Tag: "Cumulus Media"
Cumulus Media Appoints Dimick Vice President/Programming Operations. Former Lincoln Financial Media senior vice president of programming and operations John Dimick joins Cumulus Media as vice president of programming operations. Cumulus Media senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay remarks, “John Dimick brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this position. He joins Doug Hamand and Greg Frey as a [vice president of programming operations]. Those three, along with our format specialists and analysts, will provide even more tools to our managers and program directors to employ when programming their stations.” Dimick – who begins his new assignment next Wednesday (6/1) – jokes, “I am very happy that Mike McVay would not buy my ‘retirement from the industry’ thinking. The new senior management team at Cumulus is building [something that] is extraordinary and compelling. I am flattered [corporate believes] I can help advance the growth and success of the stations and the remarkable Cumulus platform. Joining the corporate programming team with people like Greg Frey, Doug Hamand and the other pros at Cumulus is very exciting.” For the past 11 months, Dimick was franchise owner of the Dimick Automotive Group. In addition to Lincoln Financial stations in San Diego, Dimick has programmed Emmis rhythmic CHR WQHT “Hot 97,” New York; KPLZ, Seattle; KISN, Salt Lake City; and WNCI, Columbus.
WPGG, Atlantic City Morning Host Harry Hurley Donates $1,000 to the Broadcasters Foundation of America. This year’s recipient of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host (“Humanitarian of the Year”), Harry Hurley of WPGG, Atlantic City, capped off his acceptance speech last Friday (5/20) at TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations by making a donation of $1,000 to the Broadcasters Foundation of America (BFOA). For almost a decade, Harry Hurley has used his successful morning show in Atlantic City, New Jersey as a platform for the numerous fundraising activities of his Hurley Morning Show Foundation that have raised more than a half million dollars in support of more than 100 New Jersey charities and service organizations. And he has an outstanding track record of philanthropic activities going back years prior to that. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes Hurley as, “The quintessential local radio talk show host – entertaining, community-involved, well-connected and philanthropic – a veritable charity machine!” Harrison recently email blasted a powerful video plea on behalf of the BFOA to thousands of industry professionals that has drawn strong reaction and donation pledges of thousands of dollars. According to Harrison, “Radio is one of the only forms of mass media and entertainment in which charity and community involvement are part of its fundamental fabric. How many other forms of media are so quick to raise money for victims of disaster as radio? A significant percentage of the stories we cover in the trade press are about radio broadcasters rising to the occasion to help people in need – sick children, homeless veterans, single moms, victims of natural disasters, catastrophic illnesses. Helping people is a key part of all our formats. It’s what we do. But who’s out there to help individual broadcasters when WE are stricken by tragedy and have the rug pulled out from under us? That’s when the Broadcasters Foundation of America steps up to the plate. I know this for a fact, not just by reading press releases, or going to golden mic dinners and golf tournament fund-raisers – but by the personal experience of seeing, on more than one occasion, the Broadcasters Foundation of America step in and rescue sick, destitute and almost-completely broken people – who were, at one time, important players in this game – from literally being thrown out into the street.” To view a video recording of Harry Hurley’s acceptance speech and donation to the BFOA, please click here. To view Michael Harrison’s personal message on behalf of the BFOA, please click here.
Edison Research Webinar on Podcasting: Podcasting Now “Mainstream Media.” The firm Edison Research presented a webinar yesterday (5/26) on the state of podcasting conducted by its VP Tom Webster and covered for TALKERS by media consultant Holland Cooke. During the webinar, Webster stated, “It’s safe at this point to call podcasting ‘mainstream media.’” Cooke comments, It’s always puzzled me how talk radio demonizes that term, while sales reps have been telling prospects that their stations ARE mainstream. What advertiser wants to utilize FRINGE media?” Admitting he’s wary of making predictions, Webster did venture that “Podcasting has been a medium of slow, steady growth. This year, we saw a spike we haven’t seen before. If we’re looking for that ‘hockey stick pattern,’ I’m willing to give you a confident ‘maybe’.” For full details of the information-packed webinar, see Holland Cooke’s coverage by clicking here.
MLB Flagships: Part Two. In the second of a multi-part series, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian recaps the performance of Major League Baseball‘s radio flagships. In a ratings overview based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2016 PPM survey period, Mike highlights each key station’s 6+ share; 6+ market rank; month-to-month and year-to-year fluctuations; and a special breakout chart featuring the flagships by league/division. Whereas all five NL Central key stations can be found in the April 2016 top ten (6+), no AL West flagship finishes higher than #20. Three AL East flagships reach the top ten in April 2016 (6+), as do three key stations of AL Central teams. See the second edition of this exclusive special feature piece about MLB flagships here.
“Sugar Mom” Marshall’s Meaningful Marking. While “voiceover artist,” “audio producer,” and “author” are apt summations of Robin Marshall, the most important depiction of the Dallas-based talent is that she is a one-year cancer survivor. Marshall will release recordings of “Lemons to Lemonade” blogs, which she wrote while undergoing aggressive ovarian cancer treatment. Those episodes will be part of the “Sugar Mom” podcast, leading up to National Cancer Survivors Day next Sunday (6/5). Starting next month, Marshall will distribute her audio book “The Diary of a Sugar Mom: Don’t Tell the Kids” free via her “Sugar Mom” podcast on various podcast directories. Marshall comments, “I want women and men who subscribe to my podcast and/or visit my Facebook page to understand what the concept of a ‘Sugar Mom’ really is, and more importantly, what it is not. If you can try one new thing a day, you are headed towards becoming who you used to be and now want to be again.” The “Sugar Mom” podcast releases new episodes Tuesdays and Thursdays. Marshall spent 20 years as a New York City on-air talent and she is the imaging voice for several radio stations. Since being diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer, she underwent weekly chemotherapy treatments in Dallas; she is in full remission.
Millennials Account For 66.5 Million Radio Users. This is not a homogeneous group with a common set of beliefs, interests, and behaviors; ungrouping millennials can help advertisers, agencies, and radio stations understand each group more closely. Nielsen‘s Q4 2015 “Total Audience Report” separated 18-34s into three groups: “Dependent Adults” (those living in someone else’s home); “On Their Own” millennials (those living in their own home without children); and “Starting a Family” millennials” (those living in their own home with children). The data shows 97% of 18-year-olds live in someone else’s home. By their mid-30s, 90% of millennials live in their own home, and more than half have children. Radio is an important part of a millennial’s life and they listen to it in many ways. In the average week, radio reaches about 92% of “Starting a Family” millennials; 90% of “Dependent Adult” millennials”; and 89% of “On Their Own” millennials. CHR is the number one format for all three groups, but “Dependent Adult” millennials, who tend to live at home with their parents or another adult, listen to more classic rock, classic hits-oldies, and urban AC than the overall millennial group. “Dependent Adult” millennials listen to these formats because they are exposed to them by older adults in the home. “On Their Own” millennials are the least ethnically diverse group and they show a preference for non-ethnic formats like hot AC and alternative. They also listen to sports stations more than the other two millennial groups. Radio reaches 90% of all 18-34 African-Americans each week with urban AC the top format among this group. “Starting A Family” millennials include the highest percent of Hispanic and Spanish-speaking listeners. In this group, regional Mexican has the third-highest share of listening time. Overall, 16% of this group’s listening is spent with a Spanish language format. That is more than three times the amount of “On Their Own” millennials.
All Roads Lead to the “Pothole Derby.” A constant critic of the legislature’s “lack of action” regarding South Carolina road conditions – which station executives classify as being a “wreck” – Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg talker WYRD-FM “Word” announces a contest focusing on the Upstate’s pothole crisis. Operations manager Mark Hendrix remarks that his station’s listeners are “fed up with our terrible roads, huge potholes, and auto damage, so we are paying them to document how bad our roads really are. We are grateful to have the support of First Class Halt to help us with the ‘Pothole Derby.'” Listeners who submit photos of the biggest, deepest, potholes could win $500 in repair services from the station and their promotion sponsor. Approved pothole pictures will be posted on the WYRD-FM “Word” website. In addition, listeners are encouraged to contact the South Carolina Department of Transportation to file complaints about potholes. Only eight stations (four owned by SummitMedia and four iHeartMedia properties) are listed in Nielsen Audio‘s winter 2016 book for Greenville-Spartanburg (market #59). SummitMedia urban AC WJMZ “107.3 Jamz Today’s R&B” ranks first with an 11.0 (12+).
Getting Together with Smaldone. For almost 24 years, Valerie Smaldone was the mid-day talent at market dominant adult contemporary WLTW “Lite-FM,” New York. More recently, she has been hosting/producing a variety of projects. The latest for the imaging voice of CBS Radio New York all-newser WINS is “Hit Makers: Music Icons in Performance and Conversation”; Tommy James (“Tommy James & The Shondells“) was her first guest and he sang several of his hits. In addition, Smaldone interviewed him about his book “Me, The Mob, and the Music,” as well as his days with Roulette Records. For the past two years, Smaldone’s weekly, three-hour Envision Networks’ talk show “America Weekend with Valerie Smaldone & Friends” is heard in 15 markets.
KCMO-AM Slots Mysterious Saturday Morning Show. The unusual and the unexplained will be explored on the weekly, one-hour (6:00 am – 7:00 am) Wendy Garrett-hosted “Wendy’s Coffeehouse” that debuts next week (Saturday, 6/4) on Cumulus Media Kansas City talker KCMO-AM. Garrett “guarantees” the program will, “cover information and material you will not hear in the normal run of the news. It will address the unusual, under-reported, unexplained, and the mysterious.” Topics to be covered include UFO sightings, near-death experiences, innovative living strategies, and government disclosure issues. Among those already booked are “Children of Roswell” authors Thomas J. Carey & Donald R. Schmitt, who will discuss the aftermath and lifetime impact Roswell has had. Robbie Holz (“Secrets of Aboriginal Healing”) will explain beliefs and principles of the 60,000-year-old healing practices of the Australian Aborigines, who claim their techniques can help cure arthritis and cancer. Nick Redfern (“Weapons of the Gods”) will provide “evidence” that ancient civilizations developed and thrived until they “moved to self-destruction, using weapons with terrifying power.” Prior to working for KCMO-AM, Garrett – who claims to live in a haunted house – has been a reporter, host, and anchor on Kansas City outlets KCKC, KFKF, and KRVK. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio‘s April 2016 PPM ratings period, KCMO-AM is in a three-way tie at #20 and is down or flat for the fifth straight time (1.9 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 1.2); Entercom hot AC KZPT is at #1 (6.9, 6+).
Presidential Race/Trump Protests Top Talkers TenTM for Week of May 23-27. The activities of the candidates for president and the violent anti-Trump protests in New Mexico and California were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week. At #2, the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the FBI’s investigation of Virginia Governor and longtime Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe for alleged campaign finance improprieties were tied. And following at #3 was President Obama’s trip to Vietnam and the related increase in Chinese naval activity. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Beasley Broadcast Group Board Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend. It is for $0.045 per share of its “Class A” and “Class B” common stock. The dividend is payable on July 8 to shareholders of record on June 30. While Beasley Broadcast Group intends to pay regular quarterly cash dividends for the foreseeable future, all subsequent dividends will be reviewed quarterly and declared by the board at its discretion.
Odds & Sods: WHO, Des Moines afternoon driver Simon Conway pulls off a triple play today. In addition to doing his 9:00 am – 11:00 am show on WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids (Iowa) and hosting his 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm program on WHO, Des Moines, he will fill in on Joe Pagliarulo‘s syndicated “Joe Pags Show.”
CONVENTION ALERT — TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations Approaching Sellout this Week. The 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention is projected to reach its registration capacity sometime this week. TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations will take place on Friday, May 20 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. The event will feature more than 65 luminous industry speakers in a power-packed day of presentations, panel discussions, keynote addresses, talk rumble, techno-exhibits, live broadcasts and numerous networking opportunities including breakfast, lunch and closing reception. Registration fee is $299 per person and includes all events and activities. Registrations for this special event are open only to media industry professionals and communications students and can only be booked via telephone with credit card at 413-565-5413. Registrations will only be sold until 5:00 pm ET on Thursday, May 12 of this week. After that, the event will be officially sold out. Registrations will not be sold at the door. For complete up to the minute agenda, hotel and sponsorship information, please click here. If you plan on attending, do not wait and do not get shut out! Register now!
Media Sales and Marketing Pro Christina Albee Named CMO at Cumulus Media. The company calls this a newly created position but Pierre Bouvard had been serving as chief marketing officer for Cumulus Media/Westwood One. Regardless, Christina Albee is named chief marketing officer of Cumulus Media, a position in which she’ll report to Suzanne Grimes, whose title is president, Westwood One division and EVP of corporate marketing, Cumulus Media. As for Bouvard, he now reports to Albee in the new position chief insights officer in which he leads research and insights efforts. Back to Albee; she’s most recently been head of sales marketing for social news magazine Flipboard. Prior to that she was chief marketing officer at Dial Global where she was instrumental in its rebranding to Westwood One. She was general manager, marketing solutions at Condé Nast Media Group from 2008 to 2013, and served in numerous sales and management positions with Time, Inc. from 1991 to 2007. Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner states, “Christina brings tremendous experience and energy to this critical role. We are delighted that she will apply her considerable skills and talent to the development of new marketing strategies that will facilitate new revenue opportunities throughout our organization.” In addition to Pierre Bouvard, also reporting to Albee will be VP of social media Lori Lewis and SVP of brand partnerships Tommy Page.
Larry Gifford Named to PD Post at CKNW, Vancouver. American news/talk and sports talk radio pro Larry Gifford is officially named program director at Corus’ Vancouver news/talk station CKNW. Gifford – who’s served in recent years with ESPN Radio and Bonneville’s KIRO-FM and KTTH-AM in Seattle – has been consulting the station’s programming for several months. Corus VP news and information Western Canada Kenton Boston says in a company memo, “We are very fortunate to have Larry join the already talented team at CKNW and AM 730. His leadership is a natural fit, not only for Vancouver, but for our team across the country. His insight and expertise will be instrumental as we focus on our future as the leading multi-media company in Canada.”
Drew Anderssen Upped to OM for WDBO-FM, WDBO-AM, and WMMO-FM at CMG Orlando. Spoken-word radio programming pro Drew Anderssen – currently serving as director of branding and programming for news/talk WDBO-FM “News 96.5 FM” and sports talk WDBO-AM “ESPN Orlando 580 AM” – is promoted to operations manager for the two stations as well as sister classic hits WMMO. This promotion comes at the same time as fellow cluster programmer and OM Stevie DeMann adds urban contemporary WCFB “Star 94.5.” to his OM responsibilities. Anderssen comments, “I am thrilled to take on a larger leadership role with [program director] Hildi Brooks and her team at the legendary WMMO. The artist base of WMMO is experiencing a tremendous resurgence in popularity, and the station has a history of delivering fantastic returns for our advertisers. I’m thankful for the opportunity [Cox Media Group RVP and GM] Susan Larkin has provided for Stevie and me, and I believe it will allow us a unique opportunity for our teams to better meet the needs of listeners and advertisers in the Orlando market.”
Dave Ramsey Packs LA’s Shrine Auditorium. Pictured here on stage at the legendary Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles is nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey, hosting his Smart Conference on Saturday (5/7). Other speakers at the conference included: Rachel Cruze, Chris Hogan, John O’Leary, Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. Les Parrott, Dr. Meg Meeker, and Michael Jr. The event was marketed with the assistance of LA affiliate KEIB “The Patriot.” Prior to the event, station PD Robin Bertolucci said, “When Dave Ramsey comes to town, Patriot listeners come out to welcome him. Close to 6,000 people plan to attend this weekend’s SoCal Smart Conference and that is a testament to the trust and respect KEIB’s listeners have for Dave Ramsey.”
Odds & Sods. The new morning drive show at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WKRK-FM, Cleveland is “The Ken Carman Show with Anthony Lima.” Carman (right) is officially in the driver’s seat and update anchor Lima (left) has been promoted to co-host. This comes three months after former morning host Kevin Kiley resigned from the station….. In Tulsa, Steve Hunter joins E.W. Scripps’ to serve as operations manager for the five-station group there that includes: country KVOO, CHR KHTT, country KXBL, classic hits KBEZ, and news/talk KFAQ…..WHO, Des Moines-based talk show host Simon Conway is pulling triple duty today and tomorrow (5/9 & 10). Conway will be hosting his usual afternoon drive show on WHO and his regular morning drive show on WMT, Cedar Rapids, but he’s also adding morning drive duties on iHeartMedia’s WFLF, Orlando…..Talk show personality Tom Donahue is launching a new, daily show on Trinity Associates Broadcasting-owned WFYL, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (northwest of Philadelphia) today. The show – titled “Philly Freedom” – airs at 6:00 pm…..E.W. Scripps news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee wins 10 awards from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association. In a ceremony held in Madison on Saturday (5/7), WTMJ picked up honors for News/Talk Station of the Year, Best News Operation, Best News Writing, Best Live On-Scene Reporting, and more. Scripps Radio Milwaukee VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “Receiving these awards from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association reinforces our mission of serving our community and being famous for localism.”…..SiriusXM talk show host Joe Madison delivered the keynote address at the NAACP Washington branch’s 56th Annual Human Rights Award Banquet on Friday (5/6). At the ceremony, District Judge Traci McDonald-Kemp was honored with the organization’s Human Rights Award…..Former San Diego Chargers player Nick Hardwick is named color analyst for Chargers radio play-by-play based at iHeartMedia’s San Diego operations…..Richard C. Hoagland’s “The Other Side of Midnight” radio program is now airing in the 12:00 midnight to 2:00 am slot on KCAA, Loma Linda. The program previously was aired on Art Bell’s “Dark Matter Digital Network.”
The Presidential Race, Canadian Wildfire, North Korea Workers Party Congress, West Point Photo Controversy, Britain EU Exit Issue and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president and the potential controversies surrounding the summer’s political conventions; the enormous wildfire in Alberta that caused some 88,000 people to evacuate Fort McMurray; North Korea’s Workers Party Congress and leader Kim Jong Un’s statements about nuclear weapons; the controversy over a photo of black female West Point cadets appearing to give the black power salute; the looming vote in Great Britain over whether to leave the EU or not; and the weekend’s NBA and NHL playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
NAB Names Four to Radio Board. Four broadcasting executives have been named to the NAB Radio Board of Directors by the NAB Radio Executive Committee and Joint Board Chairman. Joining for two-year terms, effective June 2016 are: Hartley Adkins, president, Northeast Division and Corporate Operations, iHeartMedia; Andre Fernandez, president, CBS RADIO; Deon Levingston, regional vice president, Radio One; and Jose Valle, president of Political & Advocacy Sales, Univision Communications Inc.
Cumulus Media’s 2016 Q1 Net Revenue Down Slightly; Challenging Quarter for Westwood One. New CEO Mary Berner says that her company is in the “early stages of a multi-year turnaround.” The first quarter saw Cumulus Media’s net revenue reach $268.5 million, that’s down just 0.9% compared to the same period in 2015. Adjusted EBITDA was $41.9 million, a dip of 6.1% year-over-year. Berner says, “Our first quarter results and second quarter pacings are consistent with the considerable challenges we must overcome. However, we are seeing some signs of progress in each of our turnaround initiatives – enhancing operational blocking and tackling, instituting a strong and positive culture, and driving improved ratings.” It was not a good quarter for Westwood One. Unlike iHeartMedia, which reported growth in its syndication sector (especially in the news/talk realm) during Q1, net revenue for Westwood One was $91.5 million – down 3.2% from the same period a year ago. And Westwood One has exclusive national radio rights for the NFL and the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, both of which took place during the first quarter. Berner tells investors on Thursday’s conference call that decline at WW1 was the result of “a noteworthy falloff in scatter demand as the quarter progressed.” She continues, “Westwood One is facing difficulties in the second quarter, currently pacing down high-single digits, with virtually all upfront account in at this stage we saw a pretty meaningful weakening demand in the scatter market with limited dollars in the pipeline in relation to what we saw during the same period a year prior. While some of this weakness appears to be market driven, our challenges in the network have some unique elements which will take more time to address, given the new leadership of the business and the much longer sale cycle. At this stage, we’re working to tactically influence the back half of the year while more strategically positioning the business for the 2017 upfront cycle.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript of the conference call. Members can read the whole transcript here.
E.W. Scripps Reports Radio Segment Down 4.6%. The first quarter of 2016 resulted in radio revenue of $14.6 million for E.W. Scripps – that’s a decrease of 4.6% from the same period in 2015. In the company’s financial report, it states guidance for the second quarter of this year appears similar: Radio revenue is expected to be down in the mid-single digits. Segment profit in the radio division was $2.1 million in the first quarter of 2016, about flat with the 2015 quarter. The company’s television and digital segments were both up over the same period in 2015.
Analysis: 2016 Moms & Media. Media consultant Holland Cooke took in Thursday’s webinar from Edison Research (sponsored by Triton Media) in which Edison VP Melissa DeCesare presented data from the company’s 6th annual “Moms & Media” study. The good news for radio is that 77% of moms use radio weekly (either AM/FM or online). Moms are very connected with 91% owning a smartphone. For moms, online listening averages 12 hours and 19 minutes per week but 46% of that TSL is added media consumption time – it’s time that’s not taken from another medium. For more about the media habits of this demographic – one that often is in charge of much of a family’s decision making – click here.
Your Station Is in Danger of Being Hacked. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman warns station operators of the new and insidious ways in which your radio station could easily be hacked. Chances are you’re aware of recent stories about hospitals being made victims of ransomware. They were forced to pay the hackers ransom in order to regain control of their computer systems. As Weisman writes, ways of preventing this crime – or others like it – happening to your station exist and are affordable, but the first step begins with your employees. Read this insightful column here.
The Presidential Race Continues to Dominate News/Talk Discussion. Not surprising is the fact that the presidential race was this week’s most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio. It has been for weeks and will probably continue to be so through November. On this week’s Talkers TenTM chart, the Hillary Clinton emails case landed at #2. Coming in at #3 was U.S. immigration policy, followed by Russia-NATO tensions at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated super star Rush Limbaugh and Mahindra USA are again honoring the service and sacrifice of U.S. military personnel via the program’s Mahindra Military Salute Giveaway promotion. This is the third annual Mahindra giveaway. Last year, more than 6,500 service men and women entered the contest and Retired Army Colonel Shep Snow of Sagle, Idaho won a Mahindra eMax 22HST tractor with loader. All current and former military service members are eligible to enter to win this year’s prize: a Mahindra mPact® XTV 750S utility vehicle in camo. Entries are being accepted between May 2 and May 29. The winner will be selected in a random drawing on May 31…..Pacific Palisades resident and Weiss Agency founder Eric Weiss recently won a contest to give the official slogan to the town’s Fourth of July Parade. Weiss – who confesses to the Palisades News that he’s always loved slogans – heard about a contest to give the parade a theme being orchestrated by the paper. He brainstormed and came up with the winner: “Independence Day – the Palisades Way.” The Weiss Agency represents numerous radio performers…..When Tom Leykis put up the second billboard of 2016 in the Los Angeles area promoting his internet program and ran a contest to reward a listener for being the first to see it, he never though it would be “Adam-12” star Kent McCord. But, it was! Leykis tells TALKERS magazine, “We put up our second Tom Leykis show billboard somewhere in the LA area and had a listener contest. First listener to find and submit the billboard along with its specific location would get a free, one-year subscription to our on-demand library. This time, we told them, it’s not on a freeway, but it is in a prominent location. It only took a couple of days before we had a winner. But we were blown away by who the winner was. McCord submitted the photo you see here saying he was strolling down the Sunset Strip when he saw the billboard on the south side of Sunset Boulevard…..Music Ventures Inc.-owned news/talk KFKA, Greeley, Colorado is holding its third annual 1310-a-Thon in conjunction with The United Way of Weld County. On Thursday, May 26, the station will speak with United Way of Weld County staff members, volunteers, board members and those impacted by what the United Way does to raise funds for the charity.
Tom Becka Returns to Kansas City as KCMO Re-Vamps Lineup. Last week, Cumulus Media’s KCMO-AM/K279BI, Kansas City cut ties with 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm personality Greg Knapp. It turns out that was phase one of a programming lineup restructure. Talk host Tom Becka – who previously worked in the market at crosstown KMBZ – joins the station to host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show. Local host Rob Carson remains in the morning drive slot. Current KCMO personality Mike Ferguson moves to the 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm slot, followed by Dave Ramsey from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and Westwood One’s Michael Savage from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Cumulus Media Midwest regional VP and market manager Donna Baker comments, “KCMO talk radio takes an exciting step forward today. Welcoming Becka back to KC, Mike Ferguson continuing local community conversations over the lunch hour, and Dave Ramsey returning to three hours in the afternoon are powerful additions to our talented lineup.”
Report: ‘Nearly 40’ Laid Off at TheBlaze. According to a published report by Lloyd Grove in The Daily Beast, close to 40 staffers have been let go from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze – just a year after numerous staffers were laid off in May of 2015. Grove’s piece says this is part of a restructuring required by the covenants of a “multimillion-dollar bank loan” recently taken out to keep the company going. Layoffs reportedly affect some 20 at offices in New York, 12 in Washington, five at a dozen in Washington, five at a documentary studio in Columbus, Ohio, plus several in a Los Angeles office. Back in February, Kraig Kitchin stepped down from his CEO role with TheBlaze to focus on “existing commitments.” Director of advertising sales Jeremy Price and director of marketing Liz Julis also exited at that time. The story says these changes do not affect Beck’s Premiere Networks-syndicated show. Read Grove’s piece here.
Kenetta Bailey Named SVP of Marketing for CBS RADIO. Joining CBS RADIO as senior vice president, marketing is Kenetta Bailey. She was most recently heading up her own consulting firm – KB Consulting – in which she worked with a variety of start-up businesses on subscriber growth, social media and branding. She also serves as an adjunct instructor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. CBS RADIO president Andre Fernandez states, “I’m thrilled to welcome Kenetta to our leadership team, and look forward to introducing her creative energy and brand expertise into everything we do. We have a tremendous opportunity to expand the strength of our brands locally and nationwide, as well as define our long range position in the marketplace. I know Kenetta will play an instrumental role in the telling of our story to the industry.” Bailey will be responsible for the marketing and brand positioning of the company, its stations and its digital products. She’ll also provide business-to-business marketing support and work with the division’s market managers and station management to develop and coordinate strategy for their local marketing efforts.
When Your Station IS the News. Last week’s attempted takeover of a media outlet in Baltimore by an allegedly deranged man happened at a television station. But, it could just as easily have been a radio station group. ABC Television Network director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes in a column published today (5/2), that “comprehensive, well-resourced and well-rehearsed emergency planning not only assures your continued ability to operate in times of crisis, but more importantly, shows your staff and clients how much you care.” He notes that the Sinclair-owned station and its staffers were prepared and it showed in how the situation was dealt with. Read Price’s valuable advice for preparing for potential emergencies here.
2015 Acquisitions Help Entercom to Q1 Net Revenue Hike of 23%. During 2015, Entercom added stations to its portfolio in deals with Lincoln Financial Media and Bonneville. Those deals helped the company’s first quarter 2016 net revenue soar to $96.1 million. Company CEO David Field says, “But the bigger news is that we had another great quarter of organic revenue growth. Same station revenues increased 6% for the quarter… In sum, it was a terrific quarter. What is important to note is that is part of an increasingly consistent pattern of Entercom delivering solid growth quarter-after-quarter. This now marks the fourth consecutive quarter of accelerating organic revenue growth for Entercom.”
The Presidential Race/Trump Protests, Iraq Parliament Protest, Seattle May Day Violence, 9/11 Report Controversy, White House Correspondents Dinner, and NFL Draft Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president and the California Donald Trump protests; the storming of the Iraqi Parliament by anti-government protestors; Sunday’s violent May Day protests in Seattle; controversy over the validity of the contents of the 9/11 report and Saudi Arabia’s threat to the U.S. if blamed for the terror attacks; the various political jabs from speakers at Saturday’s annual White House Correspondents Dinner; and the 2016 NFL Draft were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
FAIR’s ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Reports Record Attendance. The immigration-oriented radio row scheduled for June 22-23 in Washington is filling up with radio talk show hosts fast. The “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” event is produced by Federation for American Immigration Reform and executive director Bob Dane calls it an all-time high attendance record and adds that it’s “no surprise given immigration is the hottest issue in a high-profile, turbulent campaign.” FAIR says there are three remaining broadcast slots up for grabs. The event on Capitol Hill pulls together talk hosts, lawmakers, law enforcement and media. FAIR covers all expenses and engineering. Call for details at 202-328-7004.
Odds & Sods. Sports talk KDCO, Denver adds an FM presence in the market via translator K284CI at 104.7 FM. Mile High Sports Radio operates the stations under an LMA from Kona Coast Radio….. The Red State Talk Radio Network-based talk show “Standing Ground” hosted by Jeremy Leahy adds new affiliate station WJHC, Jasper, Florida (between Jacksonville and Tallahassee). The show airs at 11:00 pm on Sunday evenings…..Alpha Media’s Mason City, Iowa stations news/talk KGLO and standards KRIB pick up 11 honors in the Small Market Division of the 2015 Iowa Broadcast News Association awards. KGLO’s Bob Fisher won four first-place awards for Best Newscast, Sports Play-by-Play, Political Coverage, and Public Affairs.
Red Sox-WEEI Streak Continues. While financial terms of the highly expected deal were not disclosed, Entercom Boston sports outlet WEEI will carry on its role as the radio flagship of the Boston Red Sox through (at minimum) the 2023 MLB season. WEEI and the Red Sox have been partners since 1995. Entercom chief operating officer David Field states, “WEEI and Entercom are delighted to be extending our outstanding relationship with the Boston Red Sox well into the future. It is a true privilege to be partnered with this extraordinary, iconic organization and their world-class team of professionals, both on and off the field. Red Sox fans across the country will continue to hear outstanding Sox play-by-play broadcasts and 24/7 team coverage on WEEI and WEEI.com, the home of Red Sox baseball.” Red Sox president Sam Kennedy comments, “We are pleased to extend our partnership with WEEI for another seven seasons. We look forward to this new phase of our partnership and sharing more winning baseball through the airwaves with our fans across New England.” The WEEI play-by-play crew consists of Red Sox Hall of Fame announcer Joe Castiglione and Tim Neverett, who this year succeeded Dave O’Brien (now doing Red Sox telecasts on NESN); Hamden, Connecticut native Castiglione is in his 34th year in the Red Sox radio booth. In addition to WEEI, the Red Sox Radio Network consists of 55 affiliates throughout the six New England states. To see how WEEI-FM and 28 other MLB radio flagships performed in Nielsen Audio‘s March 2016 PPM sweep, please read today’s exclusive TALKERS special features piece which appears below.
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian introduces Major League Baseball‘s 2016 radio flagships with a ratings overview based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2016 PPM survey period. Highlighted are each key station’s 6+ share; 6+ market rank; month-to-month and year-to-year fluctuations; and a special breakout chart featuring the flagships by league/division. See the first of Mike’s exclusive special feature pieces about MLB flagships here.
TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations Is Nearing a Sellout! If you haven’t made your reservations to attend the forthcoming 19th annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention, now is the time to do so. It is nearing an early sellout and there will be no registrations sold at the door. TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations will take place three weeks from now on Friday, May 20 on the fabulous campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY (on Long Island, just outside of NYC). Featuring a powerful lineup of more than 60 luminous speakers, panel discussions, presentations, breakfast, lunch, closing reception, techno exhibits, live broadcasts and more – this is shaping up to be the most exciting and productive industry networking events of its kind in years. Registration cost is $299 per person and can only be arranged with credit card over the phone. The event is only open to media professionals and communications students. Please call 413-565-5413 for registration, sponsorship, and hotel information. Complete up to date agenda info can be found by clicking here.
Knapp, KCMO-AM Cut Ties. After more than five years as KCMO-AM, Kansas City’s afternoon drive host, Greg Knapp departs the Cumulus Media talk outlet. Regarding his dismissal, Knapp writes on his Facebook page, “I was told repeatedly it was not about my performance. My general manager was very kind in telling me how much she appreciated my show and my work [but] corporate decided it was cheaper to run syndicated programming than it was to pay me a salary. I have consistently had the highest ratings on the station; everyone at Cumulus Kansas City has been very good to me. The good news is I learned a long time ago to always have more than one source of income. I am now ramping up my personal development business [but] I am also looking for new opportunities in radio.” Knapp previously did afternoon drive on KLIF, Dallas; was a syndicated Radio America talk talent; and owned a guest-hosting service. Down or flat for the fourth successive sweep (1.9 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.5, 6+), KCMO-AM ranks #21 in Nielsen Audio‘s March 2016 PPM report for Kansas City; Entercom hot AC KZPT “The Point” is the market leader (6.5, 6+).
Presidential Race Tops “Talkers Ten” for Week of April 25 – 29. Activities of the presidential candidates and the battle for delegates were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 were the European terrorism investigations and the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, tied with the United States’ Syria military policy. Coming in at #3 was the controversy over state laws affecting public restroom use and gender identification, followed by North Korea’s recent missile tests at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
“Robbins & Markley” Becomes “Markley & van Camp.” Owing to health concerns that have sidelined Scott Robbins since late-August (2015), there is a title change for the weekday program on Alpha Media Portland’s KXL “FM News 101” and co-owned WMBD, Peoria (Illinois). David van Camp will permanently join Jamie Markley for the “Markley and van Camp Show,” which airs 9:00 am – 12:00 noon on KXL and from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm on WMBD. Alpha Media executive vice president of programming Scott Mahalick comments that, “David van Camp brings a unique perspective to the show and a great balance to Jamie Markley; together, they are magical.” The first official day of the newly-named “Markley and van Camp Show” will be next Monday (5/2).
SiriusXM Q1 Revenue Rises 11%. The increase is to a record $1.2 billion, with SiriusXM net income up 62% to $171 million; adjusted EBITDA improves 11% to $441 million. The satcaster adds nearly one-half million new subscribers, ending with almost 30.1 million. First quarter results exceeded expectations of chief executive officer Jim Meyer who comments, “I am especially pleased we were able to add 465,000 net new subscribers, leading to an 8% increase in subscribers over the prior year. With excellent subscriber growth so early in the year, we are raising our guidance for full year net subscriber additions to 1.6 million. We set first quarter records for revenue, adjusted EBITDA, and free cash flow, and we are on track to achieve all of our financial goals this year. With a new full-time music channel from Kenny Chesney, live broadcasts from major music festivals, special popup channels for David Bowie, and Billy Joel, as well as new talk shows, and unmatched coverage of the presidential primaries, SiriusXM continues to be the leader in audio entertainment. We are always looking to deliver new, compelling content to our subscribers.” Chief financial officer David Frear notes that during the first quarter, “We reduced our outstanding share count by about 3%, spending $588 million to repurchase 159 million shares of our common stock. Our debt to adjusted EBITDA remained low at just 3.4 times, leaving plenty of flexibility to continue capital returns to our stockholders or make acquisitions while also making investments in our technology, content, and new satellite infrastructure.”
State of the New York Market Report Released. Among the findings from a New York Market Radio Association (NYMRAD) overview is that several industries expanded their footprint in the New York area contributing to a strong first-quarter start. NYMRAD executive director Debbie Beagan remarks, “With luxury retailers and department stores opening locations across the Tri-State area, radio offers high-end businesses an engaging environment for reaching consumers with household incomes of $250,000 and higher. New York market radio reaches 91% of high-income households, $250,000+, [as well as] over 90% of those who own a second home; those planning on buying a luxury car; dined in upscale restaurants; purchased fine jewelry in excess of $500; and vacations in excess of $10,000.” The report addresses latest information about New York’s economy, commuting information, radio and politics, and national radio advertising/usage. Analysis of the New York marketplace is designed to help advertisers understand radio’s impact on consumers and its role in the local advertising landscape. NYMRAD’s “State of the Market Report” provides business trends as well as local information from a variety of sources including Nielsen Audio, Media Monitors, and The New York Times.”
Execs Named to Build Digital Content Network for TheBlaze. Three digital media industry veterans have been added to TheBlaze‘s leadership team. Former Core Media Group chief marketing officer Chris Gannett joins as senior vice president of marketing; previously with CNN and the weekend edition of ABC-TV‘s “Good Morning America,” Matt Frucci is appointed senior vice president of content & programming; and Lisa Fowler – from BET Networks – joins as vice president of talent and culture. TheBlaze president Stewart Padveen notes, “TheBlaze is investing heavily in our mission to redefine the way digital media is delivered and consumed. Chris, Matt, and Lisa are a significant part of a new high-performing culture and a diverse lineup of superstar talent.” Ironically, the additions at Glenn Beck‘s TheBlaze come after cuts across offices in New York, Los Angeles, Washington (D.C.), and Columbus, where a documentary group had been based. Sources tell TVNewser, between 35-45 staffers have been pinkslipped. These layoffs follow what a source calls a “brain drain” of talent over the last year. Chief executive officer Betsy Morgan left the company last summer and her interim replacement, former Premiere Networks chief operating officer, Kraig Kitchen, exited earlier this year. According to The Daily Beast, the latest cuts are meant to “satisfy the requirements of a multi-million dollar bank loan taken out recently to keep Beck’s revenue-challenged enterprise running.” TheBlaze is consolidating the company’s operations to its Irving, Texas headquarters.
WPRO, Providence Names Dan Yorke PM Drive Host. Three months after the death of colorful afternoon talk show host Buddy Cianci, Cumulus Media named Dan Yorke Cianci’s replacement in afternoon drive. This is familiar territory for Yorke, who served as PM drive personality for years prior to Cianci’s joining the station. Yorke has been the midday host and his move bumps temporary PM drive host Tara Granahan to the evening daypart – 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Current evening host and longtime station producer Matt Allen is upped to the midday host role. The other hosts at the station remain in their places – Gene Vallicente in morning drive and John DePetro in the late morning roles.
Hubbard’s ‘myTalk 107.1’ Dedicates Programming to Passing of Prince. The passing of music legend Prince on Thursday (4/21) at the age of 57 has stunned fans and the music community alike, and tributes are taking place on many music stations. Special programs are being offered by radio networks, as well. But at Hubbard Radio’s Minneapolis female-targeted talk outlet KTMY “myTalk 107.1,” the station went all-Prince upon the news of his death. Hubbard Radio VP and market manager Dan Seeman tells TALKERS, “‘myTalk covered the news, but more importantly, it covered our listeners’ reactions to the news. It was a very emotional day.” The station used digital billboard technology to quickly react and show its listeners that it was talking about the story “now.” At left, you can see the billboard perched atop the city’s famed Mayo Clinic yesterday. Additionally, the station was very quick to put insightful and locally flavored Prince-related content up on its website. Check that out here.
Noam Laden Appointed WABC, New York News Director. New York news/talk 77 WABC announces the appointment of Noam Laden as the station’s news director. Laden has been with WABC for the past seven years, most recently hosting the early morning “News Hour with Noam Laden,” and writing and anchoring the station’s news from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. Now, Laden is tapped to lead the news department as news director. In a memo to staff, program director Craig Schwalb says Laden will help him tackle the news operation’s priorities, including: digital news functions, adding news content to the station’s website; weekend news enhancements; and more. Schwalb says, “This is a fantastic step for our team and it is all about making WABC even stronger in news content and coverage.”
The Presidential Race/New York Primary Top Talk Story for Week of April 18-22. Not surprisingly, the activities of the candidates for president and this week’s important New York primary election dominated the discussion on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was President Obama’s trip to Saudi Arabia. Coming in at #3 was Russia’s increased military activity and following at #4 was the proposed change replacing Andrew Jackson with abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
NBC Sports Radio Unveils Sunday Night Show with Pabst and Perloff. Sports media pros Paul Pabst and Andrew Perloff are both producers and personalities on DirecTV’s Dan Patrick show – Pabst for the past 12 years and Perloff for nine. Beginning this Sunday night, they’ll debut “The Leisuremen: Pabst & Perloff,” from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET. NBC Sports Radio says the show “will touch on a wide range of topics that go wildly beyond sports – from food, drink, cars, travel, and money to how to properly wear plaid pants.” Pabst has worked at CBS Sports, CBS Radio News, ESPN, and SiriusXM. He’s also written for Sports Illustrated and ESPN Magazine. Perloff has served as a writer, editor, and producer for Sports Illustrated, FOXSports.com, NFL, MLB.com, and the YES Network.
Odds & Sods. In consideration for the “hardest working man in talk radio” title is WHO, Des Moines-based personality Simon Conway. Today (4/22), Conway is hosting his morning show on WMT, Cedar Rapids; his afternoon show on WHO; then will sit in for the Compass Media Networks-syndicated Joe Pags show…..Chris Hill, host of the “Motley Fool Money” radio show, checks in to tell TALKERS that his show is now available on Spotify and Google Play. The latter launched this week and Spotify recently added spoken word content to its menu of entertainment…..Dita Holifield is promoted from her director of sales position to general manager for the Salem Media’s Honolulu station group.
Scott Herman Receives 2016 Ward L. Quaal Leadership Award. At a breakfast ceremony at the NAB Show in Las Vegas on Wednesday, CBS RADIO chief operating officer Scott Herman was presented with the 2016 Ward L. Quaal Leadership Award by the Broadcasters Foundation of America. The Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars in aid to members of the industry who have lost their livelihood through a catastrophic event, debilitating disease or unforeseen tragedy. Pictured (l – r) are: CBS RADIO president Andre Fernandez, Herman’s wife Beth, Herman, and BFoA chairman Philip J. Lombardo.
Analysis: NAB Show – Day 1. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is reporting from the 2016 NAB Show for TALKERS magazine/RadioInfo. From day one of the broadcasting mega-confab in Las Vegas, Cooke reports on the radio-centric panels he attended. NAB CEO Gordon Smith declared in his opening keynote, “No other media industry is as dedicated to supporting our local communities – not Google, not Apple, not Pandora, not cable or satellite.” That sentiment ran through a number of panels during which operators told attendees that in radio’s current era, stations have to be marketing experts for their clients and information and entertainment experts for their local communities. For more about how operators are encouraging creativity in sales and programming, read Holland Cooke’s report here.
Cumulus Re-Ups ‘Murph and Mac.’ Sports talk duo Brian Murphy and Paul McCaffrey will continue to host the morning drive show on Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR, San Francisco after signing a contract renewal. Beginning April 25, the program will move up an hour and be heard from 6:00 am to 10:00 am. KNBR operations manager Lee Hammer states, “I’m thrilled to be able to announce that ‘Murph and Mac’ will continue their morning show on KNBR 680. Their show, which blends sports talk and the perfect balance of pop culture and musical references, is the ‘go-to’ destination every morning for sports fans in the Bay Area.” The two have been partners on KNBR for the past 10 years.
The Presidential Race/ New York Primary, SCOTUS Hears Obama Illegal Aliens Executive Order Case, $20 Bill Controversy, Afghanistan Taliban Activity, and Biden Netanyahu Criticism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/19). The activities of the candidates for president and today’s New York primary election; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case challenging President Obama’s executive order protecting some illegal aliens from deportation; the flap over removing Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill and replacing him with a female historical figure; concern over increased violence by the Taliban in Afghanistan; and Joe Biden’s criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WSB-AM, Atlanta’s Erick Erickson Takes Time Off After Pulmonary Issues. The host of “Atlanta’s Evening News” on WSB-AM, Atlanta – and RedState.com editor-in-chief Erick Erickson – is taking time off from his afternoon drive program to recover from a serious illness. Erickson posted on TheResurgent.com that over the past few weeks his lungs have been filling up with blood clots. Breathing difficulties sent him to see doctors on several occasions before his was diagnosed. Though still in the hospital, Erickson says he is healing and hopes to return to work soon.
John Ziegler Discusses the State of His Syndicated Show (‘John & Leah’) and the Radio Industry in Candid TALKERS Audio Interview. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian recently spoke with Envision Networks-syndicated talk personality John Ziegler about the progress his Sunday evening show is making a year into its national distribution effort that resulted in a major personality profile posted in TALKERS on March 8. The three-hour show that features co-host Leah Brandon (who also serves as WERC, Birmingham morning news anchor) is currently heard on 22 affiliate stations – 15 of which are in the top 28 markets. Ziegler has an impressive set of talk radio credentials that include stints at WHAS, Louisville and KFI, Los Angeles among others. He also has a colorful history in the business that includes its share of controversial, high-profile episodes. In a brand new audio conversation with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison conducted yesterday (4/18), Ziegler says having a wife, child and a female co-host serve to keep him more cautious and mature when it comes to recklessness and stepping over the line – but that hasn’t dampened his edginess and reputation for delivering strong opinions. Ziegler and Brandon are included in the 2016 edition of the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” and Ziegler will be a participant in the “Talk Rumble” at the forthcoming TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations convention set for Friday, May 20 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. To listen to the entire conversation between Ziegler and Harrison, please click here. To read the March 8 feature story by Mike Kinosian please click here.
Odds & Sods. Entering the business of podcast distribution is the America Out Loud News Portal which debuts six new shows including, “This is Real Life Radio with Host Malcolm Out Loud.” Malcolm Out Loud is the founder of the platform and he says programming pro Gabe Hobbs will consult with the network and provide talent resources for hosts…..iHeartMedia Denver and the Colorado Rockies agree to a five-year extension of their radio broadcast agreement that’ll keep Rockies baseball on KOA, Denver “NewsRadio 850 AM & 94.1 FM” through the 2021 season. Jack Corrigan and Jerry Schemmel will continue as the voices of Colorado Rockies play-by-play…..WCNN, Atlanta “Sports Radio 680 The Fan” account executive Carolina Margarella (pictured at right) took yesterday off from her duties at the Dickey-owned station to run in the 120th Boston Marathon. This year’s race also marked the 50th anniversary of women being allowed to run. Margarella finished the race in 3:25:57, which averages out to a very impressive 7:51 per mile.
