Cuts at Cumulus-Owned WestwoodOne Happening; SVP Amy Bolton Exits. The names of those being let go are coming out as Cumulus Media begins the cuts at WestwoodOne that have been expected since the acquisition of then-Dial Global closed. Numerous high-level executives are being shown the door – in many instances where there are duplicative positions between WestwoodOne and the Cumulus Media Networks. Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey is promising investors he can realize $40 million in synergies and eliminating these positions is one of the ways he hopes to accomplish that. WestwoodOne SVP and general manager of news & talk Amy Bolton – who’s been with the organization going back when it was Jones Radio Networks – is let go. Also reportedly out in this round of cuts are: chief marketing officer Christina Albee; EVP/Eastern director Eileen Decker; and SVP of research Paul Bronstein.
Lionel Joins TalkersRadio in Development of New Show to Launch This Weekend. One of the most original personalities in the business, radio talk show host Lionel, is launching a new program on TALKERS magazine’s online radio station, TalkersRadio, tomorrow morning (2/1). The self-titled show “Lionel” will air live on the “experimental” talk show platform Saturday mornings between 9:00 am and 10:00 am ET and run as a regular weekly series. It will feature the intellectually stimulating talk media star in an hour of free-form conversation and reflection about the wide variety of topics that fall within his realm of interest. Lionel describes his plans for the new program as “spoken thought not spoken word” telling TALKERS, “The show will be the editorial cartoon versus the editorial. Broadcast idea topiaries. Stream of consciousness meets targeted subject selection. No left-right paradigm blather. No bumper sticker, playbook, echo chamber drivel. As I feel, as I want, as I please.” A veteran of such major outlets as WABC and WOR, New York among others, as well as being a podcast pioneer at lionelmedia.com, the quirky, satirical and extremely original observer of the human condition has been enjoying tremendous success conceiving, writing, producing and performing daily commentaries on the heritage WPIX-TV, Channel 11 in New York City. The ex-prosecutor Lionel has also added his insight and experience as its resident legal analyst. However, he has not forgotten his roots in and love for radio and promises that his 9:00 am to 10:00 am Saturday show will provide Lionel enthusiasts around the country with a version of his work that is “like nothing they have ever heard before. This will truly be Lionel unchained!” On making the announcement of Lionel’s joining the station, TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein says, “Lionel joining this ‘audio workout space’ is a perfect example of what TalkersRadio is about and hopes to achieve – and that is to provide select people in this business as well as potentially outstanding newcomers with the opportunity to try and develop things that are not being done in the traditional on-air space for the sake of moving the industry forward.”
Cox Flips KONO-AM, San Antonio to Sports Talk. The AM side of the KONO-AM/FM simulcast flips to sports talk using the CBS Sports Radio Network after more than 20 years airing the classic hits format of sister KONO-FM. Cox Media Group San Antonio vice president and market manager Dan Lawrie states, “We’re excited to bring this level of quality sports programming to San Antonio. Additionally, South Texas sports fans should be glad to welcome the return of the Jim Rome show after a two-year absence in the market.” CBS Sports Radio program director Eric Spitz adds, “We’ve put together a tremendous lineup of experienced hosts with strong opinions and personalities who perfectly capture the passion and excitement of the sports fan. With sports, the action never stops, and CBS Sports Radio provides listeners with cutting-edge analysis, high-profile interviews and late breaking news.”
WCKG-AM, Chicago Names Leslie Harris Director of Community Programming. At the Matt Dubiel-run DuPage Radio LLC, market personality Leslie Harris is named director of community programming and host at the suburban talk station. Harris recently exited NextMedia’s suburban rocker WERV “95.9 The River” and Dubiel comments, “Leslie was the full addition I made at WERV and I am over the moon excited to have a Downers Grove rock mamma as part of our local team.”
Good Karma Sells Janesville, Wisconsin Stations to Local Operator. Two stations in the Janesville, Wisconsin market – rock WWHG “105.9 The Hog” and sports talk WTJK “ESPN Radio 1380” – are being sold by Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting to Scott Thompson who operates stations in nearby Monroe, Wisconsin and Freeport, Illinois. The Janesville Gazette reports that Thompson plans to keep the staff already in place at both stations and possibly add an employee. He tells the paper WTJK may air less ESPN content and more local news. Thompson takes over under an LMA while the transaction works its way through the FCC approval process.
WEEI-FM, Boston Begins Friday Night Promotion. In a partnership with local watering hole The Greatest Bar and local media sources Dirty Water TV and DirtyWaterNews.com, Entercom sports talk WEEI-FM begins broadcasting the “Planet Mikey” show with Mikey Adams live from The Greatest Bar Friday, February 7 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The show will feature celebrity guests from the world of sports and entertainment. WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham, citing the bar’s proximity to the TD Garden, states, “It’s a natural fit to partner with the Dirty Water brand and The Greatest Bar. Combining Mikey’s unique entertaining style, the Dirty Water connections for guests and content, and the proximity to the TD Garden will make for a fun atmosphere and a great listen on ‘93.7FM WEEI’ and the WEEI Sports Radio Network.” Bill Fairweather is co-owner of The Greatest Bar and creator of Dirty Water TV. He says WEEI-FM is the perfect radio partner for Dirty Water’s growing array of media entities. “When we decided to add radio to the growing menu of media options that our brand delivers to Greater Boston and beyond, WEEI – with its strong sports focus – was a natural partner for us. Entertainment and celebrity mix very well with sports and The Greatest Bar is the perfect location to bring those topics together. We’re excited to have the opportunity to add these new dimensions to WEEI’s radio offerings.”
