to Broadcast Live from ‘Occupy Portland” Eviction. Portland, Oregon Mayor Sam Adams issued an order giving the ‘Occupy Portland’ protesters until midnight Saturday to leave two downtown parks or be evicted by authorities. KPAM program director Dennis Glasgow says the station will begin live coverage at 11:00 pm on Saturday evening with anchor and news director Tim Hohl at the radio station studios joined by midday host Victoria Taft, KPAM reporter Mark Provost and Portland Tribune columnists’ Jim Redden and Peter Korn. Glasgow states, “This is an excellent opportunity for our listeners to enjoy live coverage as it happens at ‘Occupy Portland’ and get the very latest breaking news while the historic event comes to a head. This type of local programming continues to be our promise to our listeners, that we are the leaders in local breaking news as ‘The Voice of Portland.’”
President Obama to Appear on Westwood One Sports’ College Hoops Broadcast. Sportscaster Jim Gray will interview President Obama during halftime of this evening’s college basketball game – the Quicken Loans Carrie Classic – being played on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier stationed in San Diego. Tonight’s Veterans Day game tips off Dial Global/Westwood One’s coverage of the 2011-2012 college basketball season.
MSNBC Reportedly Won’t Let Pat Buchanan Promote His Latest Book. MSNBC personality Pat Buchanan has been appearing on other cable news/talk channels – CNN, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network – but he won’t be allowed to plug his latest book on the network for which he works. According to TVNewser, an MSNBC executive says the network has made a conscious decision not to allow Buchanan to plug Suicide of a Superpower (Thomas Dunne Books 2011) because some consider the book’s message to be bigoted. The theme of the book is described on Amazon.com this way: “America was born a Western Christian republic but is being transformed into a multiracial, multicultural, multilingual, multiethnic stew of a nation that has no successful precedent in the history of the world.” The groups CREDO Action and ColorofChange.org are pushing for MSNBC to fire Buchanan for his views and “long history of bigoted rhetoric.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. WSJRN’s “The Daily Wrap from the Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” picks up 16 new affiliates including WHJJ, Providence; Buckley Broadcasting’s Hartford, Connecticut simulcast of WDRC/WMMW/WWCO/WSNG; KQV, Pittsburgh; and WGIR, Manchester, New Hampshire…..Radio America’s Peter Schiff show adds KKOV, Portland to its roster of affiliates…..the Kevin McCullough show is added to the program lineup at WGCF-FM, Paducah, Kentucky; KAPG-FM, Bentonville/Fayetteville, Arkansas; and KJSB, Jonesboro, Arkansas…..Talk Shows USA-syndicated “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” picks up WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia; WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois; WHUB, Cookeville, Tennessee; and WTHQ, Brookport, Illinois.
Special Veterans Day Broadcast. WXKS, Boston morning drive host Jeff Katz (l) is pictured here with United States Marine Corps General John Kelly (r) at Katz’s special broadcast live from the Fisher House at the V.A. Hospital in Boston. Katz broadcast a special tribute for the 236th anniversary of the USMC and had an emotional interview with General Kelly whose son Robert was killed in action one year ago. The general was at the Fisher House to dedicate a garden in memory of his son.
Herman Cain Accusations/2012 Presidential Race/GOP Debate Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 7-11. Landing atop the Talkers TenTM for the week of November 7-11 was the combined story of the accusations of sexual impropriety by candidate Herman Cain, the 2012 presidential race and Wednesday evening’s GOP debate. Coming in at #2 was the Penn State scandal followed by the Euro Zone economic jitters and Silvio Berlusconi resignation followed by the financial markets activity at #4. The Talkers TenTM is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. Click the banner below to view the entire chart.
Clear Channel Announces New “Brand Management” Team; Talk Programmers Darryl Parks and Ken Charles Named to Management Roles. The company’s new “brand management team” consists of a brand manager and a brand coordinator for each of the 11 format categories. Darryl Parks – longtime programmer at WLW, Cincinnati and recently promoted to vice president for news/talk operations – is named brand manager. Clear Channel Miami-based Ken Charles assumes the brand coordinator role. The company says these managers serve as the in-house format experts, “The team will help manage the highly effective Premium Choice Network, which imports and exports programming innovation and excellence from region to region, market to market and station to station providing the highest quality research, talent and programming otherwise unavailable. The team will also be available to consult with select stations and to assist Clear Channel’s senior vice presidents of programming as needed throughout the country, and will gather and share format-specific content, information and resources throughout the field.”