In Memoriam: Brent Seltzer. Just over four weeks from now (5/20), the annual TALKERS convention will take place on the campus of Hofstra University. There will be one sadly missing element there, however, following the passing yesterday afternoon (4/18) of our colleague Brent Seltzer (right). The 68-year-old golden-voiced on-air talent/writer/voice over artist died in his sleep at a Los Angeles-area long-term care facility. Always debonair and engaging, Seltzer is survived by his wife, Meg McDonald (left). For the last several years, Seltzer and McDonald served as “official greeters” at the TALKERS New York City and Los Angeles confabs and last year they served as emcees of the NY event. Seltzer succumbed to complications following major surgery. TALKERS founder/publisher Michael Harrison states, “We all mourn the loss of a great broadcaster, wonderful friend, and outstanding human being.” McDonald encourages a celebration of her late husband’s life, stating, “We hope you will raise a glass and toast Brent Seltzer.” Instead of a formal funeral service, Seltzer will be cremated and buried at sea. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that those so inclined make a donation to their favorite animal shelter or animal charity. Seltzer had a legendary career in radio dating back to the late 1960s that included pioneering work in the field of FM rock radio news at such outlets as KGB, San Diego and KMET, Los Angeles among others. His long-running podcast, “Still at Large with Brent Seltzer” had a significant national following early in the podcasting movement and, in recent years, he co-hosted a daily GCN nationally-syndicated husband/wife “chat” program, “The Brent & Meg Show” with McDonald. Those interested in contacting Meg McDonald can do so via email at email@example.com. Approximately two years ago, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian profiled both Brent and Meg. Please click here to read that June 2014 special feature piece in its entirety.
KGO, San Francisco Announces New Programming; Ronn Owens to Remain on KGO After All. Citing listener outcry (who saw that coming?), Cumulus Media is changing its plans to move Bay Area talk legend Ronn Owens to drive time on sister talker KSFO and will keep him on KGO (with an hour trimmed off) from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. Beginning tomorrow (4/5), the new KGO lineup begins with KSTE, Sacramento-based Armstrong & Getty – Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – in morning drive. After Owens is Ethan Bearman from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. Bearman has been hosting weekend shows for KGO and sister KSFO for the past few years. Brian Copeland, a longtime weekend host at KGO, follows Bearman from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Chip Franklin is now afternoon drive host from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm and DreX remains the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm personality. Last week, the company moved away from its newsy heritage, dismissing most of its news personnel in this move to re-make KGO a live-and-local talk station. Program director Mike Anthony states, “We couldn’t be more excited about the new direction KGO 810 is taking, and we believe our listeners will love what they hear. Ronn’s audience made it very clear to us yesterday that he belongs at KGO — so we listened.”
The Presidential Race, Syrian Conflict/Battle Against Islamic State, European Jihadists Investigation, European Migrant Issues, and the Final Four Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president in advance of Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary; the Syrian civil conflict, weekend attacks on al-Nusra leaders and the battle against Islamic State fighters; the investigation into the jihadists responsible for the Paris and Brussels terror attacks; the issues European nations are dealing with as they absorb refugees from Syria and other Middle East nations; and the Final Four games were some of the stories discussed on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Amber Wilson Joins WAXY-AM, Miami’s ‘Zaslow & Romberg’ AM Show. Florida broadcaster Amber Wilson is joining Entercom’s WAXY-AM, Miami “Sports Talk 790 AM The Ticket” as a member of the on-air team on the “Zaslow & Romberg” show with Jonathan Zaslow and Brett Romberg. Entercom notes that Wilson is “a veteran sports broadcaster, who began her career hosting a weekly sports television show, ‘Sports Bang’ on WFOR-TV alongside ESPN’s Jon ‘Stugotz’ Weiner. She has previously appeared on a variety of sports radio programs, including CBS Network’s ‘The Players Club’ and as an anchor, reporter and writer for Open Sports Inc. and CBS Sports Interactive.” Entercom South Florida VP and market manager Doug Abernethy states, “Amber has it all: in-depth sports knowledge and expertise, a fan’s enthusiasm and a lively on-air presence. Her chemistry with Jonathan and Brett will be a winning combination that will resonate with our audience and our ad partners. Listeners will benefit from her proven track record providing real time commentary and sports analysis.”
Todd Schnitt and Wife Lose Case Over Unpaid Legal Bills. Talk show host Todd Schnitt and his wife Michelle were handed a legal defeat in a Tampa courtroom when the jury decided that the couple must pay their former legal team the fees it charged to sue former Tampa radio rival Bubba the Love Sponge. The Schnitts had argued that they were deceived by former attorney Philip Campbell and would not have sued Bubba if not for “bad advice” from Campbell. The Schnitts lost their bid to win a defamation case against Bubba. In the end, the jury found the Schnitts had not been deceived by Campbell and they are being ordered to pay $669,000 in legal fees.
PPM Analysis: Public Radio Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the third of three format analyses of spoken-word radio based on the February 2016 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio. Previously we published reports on all-news and news/talk. Today’s report focuses on non-commercial news/talk. No public radio talk station ranked first in its market in February, however six stations finished in the top five: WAMU, Washington (#2); KOPB, Portland (#2); KQED-FM, San Francisco (#3); WUNC, Raleigh (#3); KCFR, Denver (#4); and KPBS, San Diego (#5). In this report you’ll also find a chart comparing the performances of all-news, news/talk, and non-commercial talk. See it here.
Odds & Sods. According to a report from Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago is flipping the air times of Westwood One syndicated talk programs “The Savage Nation” with host Michael Savage and the Mark Levin program. When the shows aren’t being pre-empted or partially pre-empted by White Sox baseball, Savage will be heard at 9:00 pm and Levin will go on at 6:00 pm. Both shows will be streamed when baseball is airing…..Media sales pro David J. Halberstam has just published his new book titled, The Fundamentals of Sports Media and Sponsorship Sales: Developing New Accounts. Halberstam – who began his career with Katz Media and spent a decade as EVP of sports for Westwood One – currently heads up the Halby Group. He tells TALKERS the book is being released in both hardcopy and electronic forms via Sagamore Publishing. Halberstam says, “The title is a first of its kind; a step-by-step handbook on developing new sports media and sponsorship accounts. Corporate sports account executives, veterans and rookies alike, should find the text of interest. From identifying prospects to closing a piece of business and the emotional roller coaster throughout the process, they are all covered.”…..Hard-working Iowa personality Simon Conway – heard on WHO, Des Moines in afternoons and on WMT, Cedar Rapids in mornings – is tripling up this week as he is also being heard on iHeartMedia’s WFLF, Orlando in morning drive today through Wednesday…..Bill Bennett officially passed the baton to new Salem Radio Network morning drive host Hugh Hewitt, who replaces Bennett in the daypart. Hewitt had U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) on his program and he wished Hewitt well, “Congratulations, welcome to mornings…you have some big shoes to fill!”
WOWO, Fort Wayne’s Pat Miller to Undergo Kidney Transplant. Afternoon drive talk host Pat Miller recently shared with his listeners his battle with Chronic Kidney Disease and the news that a matching kidney donor has been found. He said, “God miraculously has made a kidney available for me. There’s a donor that has selflessly put themselves on the line…” Miller is scheduled to undergo the transplant on May 24.
WBBM-AM, Chicago Reporter Dies in Car Crash. A Sunday morning automobile accident in Merrillville, Indiana took the life of 60-year-old WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago reporter Dave Mitchell. Mitchell had been with the CBS RADIO all-news outlet since 1992. Chicago media is reporting Mitchell leaves behind a wife and four children.
Ronn Owens Move from KGO to KSFO the Tip of Iceberg of Changes at Cumulus San Francisco. The company has not issued an official statement about the changes other than to announce KGO legend Ronn Owens’ move from late mornings there to the afternoon drive slot at sister KSFO, effective Monday (4/4). But there is much more going on, including what is reported be the dismissal of the majority of the news staff at KGO. One can assume the expense of KGO’s news department was one of the big reasons for the new programming direction. Nielsen Audio’s February PPM ratings saw CBS RADIO’s all-news KCBS-AM finish #1 with a 6.2 share (6+) compared to KGO’s 1.8 share. There are more changes soon to be announced as Cumulus re-builds KGO and the addition of KSTE, Sacramento-based Armstrong & Getty to the KGO morning slot is one. The duo is moving from iHeartMedia’s crosstown KKSF, San Francisco where it’s been heard for the past few years. On the music side, Cumulus also let the air staff at triple A KFOG go, and is running without jocks as that station announces it is entering a “transformational time.” The station is expected to remain some sort of rock outlet.
Stephanie Miller to Assume Mornings at KKSF; Station Positioned as Progressive Talker. With the departure of Armstrong & Getty from the morning daypart at iHeartMedia’s KKSF, San Francisco “Talk 910” for mornings at KGO, the company announces WYD Media-syndicated Stephanie Miller is the new morning drive personality. Speaking about the changes, iHM San Francisco SVP of programming Don Parker says, “The Bay Area is arguably the most progressive market in the nation. This move aligns ‘Talk 910’ with the predominant sentiment of the region in all prime dayparts, delivering compelling progressive or lifestyle content throughout the day.” The new lineup is: Stephanie Miller from 6:00 am to 10:00 am, Gil Gross from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, Cory (Callewaert) and Joel (Riddell) from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, “The Doghouse with JV & Elvis” (a.k.a. Jeff Vandergrift and Dan Lay) from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Los Angeles-based Mo’ Kelly from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Mo’ Kelly, a.k.a. Morris W. O’Kelly, hosts on weekends at iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles where he’s heard from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Presidential Race Tops the Talkers TenTM for Week of March 28-April 1. The activities of the candidates for president were once again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the aftermath of the Brussels and Pakistan terror attacks. Coming in at #3 was the battle against Islamic State followed by European migrant troubles at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an analysis of the performances of news/talk-formatted stations in PPM markets based on Nielsen Audio’s February 2016 survey. Yesterday, we published a report on the all-news format. IN this report, see how news/talk stations have progressed since the beginning of the presidential primary season last February. Last month, there were 15 news/talk outlets that ranked in the top 5 (6+) in their respective markets – four ranked #1: WSB-AM, Atlanta; WLW, Cincinnati; KSL, Salt Lake City; and WKXW, Trenton (Middlesex-Somerset-Union market). See charts showing fluctuations from February 2015, market share over the past six surveys, and comparing all-news and news/talk stations. Read it here.
’97.1 The Fan’ in Columbus Adds Local Show with Tim Hall & Beanie Wells. Columbus sports talker WBNS “97.1 The Fan” is moving former Ohio State and NFL running back Beanie Wells (right) into daylight to co-host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show with Tim Hall (left). The duo had been hosting “The Buckeye Show,” airing evenings from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Program director Jay Taylor tells WBNS-TV, “This is a great opportunity for our loyal and craving audience for get more local sports talk. It also brings another exciting layer to our team on the highest-rated ESPN affiliate in the country.”
New Early Morning Show Makes ESPN Radio Live 24 Hours on Weekdays. Monday’s launch of “First and Last with Lundberg & Golic Jr.” means the ESPN Radio schedule will be live round the clock on weekdays. The 4:00 am to 6:00 am show co-hosted by Robin Lundberg and Mike Golic Jr. will “recap the previous night’s highlights and delve into the coming day’s stories and will be preceded by a two-hour edition of ‘SportsCenter AllNight’ (2:00 am to 4:00 am).” ESPN audio network content VP David Roberts says, “We are constantly looking for new, aggressive ways of serving sports fans. Providing sports talk and information live, around the clock during the week underscores our commitment to offering our listeners another opportunity to engage with our network through a strong opinion-based program. Robin Lundberg and Mike Golic Jr. will set the table perfectly for our flagship franchise, ‘Mike and Mike.’”
FOX News Radio to Launch Willie Robertson Podcast. Reality television star Willie Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” fame is the host of a new podcast series debuting on Monday (4/4). FOX News Radio says the weekly program will focus on faith and family along with occasional celebrity guest interviews. Robertson will also serve as a FOX News contributor. In conjunction with his role as CEO of Duck Commander, Robertson acts as both a television personality and executive producer for A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” and The Outdoor Channel’s “Buck Commander.” He has also co-written a New York Times bestseller titled, The Duck Commander Family with his wife, Korie Robertson.
Alpha Media Closes on Digity Purchase. This is no ordinary acquisition as Alpha Media balloons to approximately 250 stations in 50+ markets by closing on in excess of 110 Digity properties. Over and above that, Alpha Media becomes the country’s third-largest broadcast company in terms of number of markets and fourth-largest regarding station count. Alpha Media chair Larry Wilson comments, “We are very pleased to get this remarkable transaction done. In our fold is now an exceptional stable of diversified stations and markets, serving not only their towns but surrounding areas and communities. It has been a tremendous pleasure to work with respected broadcaster [Digity chief executive officer] Dean Goodman and his management team. We look forward to joining forces with the phenomenal people at Digity doing radio the right way.” Goodman remarks, “I have been honored to work with the great broadcasters of Digity. They know their roots are in live and local and their future is dynamic. They will excel with Alpha as individual and collective entrepreneurs. We hand off a thriving company, up this year at the top of the industry. I wish Larry [Wilson] and his team all the best; they have assembled a great platform.” Only two of the 28 Digity markets are PPM-metros – San Jose and West Palm Beach. The other facilities are in Missouri: (Bethany-Cameron, Clinton, Farmington-Festus, Moberly-Macon, and Waynesville-Lebanon); Iowa (Fairfield, Fort Dodge, Grinnell-Newton, and Mason City); Minnesota (Albert Lea-Austin, Luverne, Mankato, and Redwood Falls); South Dakota (Brookings, Madison, and Watertown); Illinois (Aurora and Joliet); Nebraska (Columbus and Lincoln); Michigan (Saginaw-Bay City-Midland); North Carolina (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville); Ohio (Canton); South Carolina (Myrtle Beach); Texas: (North Dallas-McKinney); and Wisconsin (Kenosha-Waukegan). When this deal was first announced in August 2015, the purchase price was reported to be $264 million.
WFAN and Brooklyn Nets Extend Broadcast Rights Agreement. The multi-year deal between CBS Radio New York sports outlet WFAN “The Fan” and the NBA‘s Brooklyn Nets goes beyond NBA basketball to cover other parts of the business at Barclays Center, including select college basketball games, concerts, and live events. As it has since the 2004 – 2005 season, WFAN will continue as the team’s radio flagship. According to CBS Radio president Andre Fernandez, “CBS Radio is proud to continue our association with the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center. We have defined our position in sports broadcasting by delivering the most extensive coverage of local programming and events. We continue to make aggressive investments in exclusive content our audiences can’t find anywhere else.” Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment chief executive officer Brett Yormark comments, “Our relationship with CBS Radio continues to give us a major voice in the nation’s largest market. This new agreement comes on the heels of our recent extension with YES Network, providing the team with premium exposure on two of the country’s most popular sports outlets.” WFAN news sibling WCBS-AM will be the Nets’ secondary radio outlet. Prior to relocating to Brooklyn, the team was called the New Jersey Nets. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for New York City, WFAN ranks ninth (3.8, 6+); iHeartMedia adult contemporary WLTW “Lite FM” leads the field with a 6.7 (6+).
Hyde Heads to Entercom Sacramento as GSM. Fourteen-month Pandora account executive Corey Hyde joins Entercom Sacramento as general sales manager. Vice president and market manager Lance Richard comments, “It is exciting to add Corey to our team. He has an impressive track record of success and he brings experience in developing dynamic, integrated campaigns and long term partnerships for local clients. His leadership skills and experience in this market make him the perfect fit for Entercom Sacramento.” Hyde remarks, “I am thrilled to be joining Lance Richard and the team at Entercom Sacramento. Radio is stronger than ever, and we have the best local stations in the market. I look forward to using our wide array of marketing assets to drive real results for our clients.” In his 13-year radio career, Hyde spent nearly 10 years with CBS Radio Sacramento as a senior account executive and three years with iHeartMedia Sacramento as an AE. Entercom Sacramento consists of KCTC “ESPN 1320″; CHR KDND “The End”; alternative KKDO “Radio 94-7”; KRXQ “98 Rock”; classic rock KSEG “The Eagle”; and hot AC KUDL “Star 106.5.”
Baldwin Exits Weekend “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.” Effective immediately, actor Stephen Baldwin departs “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.” The two-hour syndicated weekend program carried by approximately 250 affiliates on Kevin McCullough‘s eight-year-old XtreMEDIA and simulcast on BizTV is rebranded “Radio Night LIVE.” As Baldwin’s work schedule increased the past few months, McCullough explains, “The more difficult it has become for him to make the show. For the past eight years, we have enjoyed the liveliest and – on most nights – the funniest weekend radio broadcast in America. Our listeners will immediately feel the impact of Stephen’s absence from the talk radio airwaves. To be realistic, however, because of his filming schedule in 2015, his workload severely prevented him from being with us even one out of two weeks. This is great for him because his passion is acting. Our staff, our sponsors, and listeners will miss Stephen’s unique humor and spunk. His personality is one-of-a-kind and Stephen will always be welcome to a microphone we have named in his honor; we are thrilled though at this chance to take our broadcast to another level. ‘Radio Night LIVE’ will take the signature humor we have developed over the years, add cutting edge ‘next generation’ guests, experts, and entertainers and explode Saturday night in ways previously unseen.” Baldwin comments, “God has been so good to me and all I want to do is to follow where He is leading me. My time doing the show is something I will always remember. Our listeners brought much laughter and insight into my life.” It is possible that McCullough will utilize a series of rotating guest hosts such as KRLA, Los Angeles’ Elisha Krauss; Karol Markowicz of The New York Post; YouToo America‘s Gina Loudon; as well as Ashley Papa and Kayleigh McEnany. McCullough continues hosting his weekday 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm “After Hours” show on Salem Media Group New York’s WNYM “AM 970 The Answer”; the “Kevin McCullough Show” for Salem Media Group; and “News That Makes You Think.”
Four More Years: WGN, Northwestern Extend Rights Agreement. The union between 50,000-watt WGN, Chicago and Northwestern University will keep Wildcats football and men’s basketball on the Tribune talker through the conclusion of the 2019 – 2020 season. In addition, the voice of Wildcats football since 1990 and men’s basketball since 1996 – Dave Eanet – signs a four-year contract. WGN Radio president and general manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We are proud to present Northwestern basketball and football anchored by Dave ‘Mr. Cat’ Eanet. We look forward to bringing our listeners the excitement of Chicago’s Big Ten team in the years to come.” According to Northwestern vice president for athletics and recreation Jim Phillips, “The Northwestern Wildcats and WGN Radio have forged a special relationship over the last two decades. WGN not only is a broadcasting force, but a true Chicago institution. We have shared many thrilling moments through the years, and we look forward to many more memories with WGN Radio as the home of Chicago’s Big Ten team.” Eanet was inducted into the WGN Radio Walk of Fame last year. Former Chicago Bear Ted Albrecht is WGN’s football analyst on Wildcat broadcasts, while former college and pro head coach Joey Meyer provides analysis on basketball broadcasts. WGN has been the radio home of the Wildcats since 1996. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for Chicago, WGN ranks fifth with a 4.2 – its best showing since last June’s 4.3; CBS Radio‘s all-news WBBM-AM is on top with a 6.8 (6+).
Louisville Lineup Changes at WHAS, WKRD. Starting next Monday (2/29), former WKXW “New Jersey 101.5,” Trenton personality Mary Walter will oversee a weeknight 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm program on iHeartMedia Louisville talker WHAS. Of Walter, director of iHeartMedia Louisville’s AM programming Kelly Carls comments, “She is always prepared; keeps her finger on the pulse of the news; and she does a great job connecting with listeners. We are delighted she will be offering her unique perspectives every day.” A WHAS fill-in beginning in 2009, Walter remarks, “I am so excited to be with the WHAS audience on a regular basis. I have grown to love the local listeners over the years. They are so engaged and informed that it makes the job fun.” She previously worked at radio stations in Washington, DC; Phoenix; Denver; and Omaha. Meanwhile, at co-owned all-sports WKRD “790 KRD,” Howie Lindsey is named 7:00 am – 10:00 am host; contributors Matt Willinger and Katie George will join him. Another change there will find TheCardinalConnect.Com founder Nick Coffey taking on 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm duty. “We are very excited to expand our local sports coverage on WKRD,” notes Kelly Carls. “Mornings, mid-days and afternoons, we now have local sports fans covered with updates, insights, and compelling conversation about the teams and games that really matter.” Lindsey and Coffey will debut one week from Monday (3/7). Among persons 12+ in Nielsen Audio‘s winter 2016 book, WHAS ranks #1 (7.4) and WKRD is #12 (1.2).
Cumulus Media Dallas Sets Fourth Spring Job Fair. Jobseekers and hiring companies will come together in less than two weeks (3/9) as Cumulus Media Dallas presents its fourth annual Putting Texans Back to Work Spring Job Fair at the Plano Centre. In attendance will be representatives from over 100 companies in search of quality candidates from the Dallas, Collin, and Denton County areas of North Texas. No registration is required for job seekers; however, registration deadline for companies looking for qualified individuals is one week from Monday (3/7). The Cumulus Dallas cluster includes sports KESN “ESPN Radio 103.3”; talk KLIF-AM; CHR KLIF-FM “Hot 93.3”; country KPLX “The Wolf”; KSCS “New Country 96.3”; sports KTCK “The Ticket; and talk WBAP.
BTC Begins HD Radio Data Services in Canada. A partnership between the Broadcaster Traffic Consortium (BTC) and exclusive mapping and technology data partner HERE leads to Canada’s first in-vehicle HD Radio Traffic service. Honda is the first brand to offer the service to its customers on certain 2015 and 2016 models. Broadcaster Traffic Consortium president Paul Brenner comments, “The BTC and all of our member stations are excited to be the first to market for HD Radio data services in Canada. Honda and HERE are valued partners that expect constant innovation and quality services regardless of our borders or radio station ownership. Unified broadcasters, collaborating to deliver a common service, bringing innovation solutions to automakers is better for the strategic and long-term viability of the broadcast radio industry. BTC is proud to be a leader in this space.” HD Radio Traffic enables drivers and passengers to view detailed information on local traffic conditions in real time on their vehicle’s audio display screen. The BTC has stations providing coverage in most areas within greater Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary; the service is expected to expand to additional Canadian markets. Originally founded in 2007 with eight broadcast groups – Beasley Broadcast Group; Bonneville International Corporation; Cox Radio; Emmis Communications; Entercom Communications; Greater Media; NPR; and Radio One – BTC has grown to include 23 broadcast groups in the United States and Canada. It builds a nationwide terrestrial broadcasting network to distribute local traffic and other map-related data via FM and HD Radio technology.
Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 22-26. Primary races and activities of presidential candidates were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was Apple’s refusal to hack the phone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists. At #3 was the battle over the timeline for replacing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, followed by Islamic State’s reported threats against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week; it is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. View this week’s entire chart here.
BFA to Fete Fritts with “Excellence in Broadcasting” Award. Former 23-year National Association of Broadcasters president and chief executive officer Eddie Fritts is named this year’s Broadcasters Foundation of America‘s recipient of the Lowry Mays “Excellence in Broadcasting” award. Underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation, the award is given each year to a broadcaster, “whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.” Fritts’ past recognition includes “Broadcaster of the Year” awards at both the New York State Broadcasters Association and the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. In addition, he is the past recipient of the Broadcasters Foundation’s “Golden Mike” and “Chairman’s” awards. Inducted into the Giants of Broadcasting’s Hall of Fame in 2010, he received the NAB’s “Distinguished Service” award one year later. Fritts – who launched The Fritts Group in March 2006 – will be honored with this particular acknowledgement in approximately two months (4/20) during the NAB Show in Las Vegas. The Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars to thousands of broadcasters and their families. Individual donations can be made to the Guardian Fund. Corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative; bequests can be arranged through the Legacy Society.
Cumulus Media Florida Outlets Aid in Tornado Recovery. Personal and household items, as well as monetary donations, are being collected by 14 Cumulus Media stations in Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Mobile, and Pensacola (Florida) for those affected by this week’s tornadoes in Century and Pensacola. Radio station staffers will be at various locations for six hours today (Friday, 2/26), nine hours tomorrow (Saturday, 2/27), and four hours on Sunday. Listeners are being asked to help tornado victims with water, personal hygiene items, household cleaning items, tarps, laundry detergent, diapers, wipes, book bags, crayons, pens, pencils, paper, clothing, and non-perishable food items. Cash donations should be directed to the Gulf Coast recovery effort through the American Red Cross and the United Way.
Cool Job Opportunities at CBS, Los Angeles. TALKERS has learned that CBS Radio Los Angeles is now looking to fill the following positions as soon as possible at all-news KNX 1070: news reporter, writer, and news production assistant. For more details and to apply, please click here: WWW.CBSRADIO.COM/CAREERS.
Odds & Sods. Pittsburgh-based “The Union Edge” adds suburban Minneapolis talker KTNF “AM 950 The Progressive Voice of Minnesota” as its 27th affiliate. KTNF president Chad Larson comments, “KTNF has been a longtime union advocate, covering labor issues since 2004 in the Twin Cities. We look forward to carrying another program focused on the many accomplishments labor has made for our nation as well as the modern threats facing working families and our ability to collectively bargain in the workplace.”
Entercom’s Furst Choice to Program KC Talk Combo. Self-described “freelance programming advisor/consultant” Alan Furst is tapped to program Entercom Kansas City siblings KMBZ-AM “Talk 980” and KMBZ-FM “News/Talk 98.1.” Entercom Kansas City vice president and market manager Dave Alpert remarks, “We are very pleased to welcome Alan. He brings with him a wealth of experience, possesses a passion for the on-air product, and a passion for winning.” Furst – who begins his new duties next Monday (2/15) – comments that he is “very excited to join one of the truly great news talk brands, KMBZ.” He went on to thank Alpert and Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton “for the opportunity to be part of the outstanding staff at Entercom Kansas City. I look forward to helping both stations continue to grow.” Prior to opening his programming consultancy in October 2014, Furst spent nearly two years as program director of Radio One Houston’s KROI. His varied resume includes hands-on operations manager and PD experience at San Antonio country and CHR duo KAJA “KJ-97” and KXXM “Mix 96”; WLW, Cincinnati; and WIBC, Indianapolis. In addition, he was senior vice president of content for DMX Music; Cumulus Media’s country format director; group program director for the Australian Radio Network; senior vice president of programming for Clear Channel, AMFM, and Capstar Broadcasting; national program director for NewCity Communications; and a programming consultant for Shane Media Services. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s “Holiday” 2015 PPM report, both KMBZ-FM (3.3, #14) and KMBZ-AM (2.6, #18) were down one-half share from December 2015.
Howard Tuuri Named VP/GM for Genesis Communications. Radio executive Howard Tuuri joins Genesis Communications to serve as vice president and general manager for the company’s four Florida stations – news/talk WWBA, Tampa; sports talk WHBO, Tampa; Spanish WMGG, Tampa; and sports talk WHOO, Orlando – as well as its two Internet publications. Tuuri, who will report to Genesis president and CEO Bruce Maduri, previously served with Cox Media Group as a VP/GM for its Tampa operations. Maduri states, “Howard’s background and quality of experience are a tremendous fit for our organization. He has been a valuable member of our Leadership Team, and this appointment confirms our commitment to grow and realize the vision of a truly integrated media content company.”
The Presidential Race, Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, Battle Against Islamic State/Syrian Civil War, North Korean Missile Launch, Zika Virus, and Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/8). Today’s New Hampshire primary and the activities of the candidates for president; low oil prices and the effects on the world’s financial markets; the battle against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the effects of the ongoing Syrian civil conflict; North Korea’s weekend launch of a satellite missile; concerns over a potential pandemic of the Zika virus; and Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 and controversy over the Doritos commercial were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
RAB/Borrell: Radio Digital Revenue to Rise 14%. According to a study by Borrell Associates on behalf of the Radio Advertising Bureau, the radio industry’s digital ad revenue rose 11.4% in 2015 to more than $550 million. The study also predicts radio’s digital revenue will improve by 16% this year. This fourth annual report is titled, “Benchmarking: Local Radio Stations’ Online Revenues,” and concludes the average market cluster made $951,756 in digital sales last year, with the average station making $231,210. Borrell Associates CEO Gordon Borrell summarizes, “All signs point to the radio industry mobilizing even more in the interactive space. Eighty-two percent believe there is strong potential – the highest we’ve ever seen; 62% believe that their sales teams’ ability to sell digital products is solid – up from 52% a year ago; and 37% believe their digital strategy is headed in the right direction – up from 27%.” The full study is available to RAB members, but here are some of the juicier takeaways: One-third of stations surveyed believe their sales reps are talking to the wrong buyers when trying to sell digital products. Three years ago, two-thirds believed that was the case; Only 16% believe that radio sales suffer because reps are forced to sell digital advertising. That’s down significantly since 2014, when more than half felt that way; Conversely, 24% believe that digital sales suffer because reps focus on radio advertising. Three years ago, twice as many felt that way; And the average radio cluster received 0.26% of all locally spent Internet advertising. There were some, however, achieving 15 times that – up to nearly 4%. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Digital continues to be radio’s fastest growing sector. Stations that are laser focused on increasing revenue beyond their core broadcast business are experiencing the benefits. The results from this study provide us with insights of where efforts are paying off and what additional training is needed for radio to continue with this trajectory. The RAB is here to help with that knowledge and training.”
Service King and Motel 6 Win Westwood One Super Bowl Sound Awards. This was the third annual Westwood One Super Bowl Sound Awards designed to recognize excellence in audio creativity and celebrate brand advertisers and radio creative. Westwood One asked listeners to vote on their favorite audio commercials airing in the Westwood One Super Bowl 50 broadcast. In addition, Westwood One commissioned a Nielsen study of 3,030 consumers who rated all 45 commercials on a series of key attributes. Listeners voted for Service King’s “Mission 2 Hire” ad as their favorite Super Bowl commercial. The ad promotes Service King’s Mission 2 Hire program, which is dedicated to hiring 500 veterans at Service King locations around the country. Hear the ad here: http://thesoundawards.com/service-king/. Motel 6 was rated the most likeable ad in the Westwood One-commissioned Nielsen study. The brand’s “Designer Dogs” ad features long-time Motel 6 narrator Tom Bodett, who promotes Motel 6’s great rooms and low rates while poking fun at trendy dog breeds with silly names. The Motel 6 ad also received top consumer ratings for relevance, engagement, and memorability. Here is a link to hear the ad: http://thesoundawards.com/motel-6-3/.
WPRO-AM, Providence Talk Host Buddy Cianci Dead at 74. The colorful former Providence mayor who turned his political experience into a talk radio career in the city has died, according to WPRI-TV, Providence. Buddy Cianci – diagnosed with colon cancer in 2014 – died at Providence’s Miriam Hospital early today (1/28). Cianci hosted the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program on Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM. He was with the station for most of the past 10 years, taking a required break from his radio gig to again run for mayor in 2014 and returning after his defeat in the election. His first foray into talk radio took place between his two stints as mayor at iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talker WHJJ. WRKO, Boston-based, independently syndicated talk radio star Howie Carr issued the following statement regarding Cianci’s death: “Buddy Cianci was the antithesis of political correctness, which is why his passing is such a great loss for Providence, the state of Rhode Island, and talk radio. They’re not making them like Buddy anymore. He was one of a kind, sui generis.”
Talk Programmer Jack Landreth Exits KMBZ, Kansas City PD Post. Talk radio pro Jack Landreth leaves the program director position at Entercom’s Kansas City talk duo KMBZ-FM and KMBZ-AM “Talk980.” Landreth arrived in KC in January of 2012 after programming such news/talk outlets as KXNT, Las Vegas and KTSA, San Antonio. He writes in a memo to his staff, “I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished over the last four years as a team. Record ratings in our target demos have shattered all we thought we could do.” He can be emailed at: Jack.Landreth@me.com.
Odds & Sods. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WABC, New York adds “The Frommer Travel Show” to its Saturday programming schedule. The show, featuring Frommer Media co-president and editorial director Pauline Frommer and Frommers.com editor-in-chief Jason Cochran, will be locally produced and air from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..The weekly “Motley Fool Money” radio program with host Chris Hill adds new affiliate KVBR, Brainerd, Minnesota “Brainerd Business Radio” beginning this weekend…..CBS RADIO’s Pittsburgh station group is presenting its eat.drink.WESTMORELAND event this Saturday (1/30). Attendees get to enjoy samples from more than a dozen of Westmoreland County’s finest restaurants plus new products, wines, beers and more. News/talk KDKA-AM afternoon drive co-host Robert Mangino is serving as emcee.
Presidential Race/Trump to Skip GOP Debate, Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Volatility, European Immigrant Issues, Joseph Fiennes-Michael Jackson Flap, Oregon Militia Standoff, and Run-Up to Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27). The activities of the candidates for president, highlighted by Donald Trump’s refusal to participate in tonight’s Fox News Channel debate; low oil prices and the tumultuous world financial markets; the immigrant problems facing some European nations; the controversy over white actor Joseph Fiennes being cast in a film about Michael Jackson; the deadly turn of events in the Oregon Wildlife Preserve militia standoff; and the run-up to Super Bowl 50 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WGN, Chicago Extends Blackhawks Broadcast Deal for Five More Years. Chicago news/talker WGN and the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks announce the signing of a five-year contract extension to keep Blackhawks play-by-play on the Tribune station through the 2023-24 season. The Blackhawks have been heard on WGN since the 2008-09 campaign. WGN president and general manager Jimmy de Castro states, “Many, myself included, believe that WGN Radio and the Chicago Blackhawks have the best partnership in sports. This renewal is testament to that. It’s an honor to formally extend this relationship and we look forward to celebrating many more Blackhawks wins with our WGN Radio listeners.” Pictured here are (from l-r): sports director Dave Eanet, producer Ross Cochran, news anchor Andrea Darlas, director of sales Jeff Hill, director of marketing Jackie Paulus, programming director Todd Manley, morning show host Steve Cochran, and de Castro.
WABC, New York Names Sid Rosenberg and Bernard McGuirk Midday Hosts. There’s no official word from Cumulus Media but TALKERS magazine is hearing the new show starts tomorrow (1/27). Filling in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart left vacant by the November departure of Geraldo Rivera are the duo of Sid Rosenberg and Bernard McGuirk. Of course, McGuirk is the longtime executive producer of the WABC-based “Imus in the Morning” and Rosenberg was a longtime cast member on the Imus program. Most recently though, Rosenberg had been a personality on sports talk WMEN, Ft. Lauderdale where he hosted morning drive. He exited that station in December. Rosenberg and McGuirk did some fill-in work together at WABC and apparently passed the audition.
New Cumulus Media Programming Management Philosophy Gives Local PDs ‘Control Over the Day-to-Day Programming of Their Stations.’ Today’s missive from Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner includes announcements about new corporate level programming personnel plus the news of VP stripes for many of the company’s corporate level programmers. But the monumental shift in local management philosophy is noted front-and-center. In announcing the addition of new staffers in the “key areas of research, strategy and format-specific expertise,” Berner states, “Who knows their markets better than the people who live and work there? We believe that the injection of more local insight and more effective corporate support into our programming decisions will drive improved ratings outcomes for our stations. Consistent with this view, Cumulus program directors will now report to market managers and will have control over the day-to-day programming of their stations which has not been the case in the past. Our corporate programming team, with its specialized resources and expertise, will be led by Mike McVay and will support the markets in the execution of this content strategy and in the creation of programming that surprises and delights — and delivers ratings.” Joining Cumulus are radio pros Dr. Ed Cohen, vice president, ratings and research; Doug Hamand, vice president, programming operations; Cat Thomas, vice president, CHR and hot AC; Ralph Cipolla, vice president, analytics; and Ken Johnson, vice president, urban. Cohen joins from Nieslen Audio. Hamand was an SVP of programming with iHeartMedia. Thomas was VP of programming in Las Vegas for CBS RADIO. Cipolla operated his own Cipolla Analytics. And Johnson comes from Cumulus’ own WUHT, Birmingham. At the same time, the company shuffles some managers around and gives VP stripes to others. They are: Val Garris, former vice president, programming, is promoted to vice president, analytics; Greg Frey, former corporate program director, is promoted to vice president, programming operations; Aaron Roberts, former vice president, programming partnerships, is promoted to vice president, programming communications/partnerships; Emily Boldon, former vice president, Stratus music programming and corporate program director, is promoted to vice president, AC. Troy Hanson, former corporate program director, rock formats, is promoted to vice president, rock; Brian Thomas, former corporate program director, country and classic hits, is promoted to vice president, classic hits; Charlie Cook, former operations manager, Cumulus Nashville, is promoted to vice president, country; Bill Hess, former corporate program director, news/talk, is promoted to vice president, news/talk; Scott Jameson, former corporate program director, classic rock, is promoted to vice president, classic rock; Bruce Gilbert remains SVP, sports for both Cumulus Media and Westwood One; and John Kilgo continues as vice president, label relations.
Michael Harrison and Herman Cain Dissect Politics, Economics, Race Relations, Talk Radio, the Media Circus, and How to Make a Great Pizza. WSB-AM, Atlanta and nationally syndicated radio talk star Herman Cain (WYM Media Management) joins TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as this week’s guest on the hit PodcastOne series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” The two talk about a variety of today’s hottest subjects tapping into Cain’s wide-ranging experience as a former front-running GOP 2012 presidential candidate, businessman (CEO, Godfather’s Pizza; VP, Pillsbury; president, National Restaurant Association; chairman, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City), political strategist (member, Jack Kemp Commission; advisor, Bob Dole presidential campaign), best-selling author, newspaper columnist, and radio talk show host. They discuss politics, economics, race relations, and the media circus that surrounds elections and distracts the public, elected officials and the candidates from focusing on the truly important issues. Cain has just written a new book, The Right Problems: What the President, Congress, and Every Candidate Should Be Working On (Post Hill Books, 2016) in which he provides a blueprint for voters to ask the right questions of candidates and hold them (and the media) to higher standards in dealing with the crucial issues facing America. To hear the entire interview, click here or click the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Herman Cain Releases Pertinent New Book and Launches Talk Radio Tour. As indicated in the story above, WSB-AM, Atlanta and WYM Media Management syndicated talk show host Herman Cain has released a new book, The Right Problems: What the President, Congress, and Every Candidate Should Be Working On (Post Hill Books, 2016), in which he provides a blueprint for voters to ask the right questions of candidates and hold them (and the media) to higher standards in dealing with the crucial issues facing America. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who just interviewed Cain on the weekly Podcast One program “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” (see story above), “Herman is a fantastic guest and this is a wonderful time to tap into him as a resource for talk shows looking to lift the conversation above the mudslinging and professional wrestling-style dialogue that has marked the 2016 presidential election even more so than any in recent memory. His experience and current successful career on radio makes him ‘one of us’ and regardless of whether or not you agree with his conservative ideological stand, he touches on the really important issues and does so with and intelligent, gentlemanly charisma that made him such an unexpected standout in the last presidential cycle. I loved talking with him on ‘Up Close and Far Out.’” To arrange a radio interview with Herman Cain, please contact Lisa Reichert at 678-565-5335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephanie Miller Begins Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour 2016. Syndicated talk show host Stephanie Miller announces the launch of her 2016 Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour kicking off at the Barrymore Theatre in Madison on February 27. Miller will be joined by John Fugelsang and the comedy duo Frangela. She says, “America has spoken. The 2016 Republican presidential field has officially become so ridiculous that it has created a national comedy state of emergency that only America’s #1 Comedy Tour, Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour can answer. We hear your cry USA, and we’re on our way!” Miller says additional dates for the tour will be announced shortly.
Len Berman and Todd Schnitt Celebrate One-Year Anniversary. The WOR, New York morning team of Len Berman and Todd Schnitt celebrated their one-year anniversary on the job together. The program received a number of congratulatory calls from such celebs as: veteran WNBC-TV, New York news anchor Chuck Scarborough; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; and Radio Hall of Famer (and former Schnitt employer) Scott Shannon. Pictured here are (from l-r): WOR program director Tom Cuddy, executive producer Natalie Vacca, assistant program director Scott Lakefield, Schnitt, and Berman.
Presidential Race/Democratic Town Hall, Battle Against Islamic State, Missouri Professor Charged, Planned Parenthood Videos Case Twist, Sinking Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, Oscars Boycott, and NFL Conference Championships Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/25). The activities of the candidates for president and Monday evening’s Democratic Town Hall in Iowa; the fight against Islamic State and new intelligence on other militant Islamic organizations in the region; University of Missouri assistant professor Melissa Click is charged with assault for confrontation with reporter during the November 9 student protests; in a legal twist, a Houston grand jury indicts two people involved in creating the videos that appeared to show Planned Parenthood representatives breaking the law; the effects of sinking oil prices and the Chinese market plunge on the rest of the world’s financial markets; the controversy surrounding the boycott of the Academy Awards for a lack of minority nominations; and the NFL’s conference championship games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cumulus Shuffles Talent at WBAP and KLIF in Dallas; Rick Roberts Debuts Show on WBAP. The new program schedule at Cumulus Media’s news talkers WBAP “News/Talk 820AM” and KLIF “News & Information 570AM” launches today. Westwood One-syndicated “Savage Nation” moves from afternoons on WBAP to the same 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm slot on sister KLIF. That move bumps Grant Stinchfield’s “Stinchfield Report” to the 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm slot on KLIF. Meanwhile, at WBAP, Rick Roberts assumes hosting duties for the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm daypart. Roberts was most recently with iHeartMedia at KTOK, Oklahoma City. During the 1990s, Roberts served on air at crosstown KRLD. Other changes at KLIF include Premiere Network’s Glenn Beck show starting an hour earlier at 8:00 am, the return of the Laura Ingraham show at 11:00 am plus the addition of Premiere’s “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory airing from 12:00 midnight to 5:00 am.
iHeartMedia Denver Promotes Ross Kaminsky to KHOW Mornings. A financial markets expert by trade, Ross Kaminsky had been hosting a weekend program at iHeartMedia’s KOA, Denver for the past several years. Effective today, Kaminsky assumed the morning drive duties at sister talker KHOW, taking over for Mandy Connell who is now the midday personality on KOA. She just took over market legend Mike Rosen’s show. Kaminsky spoke to Denver’s alt-weekly Westword, in which he says, “I’ve greatly benefited every step in my short radio career so far from people willing to give me a chance, and put me on the air, even when they didn’t have great reason to know what I could do. I’m appreciative to all those people, and I still remember who every one of them is.”
CES 2016 Gets Underway in Las Vegas. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas reporting for TALKERS from the enormous Consumer Electronics Show 2016 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This morning he writes: Even this place can barely handle the crowd. Last year, CES strained ‘Vegas hotel capacity and bent the airline ticket cost curve. “This is the biggest thing here all year,” a cabbie grinned. So this year they capped attendance at last year’s 176,000 of us. And they even changed their name! What was “The Consumer Electronics Association” is now “The Consumer Technology Association,” because there’s more to tech than gadgets. The world’s biggest retailer doesn’t own a single store: Amazon dot com. Google and Uber are verbs, not gadgets. Uber – which now equals “car” to a growing worldwide customer base – has a bigger market cap than General Motors. The world’s biggest taxi fleet doesn’t own any cars…it’s a social network. The physical layout here — in the sprawling Las Vegas Convention Center and other Exhibit Hall locations along The Strip — demonstrates where technology and we are taking each other:
- There’s 40% more floor space than last year for health & wellness exhibitors. Hey, we’re getting older.
- 80% more space than last year for virtual reality;
- 25% more acreage for Automotive: Nine auto makers and over 100 auto tech companies are here;
- Also bigger than ever: 3D printing.
- And three times the exhibit space for…you guessed it: drones.
More than 2,200 companies’ products are on-display. 80% of them are small businesses, many of ‘em start-ups that presidential candidates call “the risk-takers.” Many of THEM are lining-up for ABC-TV’s “Shark Tank,” which is doing open auditions here. Tech is big business, $285 billion this year in the USA alone, and I’ll tell you all about it all this week, here; and on “America in the Morning,” the Jim Bohannon show and Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” and my client stations. Follow my real-time Tweets from CES @HollandCooke.
Rosenberg Out at WMEN, Ft. Lauderdale. Longtime New York broadcaster and morning host at sports talk WMEN, Ft. Lauderdale since 2012 Sid Rosenberg has been let go from the station. The move took place over the holidays and Palm Beach Broadcasters has replaced him in the morning drive daypart with FOX Sport Radio’s “Daybreak with Andy Furman and Mike North.” Rosenberg worked for years on the “Imus in the Morning” program.
Odds & Sods. The FM simulcast of Federated Media’s news/talk WOWO-AM, Fort Wayne, Indiana changes from WFWI-FM at 92.3 (until recently using the calls WOWO-FM) to the translator W298BJ at 107.5. Federated has launched a classic hits format on WFWI. The new classic hits format features Mike Ragozino as morning drive personality. He’d been serving as afternoon personality and program director at Alpha Media’s sports talk KXTG-AM, Portland…..Entercom announces that after a three-month national search, the company has named Tim Neverett as the new play-by-play host for Boston Red Sox radio broadcasts on the WEEI Sports Radio Network. Neverett will work with color man Joe Castiglione, who’s been part of the broadcast team since 1983. Neverett – a New Hampshire native who attended Boston’s Emerson College (and lettered in baseball for four seasons) – beat out some 200 other applicants for the plum gig…..A lack of enough revenue to keep the show going is what management at news/talk KFQD, Anchorage is citing for the end of the “Bernadette Live” program hosted by Bernadette Wilson. Station manager Joe Campbell tells the Alaska Dispatch News that the 8:30 am to 11:00 am show was not generating enough revenue to continue in 2016.