Odds & Sods. In honor of Rosa Parks Day on February 4, the Premiere Networks-syndicated Comedy 24/7 format will air special clips of comics of the civil rights era talking about the issue. African American comedians including Dick Gregory, Godfrey Cambridge and Slappy White were outspoken about necessary changes to be made in our society during that time and the format will air special tracks by these comedians and others as they spoke out in the language of the times at :57 after the hour all day on February 4…..Former NFL coach and executive Mike Holmgren will serve as a football analyst with Clear Channel’s sport talk KJR, Seattle next season after handling the same duties in 2013…..Milwaukee Brewers radio play-by-play voice Bob Uecker will step back a little bit from his duties with the team beginning this season as he’ll call fewer road games for flagship WTMJ, Milwaukee. Uecker, who turns 80 this year, will still call all home games and be present for spring training in Arizona.
Joy and Hope Amidst the Misery. Pictured here with children in Port Au Prince, Haiti is Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup. He tells TALKERS he is there with Salem Radio News documenting conditions in Haiti on the fourth anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake that left 300,000 dead and millions homeless. He’s embedded with the relief organization Food for the Poor and has been visiting slums, orphanages and feeding centers for the news network’s five-part special series on “The Poorest of the Poor.” Tradup reports that Salem VP/director spoken word format Phil Boyce (who also is serving as operations manager of the New York stations) is there working on documenting the trip for a New York market broadcast.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. New York-based XtreMEDIA announces a number of affiliates joining three of the company’s offerings. First, the daily Kevin McCullough show is added to the program schedule at WCIS-AM, Morganton, North Carolina; WCST-AM, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia; WGEA, Geneva, Alabama; and KNLB-FM, Blythe, California. The nightly Steve Deace program joins the lineup at WGTK-AM, Louisville; WTOH-FM, Columbus; and WWTC, Minneapolis. Finally, the weekend “Baldwin/McCullough” show is now heard on WMRC, Milford, Massachusetts and WYPV-FM, Mackinaw City, Michigan…..The GCN-syndicated “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney joins the program schedule at WKVL, Knoxville.
The State of the Union Address Top Talk Radio Story This Week. According to the Talkers TenTM, the president’s State of the Union Address was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of January 27-31. At #2 this week was criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Following at #3 was new immigration legislation and the prospect of amnesty and at #4 was the extreme winter weather affecting much of the nation. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Short Ideas for a Short Week. As the industry returns from a holiday weekend, digital media consultant Chris Miller offers some quick thoughts regarding your digital efforts. If you’re still wondering about the changes Facebook made that affect the way content lines up on your news feed, Miller has three items to consider. Also check out his thoughts on the type of content you put on your station website and whether that content lines up with your brand’s “message.” Plus, Chris has a final word about attitude. Check it all out here.
Promotions Conflict at Philly Eatery Brings Abrupt End to Live Broadcast. The Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that the quick shutdown of a WIP, Philadelphia remote broadcast with afternoon hosts Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis at Chickie’s & Pete’s may not have been the result of an ISDN breakdown but the fact that rival Greater Media sports talker WPEN personality Jon Marks was also at the establishment for a personal appearance. The paper reports that about 30 minutes into Gargano’s and Ellis’ broadcast, WPEN’s Marks arrived along with rock WMMR jock Matt Cord for a $1,000 MetroPCS giveaway in another part of the pub. The Daily News goes on to write that Chickie’s & Pete’s management tried to move Marks and Cord to a different part of the restaurant but Greater Media refused. CBS tells the paper the ISDN problem was the issue and while no one else is commenting, it appears it could have been nothing more than a scheduling snafu that ruffled the feathers of the stations involved.
Linder Joins WMEN, West Palm Beach for Afternoons. The JCE Licenses-owned sports talk station names Jon Linder host of the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show, replacing Andy Slater who left for Clear Channel’s sports talk WINZ, Miami “The Sports Animal” in December. Linder joined WMEN as a fill-in host last year. He’s worked at Beasley’s WQAM, Miami serving as a sports reporter and studio host during Miami Hurricanes football broadcasts from 2010 through 2012.
Cleveland Host Faces Jury Trial in Domestic Violence Charge. WKNR, Cleveland sports talk host Tony Rizzo will appear in Medina Municipal Court on February 27 for a jury trial after being accused of domestic assault by his wife Catherine Rizzo in December. Rizzo remains on the air at Good Karma-owned WKNR. The company issued a statement after the incident leading to the charge calling Rizzo “an exemplary teammate and member of the community and his status with us is unaffected.” Police were called to Rizzo’s home after his wife called them saying she had locked herself in the bathroom after Rizzo choked her and hit her in the face. Rizzo pleaded not guilty on December 9.
KCAA, Lorma Linda, California First to Accept Bitcoins for Airtime. The Fred Lundgren-owned news/talk station that serves the Riverside/San Bernardino market is claiming it’s the first radio station in North America to Bitcoins as payment for advertising and airtime. The station says it signed its first programming agreement purchased with Bitcoin on January 17. KCAA utilized a service called “Coinbase” to process the payment. Lundgren comments, “Our first transaction paid us 9.4 Bitcoins, which Coinbase displayed as approximately $7,200.00 USD. These funds will appear in our bank account in two to three business days.” Lundgren adds, “The value of Bitcoin as a digital currency will grow as more businesses accept it. I predict it will become a viable alternative to ever increasing bank charges.”
Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Emcees Senate Campaign Fundraiser. KTRH, Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry is headlining a fundraiser for U.S. Senate candidate Col. Rob Maness (USAF, Ret.) on Friday, January 24, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Berry’s program is heard on stations across the U.S. including on WJBO, Baton Rouge from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Maness is running for the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Mary Landrieu.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Sochi Olympics Terror Threats, Syria Torture Allegations, ObamaCare Criticism, Wendy Davis Bio Questioned and Chris Christie Sandy Aid Charge Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/20). The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday; concerns over security at the Sochi Winter Games; new allegations of the Assad regime’s use of torture in Syria’s civil conflict; criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis’ life story disputed by critics; and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie faces charges of misappropriating Hurricane Sandy aid were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
FINALLY, IT’S HERE! Talkers New York 2013 Takes Place in the Big Apple Today (6/6). The 16th annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s annual convention takes place in New York City today. Featuring a roster of more than 55 speakers, the event formerly known as “The New Media Seminar” has been sold out since May 1 – a record-breaking 37 days in advance. The entire agenda will be broadcast live and raw in real time on TalkersRadio between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm today. To access TalkersRadio, click here. To see the latest up to-the-minute agenda, click here. “We are very pleased to be able to broadcast this event on TalkersRadio,” says publisher Michael Harrison, “especially since it was such an early sellout.” Harrison adds, “This will be the first official broadcast on TalkersRadio, our new internet streaming talk radio station. It will give our readers, who could not attend, a gavel-to-gavel ear on the proceedings. We are excited to do this.” TalkersRadio is powered by Backbone Networks Corporation. Check with Talkers.com for complete coverage of the conference.
CBS Corp. Announces Joseph Ianniello Named COO. CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves announces chief financial officer Joseph Ianniello has been named chief operating office for the company. In this new role he’ll still hold financial operation responsibilities but will join the negotiating team on content deals with pay TV and streaming providers. In a statement, Moonves says, “He’s been a game-changing CFO, but he’s also so much more than that. He is a tough negotiator, a great manager, and someone who brings energy, passion and a great sense of teamwork to anything he does. He is also someone who has developed incredible trust and admiration on Wall Street, with our shareholders, our board of directors and my superb senior management team, of which he is an integral part. I am proud to promote Joe to this new position, which not only recognizes the many contributions he has already made, but sets him up for all the great work yet to be done.”
Mitch Rosen Sticks with WSCR, Chicago. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports he spoke with sports talk WSCR, Chicago program director Mitch Rosen about the rumor he was going to be the next program director at WGN, Chicago and that Rosen is not interested in the job. Feder writes that Rosen says he was approached by new WGN president Jimmy de Castro about the position but doesn’t want to leave “The Score.” Rosen states, “I was flattered by the interest at WGN. I’m grateful for the team we have here, and I continue to grow this brand that is 21-plus years old. I love what I do. I love working at The Score.” Programmer Bill White was let go from his PD post at WGN earlier this week.
WEEI, Boston Announces Summer Hoops Show. Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston announces the debut of “Celtics Summer Cooler,” a new program hosted by Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell that will air on Saturdays from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm beginning June 8 and run through September 28. WEEI says, “Grande and Max comprise one of the longest-running broadcast teams in NBA history, having called over 1,200 games between them, and have been the voices of the Celtics since 2001. This new show will provide Celtics fans with the most comprehensive news and analysis of the team, from the draft to the summer league and right up to training camp. Listeners can expect to hear from Celtics front office personnel, players, beat writers and columnists, and national media members from around the league. Entercom Boston VP of programming and operations Jason Wolfe says, “This is going to be the most interesting offseason for the Celtics since 2007 when Danny pulled off the big trades for KG and Ray Allen. Celtic fans deserve a show that will be devoted to the team’s efforts this summer, and no one knows the strategy better than Grande and Max.”
Radio Mercury Winners Celebrated. The 22nd annual reception for the Radio Mercury Awards took place at the Highline Ballroom in New York City on Wednesday, June 5. This year’s Best of Show Award was given to Barton F. Graf 9000 LLC for their radio campaign, “A Long Day of Childhood” for Ragu/Unilever. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Bill Cimino, Y&R Midwest; Dave Suarez and Danny Gonzalez, Barton F. Graf 9000 LLC; Erica Farber, RAB; and Gerry Graf, Barton F. Graf 9000 LLC. This year’s event was produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau and presented by Clear Channel Media & Entertainment. Speaking about the Best of Show winner, Y&R Midwest chief creative officer Bill Cimino said, “The work from Barton F. Graf 9000 was the standout radio creative, especially the Ragu campaign, and the Integrated Little Caesars campaign.” Cimino served as chief judge for this year’s Radio Mercury Awards. RAB CEO Erica Farber stated, “All of tonight’s winners epitomize the level and standard of excellence that we always hope to award at the Radio Mercury Awards. These winning spots and campaigns are true testaments to radio’s ability to engage consumers, build brands and inspire the next generation of creative minds.”
