Mike Francesa to Address Industry at Talkers New York 2013. The list of major speakers continues to grow as WFAN, New York afternoon drive sports talk goliath Mike Francesa joins the roster of industry leaders who will be speaking at “TALKERS New York 2013,” the 16th annual installment of talk radio’s longest-running and most important annual convention. Francesa will deliver a solo keynote address titled, “The Sports Talk Radio Phenomenon.” He will discuss how sports talk fits into the general radio industry, where it is going both locally and nationally and how it operates within the business model of the PPM world. Francesa, who has been a major host on WFAN since the late 1980s, is also seen across the nation on the YES Network simulcast of his radio show and hosts a syndicated weekend program “The NFL Now” in addition to participating in numerous other sports broadcasting projects. He is currently ranked number one on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio Hosts holding the position as the Most Important Sports Talk Radio Host in America. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “The addition of Mike Francesa as the sports talk radio keynote speaker at this year’s conference puts it over the moon. One of the big buzzes of the business is the relentless growth of this exciting branch of the talk radio universe. Who better than the king of the format to give insights into the genre’s place in the scheme of things? We are delighted!” More headliners will be named in the coming days along with the 50-plus speakers that will be participating in the conference. The event is set for Thursday, June 6, 2013 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side. Registration for the day including all activities and food service is $199 per person. An advance sellout is expected due to space limitations. Registration is limited to members of the working media and can only be taken via telephone. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413. Complete agenda details are being posted daily. Stay tuned.
Todd Schnitt Not Giving Up on Bubba the Love Sponge Lawsuit. The Tampa Bay Times reports talk show host Todd Schnitt has fired his legal team, hired a new lawyer and is continuing to pursue legal action against former crosstown rival Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem). The first trial ended in a victory for Bubba as the jury decided not to award Schnitt and wife Michelle damages for defamation over a series of criticisms and accusations Bubba leveled at Schnitt when he competed with Bubba in morning drive as MJ Kelli. Now, Schnitt has fired C. Phillip Campbell and Jonathan J. Ellis and has hired Wil Florin to represent him and his wife. Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the bizarre elements of the previous trial: Campbell being pulled over for DUI while driving the car of a young paralegal who, unbeknownst to him, worked for Bubba’s lawyer’s firm; the tip-off to police that Campbell was driving the car was made by someone from that same firm; and Bubba’s lawyers had possession of Campbell’s briefcase for 18 hours (though they say they didn’t open it). That missing briefcase is the basis for the new suit. How this will end is anybody’s guess, but one thing is for sure: Both Schnitt and Clem are spending a lot of money on legal fees. Yes, they are getting a lot of publicity for their radio programs but it is very expensive publicity.
Laura Ingraham Added to American Forces Network. Courtside Entertainment Group announces today that the Laura Ingraham show is being added to the American Forces Network with the opportunity to be heard by more than one million U.S. service members and their families. Ingraham states, “It is fantastic to be back on the air – and it feels even more special knowing that all of our friends listening on Armed Forces Network can hear us around the globe. The energy and enthusiasm from listeners, affiliates and advertisers since I returned to the airwaves has been overwhelming. From Tucson to Jacksonville, from Washington, DC to Seattle, Americans are energized and enthusiastic about our daily conversation about our country’s past, present and future. Politics is important – but so is the culture around us. As a single parent of young children and a cancer survivor, I have a unique perspective that connects me with listeners of all political stripes. Our conversation is a fun-filled ride that moves beyond the Beltway to the real-life ups and downs we all face.”
Veteran Media Executive Lynne Constantini Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze. The former EVP of affiliate sales and marketing at Scripps Networks Interactive and SVP of programming at Time Warner Cable joins TheBlaze as president of business development. In her new position Lynne Constantini will oversee the growing network’s content distribution efforts, as well as affiliate marketing, advocacy, business affairs and business development initiatives. She previously negotiated TheBlaze’s successful carriage deal with DISH as an outside consultant. Constantini says, “As a cable industry executive and consultant, I have been attracted to the rare independent network that has strong, unique content and a passionate engaged audience that drives results for operators and that is what I have found with TheBlaze. TheBlaze is unlike other start-up networks; it has a built-in loyal audience, a full slate of live, original programming, speaks to an underserved and growing conservative audience and has extensive marketing reach through affiliated media assets including on radio and on the web. I am excited to work with Glenn, Chris Balfe and the rest of the team on building TheBlaze and continuing the network’s success in improving the businesses of its distribution partners.”
