Tag: "Cumulus Media"
Ex-WJR Leader Fezzey Passes. Former WJR, Detroit president and general manager Mike Fezzey died of a heart attack last night (Friday, 3/27) 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. Earlier this morning (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.
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.
Nielsen Audio Releases Second Round of February 2015 PPM Data. The second of four rounds of February 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington (D.C.), Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The February 2015 survey period covered January 29 through February 25. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS magazine and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Newsmax Feed Network Achieves 67 Million Uniques in February. According to data from comScore, Newsmax Media’s Newsmax Feed Network posted a record 67.4 million unique visitors last month. The Newsmax Feed Network is a proprietary syndicated headline box that is carried on more than 2,000 websites, making more than 1 billion page impressions monthly. The Feed Network box carries unique Newsmax content headlines along with sponsored advertisements. Newsmax reports that it “has gained enormous traction recently, and a bevy of well-known publisher brands make up the network, including National Review Online, Boston Herald, Breitbart News Network, dozens of local ABC, NBC, and CBS News affiliates via independent television station groups Gray, Nexstar, and Schurz Communications, as well as community newspaper networks Horizon Publications and Gatehouse Media.” Newsfeed Network manager Kevin Mallon comments, “We are very excited about the latest comScore numbers. More and more publishers are choosing to implement the Newsmax Feed because of the relevant and quality content we provide, while yielding them robust revenue from our sponsors.” Company VP of business development Matt D’Lando adds, “Our Feed Network focuses on a clear demographic of 45-plus baby boomers, the largest demographic group in the nation with the highest disposable income.”
WTOP PD Alumni Club. Two former program directors of all news WTOP, Washington, DC – Laurie Cantillo and consultant Holland Cooke — pose for a selfie today at Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano’s annual Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia. Cantillo is a guest speaker at the full-day event discussing methods of increasing radio station website traffic, something she has proven to be able to do quite well before leaving her position at WTOP last week.
Odds & Sods. The internet-based talk show “Behind Enemy Lines Radio” – hosted by NYC Republicans, attorney Gene Berardelli and Army combat veteran Russell Gallo – is joining the AM/FM platform as it will be heard Thursdays at 1:00 pm on Forsythe Broadcasting’s WNJC, Washington Township, New Jersey (Philly market). The show joins the “Conservative Commandos Radio Network” in creating a block of conservative programming heard every day from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm on WNJC…..CBS Sports Radio programming will emanate from Indianapolis beginning April 2 for coverage of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four. Shows airing from the Indiana Convention Center will include Doug Gottlieb and Tiki & Tierney…..Joining the Yahoo Sports Radio national lineup for a daily 10:00 am program is former Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney and his sports talk radio partner Lanny Ford. Together, they host “Inside the Lines,” heard on WZGV, Charlotte “ESPN 730.”…..New to SiriusXM’s Insight channel is a new show called “The Briefing Powered by Dartmouth College,” – an “all-new radio show giving listeners a lively hour that dissects the history, facts, and perspectives shaping the week’s news.” The bi-weekly show will be hosted by Michael Mastanduno, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Nelson A. Rockefeller Professor of Government at Dartmouth.
Pluggin’ Podcasts on Boomer & Carton. Former pro wrestler Taz, a.k.a. Peter Senerchia (center), enjoys a mock choke-hold from Boomer Esiason (left) as he appeared on WFAN, New York along with Craig Carton (right) to promote his new wrestling podcast titled, “The Human Podcast Machine” that is available on Play.It, CBS RADIO and CBS Local Digital’s podcast platform.
Ken Birdsong Celebrates 50 Years in Radio. WENG, Englewood, Florida morning drive host Ken Birdsong is celebrating 50 years in radio on March 27. He started his career when he was just 15 at his hometown station KWOC, Poplar Bluff, Missouri. He then went on to work for stations in the Show-Me State cities of Kennett, Jefferson City, Moberly, and Osage Beach. He also put in a stint in Mt. Airy, North Carolina (the heart of Andy Griffith country) and did afternoons in Las Vegas. In 2002, he joined WENG and served as general manager until 2012.
Iran Nukes/GOP Letter, Israeli Elections/Netanyahu’s Future, Hillary Clinton Email Probe, 2016 Presidential Prospects, OU Racist Song Case, and Dick Cheney Playboy Interview Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/17). Iran’s nuclear program and the controversy over the letter sent to the nation by GOP senators; the Israeli elections and Benjamin Netanyahu’s status on the world stage; the ongoing probe over Hillary Clinton’s use of private emails for State Department business; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the furor over an OU fraternity’s videotaped racist song and the university’s reaction; and Dick Cheney’s criticism of President Obama in his recent Playboy interview were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Joe McDonnell: LA Saddened at Giant-Size Talent’s Passing. How “big” was Joe McDonnell in Los Angeles? Consider this: Friday’s (3/13) lead item for several newscasts on the city’s only all-news station, CBS Radio‘s KNX, was that the 58-year-old McDonnell – widely-known as “Big Joe” or “The Big Nasty” – had passed away. “Big” references regarded his weight, approximately 700 pounds at one time; however, the sports talk host underwent gastric bypass surgery and lost roughly more than half of that. “Nasty” became a handle owing to his highly opinionated nature. The overwhelming majority of those familiar with McDonnell’s exemplary on-air work in Los Angeles would quickly associate him with being a “legendary” or “iconic” sports talk radio “fixture” and that would certainly be accurate. He was, however, among the rarest of on-air talents in the country’s second-largest market, in that, in addition to doing a nightly (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm) sports program (“The Joe McDonnell Experience”) on Clear Channel‘s (now iHeartMedia) KLAC, he also did a Sunday (12:00 noon – 2:00 pm) political talk program (“The Joe McDonnell Show”) on co-owned KTLK-AM (now KEIB). Most recently, McDonnell did fill-in work at KNX. Reaction to his death has continued virtually nonstop, with a who’s who in local and national media, as well as executives of major sports franchises, offering condolences. Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia knew McDonnell ever since Scioscia first came up as a catcher in the Dodgers’ organization. “He was a good friend who will be missed. It’s sad,” Scioscia states. On Twitter, Keith Olbermann writes, “Heartbroken to learn of death of LA radio legend, my friend, Joe McDonnell. He leaves us having never held a grudge.” Ken Rosenthal comments, “So sad to hear about the passing of Joe McDonnell, a one-of-a-kind sports personality in Los Angeles and a reporter at heart.” Several years ago, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian, then the special features editor for Inside Radio, did an extensive profile of McDonnell, who freely used the word “idiot” to describe someone with whom he disagreed. It was a trademark of the bombastic on-air persona of “The Big Nasty” and customarily delivered in vitriol by the dean of Los Angeles radio sports talk hosts. McDonnell garnered legions of dedicated fans. Once – to benefit charity – he accepted the challenge of co-workers and successfully completed a four-hour shift without uttering one negative. In his profile, Kinosian shattered the myth about McDonnell and let the truth be told that in real-life, McDonnell was a far cry from the manic personality listeners were accustomed to hearing. Pensive and completely conscientious McDonnell qualified as a native Angelino, having relocated from Philadelphia in 1959 at age three with his parents. “I loved radio and wouldn’t go anywhere without it,” he fondly recalled to Kinosian. “I’d go to bed listening to it and wake up with it. I went through radios [as others] went through socks. Even when doing homework, I had the radio on.” Although thoroughly enthralled by the medium, McDonnell at that time never thought about pursuing a career in it. Family members urged him to be a lawyer, but McDonnell formulated sportswriter aspirations while attending L.A. Valley College and Cal State – Northridge. His radio career was, in his words, “a total accident.” A high school buddy McDonnell hadn’t seen in a while told him he received academic credit for working at a radio station. That was all it took for McDonnell: He scored an interview for a newsroom opening at KGIL in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley and his first day was September 18, 1975 – the day they arrested Patty Hearst. “I was so excited to be there and hung around to watch what everybody did. Then the story broke and I wound up staying until 10:00 pm. I fell in love with radio my first day and knew this was for me.” Freelance sports opportunities later surfaced for him at Mutual, AP Radio, and UPI Radio and he adroitly transitioned into a daily field correspondent. Play-by-play was briefly tinkered with, but long enough for McDonnell to know it didn’t captivate him. Something else did and as he flatly asserted to Kinosian, “My interest in politics is equal to my interest in sports. They are jobs but they are [also] passions. I love being able to show another side of my life. I am very liberal but do not [rubber-stamp] everything simply because that is what [other liberals] say you should do. I take things on a position-by-position basis. It is impossible and disingenuous to be one way on every subject. No one can ever accuse me of being a phony.” The first Gulf War was underway when he hosted a general talk show on KFI, Los Angeles. America’s first casualty came as a result of friendly fire. Soon after that, the victim’s widow drove to KFI one Sunday afternoon and McDonnell did two hours with her. “It was the most gut-wrenching, yet most fulfilling, thing I’ve done on radio,” he told Kinosian. “Quite honestly, I didn’t know I was capable of pulling it off. People heard me do sports and wondered what I knew about [politics]. I had to win them over.” Multiple Golden Microphone award winner McDonnell toiled in the Southland at KMAX and KWNK between 1994 – 1997; won raves doing sports updates for (then-all news) KFWB; and was part of the original 1992 staff transitioning KMPC to all-sports – although the outbreak of the L.A. riots was the considerably more monumental story the night of the format flip. For numerous personal and professional reasons, a five-year run beginning in 2000 as KSPN “ESPN 710,” Los Angeles’ assistant program director and afternoon driver profoundly affected him. “My first three years there were great,” McDonnell declared to Kinosian. “I had a say in what went on and helped build KSPN from the ground up with [KABC & KSPN OM] Erik Braverman who was my KFI producer. Unfortunately when Erik decided he wanted to concentrate on KABC, they brought in people who didn’t share our ideas.” It was one different concept after another and became the beginning of the end for McDonnell there. “They killed morale and dissolved everything we did. I wanted to leave every day the last two years I was there but made so much money I would’ve been put in a mental institution if I quit.” From the minute McDonnell walked into the Burbank offices of KLAC to interview with KLAC general manager/program director & KTLK program director Don Martin, he sensed something different. “This might sound crazy – but I really liked that they made me earn my position. Don put me on KTLK and let me do some KLAC fill-in. It meant a lot when he said I assimilated with the audience and staff. People have this idea you expect everything be given to you.” Being a sports talk host was a 24 hour-a-day job for McDonnell because, “Information doesn’t stop.” His shows were frequently punctuated with “24” and “Da Ali G” clips and laced with abundant/energetic hip-hop tracks as bumpers. At first, longtime “McDonnell – Douglas” partner Doug Krikorian wasn’t part of the equation for the “Joe McDonnell Experience,” although the Long Beach Press-Telegram sportswriter joined the ensemble to deliver weekly “K-Files” reports. After all, it was Krikorian who hung the “Big Nasty” moniker on McDonnell when Big Joe collared/disposed of a rowdy patron one night at their favorite hangout. Naturally, the subject of McDonnell’s weight came up in the Kinosian profile of him and McDonnell said that even before the gastric bypass procedure, the heavy burden he was carrying didn’t really bother him. He did however eventually begin slowing down, getting sick, and spending more time at home. “I stopped going to games because it was uncomfortable. My doctor told me I had to do something. Any addict – and I’m definitely a food addict – thinks you can do it on your own.” That’s the fallacy and something an addict desperately wants to believe but McDonnell stressed it can not be done alone. “It got to the point where I realized I was going to die. I had the surgery and lost 300 pounds. On Christmas Day, I put slabs of turkey and prime rib on a plate [surrounded with] potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce. I took it to the table and had a bite of each. Hey look – I’m a food addict and always will be.” The old Joe most likely would’ve avoided on-air surgery mentions. If it did pop up, he probably would’ve been brutal in challenging the person referencing it. A much mellower McDonnell made a conscious decision when he left KSPN that the “Big Nasty” had died. “It was a great vehicle for what I needed – but – that really isn’t me,” he emphasized to Kinosian. “I’m opinionated and will raise my voice but I’m a nice guy and like to have fun. One reason I love my job is it allows me to hang with people.” Conceding it was a “shortcoming” on his part as a talk show host to refrain from mentioning much about his personal life, McDonnell declared, “You can’t be isolated and expect to reach your audience; you have to let them in on your life. For the most part, I refused to do that. Don Martin and I had a long talk about that and he said the best on-air people let you know about them.” A happy, healthy, and exuberant McDonnell chatted up his March 30, 2007 wedding to KLOS’ lovely Elizabeth Cohn (now working at cross-town Bonneville-owned KSWD “The Sound”). “I finally met someone who will put up with me and I [married] the most wonderful person in the world,” McDonnell emphasized in that profile. Joe and Elizabeth worked together for four years inside ABC Radio Los Angeles (now Cumulus Media) and basically didn’t say a word to each other. “She understands I’ll occasionally make fun of her on-air and exaggerate things but my life is now an open book.” Numerous health ailments – some nearly life-threatening – plagued McDonnell and he frequently credited Elizabeth as being the rock who held him together. An avowed movie junkie, McDonnell would go to as many as three or four in one day. It was his way to relax and escape. “One of the biggest benefits of losing weight is I can fit into theater seats. That was honestly a problem before.” Such McDonnell segments as “Who Do You Want To Kick Out Of LA?” gave him a Northeast-sounding vibe, but his entire nearly 40-year career was spent in Los Angeles. The ardent WWE fan told Kinosian, “It would take a million dollar offer for me to leave Los Angeles. In the early-1990s, I had a chance to work for a friend in Nashville and had a big offer to go to Seattle in 1994 but my mother had cancer so I wasn’t about to leave town. There was a preliminary discussion years ago with WFAN, New York about being a reporter/weekend host but Los Angeles is my home. I’m part of the radio landscape.” Eerie now, but McDonnell confided to Kinosian in that lengthy printed conversation, “All the stuff I’ve done is leading up to something. I’ve always felt there was a bigger plan for me and a different path. God has kept me around for a reason – but I don’t know what it is. With what I’ve put myself through, any other person would have been dead by now.” Even at his heaviest, the voracious reader managed to stay in “fairly good shape.” The only weakness until recently was with his knees. According to McDonnell, “The ultimate moment for me would be to somehow find out who really killed John F. Kennedy.” As for the once “Big Nasty,” no cause of death was reported; several reports – including the one on KNX – said he died at Los Angeles’ Good Samaritan Hospital after a “brief illness.” A two-hour Friday night (3/13) Jeff Biggs-hosted show on KSPN paid tribute to McDonnell, who typically aired his “Kick Out” segment Fridays. Poignant, touching, and chillingly appropriate, the final word was given to Elizabeth McDonnell who somehow managed to summon up the strength in her voice to utter she wanted to kick Joe out of LA. Dramatic, goose-bump radio. “When I die,” McDonnell once told Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News, “I want to be cremated and then have a plane spread half of my ashes over Dodger Stadium and the other half over the [ex-home of the Lakers] Forum.”
PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents a report on the performances of sports talk-formatted stations based on data from the January 2015 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio. In this analysis is a chart of the performances of subscribing stations in shares over the past six surveys; fluctuations from the previous Holiday 2014 survey; comparisons from January 2014; market rank over the past three surveys; plus a comparison including the all-news format. View this entire report here.
Lopez Relocates to Cumulus New York as Market Manager. Fourteen-year general sales manager of CBS Radio New York all-news siblings WCBS-AM and WINS Chad Lopez is appointed vice president and market manager of the cross-town cluster owned by Cumulus Media. “Chad is a highly talented and experienced sales leader behind several legendary brands in New York City radio,” comments Cumulus senior vice president Gary Pizzati. “Relationships he has built and the respect he has developed with the ad community over the last 15 years are unprecedented. This was clearly the next and natural step in his career. We are extremely excited to have Chad on our team and as a member of the Cumulus family.” According to Lopez, “Cumulus presented me with a tremendous opportunity to further my career and run an iconic group of stations in my hometown. I couldn’t be more excited and ready to take on this challenge.” A former U.S. Navy officer, Lopez previously was director of sales for CBS Radio New York, and for five years was Dom Camera and Associates’ senior media buyer. Among the stations comprising Cumulus Media New York are hot AC WPLJ (1.9, #18, 6+, January 2015 Nielsen Audio PPM), talk WABC (1.6, #19), and country WNSH (1.5, #20).
Cumulus Q4 Revenue Flat; Up 1.4% for Whole of 2014. The release of fourth quarter and 2014 financial numbers and president and CEO Lew Dickey’s investor’s conference call took place yesterday. While the fourth quarter started out pretty good for Cumulus Media, Dickey notes that – much like the rest of the industry – revenue began to tail off leading up to Thanksgiving and stayed that way through December. Net revenue (pro forma) for the fourth quarter was up 0.3% and up 1.4% for the entire year of 2014. Dickey also said during the call that the company has ceased its search for an EVP of radio after determining that it does not need to fill that position. Jon Pinch held the title until he left to run the company’s Atlanta station group.
Ninth Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Event Scheduled for April 15 and 16 – Broadcast Spaces Filling Up Fast. The annual Washington, DC radio row produced by the Federation for American Immigration Reform will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, April 15 and 16 at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill. As in the eight years prior, the event will consist of talk hosts from across the country broadcasting live, debating immigration policy while interviewing members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists and citizens who live along the border. FAIR says that “this year’s event will focus on the aftermath of President Obama’s amnesty and his continued abuse of executive power, the GOP’s internal battle over how to tackle immigration and the ongoing border crisis with its implications for national security risks.” Event general manager and FAIR spokesman Bob Dane comments, “Politicians fear and respect the amplitude of talk radio. Hold Their Feet to the Fire speaks for millions of radio listeners and, this year, will prove that the mic is mightier than Obama’s pen.” For talk show hosts wishing to take part in this year’s radio row, reservations are required and hosts/producers should call now. There are only a handful of spaces left and they will go quickly. There is no cost to attend and all technical engineering and ISDN lines are provided by Silver Lake Audio of New York, the official engineering firm for Hold Their Feet to the Fire. Congressional guests, activists, high-profile media personalities, and immigration experts will be in attendance and available throughout the event for wall-to-wall interviews. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will also be on hand presenting a non-partisan perspective on the First Amendment. Contact Bob Dane or Anna Giaritelli for more information at 202-328-7004 or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
KIRO-AM, Seattle Announces Lineup Changes. At Bonneville’s Seattle sports talker KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle,” the weekday lineup is being tweaked to add new talent to the daytime programming. The station announces a new late morning program called Justin & Gee Show with co-hosts Justin Myers and Gee Scott. Myers has co-hosted “The Nightwatch” since July 2014 and Gee is best known for his tenure as co-host of “The Barbershop.” At the same time, Tom Wassell makes the transition from nights as he teams up with Bob Stelton and Dave “The Groz” Grosby on the newly re-titled “Bob, Groz & Tom Show.” Wassell has been serving with the station as producer of several KIRO-AM shows over the past three years. Program director Mike Salk adds that Scott will continue to host “The Barbershop” with former Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant and ex-Husky running back Terry Hollimon in its new timeslot at 7:00 pm. The station’s programming, dubbed Seattle Sports Radio Network, is also heard on stations in Eastern Washington including KGA, Spokane; KJOX, Kennewick (Tri-Cities market); and KBBO, Yakima.
Pot Is Hot. From a radio listener’s standpoint, the angles that can be addressed with regard to the changing attitudes about marijuana in the U.S. include the medical, business/industrial, recreational, and legal, to name a few. One such radio show – “The National Marijuana News” – has been doing that since June of last year and is gaining traction in the audio media realm. The producers of TNMNews call it “an unbiased and balanced one-hour, weekend show that delivers information that is of interest to the U.S. public…TNMNews helps audiences discern fact from fiction to help listeners unscramble the often perplexing details.” The program was developed by seasoned news producers and media industry professionals and “takes a deep dive beyond the headlines to explore breaking cannabis news, including field segments, interviews, and roundtable discussions. Guests who are experts in alternative health, yoga, the law, and more generate compelling discussions that not only clarify misconceptions but also present an opportunity for listeners to become more knowledgeable.” The producers of the show have teamed with AdLarge Media to market the radio show. AdLarge’s Jessica Sherman, senior director, affiliate marketing, says, “In addition to the many legal marijuana-related products and retailers, there are a plethora of ancillary advertising categories, such as holistic practitioners, yoga instruction classes, green grocers, green products, fast food restaurants, and more. TNMNews is like aficionado or hobby programs that focus on cigars, cars, travel, etc.” For broadcasters confused about how to present unbiased news about marijuana to radio audiences and how to maximize revenue opportunities from this fastest growing industry in America, TNMNews executive producer Martin Wagmaister says, “It’s no longer a debate ‘for or against.’ Americans are looking for answers that will help them with their personal decisions. Our goal at TNMNews is to present all the accurate information available, and to explore every viewpoint out there.” For broadcasters who may be a bit skittish about the topic in general, the show producers say TNMNews and its topic are fully acceptable under the laws that govern radio through the FCC. TNMNews producers conducted extensive research and as long as the show does not promote the selling or buying of marijuana and is focused on disseminating news and information around the topic, TNMNews has the legal right, and the freedom, to talk about marijuana. Recent affiliates of the show include KBYR-AM, Anchorage and KFAR-AM, Fairbanks. Check out show demos here.
Mark Wainwright Subbing for WSYR’s Joe Galuski During Latter’s Recuperation. WSYR, Syracuse morning personality Joe Galuski is still on the mend battling Non-Hodgkins Lyphoma and talk pro Mark Wainwright is scheduled to continue subbing for him through April 17. Also filling in for Galuski when Wainwright is now available is George Kilpatrick. Wainwright says Galuski is “in good spirits and thoroughly expects to be back on the air in the coming months.” Wainwright can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Odds & Sods. Multi-media star Lionel takes the stage this Saturday, March 7, at 7:30 pm for his show at The Cutting Room in New York City. It’s an evening of Lionel’s patented (out)spoken word and “the immaculate twang of bluegrass” with his trio Lock ’n Load. For tickets and more information click here…..Nationally syndicated morning show Mike & Mike – ESPN Radio’s Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg – will celebrate their 15th anniversary from the Downtown Disney stage at Walt Disney World in Orlando on Friday, March 6. The live show will be open to the public and doors will open at 5:00 am…..KFWB, Los Angeles “The Beast 980” reaches an agreement to carry the MLS’ LA Galaxy games. In addition to streaming every game on “The Beast 980” mobile app, a minimum of 20 games will be broadcast on the station beginning this Friday, March 6, the Galaxy opens the season at the StubHub Center against the Chicago Fire…..Genesis Communications-owned Sports Talk Florida enters into an agreement with the NASL Jacksonville Armada FC to share content and live play-by-play audio streaming.
Talking to Texas’ Top Elected Officials. Texas talk show host Matt Patrick – heard on iHeartMedia’s KTRH and KPRC, Houston and KFXR, Dallas – is pictured here having lunch with Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (who is a talk radio pro himself and owner of KSEV, Houston). During his two-day visit to Austin, Matt Patrick also interviewed Texas Governor Gregg Abbott and other Texas lawmakers.
Netanyahu to Address Congress, Iran Nuclear Program, Net Neutrality Issue, Homeland Security Department Funding, President Obama’s Amnesty Order, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Hillary Clinton Email Probe, LAPD Skid Row Killing, and Leonard Nimoy Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/2). The controversy over Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress; the growing threat of Iran’s nuclear program; ongoing debate over the potential effects of the FCC’s net neutrality policy; the issue of funding the Department of Homeland Security beyond this week; the political battle over President Obama’s amnesty order; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email for State Department business; the shooting death of a man by LAPD in the city’s Skid Row district; and the death of actor Leonard Nimoy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
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Westwood One Announces: Here’s Johnny! Bona fide Chicago radio cult legend Jonathon Brandmeier takes to the national stage next month when Westwood One commences syndicating his daily three-hour eponymous show-gram. Executive vice president of content and programming for Westwood One’s parent company – Cumulus Media - John Dickey comments, “Jonathon is one of the most versatile performers in radio today. We know audiences will enjoy his lively humor and take on each day’s topics. We are thrilled to add ‘Johnny B’ to the Westwood One roster of relevant and relatable talk programming.” Remarking this is an “extremely exciting” time for all those associated with his show-gram, Brandmeier – who has achieved industry success in Los Angeles (on talk KLSX) and Phoenix (on KZZP) as well as in Chicago – notes, “We look forward to continuing to entertain audiences in Chicago and expanding our reach nationwide. Fasten your seatbelts – it is going to be a wild ride.” Simultaneous with Brandmeier’s addition to the Westwood One roster is the departure from it by the program hosted by Dennis Miller. The former “SNL” cast member states that he is “stepping aside from radio at the moment” and that, “it has been a great run. I have had a phenomenal time interacting with my guests and audience, but with so many other commitments, it is hard to maintain a daily talk show. It is time to pass the torch as I move on to explore other opportunities – I wish ‘Johnny B’ lots of luck.” Three top-five market Cumulus-owned AM stations (KABC, Los Angeles, WLS-AM, Chicago, and KLIF-AM, Dallas) have already cleared Brandmeier’s 10:00 am – 1:00 pm (ET) program. In addition, there are affiliates in Salt Lake City (KKAT), Providence (WPRV), and Albuquerque (KTBL) – all are Cumulus Media AM properties.
Steve McCoy to Host Mornings on ‘News Radio 106.7’ in Atlanta. The Cumulus Media news station is changing morning shows, bringing aboard Atlanta market pro Steve McCoy, effective Monday, March 1. McCoy worked at the old WZGC “Z93” in AM drive where he was the longest-running morning personality in the station’s history. He also worked at “Power 99,” WSTR “Star 94” and WSB-FM “B98.5.” WYAY “News Radio 106.7” program director Greg Tantum says, “Steve has had a personal relationship with millions of Atlanta radio listeners for years. Steve’s deep roots in the community bring a one-of-a-kind perspective and understanding to the daily lives of Atlanta residents. Most important, Steve has proven he is the best at entertaining listeners and making them feel good – even in Atlanta traffic.”
Weisman: The Battle Over Net Neutrality. With yesterday’s passage of the FCC’s proposal to reclassify the Internet as a public utility and regulate it, the battle may have just begun. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman, in a timely column examining the matter, writes that this is sure to bring about court challenges by the ISPs. Weisman notes that even though there was support in both the Democrat and Republican parties for preventing ISPs from creating multi-tiered delivery services, there are other issues that Republicans say are problematic. “Opponents of the FCC’s classifying the Internet as a utility are concerned that, by doing so, the FCC would have increased authority to regulate rates and take other actions that they believe would stifle investment by Internet Service Providers and slow innovation. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said that he is cognizant of the power that classifying the Internet as a utility would provide the FCC, but that he expects to use a ‘light touch’ in regulating the Internet and would ignore powers that the FCC had that did not relate to broadband. The devil is often in the details and it will be important to see whether a ‘light touch’ is reflected in the specific regulations to implement the vote which will not be published for a few days and will not become effective for a few months.” Read Weisman’s entire column here.