KOZN, Omaha Welcomes Volleyball Champ. NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha “1620 The Zone” recently welcomed U.S National Indoor Volleyball team member Foluke Akinradewo to the studios where she was part of the station’s “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” program. Akinradewo won the gold medal and the MVP award at the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix. Pictured here are (from l-r): KZON producer Josh Peterson, co-host John Bishop, Akinradewo, and co-host Mike’l Severe.
NSA Phone Records Seizure, Child Lung Transplant Case, IRS Scandal, Eric Holder Under Fire, Dow Drops Below 15,000, and Susan Rice-Samantha Power Appointments Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/5). The court ruling mandating Verizon turn over Americans’ phone records to National Security Agency; the case of a 10-year-old lung transplant patient; the deepening IRS scandal; Attorney General Eric Holder under fire for DOJ actions; the Dow sinks below 15,000 in anticipation of jobs report; and President Obama’s appointments of Susan Rice and Samantha Power were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
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.
ANALYSIS: The FCC’s Curious Approach to Indecency. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes that it “seemed particularly fitting” that the FCC chose April Fools’ Day to announce it was cleaning out its backlog of broadcast indecency complaints by more than 1 million filings. How did they deal with that many complaints in six months. Easy, says Weisman, “These cases were summarily dismissed for various reasons, such as being beyond the FCC’s five-year statute of limitations, involved cases outside of the FCC’s jurisdiction, contained insufficient information or were not actionable due to previous established precedents. Cases were also dismissed for being, in the FCC’s words ‘too stale to pursue’ although there is no FCC definition of staleness.” Weisman also notes that the Commission reassures the public it is “actively investigating” what it referred to as “egregious indecency complaints” and will continue to do so. “What actually makes a case ‘egregious’ is not very clear because there is no definition of ‘egregious’ in the FCC regulations where it seems filth is in the eye of the beholder. Apparently egregious violations of the indecency rules is the FCC’s new standard for action.” Sharpen your pencils because the FCC is asking for your thoughts on its indecency policy. You have until May 1 to get those ideas to Washington. But before you do, read Steven J.J. Weisman’s complete analysis of the FCC’s recent indecency odyssey here.
WTNT, Washington Is New Home for the Dr. K Show. “The Dr. K Show,” hosted by Dr. Kevin Wallis, makes its new home at Metro Radio’s WTNT, Washington, DC during the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Wallis describes the program as “a Libertarian talk/comedy show discussing topics from politics to world affairs and everything in between with a no nonsense, comedic view on the world. ‘The Dr. K Show’ gives you the ‘truth’ about any topic without the party lines getting in the way.” Dr. Wallis began his broadcasting career at WGGB, Long Island, received his bachelor’s degree in human anthropology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and his master’s in public health at New York Medical College. He also graduated from Touro University International with his PhD in Health Research and Education. Co-host Bryan Berner is a stand-up comedian and radio talk show host. Producer Joe Greene has produced some of the biggest shows in N.Y. radio and is a radio talk show co-host. The program features contributors: chief political commentator Carl Jeffers, chief legal analyst Ron Kuby, chief financial analyst Stephen Moore and religious adviser Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. The program is also heard on WVNJ, Oakland, New Jersey.
WTMJ, Milwaukee Legend Bill Haig Passes Away. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes that longtime WTMJ, Milwaukee and Milwaukee Brewers executive Bill Haig had been ill for some time and died on Saturday while in hospice at the age of 78. Haig began his radio career in ad sales at WFOX, Waukesha, Wisconsin in 1954. He eventually rose to the general manager position at WTMJ and it was under his watch that the station became the flagship for the Milwaukee Brewers, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Green Bay Packers and the University of Wisconsin Badgers football. In 1980 he became the Milwaukee Brewers’ vice president of broadcast, overseeing production, advertising sales and networking for the Brewers broadcast networks until his retirement.
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles presents the next remote broadcast in its “KNX On Your Corner” series as it broadcasts from the western region of the San Fernando Valley on Friday, April 26. The in-depth look at communities including Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Agoura Hills and Westlake Village will explore the local history, economy and an array of unique stories, from the Kardashians to a playground made specifically for physically challenged children. The day will include broadcasts emanating from Brent’s Deli in Westlake Village as Dick Helton and Vicky Moore will anchor the news from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, Frank Mottek hosts the “KNX Business Hour” from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm and Jim Thornton and Diane Thompson anchors the news from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm…..Entercom’s WRKO, Boston is producing a debate between two of the Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Secretary of State John Kerry. PM drive host Howie Carr will be joined by Michael Sullivan and Gabriel Gomez during the live debate airing from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm today…..SiriusXM Radio is broadcasting live hole-by-hole coverage of the 2013 Masters Tournament from Thursday, April 11, through Sunday, April 14, on its PGA TOUR Radio channel.
Bill Bradley Hosts Fellow ’72-’73 Knicks Teammates on SiriusXM. Former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley (second from right) poses for a photo with his teammates from the NBA championship New York Knicks of the 1972-1973 season. The group came together in the New York studios of SiriusXM Satellite Radio for a taping of Bradley’s “American Voices” program and will be aired later this month. Pictured here are (from l-r): Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Phil Jackson, Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Bradley, and Jerry Lucas.