Listeners Are Busy and Talent Is Spooked. That’s the assessment of radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke who asks broadcasters the provocative question: “RU@Speed-of-Life?’ In today’s article, Cooke says radio programmers must get up to speed (literally) with the intense pace of modern life which, when coupled with the PPM, puts tremendous pressure to manage air time in a way that is in keeping with today’s breakneck tempo. For example he advises hosts not to begin their shows by listing all the things they’ll be doing before the show ends. He says programming clock designers should go the extra step in designing transitions between programming elements (such as newscaster to talk show host segments) in a completely seamless manner. Never stop the action through over-explanation. Don’t miss this timely and informative piece. Read it here.
Talk Host Ralph Bailey Begins KERN, Bakersfield Program Next Monday. After quitting his talk show at Buckley Broadcasting’s crosstown KNZR on Thursday after an eight-year stint, Ralph Bailey will take over the PM drive program on American General Media’s KERN. Bailey wrote on his Facebook page, “It is official!!! I signed a contract today to join American General Media. I’ll be Scott Cox‘s guest today at three and begin my own 3-6 p.m. drive time show on Monday, March 4. I could not be happier! I have security in a business that is not that secure and for the first time in my life I’m making a little scratch! I’d like to thank Rogers Brandon and Toni Snyder. It is great to feel wanted and appreciated.”
KERN, Bakersfield’s Scott Cox to Anchor The Californian-AGM Morning Show Endeavor. Talk radio personality Scott Cox is moving away from the PM drive slot that Ralph Bailey is taking over in order to host a new morning program that is a joint effort of American General Media and The Bakersfield Californian. The show – “First Look with Scott Cox” – will emanate from The Californian newsroom in which a radio studio has been built. While KERN will provide the producers and technical expertise, the newspaper’s reporters will be regular guests during talk segments. Californian CEO Richard Beene says of the initiative, “The Bakersfield Californian has always prided itself about being on the cutting edge of technology (our website bakersfield.com was launched back in 1995) and we are keenly aware that readers and advertisers are finding new ways to obtain content and reach their advertisers. That’s why change is part of our company culture, and serving our readers and advertisers on multiple platforms is something we talk about every day.” The program will also be streamed live in high-definition video on the paper’s website. Beene writes in his editorial in the paper, “’First Look’ will add to The Californian‘s existing video programming, which includes ‘BVarsity Live,’ live local sports and breaking news. The Californian plans to expand its live video programming later this year. So yes, newspapers are alive and well, changing and evolving. Join us in March for ‘First Look.’”
Not All That Glitters is Gold. According to radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, broadcasters should avoid falling under the spell of Facebook “likes” and the impulse to “go viral” — which he describes as “shiny, distracting objects.” He advises, ”The number of Facebook ‘likes’ you have is almost completely without meaning. In addition, working to have something go viral is probably taking you away from what you should be doing!” Read Chris Miller’s informative and valuable article here.
ESPN O&O KESN, Dallas Parts Company with Ben & Skin. Sports talk KESN, Dallas and midday personalities Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade were not able to come to terms on a new contract and the duo have left the station. They wrote on their Facebook page. “We have declined a final offer from ESPN on a new deal. We’re parting ways with them for now. Future is unwritten. Thank you for your support throughout the years. We are eager to write the next chapter of our adventure. Stay tuned.”
John Sweeney Exits WGDJ, Albany. The former Republican congressman from New York began a one-hour daily talk show at Capital Broadcasting’s “Talk 1300” two weeks ago but has left the station. The Albany Times-Union reports John Sweeney’s exit comes after it became apparent that the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon time slot was too much for the attorney and political consultant. Owner and GM Paul Vandenburgh told the paper too many unforeseen scheduling conflicts have made the show untenable.
