Tag: "Cumulus Media Networks"

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

| February 25, 2014

levinmarkMark Levin to Be Honored at CPAC.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Mark Levin will receive the inaugural Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, March 6.  According to a story on Breitbart.com’s Big Journalism, Breitbart News editor-in-chief Alex Marlow will introduce Citizens United president David Bossie, who will present the award to Levin along with Breitbart News president and CEO Larry Solov and Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon.  Solov says, “Mark Levin fearlessly and passionately stands up for conservatives and everyday Americans whose voices the mainstream press often tries to marginalize or silence.  And like Andrew Breitbart, Levin has a way of cutting through the mainstream press’s filter with his words and is never afraid to have arrows slung at him by the institutional left on the front lines of the fight.”  David Bossie comments, “Levin is not only a friend, but supports and defends the vision of our Founding Fathers on his nationally syndicated radio program daily.  There is nobody better to receive this inaugural award and I am happy that he will be joining us at CPAC to accept it.”  Levin’s show is syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks.

kkfn logoProgramming Additions at LFM’s Denver Sports Outlets.  At Lincoln Financial Media’s Denver cluster, changes are taking place beginning Monday, March 3 that will put Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick on KKFN “104.3 The Fan,” moving over from sister sports station KEPN “1600 The Zone.”  To make room, Sandy Clough leaves the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot where Patrick will air and joins Drew Goodman and Scott Hastings for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show.  Program director Nate Lundy states, “Like many in Denver, I’m a big fan of Dan Patrick.  As we take the next step in our evolution, it only makes sense to bring the number one national personality to ‘The Fan.’  His perspective and top-level guests will further solidify our commitment to the best sports talk in town.”  KKFN is also debuting a new evening show called “The Fan Late Night with Ryan Edwards and Shawn Drotar” that is airing from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.  Lundy adds, “Sandy Clough has been part of The Fan’s success for over 17 years and putting him alongside two other outstanding Denver sports veterans will make for a great show for our listeners.  ‘The Fan Late Night’ will give fans of Denver’s four major pro sports teams a chance to sound off as part of their postgame experience.”  Lundy says a new lineup on KEPN will be announced in the near future as Patrick’s show transitions to “104.3 The Fan.”

mhnrbapanelMichael Harrison Speaks at NRB 2014 in Nashville.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (c) participated as a keynote speaker yesterday afternoon (2/24) at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) conference in Nashville in a general session focused on “Values in American Popular Media.”  The presentation included an opening address by Harrison followed by a spirited panel discussion in which he was joined by DeVon Franklin, SVP of production, Columbia Tristar Pictures (l) and Russell Moore, president, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (r).  Harrison used the platform as an opportunity to espouse his personal and professional philosophy that the combination of vigilant community service and high ethical standards equate to good and successful business strategy in the media industries – especially radio.  Harrison told the conference, “Radio of all formats – not just Christian specifically – should never miss an opportunity to be a hero and serve the true needs of humanity within its local, national and even global market reach.  Why wait for a hurricane or natural disaster to suddenly go into emergency mode?  Why limit our potential to just being the ‘Sterno’ of media?  Day-to-day life provides a nonstop series of emergencies, pain, fear, sorrow and loss on a very human scale that we have the power to calm and alleviate in addition to providing our regular menus of music and talk entertainment, information and discussion.  If we do this with sincerity and authenticity on a consistent level, the communities we serve will amply reward us with both ratings and financial support and the self-fulfilling prophecy about radio being a dying medium will be forestalled for decades to come.”  Harrison warned the crowd that “Christian and religious broadcasting has a head start on fulfilling this role because it is woven into the basic fabric of its service – however, in its passion and zeal to compete in the same marketplace of ideas and commerce co-occupied by secular media, it should be careful not to fall into the trap of stifling the First Amendment rights of dissenting voices and lifestyles nor succumb to the present-day widespread practice to seeking victory at the expense of truth for commercial and political advantage.”

meyersstevenSteven Meyers Heads Digital Strategy at Greater Media.  This is a promotion for Steven Meyers who joined Greater Media Philadelphia in 2012 as digital manager.  Now, in this new director of digital strategy role for all of Greater Media, he will be responsible for helping to grow Greater Media’s audiences and revenue by developing new digital platforms that deepen listener engagement while providing new opportunities to the company’s commercial partners.  He comments, “Greater Media understands that ‘digital’ isn’t just a separate line of business, but a foundational component of our brand experiences and client value.  I’m very excited to become a larger part of shaping that vision.”  Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth adds, “We look forward to having Steve share his valuable knowledge and insight with our teams as we continue to grow and drive our company’s interactive efforts into the future.”

fornicolajasonHubbard’s WFED, Washington Names Fornicola Director of Custom Media.  Coming to Hubbard’s Washington, DC talk and federal news outlet WFED is Jason Fornicola in the new position, director of custom media.  Fornicola recently worked as communications specialist for the American Federation of Government Employees.  He also hosted the weekly AFGE radio program “Inside Government.”  In a statement, director of federal sales Ralph Renzi comments, “We have worked with Jason for seven years and are impressed with his experience and success in journalism, as well as his innovative outreach.  Our investment in providing greater resources for our clients will help us solve more complex marketing objectives.”

edisonresearchEdison Research to Present ‘Infinite Dial 2014’ Next Week.  In a teaser for the free webinar from Edison Research and new partner Triton Digital, the companies report that data from this year’s study shows “31% of Americans 12+ report using the internet radio service Pandora on a monthly basis, up from 27% one year ago.  iHeartRadio is used by 9% monthly, while iTunes Radio, which debuted in 2013, comes in third with 8% monthly usage, followed by 6% using Spotify.”  The webinar takes place Wednesday,tritondigital March 5 at 2:00 pm ET.  Edison says this is the 22nd study in “The Infinite Dial” series, one of the longest-running research series covering consumer use of media, technology and digital platforms.  The webinar will be co-presented by Edison Research VP of strategy Tom Webster, and Triton Digital COO Mike Agovino.  Topics covered will include:  An update on Internet Audio usage, including new data on iTunes Radio, Beats Music, and other services; recent growth in podcasting; the growth in smartphone ownership, and how it has changed consumer behavior; updates on social media usage for services including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and more; and the connected car, and in-car usage of digital media.

alexanderbarbraFinancial Talk Host Convicted in Fraud Case.  A federal jury convicted Barbra Alexander Monterey, California on 28 counts of conspiracy and fraud for her role in a Ponzi scheme.  Sixty-four-year-old Alexander worked with APS Funding partner Michael Swanson to host “Money Dots” on Clear Channel-owned KION, Monterey and other outlets.  Prosecutors had alleged Alexander and Swanson bilked investors of some $4 million.  Alexander is expected to get a lengthy prison term.  Swanson was previously convicted.

pregnantNew Maternity Leave Policy for Cumulus Announced.  Radio giant Cumulus Media announces a change to its human resources policy by adding “the implementation of an industry-leading maternity leave policy providing new mothers with six weeks of fully paid time off in addition to the paid time off and disabilitycumulus logo benefits currently provided to employees.”  The company says the policy takes effect immediately and is available to all full-time, non-commission employees with at least one year of service.  Chairman and CEO Lew Dickey states, “Cumulus continues to grow and innovate thanks to the dedication of our colleagues across the country.  We are committed to providing benefits that recognize employees’ health and family needs, and providing fully paid leave to new mothers after they give birth is the right thing to do.”

nabcrystalawardNAB Crystal Award Finalists Announced.  The 50 finalists for the 2014 Crystal Awards have been announced and that list can be found here.  The National Association of Broadcasters states that since 1987, the NAB Crystal Radio Awards have recognized radio stations for their outstanding year-round commitment to community service.  Winners will be announced and the finalists will be honored at the NAB Radio Luncheon.  The Luncheon will be held Tuesday, April 8 during the 2014 NAB Show in Las Vegas.  During the luncheon, Yahoo tech columnist David Pogue will present a keynote address and popular national radio personality, television host and best-selling author Steve Harvey will be inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

kfwbcargiveawayThis Brand New Car Is No Mirage.  Well, actually it is.  It’s a 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage and it’s now the property of Anita Gowing of Whittier, California (right).  She was the winner of the KFWB, Los Angeles giveaway that took place at South Coast Mitsubishi on Sunday, February 23.  Gowing is seen reacting as her key starts the car.  Inside the car with her is KFWB afternoon news co-anchor Maggie McKay (left).  As part of the contest, 124 listeners won a pair of tickets to an upcoming LA Clippers game and got a key for a chance to win the car.

ObamaCare Criticism, NFL N-word Penalty, Arizona Religious Rights Bill, Ukraine Unrest-Russian Influence, Hagel’s Proposed Military Cuts, and Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/24).  Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the NFL’s new rule penalizing teams for players’ use of the n-word during games; the Arizona bill that would allow businesses to discriminate for religious reasons; the political turmoil in Ukraine and the influence of Putin’s Russia; Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposed shrinking of the Army to its smallest size in 74 years; and a new round of winter weather for the East were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, February 10, 2014

| February 10, 2014

francesamikeWFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa Show to Air on Cable’s Fox Sports 1.  According to a report by Neil Best in Newsday, sources indicate the cable TV simulcast of New York sports talk icon Mike Francesa’s afternoon drive sports talk program will be Fox’s fledgling Fox Sports 1 cable channel.  The deal that had Francesa’s program simulcast on the Fox-owned and Yankees-operated YES Network for the past 12 years ended last week and though the MSG Network was anticipated being the eventual destination for Francesa’s show, the official news of the Fox Sports 1 deal could come sometime this week.  Best writes that Fox presumably wants Francesa’s show to help raise its visibility even though it’s a New York-centric show.  Interestingly, WEPN-FM’s afternoon host Michael Kay is now seen in Francesa’s old slot on YES and if Francesa does land on Fox Sports 1, the two shows will appear on side-by-side channels 69 and 70 on New York’s Cablevision system.

compasslogoWall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks Outsource Affiliate Relations and Marketing to Compass Media Networks.  Executive editor for the Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks John Wordock says in a memo to affiliate stations, “We are deeply committed to our audio business and appreciate our partnership with your station…The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks will continue to provide the best money news coverage in the business, from Wall Street to Main Street to your street.  Together, Dow Jones and Compass look forward to working with you and your station and we’re both dedicated to providing top-notch customer service.”  This move to take the affiliate relations and marketing department out of house is not entirely unexpected after the cuts the company made in the fall eliminating executive positions within that department.

levinmarkMark Levin to Keynote Tea Party Anniversary Celebration.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Mark Levin will serve as the keynote speaker at the five-year anniversary celebration of the Tea Party Patriots taking place in Washington, DC on February 27.  Levin, whose program is syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks, says, “The Tea Party, which consists of millions of hard-working taxpayers, is to be celebrated not condemned.  The ruling class must be trounced and its media cheerleaders must be exposed if the republic is to survive.  The Tea Party is our only hope.  It’s a great honor to be asked to speak to such outstanding and courageous patriots.”  Other high-profile participants include: Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots.

schnitttoddTodd Schnitt: Not the Same-Old, Same-Old.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Todd Schnitt credits his background in CHR radio and his passion for finding the topics that intrigue him that he believes will also intrigue his listeners for making his show a different-sounding sort of conservative talk radio show.  TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s profile of the man who worked for years as the successful “MJ Kelli” at Clear Channel’s WFLZ, Tampa before branching into drive time talk radio at sister station WFLA delves into the mind of a personality working to grow his national program in the post-Sandra Fluke era.  Schnitt says, “My feelings have been bolstered by many experts and consultants in the field regarding the burn on conservative talk radio…You hear the same pounding on Democrats and liberals every single day.  It is to the point with a bunch of hosts in my space where you can pull one of their shows from last month and it would sound the same as what they are saying today.  I have always approached a talk radio show so that it fits on any conservative radio station, but with more of an intrinsic entertainment value.”  Read Mike Kinosian’s story here.

mckayjeffTALKERS Launches Three-Part Special Today, Tomorrow and Wednesday (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks.  Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal of winding up in television production.  Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations.  Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year.  It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide.  When Clear Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks (now simply “Premiereenvisionnetworks new Networks”), he became VP of affiliate relations.  However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel.  Wolkoff faced a career crossroads and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio.  His vision was “Envision Radio Networks,” (now simply “Envision Networks”) — a highly successful and forward-thinking company that creates over four wolkoffdannodozen content products and services for radio stations and media outlets nationwide, customizing solutions for clients, producers and affiliates.  It was a company literally founded after another syndication and programming company decided they had a good product that despite making money, didn’t make enough money for their bottom line.  What Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry.  He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows.  His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets.  Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that later) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication.  In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward.  I’ve seen this movie many times before.  Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.”  To read part one of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here.

cbslocalmediaCBS Reports Record Digital Traffic Month.  It’s a new record for a single month as CBS Local Digital Media reports its websites and mobile applications attracted 56.8 million unique users during January topping the previous all-time high of 50.6 million in April 2013.  The January 2014 number was up 37% compared to a year ago.  CBS Local is happy with its performance in this arena last year reporting year-to-year growth of 21% in average unique users per month.  CBS Local Media COO Anton Guitano says, “Our continued integration of digital into all parts of our local business is yielding dividends.  The great mobile presence our stations have via mobile websites, Radio.com and CBS Local apps creates a presence that gives the consumer a great user experience.”

larsonlarsLars Larson’s Busy Week: Subbing for KVI’s John Carlson; Keynoting Nevada Republican Dinner.  There are few in the talk radio business who work harder than talk show host Lars Larson.  Lars tells TALKERS that in addition to his regular radio programs – middays on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland and nationally syndicated from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET via Compass Media Networks – he’s filling in on morning drive today and tomorrow (2/10-11) on KVI, Seattle for John Carlson.  This evening he’ll be hosting a station event for KXL and then heads to Reno on Thursday to do both regular shows from affiliate KKFT-FM before keynoting the Washoe County Republicans’ annual Lincoln Dinner on Friday.  Lars reports he’ll be able to fly home in time on Friday to spend Valentine’s weekend with his “very patient wife,” Tina.

smerconishmichaelMichael Smerconish Jumps to CNN.  The SiriusXM talk show host is leaving MSNBC and will join up with CNN for a role that includes regular appearances during the week providing analysis and commentary plus a weekly Saturday morning program, reports the Washington Posts’s Eric Wemple.  In a release, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker says, “We are thrilled to have Michael join CNN.  At a time when the cable news landscape has become increasingly polarized, his independence and passion for reasoned dialogue makes him the perfect fit for CNN.”  Smerconish joins CNN at a time of flux.  Zucker has been making programming changes to reverse the cable news/talk channel’s floundering ratings.  CNN announced recently it is cancelling Anderson Cooper’s “AC 360 Later.”

comptonawardHonoring Ann.  ABC News Radio White House correspondent Ann Compton (left) is pictured here at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s 70th Annual Congressional Dinner on February 5 at which she was honored with the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award.  The award recognizes an individual whose outstanding accomplishments promote the journalistic profession and enhance the role of women journalists.

richertlarryOdds & Sods.  The Akron Beacon Journal reports that weekend and fill-in host Bob Early resigned from his position with WNIR-FM, Akron after a disagreement over a guest for his weekend talk show.  Early hosted the Saturday and Sunday evening show on the station and he tells the paper he and management were not in agreement about Early booking the owner of an erotic goods chain on his program.  Read the whole story here…..Patrick Ryan joins Magnum Broadcasting to serve as general manager for talk WEEO-FM,ryanpatrick Chambersburg, Pennsylvania/ Hagerstown, Maryland and corporate brands strategist.  Ryan was most recently local sales manager at Albany Broadcasting.  He says, “I’m thrilled to put my talk radio expertise back to work and look forward to buying-building new brands with Michael Stapleford and his incredible team.”…..KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh morning host Larry Richert announced that Pittsburgh Pirates president Frank Coonelly will serve as the keynote speaker at his “Larry Richert Honors Our Hometown Heroes” event at the Lexus Club at PNC Park on Thursday, March 6.  The annual even created by Richert honors five ordinary individuals in the community who have done extraordinary things and it benefits the Wounded Warrior Project.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

| January 22, 2014

paxtonpatEntercom Promotes Pat Paxton to President of Programming.  Fifteen-year programming staffer Pat Paxton is promoted to president of programming for Entercom Communications Corp.  Paxton has served as senior vice president of programming since 2001.  He began his work with the company in 1999 as OM at the old AC WQSX “Star 93.7.”  Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “Pat has played a vital role in Entercom’s growth and development over his 15 years with the company.  He is an energizing leader, a terrific strategist and a deeply knowledgeable programmer.  We are truly fortunate to have him on our team.”  Paxton says of the promotion, “The past 15 years with Entercom have been tremendously rewarding, both personally and professionally.  Our entire Entercom team has worked tirelessly to create one of today’s most admired media companies, which has not happened accidentally.  I am proud to have been part of this team and I look forward to continuing to help create the very best audio brands in the industry.  Huge thanks to David Field for his vision and leadership that has allowed all of us at Entercom to thrive.”

wtarWTAR, Norfolk Drops Comedy for News/Talk/Sports.  The Sinclair-owned AM signal WTAR, Norfolk will drop the comedy format it is currently airing and flip to a hybrid talk/sports format that will feature “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” from 6:00 am to 9:00 am; Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; FSN’s “Jay Mohr Sports” 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; and Cumulus Media NetworksMichael Savage from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Tony Macrini, morning host at sister talk station WNIS made the announcement on January 20.  General manager Lisa Sinclair says, “There’s always something new to talk about and AM 850 WTAR keeps you engaged, informed and always entertained.”

sternbirthdaybashSiriusXM Opens Howard Stern Birthday Bash to Non-Subscribers.  When the “Howard Stern Birthday Bash” begins at 4:00 pm ET on January 31 live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, the world will be invited to the party as SiriusXM is opening its internet service at siriusxm.com to non-subscribers.  The company says that this unprecedented access to Howard Stern’s live broadcast is a first for SiriusXM and Howard Stern.  In addition to SiriusXM subscribers, anyone can stream “Howard Stern’s Birthday Bash,” an evening of unforgettable performances and special appearances from the biggest names in entertainment. The free stream will be available on compatible mobile devices as well as online through simple one-click listening; no need to download an app or enter credentials.  Stern comments on the approaching broadcast to celebrate his 60th birthday.  “I am honored by the number of performers who want to join me on stage, and the number of fans who want to get in.  Now, thanks to SiriusXM, I can give the world access to this event for free through this special internet audio stream in addition to my fans listening on their satellite radios.”  The event is being hosted by Jimmy Kimmel with guests including Louis C.K., David Letterman and Sarah Silverman, with musical performances by Jon Bon Jovi, John Fogerty, Steven Tyler and many others.

hartelmikeHartel to Head Up L&L’s Columbia, South Carolina Group.  The new SVP and market manager for L&L Broadcasting’s Columbia South Carolina cluster is Mike Hartel – who most recently served as vice president and general manager of Curtis Media Group’s WBBB, Raleigh.  L&L CEO Bob Proffitt says of the move, “We had the huge benefit of having Bill McElveen step up as not only an in-market radio veteran, but to help us in the recruitment process to get the very best fit and talent to manage Columbia.  Mike Hartel is a great fit for our Columbia cluster with his excellent track record, interactive focus, and competitive nature – a perfect addition to our growing company.”  Hartel comments, “I love what Larry and Bob are creating and I’m thrilled to be a part of their team.  There is no place I would rather be than with a company that is hyper-focused on using live and local radio to serve our community, our clients, and our employees.”  The L&L Columbia cluster includes sports talk WOIC “ESPN Columbia 1230.”

perezfelixNYMRAD Announces New Executive Committee.  At the New York Market Radio Association (NYMRAD), the executive committee of the board of directors has some new additions and changes in titles: Felix Perez, general manager, Univision Radio New York, moves into the chairman slot replacing Clear Channel Music + Entertainment’s Joe Puglise who remains on the board of directors.  Jennifer Donohue, director of sales, CBS RADIO New York, replaces Don Bouloukos as vice chairperson and Alex Cameron, SVP and market manager, Emmis New York, remains on the committee as secretary.  NYMRAD executive director Deborah Beagan says, “I am very excited about working with Felix during this seamless transition of the executive committee.  Felix has infused energy in his contributions to board meetings and under his leadership we will continue to develop initiatives that will advance radio in the vibrant New York marketplace.”  Perez adds, “I welcome the opportunity to work with Deborah and our radio colleagues to advance the value of NYMRAD to its members and aggressively increasing the profile and revenue share of New York radio.”

nielsen logoHoliday 2013 PPM Data Released.  The ratings for the Holiday 2013 PPM survey period are being released by Nielsen Audio.  The first 12 markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union are out and that data can be found at our sister publication RadioInfo.com right here.  Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the first round of the Holiday PPM here.

freemanedgeOdds & Sods.  KNX, Los Angeles announces the return of the “Ask the Mayor” program to its airwaves on January 29.  The CBS RADIO all-newser states that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will be in the studio at 10:00 am when the show will be hosted by KNX 1070 news anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman and will “give Angelinos the opportunity to put the mayor in the hot seat.”…..Not so fast, KCAA, Lorma Linda, “Free Talk Live” has been accepting Bitcoins as payment for airtime since 2011.  Yesterday, TALKERS reported the Fred Lundgren-owned SoCal station claims to be the first it knows of in the U.S. to accept the cryptocurrency for ad time, but Mark Edge of the independently syndicated “Free Talk Live” program tells TALKERS he and co-host Ian Freeman have been accepting Bitcoins for more than two years.  He adds, “We take Litecoin, too.”…..Hoops fanatic and filmmaker Spike Lee is hosting the bi-weekly, “Spike Lee’s Best Seat in the House” program on SiriusXM’s NBA channel.  The first show will air on January 30 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Eastern Freeze/Western Drought, Sochi Olympics Security Concerns, Chris Christie Scandals Aftermath, ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, Andrew Cuomo Anti-Conservative Remarks, and Roe v. Wade Anniversary Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/21).  The snow and cold weather affecting the East and the dry rainy season in the West leading to drought conditions there; concerns about security at the looming Sochi Winter Games; the effects of the recent scandals plaguing the administration of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; reaction to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s comments about conservative beliefs; and the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, January 10, 2014

| January 10, 2014

nielsen logoWill Nielsen’s Dominance in Online Measurement Hurt Radio Buys?  According to some analysts – most notably J.P. Morgan’s Doug Anmuth – the answer is yes.  In a piece published at MediaPost News by Joe Mandese, Anmuth asserts that Nielsen’s Online Campaign Ratings is growing in acceptance and may become the dominant “currency” for digital ratings and that it will drive ad budgets from TV and radio to digital.  Mandese writes that though some marketers and agencies prefer comScore’s vCE ratings system used to plan, buy and validate online ad buys, Nielsen’s dominance in the ratings in other media will give it the ability to leverage that into cross-platform ratings.  With YouTube’s recent adoption of Nielsen’s ORC system, it’s being predicted by Anmuth the move could “drive material change in TV buyer behavior.”  Similarly, Nielsen’s imminent rollout of its streaming audio measurement will affect radio buys.  Anmuth writes, “Just as we are seeing a shift in digital video measurement with YouTube, we expect streaming music providers including Pandora to gravitate towards partnerships with traditional measurement providers.  Nielsen is deeply engaged in developing the technology to measure streaming radio and it is working to fully integrate Nielsen Audio.”  Check out the story here.

emmisEmmis Net Revenue Up 3.4% — on Strength of Publishing.  The loss of political advertising that all broadcasting companies are dealing with – the fall of 2012 was a good year for that sector and Emmis’ fiscal Q3 measures September, October and November – affected the company’s 2013 Q3 to 2012 Q3 comparison and the result was a 0.4% increase in revenue for Emmis’ radio division.  The publishing segment of the business carried the day with a 9.8% increase in net revenue.  Emmis CEO Jeffsmulyanjeff Smulyan says in a statement, “The government shutdown in October, coupled with non-recurring political revenues from the prior year, caused significant headwinds for us and the radio industry.  However, Emmis’ ability to grow revenues despite these challenges is a testament to the talent, ingenuity and hustle of the Emmis team.  Our radio revenues are rebounding in our fourth fiscal quarter as these challenges have abated and our publishing division continues to post impressive revenue gains.  NextRadio, the Emmis-led industry initiative to make FM broadcast radio available on mobile phones via a pre-loaded app, continues to gain momentum and recently exceeded 100,000 activations.  I’m excited about the progress we are making and the momentum we have heading into calendar 2014.”

talkersradio logoTalkersRadio Hits the Ground Running for 2014 with New Hosts, Shows and Programming Directions. TalkersRadio, the “experimental” talk radio station launched last fall by TALKERS magazine to provide the industry with a “work out space” and “showcase for new talk programming concepts” has, according to its general manager David Bernstein, “hit the ground running” in 2014 with the announcement of several new hosts and shows scheduled to join its programming roster this month. Set for launch this weekend (1/12) is “Radio Lifeboat with DG & Mickey Gooch,” described by Bernstein as “a raw, emotion-packed ‘reality’ show that sure ain’t no cruise.” The one-hour-per-week program, emanating live on Sunday evenings at 7:00 pm ET from Malibu, California, is hosted by the mother/son team of Diane “DG” Gooch and her son Mickey Gooch. The show is basically a weekly therapy and educational support session helping people and families overcome the challenges of addiction. Also debuting this month (1/25) is a new program from Lionel – one of the most iconoclastic, impossible-to-peg, and intellectually stimulating talk show hosts of the modern era. A veteran of such major outlets as WABC and WOR, New York among others, as well as being a podcast pioneer at lionelmedia.com the quirky, satirical and extremely original observer of the human condition has been enjoying tremendous success conceiving, writing, producing and performing daily commentaries on the heritage WPIX-TV, Channel 11 for the past four years in New York City where the ex-prosecutor’s also added his insight and experience as its resident legal analyst. However, he has not forgotten his roots in and love for radio and promises that his 9:00 am to 10:00 am Saturday show will provide Lionel enthusiasts around the country with a version of his work that is “like nothing they have ever heard before. This will truly be Lionel unchained!” Another program getting readied for launch on TalkersRadio in either late-January or early-February is “The Hard Question with Blanquita Cullum.” Hosted by veteran talk show host, Washington-insider, and former member of the United States Broadcasting Board of Governors, Blanquita Cullum, the one-hour-per-week show will cover the hottest and most-pressing economic, environmental and political issues facing the country from a non-partisan, non-ideological perspective. Cullum tells TALKERS, “I’ve been in this business too long to mess around playing the old right versus left game that is quickly getting us nowhere. It is time to get serious – especially having this marvelous platform upon which to perform – and dust off the old journalism skills. Just as the name implies, I will be asking big shots and policy makers from the worlds of energy, finance and government the hard questions. None of that easy, puff-piece stuff. This show is going to get down, dirty and real!” These new shows will join the already-developing programs on TalkersRadio that include “The Brent & Meg Radio Show” hosted by the dynamic husband/wife duo Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald, “Green Connections” hosted by Washington, DC-based energy and sustainability expert, journalist Joan Michelson, “Healed Planet” hosted by well-known talk media star Alan Colmes, “The Robbie Student Show” hosted by record producer and urban philosopher Robbie Student, and “The Talkers Show” hosted by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. To read more about TalkersRadio, check out a full feature story posted today by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey by clicking here.

kahnjulieRegan Communications Group Names Kahn EVP/Sports Media. Former Entercom vice president and New England market manager Julie Kahn joins public relations firm Regan Communications Group as executive vice president of sports/media.  Over and above that, she will be a special advisor to company president/founder George Regan, who comments, “Julie Kahn’s talents, skills, mind, and passion for this business are a grand slam for our company.  This is a great start to our new year.” Kahn “had the pleasure” to work with Regan Communications for the nearly 14 years that she was with Entercom.  “I am excited to become part of the management team and help Regan continue its growth and success,” she remarks.  Among Kahn’s new duties will be working with her former employer – Entercom, Boston – which is one of Regan’s clients.  In addition to being a board member of the Boston Sports Museum, Kahn is on the Boston board of directors for the National Sports Management Network.  The holder of a JD/MBA from Northwestern University, Kahn began her radio career in WGN, Chicago’s sales department; was general manager of KSAN, San Francisco; and vice president/director of sales for Susquehanna, San Francisco.

baldwinmcculloughBaldwin/McCullough Show Auditions on WNYM, New York.  With the move of talk personality Curtis Sliwa to crosstown WABC, Salem Communications news/talk WNYM “Am 970 The Answer” is putting the XtreMedia-produced Baldwin/McCullough program on this afternoon and next Friday as an audition.  Actor Stephen Baldwin and media entrepreneur and talk host Kevin McCullough have been hosting the Baldwin/McCullough program as a weekend show for the past several years.  Also, Iowa-based talk personality Steve Deace is set to audition in the afternoon drive slot on WNYM next Monday through Thursday.

kgmzlogoMidday Changes at Entercom’s ’95.7 The Game’ in San Francisco.  The late morning show featuring Sean O’Connell, Matt Steinmetz and producer Justin Kleisley is out and program director Jason Barrett announces “friends since high school” Guy Haberman and John Middlekauff are partnering up for the new 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  Haberman serves as host of the station’s pre- and post-game shows for Oakland As broadcasts and was host of the evening show at KGMZ during 2013.  Middlekauff was West Coast scout for the Philadelphia Eagles for the past two years and served as an NFL analyst for the station since the beginning of the 2013 NFL season.  The new pair begin hosting the “Mid-Morning Show” on January 20.  Matt Steinmetz had been working at KGMZ in the late morning daypart for the past 18 months.  He was joined by O’Connell last February.

buehlerjulieJulie Buehler and Geoff Bloom Re-Up with KXPS, Palm Springs.  The “Buehler’s Day Off” afternoon drive show at CRC Media West-owned sports talker KXPS, Palm Springs “Team 1010 KXPS” will continue with the station through this year.  Sports media pro Julie Buehler and co-host Geoff Bloom joined the station in June of 2012.  Buehler comments, “I love the Coachella Valley!  Love the vibrancy, the spectrum of sports fans and the rich culture and I’m honored to be a voice for such a passionate community.  I know with the vision from CRC Media West and our team’s ability to execute such a thorough game plan, 2014 will be even more groundbreaking, history-making fun than the past 18 months.”

lebatarddanDan Le Batard Has Baseball Hall of Fame Vote Taken Away.  In November, WAXY, Miami and ESPN Radio personality Dan Le Batard – also a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America (which votes for Hall of Fame players) – gave his vote to Deadspin.com in a protest saying his vote has become pretty worthless in the “sanctimonious” atmosphere of the process.  There’s a rule against that and the BBWAA board of directors voted to strip Le Batard of his vote this season and beyond.  He also will not be able to cover any baseball event this season as a sanctioned BBWAA member.

baumannbigjoeNew Morning Show at WRSO, Orlando.  At sports talker WRSO, Orlando “810 CBS Sports Radio,” there’s a new morning team in the 7:00 am to 9:00 am slot.  Former TV anchor Dave Baumann and local radio personality Big Joe are taking over the slot.  The station is owned by Star Over Orlando and it says the program will soon also be heard on the 93.1 frequency as well.

Odds & Sods.  All-newser KNX, Los Angeles continues its “KNX on Your Corner” series on January 31 when it takes an in-depth look at the unique aspects of the Crescenta Valley communities lying between the San Gabriel Mountains and the Verdugo Mountains: La Crescenta-Montrose, La Cañada Flintridge, Sunland and Tujunga.  The CBS RADIO station will broadcast live from the Black Cow Cafe in the heart of Old Town Montrose.  News anchors bearmanethanTom Haule and Vicky Moore will kick off the day from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, Frank Mottek will host the “KNX Business Hour” from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm and Chris Sedens and Diane Thompson will be on hand from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm…..KSCO, Santa Cruz talk host Ethan Bearman will host the KSFO Talk Show from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon on Cumulus Media’s KSFO on Monday and Tuesday January 13 and 14.  The slot currently has no permanent host…..Talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs – syndicated nationally via Genesis Communications Network – celebrated her 5th wachsdaliahanniversary on the radio yesterday (1/9).  She tells TALKERS magazine that she began her radio career five years ago on KLAV…..MSNBC shuffles its daily lineup after the departure of Martin BashirAlex Wagner moves into the 4:00 pm ET slot previously held by Bashir and the network will feature a rotating cast of hosts for Wagner’s 12:00 noon slot – including Joy Reid who’s been sitting in the 4:00 pm slot lately…..For the 3rd consecutive year, Entercom’s WEEI, Boston will serve as the official radio partner for the 2014 Pan-Mass Challenge August 2 and 3.  The PMC – a 190-mile bike event starting in Sturbridge, Massachusetts and ending in Provincetown and the tip of Cape Cod – is the largest single athletic fundraising event in the country and, since 1980, has raised more than $414 million for the Jimmy Fund, which supports adult and pediatric patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

savagemichaelTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The “Savage Nation” show hosted by Michael Savage is added to the programming at the following stations: WCFO, Atlanta; WVGG, Lucedale, Mississippi; WLBY, Saline, Michigan; KBHS, Hot Springs, Arkansas; KVPI-AM, Ville Platte, Louisiana…..Business talk host Phil Grande’s “Phil’s Gang” show is added to the lineup at KDWN, Las Vegas…..Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin is now heard on WFNC, Fayetteville, North Carolina; WVLK-FM, Lexington; WFNR, Blacksburg, Virginia; KFAY, Fayetteville, Arkansas; and WALG, Albany, Georgia…..Conservative/libertarian Genesis Communications Network-syndicated talk host Jason Lewis is added to the program schedule at KZRG, Joplin, Missouri…..From WYM Media, the Leslie Marshall show joins the programming at KABQ, Albuquerque and Phil Hendrie’s program is now heard on KNEW, San Francisco and KTNF, Chico/Redding, California…..“Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the programming at WVFT-FM, Tallahassee; WYOO-FM, Panama City, Florida; and KENN-AM/FM, Farmington, New Mexico.

Chris Christie Scandal Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 6-10.  The Fort Lee lane closure scandal that’s rocking New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s administration was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week making it the #1 story on the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ book Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War (Random House 2013), which criticizes President Obama and his administration.  Following at #3 was the “polar vortex” chilling much of the nation tied with the companion topic of global warming and at #4 was Janet Yellen being confirmed chief of the Federal Reserve.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

| December 24, 2013

TALKERS Magazine Compiles News/Talk Radio’s Most Talked-About Stories and People of 2013.  As is customary at year’s end, the research editors of TALKERS magazine compile the most-talked-about stories and people of the just-concluded 12-month period.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “2013 was an extremely colorful year with a diversity of subjects and people being discussed.  There was the usual mix of partisan politics, foreign affairs, economic policy and, of course, the shockingly unexpected such as the Boston Marathon tragedy.”  Casey continues, “The President of the United States has always been the most talked about person going back to the very beginning of this publication 24 years ago and George Bush’s involvement in the first Persian Gulf War.  Barack Obama, like his predecessors in the modern age of talk broadcasting, has not left talk show hosts wanting for hot material on a daily basis.”

Stories

1)   ObamaCare Rollout
2)   Benghazi Attack Investigation
3)   IRS Accused of Targeting Conservative Groups
4)   Debt Ceiling/Govt. Shutdown/Sequestration Battle
5)   NSA Domestic Spying/Edward Snowden Case
6)   Boston Marathon Bombing
7)   GOP 2014 and 2016 Strategy
8)   Gun Legislation Debate
9)    Iran Nuke Threat
10)  Syria Civil War
11)  Fed Stimulus Policy/Dow Surpasses 16,000
12)  DOJ Journalist Investigations
13)  Immigration Reform
14)  George Zimmerman Trial
15)  Afghanistan Security Withdrawl
16)  Egypt Violence/Instability
17)  N. Korea Nuke Threat
18)  Detroit Bankruptcy
19)  Pope Francis Replaces Benedict
20)  SCOTUS Gay Marriage Ruling

People

1)  Barack Obama
2)  John Boehner
3)  Nancy Pelosi
4)  Harry Reid
5)  Hillary Clinton
6)  John Kerry
7)  Rush Limbaugh
8)  Ted Cruz
9)  Chris Christie
10)  Paul Ryan
11)  Kathleen Sebelius
12)  Edward Snowden
13)  Vladimir Putin
14)  George Zimmerman
15)  Trayvon Martin
16)  Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev
17)  Kim Jong Un
18)  Pope Francis
19)  Ben Bernanke
20)  Eric Holder

Radio Industry Sees Major Developments and Changes in 2013.  The combined editorial staffs of RadioInfo and TALKERS magazines have posted the 10 biggest stories of importance to the entire radio industry (music and talk) that took place in 2013.  They are as follows in order of importance:

1)      Nielsen Acquires Arbitron
2)      Developments in Emergence of the Connected Car
3)      Network Sports Talk Radio Growth Explosion
4)      Radio Company-Label Deals/Digital Royalty Rate Issue
5)      Cumulus Acquires (Dial Global) WestwoodOne
6)      Growth of Digital Music Service Providers
7)      Limbaugh and Hannity Station Realignment Deals Negotiated
8)      FCC Announces AM Band Revitalization Strategy
9)      Progressive Talk Outlets Continue to Disappear
10)   Country Music Format Enjoys Resurgence

brooksstanIndustry Mourns WINS, New York Senior Correspondent Stan Brooks.  Legendary WINS, New York newsman Stan Brooks passed away yesterday (12/23) at his home at age 86.  He’d been serving as senior correspondent for CBS RADIO’s WINS, New York – the station he’d been with for the past 50 years.  Brooks started working for the station in 1962 when it was a top 40 station and stayed with it through its transition to all-news.  WINS director of news and programming Ben Mevorach says of Brooks, “Like every challenge he has ever faced, Stan met this final one with the same class, dignity and humility that defined every day of his almost 87 years on this earth. There will never be another one like him.”  EVP of operations for CBS RADIO Scott Herman adds, “Not only was Stan Brooks a walking encyclopedia on NYC politics he was one of the finest, decent and most dignified men who ever lived.  We were lucky to have him on 1010 WINS for the past 51 years and we will never ever forget him.”  Read about Brooks’ life and career in a piece from CBS New York here.

wrcn logoJVC Broadcasting Prepares for Launch of ‘Long Island News Radio 103.9’ on Thursday.  Long Island-based JVC Broadcasting announces the lineup for its soon-to-be former rock outlet WRCN, Riverhead, New York branded “Long Island News Radio 103.9.”  TALKERS reported two weeks ago that the station’s studio will be located in the terminal of the Long Island MacArthur Airports – a physical reminder of the local intentions of this new station for the Long Islanders who use the facility.  Now to the lineup: morning drive is being hosted by Jay Oliver; the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show is Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade and Friends; local host John Gomez is handling the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot followed by the local, one-hour show “Breaking it Down with Frank Mackay.”  Premiere Networks superstar Sean Hannity is in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot and Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

bowenrobbyRobby Bowen Upped at CBS RADIO’s ‘105.3 The Fan.’  Sales pro Robby Bowen is promoted to general sales manager for CBS RADIO sports talker KRLD-FM, Dallas “105.3 The FAN.”  Bowen joined CBS RADIO Dallas-Fort Worth in February 2005 as an account executive for the station, which was at that time KLLI-FM.  During his time there he has served as local sales manager and most recently was senior account director.

wjfkholdendannyChanges in Middays at WJFK-FM, Washington Raise Questions.  According to Dan Steinberg’s column in the Washington Post, the midday lineup at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington, DC is in flux after the station announced Holden Kushner will be moving to other duties including weekends, fill-in and participating in Washington Nationals coverage.  Kushner was paired up with Danny Rouhier who reportedly will host the show solo today (12/24) and then be on vacation through December 30.  What happens after that is uncertain.  The station is expected to announce plans for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm daypart in the New Year but already the news is cause for speculation.  With the arrival of Don Geronimo from the company’s KHTK, Sacramento earlier this fall (currently hosting evenings), DC radio fans are wondering if he’ll return to a daytime show on the station.  Geronimo and former partner Mike O’Meara held down afternoon drive at the station when it was a hot talker from 1991 through 2008.

walshmattMatt Walsh Exits WLAP, Lexington; Sean Hannity to Air in PM Drive.  Writer and talk show host Matt Walsh announces that his contract with Clear Channel’s WLAP, Lexington, Kentucky is up and as the station is filling the afternoon drive slot with Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity, he’s leaving AM/FM talk radio for good.  In a post on his blog, Walsh explains that although he has nothing but good things to say about his time at WLAP, he’s going to focus on his blog that he says has “between three and five million people” reading it every month.  As for his time at WLAP, he says, “WLAP took a chance on me, gave me a show, gave me the freedom to handle the topics in my own way, and surrounded me with a highly intelligent and passionate supporting cast.  I’m grateful for that, as these things are certainly not a given in this industry.”

nab logoNAB Acquires Two Events: CCW and SATCON.  The National Association of Broadcasters announces it has purchased the assets of the Content and Communications World (CCW) and Satellite Communications Conference and Expo (SATCON) events from JD Events.  The two events are held annually in November and are co-located at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.  In a press statement, the NAB says that “CCW is the leading media, entertainment and communications technology event of its kind in New York with a focus on content creation, management and delivery technologies.  SATCON offers education and exhibits serving companies in the satellite-enabled communications and content delivery industry.”  EVP of NAB Conventions and Business Operations Chris Brown comments, “We have made these additions to the NAB event family with the goal of growing both the attendee and exhibitor base of what has emerged as an important East Coast venue for the content community.  We look forward to developing this event and serving the unique needs of this very important media market.”

nielsen logoNieslen Audio December PPM Data Released.  The December 2013 PPM ratings data is being released by Nielsen Audio – currently numbers for the first 12 markets have been made public – and that information can be found at the site of TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo.  Check out the main page for managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian’s “Ten Takeaways” here or go straight to the full ratings data here.

musciovecchioOdds & Sods.  Premiere Networks-distributed 24/7 Comedy – the 24-hour, all-comedy format – will ring in the New Year with a countdown of the top 247 comedy bits from the top 247 comedians.  The program is compiled by staff and listeners who voted on 24/7 Comedy’s Facebook page or called the laugh-line at 218-Chuckle.  The countdown will air nationwide all day New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and will feature Chris Rock, Louis C.K., Bill Cosby, George Carlin, Aziz Ansari, Bill Engvall, Jerry Seinfeld and Rodney Dangerfield…..KFMB, San Diego weekend program “It’s Your Money and Your Life” picked up three first place awards from the San Diego Press Club for “Excellence in Journalism.”  The show currently originates from La Jolla’s prestigious La Valencia Hotel and airs Saturdays from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm, hosted by Richard Muscio (left) and Joe Vecchio (right).