Today Is the Last Day to Receive the Early Bird Discount for Talkers New York 2015. Registrations are already being booked at a rapid pace as Talkers New York 2015 is heading toward being an early sell-out. The session will be held as part of the day-long conference set for Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in the Big Apple’s historic Financial District. Registrations are priced at $299 per person with an early-bird, discounted cost of $249 available until 5:00 pm ET this afternoon. Registrations, which are only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees are again expected. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. More speakers, panelists and agenda updates will be announced next week.
Jim Bohannon to Emcee Awards Ceremony at Talkers New York 2015. Talk radio great Jim Bohannon will reprise his stellar performance as Emcee of the Awards Ceremony at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday, June 12. The veteran Westwood One syndicated personality (a past recipient of the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award) will preside over the presentation of the honors which include awards for: Freedom of Speech, Lifetime Achievement, Woman of the Year and Humanitarian of the Year. Stay tuned for the names of the award recipients as well as those who will be making the presentations.
Rogers Upped to News Director for Entercom Upstate. Morning news personality Lee Rogers is promoted to news director for Entercom’s Upstate South Carolina station group. Rogers anchors the morning news on news/talk WYRD, Greenville “106.3 WORD” during “The Tara Show.” Entercom Upstate OM Mark Hendrix comments, “Lee brings a wealth of news experience and Upstate knowledge. I look forward to Lee expanding 106.3 WORD’s position as the Upstate’s breaking news leader. Listeners will hear more proprietary content on the news that matters most to them.”
Odds & Sods. With the signing of Jonathon Brandmeier to the Westwood One network and the show being picked up by Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago, the station cuts ties with John Kass and Lauren Cohn, who were co-hosting the late morning daypart, although Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports the station is auditioning Lauren Cohn for work on the morning show hosted by Big John Howell. Filling in on the late morning program until Brandmeier starts is talk radio pro Tom Becka, who’s on the air there today through March 6…..American political satirist – and five-time Emmy nominee – Will Durst joins the regular panel of humorous pundits on the weekly podcast “The Koz Effect,” which streams live at 7:00 am ET Saturdays via the Radio Titans podcast network…..San Antonio news/talk KTSA is now heard on the FM dial in the market as Alpha Media begins simulcasting the station on translator K296GK at 107.1 FM…..Powell Broadcasting’s news/talk KSCJ, Sioux City, Iowa begins simulcasting its programming on translator K235CA, Sioux City at 94.9 FM…..ABC and PodcastOne are debuting a new, original podcast series which takes an in-depth look at the new television drama “American Crime.” The weekly podcast will be hosted by film critic and radio personality Elvis Mitchell.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Joining Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte is financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey, who will air in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot. His show is also being added to the evening program schedule at CBS RADIO’s news WNEW-FM, Baltimore/Washington…..The “Good Day” show with host Doug Stephan adds 11 new affiliate stations, including: WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina; WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi; and KFTL, Gilbert Arizona…..The “Business Rockstars” show with Ken Rutkowski is added to the program schedule at 18 Rocking M Media outlets in Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska and Oklahoma…..“The Financial Exchange” with Barry Armstrong and Kim Carrigan joins the program lineup at WXTK-FM, Cape Cod…..WCGO, Chicago adds Bruce DuMont’s “Beyond the Beltway” to its weekend lineup…..BizTalkRadio clears several shows, including the Ray Lucia program, on new business talk outlet WHFS-AM, Tampa and the 11-station “SuperTalk” chain in Mississippi…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” featuring Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete joins the program lineup at WRKO, Boston.
Hannity Visits Chris Stigall Show at CPAC Radio Row. In this photo, Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity (right, standing at mic) makes an impromptu stop at the WPHT, Philadelphia booth on the radio row at the CPAC conference. He appeared on the morning show hosted by Chris Stigall (far left, seated). During the broadcast Stigall spoke with former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, her daughter Bristol, and potential 2016 candidate Senator Ted Cruz.
Dave Ramsey’s ‘Smart Money’ Takes Sacramento. Nationally syndicated radio talk star Dave Ramsey’s “Smart Money” live event tour continued last night (2/26) in Sacramento as he presented his program about how to win with money, get out of debt and invest for the future at Adventure Church. Financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan joined Ramsey on stage. Local affiliate KSTE helped promote the event. KSTE program director Bill White comments, “Dave Ramsey touches, inspires, and helps people every day. He not only provides a healthy perspective in regards to personal and professional finances but has an overall ‘LIFE’ philosophy that resonates with his audience far and wide. His show isn’t just about money; it’s about life. We’re proud to have Dave on “Talk 650” KSTE, a radio show that’s important and matters to listeners and our clients.” Pictured here are (from l-r): KSTE’s Joel Mordhorst, account executive; Darren Mounts, general sales manager; Ramsey; Michelle Alfano, account executive; Jeff Bussani, account executive; and White.
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Department of Homeland Security Funding Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 23-27. The battle in Congress over the funding of the Department of Homeland Security was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was President Obama’s amnesty order tied with the controversial comments made by former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Coming in at #3 was the brutality of ISIS tied with the Iran nuclear weapons program, and following at #4 was the allegation of Bill O’Reilly’s violating the journalistic ethics code. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and it published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Sean Hannity to Moderate Major Panel Session, “The State of Radio Ratings,” at Talkers New York 2015. Continuing with an important theme that he has discussed at prior TALKERS conferences, Premiere Radio Networks and Fox News Channel talk icon Sean Hannity will moderate a panel analyzing the changing relationship between talk radio (as well as radio in general) and audience measurement methodology as we move further into the digital age. It is no secret that determining the methodology to properly and fairly balance (and credit) listenership to radio programming on both terrestrial and online platforms has been a bumpy transition creating challenges for radio programmers and sellers alike. Joining Hannity will be a stellar panel including (in alphabetical order): Erica Farber, president/CEO, Radio Advertising Bureau; Phil Boyce, SVP/Spoken Word Format, Salem Media Group and Salem Radio Network, operations VP, New York Region; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM, Milwaukee radio operations, VP/news-talk programming, Journal Broadcast Group, and Greg Moceri, CEO, Moceri Media. The panel will be joined by a yet-to-be-named representative of Nielsen Audio. The session will be held as part of the power-packed, day-long “Talkers New York 2015” on Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in the Big Apple’s historic Financial District. This marks the 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. It will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of TALKERS magazine which was launched by Michael Harrison in the summer of 1990. Registrations are priced at $299 per person with an early bird, discounted cost of $249 available until 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 27. Registrations, which are only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees are again expected. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. Again, an early sellout is expected, so avoid being shut out by registering now! More speakers, panelists and agenda updates will be announced here in the coming days.
TalkersRadio Back for 2015 after Brief Retooling with Experimental Programs by Alan Colmes and Lionel. TalkersRadio, the experimental internet radio platform launched by TALKERS in 2013, is back online after a two-month “re-tooling” in which several technological improvements were instituted and new ideas sorted out. The platform is designed to serve as a workshop for new shows and concepts being developed as well as an industry showcase for programs about to be marketed. On announcing the re-launch, TALKERS general manager of broadcast operations, David Bernstein states, “We are happy to be back up and running with great enthusiasm for the potential of this audio ‘stage.’ All of us at TALKERS are indeed proud of the remarkable success TalkersRadio has had in its first year-and-a-half providing a number of fine broadcasters the opportunity to work out new ideas and techniques, including having launched the terrestrial radio success of the Brent & Meg show and Doug Stephan’s ‘American Family Farmer.’” The platform, described by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey as “an audio gymnasium” is re-launching with two on-demand programs hosted by well-known hosts Alan Colmes and Lionel. Colmes – star of Fox News Radio and the Fox News Channel – is continuing to work on a concept titled “Healed Planet” — far removed from his political fare — in which he interviews thought leaders in the human consciousness movement. Lionel – an iconoclastic and legendary veteran of major radio and television stations and networks, currently seen and heard on his own LionelMedia.com, performs an exclusive, experimental program for TalkersRadio simply titled, “Lionel.” In it, he amply displays his remarkable and compelling aptitude for stream of consciousness story-telling and observations of leading-edge issues. According to Bernstein, “TalkersRadio will also be streaming live industry events and inner-industry forums in the coming weeks and months with an exciting ‘new and improved’ system powered by our colleagues at Backbone Networks in Boston.” Bernstein encourages broadcasters with new ideas and concepts that might be of interest to TalkersRadio to get in touch with him at 413-565-5413. To hear TalkersRadio, please click here.
‘Mogul Mom’s Playbook’ Debuts on PodcastOne. Joining the growing stable of star-powered podcasts available via the Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne is “Mogul Mom’s Playbook with Shaunie and Stella.” The new podcast focuses on the increasing commitment of moms to juggle kids, career, parenting and relationships and is hosted by “Basketball Wives” star and executive producer Shaunie O’Neal and famed executive producer and founder of Wikked Entertainment, Stella Bulochnikov. The weekly program features the duo and their celebrity friends “as they share tips, advice, support and lots of laughs to encourage the everyday ‘superwoman.’” Pattiz says, “We are thrilled to welcome Shaunie and Stella to our family of hosts. Their expressive personalities are such a joy to be around and their ability to connect with women has been proven in their personal and professional lives.”
Odds & Sods. The first of three Republican primary debates will be moderated by Salem Media Group talk show host Hugh Hewitt. Salem is working with CNN to produce the RNC-sanctioned debates. According to a press release, Hewitt will also broadcast special editions of his talk show pre- and post-debate. At the conclusion of the debate, candidates will be invited to join Hewitt to talk candidly about the event and the pressing issues facing the nation. Hewitt says, “I am delighted to be included with journalists posing questions as part of one of America’s finest political traditions – the presidential debate.”…..The self-described “metaphysical/biographical” program, “Outer Limits Of Inner Truth,” is airing a special two-hour show on Thursday, February 26 to commemorate its one-year anniversary. The program is distributed via Star Com Radio Networks and airs on more than 24 stations across the country…..SWN Communications, a Memphis-based provider of the “Inside Track” radio show dedicated to horse racing, announces the program – hosted by Charlie Ricks and Bernie Halprin – becomes available on Yahoo! Sports Radio’s national network effective February 28.
Rudy Giuliani Comments Controversy, Obama Amnesty Order Case, DHS Funding Battle, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Ukraine Tensions, Sunday’s Academy Awards, and Frigid Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/23). The controversy over former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s comments about President Obama’s love of his country; debate over President Obama’s amnesty order and its effects; the congressional battle over funding the Department of Homeland Security; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the civil unrest in Ukraine and Russia’s role in the matter; the 87th Academy Awards; and the frigid weather affecting much of the country were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom 2014 Q4 Net Revenue Up 2%. That increase over the same period a year ago comes on revenue $101.5 million. For all of 2014, Entercom Communications posted net revenue up 1% over 2013, with total net revenue hitting $379.8 million. Other fourth quarter data includes: station expenses increasing 3% to $63.3 million; station operating income flat at $38.2 million; and free cash flow rising 4% to $23.4 million. For the year 2014, adjusted net income per share was flat at $0.79. Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “After finishing 2014 with modest gains in net revenues, adjusted net income and free cash flow, Entercom is looking forward to a promising year of opportunity in 2015. Our recently announced Lincoln Financial Media acquisition will add a number of terrific new markets and brands to our lineup and should be accretive to shareholders with no material impact on our solid balance sheet. And we are well positioned to capitalize on a number of other significant growth opportunities throughout the organization.” If you remember, Entercom is buying Lincoln Financial Media’s 15 stations in the Atlanta, Denver, Miami and San Diego markets for $105 million. It will sell one of its Denver FMs to comply with FCC regulations.
iHeartMedia Q4 Net Revenue Rises 1%. During its 2014 Q4 conference call, iHeartMedia announced that net revenue was up 1% for both the fourth quarter of 2014 and for the year as a whole. iHeartMedia COO Richard Bressler said during the investors conference call that “political dollars, traffic and weather, as well as national broadcast radio, drove higher revenues in a market that was soft across local radio.” Bressler also touted the performance of the iHeartRadio digital platform, saying it has surpassed 60 million registered users and that total listening hours have risen 14% compared to the fourth quarter of 2013.
Round Three of January PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of January 2015 PPM 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 survey period was January 1-28. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
WTEM, Washington to Launch Local AM Drive Show. Currently, Red Zebra-owned WTEM, Washington ESPN980 carries ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike show. But beginning on March 16, the station will pair up longtime morning drive personality Chris Paul with national sports columnist Jason Reid to host “The Man Cave with Chris Paul and Jason Reid.” Red Zebra vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says the show “will be a blend of sports, comedy and entertainment and we are thrilled to welcome these two talented men to ESPN980.” Chris Paul has worked in radio as part of the Donnie Simpson show on crosstown hip hop WPGC for 16 years and, for the last six years, on the syndicated “Tom Joyner Morning Show.” Jason Reid began his professional journalism career at the Los Angeles Times covering the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Clippers and providing college basketball analysis. He moved to Washington in 2010 as the beat writer for the Washington Redskins for the Washington Post and was promoted to a sports columnist position in January 2011. Reid will continue writing as a NFL columnist for ESPN.com. Red Zebra CEO Rick Carmean adds, “We have been interested in creating a local morning drive show on ESPN980 for a while. Chris and Jason give us and the Washington, DC sports fan the perfect combination of sports knowledge, humor and personality.”
Odds & Sods. Producer Scott Miller jumps from Tribune’s news/talk WGN, Chicago to Hubbard’s classic rock WDRV to serve on the new Dan McNeil and Pete McMurray morning show…..Celebrity cook Paula Deen works out a deal with Compass Media Networks to launch daily radio vignettes called, “Get Cooking with Paula Deen,” and a weekly long-form podcast called, “What’s Cooking with Paula Deen.” They will debut on May 1…..USA Radio Networks adds “Animal Radio” to its weekend lineup, airing on Saturdays from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, effective March 7…..New York radio personality Joan Hamburg is hosting a special show on Cumulus Media‘s WABC on February 21 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm titled, “The Business of Fashion Week,” focusing on the fashion economy and featuring interviews with leading fashion industry insiders…..Alpha Media announces today that KXTG-AM, Portland “750 The Game” enters into a partnership agreement to continue as the official radio station of the Portland Thunder of the Arena Football League…..At the Fort Lauderdale cluster of iHeartMedia, Shari Gonzalez is named VP of sales…..ABC Radio is providing coverage of the 87th Annual Academy Awards this Sunday. Correspondent Jason Nathanson will be live on the red carpet with interviews from the night’s biggest stars. Starting at 8:20 pm ET, ABC News correspondent David Blaustein will anchor twice-hourly, one minute status reports from New York correspondents Alex Stone and Jason Nathanson reporting from backstage at the main event.
Joe Madison to Attempt Marathon Talk Show Record to Benefit Museum of African American History. Talk radio host Joe Madison, as part of Black History Month, will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for hosting the longest talk radio show on Wednesday and Thursday, February 25-26. The current record is 50 hours and the SiriusXM “Urban View” host plans to concurrently raise funds for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, currently under construction on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The non-profit museum is scheduled to open in 2016.
Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money Tour Kicks Off in Denver. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey began his 2015 Smart Money tour in Denver yesterday (2/19) with a sold-out appearance at the Bellco Theatre. The Smart Money tour presents Ramsey’s philosophy on winning with money, getting out of debt, and investing for the future. Financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan appeared with Ramsey on stage. Ramsey and affiliate station KKZN “Real Talk 760” worked together to promote the event. Station program director Greg Foster comments, “The Dave Ramsey show connects with listeners like no other. ‘Real Talk 760’ has been in existence for less than a year, but Dave sold out 5,000 seats to his live event in Denver. Dave’s fans are incredibly loyal, and that translates to new revenue for his stations.” Pictured here at the iHeartMedia Denver studios are (from l-r): iHeartMedia Denver director of integrated media and special events Ryan Clune, general sales manager Jessica Farias, Ramsey, and market manager Pat Connor.
Battle Against ISIS/Islam Criticism Controversy Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 16-20. The fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the political controversy over associating Islam with the militant organization was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was a Texas court’s stay of the Obama amnesty order. At #3 was the 2016 presidential prospects and following at #4 was the rise in European anti-Semitism. 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.
WMAL, Washington Tower Site Up for Sale. Perhaps more valuable than the signals and the radio formats themselves, is the real estate upon which sit so many of the towers of America’s heritage AM stations. A report in The Sentinel, says Cumulus Media is now accepting offers on the Bethesda, Maryland site of its WMAL, Washington transmitter through March 12. Local real estate experts tell the paper the 75-acre piece of land in one of the toniest suburbs of DC should fetch “hundreds of millions” of dollars. The brokerage firm CBRE Group, Inc.’s SVP John Sheridan says, “Seventy-five acres in Bethesda. You don’t need to say anything more than that. It is a huge parcel of land with some of the highest income demographics. There’s the potential to build 300 or more homes.” In 2014, Cumulus put the 10-acre parcel of land occupied by KABC and KLOS transmitters in Los Angeles up for sale and that is going to command $125 million.
Beers Becomes Equity Partner, Board Member at Business Rockstars. Saying that his arrival will “bring the attention of the television and media community to the company’s broadcast, mobile and social platforms,” Business Rockstars announces multimedia CEO Thom Beers joins the board of directors for the company as well as making an equity investment in it. Beers is CEO of FremantleMedia North America. He’s a two-time Emmy Award-winning producer who brings 25 years of experience and success to Business Rockstars, producing some of the most recognizable TV shows such as: “American Idol,” “America’s Got Talent,” “The Price is Right” and “Family Feud,” plus multiple shows on the Discovery Channel and the A&E family of networks. Beers joins Steve Lehman, chairman of Business Rockstars and former CEO of Premiere Networks, along with co-founder and president Ken Rutkowski, as well as their recent addition, Andy Schuon, co-founder of REVOLT Media & TV. Beers comments, “People like to follow ‘smart money,’ and my investment is a strong endorsement and recognition of the platform, and partners of Business Rockstars. By leveraging television content and major media relationships, Business Rockstars will surely continue to grow and reach their goals. I’m glad to be part of their bright future.” The company says that Beers’ investment presents much opportunity to Business Rockstars as it plans to align with a major TV company for possible future content. Steve Lehman adds, “Thom Beers is a Rockstar. He is one of the brightest guys in TV today. He’s intuitive, smart and will be a huge asset in helping to expand our TV and Over-the-Top content platform.”
WTKS-FM, Orlando’s Russ Rollins Served Divorce Papers on the Air. The “Monsters in the Morning” program heard on iHeartMedia’s WTKS “Real Radio 104.1” has been headed by ringmaster Russ Rollins since its inception and the show’s cast members have always “lived their lives on the air.” A classic example of that was when Rollins was recently served divorce papers while on the air. Whether Rollins knew about the coming papers or not is in question – the process server indicates Rollins chose the time and place to receive the papers – but the show has posted video of the papers being served on its website and Rollins appears surprised. Although Rollins’ estranged wife claims in the papers that Rollins physically abused her, his attorney tells WFTV-TV, Orlando that the police were called to Rollins’ home at one point but they investigated and have filed no charges.
Triplett Named DOS at Beasley Tampa Bay Cluster. The newly acquired Beasley Media Group Tampa Bay cluster names Steve Triplett director of sales. The cluster consists of: WYUU “92.5 MAX!MA”; WBRN, “BUBBA 98.7”; WQYK, “Tampa Bay’s Country Station 99.5”; WRBQ “Q105”; WLLD “WiLD 94.1”; and WHFS-AM, “Money Talk 1010.” Triplett comes to Beasley from his most recent gig as president and founder of the marketing firm Contact Media Inc.
Odds & Sods. At iHeartMedia’s Des Moines sports talker KXNO, a realignment of personalities takes place with Chris Williams and Ross Peterson being named the afternoon drive team. The new “Morning Rush” show will consist of Heather Burnside and Travis Justice…..Meanwhile, across town at Cumulus Media’s sports talker KBGG “The Champ,” Marty Tirrell and Ken Miller – as has been reported in recent weeks – will reunite to host the afternoon drive program beginning today (2/9). Tirrell and Miller first began working as a team at KXNO in the mid-1990s…..Mark Grote is named host of the pre- and post-game shows for Chicago Cubs broadcasts on all-news WBBM-AM. Grote, who has been with the CBS RADIO Chicago station group since 2002 and is sports anchor on WSCR’s “Mully & Hanley” program, is also expected to appear on sports talk WSCR regularly as a Cubs reporter, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune.
Bubba the Love Sponge ‘Programming’ Beasley’s WBRN, Tampa. Those new calls are for the old WHFS-FM (most recently sports talker “The Fan”) in Tampa at which Bubba the Love Sponge has set up camp as his new flagship station. And with the call letter change comes news from Beasley Media Group that the station is airing a new format called “Bubba 98/7, No Rules Radio.” Carl Harris serves as the station’s program director but Beasley reports that the station – which will include musical artists such as AC/DC, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Led Zeppelin, Stone Temple Pilots, Linkin Park, Green Day and Foo Fighters – will also include songs chosen by Bubba himself. Those range from artists like Eminem, Notorious B.I.G., Dr. DRE, Jerry Reed, Public Enemy, C.W. McCall, LL Cool J and many others. Additionally, “Bubba 98/7, No Rules Radio” features parody bits from the legendary Bubba The Love Sponge archives. Beasley EVP of operations Brian Beasley says, “Beasley has entered new territory with today’s announcement. The music, personalities and bits will all be the creative responsibility of the station’s morning show host, Bubba the Love Sponge. We hope the listeners will be thoroughly entertained by the new direction of the station.”
Bohannon, Westwood One Agree to Multi-Year Pact. Owing to a Westwood One contract extension, Radio Hall of Famer Jim Bohannon will continue hosting both his nightly eponymous program and “America in the Morning” for the Cumulus Media-owned syndicator. Westwood One executive vice president of news and talk Bart Tessler comments, “Jim may be in the Radio Hall of Fame, but he is just getting started. With new show resources and his contagious energy and enthusiasm, Westwood One and our affiliates and clients can look forward to many more years of Jim hosting his franchise programs.” Bohannon remarks, “I am so pleased to have the honor of continuing my career with Westwood One – my home for over half my time in radio. Now that we have added reports from Westwood One News correspondents, ‘The Jim Bohannon Show’ and our news magazine ‘America in the Morning’ are about to enter their best days yet. With all the challenges of the day, from partisan battles inside the Beltway to the war on terror, I’m eager to keep the discussion going.” Self-described “militant moderate, voice of reason” Bohannon appears at #20 of TALKERS’ “Heavy Hundred” of 2014.
Medved Takes Hiatus To Fight Throat Cancer. In 18 years as a syndicated talk host, Salem Radio Network‘s Michael Medved has not missed more than four consecutive days of regularly scheduled broadcasts. This past Friday though (1/30), he revealed that in mid-December he was diagnosed with stage three throat cancer. Owing to that reason, Medved is taking a medical leave. “I always knew it would take something serious to keep me away from the microphone I cherish for an extended period of time,” he comments. “My prognosis for full recovery is very good. In the great majority of cases, this is a highly-curable form of cancer.” Medved broadcast every day while completing more than half of his daily radiation and weekly chemotherapy treatments. He will receive his last scheduled radiation treatment in just over three weeks (2/26). “Shortly thereafter, I hope to return to regular broadcasting,” he remarks. “The exact time of my return will be determined by my medical progress, but I will be straining to get back to work as soon as humanly possible. I know how fortunate I am with my loyal and marvelous audience, so I wanted to provide full transparency and direct explanations – you’ll be hearing from me soon.” KSKY, Dallas morning talent Mark Davis will be Medved’s primary fill-in; Davis hosts the Friday edition of Salem Radio Network’s “Bill Bennett’s Morning in America.” Other guest hosts for Medved will include KTTH, Seattle’s morning drive personality David Boze, and American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks. Listed at #25 of TALKERS’ “Heavy Hundred” of 2014, 66-year-old Seattle-based Medved was chief film critic for The New York Post in the mid-1990s.
Patrick Mannelly Reportedly Exiting WSCR, Chicago. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, midday personality – and former Chicago Bears long snapper – Patrick Mannelly will announce his exit as midday co-host on today’s program. Mannelly joined co-host Matt Speigel back in September after the CBS RADIO sports talker could not come to terms with Dan McNeil to stay with “The Score.” It’s believed that Mannelly will remain a part of Bears pre-game shows on the station. Once again there is an opening at WSCR and already there are rumors this could open the door for Dan McNeil’s return or, as DaWindyCity reports, David Kaplan and David Haugh might be candidates since they exited Tribune Media with the shutdown of crosstown sports talk WGWG-LP “87.7 The Game.”
Tony Bruno and Josh Innes to Host Afternoons on WIP-FM, Philadelphia. As reported by Molly Eichel in the Philadelphia News, Tony Bruno will return to the airwaves in Philly on CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM alongside current WIP personality Josh Innes for the afternoon daypart formerly occupied by Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis. Gargano exited the station but Ellis remains under contract and it’s not known what role Ellis might play at the station. Bruno was heard in middays on Greater Media’s crosstown WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” until he resigned from the station last June. He’s been podcasting via BlogTalkRadio recently. At one time, Bruno worked on the WIP morning show hosted by Angelo Cataldi.
Odds & Sods. Just named the new White House correspondent for CBS News Radio is Pam Coulter, who replaces the recently retired Peter Maer. Coulter rejoined CBS in 2011 after working as a correspondent for NPR and ABC Radio News for 12 years where she covered, among other things, the White House, Congress and the Pentagon…..Longtime Sioux Falls radio newsman Gene Hetland retired from Townsquare Media’s news/talk KSOO after a career that spanned 38 years. The Associated Press reports that the 63-year-old Hetland started at KSOO in August of 1976 and retired on January 30…..The new morning news anchor at Midwest Communications-owned news/talk WHTC, Holland, Michigan is Mary Ellen Murphy…..San Antonio Magazine is out with its “Best of the City 2015” and it names former San Antonio Spurs point guard Antonio Daniels “Radio Personality of the Year.” Daniels hosts “The Hardline” on Alpha Media’s KZDC “ESPN San Antonio.”
Tom Gresham’s ‘Gun Talk’ Clears WRKO, Boston. The Entercom Boston news/talker adds Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” to the program schedule airing Sunday evenings at 8:00 pm. Entercom Boston market manager Phil Zachary says, “Over the last few years, Tom Gresham’s ‘Gun Talk’ has emerged as the definitive voice of rational, responsible gun owners across America. It just makes sense that his program be heard on one of the most powerful radio signals here in the cradle of the American Revolution.” Gresham comments, “Massachusetts is full of gun owners who continue to fight for gun rights. I’m proud to lend my voice to those who preserve the tradition of freedom in Boston and the entire area.”
