Tag: "Cox Media"
Bubba the Love Sponge Returns to Tampa on WHFS-FM. Via an official press statement issued today (1/5), Beasley Broadcasting confirms the news a local advertiser spilled on Friday about the return of Bubba the Love Sponge to the market on the company’s newly-acquired Tampa signal WHFS-FM. The former FM sports talk outlet will make public its new format at some point in the future but after signing on this morning at 6:00 am, Bubba the Love Sponge announced the station would air his program continuously for the next few weeks or so before debuting WHFS-FM’s new format. Bubba aired in the market on Cox Media’s crosstown WHPT “102.5 FM The Bone” before being ousted from the station in August and replaced by then-afternoon drive host Mike Calta. The move pits former station-mates Calta and Bubba against each other in mornings. Last week, Ker’s WingHouse debuted Bubba Style Wings and announced Bubba’s return to the market on WHFS-FM. Beasley says listeners are still voting for their format choice at the station’s website — thenew98.7.com — and the new format is expected to be announced within weeks.
Howie Carr’s New England Regional Juggernaut Keeps Gaining Steam – New Stations Signed and GSM Brought Aboard. The independent talk radio network recently launched by Boston-based, multi-media icon Howie Carr continues to gather major affiliates throughout the six New England states and sets a shiningly optimistic model for what can be created and accomplished in the often-tenuous arena of regional spoken-word syndication. The latest stations joining the Howie Carr Radio Network (HCRN) include WCAP, Lowell, MA (which started last week); WBEC, Pittsfield, MA (which starts tomorrow 1/6); and WFEA, Manchester, NH (which begins on 1/19), bringing the total number of affiliates to 19. Also, HCRN VP of sales & marketing, Kathy Carr announces the hiring of sales heavyweight Ross Holt as the company’s new general sales manager. Holt, who is moving back to his home in New England, was most recently part of the sales team at CBS O&O WINS, New York and has sold Carr in the past while at WGAN, Portland. The sheer power of the loyal-listener-generating Carr program in market after market across the Northeast segment of the US has proven to be a strong advertising lure for such regional blue chip sponsors as Subaru of New England and a long list of others. Commenting on the growth and impact of the Howie Carr show in its independent regional incarnation (since the host left Entercom’s WRKO, Boston this fall and replaced it as his flagship with Beantown’s reconstituted WMEX) TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is not easy doing what Howie and Kathy Carr are accomplishing with this network – and that is creating a pertinent local flavor that resonates with listeners across a very large and diverse expanse of markets and works in terms of both ratings and revenue. There are lessons for the industry to learn from this extremely interesting endeavor. Of course, you must have the right host to pull this off and this guy is a true rarity. If New England were to suddenly declare itself a single state, Howie Carr would be elected its first governor.”
Boston Herald Radio and WMEX, Boston Share New Morning Show. The morning drive show on the Boston Herald’s digital platform – Boston Herald Radio – is now hosted by Adriana Cohen and Tom Shattuck (pictured here). The program airs from 7:00 am to 9:00 am and is also being heard on Blackstrap Broadcasting-owned and Wallis Communications-operated WMEX. Shattuck, who also serves as executive producer of Boston Herald Radio, says in the compay’s paper, “We’ve always been straight with our audience. This is the city of Jerry Williams, Gene Burns and David Brudnoy. We are lucky enough now to have an opportunity to be custodians of those same airwaves and we will do it humbly, tirelessly and with the utmost respect for the listener.” WMEX grabbed longtime Boston afternoon personality Howie Carr after his contract with Entercom’s crosstown WRKO expired in November.
WLS-AM, Chicago Breaks Up Proft and Wolf Morning Show. As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the morning show at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago will be hosted by Bruce Wolf solo after the company parted ways with Dan Proft. Wolf and Proft had worked together at the station, first in middays, before moving to mornings after longtime duo Don Wade and Roma exited due to Don Wade’s health issues. (Wade later died from complications from a brain tumor.)
Former WSJRN Programming Evolves and Continues as Compass Media Networks Content. As TALKERS reported last month, Compass Media Networks is advancing the business news radio programming abandoned by the Wall Street Journal after the latter chose to get out of the radio business at the end of 2014. Today, Compass debuts breaking business and money news under the “Your Money Now” brand. The one-minute reports are fed to affiliate stations twice per hour at :20 and :50 from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm ET Monday through Friday. Anchors for the reports are former WSJRN morning drive anchor Jennifer Kushinka, former CEO Radio, WSJRN and BusinessWeek Radio anchor Ray Hoffman in middays, and former WSJRN evening anchor Bruce Vale in afternoon drive. Also, Compass is continuing the morning drive program hosted by Gordon Deal for the WSJRN as the show is renamed “This Morning, America’s First News with Gordon Deal.” Compass says the show continues to air on some 250 affiliate stations as well as on numerous digital platforms.
Seven Salem News/Talkers Assume ‘The Answer’ Brand. Adding to the number of Salem Communications news/talk stations already using “The Answer” brand are seven more of the company’s like-programmed outlets, including: KCBQ-AM, San Diego; KLFE, Seattle; KZNT, Colorado Springs; WGKA, Atlanta; WGUL, Tampa; WGTK, Louisville; and WLSS, Sarasota. WNYM, New York began using the “Answer” brand in 2012. Salem SVP of spoken word formats Phil Boyce comments, “We discovered that our listeners are information seekers, always craving the answer to every possible question, from why am I stuck in traffic to who won the November election. This branding allows our stations to cut through in markets where they are competing with more established stations that only need their call letters as a brand. We needed something more, and this works.”
‘The Union Edge’ Radio Show Releases New App. Pittsburgh-based radio talk show “The Union Edge,” hosted by Charles Showalter with executive producer and co-host Angela Baughman and co-host/communications director Brittany Sheets, unveils its new app created with partner Jack of Trade Apps. The new app allows listeners to stream the daily 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET program live as well as listen to podcasts on demand and “demonstrate some serious solidarity by sending in photos showing their everyday union actions.” Listeners can also use the “speak out” voice recorder function to react to the show and expand on their thoughts and feelings about issues that impact their lives. Jack of Trade Apps president Andrew Davis says, “What this app does is allow union families to organize in a way that surrounds this already great programming that heralds issues that directly impact them. We are excited to be able to give them such a valuable tool, to help them achieve their growth and spread their message in a new way.”
Odds & Sods. Former Arkansas governor and one-time presidential candidate Mike Huckabee gives up his weekend talk program at Fox News Channel. Huckabee – still heard on the radio via his “Mike Huckabee Report” daily commentaries now distributed by WYD Media – says he’ll make an announcement about whether he intends to run for president in 2016 sometime in the first part of this year…..Salem Communications expands the “Cats Roundtable” program heard on WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.” The Sunday morning show, hosted by New York City businessman John Catsimatidis is now heard from 8:30 am to 10:00 am…..KBGG, Des Moines sports talk host Larry Cotlar exits the station as it transitions from “The Zone” to “The Champ.” Cotlar’s show is being replaced by CBS Sports Radio Network’s Doug Gotleib…..Dr. Frank Wright exits Salem Communications where the former National Religious Broadcasters chief served as president and chief operating officer. Dr. Wright will receive his salary in the form of severance for the next six months…..Beasley Broadcasting’s WHFS-AM, Tampa drops the CBS Sports Radio Network-programming on the station and flips the station to business talk using programming from the company’s WSBR, Boca Raton, Florida. Beasley acquired the station from CBS RADIO in a swap.
St. Joseph, Missouri’s KFEQ Joins “Market Rally”Affiliate Network. The daily analysis of farm commodity markets airs 4:06 pm – 5:00 pm on the Eagle Communications-owned talker. KFEQ general manager Gary Exline comments, “Ever since Farm Journal launched ‘Market Rally’ [in March 2014], we have taken a wait-and-see attitude [but] when farmers in our region started asking for it – we knew we couldn’t wait any longer. ‘Market Rally’ is the perfect programming solution as we set out to reboot our afternoon drive lineup.” According to Farm Journal Radio vice president and general manager Mark DePrez, “Market Rally” host Chip Flory “already has more than 6,500 Twitter followers, a clear signal that farmers and ranchers are highly engaged in his entertaining and educational approach to the markets.” When Illinois outlets WRHL, Rochelle and WAIK, Galesburg begin carrying the program early this year, “Market Rally” will be heard on 42 affiliates in nine states.
2015 International CES; What Next? Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas covering the huge 2015 Consumer Electronics Show. As Cooke notes, video and pictures are paramount to viral media. “Major recent news stories demonstrate how profoundly technology impacts our lives. More pictures and video are now shot with smartphones than cameras. When Eric Garner’s take-down for selling untaxed cigarettes turned fatal, bystander video turned an already painful national conversation about race even more-painful. When video of North Korea’s hack attack against Sony Pictures spooked movie theaters, The Interview was released on YouTube.” Read more here.
Sabo: Biggest Trends Affecting Radio. Media consultant Walter Sabo, in a piece published in TALKERS today (1/5), writes about seven trends in media that have been influential over the past year and will continue to be so through 2015. From NextRadio to sports talk on FM to online audio platforms, Sabo suggests avenues radio practitioners can explore to build new and profitable content ventures. Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.
WBZ, Boston and WBZ-TV Win Peabody Award for Marathon Bombing Coverage. The CBS-owned television station and all-news radio outlet are being honored with a 2013 George Foster Peabody Award for overall excellence for their combined coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings. The citation from the Peabody Awards states: “Out in force to cover the annual marathon, both WBZ-TV and Newsradio 1030 had a journalistic advantage when the bombs detonated. Neither gave it up as their reporters spent hour after hour on the air providing wide-ranging, enterprising, non-sensational coverage of the casualties, the suspects and the intense, nerve-wracking manhunt. They become crucial sources not just to their city but to a stunned nation.” The awards will be delivered during the ceremony to take place in New York on May 19.
WABC, New York Covers Final Four. As the battle to claim the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship title continues this weekend, Cumulus Media news/talker WABC, New York covers it from Dallas with Geraldo show regulars Noam Laden and Jared Max sitting in for Geraldo live from radio row on Friday and Monday from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. They will also produce a special wabcradio.com only broadcast slated for Saturday April 5 at 10:00 am ET. WABC also partnered with WestwoodOne for a series of March Madness promotions including the Greatest Moments in Tournament History vignettes and an exclusive fly-away promotion to the Men’s National Championship game. Program director Craig Schwalb says, “Working with WestwoodOne on these opportunities is a huge win for our listeners and clients. Our audience is into the excitement, the personalities, and the stories surrounding the Final Four, and so is 77 WABC!”
‘102.5 The Bone’ Tampa Personality Cowhead to Drop Nickname; Seek Syndication Deal. In a piece in the Tampa Bay Times, WHPT, Tampa afternoon drive personality Mike Calta – who goes by the nickname Cowhead on the radio – says he will give up the sobriquet and begin the next phase of his career using his real name as of April 14. In fact, he’ll host an on-air funeral for the moniker. He tells the paper, “When I started at the ‘Power Pig,’ everybody had those types of names. I was Big Mike for a while but that didn’t really stick. Then they asked me if I ever had any nicknames in high school and I remembered that a few people called me Cowhead and it sort of stuck. The minute I said it I immediately regretted it…I think times change. Even the ‘Power Pig’ changed its name. As times change and you age, it just gets silly.” Calta also tells the Times that his contract with Cox Media is up in June and he’s looking to have a syndication deal be part of negotiations.
CBS Revamps Radio.com. Calling it part of the evolution of CBS Local Digital Media, the company announces the debut of the new Radio.com. The company says in a statement, “Four years ago, we launched our new digital media business, rethinking the way CBS’s radio and television stations operate online and in the mobile space. Since then, we have evolved into the largest digital business in local broadcast media. There are few companies that have the radio, television, digital, out-of-home, and events platforms we do, and as a result we’re able to better leverage our local market properties with national scale. As leaders in integrating digital and traditional media into experiences that resonate with consumers, we take our next step forward in that regard with the debut of the new Radio.com website and streaming player. More than just live audio and video simulcasts of our stations, Radio.com presents original programming, live webcasts, exclusive editorial features and storytelling, and interviews with some of the biggest artists and personalities in the world. Indeed, we have taken a different strategy than others in the industry by recognizing that this ‘other’ content has tremendous value to our audiences. The popularity of our programs has demonstrated our thinking is correct.” Highlights of the new Radio.com include: a fresh look and feel, with improved interactivity; ability to be embedded on other sites; improved ad insertion capabilities; better-quality playback and streaming; program schedules available in real-time; expanded social media opportunities; play history; artist and track information integration; simple song purchase; and enhanced station guide and navigation experience. CBS promises updated mobile apps in the coming months.
Beck’s TheBlaze TV Added to Cable ONE Menu. It’s another cable company addition for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze TV. His 24/7 news, opinion and entertainment network channel is being added to Cable ONE. A statement from TheBlaze says Cable ONE is America’s 11th largest cable operator. This addition gives the TheBlaze TV “distribution on 54 television providers nationwide including seven of the top 30.” Cable ONE serves customers in 42 markets in 19 states, including Biloxi/Gulfport, Boise, Phoenix/Prescott, and Sioux City, among others. Cable ONE vice president of marketing Joe Falbab says, “We are very excited about adding TheBlaze to the Cable ONE lineup. Our customers have requested this channel and we are happy to be able to respond to that request. We are committed to listening to our customers and will continue to deliver to them the best possible programming.”
Emmis Reports Q4 Revenue Up 11%. Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Corporation operates on a fiscal year calendar and its fiscal 2014 fourth quarter ended February 28, 2014. The company reports that its Q4 revenue jumped to $32.4 million from $29.1 million a year prior. If you cut out WEPN, New York (which is being operated by ESPN under an LMA), revenue was up 12% for the quarter. For the full year fiscal 2014, net radio revenue hit the $145.4 million mark realizing an increase in net revenue of 5% over 2013. In a press release this morning, the company reports “these results also outperformed Emmis’ local radio markets in which revenue growth improved 3% for the year.” President and CEO Jeff Smulyan comments, “Fiscal 2014 marked the fourth consecutive year we have outperformed our local radio markets and the radio industry as a whole. Our strong operating performance is the result of sound strategy and its execution by a phenomenal workforce that makes me so proud. We are very excited about the addition of WBLS and WLIB in New York and the momentum behind NextRadio as we head into fiscal 2015.”
NAB Radio Board Election Results. The results of the NAB Radio Board election are in and the members who will serve two-year terms beginning in June are: Pete Booker, president and CEO, Delmarva Broadcasting Company; Steven Cutler, EVP business development and corporate strategy, Clear Channel; Gary Exline, general manager, Eagle Communications, Inc.; Kim Guthrie, EVP, Cox Media Group; Erik Hellum, EVP, Townsquare Media; Deon Levingston, SVP/market manager, Emmis Communications; Margaret Perkins, president and CEO, First Natchez Radio Group; Mary Quass, president and CEO, NRG Media, LLC; Joe Schwartz, president and CEO, Cherry Creek Radio; Jose Valle, president, Univision Radio; Thomas Walker, president, Mid-West Family Broadcasting.
Odds & Sods. The WPHT Speaker Series – produced by CBS RADIO news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia – continues this evening (4/3) as station personality Dom Giordano interviews Tea Party leader, former Florida Congressman and veteran Lt. Col. Allen West at Valley Forge Military Academy and College. West is the author of the new book Guardian of the Republic…..Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington is sponsoring its “Click for a Cause” online contest that will give Washington, D.C. non-profits the chance to win cash and free commercial air time on WTOP. There will be three grand prizes of $10,000 each with runners up winning $5,000 worth of commercials to advertise their cause on WTOP…..WELW, Willoughby, Ohio changes its calls and brand. The Spirit Broadcasting-owned station is using the WINT calls and has branded the station “1330 WINTegrity Radio.” Station president Ray Somich says the change comes ahead of a major expansion to take place this summer. The station has served communities to the east of Cleveland for the past 50 years.
Deadly Fort Hood Shooting, ObamaCare Criticism, SCOTUS Campaign Donor Limits Ruling, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, Russian Aggression and House Benghazi Hearing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/2). The shooting at Fort Hood that claimed the lives of four and the preliminary investigation; scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and criticism of the White House “victory” presser; the Supreme Court ruling killing limits on personal campaign donations; speculation about political power shifts after the mid-term elections and the possible candidates for president in 2016; worries over Russia’s plans for Ukraine and other former Soviet bloc nations and President Obama’s tactics versus Vladimir Putin; and the Congressional hearings on the Benghazi incident were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
KFI’s Internal Shuffling “Replaces” Limbaugh. Rather than bringing in another host to cover the gaping hole left by Rush Limbaugh, it looks like Clear Channel, Los Angeles talker KFI will adjust the times of some of its existing personalities. Morning talent Bill Handel will apparently get to sleep an extra hour, as he will handle 6:00 am – 10:00 am duties (from 5:00 am – 9:00 am), while Bill Carroll will adjust to 10:00 am – 2:00 pm from 12:00 noon – 3:00pm. In place of their 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm shift, afternoon drivers John & Ken will extend one more hour to 7:00 pm. Tim Conway Jr. remains at 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, with syndicated talent George Noory following until 5:00 am. As of today, Gary Hoffmann debuts the 5:00 am – 6:00 am “Wake-up Call.” These moves are necessitated owing to Limbaugh transitioning from powerhouse KFI to co-owned, newly re-branded KEIB “The Patriot” (formerly KTLK-AM).
Gann Going to San Antonio as WOAI – KTKR PD. Brian Gann is leaving Journal Broadcast Group Tulsa to program Clear Channel San Antonio news/talk WOAI and sports KTKR “The Ticket.” According to president and market manager Marlene Trevino, “We are very fortunate to have Brian join our team in San Antonio. He brings a wealth of experience to WOAI and KTKR and we look forward to the bright future ahead under his leadership.” Gann comments, “I am excited to have the opportunity to help lead WOAI and ‘The Ticket.’ There is a terrific team in place there and I am honored to be able to join them.” While in Tulsa, Gann was operations manager of adult hits KBEZ “Bob FM,” KFAQ “Tulsa’s Talk Radio,” CHR KHTT “K-Hits,” KVOO “Today’s Country Variety,” and classic country KXBL “Big Country.” He starts his San Antonio assignment in one week (1/30).
Mark Arum Gets Nightly Show at WSB, Atlanta. Traffic reporter Mark Arum is taking over the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight daily show at Cox Media Atlanta’s news/talk WSB after handling weekend and fill-in roles at the station. This new gig comes in addition to his traffic reporter roles at WSB-TV, news/talk WSB-AM and hot AC WSB-FM “B98.5.” As reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho, Arum replaces Adam Goldfein who exited the late show role at the end of 2013 for personal reasons. Arum tells Ho that he’s been wanting a daily show since his arrival at WSB in 1997. Cox Media did give him a chance to host a daily show at its Stamford and Norwalk, Connecticut stations back in 2008 and he says it provided “invaluable experience.”
Learfield’s Worsham, Boman, Heim Elevated to Senior Positions. Missouri-based Learfield Communications promotes Aaron Worsham, Tom Boman, and Jennifer Heim. Worsham advances from vice president to senior vice president of affiliate relations and operations; broadcast manager Boman is boosted to vice president of broadcast operations; and corporate controller Heim becomes vice president/corporate controller. Worsham and Boman manage the company’s sports operations division, which oversees all aspects related to broadcast talent and station relationships for Learfield Sports’ radio networks as part of its multimedia rights partnerships with university athletic programs. Senior vice president/chief content officer Joe Ferreira comments, “Aaron and Tom have exhibited outstanding leadership and execution skills throughout their tenure at Learfield Sports and have taken our industry-leading audio business to great heights. Producing and managing thousands of broadcasts annually for our 50-plus networks, key flagship and affiliate partners and digital distribution networks is a daunting task. These well-deserved promotions reflect growth and success in all areas.” Meanwhile, chief financial officer Matt Hupfeld states, “Jennifer is a true professional who has proven to be an excellent asset to Learfield. She is well deserving of assuming the vice president role and we know she will continue to do an outstanding job.” Worsham has been with Learfield since 1999. Prior to joining the company in 2006, Boman was a producer with the Los Angeles Dodgers Radio Network and Fox Sports Radio in Los Angeles. CPA Heim’s background includes being a financial manager for Brookstone and a senior auditor for several companies.
Michael Smerconish to Publish First Novel About Conservative Talk Show Host. The book is titled, Talk (Cider Mill Press 2014) and is due out in May. But as Michael Smerconish tells the Washington Post, “My highest purpose is to entertain…a lot of it is fake.” Still, readers of the book about a fictional conservative talk host from Florida who finds himself in the thick of a hotly contested presidential race, will probably find a lot of what transpires culled from the reality of the talk radio business in which Michael Smerconish has dwelt during his career. Now working at SiriusXM after years on AM/FM radio, Smerconish ruffled some feathers when he left for satellite radio saying, in effect, he felt the requirement talk hosts on AM/FM be easily pigeonholed was holding him, and the industry, back. Previews of the book indicate that while this is fiction, Smerconish just may be taking a few shots at the facet of the industry he left behind as he tells his story.
Opinion: Hang On A Minute, Bill. Weighing in on the Bill O’Reilly’s recent “promotion” for Pandora, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian observes: “On the positive side, Bill O’Reilly last week let known his partisanship for one particular iconic American vocal group on his Fox News Channel television program. Conversely, terrestrial music radio programmers just might remember certain comments he made should O’Reilly ever look to them to plug his next book or project on that platform. In an approximately 45-second “Tip of the Day” segment, the “O’Reilly Factor” host gave a thumbs-up to Pandora over terrestrial radio. “Do you like music,” he queried. “I do [and] there are plenty of free ways to get it. The easiest way is to turn on the radio.” So far, so good. Then O’Reilly said, “The problem with the radio is that for every good song there are three bad songs. So, you can hear [good songs] like The Beach Boys‘ ‘Help Me Rhonda,’ [and] ‘Fun, Fun, Fun.’ [Those are] good songs, but then you’ll hear ‘Hang on Sloopy’ – painful.” Off-camera laughter was audible as O’Reilly winced at the thought of The McCoys‘ song. His advice was to have his audience “check out” Pandora.com’s free website. In amazement, he remarked about the logistics of typing “the song you like and you get the song played to you. Then, you get other songs similar to it [so] you are basically creating your own radio station. Let me know what you think.” After having mentioned Pandora by name three times in under one minute, O’Reilly insisted he “had no interest in that website at all.” His motive was to tell his audience because, “I like you.” Not to nitpick the host, but his mention of “Help Me Rhonda” and “Fun, Fun, Fun” sounded like one run-on title, especially since he said, “That is a good song.” Moreover, he was only able to cite one “painful” tune, compared to two good ones. Whether or not by coincidence, the three specific titles O’Reilly mentioned were from the mid-1960s. We wonder if he has heard of YouTube yet.
Plans Underway for Ron Ruth Memorial Benefit. The event celebrating the life of Ron Ruth will take place next month (Tuesday, 2/25) at the New York Friars Club and is being organized by the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) in conjunction with the Broadcasters Foundation. Actively arranging the festivities for their late broadcast colleague are The Friends of Ron Ruth Memorial Benefit Committee consisting of Erica Farber, Norm Feuer, George Hyde, Bill Moyes, Herb McCord, Jeff Smulyan, Jim Thompson, and Erle Younker. A portion of the proceeds from the $250 ticket price will be donated to the Ron Ruth Memorial Fund at the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Ruth was executive vice president of stations for the RAB for 19 years. He held sales manager positions for Unistar Radio Networks, as well as at the local level in markets such as New York (WOR-FM), Chicago (WNUS), Washington, DC (WGMS), and Buffalo (WYSL). Ruth left Unistar to join the Radio Advertising Bureau in 1992. Most recently, he was consulting the RAB. He died of a heart attack this past November 16 in Florida.
New York Festivals International Radio Competition Announces Call for Entries. Now through March 19, the New York Festivals is accepting entries for the 32nd annual “World’s Best Radio Programs” competition. This competition is unique in that entries are received from between 30 and 50 nations across the globe each year. Competition executive director Rose Anderson tells TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian that global scope is important, “One thing that is most important to us is that we make New York Festivals Radio Program Awards a destination for people all over the world who are creating radio that is interesting, innovative, and of very high quality.” Anderson adds that the grand jury members (judges) enjoy the high quality of radio they review. “They have consistently written comments that the quality of the entries is fantastic. People are entering material in drama, news, documentaries, talk, and music that continues to make new ways of telling stories. We have had entries from Radio Free Asia; from folks on the scene who described the riots in Cairo; and people from Romania who submitted amazing audio of drama.” With 130 headings, the scope of the competition is wide. To find out more about the New York Festivals Radio Program Awards, click here.
Cumulus ‘Big Game’ Party. The scene here is the Roseland Ballroom in New York City yesterday as Cumulus Media’s hot AC WPLJ; country WNSH “Nash FM 94.7,” and news/talk WABC come together to put on a ‘Big Game Party’ in honor of the NFL’s championship being decided in the nearby Met Life stadium in two weeks. Sunday’s event was hosted by Todd Pettengill of WPLJ. The venue was filled to capacity with over 3,000 guests enjoying a sports expo, playoff viewing party, station games, and food. Former New York Giants wide receiver and NBC Sports Radio Network personality Amani Toomer was on hand meeting the many loyal listeners! Pettengill states, “The first annual Cumulus Big Game Party was an absolute example of synergy. Three radio stations with different audiences, air staff’s, came together to make the perfect circle of success. I can’t wait for next January!” The evening concluded with a performance by Daughtry.
WCBS, New York Producer/Engineer Silva Dies. Radio producer and engineer Carlos Silva died at age 50 after a battle with stomach and esophageal cancer in Lutz, Florida on Sunday (1/19). Silva worked for CBS RADIO’s WCBS, New York where he produced New York Yankees broadcasts. He had also worked game broadcasts for ESPN Radio, the Orlando Magic, Philadelphia Phillies Spanish-language broadcasts, and the old New Jersey Nets.
Cool Job Opportunity. Syndication Specialist Needed – The Dave Ramsey Show, now the 3rd largest syndicated talk show in the nation with more than 530 affiliates, is in need of a Go-Getter willing to take on this growing demand. This person will work with our small- and mid-sized markets. Duties will consist of new market development as well as serving existing affiliates and building relationships. Our organization has been voted Best Place to Work in Nashville for six years in a row for a reason. If you think you have what it takes and are interested in working in an environment where you can learn and grow, we need to talk. Interested candidates apply at: http://www.daveramsey.com/company/view-all-jobs/
Cox Media Trims Two Positions at Hot Talk “102.5 The Bone” in Tampa. The Tampa Bay Times’ Eric Deggans reports the firing of two air personalities at Cox Media Group’s hot talk WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” – evening host Matt “Spice” Lloyd and early morning personality Chris Fisher. Fisher tells Deggans he wasn’t surprised by his dismissal saying he didn’t believe Cox was going to continue to pay him a full-time salary to host the 3:00 am to 5:00 am “The Fisher Experiment” program. “I knew overnights were just a placeholder until they could figure out what to do with me. It wasn’t about performance…I just realized this is part of the business.” As for Lloyd – a former member of WHPT-based Bubba the Love Sponge’s morning show – he Tweeted that his ratings were good (#1 in his demo and time slot) but that his contentious relationship with Bubba may have led to his departure. “Revenge is the best revenge…right Bubba? Just checking…” How much influence Bubba has over the station’s lineup is unknown. Regardless, there’s a hole in the station’s lineup from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on the WHPT website for now.
