Hannity and Koppel Clash on ‘CBS Sunday Morning.’ Radio and television talk star Sean Hannity is calling for CBS News to release the raw, 45-minute video of his conversation with CBS correspondent Ted Koppel, from which a highly charged segment on news/talk media was culled for a piece that aired on the “CBS Sunday Morning” program. In the report, which also featured White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, New York Times editor Dean Baquet, and Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, Koppel expresses his view that news/talk shows like Hannity’s are widening the divide among Americans. At one point, Hannity asks Koppel, “You think I’m bad for America?” And Koppel responds, “Yeah…You have attracted people who are determined that ideology is more important than facts.” Hannity told Koppel he was not giving Americans credit for being able to discern between an opinion show and a news show. After the show aired, Hannity Tweeted complaints about the editing of the program. “Fake ‘edited’ news. I gave a example after example of why I say ‘journalism is dead’. I also gave many examples of how liberalism has failed.” Hannity is calling on CBS News to release the full, 45-minute video “so people can see the BS games you play in the edit room. I dare you!” See the CBS story and link to the program segment here.
Zito to Host ‘Main Street Meets The Beltway’ on SiriusXM. A joint production of the Washington Examiner and SiriusXM is presenting the new, weekly show, “Main Street Meets the Beltway,” Tuesdays from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET on the satcaster’s non-partisan POTUS channel. The program is being hosted by Washington Examiner reporter Salena Zito. She’s been with the Examiner since 2016 as a Pittsburgh-based columnist and reporter. She is also a columnist at the New York Post and serves as a contributor for CNN. She spent much of the last 12 years with the Pittsburgh Tribune Review as both a reporter and columnist covering national politics. On the radio show, “Zito will prioritize the stories and opinions of Americans across the country over politicians and bureaucracy. Having travelled across the heartland extensively throughout the 2016 campaign, Zito gathered countless stories from people of all backgrounds, leading her to correctly predict President Trump’s victory in November. ‘Main Street Meets The Beltway’ will focus on these individuals – their needs, concerns, and hopes for their futures – and what their expectations are from both local and federal government.” Zito will host the new weekly program live from the studios of Point Park University in Pittsburgh.
‘AM1280 The Patriot’ in Twin Cities to Presents Trump 100 Days Event. Twin Cities news/talk outlet WWTC “AM 1280 The Patriot,” along with Salem Media Group’s fellow Minneapolis-St. Paul stations – business talk KYCR-AM “Twin Cities Business Radio 1440” religious KKMS “AM 980 The Mission,” and talk KDIZ “Twin Cities Wellness Radio 1570” – are co-presenting the live event, “President Trump: The First 100 Days” on Sunday, May 21. It features Salem Radio Network hosts Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Prager with moderator Ed Morrissey from HotAir.com. The event is one of 18 that will be taking place in markets including: Los Angeles, Dallas, Denver, and Philadelphia.
Cooke: Radio’s Biggest Star Is Back. No, not Orson Welles…baseball! Media consultant Holland Cooke writes today that the evidence of how beneficial baseball play-by-play is to radio is overwhelming. But, now the games are available in numerous other places. So, “stations need to play defense to exploit the franchise.” Read Cooke’s advice here.
WGN, Chicago’s Steve Cochran Returns to the Air After Being Treated for Blood Clots. WGN, Chicago morning drive personality Steve Cochran returned to the air this morning after spending two days in the hospital being treated for blood clots in his lungs. Chicago media writer Robert Feder writes that Cochran had been under care for bronchitis and shortness of breath. Feder reports that the source of the clot was behind Cochran’s left knee. Cochran is quoted saying, “Serena Williams, Regis Philbin and me — what do we have in common? Not much…but we’ve all had blood clots. DVT (deep vein thrombosis), PE (pulmonary embolism) — all quite serious, but I’m lucky as mine are meds controlled.”
GOP Health Care Bill Failure, Trump-Ryan Relationship, Gorsuch Nomination, London Terror Attack Aftermath, Russia Anti-Corruption Protests, Cincinnati Nightclub Shootings, and March Madness Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The failure of the GOP-authored health care plan designed to replace the Affordable Care Act and speculation about what it means for the Trump Administration; chatter about the working relationship between President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan; the status of the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for a seat on the Supreme Court; the aftermath of last week’s London terror attack that killed five and injured 50; Russia cracks down on anti-Putin and anti-corruption protesters, drawing condemnation from the U.S. and other Western nations; the slaying of one and injuring of numerous others after a gun battle at a Cincinnati night club; and the weekend’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Diane Look, Wife of WFHR PD and AM Host Bob Look Slain in Wisconsin Shootings. The shootings in Wausau, Wisconsin last week that stemmed from a marital dispute claimed the life of Diane Look, the wife of Bob Look, the program director and morning host at Seehafer Broadcasting’s news/talk WFHR, Wisconsin Rapids. Diane Look, a staffer at Marathon Savings Bank, died along with fellow bank worker Karen Barclay after Nengmy Vang showed up at the bank looking for his estranged wife, Naly Vang, who was not injured in the attack. Nengmy Vang also killed Naly Vang’s divorce attorney, Sara Quirt Sann, at her office, and police officer Jason Weiland after barricading himself in his apartment.
Covering the White House Health Care Issue. Pictured above in the Oval Office on Friday (3/24) is Salem Radio Network White House correspondent Greg Clugton (standing, second from left) covering the president’s remarks after the decision not to put the GOP health care bill to a vote in the House. Clugton was in the Oval Office as part of the White House radio pool and was one of only four reporters to question President Trump directly.
KIDO, Boise Morning Host Kevin Miller Guests on Harrison Podcast. This week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” is the hard-working morning host and brand manager of Townsquare Media’s 580 KIDO, Boise – Kevin Miller. Miller is a seasoned veteran who paid his dues in the trenches of local radio in such markets as Pittsburgh, Nashville, Raleigh, Birmingham, Nashua and more before landing in Idaho’s Treasure Valley where he has dug deep and meaningful roots into the community for the better part of a decade. Harrison and Miller discuss the nuts and bolts of doing local radio with all its many challenges and rewards in the era of Donald Trump…and then some. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Roasting to Benefit the American Diabetes Association. KABC, Los Angeles morning personality Doug McIntyre (standing) is pictured above emceeing the 20th Los Angeles Political Roast at the Beverly Hilton Hotel last Thursday (3/23). The “roastee” for this year’s event was Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell. Pictured with McIntyre here is Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Busciano. The event was expected to raise $500,000 for the Los Angeles chapter of the American Diabetes Association.
Drew Bland to Lead Programming at Entercom’s ‘Wolfe’ in Seattle. Country KKWF, Seattle “100.7 The Wolf” has a new program director as Entercom announces Drew Bland assumes the role, effective April 12. Entercom Seattle VP of programming and operations Dave Richards states, “After a nationwide search, it was very clear that Drew was the right person for the job. ‘The Wolf’ is one of America’s great country stations and it deserves a great leader like Drew.” Bland comes to Entercom from Cox Media Group where he was director of programming and branding for country WWKA, Orlando “K92.3 FM.”
WZAT, Savannah Flips to Hot AC. On Friday afternoon (3/24), Cumulus Media flipped WZAT-FM, Savannah from classic country as “NASH Icon 102.1” to hot AC, rebranding the station “102.1 The Sound.” The station is using syndicated morning program “The Bert Show” with Bert Weiss. Cumulus Media Savannah vice president/market manager Eric Mastel says, “We are all very excited to debut Savannah’s newest radio station, ‘102.1 The Sound.’ After extensive market research, it was overwhelmingly evident that Savannah was asking for a radio station they could call their own. ‘102.1 The Sound’ is not only named for the music, but also for the beauty of our home and the water that surrounds us. With artists like Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, The Weeknd and Lorde, and featuring ‘The Bert Show’ in the morning, we have given Savannah exactly what they asked for ‘102.1 The Sound!’”
CBS RADIO to Merge with Entercom; Move Creates 244-Station Company, Second Largest Based on Revenue. The rumors of a CBS Radio–Entercom merger turn out to be true as the two firms announce a stunning deal to make Entercom the second largest radio company – based on revenue – in the nation with 244 Stations, including 23 of the top 25 markets. CBS Corp’s plans for spinning off the radio division via an IPO never really took off, probably due to the fact that radio is not viewed by investors as a growth industry. This merger will be tax free for CBS as it’s being accomplished through a Reverse Morris Trust. Here’s how it will work: CBS shareholders will have the opportunity to exchange all, some, or none of their CBS shares for CBS Radio shares. Immediately following the completion of this exchange offer, CBS Radio will merge with an Entercom subsidiary, with the new CBS Radio shareholders receiving Entercom shares in exchange for their CBS Radio shares in the transaction. After completion of the merger, CBS Radio shareholders will receive approximately 105 million Entercom shares, or 72% of all outstanding shares of the combined company on a fully diluted basis. Existing Entercom shareholders will own 28% of the combined company on a fully diluted basis. The big question for CBS Radio staffers at the corporate level is how this merger – expected to close sometime during the second half of this year – affects their positions. Obviously, there will be redundancy at the corporate level, but how Entercom will ultimately choose to organize its corporate staff remains to be seen. Media consultant Holland Cooke monitored this morning’s investors conference call during which Entercom president and CEO David Field stated that the company expects to realize “$25 million in synergies [cost cuts] within 12-18 months,” mostly in corporate administration. Field noted that there will be 15 divestitures in markets where CBS and Entercom together own more stations than permitted under the FCC ownership cap. As for the news/talk and all-news stations soon to be owned by Entercom, Field called them “trusted pillars of their local communities” and “seven of the most-trusted all-news stations in the U.S.” He referred to the local, on-air talk talent as “major influencers with strong connections to their audiences.” From today’s press release we know that Andre Fernandez will remain president of CBS Radio through the closing. The presser also stated that the combined company will be known as Entercom and will be headquartered in Philadelphia, “with a significant ongoing presence in New York.” Upon closing, the company’s Board of Directors will consist of nine members: five current Entercom directors, including David Field as Chairman of the Board, and four directors nominated by CBS Radio. Entercom president and CEO Field states, “These two great companies, with their impressive histories, complementary assets, and premier content and brands, are a perfect strategic and cultural fit, enabling us to deliver local connection on a national scale and drive accelerated growth. We look forward to welcoming our talented new colleagues at CBS Radio, and we have the utmost respect for their significant contributions to the industry. Radio reaches more Americans than any other medium, and offers advertisers outstanding ROI and local activation. This transformational transaction creates scale-driven efficiencies and opportunities to compete more effectively with other media to better serve our listeners and our advertisers. The combination of a compelling strategic fit, an excellent balance sheet, and robust free cash flow generation, position us to create significant shareholder value for our investors.”
Cumulus Names Brian Joyce PM Drive Host at ‘NewsRadio 106.7’ in Atlanta. Beginning Monday, February 13, talk radio personality Brian Joyce will begin hosting the afternoon talk show on Cumulus Media’s WYAY, Atlanta “NewsRadio 106.7.” Joyce is currently the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm host at the company’s WGOW, Chattanooga “Talk Radio 102.3.” He will continue in that role as well. It’s unclear if Joyce will move to Atlanta or remain in Chattanooga and do the WYAY show from there. The current afternoon show is “Atlanta News” featuring news pro Cheryl Castro and station program director Greg Tantum. It’s unclear if Castro will remain with the new show. Cumulus Media Atlanta vice president and market manager Sean Shannon states, “We live in a world where dialogue on matters of substance has become increasingly difficult, with politically slanted news/talk outlets and social media platforms that feed consumers with stories that confirm their existing political belief systems. ‘NewsRadio 106.7’ breaks that confounding and polarizing mold. We are committed to delivering a forum ruled not by any agenda or by an algorithm, but by the unique value we can create for our listeners. We present multiple sides of the story when we’re delivering the news, ensuring we both inform existing opinions and provoke opposing opinions on every side of the story. In the process, we create a rare media experience facilitating respectful and spirited discourse where there is as much value in listening as there is in talking.” Speaking about this new position, Joyce says, “I’m looking forward to joining [hosts] Shannon [Burke], Kimmer and the rest of the team at ‘NewsRadio 106.7!’ These guys have built a unique and entertaining lineup for the listeners of Atlanta, and it’s my hope that my show will continue to build on the great programming and strong ratings they’re known for.”
CNN Dips into a Slice of Conservative Talk Radio to Get a Read on Caller Opinion About Trump Moves. Last night’s installment of CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” presented a string of listener calls on WPHT, Philadelphia talk host Dom Giordano’s show presenting an array of opinions about Donald Trump’s moves as president focusing on the role of key strategist Stephen K. Bannon. To view the segment, please click here.
Stephanie Miller Show Joins WMLB, Atlanta. WMLB, Atlanta is owned by JW Broadcasting, airs a variety format and is branded “AM 1690 The Voice of the Arts.” Beginning February 20, the WYM Media Management-syndicated Stephanie Miller show begins airing from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. Miller’s program aired on the station in the past when it was an Air America affiliate. WMLB general manager Jeff Davis comments, “Given recent events, the timing is perfect for a progressive voice on Atlanta radio. We’re thrilled to have a recognized professional who’s built a reputation for standing up for liberal causes.” On a related note, Stephanie Miller is preparing to embark on her second consecutive year touring as the headline of the Stephanie Miller Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour. The 2017 tour is titled, “The Sexy Liberal Resistance Tour.”
Cody Welling to Lead Cumulus Media’s Shreveport Cluster. This move takes sales and management pro Cody Welling from Cumulus Media’s Toledo cluster where he’s been serving as director of sales to the company’s Shreveport, Louisiana station group consisting of sports talk KRMD-AM/K264AS “The Ticket,” hip hop KMJJ, CHR KQHN “i97.3,” urban contemporary KVMA “Magic 102.9,” and country KRMD-FM. Cumulus regional vice president Mark Sullivan says, “This is a terrific move for the company and for Cody. Cody’s strong track record of success and dynamic management style are already paying dividends in Shreveport and I look forward to his success and professional growth as our VP/market manager.”
TALKERS News Notes. This year’s 5th annual “Larry Richert Honors our Hometown Heroes,” presented by the KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh morning drive personality, takes place on Thursday, March 2, at the Lexus Club at PPG Paints Arena. Each year, the event honors five individuals who are giving back to the local community in extraordinary ways. The keynote address will be presented by CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett. This is Garrett’s second appearance at “Larry’s Heroes.” In 2015, Garrett was scheduled to appear but a late winter storm kept him in Washington, D.C. Instead, he addressed attendees via video from the snow-covered White House lawn. Richert states, “It’s our fifth year to shine the spotlight on ordinary individuals in the community doing extraordinary things. This year’s edition may be one of our strongest collections of heroes assembled. Their contributions to our community are awe inspiring.”…..This is the fourth consecutive year that Westwood One is presenting the Westwood One Sports Sound Awards in which it challenges its advertisers to push their creative boundaries to create the best commercials to air during its Super Bowl LI broadcast. WW1 is driving fans and a panel of advertising professionals to TheSoundAwards.com to vote for their favorite ads, all leading up to the big reveal of the top five the day after Super Sunday. Voting runs through Monday, February 6…..WIP-FM, Philadelphia’s Wing Bowl 25 gets underway tomorrow (2/3) at 6:00 am at the Wells Fargo Center and will feature an appearance by special guests professional wrestler Ric Flair and Grammy Award-winning artist Coolio. Wing Bowl 25’s “Legends Division” (with legendary Wing Bowl eaters returning from the past) will feature a head-to-head competition between five-time champ El Wingador and two-time champ Molly Schuyler for a prize of $5000. National recording artist and retired Navy Petty Officer First Class Generald Wilson will perform the National Anthem. WIP morning show host Al Morganti, who co-founded Wing Bowl 25 years ago with radio partner Angelo Cataldi says, “Trust me. Just be here. That’s all I can say. Be here.”
Gorsuch SCOTUS Nomination, DeVos Nomination Status, Tillerson New Secretary of State, Iran Missile Test, Beyonce Pregnancy Pic, and Super Bowl LI Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/1). President Donald Trump’s nomination of U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court and speculation about how Democrats will handle it; two senators announce they will not support Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary, possibly endangering her chances of assuming the post; Rex Tillerson is confirmed and sworn in as the new Secretary of State; the U.S. puts Iran “on notice” for its latest missile test; Beyonce posts a nude photo of herself to announce she’s pregnant with twins; and the build-up to Super Bowl LI were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Tucson.com reports that Tucson market radio pro Bobby Rich was let got from his afternoon drive gig with Scripps Broadcasting’s hot AC KMXZ “94.9 MIXfm.” Rich posted a Facebook message explaining that he “made a big mistake and said something I should not have said. Even though I regret it and apologized, I own it, and now it becomes necessary for my association with ‘MIXfm’ and Scripps Tucson to conclude.” Rich would not elaborate on what he said – or in what context…..Curtis Media Group brings Jud Heussler aboard to program CHR simulcast “Pulse FM” – WWPL, Goldsboro/WPLW, Hillsboro, North Carolina (Raleigh-Durham market). Heussler has been with Entercom’s Bufflo CHR WKSE “KISS 98.5” serving as APD, music director and afternoon personality…..In the Corpus Christi, Texas market Convergent Broadcasting II, LLC announces its intent to sell CHR KKPN, classic rock KPUS, and classic hits KAJE to ICA Radio Ltd. for a sum yet to be announced…..iHeartMedia’s urban contemporary WKKV, Milwaukee “V100.7” is presenting the 6th Annual Family Affair Expo on Saturday, March 11at The Wisconsin Center. The event will feature local exhibitors in the areas of health & wellness, finance, education, small business, and recruitment to help make a positive impact on Milwaukee families. Station PD Bailey Coleman says, “I love our Family Affair Expo because it’s fun and free, plus it brings our listeners together with the resources their families need to succeed.”