Business Rockstars Hits 100 Affiliate Mark. With the addition of KTLR, Oklahoma City, the nationally syndicated “Business Rockstars” show arrives at the 100 affiliate plateau. The programming is hosted by Ken Rutkowski. Business Rockstars chairman Steve Lehman says, “Radio is an important part of our multi-media and social platform. We couldn’t be more excited to add KTLR to our consistently growing list of affiliate stations. The rock stars of today no longer play guitar and blast through your speakers. The new Rockstars are Business Rockstars: the Mark Zuckerbergs, Elon Musks and Mark Cubans of the world.” In describing its programming, the company says “entrepreneurship is on fire. It’s not political, it’s not controversial, it’s all about empowering listeners with the right tools and information so that they become Rockstars too. Business Rockstars is the only daily, long-form show on the air that drills into the core of starting, growing, and funding a business. The show is attracting a younger audience to AM radio. There are 30 million hungry ‘Wantrepreneurs’ in the US and Business Rockstars is here to feed them.”
DreX to Host New KGO, San Francisco Talk Show. Music radio personality DreX crosses into the news/talk realm with his new gig as evening host at Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco. The station notes that DreX worked in the market in the past at KSJO, San Jose – now “NASH FM 92.3.” DreX crafted successful CHR night shows in markets including San Antonio, Dallas and Philadelphia. He then shifted to mornings at signals such as WHYT, Detroit and WKSC, Chicago “Kiss FM.” Cumulus SVP of programming Mike McVay comments, “Drex brings a unique perspective to the news/talk format and an uncanny ability to entertain and inform in his own engaging style.” San Francisco VP/market manager Justin Wittmayer adds, “DreX brings his unique voice to KGO nights for a highly compelling program that is fresh, live and local. The Bay Area is in for quite an experience with DreX.”
Malzberg and Newsmax TV Extend Relationship. The new three-year deal keeps talk media pro Steve Malzberg hosting his Newsmax TV daily news and talk program that currently airs from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. Newsmax says in a statement that Malzberg is “a veteran TV and radio personality, [who] attracts a star-studded roster of news-breaking guests and delivers insightful commentary around topical, often-contentious issues that connect with audiences.” Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Steve Malzberg is a key member of our on-air team who brings a fearless and informed approach to news/talk programming. Our growing audience is truly responding to him and he will no doubt continue to deliver provocative talk and engagement with his guests as we enter into the pivotal, upcoming presidential election period.”
Mark Levin Show to Air on KRLA, Los Angeles. The Westwood One-syndicated Mark Levin show is moving to a prime spot in Los Angeles, airing live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT on Salem Communications-owned news/talk KRLA, effective February 3. With the change, Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt will move to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm timeslot. Salem SVP of spoken word format Phil Boyce comments, “Rarely do you have the chance to add somebody of Mark’s quality in market #2, and we decided it was an opportunity we could not pass up. Hugh Hewitt is also a class act, so running these two back-to-back makes this lineup even stronger.” Levin states, “It’s an honor to join the wonderful lineup at KRLA. I know my great listeners, who include two of my biggest fans in the LA area (my kids, who live and work there!) will appreciate hearing the show LIVE, too!”
WNDB, Daytona Beach Producer Arrested on Child Porn Charges. According to a story by WKMG-TV, Orlando, WNDB, Daytona Beach executive producer Chand Worob has been taken into custody by Daytona Beach police on charges of receiving and distributing child pornography. The story reports police had been investigating the 25-year-old radio station staffer since October. They arrested him at the radio station where he works on the Marc Bernier morning show and served a warrant at his home where they reported finding a laptop with some 500 images on it.
CBS RADIO Ups Zeise at ‘Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan’ in Pittsburgh. The new evening personality at CBS RADIO sports talker KDKA-FM “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan” is Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sportswriter Paul Zeise. He’s been hosting programs at the station on a part-time basis since 2011. Program director Ryan Maguire says, “Paul has truly developed as a personality and we’re happy we could make him a larger member of our on-air team. Paul has strong ties within the local sports community and will provide unique insight and hard-hitting opinions that will resonate with our listeners.”
Fifth Annual ‘Imus on Broadway’ Happens on February 9. On Monday, February 9, New York radio legend and WABC morning drive personality Don Imus will present the fifth annual “Imus on Broadway” at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square. Ticket sales from the one-night only performance will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. New York Post theatre columnist Michael Riedel will join Imus as emcee. The evening will showcase live performances from some of Broadway’s top musicals including: Kinky Boots, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, It Shoulda Been You, Honeymoon In Vegas, The Lion King, Cabaret, Into The Woods, Les Miserables, Chicago and more!
WFAN, New York to Begin 5th ‘Fantasy Phenom Challenge.’ Next Sunday (2/8), CBS RADIO sports talker WFAN, New York kicks off the 5th “Fantasy Phenom Challenge” at the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station, New York in which contestants will have the chance to earn on-air shifts on “The Fan.” The station will register the first 100 contestants online and those will audition before a panel of judges at area shopping malls around the region. A change in this year’s competition will allow for finalists to receive personal coaching from one of WFAN’s on-air hosts! Up to 12 participants will move on to round two, where online voting will determine the top six contestants for the final. The finalists will be part of a special St. Patrick’s Day remote broadcast featuring WFAN’s Boomer and Carton show and simulcast on CBS Network. The Finals will be held in late March or early April on Mike Francesa’s afternoon drive show. “Fantasy Phenom” year 4 winner, Dimitri Adrahtas, is completing his one-year stint with the station broadcasting his show to Tri-State area listeners.
Odds & Sods. Longtime Los Angeles talk radio personality Marc Germain, formerly “Mr. KABC,” will host the evening show on CBS RADIO’s KXNT, Las Vegas all next week, February 2-6. Germain has been making his home in Sin City for the past five years and has been hosting a nightly live show and podcast from his TalkRadioOne.com base…..A new, four-year renewal between USC and ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPNLA” means the station will continue to serve as the flagship radio outlet for Trojan football through the 2018-19 season. The deal also means approximately one-half of USC’s men’s basketball games will also air on “ESPNLA.”…..CBS RADIO’s sports talk WFAN, New York begins its inaugural year of broadcasting the New York City Football Club with Tom Kolker, Glenn Crooks and Roberto Abramowitz handling the announcing duties. For English-language broadcasts, Tom Kolker is the new play-by-play voice and Glenn Crooks will provide in-game analysis. For Spanish-language broadcasts airing on WADO, they will be led by Roberto Abramowitz. A Spanish-language analyst will be named at a later date.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Dr. Joy Browne program – distributed nationally by Genesis Communications Network – is added to the program schedule at: WPTF, Raleigh; WDXR, Paducah, Kentucky; and WVFT, Tallahassee…..As noted earlier in the week, Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity joins the program schedule at Beasley Media Group’s KDWN, Las Vegas while Dave Ramsey moves to a live airing at CBS RADIO’s KXNT, Las Vegas…..The Kim Komando weekend “digital lifestyle” program is now airing on: Entercom’s WRKO, Boston; Townsquare Media’s simulcast KCHH and KBUL-AM, Billings, Montana; and WNBF, Binghamton, New York.
Northeast Blizzard Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of January 26-30. Winter storm Juno and the criticism of forecasters and government officials anticipating the event was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was the 2016 presidential race followed by ISIS threats tied with Taliban 5 developments at #3. 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.
Senate Commerce Committee Chair Thune Seeks Communications Act Overhaul. Speaking before an audience at the American Enterprise Institute, Senate Commerce Committee chairman John Thune (R-SD) said he will kick-start the process of reviewing and updating the country’s communications laws, last done in 1996. From a story at The Hill, Thune admits his efforts will require support from Democrats but says it’s very early in the process. He told the crowd the very legal framework that could allow broadband internet to be classified a utility is obsolete. He criticized the FCC’s rulemaking process with regard to “net neutrality” and said its agenda is being nudged by “an increasingly imperious president.” He said, “With the FCC poised to reclassify broadband due to a lack of clear statutory authority, we can readily see the consequences of that obsolescence and the need for action.” Getting support from Democrats prior to the 2016 election may be all but impossible but Thune says trying to update the Act that was last modernized when the Internet was in its infancy is necessary.”
Westwood One Locks-In Levin. A contract extension between Westwood One and Mark Levin will keep the talk show host with the Cumulus Media-owned syndicator through 2020. Cumulus executive vice president of content and programming John Dickey states, “Mark has established himself as a pillar in talk radio with his sharp and witty commentary. We look forward to expanding his program’s reach.” Levin comments, “I am delighted to continue working with Cumulus and Westwood One. I look forward to further developing the show over the next five years. I am passionate about challenging the mainstream media and educating the public on the most pressing political and legal issues of our time and maintain my commitment to doing so.” Flagship WABC, New York launched Levin’s 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm show in 2003; a third hour was added six years later (2009). Previously an advisor/administrator to several members of president Ronald Reagan‘s cabinet, Levin is president of the Landmark Legal Foundation, a non-profit Washington, DC-based advocacy group.
LeBon Named to Co-Host ‘America Continues’ on USA Radio Networks. Joining host Jim Sharpe on his “America Continues” program – to be syndicated live nightly from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET beginning February 2 – is Cherylyn Harley LeBon. She is president and CEO of public relations firm KLAR Strategies and is national co-chair of the leadership network, Project 21. On joining USA Radio and working with Sharpe, LeBon says, “It is a wonderful opportunity to co-host with Jim Sharpe on ‘America Continues’ to share with our audience the unique stories happening around our country. We want to talk about the stories that are not being told and highlight reasons why America is still so great.” LeBon previously served as a political appointee in the George W. Bush Administration; as a spokesman at the Republican National Committee; and as senior counsel for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. She is also a contributor to BlogHer, TheBlaze, and She Owns It.
WEEI.com Benefits from DeflateGate Controversy. Fans of the New England Patriots may be sick to death of the “deflategate” flap but the story has been a boon for Entercom’s WEEI, Boston and its digital destination, WEEI.com. The station reports that the story has “crushed all previous engagement records for ‘Sports Radio WEEI’ and its digital assets. Between January 19, the day the allegations of tampering with some of the AFC Championship footballs were first announced, and January 25, WEEI.com racked up the following eye-popping statistics: Over 1 million unique users to WEEI.com; over 4.3 million page views in that same time frame; The WEEI Facebook page reached more than 6.1 million people in one week with more than 1 million of those engaging and participating in a WEEI post; on Thursday, January 22, more than 280,000 unique visitors and 1 million page views were tallied for the Tom Brady and Bill Belichick press conferences, the largest day in site history; and those press conferences peaked at over 22,000 users on the WEEI audio stream. The station’s previous record-setting day for streaming was a peak of 15,000 for a Tom Brady interview last fall. WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham comments that “you don’t post numbers like that unless sports fans know you’re the digital destination for timely and credible information. I’m very proud of the combined efforts from our on-air and digital content teams in reporting this ever-changing story. We have been at the forefront of coverage from the beginning and been the go-to station for national media outlets such as ESPN, The CBS Evening News, FOX News and CNN, to name a few.”
Odds & Sods. At non-commercial triple A and news/talk hybrid KCRW, Santa Monica, California, Matt Miller puts the wraps on his “Left, Right & Center” program, producing the last episode on Friday, January 30…..This evening is the official “weigh-in” broadcast on WIP-FM, Philadelphia prior to Friday’s Wing Bowl 23 – the annual chicken wing eating contest, this year being held at the Wells Fargo Center. The 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm broadcast today takes place at Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia. The station’s Al Morganti and Rhea Hughes are hosting the broadcast…..WGN, Chicago will air the memorial service for Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks on Saturday, January 31 from 10:00 am until its conclusion. Sports director Dave Eanet will host the broadcast. The station will make the Kathy & Judy show available via wgnplus.com and will join that show in progress after the Banks memorial service…..The medical talk show “Mayo Clinic Radio” is now being represented for national syndication by Chicago-based Syndication Networks Corp. The program is a weekly, one-hour show hosted by physician and longtime broadcaster Dr. Tom Shives with veteran radio host Tracy McCray.
Talk Personality Ethan Bearman Co-Founds Government Watchdog Site. The new organization and its website – Community Action for Government Efficiency, or CAGE – is a Santa Cruz, California-based one that seeks to help keep politicians accountable, according to co-founder and talk radio personality Ethan Bearman. He’s pictured here (center) appearing on KSCO, Santa Cruz’s “Good Morning Monterey Bay” program with host Rosemary Chalmers (right) and CAGE co-founder Vincent Perez (left) to announce the debut of the site Cagesc.org. Bearman says, “Our goal is to provide a clear and simple pathway of information to the people and business community of Santa Cruz County. CAGE provides a forum for a common-sense approach to impacting change in economic, political and social issues.” He says, “Users of the site can find information on relevant topics that impact our business community; share concerns that impact our community; participate in the discussion forums related to these issues; and influence positive behavior from our local politicians by holding them accountable.” Bearman is host of the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm program on KSFO, San Francisco on Saturdays and Sundays.
ISIS Captives/Threat to President Obama, Obamas Saudi Visit, Obama Administration Tax Plan, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Immigration Reform/Amnesty Issues, and Super Bowl Hype/DeflateGate Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/28). The potential swap of captives between Jordan and ISIS and the group’s threat to President Obama in beheading video; Barack and Michelle Obama’s visit with the Saudi royals; the administration plan to hike taxes on top earners; the potential candidates for president in 2016; immigration reform proposals and the amnesty policy championed by President Obama; and the build-up to Super Bowl XLIX and the deflategate flap were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Getting It Partly Wrong and Absolutely Right. Disaster preparedness expert Howard B. Price – director, business continuity for ABC Television – writes in a piece in TALKERS today (1/27) that even though parts of the Northeast escaped the dire predictions of Winter Storm Juno, it’s better that people were overprepared. For those upset with officials for shutting down roads and, in some cases, entire cities, Price says, “No one should EVER blame the messengers for decisions governments and businesses take based on scientific facts that were trumped – as they sometimes are – by the forces of nature. Better to plan for what turns out to be unnecessary, then to be caught flat-footed when circumstances are worse than you anticipated.” Keep in mind that as we publish this piece on Tuesday, parts of New England are indeed getting a lot of snow, combined with high winds. Read more from Price here.
Carolyn Fox: My Prescription for Radio Success. Radio pro Carolyn Fox writes about the key tenets to help personalities succeed in the radio business – even in this era. In this piece she presents five points radio personalities should understand in order to have success in a business that’s contingent upon connecting with listeners. “Great radio is nothing more than real humans connecting with other real humans aurally,” Fox says, “Don’t overcomplicate the message because my kid is banking on you to resuscitate radio so he too can pay back his college loans.” Read Carolyn Fox’s piece here.
Tom Leykis’ The New Normal Reports 2014 Profit. It’s been three years since Tom Leykis – free from the confines of his old contract with CBS RADIO – debuted his own internet talk program via a digital platform operating within his company The New Normal LLC. Leykis says that his gross revenue for 2014 was $524,952, an increase of 60% over 2013’s gross, and a net profit of $2,187. He goes on to say that this profit “will most likely exceed the combined net profits of the radio industry’s two largest companies (representing 1,310 or 11% of all US commercial radio stations).” Pointing to the balance sheets of large radio operators iHeartMedia and Cumulus Media, Leykis says “iHeartMedia has not earned a net profit since at least 2008 according to its own 10K report. Despite recent claims of ‘accelerated growth,’ iHeart’s best showing since 2008 was the second quarter of 2010 when it showed a net of negative $204.2 million…Cumulus Media, which is number two to iHeartMedia in stations owned, has shown a slight profit in 2014, with earnings per share for 2014 so far reported at $0.04 per share and net revenue of $159.34 million as of the third quarter of 2014.” TALKERS editors note that while profits are certainly a challenge for companies with large debt service, it can be argued that the two companies mentioned (and the others not) employ thousands of people, support workers’ families and in turn contribute to the economy in a bigger way than a small company that actually earns a profit. Still, Leykis says his point is that it doesn’t take big corporate backing to produce a successful media venture. “In the end, this news doesn’t exactly make my day. I made a fantastic living in the radio business and I still have many friends in the industry who are afraid of what the future holds. I could have retired young and lived comfortably forever. This project is to show radio folks that there’s a future for them if they’re willing to work hard.”
Westwood One to Recognize Excellence in Audio Creativity. It has become an annual event for the syndicator to recognize the best radio commercials within perhaps the year’s biggest sporting event – the Super Bowl. Westwood One‘s senior vice president of sports sales & marketing Brandon Berman explains that the Cumulus Media division created the “Sound Awards” to “connect with – and to encourage – marketers, creatives, and brands to join forces and showcase the power of sound. Our Super Bowl broadcast is the perfect environment for advertisers to leverage their commercial creative, thanks to our incredible reach and sheer volume of audience across platforms. Following the crowning of a Super Bowl Champion, we look forward to crowning an advertising champion.” Westwood One’s play-by-play coverage of Super Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks originates this Sunday (2/1) from suburban Phoenix (Glendale). The “Super Bowl Sound Awards for Excellence in Audio Creativity” will feature national ads airing on Westwood One’s Super Bowl XLIX broadcast, as well as SiriusXM Radio, NFL.com/Audiopass, NFL Mobile from Verizon, and on the American Forces Radio Network. Last year’s winner, Motel 6, earned the top spot with a parody on how to use AutoCorrect. Other top vote getters were Tilted Kilt, Subway, Exergen, and Taco Bell. Voting opened yesterday (Monday, 1/27) at 3:00 pm (ET) and runs through next Tuesday (2/3) at 12:00 noon; winners will be announced next Wednesday (2/4).
XEPRS-AM, Padres Extend “Mighty” Agreement. The pact between Broadcast Company of the Americas’ sports outlet XEPRS-AM “The Mighty 1090″ and the National League West San Diego Padres covers this year’s MLB season and next year. BCA president Mike Glickenhaus comments, “We are very excited to continue our relationship with the Padres. We believe very strongly in the [team’s] vision for the future and we are looking forward to being a part of it.” Padres president Mike Dee remarks, “We are thrilled and excited because this really is a good partnership. ‘The Mighty 1090′ is where San Diego fans go for their sports and the Padres are glad to be part of it.” XEPRS-AM has been the Padres’ flagship since 2004; the station is licensed to Rosarito Beach, Baja California (Mexico).
Odds & Sods. Former Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Mike Rogers joins Hudson Institute as a Distinguished Fellow. In this role, he’ll focus on cyber-warfare and security, counterterrorism, and national security policy. Rogers currently hosts the nationally syndicated feature “Something to Think About with Mike Rogers” for Westwood One and is a CNN national security contributor…..At the Omaha cluster of NRG Media, AM radio operations manager Neil Nelkin announces he’s leaving the position and the station group he’s been at for more than two decades. The company’s Omaha AM properties include: sports talkers KZOT and KOZN, news/talk KOIL, and Spanish-language KMMQ…..There’s a changing of traffic reporters at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago as the station informs traffic service Radiate Media that it’s dropping 10-year personality Leslie Keiling and will replace her with Judy Pielach, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Ashley Lopez is named political reporter for Kentucky Public Radio’s WFPL, Louisville.
Johnjay and Rich Suggest Non-Traditional Super Bowl Accommodations. Capitalizing on the fact that this Sunday’s Super Bowl is being played in their flagship market, Phoenix-based syndicated morning talents Johnjay and Rich maintain they are prepared to rent out their studio. Emphasizing they are offering the “full Super Bowl experience,” the duo cites computers, buffet breakfasts/lunches, convenient parking, and color television as tongue-in-cheek selling points to would-be renters. According to a video they shot, the 3.5-day rate to rent their studio is approximately $160.
Busy Week in Arizona for Westwood One. Pictured here is the crew that covered last weekend’s NFL Pro Bowl game at University of Phoenix Stadium – also the site of this weekend’s Super Bowl XLIX. Westwood One is the exclusive national radio partner of the NFL. From left to right are: producer Aaron Cummins, announcer Scott Graham (the voice of NFL Films), executive producer Howard Deneroff, and NFL Hall of Famer Rod Woodson.
Obama Tax Plan, ‘American Sniper’ Film Controversy, 2016 Presidential Prospects, East Coast Blizzard, and Super Bowl/DeflateGate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/26). The proposal by President Obama to hike taxes on the rich to assist the middle class; the controversial responses to the film “American Sniper”; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the blizzard hitting the East Coast; and Sunday’s Super Bowl and chatter about the DeflateGate issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Dave Ramsey Surpasses 550 Affiliate Mark. Nationally syndicated financial talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey announces his program is now heard on more than 550 AM/FM affiliate stations and, according to the Ramsey organization, is heard by more than 8.5 million listeners weekly. “‘The Dave Ramsey Show’ is clearly positioned as the third largest talk radio show in the country behind only Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.” Vice president of Ramsey Media Brian Mayfield comments, “‘The Dave Ramsey Show’ continues to grow and make a difference in the radio world, as well as in the lives of our listeners.” Recently, the Dave Ramsey show experienced upgrades in a few major markets including moving to a live timeslot from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm on KTAR-FM, Phoenix and expanding the timeslot to 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm KEIB, Los Angeles. Beginning in February, the show will move to a live timeslot from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on KXNT, Las Vegas.
New AM Host and Talent Shuffle at KCMO, Kansas City. Talent moves will take effect on February 2 at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KCMO, Kansas City. Current morning drive personality Greg Knapp is moving to afternoon drive and new in the morning slot will be Rob Carson. At the same time, WMAL, Washington personality Chris Plante will also air on Kansas City on KCMO in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. The rest of the schedule will be: Dave Ramsey from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm; Michael Savage from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm; Mark Levin following Knapp from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm and John Batchelor airing from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. Cumulus Kansas City SVP and general manager Mark Sullivan says, “I’m thrilled to have two of the industry’s best joining our lineup. I’m anxious to hear Rob Carson and Chris Plante on our airwaves and I’m sure that Kansas City is going to feel as strongly about their talent to entertain and inform as I am. I’m also pleased to have Greg Knapp hosting our afternoons, as his dynamic and in-depth discussions keep me glued to the radio and I know that the local presence that he brings will be outstanding. These are exciting times here at the broadcast center!” Carson comments, “This is a real homecoming for me and my family. We’ve been away from Missouri too long, and it’s a real blessing to get a spot on one of the country’s premiere talkers, KCMO. I’m excited to join John Dickey, Mike McVay and Mark and [PD] Gary Nolan at Cumulus.”
Round Two of Holiday PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of Holiday 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was December 4 to December 31. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
WTOP, Washington’s Dave McConnell Celebrates 50 Years with Station. WTOP, Washington reporter Dave McConnell began his career with the station on January 18, 1965. McConnell spent most of his career serving as Capitol Hill correspondent – a title he holds today that makes him the only full-time congressional correspondent for a local radio outlet in the country. WTOP news director Mike McMearty relates, “It is part of WTOP lore that while other kids were skipping school to see the Washington Senators play at Griffith Stadium, Dave was skipping school to hear the real Senators debate on Capitol Hill.” McMearty adds, “Dave McConnell is a class act. He’s a mixture of hustle, honesty and humbleness. Dave lets the members of congress express their point-of-view without inserting opinion or commentary. He is, and has always been known as, an honest broker. I consider it an honor to have worked with him for more than 20 years of his illustrious career.” Even after 50 years, McConnell has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Odds & Sods. Financial talker Ray Lucia inks a deal with BizTV and BizTalkRadio for the companies to exclusively produce and syndicate his programs. As part of the new agreement, the national radio show expands to two hours airing live from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm ET…..In addition to the almost 400 AM/FM affiliate stations that aired ESPN Audio’s broadcast of the College Football Playoff Championship on January 12, the sports giant reports that the game averaged 69,000 listeners in the average minute across network and affiliate streams. The ESPN Audio Streaming Network audience (including the ESPN Radio website and mobile app, the SportsCenter mobile app, Tune In Radio, Slacker Radio, and Apple iTunes Radio) grew 103% from last year’s BCS National Championship game. The 69,000 listeners is the third-highest network stream in history, trailing only two 2014 FIFA World Cup matches.
Cool Job Opportunity. Legendary KFBK, Sacramento has an immediate opening for a full-time morning news co-anchor and writer. Our ideal candidate has strong news broadcasting experience and is able to multi-task and take direction well. You will work alongside Amy Lewis, our long-term KFBK co-anchor, in a fast-paced, challenging and friendly environment. Must be an aggressive self-starter who can hit the ground running, cut up sound on the fly, report live from the street or in-house, love big breaking news, write conversationally, and stay on top of social media – all while creating and contributing daily content to the web and Facebook. You will need to be able to write short, tight copy, adlib well, anchor short-form newscasts or long-form event coverage when necessary, and understand news coverage in the digital/social media age. Conversational and credible on-air news delivery, creative broadcast news writing skills and the ability to communicate effectively are prerequisites for this position. You must be able to work under pressure in a fast-paced environment, meet deadlines, have a strong knowledge of current events and work positively as part of a team. For more information and to apply, click here.
Covering the State of the State. WKZO, Kalamazoo broadcast its Wayne Powers morning drive show live from the office of State Rep. Aric Nesbitt at the Michigan Capitol in Lansing yesterday (1/21) the morning after Governor Rick Snyder’s State of the State Address. The Midwest Communications news/talk station reports that it was able to talk with Michigan lawmakers and leaders from both parties throughout the morning, including Michigan Lt. Governor Brian Calley and Michigan House Speaker Kevin Cotter as well as local senators and representatives including Senators Margaret O’Brien, Tonya Schuitmaker and John Proos and Representatives Aric Nesbitt, Jon Hoadley, Brandt Iden and Dave Maturen. WKZO brand manager Jeremy Lawrence comments, “It is such a pleasure to be able to serve our listeners by talking with our leaders at the Capitol. Being that we are the eyes and ears of the listener, we value our ability to let them know what is happening in our government.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Nesbitt, Maturen, O’Brien, Schuitmaker, Cotter, Lawrence, Midwest Communications VP/Market manager Mike Klein, and (seated) Powers.