Rumors of the Biggest Radio Deal of the Year Wake Industry from End-of-Summer Doldrums. Numerous industry sources and trade journals are speculating that Cumulus Media is very close to announcing a deal to acquire Dial Global. The enticing story is further enhanced by rumors that the Dial Global programming could soon be heard under one of its previously-owned and utilized banners, Westwood One – the name to which Dial Global still has the rights after the high profile “merger” of the companies back in 2011 in which parent company Triton Media Group absorbed Westwood One into its Dial Global property – and that Cumulus Media plans to offset some of the cost of the acquisition by selling some of its small- and medium-market stations to Townsquare Media which has been in an acquisition mode. If consummated, Cumulus would have the sports play-by-play that’s been the bread and butter of the former Westwood One and would also obtain the Dial Global 24/7 music formats, some of which would be duplicative of its own music formats that came with the acquisition of the old ABC Radio Networks. This is not to mention, of course, the sales and programming staff that come with each. The big question on everyone’s mind is what does this all mean in terms of a master business strategy and how implementation of that strategy will influence jobs and the various players’ control over the marketplace? First of all, everything already published in the industry about this has been based on rumor and speculation with little clarified information being directly provided by the principals involved. That being acknowledged, should such a deal or set of deals come to fruition, it is highly likely that the answers to these questions will come as an afterthought…or certainly after the deals are consummated. As for now, the main impetus at work is the intense need on the part of both Cumulus and Dial Global to avoid or at least forestall the debt crisis facing each of them in a mutually advantageous way and, hopefully, make some sense out of the pieces after the new configuration resulting from such a deal fall into place. As far as Townsquare is concerned, if all of this is true, they are being intelligently opportunistic in their move to build a larger and more potent ownership of viable radio broadcasting outlets and are probably staying up late at night sharpening their pencils. Stay tuned!
HOLLAND COOKE: The Best of the West. Radio consultant Holland Cooke’s end-of-summer vacation to California provided him the chance to pocket some consultant “gold nuggets” in the form of in-market observations of some the best radio in the West. There’s a lot of good radio being done in the Golden State but Cooke offers up three examples that really stuck with him and that apply to practitioners of both talk and music formats. Take a few minutes to dig into HC’s thoughts about KGO’s Ronn Owens; CBS Radio’s “K-Earth” and baseball on the radio here.
Helen Glover Out at WHJJ, Providence; Ron St. Pierre to Take Over AM Drive. The Providence Journal’s Andy Smith reports that Clear Channel news/talker WHJJ, Providence has let morning host Helen Glover go and will replace her with Ron St. Pierre. Though the hiring of St. Pierre for the morning show has not been confirmed, Glover – a 2002 “Survivor” finalist – confirms to Smith she’s out, “I always knew this would happen one day, I just didn’t know it would be today.” Glover had been with WHJJ for almost eight years. Ron St. Pierre exited WPRO earlier this year. He had served as program director at WPRO for many years, hosted morning drive and was executive producer of the Buddy Cianci program at the time he left the Cumulus Media news/talk station.
Stan Piatt Announces Retirement from WNIR, Akron After 36 Years. Morning drive personality Stan Piatt will retire from Media Com’s WNIR, Akron at the end of July next year – or earlier depending on the success of the station’s search for a replacement. The Akron Beacon Journal reports that Piatt has a girlfriend working in Pittsburgh to whom he’d like to be closer and that he’s finally decided to leave for the Steel City. As for WNIR, program director Bill Klaus is beginning the hiring process for the next morning show host at one of the country’s first FM talk stations. He says, “We are seeking a morning drive personality or team with the skills to be fun, funny and engaging in a live ad-lib environment. Applicants should email a resume and aircheck to firstname.lastname@example.org. Media-Com is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon Fires at Texas Governor Rick Perry Via Ad on KTRS, St. Louis. Regarding the story TALKERS reported on Monday (8/26) about CH Holdings-owned news/talk outlet KTRS, St. Louis pulling the ads purchased by the state of Texas after it was discovered they were not promoting tourism but were touting reasons Missouri businesses should consider moving to Texas, there’s been a development. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon voiced his own spot that’s been airing on KTRS that counters many of the arguments Governor Rick Perry tries to make in support of Texas’ business-friendly atmosphere. According to a transcript published by KDSK-TV, St. Louis, Nixon states: “One: Missouri has lower property taxes than Texas. And lower sales taxes. Two: Our students score higher on standardized tests. Graduation rates are higher. Three: Missouri’s unemployment rate; below the national average for 4 years. And unlike Texas, Missouri has a perfect Triple-A credit rating…And as for the Governor of Texas, he’ll learn you don’t mess with folks here in the Show Me State.” Nixon says the money KTRS received for his spot makes up for what it lost by cancelling the Texas ad. KTRS morning drive host McGraw Milhaven tells TALKERS he will have Rick Perry on his program Thursday morning to discuss the issue.
SiriusXM and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo Extend Contract. Sports talk host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo extends his deal with SiriusXM for another three years. The extension means the Mad Dog Radio channel will continue through the end of 2016. In addition to the extension, Russo – who gained his fame as a sports talk host working alongside Mike Francesa on CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York – will also host a program on the MLB Network that will be simulcast on the MLB Network Radio channel on SiriusXM. In addition to programming the Mad Dog Radio channel, Russo hosts “Mad Dog Unleashed,” – a three-hour afternoon program. Russo states, “I’ve always loved the on-air freedom that comes with being on SiriusXM. I can do the kind of show here that I wouldn’t be able to do anywhere else and I’m fortunate to be able to continue to give my listeners my kind of sports talk radio each and every day on ‘Mad Dog Unleashed.’ I’ll also get to emphasize my passion for baseball with my new role on MLB Network Radio and MLB Network, where I’ll be talking to dyed-in-the-wool baseball fans like me throughout the year. This is a terrific opportunity that allows me to do what I do best, while also reaching new audiences.”
WestStar MultiMedia Entertainment Turns to Aguilera. In this case, we are referring to the parent company of “The Kim Komando Show” appointing Christine Aguilera chief operating officer of WME and president of WestStar Merchandising. As part of Aguilera’s duties in this brand new role, she will oversee network advertising and digital sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy, and communications.” Christine’s unparalleled marketing, advertising, direct response, and consumer experience make her a natural fit for our company’s future,” comments Kim Komando, who in addition to her high-profile, on-air capacity, is WestStar’s chairman/chief financial officer. Aguilera previously was president of SkyMall, where she spent 16 years. On the board of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Christine – not Christina Aguilera – mentioned in a Huffington Post interview that she frequently has to “explain” her name so she is not confused with the famous pop star, whose string of hits includes “I Turn to You,” “Beautiful,” “Genie in a Bottle,” What a Girl Wants, and “Feel This Moment.” Christine jokes, “That happens a lot.”
Erica Farber to Moderate “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” at Talkers Los Angeles 2013. In what promises to be a “don’t-miss” sequel to one of the highlights of the recent Talkers New York 2013 June convention, RAB president/CEO Erica Farber will follow-up her excellent performance as moderator of the panel discussion, “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” at the forthcoming Talkers Los Angeles 2013 on Thursday, October 10 in Hollywood, California. Only this time around, it will be with a new set of panelists and the focus will be on the local level of radio station and program operations. Scheduled to joining Farber on the panel are Terry Fahy, VP/GM, Salem Los Angeles; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO/president, WYD/WYM Media; Christopher Pendl, creative director, Bonneville Seattle; Paul Vandenburgh, president/GM/host, WGDJ, Albany, NY; and one more to be announced. The panel will take a sweeping overview of the issues facing radio sales today including concerns about commercial quality and clutter, selling in a PPM world, maximizing ratings-credit, the image of talk radio on the agency level and marketing across multi-media platforms, among others. The gathering is already closing in on being an advance sellout so it is advisable for media professionals interested in attending to register now. A sellout is expected by the end of this week. It is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and held at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone. So don’t wait – avoid being shut out. For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413.
NAB’s Valerie Schulte to Retire. National Association of Broadcasters announces the retirement of NAB general counsel Valerie Schulte, effective Friday. Schulte has served with the NAB since 1980 and, according to EVP of communications Dennis Wharton, “has worked on many of the most important issues before the FCC for free and local broadcasters – including children’s television regulations, the digital TV transition, digital radio issues, and legal issues related to satellite radio. The NAB family wishes Valerie nothing but the best in her retirement.”
Curtis Media Buys Greensboro Translator CP. Through Eastern Airwaves LLC, Curtis Media purchases the construction permit for FM translator W228CM in Greensboro, North Carolina. Curtis is buying the property for $125,000 from Wake Forest University. Bob Heyman of Media Services Group was the exclusive broker representing Curtis.
U.S. Weighs Syria Attack, March on Washington Anniversary, Fort Hood Verdict, Miley Cyrus MTV VMAs Performance, and Spokane Vet Beating Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/27). President Obama’s looming decision whether attack Syria; the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington; the verdict in the Fort Hood slayings; ongoing commentary about Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV VMAs on Sunday; and the aftermath of the beating death of a Spokane WWII veteran were some of the most talked about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Limbaugh-Cumulus Talk Radio Sales Issue Plays Out in Consumer Press. In a piece in the New York Daily News published over the weekend, the war of words over challenged sales of talk radio time at Cumulus Media properties (specifically WABC) became public as the paper quoted a “source close to Limbaugh” said, in effect, that Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey needs to stop blaming Rush Limbaugh for sales trouble at his news/talk stations. Dickey has made public statements – at both investor conference calls and in media appearances – about the negative effect of Rush Limbaugh’s February 2012 Sandra Fluke “slut” controversy that he says is still dragging down sales at his major market news/talk stations. As the Daily News story reports, Cumulus claimed that the high-profile controversy was responsible for lost millions in the first two quarters of 2012. But the story quotes the Limbaugh source stating, “Dickey keeps complaining about falling revenue, but his stations have long lagged behind their competitors in sales by a substantial margin. Rush Limbaugh’s ratings have outperformed every other program on WABC and many other Cumulus stations for years.” The piece notes that Cumulus is not commenting on this latest salvo. Limbaugh’s Premiere Networks contract with WABC, New York expires at the end of 2013 and with Clear Channel’s recent purchase of crosstown WOR, some industry watchers expect his program will move to WOR in 2014.
Michael Savage-TRN Actions Still in the Courts. The legal activity surrounding talk radio host Michael Savage’s successful bid to free himself from his Talk Radio Network contract last fall and subsequently sign on with Cumulus Media Networks is still in the courts. Michael Savage celebrated a Thursday, May 2 ruling in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in which Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers upheld the arbitration panel’s decision to release him from his contract and award him $863,454 plus other money from earnings. Responding to the ruling, Original Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters states, “We are appealing this ruling. We are confident of a successful outcome for OTRN in this next round of appeals.” Speaking to World Net Daily, Savage attorney Dan Horowitz says the case “establishes the ability of radio talent to break away from an employer like any other employee.”
Glenn Beck Delivers Keynote Address at NRA Convention. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio host and television and digital media entrepreneur Glenn Beck delivered the keynote address at this year’s NRA Convention held in Houston over the weekend. He’s pictured here during the speech holding a rifle given to him prior to an appearance in Kentucky. His 1 hour and 40 minute presentation was far more than a typical keynote delivered from behind a podium. Glenn Beck’s skills as a speaker and performer were clearly evident as he kept the audience rapt and engaged during what might have been an interminable amount of time to witness a lesser talented public speaker work. The politics of his message aside and from a purely industrial standpoint, his keynote at this event was a great example of how a top-notch communicator effectively delivers a message and shows why he stands above so many of his colleagues. See the speech here. Glenn Beck will also be speaking at the Talkers New York 2013 industry conference (although for a shorter period of time) on Thursday, June 6 where he will be receiving the 2013 Freedom of Speech Award.
Photograph Case Brings Legal Issues Home for Broadcasters. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says the legal issues surrounding the use of a photograph of a young man with Down Syndrome by Cox Media’s WHPT, Tampa on its website are numerous and serve as an excellent case from which broadcasters can learn. As we reported recently, the family of the young man – Adam Holland, who was 17 when the picture of him was taken in 2004 – is suing Cox Media in federal court in Tennessee for invasion of privacy, misappropriation of a likeness, defamation, intentional infliction of emotion distress and violation of a Tennessee statute regarding commercial exploitation of a person’s photograph. Weisman writes that photos such as the one of Adam Holland can become internet memes — images, videos, photographs or phrases that rapidly spread throughout the internet by way of search engines, social networking services, social news sites or video hosting services. Weisman states, “Often these memes may be altered for purposes of parody of the original work, a use that is protected in accordance with a long line of court decisions. However, other times there are serious intellectual property issues when an original work is used or adapted for commercial purposes as was the case with the use by WHPT. While the exception to the intellectual property laws of ‘fair use’ may apply when a piece is altered and used, as often is done on the internet, for non-commercial purposes, this defense does not apply when intellectual property is used for commercial purposes.” Read more of Weisman’s analysis of this case here.
Using Facebook to Turn News/Talk Radio Social Media Initiatives into a “Loyalty Content Marketing” Program: In a new article posted today (5/6), noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chis Miller advises readers, “You can turn your social media into a ‘loyalty content marketing’ program for those ultra-passionate fans you have.” Miller points out, “Unfortunately, just about all news/talk stations with a Facebook page have the same problem. There’s a lot of content posted about news. However, there is almost no content about what the talk shows are doing. I’m sure syndication is one reason for this; if the talk host is not in the building, how are you going to know what he or she is planning to talk about, and when? Even so, this is a problem with local talk hosts, too. I don’t see a lot of social media content about local shows. Those local talk host posts that I do see often don’t offer a lot of specifics. I’m not told when to listen; I’m not told why I would want to listen; I’m not invited to engage.” Miller shares a couple of basic but extremely valuable tips about how to use Facebook and Twitter more effectively for your news/talk station. To read the entire article, click here.
Holland Cooke Asks: Do Your Station Promos Sound ‘Like Blah, Blah, Blah?’ In a new article posted today (5/6) noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke tackles the ever-important goal of increasing Time Spent Listening (TSL). He says one of the keys to accomplishing this is to make effective use of station promos stating: “Nothing we say about the station on air adds listeners, because the only people who hear promos are already listening.” He says it is vital to think about your demos and specifically what they are doing and care about while listening when writing and producing promos. He addresses each of these considerations in the article, concluding, “Give a listen, outside the station and outside the box. Every time you hear your station say-something-about-itself – live format language, or produced promo — ask yourself: Will THAT cause a listener to come back again another time?” To read Holland Cooke’s entire column, click here.
Indiana Sports Broadcaster Greg Rakestraw to Program WFNI, Indianapolis. Emmis Communications announces Indiana sports broadcaster Greg Rakestraw is the new program director for its sports talk WFNI, Indianapolis “1070 The Fan.” The position opened up when Alan Furst left WFNI and sister news/talk WIBC-FM to join Radio One’s all-news KROI, Houston back in December. The company upped then-WFNI PD David Wood to programmer for WIBC, leaving the slot open. Rakestraw has worked at numerous Indianapolis stations including sports talkers WNDE and WXLW as well as at cable TV operation Home Town Sports Indiana.
WPRO, Providence Late-Morning Host John DePetro to Host Live Interview Series. WPRO, Providence talk show host John DePetro is hosting a live interview series at the newly re-opened Greenwich Odeum theater in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. On Wednesday, May 8, DePetro will host former Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri, Alex and Ani CEO Giovanni Feroce, and Father Bernie Healey, pastor of Our Lady of Mercy, who also serves as Chaplain of the Rhode Island Capitol Police. He’ll speak with each for 30 minutes before a live audience as part of a fundraiser for the theater as all proceeds will go to the Odeum. DePetro says he chose the three guests for their interesting background and ability to tell good stories. He also likes the chance to facilitate a discussion before a live audience, telling the Warwick Beacon, “All of these people are very, very well skilled in the art of being good conversationalists. I’m more of a mechanism to get them to tell their stories. It’s been really fun to put it together with the speakers. They’ve been very receptive.”
Mike Greenberg Survives “The Mess.” ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg proudly brandishes the trophy he was awarded for completing the “Mike & Mike the Mess” obstacle course at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World. Greenberg (second from left) is pictured here with his family – wife Stacy, son Stephen and daughter Nicole – after making good on his wager with co-host Mike Golic in the “Mike & Mike Sheets of Integrity Challenge Presented by Werner Ladder.” The annual challenge pits the two hosts against each other as they fill out their March Madness brackets prior to the annual college hoops tourney.
Jacobs Media Summer School 4 to Kick Off Conclave Learning Conference. The Conclave announces the high impact sessions for Jacobs Media’s Summer School 4 which kicks off the 38th annual Conclave Learning Conference on Wednesday, July 17. Executive director Bob Shannon states, “Conclave 38 begins with what has become a tradition, the fourth annual Jacobs Media Summer School. This year, as part of our commitment to provide ideas that folks can actually take back to work and use, we’ll learn how winners think, how great morning shows are built, and how non-media companies are using social media in ways radio has never thought of. And, that’s just the first day of this year’s Conclave. Stay tuned for more agenda announcements this week.” The Summer School curriculum will include: One-to-one with Jaye Albright; Talent Development; Mobile 2.0; Simply Social; Inside the Mind of Dave Hamilton; Jobs To Do and much more. Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs says, “We have a great lineup for this year’s Summer School, including the star power of Rockwell inductee Jaye Albright to the legendary Dave Hamilton. Plus, the social media guru from the Mall of America – Bridget Jewell – and Target stores – Joe Curry. And we’ll have great sessions including social media effectiveness, what’s new in mobile apps and the challenge of the ‘digital dash.’”
Grace Blazer Lands at Clear Channel Miami. Former WTKK, Boston program director Grace Blazer is the new PD at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WIOD and sports WINZ, Miami. She exited the Greater Media talk station when it flipped to rhythmic AC at the end of 2012. Prior to WTKK, Blazer programmed WPHT, Philadelphia. In a statement, Blazer says, “The depth of Clear Channel’s resources is phenomenal. Working for our industry’s leading media company and programming WIOD and WINZ is a superb opportunity. I’m excited to partner with Alex Tear, Lonny Anger and the talented staffs of ‘News Radio 610/100.3FM’ and 940’s ‘Sports Animal’ to grow these stations.” The programming position at WIOD and WINZ opened up when Ken Charles moved up to the VP of programming position at Clear Channel’s Sacramento cluster.
Hermain Cain Joins Fox News Channel as Contributor. Nationally syndicated talk show host Herman Cain becomes part of the Fox News Channel stable of contributors. Cain, who took over the late morning slot long held by talk radio pioneer Neal Boortz at Cox Media’s WSB, Atlanta and his national syndication distributed by Dial Global, will make regular appearances on FNC where EVP of programming Bill Shine says in a statement, “Cain’s impressive resume makes him a valuable addition to the Fox News and Fox Business lineup. As a political expert with business savvy, he brings an important voice to the nation’s debates.” In addition to his recent run for president, Cain also was CEO of the Godfather’s Pizza chain and held the CEO position at the National Restaurant Association.
NY Post Reports CBS Radio New York Weighing WFAN-AM/FM Options. The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick writes that the brass at CBS Radio in New York City is weighing its programming options for the sports talk tandem of WFAN-AM and FM as the company must be eager to get the fledgling CBS Sports Radio Network programming on in the largest market in the country. Currently, the full schedule of WFAN programming is heard on both signals but the need to get the new national network some Big Apple exposure is pressing. A statement from the company to the Post goes, “We have a number of great options and are closely examining each one.” At issue is the fact that WFAN-AM’s 660 signal is huge and the 101.9 FM signal is decent but nowhere near as far-reaching as 660 AM. Will the local sports talk remain on 660 AM and the national network appear on 101.9 FM? Will it be the other way around or a mixture of the two? As Mushnick hints, you can bet some of the WFAN stalwarts – including PM driver Mike Francesa and AM drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton – would like to stay on the huge 660 AM signal. CBS Radio is expected to make a decision within the next few months.
Dial Global to Cease SEC Reporting. The company cites, among other things, “the relatively limited historical volume of trading in the Company’s common stock and the applicable federal securities laws” as one of the reasons it will suspend its reporting obligations under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Dial Global’s board of directors determined that such action would be in the best interests of the company. It says, “In reaching this conclusion, the Company’s Board of Directors considered numerous factors including the compliance costs associated with filing periodic reports with the SEC and the diversion of management attention from other matters that result from being a reporting company.” Dial Global left the NASDAQ and its stock is traded on OTC Pink. It states, “There can be no assurance, however, that a trading market in the Company’s common stock through the over-the-counter market or any other market will be maintained.”
David Landau Gets Nice Severance from Dial Global. Technically it’s not a severance but regardless, former co-CEO of Dial Global David Landau will receive $600, 000 per annum for the next two years plus other unspecified benefits after the company decided to re-align its corporate management structure and make Spencer Brown sole CEO and former co-CEO Ken Williams president.
WPRO, Providence Lets Ron St. Pierre Go. In a move that appears to be about saving money, Ron St. Pierre exits his role as PM drive host Buddy Cianci’s sidekick/executive producer. GoLocalProv.com reports that this is the latest in a series of moves at the Cumulus Media station that began with the ouster of Andrew Gobiel from the WPRO morning show and the re-assignment of Tara Granahan from the AM show to other news duties. The station brought WJAR-TV anchor Gene Valicenti in to host the morning program. St. Pierre has served at WPRO as program director – the first time in 1988 – as general manager, and as host of the station’s morning show. Ron can be reached at email@example.com.
Good Writing Is at the Core of Digital Success. Writing for the internet is a very different art form than writing for the radio. Noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller says, “Good writing is at the heart of what we do online, and how we communicate with our fans. Don’t just do it for the art of it; do it because it can help stretch your few thousand Facebook fans into tens of millions of annual impressions. Do it because it will help get your tweets re-tweeted. We’re talking about building your numbers here!” Miller advises TALKERS readers to avoid three common mistakes in writing for the web: 1) over-selling; 2) being boring; and 3) social desperation. Read his entire piece here.
WINTER ADVICE: Be Sure to Install Deicers on your Antenna. It is not too late to do it or to be concerned. The failure to properly install deicers on your antenna to save a few bucks in the short term can not only interfere with the quality of your signal, it can put you off the air entirely, not to mention cause severe costly damage to your components and even create a major fire hazard. TALKERS technical editor and noted engineering consultant Tom Ray says, “While money is tight all over, the last thing you need is your transmitter and/or building to be a smoking hulk. Consult with someone qualified to guide you. Think of it like buying an insurance policy. You may not want to spend the cash, but it could save you a bundle in the long run. Read Tom Ray’s entire article here.
Trump-Maher Suit “Stretches Credulity.” TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes that the $5 million suit Donald Trump is filing against Bill Maher has no chance of success, little chance of getting a day in court and could incur sanctions against Trump and his attorney for filing a frivolous lawsuit. In case you missed it, Maher went on “The Tonight Show” in January and – based on the color of Trump’s hair – joked that he would donate $5 million to a charity of Trump’s choice if he would produce his birth certificate to show he is not the son of an orangutan. Read more of Weisman’s account about why this spat is still going on and upon what legal ground the complaint stands (or doesn’t as the case may be). It’s here.
XtreMEDIA Syndicated Host Dani Johnson Profiled in Forbes. The host of the weekly XtreMEDIA-syndicated Dani Johnson program was profiled on Forbes.com on Thursday and, according to XtreMEDIA CEO Kevin McCullough, the story went viral “with 15,700 shares on Facebook in a little more than a day. Heading into the weekend it was still the ‘Most Popular’ and ‘Most Read’ piece on Forbes.com.” McCullough tells TALKERS, “Her story as a broke homeless woman to becoming a multiple millionaire to even now helping others get out of debt, restore relationships, and expand their influence is a story that rocketed her from one affiliate station in January of 2012 to 95 stations and counting in January of 2013. Dani is the most important voice in all of American media – not just talk radio – that most of the nation still hasn’t heard from. Hundreds of thousands of lives changed for the better, only proves the point that she has something that real audiences are looking for… connection!” Read the Forbes story here.
Cumulus Wins First Round in Birmingham Non-Compete Case. A federal judge in Birmingham has ruled that sports talk WZNN “ESPN 97.3” program director Ryan Haney cannot work for the Cox Media station until more evidence is heard at a hearing scheduled for March 4. The Birmingham News reports Cumulus sought the prohibition after Haney – who had been with its crosstown competitor WJOX for the past 14 years – left the PD job there on January 21and began working at WZNN a week later. Cumulus claims Haney breached the six-month non-compete in his contract. Cumulus also states Haney could not work for a competitor during that time without giving Cumulus a chance to match the prospective employer’s offer. The animosity between the two sports talk stations did not begin with Haney’s case. In 2012, Cumulus and Birmingham sports talk personality Paul Finebaum engaged in a legal tussle over his employment situation but Finebaum eventually worked out his contract with WJOX and is sitting out a six-month non-compete after which it is widely assumed he’ll join WZNN. On a side note, Cox Media has put its Birmingham properties – including WZNN – up for sale.
Lew Dickey Tells Bloomberg “We’re Seeing a Shift in Spoken-Word Radio.” During an appearance on Bloomberg TV’s “In the Loop” program, Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey discussed his company’s plans involving marketing vertically based on the lifestyle appeal to consumers interested in certain types of entertainment. Although still bullish on Mike Huckabee and Geraldo Rivera, Dickey sounded much more behind sports than news/talk. “We’re seeing sort of a shift in spoken-word radio from political-based talk over to sports.” When asked why he stated, “I think people may be tired of all the partisan bickering so the ratings are a bit down in talk but they’re moving up nicely in sports.” Dickey said the reason sports is so popular among advertisers is because advertisers follow the audience and sports is popular right now.
Question of the Day: Why Do Radio Stations Still Announce School Closings? As the big Blizzard of ’13 begins to rumble across the Northeast (2/8), TALKERS monitors have been hearing morning shows across the region reading the perfunctory long lists of school closings within their listening areas. While there is no doubt that localism is proving to be a valuable asset to radio – especially when the medium rises to the occasion of serving the public interest during natural disasters and weather events – we have to shake our heads and wonder why so much valuable airtime is spent on reading these seemingly endless lists. Is it a matter of serving the public or just trying to sound like you’re doing so? It is a well-known (to parents and students alike) fact that most school districts in America post their snow status on their websites as soon as the information is available. If stations want in on that action they can list all the closings on their websites as well and announce that availability on the air. Considering that most, if not all, schools in a region close for blizzards, it would make a lot more sense to only announce those schools that might be choosing to remain open. Programmers might think that announcing school closings on the air over long chunks of time makes the station sound local and in touch – but in truth, it makes the station boring and seem out of touch.
Cumulus Birmingham Imports Sports Talk Duo from KTCK, Dallas. In a story related to the one above, Cumulus sports talker WJOX, Birmingham is bringing the duo of Matt McClearin and Scot Harrison from its Dallas sports outlet KTCK “The Ticket” in to take over the midday slot. The position opened up after Paul Finebaum exited the PM drive show at the end of his contract and the station moved “The Jox Roundtable” with Lance Taylor, Ryan Brown and Jim Dunaway to the PM drive position. McClearin and Harrison hosted a weekend program at KTCK.
TALKERS Spotlight: The Talk Radio Watchdogs. There was a time in the early days of the modern talk radio era when most markets could lay claim to at least one talk show host considered to be the local “watchdog.” He or she was feared by the power brokers in city hall and had a reputation for having the backs of the regular folks. They are not as prevalent in the format as they once were but they are still out there. Does the industry still value this breed of talk host? Does the public still want to listen to them? Do their station managers support them? TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian speaks with some of today’s “watchdogs” to get answers to these and other questions about their craft. Read his story here.
CBS Radio’s WHFS, Tampa Makes Lineup Changes. The new FM sports talk station CBS Radio put on the air in Tampa in August undergoes some changes. “Sportsradio 98.7 The Fan” cuts the morning show with Kirk McEwen and Chris Dingman to three hours and shifts Gary Shelton and Justin “The Commish” Pawlowski to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. The PM drive show with Rich Herrera and Anthony “Booger” McFarland moves to 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome slides into the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Evening host Todd Wright exits the station and The Fabulous Sports Babe moves from overnights to the evening show. CBS Sports Radio Networks’ Scott Ferrall and Damon Amendolara round out the late night and overnight shifts, respectively.
TuneIn Adds Four Pubcasters to its Offerings. Digital content aggregator TuneIn announces it has agreed to strategic alliances with major public broadcasters KQED, San Francisco; KCRW, Santa Monica; KEXP, Seattle; and American Public Media, which includes Southern California Public Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, Classical South Florida and nationally distributed programs. TuneIn VP of programming Kevin Straley states, “KQED, American Public Media, KCRW and KEXP have a rich history of offering listeners engaging, cutting-edge programming while supporting the radio community. Our goal at TuneIn is to bring the best programming from around the world to everyone, for free, wherever they are, and partnering with these respected public broadcasters brings us one step closer to that goal.” TuneIn also just unveiled a new website design featuring a new content-first display with large album cover photos and trending stations.