NOW PLAYING: A Video Tribute to Herb Oscar Anderson. “Radio’s Best Friend” Art Vuolo produced a wonderful tribute to the recently departed New York City radio legend Herb Oscar Anderson, who died on Saturday (1/28) in Bennington, Vermont. Anderson was a radio performer who cut his teeth in the big band era but transitioned to rock ‘n’ roll radio in the 1950s. He worked at WABC during the late 1950s and 1960s – leaving in 1968. He most recently hosted a standards show on WOSC, Vero Beach, Florida. View Vuolo’s video tribute in the Talkers TV box in the upper right-hand of this main page.
By Phil Boyce
Salem Media Group
VP/Director, Spoken Word Format
Operations VP, New York Region
NEW YORK — Two years ago, after getting disgusted with talk radio haters predicting the death of this format, I wrote a column published here in TALKERS magazine called, “Why Talk Radio is NOT Dying.” I received more than 200 “likes” from people who thanked me for standing up for the format that we all have come to know and love. I recently found the column by accident and thought it’s time to re-visit it two years later.
To paraphrase the great Mark Twain, “The rumors of our death have been greatly exaggerated.” Usually when you find people predicting the demise or death of this format it comes from two sources: a) people who don’t truly understand this format and, b) people who do understand it, and loathe it. When Jerry Del Colliano predicted the death of talk radio would come in 2014, I asked him what he thought about the format in general, and he admitted he hated it.
Rare Air Talent Changes Hit WXYT-FM, Detroit. Motor City sports talker WXYT-FM is one of the most stable and highly rated stations in the format, so talent changes there have been exceedingly rare. Now, CBS RADIO announces that evening personality Jamie Samuelsen moves from that daypart – where he co-hosted with Bob Wojnowski – to AM drive where he’s partnering up with Mike Stone and Sara Fouracre for the “Jamie and Stoney Show.” The station does not mention the departure of Stone’s longtime partner Bill McAllister, but it seems pretty clear he’s been let go since his bio has been removed from the station’s website. For now, it appears Wojnowski will go solo in the evenings on “97.1 The Ticket.”
Cort Webber Rises to PD at KEX, Portland. After serving as assistant program director for KEX – among other positions at the iHeartMedia Portland station group – Cort Webber is named program director for the news/talk station. Webber’s been with iHM Portland since 2010 and the station says Webber is well known to Portland radio listeners having served as a co-host of “The Gina, Cort and Rebecca Show” on KXJM, formerly “The Beat 107.5,” and as longtime afternoon host of KUFO’s former “Cort and Fatboy Show.” He’s currently on-air at sister rock KFBW “105.9 The Brew” and serves as that station’s APD.
WPRT, Nashville Adds Braden & Fitz for Mornings. Gone from the daily schedule as of Tuesday (9/6) is ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike and in is the new local duo of Braden Gall and Jason Fitz. WPRT “ESPN 102.5 The Game” says Gall has “an impressive resume that includes stints at WNML in Knoxville, Rivals Radio, Athlon Sports and SiriusXM.” Fitz is a multi-talented performer who is best “known as the fiddle player and musical director for The Band Perry. Fitz has performed in front of tens of millions of fans live and on television and has played on records totaling over 20 million units in sales. Fitz currently co-hosts ‘College Football Daily’ on ESPNU with Mike Golic, Jr. on Monday nights.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Third Round of August 2016 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of August 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The August 2016 survey period covered July 14 through August 10. You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods. The nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” with hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds new affiliates WFJX, Roanoke and KENN-AM/FM, Farmington, New Mexico to its roster of stations……“Motley Fool Money” partners with Amazon to provide a daily stock market update for the millions of people who own an Amazon Echo.
The Presidential Race/Trump Meets Enrique Peña Nieto, SCOTUS NC Voter ID Law Ruling, Kaepernick ‘Anthem’ Protest Aftermath, Iran Nuclear Deal, Brazil Impeaches Dilma Rousseff, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/31). The activities of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, including Trump’s visit with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto; the Supreme Court’s ruling against North Carolina’s voter ID law; the ongoing aftermath of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the National Anthem; new information coming out alleging “secret” aspects of Iran’s nuclear deal with the West; Brazilian senate votes to impeach President Dilma Rousseff; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Industry Memorial Event Being Planned for Dr. Joy Browne in NYC. Services for Dr. Joy Browne will be a small family-only gathering set at an undisclosed time in Denver. However, a “memorial event” honoring the life and times of the iconic media psychologist who passed away unexpectedly this past Saturday (8/27) is now in the planning stages by a radio industry group loosely calling itself “Friends of Dr. Joy.” Group spokesman Michael Harrison states, “We will be announcing the date, time and location of a low-key gathering in New York City that will take place sometime during the next few weeks. The purpose will be to simply honor the memory of this great woman as people who worked with her or knew her in the business join together to share stories and reminisce about her role in our industry and our lives.” Those interested in participating can contact Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org. Specific details will be posted here at Talkers.com as they develop.
Dr. Joy Browne Dead at 71. This report – confirmed by a Facebook post by her sister Alannah Sinclaire and a conversation today between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and her brother David Oppenheim – indicates that talk radio star Dr. Joy Browne died on Saturday, August 27 at age 71. The exact cause is unknown at this time, but Sinclaire writes that she was on the phone speaking with Dr. Joy “chatting about movies reviews, recipes, and favorite memories from a recent birthday party for our 95-year-old mom when the phone suddenly disconnected; her heart had stopped as well.” At the time of her death, Browne’s long-running talk show had been syndicated to stations across the country by Genesis Communications Network. Browne received her M.A. and a Ph.D. from Northeastern University in Boston. It was in Boston that she got her start in talk radio but she launched into national syndication from New York’s heritage WOR in the early 1990s and built a strong roster of affiliate stations all across the country. After the demise of the WOR Radio Network, Browne continued to host her syndicated program via various independent distributors, finally working with GCN. Browne was also the author of numerous self-help books and well known for her love of theater and movies. Dr. Joy Browne was ranked at #25 on the TALKERS magazine 2016 Heavy Hundred – The Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America. Memorial services are pending. Friends and admirers of Dr. Joy Browne will likely be encouraged to make donations in her memory to her international charitable foundation, the Joy to the World Foundation. In a statement, released moments ago Michael Harrison says, “I am personally devastated, Joy was one of the greatest talents in the history of radio, a humanitarian and wonderful human being. All of us in radio and her vast listening audience have suffered a terrible loss.”
Conservative Talk Hosts Debate Their Role in the Rise of Donald Trump. Several weeks ago, TALKERS magazine published a story about a coming piece in Business Insider by Oliver Darcy in which WTMJ, Milwaukee conservative talk host Charlie Sykes wondered if decades of mainstream media bashing by he and his colleagues has created a “monster” – an ultra-conservative constituency that won’t believe anything that doesn’t come from Fox News, Breitbart, or Drudge. The full piece was recently published and you can read it here. Quoted in the story are talk hosts Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and John Zeigler, as well as a few political operatives, and, of course, Sykes. TALKERS editors are not prepared to conclude that conservative media alone created Trump’s presidential campaign success. After all, it likely took more than just conservative media junkies to get Trump the nomination. But the piece is an interesting read and certain to be the subject of debate among talk radio people and media theorists.
Nielsen Audio Releases First Round of August 2016 PPM Data. The first of four rounds of August 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The August 2016 survey period covered July 14 through August 10. You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
KFTK-FM, St. Louis Weekend Host to Appear in NRA Documentary. From a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is the news that KFTK-FM weekend personality Stacy Washington will be part of a recently filmed National Rifle Association documentary. Washington is host of the Sunday evening “Stacy on the Right” program and makes appearances on the station’s morning drive program hosted by Jamie Allman. Washington tells the Post-Dispatch that the filming consisted of her answering questions about guns and gun rights. She is an Air Force veteran who also appears on the “NRA News” show that airs on SiriusXM.
TTWN Looks to Bolster Services with Baron Partnership. This cooperative effort between iHeartMedia’s Total Traffic & Weather Network and “weather intelligence” firm Baron is a multi-year, data-collaboration partnership. The technological agreement will combine TTWN’s real-time traffic incident and flow data, with Baron’s expertise in location-specific weather products, including the patented Baron Telematics Weather safety solution. In a press release, the companies say that this partnership will “create the next generation of integrated traffic and weather solutions offering enhanced road and weather safety capabilities to automotive manufacturers, tier-one suppliers, insurance companies, media and public safety markets. The first integration is designed to enhance the connected car driving experience providing better road guidance, smoother commutes and increased safety, and will be immediately available for all TTWN automotive traffic and weather partners.”
Odds & Sods. As reported by Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch, today (8/30) Kayla Blakeslee rejoins Federated Media’s news/talk WOWO, Fort Wayne as news director. She’s been serving with the Ohio Department of Transportation…..A new golf show launches on Emmis’ news/talk KLBJ-AM, Austin with hosts Ed Clements and Scotty Sayers. Titled, “The Fifteenth Club,” the program airs Saturdays from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm and will involve the hosts taking calls and interviewing golf pros and celebrities…..SiriusXM is airing live coverage of the 2016 US Open Tennis Championships from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York. Coverage began yesterday and runs through the Women’s and Men’s Finals on September 10 and 11…..Just because broadcasting legend Charles Osgood is retiring from his Sunday morning television program after 22 years doesn’t mean he’s leaving his radio gig. Westwood One assures stations Charles will still “see you on the radio” with his daily “Osgood File” programs delivered four times a day, five days a week.
The Presidential Race, Weiner-Abedin Separate, Hacking of Election Systems, Shooting Death of Dwayne Wade’s Cousin, Colin Kaepernick National Anthem Protest, ObamaCare Troubles, Gene Wilder Dies, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/29). The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; Clinton aid Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner separate after Weiner’s latest sexting incident; elections systems in Arizona and Illinois are breached by hackers; the aftermath of the Chicago shooting death of NBA star Dwayne Wade’s cousin, Nykea Aldridge; the response to Colin Kaepernick’s statements about not standing for the National Anthem; the troubles facing ObamaCare exchanges; the death of actor Gene Wilder; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to research from TALKERS magazine.
CBS Sacto Raises Rufer to VP/Programming. Hot AC KZZO “Now 100.5,” Sacramento program director Chad Rufer is boosted to vice president programming of CBS Radio‘s five-station cluster – which includes “Now 100.5” – in California’s capitol city. CBS Radio Sacramento senior vice president and market manager Steve Cottingim comments, “I am looking forward to working with Chad on cluster-wide programming initiatives. He has consistently delivered outstanding results. I am confident that he will have a significant impact growing ratings for the cluster.” Rufer remarks, “I am very humbled by the trust that Steve Cottingim and the executive team at CBS Radio has in me. Taking on this new role and being surrounded by such an all-star programming team is truly a dream come true.” Prior to joining CBS Radio Sacramento six years ago, Rufer was director of programming for Fort Myers Broadcasting Company; programmed KKMG, Colorado Springs; and operations manager of Saga Communications Clarksville, Tennessee. With each station’s July 2016 6+-share and 6+-rank in parentheses, the CBS Sacramento cluster consists of adult contemporary KYMX “Mix 96” (7.6, #2); hot AC KZZO “Now 100.5” (4.7, #5); country KNCI (4.4, #7); rhythmic CHR KSFM “KS-102.5” (3.5, #10); and KHTK “Sports 1140” (1.3, #20).
LA Rams Ready NFL Return with Radio Team. The city of Los Angeles welcomes back the NFL with the return of the Rams from St. Louis. As TALKERS reported last Friday (8/5), former Rams player D’Marco Farr announced that after seven years, he is leaving Hubbard Broadcasting-owned WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” and the afternoon drive “The Fast Lane” show for “new opportunities.” From the “That Didn’t Take Long” file, the “new opportunity” for Farr is handling sideline reporting for the team’s English-language radio broadcasts on flagship ESPN Sports KSPN “ESPN LA 710” and simulcast partner Entercom classic rocker KSWD “100.3 The Sound.” Set to call game action and analysis are J.B. Long from the Pac-12 Network and former UCLA, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Oakland Raiders running back Maurice Jones Drew. KNBC-TV (channel 4), Los Angeles weekend sports anchor Mario Solis and Fox Deportes’ Troy Santiago will call the games on the team’s Spanish-language flagship – Lotus Spanish sports KWKW “ESPN Deportes 1330.” KSPN vice president and general manager Scott McCarthy states, “We could not be more thrilled about the broadcast team who will be bringing Rams games to life for listeners in Southern California and beyond. J.B., Maurice, and D’Marco are experienced and outstanding play-by-play broadcasters. We look forward to hearing them on ‘ESPN LA 710’ during Rams games and also during the week.” KWKW director of programming Juan Rodriguez comments, “Mario Solis and Troy Santiago are admired by the Latino sports enthusiasts for their professionalism and the profound emotion which they bring to each and every broadcast.” Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff remarks, “We are excited these two dynamic teams will bring our games to fans across the region in our first season back in Los Angeles. All of these announcers combine unique experience, passion for the game, and ties to Southern California, which will help connect our fans to Rams football during this historic year.” KSPN midday co-host Steve Mason; former Raiders, Jaguars, and Buffalo Bills linebacker Kirk Morrison; and former NFL cornerback Eric Davis will do KSPN’s three-hour pre-game show. Meanwhile, KSPN morning co-host Travis Rodgers will host the two-hour post-game show, while Jeff Biggs will report at halftime. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s July 2016 PPM report for Los Angeles, KSWD ranks #16 (2.6); KSPN #32 (1.0); and KWKW is unlisted.
Max Media Norfolk Cuts Ties With Nielsen Audio. When Norfolk PPM ratings information was released last Thursday (8/4), five Max Media outlets were noticeably absent and the reason was a financial decision. In a message to clients and agencies, Max Media Norfolk general manager Dave Paulis explained why the cluster is no longer a Nielsen Audio subscriber. “This decision is one we have been discussing for many years,” he writes, “and it comes down to one simple issue – return on investment. Since the advent of PPM in this marketplace in 2008, ratings have dwindled to the point where even the leading stations are not in the position to price [themselves] to match their market position. The elimination of this burdensome subscription will allow Max to diversify, make our products better, and free up dollars to market the radio stations.” Noted with June 2016 6+-rank and 6+-share in parentheses, Max Media Norfolk includes classic hits-oldies WVBW “92.9 The Wave” (#3, 6.0); country WGH-FM “Eagle 97.3” (5.0, #7); CHR WVHT “Hot 100.5” (#9, 3.8); sports WVSP “ESPN Radio 94.1″ (#12, 2.3); and gospel WGH-AM “Star 1310” (#15, 1.9).
Turnbeaugh Takes Over As iHM Nevada/Central California Programmer. Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Las Vegas JoJo Turnbeaugh is elevated to senior vice president of programming for the company’s stations in Nevada and central California. According to Nevada/central California region president Glynn Alan, “JoJo’s broad scope of both format and multi-market experience – combined with his winning attitude and track record – will bring extensive benefits to our region.” The region’s executive vice president of programming Steve Geofferies comments, “JoJo has a history in the central California region and he knows the brands in each of those markets. He added new duties earlier this year and created exceptional results in Las Vegas. We expect more of the same for our region.” Turnbeaugh remarks, “I am honored by the faith and trust that Glynn Alan and Steve Geofferies are placing in me. I am also very excited to work with the great team of leaders already in the region.” Turnbeaugh previously programmed KCCY, Colorado Springs; was assistant program director for KKFN “104.3 The Fan,” Denver; and was an on-air talent at KYGO, Denver.
Westwood One, Dr. Gupta Extend Their Partnership. Practicing neurosurgeon and CNN‘s multiple Emmy award winning chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta signs a multi-year agreement to continue hosting Westwood One’s “A Better Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.” Westwood One chief operating officer Charles Steinhauer comments, “Dr. Gupta is one of the most trusted voices on health issues. We are delighted to extend our relationship so that we can continue to meet the demand of listeners who want to live better lives.” Dr. Gupta notes, “I am tremendously excited about the opportunity to share the secrets of a happier and healthier life that I have learned as a doctor and as a roving reporter who has traveled the world for the last 15 years. There are little things we can do to live a better life and I will teach you how to make them a part of your life.” The weekday, 60-second feature airs on 400 stations, including nine of the top ten markets.