CBS Radio’s Q3 Revenue Flat. The radio division of CBS Corporation is reporting flat revenue for the third quarter of 2011 compared to the same quarter in 2010. The company says in a statement, “CBS Radio revenues were flat compared to the same prior-year period, also reflecting lower political spending, offset by growth in domestic auto, retail and financial services.” Chief financial officer Joe Ianniello says, for the fourth quarter of this year, the radio division is pacing up in the single digits which matches the third quarter increase offset only by the loss of political advertising.
Salem Communications Reports 6.8% Q3 Revenue Increase. Compared to the same quarter last year, Salem Communications is reporting third quarter income of $54.9 million – a 6.8% increase. In a conference call, CEO Ed Atsinger stated he’s pleased with the radio division’s performance which provided $44.8 million of the quarterly income at an increase of 3% over the year prior.
Saga Communications Revenue Essentially Flat in Q3. With net operating revenue down 1% and net income up 3.9% for the third quarter of this year compared to the same period one year ago, Saga Communications reports the quarter was basically flat. During a conference call, CEO Ed Christian noted that the company was able to pay down $13 million in debt during the third quarter.
Radio Christmas Special to Benefit Fisher House Foundation. “Great radio for a great cause.” That’s how Fisher House Foundation describes its innovative Christmas special, “The Gift,” which is being produced by Bloomquist Media in conjunction with Cumulus Media. The three-hour radio tribute to America’s warriors and their families revolves around the compelling and uplifting stories of three service members who picked up the burden of defending our country after 9/11, suffered serious wounds and have returned to live happy productive lives – thanks in no small part to the love and support of their families. Among those profiled is Army infantryman Matt Zajac, who has returned to college, rock climbing and scuba diving after losing both legs in Iraq. Zajac’s father spent 19 straight months at his son’s side as he recovered. “The Gift,” which is hosted by KGO, San Francisco personality Gil Gross, also features insight from two past Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and former CBS reporter Kimberly Dozier, who was nearly killed in a car-bombing in Iraq and has seen firsthand the courage and resilience of our wounded warriors and military families. “The Gift” is more than just compelling holiday programming. By airing the show, stations will help raise the profile of Fisher House, which provides no-cost housing and other services to the families of wounded warriors while they recover at military and VA hospitals. “The Gift” is made available on barter in exchange for Fisher House PSAs that will air in the week after Christmas – the biggest time of the year for charitable giving. For more information on “The Gift,” click here http://marketing.rnsales.com/thegift/gift.html
CNN Retools Morning Programming; New Anchors and Producer Aboard. CNN is announcing its plans for the morning shows on the cable news/talk channel. Shannon High is leaving her position with NBC’s Peacock Productions to become producer of CNN’s new morning shows and Soledad O’Brien returns to mornings anchoring the 7:00 am to 9:00 am program. That’s preceded by the new 5:00 am to 7:00 am program co-anchored by Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida Sambolin – the latter coming to national cable from WMAQ-TV, Chicago. The new morning programming is expected to debut early in 2012.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” is added live in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot to the lineup at Cox Media Group’s WOKV, Jacksonville…..Genesis Communications Network’s Josh Tolley adds KMET, Banning, California and WDKM, Adams, Wisconsin…..“Both Sides Now,” hosted by Mark Green and featuring Arianna Huffington and Mary Matalin, is added to the 9:00 pm Saturday slot at Buckley’s WOR, New York.
‘OWS’ Movement Top News/Talk Radio Topic for Week of October 31 – November 4. The continuing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement in cities around the nation stays in the top spot on the Talkers TenTM chart as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio in America for the second consecutive week. The Talkers TenTM is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. Landing at #2 this week was the 2012 presidential race and the allegations of harassment against Herman Cain. At #3 was the Obama jobs bill and following up at #4 was the euro zone stability. To see the entire chart, click the banner below.
Larry King Still Going Strong, Plans New Radio and TV Projects. In an exclusive TALKERS TV interview conducted with Bill Moran of PodJockey.com, broadcasting legend and CNN icon Larry King says he doesn’t feel his age and has no intention of retiring anytime in the near future. Speaking on camera during the noisy breakfast gathering (10/20) at the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum moments before he delivered the conference’s opening speech, King states that in addition to the four TV specials per year for three years that he has contracted to do for CNN, he is on the verge of announcing (within several days or weeks) his return to doing an LA-based national radio show and the launch of yet another television project. He says that he was comfortable with “Larry King Live” coming to an end this past December stating he knows “it was time” but he does miss having the opportunity to cover the big news stories that break on a daily basis such as the killing of Osama bin Laden. He says he thinks the job being done by present day news media is “mixed” – that the public is provided “massive information” faster than ever due to modern technology, however, in an effort to get it out quickly the media “doesn’t always get it right.” He regrets that there isn’t an Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite working in today’s news broadcasting. He points out that there is “a lot of conjecture” in today’s news reporting. He proudly quotes Johnny Depp who recently described him as being “a throwback” stating “I never had an agenda.” King professes his love of baseball, currently serves as a little league coach, and is a member of one of the investment groups bidding on taking ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Immediately following the interview, King opened up the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum with a well-received address in which he discussed his career – past, present and future. To watch and hear Larry King’s conversation with Bill Moran see the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page. Larry King’s opening address at the LARTF and detailed coverage (stories, photos and videos) of the panels and speeches at the groundbreaking conference will be coming to this website shortly.