Can You Imagine Meeting These 47 People (and About 500 More) All in One Day? The roster of industry luminaries signed up to serve as speakers at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 has been announced and it reads like a who’s who of the talk radio industry. Not yet named on the list are several more “surprise” speakers including the yet-to-be revealed recipient of the 2013 Freedom of Speech Award which will bring the total to around 50. In making the announcement, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “In the 16-year colorful history of this national conference, I believe this is the best and most balanced lineup of speakers we’ve ever assembled. This power-packed gathering of management, programming, sales and technical leaders will directly address today’s most important issues, as the radio industry – not just spoken word - faces some of the most existential challenges of its century-long history.” Talkers New York 2013 takes place on Thursday, June 6 between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm at the Concierge Conference Center, 780 Third Avenue on Manhattan’s East Side. The event, which is on the verge of being an early sellout, is open exclusively to members of the working media. Registrations can only be booked by credit card over the phone at 413-565-5413. The following individuals will be speaking (in alphabetical order): Michael “Bax” Baxendale, Co-Host, “Bax & O’Brien Morning Show, WAQY “Rock 102”, Springfield, MA; Michael Berry, Host, KTRH, Houston (and syndication); Jim Bohannon, Host, Dial Global; Phil Boyce, VP/Spoken Word Format, Salem Communications; Spencer Brown, former CEO, Dial Global; Kevin Casey, VP/Executive Editor, TALKERS; Mark Chernoff, VP of Sports Programming, CBS Radio/OM, WFAN, New York; Jeremy Coleman, SVP, Talk & Entertainment Programming, Sirius/XM; Alan Colmes, Host, Fox News Radio; Holland Cooke, President, Holland Cooke Media; Jana Cosgrove, President, CBS Radio Sales/Entercom Radio Sales; Jerry Crowley, VP/GM, WNYM “AM 970 The Answer”, New York; Tom Cuddy, PD, WOR, New York; Andy Dean, Host, Premiere Networks; Dave Elswick, PD/Host, KARN, Little Rock; Erica Farber, President/CEO, Radio Advertising Bureau; Mike Francesa, Host, WFAN, New York; Ian Freeman, Co-Host, Free Talk Live; Dom Giordano, Host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Sean Hannity, Host, Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel; Michael Harrison, Publisher, TALKERS; Ron Hartenbaum, President, WYD/WYM Media; Thom Hartmann, Host, WYD Media; Bill Hess, PD, WMAL, Washington, DC; Clay Hunnicutt, EVP, Programming, Clear Channel; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Tom Leykis, President/Host, The New Normal; Lionel, Host, WWIQ “IQ 106.9”, Philadelphia; Steve Malzberg, Host, Newsmax.com; Carole Marks, CEO, Talk Media, Inc.; Kevin McCullough, CEO/Host, XtreMedia; Mike McVay, SVP, Programming, Cumulus Media; Dan Metter, SVP, Sales, Premiere Networks; Jon Miller, Director of Programming Services, Arbitron, Inc.; Trevor Oliver, former SVP/Operations, Premiere Networks; Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment, LLC/Launchpad Digital Media; Tom Ray, President, Tom Ray Broadcast Consulting; Walter Sabo, Chairman, Sabo Media; Michael Smerconish, Host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Jeff Smulyan, CEO, Emmis Broadcasting; Doug Stephan, President/Host, Stephan Multimedia; Andrea Tantaros, Host, Talk Radio Network/Fox News Channel; Phil Valentine, Host, Cumulus Media; Paul Vandenburgh, President/GM/Host, WGDJ “Talk 1300 AM”, Albany; Lincoln Ware, Host, WDBZ (The Buzz), Cincinnati; Jeff Wasserman, President, Life Coach Media; David Webb, Host, Sirius/XM; Steven J.J. Weisman, Esq., Senior Partner, Harrison Strategies; Lisa Wexler, Host, WFAS, Westchester, NY; and Dennis Wharton, VP Communications, National Association of Broadcasters. The actual agenda of sessions and times will be posted here later this week.
WVON, Chicago to Celebrate 50th Anniversary April 5-6. Midway Broadcasting-owned WVON, Chicago commemorates 50 years on air tomorrow and Saturday with a two-day celebration kicked off with a special performance by musician Roy Ayers on Friday and culminating with the “IMPACT 50 Grand Gala” at the historic Chicago Theater featuring Toni Braxton on Saturday night. Those expected to be in attendance on Saturday include: media personality Roland Martin, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Radio One’s Cathy Hughes, Rev. Al Sharpton, and actor/activist Dick Gregory. Radio historians may be aware that the station was founded by Leonard and Phillip Chess, founders of the famous Chess Records that recorded so many black artists during the 1960s. Current Midway Broadcasting chief Melody Spann Cooper’s father, Pervis “Blues Man” Spann, bought the station and since that time it has morphed from an urban music outlet into the urban news/talk station it is today. Cooper tells the Huffington Post that two years ago she wasn’t sure the station was going to survive to see its 50th. “Being independently owned in the third largest market, we definitely faced some challenges to stay afloat. We have stood the test of time and worked through the challenges, so this makes it an extra special time for us.” The station’s calls originally stood for the “Voice of the Negro” but now, the station calls itself the “Voice of the Nation.” WVON’s being available on Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio digital delivery system certainly gives it a broader reach than its 1,000 watt Chicago signal can deliver. WVON prides itself on its ability to talk about local issues as well as issues germane to African Americans across the country with its lineup of largely live and local personalities. The station features Matt McGill in mornings, Perri Small in late mornings, the syndicated Rev. Al Sharpton in middays and Cliff Kelley in PM drive.