Odds & Sods. Tribune’s WGN, Chicago resumes its “Chicago Blackhawks Live” promotional series on February 18 at the city’s Old Town Pour House. The promotion is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the 2012-2013 season featuring current Blackhawks players, legends, and front office executives with “WGN Sports Night” hosts David Kaplan, Brian Noonan, and Andrea Darlas. WGN began hosting these events during the 2011-2012 season and sold them out in record time…..SiriusXM announces legendary recording artist Tony Bennett will sit down for an intimate Q&A session with an audience of SiriusXM listeners, moderated by Alec Baldwin, at the SiriusXM studios in New York City as part of its “Town Hall” series. It’ll take place on Wednesday, February 13, and will air on Valentine’s Day, Thursday, February 14, on the Siriusly Sinatra channel and on the SiriusXM Stars channel…..Clear Channel announces that Houston Astros play-by-play will shift from news/talk KTRH to its sports talk KBME “Sportstalk 790” beginning this season…..In another baseball note, Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati re-ups with the MLB’s Reds through the 2017 season…..The Boston Red Sox and the Jimmy Fund – which benefits Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – are celebrating their 60th year working together to raise funds for cancer research and treatment. Part of that celebrating will include the 12th annual Red Sox Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon on Entercom’s WEEI and New England Sports Network on August 27 and 28. The event, which started in 2002, has raised more than $31 million for research, treatment, and care at Dana-Farber.
KYW, Philadelphia Awards Scholarship. CBS Radio’s KYW Newsradio awards the Richard Monetti Scholarship to local high school student Kimberly Coterwas (second from right) – one of the 86 students to graduate from KYW Newsradio 2012 Fall Newstudies program. She receives a $2,000 scholarship. The award was announced at the Newstudies Graduation ceremony on January 31. The Richard Monetti Scholarship is awarded every year to the Newstudies student who demonstrates the most potential and enthusiasm throughout the six-week student reporter program. The scholarship is named for Richard Monetti, a 1986 Newstudies graduate who was killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. Additionally, 11 other students who participated in the Newstudies program received awards. CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “KYW Newsradio is proud to continue the tradition of introducing high school students to the broadcast industry. It’s also nice to be able to award those that did exceptionally well, and keep the memory of a former Newstudies graduate alive.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Radio America’s Peter Schiff program picks up new affiliates for the program including: KPAM, Portland; WGUF, Ft. Myers, Florida; WEZS, Concord, New Hampshire; KFAR, Fairbanks, Alaska; and WTIM, Taylorville, Illinois….. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the program schedule at WTBF, Troy, Alabama. Also, existing affiliate combo WGVA, Geneva and WAUB, Auburn in the Finger Lakes region of New York adds Free Talk Live’s live Sunday show.
Sequester Cuts and Tax Hikes Issue Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 4-8. The debate in Washington over the coming sequester budget cuts and more tax increases was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, earning it the top spot on the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was immigration reform. At #3 was the costs of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and at #4 was gun legislation proposals. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America based on ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Greater Media’s Sports Talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia Tweaks Daily Lineup. The Philadelphia sports talker promotes two from their Saturday program to a daily midday show. Jon Marks and Sean Brace began holding down the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot on Monday. Marks most recently co-hosted with Tony Bruno and Brian Baldinger, weekdays 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm respectively. Sean Brace (as Jon did before him) also produced the Mike Missanelli show for the past year. As a result of the move, Brian Baldinger moves to the evening show where he co-hosts with Joe DeCamera for the 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm program. Program director Matt Nahigian says, “Jon Marks’ and Sean Brace’s on-air chemistry has been on display every Saturday morning for the past two years. The two young and up-and-coming sports talk hosts have created a fun and irreverent show that the Fanatic Philadelphia fans enjoy.”
More Legal Tussles Between Cumulus and Cox Media in Birmingham. Sports talk outlets WJOX and WZNN in Birmingham are at it again it court, this time over programmer Ryan Haney’s move from WJOX to WZNN. At issue is the non-compete clause in Haney’s contract. The Birmingham News reports that Citadel (Cumulus) is arguing Haney is in breach of his contract with the company by leaving to work for direct competitor WZNN “ESPN 97.3 The Zone.” Further, Citadel wants a temporary restraining order against Haney to prevent him from working while the case works its way through the system. Citadel also wants the court proceedings blacked out to the media because in arguing its case it will have to disclose confidential and proprietary business information. A judge is set to hear arguments this morning (2/5). Haney’s non-compete was for the period of one year after exiting WJOX which he did in early January. Haney had been with WJOX since 2004.
Your Radio Station is Vulnerable to Identity Theft. We all are aware of the dangers of identity theft and many of us do our best to protect ourselves individually from the dire consequences of having our identities stolen. But what about your radio station? Does it even know that there is a problem? Recently we have learned that both The New York Times and the Washington Post had their computers breached by Chinese hackers and this was not the first time. The hacking into The New York Times and the Washington Post do not appear to be financially motivated, but that is of little solace. Why would an identity thief hack into the computers of your radio station rather than attack the computers of big corporations such as Bank of America? Well, the answer is that they are attacking the computers of the big corporations, but they also are looking toward the computers of small corporations as the low hanging fruit of computer hacking. Radio stations make enticing targets. Hacking into the computers of radio stations and other small corporations that may not be in the Fortune 500 not only can provide information that can be stolen to access your radio station’s bank accounts, but it can also provide personal information about employees (some of whom are famous and even controversial), such as Social Security numbers as well as billing and payment information about your advertisers and other companies with which you do business that can be used to make all of these people and entities victims of identity theft. This is happening to small businesses every day. One of the reasons that it is happening is that not enough businesses, small and large, but particularly small, are doing enough to safeguard the security of the data in their computers. According to TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman the problem is not as bad as you think. It is far worse. Read his important article addressing the problem and offering solutions here.
Programming Pro Alan Eisenson Joins Media Management Group as EVP of Business Development. Talk radio programmer Alan Eisenson most recently was in charge of programming Clear Channel’s Northern California news/talk stations: heritage KFBK-AM/FM and KSTE, Sacramento as well as KKSF and KNEW, San Francisco. Now he joins New York-based Media Management Group as executive vice president of business development. The firm states, “In his new capacity Eisenson will enable MMG to expand its range of services, including performance and tactical support, and maximizing client audience growth across all media and technology platforms.” MMG president and CEO Jeff Schwartz states, “I have known Alan for over 12 years, since he was program director at WEVD here in NYC. He is one of the most talented programmers and talent managers in the business and will enable us to offer additional value to our current and prospective clients.”
CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan” Promotes Two. Late night sports talk host Chris Mueller is upped to the afternoon drive slot as part of the program hosted by Joe Starkey and Josh Miller weekdays from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Mueller is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. He has been with “The Fan” since its February 2010 debut. About Chris Mueller, program director Ryan Maguire says, “In Chris, we feel we have a dynamic personality who really had great chemistry with Joe Starkey and Josh Miller. That speaks volumes because we had some very talented candidates that we were looking at for this position. He earned this, and we’re excited at what lies ahead.” Moving into the late night slot is weekender Colin Dunlap, who was most recently hosting the 8:00 am to 11:00 am weekend program. Dunlap is a former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports writer. In addition to his on-air duties at “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan,” Dunlap will also serve as the featured sports columnist for 937thefan.com.
How to Pump Up Your Weekend “How-To” Show – Part 2. Talk radio consultant Holland Cooke says, “Few marketing opportunities can generate more new business than local ‘how-to’ weekend talk radio…if you use it properly.” In this follow-up to yesterday’s piece, Cooke offers four basic tips to maximizing the productivity and quality of these shows: 1) Stay relentlessly on topic; 2) Keep your information in layman’s language; 3) Don’t say “goodbye” at the end of the show; 4) Listen to the show yourself, after some time has gone by so you hear it more objectively. Read Holland Cooke’s suggestions for producing quality weekend “how-to” programs here.
Austin Hill and Brian Wiley Join KINF-AM/FM, Boise. Impact Radio Group news/talk KINF-AM/FM, Boise brings talk pro Austin Hill aboard for the morning drive program beginning Monday, February 11. Also being added to the program schedule is Brian Wiley who will bring his “Money Show with Brian Wiley” to the station for the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot. Both Hill and Wiley previously worked at Peak Broadcasting’s crosstown KIDO. Austin Hill’s weekend syndicated show “Austin Hill’s Big World of Small Business” airs on Saturdays on KINF.
Obama Gun Legislation Tour, Obama Cabinet Nominees, Super Bowl XLVII, Immigration Reform, and Death of Ed Koch Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4). President Obama’s tour of the country to promote his gun legislation; cabinet nominations for President Obama’s second term; the aftermath of Super Bowl XLVII; the debate over immigration reform legislation; and the death of former NYC Mayor Ed Koch were among the top news/talk stories discussed on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Longtime KSFO and KGO, San Francisco Personality Lee Rodgers Dies. San Francisco talk radio host Lee Rodgers – who spent the last part of his career on the radio in the market co-hosting morning drive with Melanie Morgan on KSFO – died on Thursday while being operated on for a heart condition. Rodgers had been dealing with heart ailments for some time and Thursday’s surgery was, according to a blog post by his widow Susan, risky but something Rodgers was willing to undergo. Rodgers and Morgan were ousted from their KSFO morning show position in February of 2010.
Former Talk Host Ed Koch Dies at 88. Ed Koch was known to most as a former U.S. Representative and the former mayor of New York City but he was also a progressive talk radio host after his days in New York City Hall. He worked at WABC, New York in the middays in the mid-1990s. He was respected by conservatives and liberals alike and often referred to as the “sane liberal” by conservatives. In recent years, Koch also hosted a Friday evening program on Bloomberg Radio’s WBBR, New York.
Cumulus Names Ron Escarsega OM for KGO and KSFO, San Francisco. Moving up from Cumulus Media’s Los Angeles cluster where he served as assistant program director for news/talk KABC, Ron Escarsega takes the position of operations manager for news KGO and news/talk KSFO. Cumulus news/talk/sports corporate programmer Jim Mahanay states, “Ron has done a great job for us in Los Angeles. We’re excited at the skills he brings north to the Bay Area.” Escarsega says, “I’m excited for the new challenge to work with two iconic stations KGO and KSFO. I appreciate the confidence Cumulus has shown in me and look forward to the new challenge.” KGO and KSFO program director Paul Hosley exits the company.
Date Set for TALKERS New York City Conference. Save the date! The 16th annual TALKERS Conference is set for New York City on Thursday, June 6, 2013. Formerly called “The New Media Seminar” the event – now simply titled TALKERS New York 2013 – will again take place at the comfortable and modern Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side. It will be a power-packed full day of special addresses, panels, presentations, and social networking opportunities tackling the key issues facing talk radio and its relationship with the new talk media (internet, satellite, cable TV) as well as the general radio industry including music radio and the changing role of the disc jockey. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This will be a TALKERS conference for the new era. Our presentation this year will be so fresh and vital to the survival and ‘thrival’ of the business that we actually are moving beyond the title ‘New Media Seminar.’ It is not to be missed.” Stand by for full registration, sponsorship and unfolding agenda details posted here before the end of the week. Registrations will not go on sale until next Monday, February 4 after which, due to limited space and seating, it is expected to be a rapid sellout. Registration will be limited to members of the working media only.
Geraldo Rivera Contemplating U.S. Senate Run in 2014. Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York-based midday talk personality Geraldo Rivera said on his radio program on Thursday that he’s considering a run for the U.S. Senate in 2014. He told listeners, “I mention this only briefly – fasten – I am and have been in touch with some people in the Republican Party in New Jersey. I am truly contemplating running for Senate against Frank Lautenberg or Cory Booker in New Jersey.” The Christian Science Monitor examines Rivera’s chances here. Though New Jersey is a fairly blue state, whether this is Rivera musing out loud or he’s serious about this will become clearer over time. He wouldn’t be the first to turn a talk radio gig into a U.S. Senate seat. Al Franken did it in Minnesota.
Salem Radio Network Teams with USCCA for Second Amendment Protection Petition. The petition – which obtained its 60,000th signature during Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher show on Thursday (1/31) – is a combined effort of the United States Concealed Carry Association and Salem Radio Networks. The petition is intended to be delivered to Congress to request that the Second Amendment be honored as Washington works on gun legislation in the wake of the Newtown massacre.
Cox Media’s WDBO, Orlando Produces Student-Led Gun Legislation Debate. The event took place yesterday evening on the University of Central Florida campus where pre-law students in the Moot Court program debated the issue before a live audience and live on WDBO. The debate was moderated by midday personality Mel Robbins. Station program director Drew Anderssen stated, “Student safety is at the core of the gun control debate in Washington. The politicians have spoken. Our talk hosts have spoken. But, we haven’t heard a long-form discussion on the issue from students. Thanks to the UCF Moot Court Team, we’re able to present our auditorium and radio audiences with a truly bi-partisan discussion on an issue that will shape our nation’s future from people who represent our nation’s future.”
Talk Host Tom Donahue Returns to Terrestrial Radio on KCAA, San Bernardino. Talk radio pro Tom Donahue – who’s been producing his own talk show in various digital formats recently – is taking to the airwaves of Southern California on Broadcasting Management Services’ KCAA, Loma Linda (San Bernardino market) for a weekly Friday program airing at 6:00 pm. Donahue’s program remains part of the internet Talk Superstation lineup. He says he plans to grow his station affiliate base and eventually expand beyond his new weekly endeavor.
Odds & Sods. KDWN, Las Vegas morning drive host Alan Stock sits in for Rusty Humphries on his Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated show this afternoon (2/1)…..WTOP, Washington, DC reporter Neil Augenstein came to the rescue of a Virginia man whose car had been pulled down the road and into a ditch by flood waters early Thursday morning. Augenstein came upon the van while driving in the early morning hours. He was able to confirm that man was okay and phoned authorities to send a rescue crew…..Premiere Networks “Coast to Coast AM” star George Noory is profiled in St. Louis Magazine. Noory splits his time between St. Louis and Los Angeles and in the piece speaks about his journey from news broadcasting to radio and how it influences the show today plus more…..SirusXM launches a new Martha Stewart program called, “Martha Live.” This program debuts February 19 and will be a daily, two-hour live program airing from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm ET and will feature segments including “Ask Martha,” with live call-ins; “Mostly Martha,” with high-profile guest interviews and discussions; segments hosted by Martha’s favorite experts; as well as curated segments from Martha’s vast archives of radio and television.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds WGSO, New Orleans; WLNI, Lynchburg, Virginia; and WGAW, Gardner, Massachusetts to its roster of affiliates…..WREC, Memphis adds the Dave Ramsey program to its lineup…..“Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford” picks up its 75th affiliate station with the addition of WTYS, Marianna, Florida. Lipford also produces a companion syndicated television program of the same name…..Chris Markowski’s “Money Minutes” feature is added to the Salem Tampa stations.
Immigration Reform Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of January 28. The Obama Administration’s proposal for immigration reform was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of January 28 – February 1. Coming in at #2 was the report of the shrinking GDP in the U.S. tied with the Obama Administration’s shutting down of the bi-partisan jobs council. At #3 was the Chuck Hagel confirmation hearing followed by Gabrielle Giffords’ gun legislation testimony at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research form TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s chart here.
Conservative Talk Host Steve Malzberg Begins New Project with Newsmax. Longtime New York City conservative talk host Steve Malzberg – he’s worked at WABC and WOR – is joining the talk media initiative of Newsmax, the Florida-based conservative news and opinion outlet. Malzberg is doing an afternoon drive program (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET) that will air online in both audio and video formats and for which Newsmax will seek terrestrial radio affiliates. Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy states, “When I first heard Steve Malzberg on WABC he was an innovator in bridging radio content with other media. He developed that talent further at WOR with ratings success and I think he will bring the same type of innovation and success to Newsmax TV.” The program will emanate from Newsmax’s New York City offices and begin on February 4.
Schnitt Versus Bubba: Day 4. The defamation case Compass Media Networks talk show host Todd Schnitt filed against Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) was back in session Tuesday after a break for the Monday holiday. Plaintiff Schnitt took the stand (as did Bubba producer Brent Hatley) and told the jury how his life and career changed after Bubba returned to the air in Tampa in 2008 and the morning show battle began. In order to win the case, Schnitt must convince the jury that he suffered damages and that’s what he tried to do on the stand yesterday as he painted a picture of feeling harassed both via email and telephone and in person through physical confrontations with the “Bubba Army” as Todd Clem’s radio fans are called. WTSP, Tampa reports that when asked if his reputation had been harmed, Schnitt replied, “Yeah, I consider myself, still, a broadcaster in good standing. But um… not as good as it used to be.” That Schnitt and his wife were affected by the battle being waged by Bubba is pretty clear. The goal for Schnitt’s attorney is to get the jury to believe that Bubba the Love Sponge was responsible for their pain and suffering.
WTOP’s Jim Farley to Retire. He’s not going anywhere right away but WTOP, Washington vice president of news and programming Jim Farley announces he’ll work full time through 2013 and step down into a consultant role with Hubbard and WTOP after that. In his official announcement, he says he’ll remain dedicated to the brand. “I bleed WTOP blood and am deeply invested in our continued success. I plan to stay involved until I start to drool conspicuously. I’ll be a proactive resource for Joel Oxley, Laurie Cantillo, WTOP, and Hubbard, and I will visit often. I have so many good friends in this building and spent the best part of my long career here. On to the next chapter, but not until 2014.”
Sports Talk Host Paul Finebaum Begins Sitting Out a 90-Day Non-Compete. Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum has exited Cumulus’ WJOX, Birmingham and, according to the Birmingham Business Journal, his representatives say he will not entertain any media offers until the 90-day window has closed. Finebaum had been in a legal battle with Cumulus earlier this year but after numerous back-and-forths in court ended up working to the end of his deal with the company. That deal ended Monday. The smart money is on Finebaum landing at Cox Media’s crosstown WZNN but Finebaum’s camp is saying nothing until the 90-day period is over. (WZNN is one of a number of signals that Cox Media has put up for sale.) The paper also reports that Cumulus does have the right to match any offer Finebaum receives within the 90-day period but after that, Finebaum’s a free agent.
CBS Radio to Flip WNEW-AM, Washington to Sports Talk. For four months, CBS Radio aired “1580 Gov.Biz Radio” on WNEW-AM, Morningside, Maryland in the Washington, DC metro in hopes of competing with Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFED “Federal News Radio.” Now TALKERS learns that CBS will flip the AM signal to sports talk using the national programming from CBS Sports Radio Network. The station will also apply for the WJFK-AM call letters to match up with sister DC sports talker WJFK-FM.
Clear Channel Gives WLW, Cincinnati an FM Presence. It’s not a big presence – 99 watts on the translator W233BG at 94.5 – but according to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter, the signal reaches most potential listeners within the market’s I-275 loop. Clear Channel bought the translator from Northern Kentucky University and then moved the city of license from Port Union, Ohio to Cincinnati. Kiesewetter reports there’s been no comment from Clear Channel about why the need for an FM presence for “The Big One,” but speculates getting the market dominating talk station on FM where more people are listening is what local management wants in the long run. Another thing to consider is smart phones with radio receivers get FM, not AM.
KHRO, El Paso Talk Host Hector H. Lopez to run for Mayor. KHRO, El Paso afternoon drive host Hector H. Lopez has filed papers to run for mayor of El Paso. The election is May 11 and at this time there’s no indication when Lopez will step down from his radio show.
The VP Meets the Governor. New Townsquare Media regional vice president Greg Janoff (second from right) meets New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (second from left) on Tuesday, January 22 before he goes on the air on WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” for his monthly “Ask the Governor” program. Pictured here with the governor and Janoff are “Ask the Governor” host Eric Scott (right) and New Jersey 101.5 brand manager Eric Johnson (left).
Obama’s Second Term Agenda, Israel Parliamentary Election, Benghazi Attack Testimony, and Gallup American Optimism Poll Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/22). The agenda for President Obama’s second term as outlined in his Inauguration speech; the parliamentary elections in Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu’s likelihood to remain as prime minister; the pending testimony from Hillary Clinton on the Benghazi attack; and the Gallup poll that concludes American optimism is at its lowest point since the Carter Administration were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
America’s Radio News Network Delivers Inauguration Coverage. Anchored by ARNN’s Rachel Sutherland, the network will provide coverage of the Inauguration Day activities. In addition to live reports throughout the morning, ARNN will cover: The oath of office for President Barack Obama, administered by Chief Justice of the United States, John G. Roberts, Jr.; The oath of office for Vice President Joseph Biden, administered by Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor; musical artists James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson, and Beyoncé. James Taylor will sing “America the Beautiful,” Kelly Clarkson will perform “My Country Tis of Thee,” and Beyoncé will sing the National Anthem; the presidential inaugural parade, which includes members from all branches of the armed forces of the United States.
WRKO, Boston Broadcasts from Inauguration Day in Washington, DC. You’d expect to see a lot more conservative stations broadcasting from Washington, DC today if Mitt Romney had beaten Barack Obama but still, some are covering it as the news event that it is and WRKO, Boston AM drive host Jeff Kuhner is originating his show from the Nation’s Capital this morning. Special guest commentary will include Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky at 7:15 am and conservative commentator Pat Buchanan at 8:30 am. In addition to Kuhner’s morning program, the station will broadcast coverage of the Inauguration from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon.
Herman Cain’s Nationally Syndicated Program Begins Today. The succession of Herman Cain into the daily syndication slot held by Neal Boortz for so many years happens today with the Dial Global program debuting on some 80 affiliate stations. It airs live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. Cain, who hosted a nightly program in Cox Media’s WSB, Atlanta before taking a leave from radio in order to run for president, says of his new show, “Buckle your seat belts, because we are in full-blast mode. I’m excited and inspired to be a voice against ignorance and stupidity. This is a year when Americans are confused and worried about how government will impact them personally — with taxes, with health care changes, with their jobs, and the economy. I want to use my life experience to inform them, and to prepare them.” Dial Global SVP and general manager of news and talk Amy Bolton says of Cain, “A true American success story, Herman Cain came from humble beginnings, had a vision, worked hard and became a successful businessman, presidential candidate and now talk radio phenomenon. Known for his no-nonsense style and ability to connect with everyday Americans, Herman Cain promises to deliver great radio. Dial Global is thrilled to partner with Cox Media Group and Herman as we launch the next talk radio star.”
Beasley’s WQAM, Miami Suspends Dan Sileo for Twitter Comments. Sports talk host Dan Sileo’s attack on Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews has earned him a two-day suspension from his midday sports talk show today and tomorrow. The incident started when Sileo criticized the sports media for not covering the Manti Te’o story the way he felt it should have been covered and singled out Erin Andrews. After Andrews Tweeted back she’d never covered a Notre Dame game, Sileo again Tweeted, “Love Erin Andrews either naked or in a porn. Not at a sports desk.” He apologized for that remark. Management at WQAM is not commenting other than to confirm that Sileo will be out for two days.
Based on How People Consume Audio Content, Radio Sorts into Two Categories: Live and Archived. According to radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke, it is important for programmers to be cognizant of the two basic “piles” that radio falls into when it comes to how it is utilized by listeners. They are basically determined by the content’s time-sensitivity. In an exclusive article, Cooke outlines the major programming elements that fall into each of these categories and offers tips on how to best position them. To read Cooke’s piece click here.
Schnitt vs Bubba: Day Three. On the third day of testimony in the defamation suit talk show host Todd Schnitt has filed against Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem), much of the testimony revolved around that of Florida State Attorney Mark Ober. He’s the state’s attorney who prosecuted Bubba the Love Sponge after his ill-fated wild boar slaying back in 2001. The Tampa Bay Times reports Bubba had contended that Todd Schnitt’s wife Michelle, an assistant state’s attorney had conspired with Ober to bring the charges against him. Ober denied there was any conspiracy between him and the Schnitts to prosecute in that case and said that Michelle Schnitt was fresh out of law school and not working on felony prosecutions at that time.
WGN, Chicago’s Parent Tribune Company Has New CEO. Former Discovery Communications COO Peter Ligouri has been named the CEO of Tribune Company by the board of directors. Ligouri takes over the media company that has suffered through a long and tumultuous bankruptcy. But for those at news/talk WGN, Chicago – the company’s only radio property – the fear of being sold can be put on the back burner…for now. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Ligouri says he’s not “going into this job with a fire-sale sign.” There has been speculation that there is interest in selling off the newspaper business and just focusing on television. But Ligouri tells the Times that, though he can’t rule out that the new owners would want to sell the newspapers, the company has “unparalleled media assets, iconic brands in major markets and very talented, creative employees.” As for the company’s Chicago properties including WGN radio, Ligouri states, “When you look at Chicago, a great radio asset in WGN radio, a great local TV station in WGN and an iconic newspaper … you know that you have great penetration in that city. I think the opportunity is being outward focused and saying if so many of these people are coming to Tribune properties over the course of their daily lives, what can we do for them that will keep them informed and keep them with us? Servicing the user will create a natural flow from platform to platform.”
Salem Communications Re-Brands WIND, Chicago as “AM 560 The Answer.” The Chicago news/talk outlet WIND is being re-branded by owner Salem Communications as “AM 560 The Answer” a branding that the company’s stations in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Columbus also carry. Salem vice president and director of spoken word formats Phil Boyce created the brand for WNYM, New York and is installing it in markets where it seems to fit. He says WIND will still continue to reflect its Chicago personality. “There is a unique attitude and spirit in Chicago, and we will capture it with the promos, liners, and on-air imaging.”
Southern California Public Radio Employees Vote to Join SAG-AFTRA. The almost 70 staffers at Southern California Public Radio – reporters, anchors, producers, and program hosts – have voted to join SAG-AFTRA, according to the Los Angeles Times. SCPR is a nonprofit organization that is part of American Public Media and operates KPCC, Los Angeles; KUOR, Redlands; and KVLA, Coachella. SAG-AFTRA issued the following statement: “We’re pleased and excited with the results of the union election at KPCC. We are looking forward to working with the new SAG-AFTRA bargaining unit in partnership with KPCC management to negotiate a first contract.”
Stephanie Miller and the Veep. WYD Media nationally syndicated progressive talk host Stephanie Miller (second from left) is pictured here with Vice President Joe Biden at the 2013 Green Inaugural Ball honoring President Barack Obama held yesterday evening at the Newseum in Washington, DC. Here with Miller and Biden are “West Wing” actress Melissa Fitzgerald (left) and the Green Ball’s Shelley Cohen (r).
Randy Michaels Speaks About Tribune Company in Newspaper Piece. Sam Zell declined to be interviewed for a four-part series in the Chicago Tribune about the parent company’s financial and legal odyssey but former Tribune CEO and radio executive Randy Michaels did contribute to the story. The piece charges that both Zell and Michaels never really understood the business (newspaper) or the culture of the place they were trying to save. But Michaels tells the Tribune he believed he had to get the newspaper’s staff to move quickly adapting to the digital age or it would be too late. Michaels says, “I cared a lot about that company, and while I recognize that there’s plenty that people might disagree with, I worked hard to keep those brands relevant in a changing world. We thought that by knocking down some of the walls, by bringing in a looser culture and getting rid of all the bureaucracy, that we had a chance to outperform. I thought it was my role to challenge everything.” The piece cites the reluctance among the Tribune staffers to accept the forced change in culture and highlights some of the resentment felt when Michaels’ former radio colleagues were brought into executive positions.
Programmer Kevin Metheny Named WJR, Detroit PD. Programming pro Kevin Metheny is the new program director at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR, Detroit. Metheny had been interim program director at Clear Channel’s country KMNB, Minneapolis “Buz’n 102.9” after leaving WGN, Chicago in November of 2010. Prior to his stint at WGN, Metheny was operations manager a Clear Channel’s Cleveland cluster. Metheny states, “I’ve long admired WJR from 90 miles across Lake Erie where I put 760 on a button the day I landed in Cleveland. ‘The Great Voice of The Great Lakes’ is a gold standard collection of impossible-to-duplicate treasures and I’m thrilled to join the Cumulus team.” Cumulus news/talk/sports corporate programmer Jim Mahanay adds, “Kevin brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the spoken-word format to the legendary WJR. We are excited to have him on the team!”