The Presidential Race, US Cash Payment to Iran, Rio Olympics Troubles/Action, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend (8/6-7). The activities of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; the controversy over the US’ payment of $400 million to Iran the day Americans were released from that country; the problems facing Rio De Janeiro (as well as the actual action of the games) as it entered its opening weekend; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this past weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. Returning for its second season this Thursday (8/11) is “Undeniable with Joe Buck,” a weekly show produced for radio by AT&T/DirecTV, and Vince Vaughn‘s Wild West Television. Affiliates include Entercom sports outlet KGMZ “The Game,” San Francisco; CBS Radio Washington, D.C.’s WJFK “106.7 The Fan”; iHeartMedia-owned KGME, Phoenix; and CBS Radio St. Louis talker KMOX. Among those Buck will interview in season two are Brett Favre, Sugar Ray Leonard, Joe Torre, Joe Theismann, and Kerri Walsh Jennings ….. Oldies WKVA, State College-Lewistown (Pennsylvania) becomes the 38th affiliate of “Animal Radio News Update,” a minute-long, weekday segment featuring worldwide pet news. Host Hal Abrams comments that, “America’s love affair with their pets is growing at breakneck speed. With the pet industry nearing $63 billion dollars yearly, more and more stations are realizing a new way to increase revenue with our weekday offerings.”
Red Sox-WEEI Streak Continues. While financial terms of the highly expected deal were not disclosed, Entercom Boston sports outlet WEEI will carry on its role as the radio flagship of the Boston Red Sox through (at minimum) the 2023 MLB season. WEEI and the Red Sox have been partners since 1995. Entercom chief operating officer David Field states, “WEEI and Entercom are delighted to be extending our outstanding relationship with the Boston Red Sox well into the future. It is a true privilege to be partnered with this extraordinary, iconic organization and their world-class team of professionals, both on and off the field. Red Sox fans across the country will continue to hear outstanding Sox play-by-play broadcasts and 24/7 team coverage on WEEI and WEEI.com, the home of Red Sox baseball.” Red Sox president Sam Kennedy comments, “We are pleased to extend our partnership with WEEI for another seven seasons. We look forward to this new phase of our partnership and sharing more winning baseball through the airwaves with our fans across New England.” The WEEI play-by-play crew consists of Red Sox Hall of Fame announcer Joe Castiglione and Tim Neverett, who this year succeeded Dave O’Brien (now doing Red Sox telecasts on NESN); Hamden, Connecticut native Castiglione is in his 34th year in the Red Sox radio booth. In addition to WEEI, the Red Sox Radio Network consists of 55 affiliates throughout the six New England states. To see how WEEI-FM and 28 other MLB radio flagships performed in Nielsen Audio‘s March 2016 PPM sweep, please read today’s exclusive TALKERS special features piece which appears below.
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian introduces Major League Baseball‘s 2016 radio flagships with a ratings overview based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2016 PPM survey period. Highlighted are each key station’s 6+ share; 6+ market rank; month-to-month and year-to-year fluctuations; and a special breakout chart featuring the flagships by league/division. See the first of Mike’s exclusive special feature pieces about MLB flagships here.
TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations Is Nearing a Sellout! If you haven’t made your reservations to attend the forthcoming 19th annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention, now is the time to do so. It is nearing an early sellout and there will be no registrations sold at the door. TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations will take place three weeks from now on Friday, May 20 on the fabulous campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY (on Long Island, just outside of NYC). Featuring a powerful lineup of more than 60 luminous speakers, panel discussions, presentations, breakfast, lunch, closing reception, techno exhibits, live broadcasts and more – this is shaping up to be the most exciting and productive industry networking events of its kind in years. Registration cost is $299 per person and can only be arranged with credit card over the phone. The event is only open to media professionals and communications students. Please call 413-565-5413 for registration, sponsorship, and hotel information. Complete up to date agenda info can be found by clicking here.
Knapp, KCMO-AM Cut Ties. After more than five years as KCMO-AM, Kansas City’s afternoon drive host, Greg Knapp departs the Cumulus Media talk outlet. Regarding his dismissal, Knapp writes on his Facebook page, “I was told repeatedly it was not about my performance. My general manager was very kind in telling me how much she appreciated my show and my work [but] corporate decided it was cheaper to run syndicated programming than it was to pay me a salary. I have consistently had the highest ratings on the station; everyone at Cumulus Kansas City has been very good to me. The good news is I learned a long time ago to always have more than one source of income. I am now ramping up my personal development business [but] I am also looking for new opportunities in radio.” Knapp previously did afternoon drive on KLIF, Dallas; was a syndicated Radio America talk talent; and owned a guest-hosting service. Down or flat for the fourth successive sweep (1.9 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.5, 6+), KCMO-AM ranks #21 in Nielsen Audio‘s March 2016 PPM report for Kansas City; Entercom hot AC KZPT “The Point” is the market leader (6.5, 6+).
Presidential Race Tops “Talkers Ten” for Week of April 25 – 29. Activities of the presidential candidates and the battle for delegates were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 were the European terrorism investigations and the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, tied with the United States’ Syria military policy. Coming in at #3 was the controversy over state laws affecting public restroom use and gender identification, followed by North Korea’s recent missile tests at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
“Robbins & Markley” Becomes “Markley & van Camp.” Owing to health concerns that have sidelined Scott Robbins since late-August (2015), there is a title change for the weekday program on Alpha Media Portland’s KXL “FM News 101” and co-owned WMBD, Peoria (Illinois). David van Camp will permanently join Jamie Markley for the “Markley and van Camp Show,” which airs 9:00 am – 12:00 noon on KXL and from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm on WMBD. Alpha Media executive vice president of programming Scott Mahalick comments that, “David van Camp brings a unique perspective to the show and a great balance to Jamie Markley; together, they are magical.” The first official day of the newly-named “Markley and van Camp Show” will be next Monday (5/2).
SiriusXM Q1 Revenue Rises 11%. The increase is to a record $1.2 billion, with SiriusXM net income up 62% to $171 million; adjusted EBITDA improves 11% to $441 million. The satcaster adds nearly one-half million new subscribers, ending with almost 30.1 million. First quarter results exceeded expectations of chief executive officer Jim Meyer who comments, “I am especially pleased we were able to add 465,000 net new subscribers, leading to an 8% increase in subscribers over the prior year. With excellent subscriber growth so early in the year, we are raising our guidance for full year net subscriber additions to 1.6 million. We set first quarter records for revenue, adjusted EBITDA, and free cash flow, and we are on track to achieve all of our financial goals this year. With a new full-time music channel from Kenny Chesney, live broadcasts from major music festivals, special popup channels for David Bowie, and Billy Joel, as well as new talk shows, and unmatched coverage of the presidential primaries, SiriusXM continues to be the leader in audio entertainment. We are always looking to deliver new, compelling content to our subscribers.” Chief financial officer David Frear notes that during the first quarter, “We reduced our outstanding share count by about 3%, spending $588 million to repurchase 159 million shares of our common stock. Our debt to adjusted EBITDA remained low at just 3.4 times, leaving plenty of flexibility to continue capital returns to our stockholders or make acquisitions while also making investments in our technology, content, and new satellite infrastructure.”
State of the New York Market Report Released. Among the findings from a New York Market Radio Association (NYMRAD) overview is that several industries expanded their footprint in the New York area contributing to a strong first-quarter start. NYMRAD executive director Debbie Beagan remarks, “With luxury retailers and department stores opening locations across the Tri-State area, radio offers high-end businesses an engaging environment for reaching consumers with household incomes of $250,000 and higher. New York market radio reaches 91% of high-income households, $250,000+, [as well as] over 90% of those who own a second home; those planning on buying a luxury car; dined in upscale restaurants; purchased fine jewelry in excess of $500; and vacations in excess of $10,000.” The report addresses latest information about New York’s economy, commuting information, radio and politics, and national radio advertising/usage. Analysis of the New York marketplace is designed to help advertisers understand radio’s impact on consumers and its role in the local advertising landscape. NYMRAD’s “State of the Market Report” provides business trends as well as local information from a variety of sources including Nielsen Audio, Media Monitors, and The New York Times.”
Execs Named to Build Digital Content Network for TheBlaze. Three digital media industry veterans have been added to TheBlaze‘s leadership team. Former Core Media Group chief marketing officer Chris Gannett joins as senior vice president of marketing; previously with CNN and the weekend edition of ABC-TV‘s “Good Morning America,” Matt Frucci is appointed senior vice president of content & programming; and Lisa Fowler – from BET Networks – joins as vice president of talent and culture. TheBlaze president Stewart Padveen notes, “TheBlaze is investing heavily in our mission to redefine the way digital media is delivered and consumed. Chris, Matt, and Lisa are a significant part of a new high-performing culture and a diverse lineup of superstar talent.” Ironically, the additions at Glenn Beck‘s TheBlaze come after cuts across offices in New York, Los Angeles, Washington (D.C.), and Columbus, where a documentary group had been based. Sources tell TVNewser, between 35-45 staffers have been pinkslipped. These layoffs follow what a source calls a “brain drain” of talent over the last year. Chief executive officer Betsy Morgan left the company last summer and her interim replacement, former Premiere Networks chief operating officer, Kraig Kitchen, exited earlier this year. According to The Daily Beast, the latest cuts are meant to “satisfy the requirements of a multi-million dollar bank loan taken out recently to keep Beck’s revenue-challenged enterprise running.” TheBlaze is consolidating the company’s operations to its Irving, Texas headquarters.
Presidential Race/Iowa Caucuses Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 1-5. The results of the Iowa Caucuses and the activities of the candidates for president were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was Russia’s Syria military operations. At #3 was the controversy over the United States’ $1.7 billion payment to Iran as part of the recently negotiated nuclear agreement, followed by concerns over the Zika virus at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Odds & Sods. At its South Florida cluster, Entercom appoints Katerina Perez general sales manager of alternative WSFS “104.3 The Shark” and sports talk WAXY-AM, “The Ticket.” Perez is a native Canadian who spent most of her life in South Florida. Most recently she was SVP of sales at iHeartMedia’s Seattle cluster. Entercom South Florida VP/market manager Doug Abernethy states, “Katerina has a proven track record of success and will be a valuable addition to our management team. Her experience, relentless focus on the customer and her sales management skills will enable us to develop more impactful advertising campaigns for our clients and substantially grow our business.”…..Hugh Hewitt got some love from USAToday recently. The publication wrote a profile piece of the Salem Radio Network-syndicated talk personality as the result of his increased presence in the national media this election season. As regular TALKERS readers know, Hewitt has been participating in the GOP primary debates produced by CNN (and simulcast for radio by SRN). As the story indicates, Hewitt has also been a much-sought-after political pundit by such program hosts as CNN’s Anderson Cooper, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, and NBC’s Chuck Todd. Read the USAToday piece here.….Beasley Media Group promotes Katy Lollis to director of sales for the company’s Fayetteville, North Carolina station group. Market manager Mac Edwards states, “Katy has been a valued employee of our company for nearly a decade. Her experience, market insight and incredible work ethic have always been highly valued and deeply respected. Now, we are confident Katy will take our sales team to new heights in 2016 and beyond!”
Comprehensive Holiday PPM Overview. RadioInfo and TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2015 PPM survey. The move to all-Christmas or Christmas-intensive music playlists on the part of AC, hot AC and CHR stations brings about an annual “anomaly” to the radio ratings. Kinosian has detailed the performances of AC, hot AC and country stations recently but this report also shows the effects on other radio formats – including sports, news/talk and all-news. Kinosian writes, “Among other tidbits, this comprehensive analysis summarizes all stations that finish #1 and #2 in Holiday 2015; differential between the top two spots; and perhaps most vital of all – formats most dramatically/negatively influenced by all-Christmas music programming. For that, we have broken it out by format and by each PPM-market.” See the entire report here.
National Radio Talent System’s Student Initiative Heads to Pacific Northwest. The Dan Vallie-founded National Radio Talent System heads to the Pacific Northwest in conjunction with Hubbard Radio. Four previous institutes have taken place in the South and the East but June 13 -22 the Hubbard Radio Talent Institute will take place at Central Washington University in Washington State. Hubbard Radio chair and CEO Ginny Morris comments, “Compelling and relatable on air talent is what separates local radio from all other audio entertainment services. Our investment in the National Radio Talent System at Central Washington University is an extension of Hubbard Radio’s commitment to do our part to nurture and grow the talent pipeline for the industry. We are proud to partner with Dan Vallie and his team in this important initiative.” The school’s assistant dean of student development Keith Champagne says, “Having a nationally award winning college radio program in KCWU-FM, the partnership with Hubbard Radio and the National Radio Talent System was simply a perfect match. Giving student broadcasters opportunities they can’t find anywhere else is a cornerstone of Central Washington University. The Hubbard Radio Talent Institute will be another great example of that.” The Radio Talent Institute says its curriculum builds upon “the already quality education students are receiving at the university and through working at their college radio station. All sessions in the Institute are taught by professional broadcasters in each of their areas of expertise.”
Alliance for Women in Media Announces New Board Members. New board members have been announced for the Alliance for Women in Media and its Foundation. Kristen Welch, SVP of global content operations at Discovery Communications will continue the role of chair for both organizations. Continuing as chair‐elect of AWM/F is Sarah Foss, vice president of product management and media at Imagine Communications in New York City. The treasurer of AWM/F is Keisha Sutton-James, vice president, Inner City Broadcasting Corp. in New York. The treasurer‐elect of AWM/F is Christine Travaglini, president of Christal Radio/KRG Partnerships in New York City; and past chair of AWM/F is Kay Olin, principle of Kay Olin and Associates, in St. George Island, Florida. Serving directors at large of AWM are: Robin Alston, director of business & legal affairs, A&E Television Networks; Karla Ballard Williams, founder and CEO of YING; Heather Cohen, EVP at The Weiss Agency; Sandy Girard, vice president of entertainment at SiriusXM; Susie Hedrick, SVP sales, North America at Wide Orbit, Inc.; Annie Howell, founder and co-president at The Punch Point Group; Jill Luckett, SVP program network policy, National Cable & Telecommunications Association; Kimberly Maki, corporate vice president, corporate communications & public relations, Bright House Networks; Laura Martinez, senior director, affiliate sales, Cumulus/Westwood One; Christine Merritt, president, Ohio Association of Broadcasters; Deborah Parenti, publisher, Radio Ink/RBR-TVBR; and Josie Thomas, EVP & chief diversity officer, CBS Corporation. Serving as directors at large of AWMF are: Karla Ballard Williams; Valerie Blackburn, project manager, CBS Radio; Heather Cohen; Michelle Duke, vice president, NAB Education Foundation; Sandy Girard; Annie Howell; Jill Luckett; Kimberly Maki; and Christine McLaughlin, of counsel, Sciarrino & Shubert, PLLC.
CBS RADIO Names Dave Pugh Phoenix Market Manager. His exact title is senior vice president/market manager and director of sales of CBS RADIO Phoenix, and Dave Pugh takes over for Tim Pohlman who recently was moved to the same post at CBS RADIO Chicago. CBS RADIO chief operating officer Scott Herman states, “Dave has an established track record of driving revenue, developing sales strategies and cultivating client relationships, which is evident through his impressive career and outstanding reputation. His leadership skills, along with his extensive knowledge of digital will greatly benefit our Phoenix stations. We are thrilled to have Dave join the CBS RADIO team in this key position.” Pugh most recently was RVP for San Francisco-based Veritone Media. He also served with iHeartMedia in the San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Detroit markets.
Fast-Approaching Primaries Bring Talk Radio Role into Spotlight. There are differing opinions on how large of a role talk radio plays in the election process – especially during the primaries when candidates are trying to appeal to a party’s base. Regardless, of one’s opinion on that, there’s little doubt that talk radio personalities command a lot of attention – and a lot of blame – from the mainstream press during this period. An example of that is writer and SiriusXM talk host Dean Obeidallah’s opinion piece published by CNN.com, titled “Why Glenn Beck Fears Donald Trump,” in which he uses Beck’s dislike of Trump as a candidate to support his feeling that Trump is so potentially harmful that even Glenn Beck doesn’t want him to be the GOP nominee. It’s interesting that Obeidallah writes in his piece, “This may be the first and possibly the last time that I agree with Beck.” This is illustrative of the extreme polarity in today’s political discourse in the media in America. Obeidallah’s comment – while probably intended to be hyperbole – implies that if a media personality is on the other side of the political fence from him, there can’t possibly be anything upon which they agree. However, the reality is probably that the majority of American voters don’t feel this impenetrable divide. Yet, the media dialogue suggests a very different tone – one that it may feel in Washington, DC and then project onto the electorate. Read Obeidallah’s piece here.