State of the Union Address/Obama Tax Plan, ISIS Holds Japanese Men for Ransom, Abortion Legislation Debate, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ‘American Sniper’ Film Criticism, and the NFL’s Deflategate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/21). Tuesday’s State of the Union Address and President Obama’s tax proposal; the case of the Japanese nationals being held for ransom by ISIS; the GOP’s decision to drop new abortion legislation; the potential candidates for president in 2016; continuing criticism of the film “American Sniper”; and the controversy over deflated footballs used by the New England Patriots were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Todd Schnitt and Len Berman to Host Mornings on WOR, New York. Legendary New York news/talk station WOR announces it will debut the new morning program, “Len Berman and Todd Schnitt in the Morning,” effective January 26. iHeartMedia says the program will “focus on New York and feature interactive programming, showcasing what local listeners are talking about in news, sports, entertainment and pop culture.” Both Berman and Schnitt are native New Yorkers. Schnitt has been based in Tampa and currently hosts his nationally syndicated, eponymous talk show via Compass Media Networks, which he’ll continue to do in addition to the New York morning show. Berman is an “Emmy-Award winning sportscaster and New York Times best-selling author who has covered just about every major sports event including multiple Super Bowls, World Series and Olympics during his 40-year career in broadcasting. He was a long-time sports anchor for WNBC-TV, New York.” Regular TALKERS readers are aware that Schnitt, in addition to his syndicated talk show, hosted the “MJ Morning Show” on CHR WFLA-FM, Tampa for many years. iHeartMedia market president Joe Puglise says, “Len is a well-known sports reporter and this opportunity will also showcase his other skills and personality. Listeners will immediately engage with Todd’s quick wit and creative take on the things that impact New Yorkers.” Schnitt adds, “Len Berman is the perfect co-host, he is a well-known New Yorker and brings a ton of wit, wisdom and street smarts to the microphone. Together we are very excited to construct a new local, engaging and entertaining morning show for New York.” iHeartMedia tried simulcasting WWDC, Washington “DC 101” morning personality Elliot Segal on WOR after parting company with longtime morning host John Gambling, but that lasted only a month, ending in February of 2014. Regarding his move to NYC, Schnitt adds, “Locating our [Compass syndicated] show in the heart of New York City will be a huge benefit to our national listeners and help drive ratings for our affiliates. I look forward to continuing to work with Compass Media Networks, our affiliates and sponsors.”
Premiere Names Shapiro VP – Sports Programming. Former ESPN Radio program director Scott Shapiro joins Premiere Networks in a newly created position of vice president of sports programming. His duties will include overseeing daily execution of sports content, including the Fox Sports Radio Network. Premiere Networks senior vice president of sports programming Don Martin comments, “Scott’s experience producing some of the most successful, multi-platform sports programming speaks for itself. I am excited for the opportunity to team up with such a class act. His addition reaffirms our commitment to providing the best sports entertainment content the industry has to offer, along with unique and valuable opportunities for our partners.” Shapiro remarks, “I greatly look forward to working with the talented team in place. There is tremendous growth potential and a real opportunity to develop outstanding sports content. The sky is the limit in terms of the talent, infrastructure, and resources available.” In addition to programming ESPN Radio, Shapiro’s resume includes being producer of that sports network’s “Mike & Mike” morning show; he previously was assistant program director/executive producer of WQXI “The Zone,” Atlanta.
Daunais, Walker Get Westwood One EVP – Regional Sales Stripes. Atlanta-based Jim Daunais and Dallas-based Tim Walker are appointed executive vice presidents in Westwood One‘s network sales division. Daunais’ responsibilities are in the southeast region – Walker’s duties are in the southwest. Westwood One president Steve Shaw comments, “Hot off the heels of promoting Kim Bryant to lead west coast sales, we are on an accelerated path to building an exceptional, preeminent sales organization. Jim and Tim are uniquely qualified to lead our southeast and southwest regions. Their respective abilities to manage, strategize, and effectively deliver client solutions will drive more revenue success across our platforms.” Daunais is “excited for the opportunity to continue” his more than 10-year Westwood One career, where he works “alongside Steve and the rest of our incredibly talented management team, and to build upon the company’s rich history as the leader of all things audio.” Walker states he is looking forward “to leading the southwest region and bringing integrated solutions to our clients and agencies.” It is a promotion for Daunais, who joined the company in 2004. Most recently, he was Westwood One’s senior vice president, sales and vice president of southeast sales. His prior background includes being an account executive for MLB‘s New York Mets. Walker is rejoining Westwood One. He spent the last three years as Cumulus Media‘s director of national sales for the southwest region. Prior to that, Walker was national sales manager for Cumulus-owned stations in Dallas and Houston; he had a similar title for CBS Radio Dallas; and he was a Westwood One account executive (2000 – 2002) in the company’s Dallas office.
John McConnell Named EVP at Workhouse Media. Radio management pro John McConnell is named executive vice president for talent and content management company Workhouse Media. In this role, McConnell will oversee Workhouse Media’s East Coast offices and he will serve in a new senior management role for the company. A longtime ABC Radio executive, McConnell has been managing his own firm for the past six years. Workhouse Media principal and CEO Paul B. Anderson comments, “John comes to Workhouse Media with a powerful combined background in programming, syndication and strategy. His track record is both broad and deep, and the industry recognizes his impeccable reputation for integrity and results.”
Odds & Sods. Today (1/20) begins Steve Deace‘s relationship with the USA Radio Networks. With the move from Genesis Communications Network, Deace’s program moves from an evening live airing (9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight) to live in afternoon drive, Eastern Time…..Following the path of New York’s Christian talk WMCA, New York, Salem Communications-owned KKMS, Minneapolis takes on “The Mission” brand. Salem rolled out “The Answer” as the brand for its news/talk stations and it appears likely most if not all of the company’s Christian talk stations will become “The Mission.”…..Tomorrow (1/21) marks the fifth anniversary of the internet program the Nicole Sandler show at radioornot.com. Sandler began her digital program after the demise of Air America Radio in 2010.
Non-Comms Rocking the Boat. For those interested in bold, new developments in music radio, check out Jeff McKay’s piece in our sister publication, RadioInfo, exploring the non-comm stations creating targeted-yet-daring rock and pop formats for hungry audiences. Many listeners still see public radio as either left-leaning news/talk or jazz- and classic music-oriented. But stations such as KCSN, Los Angeles; WXPN, Philadelphia; KCMP, Minneapolis; and KKXT, Dallas are bucking that trend and drawing in younger audiences. Read more here.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Resonates Throughout News/Talk Radio. As reported yesterday (1/19), news/talk radio hosts, programs, stations and networks buzzed with conversation inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – memorializing the birthdate of the slain civil rights leader of the turbulent 1960s. Shows covering the spectrum of political and ideological approaches including urban, progressive and conservative positions all found pertinent subject matter for discussion to commemorate the annual Federal holiday, lifting race relations to the most-talked-about topic of the day. Pictured here is WOLB, Baltimore morning legend Larry Young (third from right) at a ceremony in Baltimore held last week on the actual birthdate of the historic activist. Young – a longtime member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred – tells TALKERS,“One of my proudest moments was to have planted in 1985 the only MLK Jr. tree on state house property in the USA. On his actual birthdate on January 15 we did a re-dedication and I said, ‘King put before us a serious vision that we would be one nation under God and indivisibly one America.’ And I want to believe that even today I can still believe in his vision.”
State of the Union/Obama Tax Plan, ‘American Sniper’ Film, MLK Jr. Day/‘Selma’ Film, ISIS Violence/Two Japanese Hostages Held, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and NFL Conference Championships Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/19). This week’s State of the Union Address and President Obama’s expected announcement of his tax proposal; the political arguments surrounding the film “American Sniper”; the observation of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday and the concurrent release of the film “Selma”; the ongoing violence perpetrated by ISIS and its threat to execute two Japanese hostages; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the weekend’s NFL conference championships were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Names Big John Howell Morning Host at WLS-AM, Chicago. The arrival of longtime Chicago market personality Big John Howell at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago had been rumored for some time and now it becomes official as Howell will assume the morning show duties effective next Monday (1/19). Most recently, Howell was morning host at Salem Communications’ news/talk WIND “AM 560 The Answer.” He also was a jock at CBS RADIO’s country WUSN for many years as well as morning personality on CBS’ WCKG. For seven years he hosted the Westwood One-syndicated “Country Gold” request show. Howell comments, “I’m looking forward to joining WLS-AM. It has been a longtime professional, as well as personal, goal. Growing up in West Michigan and listening to WLS influenced my initial decision to give the radio business a try. Now, all these years later, and on the heels of many WLS broadcast legends, including Larry Lujack and Don Wade, it is truly an honor and a privilege. I’m also looking forward to sharing the WLS airwaves with Steve Dahl, who taught all of us to ignore management and hate disco.” Howell takes over for the team of Dan Proft and Bruce Wolf.
Roe Conn to PM Drive at WGN, Chicago. There’s no official word from Tribune Media on this…yet, but Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former longtime WLS-AM afternoon host Roe Conn will take over the afternoon drive show on WGN, Chicago from Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder – both of whom have been in the post since last May. Conn even appeared on WGN’s Steve Cochran show this morning (1/12), but chatted about issues and there was no mention of his joining the station. The hiring of Leff and Snyder was part of the makeover of the station orchestrated by president Jimmy de Castro. Feder reports that it’s expected that Leff and Snyder will stay on in some capacity.
Dr. Laurie Roth Show Joins USA Radio Networks. As part of a series of program rollouts, the USA Radio Networks announces Dr. Laurie Roth becomes part of the syndicated lineup, airing from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET effective February 2. USA Radio Networks describes the show as an “issues-driven program known to tackle politics, crime and corruption. Dr. Roth often visits with survivors and family members affected by crimes and conspiracies. How do they survive and come back after losing a family member, being smeared or a being a victim of crime in some way? Listeners learn the answers to such questions. Roth says, “I expose the bad guys, stand for the good guys and don’t get caught in-between.” Tim Maranville is chief content officer at USA’a parent company – Cross Platform Media Group – and he comments, “Dr. Roth covers the issues driving the conversation in America like no other radio host. Her life experience brings a realness to the radio that, sadly, is uncommon in the network industry. She is a welcome breath of fresh air.” Recently, USA Radio Networks announced the launch of new shows including “AMERICA CONTINUES with Jim Sharpe,” and the syndication of the Steve Deace show, “DAYBREAK USA with Angie Austin,” and the hourly USA Radio News.
Brooks Promoted at WTMJ, Milwaukee. At the Journal Broadcast Group-owned news/talker WTMJ, Milwaukee, Eric Brooks is upped to assistant program director. WTMJ VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “Eric has grown tremendously as a leader at WTMJ. As producer of ‘Wisconsin’s Afternoon News with John Mercure,’ Eric has helped the program leapfrog into the top news/talk position with both listeners 6+ and 25-54. Eric has also deftly handled many day-to-day responsibilities in the programming department in his role as executive producer of WTMJ programming.” Brooks joined WTMJ in 2011 as a news anchor and producer before being elevated to executive producer, WTMJ programming in 2013.
Odds & Sods. This Friday (1/16), New Jersey Broadcasters Association president and CEO Paul Rotella will sit in for morning drive personality Harry Hurley on Townsquare Media’s Atlantic City, New Jersey news/talker WPGG…..Here’s an interesting show, now available to radio stations across the country that draws on Americans’ interest in the Old West: Dakota Livesay’s “Chronicle of the Old West.” It’s both a three-and-a-half minute show delivered five days per week and a weekly, one-hour show that features friends, authors and experts who chat with host Livesay about this romanticized period of American history. Check out OldWestRadio.com…..The WYD Media-syndicated “Huckabee Report” with Mike Huckabee and the Stephanie Miller program are both joining the lineup at CRN Digital Talk Radio. CRN states that “The Huckabee Report” will air throughout the day on CRN effective today (1/12) and CRN 4 channel will broadcast encore presentations of the Stephanie Miller show Tuesday through Saturday, beginning January 13.
Talk Pro Tom Becka Does ‘Friday Night Live.’ Longtime Omaha (not to mention Kansas City and Fargo) talk radio personality Tom Becka rhetorically asks TALKERS magazine, “What does a talk show host do when he’s on the beach? He keeps talking…” And that’s what you see in this photo. Recently let go from KOIL, Omaha in a cost-cutting move, Becka reports on his latest venture – a live version of the Tom Becka Radio Show. He says, “We set up a stage at a local watering hole, charged admission, and did an interactive audience participation show just like it was on the radio. A sold-out crowd came to talk about the hot issues of the day with ‘Honesty, Integrity, and a Sense of Humor.’ It was spirited, entertaining, and profitable. I used social media and my daily podcasts to promote the event and it turned out great. I’ll be doing these on a regular basis.” Becka can be reached at: 402-321-9590 or via Tom@TomBecka.com.
Remembering Nick (Bazoo) Ferrara. Word and condolences spread throughout social media on Saturday, January 10 about the passing of noted CHR programmer Nick Ferrara. Conspicuously absent though were specific details of when, where, or even if Ferrara had indeed passed. The Harrison County (Mississippi) coroner though has unfortunately confirmed that 59-year-old Gulfport resident Ferrara was killed Friday (1/9) in a two-vehicle accident on Interstate 10. According to officials, Ferrara was not wearing a seatbelt while driving his 2013 Honda Accord sedan; he died at the scene from blunt-force trauma. According to a report in the Biloxi-Gulfport Sun Herald, police responded at 6:05 pm to a report of a crash with injuries. Ferrara’s car apparently rear-ended another vehicle. The Gulfport Fire Department and American Medical Response were at the crash scene. Eerily, a Friday Facebook posting ostensibly made by Ferrara – known to many from his earlier top 40 programming days as Nick Bazoo indicated simply that at approximately 5:30 pm, he was at Biloxi’s Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. The previous day (Thursday, 1/8), Ferrara made 17 original Facebook posts. Tony Gray had the most succinct – yet possibly the most powerful comment on Ferrara’s home page, with the noted consultant simply writing, “B-97 New Orleans.” Specifically, WEZB “B-97″ is the New Orleans station (then owned by EZ Communications) at which operations manager Ferrara (Bazoo) rose to prominence in the early-1980s. He was famously linked to that Louisiana metro. NBC Sports Radio programmer Jack Silver though first met Ferrara in Mill Valley, California in 1984. “He was coming in to flip KMEL from rock to top 40,” Silver recalls. “He and Keith Naftalyhad the vision – I was in the right place to help them as well. Heaven is full of great program directors who touched us all – God rest your soul.” Media Monitors music manager Anita Bonita writes, “Godspeed Mr. Bazoo – you will be missed.” Renowned talk radio consultant Valerie Geller is “so sorry to hear this news – RIP.” According to Giant Records vice president Jean Johnson, Ferrara was, “The consummate Facebook poster. I shared many of your hilarious posts. Rest in peace Mr. Bazoo – taken way too soon.” Legendary voiceover/imaging talent Howard Hoffman sums it up perfectly by stating, “This hurts. Selfless, strong, and just a real honor to work with you, Nick. One of the best field marshals ever and you deserved so much better. I am glad you knew that before leaving us way too soon. Godspeed, friend – thanks for everything.” Longtime industry executive Rob Sisco laments, “Oh my dear sweet Bazoo. I am so profoundly sad to hear this news. You were one of the true good guys. I am proud and honored to have called you friend. You will be missed forever. Rest in peace, Nick.” Former New Orleans programmer Pat Matthews recalls, “Met you when you were just 18 and starting out at WIXO. A funny, talented, caring guy – wow, this is so unbelievable.” Veteran programmer Joel Burke remarks, “You were one of the smartest radio people I knew and had such a contagious laugh – RIP.” Consultant Dan Vallie comments, “Good man – good heart. Rest in peace my friend. Heaven is going to enjoy your sense of humor and big smile.” Yet another twist: A “Life Event” posted on Ferrara’s Facebook page less than two weeks ago – New Year’s Eve (12/31) – states he “started working at retired.” Commencing in 2001 and lasting approximately through 2013, Ferrara was an operations manager in State College, Pennsylvania at Forever Broadcasting and then doing similar duties at cross-town Results Radio (2006 – 2013). In addition to WEZB “B-97,” Ferrara (Bazoo) held the operations manager title at several other New Orleans outlets, including WLMG, WLTS, and WWL. In the mid- and late-1980s, he spent time in California as an OM for KMEL, San Francisco and then Gannett Broadcasting‘s properties in San Diego. Sandwiched between those stops was a two-year stint as operations manager in Pittsburgh for EZ’s WBZZ “B-94.” Information is not yet available regarding Ferrara’s funeral arrangements.
Randall Bloomquist Exits Cumulus Corporate PD Post. News/talk pro Randall Bloomquist exits his corporate programming position with Cumulus Media due to “personal family reasons.” Bloomquist – who has programmed such news/talk stations as WMAL, Washington; WGST, Atlanta; WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte; and WRVA, Richmond during his career – joined Cumulus in the fall of 2013 to oversee the company’s news/talk programming. Bloomquist also served time as news/talk editor at the now-defunct Radio & Records trade magazine.
KABC, Los Angeles Launches Judge Cristina, Dr. Drew Midday with New Schedule. The addition of “Dr. Drew Midday with Mike Catherwood” to the daily program schedule on KABC, Los Angeles was announced late last year. What wasn’t known was the addition of Judge Cristina Perez to the daily schedule for the “Live @ Nine” program. Also, with the departure of Larry Elder from the station, Cumulus Media moves Jillian Barberie and John Phillips from middays to the afternoon drive slot. The company says, “‘Judge Cristina Live @ 9’ will focus on topical news throughout the region. Judge Cristina has become a household name as one of the most influential syndicated television hosts from her work hosting court shows on network television, including ‘Justice for All with Judge Cristina Perez,’ (airing mornings on KCAL-TV in Los Angeles), ‘Cristina’s Court’ (FOX) and ‘La Corte de Familia’ (Telemundo). She is the first Hispanic television judge to cross over from Spanish-language television to English-language television. ‘Cristina’s Court’ won three consecutive Emmy Awards. Cumulus EVP of content and programming John Dickey says, “Our live, local and topical programming has been incredibly well received by Los Angeles listeners. We have attracted some of the top talent in the country and continue to bolster the station’s lineup in order to meet the interests of our widening audience.” KABC operations director Drew Hayes adds, “KABC’S goal is to build a radio station that reflects the climate and attitude here. KABC is a sunny and up-tempo station discussing the news of the day, populated with the nation’s leading personalities. With these additions, we have successfully evolved the station to a compelling, entertaining, true Southern California station.”
Jeff Tyler Assumes iHeartMedia Minneapolis Market President Post. Longtime iHeartMedia executive Jeff Tyler is named the market president for the company’s Minneapolis cluster. Tyler has been serving as regional market manager for the company overseeing the Madison and Milwaukee markets as well as operations in Grand Rapids/Muskegon, Michigan; Eau Claire, Wisconsin; and Rochester, Minnesota. He comments, “I am excited to join a tremendous Minneapolis team in one of the best markets in the country. It will be an honor to represent the historic call letters and franchises of the Twin Cities. At the same time, it’s also bittersweet to leave teams in Madison and Milwaukee which have been a big part of my career and life.”
Schnacke Joins iHeartMedia Chicago as VP/Sales. After 17 years with the Chicago cluster now owned by Hubbard (previously by Bonneville), Jerry Schnacke joins crosstown iHeartMedia as vice president of sales. iHeartMedia Chicago market president Matt Scarano comments, “I am thrilled to have Jerry as part of our team. Jerry brings a wealth of expertise, high-level management experience, and a tremendous track record of success to our cluster. I am looking forward to working closely with Jerry in his new role.” Schnacke – who was vice president and market manager of the Hubbard Chicago facilities – remarks, “I am excited to be joining these iconic brands and honored to be on the iHeartMedia Chicago team with Matt Scarano. I am looking forward to working closely with the staff and our clients.” Prior to his Hubbard-Bonneville Chicago tenure, Schnacke was vice president and general manger of the stations Lakeshore Communications owns in Springfield, Illinois. The “Windy City” iHM cluster is comprised of urban contemporary WGCI-FM, gospel WGRB “Inspiration 1390,” CHR WKSC “Kiss-FM,” hot AC WLIT “My-FM,” WNUA “Chicago’s Hit Country,” urban AC WVAZ “V-103,” and the company operates urban talk outlet WVON “The Talk of Chicago” under an LMA. Hubbard Chicago consists of classic rock WDRV “The Drive,” adult contemporary WILV “Chicago’s 100.3,” and hot AC WTMX “The Mix.”
PodcastOne Names Kris Smith Chief Technical Officer. Credited with starting one of the first podcast production companies in 2005, Kris Smith joins Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne to serve as chief technical officer. The company says, “Smith has over a decade of experience in the medium, and has spent his career designing and developing digital products.” Pattiz says, “Kris is a pioneer podcaster and innovator. He has been creating podcasts and associated technology well before the medium ever went mainstream. Having him join our team and lead the technological growth of our company is of the utmost importance as we continue to play a larger part in the growth of the industry.” Smith replaces Rob Greenlee who will be starting his own consulting firm, with PodcastOne as its first client.
Israel-Based Talk Host Aaron Klein Joins ConnectPal for Digital Platform. Currently heard in New York City on Salem-owned WNYM “AM 970 The Answer,” New York Times best-selling author Aaron Klein joins ConnectPal.com with daily audio updates. ConnectPal states that “in addition to moving his podcasts exclusively to ConnectPal.com, Klein will distribute a new investigative audio feature throughout the week focused on the hottest breaking news stories. Plus, Klein will launch a ‘Reporter’s Notebook’ for his subscribers on ConnectPal, bringing listeners inside his daily investigative reporting, including his unique style of Middle East reportage.” Klein comments, “I have been searching for the best platform to launch regular audio and insider content throughout the week and have finally found an exciting, highly user-friendly marketplace in ConnectPal.com. I’m thrilled to be joining the portal and look forward to providing invigorating, newsy, exclusive additional content to my growing audience.”
CES 2015: The Connected Car Accelerates. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is reporting from the enormous International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas all this week and today’s report focuses on the connected car. Cooke writes, “The last several years’ conversation about radio’s position in the new-tech dashboard remains largely academic. As new non-AM/FM audio competitors appear there – and drivers’ attention is shared with so many non-audio apps now factory-installed – draconian radio cutbacks continue to dilute the localism that would continue to make stations unique among competitors.” Read more from Sin City here.
CBS Launches ‘Play It’ Podcast Platform. Providing a podcast platform for the company’s talent, CBS RADIO and CBS Local Digital Media announced the debut of Play.it. The company says the “new podcast network brings together digital-exclusive programming from major brands and publishers as well as content from CBS RADIO shows on demand.” The service “offers more than 300 premium content podcasts at launch, including podcasts from well-known CBS RADIO personalities like Boomer Esiason & Craig Carton, Carson Daly, and Kevin & Bean, as well as content from leading news, lifestyle, sports and media brands including 48 HOURS, 60 MINUTES, CBS Sports Radio, Vox, Deadspin, Simon & Schuster and Foursquare, among others.”
CBS Radio, Bloomberg Join Forces. The arrangement calls for Bloomberg Radio to be the primary supplier of business reports for CBS Radio’s owned-and-operated radio stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit, and three other markets. CBS Radio executive vice president of operations/CBS Radio New York market manager Scott Herman comments, “This partnership will greatly raise the level of our business coverage, enhancing our product in cities from coast to coast. Bloomberg reporters will offer expertise and depth to local business stories of interest, reaching audiences of our individual radio stations.” Bloomberg Radio station manager Al Mayers states, “Partnering with CBS Radio was a natural fit that brings together the leader in news radio with the global leader in business news. It’s an important milestone for Bloomberg as we expand our audience of business decision makers.” United Stations Radio Networks is Bloomberg’s marketing partner, and it will handle advertising sales and sponsorships, as well as distribution. USRN president and chief operating officer Jim Higgins remarks, “With the addition of these great CBS Radio stations to our existing Bloomberg lineup, it clearly makes Bloomberg the preeminent business radio network for advertisers seeking an association with this extremely attractive and desirable audience. We are thrilled to be working with two of the most respected names in journalism.” Bloomberg Radio reporters are providing business news updates twice an hour on CBS Radio all-news stations, and at designated times on other CBS Radio properties.
Buckley Shuts Down Sports Talk KIDD, Monterey. According to a story in the Monterey Herald, Buckley Broadcasting took sports talker KIDD, Monterey “ESPN Central Coast” dark on New Year’s Eve and will try to sell the frequency. Station EVP Kathy Baker confirmed the move and the paper reports that cost was the factor in the decision to shut down the station. Issues related to tower maintenance of the almost 60-year old station appear to have been paramount. The towers reside in a coastal wetland and the company says it will take down the towers.
Odds & Sods. Named to the permanent afternoon drive daypart at iHeartMedia’s Fresno news/talk simulcast of KALZ-FM and KRZR “PowerTalk 96.7 and AM 1400” is Christopher Gabriel. He comes to the market from his most recent gig as morning personality at WDAY, Fargo and begins his new post on January 19…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles takes a special look at the hacking of the entertainment industry with the program “Lights, Camera, Terror: Hacking Hollywood,” to air on January 13 at 10:00 am PT. Hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman, the show will feature guests including: Sharon Waxman, editor-in-chief & CEO, The Wrap entertainment website; Matthew Belloni, executive editor, The Hollywood Reporter; Jonathan Handel, entertainment/technology attorney, Troy Gould; and Ross Crystal, KNX entertainment correspondent.
CNBC To Cease Nielsen Ratings Relationship. In a television development that might be of some interest to radio operators, CNBC becomes the first-ever cable outlet to end its ratings relationship with Nielsen. As of the fourth quarter of this year, Cogent Reports will measure CNBC’s business day. CNBC president Mark Hoffman states that throughout the network’s 25-year history, “Traditional measurement companies have struggled to capture CNBC’s audience of business executives, decision makers, and affluent investors who watch our network from their corner offices, trading floors, five-star hotel rooms, country clubs, restaurants and health clubs. We are excited to begin to provide our marketing partners with a more complete understanding of the power and quality of our prestigious audience.” Downplaying the decision of its rival, Fox Business Channel executive vice president of advertising Paul Rittenberg tells The Wall Street Journal, “Only using the numbers you like is a little tough to sell.” Another business player – Bloomberg Television – has never been measured by Nielsen. According to a Nielsen spokesperson quoted in The Wall Street Journal, “For networks with niche audiences like CNBC, pure age and gender-based ratings are not always the best means against which to sell.” The spokesperson notes that Nielsen will continue to measure CNBC’s evening programs. Market Strategies International‘s Cogent Reports will be measuring a television network’s audience for the first time. It will survey over 1,000 investors and financial advisers on their daily media habits; that data will provide CNBC’s ratings. Nielsen figures indicate CNBC’s average 9:30 am – 5:00 pm audience in 2014 was 177,000, which is down 13% from 2013 and off 17% from 2004.