Talk Radio Network Unveils Seven New Weekend Programs. In what Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters calls a focus “on helping our affiliated stations make more money,” the company launches seven new programs this weekend, beginning with “Making America Laugh with Louie Anderson.” The comic brings “his brand of humor and warmth to the radio airwaves – covering topical news, taking listener calls, and riffing with comedic and celebrity guests.” Other programs lifting off this weekend include: “Nutzz & Knight Radio” hosted by Gordon “Lug Nutzz” Stewart and actor Christopher Knight (Peter Brady from “The Brady Bunch”). TRN calls it “a hysterical, fast-paced, and irreverent action/motorsports lifestyle and entertainment radio program, featuring interviews with personalities from NASCAR, the NHRA, and IndyCar to action sports athletes, musicians, and the entertainment industry.” “All Action Sports Radio” is dedicated to complete coverage of the action sports industry – surfing, skateboarding, BMX, Motocross, skiing, snowboarding, and more. “The Brian Oxman Show” features the former high-profile attorney for Michael Jackson and the Jackson family. “Blueprint of a Champion Radio Show” is a proprietary goal-setting and success program for student athletes brought to life through radio hosted by Neil Mason, a standout college athlete, Olympic coach and successful entrepreneur. “The Anthony Vultaggio Show” is a general issues talk program. “The Hibbard Show” is hosted by husband and wife team, Dave and Marhnelle Hibbard and is geared toward helping people in both their professional lives and in their personal lives.
Scott Sands to Program WSPD, Toledo. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces programmer Scott Sands will take over the program director role at news/talk WSPD, Toledo and sister rock outlet WIOT. Sands most recently was involved in launching CHR WWHX, Bloomington, Illinois with Vallie/Richards/Donovan. He also partnered with Vallie/Richards/Donovan to launch and program Main Line Broadcasting’s modern rock WCLI, Dayton “Click 101.5.” Until earlier in the fall, Brian Wilson had been serving as program director and afternoon drive host.
Cox Media Settles with Todd Schnitt; Jury Seated in Complaint Against Bubba the Love Sponge. The Tampa Bay Times reports that the defamation suit by talk show host Todd Schnitt against long-time Tampa market rival Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) continues as a jury was seated yesterday morning. However, Schnitt’s suit against Cox Media (Clem’s employer) has been settled. The paper reports that Cox Media and Schnitt reached a settlement on Friday, the terms of which were not disclosed. Cox Media Tampa market manager Keith Lawless is quoted telling the Times, “(The settlement) was a business decision, but in no way reflects that we are not in support of Bubba. It’s not such a bad thing that all our focus is now on defending Bubba.” Meanwhile, a jury of six with four alternates has been seated in Schnitt’s suit against Clem but not without some drama as the Times reports both sides initially agreed to the make-up of the jury, then Schnitt’s lawyers asked to reconsider. Immediately Clem’s attorneys asked for a mistrial but the judge declared the jury selection final and swore in the jurors.
Odds & Sods. With Compass Media Networks talk host Todd Schnitt tied up in court in his suit against Bubba the Love Sponge, he’ll be missing some time on the radio. KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive host Pat Campbell is subbing for Schnitt on his 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET program on Thursday, January 17…..Former WTKK, Boston talk host Michael Graham fills in for crosstown WRKO afternoon drive host Howie Carr on Thursday…..The big Oprah Winfrey interview with Lance Armstrong will air on Winfrey’s OWN cable channel on Thursday evening but SiriusXM will get the first crack at distributing the audio of the interview on Friday on its Oprah Channel…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington is hosting a special “Ask The Doctor” program featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, today at 10:00 am to help listeners learn more about the flu. The hour-long Q&A session will answer a number of concerns related to this year’s harsh flu season and more with WTOP mid-day anchors Mark Lewis and Debbie Feinstein hosting and taking calls from listeners…..Michael Patrick Shiels, host of “Michigan’s Big Show,” will broadcast his syndicated morning show live from Monte Carlo, in the principality of Monaco, on Friday, January 25. The special, international broadcast will originate from the historic Hotel de Paris next to the famed Casino de Monte-Carlo and guests on the program will include: actor Roger Moore, singer Shirley Bassey, residents of Monaco, as well as a representative of Monaco’s Royal Family.
Dial Global Sports Distributes NFL Conference Championships. The NFL’s conference championship weekend takes place on Sunday and Dial Global Sports brings affiliate stations exclusive radio play-by-play of the San Francsico 49ers vs Atlanta Falcons matchup and the Baltimore Ravens vs New England Patriots game. The NFC Championship game is being called by Dave Sims alongside Hall of Famer James Lofton as analyst and Tony Boselli on the sidelines. The AFC Championship game is being announced by Kevin Harlan with the play-by-play, Hall of Famer Dan Fouts as analyst and Mark Malone on the sidelines.
WGN, Chicago and NHL’s Blackhawks Agree to Five More Years. Now that NHL hockey is set to return, Tribune’s WGN, Chicago and the Chicago Blackhawks have announced they will extend their deal for the station to be the exclusive market radio home of the team’s play-by-play broadcasts. The new, five-year deal will keep WGN as the team’s flagship station through the 2018-19 NHL season. WGN Radio DOS and interim general manager Jeff Hill says, “We are proud to extend our relationship with the Blackhawks and bring the excitement of hockey play-by-play to our listeners. The fast pace of the broadcasts provide an incomparable energy and we look forward to delivering the best hockey broadcasts for the next six years.”
Debt Ceiling Debate, Gun Legislation Proposals, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Controversy, ObamaCare Costs, and Lance Armstrong ‘Oprah’ Interview Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/15). The battle between the Obama Administration and Congress over raising the debt ceiling; threats by the president to use executive powers to write new gun legislation; the controversy over the movie “Zero Dark Thirty”; the costs brought about by the Affordable Care Act; and Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Hires Bruce Gilbert for New Sports SVP Post. Most recently, Bruce Gilbert has been the vice president of news, talk and sports programming at CBS Radio Dallas where he’s been in charge of KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan,” KRLD-AM “Newsradio 1080,” and the Texas State Network. Now he joins Clear Channel Media and Entertainment for the newly created position of senior vice president of sports operations. CC says Gilbert will be “responsible for the creation, development and direction of sports programming at CCM+E, including Premiere Networks and the Fox Sports Radio Network. He will also work with the National Programming Platforms team to expand sports branding across the company’s multiple platforms.” Prior to CBS, Gilbert headed up Washington, D.C.-based Red Zebra Broadcasting as CEO, where he grew the company from three to 13 stations. Gilbert also held the role of VP/general manager for the ESPN Radio Network, where he led programming, affiliations and sales for the network, and worked with owned-and-operated ESPN stations. Premiere Networks EVP of news, talk and sports programming Carl Anderson states, “We are ecstatic to have one of the nation’s leading sports executives join our company. Bruce has an amazing track record and unmatched dedication to building winning teams. His credibility in the sports arena brings a wealth of expertise, knowledge and leadership to CCM+E.” Some industry observers have noted Clear Channel has been lagging behind other major companies – especially CBS Radio and Entercom – in developing sports talk stations. The arrival of Gilbert could signal a change and the company may begin to consider operating more sports talk stations.
Fox News Channel’s “The Five” Soaring in Ratings. The 5:00 pm ET program “The Five” on Fox News Channel – co-hosted by Andrea Tantaros – has been climbing steadily in the ratings. Last Friday, for example, the program logged more than 2 million viewers (Persons 2-plus), 339,000 viewers (Persons 25-54) and 807,000 (Persons 35-64), easily doubling its closest competitors on the other cable news/talk channels. Andrea Tantaros is also host of her own talk radio program on Talk Radio Network (airing live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon) alongside best-selling author Jason Mattera. TRN CEO Mark Masters says he believes she’s the only female broadcaster to star in a weekday TV program and host a nationally syndicated talk radio program. “In a post 2008-2009 economy, we have been seeking shows that are highly entertaining, yet responsible and profitable for our station affiliates and advertisers. Andrea has the ability to do both. She’s a fresh voice who will inject new energy to the airwaves.”
Bob Moore Joins Sports USA Media. He’ll assume the title of president of Sports USA Media in his role with the independent sports play-by-play content syndicator. Sports USA Media founder and CEO Larry Kahn says of him, “I’ve known Bob Moore for over 30 years. His experience in working with play-by-play sports rights and creating programming around them is a perfect fit for us. Bob has worked with multiple teams, including the L.A. Dodgers, the L.A. Kings, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Anaheim Ducks, the Oakland Raiders, the USC Trojans, the New York Giants, and the Brooklyn Nets. Bob’s knowledge and background will be key factors in the continued growth of Sports USA Media.” Moore states, “I have long admired Larry for building the largest independent play-by-play sports network and am eagerly looking forward to helping him expand his play-by-play business and making a major statement in the digital space. We all know the demand for live sports is growing for both the audience and the radio stations. We will be announcing several major expansions for Sports USA Media over the next several months. If NBC, CBS and ABC can dedicate 24-hour sports television and radio networks, I think we can say the space is secure.”
Talk Host Doc Thompson Joins TheBlaze Radio Network. Talk radio pro Doc Thompson – recently heard on stations including WLW, Cincinnati and WRVA, Richmond – becomes part of the lineup at Glenn Beck’s online TheBlaze Radio Network hosting the morning drive program. Program director Dom Theodore says of Thompson, “Doc Thompson has an amazing track record of success at some of America’s biggest talk stations, in addition to his many years of guest hosting for Glenn Beck. His humorous style and unique approach make him the perfect choice for mornings on TheBlaze Radio Network.” Also from TheBlaze, Chris Peterson signs on with the network to serve as assistant program director. Peterson has served with Premiere Networks for the past five years.
Martha Zoller Back on the Radio. After a run for Congress in Georgia that took her off the radio for the better part of 2012, talk host Martha Zoller returned to the air this week on Cox Media’s WGAU, Athens, Georgia alongside co-host Tim Bryant for the Zoller & Bryant morning drive program. Prior to her run for office, Zoller was heard on Cox Media’s WXKT. At the time the station was a talk and sports hybrid but has since flipped to a classic hits format.
Entercom’s Sports Talk WSSP, Milwaukee Drops Fox for CBS. The change will take place on Friday, January 11. Entercom’s Milwaukee sports talk outlet WSSP “SportsRadio 1250” ends its affiliate relationship with Fox Sports Radio Network to begin airing the new CBS Sports Radio Network. WSSP airs local programming during much of the day but will use CBS for the evening, late night, overnight and weekend dayparts.
Odds & Sods. Michael Bull’s Atlanta-based “Commercial Real Estate Show” goes into national syndication via the Wall Street Business Network. The program was founded in 2010 by commercial real estate broker Michael Bull on WAFS, Atlanta in 2010 to examine national commercial real estate and business issues and feature high-caliber guests from around the country, including well-known analysts, accountants, brokers, lenders, developers, attorneys and architects. About the expansion, Bull states, “I’ve been delighted at the impact the show has had in just two years, and I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to continue to extend its reach. We can tell by the location of podcast downloads that the content is relevant to audiences across the globe. As we continue to add stations, the show’s comprehensive analysis and enlightening conversations will reach a much larger audience.”…..Dial Global nationally syndicated late night and early morning talk host Jim Bohannon will be one of six Inauguration Parade announcers who’ll be stationed along Pennsylvania Avenue on January 21 addressing the crowd. Bohannon says, “This is quite an honor, and I’m eager to do it again. I also announced the Carter parade in 1977, so I seem to do this every 36 years. Guess I’d better enjoy it since I’m not sure how many 36 year increments I have left. It should be fun announcing, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the Southeast A&P Remedial High Marching 37, as they form a giant grid…and a giant lock…in honor of this year’s inaugural theme!’ (applause).”
Dr. Alan Pressman Moves to WOR, New York. After 11 years on Access.1’s WWRL, New York, Dr. Alan Pressman takes his “Health Radio News” program to Clear Channel’s WOR, New York for a Sunday 8:00 am ET airing. He says the show will be a live, caller-driven program. Dr. Pressman states, “There are so many breaking stories about health and nutrition; stories the general public does not have easy access to. We’ll be discussing issues in the news from around the world. It’s really hard-hitting information.”
Gun Control Legislation, RGIII Controversy, Looming Additional Tax Battles, Obama Cabinet Nominations, and Flu Epidemic Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/8). Gun legislation proposals; the controversy over Robert Griffin III’s playing time in the Redskins’ loss to Seattle; future tax hike debates in Washington; President Obama’s cabinet nominations and the flu epidemic that has hospitals overwhelmed were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
It’s Official: Tom Cuddy to Program WOR, New York. The rumor of former WPLJ, New York PD Tom Cuddy’s new gig as programmer of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WOR turns out to be true as the company officially announces his joining the station. He says of his new position, “I’m beyond excited to be joining a news/talk station that enjoys legendary status in New York. We have amazing plans to grow WOR and make it the hottest spot on the AM dial. WOR has one of the best signals on the East Coast.” Cuddy will work under former WABC, New York general manager Steve Borneman who recently joined WOR, as well.
Jolana Smith Named PD at Cumulus Media’s WFAS, Westchester, New York Combo. In her new position, Jolana Smith will program both the news/talk AM and the adult contemporary FM Cumulus is operating in Westchester. She comes to the stations from Cox Media’s AC WEZN, Bridgeport, Connecticut “Star 99.9” where she co-hosted morning drive and did the midday shift. In addition to programming both stations, Smith will host the midday shift on WFAS-FM. Smith states, “What an amazing opportunity to be part of the Cumulus programming ranks and to be working with SVP/programming Mike McVay and VP/AC format captain Emily Boldon…Somebody pinch me!”
David Sirota Exits KHOW, Denver. Progressive writer and columnist David Sirota exits Clear Channel’s KHOW, Denver where he’d been paired up with conservative Michael Brown for the past six months. Prior to that Sirota hosted the morning show at progressive talk sister station KKZN. The Denver Post reports neither side is saying much, obviously agreeing to not discuss the change in the press. But Sirota confirmed he’s no longer with Clear Channel and CC Denver VP of programing Greg Foster offered the obligatory “we thank him and wish him well” statement.
Rick Sanchez Lands Radio Gig at WIOD, Miami. Former CNN personality Rick Sanchez had been seeking a talk radio gig since his departure from CNN in the fall of 2010. Now, Sanchez takes over the afternoon drive slot at Clear Channel’s WIOD, Miami, replacing Rich Minaya. The hiring of Cuban-born and Spanish-speaking Rick Sanchez is interesting in as much as his media experience doing bi-lingual talk and news programs will give him a unique approach to connecting with the Miami audience. Sanchez was let go from CNN after making a comment on a radio program about Jews as minorities in the media business that was construed at politically incorrect.
Steve Deace Show Clears New York City. The Iowa-based Steve Deace talk show clears the Big Apple on Salem Communications’ WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” airing weeknights from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. Deace’s program is in its second year of national syndication. Deace states, “To go live in New York City after only 13 months in syndication is quite an honor. There are good hosts on hundreds of radio stations around the country who can’t get cleared in New York City, so I’m well aware of what this means for the future of our show.” Salem director of spoken-word format Phil Boyce says, “We’re excited to see what one of the real rising talents in our industry can do in the nation’s number one market. Many of us have been waiting for the next generation of talk radio to emerge, and Deace represents that next generation.” Deace hosted a local program on WHO, Des Moines prior to going into syndication. His national show is carried on WHO.
Daily Kevin McCullough Show Adds Nine Affiliates in 2013. The nationally syndicated Kevin McCullough show adds nine new affiliates including: WWRC, Washington, DC; WGKA, Atlanta; KRCN, Denver; and WCRU, Charlotte. The program is syndicated by McCullough’s XtreMedia Inc. and the recent additions put McCullough’s program over the 300-affiliate mark. XtreMedia also syndicates the Dani Johnson radio program as well as the weekend Baldwin/McCullough show featuring McCullough and actor Stephen Baldwin.
Sports Offers Social Success Templates. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas covering the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show but prior to that, he took in the New Media Expo (formerly the Blogworld conference). Cooke reports on the nuances of understanding and using social media for radio station promotion after hearing Amy Jo Martin’s keynote speech. Cooke says Martin believes, “One of the fundamental adjustments broadcasters need to make the most of social media is to understand that tools like Facebook and Twitter aren’t just transmitters. They’re conversations.” And social media tools can help jocks and talk hosts be more authentic to their audiences. Read more of Holland Cooke’s analysis here.
Alex Jones Takes on Piers Morgan. Nationally syndicated talk show host Alex Jones appeared on CNN on Monday evening with host Piers Morgan to debate the gun control issue and the petition to have British citizen Morgan deported in the wake of his high-profile call for new gun laws after the Newtown massacre. Traditional talk show hosts tend to shy away from gun issues on their programs but the right to bear arms is a cornerstone of Alex Jones’ belief system and a regular topic on his program. The feisty exchange on CNN was good TV theater and raises Jones’ national profile. See the program here.
Obama Cabinet Nominations, Debt Ceiling Issue, NFL Playoffs, Gun Legislation Discussion and Aurora Theater Massacre Hearing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/7). President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel for defense secretary and John Brennan for CIA chief; the issue of the nation’s debt ceiling; the weekend’s NFL playoff games; debate over changes to the nation’s gun laws; and the hearing in Colorado for Aurora theater massacre suspect James Holmes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cool Job Opportunity. Townsquare Media has an opportunity for the position of operations manager in Wichita Falls. If you have experience in country, rock, CHR and news/talk formats this could be the job for you. The OM will also serve as brand manager for our CHR station, 92.9 NIN, and must have a track record in that format. You will also host an on-air shift on 92.9 NIN. In addition to a strong ratings record, candidates should demonstrate a deep, rich understanding of interactive branding including social media, loyalty programs, content creation, e-commerce, streaming platforms, mobile and texting. This job is much more than picking the hits. The successful candidate will be a great leader, a talent coach, and a highly organized strategist. You’ll need exceptional teamwork skills to produce results with experienced talent, programmers, sales and digital teams. Strong working knowledge of music scheduling systems, digital audio systems and online media platforms are required. You’ll manage multiple tasks at once, and great communication skills, attention to detail and a sense of humor are all a must. We work hard and have fun doing it! If you’re a fun, dynamic, creative, proven winner who loves working in media, contact Chuck Armstrong at Townsquare Media: firstname.lastname@example.org. Townsquare Media is an equal opportunity employer.
CBS Sports Radio Network Announces National Morning Show: Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson. When the CBS Sports Radio Network officially begins on January 2, former New York Giants great Tiki Barber, sports talk personality and current KGME, San Francisco afternoon co-host Brandon Tierney and longtime ESPN broadcaster Dana Jacobson will make up the morning drive show airing from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET. CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason states, “CBS Sports Radio has been able to attract some of the most renowned names in the business, and Tiki, Brandon and Dana are just the latest example of the network’s star power. We’ve assembled an impressive group of professional athletes and accomplished broadcasters to bring fans unrivaled sports commentary, and the most entertaining lineup in all of sports radio. The launch of CBS Sports Radio provides an additional way for us to use our content, debuting original programs to millions of listeners across the country on day one. The network’s reach in the major markets is unsurpassed, and the marketplace has taken notice of our depth and broad range of offerings.” CBS Radio is announcing the morning show will clear on such outlets as: WIP-AM, Philadelphia); WFOM-AM, Atlanta; WXYT-AM, Detroit; WJZ-AM, Baltimore; KFNZ-AM and KJQS-AM, Salt Lake City; and WSJZ-FM, Orlando.
Another Look Back at the Harsh Reality of Sandy and its Intense Relationship with Radio. American voters are conditioned every four years to believe that the presidential ballot they are about to cast will be the most crucial such decision they will make in their entire lifetimes. That was certainly a dominant theme of the 2012 campaign, yet less than 10 days before Election Day, something else began percolating that had approximately 20% of the country hitting the “pause” button to politics: Sandy. Innocuous as the name sounds, “Sandy” unfortunately arrived as advertised and now, weeks later, harsh reality remains in its wake. It is impossible to factor precious loss of lives and the shattering of countless dreams into the billions of dollars of wreckage caused by one of the unkindest of oxymorons – a so-called “perfect storm.” As another testament to our democracy, the November 6 election went off without a hitch and the country would ready itself for one of its proudest traditions – setting aside a day of thanksgiving (albeit followed by the dubious recent sales custom known as “Black Friday”). Radio stations though in locales that include the country’s #1 market – New York City – are continuing to focus on what has been consuming them since (roughly) Saturday, October 27. Suffering through Sandy was brutal. For many, enduring the aftermath is considerably worse. As the radio industry returns from the Thanksgiving weekend, TALKERS takes another look back at the our medium’s intense relationship with the “weather event” that was so dominant a factor in current events that it even upstaged a presidential election – as seen through the eyes, lives and dedicated work of broadcasters at CBS Radio‘s all- news WCBS-AM, New York and Cumulus Media‘s news/talk WMAL, Washington, DC. To read TALKERS managing editor/west coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian‘s epic article click here.
WTDY-AM/FM, Madison Drops News/Talk; Stunting with Christmas Music. The Wisconsin State Journal reports that “several broadcasters” have been let go by Midwest Family Broadcasting as the simulcast of news/talk programming on WTDY AM 1670 and WTDY FM 106.7 ended late on Wednesday and was replaced with Christmas music. Talk personality John “Sly” Sylvester and news director Amy Barrilleaux both communicated via social media that they had been let go by the station and that it is flipping formats but that they knew no more. Midwest Family owns seven stations in the market that include: rock WJJO; AC WMGN; rhythmic CHR WJQM; country WWQM; WLMV Spanish music; and oldies WHIT. The word on the street is that the simulcast will become a CBS Sports Radio Network affiliate on January 2 but that has not been confirmed.
ESPN in Agreement for Exclusive Rights to College Football Playoff Contests. The sports giant announces it has reached agreements in principle to obtain exclusive rights to broadcast the games and the affiliated programming for the college football championship and playoff games that will begin after the 2014 season and begin in January of 2015 when the new playoff system begins. ESPN Radio will be part of the broadcast of these games. The announcement was made Wednesday by ESPN president John Skipper and Bill Hancock, executive director of the BCS and the future college football playoffs. Skipper states, “Because of college football’s widespread popularity and the incredible passion of its fans, few events are more meaningful than these games. We are ecstatic at the opportunity to continue to crown a college football champion on ESPN’s outlets for years to come, the perfect finale to our year-round commitment to the sport.” ESPN is in the midst of a four-year agreement for the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). The network televises all five games from the current format, including the Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta Bowls, as well as the BCS National Championship Game. The two BCS National Championship Games on ESPN (2011, 2012) have generated the two largest audiences for any program in the history of cable television. The new playoff will be administered by the Football Bowl Subdivision conferences and independent institutions. The agreement in principle is subject to completion of definitive documentation and all necessary approvals.
Stephen King-Owned WZLO and WZON, Bangor Progressive Talk Simulcast Splits. “The Pulse” website states the stations have split their simulcast of progressive talk and are featuring Christmas music on the FM signal with a “BIG surprise” the station will reveal after Christmas. The stations have been a simulcast for the past 2 ½ years – first as a sports talk station, then as the progressive talk outlet. The FM side had been playing a triple A format prior to the simulcast. WZON at 620 AM continues to air a progressive talk format featuring a local morning show with Don Cookson, WYD Media’s Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Premiere Networks’ Randi Rhodes, Thom Hartmann, Cox Media’s Clark Howard and Leslie Marshall.
April NAB Show to Feature Q&A with News Corp’s Chase Carey. The National Association of Broadcasters announces the spring NAB Show scheduled for April 6-11 in Las Vegas will feature a question-and-answer session with News Corporation president and chief operating officer Chase Carey. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith will conduct the session. Smith says, “As a leading executive of one of the world’s preeminent media companies, Chase Carey has valuable insight into today’s multi-platform global media environment. I look forward to our conversation at the NAB Show and hearing Mr. Carey’s vision of what the future holds for the media business worldwide.” Carey has served in his role at News Corp since July of 2009. Prior to that he was president and CEO at DIRECTV, Inc.
French-Language Quebec Talk Host Suspended for Anti-Semitic Incident. CHMP, Quebec late night talk show host Jacques Fabi has been suspended from his program after allowing a female caller to his program make anti-Semitic statements. The caller was responding to Fabi’s discussion of the violence in Israel and Gaza and blamed the Jews, then went on to intimate that Hitler should have been allowed to finish the job. Fabi never stopped her and, according to complaints to the CRTC and the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, seemed to encourage her rant. The CBC reports station spokesman David Crete said, “The comments that were aired earlier this week are unacceptable…hosts and journalists are subject to ethical rules. If they are not met, penalties are applied.” It is not clear how long Fabi’s suspension will be. CHMP is owned by Cogeco.
British Broadcaster Fined for Anti-Gay Remarks. The British agency that regulates broadcasting content – Ofcom – levied a $6,400 fine against the company that owns a Leeds, England station that serves the South Asian community. The incident stems from a program hosted by Rubina Nasir – known as Sister Ruby – in which she interpreted passages in the Koran that indicated homosexuals should be punished – physically and mentally – for practicing their sexuality. Ofcom ruled the statements made during the broadcast were likely to “encourage or incite the commission of a crime.”
Rock 102 Thanksgiving Tradition. WAQY, Springfield, Massachusetts morning drive team Bax & O’Brien helped gather food and money for those in need in the area with the broadcast of their annual Mayflower Marathon food drive over the Thanksgiving week. Hosts Mike Baxendale (center) and John O’Brien (far right) are pictured here announcing a donation of $10,000 to the Open Pantry – a local organization that provides food to those in need. The annual charity event is a signature of Saga Communications’ “Rock 102” and the Bax & O’Brien morning show during which the duo broadcast continuously for two days while encouraging listeners to fill a Mayflower moving van with food staples for the hungry.
Radio Stations Across the Northeast Totally Focused on Hurricane Sandy. Or at least radio stations with a shred of competitiveness, pride, community concern and a modicum of resources are focused on the storm and its impact on their listeners. Considering how much the consciousness of the radio broadcasting industry has been raised this past couple of years regarding the medium’s role in providing community support during natural disasters coupled with the amount of time the industry has had to prepare for this slow-developing storm, we can expect the next couple of days to be among modern radio’s finest hours. (Image courtesy NOAA)
New Jersey Broadcasters Association to Sandy: Bring it On! NJBA president Paul S. Rotella tells TALKERS that New Jersey broadcasters are prepared for the storm stating, “Are we ready? Of course; that’s because we usually stand ready, often prepared for anything—that’s what local radio is all about: being prepared, being nimble, and being informative, with real information our listeners need. It’s amazing how dedicated local broadcasters are, especially in New Jersey where local radio means so much to our state! We’ve been preparing since Friday. As you know, our great NJ broadcasters have responded to extreme and hazardous weather events magnificently in the past and we expect them to continue this fine tradition of selfless service in the face or Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath.” Read the entire text of Rotella’s statement here.
New Jersey Likely Ground Zero as Sandy Moves Inland; Broadcasters Foundation Steps Up to the Plate. Slow-moving Hurricane Sandy has already taken more than 60 lives in the Caribbean and it is moving north and is expected to turn west and move inland hitting the coast of New Jersey first as it sweeps up the Eastern Seaboard. The New Jersey Broadcasters Association has been in communication with stations in the state helping them prepare for coverage of the storm. NJBA president Paul Rotella relates that the FCC is available “24-7…during the storm to answer calls about service outages, to assist where possible in restoring any lost service, and to issue emergency authorizations for temporary facilities. As we have written before, the FCC has been helpful in past disasters — seemingly able to bridge bureaucratic barriers that might otherwise delay the restoration of communications services.” Rotella also alerts broadcasters in the region that the Broadcasters Foundation of America may be of assistance to broadcasters in need. “Broadcasters Foundation of America president Jim Thompson asked that I reach out to those state associations in the path of Sandy to remind them that the BFoA is there for broadcasters in times of unexpected need, especially broadcasters caught in the crosshairs of the approaching storm, or in its aftermath…As you may recall, the BFoA responded rapidly to the deadly tornadoes across the Midwest last year with $41,000 in emergency grants dispatched almost immediately after the tornadoes hit. Emergency grants can be used to buy food, clothing and even emergency shelter, especially for broadcasters suffering substantial and even catastrophic loss in the wake of the storm. Broadcasters (and even association execs) may apply for an emergency one-time $1,000 grant by contacting Jim or his staff. As you know, Jim’s dedicated team reviews and responds to emergency grant applications quickly and with unmatched compassion. You and your members can reach Jim at 212-373-8250 or via email: email@example.com.”