Friday, December 13, 2013

| December 13, 2013

westwoodone logoCumulus Announces Closing of WestwoodOne Acquisition.  Although the Department of Justice’s anti-trust division is still reviewing the merger, Cumulus Media Inc. announces the completion of the $260 million deal.  Cumulus says that although the merger was not subject to the pre-closing notification requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act,cumulus logo the review is taking place and it can’t predict if the DOJ will elect to seek, or obtain, any remedies, or the effect that any remedies may have on its business, financial condition or results of operations.  Cumulus maintains it does not believe the deal raises any anti-competitive issues.  Back to the deal, Cumulus notes it consists of approximately $45 million attributable to the equity of WWO and the retirement of $215 million of debt of WWO.  Cumulus used cash on hand, including approximately $238 million in cash proceeds from the Company’s previously completed sale of 53 radio stations to Townsquare Media, LLC.

cookehollandNews/Talk #1 Format Reports Nielsen from Client Conference.  Among the information shared at this week’s two-day Nielsen Client Conference was the capper at the end of day two when Nielsen director of programming services Jon Miller announced the results of the company’s top ten formats of 2013 based on AQH share in the 48 PPM-rated markets.  The news was particularly good for news/talk as it tops the pile with a 6+ AQH share of 9.3.  It’s also been a good year for CHR which comes in #2 with an 8.2 share.  Following, in order, are: country – 7.8 share; adult contemporary – 7.7 share; hot AC – 5.5 share; classic hits – 5.3 share; urban AC 5.0 share; and sports talk and classic rock tie with a 4.3 share.  There was much more discussed as consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke writes about the attending CEOs who lamented the industry’s status quo mentality as well as more presentations about integrating social media into listener interaction, and much more.  Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.

whitmanbrianBrian Whitman Signs Extension with Salem’s KRLA, Los Angeles.  Longtime Los Angeles radio personality Brian Whitman inks a deal to continue his work as morning drive personality on Salem Communications’ KRLA, Los Angeles.  Whitman will remain part of “The Morning Answer” on “AM 870 The Answer” alongside Ben Shapiro and Elisha Krauss.  Whitman has also worked at such LA signals as KIIS-FM, KLSX-FM and KABC-AM as well as WABC, New York.krlalogo  Salem VP/director, spoken word format Phil Boyce comments, “Brian Whitman is one of the most talented voices on Los Angeles radio, and we are delighted to keep this growing show together for the foreseeable future.  I have worked with Brian since 1996 when I hired him at WABC in New York, and used him across the country as one of the funniest voice over guys on the air.  But his skills go much beyond comedy voices.  He has grown into a very talented talk show host doing morning drive in Market #2.”  Whitman adds, “I’ve been truly blessed to be on the air here in Los Angeles since 1991.  I am excited about the continued growth of our radio show, our station and our brand.  I am so grateful for the truly overwhelming support I’ve received from Salem’s chief executive officer Ed Atsinger, and the entire management team.”

hayworthjdJ.D. Hayworth Subs for Cumulus Media Networks as Huckabee Show Winds Down.  Governor Mike Huckabee did his last live show for Cumulus Media Networks as his show goes into holiday mode before ending on January 3.  Former congressman and talk radio personality J.D. Hayworth is subbing on the network beginning today through January 3 on the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program.  Hayworth says he’ll be on the radio all of next week as well as December 26 and 27 and January 2 and 3.  “Governor Huckabee was very gracious to allow me to serve as his guest host on several occasions, and I welcome this opportunity as well.  For me, Friday the 13th is a lucky day.  I thank Cumulus for entrusting me with ‘Mike’s mic’ into the New Year.”

ericksonerickErickson to Sub for Rush Limbaugh.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that Georgia-based talk show host Erick Erickson will be fulfilling a dream when he sits in for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Rush Limbaugh over the holidays.  Erickson – who serves as editor-in-chief of RedState.com in addition to his radio work – will host Limbaugh’s program on December 20, 24 and 26.  Erickson’s regular radio job is afternoon drive personality on Cox Media Group’s WSB, Atlanta where he’s heard from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Erickson tells the AJC, “I’m really excited.  It’s one of the few things I ever wanted to do going back to college.  I listened to him every day.  I’d plan classes around his show so I’d be able to listen in my dorm for a couple of hours.”

deptrojohnRhode Island Governor Signs on to Petition to Oust WPRO’s John DePetro.  According to a report in the Providence Journal, the union-led drive to compel WPRO, Providence to remove talk show host John DePetro from his daily talk show on the station has garnered support from the state’s Governor Lincoln Chafee.  The paper reports that the boycott against WPRO’s advertisers – jewelry dealer Alex and Ani has been singled out – is being coordinated by the AFL-CIO‘s secretary treasurer Maureen Martin, who is also the political activities director of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals.  Governor Chafee’s spokeswoman, Christine Hunsinger, confirms to the paper that the governor has signed the petition urging the jewelry store to withdraw its advertising from WPRO as long as DePetro is employed there and also says he won’t go on any other show until DePetro is gone.  Lincoln Chafee, a Republican-turned-Democrat who had long been criticized by conservatives in the media as a RINO (Republican in name only), has a history of engaging with instead of ignoring his media critics and DePetro has been a critic of Chafee for some time.  DePetro came under fire from the unions after using what they termed demeaning and sexist language in criticizing female union members’ activities.  DePetro has since apologized for his choice of words.

harrisonmichaelMichael Harrison to speak at 2014 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will make a rare speaking appearance at another trade publication’s industry conference and serve as a special guest faculty member at Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano‘s forthcoming 2014 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia on March 26, 2014.  The one-day seminar, located at the Rittenhouse Hotel, will help preparedelcollianojerry modern-day broadcasters to solve the major problems and meet the pressing challenges facing the radio business during its rapid transition into the digital era.  Among the topics to be covered include ways to positively “disrupt” radio before your competition does and understand the sensibilities of the “millennial” generation – as well as learn new ways to present commercials, attract new audiences and develop new sources of revenue.  Harrison will be joining “MoreFM” (formerly B-101), Philadelphia owner Jerry Lee as a specially invited faculty speaker at the event.  Upon accepting the assignment, Harrison states, “I am honored to play a role in Jerry Del Colliano’s event and work alongside such a dynamic and independent entrepreneur as Jerry Lee.  Del Colliano is a brilliant thinker, teacher and observer whose bold voice in this industry continues to contribute to radio’s intelligence, health and survival.”  For information about the conference please click here.

btrnlogoMacGregor Joins BTRN as VP/Affiliate Sales.  Twenty-five-year media management veteran Mark MacGregor is named vice president of affiliate sales for Business TalkRadio Network. “Mark brings a wealth of experience to this position and our company,” comments BTRN president Jeff Weber.  “He has a proven track record of success in affiliation and I am confident he will be a tremendous asset to us as we continue to grow the networks.”  MacGregor’s past credits include similar titles to his present BTRN assignment for MyFamilyTV, FamilyNet and ETC Television.  Business TalkRadio Network provides long and short form programming to over 1,000 affiliates.  It currently features such programs as “Investor’s Edge,” “Real Estate Investor Radio,” and the “CEO Show.”

boomercartoncomedyWFAN, New York’s Boomer & Carton to Host Comedy Show.  WFAN, New York morning drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton will host the “Super Comedy Jam” at the Manhattan Center Hammerstein Ballroom on Wednesday, January 29.  Appearing at the show will be an all-star lineup of comedians, including a couple with radio ties.  The stars performing will include: Jay Mohr (who also hosts his eponymous sports talk show for Fox Sports Radio Network); Nick Di Paolo (previously partnered with Artie Lange for a late night comedy/sports radio show); Dave Attell; Michael Che; Jeff Norris; and John Pizzi.

castnermichaelOdds & Sods.  Clear Channel news/talk outlet KEX, Portland adds another hour to the back end of Michael Castner’s afternoon drive program.  Beginning Monday, he’ll broadcast from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Castner joined KEX this summer after spending the last two-plus years hosting a nationally syndicated program for The Wall Street Journal Radio Network…..The next color voice of the Chicago Cubs is former Cubs infielder Ron Coomer.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports Coomer will sit alongside play-by-play Pat Hughes when the 2014 season begins.  Coomer takes over for Keith Moreland providing analysis on WGN and affiliates across the Midwest…..Premiere Networks announces the continuation of a long-standing “Coast to Coast AM” tradition as listeners “will be treated to live, holiday-themed programming with a ‘Coast-to-Coast’ twist, including music, special guest appearances and surprises on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day.  Host George Noory will be live in studio to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year with his loyal audience, who will get the chance to share their favorite Christmas memories and stories of miracles during open lines.”

wphtphantasycampWPHT Sends Local Hero to Phillies Phantasy Camp.  WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (center) poses for a shot with Sergeant First Class Brian Keaton, his wife and two of his children in the WPHT studios.  The station, the Philadelphia Phillies and the local chapter of the USO surprised the wounded warrior during Thursday’s program with a trip to the Phillies Phantasy Camp this morning live on the air.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated Mark Levin program is added to the schedule at KOYT, Helena, Montana; the company’s “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage adds the following stations to is affiliate roster: KINN, Alamogordo, New Mexico; WZUS, Decatur, Illinois; WBAP, Dallas; KKOB-AM, Albuquerque; and WLS-AM, Chicago…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Jason Lewis is added to the program schedule at KLZ, Denver; WPTK, Raleigh; and KNOX, Grand Forks, North Dakota…..The “Motley Fool Stock Watch” feature joins the programming at KTKZ “AM 1380 The Answer” and KSAC “Money 105.5” in Sacramento.

ObamaCare Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM for 8th Straight Week.  The criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the eighth consecutive week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Following at #2 this week was the federal budget deal.  At #3 was the selfie President Obama took with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thornig-Schmidt and his appearance at the Nelson Mandela memorial service followed at #4 by the nuclear talks with Iran.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

| November 27, 2013

huckabeemikeMike Huckabee and Cumulus Media Networks Call it Quits on Daily Talk Show.  Governor Mike Huckabee’s daily commentaries will continue after the New Year but the daily, three-hour talk show will not.  Writing on Facebook, Huckabee says, “I have loved doing the Mike Huckabee show, and its success of going from launch to over 200 stations in less than two years is significant, but the contract was at a decision point for both Cumulus Media and me, and we mutually agreed to conclude.”  Huckabee’s program debuted in April of 2012 with the conservative politician and media personality (who is still seen on weekends on Fox News Channel) promising to host a “different” kind of talk show that offers “more conversation, less confrontation.”  There’s no way to know how successful CMN was in selling the show or how much money Huckabee made but it stands to reason the show was not making enough to justify continuing the effort on the part of either party.

bellpaulMedia Exec Paul Bell Named Business Director for Rush Limbaugh Print and Digital.  Premiere Networks announces the appointment of Paul Bell to the position of business director of Rush Limbaugh print and digital subscriptions.  Bell most recently worked with Dow Jones/The Wall Street Journal and will remain based in New York where he’ll report to CCM+E president of content and affiliate services for national media groups Julie Talbott.  Bell’s focus will be on all aspects of Limbaugh’s subscription businesses including oversight of strategic planning, directlimbaughrush marketing, circulation management, and subscriber acquisition and retention for Rush 24/7; The Limbaugh Letter; as well as The Limbaugh eLetter, the recently-launched digital version of the publication now available via desktop and on mobile devices.  While with Dow Jones/The Wall Street Journal, Bell was charged with overseeing strategy and business operations of The Wall Street Journal Sunday, the WSJ Wine Club and the WSJ and MarketWatch Radio Networks, as well as audio podcasting content licensing.  Prior to that, Bell served as vice president, radio and executive director of The Wall Street Journal Radio Network for seven years.  Julie Talbott states, “We couldn’t be happier to welcome someone of Paul’s caliber to our team.  His extensive background in direct marketing and business operations are a winning combination as we continue to grow Rush Limbaugh’s loyal print subscriber base and digital platforms.”

katzjeffspeaksJeff Katz to Host PM Drive on WRVA, Richmond.  Program director Jimmy Barrett tells TALKERS magazine that talk radio pro Jeff Katz is assuming the afternoon drive show from Clear Channel talk host Leland Conway who’s beenwrva logo doing that program and the midday show on the company’s WHAS, Louisville since the early fall.  With Conway now focused on Louisville, Katz can dedicate his attention to Richmond.  Barrett states, “We’re excited to have someone with Jeff’s experience anchoring our afternoon drive.  Jeff is funny, informative and a great match for the Richmond audience.  Best of all, he’s coming here because this is where he wants to raise his family.”  Katz has been part of the start-up at the Boston Herald’s online venture Boston Herald Radio hosting the morning show.  Katz has been a columnist for the Herald and produces commentary features that air on a number of affiliate stations.  He worked for Clear Channel in Boston on WXKS-AM prior to that station’s flip to sports talk.  He starts at WRVA on Monday, December 2.

greenconnections logo“Green Connections with Joan Michelson” to Debut on TalkersRadio this Saturday.  An exciting new weekly program geared to the environmental movement in modern industry and culture is set for launch this weekend on TalkersRadio – the online experimental talk radio station at Talkers.com.  The program will originate with brand new, one-hour installments on Saturdays at 3:00 pm ET that will be repeated at various timesmichelsonjoan throughout the week.  The program’s tag lines are “live green, work green, earn green” and “making cleantech cool.”  Its host and producer, Joan Michelson, is a highly respected and accomplished Washington, DC-based journalist who specializes in energy and sustainability.  She serves as the green expert on WTOP, Washington and has a blog on the Huffington Post, in addition to a number of major media platforms.  Describing the new show, Michelson tells TALKERS, “We inform, engage, and connect people with the cool things and opportunities in energy and sustainability.  Our stories range from politics and business, to jobs, gadgets, tips and the arts.  I am very excited about bringing this groundbreaking show to such an innovative radio platform as TalkersRadio.”  In announcing the launch, TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein says, “This entertaining and informative program is a radio show whose time has come.  There is a huge information-hungry audience for this and potential advertisers are sprouting up all over the nation creating an exciting new arena of economic growth making it incredibly fertile for talk radio.  Joan Michelson brings a personal likability as well as tremendous knowledge to the discussion.  We are proud to be giving birth to and nurturing what promises to be a major broadcasting entity.  This SO fits the mission of TalkersRadio.”

millerdennisWestwoodOne Bumps Dennis Miller to Noon ET Start.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Dennis Miller’s WestwoodOne program will move to a new time beginning in January.  The company announces the show’s live air time will shift from the current 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET slot to 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET effective January 6.  WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine says, “WestwoodOne is happy to have the Dennis Miller show as part of our best-in-class lineup and programming.  Miller attracts a very large and opinionated audience who are actively engaged across audio platforms, including digital.  His show is a prime example of the critical role audio plays in cross-platform integration – a key element in the future of audio.”  Miller, who resides in California, currently hits the air live at 7:00 am PT.  He adds, “Thanks for letting me sleep in and continue to do the job that I love!”

salemcommunicationsSalem Communications Adds AM Signal to Miami Properties.  With the purchase of WOCN-AM, Miami from Deportes Media of Florida, Salem Communications will have another AM signal in the market to complement business talk WZAB, Christian talk WHIM and Spanish Christian formatted WKAT.  The price is $1.2 million for the station and its assets and another $1 million for the property on which the station and its transmitter sit.  WOCN-AM is a class C AM at 1450 currently operating at 1,000 watts in a non-directional pattern.

totaltraffic logoTotal Traffic + Weather Network Partners with TomTom.  The two companies believe the multi-year partnership will augment both their businesses.  Clear Channel’s Total Traffic + Weather Network says the arrangement will combine “TomTom’s industry leading real-time and predictive traffic flow data with Total Traffic + Weather Network’s traffic incident, construction and congestion data to create the mosttomtom logo comprehensive traffic solution available in North America.  The combined data offering will be available across multiple platforms including radio, television, automotive, online and mobile.”  CCM+E EVP engineering & systems integration Jeff Littlejohn states, “We are thrilled about this partnership.  Every day, more than 200 million drivers and thousands of our affiliates depend on TTWN for their traffic information.  We value that trust and are dedicated to delivering the most precise traffic data available. Therefore, we strive for best-in-class, strategic partners to advance our offerings. TomTom is a committed and innovative leader in traffic products. We are excited about creating new solutions together to provide the fastest, most accurate traffic information to drivers every day.”

topturkeysOdds & Sods.  Jack Callaghan leaves the sales end of the business to return to the mic at Clear Channel’s WTAM, Cleveland where he’s the new news director.  Callaghan was most recently eastern regional sales manager at Santa Clara, California-based Beat the Traffic…..Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM and 99.7 FM in Providence produces its second annual “Top Turkeys” countdown that celebrates the notable and notorious from Southern New England.  This year’s winners included Rhode Island native and “Jersey Shore” star Pauly D confirming he’s a baby daddy; former Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey announcing a run for governor only to pull out three days later; and calamari – often a punch line for jokes in Rhode Island – failed to be voted the Official State Appetizer after the State Senate declined to vote on it altogether.  WPRO-AM PD Craig Schwalb says, “Thanksgiving offers WPRO the perfect opportunity to poke fun at some of the most interesting and most absurd news stories that occurred in the great state of Rhode Island this year.”  Check out the web feature here.…..ESPN Deportes Radio reaches what it terms a “sub-license agreement” with Fox to broadcast the UEFA Champions League.  The coverage kicked off with two live double headers: Zenit vs. Atlético and Ajax vs. Barcelona yesterday and CSKA Moskva vs. Bayern and Real Madrid vs. Galatasaray today (11/27).

crowleyjerryIt’s Like Déjà Vu All Over Again.  It is an extremely unlikely narrative – but it actually is happening.  When Clear Channel took over ownership of heritage radio station WOR, New York from Buckley Radio about a year ago, they moved it from its location in an iconic building on Trinity Place next to the historic Trinity Cemetery about a block from Wall Street to their already-established headquarters in a different part of lower-Manhattan.  And as we all know, they also made staff changes in both programming and management. These changes included the departure of longtime WORsantellinoelia VP/GM Jerry Crowley and his executive assistant Noelia Santelli.  Being, as TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes “one of the most savvy, connected and well-liked broadcasting executives in the Big Apple,” it didn’t take long for another radio company to recruit Crowley (as well as Santelli) for their own New York operation.  That company was Salem Communications for whom Crowley brought his talents as VP/GM of talkers WMCA (570) and WNYM (The Answer).  At that time, these stations were located close-by at Salem’s operation across the river in New Jersey.  Now for the good part — on December 9, Salem is taking advantage of the marvelous radio broadcasting space vacated by Clear Channel on Trinity Place and moving the operations of both stations into the same suite of offices and studios previously occupied by WOR.  That means that Crowley and Santelli (who is now Salem New York’s national sales manager and executive assistant to the general manager) will be moving back to their original offices and even the same desks and furniture!  Amazing!

Thanksgiving Holiday, ObamaCare Criticism, Iran Nukes Deal, Immigration Legislation, CBS Gives Lara Logan LOA, and Alec Baldwin Loses MSNBC Gig Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/26).  The holiday weekend and the weather-affected travel situation; scrutiny of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the negotiations for an Iranian nuclear program deal; President Obama’s proposed immigration legislation; the leave of absence given to CBS reporter Lara Logan in connection with the “60 Minutes” Benghazi report; and Alec Baldwin’s MSNBC show gets cancelled after reports of his “homophobic” language and on-set behavioral issues were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, November 18, 2013

| November 18, 2013

milhaventornadocoverageTornado Damage Reported Via Multi-Media on McGraw Milhaven Show.  The series of tornadoes that swept across the Midwest on Sunday left serious damage in New Minden, Illinois – about an hour East of St. Louis.  The photo you see here is from the video component of KTRS, St. Louis morning host McGraw Milhaven’s online platform.  Since the spring, Milhaven has been partnering with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s StlToday.com site to present his program in a video format.  Today, he used that medium to his advantage as reporter Michael Golde was able to report back to the studio via Skype and show viewers scenes from the storm-damaged town and converse with Milhaven and news anchor Kelly Jackson.  In posting the video on YouTube, Milhaven comments, “KTRS Radio in St Louis is the only radio station in the country to show live video of storm-damaged areas of Ill. to listeners on laptops, desktops and smartphones as well as the radio.”

wrcnlogoJVC Media to Flip Rock WRCN, Long Island to News/Talk After Christmas.  Longtime rocker WRCN, Riverhead, New York has stopped playing “everything that rocks” and has gone Christmas music through the holidays.  But after Christmas, the station will emerge as a news/talk outlet dubbed “LI News Radio 103.9.”  JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo explains the company’s thinking in a statement: “WRCN has a long history and heritage on Long Island – many of us have grown up with the station and it has become an intricate part of our lives.  But as our lives change so does our soundtrack.  What we listened to growing up is not necessarily what we listen to now and what was important to us as teenagers maybe doesn’t seem so important anymore.  That’s why we made the decision to change WRCN and develop and program a radio station that fits the needs of Long Island…Long Islanders are starving for local news and information.  Why should we have to wait 22 minutes to hear about the world when all we really want is Islip to Southampton?  What’s the traffic like on the 347 merge or Sunrise Highway in Oakdale?  This station will not only serve as your information source but it will be your sounding board for issues that influence your life, your community and your business.”  Talent that has been announced to be part of the new format includes Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Sean Hannity and Cumulus Media Networks personality Mark Levin as well as local hosts Ernie Fasio, Vic Fusco, John Gomez, Kevin Law, Steve Levy, Frank McKay, and Jay Oliver.

thomaslindaLinda Thomas to Exit KIRO-FM, Seattle.  Morning news anchor and reporter Linda Thomas announces she will be leaving Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle at the end of the year for a new opportunity that, as she says, “doesn’t involve being at work by 2:00 am.”  In a blog post at the company’s Mynorthwest.com, she writes, “My Bonneville Seattle bosses understand and support my decision too, even though they don’t want me to leave.  That’s what family members do.  I’ll always be grateful for them, and for you.”  Thomas first worked at KIRO in 1988 as an overnight editor and became morning drive anchor in 1993.  She left the station to work as a freelancer but returned to KIRO-FM as morning anchor in 2010.  She adds, “KIRO’s news, talk and online teams are the best in the business.  It’s been an honor to work alongside amazing talent.  I’ve learned a lot from all my co-workers.  They encourage me, challenge me, and make me laugh on a daily basis. I really do love them.”

wrightmichelleMichelle Wright Let Go from All-News WYAY, Atlanta.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho tips us that morning drive co-anchor Michelle Wright has been let go from Cumulus Media’s all-news WYAY, Atlanta “All-News 106.7.”  Andy Rose remains in AM drive solo.  The speculation is that the recent hiring of Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson to host a talk show in middays and the acquisition of Atlanta Braves baseball required some cuts in other areas of the station and Wright was the unfortunate victim.  She was one of the original staffers when Cumulus decided to turn WYAY into an all-news station in May of 2012.  She had previously worked at Atlanta-based CNN Radio before joining Cumulus.

pittmanbobCEOs Make the Grade.  Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman and EmmisJeff Smulyan were both the subjects of feature stories in newspapers over the weekend – Pittman in The New York Times and Smulyan in thesmulyanjeff Indianapolis Star.  In a Q&A titled, the Value of Dissent, Pittman says he encouraged dissenters in his organization because they serve a valuable purpose.  “I want us to listen to these dissenters because they may intend to tell you why we can’t do something, but if you listen hard, what they’re really telling you is what you must do to get something done.  It gets you out of your framework of the conventions of what you can and can’t do.”  Read that piece here.  Jeff Smulyan tells the Star in his Q&A that the best piece of advice he’s received has to do with employer-employee relationships, “Attract the best people, treat them well, and let them do their job.  If you want people to go through walls for you, you have to go through more walls for them.”  Read that story here.

millerchrisThe View of Radio from the Digital World’s Perspective.  Noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller writes, “Those of us in digital media know that our world will continue to change drastically, over and over again.  We also know that we will be bigger and better three years…five years…10 years from now.  Plus, we hear how radio compares itself to online listening choices, and we see how you use your digital platforms.  And here’s what we think.”  In a new column posted today (11/18) Miller goes on to state that digital-only people still have “transmitter envy” and that even though more and more people and media are moving online, the stick is still a formidable asset.  Regardless, he points out that many digital-only professionals think that over-the-air radio companies are “crazy” for cutting talent, still selling 60-second commercials, and not being cognizant of just how much entertainment is changing.  He clearly explains what digital pros see as radio’s “dangerous assumption.”  He observes, “I look at a lot of different radio social media, websites, database emails and texting programs, and it’s clear you’re making some dangerous assumptions.  Digital content doesn’t work like you think it should.  It doesn’t work like you wish it did.  It works like it works.  We see you on Facebook and Twitter talking about almost anything…except what people really love about you.  Your websites are a mish-mosh of broad-based content, but if you look at your web stats, there are fewer than half-a-dozen features at your site that, combined, get the lion’s share of your page views.  There is nothing special or exclusive about the emails you send your listeners, and your open rates prove it.  Radio people know a lot about how people use radio.  Meanwhile, you are using all these other media as if knowing how they work doesn’t matter.  One key thing we’re doing to drive our online success is to track everything we can to see what really makes a difference.  We don’t have the luxury of having opinions about what should work.  Either the clicks are there, or they aren’t.  What we do either works, or it doesn’t.  If it doesn’t, you dig in, diagnose the problem, and adjust.”  To read Chris Miller’s entire column, please click here.

rhodesrandiPremiere Reverses Course; Keeps Randi Rhodes on Syndication Menu. There are no reports indicating just what happened between Randi Rhodes and syndicator Premiere Networks but the latter is confirming the widely reported news that Rhodes will continue to be syndicated by Premiere, at least through 2014.  Premiere SVP of affiliate relationspremierenetworks logo Peter Tripi emailed affiliates, “In a happy turn of events, we are pleased to announce that Premiere Networks will continue to produce and distribute the Randi Rhodes show.  In an industry of constant change, it’s a pleasure to provide good news about a talk talent we think so highly of.  We apologize for any inconvenience the previous announcement caused, but look forward to a very successful 2014 with the Randi Rhodes show.”  Several weeks ago, Rhodes began telling her audience she was foreseeing the end of her program and later Premiere notified affiliates the relationship would be ending.

herskovitzalIt’s Pop-Up Time.  No, not the kind of pop-up we associate with websites – pop-up ads – but those retail stores that “pop up” in vacant storefronts during the holiday shopping season.  Sales maven and H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz writes about getting these seasonal businesses advertising on your station this year.  He notes that many of these retailers are big name brands that choose to expand their physical space during this time of year and they include Vera Bradley, Louis Vuitton and the National Football League.  Read Al Herskovitz’s entire column here.

abcnewskennedyABC News Radio Offers Kennedy Assassination Programming.  As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, ABC News Radio is offering a two-hour special broadcast, “Three Shots Rang Out: An ABC News Special – The JFK Assassination 50 Years Later,” anchored by ABC News’ Diane Sawyer.  It’s an audio-only program that will be heard by ABC News Radio affiliates.  In addition, a special expanded show will be available via download at Audible.com as part of a new digital audio relationship between ABC News Radio and Audible.  The Audible.com version of this program will include an additional 40 minutes of historical audio available exclusively to Audible listeners.

ruthronRon Ruth Passes.  Former 19-year Radio Advertising Bureau executive vice president of stations Ron Ruth died early Saturday (11/16) in Florida of a heart attack.  The 75-year-old Ruth had been struggling with health issues the past two months.  CBS Radio president and chief executive officer Dan Mason was among those quickly noting their sympathies regarding Ruth’s passing. “I just spoke with him at the Radio Show this past September in Orlando,” Mason writes on Facebook. “He was so up and happy – I am sad tonight.”  Also on that social media platform, Tom Birch notes, “Ron lived life to its fullest and was a joy and inspiration to everyone who had the opportunity to know him.  Ron was the midwife to Birch Research.  He opened doors for me, encouraged me and guided me.  I am deeply honored to have worked for Ron at WQAM, Miami in the 1970s, and to have remained friends with him for the next three decades.” According to former RKO General eastern vice president Perry Ury, “Ron Ruth was a friend and our house skeptic at RKO.”  Former Tele Media Broadcasting vice president and chief operating officer Ira Rosenblatt adds, “We’ve lost a friend and true broadcaster.”  Doing afternoon drive in Boston early in his radio career, Ruth roomed with two other on-air talents who went on to stardom – George Carlin and Jack Burns of Burns & (Avery) Schreiber.  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 RAB in 1992.  Most recently, he was consulting the Radio Advertising Bureau.

wmalbonginoA Man of His Word.  The man having his head shaved live on the air on Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington, DC is former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino.  Not too long ago, Bongino said on the WMAL airwaves that he would shave his head if President Obama apologized for the gaffes in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.  And since the president did offer an apology of sorts, Bongino agreed to honor his statement live on the air and did so on Friday, November 15.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

| October 15, 2013

limbaughrushRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity Return to Philly on WPHT.  CBS Radio brings Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh back to Philly on its news/talk WPHT.  Premiere’s Sean Hannity will also return to the station delay broadcast in the evening.  WPHT drops no daytime local programming but changes the times of the current shifts to accommodatewpht logo Limbaugh.  Morning drive host Chris Stigall wraps his show at 9:00 am, Dom Giordano airs from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.  After Limbaugh, Dick Morris and Gary R’nel begin the PM drive show at 3:00 pm.  It does appear that Casey Bartholomew’s late night program will end to make way for the Hannity show.  CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “We couldn’t be more pleased to bring Rush and Sean home to WPHT.  They are leaders in the format and the standard by which talk radio is measured.  Rush will be the lead-in for Dick Morris who has been developing a strong program the past six months.”

savagemichaelMichael Savage to Conference Call with New Station Management.  On Thursday at 12:00 noon ET, Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Michael Savage will host a conference call with program directors and station managers in anticipation of his move to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET show time to which the program moves in the New Year.  In a statement, Savage says, “I am thrilled that the new timeslot debut is just around the corner.  This call will give station managers the chance to hear direct from me what the coveted drivetime means for ‘The Savage Nation.’”  The company reports that the program will air on more than 200 affiliates of Cumulus Media Networks, including 60 stations owned and operated by Cumulus.  It says “Some of the cities where ‘The Savage Nation’ will air during drivetime include: New York (WABC), Chicago (WLS), Dallas (WBAP), Washington(WMAL), San Francisco (KSFO) and WJR (Detroit).

bobandtomBob & Tom to Leave Premiere Networks for Cumulus Media Networks.  Longtime WFBQ, Indianapolis-based morning drive team Bob Kevoian (left) and Tom Griswold (right) – known simply as Bob & Tom – are leaving longtime syndicator Premiere Networks and are partnering with Cumulus Media Networks for “operational and advertising sales” beginning in January 2014.  The show is currently heard on some 130 affiliate stations across the country as well as on the American Forces Radio Network.  Griswold states, “We have enjoyed a tremendous relationship with Premiere Networks and Clear Channel Media & Entertainment for many years.  Cumulus Media stations have always supported the Bob & Tom show in some of our largest markets, and once I had an opportunity to meet with John Dickey, it became clear that our visions aligned for the future.  We really appreciate the years of dedication from Julie Talbott and the staff at Premiere Networks, and we look forward to continuing to work with Clear Channel stations in the future.”

wdbz logoCincinnati Trombo Looks to Lewis as VP/GM.  Radio One‘s Blue Chip Broadcasting, Cincinnati appoints John Lewis vice president/general manager.  He will oversee urban contemporary WIZF “The Wiz,” urban oldies WOSL “Old School 100.3,” and talk WDBZ “The Buzz.”  Regional vice president Jeffrey Wilson comments, “John brings an outstanding blend of experience, vision, professionalism, and integrity to our mission to lead and serve the people of Cincinnati.”  Lewis notes, “I look forward to helping Radio One, Cincinnati realize its full potential.”  Lewis previously held management positions for Cumulus-owned stations in Lexington, Kentucky; Pensacola, Florida; and Albany, Georgia.

murphyjimBrahmin Broadcasting Brings in Murphy as Group PD.  Veteran programmer Jim Murphy is appointed group program director for 24 Brahmin Broadcasting Western Division stations. Murphy – who most recently was director of career services at the Ohio Center for Broadcasting - will begin his new duties next Monday (10/21); he will be based in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  “Jim will direct and oversee the programming and operations for all our Western stations,” explains Brahmin Broadcasting Corporation president Steven Silberberg.  “Jim started his broadcast career in New England, but for the last 20 years, he has managed the day-to-day operations and programming for a number of top broadcast companies in the Rocky Mountain West.”  Murphy spent 15 years at Jones Radio Networks, where he was vice president/country and recently programmed Cumulus country outlet KATC, Colorado Springs for 14 months.

krel logoFormer MLB Pitcher Mark Knudson to Manage KREL, Colorado Springs.  Radio Colorado Network announces former Major League Baseball pitcher Mark Knudson is named general manager for its sports talk outlet KREL, Colorado Springs “ESPN 1580.”  After retiring from baseball Knudson entered sports media working as an on-air host at KOA, Denver; AM 950 ‘The Fan’ and ESPN Radio.  He’s also been a contributing editor for Mile High Sports Magazine and helped launch Mile High Sports Radio.  Additionally, the company announces Warren McCarty is named program director for the station.  McCarty spent 11 years in pro football coaching, scouting, and in management prior to launching the “My Passion is Football” radio show.

garcettiericKNX, Los Angeles Begins Quarterly ‘Ask the Mayor’ Show.  Newly elected Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will make his first appearance on CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles on October 24 at 10:00 am for the first in a quarterly series of “Ask the Mayor” programs.  The live, listener call-in-formatted show will be hosted by KNX news anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman and, says the station, “will give Angelinos the opportunity to put the mayor in the hot seat.”  Angelinos can call the show or Tweet their questions to the mayor.

gallaghermikeOdds & Sods.  CBS Radio names Craig Heist sports reporter at its Washington, DC cluster.  Heist will do sports updates on all-news WNEW-FM and on sports talker WJFK-FM.  Heist worked in the market for almost 15 years at Hubbard’s crosstown all-news WTOP…..Texas Governor Rick Perry appeared on Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher show on Monday to promote his Americans for Economic Freedom non-profit that will buy ads on cable news/talk and talk radio to promote conservative policy.  On Gallagher’s show he said of the organization, “These are some folks that wanted to highlight the differences in policies between the states, and identify what works to create jobs, freedom and opportunity.”…..WEEI, Boston midday sports talk host (and former Red Sox player) Lou Merloni is sitting in the broadcast booth alongside Joe Castiglione and Dave O’Brien as a commentator for all of the ALCS games at Fenway Park.  Merloni co-hosts the midday show on WEEI with Mike Mutnansky.

sandersbobChicago Radio Legend Bob Sanders Passes.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder tips us that longtime WBBM-AM, Chicago personality Bob Sanders has died at age 89.  Sanders and his wife Betty were a duo who reigned in middays on WBBM-AM as the station transitioned from music to talk and later all-news.  Sanders joined WBBM in 1956 and the two began broadcasting as a husband-and-wife team in 1972.  They were let go from the station in 1982 and worked at crosstown WCFL for two years after that.

goslingooseFormer KDKA Sports Personality Goose Goslin Dies.  CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh reports that Marvin “Goose” Goslin died over the weekend.  Goslin, who retired from radio in 2003, was a sports personality on the station for 25 years.  During much of his time at KDKA, Goslin would do both morning and afternoon drive sports.  He is also being remembered for singing the national anthem before Penguins games and for knowing how to sing the Canadian national anthem in French.

Government Shutdown, Debt Ceiling, ObamaCare Implementation, MLB Playoffs and ‘Redskins’ Controversy Among Top News Stories Yesterday (10/14).  The negotiations on Washington to end the government shutdown and its effects; the congressional battle over the debt ceiling; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the Major League Baseball playoffs; and the controversy over the Washington Redskins name were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, October 14, 2013

| October 14, 2013

trn logoTalk Radio Network Sues Epic Times in U.S. District Court for Tortious Interference and Misuse of Trade Secrets.  EpicTimes.com is the website developed around talk show host Jerry Doyle – who is currently embroiled in legal issues surrounding the recent dramatic changes and financial issues at Talk Radio Networkepictimes logo At the core of this most recent action is a two-pronged complaint by TRN.  It alleges Epic – the company of which Jerry Doyle is president and CEO – is interfering with contracts TRN has with both Doyle himself and talk host Rusty Humphries by using their services for content for the EpicTimes.com site.  The interference claim is based on TRN’s assertion that it has exclusive content creation deals still in effect with Doyle and Humphries.  The complaint also alleges that Epic is misusing trade secrets through Epic’s conversion to its own use of the “confidential and proprietary business information of plaintiffs provided to Doyle in confidence and subject to nondisclosure agreements.”  TRN is seeking an injunction to prevent further use of the proprietary information and $150,000 in damages plus legal fees.

L&L logoL&L Broadcasting Acquires Border Media Trust San Antonio Stations.  What’s been rumored to have been in the works turns out to be true as Larry Wilson’s Portland, Oregon-based L&L Broadcastingktsa announces its buying the San Antonio radio stations from the Border Media Business Trust.  The stations include adult hits KJXK “102.7 Jack FM,” regional Mexican tri-mulcast KLEY “La Ley 95.7,” KSAH-AM/FM, CHR KTFM, news/talk KTSA, sports talk KZDC and Spanish KHHL.  The additions put the L&L station count at 43.  Wilson says, “This is a great cluster of radio stations located in a beautiful market operated by a very talented group of people.  We are excited to add them to our growing company.”  Trustee Larry Patrick adds, “We could not be happier to have found a wonderful home for our San Antonio stations.  Larry Wilson and his L&L Broadcasting represent the best in broadcasting. We wish him continued great success with this cluster.”  Piper Jaffray & Co. assisted L&L Broadcasting in the transaction and Patrick Communications was the broker for the Border Media Business Trust.