Salem’s AM 1280 The Patriot to Celebrate 15 Years with Live Event. The Twin Cities news/talker WWTC “AM 1280 The Patriot” will celebrate its 15th birthday in March and Salem Media is throwing a “Birthday Bash” open to listeners on Monday, March 21 at Orchestra Hall from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm. The event is being sponsored by Lifestyle Financial & Tax and the station is selling VIP dinner tickets so fans can participate in a meet-and-greet with station hosts Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt. Station GM Nic Anderson comments, “We are excited to have our entire 8:00 am to 8:00 pm daily lineup in town for what will be a great evening in celebration of the station’s 15th birthday.”
Odds & Sods. The WSB-AM, Atlanta-based Herman Cain show is now being syndicated by WYM Media Management. Cain’s program had been syndicated in the past by Westwood One…..The Shelton, Washington news/talk simulcast KMAS and K277CZ undergoes a brand change as owner Olympic Broadcasting teams up with local broadband provider iFIBER Communications to operate the station. The new brand is “iFiberOne NewsRadio.”
Presidential Race, Sinking Oil Prices/Tumultuous Financial Markets, Flint Water Scandal, Battle Against Islamic State, Sean Penn’s ‘El Chapo’ Interview, Oscars Boycott, Martin Luther King Holiday, the NFL Playoffs, and Glenn Frey Passes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/18). The activities of the candidates for president; plummeting oil prices and the volatility of the world’s financial markets; the scandal involving high levels of lead in Flint, Michigan’s water supply and local officials’ awareness and denial of it; the battle against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; the Rolling Stone-published interview of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman by actor Sean Penn and Penn’s appearance on “60 Minutes”; the Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith-led boycott of the Academy Awards for its lack of black nominees; Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday; the weekend’s NFL playoffs; and the death of Eagles founding member Glenn Frey were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Top Management Changes at CBS RADIO Chicago; Tim Pohlman to Lead Cluster as Zimmerman and Day Exit. Today, CBS RADIO COO Scott Herman announced that Tim Pohlman is assuming the SVP and market manager position at the company’s Chicago cluster. This news comes a day after the staff was notified that Rod Zimmerman was let go as was VP and director of sales Mark Day. Pohlman has served with CBS in the same capacity at its Phoenix station group for the past six years. The initial press release from CBS did not mention Day’s exit but the company later stated that it does not have a replacement for him yet. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that the changes are the result of underwhelming fiscal performances by the stations in the group. The 63-year-old Zimmerman had been with CBS RADIO since 1978. He ascended to the market manager position in 2003. CBS RADIO operates all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, sports talk WSCR, CHR WBBM-FM “B96,” country WUSN “US 99.5,” triple A WXRT, and classic hits WJMK. CBS says news of Pohlman’s replacement in Phoenix will come at a later date. Read Feder’s account here.
Emmis’ Fiscal Q3 Radio Revenue Down 5.1%. In announcing its fiscal third quarter figures, Emmis reports that its radio net revenue for the period was down 5.2% compared to local radio market revenue which rose 0.2%. The company says the battle in Los Angeles between its hip hop KPWR and iHeartMedia’s recently launched competitor KRRL has affected revenue there and was “substantially all of our radio division’s shortfall against its markets.” The Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Austin clusters all beat their markets for the quarter. Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan states, “Radio industry growth has been disappointing in 2015. Our markets are down 2.4% through the first eleven months of 2015. This general decline, coupled with the competitive situation in Los Angeles, led us to take a series of steps yesterday, including staff reductions and pay cuts for senior executives, to restructure our expenses to better align them with the current operating environment. We remain confident that we have the best team in media and the solution, in NextRadio, to return the radio industry to growth. Our ratings are quite strong in most of our markets, and our investments in content, sales hiring and training, and NextRadio and Digonex will begin to yield stronger results in 2016.”
Salem to Launch ‘1570 Wellness Radio’ in the Twin Cities. Calling it a first-of-its-kind format, Salem Media Group is launching “Wellness Radio 1570 KDIZ AM” on Monday, January 11 at 7:00 am. Salem says the station will be “the first of its kind to dedicate its entire format to health and wellness programming.” Salem Media Group Twin Cities general manager Nic Anderson states, “We’re thrilled to be on the forefront of such an exciting opportunity for our company and the Twin Cities. Health and wellness is a point of emphasis in the Twin Cities and we believe the Twin Cities will both greatly enjoy and benefit from our daily programming.” Featured programming includes “Dr. Asa On Call,” airing weekdays from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Salem says, “Dr. Asa’s show currently is the fastest-growing, health-related talk show in the country with more than 2 million weekly listeners every week.”
Dave Ramsey to Air in Middays in Seattle. Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey’s daily program begins airing in the Seattle market from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on Salem Media Group’s KLFE “AM 1590 The Answer,” effective Monday, January 11. Salem Seattle general manager Andrew Adams says, “Dave Ramsey is a welcome addition to the AM 1590 The Answer lineup. Every day Dave offers up real, workable solutions to money issues and they’re presented in an easy to understand manner, so that anyone can benefit from listening to his program.”
Postell Promoted to Senior VP Sales. Director of sales Ann Postell is boosted to senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia Sacramento. According to iHeartMedia Sacramento market president Sara McClure, “Ann has demonstrated that she possesses the leadership skills needed to successfully lead a sales organization in today’s environment. As senior vice president of sales, Ann will be the centerpiece in the growth of our business in the years ahead. I look forward to working with her in that effort.” Executive vice president of operations Hartley Adkins comments, “Ann’s sales talent and leadership will be a true asset to the iHeartMedia Sacramento team. She has demonstrated the desire and motivation to lead the sales efforts; I know she will inspire the team to not only meet but to exceed revenue expectations.” Postell remarks, “I am fortunate to advance in such a dynamic media company. I look forward to working with Sara McClure and the iHeartMedia team in developing solutions for existing and new clients. I am thrilled to be a part of iHeartMedia’s visionary strategy.” Prior to working for iHeartMedia Sacramento, Postell held sales and sales management positions in New York City, San Francisco, and Boston. With each station’s 6+ December 2015 Nielsen Audio PPM share and market rank in parentheses, iHM Sacramento’s cluster includes news/talk KFBK (#2, 8.3); urban-rhythmic oldies KHYL “V-101.1 (#10, 3.6); adult hits KQJK “Jack-FM” (#14, 2.8); KBEB “B-92.5 #1 New Country” (#16, 2.6); and talk KSTE (2.4, #17).
SRN’s Hugh Hewitt to Appear on CNN’s ‘Guns in America’ Town Hall Coverage. There’s much more political television in Hugh Hewitt’s future, starting with tonight’s appearance on CNN’s special program following President Obama’s town hall broadcast on guns. The Salem Radio Network personality will join several other national political observers in analyzing the president’s town hall. Also this week, Hewitt will be in New York City appearing on ABC TV’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday. Hewitt will also be a featured questioner on CNN’s next Republican presidential debate on March 10, at the University of Miami in Florida. Regarding tonight’s broadcasts, President Obama will join CNN’s Anderson Cooper for an exclusive one-hour, live town hall on gun control at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia titled “Guns in America.” Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “With ongoing appearances on ‘Meet The Press,’ FOX News Channel, ‘Face The Nation,’ CNN and elsewhere, Hugh Hewitt has become a fixture on the national political scene that adds to his already established credentials as one of America’s best radio talk show hosts.”
Obama Guns Town Hall, Presidential Race, N. Korea H-Bomb Claim, Saudi-Iran Break/Shiite vs Sunni Tensions, Chinese Stock Crash, Oregon Armed Protestors Standoff, and Record Powerball Jackpot Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/6). The White House and CNN-produced televised town hall on guns taking place this evening; the activities of the candidates for president; North Korea’s claim that it has test-detonated a hydrogen bomb; the diplomatic break between Saudi Arabia and Iran and the larger Shiite-Sunni tensions in the region; the Chinese stock implosion and the world financial markets’ reactions; the ongoing armed protestor standoff at an Oregon wildlife sanctuary; and the record $500 million Powerball jackpot were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CES 2016: Disrupt, or Be Disrupted. Radio consultant Holland Cooke continues his reporting from Las Vegas and the Consumer Electronics Show 2016. In today’s report, Cooke presents highlights from presentations by the Consumer Technology Association’s Gary Shapiro, Netflix’ Reed Hastings, and General Motors’ Mary Barra. It was during Barra’s presentation that the 2017 Chevy Bolt EV (pictured) was rolled out. For those broadcasters watching the evolution of the “connected car,” Cooke writes that this vehicle syncs with the owner’s smartphone as you approach it and “Apple Play and Android Auto are built-into a dashboard screen ‘bigger than iPad air.’” Read Cooke’s entire report here.
Odds & Sods. Longtime New York City radio engineer Frank D’Elia announces he’s retiring from Cumulus Media’s WABC and WPLJ, New York after a 40-year career at the heritage Big Apple stations, effective January 29. D’Elia has served as WABC’s senior production engineer for the past 32 years…..Salem Radio Network is presenting three prime-time specials covering the Iowa Caucus, and the primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina. The Iowa Caucus special will air on February 1 featuring Steve Deace in Iowa. New Hampshire primary programming will emanate from Washington or New Hampshire on February 9 with Hugh Hewitt and the South Carolina program will be hosted by Mike Gallagher on Saturday, February 20 from Gallagher’s base at WGTK in Greenville. All programs will air from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET…..This weekend Westwood One Sports is presenting its exclusive coverage of the National Football League’s Wild Card Weekend games. Scott Graham hosts the pre-game, halftime, and post-game shows for all eight broadcasts…..ESPN Radio is launching a new weekend lineup this Saturday that includes the debut of espnW’s “The Trifecta with Spain, Jane and Kate.” The program, airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET, is hosted by espnW writers Kate Fagan, Jane McManus and Sarah Spain. Fagan will also co-host “Will & Kate” with ESPN contributor Will Cain, airing Sundays from 7:00 am to 10:00 am ET.
Radio Pro Rich Minaya Launches Campaign to Fight Colon Cancer. Long time radio pro Rich Michaels – WGR, Buffalo; WTAM, Cleveland and a.k.a. Rich Minaya at WIOD, Miami – has been fighting Stage 3 colon cancer since the spring of 2015. He recently started a campaign to “Drop Your Pride! Drop Your Drawers.” Minaya says, “Many people, especially men, are still reluctant to get screened for colo-rectal disease, but it is one of the most beatable cancers – if you catch it early.” After a brutal bout with chemo, Minaya was found to be cancer free on December 28 and he tells TALKERS, “Avoid the pain and agony for your family, loved ones and fans. Get screened. And encourage your listeners. Old schoolers hate the idea, but it may save a life.” Minaya can be reached at: email@example.com.
Cool Job Opportunity. Greater Media Charlotte has a rare opportunity for an anchor/reporter with news/talk WBT-AM/FM. The ideal candidate is a news reporter with experience anchoring and reporting radio news on air who also has the ability to generate content for populating station websites. This position is for a radio newsroom employee familiar with working under regular newscast deadlines. Good news writing skills are a must. Primary job duties include, but are not limited to, anchoring regular on-air news shift, mainly but not exclusively weekdays. Candidate will be required to assemble and deliver, using Newsroom computer system, regular half-hourly local newscasts, including audio. The news reporter’s role requires coverage of and generation of news stories for use in newscasts during other dayparts, including recording stories for next day’s use. This includes the ability to write and feed stories from the field, if necessary. In addition, position requires web and social media skills with the upmost attention to updating station’s website with news content. Send resume and mp3 to: Greater Media Charlotte, WBT/WLNK Human Resources, One Julian Price Place, Charlotte, NC 28208. Or email to : firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls, please!
Price: Weighing Public Safety vs Risk of Assisting Threatmongers in Reporting to Your Listeners. The recent terroristic threats against the New York City and Los Angeles public school districts – which turned out not to be true – present a bit of a potential problem for radio stations and news organizations. ABC Television director, business continuity Howard B. Price writes today in TALKERS, “Critical to the discussion is the hard reality that those who make these threats are banking on a response from both authorities AND the media. Thankfully, even in these troubled times, most threats are hoaxes made to seize on public fear. The hoaxers find out about that response the same way the rest of us do – through the media. SO what to do? As with most professional challenges, the process begins with an internal conversation, specific to your station and market. For example, do you have a policy document to guide your decision making in such dynamic breaking news situations?” Read more here.
Cumulus Media Names Suzanne Grimes to President of the Westwood One Division and EVP of Corporate Marketing Roles. According to Cumulus Media, this new role of president of the Westwood One Division “creates a unified structure that maximizes opportunities across the division’s national content and sales platform.” Steve Shaw, president of Westwood One, will continue to lead ad sales, and Charles Steinhauer, COO of Westwood One, will continue to lead operations, both reporting directly to Grimes, who in turn reports to company CEO Mary Berner. Grimes was most recently president and COO of Clear Channel Outdoor. Berner states, “When it comes to anything in media, Suzanne’s the full package. With 30 years of experience building content businesses into high-performing brands, she brings valuable perspectives from leadership roles in outdoor, mobile, social, digital, print and experiential sectors for both public and private companies, so she’s a natural choice for these important roles. I look forward to her contribution as we build a stronger, more operationally focused organization.”
Newly Re-Organized Corporate Structure at Cumulus Includes Tommy Page and Mike McVay Taking on New Responsibilities. As part of her memo to Cumulus Media staff of Suzanne Grimes’ new role, CEO Mary Berner also explained some of the other changes atop the corporate structure at the company. Working for Grimes will be the company’s chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard and VP of social media Lori Lewis. Berner announces Tommy Page’s new title will be SVP of brand partnerships & NASH in which he’ll continue his role as leader of platform events initiatives and brand partnerships, corporate marketing function, and new duties including the development and execution of the NASH brand strategy. Berner says the company is creating a new Office of Programming in which SVP of content & programming Mike McVay will operate to “lead our content strategy across the platform, including talent recruitment and development and label relations.” Tom Schurr, SVP of operations, will work with McVay in a new role overseeing the business aspects of programming, including organization and prioritization, resource allocation, and budget responsibilities. Berner concludes, “Our belief with regard to ratings is that more local insight and more effective corporate support will result in an improved outcome. The new Office of Programming will be responsible for executing this strategy to drive ratings growth and will be rolling out more details in the coming weeks.”
Jim Bohannon to Exit ‘America in the Morning’; Continues Late Night Show. Hall of Fame broadcaster Jim Bohannon is cutting back on his duties for Westwood One and is leaving the hosting role for “America in the Morning” after the December 18 broadcast. He is continuing his work as host of the late night Jim Bohannon show. He signed a multi-year contract extension with Westwood One in February of this year. Bohannon has been the sole host of “America in the Morning” since its first broadcast in 1984. The morning magazine program airs on more than 250 stations nationwide. Taking over for Bohannon is the show’s regular guest host John Trout. He officially begins on Monday, January 18, 2016. Bohannon comments, “It’s time for me to cut back the daily schedule a bit and focus my attention on the research, interviews, and calls for my weeknight Jim Bohannon show. But I’ll still be contributing my daily feature, the ‘Offbeat,’ and my newsmaker interviews to ‘America in the Morning.’ Listeners will love John Trout as host. He’s got a stellar track record and he’s been a terrific fill-in. The show is in great hands and I wish him much success.”
Tom Leykis’ New Normal Projecting Another Profitable Year. New Year’s Eve will be the sixth anniversary of The New Normal – the audio content company founded by radio legend Tom Leykis after exiting his CBS RADIO talk show in 2009. Leykis has long been a vocal proponent of the digital delivery system for taking audio content into the future. Today, he reports that as 2015 winds down, The New Normal is financially continuing on an upward trend. Leykis tells TALKERS that revenue is up for the third straight year. Profits will increase from $23,000 in 2014 to almost $100,000 in 2015. He adds, “This means that, for the second year in a row, we will be more profitable than the top two radio companies combined.”
Odds & Sods. Are there wrinkles in the future of the Bob & Tom Show post-Bob Kevoian? TALKERS sources are hearing that negotiations between the syndicated program’s management and staff are hitting snags. Kevoian announced his retirement at the recent Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony and although the show is moving forward with Tom Griswold continuing his role, rumors are that negotiations for contract renewals with longtime cast member Kristi Lee and contributor Ron Sexton are facing challenges…..Software platform provider Mediaocean announces it is integrating iHeartMedia within its Spectra platform. As a result, within one central system, ad agencies are able to seamlessly manage, research, and buy local digital audio inventory across the iHeartMedia digital platform. Mediaocean says users will be able to compare iHeartMedia’s audience data side-by-side with other digital audio platforms to better plan campaigns and engage the right audiences at the local level.
Covering the GOP Debate. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is seen here gesturing as he makes a point while speaking with Salem Radio Network personalities Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager and Michael Medved (who are out of the picture to the right) while SRN VP news & talk programming Tom Tradup holds the mic. The exchange took place during SRN’s exclusive radio distribution of the Republican presidential debate. SRN talk host Hugh Hewitt appeared on the CNN debate panel asking questions of the GOP hopefuls.