Orlando Radio Institution Jim Turner to Retire from WDBO. Jim Turner has been with Cox Media’s WDBO, Orlando since it was a music outlet joining the station as afternoon jock in 1972. He made the transition to morning drive host 12 years later and was chosen by then program director David Bernstein to lead the station as it changed from a music station to a news and information outlet. Now, 40 years later, Turner will retire from the radio business and KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa morning host Joe Kelly will take over the morning role at WDBO. Kelly will join WDBO on November 19 and will transition into the morning role. A final broadcast for Turner has not been announced. WDBO program director Drew Anderssen states, “Jim is a broadcast icon. He has been revered as one of the premier morning hosts in America for many years, a true professional, and a great man. We stand by Jim in celebration of his 40 years of community service and dedication to Central Florida as he begins to write a new page in his life. He will truly be missed as the daily voice of morning news in Orlando radio.” In Tulsa, program director Levi May begins the search for the replacement of Joe Kelly. May states, “We are very excited about the opportunity to bring new, outstanding talent to KRMG and further grow our listening audience. KRMG is dedicated to being Tulsa’s number one station for news, weather, and traffic and we will always remain committed to that pledge.”
Martha Zoller to Return to Radio in 2013. Gainesville, Georgia-based talk show host Martha Zoller left her radio show on WXKT, Gainesville this year to run for Congress in the 9th Georgia District. She lost a close race in the Republican primary and now says she will return to the radio in January of 2013 though she’s not saying where just yet. In the meantime, Zoller will appear on Talk Radio Network-produced morning program “America’s Morning News” tomorrow morning to discuss the Campaign to Fix the Debt. Zoller sits on the steering committee for the campaign.
Premiere to Handle Ad Sales for 24/7 Comedy. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s 24/7 Comedy format will have ad sales and national syndicated handled by the company’s Premiere Networks. 24/7 Comedy debuted in 2010 and currently had about 30 affiliates and boasts a library of more than 15,000 comedy bits. Clear Channel president of content and affiliate services for national media groups Julie Talbott says, “24/7 Comedy provides stations with the unique opportunity to own comedy in their market with an audience engaging format. Comedy has universal consumer appeal across all forms of media, so we’re excited to deliver this ratings-winning format to more radio stations across the U.S.”
Salem Preparing for LMA of Columbus FM; Conservative Talk Lineup Appears Likely. The domain 989TheAnswer.com registered to Salem Communications seems to indicate that the company will flip Radio One’s WJKR, Columbus “JackFM” to its conservative news/talk format positioned with its “The Answer” slogan. Salem, which is purchasing the station from Radio One, will assume operation of the station on Thursday, November 1 under an LMA and it’s expected the slate of Salem Radio Network programs – Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt, and Dennis Prager – will occupy the program schedule.
Start Doing This Right Now on Facebook! It’s a common belief that Facebook has drastically cut back on how many people see radio’s branded posts, so that broadcasters using the platform have to buy more advertising. That may well be the case! However, the Facebook folks are not only concerned about money, they’re also concerned about their version of time spent listening. They want users to visit more often; and they want them to scroll further down their news feeds than they do now. They may be limiting how much stuff people see from commercial enterprises, so that it doesn’t crowd out what they see from their friends and family. In any event, according to radio digital consultant Chris Miller, radio can overcome these obstacles. So, Miller presents TALKERS readers with the state-of-the-art techniques that will help you get seen more, and engaged with more often. If you’re doing it right, that will then lead to more on-air and online usage of your radio station, which is the ultimate goal. To read Chris Miller’s exclusive article, click here.
Comedian Adam Carolla Joins Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News Channel Program. Comedian, radio host and producer of the one of the most popular podcasts Adam Carolla is becoming part of Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” as a contributor. Bill O’Reilly – who still maintains a talk radio presence with his Courtside Entertainment-distributed “Talking Points” daily features – already uses comedian and Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller as a contributor. Miller usually appears on Wednesdays while the Hollywood Reporter states Carolla will likely be a regular part of Monday’s programs.
WQAM’s Dan Sileo Gets TV Shot. WQAM, Miami sports talk host Dan Sileo appears on the little screen this weekend when he joins the ACC Network when he appears on the pregame show from Charlotte with hosts Jeff Fischel and Dorsey Levens. The program hits the air at 11:00 am ET on Saturday.
Gone to the Dogs. KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller is living in a cage at the Canyon County Animal Shelter to promote the shelter’s Mission Pawsible Challenge that involves getting the most pets adopted out to families. It’s part of the 3rd annual ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge. By saving the most lives in the challenge, the shelter could win up to $100,000 that would go to helping feed, home, and keep all of the animals at the shelter healthy! Miller is spending the 25th through the 31st of October in the cage you see here while broadcasting his program each morning. Miller tells the Idaho Press he “would be lost” without his dogs Alabama and Carolina, so doing whatever he could for the shelter seemed right. “We’ll be here to the final hour, the final minute, the final second, to get as many of these four-legged family members a forever home.”
Radio in the Northeast Should Be Prepared for a Potential Perfect Storm. Last year, it was the Halloween Snowprise – an early cold snap fed by a lot of moisture that produced a foot of snow in some places, and felled leaf-laden trees and power lines, blacking out parts of the northeast US for days. This year – Halloween Week could bring a trick some meteorologists are already calling “potentially historic” – a strong tropical storm or hurricane named Sandy, with the Northeast again in the crosshairs. This rare climatic event could be what one network weather anchor called an “atmospheric bomb” – produced by a hurricane colliding head-on with a strong cold front. The jet stream bows northward as it approaches the coast, sucking the storm closer to land, instead of pushing it out to sea. The scenario is eerily reminiscent of the 1991 “Perfect Storm,” which left 12 people dead and more than $200 million in damage after it slammed into the East Coast. Power outages and flooding were widespread. Now is the time to prepare. Howard B. Price of ABC News urges broadcasters in the Northeast to learn the lessons of two radio group operators, who faced serious operational challenges following the EF-5 tornado that leveled a third of Joplin, MO in May 2011, and Hurricane Irene in August 2011, whose impact was felt across the Northeast for days. To read his timely and informative article click here.
CBS Radio’s Atlanta Sports Talker Debuts. WZGC-FM, Atlanta “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” sprang to life yesterday afternoon at 2:00 pm ET with the PM drive show “Game Time” with Carl Dukes, Kordell Stewart and Rachael Baribeau the first show to hit the air. The trio talked Georgia sports, national sports and introduced the rest of the air staff to the listening audience. The station lineup consists of: “Opening Drive” hosted by Rick Kamla, Randy Cross and C.J. Simpson in morning drive; Jerome Jurenovich and Jamie Dukes from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm; “Mac & Jason at Night” with Mac McDonald and Jason Goff from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm; “Overtime” with Jim Murray from 10:00 pm to 2:00 pm; and “The Mitch Evans Experience” from 2:00 am to 6:00 am. Programming the latest CBS Radio sports talk FM to go on the air is Terry Foxx.
KJRB, Spokane Drops Talk Shows for All-News Programming. Mapleton’s news/talk KJRB, Spokane, Washington is eliminating most of its talk shows for an all-news approach. The station drops TRN’s Laura Ingraham and Jerry Doyle and Cox Media’s Neal Boortz for TRN-operated America’s Radio News Network news blocks airing from 3:00 am to 7:00 pm. The station maintains its local financial program from 12:00 noon to 12:30 pm and the KHQ-TV local news simulcast from 5:00 pm to 5:30 pm. It also continues to air The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “Daily Wrap” with Michael Castner in the evenings and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” program.
Columbus Sports Talker Fired After Inappropriate Tweet. Dispatch Broadcast Group has fired sports talk host Scott Torgerson about a week after he Tweeted, jokingly, that he wished for the firing or death of ESPN’s Desmond Howard. Torgerson – former co-host of “The Common Man & The Torg” PM drive show on WBNS, Columbus “Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan” – was initially suspended after the Tweet began to create a firestorm of criticism. Ironically, the station used Twitter on Wednesday (10/24) to notify its fans that Torgerson was no longer with the company. As AwfulAnnouncing.com’s Matt Yoder notes in his blog, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit – a former Ohio State quarterback and still beloved personality in Columbus – got involved in denouncing Torgerson’s Tweet and that probably added to the momentum necessary to make Dispatch let Torgerson go. The fact that WBNS is an ESPN affiliate may or may not have been a contributing factor. As of now, Mike Ricordati continues to host the PM drive show solo. This is not the first case of a talent being fired for an insensitive or inappropriate Tweet and it won’t be the last. Hosts who are hired to push the envelope and also use social media to do so for the purposes of promoting their act and their program have to be careful. There are certain subjects that must be avoided. Wishing death, injury or some other personal assault on someone – even as a joke – is likely to get the host in trouble and probably fired.
Larry King’s Third Party Candidate’s Debate Produced by Ora TV. One way to look at it is that broadcasting legend Larry King’s days of hosting A-List politicians and celebrities for his interviews and debates is over as he has moved to the digital television network Ora TV. But others might see fledgling internet TV stations as the future and all it will take is a smash internet TV show to capture the public’s interest and the medium will begin to compete seriously with broadcast and cable TV. Now, Ora TV seems to be shooting for niche programming and Tuesday’s broadcast of King moderating a third party candidate’s debate provided that. King hosted Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, Jill Stein of the Green Party, Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party, Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party for a program in which the four largely explained how they differ from the Democratic and Republican party candidates. The debate was broadcast from the Chicago Hilton Hotel with a live audience. King explained at the start, “We think all voices should be heard. I think this is a noble cause.” CSPAN did air the program on cable TV in the U.S. Pictured here are Kristina Tobin, chair of the Free & Equal Elections Foundation (l) and Larry King (r).
Karel Joins Huffington Post Live Web Program. Long Beach, California-based talk host Karel – heard on KGO, San Francisco and in syndication across the country – appeared on the Huffington Post’s half-hour roundtable talk show “HuffPost Live.” The webcast program is hosted by Huffington Post’s Jacob and Alyona and usually features talent from afar piped in via web video batting around the issues of the day. Karel is pictured here in his home studio via webcam on the “HuffPost Live” program.
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio extends its deal with the NFL’s Chicago Bears to continue airing Bears play-by-play and other Bears-related programming on its Chicago signals. The games will continue to be heard on all-news WBBM-AM/FM with programming such as “Bears All Access” airing on sports talk WSCR “The Score.” The terms of the new deal was not announced…..Legendary college basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski returns to SiriusXM for his weekly “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K” program. This is the eighth season Krzyzewski has hosted the program on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog channel. For last night’s season opener, Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino were guests…..Emmis’ KFTK, St. Louis “FM NewsTalk 97.1” is working with Americans for Prosperity on a promotion to sell gas to 200 lucky listeners for the “pre-Obama Administration” price of $1.84 per gallon. FM NewsTalk 97.1’s Randy Tobler will broadcast live from the Country Club Car Wash in O’Fallon, Missouri from 8:00 am to 10:00 am on Saturday, October 27.
WPRO, Providence Hosts Rhode Island Candidates Debate. Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7 FM in Providence hosted the candidates for the 1st Congressional District in Rhode Island for an hour-long, uninterrupted debate. Pictured here at left is Democratic Congressman David Cicilline and, at right, Republican challenger Brendan Doherty in the studios at WPRO. Not pictured is moderator and WPRO news director Bill Haberman who facilitated the contest. In addition to airing the debate live on the radio with analysis during the Matt Allen program that followed the debate, WPRO provided a video stream and a live, interactive Tweet chat at 630wpro.com.
Benghazi Terrorism Question, Presidential Race Polls, Debate Aftermath, World Series and Hurricane Sandy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/24). The conflicting reports of who knew the Benghazi attack was an act of terrorism and when they knew it; the presidential race polls; analysis of the presidential debates; the Giants-Tigers World Series; and the looming threat to the U.S. from Hurricane Sandy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Howard B. Price, CBCP/MBCI
Director of Business Continuity and Crisis Management
NEW YORK — Last year, it was the Halloween Snowprise – an early cold snap fed by a lot of moisture that produced a foot of snow in some places, and felled leaf-laden trees and power lines, blacking out parts of the northeast US for days.
This year – Halloween Week could bring a trick some meteorologists are already calling “potentially historic” — a strong tropical storm or hurricane named Sandy, with the Northeast again in the crosshairs.
This rare climatic event could be what one network weather anchor called an “atmospheric bomb” – produced by a hurricane colliding head-on with a strong cold front. The jet stream bows northward as it approaches the coast, sucking the storm closer to land, instead of pushing it out to sea.
The scenario is eerily reminiscent of the 1991 “Perfect Storm,” which left 12 people dead and more than $200 million in damage after it slammed into the East Coast. Power outages and flooding were widespread.
Sold Out Talkers New Media Seminar Takes Place in Los Angeles Today. Talk media practitioners from all over the country are gathering in Los Angeles today for the West Coast installment of TALKERS magazine’s two-part New Media Seminar 2012 (the first part took place in New York on June 7). The NMS Los Angeles agenda includes solo addresses, panel discussions and the presentation of the “Woman of the Year” award to KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci by last year’s recipient Stephanie Miller. More than 55 speakers will be participating including radio talent, PDs, GMs, producers, syndicators and consultants. Courtside Entertainment founder and CEO Norm Pattiz will keynote. KFI, Los Angeles morning drive host Bill Handel will also deliver a solo presentation. Some of the panel discussions to take place include: “The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison; “The Challenges of Hosting a Talk Show in 2012” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian; “Making Money in Talk Radio: Challenges and Opportunities” moderated by PodJockey host Brent Seltzer; “The State of Talk Programming” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey; “The Modern Day Pioneers” moderated by KPCC, Pasadena personality Patt Morrison; “The Art of the Show” moderated by Bill Moran & Associates president Bill Moran; and much more. There will be more than 50 speakers and approximately 250 attendees at this event. The TALKERS New Media Seminar LA takes placed today from 9:00 am and 5:00 pm in association with the Los Angeles Press Club at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. Check out the full agenda here. Look for coverage of the event in both RadioInfo and TALKERS in the days ahead.
CBS Radio’s Atlanta FM Sports Talk Announces Lineup and Start Date. WZGC, Atlanta “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” will debut on October 24 and feature the following personalities in addition to Carl Dukes, whom we already reported is moving to Atlanta from Houston where he worked at Gow Communications’ KFNC. Morning drive will be hosted by well-known TV NFL analyst and 49ers great Randy Cross, NBA-TV personality Rick Kamla, and former crosstown WBTS “95.5 The Beat” host C.J. Simpson. The 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot will feature former CNN Headline Sports, Fox Sports Radio and Atlanta Braves and Hawks analyst Jerome Jurenovich paired with former Atlanta Falcon and NFL Network personality Jaime Dukes. Joining Carl Dukes on the afternoon drive show will be Rachel Baribeau, most recently with Cox Media’s WZNN, Birmingham “97.3 The Zone” and former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart. The evening show is yet to be announced but TALKERS hears other personalities to be part of the station in either analysis or fill-roles include NBA analyst Bob Neal, former NBA star Dennis Scott, former Toronto Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, two-sport player with the Braves and Falcons Brian Jordan, and former Atlanta Falcon Ovie Mughelli.
Doug Stephan Syndicated Morning Show Reaches Quarter Century Milestone. This month, Doug Stephan‘s “Good Day,” arguably the second longest running syndicated talk radio show in the country, begins its 25th year on the air. Stephan and his crew will be celebrating this major milestone with an ongoing schedule of fun, games and trivia. Every day for the next year, the show will feature clips offering a retrospective of the top news stories, songs, movies and TV shows from the past 25 years. The celebration culminates in October of 2013 with contests that will be coordinated with “Good Day” affiliates enabling listeners from around the country to win trips and other assorted prizes. The show will also be highlighting other companies and organizations celebrating their 25th anniversary along with “Good Day.” “‘Good Day’ is as relevant today as it was 25 years ago,” Stephan tells TALKERS, adding “The show’s success and longevity is a testament to our ability to keep it fresh and fun while keeping our audience informed.”
WLS-AM, Chicago’s Don Wade Preparing to Undergo Chemo and Radiation. From the Windy City, Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that WLS-AM, Chicago morning drive host Don Wade – after a successful operation to remove a growth from his brain will undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatment soon. His agent, Eliot Ephriam, says the course is not indicative of any bad news but simply the next step in the procedure for the 71-year-old talk personality. In a statement, Wade says, “I’m going to do everything the doctors tell me to do to beat this thing. Nothing has altered my most positive and optimistic attitude. When they say jump, I say: ‘How high?’” Meanwhile, Wade’s wife and radio partner Roma, thanks the many who’ve sent well-wishes. “The outpouring of caring from thousands of you, our radio family, has filled our hearts and our home, our coffee table piled high and overflowing with love. Your letters, cards, emails, messages, flowers and, most important, prayers lift our spirits every single day. Thank you.”
Clear Channel Sacramento Knocked Off Air by Software Glitch. The cluster-wide loss of transmitting signal that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Sacramento stations experienced yesterday were caused by a software malfunction, according to coverage in the Sacramento Bee. President and market manager Dave Milner tells the paper the cluster recently moved into new studios that have a state-of-the-art software system that went down on Wednesday morning around 7:00 and lasted until engineers could repair the problem around 9:00 am. Milner says the office received a lot of calls from people wondering what happened to their radio stations. “It’s never fun to go through something like this but it makes you aware of how much people rely on you.” The company operates news/talk outlets KFBK and KSTE, classic hits KHLX, urban contemporary KHYL, and adults hits KQKJ.
Odds & Sods. Journal Broadcast Group announces its “2012 Red, White and Blue Election Initiative” – a campaign that commits each of its television news operations and radio news/talk formatted stations to significant election coverage in the 30 days leading up to the November 6, 2012 general election. News/talk stations taking part include: WTMJ-AM, Milwaukee; KTTS-AM and KSGF-AM/FM, Springfield, Missouri; KQTH-FM, Tucson; KFAQ-AM, Tulsa; KFDI-AM and KLIO-FM, Wichita…..Mark Mueller exits Clear Channel’s WRDU, Raleigh where he’s served as the midday news/anchor and reporter since 2009.
Correction! Yesterday TALKERS published the news that the FCC has approved Buckley Broadcasting’s sale of WOR, New York to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. In the piece we wrote that WOR was New York’s oldest station, having gone on the air in February of 1922. WGY, Albany program director Josh Everett writes to correct the record, stating that WGY-AM went on the air on February 20, 1922 – two days prior to WOR-AM signing on February 22, 1922. Even though we were referencing WOR as New York City’s first station – we want to give credit where credit is due. But wait! Former Citadel Wilkes-Barre chief engineer Phil Galasso writes to tell us we’re both wrong and that WABC – which first went on the air as WJZ – was first out of the gate on October 7, 1921 from the Westinghouse plant near Lackawanna Station in Newark, New Jersey. He says WJZ changed its call letters to WABC on March 1, 1953.
Famous Dodgers Join “What’s Cookin’?” Broadcast. CRN Digital Talk Radio’s “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” program recently broadcast from The Ranch restaurant in Anaheim and had some very special guests on the show. Pictured here in the back row are: Former Dodger pitcher Charlie Hough, “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” host and master sommelier Michael Jordan, third base coach and former Dodger All-Star Tim Wallach. Seated at the table are Hall of Fame Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda and “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” co-host Mike Horn.
Obama Confesses ‘Bad Night’ at Debate, Presidential Race Polls, Libya Consulate Attack Investigation, and Sandusky Sentencing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/10). The Analysis of the first presidential debate and President Obama’s admission he had a ‘bad night’; the latest presidential race polls; the ongoing investigation into the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya; and the sentencing of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TRN Promotes Jerry Doyle to Network Slot Where Savage Aired. Calling it the show with which “stations will get more light and less heat, a show that they can sell locally with pride, but also a show that will respect its stations, advertisers and audiences with a brilliance that sets great shows apart from good ones,” Talk Radio Network moves Jerry Doyle into the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT time slot formerly held by Michael Savage. TRN states, “For too long, we’ve had to choose between ratings and salability, but no longer…Jet pilot, Wall Street investment banker for 10 years, Hollywood star for 12 years, former congressional nominee and now radio giant who has earned his right to this spot for close to nine years, Jerry Doyle is the future of talk radio. He will bring massive audiences through word of mouth because he is brilliant and funny, showing both emotional and intellectual range that is beyond rare.” As it announces Doyle’s move into the West Coast afternoon drive slot, TRN promises, “He understands the advertising business like few others; Jerry is a triple-rated William Morris Agency voice-over artist who has voiced national ads for AT&T, Chevrolet, TGI Fridays, Anheuser-Busch, Panasonic, The US Armed Forces and many others. Jerry will work with his stations reading their ads and promos, because he understands radio isn’t about host ego, it’s about high levels of performance, and it’s about business.” Michael Savage exited TRN last week after winning in arbitration to get out of his contract with the syndicator. Filling in for Doyle’s program in his previous network time is Dr. Bill Wattenburg until a permanent replacement is named.
CBS Sports Radio Announces Scott Ferrall to Be Late Night Host. When CBS Radio’s new 24/7 national sports talk network kicks off in January, longtime sports talk pro Scott Ferrall will hold down the 10:00 pm to 2:00 am ET slot with his “Ferrall on the Bench” program. So far, we know the new CBS Sports Radio network will feature Jim Rome for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot followed by Doug Gottlieb from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. Network director of programming Eric Spitz says, “Scott is widely recognized as having set the standard for what a successful national evening sports radio show should be. He’s got an amazing knowledge of sports that rivals even the most noted experts, and with his fast-paced style of high-octane sports talk, listeners and our affiliates are guaranteed to get the very best program each and every night.” Ferrall is currently hosting a sports talk show for SiriusXM. In the past he has worked for SportsNet New York, several NHL properties, Fox Sports Radio, and Sportsfan Radio Network, as well as major market stations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Miami and Pittsburgh.
Don Wade Update from Chicago. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that WLS-AM, Chicago morning host Don Wade came through his brain surgery successfully and is resting at home, according to wife and on-air partner Roma. In case you missed it, the longtime WLS-AM morning personality was diagnosed with a growth in early September for which he underwent surgery last Thursday. Now, the Wades’ agent, Eliot Ephriam, tells Feder, “The surgery went as expected and Don came out of it really well. We’re awaiting the results of tests and that will determine what’s next.” Don Wade is expected to remain at home for several weeks. Station executives report the duo had good ratings news as the September PPM numbers indicate WLS-AM was #1 with listeners 12+ from 6:00 am to 10:00 am scoring a 7.0 share – the program’s highest ratings in more than four years.
Genesis Communications’ SportsTalkFlorida Aligns with NBC Sports Radio. Several months ago, Genesis Communications stated it was going to drop the ESPN Radio affiliation for its sports talk stations WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando. Now the company reveals its programming plans and its new affiliation with the fledgling NBC Sports Radio network. The stations have been named “NBC Sports Talk 1040 The Team Tampa Bay” and “NBC Sports Talk 1080 The Team Orlando,” respectively. The new lineup at the two stations includes: local host David Baumann in AM drive; DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; local host Whitney Johnson from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; for PM drive, WHBO airs local host Charlie Bernstein and WHOO broadcasts local duo Mike Tuck and Jerry O’Neill; both stations air NBC’s Erik Kuselias. Both outlets are carrying sports news updates from NBC Sports Radio.
Clark Howard Returns to Middays at WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando. The Mel Robbins program, heard from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at Cox Media’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando will exit that time slot and Clark Howard will return to that time slot beginning October 12. Howard was bumped to the late night 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot back in March when WDBO brought Robbins aboard for a live midday program.
KOZN, Omaha Names Damon Benning Morning Co-Host. Former Nebraska running back and 1996 Orange Bowl MVP Damon Benning is named co-host of the 7:00 am to 11:00 am show alongside Gary Sharp on NRG Media’s “1620 The Zone.” Benning has served as an analyst on the Big Ten Network, NET Television, Cox Communications, and made numerous guest appearances on “1620 The ZONE” over the years. Today he begins on-air duties on “Sharp & Benning in the Morning” with KOZN sports director Gary Sharp. NRG Media Omaha market manager Andy Ruback says, “For years we have had Benning on the station as he has been a vital part of our broadcast team and our extensive Husker coverage. Now, we will be able to take advantage of his expertise full time, all year long.”
WISN, Milwaukee Talk Host Mark Belling Faces Backlash for “Thug” Comments. Community activists in Milwaukee are promising a rally on Thursday to demand an apology from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment talk host Mark Belling who hosts the PM drive show on news/talk WISN. Activists in the market are upset with comments Belling made about Derek Williams – an African-American man – who died in the back of a Milwaukee Police squad car. An account from the Milwaukee Journal states Williams pleaded with officers for help saying he could not breathe but they ignored his pleas and he died. The case was recently reclassified as a homicide. Critics say Belling’s characterizing Williams as a “dirty, rotten thug” was inappropriate and not relevant to the care he should have received while in police custody.
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio’s KRLD-AM, Dallas “Newsradio 1080” announces the hiring of award-winning weatherman Bob Goosmann as chief meteorologist for the station. VP of news/talk/sports Bruce Gilbert states, “Bob lives and breathes North Texas weather and greatly respects KRLD’s commitment to accurate and dependable forecast information every ten minutes. ‘NewsRadio 1080 KRLD’ listeners can rely on him, not only for accurate forecasts, but also for the information they need to stay safe when severe weather strikes.” Goosmann most recently served as chief meteorologist for KDAF-TV, Dallas…..Clear Channel’s Quad Cities cluster enters into a deal with New Young Broadcasting Holding Company’s KWQC-TV, Davenport, Iowa that has the TV station producing news and weather content for news/talk WOC and other cluster stations in exchange for CC creating daily entertainment reports for the television station.
Clear Channel’s WTAM Scores Indians Renewal. According to Northeast Ohio’s Chronicle-Telegram, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WTAM, Cleveland has won the rights to Indians baseball – for how long, though, is not known. The report has not been confirmed by Clear Channel. WTAM – which has been the home of Indians baseball for the past 14 years – was reportedly getting a strong challenge for the play-by-play rights from CBS Radio’s crosstown sports talk WKRK “92.3 The Fan.”
Obama-Romney Debate Preview, Iran Nukes Threat, Potential New ObamaCare Challenge, and Fate of ‘Fast and Furious’ Guns Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/1). The looming presidential candidate debate; concern over Iran’s nuclear weapons program; a new, potential Supreme Court challenge to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; and the charge that guns from the ‘Fast and Furious’ program ended up in Mexican drug cartel’s hands were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Bomb Scare Empties CBS Radio Los Angeles for More Than Two Hours. The Wilshire Boulevard studios of CBS Radio’s Los Angeles stations, including all-news KNX and news/talk KFWB were evacuated from about 8:15 am to 10:45 am PT this morning after a promotional clock sent to the station raised suspicions, sent the staff into precautionary mode that brought police and medical personnel to the scene. According to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan KNX and K-Earth simulcast sister all-news station in San Francisco, KCBS/740 AM. The other stations switched to alternative programming from servers. Shortly before the all-clear was given, KNX returned to the air full-time from emergency studios on the Paramount Studios lot.
WLS, Chicago’s Don Wade to Undergo Brain Surgery. The morning duo of Don Wade and his wife Roma have been off the air at Cumulus Media’s WLS, Chicago for the past week and now Chicagoans know why. The 71-year-old WLS AM drive host suffered a seizure on September 13 while in New York for his daughter’s wedding. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports Wade will have the surgery to remove a growth from his brain during an operation scheduled for this Thursday and the duo will remain off the air for the next four to six weeks. In the meantime, late-morning hosts Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft will sub on the morning show and Jake Hartford and John Kaas will host the 9:00 am to 11:00 am program.