TalkersLA2013Talkers Los Angeles 2013 a Success.  More than 250 radio and associated industry professionals gathered and 55 speakers participated in a non-stop day of speeches, special presentations, and panel discussions tackling the major issues facing the talk media industry at Talkers Los Angeles 2013 this past Thursday (10/10).  Among the major issues covered are the growing need for the radio industry to have an accurate cross-platform ratings system; develop new ways to program commercials that generate results for the advertisers without chasing away listeners; explore new spoken-word formats that tap into unfulfilled opportunities; attract younger demos to talk radio; and bring back more live and local programming to the broadcast day.  To read an overview of the event and see photos of its key sessions, speeches and attractions, please click here.

wwwl logoEntercom Debuts Hybrid Talker in New Orleans.  Today is launch day for Entercom’s new hybrid talk station WWWL, New Orleans “3WL.”  Calling it an extension of its “Gulf South POWERhouse” WWL-AM/FM, the company says it “builds on the success of this legendary New Orleans station by offering a branch focused on the passions of New Orleans.”  Vice president and general manager Chris Claus says, “‘3WL 1350’ celebrates the three greatest passions of New Orleanians: sports, food and fun!  Think of ‘3WL’ as a radio station as tasty as gumbo, as fun as Mardi Gras and as passionate as Saints fans on Sundays.  In the three weeks since we announced ‘3WL,’ the response has been overwhelming.  ‘3WL’ is perfectly set up to succeed and deliver real results for our advertisers.”  WWL operations and program director Diane Newman is overseeing the station’s programming.  The lineup is as follows:  “Morning Drive with T-Bob Hebert and Kristian Garic”; NBC Sports Radio’s Erick Kuselias in late mornings; “The Food Show” with Tom Fitzmorris from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; and “The Lighter Side of The Spud Show” with John Spud McConnell from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  NBC Sports Radio rounds out the rest of the day.  Newman says, “Today is the culmination of a lot of hard work and planning.  Our lineup from top to bottom is as good as any in the country.  With sports in the morning, food at lunch, and a larger-than-life personality, Spud McConnell, in the afternoon, ‘3WL’ launches with tremendous strength, proven talent, and unquestioned passion.”

kkoblogoAnother #1 Finish for KKOB.  The Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talker finished #1 12+ for the 53rd straight Nielsen Audio book in a row.  Program director Pat Frisch tells TALKERS magazine, the station finished #5 in Adults 25-54 and #2 in Men 25-54.  “Our TSL is a high 9:15 minutes a week in Adults 25-54, that’s #1 in the market.”  Frisch also reports that he’s especially proud of afternoon talk show host Scott Stiegler who took over the afternoon program seven months ago and has taken it to #1 Adults 25-54.  Frisch says, “Morning drive personality Bob Clark finished #1 again in mornings.  He’s been #1 for seven straight years in that daypart.”

wgmd logoTalent Shuffle at WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  Resort Broadcasting’s FM news/talk WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware “The Talk of Delmarva” makes some personality changes as late morning host Mike Bradley becomes part of the morning drive show alongside Judy ManginiBill Colley leaves the morning program and now heads up the PM drive show.  Jim Rash moves from afternoons to the late morning slot.

switzerbryanBryan Switzer to Exit Cumulus Media Networks.  After eight years in the radio business, Bryan Switzer announces he’s leaving his VP of affiliate sales position with Cumulus Media Networks.  Switzer started his career in network radio with ABC Radio Networks in April of 2006.  During his time in the music industry, he served as VP/GM of Atlantic Records and senior VP of national promotion at Universal South.  He says, “Since moving from records to broadcast eight years ago, this is without a doubt the most exciting company I’ve been associated with.  I have a great deal of respect for what Lew and John Dickey have built and are building.  I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time for me to move on and turn a page.  I can’t thank Dennis Green enough for the opportunity to continue my role through the Cumulus acquisition of Citadel two years ago.  It’s been a privilege to work under his leadership.  As for me, it’s time I get back to serving my creative genes, and though I’ve made no commitments as of yet, I’m extremely excited by the prospects!”  Switzer can be reached at bryanbenjamin1@gmail.com or 615-838-0809.

kiroBonneville’s KIRO, Seattle Turns 78 Tomorrow.  Radio history buffs can learn more about the history of one of the Emerald City’s most famous radio signals at Bonneville’s MyNorthwest.com right here.  The station – now a sports talker – began its life spinning records on October 15, 1935 and would play second fiddle to the Fisher family’s KOMO until getting a power upgrade to 50,000 just prior to Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor.  The war kept the FCC from handling any power upgrade requests and KIRO was, for some time, the most powerful signal in the Pacific Northwest.

hennerbaileyMarilu Henner Rocks Sun Broadcast Group Upfront Party.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Marilu Henner (pictured here with SBG CEO Jason Bailey) appeared at the Sun Broadcast Group’s 2014 Upfront Party at the Penthouse Lounge in New York City on October 11.  The day after making an appearance at the Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference where the TV and film star introduced herself to the talk radio industry, Henner was one of the stars representing her show before the hundreds of media people in NYC including agency reps, programmers, station managers, and network suppliers who attended the party.  Speaking about the now-five-year-old event, Bailey told the attendees, “I am so humbled as I look around at all the people here supporting us.  We’ve been working so hard to be a very different kind of network for all of you over the last five years and tonight you’ve welcomed us into your busy lives with open arms.  I can’t thank you enough for standing by us and believing in our mission as we aim to transform radio.”

bryantdelBroadcasters Foundation of America Names BMI’s Del Bryant ‘Golden Mike’ Recipient.  The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces Broadcast Music Inc. president Del Bryant is its recipient of the 2014 Golden Mike Award.  The award will be presented on Monday, February 24, 2014, at a black-tie fundraising gala at the Plaza Hotel in New York City to benefit the Foundation’s mission of helping broadcasters in need.  BFoA chairman Phil Lombardo says, “Del has been an admirable and inspiring supporter of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation for many years.  Well-known and respected across the broadcasting and music industries, his contribution as a longtime member of the Foundation’s board of directors is immeasurable.  We are proud to award him the 2014 Golden Mike.”  Bryant comments, “I am honored to be recognized by the Broadcasters Foundation of America with the Golden Mike Award.  I have always felt strongly about giving back to the community, both from a professional and personal standpoint.  It has been a privilege to support the Foundation and to collaborate with them throughout the years.  I commend them for the exceptional work they do for broadcasters and the sweet and understanding attitude with which they do it.”  The son of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant – the legendary songwriters who penned classics such as “Bye, Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” All I Have To Do Is Dream,” the Tennessee state song, “Rocky Top,” and more – Bryant’s rich musical heritage inspired his accomplishments and passion for the business.  He joined BMI in 1972, and worked in numerous areas of the company for 32 years, rising to president and chief executive officer in 2004.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

| September 26, 2013

savagemichaelMichael Savage Makes It Official: Moves to PM Drive in January.  Cumulus Media Networks talk star Michael Savage confirmed to listeners to his Wednesday evening program that he will move to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET slot for the live broadcast of his program beginning in January.  As Savage said to fans last month, he will take over the slot currently held by Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity on 60 stations owned by Cumulus Media including a number of major market news/talk stations — WABC, New York; WMAL, Washington; WBAP, Dallas; KSFO, San Francisco; WJR, Detroit; and WLS-AM, Chicago.  Clear Channel is promising to clear Hannity in markets where Cumulus currently airs thehannitysean program.  At WLS, the local program “Roe & Roeper” featuring Roe Conn and Richard Roeper airs from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  If, indeed Savage moves to the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm CT timeslot, something’s gotta give there.  At WJR, Detroit, Hannity currently airs from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm when local host Mitch Albom takes over from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Even during his long tenure with TRN, Savage’s afternoon broadcast time on the West Coast pushed his live program into the evening hours in the East.  This is his first opportunity for Savage to air live in PM drive in the East.  In an official statement from Cumulus, Savage says, “With this important time slot as well as the iconic Cumulus stations coveted by everyone in radio, I hope to edutain the world.  Politics will always be my mainstay but there is so much more to talk about.  Breaking news and science, religion, films, books have always been my calling cards.  With these new stations, I break out a new deck.”  Commenting on the forthcoming change, TALKERS magazine publish Michael Harrison states, “This move of Michael Savage to afternoon drive on a variety of Cumulus heritage stations coupled with the high-profile accent of Sean Hannity to an almost impenetrable national phalanx of heavyweight Clear Channel sticks such as the legendary WOR, New York, that will welcome his arrival with  major promotion and enthusiasm, is an exciting shot in the arm for news/talk radio in general across America.  Having a choice between Hannity and Savage on the dial during afternoon drive in every major East Coast market (and earlier elsewhere) is sure to increase overall listening and the image of the format for all concerned.”

cainepaulWestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine Speaks on Ad Week Panel.  Speaking on a panel discussion titled, Kings of Content, as part of the events surrounding “Advertising Week” in New York City on Wednesday, WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine touted the expanding value of audio to advertisers as it moves beyond just the traditional AM/FM radio model.  Caine also echoed the statements made by RadioInfo/TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison during his speech at the NAB/RAB Radio Show last week when he noted that content without the proper platform is not “king,” that a respected and recognized platform is necessary to successfully deliver good content.  Caine stated that the industry needs to build both content and platforms that consumers want.  In explaining the growing nature of audio, Caine said the newer forms of content are those people use when they aren’t able to view a screen or read.  “We have to think about it as long-form, whether that’s an NFL game, which we broadcast, to short-form which is podcasting, to shorter-form which is social audio that can be put into bite-sized content and shared with your friends.”  Caine said the numerous ways in which audio content is now packaged is good for advertisers.  “Companies like ours have been growing in terms of our ability to reach more consumers.”

lm communications logoL.M. Communications Fights Back in Arbitron Copyright Infringement Suit.  Arbitron’s suit for copyright infringement of its radio ratings data against Lexington, Kentucky-based broadcaster L.M. Communications is under order by U.S. District Court Judge Karen K. Caldwell for both sides to meet to see if they can come to a settlement and then file a report with the court.  This comes as L.M. argues Arbitron does not have and cannot own copyright rights to the data.  L.M. states, “Plaintiff… has known, or should have known, that it does not, and cannot, own any copyright rights in any data, information, rankings, or other factual listings, and that it cannot prevent third parties including radio stations from receiving and using this unprotectable data.  Despite this knowledge, Plaintiff has attempted to impermissively extend the scope of any copyright rights it may have, in a calculated campaign to maintain its monopolistic stranglehold on the radio ratings market.  Plaintiff has done so through threats and filing of multiple lawsuits and by improperly manipulating its data to punish nonsubscribers.  This improper manipulation includes, among other things, threatening to gerrymander radio station markets to improperly force subscription to Arbitron’s services, and outright exclusion from the data rankings of non-subscriber stations as if they do not exist at all.  Arbitron has announced plans to implement additional discriminatory practices in the future including combining simulcast data for only subscribing stations to give them an advantage over nonsubscribers.  In doing so, plaintiff has made a mockery of the very ‘facts’ and ‘data’ it seeks to protect.  Plaintiff’s misconduct in engaging in acts of copyright misuse has the effect of rendering Plaintiff’s copyrights, to the extent valid at all, unenforceable.”  According to the judge’s orders, the two sides must have met by October 9 and filed a report by October 19.

boomercartonCBS Sports Network Enters into ‘Boomer & Carton’ TV Simulcast Picture.  The television simulcast of WFAN, New York’s “Boomer & Carton” morning drive show is currently aired on the local MSG Network but that deal ends on Monday.  The New York Daily News is reporting that joining the Yankees-owned YES Network in the bidding process is the show’s parent company-owned CBS Sports Network cable channel.  Although the exclusive negotiation period between the program and MSG has ended, MSG has the right to match any offer.  The Daily News says sources close to the situation say the fledgling cable sports channel was originally interested in simulcasting the CBS Sports Radio Network morning show with Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson but is now interested in Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton.  As the paper observes, Boomer & Carton are a local show and if they “go national” via CBS Sports Network, would they alter their content to appeal to a national audience?  We’ll probably have the answers to these and other questions before the current deal ends on Monday.

wproWPRO, Providence Takes a Look at Journalism in the Digital Age as Part of Live Debate Series.  The event takes place today from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm at Roger Williams University in Providence with WPRO’s Tara Granahan moderating the discussion.  It’s the fourth in the station’s debate series and it’s titled, “Reading Between the Lines,” andgranahantara examines the complexities of funding and producing journalism in the digital age.  It is being streamed live at 630WPRO.com and will be the center piece of a WPRO Special Report scheduled to air during the “WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti” the week of September 30.  Panelists include: Mark Patinkin, columnist for the Providence Journal; Linda Levin, former dean of URI’s Journalism Department; Barbara Meagher, URI professor and former TV reporter; John Howell, owner and publisher of the Warwick Beacon and Cranston Herald; Dan MacGowan, blogger and reporter from WPRI-TV; and Michael Skully, assistant professor of communications at Roger Williams University.

carlsongretchenOdds & Sods.  Fox News Channel unveils new program, “The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson,” to debut in the 2:00 pm ET slot on Monday, September 30.  Carlson left the “Fox & Friends” morning show to focus on this new program.  She was replaced by Elisabeth Hasselbeck.  Carlson says in a statement, “I am thrilled that Roger Ailes has given me the opportunity to host a signature show for Fox that will focus on the real stories of the day.  From in-depth interviews to social media interaction live during the show, I look forward to joining viewers in the afternoon for smart and straight-forward talk.”…..Synergy is going on at CBS Sports Radio Network where Boomer Esiason – co-host of WFAN, New York’s “Boomer & Carton” show and host of the network’s “Sports Minute” feature will call in to the network’s Jim Rome program every Friday at 12:20 ET during football season…..ESPN Radio’s Thursday night game this week is Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech with Bill Rosinski calling the action along with analyst David Norrie and sideline reporter Joe Schad.  Also ESPN Radio’s “SVP & Russillo” will broadcast live tomorrow from the set of ESPN TV’s College GameDay Built by The Home Depot at Myers Quad on the campus of the University of Georgia in advance of the Georgia vs LSU game on Saturday…..SiriusXM debuts a new 24/7 comedy channel called “Just For Laughs” that features over 30 years of stand-up comedy drawn from the comedy archives of the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, including the work of established comedians, new faces, international superstars, and stand-up from comedians before they were stars…..The New York Times writer Carmen Wong Ulrich joins American Public Media to host the weekend program “Marketplace Money” beginning November 2.

entercomCool Job Opportunity.  Entercom San Francisco (96.5 KOIT, 95.7 The GAME, 102.9 KBLX, 98.5 & 102.1 KFOX) is looking for a web director who can immediately step in and be responsible for developing the voice for all aspects of the organization’s online presence. You must possess the skills to do web design and create and edit high quality video/graphics while maintaining our station’s websites on a daily basis.  In addition to writing, editing, and proofreading site content, this candidate will work closely with the corporate technical team to maintain site standards in regards to new development.  The web director will also be responsible for crafting site promotions, email newsletters and online outreach campaigns.  This job requires prior experience managing online marketing and outreach campaigns, strong attention to detail and an ability to work under tight deadlines.  The ideal candidate must have a STRONG knowledge and love of sports!  Additionally the web director should have an extensive knowledge and understanding of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), SEO, web analytics and digital marketing best practices.  Logistically, the web director implements web pages, maintains content including user clubs, web design, video editing, audio editing, digital and print ready and graphic.  The ideal candidate will be a brand evangelist who doesn’t just think outside of the box but can create a new one!  To be considered, please send your cover letter and resume to SCunningham@entercom.com and JBarrett@entercom.com. You can also find further details about the job responsibilities and skills required for this position in the careers section on http://www.entercom.com.  No phone calls please.  Entercom San Francisco is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

bfoagolfBroadcasters Foundation of America Raises $235,000 at Celebrity Golf Tourney.  The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces it brought in $235,000 to help broadcasters in need at its 2013 Celebrity Golf Tournament on Monday at the Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey.  The organization says the funds come at a time when more broadcasters than ever are in need of assistance.  The Foundation expects to grant more than $850,000 in aid over the next year.  More than 150 broadcasters and celebrities turned out in support of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation, including 30 sportscasters, athletes, and actors.  Celebrity golfers included Bruce Beck, WNBC-TV; Nick Buoniconti, NFL Super Bowl Champion; Craig Carton, WFAN; Duke Castiglione, Fox 5; Tina Cervasio, MSG Network; Howard Cross, NFL Super Bowl Champion; Maurice Dubois, WCBS-TV; John Franco, New York Mets Hall of Famer; Jay Harris, ESPN; Ann Liguori, WFAN Radio and ESPN; Otis Livingston, WCBS-TV; Sean McDonough, ESPN; Lonnie Quinn, WCBS-TV; Bill Raftery, CBS Sports; Sterling Sharpe, NFL Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer; Mike Woodson, New York Knicks; Chris Wragge, WCBS-TV, and more.

The Effort to Defund ObamaCare, Government Shutdown Threat, Climate Change Controversy, and U.S.-Iran Relations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/25).  The attempt by members of the GOP to defund the Affordable Care Act; the threat of a federal government shutdown; the controversy over the science behind climate change; and the relations between the U.S. and Iran as the latter approaches completion of its nuclear program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, September 13, 2013

| September 13, 2013

hannityseanPremiere Networks and Sean Hannity Agree to Multi-Year Extension.  This contract renewal, which keeps nationally syndicated talk superstar Sean Hannity with Premiere Networks for years to come, also extends his reach.  The company states that Hannity’s program will expand to additional major market Clear Channel talk stations as well as non-Clear Channel stations in 2014.  Those details regarding station clearances will be announced at a later date.  Additionally, the program will also move from delayed status to live on some of its existing Clear Channel affiliates,premierenetworks logo “providing listeners with up-to-the-minute programming and real-time news and information.”  As part of this new deal, Sean Hannity will participate in key live events, touring and iHeartRadio Talk, the latter of which the company calls, “the first mass-market focused audio platform to offer on-demand listener-created talk content side by side with established personalities, celebrities and shows.”  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment chairman and CEO John Hogan states, “We’re really excited to be able to expand our relationship with Sean, one of the greatest talk radio talents in the country.  Sean continues to be one of the most successful radio personalities in both ratings and delivering results for advertisers, and his provocative show has seen significant growth.  His blend of intelligence, passion and integrity is what makes him such a successful broadcaster and important asset to radio.  We expect this new distribution plan to offer even more exposure and growth for The Sean Hannity Show.”  Hannity adds, “From the very first day I went on the air in 1986, and that red light went on, I have been in love with radio.  That love has grown every day since.  I am extremely appreciative and grateful for the opportunity to do what I love every day.  Premiere has been an incredibly supportive partner and a huge part of the show’s success.  I look forward to some amazing announcements to come, and the opportunity to continue a dialogue on the issues of the day with the single greatest audience in radio.”

TalkersLA2013Talkers Los Angeles 2013 Will Sell Out by End of Business Today!  The third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention set for Thursday, October 10 is shaping up to be a blockbuster.  The gathering is closing in on being an advance sellout some four weeks before the event so it is advisable for media professionals interested in attending to register now!  Due to space limitations at the intimate Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood reaching maximum capacity, reservations ($149 per person) will be sold out by the end of business (5:00 pm ET) TODAY (9/13).  The conference is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm.  TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are very enthusiastic about the growth and positive impact of this Southern California gathering.  It started out three years ago as an experimental LA regional get-together and blossomed into an exciting companion to our big New York convention.”   The event - open only to members of the working media – will feature a power-packed day of panel discussions, keynote addresses, special presentations, technology and services exhibits by leading companies such as Comrex Corp. and Broadcasters General Store, tremendous networking opportunities and abundant food and refreshments lavishly catered by the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company (lunch is sponsored by Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity who will address the attendees from New York).  For registration or sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  To see the latest agenda, click here.

wtoplogoWTOP, Washington Hosts Special Town Hall on Syria.  Hubbard Radio all-news WTOP, Washington hosted a special one-hour edition of its “Town Hall” program this morning from 10:00 am to 11:00 am during which WTOP Capitol Hill correspondent Dave McConnell and midday anchor Mark Lewis conducted a Q&A session with U.S. Reps Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Rob Wittman (R-VA) on the issues surrounding Syria.

baileyjasonsunOPINION: The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is…Ourselves.  Sun Broadcast Group Inc. CEO Jason Bailey states in an op-ed piece that the future of talk radio is dependent upon today’s players being bold enough to dare to be different at the same time that we defend the nature of the format in the sales arena.  Bailey, referencing the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke controversy, writes, “The hypocrisy of what a brand will run next to on television but not radio should enrage us all.  But we’re afraid to stand up.  Have you watched television lately?  Calling somebody a slut is like the new way of saying hello.  It’s not just modern day television either.  I recall in the 80s, and now in reruns, Ms. Blanche Devereaux being called much worse.  Did I miss the outrage, the boycott?  Is it happening somewhere today because the Hallmark Channel chooses to run such “outrageous content?”  No.  There isn’t one because the television industry defended itself and stood up to being bold and different.  They aren’t afraid to create (or in this case rerun) content for the people that are most important in their world, the viewers.  If they push the envelope or they get a few complaint emails, they accept, and move on.  We have not been able to move on from our darkest day because we’re afraid to be bold, break the mold, and more importantly, defend ourselves.”  Read Jason Bailey’s entire piece here.

colmesalan“Healed Planet with Alan Colmes” Debuts Sunday on Talkers Radio.  A new experimental talk show conceived and hosted by Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes will debut on Sunday night (9/15) as an exclusive monthly feature on TalkersRadio, the new internet radio station launched on the website of this trade publication earlier this week to serve as a professional “laboratory/workout gym” for talk show hosts to test new concepts.  The program will air live every third Sunday of the month between 8:00 pm ET and 9:00 pm ET with numerous repeat airings during the period between new installments.  “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes” will be an eclectic mix of science, metaphysics, unexplained mysteries, talkersradio logorelationships, a small dose of politics and everything else rolling around the mind of Alan Colmes.  According to TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein, “It is going to be fun, fascinating, stimulating and informative for talk listeners to hear all the dimensions that make up the personality, creativity and interests one of the nicest and smartest guys in the business – beyond the paradigm of general news/talk radio and TV where – let’s face it - Alan is quite famous.  And THAT is what TalkersRadio is all about!”  TalkersRadio debuted this past Tuesday with two new live and exclusive programs, “The Robbie Student Show” hosted by noted record producer (and emerging talk talent) Rob “Robbie Student” Stevens (Monday-Friday 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET) and “The Brent and Meg Show” hosted by the husband/wife team of legendary newsman Brent Seltzer and PR veteran Meg McDonald (3:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET).  The station is being developed in layers and is expected to be featuring a full line up of creative, experimental programs within several weeks.  For more information please contact David Bernstein at david@talkers.com.

pepeanthonyYahoo! Sports Radio Picks Pepe For Mid-Mornings. WUFC, Boston general manager amd midday personality Anthony Pepe has been tapped to host 10:00 am – 12:00 noon ET duties on Yahoo! Sports Radio.  Longtime Boston Globe sports columnist Bob Ryan and Boston Herald sportswriter Ron Borges will also be featured on the daily two-hour program, which launches next Monday (9/16).  “Anthony is an exceptional host; contributions from Ryan and Borges will provide compelling insights,” comments Yahoo! Sports Radio chief executive officer David Gow.  Pepe remarks, “I am honored to host a show on Yahoo! Sports Radio and to work with guys like Ron Borges and Bob Ryan.”  Pepe and Borges have been doing a weekly boxing show on the network.

yorketvshotNew Dan Yorke TV Show Wraps First Full Week of Production.  WPRO, Providence midday talk show host Dan Yorke debuted his nightly television program – “Dan Yorke State of Mind” – on Fox Providence’s myRITV on Monday, September 9.  The nightly half-hour show airs at 7:30 and touches on the issues of the day with a special focus on Rhode Island stories.  Yorke, who’s been a fixture in local talk media since first moving to WPRO in 2000, is no stranger to local TV.  During his long stint on talk radio in the Springfield, Massachusetts market, he did a local program on WGGB-TV, Springfield that aired in late nights.  Check out the Providence Phoenix piece on Yorke and his new show here.

kirofm logoKIRO-FM, Seattle Adds Weekend Programming.  Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle announces some fall programming changes that surround its coverage of Seattle Seahawks football.  The station notes the Jason Rantz show expands to a live three-hour show on Saturdays from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm and Sundays from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  Rantz provides an in-depth analysis of the local and national stories that matter most to the Pacific Northwest, and offers one-on-one interviews with some of the biggest newsmakers in the region, including Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and Washington’s marriage equality author Ed Murray.  Three new shows are added to the Saturday night lineup: “Geekwire” is the preeminent technology news hub in the region, covering the people, companies and innovations emerging from the Pacific Northwest and impacting the world.  Founders and co-hosts John Cook and Todd Bishop host the show beginning at 7:00 pm; renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts the first and only radio program devoted to all things space during “StarTalk.”  Tyson’s faithful media following lends himself to bridge the gap between pop culture and science with clarity, humor and passion each week with popular celebrities and special guests.  It airs from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm; and the station adds Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” to air from 10:00 pm to 4:00 am Sunday.  Program director Pete Gammell says, “We’re excited to expand live and local news as part of the new KIRO Radio weekend lineup.  Alongside live coverage of the Seahawks each weekend, our programming offers something that every Washingtonian can enjoy.”

hayworthjdOdds & Sods.  Talk show host – and former U.S. Rep. from Arizona – J.D. Hayworth sits in for Michael Savage on tonight’s Cumulus Media Networks-syndicated program from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET…..Talk media personality Jeff Katz‘s daily 60-second feature “The Katz Commentary” — which currently airs on WCAP in the Boston area and KEWI in Little Rock is now heard every day at 1:00 pm on WDBF, Delray Beach, Florida during the Dick Farrel show…..Actress Julia Louis Dreyfus sits down with Entertainment Weekly editor Jess Cagle in front of a studio audience on SiriusXM’s “Town Hall” program.  The show will be recorded on September 16 and air on September 19 at 8:00 pm ET on Entertainment Weekly Radio…..Comcast Sports Net New England is reporting that CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” will be the new home for the NBA’s Boston Celtics and the deal should be announced soon.  Entercom’s WEEI chose not to renew with the team after the two sides could not agree to a contract renewal.

markowskichrisChris Markowski ‘Money Minutes’ Feature Expanding.  Financial expert Chris Markowski’s industry profile continues to grow as the host of the weekend syndicated program “Watchdog on Wall Street” continues to garner more affiliates for his free daily feature “Money Minute.”  The program just added WJHC, Jasper, Florida “Talk 107.5.”  Markowski is a regular face on cable news/talk and business talk television in addition to his weekly radio program daily vignettes.  Stations interested in adding the daily “Money Minute” can contact Shannon Rose at info@mediaproductions.tv.

siriusxmSiriusXM and Bleacher Report Team for Sports Talk Show.  Adding the program to its SiriusXM Sports Zone channel, the satcaster is teaming with Turner Broadcasting-owned digital sports destination Bleacher Report to create “Bleacher Report Radio.”  The daily show will air from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm and be hosted by SiriusXM’s Steve Covino and Rich Davis and feature some of Bleacher Report‘s most prominent contributors, including Mike Freeman, Matt bleacherreport logoBowen, Matt Miller, Michael Schottey, Adam Kramer and Michael Felder.  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein states, “Bleacher Report has distinguished itself as a go-to source for passionate sports fans and we’re excited to team up to deliver a new and unique brand of sports talk to our subscribers.  We are focused every day on giving our listeners access to the best sports content available, and the most in-depth access to their teams, no matter where they are across the U.S.  ‘Bleacher Report Radio’ was created with that goal in mind and will showcase many of Bleacher Report‘s best writers while giving sports fans a forum in which they can react to and discuss the day’s headline stories involving their favorite teams and players.”

thompsonburnieTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Panama City, Florida-based Burnie Thompson show is added to the program schedule at WDVH-AM, Gainesville, Florida and WRZN, Hernando, Florida…..“Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline” is added to the 10-station “SuperTalk Mississippi Radio Network” that covers the state…..“The Freedom Feens” hosted by Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi joins the weekend program schedule at WKRO, Cairo, Illinois…..Talk Media Network-syndicated “Frontlines of Freedom” with host Lt. Col. Denny Gillem adds KYYA, Billings and WHFB, Benton Harbor-St. Joseph, Michigan to its roster of affiliates.  The network also announces “Fat Guys at the Movies” with hosts Kevin Carr and Kristin Dreyer Kramer is added to the program schedule at WBCF-AM/FM, Florence, Alabama and WHFB, Benton Harbor-St. Joseph, Michigan.

U.S. Debate Over Syria Action Top News/Talk Story of the Week.  According to the Talkers TenTM, the debate over United States action in Syria was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of September 9-13.  Landing at #2 on the chart was Vladimir Putin’s chastising the U.S. tied with threats from Iran.  At #3 was the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and at #4 was the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  To view this week’s chart, click here.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

| July 31, 2013

cumulusMore Q2 News from Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey.  Yesterday TALKERS reported Cumulus Media’s second quarter revenue figures and the fact that Lew Dickey largely avoided the Rush Limbaugh-Sean Hannity flap by saying he wouldn’t discuss it because they are still in contract negotiations.  He addressed other topics TALKERS readers may be interested in: those 10 “code red” stations (big news/talkers bringing down the rest of the company); the health of the CBS Sports Radio Network project for which Cumulus is handling affiliate and ad sales; and the state of network talk programming.  First, Dickey told investors the number of “code red” stations is down from 10 to 1 but didn’t specify which station still lags.  Second, hedickeylew states the CBS Sports Radio format is on 300 affiliate stations and is exceeding its revenue plans.  “We’re highly encouraged by our early success and expect CBS Sports Radio to be a material growth driver for our company in 2014 and beyond.”  And third, addressing the state of the Cumulus Media Networks (which includes syndicated talk – Huckabee, Savage, “Red Eye Radio” – as well as a lot of music programming) Dickey reports it’s been a bit “choppy” but he sees it settling down.  “It grew for us in the second quarter and we look for it to be positive in the back half of the year.  It’s a pretty fragmented space that ultimately begs for more consolidations… it did turn in a positive performance for us in second quarter.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript.  Members can see the entire conference call here.

abramsonnancyWall Street Journal Radio Network Executive Director Nancy Abramson to Exit Post.  Radio management pro Nancy Abramson tells TALKERS the company is reorganizing its management structure and she is moving on.  She says she’ll remain with the company through mid-September to assist with the transition.  As for the rest of the staff with which the industry is familiar, Abramson says the affiliate team of Susan O’Connell and Susan Moran will continue to service  the affiliates of “The Wall Street Journal Report,” “The Wall Street Journal This Morning,” “The Dow Jones Money Report” and “MarketWatch.com Reports.”  John Wordock and Patrice Sikora will continue to oversee the news product for The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch.com Radio Networks.  Abramson says she is excited about new opportunities and looking forward to the next adventure.  Abramson has served with WSJRN since 1996.

mccannjakeGreater Media Promotes Jake McCann to Director of Sales for Detroit Stations.  Jake McCann moves from Greater Media’s Philadelphia stations where he was general sales manager at sports talk WPEN “97.5 The Fanatic” and classic rock WMGK.  In Detroit he’ll be in charge of sales for rock WRIF, classic rock WCSX and currently-AC-but-rumored-to-soon-be sports talk WMGC.  The fact that McCann has experience selling sports talk could be part of the reason McCann is making this move if, as expected, WMGC flips to sports in August.  In a statement, Greater Media Detroit market manager Steve Chessare says, “Jake is the right person to lead our three station sales operation in the Motor City.  His passion, dedication and leadership are exactly what we need to take our three outstanding radio properties to the next level.”

wcfn sports logoRadio One Gives Up on FM Sports in Cincinnati.  After seven months, WCFN, Cincinnati “FM 100.3 The Fan” has let go most of its staff, cut ties with CBS Sports Radio Network and flips back to an urban oldies format as “Old School 100.3.”  The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter reports that production manager Rob Williams was the only staffer to survive the change.  Tom GambleRichard SkinnerWill ChambersChad BrendelRick UcchinoRick BroeringJeremy Lance, former Reds pitcher Joe Price, and Steve Harris all exited the station on Tuesday morning.  Richard Skinner, who hosted “Two Angry Guys” along with Tom Gamble, tells Kiesewetter he’s not angry about the change, “Radio is so cyclical, that you know your time is coming (to get fired).  They (Radio One) didn’t seem to have a plan of attack, and they’re pulling the format at a time of the year when all the people are listening for football and baseball.”  Clear Channel operates two sports talk stations in the market – WSAI, a Fox Sports Radio affiliate and WCKY, which uses ESPN Radio programming – both of which air largely national shows.

cookehollandHolland Cooke: Radio from the Newspaper.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke adds to the discussion about newspapers entering into the digital talk radio streaming business that’s been a major part of industry chatter in the wake of the Boston Herald’s announcement about the creation of Boston Herald Radio coming Monday, August 5.  Cooke has experience in this arena and he offers advice to publications considering the move.  Among some dos and don’ts: don’t separate the studio from the newsroom (the sound of busy reporters is crucial!); don’t assume good reporters make good talk hosts; do promote you’re emanating from a storied newsroom; and do make content available for download and later playback.  Read Holland Cooke’s entire piece here.

kroi logo‘News 92 FM’ and ‘Yahoo Sports Radio 1560’ in Houston Agree to Content Sharing Deal.  Radio One’s all-news KROI and Gow Media’s sports talk KGOW in Houston agree to a content sharing deal that will have KROI producing newscasts for KGOW and the latter producing sports updates and actualities for KROI.  Here’s how it will work: kgow logoBeginning in early August, “News 92 FM” reporters will provide hourly, short-form news updates to “Yahoo Sports Radio 1560,” initially for use on nights and weekends, and ramping up to a full broadcast schedule shortly thereafter.  In like manner, “Yahoo Sports Radio 1560” reporters will provide sports updates and actualities twice per hour for integration into the “News 92 FM” broadcast clock between 7:00 pm and midnight daily, and from 6:00 am to noon on weekends.  Radio One RVP Doug Abernethy and Gow Media CEO David Gow began discussing the possibility earlier this year.  Abernethy states, “Research suggests that news and sports stations have shared listener bases. So this makes sense for both stations.  We have the best newsgathering and reporting resources in the city, and ‘Yahoo Sports Radio 1560’ enjoys an equivalent reputation in the world of sports.  We’re leveraging our respective strengths so that the ‘News 92 FM’ listener can get a quick sports update from ‘Yahoo Radio 1560,’ and their listeners can get top-flight news from ‘News 92 FM.’”

zwerlingmichaelZWERLING: The Smartest Programming Move I Ever Made for My Radio Stations.  You might be surprised to learn which syndicated host turned out to be so spectacularly successful for outspoken, independent radio station owner Michael L. Zwerling at his widely admired AM combo of KSCO and KOMY, Santa Cruz, California that he felt compelled to share it with the entire industry.  Then again, you might not.  Find out the answer and more in a new exclusive TALKERS opinion piece posted today (7/31) by clicking here.

sportsusa‘Broadway Joe’ Joins Sports USA for Weekly Podcast.  Sports USA announces NFL great Joe Namath will join the company to produce a weekly podcast for the company during the 2013 football season.  Sports USA president Bob Moore says Namath’s podcast will begin in the middle of August and run through this year’s Super Bowl.  Moore states, “It doesn’t get bigger than Joe Namath!  Joe is extremely passionate about football and his insights are amazing.  This podcast will give him the platform to reach all of his fans across the country and beyond.”  Namath comments, “I’m thrilled to join the Sports USA team with my new weekly podcast.  I look forward to expressing my opinions on both the NFL and college football each week from the beginning of the season all the way through the Super Bowl.”

rollinsvsbubbaWTKS, Orlando’s Russ Rollins to Face Bubba the Love Sponge in Wrestling Match.  Yes, you read that right.  As you see in the poster here, it’ll take place at the Arena Bowl in Orlando on August 17 and feature “The Monsters” vs “Bubba’s Army” as Russ Rollins & The Demon take on Bubba the Love Sponge & Kevin Nash with Marc Mero as a special guest referee.  Rollins tells TALKERS it’s the “Battle of the #1 morning shows!” and pits Clear Channel against Cox Media in front of 15,000 to 16,000 screaming fans!

2016 Presidential Race, Weiner Sexting Scandal, NSA Surveillance Program, ObamaCare Implementation, and Bradley Manning Verdict Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/30).  The possible candidates in the 2016 presidential election; the ongoing backlash from the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal; new developments in the NSA surveillance program case; the costs of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; and the verdict against Bradley Manning in the Wikileaks case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, July 1, 2013

| July 1, 2013

emmisEmmis Delivers “Really Fun” Q1 Earnings Report.  With net revenue up 6% in Emmis’ fiscal Q1, CEO Jeff Smulyan was positively giddy during Friday’s investor’s conference call.  The company reported net revenue of $36.9 million andsmulyanjeff operating income up 536% from $1.1 million to $7 million.  Smulyan said, “More than that, our markets were up 5% and I haven’t seen markets up 5% in the American radio industry in quite some time.  So we think it bodes well.  We are thrilled.  We think it bodes well not only for the company, but for the industry.”  Smulyan was eager to talk about the FM receivers in cell phones project he’s championed and is very excited about where the project stands right now, especially with the support from the broadcasting industry, stating, “From the very largest broadcasters to the very smallest, support has been nearly unanimous.  I think I had one broadcaster in the top 75 group that said I don’t want to support this and I personally talked to probably 60 to 65 of those groups.  The support has been remarkable.  It’s been very gratifying.  I think we are on the verge of a game-changing event in this industry.  I can’t announce specific times, but stay tuned, we will be able to announce industry support and then as we are done with our contractual arrangements, we will be able to announce when all this comes together.  But the first step in that process is coming together, which we now have clearly demonstrated that we’ve done.”

cochransteveSteve Cochran Exits Salem’s WIND, Chicago.  Chicago Media writer Robert Feder tips us that longtime Windy City talk radio personality Steve Cochran has exited Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago with both sides agreeing not to renew his contract.  Cochran currently also hosts the daily 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show at KTRS, St. Louis from Chicago.  Feder speculates that it wouldn’t be surprising to see Cochran appear on WGN, Chicago as the Tribune news/talk station is in re-tooling mode.  The station recently ousted late night host Turi Ryder and expanded the evening sports talk show hosted by David Kaplan to 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.  It also cut “The Noon Show” hosted by Carol Roth.  Cochran was on the air at WGN for 10 years prior to being let go in 2010.

millerchrisDigital Media Expert Chris Miller: “Come up with a plan!”  Noted radio industry digital media consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller says one of the questions he is asked most often by businesses of all types trying to make sense of their place in social media is, “What’s the return on investment?”  The more honest statement he hears is, “I know I need to be doing more with social media, but I don’t know what I should do.”  Miller states, “I see social media and content marketing make the needle move for businesses, but there’s one thing you have to do before you’ll see results with it: do it correctly.”   In a new column posted today (7/1) Miller writes, “The first step in doing it correctly is to come up with a plan.”  He offers four steps to help you create your new, effective social media strategy, especially designed for radio stations. They include 1) stating with your “measurables,” 2) determining who you are, 3) putting your plan into action, and 4) communicating and evaluating.  To read all the details, please click here.

mancowMancow Muller to Co-Star in History Channel Reality Show.  TRN-FM’s Erich “Mancow” Muller will co-star with his brother Mark Muller in the History Channel’s new series, “God, Guns and Automobiles” premiering Mondayhistory channel logo July 8.  The show is described as “an American reality show revolving around the Muller families and an auto dealership named Max Motors. Located in the tiny rural town of Butler, Missouri, Mark Muller makes car deals the old fashioned way.  No trade or sales stunt, no matter how outrageous or controversial, is off the table if it can help him compete against the big city dealers.  Nationally syndicated radio host Mancow Muller is his business partner, and he joins the show with an oddball staff that works the deals.  The Muller’s take pride in Max Motors as the embodiment of the values and spirit of the heartland of America.”

corcoranjcJC Corcoran to Host Late Morning Show on KFNS, St. Louis.  In a story obviously related to last Friday’s TALKERS report about KFNS, St. Louis morphing from sports to guy talk, longtime St. Louis radio personality JC Corcoran – who left the market in March to host the morning drive show at Clear Channel’s classic rock KKRW, Houston “93.7 The Arrow” – will begin hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show on KFNS on July 8.  Corcoran will follow Tampa-based Bubba the Love Sponge when that show starts clearing on the station.  Corcoran tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he’ll do the show from Houston but eventually plans to have a St. Louis-based co-host.  He jokes to TALKERS, “And this time they can’t run me out of town ‘cuz I’m already gone!”

feinburgtoddBoston Talk Host Todd Feinburg Subs on WBZ-AM.  Longtime Boston morning host Todd Feinburg tries his hand at hosting evenings this week as he fills in on CBS Radio’s WBZ-AM, Boston “Newsradio 1030.”  Feinburg sits in Monday through Wednesday from 8:00 pm to 12:00 midnight for Dan Rea.  Feinburg recently parted company with Entercom news/talk WRKO after nearly 10 years at the Boston talker.  He can be reached at todd@toddtalk.com.

ktaram logoBonneville’s KTAR-AM, Phoenix Adds Dan Bickley to Middays; Debuts Live and Local Morning Show.  Bonneville-owned sports talk outlet “Arizona Sports 620” (KTAR-AM) in Phoenix announced additions to its program schedule with the hiring of AZCentral sports columnist and longtime sports radio host Dan Bickley to the midday show beginning July 29.  Bickley will be partnered with Vince Marotta for the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm program.  Additionally, the station announces the return of Doug Franz and Ron Wolfley to morning drive, moving Dave Burns and John Gambadoro to the afternoons.  Bonneville Arizona vice president and market manager Scott Sutherland states, “It doesn’t get much bigger than adding the highest profile local sports media personality in Arizona to our already powerhouse team of dynamic hosts and insiders.  It’s also a momentous day for the ‘Arizona Sports’ brand as we’re ecstatic to once again offer Phoenix the only live-and-local sports morning show in the market.”

sileodanDan Sileo Subs on WMEN, West Palm Beach.  Sports talk host Dan Sileo sits in for Orlando Alzugary in the afternoon drive slot this week on JCE Licenses LLC’s WMEN, Royal Palm Beach (West Palm Beach market).  Sileo – who worked for years at Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa – most recently did an 11-month stint at Beasley Broadcasting’s WQAM.  He notes that he was fired from his last two gigs for controversial statements he made on the air and tells TALKERS, “I’m very excited about the chance to see if I can make it a week without getting fired.”

cclogoClear Channel Spent $1.17 Million on Lobbying in 2013 Q1.  The blog RadioSurvivor tips TALKERS to the fact that Clear Channel’s lobbying tally for the first quarter of 2013 hit $1.17 million as reported in a U.S. House of Representatives disclosure form.  According to the report, CC’s lobbying focused on: “Congressional oversight and legislative proposals regarding the Federal Communications Commission proceedings on broadcast localism MM docket #04-233;  Congressional oversight and legislative proposals regarding the Federal Communications Commission proceeding on local radio ownership rules – MM docket #09-182; Congressional oversight and legislative proposals regarding broadcast decency enforcement; Congressional oversight and legislative proposals regarding tax incentives and loan guarantees to encourage diversity of ownership of telecommunications businesses. H. Con. Res. 16 / S. Con. Res. 6;  ‘Supporting Local Radio Freedom Act,’ all provisions; Congressional oversight and legislative proposals regarding low power FM stations; Congressional oversight and legislative proposals regarding privacy; and Congressional oversight and proposals regarding emergency communications systems as pertaining to EAS and FCC oversight.

istookernestOdds & Sods.  The Fourth of July holiday week provides a number of fill-in opportunities.  Former congressman and talk radio personality Ernest Istook will sit in for Cumulus Media NetworksEric Harley and Gary McNamara who host the “Red Eye Radio” overnight program on Friday, July 5…..Program director Gregg Henson begins hosting a nightly 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show called “Pittsburgh Sports Night” on Clear Channel‘s news/talk WPGB-FM, Pittsburgh.  Thehensongregg station’s website bills it as a show featuring “the best sports personalities in Pittsburgh, like Mark Madden, Tim Benz, Stan Savran, David Todd and Mike Prisuta…..NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha secures a three-year deal to air the radio play-by-play for Creighton Men’s basketball as the school transitions to the Big East Conference.  NRG Omaha market manager and KOZN GM Andy Ruback states, “It’s just tremendous to earn the rights as the exclusive partner for Creighton Men’s Basketball. It’s an honor for ‘The Zone’ to serve our listeners, advertisers and Creighton with this winning program.”…..Clear Channel‘s WDAY-AM, Fargo inks a new three-year deal with the University of North Dakota to air the school’s football and men’s hockey games along with other sports play-by-play and associated programming beginning in August…..WZUS, Decatur, Illinois “Talk 101 FM” talk show host Tara Nickerson is honored with the Silver Dome for Medium Market Personality of the Year by the Illinois Broadcasters Association.  She hosts the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm “Daily Wrap” program.

barberrickLongtime Denver Talk Show host Rick Barber Dies at 67.  The family of Rick Barber – who hosted the overnight show on Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver for 30 years – announces Barber passed away due to complications from ALS.  The family writes to Westword that, after a radio career that began while in the Army in the 1960s, “Barber came back to Denver in 1982 and took a seat in the overnight chair on KOA.  Rick also did television in the Denver market, as well.  ‘The Rick Barber Show’ aired for an unprecedented thirty years.  Rick’s final show on 850 KOA was in early 2012.  ‘He was a facilitator of topics and education — that’s what his show was all about. He always considered his show a radio magazine, and not just a talk show. Dad loved his listeners,’ said son Ian Barber.  In his final interview, Rick Barber talked about his time on the air.  ‘My footprint should be somebody who made you laugh, made you feel comfortable, made you feel good.  That’s how I want to be remembered.  I want them [the audience] to think of me as the guy who did it my way.  Including going out: my way.’”