Run-Up to Last Night’s GOP Debate/2016 Presidential Race, Refugee and Immigration Policy, Los Angeles and New York Schools Terror Threats, Battle Against Islamic State, Freddie Gray Trial, Government Shutdown Threat, and New Star Wars Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/15). The build-up to last night’s GOP primary debate in Las Vegas and the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; debate over policy regarding refugees from Syria and over immigration in general; terror threats against the New York and Los Angeles public school districts and criticism over LA’s decision to cancel school; the battle against Islamic State; the wait for the verdict in the case against the first of six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray; the move in Congress to avert a government shutdown; and the hype over the new Star Wars film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Howard Stern Renews with SiriusXM in Landmark 12-Year Audio/Video Deal. The wait is over – Howard Stern and SiriusXM are announcing the two sides have agreed to an extension to keep Stern’s live program on the satellite radio service for another five years. But the new deal also includes an agreement that will allow SiriusXM to use Stern’s extensive audio and video library – drawn from performances, specials, and shows spanning his more-than-30-year broadcasting career – for the next dozen years. The details of the video plans will be announced at a future date. This will be SiriusXM’s first venture into the video realm. Under the new deal, Stern’s show will continue to be broadcast live exclusively from 7:00 am to 11:00 am ET, with replays throughout the day, and on demand online and through the SiriusXM app. Additionally, Stern will continue to produce his Howard 101 channel, which includes current and classic episodes of the Howard Stern show as well as original special programming throughout the day. Stern is currently working a three-day week and the press release does not indicate any changes there so we’ll assume that remains the same. Also, the financial details are not being announced. Stern says, “As a broadcaster, it does not get better than working at SiriusXM and I’m truly excited for the future with this great company. I happen to think that its best days are ahead…I am living a dream here on satellite radio and Jim Meyer is my life partner and the baby we are about to have is our new streaming video app. The joy we are going to bring you in the very near future will make you feel like Christmas is every day. Ho, Ho, Howard…out.” SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein comments, “Howard is better than ever. Howard is a one-of-a-kind interviewer, who always delivers a provocative, engaging and headline-grabbing show. We look forward to providing fans even more and deeper ways to experience Howard, and his world-class talent and insights.” Noting that the deal has been worked on for months, Stern agent Don Buchwald adds, “Jim, Scott, and I have been discussing this arrangement for some time. Obviously, the terms and conditions of a deal of this nature required a lot of give and take, as well as creative thinking on everyone’s part, and I am grateful to them both for the hard work they invested to make this deal a reality. Howard and I are excited to enter into this cutting-edge and truly unique broadcasting agreement with SiriusXM that I believe will further the legacy of Howard Stern.”
Art Bell Tells TALKERS He Doesn’t Want to Be Off the Air. Legendary late night talk host Art Bell abruptly quit his most recent return to a regular program on Friday (12/11), stating that he’s been the victim of attempts on his life that make it impossible for him to do the program. The sudden end to “Midnight in the Desert,” which was steadily picking up affiliate stations, caused some in the business to think, “Oh no, here we go again.” But Bell tells TALKERS magazine he wants to be on the radio. Citing three incidents on October 21, November 23 and December 8, Bell says his wife has said, “Enough.” Bell says, “If this jerk is caught I will be back, if not I will wait for some time to pass without incident and then do some non-scheduled shows. I would like my fellow radio people to know this is not what I want.”
Kirby Wilbur to Host Late Morning Show on KVI, Seattle. Last month, Sinclair-owned KVI-Seattle announced that market conservative talk pro Kirby Wilbur would return to the air and KVI in the New Year. Now, the station announces Wilbur will host the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot, effective January 4. Wilbur will be joined for the first hour by current morning drive host John Carlson, then host the next two hours solo. The station is dropping Glenn Beck’s Premiere-syndicated show to make room for Wilbur. KVI program director Rick Van Cise states, “It’s clear our listeners want more local conservative conversation on Seattle radio. And who better to have back-to-back than two of the original Northwest conservative voices who made KVI great.” Wilbur has been off the radio for the past six years. Most recently he’s been the Washington director for Americans for Prosperity heading up the Washington, DC-based National Journalism Center. Wilbur comments, “I’m glad to be back with a new knowledge of the workings of the other Washington as we address local and national issues affecting all of us here.”
WOWO, Fort Wayne Switches FM Frequencies. This is a bit of a downgrade as far as market coverage is concerned since the move of news/talk WOWO, Fort Wayne’s FM simulcast is from class A FM WFWI to 75-watt translator W298BJ at 107.5 FM. The heritage station has been heard on WFWI’s 92.3 frequency since Federated Media signed it on in March of 2012. Program director Ryan Reker says, “It’s just a different place to listen to us. The change from 92.3 FM to 107.5 FM means our listeners will need to update their radios to get the same news, weather and talk coverage they listen to now.” WOWO-AM is heard very well throughout northeastern Indiana on its 50,000-watt 1190 kHz signal. No plans have been announced for WFWI-FM’s new format.
Talk Host Kate Delaney Talking Pete Rose Across the Country. Nationally syndicated general issues show host Kate Delaney is guesting on scores of radio shows today (12/15) because of her sports expertise and her knowledge of the Pete Rose decision that came down yesterday from the Major League Baseball commissioner’s office. The commissioner is continuing the ban on Rose working in baseball because of his cover-up of his gambling on baseball while manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Prior to her “America Tonight” program, Delaney spent a good part of her career in the sports media world covering 15 Super Bowls, 10 Final Fours, 10 U.S. Opens and numerous other sporting events. She also served as sports director of KRLD, Dallas and did a stretch at sports talk WFAN, New York. In addition to her regular show Delaney currently does a weekend shift on the NBC Sports Radio Network.
Odds & Sods. San Francisco all-newser KCBS-AM is being honored with a special finalist citation by the 2016 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards for reporter Doug Sovern’s “Unholy Water,” a series of investigative reports that exposed the San Francisco Archdiocese’s installation of an illegal plumbing system at St. Mary’s Cathedral that poured water on homeless people at night to keep them from sleeping in the cathedral doorways, in the middle of the worst drought in California history. The CBS RADIO-owned station will be recognized at a ceremony hosted by veteran newsman Tom Brokaw at Columbia’s Low Library on January19, 2016…..Former WFED, Washington afternoon drive personality Francis Rose is handling a lot of fill-in work this week and next. Rose is sitting in for Larry O’Connor on WMAL-AM/FM, Washington’s “Drive at Five” all this week, and Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday next week. Rose is also in for Westwood One’s Jim Bohannon tonight and that company’s John Batchelor on Wednesday and Friday of this week…..The 27th annual Holiday Magic Radiothon on Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle to benefit Treehouse raised more than $512,000. Treehouse is a nonprofit organization that addresses the essential education and enrichment needs of kids in foster care…..In advance of tonight’s GOP primary debate, Salem Radio Network talk hosts Michael Medved (left) and Dennis Prager (right) are seen at right broadcasting from the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. Salem Radio Network is partnering with CNN to provide the audio to radio stations across the country. All five SRN daytime syndicated personalities are broadcasting from Las Vegas. Additionally, SRN is presenting both pre- and post-debate programs co-hosted by Hugh Hewitt and Mike Gallagher. Hewitt is also serving as one of the media panelists on the debate…..Premiere Networks announces it is broadcasting four college bowl games. Available to sports stations nationwide, Premiere will distribute the live play-by-play for the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl, Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl and Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, all of which are produced by RedVoice Productions LLC…..Cumulus Media announces that the 2015 Mitch Albom S.A.Y. Detroit Radiothon raised $1,002,748 during last Thursday’s event. Albom is afternoon drive host on the company’s news/talk WJR, Detroit. This was the fourth year of the charity broadcast and included special guests Hugh Jackman, Paul Stanley, Billy Bob Thornton, Jane Pauley, JK Simmons, Craig Ferguson, Alice Cooper, Dr. Phil, Tim Allen, Howard Schultz, Dave Barry, John Pizzarelli, Mayor Mike Duggan, Bruce Cornblatt, Kevin Eubanks, Charles Woodson, Kirk Cousins, Matt Stafford, Stan Van Gundy, Brad Ausmus, Dan Gilbert, and Bernie Smilovitz. Pictured here is Mitch Albom (at center) on the remote set during the radiothon.
2016 Presidential Race/Tonight’s GOP Debate, Government Shutdown Threat, Paris Climate Summit Agreement, Battle Against IS/Islamic Anti-Terror Alliance, Refugee/Immigration Issues, Looming Freddie Gray Verdict, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the build-up to tonight’s GOP primary debate in Las Vegas; the temporary spending bill and the threat of a government shutdown; the agreement that came out of the Paris Climate Summit and the larger topic of global warming; the battle against Islamic State and the news of a Saudi-led anti-terror coalition; the status of Syrian refugees and the issue of immigration policy in the United States; the expected verdict in the first phase of the Freddie Gray trials in Baltimore; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
John Cravens Exits ESPN’s WMVP, Chicago. He’d been in management at ESPN sports talk O&O WMVP for the past 10 years but now John Cravens is out as vice president and general manager of the property. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports Cravens’ history with the station: general sales manager for four years until being boosted to VP/GM in 2009. Feder also writes that, although sources have confirmed his ouster, neither side is commenting and it’s uncertain whether his position will be filled or whether his duties will be picked up by others in the organization. According to figures from Miller, Kaplan, Arase, WMVP’s revenue dipped more than 11% from 2013 to 2014. Read Feder’s story here.
Steve Deace Show to Be Syndicated by Salem Radio Network. Iowa-based conservative talk show host Steve Deace’s nationally syndicated program will be distributed by Salem Radio Network beginning November 2, feeding live from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. SRN says the Steve Deace show will air on many of its news/talk-formatted stations across the country and will be available to stations in other markets. On his new arrangement, Deace comments, “We couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with Salem, which is a leader in conservative multi-media. It’s the perfect fit for our message, which unashamedly proclaims the pillars of American exceptionalism — faith, family, and freedom. We are finally getting our shot at the ‘big leagues’ and look forward to reaching a new and bigger audience.” Deace is a columnist for Salem-owned Townhall.com and recently released the book, Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives can Win Again (2014 Post Hill Press). SRN SVP Phil Boyce states, “I have been following Steve’s radio career for several years now and felt he would be the perfect addition to the Salem lineup at 9:00 pm ET, following Hugh Hewitt. I can’t think of a better time to do this, just as we are one year away from one of the biggest political elections in our country’s history, and Steve is all over this.”
Glenn Beck to Air in NYC Market on WVNJ in New Jersey. Nationally syndicated talk star Glenn Beck is being heard in the New York market again as Universal Broadcasting’s WVNJ, Oakland, New Jersey adds his show for the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm time slot. The addition of the Premiere Networks program comes just weeks after WVNJ brought New York-based GCN-syndicated talk star Dr. Joy Browne to its roster for live clearance immediately following Beck’s show (1:00 pm to 3:00 pm). WVNJ director of operations Luis Felix states, “WVNJ is excited to welcome Glenn Beck to the airwaves in New York. The Glenn Beck program is a perfect fit for our listeners and makes a great addition to our programming lineup.”
Round One of October PPM Ratings Released. The first of four rounds of October 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio is released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). You can find all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his Twelve Takeaways from this round of data at our sister publication’s site here. The October 2015 PPM survey covered September 10 through October 7.
San Antonio Radio Pro Johnny Shannon Dead at 70. After a 50-year career in radio, Johnny Shannon died on Monday after a battle with liver cancer. Shannon had been working for the last 10 years of his career as a reporter for Alpha Media’s news/talk KTSA, San Antonio. The earlier part of his career was spent working in music formats. In the San Antonio market, he’d worked at such outlets as KONO and KSMG. Earlier this year Shannon was inducted into the San Antonio Radio Hall of Fame and five years prior, he was honored as a member of the Texas Radio Hall of Fame.
Odds & Sods. The tragic case of the death of a New Mexico four-year-old after a road rage incident was the focal point of recent broadcasts on Cumulus Media’s KKOB-AM, Albuquerque. While the search was still on for the killer of Lilly Garcia, Albuquerque Police Chief Gordon Eden called in to KKOB-AM when morning show host Bob Clark was talking about the story with listeners. Eden said, “We know that 770 is heard around the Southwest and we need your help in tracking down truckers who may have witnessed the road rage shooting.” KKOB-AM program director Pat Frisch says, “770 KKOB is a vital part of New Mexico and that could not have been more evident when Chief Eden called in.”…..The national radio broadcast of the 111th Major League Baseball World Series is being carried by ESPN Radio for the 18th consecutive season. Talent for this year’s broadcast are: “Sunday Night Baseball” play-by-play voice Dan Shulman with analyst Aaron Boone, reporter Chris Singleton, ESPN Radio studio host Marc Kestecher, and ESPN MLB Insider Peter Pascarelli…..ABC Radio announces the availability of three special shows for the Thanksgiving weekend: “Shopping for Kids” with Alex Stone, “Holiday Gift Guide” with host Scott Goldberg, and “Holiday Movie Guide” with ABC Radio entertainment correspondent and movie critic David Blaustein…..AdLarge Media adds two more shows to its roster of podcasts for which it serves as exclusive ad sales rep. “Women Worldwide” reaches women who benefit from the shared experiences of the show’s notable guests and “The #Hashtag Show” from The Social Network Station draws listeners who want to implement best practices for using hashtags as an effective marketing or social networking tool.
DC Radio Legend Ed Walker Passes. Just hours after listening to his final “Big Broadcast” program air on WAMU-FM, Washington, market legend Ed Walker died at age 83 after battle with cancer. Walker holds a memorable place in Washington, DC radio history as (future renowned TV weatherman) Willard Scott’s partner on the WRC, Washington show “The Joy Boys.” That show ran from the mid-1950s through 1972. After that show ended, Walker worked at numerous stations in the market until taking over the weekly “Big Broadcast” show on WAMU-FM in 1990. Even after being diagnosed with cancer, Walker recorded the program for broadcast on Sunday evenings. See the Washington Post’s obit by Paul Farhi here.
2016 Presidential Race, European Migrant Crisis/U.S. Immigration Policy, U.S. Patrols South China Sea, Congressional Budget Deal, Russia’s Syria Campaign/U.S. Syria-ISIS Policy, OSU Homecoming Parade Tragedy, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/26). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the ongoing migrant crisis in Eastern Europe and the United States’ policy on immigration; China’s warning to the U.S. about its patrol near disputed islands in the South China Sea; the tentative two-year budget deal agreed to by Republicans and Democrats in Congress; the Russian military campaign in Syria and the U.S.’s military policy in the region; the deadly accident that took the lives of four and injured dozens at the Oklahoma State University homecoming parade on Saturday; and the weekend’s NFL games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Profile: America Now’s Meghan McCain. She’s new to Premiere Networks’ “America Now” program but she’s hardly new to media. Author, TV contributor, blogger and now radio talk show host Meghan McCain is the subject of a TALKERS magazine personality profile by managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian. Stepping into this role is bound to being with it criticism, but as the daughter of Senator John McCain, Meghan McCain says she’s used to it by now. “My response is that I take it very seriously. It is an incredible opportunity and if everyone in talk radio were doing it correctly, there would be no need for me. There would be no need for a young, single, Republican woman [hosting this show]. If you want to listen to old, angry, white men putting down America, plenty of people out there fill that niche. I am obviously a woman and I have a young, feminine voice – but I like the challenge of winning over people. It is a difficult job and I have a completely new respect for the medium.” In this profile, McCain discusses her media pedigree, what she brings to the talk radio “table,” and how she’s handling the wild, GOP primary race. Read it here.
CBS Creates Streaming Station Featuring Content from Sports Talk O&Os and National Network. This addition to CBS RADIO’s digital platform features live content from its 14 local sports stations plus the CBS Sports Radio Network. It’s called “CBS Sports Radio Roundup” and the company says it “combines the best commentary and programming” and “provides fans with real-time access to breaking news, live interviews and opinionated analysis from CBS RADIO’s award-winning sports properties across the U.S.” The product is produced by CBS Local Digital Media and anchors for the 6:00 am to 6:00 pm ET programming are: DJ Sixsmith (6:00 to 10:00 am ET), Greg Larnerd (10:00 am to 2:00 pm ) and Bryan Foti (2:00 ppm to 6:00 pm.) Content from such outlets as WFAN, New York; WSCR, Chicago; WJFK-FM, Washington; WBZ-FM, Boston; WXYT-FM, Detroit and others is featured.
GOP Debate Simulcast Puts Salem Radio Network, Hugh Hewitt into Spotlight. Tonight’s GOP primary debate from Simi Valley, California is being broadcast on CNN on cable TV and simulcast on AM/FM radio via Salem Radio Network. Additionally, SRN personality Hugh Hewitt is serving as one of the three journalists (alongside CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash) questioning the candidates. Salem is presenting pre-and post-debate programming surrounding the actual debate. Also, SRN personality Mike Gallagher is on site at Hillsdale College in Michigan hosting an exclusive focus group with undergraduates and graduate students who will offer their perspectives on the debate. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “The presence of and role being played by Donald Trump in this presidential cycle has the potential to really establish talk media careers – or at least significantly elevate them – as we witnessed in the case of Megyn Kelly and now, potentially with Hugh Hewitt, who has already gotten well-deserved attention for not cowering in the face of the mega-reality star’s bullying tendencies. The further Trump goes in this circus, the more opportunities for talk hosts to emerge as having backbones and pertinence.”