GOP Takes Over Congress/Boehner Vote, Keystone Pipeline Legislation, Sinking Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Cold Snap, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/6). The official swearing in of the new Congress and the political storm over a contentious vote to return John Boehner to Speaker of the House; the potential fate of the Keystone Pipeline legislation the GOP Congress is promising to revive; sinking oil prices, the state of the euro and the effects on the world financial markets; the potential candidates for president including speculation about Rick Santorum’s possible run; the bitter cold affecting much of the nation; and the NFL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Bubba the Love Sponge Returns to Tampa on WHFS-FM. Via an official press statement issued today (1/5), Beasley Broadcasting confirms the news a local advertiser spilled on Friday about the return of Bubba the Love Sponge to the market on the company’s newly-acquired Tampa signal WHFS-FM. The former FM sports talk outlet will make public its new format at some point in the future but after signing on this morning at 6:00 am, Bubba the Love Sponge announced the station would air his program continuously for the next few weeks or so before debuting WHFS-FM’s new format. Bubba aired in the market on Cox Media’s crosstown WHPT “102.5 FM The Bone” before being ousted from the station in August and replaced by then-afternoon drive host Mike Calta. The move pits former station-mates Calta and Bubba against each other in mornings. Last week, Ker’s WingHouse debuted Bubba Style Wings and announced Bubba’s return to the market on WHFS-FM. Beasley says listeners are still voting for their format choice at the station’s website — thenew98.7.com — and the new format is expected to be announced within weeks.
Howie Carr’s New England Regional Juggernaut Keeps Gaining Steam – New Stations Signed and GSM Brought Aboard. The independent talk radio network recently launched by Boston-based, multi-media icon Howie Carr continues to gather major affiliates throughout the six New England states and sets a shiningly optimistic model for what can be created and accomplished in the often-tenuous arena of regional spoken-word syndication. The latest stations joining the Howie Carr Radio Network (HCRN) include WCAP, Lowell, MA (which started last week); WBEC, Pittsfield, MA (which starts tomorrow 1/6); and WFEA, Manchester, NH (which begins on 1/19), bringing the total number of affiliates to 19. Also, HCRN VP of sales & marketing, Kathy Carr announces the hiring of sales heavyweight Ross Holt as the company’s new general sales manager. Holt, who is moving back to his home in New England, was most recently part of the sales team at CBS O&O WINS, New York and has sold Carr in the past while at WGAN, Portland. The sheer power of the loyal-listener-generating Carr program in market after market across the Northeast segment of the US has proven to be a strong advertising lure for such regional blue chip sponsors as Subaru of New England and a long list of others. Commenting on the growth and impact of the Howie Carr show in its independent regional incarnation (since the host left Entercom’s WRKO, Boston this fall and replaced it as his flagship with Beantown’s reconstituted WMEX) TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is not easy doing what Howie and Kathy Carr are accomplishing with this network – and that is creating a pertinent local flavor that resonates with listeners across a very large and diverse expanse of markets and works in terms of both ratings and revenue. There are lessons for the industry to learn from this extremely interesting endeavor. Of course, you must have the right host to pull this off and this guy is a true rarity. If New England were to suddenly declare itself a single state, Howie Carr would be elected its first governor.”
Boston Herald Radio and WMEX, Boston Share New Morning Show. The morning drive show on the Boston Herald’s digital platform – Boston Herald Radio – is now hosted by Adriana Cohen and Tom Shattuck (pictured here). The program airs from 7:00 am to 9:00 am and is also being heard on Blackstrap Broadcasting-owned and Wallis Communications-operated WMEX. Shattuck, who also serves as executive producer of Boston Herald Radio, says in the compay’s paper, “We’ve always been straight with our audience. This is the city of Jerry Williams, Gene Burns and David Brudnoy. We are lucky enough now to have an opportunity to be custodians of those same airwaves and we will do it humbly, tirelessly and with the utmost respect for the listener.” WMEX grabbed longtime Boston afternoon personality Howie Carr after his contract with Entercom’s crosstown WRKO expired in November.
WLS-AM, Chicago Breaks Up Proft and Wolf Morning Show. As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the morning show at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago will be hosted by Bruce Wolf solo after the company parted ways with Dan Proft. Wolf and Proft had worked together at the station, first in middays, before moving to mornings after longtime duo Don Wade and Roma exited due to Don Wade’s health issues. (Wade later died from complications from a brain tumor.)
Former WSJRN Programming Evolves and Continues as Compass Media Networks Content. As TALKERS reported last month, Compass Media Networks is advancing the business news radio programming abandoned by the Wall Street Journal after the latter chose to get out of the radio business at the end of 2014. Today, Compass debuts breaking business and money news under the “Your Money Now” brand. The one-minute reports are fed to affiliate stations twice per hour at :20 and :50 from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm ET Monday through Friday. Anchors for the reports are former WSJRN morning drive anchor Jennifer Kushinka, former CEO Radio, WSJRN and BusinessWeek Radio anchor Ray Hoffman in middays, and former WSJRN evening anchor Bruce Vale in afternoon drive. Also, Compass is continuing the morning drive program hosted by Gordon Deal for the WSJRN as the show is renamed “This Morning, America’s First News with Gordon Deal.” Compass says the show continues to air on some 250 affiliate stations as well as on numerous digital platforms.
Seven Salem News/Talkers Assume ‘The Answer’ Brand. Adding to the number of Salem Communications news/talk stations already using “The Answer” brand are seven more of the company’s like-programmed outlets, including: KCBQ-AM, San Diego; KLFE, Seattle; KZNT, Colorado Springs; WGKA, Atlanta; WGUL, Tampa; WGTK, Louisville; and WLSS, Sarasota. WNYM, New York began using the “Answer” brand in 2012. Salem SVP of spoken word formats Phil Boyce comments, “We discovered that our listeners are information seekers, always craving the answer to every possible question, from why am I stuck in traffic to who won the November election. This branding allows our stations to cut through in markets where they are competing with more established stations that only need their call letters as a brand. We needed something more, and this works.”
‘The Union Edge’ Radio Show Releases New App. Pittsburgh-based radio talk show “The Union Edge,” hosted by Charles Showalter with executive producer and co-host Angela Baughman and co-host/communications director Brittany Sheets, unveils its new app created with partner Jack of Trade Apps. The new app allows listeners to stream the daily 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET program live as well as listen to podcasts on demand and “demonstrate some serious solidarity by sending in photos showing their everyday union actions.” Listeners can also use the “speak out” voice recorder function to react to the show and expand on their thoughts and feelings about issues that impact their lives. Jack of Trade Apps president Andrew Davis says, “What this app does is allow union families to organize in a way that surrounds this already great programming that heralds issues that directly impact them. We are excited to be able to give them such a valuable tool, to help them achieve their growth and spread their message in a new way.”
Odds & Sods. Former Arkansas governor and one-time presidential candidate Mike Huckabee gives up his weekend talk program at Fox News Channel. Huckabee – still heard on the radio via his “Mike Huckabee Report” daily commentaries now distributed by WYD Media – says he’ll make an announcement about whether he intends to run for president in 2016 sometime in the first part of this year…..Salem Communications expands the “Cats Roundtable” program heard on WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.” The Sunday morning show, hosted by New York City businessman John Catsimatidis is now heard from 8:30 am to 10:00 am…..KBGG, Des Moines sports talk host Larry Cotlar exits the station as it transitions from “The Zone” to “The Champ.” Cotlar’s show is being replaced by CBS Sports Radio Network’s Doug Gotleib…..Dr. Frank Wright exits Salem Communications where the former National Religious Broadcasters chief served as president and chief operating officer. Dr. Wright will receive his salary in the form of severance for the next six months…..Beasley Broadcasting’s WHFS-AM, Tampa drops the CBS Sports Radio Network-programming on the station and flips the station to business talk using programming from the company’s WSBR, Boca Raton, Florida. Beasley acquired the station from CBS RADIO in a swap.
St. Joseph, Missouri’s KFEQ Joins “Market Rally”Affiliate Network. The daily analysis of farm commodity markets airs 4:06 pm – 5:00 pm on the Eagle Communications-owned talker. KFEQ general manager Gary Exline comments, “Ever since Farm Journal launched ‘Market Rally’ [in March 2014], we have taken a wait-and-see attitude [but] when farmers in our region started asking for it – we knew we couldn’t wait any longer. ‘Market Rally’ is the perfect programming solution as we set out to reboot our afternoon drive lineup.” According to Farm Journal Radio vice president and general manager Mark DePrez, “Market Rally” host Chip Flory “already has more than 6,500 Twitter followers, a clear signal that farmers and ranchers are highly engaged in his entertaining and educational approach to the markets.” When Illinois outlets WRHL, Rochelle and WAIK, Galesburg begin carrying the program early this year, “Market Rally” will be heard on 42 affiliates in nine states.
2015 International CES; What Next? Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas covering the huge 2015 Consumer Electronics Show. As Cooke notes, video and pictures are paramount to viral media. “Major recent news stories demonstrate how profoundly technology impacts our lives. More pictures and video are now shot with smartphones than cameras. When Eric Garner’s take-down for selling untaxed cigarettes turned fatal, bystander video turned an already painful national conversation about race even more-painful. When video of North Korea’s hack attack against Sony Pictures spooked movie theaters, The Interview was released on YouTube.” Read more here.
Sabo: Biggest Trends Affecting Radio. Media consultant Walter Sabo, in a piece published in TALKERS today (1/5), writes about seven trends in media that have been influential over the past year and will continue to be so through 2015. From NextRadio to sports talk on FM to online audio platforms, Sabo suggests avenues radio practitioners can explore to build new and profitable content ventures. Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.
Cumulus Detroit Elevates Wheeler to OM. WJR, Detroit program director Mike Wheeler is boosted to the newly-created position of operations manager for the heritage talker, as well as Cumulus Media‘s other three Detroit properties – hot AC WDVD “Today’s Best Hits,” country WDRQ Nash-FM,” and country WDRQ-HD2 “Nash Icon.” According to Cumulus senior vice president of corporate programming Mike McVay, “Mike Wheeler brings a wealth of experience to the table. His history in Detroit, abilities at coaching talent, and his knowledge of programming give us another strong programming presence within Cumulus. He is deserving of this promotion.” Detroit native Wheeler remarks that it is “a thrill to work with these great radio stations” and he is “grateful for the opportunity to drive the ‘fun bus’ in Detroit.” Overseeing programming for Cumulus’ four Motor City stations, Wheeler will work with in-place PDs Lori Bennett and Robby Bridges. Wheeler joined Cumulus three months ago after a five-year stint as regional program manager for iHeartMedia‘s Connecticut stations. He previously was regional vice president of programming for stations the company (then known as Clear Channel) owned in Atlanta, St. Louis, and Toledo. Wheeler has held on-air positions at Detroit stations WNIC, WABX, WHYT, and WCZY.
Doug McIntyre Sticks with KABC, Los Angeles. “McIntyre in the Morning” host Doug McIntyre signs a new deal to remain with Cumulus Media’s news/talk KABC, Los Angeles “TalkRadio 790” for at least the next year. In addition to his radio work, McIntyre tells TALKERS magazine he’ll also be writing a new weekly column for The Daily Beast in addition to the two columns per week he currently is writing for the LA Daily News.
Cataldi Morning Show Re-Ups at WIP, Philly. Longtime Philadelphia sports talk personality Angelo Cataldi inks a long-term renewal of his contract to remain morning host at CBS RADIO’s “SportsRadio 94WIP.” Prior to joining WIP in 1990 as the wake-up personality, Cataldi was the Eagles beat writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer. He was named to the TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk this year, occupying the #9 spot. In a related announcement, the station also signed two members of Cataldi’s morning show ensemble — Al Morganti and Keith Jones — to new contracts. About his new deal, Cataldi says, “It’s a true thrill and honor to know that all my years on the radio will be working for WIP. It’s a rarity for an on-air personality to have their entire broadcasting career, spanning nearly three decades, all at one station. I am grateful to have a great supporting cast and privileged to work for CBS RADIO which trusts me with the morning show on the best sports radio station, in the greatest sports town anywhere.”
‘Huckabee Report’ to Be Distributed by WYD Media. With the start of the New Year, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee – also host of his own weekend show on Fox News Channel – is continuing his daily feature, “The Huckabee Report,” to be distributed by WYD Media Management. The program will be repped by WYD Media Ad Sales. The show is currently syndicated to more than 500 radio stations via Westwood One but that relationship will end after December 31. Huckabee comments, “We’ve had tremendous success over the last six years with ‘The Huckabee Report’ thanks to the great partnerships with hundreds of radio stations. I’m excited about my new partnership and this is a great way to kick off 2015!” WYD says that the feature will retain its current format with morning, midday and afternoon delivery of three unique, modular reports that allow stations to carry one or three minutes of content per report. WYD Media Ad Sales president John Murphy says, “Mike Huckabee is truly a beloved national icon with a powerful following. His ability to connect with his audience and influence public opinion is incredibly valuable to our advertising partners.” In addition to airing on news/talk affiliates, “The Huckabee Report” is also cleared on country- and classic rock-formatted stations.
WPGG, Atlantic City Morning Host Harry Hurley Serves Up Radio Chat with Governor Christie After ‘Cowboys’ Controversy. While much of New Jersey’s Philadelphia Eagles fan base was up in arms over Governor Chris Christie sitting in Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ luxury box on Sunday evening cheering on the Cowboys over the Eagles, WPGG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley cut the governor some slack during an exclusive radio interview the following morning. Hurley is a big Eagles fan but, unlike many New Jersey fans – and the news media – Hurley excused the governor for cheering for his favorite team and noted that many politicians wear whatever “sports cap” they think will help them get votes. Speaking of votes, Hurley asked Christie if he’s going to run for president and Christie said he and his wife are talking about his options and he’ll decide in 2015 whether to run in 2016.
Fourth Hour and New Affiliates for ‘America’s Morning News.’ The Talk Radio Network Entertainment-syndicated “America’s Morning News” program – hosted by radio news pro Matt Ray – adds a fourth hour to its daily broadcasts and now airs live from 5:00 am to 9:00 am ET. TRNE also announces a number of recent affiliate additions now carrying the programming that’s heard in more than 160 markets across the country. New stations include: WJAS, Pittsburgh; KFNY, Riverside; KDWN, Las Vegas; KGED, Fresno; WPNN Pensacola; KMJM, Cedar Rapids; WNZF, Daytona Beach; WGNS, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; KGGF, Coffeyville, Oklahoma; WRTA, Altoona, Pennsylvania; KMED, Medford, Oregon; and four Wisconsin stations in the Heartlands group – WERL, Eagle River; WATW, Ashland; WFER, Iron River; and WPFP, Park Falls. TRNE CEO Mark Masters comments, “‘America’s Morning News’ continues to deliver a great product every morning to over 160 markets across the U.S., including markets like San Francisco (Cumulus Media’s KSFO AM 560), Seattle (Bonnevilles’ KTTH AM 770) and San Diego (Midwest Television’s KFMB AM 760). We are very proud of our morning news offering, and its growth is a testament to its quality.”
CBS Sports Radio to Broadcast New College Hoops ‘Classic.’ The inaugural “CBS Sports Classic” college basketball showcase will air on the CBS Sports Radio Network on Saturday, December 20. The event produced by CBS Sports will be live from Chicago’s United Center and pits North Carolina against Ohio State in the 1:00 pm ET game followed by UCLA versus Kentucky. It’s the first of three events in the series, as announced earlier this year by CBS Sports. Gary Cohen, current play-by-play announcer for Mets baseball, Seton Hall men’s basketball and Westwood One’s NCAA men’s basketball coverage, will provide play-by-play for the games. He will be joined by analyst Alaa Abdelnaby, current college basketball studio and game analyst for CBS Sports Network. Lance Meadow will contribute to pre-game programming beginning at 12:45 PM, ET, as well as halftime and post-game updates. CBS Sports Radio director of programming Eric Spitz says, “This showcase is noteworthy for CBS Sports Radio as it marks the first time we will broadcast live game coverage across our stations. CBS Sports has assembled a group of legendary college basketball teams, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that our play-by-play debut is happening with this distinguished event.”
Compass Media Announces Business Programming for New Year. In a communication with affiliate stations currently carrying Wall Street Journal Radio Network programming (set to cease via WSJRN on 12/31), Compass Media Networks announces it will continue to produce and distribute business and money reports and details the programming. Anchors for business and money news reports will be Jennifer Kushinka in morning drive, Ray Hoffman in middays and Frank Miller in afternoons. Kushinka has served as morning drive news anchor for “The Wall Street Journal Reports” for the past nine years. Hoffman has anchored CEO Radio short-form reports, aired exclusively on WCBS-AM, New York for the past nine years and was the lead talent for BusinessWeek Radio. Miller has worked for the past six years with Compass providing custom reports to all-news and news/talk stations. Compass also says that Ron Insana, currently with Compass and senior contributor for CNBC, is available for money news reports and commentaries.
Odds & Sods. A new face sits on the board of directors at Business Rockstars, LLC. The corporation announces Andy Schuon has made an equity investment and his joining the board reunites him with Business Roackstars chairman Steve Lehman. Schuon is co-founder of REVOLT Media & TV with Sean “Diddy” Combs. He served on the Premiere Networks board in the past…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway now has a national platform via iHeartRadio. Conway tells TALKERS that with the 2016 presidential race about to get underway, he’s excited to have his own podcast page on the iHeartRadio platform. Simon calls his program on WHO “an essential and repeated stop on the campaign trail in the ‘First in the Nation’ state for all presidential wannabes.”…..Comic and television star Jimmie Walker is sitting in for Ray Appleton on KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno today and tomorrow (12/17-18) on the midday program. Walker is available for fill-in work. PDs can reach him via his Facebook page.
Obama Amnesty Action, Taliban School Slaughter, Sydney Café Siege, Plummeting Oil Prices/Unstable Russian Economy, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Congressional Budget Deal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/16). Controversy over President Obama’s executive amnesty action and the court ruling declaring some of it unconstitutional; the slaughter of children and teachers in Pakistan by the Taliban; the aftermath of the siege of a café in Sydney by a self-styled cleric; sinking oil prices and their effect on the Russian economy; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the congressional budget deal being criticized by conservative Republicans were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Big Executive Sports Talk Moves Elevate Martin at iHeartMedia and Takes Gilbert to Cumulus. These two position changes for sports radio pros Don Martin and Bruce Gilbert are related as Gilbert exits iHeartMedia where he was most recently SVP of sports operations and joins Cumulus Media and Westwood One as SVP/sports. Back at iHeartMedia, the company promotes current SVP of sports Los Angeles Don Martin by expanding his duties to include Premiere Networks and Fox Sports Radio. As SVP of sports programming for Premiere Networks, Martin will oversee the creation, development and direction of sports programming and content at the company, as well as the FSRN. Martin will continue his SVP of sports Los Angeles role – which includes supervising KLAC – and report to iHeartMedia Southern California president Greg Ashlock. For his new duties, he’ll report to Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. At Cumulus, the company says Bruce Gilbert will lead the curation, development and execution of all sports content initiatives and will oversee the strategic direction of the company’s owned-and-operated sports stations. He will report to EVP of programming and content John Dickey. Corporate sports PD Jim Mahanay remains in his post reporting to Gilbert. Of this hiring, Dickey comments, “Bruce Gilbert brings years of experience in sports broadcast programming and management to our senior programming team and we’re pleased to welcome him aboard. Bruce will drive the continued growth and development of the industry-leading sports platform at Cumulus and Westwood One, which together comprise the largest pure-play sports radio network in the world and align with the best brands in the business. His addition furthers our commitment to creating and delivering the most exciting content to sports fans and delivering incomparable opportunities for our partners and advertisers.”
WARM-AM, Scranton Returns as Sports Talker. There’s a new sports talker in the Wilks-Barre/Scranton market as Cumulus Media adds WARM-AM to the large mix of signals (10 in all, including simulcasts and translators) airing sports content. The station – last an oldies outlet – had been off the air for three months engineering rehab and emerges today as “Sports Radio 590” using CBS Sports Radio Network programming.
Sydney Siege Illustrates Need for Plan for Broadcasters. The hostage situation in Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia shows – very dramatically – why broadcasters need a plan in place before an unexpected crisis situation occurs. ABC Television director, business continuity Howard B. Price writes, in an exclusive piece for TALKERS, “In the aftermath of 9/11, many places – New York City chief among them – redrew regulations requiring building operators and their tenants to develop so-called ‘emergency action plans,’ to deal with fire and non-fire emergencies. Among other things, these plans call for the formation and training of ‘emergency action plan directors’ and fire safety teams; some organizations with expansive buildings or campuses have designated site coordinators, and site response teams who may have advanced first aid training and emergency provisions to sustain a lockdown/shelter-in-place order for hours, or even days.” Price asks broadcasters if they – like Channel 7 TV in Sydney – have a plan in place to evacuate their primary business and engineering office if they are required to do so. Read Price’s important piece here.
Odds & Sods. Last Friday, NRG Media-owned news/talker KOIL, Omaha produced its 17th Annual Child Saving Institute Radiothon fundraiser, broadcasting live from Regency Court Mall during which the station raised $73,020…..Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle and Treehouse (a nonprofit education organization for foster children) more than $505,000 for the charity during its 26th Annual Holiday Magic Radiothon on December 11…..Jobs cuts have hit iHeartMedia news/talk WOAI, San Antonio as the San Antonio Express-News’ Jeanne Jakel reports news staffers Michael Main (a near-30-year employee), anchor/reporter Berit Mason, and multimedia journalist Stephanie Narvaez have all been let go from the station.
MediaTracks to Celebrate 25 Years. Next Monday, MediaTracks Communications – the “nation’s leading producer of radio public affairs programming,” is celebrating its 25th anniversary. MediaTracks president and co-founder Shel Lustig says, “High quality public affairs programming is of vital importance to stations nationwide. With today’s smaller staffs and tighter budgets, the need for our programming continues to play an essential part in helping stations meet and exceed their public affairs obligations. We’re extremely proud of our contributions to the industry and our affiliates over the last 25 years.”
Fisher House Foundation Holiday Show Available. Again this year, Fisher House Foundation is making available a news/talk-formatted holiday program that brings attention to wounded warriors, veterans and military families. Fisher House is offering the three-hour, highly produced public affairs show for air between Christmas and New Year’s Day. The show, “Zachary’s Gift,” tells the inspiring story of Fisher House founder Zachary Fisher through heroes served by the foundation’s growing network of no-cost comfort homes built on the grounds of VA and military base hospitals. The radio show is designed to build awareness, not solicit donations. The show is free – neither contract nor barter. Stations may air it multiple times. Executive producer Marshall Adams says, “Many stations are using ‘Zachary’s Gift’ to fill a local, three-hour show on Christmas or New Year’s Day.” The host is Mark Watkins, a radio newsroom vet who recently retired from the anchor booth at WBAP and KLIF Dallas. Jeff Davis is the show’s promo voice. Jonathan Shaffer from WSM Nashville is leading production and imaging. Westwood One is handling affiliate relations pro-bono. To sign up, send a note with your planned air times to Stuart Greenblatt at firstname.lastname@example.org. Marshall Adams can answer questions about content at (412) 856-3400 or email@example.com.
Pros Turn Out for WRHU-FM Alumni Night. WRHU-FM Radio Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York held its fifth annual alumni night at the New York Islanders NHL game on Saturday evening (12/13) at Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum. It was a gala celebration attended by industry people including WINS, New York morning news anchor Lee Harris, who won a team autographed hockey stick in a drawing (pictured); WINS, New York morning sports anchor Marc Ernay; WOR, New York evening host Pete McCarthy and afternoon drive traffic reporter Greg Rice; Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen; NASH FM, New York air talent Jason Goldstein; CBS Radio New York marketing director Frank Iemmiti; NY1 news senior editor Dave Fleischer; Hofstra Dean Evan Cornog; Radio Hofstra University director of operations John Mullen; WRHU professional in residence Ed Ingles; and Islanders radio play-by-play voice Chris King and color commentators Julian Coltre, Rich DeKorte, Dan Savarino, and Mark Weiner. WRHU-FM is in its fifth year as the flagship radio station of the New York Islanders and is the only college station in America that serves as the flagship for a professional major league sports franchise. 2014 has been a good year for WRHU-FM. The station was awarded the NAB Marconi for Best Non-Commercial Station of the Year and was ranked number one — best college radio station – by the Princeton Review.
iHeartMedia to Sell Towers to Vertical Bridge for $400 Million. The press release from iHeartMedia says the deal is for select tower assets and it doesn’t go on to list which towers that includes, but suffice it to say, the company is using the deal to bring in a cash infusion of $400 million and prepare for the day when it may no longer need the towers to transmit AM/FM signals. Admittedly, that day may be down the road a ways but it might be a good start to reducing the expense of the real estate and tower maintenance. iHeartMedia will still have to pay lease fees for the transmitters and it reminds investors that will incur an expense. iHeartMedia president and CFO Richard Bressler states, “This is a great example of how we continue to optimize our balance sheet and maximize liquidity — and how we continually review our entire portfolio of assets to ensure we operate them in the most efficient way possible and invest our resources in the highest return opportunities.” The companies expect the deal to close in the first quarter of 2015.
Station Snapshot: WMAL, Washington. The conventional wisdom from (mostly non-radio-industry) pundits is that the news/talk format is dead – or on life support, depending on to whom you speak – and that talk radio practitioners should just call it a career and go home. But there are news/talk stations across the country doing well (quite a few, in fact) and Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington is one that has consistently improved its performance in Nielsen’s PPM ratings over the past year. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian profiles the heritage talk outlet that operates in the most political city in the country. Read his story here.
Boston Radio Icon Carr Adds New Bedford Affiliate. Boston-based regional talk show host Howie Carr has added another station to his quickly-growing independent afternoon drive network. WBSM, New Bedford, Massachusetts joined the program as the newest affiliate earlier this week bringing the affiliate total of his new independent network to 16 covering most key population centers in New England. Carr tells TALKERS, “I’m thrilled about adding WBSM to the program,” adding, “I’m looking forward to connecting with my fans in New Bedford-Fall River and to making many new ones.” Michael Rock, OM of Townsquare Media-owned WBSM (which throws a strong signal into the Providence market) remarks, “We are so excited to welcome a New England Radio legend like Howie Carr to “The New 1420 WBSM’s lineup. Howie’s a blue collar guy who is unapologetic about watching out for people who work and pay taxes. He’s certainly going to rattle some cages here in New Bedford…and we’ll love every minute of it!” One of the things that makes the new Howie Carr Radio Network notable is it is proving that a regional talk network built around a major personality can be extremely effective. The program airs weekdays 3:00 -7:00 pm ET. There is also a “Best Of” program for weekend use, and is delivered on XDS via Westwood One. Interested affiliates can contact Kathy Carr at 781-249-0102 for more information.
Odds & Sods. Pittsburgh news/talk outlet WJAS adds Fox News Radio to its programming lineup airing news reports on the hour and half hour. The station is also airing the company’s Fox Business reports…..iHeartMedia will program to Spanish-speaking hoops fans this season as the company will broadcast eight Atlanta Hawks games in Spanish on the company’s regional Mexican WBZY “105.3 El Patron.” Station talent Jose Manuel Flores will provide the play-by-play…..iHeartMedia San Antonio announces it raised $291,430 for the Elf Louise Christmas Project from the December 5-6 radiothon. The Elf Louise Christmas Project was founded in 1969 by Louise Locker, and is a non-profit organization staffed completely by volunteers to ensure children in San Antonio can have a merry Christmas. WOAI program director Brian Gann comments, “The response during this year’s radiothon was remarkable. Listeners, local businesses and city leaders all stepped up to give families all over San Antonio a Christmas to remember.”…..Bonneville‘s KIRO-FM, Seattle “Radio 97.3 FM,” is hosting the 26th Annual Foster Child Holiday Magic Radiothon today (12/11) in partnership with Treehouse — a non-profit agency that ensures that kids in foster care have access to the essential services required to help them make it to high school graduation and beyond. The past two years, the “KIRO Radio Foster Child Holiday Magic Program” has raised more than $500,000 each year through listener donation and sponsor matching funds.