Michael Harrison Rings in 2016 – Discusses Scams and Cyber Fraud with Steve Weisman. It’s a brave new world out there and the internet is rewiring our human nervous systems, let alone giving criminals around the world powerful and insidious new tools to steal from unwitting victims. On the latest installment of the Podcast One hit series “Up Close and Far Out,” Michael Harrison talks with famous attorney and professor Steve Weisman about the latest hi-tech, low-tech, and even no-tech scams being cooked up for us in 2016. To listen to it in its entirety, please click here or click the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand columns of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Saudi Executions/Iran Diplomatic Ties Severed, Oregon Standoff, New Year’s Holiday, and NFL Playoff Push Among Weekend Talk Topics. The recent execution of 47 in Saudi Arabia – including a Shiite cleric – and the diplomatic problems the move has created; the standoff between armed protesters at an Oregon wildlife refuge; the New Year’s holiday; and the final weekend of NFL games before the playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Price: Weighing Public Safety vs Risk of Assisting Threatmongers in Reporting to Your Listeners. The recent terroristic threats against the New York City and Los Angeles public school districts – which turned out not to be true – present a bit of a potential problem for radio stations and news organizations. ABC Television director, business continuity Howard B. Price writes today in TALKERS, “Critical to the discussion is the hard reality that those who make these threats are banking on a response from both authorities AND the media. Thankfully, even in these troubled times, most threats are hoaxes made to seize on public fear. The hoaxers find out about that response the same way the rest of us do – through the media. SO what to do? As with most professional challenges, the process begins with an internal conversation, specific to your station and market. For example, do you have a policy document to guide your decision making in such dynamic breaking news situations?” Read more here.
Cumulus Media Names Suzanne Grimes to President of the Westwood One Division and EVP of Corporate Marketing Roles. According to Cumulus Media, this new role of president of the Westwood One Division “creates a unified structure that maximizes opportunities across the division’s national content and sales platform.” Steve Shaw, president of Westwood One, will continue to lead ad sales, and Charles Steinhauer, COO of Westwood One, will continue to lead operations, both reporting directly to Grimes, who in turn reports to company CEO Mary Berner. Grimes was most recently president and COO of Clear Channel Outdoor. Berner states, “When it comes to anything in media, Suzanne’s the full package. With 30 years of experience building content businesses into high-performing brands, she brings valuable perspectives from leadership roles in outdoor, mobile, social, digital, print and experiential sectors for both public and private companies, so she’s a natural choice for these important roles. I look forward to her contribution as we build a stronger, more operationally focused organization.”
Newly Re-Organized Corporate Structure at Cumulus Includes Tommy Page and Mike McVay Taking on New Responsibilities. As part of her memo to Cumulus Media staff of Suzanne Grimes’ new role, CEO Mary Berner also explained some of the other changes atop the corporate structure at the company. Working for Grimes will be the company’s chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard and VP of social media Lori Lewis. Berner announces Tommy Page’s new title will be SVP of brand partnerships & NASH in which he’ll continue his role as leader of platform events initiatives and brand partnerships, corporate marketing function, and new duties including the development and execution of the NASH brand strategy. Berner says the company is creating a new Office of Programming in which SVP of content & programming Mike McVay will operate to “lead our content strategy across the platform, including talent recruitment and development and label relations.” Tom Schurr, SVP of operations, will work with McVay in a new role overseeing the business aspects of programming, including organization and prioritization, resource allocation, and budget responsibilities. Berner concludes, “Our belief with regard to ratings is that more local insight and more effective corporate support will result in an improved outcome. The new Office of Programming will be responsible for executing this strategy to drive ratings growth and will be rolling out more details in the coming weeks.”
Jim Bohannon to Exit ‘America in the Morning’; Continues Late Night Show. Hall of Fame broadcaster Jim Bohannon is cutting back on his duties for Westwood One and is leaving the hosting role for “America in the Morning” after the December 18 broadcast. He is continuing his work as host of the late night Jim Bohannon show. He signed a multi-year contract extension with Westwood One in February of this year. Bohannon has been the sole host of “America in the Morning” since its first broadcast in 1984. The morning magazine program airs on more than 250 stations nationwide. Taking over for Bohannon is the show’s regular guest host John Trout. He officially begins on Monday, January 18, 2016. Bohannon comments, “It’s time for me to cut back the daily schedule a bit and focus my attention on the research, interviews, and calls for my weeknight Jim Bohannon show. But I’ll still be contributing my daily feature, the ‘Offbeat,’ and my newsmaker interviews to ‘America in the Morning.’ Listeners will love John Trout as host. He’s got a stellar track record and he’s been a terrific fill-in. The show is in great hands and I wish him much success.”
Tom Leykis’ New Normal Projecting Another Profitable Year. New Year’s Eve will be the sixth anniversary of The New Normal – the audio content company founded by radio legend Tom Leykis after exiting his CBS RADIO talk show in 2009. Leykis has long been a vocal proponent of the digital delivery system for taking audio content into the future. Today, he reports that as 2015 winds down, The New Normal is financially continuing on an upward trend. Leykis tells TALKERS that revenue is up for the third straight year. Profits will increase from $23,000 in 2014 to almost $100,000 in 2015. He adds, “This means that, for the second year in a row, we will be more profitable than the top two radio companies combined.”
Odds & Sods. Are there wrinkles in the future of the Bob & Tom Show post-Bob Kevoian? TALKERS sources are hearing that negotiations between the syndicated program’s management and staff are hitting snags. Kevoian announced his retirement at the recent Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony and although the show is moving forward with Tom Griswold continuing his role, rumors are that negotiations for contract renewals with longtime cast member Kristi Lee and contributor Ron Sexton are facing challenges…..Software platform provider Mediaocean announces it is integrating iHeartMedia within its Spectra platform. As a result, within one central system, ad agencies are able to seamlessly manage, research, and buy local digital audio inventory across the iHeartMedia digital platform. Mediaocean says users will be able to compare iHeartMedia’s audience data side-by-side with other digital audio platforms to better plan campaigns and engage the right audiences at the local level.
Covering the GOP Debate. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is seen here gesturing as he makes a point while speaking with Salem Radio Network personalities Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager and Michael Medved (who are out of the picture to the right) while SRN VP news & talk programming Tom Tradup holds the mic. The exchange took place during SRN’s exclusive radio distribution of the Republican presidential debate. SRN talk host Hugh Hewitt appeared on the CNN debate panel asking questions of the GOP hopefuls.
Run-Up to Last Night’s GOP Debate/2016 Presidential Race, Refugee and Immigration Policy, Los Angeles and New York Schools Terror Threats, Battle Against Islamic State, Freddie Gray Trial, Government Shutdown Threat, and New Star Wars Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/15). The build-up to last night’s GOP primary debate in Las Vegas and the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; debate over policy regarding refugees from Syria and over immigration in general; terror threats against the New York and Los Angeles public school districts and criticism over LA’s decision to cancel school; the battle against Islamic State; the wait for the verdict in the case against the first of six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray; the move in Congress to avert a government shutdown; and the hype over the new Star Wars film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Howard Stern Renews with SiriusXM in Landmark 12-Year Audio/Video Deal. The wait is over – Howard Stern and SiriusXM are announcing the two sides have agreed to an extension to keep Stern’s live program on the satellite radio service for another five years. But the new deal also includes an agreement that will allow SiriusXM to use Stern’s extensive audio and video library – drawn from performances, specials, and shows spanning his more-than-30-year broadcasting career – for the next dozen years. The details of the video plans will be announced at a future date. This will be SiriusXM’s first venture into the video realm. Under the new deal, Stern’s show will continue to be broadcast live exclusively from 7:00 am to 11:00 am ET, with replays throughout the day, and on demand online and through the SiriusXM app. Additionally, Stern will continue to produce his Howard 101 channel, which includes current and classic episodes of the Howard Stern show as well as original special programming throughout the day. Stern is currently working a three-day week and the press release does not indicate any changes there so we’ll assume that remains the same. Also, the financial details are not being announced. Stern says, “As a broadcaster, it does not get better than working at SiriusXM and I’m truly excited for the future with this great company. I happen to think that its best days are ahead…I am living a dream here on satellite radio and Jim Meyer is my life partner and the baby we are about to have is our new streaming video app. The joy we are going to bring you in the very near future will make you feel like Christmas is every day. Ho, Ho, Howard…out.” SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein comments, “Howard is better than ever. Howard is a one-of-a-kind interviewer, who always delivers a provocative, engaging and headline-grabbing show. We look forward to providing fans even more and deeper ways to experience Howard, and his world-class talent and insights.” Noting that the deal has been worked on for months, Stern agent Don Buchwald adds, “Jim, Scott, and I have been discussing this arrangement for some time. Obviously, the terms and conditions of a deal of this nature required a lot of give and take, as well as creative thinking on everyone’s part, and I am grateful to them both for the hard work they invested to make this deal a reality. Howard and I are excited to enter into this cutting-edge and truly unique broadcasting agreement with SiriusXM that I believe will further the legacy of Howard Stern.”
Art Bell Tells TALKERS He Doesn’t Want to Be Off the Air. Legendary late night talk host Art Bell abruptly quit his most recent return to a regular program on Friday (12/11), stating that he’s been the victim of attempts on his life that make it impossible for him to do the program. The sudden end to “Midnight in the Desert,” which was steadily picking up affiliate stations, caused some in the business to think, “Oh no, here we go again.” But Bell tells TALKERS magazine he wants to be on the radio. Citing three incidents on October 21, November 23 and December 8, Bell says his wife has said, “Enough.” Bell says, “If this jerk is caught I will be back, if not I will wait for some time to pass without incident and then do some non-scheduled shows. I would like my fellow radio people to know this is not what I want.”
Kirby Wilbur to Host Late Morning Show on KVI, Seattle. Last month, Sinclair-owned KVI-Seattle announced that market conservative talk pro Kirby Wilbur would return to the air and KVI in the New Year. Now, the station announces Wilbur will host the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot, effective January 4. Wilbur will be joined for the first hour by current morning drive host John Carlson, then host the next two hours solo. The station is dropping Glenn Beck’s Premiere-syndicated show to make room for Wilbur. KVI program director Rick Van Cise states, “It’s clear our listeners want more local conservative conversation on Seattle radio. And who better to have back-to-back than two of the original Northwest conservative voices who made KVI great.” Wilbur has been off the radio for the past six years. Most recently he’s been the Washington director for Americans for Prosperity heading up the Washington, DC-based National Journalism Center. Wilbur comments, “I’m glad to be back with a new knowledge of the workings of the other Washington as we address local and national issues affecting all of us here.”
WOWO, Fort Wayne Switches FM Frequencies. This is a bit of a downgrade as far as market coverage is concerned since the move of news/talk WOWO, Fort Wayne’s FM simulcast is from class A FM WFWI to 75-watt translator W298BJ at 107.5 FM. The heritage station has been heard on WFWI’s 92.3 frequency since Federated Media signed it on in March of 2012. Program director Ryan Reker says, “It’s just a different place to listen to us. The change from 92.3 FM to 107.5 FM means our listeners will need to update their radios to get the same news, weather and talk coverage they listen to now.” WOWO-AM is heard very well throughout northeastern Indiana on its 50,000-watt 1190 kHz signal. No plans have been announced for WFWI-FM’s new format.
Talk Host Kate Delaney Talking Pete Rose Across the Country. Nationally syndicated general issues show host Kate Delaney is guesting on scores of radio shows today (12/15) because of her sports expertise and her knowledge of the Pete Rose decision that came down yesterday from the Major League Baseball commissioner’s office. The commissioner is continuing the ban on Rose working in baseball because of his cover-up of his gambling on baseball while manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Prior to her “America Tonight” program, Delaney spent a good part of her career in the sports media world covering 15 Super Bowls, 10 Final Fours, 10 U.S. Opens and numerous other sporting events. She also served as sports director of KRLD, Dallas and did a stretch at sports talk WFAN, New York. In addition to her regular show Delaney currently does a weekend shift on the NBC Sports Radio Network.
Odds & Sods. San Francisco all-newser KCBS-AM is being honored with a special finalist citation by the 2016 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards for reporter Doug Sovern’s “Unholy Water,” a series of investigative reports that exposed the San Francisco Archdiocese’s installation of an illegal plumbing system at St. Mary’s Cathedral that poured water on homeless people at night to keep them from sleeping in the cathedral doorways, in the middle of the worst drought in California history. The CBS RADIO-owned station will be recognized at a ceremony hosted by veteran newsman Tom Brokaw at Columbia’s Low Library on January19, 2016…..Former WFED, Washington afternoon drive personality Francis Rose is handling a lot of fill-in work this week and next. Rose is sitting in for Larry O’Connor on WMAL-AM/FM, Washington’s “Drive at Five” all this week, and Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday next week. Rose is also in for Westwood One’s Jim Bohannon tonight and that company’s John Batchelor on Wednesday and Friday of this week…..The 27th annual Holiday Magic Radiothon on Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle to benefit Treehouse raised more than $512,000. Treehouse is a nonprofit organization that addresses the essential education and enrichment needs of kids in foster care…..In advance of tonight’s GOP primary debate, Salem Radio Network talk hosts Michael Medved (left) and Dennis Prager (right) are seen at right broadcasting from the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. Salem Radio Network is partnering with CNN to provide the audio to radio stations across the country. All five SRN daytime syndicated personalities are broadcasting from Las Vegas. Additionally, SRN is presenting both pre- and post-debate programs co-hosted by Hugh Hewitt and Mike Gallagher. Hewitt is also serving as one of the media panelists on the debate…..Premiere Networks announces it is broadcasting four college bowl games. Available to sports stations nationwide, Premiere will distribute the live play-by-play for the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl, Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl and Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, all of which are produced by RedVoice Productions LLC…..Cumulus Media announces that the 2015 Mitch Albom S.A.Y. Detroit Radiothon raised $1,002,748 during last Thursday’s event. Albom is afternoon drive host on the company’s news/talk WJR, Detroit. This was the fourth year of the charity broadcast and included special guests Hugh Jackman, Paul Stanley, Billy Bob Thornton, Jane Pauley, JK Simmons, Craig Ferguson, Alice Cooper, Dr. Phil, Tim Allen, Howard Schultz, Dave Barry, John Pizzarelli, Mayor Mike Duggan, Bruce Cornblatt, Kevin Eubanks, Charles Woodson, Kirk Cousins, Matt Stafford, Stan Van Gundy, Brad Ausmus, Dan Gilbert, and Bernie Smilovitz. Pictured here is Mitch Albom (at center) on the remote set during the radiothon.
2016 Presidential Race/Tonight’s GOP Debate, Government Shutdown Threat, Paris Climate Summit Agreement, Battle Against IS/Islamic Anti-Terror Alliance, Refugee/Immigration Issues, Looming Freddie Gray Verdict, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the build-up to tonight’s GOP primary debate in Las Vegas; the temporary spending bill and the threat of a government shutdown; the agreement that came out of the Paris Climate Summit and the larger topic of global warming; the battle against Islamic State and the news of a Saudi-led anti-terror coalition; the status of Syrian refugees and the issue of immigration policy in the United States; the expected verdict in the first phase of the Freddie Gray trials in Baltimore; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Art Bell Ends Latest Talk Show Effort Citing Attempts on His Life. Quite suddenly on Friday evening, Art Bell posted on his ArtBell.com website that he would not be going on the air that evening – or ever again, in fact – and explained that he and his family are in danger after recent attempts on his life. Here’s what Bell posted: “I am sorry to have to announce this but I will not be on Tonight or any other night, yes I am going to hang it up. Whoever this crazy person is, they are not stopping and it has come to the point that we as a Family do not feel it is worth the risk. While I think the person or persons are after me, my Wife and now my Daughter are really scared, the other night after the latest incident my Daughter was off in the corner of her bed scared to death as the Police cars came screaming up. I will not put my Family through this. As you all know I dearly love what I do but not at the expense of never ending Terrorism. I want to thank those of you who have shown so much support and it has been my joy, short as it has been to have cracked that Mic open for a last time. This was a Family decision. The girls stuck with me and still would but if one of them were harmed because of what I love doing my life would be over.” Bell had returned to AM/FM radio with a late night program called “Midnight in the Desert” via his Dark Matter Radio Network earlier this fall after years away from broadcast radio. To say this is controversial in the minds of his fans is an understatement. Chatter on the website DreadCentral vacillates between those who are sympathetic to Bell’s claim and those who simply don’t believe a word of it. Regardless, Bell is off the air, seemingly for good. The network intends to provide programming to affiliates for the next 30 days with Rowland Communications Network airing either previous Art Bell-hosted shows or Heather Wade hosting the program.
Three More Years at Salem for Mike Gallagher. Nationally syndicated talk radio personality Mike Gallagher will remain in his 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET program on the Salem Radio Network through the end of 2018 after signing a three-year extension. He’s currently heard on some 300 stations nationwide, including new affiliate WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer.” Gallagher states, “After 15 years with Salem, I’m still amazed at how fortunate I am to have a radio home at this amazing company. I’m ecstatic and humbled to be continuing for at least another three years with this world-class organization.” Salem Media Group SVP Phil Boyce comments, “Mike is one of the most talented, entertaining, and informative hosts in the country. What a pleasure it has been to be reunited with him at Salem, and be able to have a small part in the next generation of his talk show host career.”
Legal Analysis: What Do Sam Goldwyn and Geraldo Rivera Have in Common? TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman offers his take on the suit against Cumulus Media filed by ousted WABC, New York talk host Geraldo Rivera:
Sam Goldwyn was a legendary movie producer from the early days of Hollywood. In fact, the G in MGM was for Goldwyn. Goldwyn died in 1974. Geraldo Rivera is a legendary and prize winning investigative reporter and media personality who is very much alive. So what do they have in common? Sam Goldwyn was quoted as saying that “An oral contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” Once you get over trying to figure out the logic of this statement, the essential truth remains that relying on and proving an oral contract is a difficult task indeed. Geraldo Rivera recently filed a lawsuit in state court in New York alleging that Cumulus Media, Inc., the owner of WABC – 770 AM radio in New York breached an oral, one-year contract with him pursuant to which he was to be paid $600,000 for 2016. In addition, he alleges that Cumulus locked him out of his studio at WABC where he already was working as a talk show host. Geraldo alleges that he had negotiated the contract with then vice president of Cumulus, John Dickey during a lunch meeting in July. However, the contract was never reduced to writing and nothing was signed by the parties. In the fall, there was a change of management at Cumulus in which its founder and CEO Lew Dickey along with John Dickey no longer were involved in active management of the company. Although Cumulus has not, as of the writing of this, responded officially to Rivera’s complaint in court, Cumulus has responded with a statement by Davidson Goldin on behalf of the company which states, “We offered Geraldo Rivera a new contract commensurate with the value of his show and our offer was repeatedly rejected.” As for locking Rivera out of his studio, no contract requires a radio station to give air time to someone under contract. All the station is required to do is to pay the talent. In this case, it would appear that Cumulus would have rather eaten the rest of Rivera’s present contract which would terminate under its own terms at the end of December rather than permit Rivera to air his grievances over the air. As for Rivera, he has stated, “It is not about the money. Because of their unforgivable disrespect, I will fight them and they will end up costing their battered company far more in damages than they expect to save in salary.” What are the real facts? That will be determined in court where Goldwyn’s comment may take on new meaning.
Bubba Lawyers Again Filed Motion to Dismiss Nielsen’s $1 Million Suit. On Friday (12/11), lawyers for Bubba the Love Sponge filed a motion to dismiss the $1 million fraud suit filed against their client by Nielsen Audio. Bubba’s attorneys say that Nielsen can’t prove that it has been damaged by their client’s ratings tampering incident, that allegations of additional attempts to tamper with the ratings have not been proven and Bubba’s already been punished for the one case to which he’d admitted. They also point to Nielsen’s statements after the tampering became public knowledge that the company was able to root out the panelist in question and the rest of the market’s ratings were not adversely affected as proof Nielsen can’t show damages. This filing comes just days after Beasley Media Group re-branded Bubba’s flagship station WBRN, Tampa from “Bubba 998.7” to “98.7 No Rules Rock,” bringing into question whether the business relationship between Bubba and Beasley in Tampa will continue in the New Year.
NYMRAD Issues Third Quarter State of the Market Report. The latest edition of this quarterly report from the New York Market Radio Broadcasters Association is a “comprehensive analysis of the New York marketplace designed to help advertisers understand radio’s impact on consumers and its prominent role in the local advertising landscape.” NYMRAD executive director Deborah Beagan states, “In third quarter, retailers effectively used radio leading up to the holiday shopping season. Radio has always done a terrific job of reaching people on the go, and is a huge benefit for influencing consumers closest to their point of purchase.” Regarding radio advertising in the market, the report’s “research on the department store, mass merchandiser, home improvement, and fast food sectors found that exposure to radio ad campaigns increased sales, number of buyers, and dollars spent. For department stores alone, sales increased by 10%, the number of buyers increased by 3%, and dollars spent per customer increased by 6%.” See the report here.
Odds & Sods. The patriotic rock band Madison Rising is beginning its preparation for its 2016 national tour with the release of its “Soldier’s Christmas” song and video. The presentation honors the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation, along with their families who endure their loss throughout the year and during the holiday season in particular. The band (pictured at right) is on a mission to reignite authentic American culture through great rock music. Its new album American Hero (RED) is dedicated to the men and women of our armed forces, along with the police, firefighters and other first responders. The band just completed a 70-city tour, and is preparing to launch its next stretch on January 9…..Toledo market sports talkers WLQR-FM, Delta, Ohio, flips affiliations from CBS Sports Radio Network to ESPN and begins airing much of the latter network’s sports talk shows. The Cumulus-owned station is keeping local personalities Bob Frantz (3:00 pm to 5:00 pm) and Mike Miller (5:00 pm to 7:00 pm) on the program schedule…..There’s end-of-year programming available from ABC News Radio with programs including: “Playback 2015” with Cheri Preston and Aaron Katersky; a year-end edition of “Perspective”; “World News This Year”; “2015 As it Happened”; “The Economy 2015 Year in Review” with ABC News’ chief business and economic correspondent Rebecca Jarvis and ABC News correspondent Richard Davies…..KEGL, Dallas “The Eagle” afternoon personality Russ Martin is thanking police for their work rescuing him after he was the victim of a home invasion. A story in the Frisco Enterprise reports that three masked men ambushed him outside his home, bound him and stole items from his house before escaping in Martin’s 2010 Dodge Challenger. The men have not been apprehended yet. Martin was not harmed.
‘Tis the Season for Sports Talk Radio. Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz writes in a column posted today that this time of year represents what can be a boon for sports talk radio. With the NFL’s season zeroing in on the playoffs and basketball, hockey and college sports also in high gear, the opportunities to get creative from a sales standpoint are numerous. He notes some of the sponsored segments he’s recently encountered during play-by-play broadcasts. “‘The collision of the game’ sponsored by a vehicle repair shop; The ‘injury time-out’ sponsored by a medical group; ‘The gem of the game’ (the best play) sponsored by a jewelry store. I even heard one that was called ‘The catch of the game.’ It was sponsored by a bait and tackle shop! Laugh if you must, but this special creativity has to be acknowledged.” Read the entire column here.
Sid Mark Signs Contract Extension to Continue Hosting ‘Sound of Sinatra.’ The program has been airing in one form or another in Philadelphia for the past 59 years – the last 16 on CBS RADIO’s WPHT – and radio pro Sid Mark will continue to host the nationally syndicated “Sound of Sinatra” after recently inking a contract extension. Mark comments, “My thanks to the management of WPHT, our sponsors and, of course, my listeners for making this possible. Look forward to a big bash for the 60th.” CBS RADIO SVP/market manager for Philadelphia David Yadgaroff adds, “What Frank Sinatra is to music, Sid Mark is to radio. We are so happy to continue the tradition that Sid started 59 years ago.” As legend has it, “The Sounds of Sinatra” began with a call from a listener, who suggested that Mark spin one hour of Frank Sinatra songs. That tradition developed into “Friday with Frank,” as well as “Sunday with Sinatra,” which presently airs on WPHT on Sundays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. It’s still heard on more than 100 radio stations from coast to coast and is the only radio program of its kind to have been personally authorized by Frank Sinatra.
Bringing Joy to the Ugly. Nationally syndicated (GCN) talk star Dr. Joy Browne invited listeners to enter photos on Facebook for her annual “Ugliest Christmas Sweater” contest. She came up with two winners – both who work as interns at the York Theatre Company’s current Broadway production of a musical titled “Plaid Tidings.” Pictured (l-r) Daniel Lees, Dr. Joy Browne, and Lucas Camp. York Theatre Company’s slogan is “Where musicals come to life.”
Government Shutdown Threat, Paris Climate Summit and Tomorrow’s GOP Debate Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The passage of a week-long spending bill and the threat of a government shutdown after this week; the ‘Paris Agreement’ climate deal inked among the U.S. and 185 other countries; and tomorrow night’s GOP primary debate in Las Vegas were some of the top news/talk stories discussed on weekend talk radio programs, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
KOA, Denver’s Mike Rosen Dials Back Radio Duties; Mandy Connell to Assume Midday Show. Denver talk radio icon Mike Rosen is stepping down from his daily midday talk show at iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOA “NewsRadio 850 AM & 94.1 FM” after close to 30 years with the station. Rosen – also a longtime columnist for The Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post – will continue to work with the company’s Denver talk stations as a contributor, a regular weekend host and a political commentator. He’ll also serve as an occasional guest host on both KOA and sister KHOW “TalkRadio 630.” Rosen comments, “Doing my brand of radio, with 24/7 research and show prep, takes a work week of more than 60 hours. After 35 years on-air, I’ve decided to give myself a little more well-earned leisure time as I pass my 71st birthday. I’ve been with KOA for almost 30 years and have loved every minute of it. It’s a wonderful station with a glorious history and a great team of people. I couldn’t bring myself to just walk away from it, and a full-fledged retirement wouldn’t suit a Type-A guy like me. So, I’m delighted to still have a presence with KOA as a part-time, on-air contributor. While this may disappoint my long-time loyal listeners, to whom I’m eternally grateful, I hope they will find a little of Mike Rosen at least better than none at all.” KOA program director Greg Foster is moving current KHOW morning drive host Mandy Connell to Rosen’s midday show, effective January 4. He comments, “Mandy has a knack for creating solid, entertaining shows. Nobody can replace Mike Rosen, but we’re confident that Mike’s fans will connect with Mandy and she’ll bring a new perspective to KOA NewsRadio.” Foster has not announced who will assume the morning show duties on KHOW.
Geraldo Follows Through on Promise to Sue Cumulus for Breach of Contract. After being “locked out” of the WABC, New York studios in late November with Cumulus Media apparently deciding it was ready to end Geraldo Rivera’s midday talk show on the station, Rivera said he would sue Cumulus Media for reneging on its deal to extend his contract through 2016. Bloomberg Business is reporting the suit was filed on Wednesday (12/8). Cumulus has not commented on the matter but Rivera says, in a suit filed in New York, that his agent negotiated a deal to extend his $600,000 per year deal with then-Cumulus EVP John Dickey, which he alleges new Cumulus leaders broke upon assuming control of the company. Back in November, Rivera threatened the suit via his Facebook page on which he wrote: “It is not about the money…Because of their unforgivable disrespect, I will fight them and they will end up costing their battered company far more in damages than they expect to save in my salary.”
Elisa Jaffe Named Afternoon Anchor at KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle. Seattle all-news KOMO-AM/FM lost a valued broadcaster this past August when Jane Shannon passed away unexpectedly. Now, the Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned station announces that KOMO-TV news pro Elisa Jaffe will co-anchor the afternoon drive program with Tom Glasgow from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. KOMO-AM/FM program director Rick Van Cise states, “Elisa is known and respected around the Northwest for her decades of hosting KOMO-TV’s ‘Northwest Afternoon’ and anchoring and reporting on KOMO 4 News. She brings the perfect balance of personality, news credibility and compassionate storytelling to KOMO’s drive home.” Jaffe comments on her new position, “I could never fill our friend Jane Shannon’s shoes but it’s an honor to follow in her footsteps.”
Odds & Sods. Filling in today on iHeartMedia’s South Florida sports talker WINZ, Miami is former WUCS-FM, Hartford “97.9 ESPN” Maxim Radio personality Michael Bower who hosts Andy Slater’s 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm program…..Good Karma-owned sports talker WUUB-FM, West Palm Beach “ESPN West Palm” announces Miami Dolphins EVP of football operations Mike Tannenbaum is joining the station for a weekly edition of its “ESPN West Palm Tonight” program as a recurring guest. Tannenbaum will join host Jeremy Marks-Peltz Thursdays at 6:20 pm through the Super Bowl. He’ll discuss the latest news from the Miami Dolphins and the NFL, and give his perspective as a current front office executive, and former agent and general manager…..FOX Sports Radio syndicated sports talk host Jay Mohr is nominated for a Grammy Award for his recent comedy album Happy. The actor and comedian released the album that’s the result of his one-hour comedy special filmed during the Santa Barbara LOL Comedy Festival. It features a “hilarious set of intimate stand-up comedy stories about his marriage to Nikki Cox, raising two kids, and great lessons in ironic behavior. This special aired on Showtime Comedy and has the distinction of being written entirely by Cox, who for years has been Mohr’s trusted collaborator and creative partner.”
Trump Muslim Ban Proposal Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 7-11. GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposal that all Muslims be prevented from entering the country to prevent terrorist strikes was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was the activities of the rest of the 2016 presidential candidates. At #3 was the San Bernardino shootings aftermath, followed by the Paris Climate Summit at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Guardian Fund Annual Appeal Underway. Most broadcasters are aware of the outstanding work that the Broadcasters Foundation of America does aiding broadcasters and their families who are beset by unforeseen disasters or medical emergencies. Now, in an appeal to the industry titled, “Taking Care of Our Own,” Guardian Fund chairman and Whitney Media president and editorial director William O’Shaughnessy cites BFoA vice chair Dick Foreman who says, “It’s really all about taking care of our own.” O’Shaughnessy states, “We are broadcasters. And on that, and that alone, do we base our appeal to assist the hurting and almost forgotten in our own tribe.” The BFoA reports that “last year, relying on your essential and vital contributions to the Foundation’s Guardian Fund, we dispatched almost $850,000 in life-sustaining grants. We need your urgent assistance to continue that mission.” It’s simple to make an online contribution by going to the BFoA’s site here.
Cumulus Media Nabs Rob Stadler for WYAY, Atlanta Mornings. Market news pro Rob Stadler is joining Cumulus Media’s WYAY-FM, Atlanta “News Radio 106.7” to serve as executive producer and host of “The Morning News.” Stadler was the voice for morning news and information on crosstown CHR WSTR “Star 94” for almost 30 years. During that time, he was named “Atlanta’s Best Newscaster” 10 times by the Achievement in Radio Awards (AIR) while serving as the station’s news director. He also earned two Edward R. Murrow awards from the RTDNA for broadcast journalism excellence, and was also recognized by the Georgia Associated Press for “Best Newscast.” He’ll make his inaugural appearance for “News Radio 106.7” as host for the “Making Miracles Marathon” on Friday, December 11, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and he’ll begin hosting the morning show on December 16. WYAY program director Greg Tantum states, “Rob has been a part of the Atlanta morning landscape for nearly three decades – not only on the radio, but with his community involvement. Rob has the unique ability to blend his deep news background with the understanding of how to keep an audience engaged and entertained while dealing with nightmare commutes in Atlanta.”
Price: It’s Not IF Anymore…But WHEN. It may be a reality that no one wants to face, but ABC Television director, business continuity Howard B. Price writes in a column for TALKERS/RadioInfo today (12/4) that radio stations need to prepare for the possibility that an act of destructive violence can happen in their markets. In reference to Wednesday’s San Bernardino shootings, Price says that local news/talk radio stations he monitored stayed with national programs while the story was breaking. Yes, those shows were talking about the shootings, but he believes stations in the market should “own” the story in a way out-of-market stations don’t have to. “Even if we acknowledge the cost constraints that today make it so difficult to sustain a round-the-clock news operation at most stations, in my personal view, operators do a disservice to their communities if they don’t at least have a PLAN for flushing their formats and throwing any and every live body into coverage of catastrophic local events.” Read Price’s column here.
More from the Nielsen Audio Client Conference. Radio consultant Holland Cooke (pictured here) reports from the first day of the Nielsen Audio Client Conference (formerly the old “Consultant Fly-In”). This batch of notes comes from yesterday afternoon’s sessions and covers Dr. Ed Cohen’s presentation of data from his study, “The Class of 2015: Four Years in the Lives of Digital Natives”; podcasting and its relationship with radio; plus more research about the behavior of radio’s P1s. See Holland Cooke’s notes here.
WIP, Philadelphia’s Wing Bowl 24 Scheduled for February 5 at the Wells Fargo Center. What started as a small promotion 23 years ago has grown into one of sports talk radio’s biggest events that now fills Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center each year. The annual chicken wing eating contest has evolved to present winners in three divisions: the overall winner, the local winner and the collegiate winner. WIP morning show co-host Al Morganti, co-founded Wing Bowl 23 years ago with host Angelo Cataldi, and he says, “In a year where everything has seemed to go wrong with sports in Philadelphia, it never goes wrong at Wing Bowl! We win every year so if you’re disappointed with Philadelphia’s sports teams, you won’t be disappointed with this year’s ‘Game of Bones’ – Wing Bowl 24.” Tickets go on sale on December 8. This year’s event is presented by title sponsors Steven Singer Jewelers and SugarHouse Casino. Prizes this year include: For the overall winner, a 2016 Harley-Davidson FLSTF Softail Fat Boy Motorcycle courtesy of Barb’s Harley Davidson, a custom Wing Bowl 24 championship ring and $10,000 in cash courtesy of Steven Singer Jewelers; the local winner receives a 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe courtesy of Colonial Hyundai of Downingtown; and the top collegiate eater will win $5000 in cash.
Odds & Sods. After 18 years in morning drive Bob Levy and wife Marianne Levy are shuttering the Bob & Marianne in the Morning show on Townsquare Media’s news/talk WOBM-AM, Lakewood Township, New Jersey. Marianne Levy will continue her role with the station on the Preferred Home Health Care-sponsored “Preferred Company” show that airs from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays. Taking over mornings on WOBM-AM is Jeremy Grunin, effective January 4. Bob Levy will continue to host the Sunday “Topic A” public affairs program that airs on WOBM-AM and sister AC WOBM-FM…..An FM translator is boosting the signal of Saga Communications’ sports talk simulcast (now trimulcast!) WISE/WYSE in the Asheville, North Carolina market. “ESPN Asheville” is now heard on W247BV at 97.3 FM…..Legendary New York sports talk radio personalities Mike Francesa and Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo are teaming up for a charity reunion show at Madison Square Garden to benefit MSG’s Garden of Dreams Foundation. Sports talk fans have been anticipating some sort of reunion of the two after recent reports of friendly chat between them about the possibility. They haven’t worked together since their split in 2008 when Russo left CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York for SiriusXM Satellite Radio. The reunion event takes place on March 30…..NUVO managing editor (and Indy radio personality) Ed Wenck conducted an interview with Bob Kevoian of the nationally syndicated Bob & Tom show to mark Kevoian’s retirement from the show and the business at the end of the year. This cool piece touches on everything from how Kevoian and Tom Griswold became radio partners to how their show took off at WFBQ, Indianapolis in the mid-1980s. Check it out here.
San Bernardino Shootings/Gun Control Top Talk Radio Stories This Week. The most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of November 30- December 4 was the deadly San Bernardino shootings tied with the related topic of gun control, tying atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the 2016 presidential race. Coming in at #3 was the Paris climate summit followed by Russia-Turkey tensions at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Paris Attacks Aftermath and Brussels Tensions Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris, the question of how to deal with Syrian refugees and specific threats to Brussels, Belgium were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend. The Paris aftermath and the Syrian refugee question ended last week as the top stories, landing atop the weekly Talkers TenTM chart, and they continued to be top points of discussion for news/talk outlets that featured live and local programs or carried live national shows over the weekend.
Cumulus Expands Bill Hess’ Role in DC to Operations Manager. Programming pro Bill Hess – currently serving as program director for news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington and Cumulus Media corporate PD/talk – is adding operations manager duties for the Washington. DC cluster. Hess’ 38-year radio career has provided him with experience across numerous radio formats. In addition to his news/talk and sports radio programming experience, he’s also programmed ACs WSNE, Providence; WHYN-FM, Springfield, MA; and WASH, Washington and classic rock WBIG, Washington. Cumulus SVP, content and programming Mike McVay says, “Bill is an exceptional programmer. The growth that WMAL has experienced under his direction is nothing short of astounding. He has excelled as a corporate PD and will continue in that role. Bill is deserving of this recognition.” Hess says of his new duties, “On the heels of our team’s success at WMAL, I’m thrilled to be working with Louie Diaz on the rebirth of Washington’s legendary ‘Mix 107.3.’ Thanks to Gary Pizzati, Mike McVay, Jake McCann and Beth Cohen for this opportunity.”
Bill Spadea Replaces Jim Gearhart on New Jersey 101.5 AM Drive Show. Back in September, WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” morning drive personality Jim Gearhart suffered a severe concussion at his home while on vacation. Recovery from the injury has been difficult, putting Gearhart on an extended leave of absence. Now, Townsquare Media announces that Gearhart will not be able to return to his duties with the station and that Bill Spadea is assuming the role of host of the morning show. Gearhart had been with the station for the past 25 years and is a member of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Spadea has been Gearhart’s chief fill-in since 2014 and voices the station’s daily feature “Bill Spadea’s New Jersey.” Spadea says, “I’ve always looked up to Jim Gearhart as a legend in New Jersey media. His shoes are too large for me to ever fill completely, but I am honored and humbled and will try my best to live up to his legacy of unequaled radio and service to the people of New Jersey.”
Detroit Lions Deny Trying to Silence WXYT-FM’s Mike Valenti. Usually when a radio station ceases to be a pro sports team’s flagship, it’s because of money – either the rights got too expensive or the station was outbid. But CBS RADIO Detroit market manager Debbie Kenyon says in a statement that Lions management wanted to pressure the station into firing talk host Mike Valenti for his staunch criticism of the team’s performance. Kenyon issued the following statement, “CBS RADIO and the Detroit Lions are parting ways. ‘97.1 The Ticket’ has served as the flagship station for the Lions for more than a decade. CBS RADIO says it has been negotiating with the Lions a long time. It is sad to say goodbye, but in the end it came down to the integrity of CBS — the refusal to be censored in talking about the team and making honest assessments on the air about this team.” Crain’s Detroit Business reports the team says that isn’t true. It quotes Elizabeth Parkinson, Lions’ SVP of marketing and partnerships, saying the mandate to fire Valenti in order to get a renewal with the club is “categorically a lie” and that Cumulus simply offered a better deal. But in the Crain’s piece, Valenti’s manager, Mort Meisner, said the team made Valenti’s firing part of the conditions for renewing with the team and that team officials were regularly calling Kenyon to complain about Valenti’s criticism of the team’s performance and its management. Read it here.
Odds & Sods. Conservative talk pro Steve Malzberg – seen nightly on Newsmax TV – is sitting in for Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett on his morning drive show, “Bill Bennett’s Morning In America” this Friday (11/27)…..The NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers will remain with iHeartMedia in the Steel City as the team and the company come to terms to keep games airing on rock WDVE and sports talk WBGG-AM/W292DH-FM. The renewed deal extends through the 2018 season and contains elements of promotional support for the Steelers via iHeartMedia’s six Pittsburgh stations.
Legendary WCCO, Minneapolis Personality Charlie Boone Dies at 88. As one half of the morning radio team “Boone and Erickson,” Charlie Boone was a fixture on Twin Cities radio for some 40 years, literally owning the daypart during the halcyon days of AM radio from the 1960s through the 1990s. He died on Sunday (11/22) at the age of 88. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports he and Roger Erickson worked together for 37 years before Erickson’s retirement in 1998. Boone continued to host a solo Saturday morning show from that point until 2010. Boone arrived at WCCO from his previous gig in Fargo in 1959. He and fellow air staffer Erickson hit it off personally and management put them together on the radio in 1961.
Bill Payne Dies at 76. Oklahoma broadcaster Bill Payne passed away in Tulsa on Friday 11/20 at the age of 76. Payne was the founder of the Oklahoma Academy of Radio. Payne was a pioneer in the field of FM broadcasting putting KWHP-FM, Edmond, Oklahoma on the air in 1962. His Payne Radio Group operates 13 stations across eastern Oklahoma. The company continues to be led by Payne’s son Will Payne.
Changes Coming to the Herman Cain Show in January. TALKERS sources hear there are some changes coming to the WSB-AM, Atlanta-based Herman Cain show with the New Year. Cain will remain with Cox Media Group’s WSB hosting the late morning show but Westwood One will no longer serve as affiliate sales and ad sales rep for the national syndication of the show. TALKERS hears WYM Media will serve as affiliate sales rep and there will be a new ad sales rep, but that deal has not been inked yet.
Cumulus Media’s WJR, Detroit to Serve as Lions Flagship in 2016. Detroit Lions play-by-play has been heard on CBS RADIO’s sports talk WXYT-FM for the past 12 seasons, but starting next year, the games will be heard on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR. The Detroit Free Press is reporting the story and says many of the details are not known at this time. Dan Miller and Jim Brandstatter are expected to remain in the booth going into next season.
New Talk Outlet to Debut in Bloomington-Normal and Champaign, Illinois Markets. The classic hits format will disappear from Smash Hit Media’s WWHP, Farmer City, Illinois on Monday and a news/talk outlet will spring up in its place. Former WRPW, Bloomington “Cities 92.7” morning drive personality Ian Bayne will serve as morning host on the new “Newstalk 98.3.” WWHP’s primary signal covers the area directly between the centers of the Bloomington-Normal and Champaign markets.
Art Bell and KABC, Los Angeles Collaborate for Thanksgiving Special. Los Angeles news/talker KABC and paranormal talk legend Art Bell are presenting “An Art Bell Out-Of-This-World Thanksgiving Special” on Thursday, November 26 from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. This 12-hour special features programs hand-picked by Bell, who says, “We are thrilled to be back on the great 790 KABC, where we had great success. My loyal fans will love that I’m personally hand picking the best 12 hours of out-of-this-world radio.” Bell’s nightly program, “Midnight in the Desert with Art Bell” (syndicated by his own Dark Matter Radio), is airing on AM/FM outlets in addition to its internet home base.
Odds & Sods. The Grammy Award-winning band Train will perform at the official opening of CBS RADIO’s new New York performance space on Tuesday (11/24). The company announces the opening of the Adorama Live Theatre in Hudson Square in Manhattan, saying it will “serve as a showcase for artists, newsmakers, top athletes and other special guests.” It will play host to events from its six New York market radio stations, including sports WFAN and all-newsers WCBS-AM and WINS. The company says that in the coming weeks the theatre will present performances by Southside Johnny and Shaggy, as well as live interviews with Chris Martin from Coldplay and Charles Osgood, host of “CBS Sunday Morning” and the syndicated radio feature “The Osgood Files.” Today’s announcement marks the launch of CBS RADIO’s 11th performance space, joining outlets in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Washington, D.C. and Detroit, among others…..Cumulus Media’s “SuperTalk 99.7 WTN” in Nashville is presenting its annual “From Hunger to Hope Radiothon” on Monday, November 23 to benefit the Nashville Rescue Mission. The station will share stories and invite listeners to make donations to the Nashville Rescue Mission. WTN says that through the years its listeners have raised more than $750,000 for cause.
TALKERS Magazine Presents the 2015 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk. Yesterday(11/19), the editors of TALKERS magazine present the fourth annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America. This list ranks sports talk hosts, duos or ensembles from #1 to #100, based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors. The genre of sports talk radio has evolved greatly and grown exponentially over the past 15 years to go from being a fringe format to an important sub-genre of spoken-word radio programming. With this in mind, the editors of TALKERS debuted the Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk in 2012 to acknowledge the hard-working air personalities on sports talk radio. The results of this list are, admittedly, subjective. Being true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due. Those qualities include: courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness. The other concrete qualification for inclusion is hosts must be working – that is, have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station – at the time of publication. See the complete 2015 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here!
New Fantasy Sports Platform Provides Radio with Turnkey Method of Tapping into Booming DFS Industry. Tampa, Florida-based FantasyNXS is providing a custom-designed way for radio stations, networks, and personalities to generate revenue from the booming fantasy sports industry. FantasyNXS is the first online mall for daily fantasy sports (“DFS”). According to company president and CEO, David B. Hirsch, “Our platform enables radio stations, networks and personalities to get into the DFS business at no cost and provides them with a new and engaging way to monetize their audience.” Hirsch adds, “When a broadcast entity joins FantasyNXS as a partner, we create a customized hub or ‘storefront’ for them that features their branding, content and contests. It also has its own, easy-to-remember URL on our site, which facilitates off-line promotion and advertising.” What distinguishes FantasyNXS from the current big dogs in the fantasy sports business – DraftKings and FanDuel? Hirsch tells TALKERS that FantasyNXS provides a different business model, more game formats and free-to-enter promotional contests. He states, “Our business model is completely different. Think of us as the first online shopping mall for daily fantasy sports. Our platform enables third parties to get into the DFS business for themselves. We build a customized hub or storefront for our partners on our website. We then create contests for them designed to appeal to their target audience. These contests appear in their hub and in the general game lobby for all FantasyNXS members to play. Our partners promote their contests by driving prospects to their hub. We administer the contests and take care of all compliance and back-office operations. We then split the net proceeds we earn from each contest with our partners.” Hirsch explains, “We also offer more game formats than anyone in the business, including Salary Cap, No Cap and Top-X. We also offer all three of these formats in our proprietary ‘Beat the Pro’ setting, which is ideally suited for radio celebrities. In ‘Beat the Pro,’ all of the contest’s entrants compete head-to-head, but collectively against the celebrity show host. Everyone who beats the celebrity splits a portion of the prize pool. ‘Beat the Pro’ offers a fantastic way for radio personalities to personally engage their audiences.” How do participating broadcasters make money? According to Hirsch, “FantasyNXS works off of a revenue split. Our partners earn a portion of the net proceeds we earn from the contests they promote. Also, our partners are credited as the referring affiliate for all FantasyNXS members who sign-up through their hub. This means recurring revenue every time one of these members enters any cash-entry contest in FantasyNXS. Our turn-key system can put a station into the DFS business with no cost.” Hirsch advises, “We can put radio entities into the DFS business, but they will have to actively promote their contests and drive prospects to their hub. The more they promote, the more money they’ll make.” Broadcasters licensed to states that forbid DFS or have network listeners banned from playing due to their local state laws can become involved in another, non-monetary version of the FantasyNXS platform that specializes in “social gaming.” Has the recent negative news about some states’ stances on fantasy sports impacted the millions of people who regularly play fantasy sports? “Of course,” states Hirsch. “In particular, the recent cease and desist letter presented to FanDuel and DraftKings by the New York State Attorney General has left a lot of fantasy sports fans on the sideline. In the coming months, you’re going to see more of this type of activity as our society comes to grips with the daily fantasy sports phenomenon. We ultimately believe that DFS will continue to thrive, but in a regulated environment.” Broadcasters interested in learning more about FantasyNXS can email Brad Fain at email@example.com or click here for more information.