Northern California Hosts Armstrong & Getty Dive into Islam Controversy. KSTE, Sacramento-based morning drive hosts Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty are putting out a call for not less but more criticism of Islam and the prophet Muhammad on the internet — in a move that runs contrary to the wishes of the Obama Administration. Jack Armstrong, responding to the riots and violence in the Muslim world in response to the short film titled, “Innocence of Muslims,” said on the program, “The only response to this is to flood YouTube and flood the world with cartoons, movies and songs saying bad things about Muhammad until they finally grow up. In other words, free speech.” He questions why the U.S. government is spending money airing ads with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton denouncing the video. “I’m horribly disappointed that there are not thousands of Muhammad mocking videos out there on YouTube right now.”
Journal Broadcast Group Promotes Jeff Falconio to Full Time on WTMJ, Milwaukee. Jeff Falconio has been hosting the “Wisconsin Sports Weekend” show on Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee. Now, he’s upped to a full-time position with the station taking over for Trenni Kusnierek (who left for a TV gig at Comcast SportsNet Boston) beginning October 1. Falconio will handle sports anchor duties on the PM drive show on WTMJ and co-host the evening “Sports Central” program with Greg Matzek. In a statement, program director Joe Scialfa says, “We are excited to have Jeff join the sports department in a full-time capacity. Jeff has been a regular fixture covering Wisconsin sports for 15 years. His passion for sports and knowledge of our Wisconsin teams make him the perfect person to continue the strong WTMJ sports tradition.”
More Staff Layoffs at Merlin Media’s Chicago Offices. According to a report in Chicagoland Radio and Media, Merlin Media let go of most of the rest of its off-air staff that had been working at WIQI “FM News 101.1” prior to its return to a music format in July. The site reports writers, reporters and producers Brad Robinson, Safa Eshmawy, Sarah Engel, James Edwards, Michael Cronin, Megan Buckley, Shannon Beverly and Shannon Ward were all released from their positions on Friday, September 21.
WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta Announces Weekend Program for Belinda Skelton. The nationally syndicated Neal Boortz program – emanating from Cox Media’s news/talk giant WSB-AM/FM – is produced by Belinda Skelton (who calls it the “perfect job”). Now Skelton will put her interest (and degree) in interior design and more into play as she hosts “Belinda Skelton’s Atlanta Lifestyles” beginning in January. Cox Media Atlanta market manager Ben Reed defines the show: “Think of Pinterest, Martha Stewart or the Oprah brand where lifestyle can be defined by everything from food, wine and design to family, entertainment, and local events.” On the new show, Skelton says, “I can’t think of something more perfect for me than this show. This speaks to my core being and everything that excites me!” Although Neal Boortz is retiring from full-time radio work in the new year, Skelton will remain his executive producer managing his daily commentary, appearances, and guest hosting duties.
Odds & Sods. WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway fills in this Wednesday through Friday for Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean.”…..Talk radio pioneer Bruce Williams, who has been hosting a pre-produced program on the internet via his Made in America Broadcast Network, announces he’ll begin hosting live shows from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET starting tomorrow (9/26) and running for “a couple of weeks.”
NBC Radio’s “Miss Monitor” Dies at 89. Dorothy Ruth “Tedi” Thurman passed away in Palm Springs, California at age 89 on Saturday, September 22. Thurman was a model who came to fame as the sultry “Miss Monitor” on the old NBC Radio Network. She held that position doing the weather from 1957 to 1961. She also was featured as the weather girl on “The Tonight Show” with Jack Paar beginning in 1957.
CNN Stevens Diary Controversy, Obama ‘View’ Appearance, Ahmadinejad Speaks at UN, and Presidential Polls Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/24). The controversy over CNN’s reporting from the journal of slain U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens after telling his family it would wait for permission; President Obama’s planned appearance on ‘The View’; Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the United Nations; and the latest in presidential contest polls were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Les Moonves Tells Investors Network Sports Radio Biz is “Found Money.” That CBS is bullish on sports is not news – CBS CEO Les Moonves has said that before. But he reiterated his company’s dedication to the industry and – citing the new CBS Sports Radio Network venture – called it $10 million to $15 million worth of “found money.” Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference in Beverly Hills yesterday, Moonves told the conference the sports radio network business is a $150 million industry, “With our deal with Cumulus, we have reach. We’re in nine of the top 10 markets. We have the capacity to put on a lot of stuff. We think right away we’re going to get about 10% of the market. That’s going to be a significant hit right away and that should grow. It’s a great marketplace; rather easy to do. As far as we’re concerned it’s 10 or 15 million [dollars] of found money that we think will grow.” CBS is entering into a fast-growing marketplace already dominated by ESPN and with entrenched radio players Fox Sports Radio Network, Yahoo! Sports Radio and new entrant NBC Sports Radio – a partnership between NBC and Dial Global. Sure, there’s a ton of money in sports media right now, but how fast this market gets saturated is a question industry watchers are pondering.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Gets Television Profile with DISH Network Deal. Talk show host and digital media pioneer Glenn Beck is soon to be seen on television after his TheBlaze, Inc. agrees to a deal with DISH Network to have his online 24-hour news, information and entertainment network available on the satellite TV provider. Under terms of the deal, TheBlaze will be available to DISH viewers on channel 212 as part of DISH’s America’s Top 250 package or a la carte for $5 a month. The channel launched Wednesday at 5:00 pm ET. It’ll be available as a free preview for all DISH customers through September 26. In a statement, Beck says, “TheBlaze has helped revolutionize television over the internet and now we are excited to bring the revolution back to traditional television. TheBlaze will be home to news, information and entertainment programming with the facts and stories people care about most and we look forward to kicking things off with DISH.” Mercury Radio Arts president Chris Balfe blogged about the success of Beck’s new venture and how this deal came to pass. “Prior to our initial launch I was often asked why we didn’t pursue a traditional cable channel. There were several factors, but the biggest was that we wouldn’t have been able to build the channel we wanted back then without giving up control. To get on the air we would have had to partner with a large media company that could provide us with the staff, infrastructure and distribution necessary to launch a new network. That was something that we simply were not willing to do. The whole point of starting our own network was to be free from outside influences — giving that independence up right away in exchange for distribution was a non-starter. And so we found another way. But now, a year later, everything has changed. Our subscribers’ enthusiasm and support has allowed us to make the necessary investments in programming and infrastructure, and we’re now in a position to launch a cable and satellite channel without losing control.”
Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Promotes Julie Talbott. The president of content and affiliations for Premiere Networks is upped to a new post – president of content and affiliations for CC’s National Media Groups. Talbott retains her oversight of Premiere Networks but adds new duties as she’ll answer to Kevin Dorsey, president of the National Media Groups who, in turn, reports directly to chairman and CEO John Hogan. A statement from Clear Channel notes Talbott’s “new role will include leading and maintaining key affiliate relationships to sell and service Premiere Networks, Total Traffic Network and iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s industry-leading digital radio platform. The new position will provide the company’s affiliates with a simplified and streamlined point of contact for communicating and conducting business across Clear Channel’s diverse group of subsidiaries.” Talbott says, “I enjoy working with our clients and partners, and this alignment of our affiliate efforts will allow us to better serve and communicate with stations throughout the U.S. I’m looking forward to working with the amazing teams across the company as we continue to demonstrate the unique relationship CCM+E has with our audience.”
Cox Media’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa Names Levi May Program Director. The PD post at KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa opened up when long-time programmer Drew Anderssen moved to Cox Media’s Orlando news/talker WDBO-AM/FM. Levi May served as WDBO’s assistant PD prior to his new position in Tulsa.
Talk Radio Weekends: Two Sure Shots. Talk radio consultant Holland Cooke offers advice on weekend programming for talk radio stations that fits in with the P1’s weekend lifestyle and has the opportunity for bringing in revenue. Sure, it’s lifestyle-oriented stuff but while many of those categories are well-serviced by nationally syndicated programs, Cooke says these two suggestions are tailor-made for local professionals. Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.
WVON, Chicago News Pro Sharon McGhee Loses Battle with Cancer. Journalist, writer and radio news director Sharon McGhee died in Columbia, Missouri on September 11 at age 54 after a long battle with ovarian cancer. She joined urban talk WVON, Chicago in 1997 and was promoted to news director the following year. She left the radio business to focus on her love of the arts and entertainment and in 2007, wrote the critically acclaimed “The Pocketbook Monologues” and subsequently directed multiple staged performances across the United States. McGhee returned to WVON in 2008 as news director and resigned from that position in 2010 due to health reasons. WVON president Melody Spann Cooper states, “Sharon McGhee was one of the most creative people I’ve ever known. Her determination, passion and drive brought her to Chicago where she excelled in everything that was on her professional and personal agenda. She was a rare breed determined to do it her way, and she did.”
Former Merlin Media News Pros Land with Virtual News Center. News staffers Veronica Carter and Katherine Kelly were two of the news pros who worked at Merlin Media’s FM news outlet in Chicago and exited the station when it flipped formats. They join the team at Virtual News Center which describes itself as “the largest independent provider of local news for radio heard on over 175 stations in nearly 80 markets.” The company works on a cash direct basis or via barter through Envision Radio Networks. Veronica Carter spent her 25 year radio career in Illinois, Indiana, and California, heavily involved in all facets of news reporting and anchoring. On her Merlin experience she says, “Working for Merlin Media was short lived, but an adventure to say the least! Glad to be with Virtual News Center, it’s actually fun doing newscasts all over the country!” Katherine Kelly worked in Peoria, Illinois and the Quad Cities as well as in Seattle and Chicago. Kelly anchored news as a part of some of the country’s top morning shows. She also helped launch the Oprah Radio Network on Sirius XM. She states, “I am incredibly honored to be joining the team at Virtual News Center. Now I can cover just as many cities without leaving home!”
New Jersey 101.5 Reporter Honored for Series on Teen Drug Abuse. The New Jersey Governor’s Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse honors New Jersey 101.5 reporter Stacy Proesbtle with its Community Service Award. Proesbtle is pictured here (from l-r) with NJ 101.5 brand manager Eric Johnson, NJ 101.5 news director Eric Scott, Proesbtle, and Council executive director John Hulick at the Council’s 21st annual Summit at the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick, New Jersey. Proebstle’s five-part series about the abuse of heroin and other opiates among New Jersey’s youth focused on prescription drug abuse, accidental overdoses, how abuse often begins at home and the fact that prescription drug abuse can happen to anyone. Proebstle talked to recovering addicts, parents, prevention specialists, substance abuse professionals and law enforcement officers to address current trends and issues along with possible solutions. On receiving the honor, Proesbtle says, “I’m absolutely delighted to receive this honor on behalf of the station and most genuinely grateful. It validates the importance of community service and giving back to one’s community.”
Cumulus San Francisco Inks 49ers for 12-Year Extension. Appearing on sports talk KNBR, San Francisco’s Murph & Mac morning show, Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey joined 49ers CEO Jed York to announce the stations and the NFL clubs have agreed to a 12-year contract extension to keep the team’s games on KNBR, news/talk KGO and rock KSAN in the market. During that appearance on the program, Dickey said, “While the trend in radio has been for shorter deals with sports teams, this 12-year partnership demonstrates the commitment of KNBR and Cumulus to the 49ers, and further cements KNBR as the ‘Sports Leader in Northern California’ for almost 25 years.”
WEEI, Boston Helps Celebrate Red Sox Broadcaster Joe Castiglione’s 30th Anniversary. Prior to last night’s Boston Red Sox game, Entercom sports talker WEEI celebrated the 30th anniversary of play-by-play announcer Joe Castiglione with an appearance at the WEEI studios by Castiglione on the afternoon drive “Big Show” with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley. The evening also featured a half-hour pre-game tribute show that included a video at Fenway Park and on-field recognition from the team.
Conservative Chuck Morse and Liberal Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan Split. Veteran Boston-based conservative talk host Chuck Morse and California-based liberal Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan have ended their left-right internet talk radio program, “Fairness Radio with Chuck Morse & Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan,” after it became impossible to work together, according to Morse. The two will host separate programs on the internet and affiliated radio stations.
Long-Running Speaker Series Continues with Author of ‘Fast and Furious’ Book. WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (at left) conducted his 80th “Town Hall” interview and live broadcast in The Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University “President Speaker Series,” with Townhall.com investigative reporter Katie Pavlich (at right) before a live audience on Wednesday, September 12. Pavlich is author of Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up (Regnery 2012). Photo: Arthur J. Byrnes.
U.S. Ambassador Killed in Libya Strike, Cairo Unrest, Obama-Netanyahu Relations, and Chicago Teachers Strike Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/12). The death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens after a violent assault on the U.S. consulate; violent anti-American protests in Cairo; reports of President Obama’s snubbing of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Obama Administration’s Iran policy; and the continuing Chicago teachers strike were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Gow Communications to Pay $5.17 Million for KFNC, Houston. The sale of sports talk outlet KFNC, Houston to Gow and Educational Media Foundation that was announced in the spring is coming close to the finish line as David Gow and company should begin LMAing the station Cumulus put into bankruptcy protection as early as September 1. The station – positioned as ESPN 97.7 – is expected to continue to broadcast ESPN programming at least for a while. Gow also operates crosstown sports talk KGOW and Yahoo! Sports Radio and there have been some changes there with Travis Rodgers moving to the early afternoon slot on both KGOW and the national network. KGOW is preparing to debut Adam Clanton and John Wessling in the afternoon drive slot, according to David Barron of the Houston Chronicle. Clanton currently works for KPRC-TV but will wrap up his role with the station this weekend. As for the Yahoo! Sports Radio network, a new PM drive show is being developed and will be announced soon. The network’s Craig Shemon returns to weekends from the midday slot.
Heidi and Frank Return to the Terrestrial Airwaves in Los Angeles. Cumulus Media names Heidi Hamilton and Frank Kramer the new morning show on KLOS, Los Angeles, taking over for Mark & Brian beginning September 4. Brian Phelps surprised the industry last week announcing he would also be leaving the Cumulus classic rocker at the same time Mark Thompson would, although Thompson made his decision to retire public earlier this summer. Cumulus COO John Dickey told TALKERS over the weekend that Brian Phelps was “part of a large consideration pool” of candidates for the new morning program. In announcing “The Heidi and Frank Show,” Dickey states, “After a long and thoughtful search which overwhelmed us with great, established talent and new talent waiting to be discovered both in and out of radio, I couldn’t be more pleased with the selection of ‘The Heidi and Frank Show’ to continue on the tradition that Mark and Brian set in place with 25 years of Hall of Fame radio.” Hamilton and Kramer have been producing an internet radio show since CBS Radio shut down hot talk KLSX, Los Angeles in a format flip. The Frosty, Heidi and Frank program (with Frosty Stillwell) aired there successfully for years. They also worked at KABC after the demise of KLSX. Prior to the KLSX era Hamilton and Kramer hosted the morning show at crosstown Hot AC KYSR. On the new gig, Heidi Hamilton states, “KLOS is rock. KLOS is the definitive iconic rock radio station in the world. It’s one of those stations that evokes a feel good emotion while you’re driving in your car. I’m beyond honored that Frank Kramer and I have been invited to become a part of something so legendary! The ‘Heidi and Frank Show’ fans are second to NONE and I know they will be with us on this long fun ride together.” Frank Kramer comments, “If it would have been any other station than KLOS, I would have said no. We have a huge following across the world and only a station as large and iconic as KLOS could lure us back to radio. To be given this opportunity is an honor and a privilege. With the continued support from my partner, Heidi Hamilton, and the fans that never left us, and the fans waiting for us to return, the next 25 years are going to be one hell of a ride.”
The Battle for Control over Sirius XM Continues and the Momentum Seems to be Shifting in Favor of John Malone’s Liberty Media. Yes, what seemed like an odd story just a matter of months ago has developed into a high stakes big business drama. John Malone and Liberty Media, the company that rescued the merged satellite radio company from burning up in the atmosphere back in 2009 by gobbling up 40% ownership at what has turned out to be a super good deal for them has asked the FCC for approval to take outright control of Sirius XM Radio, noting it plans to raise its stake in the satellite radio company above 50%. The request follows disclosure earlier this week that Liberty, SiriusXM’s largest shareholder, was inching up its collection of shares in Sirius from approximately 46.2% to an aggressively postured 48%. In last week’s filing, Liberty said it will “have purchased sufficient shares of Sirius’s common stock and will convert its preferred shares such that the transfer of control will be completed within 60 days of commission consent.” Raising its stake above 50% and being granted FCC approval to take absolute control opens the way for Liberty to replace Sirius management and spin its Sirius stake off to Liberty shareholders. But would replacing Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin be a wise move? Probably not. Although coldly brash and hard-nosed as they come, Karmazin is an extremely effective radio broadcast executive and business strategist who has done a world class job of getting Sirius XM to its present state of health. Reports from inside Liberty indicate that John Malone recognizes that and is giving “Mel” wiggle room to back pedal off his earlier blurts that he wouldn’t work for anyone else. There is a huge lesson here for wannabe broadcast industry moguls (and there sure are a lot of them out there): When you turn to venture capitalists and outside big money investors to save your ass, they will likely wind up owning it.
In Search of the Effective Commercial. There’s a trend away from humorous commercials in radio, according to H-and-H Communications president Al Herskovitz. Research indicates Madison Avenue is questioning the effectiveness of funny ads and, as it applies to talk radio advertising, Herskovitz writes that the “recognizable spokesperson” – read, the talk show host – is much more effective. But there are still problems there that need to be solved. Read Al Herskovitz’s piece here.
Courtside Entertainment’s “Loveline” Clears Tampa Market. Cox Media’s FM hot talker WHPT, Tampa – The Bone – adds Courtside Entertainment Group’s “Loveline” featuring Dr. Drew Pinsky, Mike Catherwood and Simone Bienne for the 1:00 am to 3:00 am slot. “Loveline” becomes part of Cox’s young male-targeted talk outlet that features Bubba the Love Sponge in morning drive and Cowhead in PM drive.
Odds & Sods. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington hosts a special “school” edition of its “Ask the…” program today at 10:00 am. Mark Seagraves serves as moderator for the commercial-free hour featuring a Q&A session with superintendents and school board officials from Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Fairfax County and the District of Columbia…..Entercom’s New England sports talk juggernaut WEEI produces the 11th Annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon beginning today and running through tomorrow. The fundraising extravaganza takes place live from Fenway Park from 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight both days. Last year the event raised more than $3.3 million for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute…..Nationally syndicated radio host Phil Grande of the “Phil’s Gang” program will broadcast his show live from the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week with broadcasts starting at 3:00 pm ET. Grande will have special guests Donald Trump, Florida Governor Rick Scott and Sarasota Republican Chairman Joe Gruters plus many other guests. In addition, he will have up to the minute news, updates and of course his own commentary. The 2012 Republican National Convention is being held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum August 27-30, 2012.
CBS Radio News Announces Convention Coverage. Dial Global and CBS Radio News will deliver coverage from the two national conventions – the Republican National Convention in Tampa August 27 through 30 and the Democratic National Convention September 4 through 6. Coverage plans include anchored coverage, updates, special reports, special features, and one-on-one interviews with correspondents, pundits and political experts. CBS Radio News states it will “provide expert reporting and analysis, featuring an experienced lineup of respected and award-winning correspondents and commentators, including Howard Arenstein, Pam Coulter, Peter King, Dan Raviv, Peter Maer, Andrew Mollenbeck, Brian Montopoli and Professors Dotty Lynch and Leonard Steinhorn.
Los Angeles Radio Personality Paul Crosswhite Passes Away. Southern California newsman and DJ Paul Crosswhite died on August 17 after a long illness. Crosswhite served as a news person at both KFI and KNX-FM during his career. He also was an evening and morning drive host at KTWV, Los Angeles – The Wave – for 10 years. According to LARadio.com’s Don Barrett, “Crosswhite did news during most of his tenure in Southern California radio and has received Golden Mike Awards for documentary, feature and best newscast. He did news during the glory years of KNX-FM. During the Gulf War, he won the Associated Press Award for best newscast. When he moved to “the Wave,” he gave up news to become a DJ, originally in the evenings and, later, mornings after the female morning drive team collapsed.”
Romney-Ryan Team, Obama Medicare Cuts, Facebook Stock Plummets and Syria Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20). The Mitt Romney–Paul Ryan ticket hitting the campaign trail full-swing; President Obama’s cuts to Medicare; the sagging stock price of Facebook; and the ongoing violence in Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Merlin Media Abandons News Format in New York and Chicago. As indicated earlier today, Merlin Media held a major pair of staff meetings in New York and Chicago this morning and as speculated it was to announce a significant change in the operations of its two major properties in these markets. According to reports, the Randy Michaels-headed company flipped WEMP, New York‘s “FM News 101.9” shortly after 10:00 am ET to “New Rock 101.9.” Chicago’s “FM News 101.1” (WIQI) has been recast as a hot AC, “i101.” It has been less than a year since these all news formats were launched with a tremendous amount of industry buzz – but the ratings and critical evaluations fell terribly short of expectations.
Paul Finebaum, Citadel and Former GM Bill Thomas Settle Lawsuit. Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum, Citadel and former WJOX, Birmingham general manager Bill Thomas have reached an amicable settlement in their claims regarding Finebaum’s employment at the station, now owned by Cumulus. The terms are not being released but the upshot is Finebaum will work out his contract with the station that ends in January of 2013. Whether he will negotiate to re-sign with the station beyond that or seek to join another broadcast outlet is unknown. In a joint statement, Thomas and Finebaum say that claims were contested and the settlement in no way constitutes an admission by any party concerning the validity or invalidity of any claim, counterclaim, or defense raised in the litigation. Further, Finebuam says, “I am particularly pleased that the claims involving Bill Thomas are resolved. I have known Bill for many years and have valued his advice. We both regret that we became personally entangled in what was essentially a business dispute with former management and we look forward to repairing our relationship.” Cox Media’s crosstown sports talk outlet WZNN continues to express interest in acquiring Finebaum’s services after his deal with Cumulus runs out, as reported in the Birmingham News. But Finebaum’s attorney, Russ Campbell, says his client will issue no comment on his future intentions. The original legal claims included Finebaum’s contention that Thomas and Citadel coerced him into signing a contract addendum that worked against his best interests and Citadel claimed Finebaum negotiated with another party in violation of his contract. Finebaum’s show is heard in some 30 markets in the Southeast and is also available on SiriusXM.
Courtside Entertainment Group Breaks Simone Bienne Out with Daily Features. British psychosexual and relationship therapist Simone Bienne – a co-host on the nightly nationally syndicated “Loveline” radio show – is featured on a new twice-daily vignette called “Lovelink with Simone Bienne.” Each evening Bienne is part of the “Loveline” show with Dr. Drew Pinsky and Mike Catherwood. Now Courtside Entertainment offers what it calls “her unique professional insight with a distinctly female perspective through two, one-minute commentaries every weekday.” Courtside owner Norm Pattiz says, “Simone Bienne is a bottle rocket of energy, insight and intelligence. We are delighted to have lured her across the pond to the States and are confident American radio listeners will be as taken with her charm, wit and knowledge as we are.”
Staff Meetings at Merlin Media’s New York and Chicago Stations Scheduled for Today. As the two all-news FMs approach their first anniversary, the word on the street is that staff meetings have been called for this morning at WEMP-FM, New York and WIQI, Chicago. Industry watchers are aware the ratings for the two all-news stations have not budged much since their debut last August and although there is no insight into what staffers can expect to hear this morning, staff meetings like this usually indicate a major change of some sort.
Drew Anderssen Moves from KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa to WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando. Program director Drew Anderssen, who’s been programming Cox Media’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa for the past 12 years, moves to the company’s Orlando cluster to take the program director role at news/talk WDBO-AM/FM beginning August 6. Cox Media Orlando vice president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “Drew has had an incredibly successful track record leading the KRMG brand. His talent and passion for digital innovation will be a great asset not only for WDBO but for our entire cluster.” Anderssen replaces Steve Holbrook who left the Cox Orlando operations in June after almost 30 years with the company.
Scottie Nell Hughes Joins Cast of Politichicks. The online media site Politichicks.TV announces SNH Media president Scottie Nell Hughes joins the staff of the “all-in-one web destination that addresses the concerns of conservatives from the women’s point of view.” Hughes’ company handles PR for talk radio personalities Rusty Humphries, Michael Berry and Mark Skoda, among others. Now she becomes part of the Politichicks team. Politichicks executive producer Beverly Zaslow says, “Scottie Nell brings a valuable energy and passion to a group of dynamic women and her background in talk radio has taught her to think on her feet and not be afraid to ask hard questions.” Hughes joins the other “politichicks” – former “Dallas” cast member Morgan Brittany, “The Young & the Restless” cast member Ann-Marie Murrell, activist Sonnie Johnson and talk radio host Dr. Gina Loudon as co-host.
John Bishop Named Co-Host on KOZN, Omaha’s “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” Show; Gary Sharp Named Station’s Sports Director. There’s been another change in the lineup at NRG Media’s sports talk KOZN, Omaha after Matt Schick – the host recently named to replace Kevin Kugler on the show – accepted a position with ESPNU (ESPN’s college sports channel). John Bishop, most recently program director and co-host of the morning drive show at KOZN’s sister station KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska, will take over the co-hosting duties alongside Mike’l Severe on “Unsportsmanlike Conduct.” Kugler had announced he would be leaving the show to take a position with the Big Ten Network and will continue to contribute to KOZN on a limited basis. NRG Omaha operations manager Neil Nelkin says, “We hire great talent on the ZONE as it’s a station sports figures and leaders tune to. Bishop is well known throughout sports circles in Nebraska, namely as a distinguished sportscaster with decades of experience with Husker athletics, Creighton sports and the College World Series. Bishop more than has the credentials, experience and the chops for this role on The ZONE…now I want to keep him for a while.” Additionally, Nelkin announces Gary Sharp returns to Nebraska to take the sports director and morning show co-host position at sister station KZOT. Sharp most recently worked with Minnesota Twins minor league club the Ft. Myers Miracle. Prior to that he was sports director at the Nebraska Sports Network. He’ll co-host the KZOT morning show with Jason Peter. He says, “I am extremely excited for the opportunity to return to radio at a great station and most importantly to return to Nebraska. We’ve had some great success here in Fort Myers and I will miss the people and relationships I have developed in baseball. I am sure Jason is chomping at the bit to get started and I am sure we will have some spirited sports conversations that will make great radio.”
Clear Channel Seeks WHBA for Calls for Its New Boston FM. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment will take over the operation of alternative rocker WFNX, Boston on Monday and the request of new call letters WHBA gives no clue as to what format the station will assume when the change takes place. The Boston Globe is planning to put the alternative format online and has already hired some of the WFNX staff to run it. Talk radio fans in Boston might like to see an FM signal for the company’s WXKS – Talk 1200 – but those calls certainly don’t seem very news/talky, do they? Regardless, the wait is on and let the speculation continue!
Cumulus Promotes Dave Crowl, Shuffles Market Managers. Cumulus Chicago market manager Dave Crowl adds more regional vice president duties in addition to continuing to oversee Chicago’s news/talk WLS-AM and classic hits WLS-FM but the company brings Donna Baker up from Houston to take over the market manager position in Chicago. Cumulus RVP Chuck Bortnick steps into Houston to oversee that market and will take on additional RVP duties for the region.
TALKERS magazine Publishes Debut “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America.” The editors of TALKERS magazine are pleased to announce the publishing of the first annual TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk. A companion to its “sister list” – the annual Talkers 250 Featuring the Heavy Hundred that ranks talk radio hosts working in the news/talk and general talk genres – the editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, present the debut class of this annual feature honoring the sports talk radio industry’s 100 most important hosts, duos or ensembles. In order to create this list, the editors took into account a combination of hard and soft factors and the results are, admittedly, subjective. Staying true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due. Those qualities include: courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness. View the 2012 TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here.