TalkersTV Presents Tribute to Voices that Radio Will Miss in 2015. What started out as a simple social media video project created by consultant Holland Cooke has been picked up by TalkersTV as a special year-end presentation honoring some of the unforgettable voices that passed on to that great broadcast studio in the sky in 2014. Cooke tells TALKERS, “Radio is about storytelling… and these people were such stories unto themselves. What we do next stands on their broad shoulders.” TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “There is an elegant simplicity in the way these powerful video vignettes were produced. Parts are silent with text and images; some employ potent sound bites that touch the soul. We are so pleased that this sweet production found an appropriate home on our platform this holiday season.” To view, please click on the TalkersTV box at the top of the right hand column on every page of this website.
CIA Torture Report, Police Killings Protests, Government Shutdown Issue, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Looming Lima Climate Talks, Sinking Oil Prices, and Marvin Lewis ‘Midget’ Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/11). The political battle over the veracity of the CIA torture report released this week; the aftermath of the police killings protests that have taken place across the country; the issue of a possible government shutdown; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the climate change talks scheduled for Lima, Peru; sinking oil prices and the effect at the pumps; and the flap over Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis’ calling Johnny Manziel a “ midget,” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Betsy Morgan Succeeds Chris Balfe as CEO at TheBlaze. The departure of Chris Balfe from his CEO post at Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze ends a 12-year relationship between Balfe and Beck. Glenn Beck says in a press release, “Chris Balfe has been my friend and the CEO of Mercury Radio Arts for 12 years. He will be an incredibly hard act to follow. Under Chris’ watchful eye we have done things that no group of people our size has ever done, things that people thought were impossible. And I think that under the leadership of our new CEO, Betsy Morgan, we will continue to prove that there is another way and we’ll confound the skeptics again.” Morgan moves up from her president and chief strategy officer position. Morgan joined TheBlaze from The Huffington Post where she served as CEO. Prior to joining HuffPo, Morgan was senior vice president for CBS Interactive and the general manager of CBSNews.com, where she was in charge of the network’s 24-hour broadband, on-demand news service. The press statement notes that Balfe helped Beck transform a “two-person company into a 300-person, multi-media business with a television network with more than 80 operators and hundreds of thousands of subscribers, a website with over 30 million unique visitors per month, a top-20-ranked audio streaming network, the third-highest rated radio show in the country and a book division that published more than 15 bestsellers.”
WVNN, Huntsville Personality Dale Jackson Stages ‘Die-In’ Protest. Morning drive personality (and WVNN program director) Dale Jackson writes on his blog that he didn’t think the police would allow him to block traffic in Huntsville in a “protest” of the recent student protest on the same city street. In short, Jackson (pictured here lying on the street holding a sign that reads: “Police Lives Matter” and “The Truth Matters”) was surprised when he not only wasn’t told he couldn’t hold his one-man protest, but even more so when a large number of police cars turned up to escort him to the site and block traffic during his brief protest. Read Jackson’s explanation for the stunt and see more pictures of it here.
USRN Begins Distributing ‘Something You Should Know.’ The long-running radio feature “Something You Should Know” is being distributed by United Stations Radio Networks. Radio pro Mike Carruthers hosts the program that is produced by his own Strand Media and “provides both radio stations and listeners with informational content that host Mike Carruthers describes as ‘wisdom and advice for life.’ The feature was started on one radio station in 1980 and after moving into syndication has grown to a substantial national network of features heard on roughly 140 radio stations all across the nation.”
Odds & Sods. Sitting in for WSYR, Syracuse morning host Joe Galuski this week through the 19th is talk radio personality Mark Wainwright…..A changing of the guard is taking place at Bloomberg News with John Micklethwait – formerly editor-in-chief at The Economist – taking over the same role at Bloomberg as Matthew Winkler steps down…..For the second year in a row, The Motley Fool (producer of the “Motley Fool Money” radio show) is named the #1 place to work in the small/medium business category by Glassdoor. In case you were wondering, Google takes the #1 spot for large companies.
Flint Radio Newsman Les Root Dead at 75. Flint, Michigan radio news icon Les Root died on Monday, December 8 in Fenton, Michigan after a brief illness. Root was the news director at WFDF-AM, Flint from 1970 until the station was sold in 2002. He then worked for Cumulus Media’s Flint operations until his position was eliminated in 2009 and he retired. Root worked in radio news for his entire 53-year career. In a story published at MLive.com, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton (who worked for Root as a young man) said, “He was like the local version of Walter Cronkite…We used to call him the dean of Mid-Michigan newsmen — a real pro. He was a throwback news guy who would make all the calls to police and fire departments in the morning, write his own news, edit the wire, and put together a newscast on the hour and the half-hour.” Read the MLive.com obit here.
Police Killings Protests, Gruber Testifies Before Congress, CIA Torture Report, Government Shutdown, and Rolling Stone Rape Story Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/9). The continuing protests taking place around the country in response to non-indictments of police accused of killing unarmed blacks; Jonathan Gruber’s testimony before Congress about the Affordable Care Act; the release of a report investigating the CIA’s methods of interrogation; the work by Congress to avoid a government shutdown; and the backlash over the UVA rape story published by Rolling Stone were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Michael Harrison: Political News/Talk Radio Needs Fewer Lapdogs and More Watchdogs. In a new opinion piece posted today (11/21), TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (pictured here) suggests that the main element missing from today’s political news/talk radio mix is the old-fashioned “muckraker” who kept politicians of all political stripes – left and right – nervous and on their toes. Harrison says that the crop of tried-and-true political ideologues who’ve been on the air all these decades since the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine and are still going strong should be preserved – but not imitated. He writes, “There is nothing wrong with the current crop of long-standing, iconic figures of opinionated left vs right political discussion who have made talk radio and its stars household names. They should be protected and supported for what they do… because they are valuable and, more importantly, cannot easily be replaced. In fact, they shouldn’t be replaced. The last thing we need are more ‘B’ and ‘C’ level imitators and talking point ideologues in this format. We do not need lapdogs and mindless partisans clogging up the airwaves and bringing this format down! What we do need are more WATCHDOGS to round out what this format truly has to offer. I guess you can call them populists or independents – but it goes much deeper than just superficial labels. This industry needs talk show hosts – especially local ones – who don’t give a damn about political science ideology or carrying partisan water for their favorite ‘team,’ but rather keep a watchful eye and wag a fearless tongue on the biggest problem facing the American political system today.” If you want to find out what Harrison thinks is the biggest problem facing the American political system today, read the entire column by clicking here.
Cumulus Names Reno to Lead KGO and KSFO, San Francisco Sales. At the Bay Area cluster, Cumulus Media appoints sales pro Jaysson Reno to vice president, sales for heritage market news/talkers KGO and KSFO. Reno has worked in the San Francisco market for 10 years in the radio, digital and event space, and has led sales for the company’s rock KSAN and triple A KFOG since 2012. Cumulus San Francisco VP/market manager Justin Wittmayer says, “Jaysson brings strong leadership, a keen business sense and the market equity needed to drive advertiser performance and grow revenues. KGO and KSFO are legacy brands in which we will continue to invest to benefit our community, to enhance the user experience and to deliver superior advertiser results.”
Ben Finfer and Alex Quigley Also Casualties at Tribune Media. With the reported looming end of Tribune Media’s nine-month-old sports talk experiment on WGWG-LP comes news two staffers – Ben Finfer and Alex Quigley – learned about their imminent dismissal via Twitter while on the air. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the “Quigs and Finfer” personalities spoke on air about their disappointment, with Finfer saying, “We’re doing a live show here and to be told this way, it’s really a letdown. We’re getting screwed on this one…We just found out on Twitter a half hour ago that the station is being taken off the air. We were not told about this ahead of time.” The story broke via a Tweet and blog post by Chicago media writer Robert Feder (and TALKERS passed along the story to you) who learned about the changes from inside sources. It appears WGN and WGWG-LP management didn’t anticipate the news leaking out and although the station has not been performing in the ratings against competitors WSCR and WMVP, this is a bit of a PR black eye for Tribune Media.
Dave Ramsey Rocks Austin’s Bass Concert Hall. No, nationally syndicated financial talk superstar and best-selling author Dave Ramsey didn’t sing (as far as we know), but he did pack the house at the Bass Concert Hall in Austin, Texas last night (11/20) nonetheless. Ramsey presented his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” event in which he discusses how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage. Ramsey worked with local affiliate KJCE “Talk Radio 1370 AM” to promote this event. Entercom VP/market manager Alan Kirshbom comments, “Austin loves Dave! We are proud to welcome him back for what promises to be another exciting and uplifting event.” Pictured here are (from left to right): KJCE promotions director Aaron Hurd, KJCE director of sales Heather Baumli, Ramsey, KJCE program director Stephen Kerr, Kirshbom, and KJCE general sales manager Bob Woche.
RAB: Radio’s Q3 Revenue Dips 2%; Off-Air and Digital Jump. The 2014 third quarter radio revenue report from the Radio Advertising Bureau concludes radio’s total revenue dipped 2% — a bit better than Q2’s 3% drop (all comparisons are versus the same period in 2013). Breaking it down, spot revenue and network revenue fell back 3% and 4% respectively in Q3 this year compared to last, but digital and off-air revenue were up by 11% and 14% respectively. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber comments, “The increasing strength of radio’s digital platforms becomes more evident every quarter as advertisers recognize the unparalleled benefits of reaching radio’s dedicated audiences on every device and platform they are using. In addition, the growth in off-air opportunities for advertisers is a clear indication that radio is focused on continuing to deliver more innovative solutions to help them reach their consumers.” See the RAB’s report here.
Odds & Sods. Longtime Arkansas talk show host and programmer Dave Elswick begins duties as program director and afternoon drive host at Crain Media Group-owned KHTE, Little Rock. His program will also air on the company’s KSMD, Searcy, Arkansas (about 50 miles northeast of Little Rock) as Elswick begins building out the Dave Elswick Network. He worked for years at Cumulus Media’s KARN-FM, Little rock as PD and personality…..SiriusXM adds former NBA head coach George Karl to its roster of hoops experts on its NBA Radio channel. He debuts today (11/21) from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET and will host regularly throughout the season…..CBS RADIO‘s all-news KNX, Los Angeles will present a special program titled, “Immigration: The President Acts,” on Monday (11/24) from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. The show will include expert guests and listener call-ins. KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman will host the show.
Bell Media to Lay Off 80 Employees. Canadian broadcast giant Bell Media is announcing personnel cuts across its radio division that will affect some 80 people. As reported by the Windsor Star, the Windsor market (which operates four stations that also serve Detroit listeners) will lose seven staffers, but those people haven’t been identified yet. The stations in Windsor include: triple A CKLW-FM “The River 93.9,” alternative CIMX “89X,” oldies CKWW and news/talk CKLW-AM. The paper notes that Bell Media cut about 120 positions in the radio division back in June.
MIW Announces 2015 Mentoring Program. The details of the 2015 Mildred Carter Mentoring Program from the Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group are available. The 14-year-old program matches up-and-coming women in the radio industry with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of radio. 2015 Mentoring Committee chair Lindsay Cerajewski (who also serves as sales manager at CBS RADIO’s WUSN, Chicago) says, “This is a wonderful opportunity for mentees to gain valuable insight, knowledge and access to some of the most influential women in radio. We look forward to another outstanding program in 2015.” A total of four candidates from the radio broadcasting industry – within the sales, marketing, programming and digital disciplines – will be selected for the 2015 program. Of those, at least one spot will be designated for a programming candidate, and one spot designated for a digital candidate. For mentee criteria and instructions on how to apply, please visit http://tinyurl.com/miwmentee. The deadline to apply is Friday, December 12, 2014.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Dr. Joy Browne program is added to the program schedule at WGNC, Gastonia, North Carolina.
Obama Amnesty Executive Action Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 17-21. The plan by President Obama to use executive action to give amnesty to some 5 million undocumented aliens was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was the videotaped speeches of Affordable Care Act architect Jonathan Gruber. At #3 was the tension over the grand jury’s anticipated decision whether to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and at #4 was the record snowfall in Buffalo and the early cold snap. 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.
Salem Announces Corporate Structure Changes. With the retirement of Salem Radio Network president Greg Anderson at the end of this year, Salem Communications announces some corporate changes that begin with its consolidating the radio and network divisions into one. Dave Santrella moves from president of the Radio Division to president of Broadcast Media, adding to his radio division responsibilities the oversight of the Salem Radio Network, SMR/VMR Rep Firm, and a variety of digital assets. Phil Boyce, currently VP, director spoken word formats is promoted to SVP, Salem Radio Network and spoken word formats. In this new role, Boyce will be in charge of all program and revenue aspects of Salem’s news and news/talk networks including its five network talk hosts, the Janet Mefford show, and SRN News. Boyce will continue to work with other aspects of Salem’s spoken word formats, most notably as a program consultant for national ministries. Boyce will continue to oversee Salem’s New York operations as well. Santrella says of Boyce, “Phil has proven to be a tremendous and versatile leader. He’s been an enormous help to our national ministries and an invaluable consultant to our talk network. Putting Phil over our news and news talk network puts him in his sweet spot and I am thrilled to have him steering this important aspect of our broadcast business.” Other radio division changes include: Allen Power and Linnae Young taking on new roles as senior vice presidents dividing up the oversight of other operational vice presidents, as well as departmental managers in ministry relations, digital and business-formatted radio properties. Terry Fahy is promoted to an operational vice president role overseeing most of the company’s stations west of Phoenix. Other operational vice presidents including Brian Taylor, John Peroyea, David Ruleman and Mike Moran, all pick up additional station responsibilities. On the network side, Mike Reed and Mike Miller are promoted to senior vice presidents as well, with Reed taking on additional responsibilities in the Dallas office’s network operations and Miller expanding his role in the network’s music space.
iHeartMedia Tweaks Talk Programming on New KFXR, Dallas. The Dallas-market talk station KFXR is dropping the “DFW 1190” brand and is going with “Talk Radio 1190” as it moves away from the business talk and brokered programming to air other iHeartMedia content on the signal. So far, the new programming schedule will include the Russ Martin show from sister rocker KEGL “97.1 The Eagle” from 7:00 am to 11:00 am (a rerun of the previous afternoon’s program); KTRH, Houston-based Michael Berry for the 5:00 am hour and from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm; and KPRC, Houston-based Matt Patrick from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
Forrest Goodman Named Host at ‘Newstalk FM 98.9’ in Memphis. Well-known Memphis radio personality Forrest Goodman is the new morning drive co-host at Cumulus Media’s WKIM, Memphis “Newstalk FM 98.9.” Goodman is working alongside Steve Butler on the program. Goodman is working in his 16th season on the radio broadcasts of Memphis Tigers football and basketball play-by-play broadcasts. He has worked in the market as program director at crosstown WREC and was a talk host on the station, as well. Cumulus Media corporate program director, news talk Randall Bloomquist states, “Forrest Goodman is a gifted broadcaster and a fixture on the Memphis radio and sports scenes. Adding him to the ‘Newstalk FM 98.9’ roster is a real coup and bolsters the station’s position as the voice of Memphis.” Goodman adds, “I’m so pleased to be back on the air. This is my home and ‘Newstalk FM 98.9’ has great talent. I get a chance to work again with Ben Ferguson and Andrew Clarksenior, two guys I have worked with before who are real pros.”
Chase Named Ruby Radio’s VP/Programming. After a 22-year gig programming iHeartMedia’s Las Vegas adult contemporary KSNE “Sunny 106.5,” Tom Chase becomes Ruby Radio‘s vice president of programming. Ruby Radio president and chief executive officer Ken Sutherland comments, “We have worked together three times in the past and Tom Chase is an outstanding programmer. I have a very high regard for his skills – both as a solid strategic and operational program director – and as a strong department manager.” Chase remarks that he likes “the texture and presentation” of the Ruby-owned stations. “I grew up in a small community in Idaho, so I can relate to the size of these towns. Ruby Radio has found ways to make these stations sound like they are in much bigger markets, without sacrificing the ‘home town feel’ of community involvement that you need for success.” Chase will oversee Elko, Nevada hot AC KHIX “Mix 96.7″; KBGZ “Big Country 103.9″; and talk KZBI, as well as Winnemucca, Nevada hot AC KHYX “Mix 102.7″ and K232BK “Big Country 94.3.” He begins his new duties next month.
Odds & Sods. A partnership between Tribune Media’s WGN, Chicago and the hyperlocal site DNAInfo.com means WGN listeners will hear the neighborhood news organization’s reports twice daily – during the 8:00 am hour and the 3:00 pm hour – delivered by DNAInfo’s Jon Hansen. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports WGN vice president of content and programming Todd Manley says, “I’m a huge fan of what they’re doing at DNAinfo, and I’m thrilled about our agreement.”…..With the departure of Howie Carr from WRKO to crosstown “WMEX 1510 Boston” after his contract expired last week, Entercom is filling the afternoon drive slot with talk radio pro Mike Siegel in the interim…..Julie Boruchov is promoted to vice president, sports sales and marketing, East Coast for Westwood One‘s network sales division. She has been serving as director, sports sales, East Coast.
‘Commercial Real Estate Show’ Expands to 40 Stations. The Atlanta-based “Commercial Real Estate Show” hosted by Michael Bull (pictured here) is now heard on 40 stations across the country. The program debuted on WAFS, Atlanta four years ago and has grown to its current affiliate roster. Bull says that the program “provides investors, and corporate and institutional investors, advisors and occupiers of commercial real estate, a source for valuable information and best practices. The forecasts, sector updates and market intelligence intrigue a vast audience of people looking for ideas, advice and fresh talk radio content.” A press statement from the program notes that “one of the factors adding listener interest is the relative ease someone can now invest in commercial real estate through crowd funding. For just over a year now, the Jobs Act has allowed sponsors of real estate investments to advertise for investors. Through a growing number of real estate crowd funding websites, accredited investors can easily invest small amounts of money in large commercial real estate deals.” The syndicated program is a weekly one-hour show.
Gordon Smith to Receive 2015 Golden Mike Award. The Broadcasters Foundation of America is announcing NAB president and CEO Gordon H. Smith will be honored with the 2015 Golden Mike Award at the organization’s black-tie fundraising gala at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on February 23. BFoA chairman Philip Lombardo says, “Gordon’s accomplishments for broadcasters are widely recognized across our profession. But perhaps many are not aware of Gordon’s tireless efforts on behalf of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation to help our colleagues in need. Gordon’s influence has raised awareness of the Foundation’s charitable mission, and his commitment to helping those in our business who need it most has been admirable. We are honored to have Gordon on our Board and to recognize his dedication to our purpose with the 2015 Golden Mike Award.”
Like Mother, Like Daughter. The Los Angeles Times reports that Shout! Factory is releasing all 142 episodes of the original classic television sitcom “The Phil Silvers Show” (originally titled, “You’ll Never Get Rich,” and known to fans as “Sgt. Bilko”) on DVD. The series ran on the CBS Television Network between 1955 and 1959. The multiple-Emmy-winning sitcom, set at a fictional army post in Kansas, cast Silvers as Master Sgt. Ernie Bilko, who happened to be the post’s ace con man. Bilko’s love interest in the story (shown in the photo at left with Silvers) is a character named Sgt. Joan Hogan portrayed by the beautiful actress Elisabeth Fraser. If the late female star looks somewhat familiar to those of you who follow talk radio it is because her daughter Meg McDonald (right) of the syndicated GCN talk show team Brent & Meg is clearly a chip off the old block. Brent & Meg air daily between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm ET and were recently cleared at Townsquare Media’s WPGG, Atlantic City.
Rush Limbaugh Seeks Retraction and Apology from DCCC for ‘False and Defamatory’ Statement. Attorneys for Premiere Networks-syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh are seeking a retraction and apology from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for what is being termed a “false and defamatory” statement regarding Limbaugh’s on-air discussion about consent for sexual relations. Limbaugh attorney Patricia Glaser writes in a letter to the DCCC that the organization purposely took Limbaugh’s words in which he “condemns the notion that ‘no’ means ‘yes’” regarding sexual relations, and edited them to give the impression that the opposite was said. The DCCC then sent the message out via the internet. The question is, does Limbaugh’s attorney have a case? She cites legal precedent in her letter. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says it would appear that the comments of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee are way off base. “The email went so far as to ask people to contact Limbaugh’s advertisers to voice their disapproval. However, the same First Amendment that protected Rush Limbaugh when he called Sandra Fluke a ‘slut’ and a ‘prostitute’ may well protect the DCCC in their gross mischaracterization of Limbaugh’s remarks. Specifically, as a public figure, in order to be successful in a defamation action, Limbaugh would have to prove that the DCCC acted with malice – that is that they knew what they were saying was a lie or that they acted with a reckless disregard for its truth. Even more problematic for Limbaugh would be that he would have to prove that he was harmed by the comments. In order to be successful in his lawsuit he would have to show that he lost sponsors and/or listeners.” Limbaugh’s lawyer cites two cases that deal with the narrow issue of whether it is libelous if you use the exact words of someone out of context or edited. Weisman says that while the cases support Limbaugh’s position on the matter, he doesn’t think they are wholly determinative of the case. But he adds, “Ironically, merely by exercising his own First Amendment rights and making his threat of a lawsuit, Limbaugh may have already won the battle by presenting his case to the people without even entering a courtroom.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison comments, “Regardless of whether the DCCC apologizes or whatever the results of Rush’s subsequent lawsuit, Limbaugh is doing a service to our culture by bringing this general, nasty trend to the forefront of conversation by saying enough is enough – and that is the tendency by political types of all persuasions, left and right, these days to seek victory at the expense of truth.” Read the entire letter from Limbaugh’s attorney to the DCCC here.
Cumulus Media Reports Flat Q3. The third quarter of 2014 turned out to be flat on a pro forma basis for Cumulus Media. On an actual basis, net revenue was up $51.4 million – or 19.4% — but that was due primarily to the addition of the operations of Westwood One. Digging a little deeper, the company reports that “broadcast advertising revenue decreased by $12.5 million. Net broadcast advertising revenue was down due to ongoing weakness in several large local markets that began in the second quarter of 2014; however, we believe that weakness has now largely dissipated into the early portion of the current quarter. National spot advertising was generally flat as we continued to take share from small competitors. Network advertising continued to see disruption following the acquisition of Westwood One in December 2013. We believe that process of reorganizing our network sales verticals is also now completed. Digital advertising revenue increased by $6.7 million, primarily due to increased Rdio user generation activity and digital commerce generated by our Sweetjack platform. Political advertising revenue increased by $2.9 million due to additional activity associated with mid-term and gubernatorial elections and license fees and other revenue increased by $2.8 million.” For the first three quarters of 2014, Cumulus’ net revenue was up 1.8% on a pro forma basis.
KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Brings Jim Villanucci Aboard for Afternoon Drive. After suddenly exiting Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland where he was hosting middays, Jim Villanucci resurfaces at CBS RADIO’s KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas in the afternoon drive slot vacated by the departure of talk host Kevin Wall. Villanucci’s first day on the air was yesterday (11/10). Prior to his stint in Portland, he spent almost 14 years at Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque enjoying high ratings in the afternoon drive slot, but exited that post in March of 2013. Villanucci says that although he misses the KXL staffers in Portland, he’s thrilled to be in Las Vegas working with CBS RADIO SVP/market manager Jerry McKenna and programmer Cat Thomas.
WRKO, Boston Helps Raise $115,000-plus for Fisher House. The personalities on Entercom’s WRKO, Boston spent Monday (11/10) broadcasting live from the Seaport Hotel as part of an effort to raise funds for the Fisher House in Boston. Pictured here are Barry Armstrong and Kim Carrigan hosting “The Financial Exchange.” Morning drive personality Jeff Kuhner also was on hand as the station brought in more than $115,000 for Fisher House. Kuhner says, “The WRKO listeners are the best in the country. Hands down. When we ask them to come through, they do. And they do it in a very big way.” The tally was at $98,000.00 just before 6:00pm, when Entercom CEO David Field donated the $2,000 it took to get over the six-figure mark. The Fisher House Boston is a home away from home where military families can stay while a loved one is receiving in-house treatment at one of the medical centers. The homes enable family members to be close to loved ones at the most stressful times.
Odds & Sods. The broadcast rights for Arkansas State play-by-play are re-upped for another five years by East Arkansas Broadcasters. The agreement allows EAB to continue to originate the broadcast of every Arkansas State game in football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball from the company’s flagship sports talker KFIN, Jonesboro…..SiriusXM signs PGA pro John Daly to host a six-part series on its PGA Tour channel. The show is called “Hit It Hard with John Daly” and will debut in December.
Eric Dickerson Joins Westwood One’s Jim Gray Aboard USS America. Pictured here is Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson speaking with troops aboard the USS America on Monday (11/10). As part of last night’s Westwood One Monday Night Football broadcast, pre-game and half-time host Jim Gray broadcast live from aboard the brand new naval ship USS America and he was joined by Dickerson during the programs. In honor of Veterans Day, both mingled with the sailors and fielded football questions for Monday Night Football weekly contributors Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald.
Lame Duck Congress, 2016 Presidential Prospects, President Obama in China/Russia-China Relationship, Fall of Berlin Wall Anniversary, U.S.-Iran Nukes Talks, Battle Against ISIS, Net Neutrality Issue, Early Cold and Snow, Veteran’s Day, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/10). What the lame duck congress may try to accomplish before the GOP majority takes over in January; a look ahead at the prospects for president in 2016; President Obama’s visit to China and the cozier relationship between Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Xi Jinping’s China; the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall; the talks between the U.S. and Iran about the latter’s nuclear program; the fight against ISIS and reports the organization is considering a merger with al Qaeda; the net neutrality issue and President Obama’s weighing in on the matter; an early blast of cold and snow hit the Upper Midwest; the Veteran’s Day holiday and observances across the country; 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.
KNBR, San Francisco Votes to Unionize. There is no comment so far from owner Cumulus Media after the staff at sports talker KNBR, San Francisco voted to recognize SAG-AFTRA as its bargaining unit. The union announces that after the results of an October 22 ballot that was returned on November 4, it will represent more than 35 workers at the station and plans to begin negotiating with KNBR/KTCT on its first contract. SAG-AFTRA quotes KNBR staffers including talk host and news anchor Ted Ramey who says, “Just like the many teams that we cover, we bring commitment and passion to KNBR every day. We want to be treated as respected members of our team.” Producer Brian Smith adds, “We aim to reach a deal that will ensure that all of us dedicated to KNBR have a share of our successes.” Recently, producers at CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia joined the union that already represented air talent.