Monday, June 17, 2013

| June 17, 2013

farbernmslgThe State of Radio Advertising and Sales.  See it now on TalkersTV! It was one of the most important panels at the recent Talkers New York 2013 convention (6/6) receiving coverage in numerous newspapers and blogs across the country and sparking a major industry buzz.  Moderated by RAB CEO /president Erica Farber (pictured at left), the panel of heavy hitters includes Jana Cosgrove, president, CBS Radio Sales/Entercom Radio Sales; Jerry Crowley, VP/GM, Salem‘s WNYM, New York; Dan Metter, SVP, sales, Premiere Networks; John Murphy, EVP, sales, Dial Global; and Jeff Smulyan, CEO, Emmis Broadcasting.  The discussion tackles a variety of key issues affecting the industry including comments about the resilience of advertising on the Rush Limbaugh show in the aftermath of the campaign to influence a sponsor boycott of the program (and news/talk radio in general) resulting from the Sandra Fluke incident.  See the entire panel discussion by clicking the TalkersTV box on the top of the column on the right side of this page.

daschlenathanNathan Daschle Joins Clear Channel as EVP of Political Strategy.  Political strategist, attorney and Ruck.us founder Nathan Daschle is recruited by Clear Channel to take the newly created position executive vice president for political strategy.  The company states that Daschle “will develop and oversee a Washington, D.C.-based team that will focus on working with political and issue advertisers and advertising agencies to develop custom strategies and campaigns that leverage the unique reach and power of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  He will lead efforts to fully utilize Clear Channel’s unmatched national reach and local activation through its radio, digital, mobile and outdoor assets, as well as its event capabilities, to provide political and issue advertisers targeted, effective, affordable and powerful ways to deliver their messages.”  Daschle reports directly to CEO John Hogan who says, “Having Nathan Daschle on board sends a clear message that we intend to seriously invest in this arena and to continue to provide more and better options for political and issue advertisers through our multiplatform offerings.  His extensive political background makes him the perfect person to grow the Clear Channel political strategy team as well as lead our ‘class of one’ offerings to political and issue advertisers.”  About joining Clear Channel, Daschle comments, “Political and issue advertising, marketing and events is a $7-billion business, and I’m looking forward to making Clear Channel front-and-center with politically focused advertisers and agencies.  The future of effective campaign advertising lies in the smart integration of traditional and digital media, and no company does this better than Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  Clear Channel is reinventing the way organizations – and campaigns – communicate with their audiences, and I look forward to building a strong, bipartisan team at Clear Channel that will effectively market its extraordinary assets.”

kjrlogoClear Channel Flips Sports Talk KJR’s FM Signal to Hot AC.  Clear Channel sports talk outlet KJR-AM, Seattle enjoyed an FM simulcast for the past year and half on sister signal KNBQ at 102.9 but the simulcast ended on Friday as the company made KNBQ a hot AC branded “The New 102.9 NOW.”  Sports talk remains on KJR-AM.

wjbx logoBeasley Broadcasting Goes FM Sports in Fort Myers.  Beginning Thursday, June 20, Beasley Broadcasting’s rock WJBX, Fort Myers “99X” flips to a simulcast of the company’s AM sports talk station WWCN as “99.3 ESPN.”  The company is directing rock fans to its other rock outlet WRXK “96 K-Rock.”

arbitronKansas City Website Raises Issues Regarding Radio Ratings and the Law.  By now you’ve probably heard about the reportedly independent website www.listenlonger.com operating in Kansas City that had been seeking out PPM holders in an effort to save its “favorite Kansas City radio station through education about the ratings system.”  The site reports it has been in contact with Arbitron – in fact the ratings company sent a cease and desist letter to the operators and they’ve tweaked their strategy but are not shutting down the site.  Now the site operators say they will no longer ask to be contacted by PPM holders but will continue to keep the site going and it appears the operation is not violating any laws.  For its part, Arbitron has sent a letter to Kansas City subscribers to assure them the May 2013 PPM data has not been tainted that reads, in part: “During the May report period, a third-party website encouraged Kansas City radio listeners to support an unnamed local station, posted general information about ratings methodology and ratings data, and solicited information on PPM panelists.  We want to assure subscribers that the website is not affiliated or endorsed by Arbitron and that Arbitron has taken substantial steps to ensure the integrity of the Kansas City PPM panel and all Arbitron audience estimates for the market…Arbitron monitors social media sites daily, interacts with panelists on a regular basis, and has confidential processes in place to help identify panelists who may have disclosed their participation.  We have also taken special measures in light of the Kansas City website to protect the integrity of in-tab panelists included in the recently-released May 2013 Kansas City data.”  After being contacted by Arbitron, the following (an excerpt) was posted on the site: “Arbitron has demanded we provide the name of anyone who contacted us regarding this issue, and the names of anyone to whom we passed that information along.  ListenLonger.com would like to use this update as written notice to Arbitron that no one has ever contacted us saying they had a PPM except a reporter who posed as a PPM holder in an attempt to surreptitiously gather information…In short, please whatever you do, don’t tell us if you have a PPM.  Really.  We don’t want to know.”  The site operators are fans of an Entercom station in the market as they encourage people to sign up for the “Get My Perks” program Entercom employs and although the site operators say Wilks Broadcasting had questioned the integrity of the May 2013 PPM data as a result, Arbitron ensures subscribers the data was not affected.

millerchris“How Many Social Media Followers Should I Have?”  That question is one of the more commonly asked of digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller.  In a column posted today (6/17) Miller answers that question, as well as some of the most frequently asked, including: “We’re on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and Pinterest.  What other hot new sites should we be on?” “How often should we post?  I’m not sure we’re posting enough.” “I have many times more listeners than followers.  Why should I waste time with social media?” “I can sell ads on my own air and on my website.  There’s no way to monetize Facebook and Twitter.  I don’t want to get too involved in it for that reason.”  Check out Chris Miller’s answers to these questions and concerns by clicking here.

sabowalterSABO SEZ:  It Would be Good for Radio if Arbitron Ratings Were More Openly Available to the Industry and the Public.  In an article posted today (6/17) media consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo compares how TV ratings are an open book while radio ratings are secretive and inaccessible – a difference that he thinks significantly works to the disadvantage of radio as both a business and an institution. To read Walter Sabo’s column, click here.

hoganjohnClear Channel Moves John Hogan to New York City.  Most of the company’s high-level executives are already stationed in the Big Apple and not the company’s legal headquarters in San Antonio.  Now, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment CEO John Hogan is moving to New York as well.  In a filing with the SEC, the company notes that Hogan is also getting a pay increase to make his base salary $1,125,000 in addition to moving expenses and a housing allowance for the next year and a half.

carrhowieWRKO, Boston’s Howie Carr Schedules Weekly Remotes for Whitey Bulger Trial.  Entercom Boston talk show host Howie Carr – heard daily in PM drive on WRKO – has reported on the activities of New England mobsters for most of his career.  He’s written several books about Boston gangland characters, including James Whitey Bulger titled The Brothers Bulger: How They Terrorized and Corrupted Boston for a Quarter Century, and now as Bulger goes to trial in a South Boston courthouse, Carr will do a weekly live remote from The Barking Crab restaurant and pub next door to the courthouse.

magna global logoMagna Global Releases International Ad Revenue Forecasts for the Rest of ’13 and for 2014; United States Radio to Be Flat.  Looking at the really big picture first, Magna Global predicts global ad spending to be up 3% in 2013 and rise to 6.1% in 2014.  That said, in the United States, those figures are up just 0.4% for ’13 due to the missing Olympics and political ad spending that occurs in even-numbered years.  For 2014 the figure is expected to rise. As for radio, Magna Global predicts 2013 will be flat but for those radio companies also selling digital, there is a ton of opportunity as that category is expected to rise 11.5% and is boosted by the mobile aspect of the category, predicted to go up 61.7%.

oconnorlarryOdds & Sods.  WMAL, Washington “Mornings on the Mall” co-host Larry O’Connor (and Breitbart.tv editor-in-chief) is sitting in for Cumulus Media Networks’ nationally syndicated Geraldo Rivera this week…..Dave Graveline’s “Into Tomorrow” nationally syndicated program is taking two lucky listeners to this year’s IFA Consumer Electronics and Appliance Show in Berlin Germany in celebration of the program’s 10th anniversary covering the event.  Graveline is providing airfare, four nights lodging and other perks to the two winners…..Talk media personality Ernest Istook is filling in for KTOK, Oklahoma City’s Lee Matthews in afternoon drive four days this week.

Friday, May 17, 2013

| May 17, 2013

unlogo blueTalk Radio Day at the United Nations Set for Friday, June 7.  After a one-year hiatus, TALKERS magazine announces the revival of its annual international initiative, “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations.”  Presented in conjunction with Talk Radio News Service and in association with the United Nations Foundation, the event consists of a massive radio row held in the heart of the United Nations’ iconic headquarters on the East Side of Manhattan.  Approximately 25 talk show hosts and programs from around the country are given the opportunity to do live shows or simply record interviews on the scene for later playback with a wide variety of special guests including UN officials, foreign ambassadors, international policy experts and representatives of the arts and sciences from around the world.  “This is one of our most prideful annual events,” states TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “and I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to bring it back after a year off in 2012.”  Harrison says, “It accomplishes a number of important things – most notably, it gives a variety of talk show hosts and millions of their listeners in every corner of the country the opportunity to shift gears and discuss international news stories of significant consequence that rarely, if ever, are covered or discussed in the mainstream American media.  Some of these stories have enormous implications on war, peace, life and death.”  Harrison also points out, “Hosts of just about every political and ideological persuasion have raved about this event over the many years we have been doing it saying that it has proven to be a personally rewarding experience for them as much as it has provided a spectacular bit of special programming to their stations and networks.”  Talk Radio Day at the United Nations conveniently takes place the day after Talkers New York 2013 when many talk show hosts are already in New York City.  Hosts on board include Alan Colmes of Fox News RadioDoug Stephan of the “Good Day” show;  Joe Madison of SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Mark Riley of WWRL, New York; Larry Young of WOLB, Baltimore; Dr. Joy Browne of Radio America;  Martha Zoller of WGAU, Athens, GA; Ethan Bearman of GCN and KSCO, Santa Cruz; Timothy Spangler of KRLA, Los Angeles; Lisa Wexler of WFAS, Westchester; Dr. Evelyn Higgins of CRN Digital Talk Radio and GCN; Gary Duff of WRHU, Hempstead, NY;  Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” and more.  Talk Radio News Service will broadcast the entire day to its hundreds of affiliates across the nation with more to be announced.  All equipment and broadcast set ups are provided at no cost for the convenience of the participants – but placement is limited and this will fill up rapidly, so interested hosts should call 413-565-5413 quickly to inquire about signing up.

rabRAB: Radio Flat at $3.5 Billion in Q1.  The Radio Advertising Bureau releases data indicating that the first quarter of 2013 remained flat “aided by an uptick in Spot in March after a sluggish start to the year.  Both Digital and Off-Air performed well throughout the quarter and were up 9% and 5% respectively.”  The report breaks out data on advertising categories.  A synopsis shows “spot spending by communication/cellular advertisersrabq12013 soared by over 1/3 (36%) for this quarter, propelling the category to #1 for the period.  Also up – in rank order based on spending – were financial services (+13%), department/discount stores & shopping centers (+58%), and home furnishings/floor coverings (+6%).  While dollar volume was virtually flat for television/networks/cable providers (-3%) and restaurants (-2%), these were solid contributors to radio’s bottom line in the #2 and #4 spots; automotive declined 20% and slipped to the #3 rank.”  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Major increases in radio advertising by communications/cellular and financial services went a long way to offset a drop in automotive spending.  Additionally, spending is up in the department/discount stores category – reflecting increased confidence among retailers who have experienced radio’s ability to drive traffic and sales.  Radio’s digital sector revenue continues to grow as radio stations invest in and promote their digital offerings to listeners, driving increased attention by the ad buying community.”  The report features data from Miller Kaplan Arase LLP and the Q1 revenue figure does not include network radio data.  Read the entire report here.

wolfmandavidBeasley Broadcasting Names David Wolfman WQAM, Miami LSM.  Beasley Broadcasting’s sports talk WQAM, Miami announces David Wolfman is the new local sales manager at the station.  Wolfman reports to director of sales Keriann Worley.  He comes to Beasley from his most recent position as general sales manager for Clear Channel Miami.  Prior to that, he spent several years with Interep National Radio Sales.  Worley states, “David Wolfman is a proven sales leader and he will be directly responsible for revenue growth on 560 WQAM.  His passion for sports, innovative thinking, and his knowledge of the Miami market make him a perfect fit for this dynamic position.  We are thrilled to have him join our team.”

ramseycintiDave Ramsey Visits The Queen City.  Nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey is in Cincinnati this week.  Earlier he presented to a packed house his new, intimate “Building Your Legacy Live Event” in which he talked about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.  Speaker and author Jon Acuff joined Ramsey on stage. Ramsey joined with local affiliate WKRC to promote the event.  WKRC general sales manager Bill Mountel says, “Cincy has been starved for a taste of Dave and now they can get a ‘double dose’ of Dave Ramsey.  Cincinnati fans and 55KRC listeners are excited to have Dave in town and are already looking forward to his next visit to the Queen City!”  Today, Ramsey is hosting his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” at Vineyard Church.  Ramsey, along with speakers Jon Acuff and Chris Hogan, will speak about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 300 employees.  Pictured here with Ramsey are: (front row) WKRC GSM Bill Mountel, Ramsey, WKRC personality Brian Thomas, (back row) WKRC PD Scott Reinhart and CC Cincinnati market president Chuck Fredrick.

wxos logoHubbard’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” Stands Alone.  With the recent moves of KFNS and KSLG to guy talk and female-targeted programming, respectively, Hubbard Radio’s sports talk WXOS, St. Louis stands as the only full-time sports talk station in the market.  In a piece by Dan Caesar in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch chronicling the station’s four-year history as a sports outlet, general manager John Kijowski discusses where the station is now and what the state of the market is for sports talk radio.  Among the tidbits from Kijowski in the article is his belief in FM for sports talk: “In the sports genre, having a big FM signal in today’s world is vital for success.  Then the format can’t be done on the cheap, you have to invest in it.  From that respect, I feel good about what we do and I still think we have a ways to go.”  It should be noted that though WXOS is the last sports station standing, its place among the stations seeking men 25-54 is not what it was a year ago, having dropped to sixth place in the most recent Arbitron PPM data.  However, one of the most interesting points in the piece is Kijowski’s admission that it took four years in the format for the station to make a profit.  So much for the notion that sports talk radio is an automatic money press!  Read the entire piece here.

doughertyelizabethFood Nation Radio Network Signs On with Business TalkRadio Network.  In a move that will take effect June 1, the weekly food talk radio show “The Food Nation Radio Network with Elizabeth Dougherty” joins the roster of Business TalkRadio Network.  BTRN consulting operations officer Jeff Weber says, “We are all really excited that hosts Elizabethbtrnlogo Dougherty and Michael Serio are bringing this compelling program to a national audience.  We’re proud to be a part of this show which is informative and fun.  It’s truly a one of a kind program.”  The program is based out of Genesis Communications’ WWBA, Tampa and is described by the producers as “an adventure of good food, food-related stories and compelling interviews.”  Host Elizabeth Dougherty has an extensive background in food writing and culinary arts training.  She has written hundreds of articles on food that have appeared in many major publications.  She says of the new relationship, “We are pleased to partner with the Business TalkRadio Network as ‘Food Nation Radio’ continues to grow so that we can continue to concentrate on the cutting-edge and entertaining content we provide to our listeners each week.”

rightfrequency coverOdds & Sods.  Fred Lucas’ book about talk radio, The Right Frequency (History Publishing 2012) is soaring high on two of Amazon’s Kindle best-seller lists.  The book is #1 in the Public Affairs category as well as #1 on the digital texts chart…..XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” morning drive co-host J.D. Hayworth is sitting in for Cumulushayworthjd Media Networks personality Mike Huckabee all next week and on Memorial Day as well…..Fox Sports Radio continues its UFC coverage as the network simulcasts “UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Rockhold” on Saturday, May 18.  The event will take place at the Arena Jaragua in Jaragua, Santa Catarina, at 9:00 pm ET.  After the fights, mixed martial arts expert Larry Pepe will host a Fox Sports Radio wrap-up show with interviews and call-ins from 11:00 pm to 1:00 am ET…..CBS Radio News presents a Memorial Day Weekend special program titled “Combat Stress: Finding the Way Home” that focuses on the impact post-traumatic stress has on the lives of our military veterans.  “60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft anchors and speaks with veterans and top experts.  The program features personal stories from veterans and their families, an in-depth exploration of treatment options, and stories of encouragement for those suffering with combat stress.

SRNpetitionSecond Amendment Petition Delivered to Congress.  Salem Radio Network vice president, news & talk programming Tom Tradup (right) delivers more than 125,000 signatures in support of the Second Amendment.  Accepting the signatures is Republican U.S. Representative from Texas Louie Gohmert (center) and flanked by United States Concealed Carry Association CEO Tim Schmidt (left).  The network began the petition drive in response to calls for new gun legislation in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.

freedomfeensTalkers Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “The Freedom Feens” – syndicated by Genesis Communications Network – picks up new affiliates KTGO, Tioga, North Dakota and WZFG, Fargo-Moorhead…..Talk Media Network’s “Frontlines of Freedom,” a syndicated military news and talk radio show hosted by two-time purple heart recipient Colonel Denny Gillem, is added to the program schedule at Bonneville’s KTTH, Seattle.  Additionally, Colonel Gillem will also analyze military news and issues for sister station, KIRO-FM.…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters is added to the program schedule on WIBQ, Terre Haute, Indiana.

IRS Targeting of Conservative Groups Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of May 13-17.  The IRS’ scrutinizing of conservative organizations for taxes was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of May 13-17, putting it atop the Talkers TenTM.  Coming in at #2 this week was the Benghazi attack investigation.  At #3 was the AP phone records search by the Justice Department and Attorney General Eric Holder’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee.  Following at #4 was Syria-Israel tensions.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, May 13, 2013

| May 13, 2013

huckabeemikeMike Huckabee Sounds Positive About Radio to Newsmax.  After appearing to sound less than eager to continue his talk radio career in a piece published in Arkansas Business last week, Cumulus Media Networks talk host (and former Arkansas Governor and presidential candidate) Mike Huckabee tells Newsmax he’s hoping to continue his daily talk show.  “I’m hoping that we’re going to continue right on.  That’s my plan and my hope and so there’s nothing to report other than I’ll be on the air today and next week and, as far as I know, for the long term to come.  I’ve enjoyed it.  It’s been a terrific outlet for me.”  In last week’s piece, Huckabee sounded as though he was considering the cost and benefit of his daily radio show when he told Arkansas Business, “Within the next month, I’ll decide if I want to continue it or not.  I’ve got to always weigh how much time I’m putting in it and what the return is.  How long it will take to make it what I call hopefully, disgustingly, profitable.  That’s what one always hopes for in a deal like this.”

ingrahamcasualCatching Up with Laura Ingraham.  A dozen years have elapsed (April 2001) since Westwood One filled its 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm ET slot with a then-36-year-old, meteoric-rising, dynamo.  Association with the Norm Pattiz-founded syndication powerhouse would last more than two years before the conservative-slanted talk talent segued to 9:00 am – 12:00 noon duties for Talk Radio Network in September 2003 where her star continued to rise to national prominence for the next decade during which time she ascended to the position of the most listened-to female political radio talk show host in the country.  As of the first of this year though, five-time author and TALKERS magazine “Woman of the Year” recipient  Laura Ingraham has reunited with Pattiz, as the illustrious broadcaster, 2009 Radio Hall of Fame inductee, and iconic Los Angeles Lakers fan is distributing Ingraham’s daily talk program through his recently minted Courtside Entertainment Group.  “I was off the air for six weeks and I needed to build back my station base,” Ingraham recounts.  “We are doing a pretty good job of that thus far.  It has been fun, and we have a great team spirit.  I treasure that and think we are onto something quite special.  Norm and I have known each other since I started in radio, so we have come full-circle and are good friends.  After all these years, it is exciting that he and I have started this new venture together.”  Multi-media talker Laura Ingraham is not only one of the most successful talk show hosts in America, she is an extremely interesting human being.  Read about this attorney’s, cancer survivor’s, and single adoptive mom’s colorful past, transitional present and bright future in an in-depth profile by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian posted today (5/13) by clicking here.

benandskinBen and Skin Take Over PM Drive on “105.3 The Fan” in Dallas.  As many in the Dallas market had predicted when Greg Williams and Richie Whitt were let go from the afternoon drive show on CBS Radio’s KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan” a month ago, it’ll be Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade – Ben and Skin – hosting the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm shift at the sports talker beginning this afternoon.  CBS Radio Dallas vice president of news/talk/sports Gavin Spittle says, “We are really excited to bring the energy and excitement of the Ben and Skin Show to our listeners.  They are a perfect fit for our lineup and are well known in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, having spent their whole lives here cheering on and suffering alongside fellow sports fans.”  Ben and Skin were most recently heard in the Dallas market on ESPN O&O KESN-FM.  They exited that station earlier this year after failing to come to terms on a new contract with KESN-FM.

conclaveMichael Harrison Tapped to Keynote 38th Annual Conclave Learning Conference.  “Radio in the Digital Age: Where Does Talent Fit In?”  In what will be a comprehensive-yet-fast-paced overview of the state of broadcast radio and its integration into the digital media world of the 21st century, Talkers publisher Michael Harrison approaches these issues of this new environment from the perspective of the changing role of talent in a keynote address that will take place during Conclave Learning Conference 38 on Thursday, July 18 at 9:00 am.  Conclave executiveshannonbob director Bob Shannon says of Harrison, “A visionary, an inventor, a trailblazer, and a writer of powerful words and ideas.  Michael is all of these things and more, and the Conclave is very lucky to have him on our teaching faculty this year.”  Upon being named keynote speaker at this year’s Conclave Michael Harrison states, “It is an honor to be involved with such a positive organization and participate in its mission to educate and inspire the upcoming generation of radio broadcasters.  I can’t think of a better use of all these years of experience that I have been blessed with attaining in such a wonderful industry.”  Harrison’s presentation is of importance to both radio personalities and management alike and will examine and offer solutions for what he describes as:  1) The number one problem threatening the survival of FM/AM radio, as we’ve known it – harrisonmichaelDEBT – along with several other existential threats facing the medium. These include generational/cultural shifts, exotic new media competition, audience measurement shortcomings, and emerging obstacles impairing commercial placement and presentation; 2) The increasing importance of intellectual property as a bargaining chip in talent/management relationships and negotiations. “Who owns what?” will be a key question and consideration in all radio business relationships including those between employees and employers; 3) Talent as entrepreneur.  The new media offers today’s talent the opportunity to go into business for themselves on a level never enjoyed by their predecessors of the age gone by; and 4) The human element.  Harrison provides an uplifting and inspirational case for radio’s greatest asset – human-to-human communication – as its most vital tool in maintaining a purpose for the medium to continue to play an important role in society and continue to be needed as a cultural institution for many years to come.  Michael Harrison is the editor and publisher of two of the radio industry’s leading trade publications, TALKERS and RadioInfo.  Mr. Harrison founded Talkers in 1990 and today manages its many divisions and services which include its website, its annual conventions, its regional conferences, and its positive social initiatives.  In late 2012, Mr. Harrison assumed the duties of publisher of the major broadcasting trade journal, RadioInfo, which serves a wide spectrum of popular music formats.  Among the initiatives being promoted in the revamped publication are a call for radio stations to “reclaim ownership” of the music culture by restoring and nurturing the DJ to prominence as well as the development of music charts that are “specifically targeted to the interests and needs of radio listeners and presentations.”  He is an influential pioneer in the radio trade publishing field having served as the first managing editor of Radio & Records during its formative years and radio columnist/record chart consultant for Billboard in the early 1980s.   A graduate of Hofstra University where he currently sits on its Department of Communications Advisory Board, Michael Harrison’s background in radio broadcasting and trade journalism is extensive.  In a career dating back to 1967, he has served as an on-air program director of such heritage stations as WLIR-FM, Long Island; KPRI-FM, San Diego; KMET-FM, Los Angeles and WZLX-FM, Boston. He was an owner/operator of WSPR in Springfield, Massachusetts.  He has been an air personality on a range of stations including the legendary WNEW-FM in New York as well as WCBS-FM and WPIX-FM in the Big Apple, plus, WTIC, Hartford, WWRC, Washington, DC and others.  He has hosted and produced hundreds of hours of syndicated radio series and specials for most of the leading networks and syndicators.  Conclave Learning Conference 38 takes place in Minneapolis July 17-19, 2013. For more information on the Learning Conference and Conclave educational programs, visit http://www.theconclave.com. Also found on the Conclave website is hotel room reservation information for the Doubletree Park Place Hotel.  The Conclave, a 38-year-old 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation offers year-round learning to the industry including webinars, a Speaker’s Bureau, and the annual national media summit Summer Learning Conference.  Since 1979, The Conclave has provided over $1 million in media scholarships.

iheartradioClear Channel’s iHeartRadio Claims 30 Million-plus Registered Users.  The digital audio platform iHeartRadio developed by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has surpassed the 30 million registered users mark, according to the company.  CC states that iHeartRadio has achieved this in less than two years since its launch.  Further, since iHeartRadio listeners are not required to create an account to stream broadcast radio stations, the number of registered users reflects only a small snapshot of the service’s overall reach, particularly given the175 million downloads of the iHeartRadio mobile app and more than 60 million monthly uniques across its digital network.  Clear Channel president of digital Brian Lakamp states, “iHeartRadio sets the standard for how radio continues to fit into lakampbrianpeople’s everyday lives.  This latest milestone is another clear indication how our full-featured iHeartRadio experience resonates with tens of millions of people — with more coming every day.  Being able to draw on Clear Channel’s unparalleled range of resources allows us to continually innovate and improve on the user experience, while giving listeners access to both live radio and custom stations.  When you combine this with the strong promotional power of Clear Channel’s broadcast properties across the nation, iHeartRadio is well-positioned to continue or even surpass our current adoption rate.”

cookehollandHave You Hugged a Lawyer Today?  Radio consultant Holland Cooke asks this metaphorical question because if you haven’t, you may be missing out on a great sales – and programming — opportunity.  He suggests you consider a targeted approach to pitching attorneys to advertise on your talk radio station, in this case, a female lawyer who specializes in family law (a.k.a. divorce).  He even provides some pretty compelling copy in this piece.  But it shouldn’t stop there, as Cooke says, “Admittedly, divorce is the legal category’s low-hanging fruit.  It’s the back end of ‘The Wedding Industrial Complex,’ fueled by human nature and recession resistant.  But there’s plenty else lawyers do that radio sells quite well, and radio has lots more to offer ‘em than :60s.”  Find out more, read Holland Cooke’s piece here.

wtoplogoWTOP, Washington’s Websites Get Clean Bill of Health.  The websites of Hubbard Radio’s WTOP and WFED in Washington were the victims of cyber attacks that left some users of Internet Explorer vulnerable.  Hubbard reports that as of Saturday, May 11, the sites were deemed safe for users no matter which browser they use.  Hubbard Washington SVP and general manager Joel Oxley states, “Getting the websites back up and running safely for all users has been our top priority.  We take our users’ privacy very seriously, and we have taken steps to prevent similar occurrences.  We apologize to our user community for any inconvenience that this incident has caused.”  The company says that when the attacks were discovered, an investigation was launched immediately, the malicious code was removed, additional security measures were installed, and federal law enforcement officials were notified of the incident.  Hubbard is recommending that users of their sites run security scans on their computers.

compasslogoCompass Media Networks Announces College Football Schedule.  The 2013 college football broadcast schedule for Compass Media Networks is being announced and the 17-game schedule kicks off on August 31 with Georgia at Clemson and ends with the Big Ten Championship game on December 7.  Compass notes that all of the games lined up this season include top-ranked teams from the ACC, BIG TEN, SEC and PAC-12.  Other big match-ups on the schedule include Alabama at Texas A&M (9/14), Oregon at Stanford (11/7), and LSU at Alabama (11/9).

dickeybloombergLew Dickey Talks Limbaugh on Bloomberg TV.  Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey went on Bloomberg TV on May 9 and he spoke – although not in detail about the ratings and sales numbers at his news/talk stations that carry the Rush Limbaugh program – but about the general effect Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke comments had on his stations.  About the loss, he told Bloomberg’s Betty Lu, “It was in the millions of dollars and what we said was our news/talk segment…represents about 10% of our business and it’s indisputable that it took a hit because of those events.  We’ve moved on, we’re growing again.”  Speaking to charges that Limbaugh says Dickey is still blaming him for news/talk problems at Cumulus stations and he might take his program elsewhere when the contract is up, Dickey says, “Sometimes contract negotiations get handled in public, we prefer not to do that…we have the premier talk distribution platform in the business and if you want to be on a big stage in this game, you need to be on our stations in the largest markets.  They’re the biggest signals, the heritage brands and everybody knows that.”  In what might have been a move to downplay the importance of Limbaugh’s midday show to his stations, Dickey stated that half their revenue comes from morning drive.  Lu asked Dickey if he thinks conservative talk hosts are not as big as they used to be and he answered, “I think everything has to evolve…we have to make sure these radio stations do a wonderful job of reflecting the local communities in which they compete and that’s what we’re focused on.”

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

| May 7, 2013

huckabeemikeMike Huckabee Considers Radio Future in Arkansas Business Story.  In a piece that ran in Arkansas Business yesterday, Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host – and former Arkansas governor and U.S. presidential candidate – Mike Huckabee speaks openly about his current media projects and how his political experience has helped his media career.  Huckabee gives no clear indication he’ll stop doing the daily three-hour show, but neither does he sound all-in when he states, “Within the next month, I’ll decide if I want to continue it or not. I know we will, but it’s just such an incredibly intensive process that I really have to decide that I want to spend that kind of time…”  Huckabee describes the long days preparing for the program and how he works that in with his Fox News Channel weekend program.  “I’ve got to always weigh how much time I’m putting in it and what the return is.  How long it will take to make it what I call hopefully disgustingly profitable.  That’s what one always hopes for in a deal like this.”  Read the entire story here.

kinosianmikeCan Radio Overcome its Smothering Debt and Be a Viable Business in this New Era?  That, according to Michael Harrison is THE existential question facing the industry today — and one that TALKERS magazine and RadioInfo tackle head-on in a blockbuster article posted May 2 in BOTH trade publications.  Researched and written by TALKERS/RadioInfo west coast bureau chief/managing editor Mike Kinosian, this extensive piece taps deeply into the christianedexperience, wisdom and vision of a stellar panel of industry power-players who share their real world perspectives of this pressing issue that directly ties into the future of radio as both a medium and a business.  They include (in alphabetical order): Sandi Bergman of MyMediaBroker, Ed Christian of Saga Communications, smulyanjeffErica Farber of the RAB, Charlie Gross of Newsweb Radio Corp., Michael Harrison of TALKERS/RadioInfo, Jerry Lee of WBEB (“B101″) in Philadelphia, Chuck Lontine of Headwaters MB, David Pearlman of American Radio Systems, Ed Perry of WATD in Marshfield, MA, Tom Quinn of Americom Broadcasting, Jeff Smulyan of Emmis Broadcasting, Peter Smyth of Greater Media and Dave Van Dyke of Radiate Media.  Upon the publication of this information-packed article, TALKERS/RadioInfo VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This is one of the mostsmythpeter important pieces published in the radio trades in years and I advise anyone in this business who cares about its future to take the time to read it thoroughly.  It dives right into the most pressing issue facing all of us today and provides insight from all angles – big-time groups, large and small market stations, investment banks, services providers, and advertising advocates.  A piece like this gets to the very heart of what will determine radio’s future – its ability to function and options to consider as a viable business in a daunting, obstacle-ridden environment.”  Read Mike Kinosian’s story here.

kion logoMark Carbonaro Out at KION, Salinas, California; Armstrong & Getty In.  According to a report in The Californian, local morning drive host Mark Carbonaro’s program has been replaced on KION, Salinas with the Sacramento-based Armstrong & Getty show.  Californian writer Jeff Mitchell reports that calls to local management were not returned prior to his deadline.  Both KION and Armstrong & Getty’s home station KSTE are owned by Clear Channel.

wnsr logoWNSR, Nashville to Get FM Simulcast in June.  Nashville Sports Radio’s WNSR, Nashville will simulcast on 95.9 in addition to its 560 signal early this summer.  The station says it will position itself as “Nashville’s SportsRadio 560 on 95.9 FM.”  The new FM signal will be located near the Davidson/Williamson County line, providing excellent 24-hour coverage of WNSR’s programming.  General sales manager and afternoon host Thom Abraham states, “Before the Predators and Titans, WNSR brought sports programming to the airwaves in Nashville.  This station has stayed true to the format for over 15 years and we are now excited to make it available on the FM band.  The new logo puts the emphasis on WNSR, which has stood for Nashville’s Sports Radio since 1997, something we are very proud of, and something I have come to appreciate since coming here four years ago.”

foxnewsradioFox News Radio Offers Memorial Day Weekend Specials.  The network is offering two hour-long special programs for air during the Memorial Day Weekend.  “Remembering Iraq” is hosted by Fox News Channel’s Griff Jenkins and reflects on the 10 years since the United States entered the Iraq War.  Jenkins will take a look at the front lines and those who were affected by the war, including the men and women who served as well as their spouses and children.  “The Next Disaster” is hosted by Fox News Channel’s Janice Dean.  It’s a multi-part series that examines disasters, including tornados, earthquakes and terrorist attacks and how to best prepare for them. Additionally, Dean will take a look at how weather forecasting and other technology have helped people prepare for natural disasters in the past and will also report on the impact of early warnings.  More information about the specials can be found on the Fox News Radio affiliate website in the specials section.

wdae logoSports Talk WDAE, Tampa Gets FM Simulcast on 95.3.  The signal is 250-watt translator W237CW that was most recently simulcasting the audio of Clear Channel’s hip hop WBTP “95.7 The Beat.”  CC flips it over to sports talker WDAE.  The AM 620 signal of WDAE covers the market just fine but now the station will have an FM presence that’s strongest in St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park and Clearwater.

Benghazi Cover-up Allegations, Syria-Israel Tensions, Obama OSU Commencement, and North Korea Missile Threat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/6).  New information regarding the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the political ramifications; military tensions between Israel and Syria; President Obama’s commencement speech at Ohio State University over the weekend; and the North Korean missile threat were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, May 6, 2013

| May 6, 2013

limbaughrushLimbaugh-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 dickeylewstatements – 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.

savagemichaelMichael 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 Cumulusmastersmark 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.”

becknraGlenn 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.

weismanstevenPhotograph 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.

millerchrisUsing 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.

cookehollandHolland 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.

rakestrawgregIndiana 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.

deptrojohnWPRO, 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.”

greenbergthemessMike 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 jacobssummerschoolLearning 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.’”