Syrian Refugee Debate Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of November 16-20. The political debate over U.S. policy toward Syrian refugees was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 was the aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris. Coming in at #3 was the battle against ISIS and following at #4 was the investigation of the bombing of the Russian airliner over the Sinai Desert. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Jesse Ventura Joins Michael Harrison for New Episode of ‘Up Close and Far Out.’ In this week’s installment of the PodcastOne international hit, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” posted today (11/17), TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is joined by former Minnesota governor and prolific talk media personality Jesse Ventura for a conversation described by Harrison as, “One of the up-closest and farthest-out episodes of this show ever.” Ventura currently hosts a weekly program on Ora TV titled, “Off the Grid with Jesse Ventura,” (www.ora.tv) in which he serves up an unfiltered dose of his opinions and commentaries on the issues of the day delivered in his trademark tell-it-like-it-is “wrestling rant” style. Ora TV is the trailblazing video platform launched several years ago by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim with Larry King as an internet platform upon which the legendary King could continue his post-CNN hosting career. Harrison – an admitted professional wrestling fan – and Ventura talk about the old days of the entertainment-sport when the future movie star and governor was making his mark as a colorful “bad guy” in the ring and then as the first “heel” color commentator (prior to Ventura, all ring commentators were biased toward the fan favorites – known as “faces.”) Ventura broke new ground as an announcer who openly rooted for the bad guys – know in the profession as “heels.” The conversation moves on to some heavy, controversial and provocative subject matter. Ventura discusses how his high-profile, anti-defamation/unjust enrichment lawsuit against the late Chris Kyle of American Sniper fame (in which the court ruled in his favor) has led to him to presently being blackballed by the mainstream media. Ventura talks about his critical views on U.S. foreign policy, the George W. Bush Administration, hypocrisy, and several conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11 and the war on terror. He talks about his show, “Off the Grid,” and how the title is reflective of his current lifestyle in which he lives part of the year in Mexico, untethered to paved roads, government provided utilities and, to a large extent, the internet. He discusses his turning to atheism and pacifism…and leaves a tantalizing hint that he just might become involved in the forthcoming race for the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party – which has shown interest in him as a possible candidate. To hear the conversation in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Cooke: Do What Cable Is Doing. Radio consultant Holland Cooke clarifies that statement. “I don’t mean do what cable news channels are doing, contrived political arguments. That’s being done to death there, and has become an unfortunate ‘Talk Radio’ caricature… I’m saying do what you see on basic cable channels and so-called ‘Over The Top’ (OTT) TV such as Netflix. And as I listened to Sony Pictures Television chairman Steve Mosko, the little voice in my kept whispering ‘podcasting.’” Cooke is reporting from New York for TALKERS magazine from the NAB Show/New York where Mosko was interviewed by former New York Times media writer (now doing a show on SiriusXM) Bill Carter. Read more of Cooke’s story from NYC here and watch for his report from the Consumer Electronics Association’s CES: Unveiled press event later this week.
WTMJ Provides Extensive Coverage of the Debate. Last night’s GOP primary debate in Milwaukee was covered in depth by E.W. Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ. The station held a listener event at its historic Radio City Studios. Midday host and editor-in-chief of RightWisconsin.com Charlie Sykes interviewed candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz on the air. “Wisconsin’s Afternoon News” host John Mercure anchored special debate coverage including on-site reporting and an in-studio appearance from GOP chairman Reince Priebus. Mercure is pictured here hosting one of the listener forums he conducted before, during and after the debate at the station. After the debate, WTMJ weekend host and RightWisconsin.com managing editor Collin Roth hosted a two-hour on-air program featuring listeners’ reactions to the debate and analysis with a panel of experts. The station says the WTMJ Voter Forum will be continued for future GOP and Democratic debates.
Cubs to ‘The Score’ Move Is Official. Rumor from earlier this fall reported by TALKERS that CBS RADIO is moving the Chicago Cubs play-by-play broadcasts from all-news WBBM-AM to sports talk WSCR are confirmed in a press release by the company. The Cubs began airing on WBBM-AM after an exclusive relationship with Tribune’s WGN ended. With the Chicago White Sox’ move to Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM beginning next season, CBS decided to shift the broadcasts of the Cubs to “The Score.” The Cubs made it to the National League Championship this season so continued success could be good news for WSCR.
Odds & Sods. The Tulsa radio cluster of E.W. Scripps names David Abel the new vice president and general manager. Abel moves to Tulsa from his most recent position with Apex Broadcasting’s Charleston and Hilton Head, South Carolina operations. In Tulsa, Scripps operates country KVOO and KXBL, classic hits KBEZ, CHR KHTT and news/talk KFAQ…..Salem Radio Network “Morning in America” host Bill Bennett took part in the Bloomberg education conference “Workforce 2016 and Beyond: Innovative Approaches to Retraining Millions for the Jobs of Tomorrow” on Tuesday (11/10). He spoke on a panel discussion (pictured here, Bennett at far left) addressing the education and workforce problems that exist in America today and expressed his belief that America needs to emphasize STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in the early grades to train and prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow…..Yahoo! Sports Radio cracks the Philly market with the addition of new affiliate WNJC which will begin airing the sports talk network’s evening, overnight and weekend programming, effective November 16…..Colorado-based WeedStream now airs on iHeartMedia’s iHeartRadio app. WeedStream is an entertainment company focused on the legalized marijuana culture with WeedStream Radio, WeedStream TV and WeedStream Events.
Cumulus Media’s WABC Honor’s New York’s Veterans. WABC, New York is honoring America’s veterans with a special series of Veterans Day features. The special content features an interview with Kevin Lacz, an Iraq veteran and star of the award-winning hit film, American Sniper, and will air throughout the day today. In the series, Lacz discusses the importance of Veterans Day, the issues Veterans face today, and other related topics.
Armstrong & Getty Holding Weeklong Fisher House Foundation Fundraiser. The KSTE, Sacramento-based news/talk morning team Armstrong & Getty – Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – is hosting its 5th annual fundraiser for Fisher House all this week to commemorate Veteran’s Day week. Over the past four years, Armstrong & Getty listeners have donated more than $1.7 million to Fisher House to help them build new Fisher homes on the grounds of VA and military medical centers to help bring military families together as their loved ones receive medical treatment. This year, the goal is to raise an additional $500,000 for Fisher House and surpass the $2 million mark.
WEBY, Pensacola Presents Special Tribute Program to Vietnam Veterans. This special 10-hour program chronicles the Vietnam era and honors Vietnam Veterans through the lens of the American Forces Vietnam Network – the Saigon-based radio and television operations that served the troops. The program was aired on the Spinnaker License Corporation-owned WEBY, Pensacola in segments prior to today’s airing of the entire 10-hour program. It features recordings of these historical broadcasts including combat correspondents’ interviews with servicemen; interviews with veterans of the Vietnam War that have interesting stories about their service; and, adding background and color to the broadcast, many of the program hosts who proudly served in those very difficult circumstances have been interviewed to share their memories and experiences. The program was created by Mike Bates. He can be reached at MikeBates@1330weby.com.
2016 Presidential Race/Milwaukee GOP Debate, University of Missouri Tensions, Veterans Day, Syria-Russian Military Alliance, Status of Obama Immigration Order, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/10). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the run-up to last night’s GOP primary debate in Milwaukee; the racial tensions on the University of Missouri campus and the resignation of the president and chancellor; the activities surrounding Veterans Day; the military relationship between Russia and Syria; the legal status of President Obama’s immigration order; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
The State of Women on Talk Radio: Part 1. Today (11/2), TALKERS magazine begins presenting a multi-part story looking at the status of women on talk radio in 2015. Written by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, it addresses one of the most-asked questions TALKERS editors hear: Why aren’t there more women on talk radio? Before attempting to provide answers to that and other relevant questions, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison explains that when we say “talk radio” in this instance, we’re speaking about “political news/talk” radio. “Over the years, the popular sub-genre of ‘political news/talk’ radio has hijacked the broader term ‘talk radio’ in the minds of many. This is unfortunate because there are other viable forms of talk radio out there beyond traditional ‘news/talk’ – and the potential for expansion into even more realms of pertinent topicality is huge.” In this first part, KFI and KEIB, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci begins to answer the question from her perspective as a veteran programmer. “News/talk originally evolved around men who were primarily doing political talk. Many women are not into that. It’s not that they don’t care about politics or have strong opinions, but the divisiveness of that style can be off putting to many women. So, more men listening leads to more male-oriented talk which leads again to more men listening.” Read the entire piece here.
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagship Stations. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a final look at the performances of stations serving as flagships for Major League Baseball franchises based on ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey. Since this report is not based on ratings from actual game time dayparts, it reflects the overall movement of a station with baseball listening as one possible factor. In this report, see charts illustrating the AQH shares of stations from September 2015 to October 2015, from October 2014 to October 2015, as well as the market ranks and how the flagships stacked up based on MLB divisions. Click here for the full report.
iHeartMedia Gives KOA, Denver FM Simulcast. There’s no longer an FM simulcast for Marco Broadcasting’s pot-themed classic rocker KBUD, Golden, Colorado “Smokin’ 94.1.” iHeartMedia is buying Marco Broadcasting’s FM translator K231BQ, Golden for $950,000 and it immediately begins airing the signal of the company’s Denver news/talk KOA. The news was announced during yesterday’s Denver Broncos pre-game show. iHeartMedia says in a press release, “The new 94.1 FM signal covers the Denver area. 850 AM is one of the most powerful stations in North America, and will continue to reach areas well beyond Colorado’s Front Range. In the coming weeks, KOA NewsRadio will expand its coverage on 94.1 FM in Boulder, resulting in full market coverage of 94.1 FM in the Denver-Boulder metropolitan area.”
Frank Vulpi Named Market Manager for Cumulus Media Westchester. Radio management pro Frank Vulpi joins Cumulus Media as vice president/market manager for the company’s Westchester, New York radio stations. Vulpi comes to Cumulus from his most recent post as a sales executive with Bloomberg, LP. Prior to joining Bloomberg, Vulpi was VP/GM at United Stations Radio Networks. On his new position, Vulpi states, “It’s an exciting time to be a part of Cumulus Media. The company’s depth and breadth of offerings and creative solutions are well positioned to serve the interests of our advertising partners. I am very impressed with and fortunate to be associated with a team of high integrity managers who are concerned with the positive career growth of their team members.”
Sean Hannity Packs Vegas Casino for Live Event. The Premiere Networks-syndicated talk radio and cable TV superstar was in Las Vegas last Friday doing his show from affiliate KDWN “News Talk 720.” Later that evening Sean Hannity filled the Orleans Casino Showroom with fans during the “An Evening With Sean Hannity” live event. The musical guests for the program included Lee Greenwood and Craig Campbell. Pictured here at the KDWN studios are (from l-r): KDWN morning host Chad Forster, KDWN PD John Shaffer, Hannity and KDWN morning host Dave Carney.
BIA/Kelsey: Total Local Advertising Revenue to Grow 3.75% in 2016. Details from the annual advertising forecast from BIA/Kelsey will be presented at the company’s Future of Local Digital Media conference in Los Angeles in December. Meanwhile, it says it is forecasting total local advertising revenue in the U.S. to reach $146.6 billion next year – up from $141.3 billion this year. Online/digital revenue will grow to $42.6 billion in 2016, representing 29.1% of total local media revenue, up from $38 billion in 2015. BIA/Kelsey says the “power brew” of mobile, social and video are the categories fueling growth in the local online/digital segment. BIA/Kelsey chief economist Mark Fratrik states, “Mobile is the primary force behind the continuing increase in digital advertising, largely driven by social advertising. Mobile spending is growing faster than expected, cutting into the growth of other online advertising. For example, online spending on ads viewed through desktops is still increasing, but overall only at single digit growth rates as more of the attention of consumers and advertisers alike shifts to mobile. Local video spending on all platforms — mobile, online, TV over-the-air, cable and out-of-home — will grow, along with local video’s slice of the local advertising pie.”
Longtime WOND, Atlantic City Talk Host Pinky Kravitz Dies at 88. The broadcaster known as “Mr. Atlantic City” died on Saturday (10/31) at the age of 88. Pinky Kravitz had worked as a talk host at Longport Media’s WOND, Atlantic City since 1958. He had missed his first ever air shift back in May after undergoing open heart surgery. Kravitz chose to retire from WOND in August due to ongoing health issues. New Jersey Broadcasters Association president Paul Rotella says in a statement, “Long before there was a Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity there were broadcasters like our friend Pinky Kravitz, who kept the talk radio format alive and well and indeed vibrant for five decades, thus paving the way for the great talk radio resurgence we witness today. Legendary broadcasters like Pinky led the way in providing radio audiences with a rich and compelling listening experience. In the best tradition of broadcast – live and local – Pinky had an engaging warmth with his audience that transcended the airwaves, which he did almost every day for over half a century.”
Lawyer, Senator, Actor and Talk Host Fred Thompson Dead at 73. Although he was best known to most Americans as the fictitious district attorney Arthur Branch on the “Law & Order” franchise, Fred Thompson also worked in spoken-word radio. His first career was as an attorney. He served three terms as a Republican U.S. Senator from Tennessee. His radio work began in 2006 when he began with ABC Radio Networks filling in for Paul Harvey. He joined Westwood One as a talk show host in 2009, taking over the time slot formerly held by Bill O’Reilly’s “The Radio Factor.” That gig ended in 2011. Thompson died Sunday (11/1) from complications from a recurrence of lymphoma. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian spoke with Thompson twice for profile pieces. Read Kinosian’s story here.
Louisville Talk Host Joe Elliott’s WGTK ‘970 AM The Answer’ Program Cancelled. After five years on Salem Media Group-owned WGTK, Louisville, Joe Elliott’s program was cancelled by management. Elliott hosted the 8:00 am to 11:00 am program and announced his exit via Twitter. Elliott previously worked in the market hosting the evening program at iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WHAS.
Odds & Sods. In Minnesota, Hubbard adds KBUN-FM, Blackduck as a simulcast to sister sports talk KBUN-AM, Bemidji which carries the Fan Radio Network programming based at iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis…..Former WUCS, Hartford and Maxim Radio host Michael Bower is sitting in for Andy Slater on iHeartMedia’s sports talk WINZ, Miami today from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET…..Actor Danny Trejo was a guest on “Business Rockstars” recently speaking with host Ken Rutkowski about his new venture – a restaurant called Trejo’s Tacos…..The Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame announces next May’s Class of 2016 inductees. The board of directors and the advisory council have chosen: Harry Chapman, Warren Medley, Dave Overton, Aaron B. Robinson Sr., Charlie Scott and Cal Young Jr. for the next class…..Boston University-owned news WBUR-FM, Boston’s names Anthony Brooks the NPR-affiliate station’s new senior political correspondent.
Curtis Media and WPTF, Raleigh to Fill Exiting Brian Freeman’s Roles. Relocating to the Naples-Ft. Myers area where his family owns a home is Brian Freeman who’s been morning drive personality at Curtis Media news/talk flagship WPTF, Raleigh. Freeman was also PD for the station and director of spoken word formats for the company. Announcing his exit via Facebook, Freeman says he’s seeking work in the Naples-Ft. Myers market. “My time at Curtis Media Group has been one of the best experiences of my lengthy career. Special thanks go out to Don Curtis, Trip Savery, David Stuckey, David Lewis and all my fellow co-workers.”
David Kantor to Head Radio One’s Radio Group. Radio executive David Kantor moves from his position as president and CEO of Radio One’s syndication arm Reach Media to CEO of Radio One’s radio division, putting him in charge of the company’s 54 stations in 16 markets. In making the announcement, Radio One president and CEO Alfred Liggins comments, “I’ve been partners with David (and Tom Joyner) in Reach Media for 11 years. I highly respect his work ethic and intelligence. David’s skill set, his business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit are second to none. I’m excited about his leadership of our network and local radio business and I have every confidence that he will do an outstanding job.”
Odds & Sods. A new talk station launches in the Mobile market after Cumulus Media splits the simulcast of Gospel WXQW and WGOK and turns WXQW into “660 News/Information.” The lineup includes Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” in morning drive, WMAL-AM/FM, Washington-based Chris Plante for late mornings, Westwood One’s Phil Valentine in PM drive, Mark Levin in evenings plus WW1’s “Red Eye Radio,” “America in the Morning” and “First Light” programs…..A new Sunday program launches on Salem Media’s WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” on October 25. “Effective Radio with Bill Samuels” is the creation of New York activist Bill Samuels and promises to be a show “about action.” Samuels says the show will be a potent vehicle to “channel the collective energy and brainpower of New Yorkers to actually do something about” the city’s problems. The show airs from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon and will be produced and co-hosted by Morgan Pehme, executive director of Samuels’ nonprofit advocacy organization EffectiveNY. WNYM’s Frank Morano will serve as supervising producer…..SiriusXM’s “Town Hall” series of Q&As before a live studio audience continues, this time from Jay Leno’s garage in Los Angeles with Jamie Foxx serving as host. During the show, Leno speaks with Foxx and answers questions from SiriusXM listeners about his career, his years hosting “The Tonight Show” and his new CNBC series “Jay Leno’s Garage.”…..Red Zebra Broadcasting reports that just two months after making its WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980” station app available to listeners, it’s been downloaded more than 23,000 times. Red Zebra Broadcasting president and CEO Rick Carmean says, “The way people are consuming radio is changing. In the near future, the primary method of reaching listeners will most likely be through their mobile device. The mobile app should give sports talk formats a big advantage going forward if the radio station provides good content and strong talent.”…..The Halloween eve tradition continues on Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” as host George Noory welcomes paranormal expert Rosemary Ellen Guiley. She’ll discuss the mystical powers of black mirrors for the first hour of the program, followed by three hours of ghost stories and open-line callers as “Ghost to Ghost AM” takes to the airwaves.
DIRECTV Making ‘Undeniable With Joe Buck’ Available to Radio Stations. The new weekly DIRECTV program, “Undeniable With Joe Buck,” is being made available to sports and news/talk radio stations. DIRECTV says that new episodes of the show will air each Wednesday evening and radio partners will be able to re-broadcast the audio the following day. The one-hour program will be formatted to allow stations to sell time during the show. The guests being interviewed by Joe Buck this first season of the program include: Derek Jeter, Abby Wambach, Troy Aikman, Chuck Liddell, Michael Phelps, Jimmy Johnson, Wayne Gretzky, Bob Baffert, George St. Pierre, and Jerry Jones.
Claire Carter Launches New Show on TalkersRadio. Veteran talk pro Claire Carter, founder of The Good For You Network – an internet venture that provides news and information that is “good for you to know about” (personal, national and global well-being) – has launched a new radio program titled, “Good For You Radio,” that debuts today (10/20) on TalkersRadio. TalkersRadio is an online platform hosted and operated by TALKERS magazine to serve as an experimental lab and showcase for innovative new concepts and shows in development in talk radio programming. Carter’s career experience includes hosting television shows for FX Cable and CNBC, guest hosting on the ABC and CBS Radio Networks, writing for PARADE magazine, providing media training and teaching “The Art of Interviewing” for the New School for Social Research. Carter’s debut installments feature an in-depth, personal conversation with noted life coach Mike Jaffe — author of Wake Up! Your life is Calling: Why Settle for Fine When So Much More is Possible? (Author House, 2011) — about how the events of 9/11 transformed his career and life; an informative wake-up call with Dr. Peter Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, about the vulnerability of America’s grid to terrorist attack; and an interview with Dr. Mark Liponis, corporate medical director of Canyon Ranch, about new ways of dealing with catastrophic diseases. On announcing the launch of this new program, TALKERS GM of broadcast operations David Bernstein says, “Working with Claire Carter on this project is deeply satisfying to me as both a broadcaster and a human being. She is an extraordinarily intelligent, articulate and sensitive conversationalist who goes deep into her subjects and creates a meaningful listening experience about the truly important stuff of life. Like so many shows that have gotten their start on TalkersRadio, I am confident that ‘Good For You Radio’ has a bright future.” To listen to the program, please click here.
Native Son Visits KNML, Albuquerque. UFC fighter Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit (center) poses for a photo in the KNML, Albuquerque studios with “The Opening Drive” personalities Jeff Siembieda (left) and JJ Buck (right). Condit is an Albuquerque native and resident who will fight for the UFC welterweight title in Las Vegas on January 2, 2016.
2016 Presidential Race, Looming Clinton Benghazi Testimony, Liberal Party Sweeps Canadian Elections, Syria and ISIS Military Campaigns, Israel Violence, Release of Truth Film, and MLB Playoffs and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/19). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016; Thursday’s testimony from Hillary Clinton about the deadly Benghazi attacks; Canada’s Liberal Party led by Justin Trudeau sweeps Canada’s elections; the military campaigns being waged in Syria and against ISIS by Russia and the U.S.; ongoing violence between Palestinians and Israelis; the release of the film Truth detailing CBS’ investigation into George W. Bush’s Texas National Guard Service; and the MLB playoff games and the weekend’s NFL contests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rivers Flows to Scripps Tucson As OM. Beginning next Monday (10/19), former seven-year iHeartMedia Phoenix vice president of programming Smokey Rivers takes over as operations manager of the Scripps-owned stations in Tucson. According to Scripps Tucson vice president and general manager Leon Clark, “It was a long and active search – we are very fortunate to welcome Smokey to Scripps. He is a creative idea generator with an extensive and varied background in several formats. His expertise is perfect for our [Tucson] stations. I am confident Smokey will continue to help grow these very important brands in the Tucson market.” In thanking Scripps management for being “provocative throughout the interviewing and hiring process,” Rivers states, “I look forward to this opportunity to help lead the Scripps Tucson stations to even greater success.” Prior to joining iHeartMedia Phoenix in 2005, Rivers spent more than six years as CBS RADIO‘s vice president of adult contemporary programming. His vast resume also includes a stint as national vice president of programming for Stoner Broadcasting Systems. In addition, Rivers has been director of programming and operations for stations in New York City, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington (DC), St. Louis, Memphis, and Birmingham. He most recently was managing partner of Reeber Hospitality. Among persons 12+ in Nielsen Audio‘s summer 2015 Tucson book, Scripps Tucson adult contemporary KMXZ “Mix” ranks second (7.2) behind Cumulus Media country outlet KIIM (9.4). With their summer 2015 Nielsen Audio 12+ shares/rankings in parentheses, the other Scripps Tucson stations are rhythmic hot AC KTGV “The Groove” (2.1, #11); talk KQTH (1.3, #17); and sports KFFN-AM “ESPN Tucson” (1.1, #19).
SRN’s Hugh Hewitt to Be Panelist on December and March GOP Presidential Debates. For two of the upcoming Republican presidential primary debates, Salem Radio Network talk show host Hugh Hewitt will be part of the journalist panels. CNN and SRN are again working together with SRN handling audio distribution of the debates that will be televised on CNN. The two events are December 15 at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas and March 10 in Florida. Hewitt states, “I am excited by the opportunity to continue to help shape the conversation about which of the candidates ought to be the GOP nominee in 2016. My focus remains on posing questions that elicit answers GOP primary voters will find helpful in casting their ballots.”
Armstrong & Getty to Anchor Mornings on KEIB, Los Angeles. The iHeartMedia news/talker KEIB, Los Angeles “The Patriot 1150” will feature KSTE, Sacramento-based morning duo Armstrong & Getty in the 5:00 am to 9:00 am daypart effective November 2. The show – hosted by Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty and also heard on iHeartMedia stations in markets including San Francisco and San Diego – will bump Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck to the afternoon drive slot.
JV Inks New Deal with iHM; ‘The Doghouse’ to Air on ‘Talk 910.’ It’s a multi-layered deal for air personality JV, a.k.a. Jeff Vandergrift, as he and iHeartMedia/San Francisco come to terms on a new contract. In part one, “The JV Show,” featuring Vandergrift and co-host Selena, continues on CHR KYLD, San Francisco “WiLD 94.9.” Part two reunites Vandergrift with former partner Elvis, a.k.a. Dan Lay, for an afternoon talk show (4:00 pm to 6:00 pm) on sister station KKSF “Talk 910.” The two worked together at KYLD in the past – as well as at CBS RADIO’s WKRK, New York during the “Free FM” format period. iHeartMedia says JV will also “produce and distribute content through his production company.” To make room for “The Doghouse” on KKSF, Gil Gross moves to 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, followed by Cory & Joel from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. iHeartMedia San Francisco SVP/programming Don Parker comments, “JV is one of the Bay Area’s best and consistently top-rated personalities. We’re thrilled to have him extend his tenure on ‘WiLD 94.9,’ along with fulfilling his passion for talk radio with a new show on ‘Talk 910.’…he will not only continue entertaining the WiLD audience, but he and Elvis are part of a new and exciting generation of talk radio.”
WHAS, Louisville Host Terry Meiners Prevails in Defamation Case. The Kentucky Court of Appeals has ruled that WHAS, Louisville talk show host Terry Meiners did not defame Louisville police officer Sam Cromity when he discussed on his radio show the traffic citation Cromity gave him and compared Cromity to Don Knotts’ television character Barney Fife. Meiners received a speeding ticket in 2011. He spoke about the incident on his radio show and said he did not deserve a ticket and called Cromity a “troubled public servant,” an “out-and-out liar,” and referred to him as “Black Car Barney,” an allusion to the “Andy Griffith Show” character. Not only did Meiners beat the traffic ticket, he won the first round of Cromity’s suit against him in 2013. In the September 25, 2015 Appeals Court ruling, Judge Laurence VanMeter wrote, “Disparaging statements that are not so definite or precise to be branded false cannot support an action for defamation.”
Odds & Sods. The NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and CBS RADIO news/talk WCCO-AM ink a new multi-year radio partnership for the station to continue as the team’s flagship radio station. Under the terms, Alan Horton returns for his ninth season as the Wolves play-by-play announcer and will team up with studio host John Focke to produce the 30-minute pre- and post-game shows…..Cumulus Media extends its deal with IMG to continue as the exclusive flagship radio station for University of Tennessee athletics through Knoxville stations country WIVK-FM and sports talk WNML-AM/FM. The stations are continuing a 40-year relationship with the IMG Vol Network, one of the oldest and largest collegiate radio networks in the country…..Westwood One and client The National Pork Board are presenting content called “daily porkcasts” across the network’s programming. WW1 says “the daily ‘porkcast’…is a fun and engaging consumer brand integration that reminds listeners to create pork-inspired meals to complement the changing season. The campaign, which includes commercials running in Westwood One’s NFL and country programming, will also feature live read spots from CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki Barber during his ‘Tiki & Tierney’ morning radio show. The radio ads will prompt listeners to search for recipes that fit their local, real-time weather forecast based on location. Consumers will be driven to a website where recipes for all seasons are available step-by-step.”
Democratic Candidates Debate/2016 Presidential Race, Russian Syria Military Campaign, U.S. Syria-ISIS Policy, Israel Violence, GOP House Speaker Issue, European Migrant Problems/U.S. Immigration Policy Controversy, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/13). The first Democratic presidential candidates’ debate and the activities of the GOP presidential candidates; Russia’s military campaign in Syria; the United States’ military policy in Syria and with regard to ISIS; the recent violence in Israel; the process of replacing outgoing GOP House Speaker John Boehner; migrant problems affecting European nations and the related U.S. immigration policy debate; and the MLB playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Board of Directors Installs Mary G. Berner as CEO; Lew Dickey to Remain as Vice Chairman and Director. New Cumulus Media chief executive officer Mary G. Berner has been a member of the board of directors of Cumulus since May and she replaces company founder Lew Dickey as CEO – although Dickey will remain a director of the company as serve as vice chairman. The Cumulus board of directors states Berner is a “seasoned media business operator” who previous experience includes her most recent post as president and chief executive officer of the Association of Magazine Media. From 2007-2011, she was chief executive officer of Reader’s Digest Association and, before that, chief executive officer of Fairchild Publications. The press statement continues: “During the course of her highly successful career, she has led some of the world’s best known brands and content platforms, including Glamour, TV Guide, W, Women’s Wear Daily, Every Day with Rachael Ray and Allrecipes.com.” Cumulus board chairman Jeffrey Marcus – who also serves as a partner with Crestview Partners (which manages funds that own 27% of Cumulus stock) – says, “Under Lew Dickey’s leadership, the Cumulus team has built a formidable national and local footprint, becoming the second largest operator of radio stations in the country, with more than 460 stations across 90 markets, approximately 8,500 broadcast radio affiliates and numerous digital channels serving over 225 million listeners nationwide. However, maximizing the value of these assets requires making them work together effectively and efficiently. At a time when the media landscape continues to undergo seismic transformation, Cumulus needs a broad-based media operator who can leverage its outstanding resources – from its core strength in radio to its growing presence in digital, experiential and other emerging platforms – and capitalize on the industry’s strong fundamentals. The board has had the benefit of seeing Mary in action and is fully confident that she is the right leader for Cumulus.” Berner comments, “I am honored to have been asked to lead Cumulus Media and am eager to work with the board and the company’s talented teams to implement Lew’s vision of building the next generation multi-platform media company. As the director who led the Operations Review Task Force established by the board, I have insight into the issues that Cumulus faces, but I also know the operational leverage that can be generated by first focusing on execution. Radio is a powerful and unique medium – the number one mass reach medium in the U.S. – and Cumulus possesses all of the elements to be one of the industry’s winners. I look forward to bringing a renewed focus on operating excellence at all levels and in all functions to help Cumulus realize its potential and generate improved financial performance and increased value for shareholders.” The press statement makes no mention of the status of John Dickey, EVP content & programming, but the New York Post is reporting he has exited the company and a “huge reorganization” is impending. TALKERS has not confirmed those reports. Cumulus stock, which has been battered in recent months, closed today (9/29) at 68 cents per share.
Michael Harrison Interviews Harry Hurley About “All Things New Jersey” – Including Host’s Two-Year Tenure as Senior Exec at Trump Atlantic City Hotel. In a riveting one-one-one discussion about the various ways the Garden State has been recently evoked in the national presidential conversation, Michael Harrison interviews WPGG, Atlantic City “morning mayor” (and TALKERS Heavy Hundred member) Harry Hurley on the latest installment (9/29) of the Podcast One international hit, “Up Close and Far Out.” Prior to launching a stellar 25-year career as a major New Jersey radio personality, Hurley worked directly for Donald Trump as the senior executive of one of his four Atlantic City Hotels (a job for which “The Donald” personally interviewed and subsequently supervised him) and candidly discusses what it was like being with the current GOP front-runner during those heady days along the Jersey Shore. Hurley worked with Trump personally every weekend for two years and shares important first-hand insights into the billionaire’s management style, business instincts and character. In addition, the Jersey-born talker shares his insights, based on experience, into the economic role and cultural direction of casino gambling in the nation. He also talks about his personal on- and off-air encounters with Gov. Chris Christie (including insights to “bridgegate” and the Dallas Cowboys/Jerry Jones debacle) as well as the effect that the Miss America pageant (for which Hurley has served as a preliminary judge) has on the region. Michael Harrison states, “New Jersey is an enigmatic, colorful home to nine million with its own unique set of extraordinary assets, daunting challenges and notably engaged local media. I can think of no one more qualified to provide outsiders with an accurate explanation of this endlessly intriguing, largely misunderstood state and its compelling connection to current national politics than WPGG morning master Harry Hurley.” To hear the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Odds & Sods. Radio industry services start-up DGital Media launches a production division called DGital Media Studios. The company says the division “will focus on developing and producing proprietary audio content” and its first project is a fantasy sports platform called Fantasy Sports Voices…..AMG/Parade announces the launch of “Athlon Sports Radio” on SiriusXM. The Monday and Tuesday evening program will air from 7:00 to 9:00 ET on Sirius XM’s College Sports Nation. The program grows out of the company’s 10-plus preseason magazines covering college, professional and fantasy football, college basketball, professional baseball, golf and NASCAR. AMG/Parade was formerly Athlon Media Group which consists of the newspaper-distributed magazines Athlon Sports & Life, Parade, American Profile, Spry Living, and Relish…..British soccer legend Sir Alex Ferguson will sit down for an in-studio Q&A at the SiriusXM studios in New York as part of its “Town Hall” series. Sir Alex will chat with SiriusXM host Charlie Stillitano before a live, studio audience on Friday, October 9.
Trump Tax Plan, 2016 Presidential Race, Pope Francis Visit Aftermath, Boehner’s Exit from Congress, Obama-Putin Meeting, and Water on Mars Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/28). The unveiling of the Donald Trump tax plan; the activities of the rest of the candidates for president in 2016; the aftermath of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States; the state of the GOP in the wake of House Speaker John Boehner’s announced resignation from Congress; the tensions between Russia and the United States and President Obama’s meeting with Vladimir Putin at the UN on Monday; and NASA’s revelation of the discovery of water on Mars were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Ronn Owens to Return to KGO, San Francisco on Monday. Weeks after undergoing surgery for phase one of Deep Brain Stimulation treatment for his Parkinson’s Disease, legendary Bay Area talk personality Ronn Owens posts on his Facebook page that he’s feeling better – minor complications notwithstanding – and will return to KGO, San Francisco’s airwaves on Monday. Here’s what he had to say: “Just checking in (with a three-day growth of beard!) to let you know that I’m feeling much better and plan to be back on the show on Monday. Falling down the stairs after the Deep Brain Stimulation surgery slowed my recovery due to the resulting blood clot on the surface of the brain, along with another blood clot in the lung and a nasty cough. Those factors have also forced my doctors to postpone the second phase of the DBS process (implanting a battery pack in my chest) until late October. Nonetheless, the DBS procedure is still on track for success and I look forward to it being able to reverse my Parkinson’s symptoms by 5 to 7 years when it’s complete in early November.” Prior to his recent surgery, Owens spoke with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison on the latter’s international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” on the PodcastOne platform. You can check out that discussion here.
New Hampshire Gets New FM N/T Station – Howie Carr Headlines Lineup. Beginning Monday (8/31) Binnie Media-owned WNNH-FM, Concord, New Hampshire will re-launch as “99.1 NH1 News, New Hampshire’s Newsradio.” The station will provide the Concord area with what is being described as “continuous local news updates on the top stories from around the Granite State, along with opinion and analysis from nationally recognized personalities, including Howie Carr weekday afternoons.” The “NH1” brand has been serving New Hampshire as a major statewide TV and radio news organization. “99.1 NH1 News” will feature hourly updates from the NH1 News staff. The NH1 Radio News Network will continue to broadcast on 12 radio stations in New Hampshire, including stations in Concord, Nashua, Portsmouth, the Lakes Region, and Lebanon. In 2014, NH1 News received a Granite Mike Award for the Best Radio Newscast from the New Hampshire Association of Broadcasters. The local news coverage on “99.1 NH1 News” will be augmented by the world and national resources of CBS News. Binnie Media EVP Lee Kinberg tells TALKERS, “This is the next logical step in the growth of NH1 News. Last month NH1 News on WBIN-TV was the #1 10:00 pm news in New Hampshire and in less than a year, NH1.com is achieving over 800,000 page views a month. “99.1 NH1 News” brings our comprehensive local news coverage to Concord’s radio listeners.” In addition to Carr, nationally known personalities including Don Imus, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, and Michael Savage round out the weekday lineup. Carr tells TALKERS, “It’s an honor to be working with all the great professionals at NH1 News, and to be able to reach a whole new audience in the Granite State — especially with the presidential primaries coming up in less than six months.” This marks the 24th affiliate for Howie Carr’s rapidly-growing independent regional talk network. Binnie Media owns 16 stations in Maine and New Hampshire.
Bob Sullivan Exits Daily Role on KOGO, San Diego. His comments to the San Diego Union-Tribune about leaving his co-host role on the afternoon drive show with former San Diego city councilman Carl DeMaio are pretty sanguine, still there’s a tenor of disappointment in Bob “Sully” Sullivan’s comments that he and the station have different philosophies about what the show’s topics should be. Sullivan tells the paper, “I like to talk red-meat topics — illegal immigration, gun control and minimum wage — and I think the station wants that segment to go more toward local politics, pension reform and the water crisis. Carl is very passionate about that stuff and I just am not.” Sullivan’s 16-year tenure with the station will continue as he’ll still be business editor and serve as a fill-in host. DeMaio has been on the program for the past five months – shortly after losing a race for a seat in Congress.
Rita Cosby to Host Weeklong Web Series on Education. The hour-long program – titled “Back to the Books Radio” – will appear exclusively on WABC, New York’s website beginning Monday, August 31. On the program, Rita Cosby will “discuss timely and critical issues in American education with some of the nation’s most prominent voices in education, including highlighting: teacher and student standards, busing, charter schools, Common Core, and illegal immigrants and who should pay for their education. The series is a provocative and no-holds-barred look at the issues that are important to those who are concerned that the educational system is failing the country’s children — what is working, and what is not. The series looks in-depth at New York City’s massive public education system with more than one million students and 1,700 schools.” Each show features interviews with top experts and thought leaders in New York and U.S. education.
Salem Media Group Re-Brands TOH News with Townhall.com Collaboration. Raising the radio profile of its conservative website Townhall.com will likely be one of the effects of Salem Media Group’s decision to rename its top-of-the-hour news product with the brand Townhall.com. SMG says the site “reaches 3 million unique visitors every month. This will be a brand extension to the powerful SRN News product that provides both news/talk and Christian talk stations a strong 24/7 radio news service.” Salem says it will continue to produce the SRN News feed at :55 past the hour, primarily for Christian stations and that the Townhall.com branded product will be designed for news/talk stations. Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce comments, “We will continue to offer the outstanding reporting that is a hallmark of SRN News with great anchors and respected correspondents like Greg Clugston at the White House, Linda Kenyon at the Senate and Wally Hindes at the House. The new brand extension will allow us to better market the product for news and talk stations and we can’t think of a better partner than Townhall.com which is so respected and well-known.”
‘640AM Sports’ in Fort Lauderdale Shuffles Hosts. Midday sports talk host Joe Raineri moves to afternoon drive on WMEN, Fort Lauderdale “640AM Sports,” replacing Hank Goldberg. Currently, the midday daypart consists of DirecTV/FOX Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and Rich Eisen from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm but there is speculation that the station will opt for adding Colin Cowherd’s new FOX Sports Radio program – set to debut in September – to the slot currently held by Eisen.
Odds & Sods. Abundant, thunderous changes taking place with Major League Baseball‘s Boston Red Sox have even spread to the broadcasting booth. While it doesn’t take effect until next year, Dave O’Brien will shift from radio play-to-play to the television side, calling Red Sox games on NESN. O’Brien, who has a renowned national presence from his ESPN television exposure, will succeed Don Orsillo, whose contract isn’t being renewed. No word yet on a successor to O’Brien on the Red Sox Radio Network, whose flagship is Entercom Boston sports outlet WEEI-FM. Quincy, Massachusetts native O’Brien joined the Red Sox radio booth for the 2007 season – when the Red Sox wound up winning the World Series…..St. Louis sports media pro Bernie Miklasz returns to Hubbard Radio‘s WXOS “101ESPN” on Monday, August 31 to revive his sports talk show. The longtime St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports writer is exiting his position with the paper to begin hosting the 7:00 am to 10:00 am program. He will also write for the station’s 101sports.com website…..ESPN Radio announces that Ian Fitzsimmons will host the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot with Will Cain, Trevor Matich, and Freddie Coleman next week. The network is reportedly preparing to officially announce Dan LeBatard will assume that daypart permanently later in September…..Former Philadelphia Eagles great Brian Westbrook is reprising his football expert role at Greater Media‘s WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” on the AM drive Anthony Gargano show. Westbrook will be part of the Monday program from 9:00 am to 10:00 am following Eagles games during the NFL season…..ABC News announces Lana Zak is the newest member of the Multi-Platform Reporter team. Zak began her career with ABC News as an anchor producer for Diane Sawyer at “Good Morning America.” Most recently, she has served as a coordinating producer for ABC’s Specialized Units.
New Economic News Program to Debut in January. This new offering comes from Walter O’Connell Tax Services, LLC on a weekly basis beginning January 2, 2016. According to O’Connell, “Economics-Weekly.com” is a one-hour radio program featuring selected readings in economics from top economic bloggers from around the world and “was founded on the belief that liberty and free trade are created, and sustained, through economic understanding.” O’Connell says, “Our current weekly syndicated radio program is a perfect pre-air or post-air program for news, business, economic, political or current event programing.”
Country Duo Montgomery Gentry to Appear on ‘Hannity’ Tonight. Country music will be a topic on FOX News Channel’s “Hannity” this evening (8/28) as country superstars Montgomery Gentry will be on the program. Eddie Montgomery (left) and Troy Gentry (right) recently spoke with Sean Hannity (center) about their new Blaster Records album, Folks Like Us. Photo: Monarch Publicity.
TV Reporters Slayings/Gun Control Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of August 24-28. The tragic slayings of WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward and the related issue of gun control were the most-talked-about stories during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM this week. At #2 was the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. Coming in at #3 was the debate over immigration policy followed by the possible presidential candidacy of Vice President Joe Biden at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Levin (Again) Lands At #1. Syndicated talk host Mark Levin’s “Plunder and Deceit” will reportedly debut at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list across all three categories of hardcover nonfiction, e-book nonfiction, and the combined list. This will be his fourth consecutive #1 New York Times bestseller. One of Levin’s previous books, “Liberty and Tyranny,” spent 38 weeks on that bestseller list and sold over one million copies. In a statement to Breitbart News, however, Levin emphasizes that he doesn’t “write books for The New York Times – I write them for people who love their country, want to learn about their country, and want to save their country. ‘Plunder and Deceit’ is a particularly important book. It is intended to stir the citizenry, particularly younger people, to understand what big government is doing to them and how its policies are destroying their liberty and prosperity.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison asked Levin, “What is the key to your success as a best-selling author so we can share it with other talk hosts who write books.” Levin immediately acknowledged that he is not the only accomplished author among the ranks of radio talk show hosts – then added, “It takes me a year or more to write a book. It involves extensive research and scholarship. You have to be willing to commit a lot of time to it — most weekends, early mornings, and late nights. I don’t have ghostwriters or co-authors, etc. There’s a difference between being an author and having your name on a book.” Landmark Legal Foundation president Levin is syndicated through Cumulus Media‘s Westwood One; “Plunder and Deceit” was released last Tuesday (8/4).
Hoping His Herd Heads with Him to Fox, Premiere. Speculation has become reality now that one of the worst-kept secrets in recent history is official: After a 12-year association with ESPN (the last two days there being controversial owing to his on-air comments questioning the intelligence of Dominican ballplayers), Colin Cowherd will indeed join Fox Sports and Premiere Networks in just over three weeks (Tuesday, 9/8). That is when he will begin hosting “The Herd,” a three-hour program, which will air simultaneously on Fox Sports Radio Network and Fox Sports1 (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm, Eastern). Fox Sports Radio is produced/distributed by Fox Sports and iHeartMedia subsidiary Premiere Networks. “Colin is one of the most powerful and talented personalities in sports media today,” asserts Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. “His addition to Premiere’s lineup demonstrates our continued commitment to reaching diverse audiences with the best talent the industry has to offer. We are excited to join with Fox Sports in bringing Colin’s passionate and engaging brand of sports entertainment to millions of people across multiple platforms. By leveraging our combined reach, we’ll have the opportunity to connect with more sports fans than ever before, while delivering unmatched results for our partners.” Cowherd states that, “It is hard to put into words how much fun it is for me, as a broadcaster, to build something with really smart, talented people. I cannot wait for this next chapter in my career to start. Fox Sports is the perfect spot for me at this time in my life.” On Sunday mornings during the NFL season, Cowherd will be part of the Fox-TV “NFL Kickoff” crew. According to Fox Sports national networks president Jamie Horowitz, “Colin is the first person I hired for my first daily studio show at ESPN, so it’s fitting that he’s the first one I’m hiring at FS1. Colin is a unique voice in sports media with a loyal following of fans. We are looking forward to building our daytime programming around him.” Before joining ESPN, Cowherd did a morning drive sports show on KFXX, Portland; was sports anchor at WTVT-TV, Tampa; and sports director of Las Vegas TV station KVBC. He began his career as the play-by-play voice for the Pacific Coast League’s Las Vegas Stars.