Dana Loesch Hits the Road on Book Tour. Nationally syndicated Radio America talk show host Dana Loesch is on a cross-country tour promoting her new book, Hands off My Gun (Center Street 2014) and recently made stops at affiliate station events. In the photo here, Loesch (second from left) poses with fellow panelists at WDBO-FM, Orlando’s live listener event titled, “News 96.5’s Red, White and Truth.” With her are Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz (left), Fox News Channel and Premiere Networks superstar Sean Hannity (second from right) and author David Limbaugh (right). Loesch also visited Atlanta where she spent an hour on the air with WSB-AM/FM personality Erick Erickson prior to a book-signing on the campus of Georgia Tech.
Howie Carr Live Book Signing Now Posted on TalkersTV. This past Saturday (11/1), regionally syndicated New England talk show host, newspaper columnist and prolific author, Howie Carr (pictured here at left) made a live book signing appearance at Table & Vine, a famous liquor and gourmet delicacy store in West Springfield, Massachusetts. Carr was promoting the latest in his series of behind-the-scenes crime books, Pug Uglies (2014 Frandel LLC) which has developed a huge following among fans of historic Boston-based mob lore. The promotion was a successful example of Carr’s “Wine & Sign” appearances at which he does book sales/signings at liquor stores across the region. More than 200 fans showed up at the event and 400 copies of Carr’s three latest books were sold within a two-hour period. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison attended the event and conducted the interview with Howie and his wife Kathy Carr (pictured here at right) who serves as VP of sales and marketing for his show. According to Harrison, “This was an outstanding win-win-win for Table & Vine, local radio affiliate – iHeartMedia’s WHYN, Springfield, and the Howie Carr Show. It was clear to me, speaking with the people who attended, that Howie Carr is a master talk show host who engenders tremendous loyalty in his listeners – these folks love him! And Kathy is a tremendous marketer who can teach a number of things to today’s radio account execs.” Howie Carr states in the interview, “I don’t think radio is dead if you know how to use it properly and interact with your audience.” To view the video piece, see the TalkersTV box at the top of the right hand column of this page.
Salem Communications Reports Q3 Broadcast Net Revenue Up 2.1%. The best-performing segments of Salem Communications are its internet/e-commerce (up 55.4%) and publishing (up 164.7%), but the broadcasting division also saw net revenue rise in the third quarter of 2014 by 2.1% on earnings of $47 million compared to the same period a year ago. You’ll recall that Salem recently acquired Twitchy.com for its internet/e-commerce division and Eagle Publishing was brought into the publishing division. For the year so far, the broadcast division’s net revenue is up 3% on earnings of $140.4 million.
Saga Communications’ Q3 Net Revenue Jumps 4.4%. The third quarter financial report from Saga Communications showed an improved net operating revenue figure – a hike of 4.4% on revenue of $34.4 million. The company reports that station operating expense was $26.4 million (station operating expense includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations) compared to $23.6 million for the same period last year. That increase was primarily due to an accrual attributable to the company’s expectations of entering into license agreements in the fourth quarter of 2014 which are currently under negotiation. For the first three quarter of 2014, Saga states net operating revenue increased 2.0% to $97.6 million compared to $95.7 million for the same period last year.
Joe Buck Visits ‘Jay Mohr Sports.’ Pictured here is Fox Sports broadcaster Joe Buck (right) posing for a shot in the Los Angeles studios of Fox Sports Radio Network’s “Jay Mohr Sports” with host Jay Mohr (left). Buck dropped by the studio recently to give Mohr’s listeners a mid-season report on the NFL and to recap the World Series.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Genesis Communications-syndicated Dr. Joy Browne show is added to the program schedule at WHAN, Ashland, Virginia…..Radio America-syndicated Dana Loesch program is added to the program schedule at WWBA, Tampa; WYDE, Birmingham; WDCD-AM, Albany; WTKI, Huntsville; KEEL, Shreveport; KURV, McAllen-Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas; KYYW Abilene, and KAPE, Cape Girardeau, Missouri…..The GCN-distributed “America Tonight” program hosted by Kate Delaney is added to new affiliates WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi and KIXW, Victorville, California.
GOP Gains Senate Majority Top News/Talk Story of the Week. The results of the mid-term elections giving Republicans a majority in the U.S. Senate was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was the GOP victories at the state level tied with the marijuana ballot initiatives. At #3 was the look ahead to the 2016 presidential prospects followed by the battle against ISIS 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 and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Cumulus Media Announces Daily Feature Role for Mike Rogers. The announcement that outgoing Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and former FBI agent Mike Rogers would join Cumulus Media came earlier this year when Rogers said he would not run for re-election. Now, the company reports that Rogers will be the host of a new thrice-daily feature program called, “Something to Think About,” that will debut on January 5. Rogers says, “From the highest level national security discussion to the most inspiring American success story, I have seen it. I am excited to bring these stories to life. They are humorous, compelling, moving and most of all these stories will give us something to think about.” Cumulus says the features “will play an important role helping Americans better understand critical issues that impact their daily lives. Rogers will address the most-talked-about issues of the day and highlight smaller stories illuminating the concept of American exceptionalism. Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey adds, “After spending more than a decade dealing firsthand with the most sensitive issues facing our nation, Mike Rogers will now bring his invaluable insight and perspective to the American people each weekday on Westwood One. Mike is an exciting addition to our expanding national talk platform.” At this morning’s editorial meeting, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison reacted quickly to the announcement of Cumulus Media’s plans to roll out Rogers in a short-form feature instead of what had been widely anticipated by industry observers as a traditional two- or three-hour longform package. Harrison states, “The Dickeys are demonstrating that they are smart broadcasters who clearly learn from their experience. This is evidenced by the strategic way in which they are bringing a valuable property such as Rogers into the rough-and-tumble world of talk radio. This move indicates they are aware that, although a host or talent from outside the field of play might have tremendous credentials, connections, knowledge and insights into the subject matter at hand, he or she might not be ready for what it takes to execute the craft of actually hosting a competitive radio show. A new host – especially one who comes to this game as a big-timer from an adjacent field – needs time in nurturing their skills to reach full effectiveness. This will give Rogers the opportunity to get it right and I’m sure he will do just that considering the levels of intelligence and media savvy he brings to the table.”
Bob Frantz Begins WLQR, Toledo Gig Today. As announced last month, former WTAM, Cleveland evening host Bob Frantz is joining Cumulus Media to host a two-hour afternoon sports talk show on the company’s WLQR, Toledo “106.5 The Ticket.” Today (11/6), he begins his new 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm show on the station. Cumulus Toledo RVP and market manager Andy Stuart says, “Bob is a great sports talk talent and we are so pleased to have him join our roster of great, talent-driven stations. He will bring a new level of quality sports talk to Northwest Ohio that the audience will find very engaging.”
Buddy Cianci to Return to WPRO-AM, Providence After Failed Mayoral Bid. The former two-time mayor of Providence took leave of his afternoon drive talk show on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM simulcast in June to run for mayor of the city but failed as an independent to beat Democrat Jorge Elorza. He appeared on the afternoon show with station personality Tara Granahan (who’s been filling in for him during the campaign) on Wednesday and will resume his regular show on Monday, November 10. Cianci served as mayor of the Rhode Island capital twice before, once after serving time for a racketeering conspiracy charge.
Mike Huckabee to Independently Syndicate Daily Commentary. The daily feature former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has been producing for distribution via Westwood One both during and since the end of his daily talk show on that network is going independent. There are not a lot of specifics from Huckabee’s camp at this time but his organization says “The Huckabee Report” currently airs nationally on more than 500 affiliates and new distribution details will be announced in the near future. According to Huckabee, the three daily commentaries are delivered mornings, middays and afternoons and the reports are delivered in a modular format that allows stations to carry one or three minutes of content per report.
WRKO, Boston Talk Host Howie Carr Off Air After a Car Accident. According to a Boston Herald story, WRKO afternoon drive personality Howie Carr was involved in a car accident on the Massachusetts Turnpike on Wednesday afternoon prior to his radio show and, after being taken to the hospital and treated, was released later that evening. Carr’s wife Kathy tells the paper (for which Carr writes a regular column) that he’s in good spirits. It’s not clear when Carr will return to the air on WRKO. A statement from Entercom market manager Phil Zachary read, in part: “The Republican surge that swept across America was something Howie predicted and so urgently wanted to share with each of you on the air throughout the week. However, as a precaution, Howie will remain off the air and under observation to ensure a full recovery with no complications.”
CBS Corp. Reports Q3 Financials; Radio Division Up 2%. As is usually the case with CBS Corp. quarterly investor conference calls, very little time is spent talking about the radio division and yesterday was no exception. The company’s radio stations are part of the Local Broadcasting division and radio net revenue for the third quarter of 2014 was up 2%. CEO Les Moonves did discuss the station swap with Beasley and noted – not surprisingly – that the move is part of the company’s “big-market strategy.” The addition of country WKIS, CHR WPOW and sports talk WQAM in Miami and CHR WRDW and country WXTU in Philly adds to the company’s Philadelphia holdings and gives it a radio footprint in Miami. CBS already owns TV stations in the two markets. Beasley is getting CBS’ seven Charlotte and six Tampa stations.
Townsquare Media Q3 Pro Forma Net Revenue Climbs 7.1%. An investor’s conference call is taking place today but the press statement from Townsquare Media indicates a very positive third quarter for the media firm with pro forma net revenue up 7.1% compared to the same quarter a year ago. Pro forma local advertising net revenue increased 1.9%. On an actual basis, net revenue increased $27.9 million, or 41.7%, to $94.7 million, compared to $66.9 million in the same period last year. The big increase was due primarily to the acquisitions made during the second half of 2013, including certain assets of Peak II Holding, LLC, Cumulus Media Inc. and certain live events. Townsquare chairman and CEO Steven Price says, “We are pleased to announce solid results in the third quarter in line with guidance. In the third quarter, pro forma net revenue grew 7.1%, with strength across both our Local Advertising and Other Media & Entertainment segments. We continue to be pleased with the performance that has been delivered by our diversified revenue strategy.”
WRKO, Boston to Hold Fisher House Radiothon. On Monday, November 10, Entercom news/talk WRKO, Boston will partner with Fisher House Boston to host a radiothon to raise funds to benefit the Fisher House’s continued efforts to provide a safe and welcoming environment for veterans and their families as they stay in Boston to receive medical treatment. The radiothon will take place from the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center and begin at 6:00 am with “The Kuhner Report,” hosted by Jeff Kuhner, and continuing until 7:00 pm. Entercom VP and market manager Phil Zachary comments, “Fisher House serves an invaluable role assuming the care and housing of families who have already given so much. Time and again, WRKO listeners have demonstrated they’re true New England patriots in their love of country and support of our troops. There’s no doubt they’ll answer the bell next Monday.” Fisher House Boston is located at the VA Boston Healthcare Medical facility in West Roxbury.
Doug Stephan’s ‘Good Day’ Helps Pre-Register Breast Cancer Walkers. The nationally syndicated, Doug Stephan-hosted “Good Day” program teamed with AdLarge Media and the American Cancer Society to present, “Share in the Spirit,” a multi-platform promotional campaign that drove pre-registration for the “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walking events all across the country. Stephan’s show helped create a sense of community that encouraged listeners to share their stories on Facebook and Twitter, with a dedicated hashtag. Listeners were directed to a dedicated page on Stephan’s website for the chance to win a “Making Strides”-branded pink tote, baseball cap, and bracelet and become the grand prize winner of a trip to a walk of their choice. A link on the site re-directed Stephan’s listeners to the ACS’s MakingStridesWalk.org for pre-registration.
GOP Wins Senate Majority, President Obama’s Final Two Years, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Marijuana Ballot Initiatives, and Battle Against ISIS Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/5). The Republican victories in the mid-term elections, the gaining of a majority in the U.S. Senate and other state races; the referendum on President Obama’s presidency and what’s in store for his final two years in office; the prospects for the 2016 presidential race; the state ballot initiatives changing marijuana laws; and the battle against ISIS were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Doug Stephan and WYD Media Management Partner for Syndication. The new relationship between nationally syndicated radio personality Doug Stephan and Ron Hartenbaum’s WYM Media Management means WYM begins handling affiliate sales for Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” morning show and it will oversee the national launch of “Good Day Weekend,” a three-hour show that will be available for broadcast any time, every weekend. The two partners say the new show will feature “segments and stories in real time, discussing the week’s breaking news with lively interviews of newsmakers and plenty of advice and fun commentary.” Doug Stephan comments, “Ron and his talented team bring a level of professionalism and credibility that will surely take ‘Good Day’ to unprecedented levels. I’m looking forward to working with such a wonderful partner.”
The Village Voice Names Geraldo Best AM Radio Host in NYC. The iconic New York paper is out with its 2014 Best Of Awards and WABC late morning personality Geraldo Rivera takes the Best AM Radio Personality Award. The paper writes, in part, “Geraldo Rivera actually has something to say. The guy understands the issues of the day and has enough confidence in his opinions to call bullshit on blowhards like Bill O’Reilly, which he often does on that toad’s own show with style and red-faced grace.” Check out the full story here.
Full Service FM Signal Begins Serving Muskegon, Michigan. The programming at WFFR, Muskegon, Michigan is a blend of talk and music that launched on Monday, October 13 as a non-profit station operated by Shoreline Broadcasting. Local radio pros – including Andy O’Riley, Bill Marshall and Matt Hendricks – are serving as on-air personalities. According to MLive.com, the station is branding itself, “The Official Radio Station of Muskegon County.” The station is playing music – mostly classic rock – when it’s not airing spoken-word content. O’Riley, who is also serving as the station’s general manager, says on the station’s website, “Our focus will be on making sure that our role as a community asset will be appreciated and used often. Yes, we need to make a living but we also need to be the voice of a community.”
Farm Journal Broadcast to Debut Digital Platform. From Farm Journal Broadcast comes a digital mobile radio service called, “My Farm Radio.” The company says that the new digital effort is set to debut on November 3 and will focus on providing a mix of best-in-class news, weather and markets along with entertaining and informative conversation for America’s farmers and ranchers. It will feature both a live stream and on-demand content. Farm Journal Media SVP of broadcast Brian Conrady says, “All the latest research indicates that for a growing number of farmers and ranchers, mobile devices are rapidly becoming the go-to choice for news and information. While this totally new offering will be a first for agriculture, we expect our audience – and clients – will quickly associate ‘My Farm Radio’ as the Pandora-type app for agriculture.” My Farm Radio will launch with the full portfolio of programs and reports from Farm Journal Media, including “AgriTalk,” “Market Rally,” and “American Countryside.” In addition, the company will be approaching potential programmers to make their shows or reports available on the app, or even own their own channel on the platform.
Big Radio Brings Back Heritage WBEL Calls to Beloit, Wisconsin Station. The Scott Thompson-operated Big Radio company announces a change of call letters as WTJK, Beloit is now WBEL-AM – the calls it originally signed on with in 1948. Thompson says, “The future of AM1380 is in its past…For years, it was the powerhouse radio station not only for Beloit, but for the entire Rock River Valley in both Wisconsin and Illinois. Because it is a full-time 5,000 watt radio station, we intend to bring it back to its glory days. Local news, weather and high school sports together with local, real, non-satellite personalities will air from 5:00 am to 6:00 pm. Now with the addition of WGEZ in Beloit, Big Radio will be able to broadcast on both WBEL and WGEZ from their studios in downtown Beloit.” The WGEZ purchase from Alliance Communications is expected to be approved by the FCC by the end of the year. At the same time, the company announces that Ben Thompson (son of Scott), is named general manager of WGEZ and market manager for Janesville/Beloit. Ben Thompson has been with Magnetar Capital, an Evanston, Illinois-based hedge fund, since graduating from DePaul University in finance and accounting. He will be moving to Beloit and starting effective December 1, 2014.
U.S. Ebola Cases/Pandemic Threat, the Battle Against ISIS, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, Hong Kong Protests, Financial Markets Activity, and MBL Playoffs and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/14). The case of the second Texas hospital worker to become infected with Ebola and the threat of a pandemic; the coalition battle against ISIS and controversy over the U.S. and Turkish military relationship; the looming mid-term elections and the prospects for the 2016 presidential election; the protests in Hong Kong and China’s response to the matter; the dip in U.S. stocks and the activity in the global financial markets; and the MLB playoffs and NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Veteran Radio Programmer Kevin Metheny Succumbs to Heart Attack at 60. Longtime broadcasting executive and major talk radio programmer Kevin Metheny has unexpectedly died yesterday (10/3) afternoon due to what is being reported as a sudden heart attack at the age of 60. Metheny had been serving as operations manager of Cumulus Media outlets KGO and KSFO in San Francisco since June. Before that he was program director of WJR, Detroit, also a Cumulus station. He was a second generation radio professional, the son of broadcaster Terrell Metheny. John Dickey, EVP programming and content for Cumulus issued the following statement: “Kevin Metheny’s sudden passing this afternoon is a devastating personal and professional loss for his broadcasting family at Cumulus, and for the entire radio industry. Kevin was a legendary broadcasting talent who touched many lives in his remarkable 44-year career, and whose successes made an indelible mark on radio. His reputation and accomplishments are simply unparalleled and we are grateful for having had the opportunity to work with him as PD of WJR in Detroit and most recently, as operations manager of KGO and KSFO in San Francisco. His Cumulus family extends our deepest sympathies to Kevin’s loved ones. We will miss him profoundly.” Metheny began working in radio at KWHP, Edmund, Oklahoma and WKY, Oklahoma City. His long and storied career includes having worked at a number of key radio stations around the country, most notably as programmer of WNBC, New York with Howard Stern (who critically dubbed a character in his autobiographical book Private Parts based on Metheny, “Pig Vomit”) in the 1980s and in more recent times with Jacor, Clear Channel and the Randy Michaels regime at WGN, Chicago. TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison states, “Metheny was one of the major radio programmers of the modern era. He had a keen understanding of the basics of talk radio and the important role talent plays within it. He wasn’t afraid of controversy nor subjecting himself to criticism. After more than four decades of making a difference in this industry he was still involved in one of the hot spots of action where he was well on his way to engineering a turn-around at the Cumulus operations in San Francisco. This is a tragic loss for all of us who care about radio. Our deepest condolences to his family and colleagues.”
Pinch Postpones Retirement. Apparently, you can hold off buying a gold watch for Jon Pinch a bit longer. Cumulus‘ 14-year executive vice president and chief operating officer was scheduled to call it quits in late-November, but the company is installing him as market manager for its six-station Atlanta cluster. Cumulus president and chief executive officer Lew Dickey comments, “Jon is the consummate team player and will now be contributing in this new role. We are excited to have someone with his loyalty, talent, and experience leading our terrific team in Atlanta.” Pinch remarks that he is “honored” to lead “these great stations at this important juncture in the company’s growth. This makes perfect sense for the stations and for me – personally and professionally – so retirement will have to wait. To say that the position amounts to downshifting for me sounds almost comical. The lifestyle change, with far less travel, allows me to spend my time at home in Atlanta and continue to work in the industry I love. It is the best of both worlds. I am thrilled to work with the incredible team in place at our Atlanta stations to drive the continued growth of these vibrant radio brands.” The position has been open since April when Cumulus promoted Jeff Brown to corporate senior vice president. Cumulus’ Atlanta cluster consists of country WKHX “Kicks 101.5,” WNNX “Rock 100.5,” CHR WWWQ “Q-100,” country WWWQ-HD2 “Nash Icon 98.9″; news WYAY “News Radio 106.7,” and WWWQ-HD3.
Borrell Associates Study Highlights the Cost to Small and Medium Businesses of Digital Marketing. A study released today by Borrell Associates called the 2014 Digital Marketing Services Outlook focuses on the dollars spent by small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in America on digital marketing. This is relevant to radio inasmuch as it shines a light on what it really takes – in dollars – to support digital marketing that both competes with radio’s traditional on-air advertising and the digital marketing that is also offered by broadcasting companies. For instance, we often jump to the conclusion that digital advertising is less expensive – no transmitter needed, no printing press and mailing system – but as the Borrell study estimates, SMBs spend three of every five marketing dollars on digital marketing services for a national total of $501 billion this year. The study also concludes, “In fact, when it comes to what the typical local business spends on digital marketing, only 13% goes toward classic forms of online advertising such as banners, paid search or video. More than two-thirds of what they spend goes toward managing their digital media channels. The rest goes toward “promotions” — or all those creative activities such as contests, giveaways, coupons and two-for-one deals that flow from their newfound marketing finesse.” Note the Borrell graphic here laying out the industry’s digital media services expenditures. See more about the Borrell study here.
Watchdog Radio Debuts. The new offshoot of Watchdog.org – itself a project of Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity – is Watchdog Radio, a “new broadcast initiative at the state and national level, that aims to replicate the success of Watchdog.org’s online reporting.” The Illinois-based organization’s president, Jason Stverak, says, “Watchdog Radio is a chance for us to connect with a wider audience and bring them news stories that are impacting communities all over the country. It is our goal to discuss the issues that others don’t and keep Americans informed on waste, fraud and abuse at every level of government.” “National Watchdog Radio” will be syndicated on weekends. The show is hosted by reporters Eric Boehm and Matt Kittle. The two-hour show will focus on state and local governments across the states, as well as larger national trends. Kathryn Watson of Watchdog.org’s Washington, DC bureau will join the program to discuss the most interesting stories of the week from Watchdog.org.
Execs Named at iHeartMedia Atlanta. Following the just-announced departure of Matt Scarano from Atlanta to iHeartMedia’s Chicago station group, the company announces changes in the Atlanta cluster. Justin Schaflander is named market president and Jason Mosher takes on the VP of sales position. Schaflander moves up from his previous position as VP of sales for the cluster and Mosher is upped from his duties as GSM of WUBL, WGST and Total Traffic and Weather Network.
Round One of September PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of September 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was August 14 through September 10. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Katz-Commissioned Study: Radio Effective Way to Reach Swing Voters. A study commissioned by Katz Media Group shows swing voters are regular radio users – 81% of those identified as swing voters report listening to AM/FM radio regularly. Moreover, voters across the political spectrum report that radio ads are more credible than the ads they see on the internet by a 56-35 margin, which increases to a 62-38 margin among low-turnout voters. The survey was handled by Vox Populi Polling to examine how much influence radio has in the electoral marketplace. The sample size for the survey was 1,059 active voters. Other results from the study include: Swing voters spend 10% more time with radio daily than the average American voter; 67% of swing voters listen to FM regularly, while 14% are exclusively AM radio listeners; 65% of low-turnout Republicans and Democrats say they listen to FM music on a regular basis; and 61% of swing voters agree that radio is a good way for political candidates to reach them. KMG EVP of strategy, analytics & research Stacey Lynn Schulman says, “This research illustrates that radio is both a habitual and influential medium for reaching voters who can make the difference on Election Day. In the race for credibility, radio outshines online advertising by a wide margin in the minds of still impressionable voters.”
Odds & Sods. Former KDWN and KXNT, Las Vegas talk show host Heidi Harris is now the market manager for Blab TV Las Vegas – an online video talk platform…..Cross Platform Media Group, LLC announces former VP of programming for Westwood One, Tim Maranville, is named chief content officer and director of channel development for the company’s platforms that include: IRN-USA Radio Network and TEN Syndication, home to USA Radio News, “Daybreak USA,” the Steve Deace show, “Bill Martinez Live,” “Point of View,” and others…..John August exits his weekend position with Entravision’s country KNTY, Sacramento “101.9 The Wolf” to take on the fill-in host position for news/talk KNCO, Grass Valley, California’s daily “Swap-Shop” program…..ESPN Radio presents its 17th consecutive season airing MLB post-season baseball beginning tonight as Jon Sciambi and analyst Chris Singleton call the AL Wild Card Game between the Oakland Athletics and the Kansas City Royals.
Obama ’60 Minutes’ Interview, U.S. ISIS Strikes, Hong Kong Protests, Secret Service WH Security Breach Investigation, Mid-Term Elections, Hillary Clinton and 2016 Presidential Hopefuls, and Obama Amnesty Pledge Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/29). Analysis of President Obama’s interview on “60 Minutes” on Sunday evening; the U.S. military’s strikes on ISIS targets and controversy over President Obama’s statements that the U.S. has “underestimated” ISIS; Hong Kong residents protesting the tightening of rule on the Chinese island; the case of the man who entered the White House and the Secret Service’s ability to protect the president; the looming mid-term elections; the prospects for the 2016 presidential race, including Democrats Hillary Clinton and Jim Webb; the state of immigration legislation and President Obama’s pledge to create an amnesty policy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Former Connecticut Governor and WTIC, Hartford Talk Host Found Guilty of Campaign Law Violations. He’d already served 10 months in prison for a 2004 conviction on corruption charges when CBS RADIO’s news/talk WTIC, Hartford hired John Rowland to host a daily afternoon drive radio talk show. Now, after Friday’s conviction on seven counts of campaign finance law violations, it appears that Rowland is likely headed back to prison. Sentencing is scheduled for December 12 but his attorneys plan to appeal. According to the Hartford Courant’s account, Rowland, who resigned from WTIC in April just before being indicted on the charges, chose not to take a plea deal for 18 months jail time and tested his luck with the jury. It didn’t work as the jury found him guilty of all charges related to his scheme to consult a Republican political candidate in 2012 and hide the fact that he was accepting the cash for those purposes. Read Edmund Mahony’s Courant story here.
Local On-Air Talent CAN Become Indispensable. Media consultant Holland Cooke revisits (and expands upon!) the point he made the “pages” of TALKERS four years ago that “if you’re in RADIO, you’re in SALES” in a column published today (9/22). It’s easy to pick apart the effectiveness of another medium’s advertising components but radio must look in the mirror for, as Cooke writes, criticism of a lot of radio’s not-so-great spots is justified because “at many stations, including some in major markets, there’s no creative department. Reps write their own copy, a task that’s not sellers’ core competency.” Effectiveness is directly related to quality, so how to up the quality? Cooke offers some suggestions and you can check them out here.