Kiernan Assumes GSM Role at KCBS-AM, San Francisco. Twenty-four year KCBS, San Francisco sales staffer Kieran Geffert is promoted to general sales manager for the CBS RADIO all-newser, making her responsible for all KCBS revenue. Geffert worked as an AE for the station for 19 years before joining the management ranks in 2012. CBS RADIO San Francisco VP/director of sales Greg Nemitz states, “Kieran has proven herself as one of the master sellers and strategists for spoken-word radio. Her leadership and deep knowledge of our brand will carry us into the future.”
Dana Barrett Show Expands at ‘biz 1190’ in Atlanta. The mid-morning Dana Barrett show on Salem Media Group’s financial talker WAFS, Atlanta “biz 1190” is expanded by and hour and will air from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, effective September 28. The station recently announced it would add the Eric Holtzclaw program to the lineup to follow Barrett’s show at 11:00 am. Barrett comments, “I love what I do. Getting to help companies, big and small, get the word out about what they’re doing AND keeping my listeners up to date on the latest local and national business stories is the best job in the world. I’m so grateful for the amazing reception of the show by the business community, and honestly, there are so many stories to tell, we really need the second hour just to fit it all in!”
Denyse Mesnik to Leave VP/ Corporate Communications Role at Beasley; Soni Dimond Takes Over. Longtime Beasley vice president of corporate communications Denyse Mesnik isn’t leaving the company, she’s transitioning from her current role to that of consultant, according to her announcement. The press statement says, “Denyse will remain active in Beasley’s corporate office through the end of September, after which time she will assist Beasley Media Group’s corporate office, portfolio of radio stations and the Beasley Family with special projects. Mesnik’ VP post will be filled by Soni Dimond, who joined BBG in May. Mesnik states, “Soni shares our company’s fundamental professional values and I am impressed with her commitment to ensure our continued success in this ever-evolving radio industry. We welcome her depth of experience, her proven track record and her deep respect for the art of communication.” Dimond operated her own Soni Dimond Media for the past 16 years. For many years prior to that she worked on camera in television news in Pennsylvania. Regarding Mesnik, BBG chairman and CEO George Beasley comments, “Denyse has been one of the most loyal and capable persons with whom I have had the pleasure of working during the past 25 years. We could always depend on her competency, uplifting smile and her willingness to complete any project given, without a complaint. Fortunately, Denyse has agreed to work with us as a consultant going forward.”
Odds & Sods. The CEO of Galaxy Communications will be honored as part of the Newhouse School at Syracuse University’s “50Forward” gala on October 29 in NYC. Ed Levine will be one of 50 accomplished professional alumni honored at the event…..SiriusXM and the Pro Football Hall of Fame are teaming up to create a weekly show that will air nationwide on the SiriusXM NFL Radio channel. “Pro Football Hall of Fame Radio” is being hosted by Pro Football Hall of Fame EVP Joe Horrigan and SiriusXM’s Howard Balzer. Each Saturday, the two will be joined by a Hall of Famer who will co-host the show…..The 32nd annual “NewsRadio 1020 KDKA Spaghetti Breakfast” takes place on Friday, September 18 at the Heinz Hall Garden Plaza in downtown Pittsburgh. The free event features a broadcast of the “KDKA Morning News with Larry Richert and John Shumway.” The event benefits The Little Sisters of the Poor.
Trump Dallas Speech/GOP Debate, Hillary Sexual Assault Survivor’s Ad, 2016 Presidential Candidates, European Migrant Crisis/U.S. Immigration Policy, Russia-Syria Military Connection, and Western Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/15). GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s address to a Dallas crowd at the American Airlines Center and tonight’s GOP primary debate; criticism of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s ad reaching out to victims of sexual assault; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the migrant crisis affecting European nations and the related topic of the United States’ immigration policy; allegations Russia is supplying Syria with weapons; and the devastating wildfires in the Western U.S. were some of the top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Where There’s a Will. Columnist and political analyst George Will (right) appears on stage at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach with WNDB afternoon drive talk host Marc Bernier (left). Will’s timely appearance at the school – the night before the second GOP candidates’ debate – was part of the college’s President’s Speaker Series. Bernier says Will spent 95 minutes discussing the candidates, ISIS, Iran, education, health care, the economy, baseball and public policy. Photo: David Massey.
Logan adds WFTW Programming Duties. One-year hot AC WNCV “Coast 93.3” program director and morning talent “Logan” takes on similar responsibilities within the Cumulus Media Fort Walton Beach (Florida) cluster for talk WFTW. Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “Logan has done an outstanding job since joining the Fort Walton Beach/Destin cluster. It has been a pleasure watching him work to make a significant impact in both ratings and revenue with WNCV. I am very excited we are recognizing his talent and affording him additional opportunities to grow with our company.” Corporate program director for news-talk-sports Jim Mahanay remarks, “I am excited anytime we can have a programmer with a fresh perspective enter the news/talk format. Logan has proven himself as a strong music PD and he now has that opportunity in news/talk.” Logan offers a “big thanks” to DeSimone, Mahanay, and Cumulus Media senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay. “Cumulus has given me opportunities – I am going to grow with them,” Logan states. “I am a huge fan of the news-talk format, and I cannot wait to get audio from Michael Savage.” Prior to joining WNCV, “Logan” spent eight years as morning host/assistant program director/music director for Philadelphia hot AC WISX “Mix106.1.” His resume also includes stops in New York City at CHR WHTZ “Z-100” and in Dallas at hot AC KDMX.
Nielsen Audio Releases Final Round of July 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of Nielsen Audio July 2015 PPM ratings data has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The July 2015 survey period covered June 18 through July 15. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. In addition, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods: This past Monday (8/3), Westwood One host Mark Levin surpassed the one-million level of Facebook “Likes.” His book, “Plunder and Deceit,” was released the following day (Tuesday, 8/4) and it has reached #1 on Amazon‘s “Best Seller” list…..In an October 13 simulcast with CNN, Westwood One will be the exclusive radio provider of coverage from the first Democratic primary debate of the 2016 presidential race. The debate will take place in Nevada, with exact location details to be announced later. CNN will serve as moderator and exclusive national broadcaster of that debate.
Rick Lewis Hits Quarter Century Mark Hosting “Talky” Mornings at Classic Rocker, KRFX, Denver. For over two decades the “Lewis & Floorwax Show” dominated the morning airwaves on iHeartMedia’s KRFX-FM (The Fox), Denver. The show was an excellent example of the widespread genre of music radio morning shows that lean heavily on pop cultural talk content. Suddenly in January of 2014, co-host Michael Floorwax retired from the airwaves, by his own choosing, due to an ongoing chronic health issue that began acting up. His co-host Rick Lewis was encouraged to keep the show going as it had a very loyal fan base and was an extremely dependable “revenue machine.” Lewis re-tooled the mostly spoken word show (that plays approximately two songs per hour), renamed it “The Rick Lewis Show” and forged ahead. Fans were happy and relieved that the show continued. Advertisers continued their support and The Rick Lewis Show has more than survived, it has thrived. Nielsen Audio spring PPM numbers indicate that “The Fox” is the market’s top station among adults 25-54. Ratings are up from 2014 and so is revenue. On July 31, 2015 Rick Lewis celebrated 25 years as the morning radio host at the station – a rarely achieved milestone in the radio industry. Lewis tells TALKERS, “I have many people to thank including my long-time friend and radio partner Kathy Lee who really stepped up her game. Thanks to my long-time partner Michael Floorwax for a helluva run, you are missed!” Lewis adds, “Also the support of the rest of the crew in the morning, Colfax, Dragon Redbeard and Robbyn Hart has been significant. Thanks also to Michael Harrison, a visionary man who gave me my first big break at KMET, Los Angeles in 1984. I was just out of college, working at that heritage radio station with some legendary radio performers. Mike believed in me and gave me my first full time job in LA.” Harrison recalls, “I recognized immediately that this earnest young man was the total package. He had movie star looks, a command of album rock and its culture, and most importantly the ability to adeptly punctuate his jock work with listener calls and artist interviews – a quality I always looked for in DJs during my rock PD days.” KRFX is the FM home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos and the multi-faceted Lewis also hosts the official Denver Broncos pre-game show every week during the football season. And if that isn’t enough Lewis has a band, The Rick Lewis Project, featuring some of the most acclaimed musicians in the region. As a drummer for the band, Lewis has played as opening act with legends such as BB King, James Brown, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Def Lepard, and The Who among others. When he is not on the radio or playing in his band, Lewis finds time to perform in the Denver area as a stand-up comic. He also recently shot a TV pilot called “Ride Away,” a motorcycle adventure show. The show is currently being shopped and produced by reality TV’s famous bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman and his wife Beth. Lewis believes “the secret to longevity in the business is to have many irons in the fire.” He tells TALKERS, “I still get up every morning and can’t wait to get behind the microphone and entertain the fans in Denver. For years, I always thought KMET in LA would be the pinnacle of my radio career, man was I wrong!”
Beasley Broadcast Group Reports Q2 Results. Second quarter net revenue is up $1.1 million ($25.9 million to $27 million), but Beasley Broadcast Group‘s net income is off by $500,000 ($3 million to $2.5 million). This past December, Beasley and CBS Radio completed a 14-for-five swap involving three markets. CBS Radio acquired two Philadelphia stations (WRDW and WXTU), as well as three Miami outlets (WKIS, WPOW, and WQAM). In exchange, Beasley picked up one Philadelphia station (WIP-FM); six Tampa facilities (WHFS-AM, WHFS-FM, WLLD, WQYK, WRBQ, and WYUU); and seven Charlotte properties (WBAV, WBCN, WFNZ, WKQC, WNKS, WPEG, and WSOC). According to Beasley chair and chief executive officer George Beasley, the company’s second quarter results “reflect a continuation of recent overall industry and market trends.” On a pro forma basis, net revenue decreased 6.0% while SOI declined 8.4%. “The decline in pro forma revenue is primarily attributable to overall weakness in Charlotte, Las Vegas, and Wilmington [Delaware], which resulted in reduced operating leverage and ultimately impacted SOI,” Beasley comments. “We were able to partially offset the revenue decline, however, through cost reductions that resulted in a 4.9% – or $1 million – reduction in station operating expenses. We also made further progress on our debt reduction efforts during the quarter, while continuing our commitment to return capital to shareholders.” Addressing the station swap with CBS Radio, Beasley remarks, “It substantially broadened and diversified our local radio and marketing solutions platform. Since closing, we have been initiating strategies to extract operating and financial synergies. We are actively implementing integration, cost efficiency and operating plans while remaining true to our value proposition by focusing on targeted localism and delivering quality programming, effective online marketing solutions and dedicated service to listeners and advertisers in these markets.” As far as the future is concerned, he notes the company remains “focused on operating our station clusters to match or exceed their market’s revenue performance while further strengthening our balance sheet. We believe our integration, programming, personnel, cost-efficiency and operating changes are now showing progress.”
Barack Obama and Donald Trump were the Most Talked About People on News/Talk Radio this Week. GOP Debate(s) on Fox, the Iran Nukes Deal and Immigration Reform Lead the Topics Discussed. According to TALKERS research, the just-concluding week of August 3-7, 2015 has been dynamic to say the least as the brewing interest in the presidential race of 2016 reached its first major boiling point with yesterday’s (8/6) long anticipated GOP debate(s) on the Fox News Channel and Fox News Radio gathering enormous attention and conversation. Other hot topics included the Iran nuke deal, ISIS activity, immigration reform, race relations, the Planned Parenthood funding issue, Hillary Clinton’s emails, and the Nashville theater attack. To see the entire list of the week’s most talked about topics and people, please click here.
Michael Harrison Chats with Former FEMA Director (and Current KHOW, Denver Talk Host) Michael D. Brown as 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Approaches. It was almost a decade ago (August 23-31, 2005) that Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast of the United States with winds of up to 175 mph and flood waters of biblical proportions rising from the ocean and falling from the sky — leaving in its wake almost 1,900 fatalities, $108 billion in damages, and countless casualties and lives upended. Michael D. Brown – the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the time and Under Secretary of Homeland Security (“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”) became the official poster boy for everything that went wrong with the federal government’s too-little-too-late response to one of the greatest disasters in American history. Some of the criticism that fell upon Brown was deserved – but much of it wasn’t. After all, it was an epic crisis and involved numerous overlapping agencies, governments, and politicians charged with making things right. Brown took a severe beating from the media as well as a proverbial bullet for the team and stepped down from his position with the Bush Administration. A lawyer by trade, Brown went on with his life, taking away an enormous amount of wisdom and experience from the episode. Undaunted, he began speaking to groups around the country about the insidious side of politics, and the human complexity of management and team play. He wrote a candid book about his role (and responsibility) in Katrina — Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm, Hurricane Katrina, the Bush White House, and Beyond (Taylor Trade, 2011). He also began a successful talk show hosting career in Denver – first at KOA and then at KHOW, where he presently presides over a daily program 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm MT. In the newly posted installment of the weekly international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” (8/4), Brown is interviewed by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison about inside-Washington politics, the war on terror, the nature of the political mind, the psychological profile of presidents, the general state of media and journalism as well as what his life is like as a big market talk show host 10 years after Katrina. To hear this must-listen conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Cool Job Opportunity. Salem Radio in New York is looking for a dynamic individual to join the sales team for “AM970 The Answer,” which is news/talk format, and the legendary WMCA “AM570 The Mission, New York’s Christian Talk.” Compensation is commensurate with degree of experience and skills. This is a fabulous career opportunity for the right individual with one of the finest broadcasting companies in America. Salem Media Group is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Sales experience involving media is a must. Undergraduate degree required. A unique opportunity to work closely with Jerry Crowley and Phil Boyce, two proven winners and innovators. For more information and to apply, click here.
Pew Research Center’s State of the News Media 2015 Released. There isn’t really much in the 2015 edition of the Pew Research Center’s “State of the News Media” report that’s surprising, but for those who like to put hard numbers to what most industry observers already suspect, it serves that purpose. In the audio category (AM/FM, online streams, satellite radio), Pew uses Nielsen Media Research data and reports that 53% of Americans 12-plus have listened to online radio in the past month – an increase from 27% in 2010. Not surprisingly, smartphone usage for listening is overtaking laptops and desktops as the technology of choice with 73% having listened via a smartphone in the past week. Laptop/desktop listening in the last week was reported by 61%. Internet-based listening in the automobile continues to increase with “more than a third of U.S. adult cellphone owners (35%) having listened to online radio in the car. That is substantially more than the 21% who did so in 2013, and nearly six times the number (6%) who had done so in 2010.” The study breaks out podcasting separately and states, “The percentage of Americans who have listened to a podcast in the past month has almost doubled since 2008, from 9% to 17% by January of 2015. The percentage listening in 2015 was up two points over 2014 levels (15%).” The “State of the News Media” also looks at other news media – newspapers, cable news, network news, public broadcasting and more. See the whole study here.
iHeartMedia Reports Q1 Revenue Up 4%. For the first quarter of 2015, iHeartMedia reported its consolidated revenue increased 4% to $1.4 billion in 2015 compared to 2014 after adjusting for a $54 million unfavorable impact from movements in foreign exchange rates. On a reported basis, consolidated revenues were slightly up. The company says revenue increased $28 million, or 4%, driven primarily by the traffic, weather and syndication businesses, as well as events. Revenue growth was partially offset by lower core local broadcast radio advertising revenue.
Friedman: Talk Radio Remains a Great Venue for Publicity. Public relations pro Marsha Friedman pens a regular column titled The PR Insider that is read widely by the public relations industry and its clients. As CEO of EMSI Public Relations, Friedman has decades of experience in the PR biz and is very bullish on the power of talk radio to get a message across. Her most recent piece is about talk radio’s effectiveness. For this, she reached out to TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison who says, “Research continues to indicate that talk radio is where a high concentration of voters and active consumers are indeed listening. Talk radio also puts the spotlight on important issues that for reasons of ratings, circulation or sizzle the rest of the mainstream media often tends to ignore or simply bury.” Friedman explains the benefits of talk radio from her experience which you can read here.