Dial Global Completes Merger with Westwood One. Friday, Dial Global announced it has completed its merger with Westwood One in a stock-for-stock transaction that sees the WON ticker symbol go away and, beginning today (10/24), the company is listed on the NASDAQ as DIAL. Dial Global is being led by the management team of Spencer Brown, David Landau and Ken Williams. The newly formed company includes all of the sports programming Westwood One has been known for over the years as well as the original talk content plus the entertainment programming and 24/7 music formats. It also includes the Dial Global sales rep department and continues to partner with the now separate company Triton Digital. Neal Schore serves as chairman of the newly constituted board of directors and states, “Dial Global has always been focused on serving the ever-evolving needs of the radio industry and this transaction will expand the programming and service offerings sought by both radio stations and advertisers. On behalf of the board, I want to thank Rod Sherwood and the entire Westwood One team, whose tremendous efforts have helped make this transaction possible.” Dial Global’s majority ownership is Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. and The Gores Group, LLC which own 44% and 31% of the common shares, respectively.
Cumulus Hammer Falls in New York. News of the corporate dictate hit the industry grapevine late Friday that there have reportedly been about 15 job cuts at New York stations WABC and WPLJ-FM, though at this time only a few are known for sure. Mancow Muller’s New York-only weekend show on news/talk WABC is gone from the lineup. It’s believed that a number of the positions cut were administrative posts but it’s also reported that Jill Vitale (a.k.a Flirty Flipper – former Sean Hannity producer) was let go from her digital media post. So far Cumulus corporate officers have visited Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York as they undertake the process of determining where duplicative positions exit and where money is being spent that they believe is just not necessary.
Deepak Chopra Launches Online Radio Show with Cinchcast and BlogTalkRadio. Cinchcast, a company that provides solutions for businesses and consumers to create, share, measure and monetize audio content, today announced that Deepak Chopra has launched a new online radio show leveraging Cinchcast’s audio publishing and management platform and its online radio network, BlogTalkRadio.com. Deepak Chopra, a leading expert in the fields of spirituality and alternative medicine and New York Times best-selling author in both the fiction and non-fiction categories, has created Deepak Chopra Radio to provide an online forum for compelling and thought provoking conversations on success, love, sexuality and relationships, well-being and spirituality. According to Chopra, “Cinchcast’s technology and the BlogTalkRadio network are enabling me to create my own media platform. The simplicity of broadcasting using only a phone enables me to bring together thought leaders from across the globe from the worlds of spirituality, science and politics to create and share a dialogue on today’s most important topics.” Alan Levy, CEO of Cinchcast and founder of BlogTalkRadio tells TALKERS, “That’s the beauty of our technology, it turns the phone into a publishing platform making it easy for individuals and businesses to bring important conversations to life. We’re thrilled to have Deepak Chopra on the BlogTalkRadio network.” Deepak Chopra Radio is now available at BlogTalkRadio.com, DeepakChopra.com and on iTunes. Cinchcast was developed by BlogTalkRadio to enable businesses with a simple and powerful solution to produce and share original audio content. Headquartered in New York City, Cinchcast powers audio creation and publishing for companies such as United Business Media, Business Insider, SAP and Sears, and is the technology behind BlogTalkRadio. For more information, visit www.cinchcast.com.
KGMZ, San Francisco Names Mitch Moss Producer. Entercom’s 95.7 The Game – KGMZ-FM, San Francisco – announces former KBAD, Las Vegas program director Mitch Moss is the new producer for its midday “The Wheelhouse with John Lund” program.
Timing Is Everything. On the night following the death of Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi, WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (l) presented Fox News national security correspondent and author Catherine Herridge (r) in a live town hall-style event to discuss the next threats against the U.S. and her new book, The Next Wave: On the Hunt for al Qaeda’s American Recruits (Crown Forum 2011). Bernier tells TALKERS this was the 67th event in the long-running interview series. It featured a book signing as well.