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

| January 29, 2013

schnitttoddSchnitt vs. Bubba: Monday Recap.  After the news of Todd Schnitt’s attorney being arrested on DUI charges and allegations that Bubba The Love Sponge’s attorneys set him up for the arrest became the predominant aspect of the case on Friday and both sides asked for mistrials for varying reasons, Hillsborough County Judge James Arnold on Mondaybubba did not grant a mistrial saying the jury had not been compromised and testimony went forward.  But not before Arnold agreed to throw out five of the 16 defamation counts against Bubba (Todd Clem).  One in which Bubba accused Schnitt of possibly engaging in plug-ola, three in which he called him a “fraud,” and another in which he called him a “snitch.”  The other 11 counts remain.  Schnitt’s team rested its case on Monday and Bubba’s lawyers called michaelsrandyformer Clear Channel Radio president Randy Michaels, under whom both Schnitt and Bubba worked at one time, to the stand.  Michaels first complimented both Schnitt and Bubba for being talented radio performers.  He said that the feud between the two had gotten too intense and he asked them to “tone it down.”  He told the jury the language Bubba used when saying he wanted a funeral for MJ Kelli (Schnitt’s CHR morning show moniker) was hyperbole and not to be taken literally.  Also taking the stand was a former producer for Schnitt who now works for Bubba who testified that Schnitt spoke on the air jokingly about his wife’s “tramp stamp” tattoo – an effort by the defense to ask  the jury that if Schnitt could joke about his wife being a “tramp,” how is Bubba’s calling her a “whore” any different?  The defense is expected to continue its arguments today.

ballentinewarrenNationally Syndicated Talk Host Warren Ballentine Charged with Mortgage Fraud.  The Chicago-based attorney and host of the Warren Ballentine show distributed nationally via Syndication One is being indicted on charges related to an alleged mortgage fraud scheme.  The Justice Department reports that a federal grand jury returned indictments for two counts of bank fraud, two counts of making false statements to lenders and one count each of mail fraud and wire fraud.  The UPI reports the indictment is seeking a forfeiture of some $9.7 million in fraud proceeds.  The feds allege Ballentine plotted with others to obtain more than two dozen fraudulent mortgage loans and that he represented buyers at closings knowing that they weren’t qualified for home mortgages in Chicago and its southern suburbs.  Ballentine is expected to be arraigned next week.  Meanwhile TALKERS sources close to Ballentine say he maintains his innocence and that the truth will come out.  His talk show is currently heard on some 37 affiliates across the country including WVON, Chicago.

barreirodanClear Channel’s KFAN Network Re-Signs Dan Barreiro.  Sports talk host Dan Barreiro and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment agree on a multi-year contract extension for the KFXN, Minneapolis-based sports talk host.  Barreiro hosts the afternoon drive program on the company’s KFAN sports talk brand that is distributed to numerous stations across Minnesota.  CC Minneapolis vice president of programming Gregg Swedberg says, “Dan has been the top afternoon drive talk personality in the market for decades and has many loyal listeners all over the country through iHeartRadio.  We are delighted that Dan will be with us for a long time.”

bakerchrisChris Baker Lands at KFAB, Omaha for PM Drive.  Talk radio pro Chris Baker’s next gig is at Clear Channel’s KFAB, Omaha where he’ll host the afternoon drive program.  Baker – a veteran of the Houston, Minneapolis, Miami and Omaha markets – recently exited the Dan Patrick-owned KSEV, Houston talk outlet.  He says, “Since my family and I are in Omaha to visit friends and relatives on a regular basis, it’s only natural that I would want to put down root here.  KFAB is a legendary Midwest radio powerhouse and I’m excited to work with Gary Sadlemyer and the whole crew.”  His new gig begins February 11.

mcnabbdonovanOdds & Sods.  NBC Sports Radio Network brings former NFL star Donovan McNabb aboard to eventually be part of a daily sports talk show to begin on April 1.  Until that time, McNabb will begin as a weekly contributor as the build-up to the Super Bowl takes place.  McNabb will serve as a lead NFL analyst and will call in to affiliate station programs…..Formerbrandotim Yahoo! Sports Radio personality Tim Brando begins a new gig with SiriusXM Satellite Radio where he’ll host his eponymous program on the SiriusXM College Sports Nation channel.  Brando’s program will continue to be simulcast on cable TV’s CBS Sports Network…..WTOP, Washington news anchor Richard Day has retired from the Hubbard Broadcasting all-news brand.  Vice president of news and programming Jim Farley says Day’s retirement was handled with no fanfare at Day’s request…..Chicagoland Radio and Media reports that WFLD-TV sports anchor Lou Canellis is beginning a regular hour-long, daily appearance on WLS-AM, Chicago’s “Roe & Roeper” PM drive program with Roe Conn and Richard Roeper.  Canellis is now part of the 5:00 pm hour every day to talk sports on the Cumulus Media station.  The blog speculates that the move is part of a greater effort to add sports content to the station to improve its ratings…..The “4th Period Live” program returns to SiriusXM’s NHL Network for its second season beginning Saturday, February 2 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET.  The show is hosted by David Pagnotta, 4th Period‘s editor-in-chief from Toronto and Dennis Bernstein, its Los Angeles-based senior writer.  The show is an extension of TFP’s brand of hockey lifestyle content that includes a highly visited website (www.thefourthperiod.com) and quarterly print magazine available on newsstands throughout North America.

huckabeerenoHuckabee Visits Reno.  Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Governor Mike Huckabee is pictured here with KNEZ, Reno news director and afternoon drive host Sean Patrick at the sparkling new studios of the Shamrock Communications news/talk station.  Huckabee’s program is carried by “KNEWS” – a new FM signal and news/talk brand that Shamrock recently put on the air in the market.

calajoeSouthern California Sports Personality Joe Cala Named to Hall of Fame.  KNX, Los Angeles sports anchor Joe Cala was inducted into the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame at the organization’s 22nd annual awards luncheon at the Lakeside Golf Club in Toluca Lake, California.  Cala has been with KNX for the past six years and spent the previous 32 years at crosstown KFWB.  The SCSB has served as a major forum for recognizing and advancing sports broadcasting in Southern California since 1958.  Its Hall of Fame includes Dick Enberg, Tom Harmon, Don Drysdale, Chick Hearn, Gil Stratton, Stu Nahan, Vin Scully and Jim Hill, to name a few.

millerkevingunsTown Hall Meeting in Boise Addresses Second Amendment.  You’re looking over the shoulder of KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller as he addresses the more than 300 area residents who attended the Peak Broadcasting station’s Town Hall Meeting to discuss Second Amendment issues in the wake of the Obama Administration’s call for stricter gun legislation.  Miller tells TALKERS that the event was covered locally by two of the market’s television stations.

mcguireseanKOIL, Omaha Adds Weekend Affordable Care Act Program.  The program is called “America’s Healthcare Challenge” and is hosted by Sean McGuire.  The goal of the program is to provide valuable insight into implementation of the Affordable Care Act and prepare decision makers for looming penalties and taxes in the law.  McGuire states, “This is currently the only radio show of its kind in the US.  Business owners are clamoring for credible information and answers to their questions like how employees’ benefits will change next year and what innovative ways exist to curb rising healthcare costs constantly squeezing bottom lines all over the country…I was a part of the research team for the Senate Finance Committee five years ago.  The law originated conceptually in the Senate and I have read the bill multiple times.  It is my desire to bring my listeners information they need to know as if they were Members of Congress.”

morrisonsotomayorJustice Sotomayor Visits SCPR.  United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (right) poses for a photo with Southern California Public Radio special correspondent Patt Morrison (left) during an appearance at KPCC, Pasadena’s Crawford Family Forum.  The venue was packed with local high school and college students, as well KPCC listeners who came to hear Sotomayor speak about her life and promote her new autobiography My Beloved World (Knopf 2013).  Patt Morrison interviewed Sotomayor as part of the appearance.

greenbergbookESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg Announces New Novel to Benefit the V Foundation.  Nationally syndicated ESPN Radio and ESPN 2 personality Mike Greenberg announces the publication of his first novel titled, All You Could Ask For (William Morrow 2013).  In making the announcement from the Super Bowl radio row in New Orleans, Greenberg stated that all of the author’s proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit The V Foundation for Cancer Research.  Greenberg says, “I wrote this book to honor the memory of a good friend of mine and my wife Stacy’s named Heidi Armitage, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2009 at the age of 43.  The V Foundation is an obvious organization to work with.  Mike Golic and I have been honored to be a part of many great V Foundation events over the years.  I’m so proud of our connection to the V Foundation.”

wachsdaliahpodiumDr. Daliah Wachs at the Podium.  Practicing family physician and nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs is pictured here at the Nevada Academy of Family Physicians at their conference in Lake Tahoe this past weekend.  About 200 were at this lecture where Dr. Wachs spoke about avoiding pitfalls in family medicine, educating them on the liabilities doctors face and what lawsuits have been successful.  Dr. Wachs’ program is syndicated by Genesis Communications Network.

Friday, January 18, 2013

| January 18, 2013

diloretodanielBubba-Schnitt Trial: Day Two.  On day two of testimony in the Hillsborough County, Florida courtroom where nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is suing Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) for defamation, thebubba questioning surrounded Bubba’s on-air language calling for the “death” of Schnitt – who was hosting mornings at WFLZ, Tampa as MJ Kelli.  Schnitt’s attorney focused on Bubba’s statements that included: “We seek and destroy,” “I will not be happy until I have an MJ funeral in the streets in Tampa, Florida,” and “MJ, that’s the only person I really want to die, seriously.”  On the witness stand for part of the day was former Clear Channel Tampa market manager Daniel DiLoreto who said on the stand that he was “stunned” by Bubba’s comments about schnitttoddwanting Schnitt “to die.”  Schnitt’s attorney is trying to convince the jury that Bubba’s language went beyond typical radio disc jockey feuding to putting Schnitt and his family in fear for their safety at the hands of members of the “Bubba Army,” as Clem’s fans are known.  Clem’s attorney is trying to paint all the on-air talk as simply the words of feuding disc jockeys with no real threat to anyone’s safety.  When questioned by Clem’s attorney if he ever heard Clem actually ask anyone to hurt Schnitt, DiLoreto replied he had not.

oconnelldanielJohn O’Connell Named PD at CBS Radio’s Tampa Sports Stations.  Programmer John O’Connell moves to the Tampa cluster of CBS Radio stations from the company’s West Palm Beach operations where he most recently served as OM and PD.  O’Connell will program WHFS-FM, Tampa “Sports Radio 98.7” and WHFS-AM “CBS Sports Radio 1010.”  O’Connell came to South Florida after spending 15 years working in the Boston market at such outlets as Kiss 108, WBMX and WEEI.  He became program director for alternative rocker WPBZ-FM in 1996 and later increased his responsibilities to oversee several stations in the region.  CBS Tampa SVP and market manager Ben Hill says, “I have complete confidence in John’s experience and leadership, having worked closely with him over the years.  He is confident and ‘walks the walk’ when it comes to achieving results.  And the fact that no one can match what we offer when it comes to sports programming will enable John to create a listener experience that is completely driven by the fans.”

paynesethSeth Payne Joins Midday Show at KILT-AM, Houston.  Former Houston Texan Seth Payne becomes part of the “Mad Radio” midday show at CBS Radio’s sports talk KILT-AM, Houston “SportsRadio 610” beginning Monday, January 21.  Payne replaces Brad Davies who remains with the station on a part-time, fill-in basis.  He’ll co-host the program with Mike Meltser.  KILT-AM program director Gavin Spittle says, “I can’t thank Brad enough for being a part of ‘Mad Radio.’ In one year, we have seen a 100% increase in this time slot and while we will miss him on a daily basis, I’m glad that he wants to remain on the team in a part-time capacity.  Seth is a natural fit and from day one, he’s impressed us. We’re really excited about the all-new ‘Mad Radio.’”  Payne states, “I’m grateful to Gavin Spittle for this opportunity and I appreciate all the guidance I’ve received from him and the talented people at ‘SportsRadio 610.’  I especially look forward to working with Mike Meltser.  He is an extremely talented and intelligent individual, and I know we’ll have a lot of fun.”

johnsonisraelCelebrating in the Holy Land.  XtreMedia nationally syndicated talk host Dani Johnson (pictured here at left with Israeli comic Yisreal Campbell) celebrates her one-year anniversary in talk radio with a trip to Israel.  Johnson, along with fellow XtreMedia talk hosts Kevin McCullough and Stephen Baldwin, were invited by representatives of the Israeli government to come and witness Israel’s progress in agriculture, culture, and technology.  Johnson is producing her weekly radio program from Israel and Campbell will appear on the edition of her program that airs live on Sunday, January 20 from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm.  Johnson’s program is heard on more than 85 affiliate stations.

kucinichdennisFox News Channel Brings Dennis Kucinich Aboard as Contributor.  Liberal ex-Congressman Dennis Kucinich – who served eight terms in the House of Representatives – becomes part of the cable news/talk channel’s contributor corps.  In a statement about his new endeavor, Kucinich says, “Through 16 years in Congress and two presidential campaigns, Fox News has always provided me with an opportunity to share my perspective with its enormous viewership.”

noorytvshotGeorge Noory Debuts On-Demand Video Show.  The Premiere Networks nationally syndicated late-night talk star begins his new weekly internet television program titled, “Beyond Belief with George Noory.”  The program is a project with GaiamTV.com and delivers new episodes every Friday evening at 7:00 and on demand daily.  As you might expect, the program is billed as “dynamic discussions on paranormal phenomena, conspiracies and all things unexplained.”  Noory is pictured here on the set interviewing Dr. Katherine Albrecht for a show about privacy and RFID chips.

kirofm logoKIRO-FM, Seattle Debuts Weekend Pet Show.  Dubbed, “It’s Raining Cats and Dogs with Shawn Stewart,” the program has its premiere airing Sunday, January 20 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle.  The show features pet experts from the Ahimsa Dog Training Center who will take listener questions regarding everything they need to know about raising their beloved best friends.  “In this case, the tail does wag the dog,” says KIRO Radio’s assistant program director Jason Antebi. “I’ve never seen a city more in love and obsessed with their companions than Seattle! This show is the perfect addition to the KIRO Radio weekends.”

comrexliveshotComrex Moves Full-Force into Digital Video Delivery Market.  Devens, Massachusetts-based Comrex Corporation announces it is shipping its new LiveShot Video IP Codec – the first video product for professional broadcasters in the company’s 51-year history.  Comrex says the new technology provides high-quality, low-latency, full-duplex video and audio over both wired and wireless IP data services, including challenging internet links such as 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi with end-to-end delay as low as 200ms.  Comrex managing director Kris Specht states, “Our core customer for the past several decades has been the radio broadcaster.  It was in response to requests from some of our longtime customers that had worked in radio — and who had subsequently moved over to television — to create a product that would do for TV what our ACCESS IP Audio Codecs have done for radio.  LiveShot provides the small form factor, unmatched reliability, high-quality performance and easy operator experience that Comrex customers have come to expect.”  The LiveShot Video IP Codec system consists of the LiveShot Portable, a small, lightweight, camera-mounted unit that attaches to the camera’s 3-stud or V-mount battery mount with the battery attaching to the outside of the LiveShot Portable.  On the studio side, the LiveShot Studio rack-mount unit interfaces with the facility’s audio/video router or switcher.  The units connect via an IP data connection and utilize Comrex’s CrossLock™ VPN which provides a one-button connection from either the studio or the field once the units have an internet connection.  CrossLock also provides data encryption and intrusion protection for added reliability.  Complete details on the LiveShot Video Codec’s features and specifications can be found by visiting www.comrex.com.

wexlerdrdrewFace Time with Dr. Drew.  WFAS-AM, Westchester personality Lisa Wexler appeared on HLN’s “Dr. Drew on Call” to discuss the case of Jodi Arias – accused of stabbing her boyfriend 29 times – and the Steubenville, Ohio rape case.  In addition to her work as a talk show host on WFAS, Wexler is an attorney and an author.

Filling In.  WFED, Washington afternoon drive host Francis Rose subs for Cumulus Media NetworksJohn Batchelor on his WABC, New York-based program this Sunday evening from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am ET.

allianceforwomeninmediaThe Alliance for Women in Media Announces 2013 Board of Directors.  With Kay Olin, president of Local Focus Radio serving as the National Chair, the 2013 board of directors of the Alliance for Women in Media will convene on January 25 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, for its first board meeting and then will participate in judging the 2013 Gracie Awards on January 26 and 27.  The following individuals will serve as Directors at Large:  Christina Anderson from Silver Spring, MD; Lori Conkling, executive vice president, distribution, A+E Networks, New York; Cyndee Everman, vice president, DW/BI, care and marketing tools, Time Warner Cable, Charlotte; Nancy Giles, contributor, CBS Broadcasting, Inc., New York; Sandy Girard, vice president, brand management and development, SiriusXM Radio, New York; Carol Hanley, chief sales officer, Arbitron Inc., Chicago; Annie Howell, executive vice president, corporate communications and media relations, Crown Media Family Networks, New York; Kimberly Maki, vice president, corporate communications and web strategies, Bright House Networks, Orlando; Janet Noll, national sales director, Rural Media Group – RFD-TV & Rural TV, Omaha; Deborah Parenti, executive vice president of radio, Radio Ink, New York; Roni Selig, senior executive producer/director, health, wellness and medical unit, CNN, New York; Keisha Sutton-James, vice president, Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, New York; Christine Travaglini, president, Christal Radio, New York; and Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee, president and chief executive officer, NAMIC, Inc., New York.

Obama Executive Gun Actions Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 14-18.  President Obama’s executive gun actions landed atop the Talkers TenTM this week as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio.  Coming in at #2 was the legislative arms debate.  At #3 was the debt ceiling tied with the tax cut battles and following at #4 was the American hostages in Algeria tied with the Mali Violence.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people of the week as discussed on news/talk radio.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, December 3, 2012

| December 3, 2012

Michael Savage Bashes “Bash Obama” Programming Philosophy.  Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Michael Savage appeared on WABC, New York’s “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” program last night and told Klein’s audience that talk radio conservatives are “committing suicide” by incessantly criticizing Barack Obama.  Savage, who recently left longtime syndicator Talk Radio Network and subsequently signed on with Cumulus Media Networks, said, “Many people on the conservative side of the dial are making the same mistakes now that the liberals made when Bush was in power.  “Air America went bankrupt, why? Because all they did was…Bush bashing and they were just crazy in the Bush bashing.  Boring.  Boring.  How much could you listen to?  It wasn’t even clever Bush bashing.  This is what’s going on now with the conservatives.  They’re committing suicide.  Just attacking Obama – although he deserves it – is not good radio…Remember one thing, radio is primarily an entertainment medium.  It was not created to be the voice of the Republican Party or the Democrat Party.”  Savage’s program begins airing on Cumulus O&O WABC tonight from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

CBS Radio Dallas Offices Hit by Gunfire.  The offices of CBS Radio’s Dallas operations that house its radio stations was hit by gun shots on Friday and police are still investigating the source of the bullets.  CBS Dallas is reporting the shots hit the outside panes of glass on two floors of the 12-story building that abuts the busy Central Expressway.  One of the offices hit was that of NewsRadio 1080 KRLD’s promotions director Matt Stacks.  The other window hit was above the KRLD offices belonging to former police officer and practicing attorney Pete Schulte who tells CBS, “It sounded like a rifle.  It was clearly a loud bang, and as soon as I heard the loud bang the glass shattered in my office.”  Schulte says he was frustrated by how long it took the police to take action.  “I should think police should at least canvass the area to see if they can find anyone with a long gun.”  The CBS story notes police did canvass the area a little over an hour later and that Schulte was told the call had been mis-categorized as a criminal mischief call instead of an active shooter case.  The building also houses CBS Radio’s other Dallas stations including sports talk KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan,” AC KVIL “103.7 Lite FM,” adult hits KJKK “100.3 Jack FM,” classic hits KLUV, and Spanish WMKV, “Mega 107.5 FM.”

WLS, Chicago Adds Early-Morning Newscast.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder tips that Cumulus Media-owned news/talk WLS, Chicago began a 4:30 am newscast anchored by John Dempsey this morning (12/3).  The move means WLS is cutting the second half of The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “This Morning” program that aired from 4:00 am to 5:00 am.  “The 89 WLS First Morning News at 4:30” also uses ABC Radio News London-based correspondent Tom Rivers as a contributor.

Radio One to Consolidate Syndication One Division with Reach Media in January.  Radio One will increase its ownership stake in Reach Media from 53% to 80%.  The consolidation of Radio One-owned Syndication One and the Tom Joyner- and David Kantor-founded Reach Media will, according to Radio One, create an “assembly of top talent, programming and prime national advertising inventory that make Reach Media the leading radio network with the ability to speak directly to the African-American audience.  In 2013, Reach Media will use its strong affiliate lineup and relationships with leading urban stations to also launch a new network.  Reach Media’s new network is expected to be in the top tier of radio networks and have one of the largest African-American audiences of any radio network.  Reach Media will expand its dedicated sales and marketing staff to sell the radio network advertising inventory along with web and event sponsorships.”  The company will offer talk and music radio talent including: Tom Joyner, Rickey Smiley, Russ Parr, Yolanda Adams, Reverend Al Sharpton, Warren Ballentine and CoCo Brother.  It indicates it has plans to acquire more urban-targeted talent in the near future.  Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins says, “Radio One has a commitment to be the leader in radio and online programming with compelling entertainment and information for the African-American audience.  Combining our assets under Reach Media offers an incredibly broad platform for affiliate stations and advertisers to connect with our loyal audience.”  Reach Media CEO David Kantor states, “In bringing together the most compelling urban programming in radio, we’ve created a platform that can focus on outstanding talent for our affiliates and the delivery of an incredibly responsive consumer base.  We look forward to expanding our offerings and becoming the primary radio network for advertisers to reach African- Americans.”

Pat Miller Returns to PM Drive on WOWO, Fort Wayne.  Longtime WOWO, Fort Wayne talk show host Pat Miller re-joins the station for the afternoon drive slot beginning in January.  Miller exited his full-time role at the station last spring but continued to do a two-hour weekend program.  After Gregg Henson exited the program director and PM drive posts at WOWO at the end of the summer Federated Media plugged in Premiere NetworksSean Hannity.  But Hannity has been moved to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot with Casey Hendrickson filling in on the PM drive show.  Hendrickson also hosts the morning drive show at Federated’s WTRC-AM/FM, South Bend, Indiana “Michiana’s News Channel.”

Dave Ramsey Moves to Daytime in Atlanta on WCFO.  Nationally syndicated financial talk star Dave Ramsey’s program is moving to new affiliate JW Broadcasting’s WCFO, Atlanta beginning today where he’ll air live in the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm time slot.  Ramsey’s program most recently was heard in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot on Cox Media’s WSB-AM and WSBB-FM.  Prior to being picked up by WSB in 2011, Ramsey aired in afternoons on Clear Channel’s WGST.  Brian Mayfield, vice president of broadcast for The Lampo Group, says, “We are very excited that Dave can now be heard live in Atlanta.  Our audience has been asking for this, and we are proud to partner with WCFO to deliver on this request.”

Five Practical Digital Lessons Radio Can Learn from the Obama Campaign.  Noted radio digital consultant Chris Miller says broadcasters should look to the recent Obama Campaign’s effective use of digital media for promotional and branding initiatives.  In this piece, he illustrates how 1) all the various platforms we use today are inter-connected and must be treated as such; 2) every platform has a specific purpose and should be used to achieve clearly defined goals; 3) remember that it is all a “show” and just because it is digital or “social media” doesn’t mean it isn’t show biz; 4) make sure your emails are likely to be opened by labeling them with irresistible subject lines; and 5) create “community,” not just “conversation.”  Read Miller’s entire piece here.

Jason Pugh Exits WEFL, West Palm Beach for DC TV Gig.  Jason Pugh is leaving his positions at Good Karma’s “ESPN 760” WEFL, Tequesta, Florida where he partnered with Jeremy Marks-Peltz for the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show and his sportscasting gig at WPTV-TV for a position at NBC O&O WRC-TV, Washington, DC.  Pugh also worked in the play-by-play booth for Florida Atlantic University football games.  The Florida Sun-Sentinel reports Pugh joined Good Karma in 2006 and began hosting his own program in 2009.

ESPN New York O&Os Re-Up with NFL’s Jets.  The New York City ESPN O&O stations – WEPN-FM “ESPN New York 98.7” and WEPN-AM “ESPN Deportes New York 1050” announce they have extended their contract to be the exclusive New York radio partners of the NFL’s New York Jets.  Included in the deal are three ancillary programs — the “Jets Player Spotlight” (Mondays at 3:30 pm) a weekly interview with Jets head coach Rex Ryan (Mondays at 5:15 pm) and “Inside the Jets” (Mondays at 7:00 pm).   ESPN New York vice president and general manager Dave Roberts states, “We’re excited to continue our relationship with the Jets.  The Jets have a huge fan base in the New York metropolitan area and we look forward to continuing to serve them.”

XtreMedia Talk Hosts  DoGood.com  Charts Giving Success.  XtreMedia talk show hosts Dani Johnson, Kevin McCullough and Stephen Baldwin began a campaign in April of this year to assist 2,012 orphans with a stated goal of raising $185,000.  After achieving the goal in just eight weeks instead of the eight months they had given themselves, they set about creating DoGood.com and partnered with Kings Ransom Foundation to assist orphaned children and others in need.  Some examples of their success include: In November, Dani Johnson again publicly challenged her listeners to radically help with practical help for victims of hurricane Sandy.  In one weekend’s broadcast the Dani Johnson web and radio community (some of whom were directly impacted by the storm) and working with Kings Ransom Foundation raised in excess of $35,000 to aid specific cases whose stories were of particularly tough loss.  Over the course of five weeks after Sandy, Kevin McCullough was able to rally listeners to his national daily show to provide aid by connecting volunteers to engineering and contracting, clean-up crews, and miscellaneous needs in excess of $25,000 towards help for churches, communities, pastors, and parishioners in hard hit communities in Brooklyn, Queens, The RockAways, and down the Jersey shore.  On December 12, Stephen Baldwin is scheduled to headline a fundraising gathering being hosted by VH1 with proceeds to be donated to hurricane Sandy relief efforts via DoGood.com.  On December 1, the clients and listeners in attendance at Dani Johnson’s “Creating a Dynasty” leadership training weekend raised an additional $113,000 (by auctioning off slices of cheesecake freshly prepared by Dani personally) for the King’s Children’s Home orphanage in Belize that is in need of a new roof for four buildings on its campus.  The total cost for the roofing project will run $200k for all four structures.

Monday, November 12, 2012

| November 12, 2012

Clear Channel Pulls the Plug on Progressive Talk KPOJ, Portland.  The conspiracy theories from listeners and progressive talk fans are already pouring in – especially on the Portland-area blogs and mainstream media sites – but the notion that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is flipping KPOJ to sports talk for political reasons and not because of business factors has no basis in reality.  According to a piece in the local Willamette Week blog site, KPOJ’s recent 12-plus ratings were around a 1.0 share compared to some of its spoken-word competitors (news/talk KEX and KXL posted a 3.5 share and 5.0 share, respectively).  TALKERS is not privy at this time to how well Clear Channel was able to sell KPOJ but it should surprise few in the business that sports content has never been hotter from a consumption standpoint and political talk – whether conservative or progressive – is, from a sales perspective, controversial and therefore a much tougher sell, probably even in a progressive market such as Portland.  Local morning talk host Carl Wolfson was gracious in his public statement about the decision saying, in part, “I appreciate the opportunity they gave me for six years to be a voice for progressive causes in our state and nation.  I will miss all of my fun friends at work (my excellent producer Paul, remains employed!).  I love all of you, my loyal listeners.  It has been my honor to give a platform to all of the outstanding groups, volunteers, elected officials and good people who make Oregon so special.”  The station, considered one of the nation’s more successful progressive talk outlets for many years, also carried WYD Media’s Thom Hartmann, Premiere NetworksRandi Rhodes and Mike Malloy.

Fox Sports Radio Takes Over in Portland.  Beginning Today, KPOJ, Portland becomes “Fox Sports Radio 620” and carries the full lineup of Fox Sports Radio Network programming that includes “Fox Sports Daybreak,” “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, “Fox Sports Tonight” and JT The Brick plus other weekend programming.  Clear Channel Portland has the rights to Portland Trailblazers basketball (which airs on sister KEX) and Oregon State Beavers sports and the “Beaver Nation Live” show will continue to air on KPOJ from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily.  Operations manager Chris Sargent states, “Combining our rich relationship with the Oregon State Beavers and Portland Trail Blazers, and now Fox Sports Radio, this is a win-win situation for us.  We expect the new Fox Sports Radio 620 to serve the community with great access to sports information and entertainment, while setting the standard of sports excellence in Portland.”

Brian Wilson Exits WSPD, Toledo.  News/talk pro Brian Wilson leaves Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WSPD, Toledo where he’s been program director, news director and afternoon drive talk host for more than seven years.  Wilson has long operated his Vacation Relief Services company and has been a host a such outlets as WABC, New York; KSFO, San Francisco; WRC, Washington; and WGST, Atlanta.  Wilson says via his Facebook page: “I am glad to have had the opportunity to preach the gospel of freedom and liberty to Northwest Ohio. Wish I had the chance on the air to say thank you and goodbye to my listeners.  I will continue to make every effort to spread the message of free markets and liberty.”

Cox Media Splits WDBO, Orlando Simulcast; AM 580 to Sports Talk.  The AM/FM simulcast of news/talk on Cox Media’s WDBO, Orlando ends today as the station takes up the ESPN affiliation and begins airing ESPN Radio’s lineup of nationally syndicated programming including “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” and SVP & Russillo.  The move adds another sports talk outlet to the market that already includes Clear Channel-owned WYGM “The Game” the Fox Sports Radio affiliate; Star Over Orlando’s WRSO the Yahoo! Sports affiliate; and Genesis Communications’ WHOO “Sports Talk Florida” the NBC Sports Radio affiliate.  WDBO’s full program schedule should be known soon and it’s not clear at this point if the station will air any local sports talk.

Unlocking the Secrets of Twitter.  One of the radio industry’s most respected digital consultants offers tips on maximizing the use of Twitter to drive listeners to the station and increase ratings. TALKERS columnist Chris Miller of Chris Miller Digital warns that Twitter is not Facebook‘s “little sister” and should not be treated that way.  He says broadcasters can use Twitter to effectively enhance their radio brand by creating a “bulletin service” that promotes one element of upcoming programming and one element only; a “customer channel” that opens a link to a real, live customer serviceperson – a recording; and by creating “mico-targeting” initiatives which separates various factions of the total target audience for very specific aspects of the programming of primary interest to them.  Read Chris Miller’s entire piece here.

WABC, New York’s Geraldo Rivera to Broadcast Sandy Relief Program.  During his midday show today, Cumulus Media Networks’ talk show host Geraldo Rivera will broadcast live from a Salvation Army post on storm-ravaged Island Park on Long Island in order to raise funds for Hurricane Sandy relief.  WABC states, “During the broadcast, singer and actress Katharine McPhee will interrupt filming the next season of her TV show ‘Smash’ to announce that she will match every donation dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000 through her charitable foundation, McPhee Outreach (for a total of $100,000).”  McPhee says,  “I was looking for the organization on the ground that was doing the most to help Hurricane Sandy victims and I found that to be the Salvation Army.”  Rivera will be on the air from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm ET.  He says, “There is no one who does more with less than the Salvation Army.  I’m hoping that my listeners and sponsors will step up and match the McPhee Outreach’s grant to raise more than $100,000 to help people rebuild their lives in the wake of this weather disaster.”

LFM’s KKFN, Denver Re-Signs Clough.  Late-morning talk host Sandy Clough re-ups with Lincoln Financial Media’s Denver sports talker KKFN.  The terms of the deal were not announced and Clough’s extending his contract with the station comes shortly after the sports talk outlet re-upped fellow air talent Scott Hastings and Joel Klatt.

 

Aaron Matthews Named PD at WWSR, Lima, Ohio.  Maverick Media fills the program director position at sports WWSR, Lima “93.1 The Fan” with market veteran Aaron Matthews.  He takes over for Ryan Reker who exited Maverick’s Lima cluster to become program director at Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne.

Opinion: Talk Radio’s Renaissance Requires Open-Minded Ownership.  Talk host and programmer Tom Becka – currently heard on KRWK, Fargo and KOIL, Omaha – says that the post-election reflection on talk radio’s future reminds him of his days as a stand-up comic traveling the country and talking with people whose concerns went far beyond the political process in Washington, DC.  “The truth is what is important to most talk show hosts is not important to most people on the street.”  Becka says hosts must be broader in their approach and management has to be willing to change.  Read his opinion piece here.

Canada’s CRTC Approves New English-Language Talk Station for Montreal.  The new English-language talk formatted station won’t hit the airwaves in Montreal until late spring of 2013 but Canada’s broadcasting regulation agency – the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission has approved the application for the new station.  The company applying for the license is owned by three Montreal businessmen and the outlet will be the sister station to the French-language talk outlet that’s also been approved.  The French station will operate at 940 AM – a signal that’s been dark in Montreal for two years.  Currently, Montreal is served by Astral Media’s English-language talk outlet CJAD.

 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

| October 23, 2012

Tom Langmyer Exits Tribune’s WGN, Chicago After Eight Years.  The vice president and general manager of Tribune’s only radio property – WGN, Chicago – left his position yesterday.  Tom Langmyer didn’t comment specifically to TALKERS about the reason for the move but the change appears to have been WGN’s and not Langmyer’s choice.  Langmyer joined WGN as general manager in March of 2005 after rising from program director to vice president and general manager of CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis.  Now, Langmyer exits after a meeting Monday with Tribune Broadcasting president and CEO Nils Larsen.  Langmyer issued the following statement to his staff upon his exit:  “I can’t tell you how much I have appreciated the privilege of working with you.  WGN is a very special place, and I’m very lucky to have spent nearly eight years as part of it! . . . Looking forward to new challenges ahead!”   Like many major market radio stations, WGN has been a turbulent place over the past eight years with four program directors during that time and four different morning drive hosts – not to mention the Sam Zell-engineered takeover of Tribune that brought former Clear Channel radio president Randy Michaels to the helm of the company and the financial trouble that put Tribune into bankruptcy.  Langmyer’s departure comes as Tribune nears a long-awaited exit from bankruptcy.  There is speculation Tribune will attempt to sell some of its properties and the lone radio station in its portfolio may go “on the block.”  As far as management is concerned, director of sales Jeff Hill will serve as general manager in the interim.  You can reach out to Tom Langmyer at tlangmyer@gmail.com.

New Talk Outlet Debuts in Reno.  After eight years of work and a fair amount of resources invested, Shamrock Communications goes live with one of the four FM stations it is building for the Reno, Nevada market.  KNEZ-FM “107.3 K-News” features a mostly syndicated lineup consisting of Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck, Cumulus Media NetworksMike Huckabee, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish, local talk show host Sean Patrick, and Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries.

Michael Savage Re-Enters National Syndication Tonight.  Following a protracted battle to get out of his contract with Talk Radio Network, talk host Michael Savage signed with Cumulus Media Networks to distribute his program.  The new syndication effort begins tonight as Savage’s live broadcast time moves to 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.

 

America’s Radio News Network Names Lori Lundin Mid-Morning Co-Anchor.  Talk Radio Network-operated America’s Radio News Network adds news pro Lori Lundin to the 9:00 am to 12:00 pm ET news block as co-anchor alongside Ernie Brown.  Prior to joining ARN, Lundin was anchoring mornings nationally on Fox News Radio for over four years.  Before that, she was an award-winning reporter on news/talk KFBK, Sacramento.  She received the Northern California Radio and Television News Directors Association award for her breaking news coverage while reporting for the station.  ARN EVP of news and programming John McCaslin states, “I first heard ARN’s new co-anchor, Lori Lundin when she was anchoring top-of-the-hour and breaking news stories on Fox News Radio.  ARN is extremely fortunate to have somebody of her caliber join the team – a news anchor who possesses a rare, unwavering reputation for accurate, complete, and unbiased reporting.  Lori Lundin is the exception, not the norm, for members of the Washington Press Corps.”

Business Talk WZAB, Miami Host Sentenced in Pot Growing Case.  Edward Woodson, who hosts the 7:00 am to 8:00 am hour on Salem Communications’ business talk WZAB, Miami “880 The Biz,” pleaded guilty to running a marijuana growing operation out of his Miami Shores, Florida home.  The 50-year-old lawyer and real estate investor will serve three years’ probation, one of those under house arrest and pay some $25,000 in fines.  Woodson brokers the morning drive hour for his program and is not an employee of Salem Communications, but a client.

7 Talk Radio Takeaways from Presidential Debate.  Consultant Holland Cooke explains how what is shaping up to be a very close presidential contest – not to mention some hotly contested congressional races – should be played for the “tight game” it is.  Holland says, “Smart talk stations promoted debate coverage by reminding that, “IF YOU’LL BE IN THE CAR TONIGHT…”  Certainly anyone with the choice would have watched rather than listened.  And going forward, it continues to make sense to approach campaign coverage as car radio.  Assume that you’re sharing attention.”  See more of Holland Cooke’s 7 takeaways here.

Calling in the Experts.  Talk host Michael Castner (r) is pictured here with intelligence expert Lieutenant Colonel Tony Shaffer (l) during Shaffer’s visit to The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s studios.  Shaffer appeared on “The Daily Wrap from the Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” to discuss the controversial Benghazi attack that took the lives of four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

 

 

Compass Media Networks Announces College Hoops Schedule.  Beginning with the December 6 Vanderbilt vs. Xavier matchup and running through the March 9 Duke vs. UNC game, Compass Media Networks is offering 15 regular season men’s college basketball games this season.  The network also has exclusive radio coverage of the Big Ten Conference tournament.  Compass says it has an exclusive, multi-year agreement with Learfield Sports – one of the country’s largest broadcast rights holders with colleges and that the deal enables it to pick from among the best games to broadcast (using Compass’ own unique production and broadcast crew); “virtually all basketball games Compass is broadcasting feature top-ranked teams and compelling matchups.”  Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann states, “Kudos to our team for selecting such incredible games.  From the opening tip to the culmination of our coverage in March as the Big Ten Tournament returns to Chicago, this will be a great season.”  See the entire Compass college basketball schedule here.

ESPN’s Dan Shulman Re-Ups.  The voice of ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” will continue with the sports media giant after agreeing to a multi-year deal.  In addition to Dan Shulman’s role on “Sunday Night Baseball,” Shulman will continue with his play-by-play work for men’s college basketball as well as his ESPN Radio duties calling the post-season games and the World Series.  Regarding the 2012 NSSA Sportscaster of the Year, ESPN SVP and executive producer Jed Drake states, “Dan’s one of the most talented and versatile play-by-play commentators in our industry.  Dan’s voice has become unmistakable, his storytelling ability is top notch and his penchant for making his colleagues better is an incredible asset to ESPN and to sports fans.”  Shulman (r) is pictured here with ESPN’s Doris Burke (l) and Dick Vitale (c).

The Final Presidential Debate, the Latest Poll Numbers, the Continuing Investigation into the Benghazi Attack, Anita Dunn ‘Conflict Issue’ and Lance Armstrong Stripped of Tour de France Medals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/22).  The buildup to the final presidential debate before the November 2 election; the latest poll numbers concerning the presidential race; the ongoing investigation of the Benghazi attack that took the lives of four Americans; former Obama Administration communications director Anita Dunn’s controversial status handling PR for firms lobbying the White House; and Lance Armstrong’s being stripped of his seven Tour de France medals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

| October 18, 2012

Michael Savage Signs with Cumulus Media Networks; Push for Affiliates and Programming Changes at O&O Stations to Begin.  Not too long after vowing he’d be back on terrestrial radio, talk radio host Michael Savage joins Cumulus Media Networks for a syndication deal that will have his program distributed nationally live from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.  The terms of the contract are not available but in a press release announcing the pact, Cumulus COO John Dickey states, “As we aggressively create radio’s most compelling mix of show hosts the addition of Michael Savage is a milestone in our determined efforts to provide our listeners nationwide with the best programing in the business.”  Savage won freedom from his contract with Talk Radio Network in court several weeks ago, freeing him to sign anywhere for national distribution.  Savage states in the release, “Cumulus and Savage will make radio history.  The turbulent times we live in give talk radio a new power.  This is the biggest move of my radio career and I look forward to reaching many millions of new listeners on their flamethrower signals.”  Savage has broadcast from his home studio in the San Francisco Bay Area for years and most likely will continue to do so.  Cumulus will want to put him on as many O&Os as possible so here’s a rundown of what programming airs during the live broadcast time of Savage’s soon-to-be program.  In San Francisco, O&Os KGO and KSFO air a local evening news show and its own syndicated John Batchelor program respectively; WABC, New York airs Batchelor; KABC, Los Angeles airs its own syndicated Mark Levin; WLS-AM, Chicago airs the last hour of Premiere’s Sean Hannity followed by Levin;  WMAL, Washington airs Batchelor; WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas airs local host Chris Krok; and WJR, Detroit airs Mark Levin.  With Savage’s program to debut next Tuesday, October 23, look for some programming changes on Cumulus Media O&O talk outlets.

Dan Patrick’s Radio and TV Simulcast Exits Fox Sports Net; Speculation About New Cable Partner Begins.  To be clear, we’re talking about the regional cable TV networks when we talk about Fox Sports Net, not Fox Sports Radio Network which distributes the radio version of the DirecTV-produced program.  Dan Patrick’s sports talk show is still available on DirecTV’s Audience Network but Patrick said on his program they expect to have a new cable partner soon and here’s where the speculation begins.  AwfulAnnouncing.com’s Matt Yoder writes that a deal with NBC’s fledgling cable sports network could use a show like Patrick’s in morning drive as a show around which to build the rest of its programming.  As Yoder points out, Dan Patrick already works for NBC hosting “Football Night in America,” so there’s a relationship in place.  If NBC and Patrick agree to work together for the cable TV distribution of his program, whether that would affect the distribution of his radio program or not is unknown.  NBC is also building a sports talk radio network for which it needs quality programming.  However, the Fox Sports Radio Network distribution of the radio program has it on more than 250 stations.  Ad sales for the radio side are handled by Premiere Networks and presumably there is a contract for this relationship.

Mancow TV Show Producer Resigns.  With less than a week to go before the debut of Erich Mancow Muller’s Chicago TV show on Fox Television’s WPWR-TV, director and producer Don DuPree leaves the project.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports DuPree had issues with Fox Television that centered on compensation and job duties unrelated to the Mancow program.  Mancow’s morning radio show — syndicated nationally by TRN-FM — is set to begin a two-hour radio/TV simulcast (during the 6:00 am to 8:00 am CT hours) on Monday, October 22.  DuPree has been involved with the soon-to-debut show for several weeks.  He tells Feder, “I really want to see the show succeed, and I want Mancow to succeed.  Working with Mancow was why I was attracted to the project to begin with, and I’m still a big fan.  I hope I get to work with him again one day.”  DuPree was director of the “Siskel & Ebert” program for 16 years and also served as executive producer for “Ebert & Roeper.”

Talent Shuffle at Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle.  A day after Bonneville announced that morning news anchor Linda Thomas would exit the AM on-air post to take an enterprising new role with the station and its affiliated digital presence, it promotes evening talk host John Curley to host of “Seattle’s Morning News” beginning Monday, October 22.  Curley, a popular media personality in the market who joined KIRO-FM in February of 2011 to host the night show, is partnered up with current AM drive co-host Tom Tangney and news anchor Ursula Reutin.  Program director Larry Gifford states, “John is unbelievably talented.  He brings a lifetime of lessons to add a personal perspective and a storyteller’s sensibility to ‘Seattle’s Morning News.’  He also has an irresistible charm and enough energy to fuel the entire Pacific Northwest.”  Curley spent 14 years hosting “Evening Magazine” on KING-TV and currently serves as a member of the Sammamish City Council.  Exiting the morning program is host Bill Radke.

WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus Suspends Host for Tweet.  RadiOhio’s sports talk WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus “97.1 The Fan” suspends talk host Scott Torgerson – co-host of “The Common Man & The Torg” – after he Tweeted regarding ESPN’s Desmond Howard, “I wish that Desmond Howard would get fired or die so I can watch ‘Gameday’ again.”  It’s uncertain how long Torgerson will be suspended but yesterday he remained off the program with co-host Mike Ricordati.

Genesis Communications Network Purchases New Headquarters.  The company that syndicated such talk radio stars as Alex Jones, Jason Lewis and Bradlee Dean is moving into new headquarters in Burnsville, Minnesota.  The company, headed by CEO Ted Anderson, is moving from its current base in Eagan, Minnesota to a former Coldwell Banker office near I-35W in the Twin Cities region.  The building was purchased for $1.4 million.

Newsweek Announces End of Paper Edition.  This isn’t a radio story but it is an interesting media development.  Editor-in-chief of The Newsweek Daily Beast CompanyTina Brown, announces the iconic weekly news magazine will cease publication of its printed product at the end of this year and will move into a strictly digital business model in 2013.  Brown writes, “Newsweek Global, as the all-digital publication will be named, will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context.  Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscription and will be available through e-readers for both tablet and the Web, with select content available on The Daily Beast.”  Brown makes it clear why the transition is taking place.  “It is important that we underscore what this digital transition means and, as importantly, what it does not.  We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it.  We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents.  This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism — that is as powerful as ever.  It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution.”

Second Presidential Debate Aftermath, Presidential Race Polls, Libya Attack Investigation, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/17).  Analysis of the performance of the candidates in the second presidential debate; the polls in the presidential race; the ongoing investigation into the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi; and the Major League Baseball playoffs are some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, October 15, 2012

| October 15, 2012

Praise Pours In for Los Angeles Talk Conference - Video Coverage to Come.  It was a packed house sold out two weeks in advance as some 275 talk media broadcasters from across the country, with a distinct emphasis on the Western states, rocked the old Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood this past Thursday (10/11).  Approximately 50 speakers — including Robin Bertolucci, Phil Boyce, Kevin Casey, Holland Cooke, Jerry Doyle, Skip Essick, Ian Freeman, Bill Handel, Heidi Harris, Michael Harrison, Ron Hartenbaum, Sam Hasson, Michael Horn, Rusty Humphries, Karel, Mike Kinosian, Kraig Kitchin, Lars Larson, Kevin LaRue, Garret Lewis, Tom Leykis, Andy Ludlum, Carole Marks, Don Martin, Mike McVay, Stephanie Miller, Bob Moore, Bill Moran, Patt Morrison, Harvey Nagler, Norm Pattiz, Ken Rutkowski, Walter Sabo, Brent Seltzer, Dave Sniff, Eric Stanger, Doug Stephan, Shadoe Stevens, Alan Stock, Chuck Tyler, Jeff Wasserman, Eric Weiss, and Michael Zwerling – tackled a variety of hot industry topics including the economic, technological and cultural challenges facing talk radio broadcasters in 2012.  This full day event was part two of TALKERS magazine’s new 2012 format in which the New Media Seminar was broken into east and west coast segments.  The first was a sellout event held in New York on June 7.  The event has drawn praise from numerous attendees including the following quotes:

“Everybody’s talking about what a great day it was!”

- Norm Pattiz, CEO Courtside Entertainment

“A very interesting day of conversation and revelation from a whole lot of people.”

- Kraig T. Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind

“I was glad I attended.”

- Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media

“It struck the perfect balance of schmooze and panel-news and talk!”

- Patt Morrison, KPCC, Los Angeles

“Thanks very much for putting on a great event.”

- Jerry Doyle, TRN

“ It was well worth the trip from England.”

- Graham Mack, BBC, Wiltshire

“An awesome day. It was superb. Can’t wait till the next one.”

- Eric Stanger, VP Operations, Sean Hannity Show/Premiere Networks

“It was great and you know I will be there next time around.”

- Alan Stock, KDWN, Las Vegas

“A hell of a show!  Outta da park!”

Dr. Gina Loudon, Host, PolitiChicks

“What a great time I had. The event was a total success.”

- Shadoe Stevens, Host, MentalRadio, SiriusXM

“Great Event !”

- Steve Lehman, Business Rock Stars

“It was a memorable occasion!”

- Sam Hasson, CEO, LATalkRadio.com

TALKERS magazine will provide extensive video coverage of the event including including panels, special presentations and additional interviews conducted on site beginning tomorrow.  The photo above is of the “Big Picture” panel featuring (from l-r): Don Martin, Ron Hartenbaum, Phil Boyce, Kraig Kitchin, Mike McVay, Harvey Nagler and moderator Michael Harrison.  View a gallery of more photos from the TALKERS New Media Los Angeles here.

Syndicated Talker Lars Larson Say Companies Need to Put Money Back into Programming.  In an exclusive audio interview conducted by consultant Holland Cooke at the recent New Media Seminar in Los Angeles, talk show host Lars Larson says that the most important thing he and all talk show hosts need is to have additional resources to bolster the sound and quality of their on-air product.  The successful host heard in Portland, Oregon on KXL and nationally via Compass Media Networks says, “If you take care of your listeners they will take care of you, ratings-wise.”  Larson also discusses the tenets of what he describes as “talk journalism,” positioning what he does as “information and opinion built from today’s news — solid information, no insanity.”  Listen to the complete conversation here.

Journal Broadcast Group Announces “RightWisconsin” Digital Initiative.  With WTMJ, Milwaukee talk show host Charlie Sykes taking a leadership role in the new venture, Journal Broadcast Group announces it will soon debut a new blog dedicated to conservative political thought called RightWisconsin.  According to a story by Duane Dudek in the Journal-owned Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sykes describes the effort as a “digital community, a rallying point, a one-stop source for conservatives on the front lines here.”  Sykes says the blog will have a full-time staff and “multiple platforms including mobile tablet and social media applications.”  It also promises commentary from around the state, as Sykes says, “key stories that other media won’t cover.”  In the story, Sykes is quoted saying, “We can do all of this because we have the resources of a major media company behind us, including the state’s biggest radio station and top-rated television station.  In other words, we have built-in platforms for promotion as well as the infrastructure.”  Media Matters called the new venture a “small-scale version” of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze digital media effort.  Journal VP of radio and television Steve Wexler says of Sykes and WTMJ, “One of the reasons we are successful is because of the many things we are able to do…that have nothing to do with politics.  The talk shows in the middle of the day are right of center, because that’s where the demand is…I am agnostic as a broadcaster about politics.  I look for where there is a demand, and the demand in talk radio is for a more conservative point of view.”  There is no start date announced for RightWisconsin but already, the company reports interest from the community based on early reports of the project.

Townsquare Media Flips WENJ-AM, Atlantic City to Talk.  The Atlantic City market gets a news/talk outlet as Townsquare Media’s WENJ-AM, drops its simulcast of FM sister 97.3 ESPN South Jersey.  According to the Press of Atlantic City, the station will feature regional media personality Harry Hurley in morning drive followed by a slate of syndicated programs that include: Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and Sean Hannity from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; John Batchelor from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am and “Red Eye Radio” for overnights.  The station will also return to its roots by taking back its original call letters WPG.  Hurley tells the paper, “The idea is that we are going to have a healthy blend of live and local that people enjoy and some of the biggest names in the country…Glenn Beck is not in this market. Sean Hannity is not in this market.  People are going to notice…We just love the idea of going back and reclaiming the heritage of WPG – for a new generation.”  The station plans to add more local programming between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm.

KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Fires Up Florida Campaign Effort.  Conservative talk show host Michael Berry is responsible for a call-to-action for conservative-minded people who want to spend time in Florida helping those who support Mitt Romney for president get out and vote.  Berry states, “I just threw the idea out there, and listeners across the country responded with an overwhelming willingness to do it.  I was half kidding, because the logistics of such a trip are a nightmare.  But we brought in 50 listeners to volunteer to coordinate this, and what they’ve done is nothing short of amazing.”  The leadership created a website within a couple of days — www.WinFlorida2012.org.  Since Berry’s flagship station KTRH is in Houston, the group will caravan from there beginning on October 28 and arrive in Pensacola, Florida that night.  They will spend the week driving vans to assist locals in voting for Romney during early voting.  One KTRH listener, Kyle Coplen, was tapped by Berry to be a vice chairman for the committee, but he was unable to pay his own expenses.  With a pregnant wife, and a new business cleaning swimming pools, he wasn’t able to spare the $1,000 from his family’s finances for the trip.  Berry offered to pay his expenses for him, but he decided instead to use this as a “teachable moment” and earn the funds through hard work.  Coplen says, “I just made a simple flyer, saying ‘Will Work for Romney,’ which I thought was catchy.  I put the flyer on the doors of houses that had Romney signs in the yards.”  Requests for his work came pouring in, mostly by people impressed by his work ethic and unique need for money.  He says he turned down every offer of a donation, explaining that he wanted to earn his way there, “just as we need to earn our way out of our nation’s problems.”  Michael Berry states, “The stories of people like Kyle amaze me.  There are plenty more.  People want to make this country great.  They refuse to lose this election.  It’s truly inspiring.”

WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall Hosts Debate Viewing Parties.  On the heels of a successful debate viewing party at the Philly sports bar Chickie’s & Pete’s, WPHT morning host Chris Stigall is taking it one step further for tomorrow’s presidential debate at Hofstra University.  WPHT listeners and political debate fans will converge upon the Xfinity Live entertainment district in the sports complex area of Philadelphia (where the Wells Fargo Center, Citizen’s Bank Park, and Lincoln Financial Field are located) to watch the debate on a 32-foot, high definition screen.  Stigall and WPHT hosted the previous party at Chickie’s & Pete’s (Stigall is pictured here speaking to KTW-TV from the event) and said it was fun watching presidential debates as you’d watch Sunday afternoon football – complete with bartenders, free appetizers, prizes, and of course wall to wall TVs with the sound blaring.  Stigall says the Xfinity Live center is designed for concertgoers and sports fans to gather pre- and post-event and is hopeful for a big, raucous turnout tomorrow night.

Tom Leykis Shows Off Impressive September Online Numbers.  No, Tom Leykis won’t actually be playing the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California as the press release teases – but the number of people who sampled the show during three weeks in September – 115,684 – is enough to practically fill the iconic football stadium.  Leykis began employing Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics, which measures unique ip addresses, on September 8.  Leykis states, “It’s great to have accreditation for what we are doing.  Everyone else who does a show on the net brags about having hundreds of thousands of listeners, but they never put their money where their mouth is.”  Leykis, who spoke about his web-based radio program at the TALKERS New Media Seminar in Los Angeles last Thursday (stay tuned for more from that event, including coverage of Leykis’ participation), began his new show on April 2 after a 37-month hiatus from radio.  He says, “I figure at the rate we are going, we should have over 175,000 unique people listening to our show every month.  Again, these will be accurate and honest numbers, not some random Arbitron sample.”

Beasley Talk Hosts Honored by Street Name; Raise Funds for Military Families.  WRXK, Ft. Myers, Florida talk hosts Stan and Haney had the street leading to the Beasley Broadcasting facility in Southwest Florida named after them.  More than 200 loyal fans of the program turned out to christen “Stan and Haney Boulevard” and share in live music, food and celebration. The duo turned the event into a worthy cause as proceeds from the sale of “Stan and Haney Blvd.” t-shirts raised $2,100 for the Stan and Haney D.R.A.F.T. Fund.  Stan says, “Haney and I started the DRAFT Fund nearly nine years ago along with Captain John Lazzaro (USNR).  Thanks to our listeners and the Southwest Florida community we have distributed nearly $40,000 in assistance to local troops and their families.”  The duo are pictured here drinking champagne and announcing the unveiling of the new street sign.

Odds & Sods. KDWN, Las Vegas takes home some awards from the Electronic Media Awards held in conjunction with the Nevada Broadcasters Foundation.  KDWN morning host Alan Stock is recognized with the “Best Radio Talk Show Host” honor and KDWN program director John Shaffer picks up the “Program Director of the Year” honor as well as the “Best Morning Newscast” award…..SiriusXM broadcast live from New York Comic Con 2012 this weekend.  The broadcasts included celebrity interviews, exclusive panels hosted by SiriusXM hosts and fan reactions from the floor – inviting listeners and fans nationwide inside the biggest comics and pop culture convention on the East Coast…..Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” broadcast an interesting program over the weekend on Saturday hosted by John B. Wells that included four of the most influential musicians from the dawn of rock and roll.  Paul Rodgers of Bad Company and Free, Leslie West of Mountain, Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull spoke with Wells discussing living through the heyday of rock and what it was like being at the forefront of a musical movement that is still significant today.

Live from South Bend, Indiana.  ESPN Radio’s nationally syndicated morning team Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg broadcast their program from the campus of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana on Friday, October 12.  Golic played football at Notre Dame serving as captain of the team during his senior year.  His sons Jake and Mike, Jr. currently play for the Fighting Irish and his daughter Sydney is a freshman on the swim team.  The duo broadcast in advance of Saturday’s contest between Notre Dame and Stanford from which ESPN’s “College GameDay Built by The Home Depot” also emanated.  In the photo, Golic and Greenberg are holding a pair of swim trunks – a gift from Golic’s daughter Sydney’s swim coach.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

| October 4, 2012

September PPM Numbers Continued: Highlights of Talk and Sports Stations.  TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian reports on the September PPM numbers rolling in and writes about the movement of some talk and sports stations.

  • In market # 11 Detroit…this is the second straight month that CBS Radio controls the top four spots; however, country WYCD (+.5 from August) trades places with sports sibling WXYT-FM, which is down one full share.
  • In market # 13 Seattle, Bonneville’s talk KIRO-FM remains in the top three with a slight jump (+.1 from August) to a 4.8 share while sister sports talk KIRO-AM slides (- .4 from August) to a 3.8.
  • In Phoenix – market #14 – Clear Channel’s news/talk KFYI rises nicely one full share to a 5.3 while Bonneville’s KTAR-FM slides (- .4 from August) to a 3.2.
  • In market #16 Minneapolis, news/talk WCCO tumbles seven-tenths to 6.4 (#3 to #5).  The last time the CBS Radio talk powerhouse had a 6+ stat that low was in July 2011 (6.4, as well).  Also, tied in August at 3.1, sports rivals Clear Channel-owned KFXN (+.3, #13) and Hubbard‘s KSTP-AM (-.4, #16) are now separated by seven-tenths.

For more PPM data and ratings analysis, visit our sister publication RadioInfo’s ratings section here.

KDWN, Las Vegas Talk Host Alan Stock to Host Special Election Season TV Program.  Morning drive host Alan Stock also hosts a nightly interview and news show produced for Vegas TV (cable 14/HD1014) airing at 9:30 pm called “Eye on Vegas with Alan Stock.”  This month, Stock will add a special weekly show to his work on Vegas TV called “News & Views 2012” set to air Wednesdays at 5:30 pm.  Stock tells TALKERS, “It is a special series for the election season only on during the month of October.  The great news is it is already sold out from an advertising standpoint.  The show includes a panel of four people – two liberals and two conservatives.  The first show aired on Wednesday the 3rd on the topic of the economy.  Other topics will include civil rights (gay marriage, etc.), illegal immigration, foreign policy and Obamacare/medical care in general although the topics might be modified depending on what news is breaking.”

WTKK, Boston Sells Out ‘Ultimate Town Hall Meeting.’  Greater Media news/talk outlet WTKK, Boston “News Talk 96.9” announces its “Ultimate Town Hall Meeting” set for Saturday, October 13 at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall has sold out all 800 seats but the station will give away five Presidential Packages (including front row seats, exclusive meet-and-greets, and more) to listeners starting next week.  The “Ultimate Town Hall Meeting” is moderated by WTKK morning hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan and includes a prominent panel of WTKK’s on-air hosts and contributors including local personality Michael Graham, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish, Cumulus Media Network’s John Batchelor, Compass Media NetworksRon Insana and the Boston Globe’s Brian McGrory.  Program director Grace Blazer states, “News Talk 96.9’s all-star panel will debate the ‘state of the state’ of the 2012 presidential election and the hotly contested Scott Brown-Elizabeth Warren Massachusetts Senate race.  Our entire team is looking forward to engaging in smart and entertaining debate for our audience and our advertisers.”

WGN, Chicago Honored at 2012 Radio Mercury Awards.  Tribune’s news/talk WGN, Chicago won a 2012 Radio Mercury Award in the “Radio Station Produced” category for the “Shifty Eyes” spot created for local business Oak Park Natural Pet & Fish.  The commercial was written and produced by WGN Radio commercial services manager Jason Skaggs.  WGN vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “We’re honored as a station and proud to have such a talented person in Jason on our team.  Jason creates unique and memorable messages that deliver real results for our advertisers.  He gets it.”  The 2012 Radio Mercury Awards are part of the 2012 Advertising Week Conference in New York.  The Radio Mercury Awards, the only competition exclusively devoted to radio, was established in 1992 to encourage and reward the development of effective and creative radio commercials.  For more on other winners, see the coverage at our sister publication RadioInfo’s site here.

Changes at the Top at Blue Star Media Group.  Effective immediately, Blue Star Media Group president and CEO Michael Metter exits to pursue interests outside the radio business and former executive vice president Jeff Weber returns to the company to lead it as consulting operations executive.  Blue Star owns and operates Business TalkRadio Network; Lifestyle TalkRadio Network; WLFP, Pittsburgh; WGCH, Greenwich, Connecticut and recently sold KNUU, Las Vegas.  Weber, who resigned from Blue Star in December of 2011 after 10 years of running the operations, says, “What a great opportunity to return to work with our exceptional staff and the fine content product we provide our more than 1,000 affiliates and the outstanding programs our owned stations air for their listeners.”

Breaking with Your Church on a Secular Talk Station.  KDKA, Pittsburgh weekend talk show host Johnna Pro writes about a recent discussion about contraception on her program that led to, as she calls it, a crisis of faith.  Pro’s experience is one many religious talk show hosts who work on secular stations face – agreeing with or breaking with Church teachings in the course of discussing the issues and having an opinion – something talk show hosts must have to survive in this business.  Read Pro’s story of how one Catholic talk show host handled a real on-the-air conflict here.

Kuhner in Boston.  Washington Times columnist and host of “The Kuhner Report” on Entercom’s WRKO, Boston (airing from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon daily) Jeff Kuhner is pictured here in the Boston studios of WRKO.  Kuhner visited the station earlier this week.  WRKO assistant program director Bill Cooksey says, “The response to Jeff has been overwhelming.  He’s going to be a star in no time at all, and I’m glad he’s with us.”

Presidential Debate, Libya Consulate Attack Investigation, Obama ‘Race Speech,’ and Iran Nukes Program Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/3).  Anticipation of last night’s presidential debate; the ongoing analysis of the fatal attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya; controversy over the video of a 2007 Barack Obama campaign speech in which he questions why largely African-American Katrina victims were treated differently than other disaster victims; and Iran’s nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

| September 20, 2012

NAB/RAB Radio Show Addresses Variety of Industry Issues.  Thousands of broadcasters from around the nation are gathering at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas for the annual “Radio Show” jointly presented by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).  The event opened yesterday and runs until Friday afternoon.  The annual conference began with an overview of its mission presented by NAB CEO Gordon Smith who trumpeted radio’s role as “first informers” in the all-too-familiar cases of natural disasters and emergencies.  Smith appealed to radio broadcasters to unify as “one voice” in dealing with Congress; expressed opposition to any pending or future “performance tax” levied on radio; and called for the industry to continue pressuring wireless companies to activate radio chips on smartphones.  RAB CEO Erica Farber also addressed the crowd, encouraging radio broadcasters to present agencies and advertisers with more than just traditional spot campaigns.  One of the biggest concerns of attendees reflected on the floor and at the sessions is an industry-wide debate over the pros and cons of terrestrial radio streaming.  There is clearly a difference of views held on the subject of streaming by radio mega-groups Clear Channel and CBS  which basically represents a schism that runs throughout the industry  as well as on the issue of paying artists and labels royalties,  CBS head Les Moonves stated, “The idea that we have to pay them to put their music on our radio stations is absurd.”  On the other hand, CC, which is about to present its giant iHeartRadio Music Festival this weekend, entered a royalty deal with the Big Machine Label Group.

Overheard at the Radio Show.  Longtime radio programmer, station owner and consutant Clark Smidt has an ear to the ground at the Radio Show sharing some gathered comments for RadioInfo readers:

“PPM has redirected programming.  40+ adult numbers is where the money is.”

 Dave Van Dyke, Radiate Media

“The news that local radio is working and making money needs to hit Wall Street for the bankers to hear about it.”

- Media broker, Ralph Meador

“Listeners are most interested in what to invest in and refinancing their homes.” 

-  Syndicated financial personality, Barry Armstrong,    .

“We’ve done well mixing live local shows with paid programs.”

-  Kurt Carberry, president, Carter Broadcasting, WCRN, Worcester

“The deals are starting to reappear but financing is still tight. I’m seeing 8 x BCF.”

-  Richard Kozacko, Media broker

“We’re doing very well with local talk shows.  Remotes are giving us great community access and support.”

- Edward Perry, owner WATD, Marshfield, MA

“Throughout the entire downturn, we’ve been up each year.  It’s because we’re local.  However, political on radio isn’t a big factor, so far.”

- Larry Adams, controller, Mahaffey Enterprises, Springfield, MO

“So far political is a disappointment; it’s on TV.  We deliver with eight stations serving our market.”

- Cary Pahigian, market manager, Saga Communications, Portland, ME

“We continue to do well because we’re local and we take care of our people.  We might not do the 35-40% margin that some other companies want, but our people are important to us.”

- Bill Baldwin, EVP, Hall Communications

“The audience comes to us to hear the new hits.  We use YouTube and sales research to determine the playlist.  But, listeners also come to us for local fun and personality.  Plus, we have a marching band and a rock band!”

- Julie Hein, general manager, KZIA, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

TRN’s Mark Masters Announces the Formation of The Organization of Independent Radio Syndicators, Networks, Journalists and New Media Companies.  With Talk Radio Network chief operating officer William Crawford named the founding president, he offers this statement on the formation of the organization: “Today, I am proud to announce a new non-profit organization designed to assist the community of independent radio syndicators, networks, journalists and new media companies. We have discovered an amazing kinship with most everyone we have spoken with about the issues this organization addresses.  When the idea for creating this organization was finally floated about, the response was so overwhelmingly positive that we have molded the attached Mission Statement and Statement of Purpose out of the very input of the independents we have spoken with. The main purpose of the organization is to provide educational information and other support to its membership.”  In part, the newly formed organization lists as its statement of purpose: 1) To embrace, support and assist (when and where possible) any legitimate producer of independently syndicated programming, radio network creating independent programming and independent news organization or new media company creating such programming (This item one does not encompass financing or financial support, as this is a non-profit and not a financing or equity operation); 2) To abide at all times with and support the laws of the constitution of the United States of America; 3) Within this organization, we will establish a university program to provide education to aspiring on-air talent, investigative journalists, independent syndicators, network executives, new media creatives and sales representation firms; 4) The future for independent syndicators, networks, new media companies and the sales companies that will represent them must be that healthy competition will always continue to expand the marketplace of ideas, so that the human mind can be challenged to new heights of personal development, innovation, creativity and accomplishment; 5) To use the full power of this membership to prosecute anti-competitive acts, fomented by those less ethical than our members, and see that such corporations and/or individuals are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  This is a portion of the statement of goals.  To find out more about this organization, its website is www.independentradiosyndicators.org.

WCAR, Detroit “ESPN 1090” Names Mark Wilson OM, Evening Host.  Birach Broadcasting brings Detroit radio and TV personality aboard to host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm sports talk program and serve as the station’s program director and operations manager.  Wilson will manage the station’s continuing transition from a talk outlet to its recent flip to sports as an ESPN affiliate.  He says, “We already have two of the most talented personalities in the history of Detroit sports radio.  Damon ‘The Dog’ Perry has a proven track record locally and nationally; he’s wild!  Art Regner is known far and wide as the Red Wings hockey guru on top of being one of the most outspoken voices in Michigan sports talk.”  Additionally, owner Sima Birach, Jr. says the company is building new studios in suburban Bingham Farms.  He states, “We’re very excited to have Mark on board.  He’s a veteran guy who has been in Detroit radio and TV for years and won awards doing it.  Mark is already making a big difference.”

Dial Global and the NFL Extend Radio Play-by-Play Deal.  The National Football League has been a partner with Dial Global going back to the late 1980s when Westwood One (merged with Dial Global a year ago) began syndicating the league’s games to radio stations.  Now, the two sides agree to a contract extension that will have Dial Global as the exclusive radio partner through the 2017 season.  NFL SVP of broadcasting and media operations Howard Katz says, “We are excited to continue partnering with Dial Global to offer our fans NFL play-by-play radio broadcasts.  With Dial Global’s national affiliate base, every fan across the country will have access to all prime time and Thanksgiving games.”

NY State Broadcasters Association Announces HoF Class of 2012.  The 2012 class of the New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame will be inducted at a ceremony in New York City on November 1.  This year’s inductees include radio personalities Scott Shannon and Joan Hamburg.  Shannon is one half of the “Scott & Todd in the Morning Show” on WPLJ, New York.  In addition to serving as PD at WPLJ, he also programs “The True Oldies Channel,” a nationally syndicated radio network operated by Cumulus Media Networks and heard on 60 broadcast stations in the U.S.  Joan Hamburg hosts the midday show on WOR, New York.  She began her radio career broadcasting consumer segments on the long-running “Rambling with Gambling” morning show on WOR before eventually earning her own show.   Highlights from her show are combined to create a two-hour nationally syndicated weekend show.  Hamburg is known for broadcasting from “remote locations” in the community, including Sardi’s, The Hamptons, Canyon Ranch and the Villages in Florida.  With her daughter, Liz, Joan is part of the first mother-daughter radio team in the country.  This year’s other inductees are: Mike Wallace, CBS News and co-editor of 60 Minutes; Len Berman, TV sports broadcaster; Jackie Robinson, TV anchor/reporter; and Rich Funke, TV anchor/reporter.

Rick & Bubba Morning Show Gets TNN Simulcast.  The Birmingham, Alabama-based nationally syndicated Rick & Bubba morning show announces it will have a TV simulcast on cable’s TNN beginning November 1.  TNN will air the program live Monday through Friday from 6:00 am to 11:00 am, a two-hour Saturday morning version of the show and a one-hour “best-of” each evening from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET.  Rick Burgess’ and Bill “Bubba” Bussey’s program is heard on about 60 radio affiliates nationally.

Dennis Miller Emcees Mitt Romney Event.  Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller will emcee “An Evening with Governor Mitt Romney” this Saturday evening at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.  Miller says, “I’m introducing Romney this Saturday and then voting for him on November 6.”

 

 

Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises $200,000 at Celebrity Golf Tourney.  More than 150 broadcasters and celebrities turned out in support of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation, including almost 30 sportscasters, athletes, and actors.  The BFoA reports $200,000 was raised to help assist broadcasters in need.  The charity expects to disburse some $700,000 in aid this year.  In the photo seen here are some of the celebrity participants (from l-r):  Don Dahler, WCBS-2 TV; Rachel Grant, actress; Dana Tyler, WCBS-2; Selanee Henderson, LPGA Futures; Nisha Sadekar, LPGA, All-American Collegian; Coach Michael Woodson, NY Knicks; Seema Sadekar, LPGA Futures; John Schriffen, ABC News Network anchor; Herb Williams,  New York Knicks; Maurice Dubois, WCBS-2; Jeremy Schaap, ESPN; Michael Gargiulo, WNBC-TV; CJ Papa, SportsNet anchor, Fios 1 news anchor; Jim Thompson, Broadcasters Foundation; Amani Toomer, Dial Global-NBC Sports Radio Network; Ann Liguori, WFAN; Jack Mulcahy, actor; Rick Cerone, New York Yankees; Deb Placey, NY Islanders Host; Duke Castiglione, FOX- 5; Sean McDonough, ESPN, ABC Sports; Anita Marks, WFAN; Jim Spanarkel, CBS Sports, ESPN, Fox Sports; Nick Buoniconti, NFL Hall-of-Famer; Jim Todd, New York Knicks assistant coach; Bill Raftery, CBS Sports; Tina Cervasio, MSG – NY Knicks & NY Red Bulls Host; Chad Cascadden, NY Jets; Bobby Carpenter, NJ Devils; Scott Knight, Knight Quality Media; and Phil Lombardo, Broadcasters Foundation.

Romney 47% Issue, ObamaCare Effects, Presidential Race Polls, Anti-America Protests in Muslim World, Libya U.S. Consulate Attack Analysis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/19).  The campaign effect of Mitt Romney’s “47% dependent on government” comments; the effects ObamaCare will have when fully implemented; the polls in the presidential race; continued anti-America protests in the Muslim world; and the analysis of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

| August 28, 2012

Mark Masters’ TRN Companies File Lawsuit against Dial Global Claiming Monopoly Practices.  These companies, (usually referred to generally in the industry as Talk Radio Network (TRN), include The Original Talk Radio Network, Inc., Talk Radio Network Enterprises, LLC and Talk Radio Network-FM, Inc.   They have initiated the filing of a Federal action against Dial Global, Inc. and multiple other parties, asserting anti-trust, anti-monopoly and other claims.  In announcing that action, Mark Masters, CEO of the plaintiff companies, states, “This is a sad but necessary day for us.  But the steps we take today are for the sake of the entire community of independent spoken word syndicators, and independent radio networks who depend on outside sale representation for their very financial survival.  These independent producers, syndicators and networks serve America’s over 10,000 commercial radio stations, helping them save costs, and increase quality at a critical time to those stations’ survival in the current difficulties they face in navigating today’s national economic environment.  Today, we reluctantly are forced to bring this action, as the largest group of independent spoken word syndicators/networks in the United States.  In doing so, we hope this signals a beginning of the end to active monopoly and anti-competitive actions within radio’s independent spoken word syndication markets.”  In the suit TRN lists a variety of marketplace operational grievances against Dial Global citing the recent demise of CNN Radio News as a prime example: “The plaintiff companies note in particular that the recent destruction of CNN Radio (which was on over 1,100 radio stations in the US and had been operating for over 20 years), going into a presidential election, in favor of its immediate replacement by a branded news operation, at the election of its sales representatives, is a telling example of the threat posed by the ability of a small handful of unelected Wall Street executives who have achieved sufficient dominance in one sales market to force changes in the separate independent spoken word market, and the threat posed to other independent spoken word syndicators absent prompt corrective actions.”  Masters goes on to state, “The sudden death of CNN Radio News, after 20 years, and in a presidential election year besides, is a veritable canary in a coal mine for independent spoken word syndication in radio.”  The idea to file this lawsuit has obviously been brewing in the mind of Mark Masters for some time now.  Attendees at the recent industry gathering presented by TALKERSmagazine, “The New Media Seminar” in New York on June 7 might recall the TRN CEO hinting during his luncheon address about the possibility that his company might be taking unprecedented legal action against an alleged radio industry monopoly.  Seems he meant it.  TALKERS contacted Dial Global CEO David Landau who said, “No comment.”

Broadcasts and Interviews Abound as Talk Radio Shows Emanate from Tampa.  The official activities at the Republican National Convention may have been put on hold for a day but the skies cleared and planned broadcasting activities went on pretty much unabated at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Convention Center where the RNC will officially resume today.  Talk hosts, news professionals, celebrities and political commentators gathered and took advantage of the day to talk about the presidential race and all that goes with it.  Pictured here is Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher (r) speaking with actor Jon Voight (l) who spoke with Gallagher on the record for his nationally syndicated program.  Voight told Gallagher, “Much of the Hollywood community has ‘blood on our hands’ for taking leftist positions in the 60s and 70s.”  He says he’s “atoning” for that by supporting Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.  “He’s serious, he’s a problem solver and he’s been in public service all his life.”  Meanwhile, XtreMedia president and nationally syndicated talk host Kevin McCullough (l) had the opportunity to chat with Minnesota Senator and former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (r) on radio row inside the convention center at the Talk Radio News Service booth.  Cumulus Media Networks syndicated talk host – and career journalist – Geraldo Rivera (r) meets up with news colleague Sam Donaldson of ABC News (l) at the news organization’s booth inside the convention center.  Meanwhile, as Isaac bears down on the Gulf Coast and moves straight towards New Orleans…

Gulf Coast Radio Stations Prepare to Keep Citizens Informed.  The people of Louisiana and the rest of the Gulf Coast are understandably nervous.  It has been seven years since Hurricane Katrina roared through this region making history and leaving an indelible mark on the lives of millions of people.   During that natural disaster — and a number of others both before and since – good ol’ terrestrial radio has risen to the occasion, in many cases putting competitive barriers aside, and served the community.  In preparation for the coming storm, Entercom’s WWL-FM/AM went into wall-to-wall coverage mode preparing its listeners with updates on the approaching storm’s direction and progress.  The radio station’s website this morning looks like something you would expect to see from the Weather ChannelGuaranty Broadcasting Group reports to TALKERS it is all over the storm today with simulcasts on their various formats in the market that began at 5:30 am.  Talk 107.3 FM began live simulcast coverage on Eagle 98.1’s 100,000 watt signal. Matt Kennedy and Brian Haldane are leading coverage with the Talk 107.3 FM morning show. Darren Gauthier and Scotty Drake will provide mid-day coverage. The husband and wife team of Bill and Karen Profita will anchor afternoon coverage. 104.5 ESPN’s Charles Hanagriff and Matt Moscona will take on coverage until midnight on the Talk 107.3/Eagle 98.1 simulcast.  Bill and Karen Profita will return with the overnight shift beginning at midnight.  The Talk 107.3 FM/Eagle 98.1 simulcast will continue throughout the hurricane as proves to be necessary.  The simulcast will also feature live coverage from Guaranty’s TV partner WAFB Channel 9 with continuous updates from chief meteorologist Jay Grymes.  Guaranty VP/market manager Gordy Rush tells TALKERS, “We are thrilled to bring unprecedented 24-hour live and local coverage to South Louisiana with the names and voices that carried this region through the likes of Katrina and Gustav.” (Image courtesy of NASA)

CBS Sports Radio Names Eric Spitz Director of Programming; Chris Oliviero to Supervise New Division.  WFAN, New York program director Eric Spitz is named the director of programming for CBS’ new sports talk radio network and the company announces CBS Radio SVP of programming Chris Oliviero will take on a supervisory role in the new sports talk venture.  Spitz is a longtime WFAN employee, beginning his tenure there as a desk assistant back in 1987 when the station first debuted.  Spitz split from WFAN for a period in 2002 when he was named vice president, operations and programming for Westwood One’s Shadow/Metro Traffic but returned to WFAN in 2005.  In a statement, Oliviero comments on the new management structure.  “Eric has a unique skill set ideal for building a sports radio network as proven by his tremendous success at WFAN.  Eric has been involved with the pioneering radio station since the beginning and watched the format grow from its infancy to what is now one of the most successful in the industry.  His perspective is exactly what’s needed to launch a sports radio brand that can stand the test of time.  And his selection for this critical position proves the value we are putting on leadership with a strong editorial track record in sports programming.  We are also fortunate to be able to call on the expertise of Mark Chernoff, who is without a doubt the most successful sports radio program director of all time.  Mark has been one of the principals helping to lay the foundation for CBS Sports Radio and his continued guidance will be a huge advantage as we craft programming we are confident will be of great interest to our affiliates around the country.”  The 24/7 sports programming network will launch on January 2, 2013 with Cumulus Media Networks as syndicator and sales partner.

WRKO, Boston Promotes Bill Cooksey to Assistant PD.  Morning show executive producer Bill Cooksey will keep his duties managing the production of the Todd Feinburg and Michele McPhee morning drive show at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston as he adds the assistant program director tag to his business card.  Cooksey will effectively take over the day-to-day operations of WRKO with this promotion.  WRKO PD Jason Wolfe says, “Bill has more passion for WRKO than anyone and has earned this promotion.  He’s smart, aggressive, and a true leader.  His efforts over the past several years have been outstanding and I’m really looking forward to working with him in this new capacity.”  Cooksey started at WRKO in 2006 and became executive producer of the morning show in 2010.  Of his promotion, Cooksey states, “I’m honored by this promotion and couldn’t be more excited about the future of WRKO.  We’ve made several big changes in recent months and top to bottom WRKO is a stronger radio station today than ever before.  WRKO has been home for me for the last six years. I am proud of what we accomplished and I look forward to building on those accomplishments in the future.”

Cincinnati Talk Host Eric Deters to Surface at Rock Trimulcast.  Just days after leaving Christian Broadcasting System’s WQRT, Cincinnati due to clashes with management, talk host Eric Deters (who has also worked at Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati subbing for Bill Cunningham and hosting his own weekend show) will take over the morning show at Class X – the classic rock trimulcast that’s heard on WMWX, Miamitown, Ohio; WKCX, Crittenden, Kentucky; and WYNS, Waynesville, Ohio.  No official start date for Deters has been given.

Local Fan Wins Eagles Season Tix in Celebrity Call-In Contest on WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia.  Kristin Lee of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania won Eagles season tickets in PM drive host Mike Missanelli’s Celebrity Call-In Contest in which listeners had to work their connections to urge a celebrity to call in to Missanelli’s program on 97.5 The Fanatic.  Lee convinced P-Diddy to phone in and she was awarded the tickets on Friday, August 24.  The impressive list of celebrities to call in during the contest included: actor Colin Quinn, actress Anne Hathaway, golfer Gary Player, model Cheryl Tiegs and musician Alicia Keys, to name a few.

Fox Sports Radio Develops Weekend Golf Show with Hank Haney.  The program will air live from 8:00 am to 10:00 am ET beginning Saturday, September 8 and FSRN has nabbed SupremeGolf.com as the title sponsor for the show.  Hank Haney – legendary golf instructor and author of a recent best-selling book – “will take listeners beyond the green to provide expert analysis on today’s players and events, talk with celebrities, insiders and golf fans, and provide insight on how to become a better golfer.”  Senior vice president, sports programming for Premiere Networks, Don Martin, states, “We’re excited to give listeners the opportunity to interact with one of the best golf instructors in the world every weekend.  Hank’s many years of experience and expertise in golf will provide our listeners with tremendous insight into the sport, and access to the best players on the course today.”

Republican National Convention, Tropical Storm Isaac and the Death of Neil Armstrong Were Among the Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/27).  The Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay; the effect of Tropical Storm Isaac on the convention and its path toward New Orleans; and the death of legendary astronaut Neil Armstrong were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

| August 2, 2012

Chick-fil-A Controversy Fires Up Conservative Talk Hosts; Sparks Movement to Support Fast Food Chain.  The issues of gay marriage and First Amendment rights have been front and center on news/talk radio this week in the wake of Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy’s comments in a Baptist publication about his support for the Biblical definition of marriage that’s grown into a major news story.  Some view his statement as bigoted and divisive while others see this as a free speech issue.  The case has spurred planned demonstrations by same-sex couples and their supporters as well as conservative media personalities who have encouraged their listeners and viewers to support the fast food chain.  Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher is pictured here (at left) in his studio preparing to enjoy his Chick-fil-A lunch and has been encouraging listeners to post pictures of themselves eating at the restaurant on Facebook.  Salem Communications O&O WNYM, New York – AM 970 The Answer – organized a call for support at the Paramus, New Jersey Mall where the station reports some 200 listeners had lined up by lunchtime to support the store.  At right is talk show host Kevin McCullough (l)  – whose weekend talk show is heard on WNYM – with Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce (r) as they prepare to enjoy a sandwich.  In the panoramic photo below.  The Answer morning drive host Curtis Sliwa can be seen at the far right speaking with a listener while the line of customers spreads across the photo to the left.

Bill Handel’s “Cash Mob” Supports SoCal Toy Store.  A “cash mob” organized by KFI, Los Angeles morning drive host Bill Handel put some $9,000 in the register of struggling Corona del Mar toy store Toy Boat, Toy Boat, Toy Boat.  Handel appeared at the store from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm but Handel’s listeners patronized the store all day long after hearing Handel speak on the air about the state of the struggling local business.  Handel show executive producer Michelle Kube reports many of the people who bought toys donated them to Children’s Hospital of Orange County.  Kube states, “This was just the first.  We plan to do more of these across all day parts on KFI over the next few months all over the Southland as our amazing listeners have responded with so many requests to help local small business owners!”

Clear Channel Reports Radio Revenue Up 3%.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – of course, now a private company but one that still publicly reports financials – gives its 2012 Q2 financial report and states revenue was up from $771.8 million in the second quarter of 2011 to $793 million in the second quarter of this year.  CFO Tom Casey reports much of that increase was due to national and in categories including automotive, telecommunications, financial services, political and entertainment.  Casey noted that national business rose at roughly double the rate of local business.