Alpha Media and Robbins & Markley Ink Multi-Year Renewal. Heard weekdays on talk siblings KXL, Portland (9:00 am – 12:00 noon) and WMBD, Peoria, Illinois (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm), Scott Robbins and Jamie Markley extend their deal with parent company Alpha Media. Executive vice president of programming, Scott Mahalick states, “Robbins and Markley bring a contemporary style and entertaining flare that connects with the audience in a big way – we are proud they are on our winning team.” Alpha Media Portland senior vice president/market manager Milt McConnell notes, “Robbins and Markley have made a tremendous showing in Portland. Scott and Jamie are two of the best communicators in our business, and we are thrilled to have them for years to come.” Meanwhile, Alpha Media Peoria market manager Mike Wild remarks, “Scott and Jamie reflect real-life, day-to-day; they are [two] of the most genuine personalities anywhere. Their chemistry is unique and they both have an amazing sense for content. The show is a completely fresh approach to talk radio.”
Circle Next Thursday as National Radio Day. Especially when considering that some offbeat things – including specific foods – somehow garner their own special day, it is rather odd that there has not heretofore been a border-to-border celebration dedicated to the medium of radio. That will change one week from today (Thursday, 8/20) when non-commercial radio stations in more than 30 U.S. cities will participate in Seattle-based “not-just-for-profit social enterprise” Brown Paper Tickets’-formulated “National Radio Day.” This year, the FCC has awarded construction permits to nearly 2,000 low-power FMs and as National Radio Day “lead organizer” Sabrina Roach explains, “This is a great opportunity to get to know the new low-power stations by working on a common project together. A low-power FM is like community glue. These new media outlets can become powerful resources that help neighbors to organize, share, and find solutions together. I wanted to introduce an opportunity for all kinds of non-commercial stations to work together and to engage their communities by celebrating radio with listeners and independent producers.” Stations can promote National Radio Day (August 20 is also “National Lemonade Day”) on social media using the hash tag “#NationalRadioDay.” Brown Paper Tickets will provide promotional assistance and support for National Radio Day events organized by all participating U.S. stations. By the way, the significance of choosing August 20 as National Radio Day (which has actually been observed since the early-1990s) is to honor the day in 1920 that Detroit news station 8MK (now CBS Radio-owned WWJ – and still all-news) was licensed by the FCC. On August 31, 1920, 8MK aired the first news radio broadcast featuring local election results. WWJ’s Pittsburgh sibling KDKA-AM debuted on November 20, 1920 and, of course, has long claimed to be the “world’s first commercial radio station.”
NBC Selects Seacrest to Host Late-Night Rio Coverage. With less than a year to go until the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, NBC-TV announces that its host of live late-night coverage will be KIIS “Kiss-FM,” Los Angeles morning personality/”American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest. During the 2012 London Games, Seacrest was a correspondent and he co-hosted the closing ceremony. NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell promises that, “The late-night atmosphere will be electric. We are thrilled to have Ryan Seacrest in the middle of it all capturing Rio’s unique flavor, talking to Olympic athletes, and telling the stories of the day.” Seacrest reflects, “Joining the NBC Olympics team at the 2012 London Games was an exhilarating experience. I appreciate Jim Bell’s confidence, along with everyone at NBC Sports. I can’t wait to reunite with the team of broadcasters and producers for the 2016 Rio Olympics, and I look forward to hosting the live late night show.” Bob Costas hosted NBC’s primetime and late-night Olympic coverage at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and he has been primetime host for every NBC-covered Olympic Games since 1992. Mary Carillo previously hosted Olympics late-night coverage. The Summer Games from Rio begin August 5, 2016.
Answers From a Presidential Hopeful. During his visit to Arkansas’ GOP headquarters, Republican presidential candidate/junior Texas senator Ted Cruz did on on-air interview with KHTE “The Answer,” Little Rock afternoon drive host Dave Elswick. The two commemorate the occasion with a selfie.
Ready for his Close-up. Part of the enjoyment industry people derive when watching television shows or movies is trying to identify an announcer’s voice when the radio plays in the background, or spotting radio talents used as “extras.” In the country’s #7 film this week, “Rikki and The Flash,” Meryl Streep’s rock singer character struggles and fumbles operating a cash register as a part-time checkout clerk. The camera catches fellow employee “Chris” grimacing at the next register. Portraying “Chris” is Salem Radio Network east coast affiliate relations manager Jim Bligh, who shot his scenes in Westchester County, New York. Advanced film buffs might recognize Bligh from his appearances in “A Beautiful Mind,” Cloverfield,” and “Man on a Ledge.”
Odds & Sods. Two sports programming notes from SiriusXM that take effect next Tuesday (8/18). Former University of Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke will host – alongside Mark Packer – SiriusXM “College Sports Today” twice a week (9:00 am – 12:00 pm ET) throughout the college football season. In addition, former PGA tour professional/television analyst Mark Lye will join radio personality Bruce Murray on the satcaster’s weekly “Let It Fly with Murray & Lye.” The one-hour (8:00 pm – 9:00 pm) program will air every Tuesday night, starting next week. Lye has previously been an analyst on SiriusXM’s pre- and post-round coverage.
Donald Trump Surpasses POTUS as Most Talked About Person on News/Talk Radio Yesterday (8/12). Top topics include the Presidential Race, the Iran Nukes Deal, Immigration Reform and the Chinese Devaluation of the Yuan. According to TALKERS research, fallout from last week’s audience record-breaking GOP debate on Fox News Channel continues to dominate conversation on news/talk radio across America this week and people (and the media) remain fixated on Donald Trump. Very rarely does anyone top the President of the United States as the most-talked-about person for a day, let alone a week. We will know how Trump fares versus Barack Obama by tomorrow morning (8/14) in terms of this week’s survey. Other hot topics include the presidential election in general, Hillary Clinton’s email controversy and the global economic impact of China’s devaluation of its currency.
National Radio Hall of Fame Voting Starts Today. After a five-year hiatus, listeners again have the opportunity to participate in selecting National Radio Hall of Fame inductees. For the next two weeks (through Wednesday, 8/26), voters can text 36500 with their one vote for the four nominees (each) in the “Music Format On-Air Personality” and “Spoken Word On-Air Personality” categories. National Radio Hall of Fame chair Kraig Kitchin declares, “These eight personalities are beloved by their listeners. Giving the audience an opportunity to participate in the process of acknowledging their favorite hosts for their contributions over the years just makes sense.” Nominees and text info for the “Music Format On-Air Personality” are Delilah (text “DELILAH” to 36500); Elvis Duran (text “ELVIS” to 36500); Steve Harvey (text “STEVE” to 36500); and Ryan Seacrest (text “RYAN” to 36500). Nominees and text info for the “Spoken Word On-Air Personality” are Sean Hannity (text “HANNITY” to 36500); Clark Howard (text “CLARK” to 36500); Jim Rome (text “ROME” to 36500); and Dr. Laura Schlessinger (text “DR. LAURA” to 36500). Listener-chosen winners will be announced at the end of this month (8/31), and we cannot forget that all-important fine print that “message and data rates may apply.” In addition to the two listener-voting categories, four categories are being voted on by a panel of 400 industry professionals. The induction ceremony takes place November 5 at the Museum of Broadcast and Communications in downtown Chicago.
IAB Gears Up For Debut Podcast Upfront Showcase. The one-day marketplace for advertisers and media buyers to preview podcast programming will be held next month (9/10) in New York City. Scheduled to present at Interactive Advertising Bureau‘s inaugural podcast upfront showcase include representatives from AdLarge Media, Midroll, NPR, Panoply, Podtrac, and WNYC. Industry Initiatives, IAB vice president Carl Kalapesi explains, “More and more advertisers are incorporating audio programming into their digital marketing strategies. The individual and intimate listening experience enjoyed by podcast listeners provides a unique vehicle for brands to connect with consumers. IAB is excited to bring so many digital audio leaders together to discuss their upcoming programming and the wide array of advertising opportunities available through podcasts.” Invited executives will get to preview content developments from each presenting company in 20-minute segments.
Cassell (Posthumously) Wins SCBA Radio Personality of the Year Award. The “State Television And Radio” (STAR) awards of the South Carolina Broadcasting Association honor “exceptional accomplishments of the state’s stations and their broadcast professionals.” Entercom-owned talk WYRD-FM, Greenville-Spartanburg host Russ Cassell (left), who passed away last year, won the “Radio Personality of the Year” award. Entercom market vice president and general manager Steve Sinicropi declares, “The broadcasting legacy of Russ Cassell lives on; our entire team is grateful for the SCBA recognizing Russ with this important award.” The cluster’s production director Stan Fisher received STAR recognition for best production-multi spot campaign on rock WTPT “93.3 The Planet” for local attorney Rob Ianuario. In the station’s first year in the format, WYRD-AM “ESPN Upstate” sports broadcaster Greg McKinney was recognized with a “Sportscaster of the Year award of merit at the event, which was held in Columbia, South Carolina over the weekend.
McCollim Heads to Colorado Springs as iHeartMedia’s Senior VP/Programming. Transferring from Spokane where he programmed iHeartMedia talker KQNT and KKZX “The Classic Rock Station,” Jason McCollim is appointed senior vice president of programming for the company’s Colorado Springs and Pueblo stations. Senior vice president of programming/regional markets Tony Coles states, “McCollim is one of our rising stars. He has done an incredible job for us in Spokane. His leadership skills and passion for programming will allow him to ramp up quickly and build immediate relationships with the programming and sales teams.” Colorado-Pueblo market president Darci Ewell comments, “Jason’s proven track record in Spokane and his versatile experience will make him an incredible asset to the Colorado Springs-Pueblo cluster. Jason brings a high level of energy and creativity that will greatly benefit our team.” McCollim remarks, “I am very excited about working with the fantastic iHeartMedia team in both Colorado Springs and Pueblo; thanks to Tony Coles and Darci Ewell for the opportunity to work in one of the most beautiful parts of our country.” McCollim spent more than 14 years at KQNT and KKZX; he is vice president of the Inland Empire Bloodhounds Search & Rescue. The Colorado Springs stations he will oversee are rhythmic CHR KIBT “The Beat”; hot AC KVUU “My-99.9”; adult contemporary KKLI “Sunny 106.3”; country KCCY “Y-96.9; and classic rock KDZA “Z-107.9.” The three Pueblo facilities are classic hits KPHT; KCCY “Fox Sports 1350″; and talk KCSJ.
Rdio Debuts Live Broadcast Radio. The global music streaming service begins with nearly 500 U.S. stations. Listeners can mark songs they like as a favorite, share the song, start a custom station based on the song or view more music by the artist. Paying subscribers to Rdio’s $3.99 and $9.99 plans can download songs for unlimited listening, add it to a custom playlist, listen to related songs from that artist or recently played songs on that station as often as they want. Rdio chief executive officer Anthony Bay comments, “We are committed to providing Rdio customers around the world with easy access to the audio content they want to hear through innovative features that enhance listening. Broadcast radio brands and talent continue to be the dominant tastemakers in music, so integrating live broadcast radio into Rdio’s critically acclaimed customer experience is an exciting development that we are thrilled to introduce.” Through a September 2013 partnership with Cumulus Media, Rdio has access to Cumulus’ programming and is promoted on Cumulus stations. Cumulus Media chief executive officer Lew Dickey states, “Bringing our national platform of stations to Rdio allows us to instantly create broader access for our listeners and new opportunities for advertisers to reach their target audiences. The combination of our premier broadcast assets with Rdio’s acclaimed user experience and music discovery features creates a full-service listening experience that is unparalleled.” In addition to music, live broadcast programming includes sports content from local stations as well as through Cumulus Media’s Westwood One. Featured stations include Cumulus Media-owned country WNSH, New York; rock KLOS, Los Angeles; triple-A KFOG, San Francisco; urban-rhythmic oldies WRWM, Indianapolis; and country WSM-FM, Nashville. Additional stations will launch later this year.
WOWO Producing 90-Year Retrospective. The Fort Wayne (Indiana) talk outlet is observing its 90th anniversary and – appropriately enough – is putting together a 90-minute documentary. Station executives are in the process of gathering interviews from former employees for the special, which will cover WOWO’s impact and reach. In addition to audio samples of historic and comical moments, Bob Sievers, Jack Underwood, Jay Gould, and Bob Chase are among those who will be featured. Program director Ryan Wrecker (Wrecker@WOWO.com) is seeking station memorabilia that can be displayed during the ongoing celebration, as well as memories past staffers or listeners would like to share. Those contributing will receive a preview edition of the special, which is scheduled to air on Federated Media-owned WOWO (Thursday) November 19.
KNX Schedules Second Annual Blood Drive. In light of the fact that blood donations typically dip during summer months, KNX, Los Angeles is joining the American Red Cross for the CBS Radio all-news outlet’s second annual blood drive. The five-day event at participating Red Cross blood centers starts two weeks from Saturday (8/29) and concludes the following Wednesday (9/2). CBS Radio vice president/Los Angeles market manager Dan Kearney comments, “KNX is proud to team up with the Red Cross once again as we expand our blood drive effort. We know summer is a challenging time for people to think about donating blood, and we hope to raise awareness so our listeners will lend their support and help the Red Cross maintain a safe and stable blood supply.” American Red Cross Southern California blood services external communications manager Tony Briggs notes that although many donors stepped up to give following a pressing call issued earlier this month, “The American Red Cross continues to have an urgent need for blood donors of all blood types to give before Labor Day.” Last year’s inaugural two-day KNX blood drive produced 834 pints of blood, which helped 2,502 patients. Greater Los Angeles/Southern California donation locations include Arcadia, Glendale, Santa Monica, Claremont, Downey, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Granada Hills, Los Angeles, Laguna Hills, Long Beach, Pasadena, Pomona, Rancho Cucamonga, Santa Ana, Santa Clarita, Thousand Oaks, Torrance, West Covina, Woodland Hills, and Yorba Linda. As an incentive (and while supplies last), blood drive sponsor – The Southern California Gas Company – will give blood donors a KNX emergency preparedness guide; two tickets to Hollywood’s Laugh Factory; a ticket to Madame Tussauds Hollywood; and a sample of Hawaiian Host chocolates.
Maranville Departs USA Radio Networks. One-year USA Radio Networks chief content officer-director of channel development Tim Maranville exits. He expresses thanks to “everyone at USA for all the hard work, especially show hosts Steve Deace, Kevin Jackson, Steve Noble, Jim Sharpe, Joe Messina, Chris and Emilee, Angie Austin, and Tony Perkins. The future is bright and I hope to have one, maybe two, announcements about my next contribution to the planet by mid-September.” Maranville joined USA after a nearly six-year run as vice president of programming at Westwood One. He previously was vice president and director of operations of the Denver Radio Company; vice president and director of operations of Sun City Communications; director of operations at KFRC, San Francisco; and director of operations of Phoenix stations KMLE, KOOL, and KZON. In addition, he owns/operates Mutations Media and he co-owns The Show Must Go On, an independent syndication consulting and affiliation company.
Donald Trump Continued to be the Second Most Talked About Person on News/Talk Radio Yesterday — a VERY close second to Barack Obama (8/11). Top topics include the Presidential Race, the Iran Nukes Deal, Immigration Reform and the Chinese Economy. According to TALKERS research, fallout from last week’s audience record-breaking GOP debate on Fox News Channel continues to dominate conversation on news/talk radio across America and people (and the media) remain fixated on Donald Trump. Other hot topics include the presidential election in general, Hillary Clinton’s email controversy and the global economic impact of China’s devaluation of its currency.
For WQAM – Three’s A Crowd in PM Drive. Today’s arrival (Tuesday, 8/11) of Channing Crowder will transform the afternoon drive program (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) of CBS Radio-owned WQAM “Miami Sports Radio 560” into a three-person affair, as the former Miami Dolphins linebacker joins Marc Hochman and Zach Krantz. Regarding Crowder, program director Ryan Maguire comments, “His insight as a former college and professional football player – as well as his one-of-a-kind brand of humor – will be a great addition to what Marc and Zach bring to the table every day. This is going to be a very unique, locally focused program that will be entertaining and insightful.” Crowder remarks, “I am excited for the opportunity to work with ‘Hoch’ and Zach. We are going to bring listeners a different kind of show they won’t be able to find anywhere else.” A former all-South East Conference player at the University of Florida, Crowder began at WQAM in 2009 as a contributor. Prior to becoming part of “Hochman, Crowder, & Krantz,” he co-hosted the station’s mid-day (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm) program.
Pittsburgh Broadcaster in Online “Crowd-funding” Campaign. The “Don’t Spy on Me” project, which began last Monday (8/3) and ends in three weeks (9/1), creates an internet show for Pittsburgh talk host Dimitri Vassilaros. Online programs, of course, are not subject to Federal Communications Commission regulations, so callers are able to speak freely. Vassilaros tells TALKERS, “Forgoing short-term revenue to create long-term value has helped many internet startups become desirable to investors. This new radio show will provide people with a platform where they can express their thoughts, amplify their voices, and talk back to all authoritarians. Internet freedom means unlimited choices, not government restrictions. Your right of privacy is worth fighting for.” Vassilaros’ background includes being a talk show host on Pittsburgh stations KDKA-AM and WTAE, as well as a columnist/reporter for The Pittsburgh Tribune Review.
“Something To Think About” Notes Affiliate Benchmark. Seven months after its debut, the weekday vignettes that its syndicator – Westwood One – labels a “slice of Americana” eclipse the 150-station mark. In fact, the station count for the segments voiced by former Michigan congressman/ex-FBI agent Mike Rogers that stations air thrice daily is up to 156. Westwood One senior vice president of affiliate sales Dennis Green states, “We have been searching for a strong voice that provides a common sense and thought-provoking take on relatable topics that concern all Americans. Mike Rogers brings that home in his commentary, which gives listeners a chance to pause and reflect on the ideals that are important to us all and are without any political bias.” Outgoing House Intelligence Committee chair Rogers remarks that surpassing the 150-station mark so fast is “really exciting” and that listener feedback is inspiring. “It truly is an honor to be welcomed into cars, homes, and businesses of so many people across the country. Sometimes, it is the simplest message that has the greatest impact.” Among those airing the commentaries are Cumulus Media New York talker WABC; co-owned Chicago talker WLS-AM; San Francisco talk sibling KSFO; iHeartMedia-owned Miami talk outlet WIOD; and CBS Radio Pittsburgh talker KDKA-AM.
Odds & Sods. The lucky guy who is all smiles is McGraw Milhaven. The KTRS, St Louis morning man recently took 40 listeners on a 12-day, six-country, 11-city tour of Europe including stops in Berlin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and London. Milhaven is seen here capturing a memory at the Tower Bridge over the Thames.
Beck in the War Room. Sporting an orange ball cap, Premiere Radio Networks host Glenn Beck was among hundreds who turned out last night (Monday, 8/10) in Dallas for the world premiere of the Kendrick Brothers’ film “War Room.” Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup (on Beck’s left) interviewed Beck, as well as area dignitaries and “War Room” cast members. The red carpet event was held at Dallas’ Majestic Theatre.
Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Megyn Kelly were the Most Talked About People on News/Talk Radio Yesterday (8/9). Top topics included GOP Debate(s) on Fox, the Iran Nukes Deal and Immigration Reform. According to TALKERS research, fallout from last week’s audience record-breaking GOP debate on Fox News Channel continues to dominate conversation on news/talk radio across America. Other hot topics include the presidential election in general – especially Bernie Sanders’ encounters with the Black Lives Matter movement, Hillary Clinton’s email controversy and Jeb Bush’s problems gaining (or holding onto) traction.
Logan adds WFTW Programming Duties. One-year hot AC WNCV “Coast 93.3” program director and morning talent “Logan” takes on similar responsibilities within the Cumulus Media Fort Walton Beach (Florida) cluster for talk WFTW. Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “Logan has done an outstanding job since joining the Fort Walton Beach/Destin cluster. It has been a pleasure watching him work to make a significant impact in both ratings and revenue with WNCV. I am very excited we are recognizing his talent and affording him additional opportunities to grow with our company.” Corporate program director for news-talk-sports Jim Mahanay remarks, “I am excited anytime we can have a programmer with a fresh perspective enter the news/talk format. Logan has proven himself as a strong music PD and he now has that opportunity in news/talk.” Logan offers a “big thanks” to DeSimone, Mahanay, and Cumulus Media senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay. “Cumulus has given me opportunities – I am going to grow with them,” Logan states. “I am a huge fan of the news-talk format, and I cannot wait to get audio from Michael Savage.” Prior to joining WNCV, “Logan” spent eight years as morning host/assistant program director/music director for Philadelphia hot AC WISX “Mix106.1.” His resume also includes stops in New York City at CHR WHTZ “Z-100” and in Dallas at hot AC KDMX.
Nielsen Audio Releases Final Round of July 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of Nielsen Audio July 2015 PPM ratings data has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The July 2015 survey period covered June 18 through July 15. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. In addition, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods: This past Monday (8/3), Westwood One host Mark Levin surpassed the one-million level of Facebook “Likes.” His book, “Plunder and Deceit,” was released the following day (Tuesday, 8/4) and it has reached #1 on Amazon‘s “Best Seller” list…..In an October 13 simulcast with CNN, Westwood One will be the exclusive radio provider of coverage from the first Democratic primary debate of the 2016 presidential race. The debate will take place in Nevada, with exact location details to be announced later. CNN will serve as moderator and exclusive national broadcaster of that debate.
Rick Lewis Hits Quarter Century Mark Hosting “Talky” Mornings at Classic Rocker, KRFX, Denver. For over two decades the “Lewis & Floorwax Show” dominated the morning airwaves on iHeartMedia’s KRFX-FM (The Fox), Denver. The show was an excellent example of the widespread genre of music radio morning shows that lean heavily on pop cultural talk content. Suddenly in January of 2014, co-host Michael Floorwax retired from the airwaves, by his own choosing, due to an ongoing chronic health issue that began acting up. His co-host Rick Lewis was encouraged to keep the show going as it had a very loyal fan base and was an extremely dependable “revenue machine.” Lewis re-tooled the mostly spoken word show (that plays approximately two songs per hour), renamed it “The Rick Lewis Show” and forged ahead. Fans were happy and relieved that the show continued. Advertisers continued their support and The Rick Lewis Show has more than survived, it has thrived. Nielsen Audio spring PPM numbers indicate that “The Fox” is the market’s top station among adults 25-54. Ratings are up from 2014 and so is revenue. On July 31, 2015 Rick Lewis celebrated 25 years as the morning radio host at the station – a rarely achieved milestone in the radio industry. Lewis tells TALKERS, “I have many people to thank including my long-time friend and radio partner Kathy Lee who really stepped up her game. Thanks to my long-time partner Michael Floorwax for a helluva run, you are missed!” Lewis adds, “Also the support of the rest of the crew in the morning, Colfax, Dragon Redbeard and Robbyn Hart has been significant. Thanks also to Michael Harrison, a visionary man who gave me my first big break at KMET, Los Angeles in 1984. I was just out of college, working at that heritage radio station with some legendary radio performers. Mike believed in me and gave me my first full time job in LA.” Harrison recalls, “I recognized immediately that this earnest young man was the total package. He had movie star looks, a command of album rock and its culture, and most importantly the ability to adeptly punctuate his jock work with listener calls and artist interviews – a quality I always looked for in DJs during my rock PD days.” KRFX is the FM home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos and the multi-faceted Lewis also hosts the official Denver Broncos pre-game show every week during the football season. And if that isn’t enough Lewis has a band, The Rick Lewis Project, featuring some of the most acclaimed musicians in the region. As a drummer for the band, Lewis has played as opening act with legends such as BB King, James Brown, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Def Lepard, and The Who among others. When he is not on the radio or playing in his band, Lewis finds time to perform in the Denver area as a stand-up comic. He also recently shot a TV pilot called “Ride Away,” a motorcycle adventure show. The show is currently being shopped and produced by reality TV’s famous bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman and his wife Beth. Lewis believes “the secret to longevity in the business is to have many irons in the fire.” He tells TALKERS, “I still get up every morning and can’t wait to get behind the microphone and entertain the fans in Denver. For years, I always thought KMET in LA would be the pinnacle of my radio career, man was I wrong!”
Beasley Broadcast Group Reports Q2 Results. Second quarter net revenue is up $1.1 million ($25.9 million to $27 million), but Beasley Broadcast Group‘s net income is off by $500,000 ($3 million to $2.5 million). This past December, Beasley and CBS Radio completed a 14-for-five swap involving three markets. CBS Radio acquired two Philadelphia stations (WRDW and WXTU), as well as three Miami outlets (WKIS, WPOW, and WQAM). In exchange, Beasley picked up one Philadelphia station (WIP-FM); six Tampa facilities (WHFS-AM, WHFS-FM, WLLD, WQYK, WRBQ, and WYUU); and seven Charlotte properties (WBAV, WBCN, WFNZ, WKQC, WNKS, WPEG, and WSOC). According to Beasley chair and chief executive officer George Beasley, the company’s second quarter results “reflect a continuation of recent overall industry and market trends.” On a pro forma basis, net revenue decreased 6.0% while SOI declined 8.4%. “The decline in pro forma revenue is primarily attributable to overall weakness in Charlotte, Las Vegas, and Wilmington [Delaware], which resulted in reduced operating leverage and ultimately impacted SOI,” Beasley comments. “We were able to partially offset the revenue decline, however, through cost reductions that resulted in a 4.9% – or $1 million – reduction in station operating expenses. We also made further progress on our debt reduction efforts during the quarter, while continuing our commitment to return capital to shareholders.” Addressing the station swap with CBS Radio, Beasley remarks, “It substantially broadened and diversified our local radio and marketing solutions platform. Since closing, we have been initiating strategies to extract operating and financial synergies. We are actively implementing integration, cost efficiency and operating plans while remaining true to our value proposition by focusing on targeted localism and delivering quality programming, effective online marketing solutions and dedicated service to listeners and advertisers in these markets.” As far as the future is concerned, he notes the company remains “focused on operating our station clusters to match or exceed their market’s revenue performance while further strengthening our balance sheet. We believe our integration, programming, personnel, cost-efficiency and operating changes are now showing progress.”
Barack Obama and Donald Trump were the Most Talked About People on News/Talk Radio this Week. GOP Debate(s) on Fox, the Iran Nukes Deal and Immigration Reform Lead the Topics Discussed. According to TALKERS research, the just-concluding week of August 3-7, 2015 has been dynamic to say the least as the brewing interest in the presidential race of 2016 reached its first major boiling point with yesterday’s (8/6) long anticipated GOP debate(s) on the Fox News Channel and Fox News Radio gathering enormous attention and conversation. Other hot topics included the Iran nuke deal, ISIS activity, immigration reform, race relations, the Planned Parenthood funding issue, Hillary Clinton’s emails, and the Nashville theater attack. To see the entire list of the week’s most talked about topics and people, please click here.
Michael Harrison Chats with Former FEMA Director (and Current KHOW, Denver Talk Host) Michael D. Brown as 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Approaches. It was almost a decade ago (August 23-31, 2005) that Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast of the United States with winds of up to 175 mph and flood waters of biblical proportions rising from the ocean and falling from the sky — leaving in its wake almost 1,900 fatalities, $108 billion in damages, and countless casualties and lives upended. Michael D. Brown – the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the time and Under Secretary of Homeland Security (“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”) became the official poster boy for everything that went wrong with the federal government’s too-little-too-late response to one of the greatest disasters in American history. Some of the criticism that fell upon Brown was deserved – but much of it wasn’t. After all, it was an epic crisis and involved numerous overlapping agencies, governments, and politicians charged with making things right. Brown took a severe beating from the media as well as a proverbial bullet for the team and stepped down from his position with the Bush Administration. A lawyer by trade, Brown went on with his life, taking away an enormous amount of wisdom and experience from the episode. Undaunted, he began speaking to groups around the country about the insidious side of politics, and the human complexity of management and team play. He wrote a candid book about his role (and responsibility) in Katrina — Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm, Hurricane Katrina, the Bush White House, and Beyond (Taylor Trade, 2011). He also began a successful talk show hosting career in Denver – first at KOA and then at KHOW, where he presently presides over a daily program 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm MT. In the newly posted installment of the weekly international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” (8/4), Brown is interviewed by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison about inside-Washington politics, the war on terror, the nature of the political mind, the psychological profile of presidents, the general state of media and journalism as well as what his life is like as a big market talk show host 10 years after Katrina. To hear this must-listen conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Cool Job Opportunity. Salem Radio in New York is looking for a dynamic individual to join the sales team for “AM970 The Answer,” which is news/talk format, and the legendary WMCA “AM570 The Mission, New York’s Christian Talk.” Compensation is commensurate with degree of experience and skills. This is a fabulous career opportunity for the right individual with one of the finest broadcasting companies in America. Salem Media Group is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Sales experience involving media is a must. Undergraduate degree required. A unique opportunity to work closely with Jerry Crowley and Phil Boyce, two proven winners and innovators. For more information and to apply, click here.
Tidwell Tapped as iHM San Antonio SVP/Programming. Inbound from Tucson where he was iHeartMedia‘s senior vice president of programming, Lance Tidwell transfers to San Antonio for similar duties. Executive vice president of programming for iHeartMedia major markets Brad Hardin comments, “I am extremely pleased to welcome Lance to the iHeartMedia San Antonio family. Tidwell is a strong talent and has had much success in his tenure with iHeartMedia. His programming acumen and depth of experience will allow him to ramp up quickly and build immediate relationships with the programming and sales team.” San Antonio market president Marlene Trevino remarks, “I am excited that our San Antonio programming operations will be led by Tidwell. He understands our company¹s vision to be innovative with every move. Lance¹s experience collaborating with programming and sales teams will provide us and our partners with unbeatable forward momentum in the continued evolution of our brands in the San Antonio market.” Tidwell notes that he is “grateful” to Trevino and Hardin “for the chance to work with these great brands and team in San Antonio. I am eager to get started and lead the market to continued growth and success.” In addition to having programmed in Seattle, Memphis, Hartford, Monterey-Salinas, and New Haven (Connecticut), Tidwell was chief operating officer for Southern Star Broadcasting. With 6+ share/market ranks from the most recent Nielsen Audio PPM sweep in parentheses (July 2015), iHeartMedia’s San Antonio cluster consists of country KAJA “KJ-97” (6.0, #3); mainstream CHR KXXM “Mix 96.1” (4.8, #5); adult contemporary KQXT “Q-101.9” (4.7, #6); talk WOAI (4.2, #10); rhythmic CHR KZEP “Hot 104.5” (2.1, #19); regional Mexican KQXT-HD3 (1.8, #20); sports KTKR “The Ticket” (.6, #26); and classic country KRPT “B-Buc” (.2, #27).
CBS Radio Q2 Revenue Off 5%. While second quarter revenue for CBS Corp. increased 1% to $3.22 billion from $3.19 billion in 2014, CBS Radio revenue declined 5%. Executive chair Sumner Redstone states, “CBS is at the center of the action during an extremely exciting time in media. We continue to succeed as a result of our world-class content.” According to president and chief executive officer Les Moonves, “This quarter underscores the key steps we are taking to build out our long-term growth strategy. Our premium content remains the cornerstone of our success, and I am confident this fall’s new primetime lineup will lead us to another victory next season.” The company’s local broadcasting revenue was down 2% to $654 million from $665 million, as television station revenue was up 1%, and local broadcasting operating income (OI) fell 8% to $198 million from $215 million. The company posted net earnings of $332 million, down from $439 million in the year-ago period.
Nielsen Audio Releases Third Round of July 2015 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of July 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The July 2015 survey period covered June 18 through July 15. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
National Radio Hall of Fame Nominees Announced. The 24 candidates in six categories were determined by the organization’s steering committee. National Radio Hall of Fame chair Kraig Kitchin brings back public engagement through social media balloting in the “Music Format On-Air Personality” and “Spoken Word On-Air Personality” categories. This is the first time that will be done in the last five years. “This impressive list of nominees represents the best examples of talent with commendable audience relationships past and present,” Kitchin declares. “Each individual and show was selected after extensive deliberation by the steering committee. We are all looking forward to seeing the results as determined by our industry peers and listeners nationwide.” The four nominees to be voted on by a participant panel in the “Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more)” category are Tom Barnard (Minneapolis); Johnny Dare (Kansas City); Johnny Holliday (Washington, D.C.); and Ronn Owens (San Francisco). Those in the “Active Local/Regional (10 years or more)” category are “Big Boy” – real name Kurt Alexander (Los Angeles); Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison (Philadelphia); Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart (Chicago); and Garland Robinette (New Orleans). The four candidates in the “Networks/Syndication (10 years or more)” category include Tom Kent (Cleveland); Dave Ramsey (Nashville); Diane Rehm (Washington, D.C.); and Michael Savage (San Francisco). Those in the “Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more)” category are Bob Kevoian & Tom Griswold (Indianapolis); Bob Kingsley (Weatherford, Texas); “Marketplace” (Los Angeles); and Harry Shearer (Los Angeles). Nominees to be voted on by listeners nationwide in the “Music Format On-Air Personality” category are Delilah (Seattle); Elvis Duran (New York); Steve Harvey (Atlanta); and Ryan Seacrest (Los Angeles). In the “Spoken Word On-Air Personality” category, the nominees are Sean Hannity (New York); Clark Howard (Atlanta); Jim Rome (Los Angeles); and Dr. Laura Schlessinger (Los Angeles). Voting begins today; names of the winners will be revealed in just over three weeks (8/31). The induction ceremony will be held in three months (11/5) at the Museum of Broadcast and Communications in downtown Chicago.
NextRadio, CBI Team To Find Best Radio Spot. College students are encouraged to create/submit a 60-second radio spot, as NextRadio and College Broadcasters Inc. (CBI) join forces to find the “best-of-the-best in radio spot ads.” According to NextRadio president Paul Brenner, there are currently 50,000 – 70,000 radio spots that run each month supporting the NAB National Awareness Campaign, which launched in February; “this is a huge opportunity for students to have their radio spot played nationally among thousands of broadcast stations and heard by millions. We will get the opportunity to showcase rising talent for the radio industry.” CBI president Greg Weston comments, “CBI is thrilled to team with NextRadio to offer students from our media outlets this unprecedented opportunity to have their work appear in front of millions of listeners. Not only will the winners get national exposure for their talent, they will be able to take advantage of the educational opportunities available to them at the National Student Electronic Media Convention.” First-place winner will have his or her 60-second spot included in “flight four” of the NAB National Awareness Campaign, which starts October 1. The contest begins one week from next Monday (8/17) and will run through September 18; winners will be announced September 28.
Westwood One, PGA of America In Multiyear, Multiplatform Deal. Live hole-by-hole coverage of the PGA championship returns to Westwood One for the first time in a decade. In addition, Westwood One will provide short-form updates, as well as a Brad Heller-anchored recap show, “The PGA Championship Tonight.” Senior vice president of sports for Westwood One (and parent company Cumulus Media) Bruce Gilbert remarks, “Westwood One is proud to present the 2015 PGA championship. It is a very exciting time in professional golf with so many terrific stories this year. Our team is prepared and excited to describe the remarkable performance of the world’s best players live from the PGA championship for the next few years.” PGA of America chief commercial officer Jeff Price states, “Westwood One and SiriusXM are synonymous with live, major sports event broadcasting. The PGA of America is delighted that we will partner with these two world-class radio partners to bring the drama and excitement of the PGA championship to fans.” Broadcast coverage from the PGA championship at Whistling Straits Golf Course in Kohler, Wisconsin begins one week from today (Thursday, 8/13). It will run through (Sunday) the 16th and can be heard on SiriusXM, Westwood One Sports affiliates, and WestwoodOneSports.com. SiriusXM PGA tour radio host Earl Forcey will anchor the joint coverage from the 18th tower, while former pro golfer/Golf Channel host Charlie Rymer will be lead analyst. Westwood One’s Ted Emrich will anchor short-form reports from the course, and provide leader board updates during the long-form coverage. Looking ahead, Westwood One Sports will provide PGA championship coverage next year from Baltusrol Country Club in Springfield, New Jersey and, in 2017, from the Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte.
2016 Presidential Candidates-GOP Debates, Nashville Theater Attack, Iran Nuclear Deal, Immigration Policy Debate, Hillary Clinton Email Investigation, Baltimore Gets Help with Violence, MH370 Debris Confirmed, and Deflategate Flap Among Top News Stories Yesterday (8/5). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and tonight’s GOP debates; the thwarted attack on a cinema in Nashville on Wednesday; the political battle over the proposed nuclear deal with Iran; the ongoing controversy over America’s immigration policy; the Feds supply help to Baltimore’s police in battling the explosion of murders in the aftermath of the Freddie Gray slaying; the plane debris found last week is confirmed to be from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370; and the NFL’s deflategate case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Media’s 2015 Q2 Report: Net Revenue Dips 8.8%. That negative number is not so surprising because Cumulus had issued forward-looking statements that predicted results pretty much in line with what the final numbers turned out to be. Net revenue for the quarter was just shy of $300 million, accounting for the 8.8% decrease compared to the same period a year ago. Broadcast advertising was down 8.4% and the digital advertising category was off 19.5%. Further breaking down the broadcast advertising category, network and national sales took the biggest hits – down 16% and 10.8%, respectively – and local ad sales slipped 3.9%.
Cooke: Local Radio Still an Opportune Career Path. In a brand new installment of Talkers TV, media consultant Holland Cooke calls “this latest round of corporate cutbacks real scary.” And he predicts there are more firings to come saying, “financially, it’s inevitable.” Still, Cooke reckons, “This can be an opportune time for on-air talent,” because, in his view, “so much of what now comes out the speaker has been automated and voicetracked and has become so ‘un-local,’” and because “listeners and advertisers can hear the difference.” In a two-part series in his monthly newsletter, HC outlines where employment opportunity lies and what salaries are typically being paid. And Cooke stresses two skills imperative for today’s job-seekers: digital production savvy, and, as he puts it, “knowing how to actually get hired.” He emphasizes that “simply knowing how to do your job won’t GET you your job.” If you attended Talkers New York 2015, you already have part one, in the June issue of Holland’s newsletter, which was distributed at the conference. Part two is in the August issue, which is available even to non-subscribers. Click here for download instructions. To view Cooke’s presentation on Talkers TV please click on the Talkers TV box in the upper right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
ESPN Radio Announces August Lineup for Former Cowherd Slot. With the recent benching of soon-to-be-exiting personality Colin Cowherd, ESPN Radio goes to its O&O stations as well as the network for talent to fill the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET network time slot. Next week, KEPN, Los Angeles “ESPN LA 710” afternoon drive hosts Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley will be heard nationally. The weeks of August 10 and 17 belong to network personality Michelle Beadle and ESPNLA’s Ben Lyons. For the week of August 24, WMVP, Chicago afternoon drive duo Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman – a.k.a. “Waddle & Silvy” – will be featured on the network program. ESPN Radio has not yet announced a permanent show to fill the spot where “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” aired.
KTAR-FM, Phoenix Newsman Ned Foster to Retire. After a career that has spanned 40 years in radio news, “Arizona’s Morning News” anchor Ned Foster will retire from the station at the end of November. The Boston native is enshrined in the Arizona Broadcast Hall of Fame. Foster, who has worked at such heritage signals as WBZ-AM, Boston; KFWB, Los Angeles; and WOWO, Fort Wayne, says, “It’s hard for me to believe how fortunate I’ve been and how much fun I’ve had. I am humbled and gratified beyond words that so many people over so many years found it worth their while to tune in. Thank you!” Bonneville Phoenix VP of content and operations Ryan Hatch adds, “Ned is the consummate newsman and he’s had an absolutely remarkable career. We can’t thank him enough for helping Arizona commuters get to work informed and on-time each morning.”
Odds & Sods. A joint effort between Alpha Media Portland and Seattle’s Feedback Media is bringing the business talk radio show “Business Briefing” with Brian Bushlach to Sinclair Radio’s news/talk KVI, Seattle. The show – a popular Portland market program for the past 10 years – will air on Saturday mornings at 8:00. Bushlach says, “Seattle is the epicenter of American business. Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Costco, Nordstrom, Expedia and Alaska Airlines have become household names, but think about companies like Tommy Bahama, Trident Seafoods, REI and others who are also leaders in their sector. We’re looking forward to featuring companies big and small, with execs and owners sharing their stories each weekend.”…..Media commentator and public relations expert Raynard Jackson is sitting in for Roland Martin on his nationally syndicated midday talk radio show (7/30 and 31). Jackson’s guests include actress/entrepreneur Erika Alexander, hip hop artist BriaMarie and former NFL player Mike “Scooter” McGruder…..ABC Radio announces some of the special Labor Day programming it is offering. The three one-hour specials are: “The Election Show: 16 Things to Know Before 2016,” co-hosted by ABC News correspondent Cheri Preston and ABC News political director Rick Klein; “Back to School Survival Guide,” hosted by Michelle Franzen; and “Streamline and Simplify Your Life,” hosted by Scott Goldberg…..Football season is upon us and FOX Sports Radio says its continuing a partnership with Big Ten Network to present an audio simulcast of the latter’s “BTN Live” television show to radio station affiliates. Beginning August 10, the program will be available for air Monday through Friday from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET. The show is hosted by Big Ten Network personalities Dave Revsine, Mike Hall and Rick Pizzo, with Big Ten Network analysts Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and other special guests…..Woof Boom-owned news/talk WHBU-AM, Anderson-Muncie, Indiana (also heard on translator W279CL, Anderson at 103.7 FM) moves local personality Doug Zook to the 7:30 am to 9:00 am slot and begins airing Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity in the afternoon drive daypart.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The sports talk show “Jay Mohr Sports” from Premiere Networks and FOX Sports Radio Network is added to the lineup at the following stations: KVET, Austin; KHKA, Honolulu; WOLF-AM, Syracuse; KQWB, Fargo; and WKGN, Knoxville…..The Envision Networks-syndicated Sunday night talk show “The John and Leah Show,” featuring hosts John Ziegler and Leah Brandon, is added to the lineup at WPGP, Pittsburgh “AM 1250 The Answer.”…..The GCN-syndicated “Freedom Feens” show is added to the program schedule at KTKK, Salt Lake City.
WQAM, Miami Covering College Football. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Miami Hurricanes play-by-play voice Joe Zagacki, WQAM afternoon drive host Marc Hochman, and Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer at the Big 10 media days in Chicago. Hochman tells TALKERS that the station partnered with the Capital One Orange Bowl to broadcast from all of the major college conference media days.
2016 Presidential Candidates and Trump Criticisms Tie for Top Spot on Talkers TenTM for Week of July 27-31. The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the extreme media attention Donald Trump is receiving tied for the most-talked-about news/talk radio stories of the week. At #2 was the case of the hunting and killing of Cecil the lion by a Minnesota dentist. Coming in at #3 was the Planned Parenthood videos scandal and following at #4 was the debate over immigration policy in the United States. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s chart here.
iHeartMedia Reports Q2 Revenue Up 4%. The privately-owned iHeartMedia announces its Q2 financial numbers and reports revenue was $841 million – up 4% compared to the same quarter in 2014 – and stating that it saw “strength across the business (core local and national broadcast advertising revenue, traffic and weather business, syndication business and events).” The company says its expenses rose 5% year-over-year attributable to “event production costs, timing of barter and trade expenses, sales compensation expense and costs related to music licenses and performance royalties.” Chief operating officer and chief financial officer Rich Bressler says in a press release, “We’re pleased with the revenue and OIBDAN growth we achieved this quarter. We continue to invest in our capabilities across both iHeartMedia and outdoor to realize the full value of our multi-platform assets. With no significant debt maturities until 2018, we can continue focusing on growing the top and bottom lines across our business segments.” Total debt for the media giant is reported as just shy of $20.4 billion.
Stigall: The Importance of Talk Radio. WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall writes in a piece published in TALKERS today about recent events that have given him pause to reflect on the value of talk radio to the greater society. Stigall says that an important cog in the media machine would be missing if talk radio did not exist. He says, “Call talk radio propaganda if you’d like, but it can only thrive if it offers something consumers want to hear and delivers results to advertisers and sponsors. I know in our show’s case we’re blessed with both. Whether it’s Limbaugh’s leading voice of conservatism, Levin’s case for millennials to engage in their country’s political future, Hannity’s demands for more scrutiny of a taxpayer-funded entity, or simple assessments of current and future leaders’ character – talk radio is the only place it’s found consistently.” Read Stigall’s entire piece here.
iHeartMedia Charlotte Hikes Hotchkiss to Market President. Senior vice president of sales Keith Hotchkiss is elevated to market president of iHeartMedia‘s six-station Charlotte operation. Hotchkiss remarks that, “iHeartMedia Charlotte boasts some of the most talented on-air hosts, programmers, and sales professionals in the country. It is my goal to lead and expand, providing innovative solutions for our client partners across all our platforms, while also creating the best radio for our listeners. This is an exciting time to be in the radio industry. I could not be more proud to represent one of the world’s most enterprising media companies in one of the nation’s greatest cities.” Prior to being transferred to Charlotte, Hotchkiss spent more than 15 years at the company’s Cleveland cluster, where he ultimately became general sales manager. With (6+) Nielsen Audio June 2015 PPM market share and market rank in parentheses, iHeartMedia’s Charlotte cluster consists of country WKKT “The Kat” (7.3, #3); classic rock WRFX “The Fox” (6.5, #4); adult hits WLKO “The Lake” (6.3, #5); CHR WHQC “Channel 96-1” (5.3, #7); and WEND “New Rock 106.5 – The End” (3.1, #12 ). WRFX-HD2 “Fox Sports FM 98.7″ does not appear in Charlotte’s June sweep.
Odds & Sods. The news/talk format airing on WMEL, Cocoa Beach, Florida and operated by John Harper’s Broadcast House LLC will move to Genesis Communications’ WIXC (licensed to Titusville, Florida) beginning Sunday, August 9. Rama Communications has been leasing the station to Broadcast House…..Matt Jones’ “Kentucky Sports Radio” will continue to be heard on stations in the Blue Grass State as Jones renews with the network. The show airs from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on WKJK, Louisville; WLAP, Lexington; and other iHeartMedia stations across the state using the Kentucky News Network…..Christopher “Jack” Johansing is promoted to marketing director at Benztown. He’s been with the company for the past five years serving as coordinator, web, marketing & affiliate relations.