TECHNICAL WATCH: Radio Moves Beyond ISDN to Deliver Studio Quality Remote Audio. Welcome to the Age of the IP Codec. Back in the “good old days,” if you wanted to get audio from point A to point B you had basically two choices: a dedicated land line from good old Ma Bell (a.k.a, the phone company) or you sent a tape. Then, Ma Bell decided to get rid of dedicated equalized services – at least interstate. These days, it’s very difficult if not impossible to get a dedicated broadcast service even in the same city. This prompted devices like the Comrex two-line and three-line frequency extender systems. These allowed someone to utilize two or three dial-up lines to get audio from one place to another with reasonable audio quality. The next step was ISDN – a digital dial-up service. With the development of devices such as the Telos Zephyr, FM quality audio was easily passed, with very little audio delay, between two locations. This has been the norm now for close to 20 years. Enter the IP codec – essentially ISDN on steroids. IP codecs utilize the internet as the transport medium. Now, for just the cost of the internet service you already have installed, you can literally transport audio all around the world – in many instances with slightly more round-trip delay than with ISDN, but that is easy to work around using mix minus. Noted radio technical consultant and TALKERS columnist Tom Ray brings us all up to speed on this new era in remote audio delivery in a must-read clear and concise article, here.
Salem Radio News Series Spotlights “The Poorest of the Poor.” SRN vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (pictured here in Guatemala) spent the last week in that Central American country as Salem Radio News prepared a news series titled, “The Poorest of the Poor.” Speaking about his experience there, Tradup tells TALKERS, “Guatemala is only a few hours by plane from the U.S., but living conditions for youngsters are light years away. And the statistics take on heartbreaking new meaning when you actually spend time with children there. We embedded with the American relief agency Food for The Poor to cover both the tragedy and the hope for impoverished children in Guatemala.” Tradup says Guatemala has the highest malnutrition rate of any country in the Western Hemisphere. The week-long SRN News special series will profile the challenges facing government and private agencies targeting ways to reverse the grim statistics on malnutrition and infant mortality in Guatemala.
Odds & Sods. Lisa Bloom – daughter of former radio and television talk show host (and high-profile attorney) Gloria Allred – is joining NBC’s “Today” show as a legal analyst says TVNewser. Bloom hosted the CourtTV show “Lisa Bloom: Open Court” from 2001 to 2009…..Arbitron’s Carol Hanley is named to the Allliance for Women in Media board of directors. Hanley serves as SVP, chief sales officer for Arbitron.
Harlem Shake Takes Over KDKA. The YouTube phenomenon “Harlem Shake” invades the newsroom at CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh. This still shot is from a video posted on the KDKA-TV website and shows late morning talk host Marty Griffin (in the Santa hat) leading the rest of the crew – including morning hosts Larry Richert and John Shumway and Shelley Duffy, PM drive host Bill Rehkopf, midday host Mike Pintek, sports reporter and weekend host Rob Pratte and creative services director Kelly Pidgeon – in boogeying to the tune.
By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
NEW YORK — I made a Facebook posting last week regarding a radio program I am involved with – Ron Ananian, The Car Doctor. A friend who has a voice over business posted that he’s heard the show through one of his clients and thought it was a good show and sounded really good. I posted back that I bet he never would have guessed we deliver the audio to the satellite uplink via an IP codec. Another voice over friend chimed in wanting to know what codec we were using. My first friend then said, “what’s an IP codec?” Uh, oh.
Back in the “good old days”, if you wanted to get audio from point A to point B you had basically two choices: a dedicated land line from good old Ma Bell (aka, the phone company) or you sent a tape.
Then, Ma Bell decided to get rid of dedicated equalized services – at least interstate. These days, it’s very difficult if not impossible to get a dedicated broadcast service even in the same city.