Nils Larsen Exits Tribune Broadcasting President and CEO Role. Chicagoland Radio and Media is reporting that Nils Larsen has left the Tribune Company and his latest role as president and CEO of the broadcasting division. The site states Tribune confirmed his exit but said there will be no formal announcement of the change. Larsen previously served as chief investment officer during the Sam Zell/Randy Michael’s era. It goes on to say that Larsen, who had no experience in the broadcasting field but was a financial analyst, was only put in the position overseeing the broadcasting division to watch over the finances as the company exited from bankruptcy. Larry Wert serves as president of local broadcasting in the Tribune Broadcasting division.
Financial Talker Phil Grande Signs with Genesis Communications Network. The move will allow Phil Grande to expand his “Phil’s Gang” program from the one-hour 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET live broadcast time to a new, 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET time. The new deal also includes the debut of a one-hour Saturday program airing from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm. “Phil’s Gang” partner and CEO Marta Grande says, “This is an exciting opportunity to join the Genesis Communications Network. Adding a strong network like Genesis is the perfect complement to our strong affiliate lineup.” Grande says the program is displaying an expanding affiliate roster, thus indicating unprecedented growth, especially in the major markets. This new partnership will add even more strength to the GCN affiliates, providing the best source of media for host Phil Grande to expand with his coined message of “I’m going to tell you what Wall Street doesn’t want you to know!”
Cromwell Broadcasting Flips WQZQ, Nashville to Sports Using NBC Sports Radio and Content from WPRT-FM. Cromwell Broadcasting’s WQZQ, Nashville drops the gospel format and goes sports on the AM 830 frequency using both NBC Sports Radio Network programming as well as the PM drive “Sports Night” show featuring George Plaster, Willy Daunic and Darren McFarland from sister sports talker WPRT “102.5 The Game.” The same format is also airing on translator W248BM, Murfreesboro on the 97.5 frequency. Cromwell general manager Tincy Crouse states, “We are excited to be a part of the brand new 24/7 NBC Sports Radio family from the beginning and looking forward to adding another quality sports talk product into the Nashville market.” The “Sports Night” program begins airing at 3:00 pm on WQZQ but not until 4:00 pm on WPRT due to the latter’s carriage of the Dave Ramsey program.
MSNBC Continues to Add to Weekend Lineup. MSNBC has already announced the move of talk media personality Ed Schultz from his nightly “Ed Show” to a new weekend program. Now, the network adds a new show as a lead-in to Schultz’s show. MSNBC gives political analyst, former Democratic National Committee spokesperson and Clinton White House staffer Karen Finney her own Saturday and Sunday 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm program. Schultz’s new program will air from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. In a statement, MSNBC’s Phil Griffin says, “Karen’s rich background in both education policy and politics will add a unique point of view to our expanding live weekend programming.”
Odds & Sods. WIBC-FM, Indianapolis talk personality Ed Wenck leaves the PM drive program on the Emmis news/talk station to enter the sales department at the cluster and sell for sports talker WFNI “The Fan.”…..CRC Media West’s KPSF, Desert Hot Springs, California brings Marshall Gilbert aboard to host the daily “Business for Breakfast” program that airs from 8:00 am to 9:00 am. Gilbert most recently served at crosstown KWNZ, Palm Springs…..Call letter changes take place at Clear Channel’s Raleigh cluster with news/talk “Rush Radio 106.1” giving up the WRDU calls to its classic rock clustermate at 100.7. The news/talker takes the calls WTKK (most recently held by Greater Media’s former Boston talk station) and adopts the brand “More Stimulating Talk.”
North Korea Threats, ObamaCare Costs, Gun Legislation Issue, Illegal Immigration, and Sequester Effects Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/3). The heightening threats against the U.S. by Kim Jong Un; the cost and effects of the Affordable Care Act; gun legislation proposals; the recent increase in illegal border crossings; and the effects of the sequester were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Feature: Tom Leykis One Year Later. Talk radio legend Tom Leykis is preparing to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the digital-only version of his eponymous talk program. Operating under the umbrella of his New Normal content company, the show began last April 2 and, Leykis tells TALKERS magazine managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian, “In terms of listenership and media recognition, we are ahead of where we expected to be at this point.” The venture got off the ground after Leykis’ old contract with CBS expired and he was able to move ahead on his own. Using Triton Digital‘s Webcast Metrics, Leykis says he is on a projected pace of 9.6 million connections for 2013. This version of his show is embarking on new frontiers but he says he wouldn’t have it any other way. “Many people in the radio business, including some I really respect, said I was insane. They felt I had a long history in radio and should not be walking away from it at this time. I was leaving the big-box, broadcasting business to be in the hand-crafted, small-batch business. This is a boutique content company in the P1 business, as opposed to trying to get P1s, P2s, P3s, P4s, and P5s.” The candid Leykis admits the show is not profitable yet, but points to start-up costs in the first year as a major factor for that. He’s very bullish on this delivery system for content and his business plan. Read this entire piece here.