Cecil the Lion Case, 2016 Presidential Candidates-Trump Criticisms, Planned Parenthood Videos Scandal, Iran Nuclear Deal, Bill Cosby Rape Allegations, Samuel DuBose Slaying, Lois Lerner-IRS Case, and the NFL’s Tom Brady Decision Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/29). The case of the Minnesota dentist who hunted a protected lion in Zimbabwe and the public outcry; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the intense scrutiny of Donald Trump; the aftermath of the release of videos showing Planned Parenthood doctors haggling over the price of body parts from abortions; the proposed nuclear deal with Iran; the rape allegations being leveled against Bill Cosby; the slaying of unarmed motorist Samuel DuBose in Cincinnati by a police officer; new allegations of Lois Lerner destroying evidence in the IRS scandal; and the NFL’s upholding of the four-game suspension of Tom Brady were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Scott Herman Promoted to COO of CBS Radio. President Andre Fernandez announces EVP of operations Scott Herman has been promoted to chief operating officer for CBS RADIO. The company says that in this new role, Herman will continue to report to Fernandez and lead local operations across the division’s 117 major market stations. CBS RADIO’s market managers will now report to Herman. Fernandez states, “Scott has a tremendous reputation in the industry, and is a distinguished representative for radio. He understands CBS RADIO’s vision for the future and will provide strength to our senior leadership team as we move forward with a variety of key growth initiatives. Having someone with Scott’s experience collaborating directly with our station management will result in new value for CBS RADIO and our partners.” The company notes that, because of this experience, Herman “works particularly close with the division’s news and talk stations, and his expertise in this area has allowed CBS RADIO to retain its leadership position in the format.” Herman was promoted to EVP, Eastern Region for CBS in 2003. Prior to that, he was senior vice president, market manager for the division’s New York properties, including all-newsers WINS and WCBS plus sports talk WFAN. Herman was vice president and general manager of WINS from 1994-2003 and WNEW-FM on two different occasions during the 1990s.
TRN Loses Appeal of Back Pay Judgement in Savage Case. The appeal of the ruling by an arbitration panel that the Original Talk Radio Network Inc. owes talk host Michael Savage $800,000 in back pay is unsuccessful after the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco ruled Friday in Savage’s favor. A small victory for TRN, though, as the Court denied Savage’s request for sanctions against TRN for filing a “frivolous appeal.” This latest court action stems from Savage’s original suit against TRN to void his contract with the syndicator after the relationship between the two parties had soured and Cumulus Media’s Westwood One pursued Savage’s services.
Early Line on Cowherd’s Replacement at ESPN Radio: Le Batard. According to TALKERS sources, there are two scenarios for filling the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot on ESPN Radio after Colin Cowherd does his final show for the network before departing for FOX Sports. The first is that Dan Le Batard moves to the slot and Jorge Sedano slides down from his 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm show to assume Le Batard’s 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot. The second possibility is that ESPN keeps Le Batard where he is and moves Sedano into the midday program. TALKERS sources also say ESPN is high on Bomani Jones, who hosts the 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm show and potential talent shuffles could involve a better daypart for his show. As for Cowherd, reports indicate that he was making about $2.5 million with ESPN and that FOX Sports will pay him approximately $6 million per year. Just what FOX Sports’ plans are for Cowherd are not set in stone and the company hasn’t been specific, but it’s expected he’ll host a nationally syndicated radio show and host a TV show on Fox 1, possibly at 6:00 pm to compete with ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”
Emmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis Adds Radio America’s Chad Benson Show for Evenings. Saying the show has a “Gen-X perspective,” WIBC-FM, Indianapolis program director David Wood announces the Radio America-syndicated Chad Benson show joins the station’s lineup for the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot. Wood says, “I was looking for something unique and contemporary for evenings. I found it in Chad Benson. Chad’s show has a great energy and Gen-X perspective, but still with conservative sensibilities. Plus he’s got the best set of tattoos in talk radio.” Radio America says Benson’s sense of showmanship and entertainment was developed from years in music radio and has had a huge influence on him as a talk host.
WGN, Chicago’s Nick Digilio Returns to the Air; Explains Stomach Ailment Exacerbated by Alcohol. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports on the return to the WGN airwaves of overnight personality Nick Digilio, who was back hosting his show today (7/20) after an absence of a month. Digilio explained to his listeners that he landed in the hospital after complicating existing stomach troubles by consuming too much alcohol being unable to eat much food. He explained that he came down with a stomach ailment in May that made it difficult to eat. His overconsumption of alcohol caused him to spend five days in the hospital. Now, he says he’s done drinking. He admits it was a stupid thing to do and blames no one but himself. Read Feder’s piece here.
Walter Pasacrita to Host Local Show on Sports Talk KONO-AM, San Antonio. The station had been an oldies outlet before flipping to sports talk in January of 2014. Now, the Cox Media Group-owned station is adding a local show by market pro Walter Pasacrita, who previously co-hosted a sports talk show with Jeff Vexler on iHeartMedia’s crosstown KTKR. Pasacrita will host the afternoon drive show on KONO-AM. He tells the San Antonio Express’ Jeanne Jakle he is prepared to take on the competition on crosstown sports talkers KTKR and KZDC. “I have more experience on the radio in San Antonio than the rest of those people. I’m more passionate about sports than the rest of those people. I don’t sugarcoat anything. . .and don’t let relationships get in the way of what should be stated. I tell it like it is.”
Sean Adams and Chip Brown to Host Mornings on KVET, Austin. A new, local sports talk show replaces ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike on iHeartMedia’s KVET, Austin. Sean Adams moves from his early afternoon “Adams Theory” show to the morning slot alongside Chip Brown for “The Bottom Line with Sean Adams and Chip Brown.” Brown was most recently with crosstown Total Austin Sports Radio-owned KTXX-FM. The two worked together from 2007-2010.
TalkersRadio’s “Vox Animali with Lori Lundin” Posts Second Installment. The second installment of the groundbreaking, experimental talk show, “Vox Animali” hosted by award-winning radio journalist Lori Lundin is posted today (7/20) after receiving widespread positive response to its pilot episode last month. The series – the latest offering of TalkersRadio’s “laboratory” workshop – is dedicated to raising awareness of the plight of animals that are institutionally abused and tortured at the hands of humans and foster respect for the dignity of all earthly creatures. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “I am so pleased that we are able to address a deeply important cause that hardly gets its due share of attention in the media – including talk radio – and when it does get attention, it is usually in the form of ridicule.” Harrison continues, “We are very happy to have a brilliant and talented radio journalist of Lori Lundin’s caliber spearheading this project.” Lori Lundin – who has received a number of prestigious industry honors including a Gracie this year – is an anchor with WTOP, Washington, DC and a reporter/podcaster with the Washington Examiner. Harrison adds, “Lori, who is a breast cancer survivor and an all-around inspirational human being, brings a level of intelligence, sensitivity and empathy to her work that takes it beyond today’s typical newsroom fare in connecting to the heart as well as the brain.” TALKERS general manager of broadcast operations, David Bernstein adds, “This is a heck of a show. It has the potential to become a very influential vehicle for consciousness-raising for the animal rights movement, one of the fastest growing areas of public sentiment in America today. And that’s what TalkersRadio is all about – developing spoken-word programs that address issues and interests outside the rigid boundaries of everyday broadcast radio.” The new installment of “Vox Animali” features a look at the abuse and suffering of chimpanzees and presents an interview with Laura Bonar of Animal Protection of New Mexico. Another current show under development on the TalkersRadio platform is “Healed Planet” hosted by Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel personality Alan Colmes that explores the human consciousness movement. A recent “graduate” of TalkersRadio is the weekly “American Family Farmer” hosted by Doug Stephan. Its mission is to champion the beleaguered small farmers of the nation being pushed out by the alliance of Big Agriculture and Big Government. It has now cleared about 30 stations and is adding new ones daily on the GCN and Radio America platforms. Bernstein says, “TalkersRadio is not set up to compete with broadcast radio or develop long-term hit shows for its own sake… but rather, as an experimental theater… a laboratory… to help new ideas develop to the point that they find a regular home on broadcast media.” To listen to TalkersRadio, please click here. For more information, contact David Bernstein at 413-565-5413.
Odds & Sods. There’s a new, two-year contract for some 400 NPR staffers represented by SAG-AFTRA. The union announces the new pact will provide 2 ½ % salary increases at the start of each of the next two years. Other provisions include NPR paying 70% of health care benefits and a contribution of 7% of workers’ pay into the retirement plan…..Hubbard Broadcasting donates $5 million to the Newseum in Washington, DC and gets naming rights to the concourse level of the building. Hubbard chairman and CEO Stanley Hubbard comments, “Our family has always been a strong advocate of a free press. Because it is the only institution solely devoted to educating the public about the fundamental value of First Amendment freedoms and free expression, the Newseum is a great gift to the nation and the world. It’s an honor for our family and our company to help support this noble cause.”
Dr. Daliah Wachs Welcome’s Scott Walker. Nationally syndicated talk host and practicing physician Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) welcomes Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (left) to Las Vegas. Walker – a just-announced candidate for president in 2016 – visited the Silver State a day after announcing his candidacy.
Major Market Swapping Among Entercom, LFM, Bonneville. Official settlement has been reached between Entercom Communications and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding Entercom’s acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media. The proposed transaction involving LFM properties in three markets was announced last December. Another player entered the mix, and as part of the DOJ resolution, Entercom gains entry into the second-largest market by exchanging four Denver stations with Bonneville. Somewhat resembling an MLB mega-swap conducted prior to baseball’s July 31 trading deadline, Entercom is cutting ties with adult contemporary KOSI “Continuous Lite Rock,” KYGO “#1 For New Country,” KKFN “Sports Radio – The Fan,” and sports KEPN “The Zone” in exchange for Bonneville Los Angeles classic rocker KSWD “The Sound” and $5 million in additional consideration. After the dust settles, Entercom will have facilities in four (new for them) top 20 markets – Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, and San Diego. Leading their respective stations there – and all having the Entercom title of vice president and general manager are: Peter Burton (Los Angeles); Mike Fowler (Atlanta); Doug Abernethy (Miami); and Bob Bollinger (San Diego). Amy Griesheimer remains in place as vice president and general manager of Entercom Denver; she has been with the company since 2002. Entercom president and chief executive officer David Field comments, “We are delighted to be moving forward on our long-delayed acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media and adding their terrific brands, markets, and people to our organization. We are also very excited to be acquiring ‘The Sound,’ the fastest growing radio station in Los Angeles, through our station exchange with Bonneville. Adding Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, and San Diego to our footprint will meaningfully enhance our ability to serve our listeners, customers, employees, and shareholders. This is a great day for Entercom that will enhance our competitive position and bolster our growth potential well into the future.” According to Entercom chief operating officer Weezie Kramer, “Lincoln Financial Media, Bonneville, and their teams have built world-class brands. We are excited about the opportunities to continue to grow these stations and to provide our listeners and customers with the best compelling local content and dynamic, integrated marketing solutions. I am excited to welcome Doug, Bob, Mike, and Peter to Entercom. They are great leaders and managers with a proven track record of success. As we enter these vibrant markets, we are thrilled to have such talented and experienced media veterans at the helm. Amy has been a tremendous leader for Entercom Denver. We know her experience, leadership, and vision will continue to drive ratings, revenue, and audience engagement for our stations [there].” Meanwhile, Bonneville president Darrell Brown remarks, “Denver is a vibrant, growing area where we see great opportunity. The stations we are acquiring are legacy brands and provide a powerful cluster in this market. They align well with our existing portfolio, allowing us to expand our regional footprint. Bonneville’s core mission is building and lifting the communities where we own broadcast properties. We have a commitment to provide quality sports, news, and entertainment products and we are thrilled to serve the Denver market.” After spending seven years as director of sales for Lincoln Financial San Diego, New York native Burton joined Bonneville seven years ago. Entercom Los Angeles will consist of KSWD “The Sound,” which in 12 of the last 13 Nielsen Audio PPM ratings periods, has been in the 3.0 – 3.9 range. In the most recent sweep (June 2015), it ranks sixth (3.7, 6+); “The Sound” registered a 3.9 in March, April, and May. Fowler most recently was director of sales for ESPN Chicago. The LFM cluster that Entercom is acquiring in Atlanta is comprised of hot AC WSTR “Star 94,” which has back-to-back increases (3.0 – 3.2 – 3.8, April-May-June, 6+) to finish #11, and WQXI “ESPN 790 The Zone” (.2, 6+). Abernethy joined Entercom three months ago, following ten years as a Radio One regional vice president. Among the three Miami stations Entercom is picking up from LFM is adult contemporary WLYF “Lite-FM,” which – in May – finally unseated Cox Media Group urban AC WHQT at #1. With consecutive up-trends (6.8 – 7.1 – 7.3, April-May-June, 6+), “Lite” remains at #1. The other two Miami stations Entercom is acquiring are classic hits-oldies WMXJ “Magic 102.7” (4.4, #7, 6+, June 2015) and sports WAXY “The Ticket” (1.9, #20). It was just last week that Bolinger exited CBS Radio San Diego as senior vice president and market manager. As is the case in Miami involving adult contemporary WLYF, Entercom is getting a #1 station (6+) in San Diego with adult contemporary KIFM “Easy 98.1” (5.5, #1, 6+, June 2015). In addition to “Easy,” the San Diego cluster-mates Bolinger will oversee are KSON “New Country” (4.5, #6) and alternative KBZT “It’s About the Music” (2.6, #16). June 2015 (6+) ratings performances for the properties leaving Entercom and joining Bonneville are 5.3, #4 (fourth successive up trend) for KYGO; 4.7, #6 for KOSI; and 2.0, #19 for KKFN; KEPN does not appear in the June sweep. Stations remaining under the Entercom Denver banner are June 2015 pacesetter classic rock KQMT “The Mountain” (6.6, #1, 6+); hot AC KALC “Alice” (4.0, #9); and adult standards KEZW “Studio 1430 – Timeless Music” (.5, #28). They will be joined by Lincoln Financial Media additions rhythmic CHR KQKS “KS-107.5” (3.5, #12, 6+, June 2015); KYGO-HD2 “Comedy 103.1” (#18, trending 1.7 – 1.8, 1.9 – 3.0, 6+); and KRWZ “Cruisin’ Oldies – AM 950” (1.5, #23). Purchase price for Entercom’s Lincoln Financial Media acquisition is $105 million. Approximately three-quarters of it – $77.5 million – is in cash and the remaining $27.5 million in “Series A” perpetual convertible preferred stock held by Lincoln Financial Group. Time Brokerage Agreements will enable Bonneville and Entercom to operate the swapped properties immediately upon closing of the Lincoln Financial Media acquisition. It is anticipated that closing of the Lincoln Financial Media acquisition and beginning of the Bonneville-Entercom TBAs will occur within several business days. Entercom expects the Bonneville transaction will be finalized by fourth quarter.
Connoisseur Media Bought by Management and Petrus Holding Company. Westport, Connecticut-based Connoisseur Media has been bought in a joint effort by the company’s management and Petrus Holding Company, LP, a Perot Company. In a statement issued today, Petrus says existing management team will continue to operate the stations, with Petrus as their financial partner. Connoisseur Media operates 42 radio stations and digital assets in 12 markets across the U.S. Connoisseur CEO Jeffrey Warshaw states, “We are very excited to partner with The Perot Companies to continue our focused and disciplined growth strategy. It is important for us to have a partner who shares our values and supports our long-term growth strategy.” Perot Companies chairman Ross Perot, Jr. says, “The Perot Companies and Connoisseur share common values, an entrepreneurial culture and a long-term approach to operating and building world-class companies. Our investment will allow Connoisseur to continue investing in its people while ensuring it can remain prudently financed, locally focused and innovative.”
Premiere Networks Names Meghan McCain Host of ‘America Now.’ A new, young host has been named for Premiere Networks’ nationally syndicated radio talk show “America Now.” Media personality and author Meghan McCain takes over the role of permanent host of the show that first featured Andy Dean as host. He left the program in July of 2014 to focus on his ConnectPal digital platform. (San Antonio-based personality Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo has been hosting the show on an interim basis.) Premiere says the show will continue to be based in Los Angeles and air live from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET. McCain comments, “I can’t wait to engage listeners across the country as we shine a spotlight on the stories and issues that affect us all. Creating a dialogue to inform, inspire and entertain people is what’s always driven me, and hosting ‘America Now’ is an exciting opportunity to help drive the national conversation. I’m excited to be joining a network with such an amazing lineup of hosts.” Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott states, “Meghan is smart, enthusiastic and outspoken, and we’re excited to have her join our roster of industry-leading programs reaching diverse audiences across America. As talk radio continues to connect with and engage millions of people across multiple platforms, we’re confident Meghan’s unique perspective and experience in politics will resonate with America Now’s national audience and create powerful marketing opportunities for our partners.”
Ross Promoted to News Director at WBAP and KLIF in Dallas. Moving up from her assistant news director position at Cumulus Media’s WBAP and KLIF in Dallas, Freda Ross is the new news director for the stations. Ross has been with WBAP since 1994 and added KLIF duties after Cumulus acquired the station. She is heard daily on KLIF as midday news anchor. Operations and program manager Tyler Cox says, “Freda has earned the respect of her colleagues and is a long-standing, influential leader in the WBAP/KLIF news department. She was the natural choice for this promotion to news director.” Ross comments, “I’m excited to take on the responsibilities of being news director for WBAP and KLIF. Both are well-respected heritage stations that have served the DFW community for decades. I look forward to the opportunity to continue bringing honest, thought-provoking news coverage to our listeners.”
Cox Media Group Makes ‘Major Senior Leadership Changes.’ These executive moves affect the National Ad Platforms, radio and digital businesses of Cox Media Group. They include: Kim Guthrie being named EVP of National Ad Platforms and president of CoxReps, the country’s largest television advertising rep firm based in New York City; Bill Hendrich takes over for Guthrie as EVP of radio and CMG research, based in Atlanta; and Marian Pittman becomes the company’s EVP of digital strategy and will oversee digital’s content and sales from her base in Atlanta. Guthrie’s assumption of the CoxReps presidency comes as Jim Monahan retires from the company after 35 years. The company says new radio EVP Bill Hendrich joined CMG Radio in 1996 in Orlando and has led countless award-winning teams that have produced outstanding creative content for CMG’s radio audiences, quantifiable sales results for customers, and internal and external customer service satisfaction for CMG’s employees and clients. The company’s Orlando VP/GM Susan Larkin is promoted to regional VP of Jacksonville and Orlando Radio. Finally, Pittman makes her move after serving with the company as VP of news and marketing for television.
Jake Gyllenhaal Visits NBC Sports Radio’s Amani Toomer and Dan Schwartzman. The two co-host “Going Deep with Amani & Dan” from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET on the NBC Sports Radio Network and recently hosted actor Jake Gyllenhaal in the studio about his new movie, Southpaw. The film is the story of a boxer who fights his way to the top only to find his life falling apart around him and features Rachel McAdams and Forest Whitaker. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Schwartzman, Gyllenhaal, and Toomer.
Obama Strikes Nukes Deal with Iran, Prison Escape of Mexican Drug Lord, 2016 Presidential Candidates, Bill Cosby Rape Allegations, Illegal Immigration Policy-Kate Steinle Death, Greek Debt Issue, Caitlyn Jenner ESPYs Appearance, the MLB All-Star game, and NASA’s Pluto Mission Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/14). The West’s deal with Iran to end economic sanctions on the nation and allow its nuclear program to proceed; the controversial “escape” from prison of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the renewed chatter about allegations Bill Cosby drugged and raped women; the controversy over the U.S.’s illegal immigration policy, the sanctuary cities, and the death of Kate Steinle; the Greek debt solution and its effect on world financial markets; Caitlyn Jenner’s appearance on the ESPYs tonight and her receiving the Arthur Ashe Award; the MLB All-Star game; and NASA’s New Horizons flies by Pluto were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talkers New York 2015 ‘Variety, the Spice of Life’ Video Posted Today. One of the most interesting panel discussions of the Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference (held on June 12) is posted today on Talkers TV. Personably moderated by TALKERS GM/broadcast operations David Bernstein and introduced by syndicated “On Call” host Asa Andrew, MD — the colorful session includes (in alphabetical order): Michael “Bax” Baxendale, co-host, WAQY-FM, Springfield, MA “Rock 102”; Dr. Joy Browne, host, GCN; Tony Bruno, host, WIP, Philadelphia; Thom Hartmann, host, WYD Media; Doug Stephan CEO/host, Stephan Multimedia; and Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore. The main mission of the session is to illustrate that although “talk radio” is usually generalized in the media and the mind of casual observers as being predominantly “right wing political programming hosted by middle aged white males” that – in fact – there is far more of a variety of successful talk shows in the industry than that one stereotype would indicate. Baxendale represents the hundreds of successful “pop culture” programs heard on music-oriented stations; Browne proves that a relationships/psychology show can survive and thrive for years as a varietal component of the traditional news/talk format; Bruno illustrates that even within the world of all sports talk radio, there is room for a show to attain success that doesn’t limit all conversation to sports, per se; Hartmann proves that there is room in the talk radio universe for a progressive take on the issues; Stephan displays the staying power of a morning “generalist” program that combines politics with lifestyle issues within the context of standard news/talk radio; and Larry Young is a primary example of the viability of urban talk within the spectrum of programming needs and opportunities. Andrew opens the session by discussing the major sponsorship opportunities available in the health care field for stations airing a weekend show of that nature within its programming menu. Moderator Bernstein points out that the concept of “variety” also works within the internal structure of a show without being untrue to its mission. To view the video in its entirety, please click here.
Hoge Adds WGNplus.com Sports Editor-In-Chief Duties. Already serving as Tribune talker WGN, Chicago’s “Insider” for the NFL‘s Chicago Bears, Adam Hoge is named sports editor-in-chief for WGNplus.com, where he will oversee expansion of digital content including blogs, podcasts and special streaming events. According to vice president of programming and content Todd Manley, “Getting Adam’s blog in the WGN family was a huge win for us last year. Now, we plan to capitalize on his coaching skills across our digital platforms. With Tribune Media’s launch of Gracenote Sports, WGN has an even greater arsenal of resources.” Hoge comments, “We live in an ‘on-demand’ world and radio is no different. That really is what WGNplus.com is all about. I am looking forward to working with a great lineup of sports personalities to create the type of content our listeners and readers are seeking.” In addition to being the Bears’ “Insider,” Hoge co-hosts WGN’s “The Beat” each Saturday (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) and Sunday (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm). The first WGNplus.com streaming event is a Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup marathon; it starts this Saturday (7/4) at 12:00 noon.
WPTF Taps Lewis as GM. Six-year Cumulus Media Myrtle Beach (South Carolina) market manager David Lewis is named general manager of Curtis Media Group talker WPTF, Raleigh. Curtis Media Group executive vice president Trip Savery remarks, “We are pleased to welcome David to Curtis Media Group. His experiences as an advertising agency principal, publisher, and radio manager will be of great value to our customers. WPTF is one of the most iconic brands in North Carolina; we look forward to evolving the station under David’s leadership.” Lewis comments, “I am excited to join Curtis Media and the WPTF team. I look forward to blending my past experience with the talented group that Don Curtis and Trip Savery already have in place, as we further develop our products and content while providing superior results for our clients.” Lewis – who joins WPTF next Monday (7/6) – was formerly the publisher of Charleston Gourmet Magazine.
Ronn Owens to Undergo Surgical Procedure for Parkinson’s Relief. San Francisco talk legend Ronn Owens announced to his listeners on Monday (6/29) that he will be part of the largest clinical trial of Parkinson’s Disease treatment through deep brain stimulation in the country. It’s being done at UCSF and will take place in August. According to KGO-TV, San Francisco “ABC7,” the KGO-AM talk personality says his symptoms have become obvious over the past year.
Business Rockstars Places Features on Six CBS RADIO Stations. The deal between Business Rockstars and CBS RADIO calls for six radio stations to air the “Business Rockstars Minutes” and for the “Everything Entrepreneur” podcast to be available online via CBS’ Play.it podcast network. The radio feature will be heard on news/talk outlets WPHT, Philadelphia; WCCO, Minneapolis; KMOX, St. Louis; KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh; KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas, and WTIC-AM, Hartford. Business Rockstars Network co-founder and chairman Steve Lehman comments, “With the addition of the new CBS RADIO stations, this brings our Business Rockstars Minutes network above 140 affiliates. The launch of the “Everything Entrepreneur” podcast on Play.it will bring our entertaining and educational entrepreneurial content to a new audience.”
Forbes Releases 2015 ‘World’s Highest-Paid Celebrities’ List; Stern at #5, Limbaugh at #11. The annual “World’s Highest-Paid Celebrities” list for 2015 from Forbes has been released and radio personalities making the list again include SiriusXM’s Howard Stern at #5 with an estimated $95 million in earnings (he also works for NBC TV); Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh at #11 with an estimated $79 million in earnings; Premiere Networks/iHeartMedia personality Ryan Seacrest at #21 with an estimated $60 million in earnings; and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel talk host Sean Hannity at #89 with an estimated $29 million.
Odds & Sods. The Jacksonville Times-Union reports that 25-year WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville program director Mike Dorwart is downsized in what’s being termed at “restructuring” at the news/talk outlet. He tells the paper he was surprised by his firing but has nothing but positive things to say about his quarter century with the Cox Media Group station…..At the Pensacola cluster of Cumulus Media, Terry Michaels is named full-time promotion director for the group that includes news/talk WCOA…..Former Cincinnati Enquirer media writer John Kiesewetter joins Cincinnati Public Radio’s online platform and radio outlet WVXU-FM. Kiesewetter’s media blog Media Beat is now located at wvxu.org. Additionally, Kiesewetter will appear on some of the local programs produced and broadcast on WVXU; WMUB, Oxford, Ohio; and online at wvxu.org, including the daily talk show “Cincinnati Edition” and the weekly arts and culture magazine program “Around Cincinnati.”…..Content creation professionals at Chicago Public Media have reached their first union agreement with management after voting to unionize in December of 2013. The unit includes anchors, hosts, reporters, producers, editors and those who create digital content. The two-year contract includes newly established scale rates for each covered position, annual increases, professional development in job classifications as well as progressive discipline and a grievance and arbitration procedure.
‘Free Talk Live’ Host Ian Freeman Featured in ‘Today’ Piece on Parking Meter Issue. Nationally syndicated talk radio host Ian Freeman – heard on the GCN-distributed “Free Talk Live” with co-host Mark Edge – was featured in a piece on NBC’s “Today” show about his work putting coins in parking meters in Keene, New Hampshire’s public lots in cases where people’s meters are expiring or about to expire. The New Hampshire Supreme Court recently ruled against the City of Keene in its suit to have the self-proclaimed “Robin Hood of Keene” activists’ meter plugging actions declared illegal. In the suit, the City also accused Robin Hood of Keene of harassing the meter maids and the request for a “buffer zone” around the workers was sent back to the lower Court. See the “Today” piece here.
Weekend Revenue Generator. Always on the lookout for creative ways to entertain and add to the bottom line, WCRS, Greenwood, South Carolina owner and air personality Anne Eller poses in the studio during last weekend’s on-air and online auction show called, “Anne’s Trash-to-Treasure Auction.” The vibrant and colorful local station owner tells TALKERS magazine the on-air and Facebook auction created a buzz in the area with people posting bids online. “Calling it was like running a three-ring circus!” The 7:00 am to 9:00 am auction led into Eller’s classic country music show that airs on Saturdays at 12:00 noon. She says they are making the auction show a regular Saturday morning feature.
Consultant Holland Cooke Ties the Knot. Media consultant and TALKERS magazine contributor Holland Cooke (right) is pictured here with his new bride Lori Pollock (left) at his seaside home on Block Island, Rhode Island on Monday, June 29 shortly after the pair “eloped.”
Chris Christie Enters GOP Race/2016 Presidential Prospects, Trump’s Miss America-Miss Universe Troubles, Fourth of July Terror Threats, Greece Debt Issue/EU Tensions, New York Prison Escapee Caught, SCOTUS ObamaCare and Gay Marriage Rulings, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, U.S.-Iran Nuke Negotiations, SC Confederate Flag Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/30). New Jersey Governor Chris Christie enters the Republican primary race; the legal battles between presidential candidate Donald Trump and NBC over the Miss America and Miss Universe pageants; concerns over radical Islamic threats to Americans over the Fourth of July weekend; the Greek debt problem and its effect on the European Union and world financial markets; the aftermath of the capture of New York prison escapee David Sweat; the Supreme Court’s recent rulings on federal subsidies for the Affordable Care Act and gay marriage; the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private emails used for State Department business; and the South Carolina Confederate flag issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cool Job Opportunity. Baton Rouge, Louisiana news/talk outlet WBRP-FM “Talk 107.3 FM” is seeking a morning show board op/producer. This position requires constant attention to detail in regards to time and content, as well as phones and uploading shows to web. You must be an excellent team player and focused to successfully air a smooth broadcast. This is a live and local show that discusses local events/issues/politics etc. Interest in those things is helpful. Must be willing to work early morning shift (and some weekends); have proven ability to multi-task effectively; experience with DAD Systems preferred but not required; have ability to accept direction and be flexible with changes; ability to find, record, and edit audio/quick learner (will be learning Adobe Audition if unfamiliar); be willing to accept responsibility and work under moderate supervision while resolving varied problems; work effectively in a team environment; project an appropriate professional appearance and demeanor. No phone calls, please. Send resume/aircheck/social media links to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Guaranty Corporation is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Talkers New York 2015 “Programming Talk Radio in 2015” Video Posted Today. One of the most important panel discussions of the Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference (held on June 12) is posted today on Talkers TV. Skillfully moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey and introduced by Radio America syndicated host Dana Loesch, the take-away-packed session includes (in alphabetical order): Carl Anderson, EVP, programming, iHeartMedia; Mike Bendixen, PD, Newstalk 1010, CFRB, Toronto; Valerie Geller, CEO, Geller Media International; Scott Masteller, PD, WBAL, Baltimore; and Mike McVay, SVP, content & programming, Cumulus Media. Subjects covered include keeping the news/talk format fresh and modern, the primacy of content, the relationship today between programming and sales, overcoming widespread negativity about the news/talk format, the benefits and pitfalls of branding, the challenge of hiring good talent, the effective utilization of social media and more. To view the video in its entirety, please click here.
Hunnicutt Exits iHeartMedia to Head New Record Label. A shocker in the radio biz as longtime iHeartMedia exec Clay Hunnicutt leaves his EVP and general manager of national programming platforms position to become president of the new record label Big Loud Records. The move was announced to iHeartMedia staffers via a memo from national programming platforms president Tom Poleman. He writes, “After more than 15 years here with us, Clay Hunnicutt has decided to leave iHeartMedia to become president of Big Loud Records, a record label startup. Clay has not only been a great partner to me in the day-to-day operations of national programming, he’s also become a great friend; I know you all feel the same. He’s been a pioneer and leader in shaping the great company that we are today, and for that I’ll always be thankful.”
Cumulus Media Los Angeles Courts Courtemanche as VP/Sales. Former iHeartMedia Chicago vice president of sales Jason Courtemanche relocates to Los Angeles for a similar position with Cumulus Media talker KABC-AM and classic rocker KLOS. Cumulus Media senior vice president of operations Tom Schurr comments, “I am thrilled to be working with Jason again. He is a smart, competitive, experienced broadcast executive who attracts top talent and produces results for partners and stations. We are excited to have a leader of his caliber joining the team.” Courtemanche remarks, “I am looking forward to this exciting opportunity on the west coast with these two legendary radio stations and the highly respected sales team. I am committed to getting in the trenches and helping make Cumulus the place to be in Los Angeles media.” Prior to his stint at iHeartMedia Chicago, Courtemanche was sales manager for CBS Radio Chicago all-news operation WBBM-AM; general sales manager for iHeartMedia San Diego; and director of sales for San Diego-based MVS International Communications. In pro hockey for six years (1993 – 1999), Courtemache played for various teams in the ECHL, IHL, AHL, WCHL, and CHL.
Bridging the Generational Divide – 17 Year Old Talk Radio Rising Star, Pavlina, Meets Michael Harrison on “Up Close and Far Out” Podcast. It starts out light and chatty but quickly develops into an insightful dialogue that spans the generational divide. Seventeen-year-old, multi-platform talk radio host Pavlina Osta is interviewed by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison on this week’s installment of the international hit Podcast One production “Up Close and Far Out.” “Pavlina” has been remarkably active as a self-motivated “celebrity journalist” since the tender age of 11 — racking up archives of more than 450 interviews with famous figures in show business, music, sports and public policy. She hosts a weekly radio show called “Pavlina’s Kidz Place” heard on Florida stations WAPN, Holly Hill; WAPB, Madison; and WELE, Ormond Beach plus a number more across the Sunshine State and scattered around the country — as well as maintaining a very active website and YouTube presence. She is already a two-time Gracie Award winner and holds the Guinness world record for the most radio interviews conducted in 24 hours. She conducted 347 interviews, each being a unique set of at least five questions. The entire 24-hour period was broadcast live on Ustream.tv and via Live365. Pavlina, a published author and tireless charity volunteer, has attended a number of industry conferences including the last two TALKERS events in New York City where her irrepressible personality, charisma and unique flair for fashion caught the attention of industry leaders – many of whom have begun championing her career. She served a summer internship with Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity in 2014 and is working this summer with Salem stations (WNYM and WMCA) in New York City under the direction of Phil Boyce. She has also received vigorous talent coaching by David Bernstein. Pavlina recently made an appearance on Newsmax TV as a guest of Steve Malzberg further fueling her rocketing profile as a media figure to be reckoned with. Upon interviewing Pavlina for “Up Close and Far Out,” Michael Harrison states, “What this remarkable young woman lacks in polish and sophistication, she more than makes up for in sheer likability. She oozes positive energy, remarkable charisma, unmistakable style and indelible authenticity. Plus, and most important, just under the surface of her ‘contemporary teenage girlishness’ lies an uncommon intelligence and wisdom that are clearly fueling this young woman’s self-motivated juggernaut to stardom. I didn’t treat her like a kid – but, rather, the amazing young woman into which she is clearly developing. I gave her the respect of asking her tough questions. We talked about kids today – sex, drugs, peer-pressure, education, even tattoos and body piercing, plus more.” On being interviewed by Michael Harrison, Pavlina states, “We actually covered more than I’ve ever done in an interview. This was a lot of fun. I appreciate it.” To hear the entire conversation between Michael Harrison and Pavlina, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page on Talkers.com. (Pictured here are Michael Harrison and Pavlina in a selfie taken at Talkers New York 2015 on June 12.)
Voltair and PPM Controversy Getting Play in Consumer Press. The digital publication FiveThirtyEight.com (published by ESPN) just posted a story by Carl Bialik that brings the industry’s concern about the reliability of the PPM technology used by Nielsen Audio to light with more of the public. The piece uses the demise of the smooth jazz format as the primary case against the ratings technology – though it does point out that the talk and classical formats are likely adversely affected by alleged inadequacies in the PPM, as well. Though the piece doesn’t go into detail about how Voltair works, it offers a summary of the processor’s recent history, including the moratorium on it in Canada. The piece also poses the question: If this controversy turns the radio ratings on its head, isn’t that a potential death knell for the entire industry? One anonymous industry executive replies, “When you’re buying on a flawed system, nobody’s winning.” Read the entire article here.
Glen Tacinelli Named 77WABC General Sales Manager. Heading up the sales efforts at Cumulus Media-owned news/talk WABC, New York is Glen Tacinelli, who begins his role as general sales manager on July 13. Tacinelli comes to WABC from Eastman Radio’s New York office, where he’s repped radio stations in more than 137 markets across the United States for the past seven years. Prior to that he served at CBS RADIO’s WCBS-FM, New York. He began his radio career at Arbitron (now Nielsen Audio). Cumulus New York VP/market manager Chad Lopez states, “We are thrilled to welcome Glen Tacinelli as the GSM to the iconic, legendary WABC brand. Glen’s outstanding talent, knowledge of the New York radio market and expertise in selling some of the top AM stations across the country is exactly what we were looking to add to the Cumulus New York team.”
Odds & Sods. Taking home two awards from the Virginia Association of Broadcasting is Monticello Media’s news/talk WCHV-AM/FM, Charlottesville, Virginia. The station was honored with the “Outstanding Newscast” and “Outstanding News Series” awards. Program director Joe Thomas says, “Less than eight years since taking over a station with no local news content, I am so proud of news director John Peterson, his news team and our afternoon drive host Coy Barefoot and their efforts to both inform and entertain our community!”…..Delta Media Corporation welcomes Ben Love to the station’s permanent program lineup on sports talk KLWB-FM, Lafayette, Louisiana “103.7 The Game.” Love, who hosts “Bumper to Bumper Sports with Ben Love,” is an award-winning sports media pro who recently was honored with the Best Website Feature, Best Website Column awards and finished second for Best Website Game Story by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association…..SiriusXM plans regular coverage of Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. in September on The Catholic Channel. SiriusXM says it will feature around-the-clock coverage each day, including live broadcasts of all of the major events during the Pope’s visit, including his appearance at the World Meeting of Families and Papal Mass in Philadelphia, his speech at the United Nations, the mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, and more.
Mason Elected BFA Co-Vice Chair, Treasurer. Recently retired CBS Radio president and chief executive officer Dan Mason is elected co-vice chair and treasurer of the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Broadcasters Foundation chair Phil Lombardo declares that, “Dan is one of the Foundation’s most ardent ambassadors and he gives tirelessly of his time. The entire board is grateful that he is taking on these additional responsibilities to advance our charitable mission of helping broadcasters in need.” As CBS Radio’s president/CEO, Mason oversaw more than 125 stations in 27 markets. The National Association of Broadcasters’ executive committee honored him as its 2012 “National Radio Award” winner for his outstanding leadership in the industry.
SCOTUS Gay Marriage and ObamaCare Rulings, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Trump-NBC Fallout, Iran Nukes Negotiations, NY Prison Escape Aftermath, Greece-EU Tensions, and ISIS Atrocities Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/29). Last week’s rulings by the Supreme Court supporting federal subsidies for the Affordable Care Act and making same-sex marriage legal in all states; the potential candidates for president in 2016; Donald Trump’s skirmish with NBC over the Miss America and Miss Universe pageants; the negotiations between the West and Iran over its nuclear program; the capture of the second escapee from a New York prison and the aftermath of the ordeal; the economic tensions being created by Greece’s inability to pay its debt to the IMF and talk of its exit from the EU; and the ongoing atrocities being perpetrated by ISIS were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rave Reviews Mounting for Talkers New York 2015. Complete Agenda Videos to be Posted Here in Coming Weeks Beginning Monday (6/22). The sessions at the recent Talkers New York 2015 are being widely praised as some of the best in the colorful 18-year history of the annual event. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “The panels and presentations at this conference were just packed with non-stop takeaways. We are extremely gratified by the positive response and feedback that we have been receiving from so many of the hundreds of people who packed this SRO event.” Casey adds, “Now through the technology of being an online ‘media station’ we will be able to share this information with everyone in the world interested in what was said in New York this past Friday (6/12). We will kick it off with the blockbuster panel, “The State of Radio Ratings” moderated by Sean Hannity that already has the entire industry buzzing.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Salem Media SVP Phil Boyce, E.W. Scripps Milwaukee VP/GM Tom Langmyer, Amplifi Media CEO Steve Goldstein, Moceri Media CEO Greg Moceri, Radio Advertising Bureau president/CEO Erica Farber, Nielsen Audio VP Jon Miller, and FOX News Channel and Premiere Networks host Sean Hannity (not pictured: Richard Harker of Harker Research).
Mills Crenshaw New PM Drive Host at KLO, Salt Lake City. Station general manager Matt Webb says, “Our audience has been asking for a local host in our afternoon drive time slot and we think we’ve landed the best in the business when it comes to local talk radio. Mills is a true icon in Utah radio and we’re pleased to have him as part of our radio family.” Mills Crenshaw has been in talk radio since 1965 and now is hosting “Drive Time Live with Mills Crenshaw” from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. He comments, “I am thrilled to be part of such a prestigious radio lineup on a legacy station such as KLO. To be on the same station with Bill Bennett, Laura Ingraham, and Michael Medved is a true honor.”
Cooper to Manage Beasley’s Atlanta Religion and Talk Outlets. This is a promotion for LeAnder Cooper who moves up from the assistant business manager post to general manager for Beasley Media Group’s religion WAEC and talk WWWE in Atlanta. Company EVP of operations Brian Beasley states, “We are deeply impressed with LeAnder’s commitment to WAEC and WWWE, and we have great confidence she is the ideal professional to serve as general manager of two historically successful AM stations in the Atlanta radio market.”
Nielsen’s RADAR June 2015 Released; 167 Million Americans Reached. The June 2015 RADAR from Nielsen is out and the ratings giant reports that this survey indicates more than 167 million Americans age 12 or older listened to a network radio commercial during an average week. As industry pros are aware, Nielsen RADAR reports estimated audiences to network commercials broadcast by affiliates of the subscribing networks. RADAR audience estimates do not account for listening to all network radio programming. RADAR delivers data for the entire country but it also breaks out numbers for reach into the top 25 DMAs. That data shows network radio reaches 64.6% of persons aged 12+; 68.5% of persons aged 18-49; and 69.3% of persons aged 25-54. Nielsen’s RADAR (Radio’s All Dimension Audience Research) June 2015 Report is the standard currency for national network radio ratings and measures 43 individual radio networks. These networks are operated by AdLarge Media, American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Premiere Networks, United Stations Radio Networks and Westwood One.
Odds & Sods. Nashville-based, Westwood One-syndicated talk show host Phil Valentine has a role in the new film The Secret Handshake, starring Kevin Sorbo (Hercules, God’s Not Dead), pop star Amy Grant and country music singer Mark Collie. The film was written and directed by Howie Klausner, who co-wrote Space Cowboys starring Clint Eastwood and Tommy Lee Jones. In the movie about a young boy who starts down the wrong path and is taken on a camping trip by three concerned men, Valentine plays the role of a novelist pitching another book idea to Sorbo’s character. Valentine says, “Hey, I got to do a scene with Hercules. It doesn’t get much better than that.”…..Three of FOX Sports Radio’s talk shows will broadcast from the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington as part of the network’s coverage of the tournament. “Jay Mohr Sports,” “Steve Gorman SPORTS!” and JT “The Brick” will air from Washington June 17-19 and the network’s coverage will continue through the weekend with national anchor Dan Breyer providing live updates during play…..Sports USA announces its 2015 NCAA football schedule, kicking off the season with an opening week doubleheader featuring Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines facing Utah on Thursday September 3 and Washington Huskies head coach Chris Petersen’s return to Boise State on Friday September 4. The 2015 schedule consists of 16 regular season games plus four bowl games.
RTDNA/Hofstra University Survey Indicates Local News Content Stabilizing. That study by Hofstra University professor emeritus Bob Papper summarizes local news content for TV and radio. Looking at the radio numbers, Papper reports that “66.2% of radio stations in the survey run local news — 71.9% of AM stations and 63.9% of FM stations. The overall percentage running local news is down around 4 points (3.8) compared to last year — which was down 7.7 from the year before. AM and FM stations were down about the same amount.” The report shows, among other things, the number of minutes of news stations in different size markets air and one thing that pops out is the dip in minutes aired from major market stations to large market stations. The weekday average number of minutes of news aired on major market stations was 129.3. Large market stations aired much less news – 35.8 minutes on average during the week. That number shoots back up for medium markets – 70.7 minutes and remains almost level in small markets at 68.9 minutes. Read the study report here.
TheBlaze Radio Network’s Independence: An American Story Distributed by Premiere Networks. The Fourth of July special “Independence: An American Story” – from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network – is being distributed to stations by Premiere Networks. The show is hosted by TheBlaze’s Doc Thompson and Skip LaCombe and features appearances by several Blaze hosts, including Andrew W.K. and Sheriff David Clarke. “The special highlights stories and conversations about the American Dream being achieved; the renewal of national pride and the accomplishments only possible in an independent, free nation; and why, despite the challenges facing Americans, this is the greatest nation on Earth.” It’s available for news/talk stations to air from July 3-5, 2015. Stations interested in this special should contact Premiere Networks’ affiliate relations department at 818-377-5300.