Bubba-Schnitt Trial: Day Two. On day two of testimony in the Hillsborough County, Florida courtroom where nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is suing Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) for defamation, the questioning surrounded Bubba’s on-air language calling for the “death” of Schnitt – who was hosting mornings at WFLZ, Tampa as MJ Kelli. Schnitt’s attorney focused on Bubba’s statements that included: “We seek and destroy,” “I will not be happy until I have an MJ funeral in the streets in Tampa, Florida,” and “MJ, that’s the only person I really want to die, seriously.” On the witness stand for part of the day was former Clear Channel Tampa market manager Daniel DiLoreto who said on the stand that he was “stunned” by Bubba’s comments about wanting Schnitt “to die.” Schnitt’s attorney is trying to convince the jury that Bubba’s language went beyond typical radio disc jockey feuding to putting Schnitt and his family in fear for their safety at the hands of members of the “Bubba Army,” as Clem’s fans are known. Clem’s attorney is trying to paint all the on-air talk as simply the words of feuding disc jockeys with no real threat to anyone’s safety. When questioned by Clem’s attorney if he ever heard Clem actually ask anyone to hurt Schnitt, DiLoreto replied he had not.
John O’Connell Named PD at CBS Radio’s Tampa Sports Stations. Programmer John O’Connell moves to the Tampa cluster of CBS Radio stations from the company’s West Palm Beach operations where he most recently served as OM and PD. O’Connell will program WHFS-FM, Tampa “Sports Radio 98.7” and WHFS-AM “CBS Sports Radio 1010.” O’Connell came to South Florida after spending 15 years working in the Boston market at such outlets as Kiss 108, WBMX and WEEI. He became program director for alternative rocker WPBZ-FM in 1996 and later increased his responsibilities to oversee several stations in the region. CBS Tampa SVP and market manager Ben Hill says, “I have complete confidence in John’s experience and leadership, having worked closely with him over the years. He is confident and ‘walks the walk’ when it comes to achieving results. And the fact that no one can match what we offer when it comes to sports programming will enable John to create a listener experience that is completely driven by the fans.”
Seth Payne Joins Midday Show at KILT-AM, Houston. Former Houston Texan Seth Payne becomes part of the “Mad Radio” midday show at CBS Radio’s sports talk KILT-AM, Houston “SportsRadio 610” beginning Monday, January 21. Payne replaces Brad Davies who remains with the station on a part-time, fill-in basis. He’ll co-host the program with Mike Meltser. KILT-AM program director Gavin Spittle says, “I can’t thank Brad enough for being a part of ‘Mad Radio.’ In one year, we have seen a 100% increase in this time slot and while we will miss him on a daily basis, I’m glad that he wants to remain on the team in a part-time capacity. Seth is a natural fit and from day one, he’s impressed us. We’re really excited about the all-new ‘Mad Radio.’” Payne states, “I’m grateful to Gavin Spittle for this opportunity and I appreciate all the guidance I’ve received from him and the talented people at ‘SportsRadio 610.’ I especially look forward to working with Mike Meltser. He is an extremely talented and intelligent individual, and I know we’ll have a lot of fun.”
Celebrating in the Holy Land. XtreMedia nationally syndicated talk host Dani Johnson (pictured here at left with Israeli comic Yisreal Campbell) celebrates her one-year anniversary in talk radio with a trip to Israel. Johnson, along with fellow XtreMedia talk hosts Kevin McCullough and Stephen Baldwin, were invited by representatives of the Israeli government to come and witness Israel’s progress in agriculture, culture, and technology. Johnson is producing her weekly radio program from Israel and Campbell will appear on the edition of her program that airs live on Sunday, January 20 from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Johnson’s program is heard on more than 85 affiliate stations.
Fox News Channel Brings Dennis Kucinich Aboard as Contributor. Liberal ex-Congressman Dennis Kucinich – who served eight terms in the House of Representatives – becomes part of the cable news/talk channel’s contributor corps. In a statement about his new endeavor, Kucinich says, “Through 16 years in Congress and two presidential campaigns, Fox News has always provided me with an opportunity to share my perspective with its enormous viewership.”
George Noory Debuts On-Demand Video Show. The Premiere Networks nationally syndicated late-night talk star begins his new weekly internet television program titled, “Beyond Belief with George Noory.” The program is a project with GaiamTV.com and delivers new episodes every Friday evening at 7:00 and on demand daily. As you might expect, the program is billed as “dynamic discussions on paranormal phenomena, conspiracies and all things unexplained.” Noory is pictured here on the set interviewing Dr. Katherine Albrecht for a show about privacy and RFID chips.