A Tribute to WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa. The number-one ranked sports talk host on this year’s TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk is WFAN, New York PM drive host Mike Francesa, who’s spent the past 23 years as dean of sports talk in the nation’s biggest market. Fellow WFAN personality Richard Neer writes that Francesa’s “relentless curiosity and work ethic, along with his relationship with some of the biggest names in television broadcasting, gave him unique insight” that served as a foundation for a sterling sports media career. Read Richard Neer’s tribute to WFAN’s Mike Francesa here.
2012 Presidential Race, Penn State Report, Hillary Clinton in Egypt, Welfare Work Requirement Issue, and Weak Retail Sales Numbers Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/16). The 2012 presidential campaign; the Louis Freeh-led report on the Penn State-Jerry Sandusky case; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to post-election Egypt; the controversy over the Obama Administration’s relaxing of welfare work requirements; and weak retail sales figures were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
New Media Seminar Takes Place in NYC Today. The first of this year’s two one-day installments of the New Media Seminar kicks off at 9:00 am ET today on Manhattan’s East Side with more than 70 industry leaders set to address a capacity crowd of more than 350. Attendees include professionals from all aspects of the talk media industry including talk radio, television, satellite and internet shows, stations, networks, syndicators and companies. The keynote speaker is Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity with solo addresses being presented by MSNBC‘s Ed Schultz, Cumulus Media‘s Governor Mike Huckabee, WFAN morning co-host Boomer Esiason, TRN and CRN legend Barry Farber, consultants Walter Sabo and Holland Cooke, CBS News VP Harvey Nagler, WTOP VP Jim Farley and WOR afternoon drive host Governor David Paterson. Panels will tackle such topics as the “General State and Future of Spoken Word Radio,” “Challenges Facing News/Talk PDs,” “How to Make Money Doing Talk,” “Managing a Talk Hosting Career,” and “Finding Digital Success in Talk.” The event will also feature the ever-popular “Talk Rumble” moderated this year by Dial Global star Jim Bohannon. TALKERS magazine will provide full coverage of the event in the days and weeks ahead.
G. Gordon Liddy to Retire from Talk Radio Career; Financial Expert Peter Schiff to Fill Time Slot for Syndicator Radio America. It’s been almost 20 years since Watergate figure G. Gordon Liddy got behind the microphone to do his first talk radio show. He began a regular program with then-Infinity Broadcasting‘s WJFK-FM, Washington, DC before moving into national syndication via Westwood One. His program began a syndication run with Radio America in 2003. Radio America announces the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET daypart will be filled by financial expert Peter Schiff – investor and author of three best-selling books including his most recent, The Real Crash: America’s Coming Bankruptcy – and How to Save Yourself and Your Country (St. Martin’s Press 2012). In fact, today (6/7) Schiff is testifying before a Congressional subcommittee giving about the potential negative impact of more generous FHA loan guarantees currently being considered by Congress. Radio America states, “Schiff’s program combines his unique outlook on current events, economics and political developments. Unlike other radio hosts who only view the world through the prism of politics, Schiff connects today’s news to the world’s of business and finance. Schiff’s daily program has been airing on Radio America since August, 2011. Liddy’s last program for the network will be July 27 although he will still work for the network as a commentator and on special projects.
Michele McPhee Returns to the Air at WRKO, Boston. Former Boston Herald crime reporter and author Michele McPhee gets back on the Boston talk radio scene when she takes over the midday slot on Entercom‘s WRKO, Boston Monday, June 11. McPhee hosted the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show on WRKO in 2011 for seven months and worked at crosstown WTKK-FM for three years prior to that. Program director Jason Wolfe says, “It’s great to have Michele back at WRKO. She did a terrific job for us before and I’m very excited about getting her back on the air in this expanded midday role. Michele is Boston. An outstanding reporter with tremendous credibility, she will provide our listeners with high energy and passion every day.” On returning to WRKO, McPhee says, “While I loved breaking stories for ‘Team 5 Investigates’ and worked alongside some of Boston’s legendary TV personalities, I missed fighting for the common man in the Commonwealth on WRKO. So much outrage, so little time. I’m looking forward to engaging in the conversation again.”
Program Director Steve Holbrook is Out at WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando. No comments yet from Cox Media‘s Orlando cluster or from Holbrook, but Radio-Info‘s Tom Taylor is reporting that the Orlando message board is full of comments about the departure of Holbrook from the program director role at the news/talk station. The report is Holbrook’s exit was not voluntary. He’d been with Cox for 30 years and also programmed the cluster’s two country stations WCFB-FM and WWKA-FM.
Sun Broadcast Group to Handle Network Sales for Ben Ferguson Show. The Sunday evening Ben Ferguson show is produced by Ferguson’s own ICON Radio Network and is heard on more than 100 stations across the country. Now, Sun Broadcast Group announces Ferguson’s program joins its roster with Sun handling network sales for the program. Ferguson also hosts the 9:00 am to 11:00 am program on Cumulus Media‘s WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Hubbard Radio‘s WTOP, Washington, DC and sister station WFED pick up more than a dozen Associated Press awards from the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association. WTOP was recognized for Outstanding News Operation; Outstanding Website; Year Round Sports Coverage; Outstanding Spot News and more…..Football writer and SportsUSA game analyst Ross Tucker begins writing an exclusive column for the SportsUSAMedia.com website. Tucker, a popular NFL expert, is writing a Tuesday column and will add a Friday column once the NFL season begins…..SiriusXM is providing coverage of the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly known as Euro 2012, offering play-by-play broadcasts of every match to listeners nationwide. Subscribers will have access to both English and Spanish-language broadcasts, provided by ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes Radio, from the Group Stage matches starting Friday, June 8, through the Final on Sunday, July 1…..Entercom‘s sports KGMZ-FM, San Francisco is giving listeners a chance to win “The Ultimate Bay Area Baseball Package” that includes 4 tickets to the entire As vs. Giants series June 22-24, the chance to meet players and two Southwest Airline ticket round-trip vouchers for being the contestant who uses Facebook, Twitter or some other means to get a celebrity to call 95.7 The Game on their behalf and go on the air next week. PD Jason Barrett says, ““It will be fun, unpredictable and the winner will get an amazing baseball experience.”…..WITF-FM, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is the latest non-commercial station to drop its music format – in this case classical – to air a news/talk format. The change takes place on June 25.
Walker Survives Wisconsin Recall Election, 2012 Presidential Race, Financial Markets Activity, Al Qaeda Drone Strike and Ray Bradbury Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/6). Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker‘s victory in a recall election; the 2012 presidential campaign, the turbulent global financial markets, the recent drone strike that killed a high-level al-Qaeda leader, and the death of author Ray Bradbury were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Neal Boortz Announces Retirement from Daily Talk Radio; Hermain Cain to Take Over WSB and Syndicated Shows. Yesterday’s bombshell was a surprise to the talk media industry as 42-year talk veteran and legend Neal Boortz announced he will retire from the radio business on January 18, 2013. In a joint statement from Cox Media and Dial Global – also aired on Boortz’s flagship WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta – Boortz said, “Believe me, this wasn’t a decision I made lightly. I love this business and everything it has afforded me. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to be doing my talk show for 42 years. I’ll certainly miss the listeners and callers; but most of all I’ll miss my radio family, executive producer Belinda Skelton and researcher Cristina Gonzalez.” WSB says Herman Cain, who previously hosted the evening show on WSB before running for president, will take over the slot on WSB and will launch his own nationally syndicated talk show on January 21, 2013. Cox Media Atlanta VP and market manager Dan Kearney says Boortz will continue to record his daily rants that will air several times a day on WSB. Dial Global SVP/GM of news and talk Amy Bolton says, “Neal’s fearless wit and intellect made him phenomenally successful. It has been terrific working with such a tremendous talent all these years. He will be missed, but his successor couldn’t be more perfect. Herman has the experienced radio chops and is a bona fide media and political personality with a huge loyal following. We look forward to a seamless transition and continued success with our affiliates and advertisers for many years to come.”
Two Former Governors to Speak at New Media Seminar/NYC. In an interesting turn of ironic symmetry, two former governors — one a Republican, the other a Democrat — who have gone on to become major talk show hosts, will appear and speak at the sold-out New Media Seminar in New York City this Thursday, June 7. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, now nationally syndicated on radio by Cumulus Media and presented on cable by Fox News Channel, is scheduled to deliver a special address discussing his evolution from presidential politics to talk media and his take on the nature of public discourse in America. Former New York Governor David Paterson, now heard daily in the Big Apple afternoons on Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, will make an appearance at the NMS Freedom of Speech Luncheon where he will greet attendees to the Empire State and discuss the important role of community service in radio. To see the complete New Media Seminar agenda click here. For information call 413-565-5413.
NRG Media Adds Another Sports Talker to the Omaha Market. The success of its existing “Zone” brand of sports talk on KOZN 1620 and the market’s hunger for more sports is the reason NRG Media is adding more sports with the flip of talk KOIL at 1180 AM to sports as “Zone 2.” Operations manager Neil Nelkin states, “We have enjoyed such enormous success with our Zone brand with our local and national sports programming that we needed to expand the brand even further to fill the market’s need. With the Zone 2 on the air, we will now be able to offer even more local college play-by-play with powerful local franchises such as Creighton University, the Storm Chasers, special broadcast coverage of 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London featuring 1620 The Zone’s Kevin Kugler, and play-by-play of the Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Royals.” Zone 2 will carry programming from Yahoo! Sports Radio as well as DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio‘s Dan Patrick.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason will be honored with the 2012 National Radio Award at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas on Friday, September 21…..The progressive political convention Netroots Nation will take over SiriusXM‘s Left channel on Saturday, June 9 will air live programming from the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment‘s WGY-AM/FM, Albany takes three New York State Associated Press Awards: for Best Regularly Scheduled News Program, Best Spot News (Hurricane Irene Coverage) and Best Enterprise Reporting (Halloween Sex Offender Enforcement). The station also received special mention for Best News Special (Clear View public affairs program), Best Spot News (August Earthquake Coverage), and General Excellence in Use of Medium (Halloween Sex Offender Enforcement)…..Sports USA announces its full lineup of college football play-by-play broadcasts available for the coming 2012 season that begins with Boise State vs. Michigan State on August 31. Sports USA president Larry Kahn says this is the company’s 12th season presenting the “College Football Game of the Week.”…..Lincoln Financial Media promotes Donna Mairs from regional sales manager to national sales manager for its South Florida operations. Mairs will represent sports WAXY, Miami among other stations in South Florida…..Journal Communications names Jason R. Graham vice president and corporate controller.
2012 Presidential Race, Sinking Global Financial Markets, Wisconsin Recall Election, and Jerry Sandusky Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/4). The 2012 campaign for president; tepid jobs and manufacturing data plus the Euro Zone instability and their impact on the global financial markets; the Wisconsin recall election of Republican Governor Scott Walker; and the start of the Jerry Sandusky trial were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Only You. That’s Las Vegas-based syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (r) with Sonny Turner of the Platters (l). Dr. Wachs tells TALKERS that Sonny and she met up at a convention center in Vegas where she was emceeing at an event for the Corner4Success Foundation that benefits community outreach programs including the Girls Club. Turner is a fan of hers and Daliah says she and he will sing together at a future event – a dream of hers!
Tom Leykis and Lionel to Discuss Their High-Profile Pioneering Digital Efforts at NMS. Two questions (or variations thereof) regularly fielded by the TALKERS editorial staff these days are “How’s Tom Leykis doing with his new online talk show?” and “What’s Lionel up to these days with his online project?” Both will be answered in detail straight from the horses’ mouths at the New Media Seminar’s Digital Workshop in New York City this Thursday, June 7. As West Coast-based Leykis approaches the two-month mark into the launch of his “New Normal Network” online project and East Coast-based Lionel chalks up two years of operating “LionelMedia.com,” both individualistic graduates of the terrestrial talk show scene continue to gain traction on both the audience and revenue fronts as the industry watches with great interest. Leykis tells TALKERS, “We had over 1.1 million sessions from our debut on April 2nd until April 30th. That number would most closely approximate cume. In our first week of 24/7 streaming, we had exactly 401,180 listeners. That was more listeners than the weekly cumes of 14 L.A./Orange County radio stations in March.” On the revenue front, Leykis is also very pleased with immediate results saying, “At the current pace, we will make over 100K in revenue, but we are conservatively estimating 100K for the year.” Leykis explains the key to making an online radio operation work is to provide specific listeners something they cannot get anywhere else. He tells TALKERS, “You really have to super-serve your P1s…even in the process of selling advertising. We go out into the marketplace and ask radio-friendly businesses the question, ‘Are you being priced out of radio?’ Because our operating costs are so much lower than radio we can offer these small businesses very affordable deals. And when you specifically target business owners who are already in your audience as listeners, well it just makes a lot of sense. This is what we are doing and it is working.” Lionel describes his digital effort to TALKERS as follows: “This month is the second anniversary of the launch of LionelMedia.com, a paid subscription podcasting outlet. I podcast an hour daily of uninterrupted, unedited, commercial and break-free freeform-yet-structured spoken word. It, frankly, knows no peer. Every day I post news stories, columns, ideas, opinions and the like that supplement the subject or content of that day’s podcast. I’ll also attach a YouTube video of my latest PIX11 commentary on myriad subjects. To be most precise: I do exactly what I want. Let that sink in. My podcasts are not profane or blue in the least — in fact they could be played in their entirety on terrestrial radio. That, I feel, is a drawing point and basis for much of our success.” Although Lionel no longer does a terrestrial radio talk show, he does regularly scheduled commentaries on Tribune television stations including New York’s WPIX channel 11 and Merlin Media’s all-news FMs in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago in addition to appearing as a regular guest on a number of terrestrial radio talk shows…exposure that helps drive traffic to his online media station. The Digital Workshop will be moderated by Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News Service and Dan Patterson of KoPoint. The June 7 industry-only New Media Seminar/NYC is an advance sellout. For information call 413-565-5413.
Wisconsin Recall Spurs Question of “Equal Time” on Milwaukee News/Talk Outlets – and Beyond. Progressive political groups are charging Clear Channel‘s WISN, Milwaukee and Journal Broadcasting‘s WTMJ, Milwaukee with violating the FCC‘s “Zapple Doctrine” which mandates “equal time” to all qualified political candidates within 60 days of an election under certain circumstances. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes that talk hosts often benefit from exemption from the “Zapple Doctrine” by qualifying as a “news interview program.” But that exemption is not always a slam dunk. Read Weisman’s column about how the courts tend to interpret this section of FCC regulations here.
WPLJ-FM, New York OM Tony Mascaro to Program WABC? Some posts on the New York Radio Message Board indicate inside sources are reporting Cumulus Media New York is naming CHR WPLJ-FM operations manager Tony Mascaro program director of its news/talk WABC. As of the posting of this item, there is no confirmation or denying of the report from Cumulus. WABC APD Chuck Armstrong has been serving as interim program director for the station filling the role left vacant when Laurie Cantillo exited the post last fall. Stay tuned.
Tony Kornheiser Re-Ups with WTEM, Washington for Two Years. The Red Zebra Broadcasting station announces high-profile personality Tony Kornheiser renews his deal to remain host of the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program on ESPN 980 WTEM, Washington, DC. As part of the new contract, Kornheiser will contribute to the Washington Redskins Radio Network‘s “Official Pre-Game Show” during the football season. WTEM CEO Rick Carmean states, “Tony’s unique brand of humor and entertainment fits perfectly into our strong and highly rated midday lineup.” Kornheiser is joined weekdays by a rotating cast of co-hosts including Gary Braun, Jeanne McManus, Torie Clark, David Aldridge and longtime producer Nigel. Frequent contributors include Tony’s “Pardon the Interruption”co-host Michael Wilbon.
WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta Gives Adam Goldfein Nightly Program. Local attorney and auto dealership owner Adam Goldfein has hosted a weekend program about cars on Cox Media‘s WSB-AM/FM for some time. Now, the station adds more air time to his schedule. The consumer issues expert begins hosting a program airing nightly from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Goldfein had been filling in for Clark Howard on the station and Cox Radio Atlanta VP and market manager Dan Kearney tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “He was doing a great job filling in for Clark Howard and his Sunday show was getting great ratings. We wanted him on more consistently.”
Stephen King’s WZON, Bangor Drops Local Sports Talk; Dismisses Two. Give WZON, Bangor owner Stephen King credit for manning up and personally delivering the news to sports talk hosts Dale Duff and Clem LaBree that they were being dismissed for financial reasons. Duff and LaBree hosted the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm sports talk show on WZON-AM as well as covering a slew of local sports events, including high school and college games. The Bangor Daily News reports King told the two the change had nothing to do with the quality of their work but because the programming was losing money. WZON-AM had ceased being a full-time sports talk station in November of 2010 and was carrying much of the progressive talk format from sister WZON-FM - The Pulse. Duff had been with the station for 19 years. Both are receiving severance from the company. Duff and LaBree’s show will be replaced by a simulcast from WZON-FM although the station will continue to air sports play-by-play.
SRN’s Tom Tradup Makes Statement on End of “Richard Land Live” Program. The Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention issued two reprimands to Dr. Richard Land for comments he made about the Trayvon Martin case that it deemed “irresponsible, insensitive and racially charged.” It also ended his radio program that it produced that was distributed via Salem Radio Network. The controversy surrounding the statements was enhanced further by allegations Land read them from another published opinion that was not cited. SRN vice president of news/talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “Theologians have a different perspective on talk radio than the rest of our industry does. What some see as “hurtful language” on the Trayvon Martin case is, in reality, part of a free and open exchange of ideas and opinions that is the keystone of talk radio. And by talk radio standards, nothing Dr. Land may have failed to “fully attribute” on the air or on his website rose to the level of so-called plagiarism. Nevertheless, we respect the ERLC’s decision and thus the final edition of ‘Richard Land Live’ aired Saturday, June 2.
Twin Cities Radio Personality Dark Star Dies at Age 66. Longtime Minneapolis radio personality Dark Star – real name George Chapple – was found dead in his home in Minnetonka, Minnesota. He co-hosted the “Sports Show” along with Sid Hartman on CBS Radio‘s WCCO, Minneapolis during part of his 25 years on the air there before accepting a buyout from the station in November of 2010. Recently he had been working at crosstown KFAN. He failed to show up for his Friday show there and authorities found him dead in his apartment.
Compass Media Marketing Named Exclusive Radio Sales Agent for Point-of-Purchase Service. This story is really about the acquisition of InStore Broadcasting Network by POP Radio and the new company becomes InStore Audio Network. It delivers in-store advertising messages to more than 33,000 retail outlets – grocery, drug stores, etc. – and provides music content to some 14,000 stores. The company is enlisting Compass Media Marketing as exclusive national radio sales agent. Compass CEO Peter Kosann says, “I have been a longtime partner with POP Radio and the expanded footprint of the new company creates an exciting and compelling media product that network radio buyers will need to consider.”
KSFO, San Francisco Listeners Help Raise $135k for Fisher House Construction. Cumulus Media‘s news/talk KSFO, San Francisco held a Memorial Day weekend fundraiser for the Fisher House Foundation that began with a live remote broadcast of Brian Sussman‘s morning drive show. Sussman (r) is pictured here interviewing Fisher House representative Cindy Campbell (l). Fundraising continued over the Memorial Day weekend and more than $135,000 was collected for the construction of the Palo Alto Fisher House which provides no-cost housing and the comforts of home for family members of military personnel while their loved ones rehab and recover from various injuries and ailments. Sussman states, “This gift of over $135,000 illustrates the abundant generosity of our KSFO radio family. The Fisher House provides our troops and their families with genuine American hospitality and it’s an honor to be associated with their vital endeavor.”
Iowa Farm News Broadcaster Mark Pearson Dead at 54. Mark Pearson worked at Iowa Public Television where he hosted the “Market to Market” show and at Clear Channel‘s WHO, Des Moines where he co-hosted “The Big Show,” a program that highlighted agricultural news. Pearson died of an apparent heart attack at his home on Sunday. WHO talk show host Jan Mickelson told the Des Moines Register, “Everyone at every level in the farm community respected the guy.”
Finebaum Case Far from Settled Says Cumulus. Contrary to the story published here earlier today (6/1), there is no settlement on the horizon for Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum and Cumulus Media in their contract dispute. Cumulus COO John Dickey tells TALKERS the reported agreement that would end the lawsuits each side is filing against other and allow Finebaum to work out his contract at Cumulus’ sports talk WJOX-FM, Birmingham that ends in January of 2013 and then go to work at Cox Media’s crosstown sports WZNN-FM if he chooses are categorically untrue. “He will never work for Cox in Birmingham,” Dickey says. Jefferson County Circuit Judge Robert Vance had asked the two sides to resume negotiations to settle the contract dispute and report to the court by May 30.
Battle for Control of SiriusXM Heating Up. John Malone‘s Liberty Media is again filing a request with the FCC to give it “de facto” control of satellite broadcaster SiriusXM. The Commission denied its first attempt back on May 4 but Liberty has since acquired another 6-plus percent of the company’s stock, pushing its total above 46%. It’s petition for reconsideration with the FCC reportedly contains additional information to the Commission. In a filing with the SEC, SiriusXM states, “We’ve been engaged in discussions with Liberty Media to explore possible transactions with respect to its ownership interest in Sirius, although we have not reached agreement with respect to a specific transaction that would be mutually beneficial to both our common and preferred stockholders. There is no assurance that these discussions will result in any specific action or transaction. We do not expect to disclose developments with respect to these discussions.”
Scott Hennen Turns to Listeners for Funding for WZFG, Fargo. Talk show host and businessman Scott Hennen is exploring alternative sources for funding his purchase of The Flag 1100 (WZFG) in the Fargo market. The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead‘s Marino Eccher reports Hennen has created a program whereby fans become “founding fathers” and buy into one of four clubs – Faith, Family, Freedom, and Free Enterprise – for $1,000 (each club limited to 400 members). He’s seeking a total of 1,600 such “founders” to come up with $1.6 million. Hennen tells the paper he has traditional funding sources but decided to seek less traditional forms of funding after sensing his listeners “desire to be part of something bigger.” These fans will not be shareholders or part owners but instead will have input on the station’s weekend programming, behind-the-scenes updates and $1,000 advertising credit. Hennen tells Eccher Tea Party activist Mark Skogerboe will serve as director of the clubs and be an on-air contributor.
NEW MEDIA SEMINAR/NYC Sold Out but Agenda Keeps Growing. Thursday, June 7 is going to be a big day for talk radio in the Big Apple as some 400 professionals from all aspects of the business converge on the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side for a one-day conference containing the content mass of a two- or three-day convention. “Although we have reached capacity in terms of registration,” explains TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “doesn’t mean the agenda is not continuing to grow.” Casey continues, “This conference has all the aspects of an old fashioned ‘happening’ with a program lineup that is so outstanding, it is attracting a growing number of industry leaders wanting to contribute as speakers and panelists.” According to conference director Michael Harrison, “We attribute the positive response to this event not only its powerful and relevant agenda, but to the fact that it is so efficiently tuned to the times in terms of its affordable registration fee and compact time demands. With another one set for Los Angeles in October, this June 7 event has the convenience of a regional conference while delivering the bang of a major national convention.” Although space is limited for those who will participate in person, the content of this forthcoming NMS which will be video recorded from beginning to end will reach a far wider audience via TALKERS TV in the weeks and months following June 7. For information call 413-565-5413. To see the up-to-the-minute agenda, click here.
WEUS, Orlando to Be LMA’d with Intent to Purchase. Star Over Orlando‘s talk outlet WEUS, Orlando is entering into a deal with MultiCorp International to have the latter’s subsidiary – Rivalz Sports Group – operate the station as a sports talk outlet beginning on July 30 with the intent to buy the signal. MultiCorp intends to change the calls to WRSG and hopes to move the stations operations “within a restaurant facility” so diners can enjoy “a first-class restaurant/media experience.” The company states it hopes to expand this model to other markets.
Dr. Laura Launches Online Jewelry Business. SiriusXM talk show host and talk radio pioneer Dr. Laura Schlessinger unveils her “Dr. Laura Designs,” – an online boutique featuring her personally designed and handcrafted jewelry, glass and polymer clay art. The site offers ready-made items or people can commission custom made pieces. Dr. Laura initially began selling jewelry to assist the “Operation Family Fund,” a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to families of those who are injured or killed while fighting the war on terrorism, and raised more than $1.5 million. Dr. Laura has had a passion for jewelry – making it and glass art that started when, during a particularly difficult time for her family, her then-little son suggested that a new hobby would be helpful. She states, “I never thought I had one ounce of artistic ability, and couldn’t think of what I could do.” After a listener suggested she visit a local bead fest, she says, “I walked by a table filled with Tibetan ornaments and my brain just exploded with creative images. I bought books on jewelry-making and purchased tools, wire, beads and stones and got started.” Dr. Laura’s program currently airs from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET on the Sirius Stars channel.
Dave Ramsey to Lead NAB-RAB Radio Show Super Session. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey will lead a Super Session at the September 19-21 Radio Show in Dallas being produced jointly by the NAB and RAB. The panel, titled “Succeeding in This Economic Environment,” taking place on Thursday, September 20 at 9:30 am and, as its title implies, will focus on steps radio station operators can take to achieve success in these tough economic times.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. The Society for Professional Journalism and the Radio Television Digital News Association announce registration is open for their September Excellence in Journalism Conference taking place the 20th through the 22nd in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The conference offers more than 50 professional development sessions…..Former college football coach Rick Neuheisel (UCLA, Washington and Colorado) joins SiriusXM‘s College Sports Nation channel where he’ll appear on the “College Football Playbook” show and co-host the daily “College Sports Today” show with Mark Packer…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment‘s WFLA, Tampa begins simulcasting on an FM translator at 105.9 licensed to West Tampa…..Las Vegas-based nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs has a small role in an upcoming Showtime reality program. She tells TALKERS, “It’s a one-time small part on a Showtime reality show but it’s a start!” Wachs says it’s super secret and she can’t even tell us the name of the show, yet.
Stormy Times at Fairfax Media. American media companies are not the only ones dealing with difficult financial situations. TALKERS Australia bureau chief Trevor Smith reports on one of Australia’s major talkback radio-formatted operators – Fairfax Media – as it deals with corporate power struggles and underperforming revenue. Read Smith’s entire piece here.
Rusty Among the Politichicks. That’s Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated talk show host Rusty Humphries on the set of the internet TV show “Politichicks.” Humphries appeared with co-hosts Dr. Gina Loudon, Ann-Marie Murrell, Sonnie Johnson, Morgan Brittany on the recent episode titled, “The Fairness Doctrine: There’s Nothing Fair,” to discuss the “current environment of talk radio as well as why conservative talk radio has become a focus of attack by the mainstream media and liberal politicians. At the end of the segment, Rusty was formally honored with the title, “PolitiStud.” It’s obvious to see why.
2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 28 – June 1. The 2012 presidential contest was #1 on the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the ninth week in a row. At #2 this week was the Syria massacre aftermath. Following at #3 was Iran’s nuclear ambitions and at #4 was the Euro zone crisis and the global financial markets’ activities. The Talkers TenTM is based on ongoing research from Talkers magazine and consists of the top stories and people discussed on America’s news/talk radio stations during the week. View this week’s entire chart here.
Crue Visits the Cannons. Motley Crue bassist and host of the Premiere Networks-syndicated “Sixx Sense” radio program, Nikki Sixx (r), is pictured here with Fox Sports Radio‘s “Loose Cannons” co-host Pat O’Brien (l). Fox Sports Radio and Los Angeles Dodgers flagship AM 570 Fox Sports LA (KLAC) invited Sixx to throw out the first pitch at a recent Dodgers game. Prior to the first pitch and Sixx’s appearance on the “Loose Cannons” nationally syndicated program, Fox Sports Radio offered listeners the chance to win travel accommodations and tickets to a stop on this summer’s Motley Crue/KISS tour.