Harpo Dumps “Daily Dose.” Affiliates received word yesterday (Wednesday, 4/29) from Westwood One senior vice president of affiliate sales and broadcast operations Dennis Green that, “After many years, Harpo Productions has decided to end production of ‘The Daily Dose with Dr. Oz’ feature.” This comes shortly after at least 1,000 doctors say they believe Dr. Mehmet Oz should resign his faculty position at New York City’s Columbia University. Earlier, 10 doctors sent a letter calling for the host of the eponymous one-hour Dr. Oz television program to be replaced as Columbia’s cardiothoracic surgeon. It is the doctors’ contention that Oz has promoted products and made claims unsubstantiated by medical evidence. Results of a poll of 1,300 doctors conducted by doctors’ social network SERMO indicate 57% feel Dr. Oz should resign from Columbia; 4% are calling to have his medical license revoked; and 22% opine he should both resign and have his license taken away. Doctors have criticized Dr. Oz for his “disdain for science” and for manifesting “an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.” Last Thursday (4/23), Dr. Oz answered back by stating he never promotes treatments for his own financial benefit. Dr. Oz was in hot water last June during a Senate hearing for making claims about “miracle” cures and weight-loss supplements. As an option to Dr. Oz’s soon-to-be defunct radio feature, Westwood One is suggesting “A Better Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta,” a feature it distributes from CNN‘s chief medical correspondent. The final “Daily Dose with Dr. Oz” will be sent to stations four weeks from tomorrow (Friday, 5/29).
An Eerie First for MLB. Pictured here is Westwood One News correspondent Bob Costantini in the press box at Camden Yards in Baltimore covering Wednesday’s Baltimore Orioles-Chicago White Sox game that was played with no fans in attendance due to the violence and unrest after the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody.
Baltimore Protests, SCOTUS Gay Marriage Case, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Iran Nukes Issue, Economy Slows in First Quarter, and Nepal Quake Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/29). The simmering protests in Baltimore and a report that Freddie Gray appeared to be trying to hurt himself in the police van; talk about the Supreme Court arguments in the case of four states with anti-gay marriage laws; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the issues surrounding negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; the GDP report indicating the economy slowed during the first three months of 2015; and the aftermath of Saturday’s earthquake that’s devastated Nepal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Baltimore Protests Turn Violent. Owing to that fact, Hearst talker WBAL-AM, Baltimore advanced yesterday (Monday, 4/27) to “continuous coverage,” after a weekend of “extensive coverage.” According to WBAL-AM president and general manager Cary Pahigian, “We are sharing resources with our sister station, WBAL-TV (Channel 11), which is flying their helicopter almost nonstop. Our goal is to keep the community up-to-the-minute and to provide an opportunity to discuss and analyze the situation with WBAL-AM talk hosts in a responsible manner. It is very fluid, so we are staying nimble and flexible.” The unrest in the Maryland city increased following the funeral of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died just over one week ago (4/19), after suffering spinal injuries while in police custody. At least one Baltimore building has been torched; several of the city’s police cars have been set on fire; and protesters have thrown bricks at Baltimore police officers. Six Baltimore police officers have been seriously injured in Monday’s violence. Maryland governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard, while Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake states every possible resource is being deployed to “gain control of this situation.”
WFAN Sports Giant Mike Francesa Is Extremely Bullish on Radio – Says the Medium Is Here to Stay on Michael Harrison’s “Up Close and Far Out” Podcast. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews WFAN sports talk superstar Mike Francesa on this week’s installment of the international hit podcast series, “Up Close and Far Out.” In an exclusive 30-minute conversation, Harrison and Francesa cover a variety of fascinating topics including authenticity in broadcasting, internet critics, digital era audiences, radio versus television, changes in pop culture, the phenomenal growth of sports and the future of radio in a world of screens. Francesa credits the authenticity, for which Harrison praises him, in part, to being on the air an unusually long five-and-a-half hours per day, pointing out that you can’t be live on radio that long every day without being your real self. According to Francesa, one of the big changes faced by hosts in both sports and general talk programming today is the audience has as much, if not more, access to information as you do – which means merely presenting news is not enough. A host’s success is dependent on having an interesting “take” on the events of the day. He says the internet has made it much easier to break into broadcasting but much more difficult to get noticed. Of his critics, he states the worst thing that can happen is to be ignored. “If you are ignored, you are dead.” Francesa tells Harrison that he very seldom responds to his critics – refusing to give them the exposure of his larger platform that they seek. In addition to having a growing national following due to television and radio syndication, Mike Francesa has long been one of the highest profile media figures in New York and has been ranked by TALKERS magazine for the past two years in a row in the #1 spot on its “Heavy Hundred” of sports talk radio (“The 100 Most Important Radio Sports Talk Hosts in America”). After several years of being carried by the YES Network, Francesa’s daily local radio show is presently simulcast nationally on Fox Sports 1. In comparing radio to television, Francesa says, “Television is a director’s medium. Radio is a performer’s medium.” He explains, “Radio is unvarnished. It is visceral. It is emotional. Television is more packaged and homogenized.” Regarding the survival and future of radio, Francesa states, “Radio will be here long, long past us. People have been trying to kill radio since the first days of television. They’ve tried to kill radio 40 different times in multiple generations. They will never kill it because its appeal of being live, local, personal and mobile will never be equaled.” Francesa sees the rise of mobile digital media as actually being a good thing for radio, acknowledging that “radio will change.” He confidently says, “It will be enhanced because of the smart phone. It is the new transistor radio. Who carried a transistor radio for the past 30 years? Now everyone does. THAT is an opportunity!” In describing Mike Francesa, Michael Harrison states, “I know Francesa has his share of critics – but that comes with the territory of being ‘out there’ the way he is and being a compelling radio talk show host in the modern era, sports or otherwise. What makes him so successful is he has that special ‘something’ that only a handful of performers have ever had in this business – he rises above technique! All he needs to do is bring his authentic, unique personhood to the airwaves each time he’s on and that – at least to this point – is enough. He is one of my handful of all-time favorites and I am delighted that he is still going strong.” To listen to Mike Francesa on “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” please click here or click on the special player box in the right hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports from Nepal for Westwood One. Internationally known medical doctor and media figure Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in Nepal doing both media work and helping doctors there deal with the overwhelming number of casualties from Saturday’s earthquake. In addition to his work covering the aftermath for CNN, Dr. Gupta is also doing live hits for Westwood One affiliate stations. His “A Better Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta” is syndicated by Westwood One. Dr. Gupta was called into action in the operating room, asked to help perform brain surgery on a 15-year-old girl in Kathmandu after a wall of her family’s home fell on her as she collected water outside.
SiriusXM 2015 Q1 Revenue Up 8%. Satellite radio operator SiriusXM delivered its 2015 first quarter financial numbers today (4/28) and, compared to the same period a year ago, revenue was $1.08 billion – up 8%. Net income was $106 million, up 12% from $94 million in the first quarter of 2014. Net income per diluted common share was $0.02 in the first quarter of 2015 and 2014. Adjusted EBITDA was $399 million in the first quarter of 2015, up 19% from $335 million in the first quarter of 2014. The satcaster says that it added 431,000 net new subscribers in the first quarter, a 61% increase from the 267,000 net new subscribers added in the first quarter of 2014. Sirius CEO Jim Meyer says, “The year is off to a fantastic start at SiriusXM. We are increasing our subscriber guidance to approximately 1.4 million net additions and revenue guidance to approximately $4.47 billion after reporting our best first quarter for self-pay subscriber additions since 2008. Our results demonstrate that SiriusXM’s bundle of live news and sports, exclusive talk and comedy, and curated, commercial-free music is resonating with more and more consumers every day,”
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated, WABC, New York-based morning personality Don Imus announced to his listeners his simulcast on cable’s Fox Business Network will end on May 29. The program has been airing on both since 2009. Though Imus didn’t elaborate on the reason for the change, The New York Daily News reports Imus and wife Deirdre plan to spend the summer at their new ranch in Texas and that property has no TV uplink facilities. Read the Daily News story here…..Atlanta real estate broker Bryan Crabtree is adding a daily show on Salem Communications’ business talk WAFS, Atlanta “biz 1190,” debuting May 4 and airing from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Crabtree and his wife Mackenzie have been hosting the “Housedog.com Real Estate Show” on both WAFS and sister news/talk WGKA on weekends and that show will continue on both outlets. WAFS station manager Adam Wattenbarger says, “We are so excited to bring Bryan aboard to add to our live and local lineup. biz 1190 is committed to giving the Atlanta community something we’ve been lacking for years – real talk about real issues affecting our neighborhoods.”…..Sports talk personality Tim Brando is wrapping his daily, eponymous show heard on SiriusXM’s College Sports Nation channel. The final show is this Thursday. Brando will continue to be heard on the radio via FOX Sports Radio as he’ll handle play-by-play for college football and basketball as well as the network’s coverage of this June’s US Open golf tournament…..The program “Entertainment This Week” is joining the America’s Talk Radio Network effective May 3. “Mr. Hollywood” Shannon Rose and co-host James Lowe will discuss Hollywood gossip, comics, movies, television, pro-wrestling, and so much more during the “fastest hour on national radio.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee Helps Raise Funds for Accessible Playground Equipment. Last Saturday, Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee unveiled new accessible playground equipment at a local elementary school for which the station helped raise funds. The need for the equipment came after the station learned of eight-year-old Ben Nelson who uses a wheelchair due to his Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Ben’s family began raising funds for the equipment and WTMJ joined forces with the family and was able to – through the help of listeners – raise $50,000. WTMJ Radio VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “WTMJ firmly believes we do well by doing good. We serve Wisconsin – and we’re getting behind our air personalities by giving them a month where we use our resources to give back to our community. [Morning host] Jodi Becker is first on our team to lead in this new community betterment initiative. We are pleased to help – and we thank our listeners and great businesses for helping to build this wonderful playground.”
Limbaugh and Mahindra Partner on Tractor Giveaway. For the second year in a row, Rush Limbaugh and Mahindra USA have joined together to give away a Mahindra eMax 22HST with loader to an active duty service member or U.S. military veteran. The winner will be selected in a random drawing on May 26. Last year, more than 4,500 service men and women entered for an opportunity to win a Mahindra tractor. It was awarded to Lieutenant Colonel Mike Petzinger of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, who has served his country for 25 years in the Army.
Music and Pop Culture Figure Andrew W.K. to Host Weekly Show on TheBlaze Radio Network. New to the weekend lineup at Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network is the show “America W.K.,” hosted by musician, writer, TV host and lecturer Andrew W. K. TheBlaze Radio Network says the show will be a “raw and penetrating discussion of what it is to be alive – meaning, motivation, mindset, and making dreams come true, all included in a celebration of life itself – and all with a positive and honest outlook. Andrew will also field questions and input from the audience, adding an engaging interactive component.” Andrew W.K. is probably most known for his 2001 rock album titled, I Get Wet, the cover of which featured a photo of him with a bloody nose. During his musical career he’s penned a number of rock anthems that have appeared in video games, movies and as pro sports team themes. Andrew W.K. (pictured here at left with Glenn Beck at right) says, “When Glenn asked me to do my own radio show on TheBlaze, I was shocked but excited, as I knew he would allow me the unrestrained freedom to say exactly what I wanted. I’m very dedicated to exploring and learning from different people in different places, and always with an open heart. If people never went outside their own box, life would be boring. After all, why would I only want to talk with people who already think exactly like me?”
Baltimore Protests, White House Correspondents Dinner, Bush Criticism of Obama Foreign Policy, Nepal Earthquake Aftermath, SCOTUS Hears Same-Sex Marriage Argument, Clinton Foundation Scrutiny, James Holmes Trial Begins, and the Bruce Jenner Transgender Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/27). The intensifying, violent protests in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody; the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner and President Obama’s performance; former President George W. Bush comments on Obama Administration’s foreign policy; the devastation in Nepal after Saturday’s earthquake; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments as anti-gay marriage statutes in four states are challenged; ongoing scrutiny of the Clinton Foundation financial operations; the opening of the trial of Aurora, Colorado movie theater killer James Holmes; and the chatter about Bruce Jenner’s sex change procedure and his recent interview were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Saga Looks to Lawrence as VP/Group PD. Former Pinnacle Media Worldwide president and chief executive officer Bob Lawrence succeeds Steve Goldstein as vice president and group program director of Saga Communications. Goldstein left Saga late last month after nearly 30 years with the company to start Amplifi Media. Saga president and chief executive officer Ed Christian comments, “We have worked with Bob Lawrence and Pinnacle for years, and have always been impressed with his radio knowledge, analysis, and solutions to problems. He already understands the Saga culture [so] this will be a seamless transition for him and us. I welcome Bob as a member of our team.” Lawrence states, “I am so very honored and thrilled that Ed Christian has invited me to join the many talented managers and programmers at one of the most respected and successful media companies in the industry. Leaving such a labor of love as Pinnacle Media after so many years is indeed difficult. I have created so many wonderful lifelong friendships, but I am very blessed and grateful for this new and exciting chapter with Saga.” Lawrence initiated Pinnacle Media Worldwide at the end of 2000. He previously programmed KIOI “K-101,” San Francisco and, for 10 years, was senior vice president of Broadcast Architecture. His on-air career includes a stint at Philadelphia’s WCAU-FM (now CBS Radio classic hits-oldies WOGL) in 1981.
Westwood One News Celebrates 100-Day Mark with Growing Affiliate Base. It’s been 100 days since Cumulus Media’s subsidiary Westwood One debuted its eponymous news service, and the syndicator says to date it has more than 700 affiliate stations. WW1 calls the service a “next-generation, full-service news network powered by CNN. Westwood One News is filling a void in the marketplace by catering to stations looking to leverage customized news content with greater flexibility and local branding opportunities.” SVP of affiliate sales Dennis Green says, “We are proud to be bringing the news from around the world to stations in an innovative manner. In a short period of time, over 700 stations have joined our growing network and can now provide their listeners with news that offers greater flexibility than any other national radio new network. The future truly is now, and we look forward to welcoming more stations in the next 100 days and beyond!”
Doug Stephan Launches ‘American Family Farmer’ Show. Talk radio industry insiders may be aware that nationally syndicated talk show host Doug Stephan has a second career as a dairy farmer, operating the Eastleigh Farm in the suburban Boston town of Framingham. As a dedicated lifelong family farmer, Stephan is more than qualified to discuss matters germane to the family farming community, and he does so on his new, weekly talk show, “Doug Stephan’s American Family Farmer.” The show will be produced in addition to his news/talk radio program, “Doug Stephan’s Good Day.” American Family Farmer provides information and an advocacy forum targeted specifically to the beleaguered sector of the American agriculture industry comprised of small independent operators – just like Stephan. On American Family Farmer, Stephan is a tell-it-like-it is advocate of the political and economic interests of the farmers his program is designed to serve. Stephan explains, “The family farmers in America have a tenuous relationship with Big Government and Big Ag. It is obvious to most that the many problems we are trying to solve have come about as a result of too much meddling in the affairs of the American family farm. We are aggressively addressing these problems with solution-based discussions each week.” Stephan continues, “We’re dedicated to becoming the voice for hard-working people who play such an important role in the economic and nutritional well-being of our nation and are basically being stepped on by the combined partnership of Big Government and Big Business.” In addition to hosting his new show, Stephan is available for interviews to discuss how American Family Farmer will continue the discussion of the current and future of Big Agriculture and the effect it will have on future generation of American family farmers. For more information on the show, contact Bob K & Associates Radio Consultants at 774-643-6450 or email@example.com.
Michael Medved Updates Fans on Throat Cancer Treatments. Speaking to his listeners for the first time in more than two months, Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Michael Medved said the chemotherapy and radiation treatments he received to treat his throat cancer appear to have been entirely successful but they come at a cost. That cost, he says is that one has to recover from these treatments and that’s why he’s been off the air for the past couple of months. Still, Medved says his doctors say he is ahead of schedule for recovery and he hopes to be back on the radio as soon as possible.
Odds & Sods. Philadelphia news pro Tony Hanson is retiring today (4/10) after a 37-year career at CBS RADIO’s KYW, Philadelphia…..Word comes from Louisville that WHAS afternoon talk personality Terry Meiners just inked a deal to continue hosting his show on the iHeartMedia-owned heritage talk station.
Forthcoming Fight Subject of Interest on Talk Radio. The upcoming welterweight championship boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao (May 2) has become a hot topic for the entire talk media, beyond just sports/talk, points out Jackie Kallen, boxing expert and commentator for BoxingInsider,com. Kallen (pictured here) is one of boxing’s first and most successful female managers as well as a seasoned journalist. Since Ali, Tyson, and the quartet of Herns, Hagler, Duran and Leonard, there haven’t been a lot of marquee names in the business. Kallen says that Mayweather has been dubbed the villain because of a dubious past personal history which includes a prison stint for domestic violence, and Pacquiao as the hero, admired in his native Philippines and for his honorable personal and professional behavior here in the US. “Pacquiao is a quiet family man, adored by everyone in his homeland and Mayweather is crass and boastful and flaunts his wealth and is easy to peg as the one in the black hat.” This colorful fight has found its way out of the sports sections and shows and into the front pages and headlines. Talk show hosts seeking to find subjects other than the current political scene are finding this vastly promoted and covered match-up a topic that is engendering lots of general listener interest. Talk hosts and producers interested in booking experts on boxing and this particular fight can find them in the TALKERS Expert Guests section by clicking here.