Paul Finebaum and Staff Visit Iowa Fan. Birmingham, Alabama-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum – in the news a lot recently for his legal battle with the former Citadel Broadcasting and WJOX-FM – and some of his staff visited 33-year-old Robert Fisher on Friday, October 21. Fisher, who suffers from cerebral palsy, is a huge college football fan and a regular caller to Finebaum’s show that he’s able to hear via Sirius XM. Finebaum, call screener Tammy Hethcox, and frequent Finebaum guest and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Larry Lemak flew from Alabama to Iowa in Lemak’s private plane to surprise Fisher at his parent’s home. Finebaum tells the Cedar Rapids Courier that though a few hateful callers have taken issue with him putting Fisher on the air, most of the show’s fans have embraced Fisher. Hethcox and Fisher have struck up a friendship as a result of his calls and Fisher was thrilled to meet Hethcox and argue in person over their respective love of college football rivals Alabama and Auburn. Finebaum says, “Everybody loves the guy on the show. He’s known from coast to coast.”
MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Moves to the 8:00 pm Hour. MSNBC brass are stirring up the pot in an attempt to boost its ratings by flipping “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” and Ed Schultz’s “The Ed Show.” Schultz will air at 8:00 pm ET and O’Donnell at 10:00 pm. MSNBC president Phil Griffin believes Schultz’s style is a better fit for the 8:00 pm hour and a better lead-in to its highest-rated show, “The Rachel Maddow Show.” Although O’Donnell’s program has more than doubled the ratings over CNN competitor Anderson Cooper, O’Donnell’s ratings in the 25-54 demo have dropped over the last month while Schultz’s have increased. Griffin states, “As the name implies, ‘The Last Word’ belongs at the conclusion of our programming day, thoughtfully wrapping up the day’s political dialogue. Ed’s passionate voice is a perfect kick-off to primetime at 8:00 pm.” The changes take place Monday, October 24.
KQTH-FM, Tucson Morning Host Jon Justice Gets ‘Best of Tucson’ Honors. This is the second year in a row that morning drive host Jon Justice has been honored with the ‘Best Radio Personality’ award and the third that he’s nabbed the ‘Best Talk Show Host’ award in the readers poll from Tucson Weekly. KQTH-FM program director Ryan McCreddan says of the honors, “Congratulations to Jon Justice on his wins in the Tucson Weekly’s 2011 Best of Tucson! Jon and ‘104.1 The Truth’ have some of the most loyal listeners in town and it shows over and over again with accolades like this.”
Fox Business Network Receives Orders to Differentiate from Fox News Channel. It appears that Fox Business Network programming has been drifting toward the same appearance as its sister cable news/talker Fox News Channel. So much so that EVP of programming Kevin Magee issued a memo to FBN staff to stop imitating FNC, according to Reuters. Magee confirmed the memo to Reuters and told the news service that Fox Business has to continue to focus its programming on business-related issues and find its own voice. In the memo Magee wrote, “The more we make FBN look like FNC the more of a disservice we do to ourselves. If we give the audience a choice between FNC and the almost-FNC, they will choose FNC every time. Earnings, taxes, jobs etc give us PLENTY to chew on.” Fox Business has not fared well in the ratings compared to its closest competitor CNBC.
KOA, Denver Adds Broncos QB Tim Tebow to its Football Coverage. The newest Denver Broncos starting quarterback will make four weekly appearances on KOA during this football season. Tim Tebow will be heard on the station’s Broncos coverage Monday mornings, Friday afternoons (with former Bronco Dave Logan) on the game day pre-game show (taped, obviously) and live from the locker room after each game.
WGN, Chicago’s Dean Richards Hosts Annual Breast Cancer Special. For the past 14 years, WGN-TV entertainment reporter and WGN-AM weekend talk host Dean Richards has been hosting a special breast cancer program during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and he’ll do it again on Saturday, October 23 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. The live, three-hour special will examine where we are in the fight against breast cancer and feature a panel of the nation’s leading medical experts, moving survivor stories, resources for cancer patients, the latest research and more.
What Happens in Vegas… The GOP primary race has been a boon for news/talk radio with all of the colorful characters and talk radio’s unique relationship with the candidates. For Dial Global syndicated talk host Neal Boortz, his relationship with candidate Newt Gingrich is personal – Gingrich has subbed as a host of his program (as has candidate Hermain Cain). Pictured here is Boortz (r) and Gingrich (l) at the most recent GOP debate in Las Vegas.
2012 Presidential Race/GOP Debate Aftermath, ‘Occupy’ Movement, Obama Jobs Bill and Exotic Animal Owner Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/19). The aftermath of the Tuesday evening GOP candidates debate and the 2012 presidential election , the ‘Occupy’ movement, the battle over the Obama Administration’s jobs bill and the bizarre case of the Ohio exotic animal owner’s suicide and unleashing of dozens of wild animals were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.