Talkers New York 2013 Adds “Navigating A Talk Radio Hosting Career” Panel. Being a radio talk show host in 2013 involves a lot more than just getting a good job at a good station (or network) and doing a great show every day (although there’s certainly nothing wrong with that). Managing a meaningful and productive career as hosts in today’s turbulent radio industry demands an increased level of entrepreneurism in addition to a keen knowledge of the internet and social media. Add to the mix an understanding of the role intellectual property plays today as a negotiating chip in talent/management (employee/employer) deals as well as a sensitivity to the demands of sales and it becomes apparent that today’s talent lives and works in a far more competitive, complex and economically challenging environment than ever. These subjects and more will be discussed on the panel titled, “Navigating a Talk Radio Hosting Career,” at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 conference by the following personalities (in alphabetical order): Michael Berry, KTRH, Houston (and others); Alan Colmes, Fox News Radio; Andy Dean, Premiere Networks; Thom Hartmann, WYD Media; Tom Leykis, The New Normal; Steve Malzberg, Newsmax.com; Phil Valentine, Cumulus Media; David Webb, Sirius/XM; and Lisa Wexler, WFAS, Westchester, New York. The panel will be moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey. Talkers New York 2013 takes place Thursday, June 6 and is on track to being an early sellout. Because of space limitations, registration is only open to working members of the media and can only be taken via telephone at 413-565-5413. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more agenda details about speakers, panels, presentations and award recipients coming in the immediate days ahead.
ABIP: Being Prepared for an FCC Inspection. TALKERS magazine technical editor Tom Ray says there is help for most broadcasters in preparing for – and in most cases avoiding – an FCC inspection. And it’s not about getting away with anything, it’s about finding possible violations before they become FCC violations. Ray writes about the Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program, “Just about every State Broadcaster’s Association runs an ABIP program. For a nominal fee, the Association will send an inspector in to run your station through an FCC-type inspection. The good news is, we’re not the FCC. If we find something amiss, you have the opportunity to fix it.” Ray continues, “When the [ABIP] certificate is issued, the local FCC office is informed that your station(s) have passed the ABIP inspection. The FCC will then stay away from your facility for three years when they are going around doing routine inspections. The inspection immunity does not count if they show up on a complaint, or if they are going around checking a specific item, like EAS compliance or tower lights.” Find out more about the ABIP in Tom Ray’s most recent column here.
Twitter as Talk Radio Teleprompter. Radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke offers this quick tip for talk show hosts: Try writing your on-air hour open on Twitter. For two reasons: 1) The loud-and-clear headline we’ve gleaned from PPM data: Every…single…syllable…matters. And…any…given…minute…could earn you another Average Quarter Hour of listening credit. Why your hour open needs to be so distilled and instantly inviting? Listeners believe station promos, which invite more occasions of listening from your P1s, and invite cross-cuming music radio P1s to “CHECK-IN, FOR A QUICK NEWS, TRAFFIC, AND WEATHER UPDATE, EVERY HOUR, ON-THE-HOUR, THROUGHOUT YOUR BUSY DAY.” Then, many of those music listeners are back-to-the-tunes…unless, quicker than an index finger can make it from the steering wheel to the FM button, you can engage. So imposing Twitter’s 140-character limit on your open is a useful discipline. 2) And doing this does double duty! Not only have you distilled your on-air proposition, you’ve got a ready-to-launch Tweet. Try this. You’ll like the results. For 8 more reasons radio talkers should bear-hug Twitter – and some specific recommendations for making yourself darn handy to The Boss – don’t miss my session, “Resourceful and Remarkable” at Talkers New York 2013 on June 6.
ESPN O&O WMVP, Chicago Makes Program Schedule Changes; ‘Waddle & Silvy’ to PM Drive. Chicago sports talker “ESPN 1000” swaps midday and PM drive shows, moving former Chicago Bear Tom Waddle and Marc “Silvy” Silverman from their midday slot to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. Current afternoon hosts John “Jurko” Jurkovic and Carmen DeFalco move to the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm shift. The change allows the station to air the first hour of ESPN Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” from 9:00 am to 10:00 am. Changes take effect on April 1.
WDAE, Tampa Bay’s Steve Duemig Forced Off Air by Management. According to a piece in the Tampa Bay Times by columnist Eric Deggans, WDAE sports talk host Steve Duemig is off his afternoon drive show indefinitely at management’s insistence. Duemig tells the paper he’s still under contract, ready and willing to work but Clear Channel management has pulled him from his show with two months left on his deal. According to Duemig, a clause in his contract allows him to talk with other stations 60 days before the contract ends (presumably with the right of first refusal if it matches the new offer). He says management tried to pressure him to sign a new deal before that window opened. That contract was signed before ratings-challenged WHFS “Sports Radio 98.7” was put on the air by CBS Radio and it’s possible the company will try to steal him away. For now, Tom Krasniqi is hosting the PM drive show.
Premiere Networks Nationally Syndicated Andy Dean Hits 100-Affliate Mark. Talk show host Andy Dean, with the addition of new affiliates including WOR, New York; WLAN, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; KEEL, Shreveport, Louisiana; WHYN-AM, Springfield; KTSM, El Paso; and WMAN-AM/FM, Mansfield, Ohio, tops the 100 affiliate mark. Syndicator Premiere Networks reports that “the program’s audience has increased by more than 170% year-to-year (Source: Arbitron FA’11 to FA’12, Nationwide, Exact Times, AQH, P 12+) and is currently heard by approximately one million weekly listeners.”