Iran Nuclear Negotiations/Obama-Netanyahu Relationship Tie for #1 Spot on Talkers TenTM. The ongoing controversy over Iran’s nuclear program and the related tensions between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tied for the most-talked-about stories during the week of April 6-10. Coming in at #2 on the chart was the religious freedom acts in several states and the case of the Indiana pizza joint being targeted by activists for supporting that state’s law. At #3 was the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist by a South Carolina police officer. Following at #4 was the Rolling Stone rape story case. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from Talkers magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Cool Job Opportunity. Greater Media Charlotte is seeking a production/imaging director with WBT and WLNK. The ideal candidate is experienced directing voice talent and must work well in a fast-paced environment and effectively juggle multiple projects. The production/imaging director must possess exceptional imaging and commercial production skills and use creativity to enhance station brands. Concept development, voiceover, and copywriting skills required. Strong communication and interpersonal skills and should possess: Ability to create original ideas and see them though the production process; Extensive experience with digital editing equipment; Skill at developing marketing concepts; Experience in coaching and directing voice talent; Ability to develop systems for organizing production elements; Knowledge of VCreative, Adobe Audition, Audiovault, and Marketron or similar systems; Sense of time management and ability to meet regular deadlines; Basic knowledge of traffic processes and the capacity to interface with traffic and continuity directors; A minimum five years major market production and imaging experience preferred. Charlotte Market experience a plus. Send resume and mp3 to: Greater Media Charlotte, WBT/WLNK Human Resources, One Julian Price Place, Charlotte, NC 28208. firstname.lastname@example.org. 704-338-3079 (fax). No Phone Calls Please. EOE.
Sean Hannity to Moderate Major Panel Session, “The State of Radio Ratings,” at Talkers New York 2015. Continuing with an important theme that he has discussed at prior TALKERS conferences, Premiere Radio Networks and Fox News Channel talk icon Sean Hannity will moderate a panel analyzing the changing relationship between talk radio (as well as radio in general) and audience measurement methodology as we move further into the digital age. It is no secret that determining the methodology to properly and fairly balance (and credit) listenership to radio programming on both terrestrial and online platforms has been a bumpy transition creating challenges for radio programmers and sellers alike. Joining Hannity will be a stellar panel including (in alphabetical order): Erica Farber, president/CEO, Radio Advertising Bureau; Phil Boyce, SVP/Spoken Word Format, Salem Media Group and Salem Radio Network, operations VP, New York Region; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM, Milwaukee radio operations, VP/news-talk programming, Journal Broadcast Group, and Greg Moceri, CEO, Moceri Media. The panel will be joined by a yet-to-be-named representative of Nielsen Audio. The session will be held as part of the power-packed, day-long “Talkers New York 2015” on Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in the Big Apple’s historic Financial District. This marks the 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. It will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of TALKERS magazine which was launched by Michael Harrison in the summer of 1990. Registrations are priced at $299 per person with an early bird, discounted cost of $249 available until 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 27. Registrations, which are only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees are again expected. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. Again, an early sellout is expected, so avoid being shut out by registering now! More speakers, panelists and agenda updates will be announced here in the coming days.
TalkersRadio Back for 2015 after Brief Retooling with Experimental Programs by Alan Colmes and Lionel. TalkersRadio, the experimental internet radio platform launched by TALKERS in 2013, is back online after a two-month “re-tooling” in which several technological improvements were instituted and new ideas sorted out. The platform is designed to serve as a workshop for new shows and concepts being developed as well as an industry showcase for programs about to be marketed. On announcing the re-launch, TALKERS general manager of broadcast operations, David Bernstein states, “We are happy to be back up and running with great enthusiasm for the potential of this audio ‘stage.’ All of us at TALKERS are indeed proud of the remarkable success TalkersRadio has had in its first year-and-a-half providing a number of fine broadcasters the opportunity to work out new ideas and techniques, including having launched the terrestrial radio success of the Brent & Meg show and Doug Stephan’s ‘American Family Farmer.’” The platform, described by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey as “an audio gymnasium” is re-launching with two on-demand programs hosted by well-known hosts Alan Colmes and Lionel. Colmes – star of Fox News Radio and the Fox News Channel – is continuing to work on a concept titled “Healed Planet” — far removed from his political fare — in which he interviews thought leaders in the human consciousness movement. Lionel – an iconoclastic and legendary veteran of major radio and television stations and networks, currently seen and heard on his own LionelMedia.com, performs an exclusive, experimental program for TalkersRadio simply titled, “Lionel.” In it, he amply displays his remarkable and compelling aptitude for stream of consciousness story-telling and observations of leading-edge issues. According to Bernstein, “TalkersRadio will also be streaming live industry events and inner-industry forums in the coming weeks and months with an exciting ‘new and improved’ system powered by our colleagues at Backbone Networks in Boston.” Bernstein encourages broadcasters with new ideas and concepts that might be of interest to TalkersRadio to get in touch with him at 413-565-5413. To hear TalkersRadio, please click here.
‘Mogul Mom’s Playbook’ Debuts on PodcastOne. Joining the growing stable of star-powered podcasts available via the Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne is “Mogul Mom’s Playbook with Shaunie and Stella.” The new podcast focuses on the increasing commitment of moms to juggle kids, career, parenting and relationships and is hosted by “Basketball Wives” star and executive producer Shaunie O’Neal and famed executive producer and founder of Wikked Entertainment, Stella Bulochnikov. The weekly program features the duo and their celebrity friends “as they share tips, advice, support and lots of laughs to encourage the everyday ‘superwoman.’” Pattiz says, “We are thrilled to welcome Shaunie and Stella to our family of hosts. Their expressive personalities are such a joy to be around and their ability to connect with women has been proven in their personal and professional lives.”
Odds & Sods. The first of three Republican primary debates will be moderated by Salem Media Group talk show host Hugh Hewitt. Salem is working with CNN to produce the RNC–sanctioned debates. According to a press release, Hewitt will also broadcast special editions of his talk show pre- and post-debate. At the conclusion of the debate, candidates will be invited to join Hewitt to talk candidly about the event and the pressing issues facing the nation. Hewitt says, “I am delighted to be included with journalists posing questions as part of one of America’s finest political traditions – the presidential debate.”…..The self-described “metaphysical/biographical” program, “Outer Limits Of Inner Truth,” is airing a special two-hour show on Thursday, February 26 to commemorate its one-year anniversary. The program is distributed via Star Com Radio Networks and airs on more than 24 stations across the country…..SWN Communications, a Memphis-based provider of the “Inside Track” radio show dedicated to horse racing, announces the program – hosted by Charlie Ricks and Bernie Halprin – becomes available on Yahoo! Sports Radio’s national network effective February 28.
Rudy Giuliani Comments Controversy, Obama Amnesty Order Case, DHS Funding Battle, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Ukraine Tensions, Sunday’s Academy Awards, and Frigid Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/23). The controversy over former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s comments about President Obama’s love of his country; debate over President Obama’s amnesty order and its effects; the congressional battle over funding the Department of Homeland Security; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the civil unrest in Ukraine and Russia’s role in the matter; the 87th Academy Awards; and the frigid weather affecting much of the country were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Remembering Mario Cuomo. “You campaign in poetry – you govern in prose.” The person responsible for that memorable quote knew a little something about election campaigns, given that he won re-election twice as New York State’s chief executive. Although a leading Democratic presidential contender in 1988 and 1992, Mario Cuomo never formally entered either one of those races. Cuomo, 82, died yesterday (New Year’s Day), after a lengthy hospital stay to treat a heart ailment. The liberal/progressive Cuomo famously challenged Ronald Reagan directly by proclaiming, “There is despair, Mr. President, in the faces that you don’t see, in the places that you don’t visit in your shining city.” Born in an apartment above the grocery store owned by his immigrant parents in South Jamaica, Queens, Cuomo rooted his policies in what he called, “progressive pragmatism.” Political persuasion aside, most would agree that Cuomo was a passionate orator. It, therefore, came as no surprise that he was recruited to be a local and syndicated radio talk show host. Not everyone, however, was impressed as evidenced by David Hinckley‘s comments in the New York Daily News. “As good as he could be on television, he was that bad when he tried to host on the radio,” Hinckley opines of Cuomo, who was hired by New York City’s WABC-AM. “He was still brilliant [but] for the year or so the show ran, he was almost unlistenable. It wasn’t his fault – he didn’t suddenly become inarticulate or stupid. It is just that most of the things his admirers liked about him were exactly wrong for radio.” The WABC-AM venture began in spring 1995, and as Hinckley recalls, the former governor “wanted it to be a reasonable, considered, thoughtful discussion – not, as talk radio had frequently become – people screaming at each other and hurling insults. In the abstract, he succeeded in that mission. He ran a calm, thoughtful show in which he encouraged those who disagreed with his views to call and have a rational conversation.” It is Hinckley’s contention though that Cuomo’s “monologues tended to sound professorial, as if he were explaining something to a class and – through no fault of his own – random talk radio callers rarely turn out to be someone with whom a host can hold an extended, thoughtful, academic-level conversation.” Whereas Rush Limbaugh at the time was doing a daily three-hour WABC-AM show, Cuomo hosted one weekend program and as Hinckley points out, fronting a radio show is different from being a talk radio show guest. “Cuomo was [a guest] many times, and often a very good one,” Hinckley comments. “It does not disparage him, or his achievements, that his radio show goes down alongside his New York City mayoral bid as a swing and a miss.”Mario Cuomo was the father of five, including New York’s present governor Andrew Cuomo and CNN journalist Chris Cuomo.
John Brennan Upped to Director of Branding and Programming at ‘102.5 The Bone’ in Tampa. The promotion lifts John Brennan from his content manager position to director of branding and programming at Cox Media Group’s WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone, REAL.RAW.RADIO.” In this post he’ll be responsible for all programming operations for WHPT, including talent selection, coaching, scheduling, imaging, brand development, digital strategy and more. Cox Tampa VP and market manager Keith Lawless states, “In his previous role as content manager for WHPT, John demonstrated his clear understanding and vision for this unique format. I am confident in his leadership capabilities and proud to have John in this important role.” Brennan comments, “I am extremely excited to be named the director of branding and programming for ‘102.5 The Bone.’ ‘The Bone’ is one of the most unique stations in radio, with some of the most polarizing and talented personalities in the world, and I get to work with them every day. I am honored that Kim Guthrie, Steve Smith and Keith Lawless have such confidence in me to continue the great success of this station. I feel genuinely lucky to be working for a company that encourages such originality and creativity!” In addition to his previous content manager position, Brennan was also executive producer of the Mike Calta show.
WGN, Chicago Celebrates 90th Anniversary with ‘Walk of Fame.’ As Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago celebrates its 90th year of service to the market, the station will spend the month of June honoring its history with several commemorative projects, videos, “Throwback Thursday” social media posts, and on-air programming featuring highlights throughout the decades. The station says the anniversary celebration culminates on Friday, June 27 when Tribune Media unveils the “WGN Radio Walk of Fame.” Plaques will be installed outside the Allstate Showcase Studio at the Tribune Tower on Michigan Avenue. The 2014 induction will recognize 10 beloved and legendary hosts from the station’s long list of distinguished talent including: Jack Brickhouse, Bob Collins, Roy Leonard, Judy Markey, Spike O’Dell, Kathy O’Malley, Wally Phillips, Milt Rosenberg, Quin Ryan and Orion Samuelson. Bios and career highlights of the inductees can be found at wgnradio.com. The ceremony will broadcast live from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm followed by an anniversary special broadcast, “90 years in 90 minutes” from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm. WGN VP of content Todd Manley says, “Our inaugural Walk of Fame class represents all nine decades of WGN Radio’s life in Chicago. We look forward to honoring even more names who have helped make us the fencepost of conversation for 90 years.”
Bob Pittman Explains Radio’s Resilience to Bloomberg. In a piece for Bloomberg TV, Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman says the reason 92% of Americans tune in to radio at least once per week is because good radio operators know the audiences they are trying to reach and present the content in a way that attracts them. In the piece, he asks Bloomberg’s Cristina Alesci, “Do you think we’re so dumb that we spend hundreds of millions of dollars per year to program radio stations versus just playing the music if that would work?” The piece also features media experts who address radio advertising and how that is evolving to try to keep revenue coming in as more and more advertisers move ad dollars to digital. View the three-minute segment here.
CC Ups VP of Sales Wilcox to SF Market President Post. After yesterday’s announcement that longtime market manager JD Freeman would be retiring from the Clear Channel Media + Entertainment San Francisco cluster, the company announces it is promoting vice president of sales Katie Wilcox to the market president position. Wilcox has been VP of sales since 2009 leading a team of more than 50 sellers, managers and staff to identify opportunities for the seven station cluster. She comments, “Although I have big shoes to fill, my past experience with my partners in programming and operations give me great confidence that this talented team will continue to thrive in the future. I am energized by the challenge ahead and look forward to serving the expanding needs of our listeners, clients and staff.”
Red Zebra Inks Kevin Sheehan to Three-Year Extension at ‘ESPN 980’ Washington. Midday show co-host Kevin Sheehan re-ups with Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington, DC “ESPN 980” for another three years. Sheehan works with Thom Loverro on “The Sports Fix” that airs from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. VP of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “Kevin has become a fixture in Washington, DC radio and his ratings dominance is a testament to his hard work and preparation.” Sheehan will also continue to host the “Official Redskins Pre-Game Show,” contribute to the Tony Kornheiser show and co-host “Monday Morning Quarterback” after each Redskins football game. Red Zebra CEO Rick Carmean adds, “Kevin Sheehan, Thom Loverro, Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell give us one of the strongest midday lineups in the industry. We are ecstatic to have Kevin in the fold for the next three years.”
An Open Letter to Michael Smerconish from Lars Larson. Nationally syndicated and regional talk radio personality Lars Larson – Compass Media Networks and Alpha Media’s KXL, Portland – writes an open letter to SiriusXM and CNN talk media personality Michael Smerconish, criticizing him for “bashing fellow talk hosts as routinely and regularly lying to listeners.” Larson writes in response to Smerconish’s recent appearance on CBS TV in which he promotes his new book called Talk: A Novel, the protagonist of which is a conservative talk host who ignores his conscience to get a big syndication deal. Read Larson’s open letter here.
First Round of April PPM Data Released. PPM data from the first of four groups of 12 markets for the April 2014 period (March 27 – April 23) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). TALKERS magazine’s sister publication, RadioInfo, has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
The Connected Car Ain’t Cheap! As advertisers attempt to follow the consumer to the next hot destination – mobile – the saving grace for traditional media just may be the expense of data. The Wall Street Journal’s Tom Gara writes about GM’s new option for 4G LTE connectivity in some models that turns your vehicle into a Wi-Fi hot spot. But it’s not cheap. Certainly consumers with lots of disposable income may splurge but others are likely to balk at paying up to $50 a month for 5 GB of data on top of their smartphone data plans and other monthly media bills. There are other options: $5 per day for 200 MB – not good enough for video but fine for surfing the web. Still, while its possible data may get less expensive down the road, providers are showing no signs of dropping those prices in the near future. Even though advertisers are feverishly trying to figure out how to reach all those 25-39 year olds glued to their smartphones, the fact that radio is free and easy to use is still what keeps many people tuning in.
Getting to the Heart of it with Carlos Santana. While appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to promote his latest album Corazon, guitar legend Carlos Santana (right) spent some time backstage talking with ABC News Radio’s Andrea Dresdale (left) whose report was available to affiliates.
Timothy Geithner Book, Boko Haram Mass Kidnapping, Ice Melt Prediction/Climate Change, New Benghazi Hearings, NFL Draft, and Donald Sterling CNN Interview Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/12). Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s memoir and the controversy over interpretations that Geithner was asked to twist the truth about the factors contributing to the federal deficit; the kidnapping of Christian schoolgirls by militant Islamist organization Boko Haram and its request for a prisoner swap with jailed fellow militants; predictions about Antarctic ice melt and the debate over climate change; the effort to hold new hearings on the Benghazi attack; the NFL draft; and the interview Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling gave to CNN’s Anderson Cooper were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cool Job Opportunity. Journal Broadcast Group is seeking a part-time producer for WTMJ, Milwaukee’s midday show with Charlie Sykes. Education:College degree in related field preferred. Skills:Excellent verbal and social communication skills; strong radio news background; effective problem-solving abilities; high work ethics, news judgment and production skills; ability to meet deadlines and detail orientation; ability to read and decipher news source material; operate studio equipment; follow program logs; computer proficiency in digital audio programs. Minimum of one year experience in broadcasting, preferably news/talk radio. Duties:Assist show planning for midday with Charlie Sykes – including show prep materials, audio production and guest booking; develop and maintain extensive contacts; help communicate show material and coordination with Right Wisconsin staff; maintain station commercial log; facilitate breaking news, severe weather and traffic coverage for southeast Wisconsin. Send resume and cover letter to: Eric Brooks, Newsradio 620 WTMJ, 720 E. Capitol Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53212. Email to: email@example.com.
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.”