2016 Presidential Race/Jeb Bush Announces, Rachel Dolezal Case, Drone Strike Kills al Qaeda Leader, ISIS Military Activity, EU-Greece Tensions, TTP Trade Deal, and NHL and NBA Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/15). Republican Jeb Bush officially enters the race for president in 2016; the case of Spokane NAACP head Rachel Dolezal who resigned from the post after questions about her identifying as black became a major news story; the U.S. military uses a drone strike to allegedly kill al Qaeda leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi; the United States’ policy in Iraq as ISIS continues its military campaign there; the state of the EU and Greece’s place in it as the Greek government fights the EU’s efforts to affect its policies; the tenuous state of the TTP trade deal; and the NHL and NBA Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Packed Talkers New York 2015 Conference a Hit with Attendees. Talk media industry practitioners jam-packed the India House in Manhattan’s Financial District on Friday, June 12 for a full day of presentations, panels and speeches as TALKERS magazine celebrated its 25th anniversary serving the talk radio industry at its 18th annual New York-located national conference. The day began with a continental breakfast and reception titled, “Breakfast with Hannity,” sponsored by the Premiere Networks-syndicated talk radio superstar. WFAN, New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa kicked off the presentations with a powerful and informative welcoming speech. Panel discussions included such topics as “The State of Radio Ratings,” “The Big Picture,” “Generating Talk Radio Revenue,” “Programming Talk Radio in 2015,” “Variety, The Spice of Life,” and “Navigating a Talk Host Career.” The program also included a one-on-one “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Cumulus Media EVP, content & programming John Dickey, plus the TALKERS Awards Presentation during which WOLB, Baltimore morning host Larry Young received the “Humanitarian of the Year Award,” Howard Stern co-host Robin Quivers received the “Woman of the Year Award,” CBS Radio News VP Harvey Nagler was presented the “Lifetime Achievement Award,” and ABC Television, director, business continuity Howard B. Price received the “Freedom of Speech Award.” Michael Harrison states, “We are deeply gratified, humbled and grateful by the SRO turnout and the tremendous love and support we have consistently received that has allowed TALKERS and all its various projects to make it to the quarter-century milestone. This conference exuded a level of confidence about the future of the talk industry held by its key players that we haven’t seen in years!” Video of each of the sessions and presentations will be made available online via Talkers TV, along with detailed story and photographic coverage of the conference, beginning next week. Above right, FOX News’ Brian Kilmeade, WFAN’s Mike Francesa and Sean Hannity share a joke. Lower left, Premiere Networks’ Julie Talbott (left) presents the Woman of the Year Award to Robin Quivers (right).
iHeartMedia to Create New Boston Home for Rush Limbaugh on WKOX. Dropping the Spanish music format “Mia 1430,” iHeartMedia will launch “Talk 1430” WKOX on Monday, June 29 with Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh as the centerpiece along with company stalwarts Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck surrounding him. WKOX is licensed to Everett, Massachusetts and its primary signal covers the city of Boston and reaches many of its suburbs. iHeartMedia is going with a sports and talk hybrid using FOX Sports Radio content in addition to syndicated talk programming. Here’s the lineup: “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North” in AM drive; Glenn Beck from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Limbaugh; Sean Hannity from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; “America Now” from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; Westwood One’s Mark Levin from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight; and FOX Sports Radio during overnights. iHeartMedia Boston market president Alan Chartrand says, “We are excited to bring this powerful lineup of talk show hosts to our cluster here in Boston. We are confident that the biggest names in the talk radio format will serve our listeners and advertisers well.”
Canada’s Numeris Orders Voltair Units Disabled Until Further Notice. Canada’s Numeris – formerly called the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement – has ordered all Canadian radio stations to disconnect their Voltair units from their audio chains. The audio processor manufactured by 25-Seven – a division of TelosAlliance – has been a controversial topic within U.S. broadcast circles recently for reportedly enabling stations in Nielsen’s PPM markets to “amplify” the encoding that PPM receivers use to “hear” in order to give stations credit for listening. As was discussed at the Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday (6/12) on the “State of Radio Ratings” panel, Voltair is currently being tested by Nielsen but no such edicts have been issued here. Canada’s Numeris states in a letter to station owners that the order to shut off Voltair comes because of the “importance of a level playing field.” Numeris admists it doesn’t know if the technology is affecting ratings or not but that it expects to have an analysis of Voltair done within 60 days.
Cumulus Media Elevates Hess to Corporate PD of News/Talk. A session moderator at last Friday’s (6/12) “TALKERS New York 2015,” Bill Hess takes on corporate responsibilities in addition to his role as program director of Cumulus Media Washington, DC news/talker WMAL-AM/FM. According to Cumulus executive vice president of content and programming John Dickey, “Bill is one of the format’s best minds. We look forward to sharing him within our company.” Senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay comments, “This promotion enables us to take advantage of Bill’s previous experience as a corporate programmer and rewards him for the amazing job that he is doing at WMAL.” Hess remarks, “I deeply appreciate – and am incredibly energized by – this opportunity to work with John Dickey, Mike McVay, and our team of talented programmers as we continue to drive the success of the industry’s leading platform of news-talk brands, both on-air and digitally.” Formerly senior vice president of programming for Air America Radio, Hess was brand manager for Clear Channel/iHeartMedia and was PD of talk stations in Providence (WHJJ); Springfield, Massachusetts (WHYN-AM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (WTAG), as well as operations manager of Washington, DC progressive talker WWRC, sports WTEM, and conservative talk WTNT. The Philadelphia native has programmed FM music stations in Washington, DC (adult contemporary WASH and classic rock WBIG); Providence (hot AC WSNE and classic hits-oldies WWBB); Springfield, Massachusetts (hot AC WHYN-FM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (adult contemporary WSRS).
New Course Set at WRKO, Boston. In a press statement announcing the hiring of Alison Harris as sales manager for Entercom’s news/talk WRKO, Boston, VP and market manager Phil Zachary says filling this two-year-vacant post signals the station’s readiness to forward with the next step in its evolution. He comments, “Like every talk radio station in America, WRKO has been evolving with the changing media habits and demographic shifts in our society. We did not want to fill this important position until our course was set for the future and we found the perfect candidate. I’m thrilled we’re now at that point and that Alison was available to us.” Harris is a 22-year media pro who was most recently with Clear Channel Outdoor’s Washington, D.C./Baltimore Division as vice president of sales. The Boston news/talk will part with Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh next month and says it will announce its new, official lineup a little later this month.
Odds & Sods. Boston journalist and talk show host Michele McPhee told her listeners on Friday afternoon that she expects to beat the charges leveled against her after a late night incident on Thursday that resulted in her being arrested for DUI, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer. McPhee – heard on WMEX, Boston in afternoon drive – says she can’t comment specifically on the advice of her attorney. She was pulled over after a police officer reported seeing her car swerve on I-93 in South Boston. The Boston Herald reports she became belligerent with the officer and even sustained a head injury while the officer was arresting her…..Salem Media Group names Randy Bush general manager of its Little Rock station group that includes Christian contemporary KKSP, Christian teaching KDIS and news/talk KHTE “96.5 The Answer.”…..Townsquare Media announces Mike “Sandman” Sanders is the new operations manager for its Billings, Montana cluster that includes news/talk KCHH “Newstalk 95.5.” He was most recently with Riverbend Communications as music director and afternoon personality at adult contemporary KCLE, Idaho Falls “Classy 97.3.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of May 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of May 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The May 2015 survey period covered April 23 through May 20. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
NJBA Conference and Gala Begins This Week. The annual New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference and Gala opens this week in Atlantic City with his year’s theme: “Broadcast Has New Attitude.” NJBA president & CEO Paul Rotella states, “We’re going to hear from a variety of voices during this conference which will provide you with the latest and most substantial evolution in research, technology and advancement in audience measurement.” During the conference, the NJBA will be honoring FOX News’ Judge Andrew P. Napolitano as its recipient of the Howard L. Green Humanitarian of the Year. Also, Greater Media’s Peter Smyth will induct Dan Finn, Harry Hurley, Dick Swetits, and Kevin Williams into the NJBA Hall of Fame.
‘Get Well’ Wishes to Gabe Hobbs. Longtime radio pro and Gabe Hobbs Media principal, Gabe Hobbs is recovering from a ruptured disc in his lower back. He writes to the industry that he’s been largely unable to communicated while literally “on his back” in the hospital for the better part of the last two weeks. He writes, “As some of you may have heard, I have been hospitalized with a ruptured disk in my lower back for a couple of weeks. My back just seemed to explode on the afternoon of May 26th and I’ve been largely unable to answer emails, phone calls or texts ever since. I couldn’t even sit up or walk for 9 days. I’m finally able to do a little work on the computer and have somewhat cogent phone conversations at this point…My apologies as I know many of you are wondering if I just dropped off the face of the earth. Everyone at TALKERS wishes Gabe a speedy recovery.
Talkers New York 2015 Set to Rock Big Apple Tomorrow. Talk media professionals from all across America (and the world) will be gathering at the historic India House in the Financial District of lower Manhattan tomorrow for the 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important national convention. The event – which sold out three weeks in advance – will feature 65 industry speakers discussing the major issues and challenges facing talk broadcasting on air, online and on satellite including the state of audience measurement systems, integrating the art of radio into the technology of the digital age, adapting to changing sociological and generational attitudes, generating revenue in a new paradigm, navigating controversy and managing on air careers, plus a whole lot more. Talkers New York 2015 will be the “reality” site of two major documentary films about the media currently in production – plus TALKERS will video record all sessions and speeches for later playback on TalkersTV, free of charge. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Every one of these spectacular events has had its own colorful story and has played a significant role in the fascinating evolution of this vital scene we call talk radio. However, this one is particularly special to me because it coincides with the 25th anniversary of the founding of TALKERS magazine way back in the ancient year of 1990!” To see the full agenda, please click here.
iHeartMedia-Unified Partnership Further Enhances Data-Driven Marketing Approach. This partnership is being termed a “long-term” one with iHeartMedia investing in marketing technology firm Unified in order to “accelerate the company’s growth and expansion.” iHeartMedia says the data-driven partnership will deliver “unprecedented insights to advertisers across iHeartMedia’s portfolio of radio, digital, mobile, live events, social and on-demand entertainment and information services.” Further, it states, “The companies’ strategic partnership will leverage Unified’s Social Operating Platform, the marketing industry’s leading data and analytics platform, to aggregate and unlock the massive data sets generated from iHeartMedia’s 858 radio stations; 70 million registered users of its iHeartRadio platform; 87 million monthly digital uniques; more than 20,000 annual events; and more than 75 million social media users across its network. In addition, iHeartMedia will contribute data generated from its programming and consumer audiences to Unified’s award-winning data platform. The combination of iHeartMedia’s data and Unified’s analytics technology brings the power of attribution, audience identification, and impact analysis associated with digital marketing to the unparalleled scale of broadcast media.” iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman comments, “Data-driven solutions are transforming the way that we deliver new value to our marketing partners, providing the ease, measurability and precision of digital marketing at the incredible scale of broadcast. Unified allows us to leverage big data in new ways that make our portfolio of products, technology platforms, content and personalities the most powerful marketing vehicles available today.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Third Round of May 2015 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of May 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The May 2015 survey period covered April 23 through May 20. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Talkers Books Gearing Up for Three Releases in Second Half of 2015. After a 10 year hiatus since the publication of its last book, Modern Aging: A Guide for Seasoned Citizens to Achieve Health, Happiness and Purpose (Talkers Books, 2005) by upper demographics expert Carole Marks – TALKERS announces plans for three new releases under the imprint Talkers Books during the second half of 2015. Scheduled for release in July is Liars & Whores: How Big Government and Big Business Are Working to Save Their Own Assets, Not Yours (Talkers Books, 2015) by rising talk star Ethan Bearman. Bearman, who hosts a weekly show on Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco and another nationally syndicated by GCN, is described by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey as “one of the brightest, personable and politically independent of the industry’s new breed of young talkers with the potential to become the voice of Generation X.” Bearman’s book will be available in hard and soft cover versions as well as an e-book configuration. That will be followed by the August release of the first in a series of e-books under the umbrella description, “The Talkers Manifesto Series.” Titled, The Dr. Higgins Guide to Health and Wellness: Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Spiritual by Evelyn Higgins, D.C. (Talkers Books, 2015), it is written by a rising star in the field of alternative health care who came to the attention of the TALKERS editorial staff via her outstanding work in Georgia talk radio over the past several years. Scheduled for release in the fall is Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (Talkers Books, 2015) by Bernadette Duncan. In this revealing memoir, Duncan recounts her first-hand impressions working with some of the biggest names in talk radio during her 31-year career as a producer for such personalities as Larry King, Sally Jessy Raphael, Tom Snyder, Lou Dobbs, Gil Gross, Charles Osgood, Mike Gallagher and many more. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We are enthusiastic about reinvigorating our book publishing arm. The talk radio world is full of potential literary stars and we are going to do our best to help them find their readerships.”
Odds & Sods. At the Cumulus Media cluster in New York City, production whiz Fitz is now serving as the producer of the daily “Right Now with Doug McIntyre” program that airs from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm on news/talk WABC. Fitz was previously production director for sister hot AC WPLJ…..The Boston Herald has been named one of three finalists for the Innovator of the Year award presented by the Associated Press Media Editors for the creation of Boston Herald Radio and its integration into the news organization’s daily multimedia news process. The winner will be selected in October.
Police Excessive Force Cases, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Military Progress/U.S. Military Policy in Iraq, TTP Trade Deal, New York Prison Break, ObamaCare Court Challenge, and NBA-NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/10). The spate of alleged excessive force incidents by police across the country and talk about relations between police forces and the Black community; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the military progress of ISIS in Iraq and the U.S. military’s response; the controversy over the TTP trade deal and questions about what’s really in the pact; the ongoing search for two escaped murder convicts in New York State; the expected ruling from the Supreme Court on health care subsidies and how it may affect ObamaCare; and the NBA and NHL Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Beasley Q1 Revenue Down 10.3% on Pro Forma Basis. The asset exchange between Beasley Broadcast Group and CBS RADIO last fall makes the financial report for the former less cut and dried, but on a pro forma basis, net revenue was down 10.3%. BBG chairman and CEO George Beasley comments, “On a reported basis, first quarter net revenue from continuing operations rose 87.2% and station operating income increased 92.3%. However, given the required accounting treatment for discontinued operations following last December’s asset exchange, the results exclude the stations we gave up in the transaction. As such, we continue to believe the pro forma presentation, which assumes the asset exchange occurred on January 1, 2014, better reflects the first quarter operating results. On a pro forma basis, first quarter net revenue decreased 10.3% while SOI declined 12.2%. The pro forma revenue decline is primarily attributable to overall market weakness in Charlotte and Tampa-St. Petersburg and softer ad sales at our Wilmington cluster during the first quarter, our reduction in spot units at the newly acquired stations and revenue in last year’s first quarter in Charlotte and Tampa-St. Petersburg related to the CBS affiliation that did not recur due to the change in ownership.” Beasley adds, “In addition to our initiatives during the quarter to extract financial and operating synergies from the asset exchange, we made further progress on debt reduction while returning capital to shareholders. During the first quarter we made credit facility repayments totaling $1.5 million, reducing borrowings to $96.2 million at March 31, 2015 and declared our sixth consecutive quarterly cash dividend.”
CBS Corp. Q1 Revenue Dips 1.9%; Radio Segment Down 7%. Radio is a very small part of the $3.5 billion that CBS Corp. billed during the first quarter of 2015. CBS includes it in the Local Broadcasting segment (along with its television O&Os) and that division’s revenue for the quarter was $596 million, down from $626 million during the same period a year ago (a decrease of 5%). But the radio portion of that sector fared a bit worse, dipping 7%. Operating income for the Local Broadcasting segment was down 10.5%.
Cooke: Moms & Media. Radio consultant Holland Cooke presents this analysis of the Edison Research “2015 Moms & Media” data from that company’s ongoing Infinite Dial project. Cooke reports that, as previous data from numerous research sources has indicated over the years, “Mom is Secretary of the (family) Treasury to-the-tune-of $1.2 TRILLION a year in the USA.” Moms are also tech savvy and their busy lifestyle welcomes new media. Some takeaways from the study include: Mom spends more time per day (3 hrs 7 min) on the Internet than the survey population in general (2:51); 84% own a smartphone (69% last year); vs. 71% total respondents; and 64% of Moms surveyed own a tablet computer (47% last year). For more data, see Cooke’s entire report here.
May’s May 11 Return. Particularly in Los Angeles – perhaps the most commuter-centric market in the country – an on-air traffic reporter can become an integral component of a morning drive ensemble. Numerous notable examples exist in the City of Angels, including Lisa May, who will join the 6:00 am – 10:00 am “Heidi & Frank Show” on Cumulus Media rocker KLOS next Monday (5/11). Program director Keith Cunningham explains, “Lisa May is not just a traffic reporter or female sidekick; she is a radio brand and she is beloved by Southern California radio listeners. She will be doing a lot more than traffic – we can’t wait to get her in the building.” May admits that, “Joining a twosome can be tricky business. Usually you have to set up some ground rules and have a ‘safe word,’ [but] not with Heidi & Frank. That is what makes hooking up with them on KLOS so exciting. There is no telling what’s going to happen.” While her traffic reports the past two-plus decades have been heard on a number of Los Angeles outlets such as KACE, KGIL, KLAC, KMPC, KNX, KPCC, KPWR, and KABC-TV, May is best known for her lengthy tenure with “Kevin & Bean” on CBS Radio alternative KROQ. Among persons 6+ in Los Angeles’ latest Nielsen Audio PPM report (March 2015), KLOS (2.0) and KROQ (2.9) rank #23 and #13, respectively; iHeartMedia CHR KIIS “Kiss-FM” (5.3) leads the market (6+) for the third successive survey (including a February tie at #1 with adult contemporary sibling KOST “Coast 103”).
Howard B. Price Named 2015 Recipient of the TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine has named the ABC Television Network director of business continuity, Howard B. Price, CBCP/MBCI as this year’s recipient of the prestigious Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech. Price is being honored for his vigorous work and pro-active leadership in encouraging, inspiring and teaching the radio and television industries to be prepared to serve the public in times of emergency and crisis. In announcing the naming of Price the recipient of the award, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Howard B. Price is an industry hero who inspires us to rise to our highest purpose – and that is to serve and protect the public well-being. He reminds terrestrial broadcasters that they have the potential (and are arguably obligated) to be in the same societal role as first responders such as firefighters, police, emergency medical teams and rescuers of all sorts.” Harrison adds, “As a publisher, I am deeply proud of the numerous articles he has contributed to TALKERS and RadioInfo instructing our readers how to deal with civil unrest, acts of terrorism, and natural disasters such as earthquakes, perfect storms and historic blizzards – all of which have occurred on a seemingly regular basis in recent times. His presentations in print, at conferences and numerous speaking engagements clearly show stations how to stay on the air and mobilize their resources in a positive and productive manner when the community is under siege.” Harrison concludes, “This is a bit of a departure from our usual focus in presenting an industry individual with this award designed to raise awareness of the First Amendment in action – but nothing could be more important for licensed broadcasting facilities than to be able to provide the public with vital information when needed, especially in life and death situations, thus protecting the platform’s reputation and credibility as a place to turn for truth when the chips are down.” Price is a 40-year veteran of radio, television and newspapers, he is a two-time EMMY Award winner, and a two-time recipient of The George Foster Peabody Award. He has worked domestically and internationally as a news producer, assignment editor, bureau chief, reporter and anchor, covering some of the biggest stories of our time, including the 9/11 attacks, the 2003 Northeast blackout and Superstorm Sandy. A certified business continuity professional (CBCP), Howard is charged with maintaining the operational resilience of all ABC News platforms around the globe. He also serves as an in-house consultant to the ABC Owned Television Station Group. Howard holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and an MBA in management and marketing from New York University. A guest lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he has been a featured speaker at numerous professional conferences and workshops (including TALKERS), and a contributor to many trade publications. He is a member of the Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRII), the Business Continuity Institute (BCI), the Association of Contingency Planners (ACP), the Contingency Planning Exchange (CPE), the Northeast Disaster Recovery Information Exchange (NEDRIX), the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS). Howard is the founder of the website, MediaDisasterPrep.com, and writes its companion blog, MediaDisasterPrep.wordpress.com. Price is fond of telling anyone who’ll listen that events are disasters only if you haven’t planned for them. He can be reached via email at Howard.B.Price@abc.com. Howard B. Price will be presented the Freedom of Speech Award at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12. For registration, hotel and sponsorship information, please call 413-565-5413.
Dave Ramsey Brings Smart Money Event to Las Vegas. The Smart Money live event from talk radio superstar and best-selling author Dave Ramsey was presented to a packed house at Canyon Ridge Christian Church last night (5/7). He discussed how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence, working with local affiliate KXNT to promote the event. Financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan joined Ramsey on stage. CBS RADIO Las Vegas vice president of programming Cat Thomas says, “Dave has become a staple in growing our talk audience on the FM dial. Dave is positive, upbeat, real and listeners get that.” During the same visit to Las Vegas, Ramsey also hosted his EntreLeadership 1 Day Event on Wednesday in which he spoke about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 450 team members. Pictured here are (from l-r): Carlos Diaz, co-host of “Carlos and Dayna” on KXNT; Thomas; Ramsey; Maureen Pulicella, general sales manager; and Jerry McKenna, SVP/market manager.
On the Green in Greenwood. Station owner/host Anne Eller (left) of WCRS (1450 AM), Greenwood, SC has been out on The Links at Stoney Point in Greenwood every afternoon this week, broadcasting live from the scene of the Self Regional Classic leg of the Symetra Tour, a tour for professional and amateur golfers seeking to gain their LPGA card. Eller has spent the past few days interviewing both the men and women behind the event, as well as many of the women competing for the $30,000 cash purse, the largest of the Symetra Tour. One of the golfers Eller had on the show is rookie Michelle Piyapattra (right).
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. The Radio America-syndicated “Dana Show” hosted by Dana Loesch announces new affiliate stations: KSEV, Houston; KSGF-AM/FM, Springfield, Missouri; KBYR-AM, Anchorage; KGNC-AM, Amarillo; WVFT, Tallahassee; WYOO-FM, Panama City; KCNR, Redding, California; and WBLF, Johnstown-Altoona-State College, Pennsylvania.
Baltimore Unrest Aftermath Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of May 4-8. The social, legal and political ramifications of the violent protests in Baltimore were the several aspects of the most-talked-about story of the week. At #2 was the entrance of three more candidates into the 2016 presidential race. Coming in at #3 was scrutiny of the Clinton Family Foundation followed by the deadly prophet drawing contest in Garland, Texas at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
A Down First Quarter for Cumulus Media. The numbers here are compared to the same period in 2014. Cumulus Media reports 2015 Q1 net revenue dipped 7.2% on income of $271,079,000. Revenue was down across the board at the company in the first quarter and here’s the breakdown: broadcast revenue was $251 million (down 7%) and digital revenue was $8.06 million (down 16.4%). Political ad revenue was down 67.7% and a portion of the net revenue drop was due to an increase in the license fees and other category which rose 9.1%. Breaking down the broadcast revenue a bit further, local and national spot sales were down a bit – 3.6% and 2.4% respectively – but network revenue sank 13% on income of $86.7 million.
Radio One Down 4.8% in Q1. Urban media operator Radio One reports a down first quarter of 2015 on income $105.8 million – a drop of 4.8%. The company saw positive results in its cable TV advertising sector – up 9.9% — and that helped ease some of the decline in other sectors. The radio broadcasting segment was down 9.4%. Radio advertising was down 5.5% and digital advertising dipped 6.1%. Meanwhile, in the category “event revenue & other” Radio One dropped a dramatic 82.6%, due in part to a timing issue relative to annual events.
Inside the Mind of the Sports Radio Fan. Using data from its recent Techsurvey 11, Jacobs Media presents this analysis of the media usage of the typical sports radio fan. Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs says, “Since our Techsurveys expanded to more than a dozen formats several years back, it has afforded us the opportunity to study how fans of different formats differ when it comes to media and technology use. No group of radio listeners typifies that more than sports radio partisans. In their quest to find a good game, up-to-date info, fantasy sports, draft information, gossip and rumors, these savvy fans use a lot of different media options.” Some of the media habits of sports radio fans that the survey highlights center around the smartphone. Sports radio P1s are very frequent texters and they stream audio and video on a more frequent basis than P1s of other radio formats. For more, see the full story here.
YES-YOU-CAN Sell Rush Limbaugh. Media consultant Holland Cooke presents some tested means of selling the “controversial” leading news/talk radio host – Rush Limbaugh. As Cooke points out, just because there’s been some backlash against Limbaugh’s show and his affiliate stations doesn’t mean stations can’t find sponsors for the show. After, as Cooke observes, “This guy moves product.” In this piece he offers some thoughts on whom to prospect, how to write spots that work and how storytelling can work in your favor. Read it here.
Michael Harrison to Do 60-Second Daily Feature on Media for Boston Herald Radio. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has entered into an agreement with the Boston Herald to write and perform a weekly 60-second feature titled “Michael Harrison on the Media” beginning Monday (5/4) that will be dropped into the pioneering online station’s programming flow several times a day as well as its growing network of terrestrial partners. In it, Harrison explores the direct connection between media and the human condition – past, present and future – commenting on the impact of changing communications technology on society and culture. According to Harrison, “I love the idea of being connected with such a forward-thinking organization as the Boston Herald and its ground-breaking media station, Boston Herald Radio. Creating one of these tight little pieces each week helps sharpen my insights and ability to express them and just like my weekly, longform podcast ‘Up Close and Far Out’ on Podcast One, it gives me the opportunity, at this seasoned stage in my life, to dabble in speculation about the broader scope of media outside the radio industry itself for a worldwide consumer audience of ‘media freaks.’ What fun!” Boston Herald Radio Network executive producer Tom Shattuck tells TALKERS, “I am thrilled to have these exclusive commentaries by Michael Harrison running on our platform!” To hear an installment of “Michael Harrison on Media” please click below.
Spectrum of Talk Radio Programming to Be Addressed on “Variety, the Spice of Life” Panel at Talkers New York 2015. At the Talkers New York 2015 conference taking place on June 12, talk personalities from a variety of styles of programming will discuss the industry, their roles in it, and the future of talk content when they appear on the “Variety the Spice of Life” panel. Moderated by TALKERS general manager of radio operations David Bernstein, the panel will feature: Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host at classic rock-formatted WAQY “Rock 102,” Springfield, MA; Dr. Joy Browne of Genesis Communications Network; Tony Bruno, WIP-FM, Philadelphia; Thom Hartmann of WYD Media; Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia; and Larry Young, WOLB, Baltimore. This panel will present hosts from disparate backgrounds and radio formats, including a rock jock appealing to listeners immersed in rock and pop culture; the industry’s longest-running radio psychologist; a season sports talk pro; a progressive host with a multi-disciplined background; a nationally syndicated morning talk generalist; and an urban personality working mornings and heavily involved in the community on a local station. Bernstein says, “This will be an exciting panel to moderate – there is so much more to talk radio than one would think having it always described in the media as just a bunch of conservative white men talking politics.” Talkers New York 2015 takes place on Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in New York City’s financial district. Space is limited, so register today by calling 413-565-5413. For the full agenda, please click here.
PodcastOne Platform to Host Bossip Podcast. Bossip.com is billed as the “premier online destination for African American popular culture and entertainment news.” Now, it is partnering with PodcastOne to produce the “Bossip Presents: Don’t Be Scared” podcast. A press release says, “The weekly podcast is a viciously funny conversation between Bossip’s awkward, quirky and at times terrifyingly honest trio, Bossip staffer-hosts David Dennis, Jason “Jah” Lee and Danielle “Danni” Canada. PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz comments, “Bossip.com has built a great digital platform that hits the right points of humor and news in entertainment gossip. This new podcast extends their site to the rapidly growing audio-digital platform, and provides a strong content addition to our roster of websites who have turned to podcasting as an impactful way to communicate with their loyal audience.”
Done Deal: Alpha Closes on Coast Radio and Free Lance-Star Stations. There are seven more radio stations officially in the Portland-based Alpha Media fold after the closing took place on the deals with Coast Radio Company and Free Lance-Star Radio. As previously reported when the sales were announced, Alpha gets three California signals from Coast: adult contemporary-formatted trio KUIC, Vacaville, KKIQ, Livermore, and KKDV, Walnut Creek. And from Free Lance-Star it acquires: country WFLS and talk WNTX in Fredericksburg, Virginia; CHR WVBX, Spotsylvania, Virginia; and classic rock WWUZ, Bowling Green, Virginia. Alpha chief Larry Wilson says, “We are very fortunate to be able to work with such great employees at all of the stations. Each cluster is exceptional and brings its own unique attributes to the company, allowing us to build a diverse and dynamic culture.”
Odds & Sods. Talk radio personality Leslie Marshall joins the iHeartRadio platform as her podcast is now being featured there. Marshall also announces she’s begun writing a blog for Blue Nation Review and has penned her first column titled, “It’s 2015 and Sexism Is Alive and Well in Clinton Coverage.”…..Getting a national presence is WINS, New York weekend news anchor David Weiss who has two features that will be distributed by America’s Talk Radio Network. The five-minute “News for You” show features Weiss’ take on the world and national news and the two-minute “Slice of Life” is a more offbeat take on daily life…..In Seattle, Ed Ronco is the new local host of “All Things Considered” on KPLU. He’s been with the station for two years and also hosts a weekly travel segment titled, “Going Places.”
Salem’s Capitol Gang. Posing for a shot at Salem Media Group’s reception at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday evening (4/30) are (from l-r): Salem Radio Network host Dennis Prager, Townhall.com news editor Katie Pavlich, hosts Bill Bennett and Mike Gallagher. The event was to honor freshmen members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House. It was also attended by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and U. S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” with hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge add new affiliates to their roster including: KIXZ, Amarillo, Texas; Chattanooga market trimulcast WSDT, WEPG, and WSDQ; KTUI, Sullivan, Missouri; and KAZZ, Parowan, Utah and its Cedar City, Utah K253BU at 98.5 FM…..The Marilu Henner show is added to the program schedule at: KTUI, Sullivan, Missouri; WGGH, Marion, Illinois; WIMS, Michigan City, Indiana; KHUC-FM, Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
Baltimore Protests and Violence Top Talkers TenTM. The week of protests, violence and questions about the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody were all facets of the most-talked-about story of the week. Coming in at #2 on this week’s Talkers TenTM was the 2016 presidential prospects. At #3 was scrutiny of the operations of the Clinton Foundation followed by the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case of four states with anti-gay marriage statutes at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Pursuing Truth Amid Civil Unrest. Media outlets have experienced a number of situations recently that qualify as true “danger zones” in which to send their reporters and tech crews if they choose to cover the event first hand. ABC TV director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes today about the hazards radio news staffers are facing in situations similar to what’s been happening in Baltimore and – not too long ago – Ferguson, Missouri. He presents a plan for broadcasters to follow in preparing for coverage of such news events in the future. Read his entire piece here.
Lew Dickey, Cumulus, Agree to Continuation. The co-founder of Cumulus Media will be remaining in-place for at least another three years: Lew Dickey extends his employment agreement as the company’s president and chief executive officer. In addition, he will carry on as a board member through 2018. According to board member Jeff Marcus, “We are grateful that Lew Dickey, who has built Cumulus into a leading national media business, has renewed his commitment to lead the company into the future. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with Lew to build value for our shareholders.” In other news at the Atlanta-based company, Ridgemont Equity Partners‘ Robert “Trey” Sheridan, III, will retire from Cumulus’ board when his term ends at this year’s annual stockholders meeting; Association of Magazine Media (MPA) president and chief executive officer Mary Berner will be nominated to fill Sheridan’s vacated seat. Dickey comments, “We are fortunate to be adding Mary Berner to our board. Her insights and experience will be valuable as we continue to position the company for long-term success in the changing media landscape.” Elsewhere, Cumulus lead director, Jeffrey Marcus, is appointed non-executive board chair. Marcus has been a Cumulus board member since 2011. He is a partner with Crestview Partners, Cumulus’ largest stockholder.
Red Zebra Officially Names Dan Zampillo to PD WTEM, Washington. The company owned by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder announces former WXYT-FM, Detroit and SiriusXM program director Dan Zampillo is taking over the programming reigns at its sports talk WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980.” The PD position opened up after Chuck Sapienza exited in the middle of the on-off-on again addition of the new “Man Cave” morning show hosted by Chris Paul and Jason Reid. Red Zebra Broadcasting CEO Rick Carmean says, “When it comes to sports, we have the best on-air talent in the area. We look forward to having Dan join our team. He brings great leadership, experience and fresh insight.”
What News/Talk Fans Are Doing When They’re Not Listening To Your Station. In a piece prepared for TALKERS magazine by Jacobs Media based on data from the company’s recently released Techsurvey 11, company president Fred Jacobs presents a media and tech profile of news/talk P1s. He notes that while news/talk P1s tend to lag behind younger demos in the tech and social media areas, that’s changing. “Fans of the format are more likely to own a tablet, listen to podcasts, and subscribe to satellite radio. They are less apt to be social networkers. Compared to just a few short years ago, news/talk devotees are catching up tech-wise with their kids. The data show that six in 10 stream video at least weekly while nearly eight in 10 own a smartphone.” See how news/talk P1s choose to use social media and why they turn to broadcast talk radio. Read the entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. From the podcast genre comes news that PodcastOne is unveiling a new series featuring TV personality and entertainment reporter Katie Wagner, and international celebrity psychic Voxx Voltair. Dubbed, “InnerView with Katie and Voxx,” it promises to combine “the hottest news in Hollywood with astrology, clairvoyance, numerology, and Tarot readings and features the latest gossip, fashion trends, and secrets from celebrity guests.”…..At the same time CBS RADIO and CBS Local Digital Media announce some new on-demand programming on its Play.it platform. New shows include podcasts from SHOWTIME Boxing Commentator Paulie Malignaggi, ELLE Style correspondent Alia Ahmed-Yahia, TED.com speaker Julian Treasure, former CNN senior executive producer Michael Schulder’s “Wavemaker Conversations,” “The Marilu Henner Show”; and “Boomer & Carton” producer Al Dukes’ interview series with media moguls called, “Al’s Boring Podcast.”…..SiriusXM is launching “Let’s Talk with Abby and Ari,” a live, one-hour weekly, call-in show hosted by MSNBC The Cycle’s Abby Huntsman and Ari Melber. The show will entail Huntsman and Melber examining the news of the day first, and welcoming tastemakers and newsmakers for interviews in a relaxed, casual style. “The show will be a conversation at the cross-section of current events, politics and entertainment.”…..ESPN 2 “First Take” moderator Cari Champion is now hosting a new weekly ESPN Audio podcast called, “espnW Presents: Be Honest with Cari Champion.” It will feature the “straight-shooting, always-honest Champion talking sports and more with A-list athletes and celebrity guests.”
Salem Radio Network to Organize Aid Drive for Nepal Earthquake Victims. Via its Washington-based SRN News, Salem Radio Network launched a campaign on its 1,600-plus affiliates nationwide to encourage donations on behalf of victims of last Saturday’s earthquake in Nepal. The network is working with Oklahoma City-based nonprofit relief organization Project HOPE. SRN will generate funds to rush food and emergency supplies to the stricken area. The effort includes Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk hosts Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Eric Metaxas and Hugh Hewitt.
Fisher House Foundation Offers Memorial Day Special to News/Talk Outlets. As it has done in the past, Fisher House Foundation is offering news/talk radio stations a three-our Memorial Day Weekend program titled, “A Hero’s Best Medicine.” Fisher House says this year’s program contains “all-new, compelling and diverse storytelling. The show shares the role that Fisher House plays in military heroes’ recovery, giving family a safe place to stay just steps from their hospital rooms.” Some of the stories told include that of Marine Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, a Medal of Honor recipient, and his family in South Carolina. Carpenter threw himself on a grenade in Afghanistan to save a fellow Marine’s life. His parents spent nearly three years in a Fisher House; and Marine Cpl. Jake Schick, a wounded warrior who attracted the attention of Clint Eastwood and landed a role in the blockbuster film “American Sniper.” Schick met his wife in a military hospital. Throughout his recovery she stayed in a Fisher House. The program is hosted by KARN, Little Rock afternoon host Doc Thompson. For affiliation details on “A Hero’s Best Medicine,” news/talk stations should send an email to email@example.com with the word “radio” in the subject line.
Baltimore Protests, SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, Clinton Foundation Scrutiny, Nepal Quake Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Iranian Navy Intercepts U.S. Ship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/28). The tactics to curb the violent protests in Baltimore and the political aspects of the event; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case challenging the anti-gay marriage laws in four states; the ongoing scrutiny of the financial operations of the Clinton Foundation; the aftermath of the earthquake that’s taken more than 5,000 lives in Nepal; the potential candidates for president in 2016 including new possibilities Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley; and the interception of a U.S-flagged ship in the Strait of Hormuz by an Iranian Naval vessel were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Jack Swanson to Lead KCBS, San Francisco Programming. Legendary spoken-word programmer Jack Swanson is named director of news and programming for KCBS “All News Radio 740AM and 106.9FM.” CBS RADIO SVP and market manager Doug Harvill says, “Jack has a distinguished track record of leading iconic radio stations. He’s a terrific leader with a deep understanding of how a market leading station such as KCBS can be a trusted and active member of its community.” Swanson served for years as vice president of programming at Cumulus Media’s KGO and KSFO, San Francisco. He began his radio career as a news anchor/reporter for WLS, Chicago before becoming the news and program director for KGO, San Francisco. From there he became president and general manager for KING-FM, Seattle. He says, “Being asked to lead one of the best news teams in the country is one of those rare situations that don’t present themselves often. I’m looking forward to contributing to the amazing growth of this legendary station in the years ahead.”
Fruge, Thomas Involved in CBS Radio Programming Changes. Concurrent with CBS Radio Las Vegas vice president of programming Charese Fruge transferring to Houston for similar duties (and to be operations manager there), the company promotes Cat Thomas to succeed Fruge in Las Vegas. Thomas will continue as day-to-day programmer of Las Vegas’ KXTE “X107.5 – Alternative First”; talk KXNT AM & FM; and KXST “CBS Sports Radio 1140.” Senior vice president and CBS Radio Houston market manager Sarah Frazier comments, “Charese is a talented programmer and leader. Her longstanding relationships in the music industry, passion for radio, and ability to create special experiences for the listener are an integral part of why she is such a great fit for Houston. We are thrilled to have her join the Houston team, as we continue to grow and build upon our brands under her guidance.” Fruge remarks, “This role is the opportunity of a lifetime and a chance to finally be back in the south. I am honored and am looking forward to working with the Houston team to help take these amazing brands to the next level. I have made lifelong friends in Las Vegas and appreciate them always making me look good.” Meanwhile, senior vice president and CBS Radio Las Vegas market manager Jerry McKenna states, “Cat Thomas is a veteran programming executive whose experience in this market is unmatched. He has successfully programmed [CHR] KLUC for the better part of two decades and most recently, has been the driving force behind the success of our spoken-word brands. Our stations are in very capable hands.” According to Thomas, “This is a dream come true. We have the biggest brands in the market. I have loved this group since we put these stations together in 1996. None of this would be possible without the passion of our staff. As [the late Ohio State University football coach] Woody Hayes said, ‘You win with people,’ and we have great people from top to bottom.” A member of the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame, Fruge will oversee programming for hot AC KHMX “Mix 96.5”; sports outlets KIKK-AM and KILT-AM; country KILT-FM “The Bull”; CHR KKHH “Hot 95-7”; and Spanish contemporary KLOL “Mega 101.” She starts her new assignment – which will include day-to-day PD responsibilities for “Mix” and “Hot” – one week from Monday (5/4). Her resume includes on-air and programming stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, San Diego, Denver, and New Orleans. In addition to KXTE, KXNT AM & FM, and KXST, Ohio State University alum Thomas will oversee CHR KLUC “Las Vegas’ #1 Hit Music Station” and hot AC KMXB “Mix 94.1.” Eight years after being night personality at KLUC, Thomas was elevated to program director (1996); he became PD of KXNT AM & FM, KXST, and KXTE last year. Similar to Fruge, Thomas’ first day on his new job is one week from Monday (5/4). Elsewhere at CBS Radio Las Vegas, KLUC assistant program director John “J.B. King” Bernard is promoted to program director and “Mix” assistant program director/music director Jonathan “J. Love” Campbell is boosted to PD of that station. Bernard joined KLUC 17 years ago and has been APD since 2001. He previously worked in San Francisco, Phoenix, and Sacramento. With CBS Radio Las Vegas the past three years, Campbell formerly programmed in Providence, Oxnard-Ventura (California), and Reno (Nevada).
The Howie Carr New England Juggernaut Rolls On. In a remarkable display of just how potent an independent regional talk radio network can be, radio/newspaper/author phenomenon Howie Carr continues to expand the reach of his Howie Carr Radio Network north into New Hampshire and southeast into Connecticut. Bringing the growing lineup to 22 radio stations (including flagship WRKO, Boston) are WASR, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire as well as Connecticut’s WMRD, Middletown and WLIS, Old Saybrook. On penetrating the Nutmeg State, Carr tells TALKERS, “I’ve always had a sizable audience in Connecticut, and I’m happy that my listeners there can now find me even more easily. As a kid, I wanted to go to Wesleyan, and now I’m in Middletown — and Old Saybrook.” Don DeCesare, president/GM of WLIS/WMRD adds, “We’re thrilled to have Howie Carr as part of our onair lineup. Howie has been New England’s voice for years. We’re proud to add that voice now and be his stations in Connecticut.” Regarding this latest expansion of Carr’s network, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is only going to be a matter of months before the flood dam bursts and Howie Carr becomes a major national host eventually heard in all 50 states. He is at the top of his game.” Meet Howie Carr at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12. The annual conference is on the verge of a sellout. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413 or click here.
Salem Radio Network Welcomes Michael Medved Back. It’s a gradual return to his daily, syndicated talk radio show, but Michael Medved is slowly working his way back after treatment for throat cancer. Medved announced his hiatus from the program back on January 30. Now, SRN VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “We are SO grateful to have Michael Medved transitioning back into his SRN talk show. Monday he appeared by phone, and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday he has been in his Seattle studio, hosting guests like U.S. Senator John McCain for discussion of today’s Obama apology for U.S. raids killing two hostages, plus the Senate confirmation of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General of the United States.” Medved has been a nationally syndicated host for the past 18 years.
Jim Gearhart and New Jersey 101.5 Morning Show to Broadcast from Battelship New Jersey. In recognition of Memorial Day, WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” morning host Jim Gearhart and the rest of the morning show will broadcast from the deck of the Battleship New Jersey on May 22. In a letter inviting listeners to attend the broadcast, Gearhart writes, in part, “While the nation celebrates the start of summer this year, I invite you, your family and friends to honor the service and sacrifice of our veterans and active military during a special live broadcast of the ‘New Jersey 101.5 Morning Show’ aboard America’s most decorated battleship. The morning show team will be on the deck of Battleship New Jersey, located on the waterfront in Camden on Friday, May 22 joined by veterans, honor guards, military agencies and state dignitaries for patriotic music, discussions and storytelling…As a Naval veteran and the father of two enlisted men, it is my privilege to commemorate our military this Memorial Day Weekend, and I encourage all active and retired servicemen and women, as well as civilians, to come enjoy the show and share their appreciation for those who make America the land of the free and home of the brave.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Dr. Joy Browne show is added to the program schedule on WOMI, Owensboro, Kentucky…..Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” adds new affiliate stations WCGO, Evanston, Illinois; WMXI-FM, Laurel, Mississippi; KFEQ, Saint Joseph, Missouri; and KELY, Ely, Nevada to its roster…..AdLarge Media reports “The National Marijuana News” program is added to the lineup at: WHIG, Colorado Springs; WPEK-AM, Asheville, North Carolina; and WNOS, New Bern, North Carolina…..Christian radio offering “The HopeLine with Dawson McAllister” is two months into syndication and already heard on nearly 100 stations including recent new affiliates: WGEN-FM, Chicago and the MyGen Radio Network; WTRJ-FM, Jacksonville; and WCLN-FM, Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Iran Nuclear Negotiations Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of April 20-24. The negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the ISIS violence tied with the military action taking place in Yemen. Coming in at #3 was the 2016 presidential prospects tied with the scrutiny of the operation of the Clinton Foundation, followed by the death of two hostages at the hands of American drones at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Nielsen Announces Q1 Financials; Revenue Up 4.4%. In announcing the numbers for the first quarter of 2015, Nielsen N.V. reports revenue was down 2.1% due to the impact of foreign exchange, but up 4.4% on a constant currency basis, compared to the first quarter of 2014. CEO Mitch Barns states, “Nielsen’s first quarter results again illustrate the consistency of our business model and strong execution, with 4.4% total company and 10.0% emerging markets revenue growth on a constant currency basis. These results reflect the 35th consecutive quarter of constant currency revenue growth. In addition, we were pleased to raise our quarterly dividend 12%, as we continue to deliver on our commitment to drive ongoing shareholder value.”
SSI’s Bob and Mary Carey Host Rudy Maxa’s World Travel Show from Iceland. Telling us that he guest hosts the program about every six weeks, Syndicated Solutions Inc. president Bob Carey says the latest show he co-hosted with his wife Mary was from the hot new destination – Iceland. Carey’s company syndicates the “Rudy Maxa’s World” weekly travel show. Among the things Carey discovered about the unlikely tourist destination of Iceland is that geothermal energy and technology make Iceland an ideal place to grow hothouse fruits and vegetables and that The Blue Lagoon geothermal health and wellness spa is becoming a popular destination for American and Canadian travelers who can get there in five hours from the East Coast of North America.
Odds & Sods. WTOP, Washington Capitol Hill correspondent Dave McConnell was honored at the Capitol for his many decades of journalistic service. McConnell was recognized by Congresswoman Eleanor Homes Norton by being entered into the Congressional Record. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Mark Warner also delivered thank you speeches in his honor. McConnell recently celebrated his 50th anniversary with the station. McConnell can be heard live each weekday morning and afternoon, just steps from the House floor, in his hourly “Today on the Hill” segments…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles will present a special program on the high cost of housing in Southern California on Thursday (4/23). The station says that “not only can fewer people afford to buy a house, LA has become one of the most unaffordable rental markets in the country. Add it up and it makes finding a place to live near your job unlikely and often prevents employers from attracting the most qualified candidates.” The show will feature special expert guests and will be hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman.