KIRO-FM, Seattle Debuts Weekend Pet Show. Dubbed, “It’s Raining Cats and Dogs with Shawn Stewart,” the program has its premiere airing Sunday, January 20 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle. The show features pet experts from the Ahimsa Dog Training Center who will take listener questions regarding everything they need to know about raising their beloved best friends. “In this case, the tail does wag the dog,” says KIRO Radio’s assistant program director Jason Antebi. “I’ve never seen a city more in love and obsessed with their companions than Seattle! This show is the perfect addition to the KIRO Radio weekends.”
Comrex Moves Full-Force into Digital Video Delivery Market. Devens, Massachusetts-based Comrex Corporation announces it is shipping its new LiveShot Video IP Codec – the first video product for professional broadcasters in the company’s 51-year history. Comrex says the new technology provides high-quality, low-latency, full-duplex video and audio over both wired and wireless IP data services, including challenging internet links such as 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi with end-to-end delay as low as 200ms. Comrex managing director Kris Specht states, “Our core customer for the past several decades has been the radio broadcaster. It was in response to requests from some of our longtime customers that had worked in radio — and who had subsequently moved over to television — to create a product that would do for TV what our ACCESS IP Audio Codecs have done for radio. LiveShot provides the small form factor, unmatched reliability, high-quality performance and easy operator experience that Comrex customers have come to expect.” The LiveShot Video IP Codec system consists of the LiveShot Portable, a small, lightweight, camera-mounted unit that attaches to the camera’s 3-stud or V-mount battery mount with the battery attaching to the outside of the LiveShot Portable. On the studio side, the LiveShot Studio rack-mount unit interfaces with the facility’s audio/video router or switcher. The units connect via an IP data connection and utilize Comrex’s CrossLock™ VPN which provides a one-button connection from either the studio or the field once the units have an internet connection. CrossLock also provides data encryption and intrusion protection for added reliability. Complete details on the LiveShot Video Codec’s features and specifications can be found by visiting www.comrex.com.
Face Time with Dr. Drew. WFAS-AM, Westchester personality Lisa Wexler appeared on HLN’s “Dr. Drew on Call” to discuss the case of Jodi Arias – accused of stabbing her boyfriend 29 times – and the Steubenville, Ohio rape case. In addition to her work as a talk show host on WFAS, Wexler is an attorney and an author.
Filling In. WFED, Washington afternoon drive host Francis Rose subs for Cumulus Media Networks’ John Batchelor on his WABC, New York-based program this Sunday evening from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am ET.
The Alliance for Women in Media Announces 2013 Board of Directors. With Kay Olin, president of Local Focus Radio serving as the National Chair, the 2013 board of directors of the Alliance for Women in Media will convene on January 25 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, for its first board meeting and then will participate in judging the 2013 Gracie Awards on January 26 and 27. The following individuals will serve as Directors at Large: Christina Anderson from Silver Spring, MD; Lori Conkling, executive vice president, distribution, A+E Networks, New York; Cyndee Everman, vice president, DW/BI, care and marketing tools, Time Warner Cable, Charlotte; Nancy Giles, contributor, CBS Broadcasting, Inc., New York; Sandy Girard, vice president, brand management and development, SiriusXM Radio, New York; Carol Hanley, chief sales officer, Arbitron Inc., Chicago; Annie Howell, executive vice president, corporate communications and media relations, Crown Media Family Networks, New York; Kimberly Maki, vice president, corporate communications and web strategies, Bright House Networks, Orlando; Janet Noll, national sales director, Rural Media Group – RFD-TV & Rural TV, Omaha; Deborah Parenti, executive vice president of radio, Radio Ink, New York; Roni Selig, senior executive producer/director, health, wellness and medical unit, CNN, New York; Keisha Sutton-James, vice president, Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, New York; Christine Travaglini, president, Christal Radio, New York; and Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee, president and chief executive officer, NAMIC, Inc., New York.
Obama Executive Gun Actions Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 14-18. President Obama’s executive gun actions landed atop the Talkers TenTM this week as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio. Coming in at #2 was the legislative arms debate. At #3 was the debt ceiling tied with the tax cut battles and following at #4 was the American hostages in Algeria tied with the Mali Violence. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people of the week as discussed on news/talk radio. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.