Comedian and Stephanie Miller Show Cast Member John Fugelsang Gets Current TV Show.  Regular Stephanie Miller radio show cast member – and one third of Miller’s “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” – John Fugelsang will have his own Current TV program beginning in the fall.  Talk radio host Stephanie Miller’s show is simulcast on the Al Gore-founded cable TV network in which Fugelsang gets some face time, but now he’ll have a solo gig there.  In a statement, Al Gore says, “We at Current are eager to bring John’s unique perspective on politics and the world around him to primetime.  He’s been a part of the Current family for a while now and we see just how much his voice resonates with our audience.  His new show will nicely complement our growing lineup.”  Fugelsang has guest-hosted prime time shows on the network including Eliot Spitzer’s and Jennifer Granholm’s programs.  The network has not announced what time the show will air.

WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina Flips to Talk.  The Kirkman Broadcasting station drops oldies for news/talk and airs largely syndicated programming with the exception of local PM drive host Rocky D.  Programming consists of: Cumulus Media NetworksImus in the Morning; Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher; Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham; Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and Jim Bohannon; and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” with Jon Grayson.

California Couple Sentenced in Real Estate Ponzi Scheme; Infomercials Aired on KVTA, Port Hueneme.  It’s almost a mystery how stations keep selling infomercials to “investment gurus” who go on to swindle people out of their life savings…but they do.  The latest case in this oft-repeating story is that of Kenneth Powell and Kathryn Rose who pleaded guilty to numerous counts of felony fraud related to a real estate investment Ponzi scheme that scammed some $3 million out of 15 people in Southern California.  The two broadcast shows called “Academy of Real Estate,” “Money Intelligence” and “The Ken & Katie Show” on KVTA.  Investors were asked to put money into real estate development or loans secured by real estate but all investment cash went to pay off previous investors until the scheme went bust.  59-year-old Powell received 18 years in prison and 63-year-old Rose will serve 12 years, 8 months.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Journal Broadcasting’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee gave away a fully restored 1969 Chevy Camaro (pictured here) to winner Aaron Guenterberg in its annual “Free Ride” promotion that saw more than 10,000 people enter the contest…..A Saturday morning talk show hosted by Tony Stiles debuts on news/talk KOIL, Omaha this Saturday…..Jacksonville-based sports talk show “Courts and Sports,” hosted by attorney John Phillips, moves from WOKV to crosstown WFXJ, Jacksonville on August 9.  Phillips’ regular co-host for the program is Jacksonville Jaguars running back Rashad Jennings…..SiriusXM presents “College Sports Nation Camp Tour” on its College Sports Nation channel beginning today.  Hosts Eddie George, Gino Torretta, Rick Neuheisel, Houston Nutt, Randy Cross, Gil Brandt, Jack Arute and Mark Packer will visit 13 camps in 16 days and report to listeners.

20 Gallons of Hat.  WLAC, Nashville-based talk host Steve Gill (r) is pictured here with music legend Charlie Daniels (l).  Daniels appeared on Gill’s syndicated talk program on Tuesday, July 31 and the two talked politics and the state of the country.

Presidential Race, Chick-fil-A Case, Ted Cruz Texas Primary Victory, Fed Economic Report/Financial Markets Activities, and London Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/1).  The campaign for president, the outpouring of support for Chick-fil-A and the issue of same-sex marriage; Tea Party candidate Ted Cruz’s Republican primary victory for U.S. Senate in Texas; the Fed’s economic report and financial markets activities; and the London Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, June 22, 2012

| June 22, 2012

Victory, But No Clarity at the Supreme Court.  The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Fox TV and ABC and against the FCC in a decision announced yesterday.  The high-profile cases involving fleeting occurrences of nudity and four-letter words on the two TV networks came to an end with the Court ruling as many, including TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman, thought it would: in favor of the broadcasters.  But as Weisman writes, the decision was based on a violation of the Due Process clause and ignored the larger question of the FCC’s definition of indecency.  “As for the overriding question of the unconstitutionality of the rules themselves, the Court ruled that it did not even have to answer that question because the application of the FCC’s indecency rule was improperly done in a manner that violated the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment.”  Read Weisman’s analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision here.

Sports Talk Radio Gets Another National Network as CBS Radio Teams with Cumulus Media Networks to Offer Talk Shows, News and More.  The skyrocketing popularity of sports talk radio is bringing another major network player into the business.  CBS announces it will put the resources of CBS Radio and CBS Sports together to build a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week lineup of national programming called CBS Sports Radio.  The company is partnering with Cumulus Media Networks which will provide affiliate sales and ad sales for the network and the content will air on 67 of Cumulus Media’s stations.  The long-form talk aspect of this network will debut on January 3, 2013 but hourly CBS Sports news updates will begin on September 4 of this year.  This entry of CBS into the sports radio game creates a much more crowded field of players once dominated by just a few.  Soon ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio Network, and Yahoo! Sports Radio will be joined by the recently announced collaboration between NBC and Dial GlobalNBC Sports Radio – and CBS Sports Radio.  CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason states, “For more than two decades we have owned local sports radio and appreciate great talent and programming that resonates with listeners and elicits passionate dialogue and debate.  We are bullish our expertise and prior achievements will allow us to successfully complement our existing businesses while expanding into what until now has been a largely unchallenged sector of the radio business.”  Exactly how CBS will staff the new national sports talk radio network is something we’ll see develop over the next six months.  It certainly has a trough of excellent talent at its local sports talk O&Os and the company indicates affiliate stations will have the opportunity to “regionalize their lineup by choosing from select programs currently featured on CBS Radio or Cumulus sports stations.”  That means an affiliate station in the Mid-Atlantic, for example, could elect to carry a program that emanates from WIP, Philadelphia or WJFK-FM, Washington.  Regardless of how this new enterprise develops, suffice it to say the sports talk radio business is getting much more competitive.

Genesis Communications Announces End of ESPN Relationship in Tampa and Orlando.  ESPN Radio has been a part of Genesis Communications’ WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando for the past 10 years but president Bruce Maduri says in a statement that they believe it’s time to develop more local – and exclusive – talent.  Maduri states, “ESPN Radio makes its once-exclusive programming readily available to the public on multiple audio and video channels and platforms, such as web radio, satellite radio, mobile devices, broadcast television, cable TV and more.”  And Maduri cites the cost of the programming as a factor.  He says they’ve enjoyed their 10-year relationship with ESPN but will end their relationship with ESPN by October 1.

Meet One of Talk Media’s Hardest-Working Talents: Larry O’Connor.  And today is a very busy day for Larry O’Connor.  First, he’s filling in for WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall in AM drive; after an hour break he fills in for Dial Global’s nationally syndicated Dennis Miller; then he joins Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt as a guest on Hewitt’s annual live broadcast from Disneyland in Anaheim.  Who is Larry O’Connor?  The former manager and producer in the Broadway theater industry joined the Breitbart empire writing for Big Hollywood and became Andrew Breitbart’s choice to run the multi-media arm where he came to be in charge of Breitbart TV and he’s now editor of the video and multi-media arm of the Breitbart News Network.  Given his position, O’Connor has an interesting view of the talk media landscape and he tells TALKERS magazine, “I have been fortunate to launch my career in this new age where I could broadcast on the internet for relatively low costs and within months build a loyal and vibrant audience with no more promotion than Facebook and Twitter alerts.  Streaming my show at Breitbart News has allowed me to cater to the passionate center-right political news junkie that makes up our audience and it perfectly mirrors the hard-core talk radio audience.  I am also fortunate to be the multi-media editor and curator for the Breitbart sites which puts me in the position of seeking out the choicest sound bytes which I hope will end up on playlists for talk radio shows from coast to coast.  By having that task all day long, it puts me in the news cycle that is in the wheelhouse of talkers up and down the aisle.”  The untimely death of Andrew Breitbart certainly affected the late conservative icon’s business but O’Connor tells TALKERS things there continue to move at a lightning pace.  “The radical re-design of our site, which was Andrew’s final project, has been a resounding success.  But the new design also has put enormous pressure and demands on our dedicated editorial staff because unlike our old blog format, the new design requires us to be on top of the news cycle and constantly posting fresh, relevant content on a constant basis.  The loss of Andrew is a void that, frankly, will never be filled.  But it is comforting to know that his business partner and long-time best friend Larry Solov is there every day over-seeing us and keeping Andrew’s vision alive and thriving.”  Meanwhile, O’Connor continues to be heard at local stations across the nation.  He’s recently filled in at such historic signals as WOR, New York; WLS, Chicago; WABC, New York and more.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Nationally syndicated progressive talk star Randi Rhodes hosted an iconic entertainment figure on her Premiere Networks program as Cher called the show on Wednesday to talk about being vilified for speaking out as an entertainer.  Cher told Rhodes, “I…try to do my part, try to do more than my part for helping people with my money and with my speaking…They just can only vilify you by just saying the most heinous things.  They don’t talk about your ideas, or what you think.  They talk about what kind of a person you are and then they vilify what kind of a person you are.”…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles spotlights the city of Santa Monica in its next “KNX on Your Corner” event.  News anchors will broadcast live from the café Back on the Beach throughout the day and “KNX Business Hour” host Frank Mottek will lead a private networking luncheon for local business leaders, titled, “Your Money, the Markets & the Economy,” with special guest, James Hausberg, managing director and partner of HighTower Advisors at Santa Monica Ford Lincoln…..Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago is named Chicago Market Station of the Year by the Illinois Broadcasters Association for the fifth straight year.  At the recent awards ceremony WGN picked up six other first place honors including Best Local Radio Newscast, Best Sports Story, and Best Website…..SiriusXM – in association with ESPN Radio – offers subscribers complete coverage of Wimbledon beginning Monday, June 25 through Saturday, July 7.

CRN Digital Talk Radio Adds Three Telecom Systems to Its Affiliate Roster.  Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio announces the addition of three new telecommunications systems to its affiliate roster which will carry CRN’s more than 100 shows and talk radio programs on their audio-only video channels for subscribers.  Home Net of Kutztown, Pennsylvania; CML Telephone Cooperative Association of Meridien, Iowa; and LISCO (Local Internet Service Company) of Fairfield, Iowa will carry all seven of CRN’s broadcast networks on dedicated audio channels.  CRN CEO Mike Horn states, “We are excited to join with Home Net, CML and LISCO and provide their customers with our top-rated and highly entertaining programming for the at-home listening experience.”

‘Fast and Furious’ Case/Executive Privilege Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 18-22.  The case of Congressional Republicans’ attempt to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for not delivering documents in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program and President Obama’s invoking executive privilege in the case was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing in the #1 spot on the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 this week was the 2012 presidential race.  At #3 was the G20 Summit and the Russia-Syria connection followed by the Euro Zone debt crisis and the global financial markets activities at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The Dave Ramsey show is added to the program schedule at CBS Radio’s KRLD, Dallas…..KFNX, Phoenix picks up Cumulus Media NetworksMike Huckabee…..Compass Media NetworksFree Beer and Hot Wings morning drive show is added to the program schedule at WZGM, Asheville, North Carolina; KBAZ-FM, Missoula, Montana; and WQCK-FM, State College, Pennsylvania…..The Money Pit Home Improvement Show joins the lineup at WMCD-FM, Statesboro, Georgia; WTHQ, Paducah, Kentucky; and KQWC-FM, Webster City, Iowa.

Monday, April 9, 2012

| April 9, 2012

Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee Debuts Today.  The number of affiliates set to air the Mike Huckabee show is pegged at somewhere between 175 and 200.  The eager anticipation of Huckabee’s debut would not be so intense were it not for the facts that the show airs live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET – the same time period as Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh – and that the latter is recovering from the backlash and intense consumer media scrutiny that followed the Sandra Fluke controversy.  Regardless, the industry will certainly be watching how Huckabee’s Cumulus Media Networks program takes off but the consumer media appears to be salivating at the notion that Limbaugh has “competition.”  The fact, of course, is that every radio show has competition of one sort or another and Limbaugh has faced high-profile talent in his daypart in the past – most notably from Fox News Channel superstar Bill O’Reilly for a number of years.  Mike Huckabee will succeed if he hosts a compelling program that grabs listeners.  Broadcasters understand that will happen or not independent of what other talk show hosts are doing or whether they are facing a “crisis.”  As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison told Politico in a piece published over the weekend, “This isn’t an election, it’s an industry.  There’s room for both, just like there’s room for Letterman and Leno.  Yes, every competitor hurts Limbaugh.  But Huckabee is basically just another competitor.  If he takes a little away from Limbaugh, fine.  But he also has the potential to expand the talk radio audience.”

Rumors of Major Syndication Changes in Philadelphia and New York; Smerconish to Bump Limbaugh from WPHT.  And possibly more than that…but first things first.  A very hot rumor out of Philadelphia has WYD Media-produced Michael Smerconish’s nationally syndicated program airing live 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on CBS Radio’s news/talk WPHT– where Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh does right now.  Smerconish is currently delayed to PM drive on WPHT.  Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor wrote about the other part of this rumor in his morning blast on 4/6: Merlin Media may be planning to go talk and not all-news on WKDN-FM, Philadelphia  – its new property which is still airing Christian programming from prior owner Family Stations.  With former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte morning drive host (and Philly native) Al Gardner hired to program and possibly host mornings at WKDN-FM and Rush Limbaugh possibly soon-to-be-available (plus Premiere’s Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck available, as Tom Taylor points out), a move to talk would be much less personnel intensive and would enjoy the ability to grab three of the biggest news/talk personalities in the business.  But there’s more…other chatter coming out of New York is that Merlin Media has been talking to Premiere Networks about bringing Rush Limbaugh to its all-newser FM News 101.9 (WEMP-FM) if Cumulus Media decides to put new national syndication rollout Mike Huckabee on WABC in Limbaugh’s place.  Then one would have to ask the question, “Would Merlin do the same with WWWN-FM, Chicago if Cumulus bumped Limbaugh in exchange for Huckabee on its news/talker WLS?”  Stay tuned.

KFAQ, Tulsa Talk Host Pat Campbell Responds to Deadly Shootings.  KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive talk host Pat Campbell tells TALKERS his program responded very quickly to a series of shootings in the city in which five citizens – all African American – were shot and three died.  Campbell says he hosted a special Saturday noontime edition of his program to address the crimes and seek the public’s assistance in capturing suspects.  He tells TALKERS,I had the mayor in the studio urging calm but more importantly, cooperation with the police.  We urged listeners that might have any information to call the Crime Stoppers Hotline and the good news is that a tip came in around 4:00 pm that led to the arrest of the suspects early Sunday morning. This is an example of talk radio at its best!  Rather than becoming a wedge like we’ve seen in the Trayvon Martin case, 1170 KFAQ brought the community together and got the bad guys off the street.”

WQAM, Miami Standing By Sports Talk Host Sid Rosenberg After DUI Arrest Last Week.  WQAM, Miami afternoon sports talk host Sid Rosenberg was back on the air on Friday after spending most of Thursday in jail following an early morning arrest on DUI and driving on a suspended license charges.  Rosenberg, who has spoken publicly about past substance abuse issues and has talked of having twice been to rehab, is being supported by his superiors at the Beasley sports talk outlet.  The Miami Herald reports WQAM program director Lee Feldman stating, for now, Rosenberg is not being suspended.  WQAM general manager Joe Bell declined to comment to the paper.

Matt Lauer to Remain with NBC’s “Today.”  The months of speculation about the future of television talk host Matt Lauer have come to an end as NBC announced Lauer has signed a multi-year contract to remain with the network’s morning news magazine program.  The buzz in the industry included rumors Lauer would rejoin Katie Couric at rival ABC.  Though Couric is set to begin a new chapter in her career at ABC with her own daytime talk show, ABC’s “Good Morning America” has been closing the ratings gap between it and “Today.”  On Lauer’s signing, NBC News president Steve Capus tells The New York Times, “Matt is the franchise, and our franchise player has decided to keep leading our team.”  The Times story notes that “Today” has been in first place in the morning news show ratings for the past 16 years.

Fox News Channel Brings Santita Jackson Aboard as Contributor.  The daughter of Rev. Jesse Jackson left Midway Broadcasting’s WVON, Chicago due to budget cuts last fall.  Now, Santita Jackson is named a contributor for Fox News Channel.  Santita Jackson is also producer of Jesse Jackson’s weekly Premiere Networks-syndicated talk show “Keep Hope Alive.”

Raubin Pierce Leaves On-Air Position with WIBW, Topeka for Management Post at Manhattan Broadcasting.  Raubin Pierce co-hosted the “On the Other Hand” talk show with co-host Megan Mosack at Morris Communications’ WIBW, Topeka and served as the company’s director of information technology.  He’s left those duties to become operations director and head of new media at Manhattan Broadcasting in Manhattan, Kansas.  The company operates four stations in the Manhattan market including news/talk KMAN.  Pierce tells the Topeka Capital-Journal, “This was just a fantastic opportunity.  There was just no way that I couldn’t do this.”

Longtime South Florida Broadcaster Patricia Anderson Dies from Cancer at 54.  Trish Anderson was well known on South Florida radio.  During her career she worked as a producer, voice-over talent, sports reporter and traffic reporter at stations including WINZ and WIOD, Miami.  Anderson battled breast and bone cancer.  She passed away on March 31.

Johnny B at Wrigley Field.  That’s WGN, Chicago morning drive host Jonathon Brandmeier (center with sunglasses) surrounded by the Chicago band The Fold at the Captain Morgan club at Wrigley Field on Opening Day.  The Fold won the station’s contest to write an original song celebrating the Chicago Cubs.  The winning song – “Let’s Go Cubbies” – is being played at the beginning of each Cubs game broadcast on WGN this season.  The band was with Brandmeier on Opening Day to perform the song live at WGN’s pre-game broadcast and live remote.

Friday, April 6, 2012

| April 6, 2012

“Olbermann, You Blew it!”  Those are the word of TALKERS columnist Mona “The Lip” Lipschitz as she castigates former Current TV talent Keith Olbermann for his messy exit from Current and his mega-million dollar suit against the fledgling network.  Lipschitz calls Olbermann out stating, “At least Al Gore is attempting to widen the commercial media platform available to progressive talkers in this country, not to mention sign you to a big fat friggin’ contract with enough dough that could keep countless of the families you claim to be so concerned about under their roofs and fed through this economic and political crisis.”  Read more of Lipschitz’s searing analysis of the Olbermann-Current blow-up here.

Dallas Talk Radio Institution Mark Davis at Contract Loggerheads with Cumulus Media.  WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas talk radio host Mark Davis writes on his blog that his status with the Cumulus Media-owned news/talk station is “not departure, but impasse.”  He confirms his contract with the station has expired and he has been off the air all this week – his contract expired last Friday – as a result of his and the company’s inability to come to terms on a new deal.  Cumulus Media is not responding to requests for comment.  Davis hosts the late morning program between AM drive and Rush Limbaugh’s midday show.  Cumulus operates both WBAP-AM/FM and news/talk KLIF in the market and industry watchers are wondering how the debut of Cumulus Media NetworksMike Huckabee program will affect the programming on the stations.  One would assume Cumulus wants to see Huckabee’s show in a major market like Dallas although WBAP carries Limbaugh – aired live at the same time as the new Huckabee show – and it’s not clear how much time is left on the Premiere Networks program’s contract with WBAP.  Mark Davis, with WBAP since 1994, also writes a weekly column for the Dallas Morning News and appears on local TV on “Inside Texas Politics” on WFAA-TV and KDFW-TV.

Les Brown Exits KFWB, Los Angeles.  Motivational speaker Les Brown has exited his role with KFWB, Los Angeles after a little more than a year on the air.  Program director Andy Ludlum confirms his exit to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan.  “Les Brown came to us and said he wanted to leave his KFWB show when his contractual term expired at the end of March.  While Les has enjoyed his role as host of one the nation’s only positive radio shows, he’s been feeling his calling is beyond that of a local radio show host.  He is being asked by number of companies and organizations to re-energize his role as an international motivational speaker and Les has come to the conclusion that is a better route to the national and international stage he has in mind.  There may be more media in his future but he’s thinking national syndication rather than local radio.”  Brown’s program aired from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm and the station has extended Dave Ramsey’s show by one hour and is beginning its PM drive news programming an hour earlier to make up the difference.

Journal Broadcasting’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Deals with Controversy as Staffers Sign Governor Walker Recall Petition.  Journal Broadcasting is acting swiftly to quell the controversy over some of its news staffers having signed the petition to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.  Journal issued a statement that says: “TODAY’S TMJ4 and Newsradio 620 WTMJ discovered that several members of our staff signed the recall petitions for Governor Walker.  Some of those employees play a role in our news gathering and editorial process.  Several of them also work on-air: One at TODAY’S TMJ4; four at Newsradio 620 WTMJ.  We want you to know that we consider this a serious issue.  We are in the process of dealing with it internally.  Our reputation of being a fair and unbiased news source is of paramount importance to both TODAY’S TMJ4 and Newsradio 620 WTMJ.  We expect anyone involved in the production of news to avoid situations that could compromise our integrity.  We don’t allow news employees to sign nomination papers for candidates, display yard signs or take part in a political campaign.  However, many employees told us that they felt signing the recall petition was not a political act, but instead felt it was similar to casting a vote.  WTMJ does not agree and we want to assure you, our listeners, that we are taking measures to make sure all of our reporting is fair, balanced and to ensure something like this does not happen again.”

Tom Leykis Fans Crash Website as Talk Icon Debuts Internet Program.  Tom Leykis got back behind the microphone for the first time in more than three years after CBS Radio blew up his old home base of KLSX-FM, Los Angeles.  This time Leykis is broadcasting via the internet on his longtime blowmeuptom.com domain and the response from Leykis fans was enough to crash the servers during its debut broadcast on Monday, April 2.  Leykis e-mails the OC Register’s Gary Lycan to report, “It was amazing.  Fortunately, each 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show repeats until the next one airs.  The easiest, fastest solution to listen right away is to go to TuneIn.com and search for ‘Leykis.’”

SiriusXM Signs Multi-Year Deal with Major League Baseball to Broadcast Games.  MLB has had a deal with the original XM Satellite Radio since its inception.  This new contract allows MLB games to be heard via the SiriusXM Internet Radio App, via SiriusXM.com and, for satellite radio listeners who have the XM Satellite service.  Major League Baseball Advanced Media senior vice president Kenny Gersh states, “SiriusXM has been a valuable partner in connecting its subscribers with the tradition of baseball on the radio and this agreement adds an important distribution platform, alongside our own products including Gameday Audio and At Bat, for fans to enjoy listening to the radio broadcasts of Major League Baseball games via the internet.”

ESPN’s Mike & Mike to Broadcast from World Champion St. Louis Cardinals’ Home Opener.  ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic will broadcast the national radio and cable TV simulcast of their morning drive program live from Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Friday, April 13.  Local affiliate, Hubbard Broadcasting’s WXOS-FM, St Louis – 101 ESPN – will be holding a listener contest in conjunction with the special “Mike & Mike” broadcast so that local fans can be a part of the television and radio broadcast.  This intimate broadcast is not open to the public; however, five lucky 101 ESPN listeners can win a pair of VIP passes to attend this event by entering to win at the station’s website.

WZIM-FM, Bloomington, Illinois Flips to Sports.  Zimmer/Great Plains Media drops classic hits on WZIM-FM (licensed to Lexington, Illinois) and uses programming from Fox Sports Radio Network plus Premiere NetworksJim Rome.  That station also will air Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox baseball and plans to carry Indianapolis Colts football.  Robert Rees is serving as program director for the station.

“Afternoon Constitutional” Show Features Local GOP Debate Series.  The WCHV, Charlottesville, Virginia-based “Afternoon Constitutional” program – hosted by Joe Thomas and syndicated regionally – is airing weekly shows on Mondays beginning April 9 through that state’s GOP primary in June featuring candidates for U.S. Senate.  Thomas tells TALKERS magazine, the show is called “4 Your Approval” and the four candidates for the Senate nomination (former Governor and Senator George Allen, former TEA Party chair Jamie Radtke, General Assembly Delegate Bob Marshall and former radio show host and bishop E.W. Jackson) will answer a four-question gauntlet from himself, co-host Nikki Lewis and listener submissions.  Thomas states, “We have a difficult choice but we believe that honest competition will bring forth the best candidate for our listeners.”

GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Campaign Returns to Top of Talkers TenTM Weekly Chart.  The Republican primary race and the greater 2012 presidential campaign were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week of April 2-6, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Following at #2 was the Supreme Court’s review of President Obama’s Patient Accessibility and Affordable Care Act.  At #3 was the federal budget proposed by Congressman Paul Ryan and at #4 was skyrocketing gas prices.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published at Talkers.com every Friday.  View the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  WBSM, New Bedford, Massachusetts adds Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher show…..Dr. Daliah Wachs gets her daily program added to WFAS-FM, Bronxville, New York…..The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Daily Wrap with Michael Castner” picks up KPUA, Hilo, Hawaii…..WYD Media’s Thom Hartmann joins WGUN, Atlanta…..Ed Schultz is added to Rivers Radio’s WGUN, Atlanta…..Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” is added to the program lineup at WZFG, Fargo; KEUN, Eunice, Louisiana; and KMAM/KMOE-FM, Butler, Missouri.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Prepares to Celebrate 90th Anniversary on April 10.  If you think you’ve been reading about a lot of 90th anniversaries here at TALKERS lately, it’s not your imagination.  The government handed out a lot of radio licenses in 1922 when the popular new commercial medium was really taking off.  Greater Media’s WBT signed on April 10, 1922 from its original studio location in a chicken coop behind the Charlotte Country Club.  The station has claimed to be the second commercial station in the country and the first in the Southeast.  The accompanying photo seen here is one of the station’s first control boards.  There is a cool video presentation on the history of WBT at the station’s website here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

| March 28, 2012

Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman Addresses Limbaugh Case in AP Interview.  In a far-reaching interview with the Associated Press given at the American Association of Advertising Agencies conference in Los Angeles, Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman answered questions about the controversy over the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke incident and the war being waged against Limbaugh and Premiere Networks by Media Matters for America.  Pittman – who hadn’t commented on the case since it exploded a month ago – told the AP Limbaugh is the “king” of radio and he’s sticking by him and he called the controversy “part of the normal day-to-day of talk radio.”  Pittman also said the resulting campaign by Media Matters and boycotts on sponsors has not had a major impact on the company nor has there been a move by stations to drop the show.  When asked about Cumulus Media Networks’ strategy of using the Limbaugh case to promote soon-to-be-syndicated talk host Mike Huckabee, Pittman stated, “It basically says Rush is the king.  Rush is certainly the leader, and we’re delighted to have him.”

Courtside Entertainment Lands Dr. Drew in Major Markets.   Courtside Entertainment Group announces the “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew” is picked up in Los Angeles by KFWB; KPTK, Seattle; KEXX, Phoenix; and KDWN, Las Vegas.  The feature is already heard in Chicago and New York on Merlin Media’s two all-news FMs.  Courtside president Bob Moore states, “‘Minute Clinic’ provides listeners with important information on medicine, relationships, and coping with the problems of everyday life.  It’s interesting, informative and entertaining from one of media’s most trusted and reliable experts – Dr. Drew Pinsky.  It’s exactly the kind of specialized programming that we are focusing on at Courtside.”  The feature is repped by Compass Media for ad sales and support.

Election Year Making FAIR’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” Radio Row a Hot Event.  The annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row sponsored by Federation for American Immigration Reform and taking place in Washington, DC on May 8 and 9 is packed with talk radio hosts and stations taking part but election year interest is prompting FAIR to expand the event and allow even more broadcasters to take part.  Event manager Bob Dane says, “The fact that this annual radio row has a history of providing access to A-list guests and includes all equipment, ISDN lines, engineering support and long distance at no charge is really increasing demand to participate.”  For those who think the event is for conservatives only, Dial Global talk host Thom Hartmann explains why he’s attended in the past. “I’ve attended because a core part of my show is bringing on people with whom I disagree so we can let listeners and viewers see/hear the issues in sharp relief and make up their own minds.  That said, I also – having lived and worked on several continents, and having had to go through arduous processes to get work permits in Germany and Australia – know how important it is to have a work force that matches the demand for labor, and the best ways to insure that are through rational/sane immigration and trade policies.  We have neither right now.”  WCBM, Baltimore talk host Tom Marr says, “After taking my show to the border twice, ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ is a chance for invaluable access to the folks on the front line of the problem that I did not see, while at the same time being with those in Washington, DC who make the policy to secure the border and if one desires to get another side.  Capitol Hill is a short walk across the street.  It also gives one the ability in free time to visit the Hill and talk with Members about other problems faced by our nation every day.  Would not miss it for the world.  Hands down the best organized event for people in the talk business if its kind.”  For stations whose P1s care very much about immigration issues, it’s a can’t miss, according to KARN-AM/FM, Little Rock talk host Dave Elswick, “I go every year to ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ because illegal immigration is a hot topic to my listeners but most importantly the issue impacts other important issues.  Welfare reform, importance of protecting each man’s vote, and health care reform to name a few.  Two strong days of experts dealing with all those issues can’t be missed.”  WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale talk host Joyce Kaufman says she’s used the event to connect with her audience and the Congress members serving her listener area.  “I get invited to a lot of ‘radio row’ events each year.  The only event that I participate in year after year is FAIR’s ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ rally.  From the first year when I dumped 5,000 ‘soles’ (shoes with listeners’ messages written on the sole) to subsequent years, my audience supports my effort and some even come along and lobby Congress.”  For information about the event, contact Bob Dane at 202-328-7004.

KKOB, Albuquerque Charges Local Pol with Slandering Station.  There are no legal charges being filed but Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque feels it’s the victim of a slur by City Councilman Ray Garduno.  Program director Pat Frisch reports that during a council meeting debate over a controversial road project of which KKOB morning host Bob Clark has encouraged listeners to call Garduno’s office about, Garduno referred to the station as K-K-KOB – a reference to the Ku Klux Klan.  In the audio, Garduno quickly corrects himself but Frisch says this isn’t the first time the station has been referred to as K-K-KOB by a local Democratic politician.  Frisch says State Senator Eric Griego did the same last year.  As for Garduno, Frisch states, “His racist remark is an attack on our listeners and to find a true racist, Garduno only needs to look in the mirror.”

JetBlue Pilot Incident Sparks Buzz on Talk Radio.  As talk radio hosts will tell you, one never knows when the next big story will come out of the “blue” and that is exactly the case this morning as talk show hosts of just about every format – political, lifestyle, pop culture, and medical – are feasting on the multi-dimensional aspects of yesterday’s frightening JetBlue pilot incident.  According to PodJockey.com resident psychiatrist Renee Kohanski, MD, “It is not like the experience of going to the airport and flying in today’s environment alone doesn’t foster an atmosphere of stress, yesterday afternoon’s unfortunate outburst by a pilot on the heels of a similar situation two weeks ago involving a flight attendant only serves to increase the level of passenger anxiety building across the nation.  From a medical and psychiatric perspective, this case is rife with questions and all sorts of speculation.  People want to know why things like this happen but the answers are not always immediately apparent!”  Dr. Kohanski is available today for phone interviews to discuss the story from a medical perspective citing the many questions and possible causes of yesterday’s shocking and disturbing story.  She can be reached at 860-334-4576.

Cumulus Media Providence Launches “Putting Rhode Island Back to Work” Campaign.  The cluster of Cumulus Media stations in Providence – including news/talk 630 WPRO & 99.7 – is beginning an on-air campaign titled “Putting Rhode Island Back to Work.”  With the support of sponsor Twin River Casino, the cluster is reaching out to and airing stories about Rhode Island businesses that have recently hired.  General manager Barbara Haynes says, “News Talk 630 WPRO & 99.7 FM, 92 PRO-FM, HOT106, Lite Rock 105 and 790 Business reach hundreds of thousands of listeners every day – we are excited to be able to highlight some of the companies helping refuel our local economy in front of our massive audience.”  The vignettes will also appear on the cluster’s digital properties.

Dial Global Partners with Yamanair Creative Worldwide.  Dial Global subsidiary TM Creative enters into a partnership with Yamanair Creative’s Cash by Creative production and creative service.  In a statement, DG notes TM Creative will serve as a creative arm to Cash by Creative, providing copywriting, commercial production and retail jingles.  This will further enhance Cash by Creative’s ability to offer world-class creative and production to its growing list of clients.  TM Creatvie VP/GM Chris Long says, “We are excited about this kind of creative partnership, as TM continues to expand its reach with both radio stations and advertisers.”

Entercom Portland Names Tim McNamara VP/Market Manager.  Tim McNamara is no stranger to the Portland, Oregon radio market.  He previously managed at Paul Allen’s Rose City Radio there and now he returns with Entercom to serve as VP/Market Manager for the company’s seven-station group that includes sports talk KFXX.

Supreme Court ObamaCare Hearing, Trayvon Martin Case, GOP Primary/2012 Presidential Race, Jet Blue Pilot Incident and Gas Prices Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/27).  The Supreme Court arguments over the validity of President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act; ongoing scrutiny of the Trayvon Martin shooting; the Republican primary race and the larger 2012 presidential campaign; the case of the Jet Blue pilot; and soaring gas prices were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

| March 27, 2012

Jim Graci Named Program Director at KDKA, Pittsburgh.  CBS Radio announces the new program director for its news/talk KDKA, Pittsburgh several months after it chose not to renew its contract with former PD Marshall AdamsJim Graci – who previously programmed crosstown WEAE – comes north from Cumulus’ KLIF where he’s been serving as PD.  Also at KDKA, longtime KDKA news staffer P.J. Kumanchik is promoted to news director at the station.

WAXY, Miami Announces Tod Castleberry Takes PD Role at Station.  Program director and Dan LeBatard show executive producer and cast member Marc Hochman is probably almost as happy about this hire as Tod Castleberry is.  Hochman’s been handling both roles and agreed with Lincoln Financial Media to continue in both until a successor for his PD position could be found.  Hochman wants to put his total concentration on the Dan LeBatard show and now he can do that.  Tod Castleberry has worked at Red Zebra’s sports WTEM, Washington and most recently has been working as partner and executive producer of the John Riggins internet show.

ABC News Radio to Produce Special Program Sparked by Trayvon Martin Death.  The special one-hour broadcast will take place tomorrow night (3/28) at 7:00 pm ET and will be hosted by “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts.  Titled, “Race and Justice: A National Conversation,” the show will focus on the national dialogue that’s been spurred by the shooting death of Trayvon MartinABC News Radio says the show will feature “Robin Roberts leading a town hall discussion with prominent newsmakers and an audience of high school students and parents. The program will further the national discussion involving all racial and ethnic groups stirred by the circumstances of Trayvon Martin’s death.”  The show is available to ABC News Radio affiliates.

TRN’s Michael Savage to Publish New Non-Fiction Book.  Nationally syndicated talk sensation Michael Savage’s new book hits the bookstore shelves on April 3 – with major booksellers currently taking pre-orders.  In Trickle Down Tyranny: Crushing Obama’s Dream of the Socialist States of America (Harper Collins 2012), Savage examines the state of the nation and especially how he believes the Obama Administration is on the wrong path.  He writes, “Obama is actively creating a populace ever more slavishly dependent on the federal government.”  Other topics include punishing success, “The president has openly declared war on those who have worked hard all their lives to achieve the American dream.”  Savage discusses how we treat our enemies and allies, “He treats radical Islamists in the Middle East as friends, then stiffs Israel and our Western European allies.”  He says that the military is used like pawns, “While Obama uses proud Navy SEALs for a publicity stunt, and the overall strength of the military has been decimated.”  Other topics including the Southern border chaos and corporate cronyism are covered in a way that only Michael Savage could reveal.   Savage is the author of 26 books including four New York Times bestsellers.

Arbitron and California Agree to Settlement in PPM Suit.  The State of California and the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco are settling their suit against Arbitron for its practices regarding the Portable People Meter that the entities alleged underrepresented minorities and minority-targeted radio stations.  Arbitron states, “As part of the settlement, Arbitron has agreed to continue a number of measures already an integral part of the company’s current PPM methodology and of its continuous improvement program for the Portable People Meter ratings services in all markets.  These measures include the already completed transition to address-based sample frames, cell-phone-only sampling rates, reporting country of origin for Hispanic households and certain other sample performance and demographic information to subscribers by individual zip code, continuing efforts to maintain or achieve specific in-tab rates and Sample Performance Indicators, and continuing the company’s commitment to using all reasonable measures to achieve Media Rating Council accreditation for the data produced by the PPM ratings service in all California markets.  These commitments are generally consistent with the company’s agreements with other states and are in force through December 31, 2014, or until MRC accreditation is granted, whichever comes first.  The Company also agreed to pay a total of $400,000 in settlement of all claims and costs.”  Arbitron states the settlement is not an admission of fault.

Dennis Miller Celebrates His 5th Anniversary Week with Special Guests.  Dial Global talk show host Dennis Miller is celebrating his 5th anniversary hosting his nationally syndicated talk show this week and he’s scheduled some high-profile guests for the event.  GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney joins the show today (3/27).  Other guests this week include: AMC’s “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner, National Review editor Rich Lowry and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. On Thursday’s special anniversary show, good friend and “Saturday Night Live” alumnus Jimmy Fallon of NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” will join Miller. Also coming on the show that day will be actor/comedian David Spade, who’s currently on CBS’s “Rules of Engagement” and Adam Carolla, who’s on NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice.”  Dial Global EVP of news and talk programming Bart Tessler states, “Dennis consistently brings together such an eclectic and interesting group of guests.  Only he could seamlessly switch from a compelling political conversation with a presidential candidate to tapping into the zeitgeist with a late night comic.”

Cumulus Media Networks to Syndicate Medical Feature with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.  The vignettes to begin distribution in May through Cumulus Media Networks are broken into two target demos: one style for news/talk stations and another for a younger audience on music and entertainment stations.  Two features per day for each variety will be available.  Cumulus chairman, president and CEO Lew Dickey says, “Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a unique and profoundly talented individual.  His insights and experience will bring compelling content to our affiliates and create powerful new vehicles for our advertisers.  We look for Dr. Gupta to be an important component in our overall content strategy.”  Dr. Gupta is a practicing neurosurgeon and serves as chief medical correspondent for CNN.

WOR, New York’s Former Governor David Paterson to Host Political Roundtable Event.  Afternoon drive host former Governor David Paterson will moderate a special roundtable discussion from the famous Russian Tea Room broadcast live on WOR, New York on April 5.  Taking part in this “State of the Tri-State” three-hour expanded edition (to be broadcast from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm on WOR) of the Governor’s show are: former New York Lieutenant Governor Betsy McCaughey, United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew, New York City Councilman Robert Jackson, New Jersey Association of School Administrators executive director Dr. Richard Bozza, Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), national security expert K.T. McFarland, and Abdur-Rashid, religious and spiritual leader of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood in Harlem.  WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley states, “There is no one more uniquely qualified than Governor Paterson to bring together these top names on one radio broadcast to discuss the issues that are most important to our listeners and our community.  Headlines are sure to be made during this very special program.”  The broadcast is open to members of the press but not to the public.

Salem Communications Buys Detroit-Area Translator for News/Talk WDTK.  Salem Communications is paying $250,000 for the FM translator currently at 97.5 and licensed to Harrison, Michigan.  The seller is Tim Martz’s Radio Power and there’s currently a construction permit to move the translator to Detroit proper and to the 92.7 frequency.  Salem intends to use the FM signal to assist its news/talk WDTK, Detroit.

ObamaCare Goes Before Supreme Court, Pressure Heightens for Charges in Trayvon Martin Case, GOP Primary Race and Obama-Medvedev Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/26).  The first day of arguments at the Supreme Court over aspects of President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act; the growing pressure on authorities to arrest George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin; the GOP primary race; and the flap over President Obama’s remarks to Russian president Dmitry Medvedev were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, March 19, 2012

| March 19, 2012

KIDO, Boise Morning Host Kevin Miller Dedicates Programming to “Getting Idaho Back to Work.”  AM drive talk host Kevin Miller announces he’ll use some of the time during his talk program to help get Idahoans back to work.  He states on KIDO, Boise’s website, “I invite you to help us bring jobs to the great Gem State.  (I know it’s easier said than done.)  However, after years of record unemployment and a loss of jobs it’s time to do something.  Throughout the year we will be highlighting Treasure Valley Businesses that are succeeding and profiling listeners who are looking for work.  Our goal is to get our family, friends and neighbors back to work and inviting businesses around the world to move to our great state.”