No Performance Bonuses for Cumulus Media Executives This Year. The Compensation Committee of Cumulus Media, Inc. awarded no annual incentive compensation nor long-term incentive awards to Cumulus executives in 2014, according to a Definitive Proxy Statement filed with the SEC. The filing notes that the Compensation Committee would have the discretion to grant the applicable target award if “Cumulus achieved budgeted EBITDA goals, and satisfied other objectives related to managing costs, developing content, achieving gains in market share, as well as successes in strategic planning and implementation and optimizing financial liquidity. In reviewing the performance and compensation levels of the executive officers for 2014 at the completion of that fiscal year, the Compensation Committee determined that the quantitative financial performance objectives were not met at the threshold level. As a result, no annual incentive compensation was paid for 2014.” The filing also reports that no equity incentive awards (stock) were granted either. “In light of the size and timing of equity award grants to the named executive officers in 2013, which awards were made in October of that year, as well as data provided by Meridian Compensation Partners LLC with respect to the compensation of the executive officers, general industry conditions and actual Company performance in 2014, the Compensation Committee did not grant any long-term incentive awards to the executive officers in 2014.” So, what did Cumulus officers make in 2014? Here are a few of the numbers: president and CEO Lew Dickey earned $1,456,000 in total compensation; SVP, treasurer and CFO Joseph Hanna earned $554,125; EVP of content and programming John Dickey earned $881,192; SVP secretary and general counsel Richard Denning earned $509,942; and recently retired EVP and co-COO Jon Pinch earned $757,851.
Raising Awareness for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) reports to TALKERS that she’s been assisting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with its spring campaign and was recently honored to work with six-year-old leukemia survivor Kennedy (left) as Dr. Wachs accompanied her to her first television interview on KSNV-TV.
Iran Nuclear Negotiations/Corker Bill, ObamaCare Subsidies Addressed by SCOTUS, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Baltimore Police Protests, Yemen Military Action, Ben Affleck ‘Roots’ Cover-Up Case, and Bryan Price Profanity-Laced Presser Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/21). The controversy over the Obama Administration’s role in negotiating a nuclear program with Iran and the bill drafted by Senator Bob Corker that would give Congress the ability to approve or disapprove the final deal; the case before the Supreme Court challenging the legality of health care subsidies as provided by the Affordable Care Act; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the protests against the Baltimore police after the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody; the ongoing Saudi strikes in Yemen and the U.S.’ naval presence in the region; chatter about Ben Affleck’s plea to leave his ancestor’s history of slave ownership out of the “Finding Your Roots” program; and Reds manager Bryan Price’s dropping of 77 f-bombs in a post-game press conference were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
iHeartMedia to Unveil Programmatic Ad Buying Platform. Enlisting Jelli to help devise the new platform, iHeartMedia announces it’s set to debut the programmatic radio ad-buying platform for its 850-plus radio stations in addition to making the technology available to other industry operators via its sales subsidiary Katz Media Group. Using cloud-based technology from Jelli, the platform will offer automated broadcast radio ad buying which it says is “the foundation for iHeartMedia to be able to offer its ad inventory to advertisers and agencies looking to leverage programmatic and automated technology including private market place and exchange environments to improve the buying process and reduce administrative hurdles and delays.” Further, the company asserts, “the new, programmatic solution will also allow iHeartMedia to apply its rich data and insights to the planning process and will utilize data sets to enable unique forms of targeting, such as music-based psychographic groups, weather and traffic patterns, purchase behavior and other environmental, population and consumer trends.” Additionally, Katz Media Group, the top national sales firm representing more than 275 radio broadcasters including iHeartMedia, Cumulus, Entercom, Cox Media Group and others, will launch ‘Expressway from Katz,’ the first industrywide programmatic buying ad exchange at scale for the radio industry’s most important players, which also uses the same technology. Katz Media Group president Mark Rosenthal says, “As the top national sales firm representing many great radio companies, we felt it was critical that radio take the lead. Expressway from Katz will deliver the capabilities and speed of automation and programmatic to all of our radio companies as we bring the power of radio to advertisers, providing unprecedented scale and customer knowledge.” Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “This partnership is an innovative milestone for the radio industry. Radio has always provided unmatched value, and now we can bring today’s data sources, targeting at scale and the speed, ease and precision of programmatic buying to our advertising partners, matching or exceeding the capabilities of any other media sector.”
Galliani Elevated to KGO, KSFO GSM. Three-year KGO and KSFO, San Francisco senior account manager and “team leader” Melissa Galliani is boosted to general sales manager of the Cumulus Media talk siblings. Cumulus vice president of sales for news/talk Jaysson Reno comments, “Melissa’s long-term association with KGO and KSFO makes her an invaluable asset within our company. Her high level of integrity, dedication, and track record made her the perfect fit for this well-deserved promotion.” Galliani – who possesses a San Francisco State University Bachelor’s degree and a Dominican University MBA in Team Leadership – states that she is “excited” and “pleased to be a part of the management team of KGO and KSFO, two brands that I hold close to my heart. I appreciate the opportunity to work with the radio stations in this new capacity. I will continue to value the team spirit for reaching our goals individually and collectively, and for meeting the needs of our marketing partners and advertisers.” After beginning her media career at KGO in 2000 as an account executive, Galliani was in business development at San Francisco’s KNTV-TV; local sales manager for KFRC, San Francisco; and KSFO’s local sales manager.
Stan Freberg Dead at 88. TALKERS magazine mourns the passing of radio and advertising legend Stan Freberg, who died Tuesday in Santa Monica, California at the age of 88. Freberg’s career covered just about all of the media bases – radio, television, publishing, records and advertising – and his humor was deemed as effective no matter into which medium he delved. TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey observes, “For those who may be under the impression that the video age has diminished the effectiveness of the audio arts, one need only look to the supremely creative work of Stan Freberg to see how wrong that impression is. He was, and still is, an inspiration to any who are working to create attention-grabbing audio.” See The New York Times’ obituary of Freberg here.
Can and Should You Censor a Political Ad? TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes today about the case involving Chicago’s ABC TV outlet and its refusal to run a political ad from a PAC. The case raises the issues of just what are the legal responsibilities of a broadcast outlet when I comes to political advertising? Does a station even have to accept political advertising at all? These and more questions are addressed by Weisman in the murky arena of political advertising on broadcast stations. Read it here.
Michael Harrison Chats with Dr. Joy Browne on Podcast “Up Close and Far Out” – Also Discusses the Relationship Between Information and the Fabric of Reality. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison engages in a fascinating, candid dialogue with syndicated radio psychologist Dr. Joy Browne on the fifth and latest installment of his weekly podcast series “Up Close and Far Out” on the platform, PodcastOne.com. Harrison and Browne tackle a variety of issues including the impact of the digital age on human thinking and social relationships, as well as the past, present and future of advice-giving in talk media. They talk about the importance of credentials, transparency and credibility in “doctor” shows, generational differences in the modern era and the state of the cinema and live theater in America. The podcast also includes Harrison’s ongoing observations about the relationship between media, technology and the wiring of the human nervous system. He boldly suggests that the “digital era,” in which we are rapidly becoming immersed, will not last as long as the “analogue era” from which we are exiting and that an even larger, more important era of human technological development is waiting in the wings, perhaps only 20 years down the road. Harrison states that this next era (that he cites on the podcast) will create changes in humanity that will make the current digital period seem quaint and primitive by comparison. To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” player located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS and RadioInfo websites.
Update: HD Radio Passes Benchmark. Several more car models – including the Mazda Miata MX-5, Nissan Maxima, and the Scion iA and iM – will have iBiquity Digital‘s HD Radio as standard equipment. That brings HD Radio’s total to over 200 vehicle models and iBiquity Digital chief operating officer Jeff Jury comments, “This is a tremendous milestone. More listeners are tuning in than ever before. Millions of new vehicle owners will get to enjoy HD Radio broadcasting. A record number of HD Radio-equipped vehicles have been sold this year. This is another step toward complete standardization of digital radio across North America.” The announcement was made at last week’s New York International Auto Show. Other vehicles that will offer HD Radio are the Honda Civic, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Optima, Lexus RX, Mitsubishi Outlander, and Toyota RAV4. More than 100 vehicle models are integrating digital radio technology as standard equipment.
Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation Names Board of Directors. In an effort to “help prepare tomorrow’s frontline communicators,” Bold Gold Media – operator of nine commercial radio stations in Northeast Pennsylvania and Upstate New York – is establishing the Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation. The foundation will focus its efforts on providing funding and resources to educational organizations that train tomorrow’s broadcast and media leaders. Now, Bold Gold president Vince Benedetto announces the board of directors for the foundation. It includes: Benedetto; Ashok Divecha, business manager, Bold Gold Media Group; Bob Soper, president, Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority; Justin Moon, president, Kahr Arms; Mike Bean, president, Mohegan Sun Pocono; Doug Fink, president, Pennsylvania Paper & Supply Company; Kevin Tinkelman, owner, Kevin’s Worldwide; Doug Thomas, president, Gateway Ford; Josh Sheard, president, Sage Investments; Bud Williamson, president, Digital Radio Engineering/ Neversink Media Group; Michael Harrison, publisher & editor, TALKERS and RadioInfo; and Jimmy Wayne, musician/writer/performer/author, president, Barbershop Tours, Project Meet Me Half Way.
Former WEEI, Boston Personality Jon Meterperel Debuts Podcast. Former longtime WEEI, Boston personality Jon Meterparel is debuting his new sports talk podcast with ONE World Sports on April 10. Dubbed, “The Meter Is Running,” the program promises to “deliver to fans insightful, lively – and occasionally controversial — conversations with some of the top influencers and stars in global sports. The show will be distributed on iTunes, social media platforms and ONEWorldSports.com.” Guests appearing for the first show are Sports Illustrated senior writer and MLB Network analyst Tom Verducci, offering his take on the 2015 MLB season’s hottest teams and players; and, reflecting on his NHL days, Stanley Cup-winning former New York Rangers coach “Iron” Mike Keenan, now coaching the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) 2014 championship team Metallurg MG. Future guests are to include: ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney, actor and producer Mike O’Malley and former “Saturday Night Live” writer and “30 Rock” executive producer Robert Carlock.
Odds & Sods. Alabama talk hosts Matt Murphy and Dale Jackson are now heard in multiple markets after Cumulus Media made the move to expand their presence. Murphy is based at the company’s news/talk WAPI, Birmingham, in middays and is now also heard on WLWI, Montgomery, Alabama and WVNN, Huntsville. Jackson is based at WVNN, Huntsville and is now also heard in mornings on WAPI…..Derek Fogel is promoted from executive producer to program director for Max Media-owned sports talker WXLT, Marion, Illinois “103.5 ESPN Southern Illinois.” Fogel will also serve as morning drive sports anchor for Max Media’s sister news/talk WJPF.
Rand Paul Announces Bid for President, California Drought, Iran Nuclear Negotiations, Religious Freedom Act/Indiana Pizza Joint Case, Russia Hacks White House Allegations, Yemen Military Action, SC Cop Charged with Murder, Rahm Emanuel Wins Re-Election Runoff, and MLB Season Opens Among Top News Stories Yesterday (4/7). Kentucky Senator Rand Paul officially announces his bid for president in 2016; the debate over the reasons for the California drought; the negotiations with Iran over the progress of its nuclear program; controversy over the various religious freedom acts and the case of the Indiana pizza joint threatened for supporting that state’s law; allegations the Russians are responsible for hacking the White House’s computer system; the Saudi-led military action taking place in Yemen; the case of the South Carolina police officer charged with murder for shooting a black motorist in the back as he fled a traffic stop; Rahm Emanuel survives a runoff election to remain mayor of Chicago; and the start of the 2015 baseball season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Profile: ‘The Costa Report’ Host Rebecca Costa. TALKERS magazine managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian profiles the host of the weekly talk radio program “The Costa Report” in a piece published today (4/7) in TALKERS magazine. The life and work of Rebecca Costa is almost as amazing as the information she pulls out of her guests and the news and data she relates during her two-hour weekly broadcast. A glimpse into Costa’s head shows why she is different than many people who host talk radio programs. She tells Kinosian that her childhood as the daughter of two scientists meant daily discussions about science and public policy. “That was how we ate dinner,” matter-of-factly points out Costa, who lived with her family in Laos during the Vietnam War. “We entertained ourselves with science and policy. Even though I veered out of the engineering field into biology, I believe physics is easy because there are rules that govern the physical universe. Once you learn the rules, everything works that way. What we know about biology though is very limited. It is much more complex than physics will ever be; I like things that are difficult and multi-faceted.” Costa’s show formula involves a deep discussion with a guest – a sort of Charlie Rose-type approach. “Hour one of ‘The Costa Report’ has an in-depth interview, while the second hour features a commentary, roundtable, and technology/legal update. I use the same formula every single time because repetition equals perfection. You cannot perfect anything unless you have repeatability. That is a primary tenet in science, but apparently, people in radio do not know about it. Even with the best show in the world and if you [integrate] systems where you can increase quality, it still does not matter if you cannot make money.” Read more of Mike Kinosian’s profile of Rebecca Costa here.
Cumulus Partners with Chevy for Food Giveaway. Dubbed #BestDayEver, Chevy partnered with Cumulus Media to promote a series of free food giveaways in markets across the country on April 1. Numerous food trucks in markets including New York, Chicago, Nashville, Kansas City, and Minneapolis provided free food to the first to line up for the meal. Pictured here are WABC, New York midday duo Curtis Sliwa (left) and Ron Kuby (right) enjoying a slice of pizza from NY Pizza in Midtown Manhattan while promoting the Chevy #BestDayEver event on their show. Cumulus says that the surprises continued for local firemen and policemen in all five markets, when the food trucks pull into their stations with surprise food drops. Delighted breakfast and lunch-goers were encouraged to share their thanks using #BestDayEver, which generated almost 874,000 social impressions by Cumulus fans alone. Radio fueled the promotion with on-air live mentions and social pushes letting fans know when and where surprise food trucks were going to pop up. Onsite video crews captured the action in real time and sent edited content to Chevy’s LIVE YouTube video stream. Chevy’s channel generated 3 million viewers during an eight-hour live stream on Chevrolet’s YouTube channel and received 600 comments a minute.
Odds & Sods. Sports media personality Rich Eisen is now being heard in Central Florida as his DirecTV-produced and Fox Sports Radio Network-distributed TV/radio simulcast is being cleared on “SportsTalkFlorida” – a format being aired on Genesis Communications’ WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando…..In Los Angeles, all-news KNX is presenting its monthly “Ask the Mayor” program this Thursday (4/9) as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti sits in the “hot seat” to take listener calls and Tweets. KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman host the show…..Chicago radio icon Milt Rosenberg returns to the Windy City airwaves on suburban WCGO (Evanston) to host a daily 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm program. The 90-year-old Rosenberg hosted “Extension 720” for nearly 40 years on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago prior to exiting the station in 2012.
Rolling Stone UVA Rape Story Case, Religious Freedom Act/Indiana Pizza Joint Story, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Iran Nukes Talks, Militant Islamic Violence, and Wisconsin-Duke Championship Game Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/6). The report by the Columbia School of Journalism on the Rolling Stone UVA Rape Story and the admission of failings by the magazine; the various religious freedom acts and the case of the small-town Indiana pizza joint that’s been the target of activists for supporting the act; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the controversy over the Obama Administration’s negotiations with Iran over its future nuclear policy; the cases of violence being perpetrated by militant Islamic organizations; and the NCAA Men’s Championship game between Duke and Wisconsin were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian provides another thorough ratings assessment, as he updates the status of all-news outlets. You might recall that in January, the format – albeit with a qualifying database of approximately 20 stations in PPM markets – managed to do something rather astounding: It kept all of them out of negative “Holiday” 2014 – January 2015 territory. The natural question now is: Did the format keep this incredible momentum going? Using data from Nielsen Audio‘s February 2015 PPM survey, Mike examines the performances of all-news facilities in sweep-to-sweep and year-to-year comparisons, as well as charting them in terms of 6+ rank and 6+ market share. Additionally, we have a side-by-side look of the format’s ultra-impressive January numbers and – in some cases – ironically similar February stats. See the exclusive all-news analysis and overview here.
KOGO Adds DeMaio For Midday Duty. San Diego talker KOGO is pairing Carl DeMaio and Bob “Sully” Sullivan as co-hosts of the 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm “DeMaio – Sullivan Report.” KOGO program director Brian Long comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Carl DeMaio to our lineup. I have no doubt that, with his experience as a government watchdog and his inside knowledge of politics, this will be the most talked about show in San Diego.” According to DeMaio, “Our show will give San Diegans a vehicle to learn not only about important issues, but to get involved in making a difference and advancing solutions.” In addition to focusing on local news, the three-hour weekday program on the iHeartMedia-owned station will combine investigative journalism to examine stories behind the stories. The 40-year-old, Dubuque, Iowa-born DeMaio (Republican and openly gay) previously served four years (2008 – 2012) on San Diego’s city council representing district five. DeMaio lost to former congressman Bob Filner in San Diego’s 2012 mayoral contest and he was defeated by incumbent Scott Peters two years later in a race for California’s 52nd congressional district seat. He is a Georgetown University alum.
Mohr Wins Big By Horsing Around. As part of its March Madness “Celeb Pick ‘Em” series, USA Today‘s “For the Win” featured an interview with Fox Sports Radio host Jay Mohr. Within the piece, the star of the 2008 – 2010 CBS-TV sitcom “Gary Unmarried” (which co-starred Paula Marshall) revealed how a bet he made on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament netted him an unusual payoff. It was 16 years ago (1999) and St. John’s was making a run to the “Elite Eight” under head coach Mike Jarvis. Mohr was wagering with a friend who kept saying, “Double or nothing.” His friend – a jockey at Santa Anita racetrack – eventually ran out of money. If St. John’s went another round in the tournament, the friend told Mohr he’d give Mohr the horse on which he (the jockey) was sitting. St. John’s – and Mohr – won but since the actor/comedian had a small yard, the horse was not with him very long. For the record, the St. John Red Storm beat Maryland 76 – 62 in the infamous game-winning bet for Mohr, but lost to Ohio State in a squeaker (77 – 74) the next round. According to Mohr, the primary excuse someone should offer for missing work to watch the Final Four should simply be that you are going to watch the tournament. “If you are not in a sports-friendly work environment,” he says, “I would fake a birth.” It is Mohr’s contention that talk radio show callers should push the envelope and “make the host uncomfortable. The crazier they are, the more fun we have when we play it later when we run out of ideas of our own.” So – how did Mohr do with his NCAA brackets this year? Not bad. He correctly has Kentucky and Michigan State in the Final Four, but also included Iowa State and Ohio State, rather than Wisconsin and Duke. He had Duke losing to San Diego State in the third round and Wisconsin falling to Ohio State in the Elite Eight. His prediction for the final game is that Kentucky’s Wildcats will beat Michigan State’s Spartans.
Newsday Reports Tense Relations Exist Between WFAN Sports Talk Legend Mike Francesa and CBS Brass. According to a report yesterday in Newsday (4/2), sports talk WFAN, New York afternoon star Mike Francesa says his relationship with executives at the station’s parent CBS Radio have “never been worse.” In a story written by Neil Best, the iconic media figure who will be delivering the welcoming keynote at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12, has described his relationship with company brass as “very poor,” “awful” and “terrible.” According to the story, speaking during a break in his show at the Hard Rock Cafe in Manhattan, Francesa said that for legal reasons he cannot go into detail about the nature of the dispute. But he acknowledged one source of tension is his ongoing frustration over his often pre-empted simulcast on Fox Sports 1 and 2, and CBS’ inability or unwillingness to find a contractual solution. The story goes on to report, Francesa did not name the executives with whom he is at odds, but he specifically excluded CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves, who was a target of harsh criticism from him after Moonves fired Don Imus in 2007. What does Moonves make of Francesa’s status with CBS in 2015? “We love Mike,” he said. “He’s done a great job . . . Let him keep doing what he’s doing and getting the ratings he’s doing and I’m very happy with him.” TALKERS magazine’s annual feature “The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America” (also known as the “Talkers Sports Talk Heavy Hundred”) lists Francesa consistently as being THE most important radio sports talk host in the business — local or national – and has been described by Michael Harrison as “one of the treasures of the talk media industry, sports talk or otherwise.” Ironically, Harrison has also described the executives that run CBS Radio, with whom Francesa is likely at odds, as “among the smartest and classiest in the business.” So it would be to the benefit of all parties concerned, including Francesa’s legion of devoted fans and detractors alike, that this dispute is soon settled. To read the entire Newsday piece, please click here.
Proffitt to Pacifica Foundation Radio as Executive Director. In just over five weeks (6/11), former KUHF, Houston chief executive officer and general manager John Proffitt will take over as executive director of Pacifica Foundation Radio. Pacifica national board chair and interim executive director Margy Wilkinson states, “We have spent much of the past year stabilizing Pacifica after a turbulent time. Bringing on permanent, experienced leadership is the next step. While Pacifica still faces significant challenges, I am confident that John can see us through them and put our network back on a path of growth.” National board vice chair Lydia Brazon remarks, “John’s significant experience in radio broadcasting speaks for itself, but it is his recognition of Pacifica’s unique place in today’s media landscape that impresses most. I fully trust John Proffitt can and will rise to the challenge.” Proffitt comments, “I deeply admire the Pacifica commitment to independent news and feature reporting that tell the stories other media outlets frequently ignore or soft-pedal. Its leadership in broadcasting and promoting local art and performance is second-to-none, as is its grassroots support from the community. I consider Pacifica to be a national treasure and feel honored to work for its success.” Recording engineer and producer Proffitt spent 25 years at KUHF; more recently, he was a volunteer fundraiser/host (“Thresholds” and “Open Journal”) at Pacifica Houston’s noncommercial KPFT. He will be based in Pacifica’s Berkeley, California headquarters. The five noncommercial stations Pacifica operates are WBAI, New York; KPFK, Los Angeles; KPFA, San Francisco; KPFT, Houston; and WPFW, Washington, DC.
WABC to Report from the Final Four. In harmony with Cumulus Media sibling Westwood One, New York City talker WABC will have a presence during this weekend’s “Final Four.” Sports reporter Mike Gunzelman will broadcast from radio row in Indianapolis with extended sports reports within “[Don] Imus in The Morning,” “The Geraldo Rivera Show,” and “Right Now with Doug McIntyre.” According to program director Craig Schwalb,”With the continuing dialogue surrounding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and all the excitement that is college basketball, it is an important intersection; WABC will be in Indianapolis for all of it.” Reports will be featured in newscasts as well as in social media. WABC will produce two live streaming programs, which will debut tomorrow (Saturday, 4/4) and Sunday (4/5) at 12:00 Noon. Live sports streams are separate from the station’s main WABC Radio stream.
KFWB, Clippers to Host Fan Appreciation Night. Flagship outlet of the NBA‘s Los Angeles Clippers – all-sports KFWB “The Beast” – will present a fan appreciation night one week from Monday (4/13) when the Clippers play the Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Various prizes and merchandise will be distributed throughout the game, and a halftime presentation will acknowledge “Beast” on-air personalities and station executives. Performances from the Clippers Spirit will tap things off as part of a 5:30 pm fan festival. Among the prizes is an MVP package that includes Clippers playoff tickets in the private suite of “The Beast” and a meet/greet with a Clippers’ broadcaster.
NAB Reveals Radio Board Election Results. Those voted to the National Association of Broadcasters’ radio board include: Bill Coleman, owner, Team Radio Marketing Group of Ponca City, Oklahoma. Bruce Goldsen, president and general manager, Jackson Radio Works of Jackson, Michigan. Randy Gravley, president and chief executive officer, Tri-State Communications of Jasper, Georgia. Bill Hendrich, vice president and market manager, Cox Media Group Jacksonville. Ed Henson, president, Henson Media of Louisville. Beth Neuhoff, president and chief executive officer, Neuhoff Communications of Springfield, Illinois. Bob Proffitt, president and chief executive officer, Alpha Media of Portland (Oregon). Their two-year terms will begin in two months (June).
Albuquerque Picks Up A Sports Outlet. Newcomer to the format in Albuquerque is KXKS, which transitions to sports from a religious teaching format. According to general manager Eddy Aragon, “We are excited to bring the premier Fox Sports network to the most powerful sports radio signal in the Albuquerque market. Listeners will be able to tune to the 10,000-watt signal of KXKS [at 1190 AM], plus the simulcast signal on 107.5 FM.” Rock of Talk LLC operates KXKS under an LMA with licensee Wilkins Communications. The religious format that previously aired on KXKS moves to Wilkins’ KKIM. KXKS was not among the 21 stations listed in Nielsen Audio‘s fall 2014 ratings book.
St. Louis Sports Outlet Augments On-Air Lineup. Leased by web-based programming provider TalkSTL.com, sports talk KRFT, St. Louis brings in J.C. Corcoran for 7:00 am – 9:00 am duty and Kevin Slaten for 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm chores on the AM day-timer. In just over two weeks (4/20), former East St. Louis, Illinois-licensed WQQX talents Howard Balzer and Charlie “Tuna” Edwards will begin doing a daily 11:00 am – 1:00 pm program. TalkSTL.com co-owner and operator Scott Gertken comments, “We could not be more excited about the lineup we were able to finalize. We have done a whole lot in 10 days.” According to Corcoran, his morning drive show “will be exactly the same thing I have been doing. Anybody who listens to the show is going to hear J.C. Corcoran – they know what they are going to get. It will be a general interest talk show, entertainment, and a heavy dose of my twisted mind.” Gertken says he hopes to have KRFT as a 24-hour operation by next month.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The SBG-syndicated Marilu Henner program is added to the program schedule at: KINX-FM, Great Falls, Montana; WLAD, Danbury, Connecticut; WTHU, Thurmont, Maryland; and WOMI, Owensboro, Kentucky.
Religious Freedom Act Controversy Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of March 30-April 3. The chatter about Indiana’s religious freedom legislation and Governor Mike Pence’s promise to “fix” the law – along with Arkansas’ vow to pass a similar law – was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. Coming in at #2 was the Iran nuclear program negotiations. Following at #3 was the investigation into the downing of Germanwings Flight 9525, followed by the 2016 presidential prospects at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It’s published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Cumulus Media and Programmer McVay Renew Vows. With Cumulus Media since September of 2011, programming and management pro Mike McVay agrees to a contract extension with Cumulus Media in which he takes on the new title senior vice president, content & programming for the company. His old title was SVP, corporate/programming. McVay reports directly to EVP, content & programming John Dickey. In a press statement, Cumulus notes that McVay is “a 40-year programming professional with consulting, management, ownership, sales, programming and on-air experience, and has developed and launched several nationally syndicated programs. He has programmed more than 800 stations around the world, including stations across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Grand Cayman and Puerto Rico. In 1984, McVay and his wife Doris McVay launched McVay Media, a programming consultancy recognized around the world as the leader in its field. He has also owned or managed radio stations in Honolulu, Cleveland, Naples, Key West and Flint, Michigan. McVay was also one of the founding partners of Listener Driven Radio (now Futuri Media). McVay comments, “I’m thrilled to continue to work for John and Lew and with the entire corporate programming team. Cumulus has added, and continues to add, some brilliant minds to the management and programming teams. The platform we have, the products and brands we’re developing, and what’s on the horizon makes this one of the best companies to work at in this industry…worldwide. We’re having fun!”
Dwight Douglas Pens Provocative Work of Theological Fiction. Noted veteran broadcaster and writer Dwight Douglas – VP marketing, RCS Sound Software — has written and published a fictitious book that takes on and explores some of the core issues of theology and philosophy. Titled, If God Could Talk… The Diary of a TV Journalist (CreateSpace 2015), the story involves a fictitious cable TV talk show in which the concept and question of what God would say if He could talk through the vehicle of such a platform is explored. In it, Douglas amply displays his knowledge about modern talk media in addition to his personal thoughts on the deeper issues of existence. He presents the questions why do most of the world’s great religions act as middlemen and interpreters of what God intends for humanity? Why can’t God just speak for Himself directly and if he did, what might he say? TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Dwight Douglas has always been an extremely independent and creative ‘idea guy’ all the way back to his days as a major rock radio programmer. He really shines as a writer – as indicated by this powerful, courageous book — and as a marvelous guest discussing it on both radio and TV talk shows. Considering the central role religion plays in most of today’s tense international issues, this book couldn’t be more timely for talk radio conversation.” To learn more about If God Could Talk… The Diary of a TV Journalist and scheduling Dwight Douglas as a talk show guest, please click here.
Odds & Sods. There’s a new local voice on iHeartMedia’s KOGO, San Diego “News Radio 600.” The station has brought former City Councilman Carl DeMaio aboard to partner up with current afternoon personality Bob Sullivan and host the newly re-titled “DeMaio-Sullivan Report” from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. De Maio is a 40-year-old Dubuque, Iowa native who served one four-year term on the City Council as a Republican from District 5…..Cumulus Media splits the simulcast of sports talk on WSJZ-FM and WLZR-AM in Brevard County Florida. Sports remains on WLZR-AM but WSJZ-FM flips to rock…..Cumulus Media promotes Mike Fadelli to vice president, sales for the San Francisco music stations KFOG, KSAN and KSJO. Previously he oversaw sales at Cumulus sports talkers KNBR, KTCT and Entercom‘s sports KGME-FM.
Michael Harrison Discusses Monica Lewinsky’s TED Talk, Rips Presidents and Politicians of Both Parties, and Interviews Linda Ronstadt. The fourth in the new weekly podcast series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” is posted at PodcastOne (PodcastOne.com). It presents the publisher of TALKERS and RadioInfo reflecting upon the recent TED Talk delivered by Monica Lewinsky. The famous – perhaps, infamous — White House intern who found herself embroiled in the center of one of the most sensational presidential scandals in history surfaces with compelling personal insights about her experiences as a 22-year old from the perspective of being a 40-year old, and sheds new light on the internet’s impact on what she describes as the “shame industry.” Harrison, known for his steadfast adherence to a non-partisan political posture other than his staunch support the First Amendment, springboards off Lewinsky’s remarks and shares provocative comments about his distrust of politicians – left and right – and admonishes the media that ganged up on Lewinsky for giving “figurative oral sex” to presidents and politicians of both parties for years. Harrison also presents his recent, compelling interview with Linda Ronstadt and talks about his days as a golden-eared radio PD who has come to recognize how difficult it is to accurately predict what kind of music anyone will really like in a media-fractured marketplace. The podcast can be heard directly by clicking here or by clicking on the special “Up Close and far Out with Michael Harrison” player located in the right hand column of both the TALKERS and RadioInfo websites.
Indiana’s Religious Freedom Act, Iran Nuclear Negotiations, Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah Flap, New ISIS-al Qaeda Violence, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Germanwings Flight 9525 Investigation, California Issues Water Restrictions, and Cynthia Lennon’s Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/1). The controversy over the religious freedom law passed in Indiana and a similar law proposed in Arkansas; the tenuous negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; the flap over perceived anti-American jokes made by new ‘Daily Show’ host Trevor Noah; recent spates of violence perpetrated by ISIS, al Qaeda, and Boko Haram; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the investigation into the downing of Germanwings Flight 9525; new water restrictions for California and its worst drought in recent history; and the death of John Lennon’s first wife Cynthia were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Six Tips for Success in Syndication. The syndication game in the radio business has gotten so much more competitive over the years that today one must have a well-thought out and almost flawlessly executable plan in order to successfully bring a radio show to a national audience. That warning doesn’t mean it can’t be done – it’s just gonna be real hard. But Global Media Services principal Tony Garcia – a veteran of the radio and syndication businesses – writes in TALKERS magazine that a quick rundown of his six-point checklist can let you know whether or not you have a reasonable shot. Point #1 is Know Your Product. Sound easy? Read more here.
Dave Ramsey Does Dallas. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar and New York Times best-selling author, Dave Ramsey is pictured here on stage at the Verizon Theater in Dallas where he hosted his “Smart Conference.” This day-long event took place on Saturday, March 28 and included Ramsey, along with Chris Hogan, John O’Leary, Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. Les Parrott, Dr. Meg Meeker and Michael Jr. providing attendees with essential information on how to win with money, strengthen their marriages, build parenting skills and excel in their careers. Ramsey also hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” in Dallas on Friday, March 27 during which Ramsey and Hogan spoke about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 400 employees. Ramsey partnered with CBS RADIO-owned local affiliate KRLD-AM “Newsradio 1080” to promote the appearances.
Mike Gallagher to Play Roles in Ferguson: The Play. Nationally syndicated talk radio pro Mike Gallagher – whose program is heard around the nation via Salem Radio Network – will take part in a controversial stage production in Los Angeles based on the shooting death of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson. Regular TALKERS magazine readers are aware that Gallagher is, in addition to his radio work, an accomplished stage actor. He appeared on Broadway in the musical Memphis and who took home a TONY Award as one of the investors in the 2014 Broadway revival of Pippin. In this production, based on the Grand Jury witness testimony, Gallagher will play three roles: a lawyer, a forensic toxicologist and a medical examiner. At the end of the production, the theatre audience will be asked to judge whether or not Darren Wilson should have been indicted. The play will be presented at the Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles for four nights – April 26-29. The producers of the Phelim McAleer-written and Nick DeGruccio-directed play hope to bring it to the stage in Ferguson itself.
Johnny B’s ‘Talk Unhinged’ Debuts on Westwood One Today. Stating that the program is debuting on 100 affiliate stations across the country, Westwood One announces the new Jonathon Brandmeier show is called “Talk Unhinged,” and the company says it’s “an entertaining, offbeat look at news, pop culture, and sports–from the big trending topics to the stories about to fall through the cracks–combined with celebrity interviews and free-wheeling audience interaction.” It airs live from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET and launches on such Cumulus Media stations as: home base WLS-AM Chicago; KABC-AM, Los Angeles; KLIF-AM Dallas; WWBA-AM, Tampa; KKAT-AM, Salt Lake City; WPRV-AM, Providence; and KTBL-AM, Albuquerque; among others.
Cumulus Media Recruits Tommy Page for New Executive Role. Former Pandora, Billboard and Warner Bros. Records exec Tommy Page is now with Cumulus Media as senior vice president of brand partnerships where he’ll focus live events for that division of the company. In this position Page will report directly to president and CEO Lew Dickey, who comments, “As an artist and marketer, Tommy is a natural choice to create meaningful connections between artists, brands and their passionate fans through immersive and measurable marketing experiences. Tommy has a deep understanding of the live experience and helping advertisers bring their brands to life with unique partnerships.”
Vea Promoted at KSL in Salt Lake City. The new title for Tanya Vea at Bonneville International’s KSL radio and TV is vice president and general manager of KSL-TV and KSL Newsradio. She has served as vice president station manager at KSL since April 2014, overseeing news, programming, marketing, operations and engineering. According to a story in the Deseret News, she now assumes responsibility for all operating departments, including sales. Bonneville president Darrell Brown comments, “Tanya will be an outstanding general manager. She has been a key contributor to many of the cross-platform initiatives, including the groundbreaking DMC combined newsroom for KSL and the Deseret News. Her expanded role as general manager of KSL will now allow her to have a greater impact on the entire organization.”
Ex-WJR Leader Fezzey Passes. Former WJR, Detroit president and general manager Mike Fezzey died of a heart attack on March 27 while on a business trip in Naples, Florida. The 58-year-old native Detroiter had been president/general manager of heritage talker WJR from 1994 to 2011, but for the past four years, was president of Huntington Bank‘s southeastern Michigan region. According to a WJR statement, “Mike Fezzey was a community leader; active in many charities and nonprofit activities in Michigan; and he was a leader in his church. Under [his] leadership, [Cumulus Media-owned] WJR maintained [its] position as Detroit’s preeminent radio station, and it became one of America’s leading news-talk stations.” Cross-town CBS Radio market manager Debbie Kenyon comments, “Mike was a leader in our industry for years. He was an inspiration to many in the way he transcended his career. He will be sorely missed by all of us.” Huntington Bank released a statement, which describes Fezzey as “an extraordinary member of the Huntington family who was highly committed to the Detroit area and making it a growing, vibrant community. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike’s family.” A former president of the Detroit Advertising Association, Fezzey received a Peabody Award for broadcasting excellence from the University of Georgia and the Neal Shine Award for philanthropy in journalism. In July 1996, Feezey selected Paul W. Smith to succeed the late J.P. McCarthy as WJR’s morning drive talent. On Saturday (3/28), Smith voiced a WJR commentary regarding Fezzey. Prior to being elevated to president/general manager at WJR, Fezzey was an account executive and sales manager there. His wife, Suzy, and their three adult children survive Fezzey.
Brent & Meg Receive the Coveted ‘Poopy’ Award. Nationally syndicated husband/wife duo Brent & Meg (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald) were recognized by the Los Angeles City Council for their role in the “Studio City Beautification” program instituted by the Studio City Resident’s Association and the City of Los Angeles to keep the streets free of unwanted dog droppings. They are pictured at a special dinner honoring their community-mindedness at Carla’s Café, surrounding LA City Councilmember Paul Kerkorian of the second district (which includes major studios such as Universal and CBS). Meg and Brent are animal lovers and make sure that plastic mitt bags are available to “help dog owners keep our streets clean…not our movies…just our streets.” The Brent & Meg Show now airs Monday through Friday 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET on the Genesis Communications Network (GCN) as well as on its anchor affiliate WWPG 1450, Atlantic City, New Jersey. Brent & Meg will be serving as Official Masters of Ceremony at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12. To register, call 413-565-5413 before it, again, sells out.
News/Talk Off to Strong 2015 Start in Brew Town. While taking heed of the standard disclaimers about putting too much stock into Nielsen Audio’s 6+ Mon.-Sun. numbers when judging news/talk stations, it’s still pretty impressive that Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ and iHeartMedia’s WISN combined for a 16.8 share (AQH share, persons 6+, Mon.-Sun. 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight, February 2015 PPM survey). These two news/talk outlets together present some of the nation’s most successful local programming and syndicated talk shows along with a healthy serving of successful sports play-by-play. Certainly, some markets are just good news/talk markets due to demographics, history, political intrigue, heritage signals and successful sports franchises. And, yes, Milwaukee fits that mold. But care has to be taken to give credit to the programmers and air talent (both talk hosts and news personnel) who make these stations sound like Milwaukee. By the estimation of TALKERS editors, the triumvirate of Charlie Sykes, Jeff Wagner (both at WTMJ) and Mark Belling (at WISN) is worthy of being singled out for praise. (Also noteworthy and heard on WISN is WIBA, Madison-based host Vicki McKenna.) These personalities have contributed heavily to their stations’ success. For the last six PPM surveys – October 2014 through February 2015 – WTMJ has scored between 8.8 and 10.9 (persons 6+), while WISN has notched from 4.3 and 6.5. There’s no guaranty of continued success in the radio business but with the local talent on board these signals and Wisconsin appearing to remain in the nation’s political spotlight as long as Scott Walker is in the governor’s office, the smart money will remain on both of these stations. For related data on the entire news/talk format, see the latest news/talk format PPM analysis from TALKERS magazine managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian here.
It’s Back to Music Radio for Mancow. As has been reported for several weeks now but just officially confirmed by Cumulus Media over the weekend, Erich Mancow Muller will assume morning drive duties on the company’s WLUP-FM, Chicago “Classic Rock 97.9 The Loop” effective March 30. After winning the “listener-generated morning show talent search,” Mancow will return to the Chicago airwaves to produce the entertainment-based “Mancow Morning Show on 97.9 The Loop.” Show cast members will include: Al Roker, Jr., Luv Cheeze and Cathy Vlahogiannis, providing the female prospective with Carrie Ann DeYoung, as well as new talent Abe Kanan, famous for his show on SiriusXM. Cumulus says that “after a month of on-air auditions by multiple candidates vying to host mornings on ‘The Loop,’ Mancow garnered an impressive listener response to The Loop’s Morning Show Web Survey during his five-day run. Mancow brought back the funny and served up the fast-paced entertaining show that put him on the map with Chicago radio listeners from 1994 to 2006. Fans of the original “Mancow Madhouse” came out of the woodwork to show their support, and thousands of positive comments flooded the station website. Comparing the voting traffic to the other candidates, it was no contest: Mancow won the ‘election’ in a landslide.” After leaving Emmis and former alternative WKQX in 2006, Mancow reinvented himself as a conservative talk show host and was syndicated by TRN-FM for a number of years. Speaking about his new gig, Mancow comments, “This is my final act because I don’t believe I’ll ever top this! Chicago is a tough city for commuters and our ONLY goal with this show is to provide an escape and make our listeners laugh. There will be radio theatre. We will be three-dimensional and break out of the speaker. This show will pop like no other. We believe it will cut through the clutter and seize an audience that hasn’t been served in years. Cumulus and John Dickey brought me back into radio. He is a leader I can follow into this great radio battle to victory. This guy is committed to talent and committed to winning. It doesn’t matter how much you love radio (and I do); if you don’t have the right people around you, you are doomed. Finally, I have my dream team cast of characters and a company that actually wants to win. Lately in radio it seems like people are listless and don’t know what to do. That is not the case with ‘The Loop.’ We have a direction and we know where we’re going. This is the most exciting time ever.”
Eric Von Joins Lineup at Urban Talker WNOV, Milwaukee. Spoken-word and urban music outlet WNOV, Milwaukee is owned by Courier Communications Corp. – publisher of the market’s African American newspaper the Milwaukee Courier. The station announces it is adding local radio personality Eric Von to its programming lineup, hosting the 7:00 am to 9:00 am daily show beginning April 6. Von had been an air personality at WMCS, Milwaukee – a former urban-formatted station – before that station’s format flip in February of 2013. WNOV general manager Sandra Robinson comments, “We’re excited to have Eric Von join the lineup. He brings to progressive radio his own unique style that engages audiences in calm and rational tones. Eric’s ability to raise awareness among listeners and keep them tuned in to those issues that are important in their lives is critical in a city where so many feel left out and ignored.”
Bouvard Joins Cumulus Media as CMO. Former president of sales for Arbitron – Pierre Bouvard – is named chief marketing officer of Cumulus. The New York City-based media research, sales, and marketing expert will direct Cumulus’ strategy for its local and national brands. Cumulus president and chief executive officer Lew Dickey comments, “Pierre is one of the radio industry’s most effective advocates. He understands the power of our great medium and is uniquely positioned to leverage audience insights to help advertisers take full advantage of our platform to deliver national scale with local activation. Incremental data beyond ratings is rapidly becoming the most important component in advertising decisions; we are excited to have Pierre leading our effort to help our clients achieve a superior return on investment.” Bouvard – who begins his new assignment today (Wednesday, 3/18) – states that, “Cumulus is America’s fastest growing major radio group. Over the last ten years, their national revenues have grown tenfold from $50 million to $500 million. They have transformed themselves into a major market, cross-media national platform through the merger of Westwood One and Cumulus Radio Networks; launch of the ‘Nash’ country music lifestyle brand; and the Rdio online radio partnership. Radio is the soundtrack for the American worker and ‘king of the road.’ Cumulus has impressive solutions for advertisers and agencies to reach the right audience and accomplish their brand and sales objectives.” Most recently, Bouvard was senior vice president of sales for TiVo Research & Analytics. Prior to his lengthy Arbitron tenure, Bouvard was executive vice president of Coleman Insights.
Jack Taddeo Joins NRG Media’s Waterloo/Cedar Rapids Operations. Consultant and radio management pro Jack Taddeo is the new general manager for NRG Media’s Waterloo and Cedar Rapids, Iowa stations: rock KFMW, Waterloo; classic hits KOKZ, Waterloo; sports talk KWLO, Waterloo; and news/talk KXEL, Waterloo. NRG Media chief operating officer Chuck DuCoty comments, “We couldn’t be more pleased to have Jack Taddeo on board. He is an outstanding broadcaster who demonstrates strategic vision, outstanding coaching skills and great leadership.”
Larry Gifford: Radiodays Europe 2015 – Day Three. The overriding theme of the just-concluded three-day radio conference in Milan, Italy was the future of content distribution, according to consultant and talent coach Larry Gifford, who filed a series of special reports for TALKERS magazine. “Talk of the future of radio and audio was pervasive. ‘The connected age,’ ‘second screens,’ and ‘visualizing radio’ were some of the buzz phrases heard throughout the three days. Everyone seemed to be talking about how important it is to embrace video, studio cams, and social media,” Gifford writes. Get more of Gifford’s summary of the event, including some insight into how one Australian morning show is embracing the digital platform, here. (Pictured here is Gifford delivering his “30 Ideas in 45 Minutes” session on Tuesday. Photo by James Cridland.)
Bold Gold Media Forms Foundation for Training Tomorrow’s News/Talk Broadcasters. The broadcasting company that operates nine commercial radio stations in Northeast Pennsylvania and Upstate New York is announcing a new effort “to help prepare tomorrow’s frontline communicators.” Bold Gold Media Group is establishing the Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation – a non-profit organization that is an altogether separate and distinct entity from Bold Gold’s commercial broadcast operations. Bold Gold says the Foundation will focus its efforts on providing funding and resources to educational organizations that train tomorrow’s broadcast and media leaders. While the Foundation encourages young people in all areas of broadcasting, it is currently placing particular emphasis on supporting the advancement and training in the various spoken-word and informational formats such as news and talk. Bold Gold president Vince Benedetto states, “Radio broadcasting is the most powerful, informative, and persuasive medium in the world, and the news and talk formats are extremely demanding, and like all media, evolving… and we need the best and brightest communicators of tomorrow to begin preparing for these fields today. Investing in the future providers of our communication needs is imperative. The most trusted broadcasters have always been those who could provide timely, reliable and compelling information and entertainment you couldn’t find anywhere else… they were live and they were local. That’s still true and even more important than ever, but powerful broadcasting is now about being on-air, online, mobile, social, live and local! That’s what future leaders in our medium need to be preparing for, and the Foundation intends to support efforts that seek to do just that.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “This is a very exciting initiative. Vince Benedetto is a rising young star among station group owners who are passionate about radio and dedicated to having it continue to grow to the fullest extent of its potential.” The Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation will be having its Inaugural Fundraising Event on Tuesday evening the 19th of May at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and will feature citizen-journalist James O’Keefe, of Project Veritas, as the guest speaker. To support the work of the Foundation and to purchase tickets to the May 19th event, go to www.BoldGold.org, or email the Foundation at: info@BoldGold.org. Meet Vince Benedetto at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12. To register, call 413-565-5413.