SportsBusiness Journal to Honor Good Karma Chief Craig Karmazin. The publication will recognize Good Karma Broadcasting founder and CEO Craig Karmazin as one of its “Forty Under Forty” for 2013 at a black-tie gala on Thursday, April 4 at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Florida. Karmazin, son of media executive Mel Karmazin, founded Good Karma in 1997 shortly after his college graduation from Emory University with the purchase of three radio stations in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. Since then, he’s expanded the company into five additional markets, including Milwaukee, Madison and Janesville, Wisconsin; Cleveland and West Palm Beach, Florida. His company operates nine ESPN-affiliated sports talk stations. Karmazin has expanded beyond broadcasting into the sports marketing field as well as the events and wireless retail businesses.
WABC, New York Adds Live Saturday Evening Program. The new show, “The Saturday Cafe with Laura Smith,” airs in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot that opened when longtime WABC personality Mark Simone left for crosstown WOR. Smith tells TALKERS magazine the evening variety show focuses on a weekend mindset and “is all about fascinating conversations with fascinating people — everyone from celebrities, actors, authors, gurus, non-profits, musicians and the best psychics/mediums — the whole gamut on the spectrum of interesting stories and conversations for listeners.” She says a recent program involved guests such as: a psychic interior designer, a beautiful singer songwriter who lost her leg in a tragic accident and now is a motivational speaker to returning troops, a NY deacon talking about the new Pope, a non- profit organization called Heart 911 that is rebuilding homes after Hurricane Sandy, and an upcoming Aretha Franklin concert.
‘Frontlines of Freedom’ Wins Michigan Association of Broadcasters Award. The weekly military news/talk radio program, “Frontlines of Freedom,” hosted by Lt. Col. Denny Gillem, U.S. Army (Retired)(pictured here at right), wins “Best in Category” Regularly Scheduled Weekend Broadcast Personality or Team; and “Best in Category” Special Show Broadcast Personality from the Michigan Broadcasters Association. Gillem says, “To be recognized again for producing a top-notch program is not only good for our show’s team, but it sends the message to all radio stations that you too can add winning shows to your station’s weekend schedule. Our affiliates already know that, and we thank them for it.” Executive producer Josh Leng (pictured at left) notes, “We made the decision to expand ‘Frontlines of Freedom’ to two hours based on listener response, the host’s desire, advertiser demand, and radio program directors’ feedback to have a longer show that offers a better TSL opportunity to improve their ratings. The two-hour program also ensures we always have enough time to fully cover all the important military news and issues of the day.”
Universal Broadcasting Network Launches. The initiative is the effort of Global Voice Broadcasting founder Tony Sweet and award-winning TV, film and stage actress Ann Walker. The duo have partnered on the launch of Universal Broadcasting Network – what they describe as “a brand new, international media platform that includes an internet-based multimedia radio network. The Hollywood-based operation broadcasts from the Sunset Gower Studios and is already host to a diverse spectrum of talk radio shows, including those geared towards entertainment, children and family, love and relationships, LGBT and women’s issues, and sports and fitness, among many others. UBN says it currently broadcasts 16 shows, and is quickly growing, with the capability to host up to 100 in the future. Tony Sweet – who hosted his own program, “On Air with Tony Sweet,” — says, “Universal Broadcasting Network is my child, my vision and my creation of what I have always dreamed to build: a multi-media company that entertains, inspires and educates. To me, UBN Radio is a place that combines Reality Radio with honesty, integrity and entertainment without limits. My vision is for it to become an international Internet television and radio station that will take us into the new age of technology and media.” Ann Walker was originally a co-host with Sweet on his program but then also became a host of her own popular show which now broadcasts on UBN. She now serves as CEO of the company and says, “When Tony approached me about starting a new station, I was intrigued by the possibility and opportunities that new technologies bring to our industry and decided to jump on board as his partner. Having been an actress for 35 years, I was excited about a new adventure that still holds true to what I set out to do all those years ago, which is to entertain, inspire and connect. UBN not only allows me to do this, but provides a platform for other voices and entertainers to do the same.”
Broadcasters Seeking Input in Ithaca Radio History. As CBS News Radio correspondent Peter King notes, a number of the radio business’ successful talent got their start working at radio stations in Ithaca, New York. King, in association with his brother Rick Sommers – former WLTW, New York staffer and currently broadcast liaison for the New York Local of SAG-AFTRA – are gathering material to chronicle the history of radio in Ithaca New York. He tells TALKERS, “We both got our professional starts as students at Ithaca College (and WICB-AM/FM), and later, WTKO, and the litany of talent that came through town is amazing – not just at WICB and WTKO — but WVBR, WHCU and later, the FMs that began broadcasting there!” King says this labor of love could use some help from other broadcasters who’ve worked in the market. They are looking for cans of photos, memorabilia, sales material, promotional items, etc. Anyone wishing to help can contact the project via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Rick Sommers can be contacted directly at email@example.com .
President Obama Visits Israel, Sequester Effects, North Korea Tensions, Gun Legislation, and Cyprus Bank Tax Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/19). President Obama’s trip to Israel; the ongoing discussion over the effects of the sequester; North Korea’s alleged cyber-attack on South Korea; legislative moves to advance new gun legislation; and the bank tax on Cyprus financial institutions and its repercussions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.