Cumulus Media Networks Aggressively Promoting Huckabee Debut.  With three weeks until former Arkansas Governor and one-time presidential candidate Mike Huckabee begins his nationally syndicated daily talk show, Cumulus continues the drive to acquire affiliate stations with subtle jabs at Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh.  And with Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke-flap still fresh in everyone’s memory, the consumer media is paying attention.  Both Reuters and the Wall Street Journal Online published stories this weekend pointing to a Cumulus e-mail blast touting Mike Huckabee as the conservative talk show host of the future.  Cumulus COO John Dickey didn’t actually say his company is targeting Limbaugh’s affiliate stations but does tell Reuters, “Only one station in a city can offer Rush, so there are lots of other stations that are looking to put up an alternative to him regardless of whether he put his foot in his mouth…We have been growing the affiliate base on that fact alone, but recent developments with Rush have put some wind in our sails and accelerated our efforts.”  Cumulus claims to have about 140 stations ready to air Huckabee when he begins his 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET show on April 9 – about 45 of those are Cumulus-owned stations.  Former CBS Radio chief Joel Hollander is quoted by Reuters stating, “I can guarantee you that the minute Cumulus’ contract with Rush expires in New York, they will replace him with Huckabee.”  The Limbaugh contract with WABC reportedly doesn’t end until 2013 but such a prediction is not so far out.  Every syndicator in the business wants a New York affiliate so why wouldn’t Cumulus put its own product – assuming it is performing – on its own station?  Meanwhile, Premiere Networks issues this statement: “Rush Limbaugh continues to be the No. 1 talk radio host in America.  Mike Huckabee is the latest in a long line of those who have attempted to compete with Rush.  We wish him the best with his new show.”

American Public Media’s “This American Life” Retracts Popular Story.  On the January 6 episode of American Public Media’s “This American Life,” the program ran an excerpt of Mike Daisey’s one-man show titled, “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” in which Daisey describes workers at a Chinese Apple plant putting in long hours doing repetitive and crippling work.  The segment became a sensation – almost 890,000 downloads of that episode’s podcast – and shone the light on Apple’s Chinese operations.  The effect of the piece has caused PR problems for Apple.  But on Friday, March 16, host Ira Glass retracted the story telling listeners they can’t vouch for its truth.  The Chinese correspondent for the public radio program “Marketplace” contacted the Chinese interpreter Daisey used when he made his journey to China and the interpreter disputed much of what Daisey expresses in his show.  Daisey’s performance – doing very well at New York’s Public Theater – is getting excellent reviews.  For his part, Daisey says on his website that he stands by his work which is theater, not journalism.  In a statement, “This American Life” said when it asked Daisey for the interpreter’s contact information he, was unable to provide it.  Ira Glass states, “At that point, we should’ve killed the story.  But other things Daisey told us about Apple’s operations in China checked out, and we saw no reason to doubt him.”

Oprah’s OWN Cancels Rosie O’Donnell TV Talk Show.  The Rosie O’Donnell program will tape its final episode tomorrow (3/20) and air on March 30.  TVWeek reports the show’s ratings on the struggling network founded by Oprah Winfrey are to blame.  Deadline.com reports O’Donnell’s program started out with about 500,000 average viewers but that settled to about 200,000 for most of the show’s run.  Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva also attributes the 7:00 pm ET airtime for its failure.  Most talk shows air in the daytime or in late night and 7:00 pm is not a time people associate with a talk show.

WGN, Chicago Names Winner in Cubs Song Contest.  Tribune’s WGN, Chicago announced the winner of the contest to write an original song about the Chicago Cubs that will be played on the radio prior to Cubs play-by-play broadcasts this season.  Morning drive host Jonathon Brandmeier proclaimed “Let’s Go Cubbies” by the Chicago-area band The Fold the winner by fan choice with more than 8,000 votes on WGN’s website.  More than 300 entries were received for the contest.  The band will play the song live at the Captain Morgan Club at Wrigley Field during Brandmeier’s Opening Day broadcast.

Longtime KABC, Los Angeles Personality Bob Anderson Dies at 86.  Bob Anderson, who served as staff announcer at KABC, Los Angeles from 1961 until 2007 – passed away on March 11 after a battle with Alzheimer’s.  Anderson hosted programs including “Religion on the Line,” “Spotlight on the Community” and a talk program with future L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley.  He often subbed for Bob Arthur on the “Ken and Bob” show.”

Fisher House Foundation Creates Memorial Day Program for News/Talk Stations.  The show – “A Grateful Nation” – is hosted by Army veteran and broadcaster Bryan Suits and is billed as “a one-hour, spoken-word program honoring those who have fought and died to defend America, and the loved ones who share the burden.”  The program features compelling stories from the front lines and the home front, including the heartbreaking-yet-uplifting story of the Stanton family of Southern California, who traveled to Dover Air Force Base to receive the body of their remarkable son, who was killed in Afghanistan.  The Stantons were among the first guests at the Fisher House for Families of the Fallen, which provides grieving loved ones with shelter and comfort during a time of unimaginable pain.  Premiere Networks is distributing the show.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

| March 14, 2012

America’s Radio News Network Develops Second Radio Network Featuring 24/7 News Reports.  The long-form news venture crafted by Talk Radio Network known as America’s Radio News Network – which is successfully distributing three-hour blocks of all-news content to more than 275 affiliate stations – is announcing the creation of a second network dedicated to top- and bottom-of-the-hour news, breaking news bulletins, special reports and newsmaker interviews.  ARNN executive vice president for news John McCaslin states, “‘Journalism Without Agenda’ is not just a marketing phrase at America’s Radio News – it’s a code we live by – and the marketplace has responded so strongly to our long-form, all-news product that the second news network of our short-form top- and bottom-of-the-hour news (plus audio actualities, special reports, news maker interviews etc…) was a natural outgrowth of this demand.  We are honored to be the fastest-growing brand in news radio.  We truly are ‘Journalism Without Agenda.’  This is something stations not only deeply appreciate, but have a need for like never before.”  CEO Mark Masters says this means affiliate stations will not have to “break away” for news.  “Bottom line, ARNN is now the complete ‘go-to’ radio news network ­ for urgent breaking newscasts on the hour and half-hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, along with our intriguing and diverse lineup of newsmaker interviews in addition to our large array of three-hour, long-form weekday news blocks our listeners enjoy each weekday.”  The new service begins April 2.

Dan Sileo Let Go from WDAE, Tampa After “Monkeys” Comment.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Tampa Bay sports talk outlet has parted company with morning drive sports talk host Dan Sileo after he referred to three NFL free agents as “monkeys.”  During an exchange with producer Darek Sharp about whether the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should go after Cortland Finnegan, Jonathan Vilma and Vincent Jackson in free agency, Sileo reportedly said, “No! No!  If they get those three monkeys, I’m good!  I’m ready, man.  I’m ready.  I want those guys.  Those guys are great players.”  WDAE program director Steve Versnick confirmed to the Tampa Bay Tribune that Sileo is no longer with the station but would not comment on why due to the station’s policy of not discussing personnel matters.  The Tampa Bay Times reports the station apologized specifically for Sileo’s remarks.  As for Sileo, he tweeted to the TimesEric Deggans that he didn’t even realize what he’d said until someone told him.  Versnick told the Tribune Rock Riley will fill in for Sileo and the station is seeking a permanent replacement.  Dan Sileo has written about sports talk radio for TALKERS in the past.

Aggressive Agenda Being Set for New Media Seminar.  The first of several key panel rosters for the New York installment of this year’s New Media Seminar has been announced and it promises to provide a powerful overview of the state of talk radio.  Titled “Spoken Word Radio 2012, the Big Picture,” the lineup includes (in alphabetical order): Phil Boyce, VP/director, Spoken Word Format, Salem Communications; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media; and Chris Oliviero,  senior VP programming, CBS RadioMichael Harrison, publisher of TALKERS will moderate.  According to Harrison, “This year’s New Media Seminar will tackle a number of pressing issues facing the industry during this most transitional and turbulent year.”  The 2012 version of the industry’s longest-running and most important national convention will feature a new, innovative format designed for the times – broken into two separate events:  New York on Thursday, June 7 and Los Angeles on Thursday, October 11.  Each will present a power-packed agenda and offer affordable, accessible registration fees to its attendees.  Registration, however, is limited and only open to members of the working media. For details, click here.

Dial Global and Dennis Miller Celebrate the Host’s Five-Year Anniversary with a New Contract.  The announcement from Dial Global doesn’t get specific – it calls it a long-term deal – but Dennis Miller’s gig as a nationally syndicated talk show host will continue.  He began in 2007 with Westwood One and is currently heard on more than 300 affiliate stations and, according to DG, in 24 of the top 24 markets.  Dial Global co-president/CEO David Landau says, “We are ecstatic about our relationship with Dennis and thrilled to be associated with a rock star and national treasure of this magnitude.”  Miller is a regular contributor to Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor.”  Miller and O’Reilly have been involved in a live event series dubbed the “Bolder & Fresher Tour 2011-2012” and have added new dates to that tour including June 22 in Indianapolis and June 23 in Chicago.  Miller says of his radio success, “It has been a fine five years with a great and growing audience that I enjoy riffing with.  As I bask in the glorious wake of modest achievement, I look forward to many more years behind the microphone.”

Saga Communications Reports Revenue Down 3.6% in Q4 of 2011.  But for the entire year of 2011, Saga Communications was down just a hair – to $127.3 million in net revenue.  The good news for Saga is free cash flow was up 3.6% for the quarter and 9% for the year.  Also, Saga was able to reduce its debt by $27 million to $69.1 million.  One thing Saga is enjoying that many other broadcasting companies surely covet is a healthy stock price.  Saga’s stock closed at $41.40 per share on Tuesday – up 6.7%.

Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington Locks Up Doc Walker for Three More Years.  The midday sports talk host was most recently partnered with John Thompson at WTEM but Thompson left his daily talk show host role at the station last month.  Now, Red Zebra vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says the company has signed Rick “Doc” Walker to a three-year contract extension and the station will feature Walker in a new 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm program beginning March 26.  Walker is also part of the broadcast team for the Washington Redskins Radio Network.  Red Zebra CEO Rick Carmean states, “Doc has become an integral part of WTEM and its success for the better part of 15 years.  We are excited for him to be a part of the new show and our Redskins broadcasts.”

Cumulus Media Networks Partners with APM Music for Production Library Services.  Music library giant APM Music – a joint venture of EMI Music Publishing and Universal Music Publishing – partners with Cumulus Media Networks to offer its music library services to client stations.  APM’s collection of music is described as offering “every imaginable genre including music from current indie bands to big sound orchestral trailer cues to a full classical music repertoire.”  CMN SVP of affiliate sales and broadcast operations Dennis Green says, “Cumulus Media Networks is proud to add the APM music production library to its growing stable of products and services available to stations all over the country.  APM’s library is the largest and best in the industry which will provide stations the foundation for outstanding commercial production.”

Dan LeBatard Show Markets Content via CDBaby.  The WAXY, Miami PM drive show Dan LeBatard with Stugotz & Hochman is marketing some of its best-of material via CDBaby.  The program has a sizable podcast following but this is the first foray in to digital media marketing.  As the deal is structured, the show and station owner Lincoln Financial Media both share in the revenue.  The “CD” is available through CDBaby.com, iTunes, Amazon and several other digital media sites.  Marc Hochman (who is currently also program director of WAXY but is stepping down to focus on the LeBatard show) reports LeBatard’s national profile has “grown exponentially since the debut of his daily TV show, ‘Dan LeBatard is Highly Questionable,’ on ESPN 2 which is aired every day at 4:00 pm ET.”  Pictured here is the “CD cover” of the digital download.  Hochman says there will be no physical CDs, just the download.

GOP Southern Primaries/2012 Presidential Race, Soaring Gas Prices, Afghanistan Killings Aftermath, and Iran Nukes Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/13).  Yesterday’s southern primaries for the GOP contenders and the 2012 presidential race in general; the nation’s soaring gas prices and its impact on President Obama’s approval numbers; the aftermath of the killing of 16 Afghanistan civilians by a U.S. soldier; and the ongoing tensions over Iran’s nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

| February 29, 2012

KFI, Los Angeles Management Meets with Black Activists; Promises Plan to Address Staff Diversity.  KFI, Los Angeles afternoon drive duo John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou returned to the air this week after a seven-day suspension for insensitive language about Whitney HoustonClear Channel Los Angeles management – as well as John and Ken themselves – met with a group of black activists to discuss the situation and, according to the Los Angeles Times, KFI is promising to devise a plan to address the station’s lack of diversity.  Activist Jasmyne Cannick tells the paper, “KFI has 14 shows, and 13 of them are hosted by white men.  There are no blacks in their newsroom.  This fosters an environment where insensitive comments like this can happen.  And they are not living up to Clear Channel’s statement of a commitment to diversity.”  Management didn’t speak to the Times but local activist Najee Ali seems convinced the station is sincere about addressing their concerns.  The Times quotes him saying, “The station pledged to make substantive changes in diversity.  They are trying to build a bridge.  John and Ken really want to put this behind them and move forward.  Their voices are needed in Southern California and they have done some good things.  We can’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.”

Entercom Reports 7% Drop in Revenue in 2011 Q4; FM Flips a Factor.  During a conference call yesterday announcing Entercom Communications’ financial numbers for the fourth quarter of 2011, CEO David Field referred to his company’s station portfolio as having gone through some pretty big changes in the last 12 months with seven format changes – three in two of the company’s biggest markets.  Of course he’s talking about blowing up San Francisco’s country KBWF-FM to create that market’s FM sports talk outlet as well as the changes in Boston to give sports WEEI an FM signal.  Also, news/talker KMBZ, Kansas City and WBEN, Buffalo were given FM signals at the expense of music FMs.  All this means an immediate loss of revenue that the company hopes will be paid back in time.  In a statement, Field said, “These moves significantly enhance our future growth potential and are expected to contribute positively to revenue growth commencing in the second quarter.  However, they diluted our fourth quarter revenues by 4%.  Excluding political and stations reformatted in 2011, fourth quarter revenues were flat.  We are optimistic on 2012 growth, bolstered by improving economic conditions, accelerating performance from newly reformatted stations and political advertising.  And we are highly encouraged by strong industry fundamentals as innovation accelerates, audience usage trends remain outstanding and radio remains the most cost-effective major advertising medium.”

MSNBC Beats CNN in February Prime Time Ratings.  CNN has been working to re-tool its programming to gain back some of the viewers it has been losing but the cable news/talk channel was not able to pull out a victory over competitor MSNBC in February despite the intense GOP primary election  season – including a Republican debate – and the death of Whitney Houston.  According to TVWeek, MSNBC averaged 988,000 total viewers during prime time in February to CNN’s 804,000.

Schnitt Happens in Detroit.  Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is pictured here in the studios at affiliate station WXYT, Detroit broadcasting live on Tuesday (2/28) as Michigan Republicans went to the polls to vote in the primary election.  Detroit was one of Schnitt’s key stops on the road to the Republican National Convention which will take place in Tampa the week of August 27.  Schnitt’s program is based at WFLA, Tampa from which he will bring his listeners a full-access pass.

Cumulus Media Networks Touts Affiliation Surge for “Red Eye Radio.”  Since changing the tone of the program through the merger of “Red Eye Radio” with the “Midnight Radio Network” hosted by Eric Harley and Gary McNamara, Cumulus Media Networks reports it has added 22 new affiliates to the station’s roster.  With major market O&Os WLS, Chicago and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington leading the pack, the network also reports stations including KCMO, Kansas City; WPRO/WEAN-FM, Providence; WGOW-FM, Chattanooga; and KKOB, Albuquerque have picked up the overnight talk show.

WDBO, Orlando Brings Mel Robbins Aboard for Live Midday Show.  Cox Media Group’s WDBO, Orlando notes it will be the first time in 11 years the station will have a local weekday talk host when Mel Robbins takes over the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot, bumping Dial Global’s Clark Howard to the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am shift.  Robbins hosts the A&E cable show “Monster in Law” and worked for five years as a public defender in Manhattan.  The station says when Robbins isn’t doing her radio show or filming for TV she “travels around the country on speaking engagements for Fortune 500 companies.  Robbins has appeared with Dr. Phil discussing her life coaching skills and is a regular on Anderson Cooper’s daytime program, ABC’s ‘Good Morning America,’ a bestselling author, and more.”  Robbins’ program will originate from her rural Massachusetts farm but will make frequent trips to Orlando.

Cumulus Gives Myrtle Beach Sports FM Better Signal; Splits AM Simulcast Off.  Cumulus Media Group is moving 93.9 The Team (WJXY-FM) to the 100.3 dial position currently occupied by CHR i100.3 (WSEA-FM) beginning March 5.  There are programming changes as well.  The station becomes ESPN Radio 100.3 and takes the ESPN programming with it as well as the local PM drive show hosted by Aaron Marks.  He’s the sports director and will be charged with programming the station.  The other change is the AM simulcast on WHSC splits off and becomes Fox Sports Radio 1050.  That station will air DirecTV/Premiere NetworksDan Patrick live, Premiere’s Jim Rome, Fox Sports Radio programming and play-by-play sports including minor league baseball.  WJXY-FM is in a trust to be sold.  It’s still unclear if Cumulus will simply move the CHR format over to 93.9 while that signal is on the market.  Aaron Marks says of the moves, “We are thrilled with the addition of Fox Sports Radio to our cluster of stations.  If there has been one complaint about our station I have heard since I started here last July, it is that Dan Patrick is a great show but doesn’t sound good unless it runs live.  The additional station will also allow us to provide the proper coverage to all of our local and regional colleges and professional teams. Every team can have a place to call home for all of their games and we’ll be able to add even more play-by-play than ever before at the high school, college, and pro level.”

Salem Radio Network Talk Star Mike Gallagher Broadcasts Live from WHK, Cleveland.  In the wake of the tragic deaths of three high school students in the Cleveland suburb of Chardon, Mike Gallagher traveled to Salem Communications’ O&O WHK, Cleveland to broadcast his program live from the area on Tuesday.  Gallagher railed against the news that the suspected shooter was bullied.  “That’s ridiculous, in my view, to go down this path, of suggesting that bullying is somehow to blame.  It might be part of the story, it might be part of the narrative.  It might be factual.  This kid’s some freak, who’s a goth who acts weird and is anti-social and he’s gonna get picked on.  Well, welcome to the real world…please don’t pretend that the kids who can’t handle it, who say they’re bullied, and therefore have to go get a gun and blow kids brains out somehow aren’t evil.  That IS evil.  E-v-i-l.  They are evil monsters who frankly ought to be executed for what they’ve done.  This kid ought to face the death penalty for his cold-blooded acts of violence.”

Business TalkRadio Network Announces New Daily Schedule.  Beginning March 5, Business TalkRadio Network adjusts its afternoon schedule with the addition of “The Big Biz Show” with Bob “Sully” Sullivan airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET; “Catalyst Radio Show” from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm; and the Tom O’Brien show from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  President and CEO Michael Metter states, “Sometimes in life things work out for a reason and this is truly one of those reasons.  We are proud about Bob ‘Sully’ Sullivan coming back to BTRN and even more so that he is anchoring our midday block.  With ‘Catalyst Radio’ our partners will truly embrace this Superman of the business world along with Tom O’Brien, a seasoned pro in the financial world.  You’ve seen them on many of the national television news outlets now experience them on your radio stations through Business TalkRadio Network.”

Virginia Tech and WJFK-FM, Washington Renew Multi-Year Deal.  CBS Radio’s Washington, DC sports talk outlet WJFK-FM and Virginia Tech IMG Sports Network strike a deal that will see Hokies football and men’s basketball play-by-play on the station’s schedule through the 2014-15 season.  The deal also includes airing of the weekly “Tech Talk Live” show featuring the school’s football and basketball coaches.

Ohio School Shooting Fatalities Grow, GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Rising Gas Prices, and Government Waste Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/28).  The fatal Ohio high school shooting; the Michigan and Arizona primaries and the larger 2012 presidential race; rising gas prices and Iran’s role; and the new report of redundant government programs and the money they are wasting were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Dave Ramsey Helps Celebrate 90 Years for WOR, New York.  Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey broadcast his program live from the Big Apple on February 27 – the first day his show aired live on WOR, New York’s program lineup.  WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley says, “Rarely in life, even as broadcasters, do we get the opportunity to affect the lives of many in one fell swoop.  Well, WOR is doing just that by airing the advice and wisdom of the great Dave Ramsey daily, in our coveted 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot on 710am.  At a time when the entire Tri-State area is stressed and in need of help with their finances, WOR comes to the rescue with Dave’s sage knowledge and direction which can, and has, changed the lives of many for the positive.  We are blessed to have him.”  While there, Ramsey helped WOR celebrate its 90th anniversary on the air.  Pictured here (from l-r) are WOR personalities Joe Bartlett, Dr. Joy Browne, Ramsey, Joan Hamburg and Dave Spencer.

 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

| February 9, 2012

Cumulus Media Networks to Syndicate Daily Mike Huckabee Talk Show in Same Time Slot as Rush Limbaugh.  Former Arkansas Governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has been producing a daily feature for Cumulus Media Networks and hosting his weekend show on Fox News Channel since shortly after the 2008 presidential race.  Now CMN decides to develop a three-hour talk show for Huckabee – based out of Florida – airing live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET and beginning April 2.  Already, industry watchers are viewing the move as Cumulus “taking on” Premiere Networks’ syndication dominance in the time slot with Limbaugh while Cumulus COO John Dickey tells The New York Times that it is positioning the show as an alternative to Limbaugh.  Huckabee himself defers to Limbaugh’s success telling Times writer Brian Stelter he doesn’t feel like a competitor, “He’s going to have an audience that will be very loyal and has been for over 20 years.  I doubt that will change.”  Within the industry, the big question is will Cumulus push Huckabee onto its news/talk stations that currently carry Limbaugh, especially at such major market stations as WABC, New York; WLS, Chicago; WJR Detroit; WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington?  All are markets where Premiere parent Clear Channel Media and Entertainment doesn’t have a news/talk outlet (or a strong-performing talk outlet) on which to move Limbaugh.  Huckabee is a good broadcaster with a personality all his own, great name recognition and is adept at taking on subjects outside the realm of politics.  He’s likeable and smart.  But Limbaugh has performed well for the aforementioned stations and it would be a gamble to make a change of such significance.  Perhaps far more concerned than Premiere are local talk hosts at the Cumulus stations not mentioned above who understand Cumulus is not making this move without a plan to roll Huckabee out onto as many of its O&Os as possible.

Sports Talk Host Scott Kaplan Admits Fault in Comments About Female Broadcaster.  Former XEPRS, San Diego morning drive talk host Scott Kaplan tells the San Diego Union Tribune that he needs to apologize to Mountain West sports broadcaster Andrea Lloyd for comments he made about her appearance that may have led to his and co-host Billy Ray Smith’s departure from the station.  Kaplan called Lloyd a “beast” and a “sasquatch of a woman” on the program and was let go from the station more than a week later.  Broadcast Company of the America’s VP/GM Tex Meyer had told the Union Tribune he’d spoken with Kaplan in the past about similar issues.  But Kaplan’s comments to NBC San Diego prior to being fired strike at the heart of the issue for edgy, sports talk hosts trying to reach a younger, male demo when he stated, “I don’t apologize for the fact that we’re a guy show, a locker-room kind of show.  There’s no apology for that.  This is what we do.”  The reality is that radio hosts targeting young men often comment on the appearances of women – often positively, but sometimes not.  It’s certainly the right of any operator to tolerate it or not but points to the fine line such hosts must walk in creating an edgy show and being savvy enough to realize who is “fair game” and who the public will perceive as an innocent undeserving of such criticism.  As for Kaplan, he says he can’t talk about his actual firing but tells the paper he doesn’t believe he was validly terminated from the station.

CNN Suspends Roland Martin for Super Bowl Tweets.  Numerous media reports indicate CNN is suspending commentator Roland Martin for tweets he sent during the Super Bowl – one of which in response to the David Beckham H&M underwear ad is being perceived by gay rights activists to have been homophobic.  In the tweet, Martin wrote, “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl” Martin responded that he was only making fun of soccer.  The Washington Post reports CNN issued the following statement about Martin’s status: “Roland Martin’s tweets were regrettable and offensive.  Language that demeans is inconsistent with the values and culture of our organization, and is not tolerated.  We have been giving careful consideration to this matter, and Roland will not be appearing on our air for the time being.”  TALKERS recently addressed the issue of talent using social media in a feature piece titled, “Social Media: Handle with Care.”  If you haven’t read it yet, check it out here.

WTKK-FM, Boston Talk Host Michael Graham Sponsors Candidate’s School.  Local talk show host Michael Graham broadcasts on Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston but he’s also an experienced GOP consultant.  Last night, Graham sponsored a non-partisan workshop at the Café Escadrille in suburban Boston in which Republican, Democratic and independent political professionals donated their time to help educate and train private citizens on becoming candidates in the 2012 election and beyond.  Graham says of the event, “We’re answering the question I’ve been asked thousands of times: ‘What can I do to make a difference?’  Here’s what you can do: Run.”  This is not Graham’s first workshop.  Since 2010 more than 500 New Englanders have attended Graham’s Candidate’s School.

Former Blue Star Media Group Exec “Doesn’t Own Feature Concepts.”  That’s the position of Blue Star Media Group president and CEO Michael Metter after former EVP Jeff Weber sent out an industry-wide press release on 2/7 accusing – though not by name – Blue Star’s Business TalkRadio Network and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network of not having the rights to a news feature and a music history vignette.  In the release, Weber references the music vignette “Pop Quiz” and the news feature “Heard Around Town” which he says are still available through his company, Jeff Weber Marketing.  Metter tells TALKERS when Weber left the company in December he asked that his name and voice be removed from all Blue Star content and the company complied.  Metter says his new features – “Heard Across America with Wendy Lowy Sloane” and “Rhythm & Pop with Tony Legg” – are “totally different names with the new content written by the talent.  These concepts are as old as radio itself.  What ownership does he have?”

Maryland Brewer Makes Beer to Honor the Late Ron Smith; Proceeds Benefit Cancer Research.  Brewer Jay Lampart at Johansson’s Dining House in Westminster, Maryland has created a beer call Reason Saison to honor the late WBAL, Baltimore talk host Ron Smith.  Lampart tells WBAL, “Ron has been part of my ride home since 9/11, which was also the time I moved to Maryland.  I learned a lot about Maryland politics and critical thinking from Ron.”  Lampart says proceeds from the brew will go to the Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center where Smith was treated for pancreatic cancer.  It’ll remain on sale at the restaurant through the end of the month or until supplies run out.  The name of the beer stems from Smith’s calling himself the “voice of reason” combined with the Belgian style of beer known as saison.

Deer Creek’s KCKS-FM, Chico, California Simulcasts Sports AM.  KEWE, Chico is Deer Creek’s “Fox Sports Radio 1340” and after a year of trying a CHR music format, the station returns being a simulcast for the company’s sports talk outlet.  Although San Francisco and Sacramento AMs get into the market, Chico doesn’t have another local sports talk outlet.

Syrian Violence Escalates, GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Election, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, and L.A. School Sex Abuse Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/8).  The international community’s growing conflict over the escalating violence in Syria; Rick Santorum’s victories complicating the GOP primary race and the beginning of President Obama’s campaign; Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the Los Angeles school sex abuse case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

| January 26, 2012

WLS, Chicago Puts Local TV News Brothers Together for Weekend Show.  WLS, Chicago operations director Drew Hayes announces the debut of a new Sunday afternoon talk show co-hosted by local TV reporters Dan and Anthony Ponce.  Anthony Ponce works at NBC O&O WMAQ-TV as a general assignment reporter while Dan Ponce is a general assignment reporter at Tribune’s WGN-TV.  Dan also co-founded the nationally recognized a capella singing group Straight No Chaser.  Together they will recap the top national and local stories and give listeners a chance to grade the media.  “There’s always so much more to report beyond the time we have on TV.  This is the perfect opportunity to tell the story behind the story,” says Dan.  “We’re hoping to give listeners a peek into the world of Chicago journalism and hear their opinions about the week’s biggest stories and how they’re covered,” adds Anthony.  Drew Hayes states, “Dan and Anthony have enormous energy, contacts and hands-on experience with Chicago’s biggest news stories which they combine with an organic sense of entertainment.  More importantly, the Ponce Brothers bring an enthusiastic thirst for feedback giving WLS listeners a unique opportunity to talk back to the ‘news media.’”

CBS Radio Closes on Purchase from Family Stations Inc.  Less than a week after firing up its all-news format on WNEW-FM, Washington, DC at 99.1 (licensed to Bowie, Maryland), CBS Radio closes on the station that made the format shift possible.  CBS Radio bought WLWL-FM, Annapolis at 107.9 from Family Stations, Inc for a reported $8.5 million (CBS has not officially stated the purchase price) in November of last year.  That allowed CBS to move its Spanish “El Zol” format to the 107.9 frequency and debut the all-news WNEW-FM on the 99.1 frequency.

Carolyn Polke Promoted to SVP of Digital at Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts.  Glenn Beck’s production company, Mercury Radio Arts, announces Carolyn Polke is promoted to senior vice president of digital for the company she’s been with since 2006.  She is responsible for the continued development and marketing of GBTV, GlennBeck.com and Mercury’s other e-commerce initiatives.  Mercury president and COO Christopher Balfe says, “Mercury is leading the way in developing innovative digital platforms to connect with readers, viewers, and listeners around the globe.  Carolyn is an incredibly talented leader and I’m thrilled to have her in charge of building and managing our most important products.”  Polke works out of Mercury’s New York City headquarters.

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange to Host Talk Show on RT Network.  He’s reviled in some quarters and hailed as a hero of transparency in others and soon Australian national Julian Assange will be talking with “iconoclasts, visionaries and power insiders” on a planned 10-program series produced and aired by the former Russia Today cable channel known as RT.  The network boasts a worldwide audience of 430 million people.  There is no announced start date for the program but Assange is currently under house arrest in Great Britain as he fights extradition to Sweden on sex crime charges.

Urban, Female-Targeted “Café Mocha” Program Inks Ads Sales Rep Agreement with Cumulus Media Networks.  The two-year-old, weekend syndicated variety program is currently heard in 20 markets across the country.  It’s co-hosted by Grammy-nominated artist MC Lyte, actress/comedienne Loni Love and broadcast pro Angelique Perrin.  The show was created and is produced by Sheila Eldridge who says, “It’s an exciting time for us as we grow our various brand extensions and answer the requests of our listeners to be everywhere and to go mobile.  Our new ‘Café Mocha To Go’ on-demand app has been a huge success, offering listeners’ uncut content, exclusive celebrity interviews, social commentary, on-demand music mixes by MC Lyte, and inspirational messages.  Our goal is to expand the on-air experience for listeners and increase our global presence!”  The show is a blend of urban music, interviews with celebrities and newsmakers, conversations and advice.  It’s produced by Miles Ahead Broadcasting.

Clarification.  Yesterday’s piece on Santita Jackson’s program at WVON, Chicago needs a bit of clarification.  According to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder, Jackson’s late morning program has been off the station since December and she is working on developing a nationally syndicated program.  Midway Broadcasting chairman and WVON GM Melody Spann Cooper tells Feder, “Santita’s goal is to have a national platform and I need some time to get over a little [financial] slump.  When she rolls out on a national level, I will clear this market for her, let her use our studios and give her all the support I can give her.”

Gingrich-Romney Primary Battle, Obama State of the Union Aftermath and Euro Zone Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/25).  The fierce battle between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney for votes in next week’s Florida primary, analysis of President Obama’s State of the Union Address and revived concerns about the economic stability of the Euro Zone were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, December 23, 2011

| December 23, 2011

WTMM-FM, Albany Host Bruce Jacobs Apologizes After Making Gay Joke.  Talk radio pro Bruce Jacobs finds himself  apologizing to the public (and probably fighting for his job) after referring to the WNBA teams the Los Angeles Sparks and the Phoenix Mercury as the “Los Angeles Lesbians” and the “Phoenix Dyke-ury.”  Jacbos said in an on-air apology, “My comments yesterday were ridiculous, stupid and amateurish.  I apologize for even uttering the comments, whether you heard them or not, whether you were offended or not.”  He told the Albany Times-Union he doesn’t believe he should be fired for the remarks.  “We live in a society today where no matter what you say, you’re a bigot or you’re a racist.  I don’t like it, but it comes with the territory.  So obviously I think that’s ridiculous.”  Brian Noe, program director of the Townsquare Media sports talk station, e-mailed the paper saying, “Bruce’s insensitive statement is a serious matter that is being dealt with internally.”  The station is no doubt feeling pressure from LGBT advocacy groups and others to terminate Jacobs for the misstep.

KABC, Los Angeles Announces New Program Schedule.  Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles officially announces its new program lineup and, contrary to earlier reports, it will not include a simulcast of WABC, New York’s Geraldo Rivera.  Instead, evening host John Phillips moves from his evening slot to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  He follows Doug McIntyre and Terri Rae Elmer in the morning drive position.  The rest of the day is: Premiere NetworksSean Hannity, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Larry Elder, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; current morning drive host Peter Tilden moves to the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show; and Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” with Eric Harley and Gary McNamara in the overnight slot.  Program director Jack Silver states, “The revamped schedule is a great way for KABC to start the new year.  The new lineup puts all of KABC’s incredibly talented hosts into time slots that highlight their strengths.”

WOR, New York Clears Dave Ramsey.  Beginning January 2, the independently syndicated Dave Ramsey show will air on Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, New York in the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot.  WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley says, “In these rocky economic times, New Yorkers need a voice they can trust to guide them in their money decisions.  We are proud to welcome the country’s top name in financial talk radio, Dave Ramsey, to our award-winning lineup in 2012.”

Rush Limbaugh May Be Moving to Clear Channel San Francisco Talk Outlet.  Liners promoting Clear Channel’s newly realigned KKSF, San Francisco are reportedly hinting “America’s anchorman” is coming to the station along with the other changes in programming and the new call letters.  You may have noticed that Clear Channel left a “to be determined” in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot in its announcement of the new schedule that we reported earlier this week.  Currently, Cumulus Media’s crosstown KSFO has the rights to the Premiere Networks program but it makes sense Clear Channel would want to bring the show into the company fold as it has done in some other markets.

ESPN Radio’s Dan Davis Retires.  He’s been one of the primary voices of ESPN Radio’s SportsCenter since 1999.  Now, Dan Davis – who began his radio career in 1962 at WEMJ, Laconia, New Hampshire – announces he’s hanging up the headphones to work on his golf game in Florida.  Davis joined ESPN’s radio network when it launched in 1992 and became its primary SportsCenter update reporter in 1999.

 

Talk Pro Tom Donahue Signs with Oracle Broadcasting.  Tom Donahue has been self producing webcasts and podcasts for the past six months but announced he’s joined Oracle Broadcasting as of this week (Dec. 19) hosting the live 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET program.  Donahue tells TALKERS Oracle  “is a bastion of free speech and offers a full spectrum of talk shows.  Additionally, Oracle Broadcasting Network has a consistently solid, confirmable loyal listener base!  I intend to cultivate my ties with radio stations and really grow my affiliate base.”  Oracle is an internet-based network that Donahue says has the fidelity, transmission capabilities and sub-audible tone technology necessary to accommodate station automation.

More Holiday Fill-Ins.  CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York takes advantage of its summer promotion/talent search “Fantasy Phenom II” and gives two-hour shows to the runners-up from the contest next week.  Neeraj Joshi, Patrick Creighton, Mike McMaster and Pat Totaro will host a 1:00 am to 3:00 am shift during the week…..Nicole Sandler is filling in for Premiere Networks talk star Randi Rhodes through December 30.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Motley Fool Money” with Chris Hill is added to Radio One’s soon-to-be “News 92 FM” (KROI) in Houston…..“The Costa Report” with Rebecca Costa is added to Fisher’s KVI, Seattle as it returns to talk in January.

Payroll Tax Cut Issue/Congress Adjourns Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 19-23.  The failure of Congress to agree on an extension of the payroll tax cut before adjourning for the holidays landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories of the week.  Coming in at #2 was the 2012 presidential race.  At #3 was post-Kim Jong Il North Korea followed by the euro zone debt crisis and financial markets activity at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is published weekly at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  View the entire chart, including the most-talked-about people of the week, here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

| December 7, 2011

Merlin Media Enters the Philly Market.  The Randy Michaels-led Merlin Media is not deterred by slow starts in New York and Chicago and will bring what many suspect is an all-news FM outlet to Philadelphia after agreeing to buy Family Stations Inc.’s class B WKDN-FM, Camden, New Jersey.  Merlin announces in a release that it is searching for radio pros with the line – “Merlin Media is now actively looking for staff that can pronounce Schuylkill, Wissahickon, Manayunk, Tredyffrin, Gwynedd, Pennsauken and Bryn Mawr.”  If Merlin does go with a news format, CBS Radio’s KYW is currently news leader in Philly topping the recent Arbitron PPM for November with a cume of more than 1 million and a 7.4 AQH (persons 6+).  The sale price has not been announced.  Harold Camping’s Family Stations Inc. recently agreed to sell WBGR-FM, Annapolis, Maryland to CBS Radio which will debut an FM news station there in the New Year.  The price for that station was $8.5 million and although there’s no official word on the price Merlin is paying for WKDN, reports are circulating it’s in the $22 million neighborhood.

Cumulus Media Networks Names Gary McNamara and Eric Harley New Co-Hosts for “Red Eye Radio.”  This is a consolidation of two late-night radio shows owned by Cumulus Media: the “Red Eye Radio” show founded by talk host Doug McIntyre and the WBAP, Dallas-based “Midnight Radio Network” (known to many fans over the years as the “Midnight Trucking Radio Network”) program hosted by Eric Harley and Gary McNamara.  Cumulus SVP of affiliate sales and broadcast operations Dennis Green says, “Adding Eric and Gary to our versatile lineup of talk programming is a fantastic opportunity for the network and provides two dynamic personalities to our affiliates.  This is another daypart where we can offer high-quality solutions to stations looking for relevant content that connects with local audiences.  We truly appreciate the road map Doug has created for delivering overnight listener engagement with ‘Red Eye Radio’ and we’re proud that he will continue to be part of our company.”  The company isn’t prepared to say what McIntyre’s new duties will be but reiterates he will remain with Cumulus.  He also hosts the 5:00 am to 6:00 am hour on WABC, New York.  The combined affiliate bases will put the new “Red Eye Radio” program on about 150 affiliates and airs live from 1:00 am to 6:00 am Monday through Sunday beginning January 3, 2012.

Courtside Entertainment Group/Dial Global’s “Loveline” Adds Simone Bienne to Show.  The long-running “Loveline” late-night radio show co-hosted by Dr. Drew Pinsky and Mike Catherwood adds British sex and relationship therapist Simone Bienne to the program.  Bienne works with Pinsky on the CW Network program “Life Changers.”  Courtside Entertainment Group managing partner Norm Pattiz says of the addition, “Since taking over the program six months ago, we have committed ourselves to increasing its audience and broadening its appeal while maintaining its edgy, entertaining and irreverent approach.  ‘Loveline’ is an advice show like no other and the addition of Simone will help us reach more stations, more advertisers and more audience.”  Courtside produces the program and Dial Global is the exclusive distributor and national ad sales rep.  It airs live Sunday through Thursday from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.

NBC O&O TV Stations to Partner with Non-Profit News Organizations.  According to the Los Angeles Times, in an effort for Comcast to show federal regulators it is committed to strengthening local and public-interest programming after its acquisition of NBCUniversal, some 10 major market NBC TV O&Os will partner with non-profit news organizations for enterprise and analytical reporting.  One example is KNBC-TV, Los Angeles working with Southern California Public Radio to use stories produced by each other and, in some cases, working with each other on stories.  A similar arrangement is being started between WCAU-TV, Philadelphia and WHYY, Philadelphia.  The Times story notes the model for this is a relationship between KNSD-TV, San Diego and the internet news organization Voice of San Diego which have been sharing content for some time.  KNSD-TV pays Voice of San Diego $3,700 per month.  It’s not clear how much money will change hands – if any – in the new deals described above.

Southern California Talkers Invited to Attend Nathan Pacheco Performance.  Those who attended the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum were treated to a surprise appearance by Disney Pearl Records rising international superstar Nathan Pacheco, whose lunchtime performance of “Nessun Dorma” was received with a thunderous standing ovation.  The young opera singer has been gathering worldwide attention and acclaim with the current release of a single, “O Holy Night,” performed with British star Katherine Jenkins, a forthcoming album release produced by Leo-Z (Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli), and numerous concert and television appearances.  TALKERS has just learned that this exciting artist will be performing a concert titled “Home for the Holidays” at the Geffen Theater in Los Angeles on the evening of  Sunday, December 18 and Disney Pearl Records would like to make tickets to this special event available to attendees of the recent LARTF.  The first five LARTF attendees who contact Larry Harris at 360-417-8138 or e-mail at talkharris@olypen.com will each receive a pair of free tickets to this wonderful concert.  This offer is only appearing this morning (12/7) on this TALKERS headlines report — so act quickly. If you did not see Nathan Pacheco at the Talkers event check out a video of “The Making of Nessun Dorma” at  http://nathanpacheco.com/videos.php.

2012 GOP Candidates, Trump-Moderated Debate, President Obama’s Kansas Address and Euro Zone Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/6).  The field of Republican candidates for president, the proposed Donald Trump-moderated GOP debate, President Obama’s national address from Kansas and the ongoing Euro Zone debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.