Mark Davis Back to Talk Host Duties in Big D on Salem’s KSKY. Longtime Dallas media personality Mark Davis returns to the radio in the market on Salem Communications’ KSKY in the 7:00 am to 10:00 am time slot. Davis, a Dallas Morning News columnist and television political commentator, exited Cumulus Media’s crosstown WBAP after 18 years in April when the two sides could not agree to a contract extension. Now, Davis will follow Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett who airs on KSKY from 5:00 am to 7:00 am. Salem Communications vice president and director of spoken word format Phil Boyce is also re-branding KSKY “The Answer” as he’s done with KRLA, Los Angeles; KTIE, Riverside/San Bernardino; and WNYM, New York. Boyce states, “Adding an industry icon like Mark Davis, and re-branding the station as ‘The Answer’ will help take KSKY to the next level. This station will truly be an answer for so many things going on in the metroplex and the world, with smart hosts who know how to help you understand all of those things, not to mention great news, traffic, weather and information.” Davis begins his new position on Monday, June 4 and he says, “There’s been a lot of attention paid to talk radio lately, about whether companies and stations are losing the commitment to local shows where a bond can build over the years with listeners. I love seeing the evidence that there is a company and a station looking to grow, rather than shrink that concept, and I am proud to be a part of it.”
Sid Rosenberg to Return to the Air in South Florida. Mercurial sports talk host Sid Rosenberg appears headed for a new gig at James Crystal Radio’s WMEN, West Palm Beach (licensed to Royal Palm Beach) according to a recent report in the Miami Herald. Rosenberg most recently hosted the afternoon drive show at Beasley’s WQAM, Miami but exited that position after a well-publicized DUI arrest. WMEN general manager Steve Lapa tells the Herald he expects WQAM to let Rosenberg out of his contract that runs through August – in exchange for financial concessions – and allow him to start with the station sooner rather than later but that WMEN would be willing to wait if necessary. Lapa says Rosenberg is “a talented guy and he wants to work” and after meeting with him has no reservations about Rosenberg’s past issues with drink, drugs and gambling. Where Rosenberg would fit into the schedule has not been announced. The station is currently live and local from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm with Chris Perkins in AM drive, Troy Stradford in late mornings, Andy Slater in middays and Orlando Alzugaray in PM drive.
KFI, Los Angeles Engineer Tony Dinkel Exits as Position Eliminated. He was just a day shy of his 29th anniversary at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles when he was notified his position as transmitter site broadcast engineer was being eliminated, but Tony Dinkel has nothing but fond memories of his time with the station. The 57-year-old engineer tells the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan he’ll always remember all the great people he worked with at the station. Dinkel also served as the remote engineer and station staffers praised Dinkel’s ability to get remote broadcasts off without a hitch. Read more about Dinkel’s time with KFI in Lycan’s column here.
Cumulus Media’s Atlanta All-Newser Debuts Today. All News 106.7 – the new news outlet Cumulus Media is putting on the air in Altanta – debuts today with a special radio documentary about the news business in Atlanta. The program will repeat for most of the day and the actual all-news format should be live and running after that. Cumulus made the decision to remove classic hits from WYAY-FM, Gainesville, Georgia more than a month ago and the station will be the first all-news outlet to serve Atlanta since WCNN back in the late 1990s.
Cox Media Drops Sports/Talk Hybrid “Bulldog 103.7”; Debuts Variety Hits Format. The FM sports and news/talk station that was home to talk-host-turned-Congressional-candidate Martha Zoller – WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia (licensed to Maysville) – becomes a variety hits music station dubbed “Chuck FM.” The station morphed into “Bulldog 103.7” last fall featuring a combination of sports talk and news/talk. Gainesville-based talk host Martha Zoller held down the late morning show until her recent exit from the business to run for the open seat in the newly created Georgia congressional district.
WTOP, Washington Names “Commuter Idle” Contest Winner. Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington held a contest to find – and reward – the person in the DC area with the worst commute. And the winner – with a 100 mile, five-hour daily commute to and from work – is Brenda Wells from Sparrow’s Point, Maryland. WTOP states Wells’ commute “begins at 3:00 am and her commute includes a 45-minute drive (complete with two tolls), a 50-minute train ride, two metro rides, a short walk and a metro bus ride. Wells is a federal worker with the Department of State in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, where she assigns special agents to the consulates and embassies around the world. She is a single mother of three and lives with her parents in Baltimore for financial and child care reasons.” Wells wins $1,000 in gas money and a future limo ride to and from work courtesy of Reston Limousine. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “As the DC area’s #1 traffic authority, we feel our commuters’ pain. We received hundreds of incredible stories from listeners who cope with crazy commutes just to make ends meet, and crowning a ‘winner’ was a challenge. Brenda’s multi-faceted commute, the long distance, and the impact on her family are what put her over the top.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Legendary Southern California media personality Charlie Tuna – currently spinning classic hits at K-Earth 101 in Los Angeles – is named the new station voice of KDOC-TV, Los Angeles…..Sports USA announces the first part of the slate of National Football League games it will be offering to stations for the 2012 season beginning with the New England Patriots at the Tennessee Titans on September 9. Sports USA says it will announce more NFL play-by-play approximately three weeks ahead of each week’s games…..The Nick Carioti real estate, money and business weekly radio talk show prepares to celebrate its one-year anniversary on Star Over Orlando’s WEUS, Orlando in July…..Performance Racing Network’s Wendy Venturini made history this weekend as the first woman to lead a NASCAR radio broadcast at the Charlotte Speedway’s History 300 on 5/26. PRN paired her with Doug Rice in the radio booth for Saturday’s race.
The Future of Tribune Company – and WGN, Chicago – Up in the Air After Bankruptcy Exit. An article in Crain’s Chicago Business offers some speculation – based on interviews with business consultants and Tribune’s court filings – on the future of the parts of the publishing and broadcasting giant. While its only radio property – WGN, Chicago – is not mentioned specifically in the piece, the broadcast division is and the theme of the article is that it appears the parts of Tribune are worth more than the whole and they may be sold off. Tribune is organizing its various newspaper and TV properties into streamlined LLCs in preparation for presenting its reorganization plan to the court next month. One expert states the synergy of print and broadcast never materialized for Tribune and he expects the parts to be sold. Hubbard Broadcasting CEO Stanley Hubbard is quoted saying his company might be interested in the broadcasting properties if the price is right but said he has had no discussions with the company.
Martha Zoller Wraps Radio Show; Is Official Candidate for Congress in Georgia. Georgia-based radio talk show host Martha Zoller did her last radio program for Cox Media’s WXKT-FM, Gainesville, Georgia – talk/sports hybrid Bulldog 103.7 – and is now officially on the campaign trail. Zoller’s last program was May 11 and her campaign announced yesterday, May 23, that she has qualified for the Republican primary for the newly created 9th Congressional District in Georgia which takes place on July 31. She will face State Representative Doug Collins and Jackson Commission Chairman Hunter Bicknell in the open primary. She says in a campaign statement, “For far too long, professional politicians and entrenched bureaucrats have run amuck in Washington without any adult supervision. I am going to Congress to hold Washington accountable and end the reckless spending, borrowing, and debt that is threatening the future of our nation and the security of the American people.” WXKT-FM has not announced a permanent replacement host for Zoller’s late morning program.
CNN Ratings Part of Larger News and TV Numbers Slump. The New York Times’ Bill Carter writes an analysis of the ratings problems plaguing Time Warner’s CNN on the heels of recent record low showings. The cable news network’s Nielsen numbers for the week of May 14 were down – averaging just 395,000 total viewers in prime time – while Piers Morgan’s May 15 program garnered just 39,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic. Carter writes that CNN has been hurt by strong programming from the networks during the May sweeps plus a lack of major breaking news – something that has always helped CNN boost its numbers. But Carter notes that CNN isn’t the only network affected. Even though Fox News Channel is head and shoulders above CNN in the prime time ratings, FNC only grabbed 395,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic during that week – a four-year low for Fox. It should be noted that ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” finale and Fox TV’s “American Idol” performance finale – two of TV’s highest-performing non-sports shows over the past few years, had dramatically lower audiences than the previous year. While “DWTS” had 17.5 million total viewers, that was down 18% from last spring’s finale.
New Media Seminar/NYC on Verge of Quickest Sellout in Conference’s 15-Year History. The combination of a power-packed agenda, one-day format and significantly reduced registration fee have combined to make the upcoming New York City installment of the new bi-coastal, recession-era version of the talk media industry’s annual convention an extremely hot ticket. According to the industry-only event’s organizers at TALKERS magazine, this will be the earliest sellout in its colorful 15 year history. Due to capacity regulations, the selling of registrations for the Thursday, June 7 event will cease at the close of business on Friday of this week. After that, registrations will only be issued on a stand-by basis. NMS director Michael Harrison states, “We are extremely gratified by the positive response to this new ‘austerity version’ of the New Media Seminar. The idea of compacting it into a one-day event, getting rid of the expensive frills, reducing the cost of registration by 75%, and organizing an agenda that can be described as nothing short of relentless, is striking a positive chord in the business. Also, the fact that there will be a West Coast version of the event in Los Angeles on October 11 is an innovation that has been very well received. That one will be a blockbuster too.” To see the full up-to-the-minute agenda of the New York conference, click here. For registration or sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.
Two Local Sports Talk Shows to Debut on KXPS, Palm Springs. CRC Media’s KXPS, Palm Springs (licensed to Thousand Palms, California) announces it will bring two new live and local programs to sports talker Team 1010 beginning June 4. Julie Buehler will host “Buehler’s Day Off” daily from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and Pete Fox joins the station to co-host “On the Air with Fox and Lecair” from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. MyDesert.com reports Buehler is an award-winning radio host who recently worked as part of the Indianapolis Colts broadcasting team. Fox has served as a host and reporter at KSPN, Los Angeles.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Cox Media syndicated talk star Neal Boortz sits in the anchor chair at CNBC filling in for Larry Kudlow on the cable channel’s “The Kudlow Report” tonight at 7:00 pm ET. Boortz will work with co-host and CNBC chief international correspondent Michelle Caruso-Cabrera…..WNRP, Pensacola afternoon drive talk host Brandon Rathert wins two awards – a local Edward R. Murrow Award for “Investigative Reporting” and an Associated Press award for “Best Public Affairs” for the documentary he produced on the local sheriff’s office…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment ups Matt Derrick to regional program manager for the Wilmington, Delaware and Salisbury, Maryland markets…..The actual price Clear Channel is paying for Stephen Mindich’s WFNX-FM, Boston is $14.5 million, a bit more than the $11 million we reported after the story broke.
2012 Presidential Race, Facebook IPO Investigations, Egypt Elections, and Pakistan Jails bin Laden Tracker Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/23). The battle between Republican challenger Mitt Romney and President Obama; the complex controversy over the Facebook IPO and the lawsuits it appears to be creating; the elections in Egypt; and the jailing of the doctor who aided the U.S. in finding Osama bin Laden in Pakistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Jeff Katz Welcomes Israeli Talk Host. WXKS, Boston – Talk 1200 – morning drive host Jeff Katz (l) is pictured here with Ari Abramowitz (r) – the leading English-language talk show host in Israel. Katz tells TALKERS Abramowitz stopped by the program to say hello while visiting the United States and Katz forced him to check out the two Associated Press awards he recently won!
Arbitron Releases Spring 2012 Edition of ‘Radio Today by the Numbers.’ The research-based brochure published by Arbitron with data from Scarborough Research, 2012 USA TouchPoints and the Radio Effectiveness Program, Ipsos OTX 2010-2011 that quantifies the reach and value of radio as an advertising tool is being released to clients. The study is packed with slides designed for use by stations and groups to demonstrate to broadcasters, agencies and advertisers in presentations the effectiveness of the medium. For example, the slide seen here indicates American adults ages 18-64 spend 69% of their audio entertainment time with radio compared to 11% with iPods/mp3s, 9% with satellite radio, 6% with CD players and 5% with streaming internet. Arbitron states the data also makes a case for radio advertisings’ brand awareness and purchasing intent and more.
Morning Show Changes at KSEV, Houston; Sam Malone Out, ‘Mack’ Machowicz In. Houston radio personality Sam Malone is out as morning drive host at Dan Patrick’s KSEV, Houston after two years as morning drive host. Malone tells the Houston Chronicle owner Dan Patrick told him he wants to take the morning show “in another direction.” KSEV general manager Marc McCoy tells the paper “topic selection, the way the topics would be discussed and the interaction with the audience would be better served with Mack.” That’s Richard “Mack” Machowicz, new morning host and former Navy SEAL and television host who’s produced shows including Discovery Channel’s “FutureWeapons” and Spike TV’s “Deadliest Warriors.” He’s also contributed to History Channel’s “America: The Story of US.” Prior to his work at KSEV, Malone had worked at crosstown music-formatted KRBE-FM for 12 years.
Gregg Hersholt Returns to Seattle to Co-Host AM Drive at Fisher’s KOMO. For 25 years Gregg Hersholt was a morning drive voice on crosstown KIRO, Seattle. He left KIRO-FM in 2010 and spent time at Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL-FM, Portland as PM drive anchor and managing editor. Now, he’s back in Seattle alongside Manda Factor on KOMO-AM/FM’s morning show. He replaces Bill Yeend who recently retired. KOMO program director Paul Duckworth tells Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor Hersholt has a lot of equity in the market. “Bill Yeend is one-of-a-kind, but I’m excited to hear Gregg team up with Manda Factor, who I think is one of the very best in this business.” Hersholt starts on June 11.
WDAE, Tampa Names Tom Jones and Rick Stroud AM Drive Hosts. Clear Channel’s Tampa-market sports talk outlet announces the permanent replacements for former AM drive host Dan Sileo who exited the station in March. Tampa Bay Times sports writers Tom Jones and Rick Stroud begin hosting the station’s morning show today (5/22). In a statement, CC Tampa president and market manager Sam Nein says, “Tom Jones and Rick Stroud are Tampa Bay sports experts and we’re excited to have them host mornings on 620 WDAE. Their wealth of knowledge, relationships and history in the market will make mornings on 620 WDAE the place for Tampa Bay sports fans to start their day.” Jones and Stroud have worked together in Tampa sports journalism for more than 20 years.
Talk Host Neal Boortz Nominated for Seat on Georgia Supreme Court. The Cox Media nationally syndicated talk host is one of almost three dozen Georgia attorneys nominated for an opening seat on the state’s highest court. Neal Boortz practiced law until 1992 before making talk radio his sole full-time gig. In order to be considered for the judicial post he must complete the Judicial Nominating Commission’s application packet, something Boortz has indicated he will do. The sheer volume of candidates – including several sitting judges – seems to indicate Boortz is a longshot for the post even if he’s serious about being considered. Nonetheless, it’s a pretty cool piece of PR for the Atlanta-based talk superstar.
Howard Stern Show’s Robin Quivers to Have Surgery for Tumor. The longtime co-host of the Howard Stern program announced to the show’s listeners that she will undergo surgery for a tumor in the near future. Robin Quivers, Stern’s sidekick since 1981, stated on the SiriusXM show that doctors say she has a large tumor pressing against her bladder – whether the tumor is cancerous or not is not known – and that she has a surgery date scheduled.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Premiere Networks talk host George Noory is the narrator in the film “Joplin, Missouri,” being released today (5/22) on the first anniversary of the tornado that decimated the town. Noory states, “After witnessing the horror of that Joplin tornado, friends from Missouri asked me if I’d participate in this documentary, and without hesitation, I said ‘Yes!’” Noory (r) is pictured here with the film’s producer and director Chip Gubera (l) at Smith-Lee Studios in St. Louis. The documentary premieres today in Columbia, Missouri with two screenings at Ragtag Cinema…..Thursday evening at 6:00 pm ET, SiriusXM’s Book Radio presents “A Conversation with Conan O’Brien” from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. The satcaster states the award-winning television host, comedian, writer and producer will discuss the art of comedy, his fascination with presidential history and politics and his connection to President Kennedy…..Hubbard Broadcasting announces the web portal GovEvents.com will power the events section of Washington, DC station WFED’s website. GovEvents delivers news of government and military-related events worldwide and, says WFED, “Federal News Radio listeners now have access to federally-focused conferences and events happening in the DC-metro area.”…..Cumulus Media’s WPRO and 99.7 FM News in Providence wins the Associated Press’ News Station of the Year award. The news/talk outlet also won for Best Coverage of Breaking News, Best Continuing Coverage, Best Website and Investigative Reporting.
2012 Presidential Race, Catholics Challenge ObamaCare in Court, G8/NATO Summits, Facebook Stock Sinks and Rutgers Student Verdict Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/21). The 2012 campaign for president; the suits by various Catholic organizations against the Obama Administration over its health care law reproductive medicine stipulations; the weekend’s G8 and NATO summits and the resulting Afghanistan policies; the criticism over the NASDAQ Facebook IPO; and the sentencing of a former Rutgers University student in the suicide of his former roommate were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
KIDO, Boise’s Kevin Miller Visits Fort Hood. KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller recently visited Fort Hood, Texas to see off members of the Idaho Army National Guard’s 168th General Aviation Battalion as they deploy to Afghanistan. Miller says he delivered “stories of training, patriotism and sacrifice” as the soldiers prepared to leave the country. He also visited with Idaho Army National Guard staff sergeant Jason Rzepa (pictured here at right with Miller). Rzepa is a double amputee who is rehabbing at Fort Sam Houston after being injured in an IED attack that killed two fellow Idaho National Guard soldiers and cost him his legs. Miller tells TALKERS magazine he is proud of the multi-platform efforts of the Peak Broadcasting station in supporting the troops.
The State of News in News/Talk Radio. The rise of digital news sources, today’s quickening news cycle and the economic realities of our times are forcing news/talk radio stations to evaluate their news product and adapt to continue to serve their listeners. In a feature story by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey, some of today’s top news/talk programmers speak on the record about their news philosophy, how they are integrating digital tools, news as a cume builder, the relationship between news and talk and their thoughts on the state of journalism. Read this feature piece here.
NOW-Organized Protest of Rush Limbaugh at WMAL, Washington Fizzles. The National Organization for Women-sponsored “Enough Rush” campaign got off to an ignominious start outside the studios of affiliate WMAL, Washington, DC Friday, May 18 as just seven protesters marched. As reported by Fox News, NOW announced the campaign against the Premiere Networks talk radio superstar in April and has partnered with Media Matters for America to target affiliate stations and their advertisers. Friday’s event in DC was part of a national protest scheduled for that day. Reports of substantial protests at other Limbaugh affiliate stations have not surfaced.
Cox Media Offers to End Paul Finebaum Issue with Contract Buyout. The Birmingham Business Journal is reporting that Cox Media – which put sports talk outlet WZNN-FM, Birmingham on the air last September – is again offering to buy out sports talk host Paul Finebaum’s contract with Cumulus Media and its WJOX-FM, Birmingham. Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the ongoing legal battle between Cumulus and Finebaum that goes back to when the station was part of the Citadel group. Finebaum’s popular sports talk show has been based at WJOX-FM and regionally syndicated. While Cumulus would probably like to stop paying legal fees in the ongoing dispute, it may not want to have Finebaum working for a competing station in the market – at least not right away – however it’s likely he’ll end up working there eventually. There’s no response yet from Cumulus on the offer.
RAB Reports Radio Revenue Up 1% in First Quarter of 2012. The Radio Advertising Bureau issued a report on Friday, May 18 concluding advertising revenue for all of radio was up 1% for the first quarter of 2012 – the third consecutive Q1 increase – for total revenue of $3.814 billion. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Q1 2012 results confirm that radio commands a solid position in brands’ total marketing plans. While advertisers continue to capitalize on radio’s spot and network efficiencies, they’re increasingly utilizing local digital capabilities and audience engagement that this medium affords.” From a category standpoint, spot revenue was flat, network was up 8%, digital rose 10%, and off-air was up 3% for Q1 in 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. WXKS, Boston – Talk Radio 1200 – morning drive talk host Jeff Katz wins two Associated Press Awards – one for “Best Talk Show in Boston” and the other for “Best Public Affairs Broadcast” for his special remote from the Fisher House in Boston…..Salem Radio Network talk host Dennis Prager co-hosts CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report” alongside Brian Sullivan tonight at 7:00 pm ET. SRN states, “With the just-launched IPO for Facebook as well as the unfolding 2012 battle between Mitt Romney and President Obama, Dennis Prager brings his unique background as a talk radio host, author, lecturer and societal observer to CNBC in what will surely be an eye-opening experience for ‘Kudlow Report’ viewers!”…..SiriusXM announces veteran soccer commentator and former player and coach Ray Hudson will host ‘The Football Show’ alongside fellow soccer experts Charlie Stillitano, Neil Barnett and John Harkes. Hudson has been a commentator for Gol TV since 2004 and is widely known for his elaborate and excitable play-calling style. Also from SiriusXM, three-time SEC Coach of the Year Houston Nutt has joined SiriusXM as an analyst on its 24/7 college sports channel. Nutt will host multiple shows each week on SiriusXM College Sports Nation including ‘College Sports Today’ with Mark Packer and ‘College Football Playbook’ with Jack Arute…..Former WGNU, St. Louis talk host Leonardo Drisdel was found guilty of the 2005 murder of Cassandra Kovack on Friday. He’ll be sentenced on June 29.
Clark Howard to Help Break Ground for New Home for Joplin Tornado Victims. Cox Media syndicated talk show host Clark Howard heads to Joplin, Missouri tomorrow along with a team of his listeners to break ground on a new home for a family that lost its home to last spring’s tornado that hit the city. Howard will broadcast his Tuesday program live from the build site to recognize the one-year anniversary of the tornado. Clark Howard is funding the Joplin home himself. However, he joined forces with Cox’s KRMG, Tulsa to promote the build and KRMG even had advertisers chip in for a storm shelter for the house and due to the listeners’ overwhelming support for the build in Joplin, they teamed with Clark to build a home in Tulsa this past weekend. The home is being funded by monies raised by listeners and Howard. He says, “I love Habitat for Humanity because it is a hand up and not a hand out. Homeowners have to meet strict qualification guidelines and put in hundreds of hours of sweat equity to build their own home and other Habitat homes. It is not a free house. It is a low-cost mortgage.”
Vic “The Brick” Jacobs Rides the Zamboni at L.A. Kings Game. Yes, that’s Fox Sports Radio sports talk host Vic “The Brick” Jacobs – of the network’s “Loose Cannons” show – on the zamboni during last Thursday’s L.A. Kings NHL playoff game. In addition to being at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the game, Jacobs (decked out in his Kings jersey and crown) did a post-game interview with Kings rookie Dwight King who scored the winning goal.
Heidi Harris Named Morning Drive Host at Salem’s Re-Branded KRLA, Los Angeles and KTIE, San Bernardino. Salem Communications announces its Southern California news/talk outlets KRLA, Los Angeles and KTIE, San Bernardino are being re-branded “The Answer,” following the same plan recently instituted at the company’s WNYM, New York. At the same time, rising talk media star Heidi Harris joins the stations to serve as AM drive host. Harris, a Las Vegas native, most recently hosted the morning drive program at Beasley Broadcasting’s KDWN, Las Vegas. Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says the new morning show and the new name and positioning will make both stations more competitive, with more attitude in the imaging and more opportunities to position the stations in their markets. “We have been using the name ‘The Answer’ in New York since March 12, and could not be happier with the response. The on-air attitude and positioning is much more positive and we decided we could do something similar for KRLA and KTIE. The addition of Heidi Harris to the morning show is a major investment in the future of these stations, so the timing was perfect to combine the new show with the re-branding effort.” Heidi Harris says of her new gig, “I am thrilled and excited to join Salem Communications, a company that has quickly become one of the most respected places to work in radio and a company with a huge commitment to what I do: the news/talk format. I can’t wait to get back on the radio and to do my thing in Los Angeles and the Inland Empire – two great markets for talk – and two great stations. With a teeny bit of talent, 13 years of busting my butt, and most importantly the Grace of God, I have landed my dream job.”
Florida’s Magic Broadcasting Buys Tallahassee Market WGWD-FM; Flips to News/Talk. Panama City, Florida-based Magic Broadcasting II announces it has completed the purchase of classic country WGWD-FM, Gretna, Florida (Tallahassee market) and will flip the station to news/talk today as “Talk Radio 93.3 FM” WGWD. CEO Don McCoy tells TALKERS magazine the station will feature state-syndicated talk hosts Burnie Thompson (12:00 noon to 3:00 pm) and Derrell Day (7:00 am to 10:00 am). Thompson’s guests on today’s program will include Governor Rick Scott, upcoming Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, Florida’s next Speaker of the House Will Weatherford, and U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Tallahassee). McCoy says the company is bringing “Florida’s year-round Town Hall right to the Capital City.” He calls the new format “live, local, fun and exciting! We’re focused on state programming as well as national issues …and always for Floridians.” The station will also air Talk Radio Network/Washington Times-produced “America’s Morning News,” TRN’s Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage and Rusty Humphries, Cox Media’s Neal Boortz and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America with Jon Grayson.”
WNYM, New York’s Curtis Sliwa Featured in New York Post Story About Fiancé and Children. Consummate New Yorker, Guardian Angels founder and talk media personality Curtis Sliwa is a local celebrity in New York but few knew of his home life until a piece in the New York Post this weekend shed light on that aspect of Sliwa’s life. The short version is that Sliwa and fiancé Melinda Katz plan to marry soon and continue raising their two sons – Carter and Hunter – in their Forest Hills, Queens home. Sixteen years ago Katz asked former boyfriend Sliwa for a sperm donation intending to raise any children she bore alone. While pregnant with Hunter, Katz developed complications and called Sliwa – out of her life for years at this point – and he came to her aid and the relationship grew from there. There’s far more to this human interest story featuring one of talk radio’s colorful characters. Read it here.
KBME, Houston Brings N.D. Kalu and Greg Koch Aboard for Mid-Morning Show. When former NFL players N.D. Kalu and Greg Koch left CBS Radio’s crosstown sports talk KILT last month, it was rumored the two might reappear at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s crosstown sports talk KBME. That has been confirmed. The two will host the 10:00 am to 11:00 am “In the Trenches with Koch and Kalu” beginning today (4/16). Koch and Kalu had been hosting a weekend program on KILT and served as commentators on other station programs. Kalu works in real estate in the Houston area and Koch is an attorney.
KOMO, Seattle Morning News Anchor Bill Yeend Retires. Pacific Northwest broadcaster Bill Yeend finished his last airshift at Fisher’s KOMO, Seattle on Friday and begins enjoying his retirement – and probably sleeping in for the first time in a long time – today. For the past 10 years, Yeend has co-anchored the morning news at KOMO with Manda Factor. Yeend began his career at rock KBBX-FM, Seattle in 1968 and moved to crosstown KIRO in 1970. There, he won five Edward R. Murrow Awards for journalistic excellence. Taking over at KOMO alongside Factor is KOMO sports reporter and Seattle Mariners public address announcer Tom Hutyler.
WLS, Chicago Changes Imaging Voices; Drops Jeff Davis and Brings Aboard Scott Fisher. Chicago radio fans are well aware of Jeff Davis’ history with Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS. He started with the station in 1974 when it was the big hit music outlet in the city. He remained with the station through the late 1980s. Davis has been the voice of the station for most of the last 20 years but Cumulus has decided to change the station’s imaging and chooses not to renew Davis’ contract and signs on with Scott Fisher Productions.
Sports KFNC-FM, Houston to Be Hawked at NAB. Station trustee and broker Larry Patrick of Maryland-based Patrick Communications tells the Houston Chronicle he will be actively looking for potential buyers for sports talk KFNC-FM, Houston and its sister Triple A KHJK-FM at this week’s NAB in Las Vegas. KFNC-FM is one of four Cumulus Media stations in the market that went through a pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy deal to eliminate its debt and make it more attractive to potential buyers. The station is still operated by Cumulus Media but Patrick owns more than 75% of the station. According to Patrick, KFNC-FM boasted $2.4 million in ad sales in 2011. Patrick tells the paper, “The staff is aware of what is happening, and the former owner has every right to bid and buy the stations back. I’ve had inquiries from five or six people and I think there will be real interest.”
Dave Graveline in Croatia. That’s “Into Tomorrow” talk host Dave Graveline (l) and producer Rob Almanza (r) standing on the (usually) sunny Adriatic coastline of Croatia. Graveline and Almanza are there producing the weekend consumer electronics show while Graveline serves as moderator of the Global Press Conference for IFA – that’s the big Consumer Electronics & Appliance show that he broadcasts from in Berlin every September.