Consultant Fred Jacobs Encourages Radio Talent to Learn and Exploit Expanded Array of Available Media Tools. Reaction and commentary continues to buzz throughout the industry on the topic of the role of the aural media arts (non-visual radio and music) in the increasingly multi-media/visual environment of the digital era – instigated largely last week by comments made by TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison in the aftermath of the Clear Channel name/branding change to iHEARTMEDIA. According to Harrison, “I am delighted by the enormous number of responses – mostly overwhelmingly positive – that my comments sparked. Of course, there were those who immediately jumped to the conclusion that I am against the word ‘media’ or that I do not believe radio should be involved in internet, satellite or visual media at all. This is, of course, preposterous! The name of our company that owns TALKERS is Talk Media, Inc.; the name of our convention was the New Media Seminar way back in 1998; TALKERS magazine’s slogan is The Bible of Talk Radio and the New Talk Media; I have championed a concept known as “The Media Station” for more than a decade and the list goes on. All I am saying is we should remain sensitive and respectful to the idea that there is a very important place in this emerging mix for pure audio-only radio and music in terms of the fundamentals of these processes – and that by doing so, we will be serving the best interests of our industry, the people who work in it and the consumers who love radio and music on their basic terms.” Harrison continues, “My friend, noted radio consultant/researcher Fred Jacobs, CEO of Jacobs Media, — also an industry voice who is outspoken on this most compelling issue — has written and posted a blog today (9/22) that I believe adds an important dimension to the subject that warrants attention. Jacobs makes a case, somewhat counterpoint (but not contradictory) to mine, that I find inspirational.” In the blog, Jacobs writes, “I started thinking about this notion that the proliferation of screens will narrow the field for talkers, DJs, and hosts who are great with words, but not so wonderful visually. As he [Michael Harrison] notes, screens of all sizes are becoming dominant parts of how people consume media. Thankfully, radio has been able to participate on most of those screens, whether on smartphones or tablets. Over time as autonomous driving becomes more common, those who ride in these cars will gravitate to entertainment that is visual in origin – at least at a higher percentage than they are able to consume now while dangerously texting and driving. So is this the beginning of the end for radio, or is it simply the beginning of the beginning? Because as we have explored in this blog during the past few years, disruption forces old stars to adapt while bringing new ones to the center stage. Notably, two of the “Best Motion Picture” Oscars in just the past few years have focused on this topic. The King’s Speech starring Colin Firth was a story about changing technology, as the King of England was forced to learn how to communicate on the radio. Of course, he struggled, but in the end he was able to adapt. And in The Artist, the film’s silent film star refused to adapt to ‘talkies’ and is eventually displaced by a new brand of movie icons. Change is uncomfortable and it can be bitter, as depicted in this amazing film. The ending eventually become a happy one, but the road was arduous and difficult because of the tech disruption caused by the advent of movie sound. Change is hard, especially for those who have enjoyed the status quo. It tests everyone in all strata of the organization and the industry. Accepting, adapting, and adjusting is hard work. It can be quite uncomfortable in workplaces that were once always fun and even kind of easy. But these are the necessary skills that radio people need to exude in order to make the transition. We see signs of this every day in broadcast radio. Those who have the ability to connect with audiences – in person and in social spaces – have a unique edge. The old paradigm of the DJ hermit, locked down the hall in the air studio, is breaking apart. Today’s air talent need to be able to mix it up with listeners, clients, and community leaders. Not every film star is handsome. The public appreciates an interesting face, whether it’s Peter Dinklage on Game of Thrones or Linda Hunt on NCIS. They may be exceptions, but they stand out because they’re different, captivating, and worthy of our attention. They’re also immensely talented actors. And the same will be the case on the radios of the future. While good-looking DJs like Ryan Seacrest or Bobby Bones may have inherent advantages, Howard Stern proves that must-hear content trumps a pretty face. And he’s not alone. Words matter, and they will continue to in a media ecosphere that is now dominated by visuals. Screens or not, it’s the thought that counts. These are changes that radio need to roll with. Let’s open up new visual doors, new avenues, and new paths for our content. And let’s embrace them because it’s truly a media world.” To read Fred Jacobs’ entire blog, please click here.
Radio Management Pro Warren Named VP/MM for Cumulus Nashville. Jumping from the Austin cluster of Entercom where she was director of sales and taking on the vice president and market manager role at Cumulus Media Nashville is Allison Warren. Cumulus SVP Jeff Brown comments, “Allison was a key part of my team in Denver some years back. She did great work there and has since built a portfolio of successes in vibrant radio markets including Austin, Madison and Milwaukee. Her results-driven, collaborative leadership style will infuse our Nashville operations with the energy and focus needed at this pivotal point in the cluster’s growth. Allison will be an incredible asset to Cumulus’ leadership team.” Warren also served with Entercom at its Madison and Milwaukee clusters as well as with CBS RADIO in Denver. Cumulus operates six stations in the market including news/talk WWTN-FM “SuperTalk 99.7,” sports talker WGFX “104.5 The Zone,” as well as the Tennessee Titans Radio Network.
Cross Platform Media Acquires IRN/USA Radio Network. The president and CEO of Cross Platform Media, Sam Hassell, says the acquisition of IRN/USA Radio Network “rounds out the services of Cross Platform that is already deeply embedded in the national media space.” Hassell continues, “We are very excited to make this announcement. We look forward to fulfilling the original vision of USA Radio Network by providing audience-engaging news and content to the independent and group station owners around the country.” Christian and conservative broadcast pioneer Marlin Maddoux launched the USA Radio Network in 1985 and Hassell adds, “We are very respectful of the Maddoux legacy and proud to continue syndicating ‘Point of View,’ ‘Daybreak USA,’ IRN/USA News and so many other significant programs.” IRN/USA Radio Network currently produces and/or distributes more than 20 nationally syndicated radio programs with audience-targeted formatting primarily for news/talk and Christian radio (both commercial and non-commercial).
BIA/Kelsey Forecast for 2015 Local Media Revenue: Up 1.6%. But, of course, the increase comes as beneficial for those in the online/digital media realm (+13.1%) and, not surprisingly, traditional media is expected to see another dip (-1.7%). BIA/Kelsey is presenting these results and more at its Leading in Local: SMB Digital Marketing conference in New Orleans this week. The company predicts that in 2015, online/digital will account for more than one-quarter (25.2%) of total local media revenues in 2015. Revenues for online/digital are expected to grow from $31 billion in 2014 to $35 billion in 2015, representing a 13.1% growth rate. Other forecasts include: Mobile local ad revenues will grow from $4.3 billion in 2014 to $6.6 billion in 2015; Local social media revenues will grow from $2.5 billion in 2014 to $3.6 billion in 2015; Local search revenues will grow from $7.1 billion in 2014 to $7.2 billion in 2015; Local display revenues will grow from $4.3 billion in 2014 to $4.9 billion in 2015; and Local online video revenues will grow from $2.3 billion in 2014 to $3.0 billion in 2015.
Dolans and Seaview Radio Hit Home Run with Live Event in South Florida. Proving there is life after WOR, New York, the legendary husband/wife money media team of Ken & Daria Dolan (pictured here, Daria at left, Ken at right) joined forces with WSVU (960 AM/95.9 FM/ 106.9 FM), North Palm Beach “Seaview Radio” this past Saturday (9/20) presenting a successful, day-long listener/sponsor event titled, “South Florida Wealth & Health Expo 2014,” at the prestigious Jupiter Maltz Theatre in Jupiter, Florida. The event brought local businesses and services from the fields of health, finance and better living together highlighted with on-stage financial advice presentations by the Dolans. Seaview Radio general manager Chet Tart tells TALKERS, “The event gave us a wonderful opportunity to establish new and heightened relationships with sponsors from one of the most dynamic business sectors in the market. We immediately received positive response with attendees and vendors already asking about next year’s event. I think we might have to find a larger venue, next time around.” The Dolans, now based in Jupiter, are best remembered for their stunning run of success at WOR, New York and the WOR Radio Network in the 90s and early-2000s – supplemented by their hosting hot shows on CNN, MSNBC and other cable news/talk networks as well as penning best-selling books on the topic of personal finance. Known for their entertaining banter and solid advice both on air and on stage, the Dolans went into semi-retirement several years ago – but have had difficulty steering clear of offers that keep coming their way for live appearances and their broadcast sales consulting services. The result has been the birth of the increasingly active firm Dolan Media. CEO Ken Dolan tells TALKERS, “There are huge revenue and promotional opportunities for local radio stations in live events – especially in the areas that strike home to most people – health and money. The two go together beautifully as we have just proven at this event in Florida. Daria and I are strongly considering taking this show on the road and helping stations around the country create a very exciting form of financial and PR synergy so dearly needed by small and middle-sized operators at this time.” Perennial members of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred during their run at WOR, the Dolans have been ranked #75 on the prestigious Heaviest Hundred list of the “100 Most important Radio Talk Show Hosts of All Time.” WSVU, North Palm Beach was recently sold by North Palm Beach Broadcasters to JVC Media. GM Chet Tart – one of the most connected broadcast executives in the market – will stay on as GM of the new expanded operation planned by the acquiring owners, telling TALKERS, “With this transition to JVC, I find myself even more focused than ever… offering leadership, encouragement and inspiration to the staff. That’s my focus!” Chet Tart can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ken Dolan can be contacted at email@example.com.
Odds & Sods. At the iHeartMedia Des Moines cluster, alternative KXDA PD Mike Killabrew takes on the programming responsibilities for sister sports talker KXNO, leaving WHO programmer Van Harden to focus on his duties with the heritage news/talker…..Radio personality Denny Schaffer – most recently with iHeartMedia news/talker WRNO, New Orleans and former host at the company’s WSPD, Toledo – is back in Toledo as morning jock on Cumulus Media’s hot AC WWWM “Star 105.”…..Dallas news pro Jim Ryan joins ABC News Radio full time. Ryan — a current staffer at WBAP, Dallas and part-time contributor to ABC News Radio, makes the switch starting November 1.
Clear Channel Becomes iHeartMedia. This is a major name change for a heritage radio company, but, as the press release indicates, it reflects the company’s belief that it’s become a “one-of-a-kind multi-platform media company” that has moved beyond just radio. Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “iHeartMedia reflects our commitment to being the media company that provides the most entertainment to the most engaged audiences wherever they go, with more content and more events in more places on more devices. We have massive consumer reach and influence across our platforms because we know how to program the live content people want to hear, see and share right now, we are the largest mobile media company in existence — more than 60 percent of our broadcast usage is out of home, compared to just 30 percent for other mobile devices — and we deliver more live programming than any other media company today, built on the national and local on-air personalities who are the heart of our powerful broadcast radio franchises. Combined with Clear Channel Outdoor’s reach of over half a billion people worldwide across 30 countries and five continents, it’s clear that no other company can match our reach or broad spectrum of media platforms.” Clear Channel Outdoor will retain its name. Pittman adds, “In a world where 2x ROI is judged as successful, Nielsen has shown that radio delivers 6x ROI on average. It’s because we combine the power and predictably of mass reach with the immediacy and relevance of live programming and the unique and powerful engagement that consumers have with their favorite radio stations and personalities. The opportunity for the new iHeartMedia is to use all of these industry-leading assets together in new ways — extending our massive reach and cultural influence across radio, outdoor, digital, social and live events to make it easier for advertisers to deliver the most relevant, real-time messages across all our platforms at scale, amplified by social media and mobile, to get a superior ROI to other media.”
Michael Harrison: “The Systematic Abandonment of ‘Radio’ by ‘Radio’ is a Disturbing Trend.” TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison warns of what he terms “a disturbing half-baked trend, that although understandable in the big picture of communications, poses an unnecessarily sped-up threat to the livelihoods of everyone in the radio business – not to mention the fundamental role of audio-media in both the spoken-word and musical arts.” Harrison acknowledges, “The move away from the word ‘radio’ in the lexicon of our industry is certainly understandable from a sales and marketing standpoint and it makes total sense to create unified multi-media platforms for today’s mega-consolidated, corporate behemoths to compete effectively in the ‘noisy’ world of the emerging digital era. However, those who work in the media arts that are fundamentally built upon aural foundations – spoken-word shows and music creation – will face increasingly limited opportunities to present their wares to an interested consumer base as venues and business opportunities evaporate at an exponential rate.” Harrison observes, “As we move more and more into a world of screens and not speakers, the only talent that will have a chance to survive in a bottom-line driven, corporate environment will be those whose assets are visually gifted. That does not bode well for the brilliant wordsmiths and musical geniuses who most likely do not have faces for television. It also does not hold much of a future for the deeper aspect of communication that is aurally based – a means of expression that runs deep within our very humanity, holding a unique and special place within our brains.” Harrison concludes, “Those of us who are still proud of and value the role of ‘radio,’ audio-oriented music, and the theater of the mind, must give considerable consideration as to what the role, if any, audio-only media will have in this new age. It can and must be respected and preserved within this inevitable, emerging grid or we face the likely prospect of devolving overnight from making great radio and music to extremely cheesy television.”
Tim Lewis Named PD, Afternoon Host at WJBC, Bloomington, Illinois. Thirty-year radio pro Tim Lewis is the new program director and afternoon personality at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJBC, Bloomington “The Voice of Central Illinois.” Lewis was most recently with KBLY, Idaho Falls hosting AM drive and serving as program director. He’s also worked at such heritage signals as KSL, Salt Lake City; KOA, Denver; and WLW, Cincinnati and has received numerous industry awards. During the 1990s, he hosted a nationally syndicated sports talk show on the One on One Sports Radio Network, eventually clearing more than 250 stations. Cumulus EVP, programming and content John Dickey states, “Tim Lewis’ long and diverse experience in spoken-word radio make him the perfect choice to lead the remarkable WJBC programming team and guide the station to even greater success.”
Laura Ingraham Show Podcast Debuts. The nationally syndicated Laura Ingraham show is now heard on demand via PodcastOne as the Norm Pattiz-founded and let podcast producer and distributor launches the new program format. A press statement from PodcastOne notes, “Laura’s phenomenally successful radio program, which airs on over 200 stations, has been a radio staple for a long time but market conditions have now made it very difficult for an independently produced program to get distribution in many of the major markets.” Pattiz adds, “As undeniably great as Laura’s program is, it doesn’t air on a single Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia) station. Her ability to make and influence news is a well-known fact. So as of this week, the Laura Ingraham show can be heard in every market in the country as well as around the globe, on-demand from PodcastOne. Obviously, Laura’s fans are finding her and significantly expanding her radio audience.”
Odds & Sods. Former Spanish sports talk WODT, New Orleans has flipped to English-language sports as “Fox Sports 1280.” The iHeartMedia-owned station had been airing ESPN Deportes content…..The Philadelphia Phillies and CBS RADIO’s WIP and WPHT have signed a one-year deal to keep Phillies play-by-play on the company’s stations through the 2015 season. Phillies management tells the Philadelphia Business Journal that the one-year pact will allow the sides to hopefully work on a long-term deal before the end of next summer…..espnW and ESPN Radio are collaborating on special program dealing with domestic violence in the NFL and the Ray Rice case. It’s called “espnW Presents: The State of the NFL” airing on ESPN Radio and ESPNRadio.com at 9:00 pm ET. The program is being hosted by Jemele Hill and Cari Champion. espnW voices Jane McManus, Kate Fagan and Sarah Spain, who have been sharing their perspectives on issue, will be featured.
Marc Hochman Show Voice Schnellenberger Honored. Florida football legend and “voice” of “The Marc Hochman Show w/ Zach Krantz” on WQAM, Miami, Howard Schnellenberger, was honored on Saturday as Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton renamed its football field “Howard Schnellenberger Field.” Schnellenberger has coached for the Miami Dolphins, Miami Hurricanes, and Florida Atlantic University among many other teams. Fans of the Hochman show know Schnellenberger voices all its opens, rejoins, and imaging. Pictured here are (from left to right): Hochman, Schnellenberger, and Krantz.
The Conclave Announces Student Scholarships. Continuing the scholarship program that’s been part of The Conclave’s mission since 1979, the 2014 Conclave Scholarships are announced. The five scholarships available from educational institutions include: The Bill Gavin Memorial Scholarship which includes application fees, books & supplies and tuition valued at $16,200, awarded by the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Media Arts, Southfield, MI. Competition for this scholarship will begin shortly with details forthcoming; The Dennis Becker Memorial scholarship which is a half tuition scholarship valued at $17,000, awarded by the Sanford Brown College, Mendota Heights, Minneapolis; The Conclave Music Industry Scholarship which is a 25-50% tuition discount valued up to $20,000 awarded by the McNally Smith College of Music, St. Paul, Minnesota; and details regarding The Marc Birger Memorial Scholarship to Kean University and The Doug Lee Memorial Scholarship will be announced soon. For information about the 39th Conclave visit www.http://theconclave.com.
Journalist Training Session Available at Seattle College Broadcasters Conference. At next month’s CBI National Student Electronic Media Conference in Seattle (October 20-25) KUOW, KPLU, NPR and College Broadcasters Inc. are offering a unique training opportunity. The student media project is seeking student applicants to their first event. The week-long session is an opportunity for college and graduate students to learn from professional journalists. A committee of journalists will select up to six students to pair one-to-one with public media journalists and college multimedia instructors from around the country. Three students will be selected from the Seattle/Tacoma area. The Student Multimedia Project will emphasize multimedia storytelling focused on character development. Students who are selected for the project will each find a person to focus on for their story — someone doing something interesting who is willing and available to be interviewed. Students will produce a radio story about the person and then tell their story differently for the web. NPR consultant and project manager Doug Mitchell says, “NPR and its member stations support the Project because it allows us to discover and groom a diverse pool of young talent. The Project gives public media professionals a chance to see if students have what it takes to do the work and lets our industry build a pipeline of new professionals who understand our way of storytelling.”
The NFL and Domestic Violence, Hillary Clinton in Iowa/2016 Presidential Prospects, Obama Forms ISIS Coalition, Mid-Term Elections, Scotland Separation Referendum, and Ebola Pandemic Threat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/15). The furor over domestic violence cases in the NFL and the league’s plans to address the situation; Hillary Clinton’s weekend visit to Iowa and the probability she’ll run for president in 2016; President Obama’s formation of a coalition to fight ISIS; the looming mid-term elections; the build-up to Scotland’s Thursday referendum to leave the United Kingdom; and the threat of an Ebola pandemic were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck Return to KSFO, San Francisco. This move announced by Cumulus Media comes just a few days after local personality Spencer Hughes exited the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot at KSFO. Now, the company says Rush Limbaugh will occupy that show time while Sean Hannity will air from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm followed by Glenn Beck from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. Michael Savage and Mark Levin will continue to air in the afternoons. Now the big question is what are Clear Channel’s plans for KNEW “960 The Patriot” after the three Premiere Networks shows jump across the street? A likely option would be to plug in Fox Sports Radio Network programming. We can expect Clear Channel to make its intentions known relatively soon. The start date for the changes is September 29.
Cumulus Media Realigns Executive Structure; Jon Pinch to Retire. Calling this move a part of the goal to “enhance the company’s strategic and operational focus and leverage its business platform,” Cumulus Media president and CEO Lew Dickey announces the company is eliminating the co-COO posts that John Dickey and Jon Pinch have shared for years, the assignment of John Dickey to the new EVP of content and programming position, and the retirement of Jon Pinch after a 45-year career in the business. Lew Dickey says, “Our vision has been to build the radio company of the future and that is exactly what we are achieving. Towards that end, we have strategically broadened the company’s scope and now have in place differentiated distribution channels and multiple content development platforms. To accelerate our plans, we are putting in place a new organizational structure to reflect the company’s strategic evolution, bringing clarity, focus and accountability to key leadership roles in both our station and network groups.” A number of changes will take place in addition to Pinch’s retirement. Cumulus has retained the services of the search firm Spencer Stuart to seek an executive vice president of radio. That person will be “focused on providing day-to-day operational and strategic leadership of Cumulus’ radio station group consisting of its 460 stations in 90 U.S. markets.” Steve Shaw has been promoted from his SVP Cumulus national sales post to president of Westwood One. As for John Dickey, his new position will entail focusing on developing and maximizing content and programming. The company says, “Establishing this focused position recognizes the critical importance of Cumulus’ development and promotion of content and programming across the company’s station group, Westwood One network and other media platforms including Nash and Rdio.”
Sandy Buttweiler Leaves KFGO, Fargo and Radio for Job Outside the Industry. As reported in Prairie Business Magazine, longtime Fargo radio personality Sandy Buttweiler has resigned from her talk show position to take a job outside the radio biz. Buttweiler co-hosted the Jack & Sandy show with longtime partner Jack Sunday at Midwest Communications-owned KFGO, Fargo. As the paper notes, Buttweiler joined KFGO in 1982 and has worked there during three different stints as well as at other stations in the market, including crosstown WDAY. She told listeners there were no problems at the station and that she “was presented with an opportunity about six weeks ago. After careful and thoughtful consideration, it just seemed like the right time to take on this new opportunity.”
‘The News That Makes You Think’ Hits 100 Affiliate Mark. The newest feature from XtreMedia and hosted by Kevin McCullough passes the 100 affiliate mark after just 90 days in production. McCullough’s program – “The News That Makes You Think” – is airing in markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Phoenix, Tampa, Portland, Nashville, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and Las Vegas. McCullough tells TALKERS magazine that, when launched in June, his company believed there would be a market for this type of feature and he describes it, saying, “The content is designed to offer a substantive look at national, political, and human interest stories. But every newscast provides information important to families and people of faith. And at the end of the day it’s about telling great stories!” McCullough says that across the Monday-Friday XtreMedia platform, 413 unique stations are airing the company’s programming.
WGN, Chicago Re-Ups Steve Cochran. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN, Chicago morning drive personality Steve Cochran signs a four-year contract extension to continue with the Tribune Broadcasting outlet. As Feder points out, over the past year Cochran has performed well for WGN. In the most recent Nielsen Audio PPM survey, Cochran was #2 in the market (Persons 6+) with a 5.4 share. Cochran tells Feder, “Thanks to my amazing staff of Andrea Darlas, Dave Eanet, Orion Samuelson, Mary Vandevelde, Kevin Powell and my son, Ross, 5:00 am is actually fun. Working for Jimmy de Castro, Todd Manley and Larry Wert is as good as it gets — and I feel like we are just getting started.” Read Feder’s column here.
Round Three of August PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of August 2014 PPM 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 survey period was July 17 through August 13. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Ethnic WCGO, Chicago Begins Shift Toward Issues Talk Format. The Evanston, Illinois signal has been an ethnic time-brokered station since 1978 but consultant Tim Disa says that with a newly approved power increase to 10,000 watts (daytime), the station is revamping the programming, starting with the 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm daypart. Franklin Raff – a 39-year-old former producer for the G. Gordon Liddy show – is now hosting the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm show, followed by Radio America’s Dana Loesch from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, and former crosstown WIND personality Geoff Pinkus hosting the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program. Additionally, the station is carrying Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory in the overnight daypart. Disa says the goal of the station is to create “new, more inclusive content – a bit more libertarian and we will be reaching out to a younger generation using humor and common sense.”
Odds & Sods. At the Salem Radio Network operations in Washington, DC, Jeff Matzka is named chief engineer. The operation includes the Washington, DC bureau of the SRN News and the studios of the Bill Bennett “Morning in America” show…..The new flagship station for the NBA’s Washington Wizards is CBS RADIO’s all-news WNEW-FM, Washington (licensed to Bowie, Maryland). The station reports that D.C. area play-by-play broadcaster Dave Johnson will return for his 17th season calling Wizards games, and is joined for the 7th year by analyst Glenn Consor…..Clear Channel’s news/talk WHJJ, Providence and classic hits WWBB “B101” will be the new flagship stations for University of Rhode Island football and men’s basketball this season. WHJJ will also air the 16 Dan Hurley shows featuring the Rams’ head basketball coach.
Celebrating Success. Nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Savage is pictured here aboard his family yacht in the New York harbor addressing representatives from syndicator Westwood One, Cumulus-owned WABC Radio, and several high-profile clients and partners. Using the occasion of the success of his latest book, Stop the Coming Civil War (Center Street 2014), Savage used the tale of his grandfather’s immigration from Russia almost 100 years ago to express why America needs to reward hard work and not take from those who are productive. This event on NYC’s Chelsea Pier also caught the eye of the New York Post’s Page Six.
Mike Gallagher Plays the Cowardly Lion. Regular TALKERS readers know one of Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher’s interests is the theatre – Gallagher won a 2013 Tony Award as an investor in the Broadway revival of “Pippin.” In addition to the numerous roles he’s played on the stage over the years, Gallagher (pictured here in full make-up for dress rehearsal) is currently playing the Cowardly Lion in the South Carolina Children’s Theatre production of The Wizard of Oz.
US ISIS Strategy and Journalist Beheadings Top Stories on News/Talk Radio for Week of September 1-5. The controversy over the United States’ military policy regarding the ISIS campaign in Iraq and the recent beheadings of two American journalists tied atop the Talkers TenTM for the week of September 1-5. At #2 this week was the Al Qaeda jihad threat tied with the missing Libyan airliners. Coming in at #3 was the mid-term elections and the prospects for the 2016 presidential race followed by the Justice Department’s probe of the Ferguson, Missouri police department 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.
Clear Channel Suspends Hank Bauer for One Broadcast. After making an anti-Semitic joke during the San Diego Chargers-San Francisco 49ers pre-season game, Clear Channel is suspending radio color man and former Charger Hank Bauer for the final pre-season game tomorrow evening. Chargers play-by-play airs on CC’s rock KIOZ and sports KLSD. During the broadcast, noting that fans in the expensive seats were leaving the game early, Bauer’s partner Josh Lewin said he would stay for the entire game if he had those seats. Bauer then quipped, “But then again you know how copper wire was invented? Somebody dropped a penny between Josh and his family member.” Bauer later posted an apology on Twitter, stating, “I made a hurtful insinuation that I regret and I would like to express how sorry I am. My poor choice of words were unfortunately open for negative interpretation, please know it was never my intention to offend any of my listeners. I hope you accept my apology.”
Paul Ryan to Guest Host Sean Hannity Show August 28. In a rare example of a sitting member of Congress occupying the host chair for Sean Hannity on his Premiere Networks nationally syndicated radio show, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) – and former vice presidential candidate – will serve as guest host Thursday, August 28. Premiere Networks says in a statement that Ryan will “weigh in on ISIS, the Ferguson tragedy, slain American journalist James Foley, and why Burger King should move to Canada.”
Chad Doing Joins KGMZ, San Francisco. After years at Alpha Media’s KXTG-AM, Portland, sports talk personality Chad Doing is lined up to become part of the air staff at Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco “95.7 The Game.” The station isn’t announcing a specific role for Doing yet, but station PD Jason Barrett comments, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to bring Chad on to our team. When you listen to Chad host a talk show, you can’t help but notice his passion, honesty and high energy. He comes across as a genuine guy who truly loves sports but more importantly, you sense that he loves to connect with his audience. I’m looking forward to getting Chad settled in and utilizing his abilities to help grow our radio station in the future.”
Clay Travis to Exit WGFX-FM, Nashville. After failing to come to terms on a contract renewal, Clay Travis will exit the “3HL” show on Cumulus Media’s sports talk WGFX-FM, Nashville after tomorrow’s program. The show will continue with Blaine Bishop and Brent Dougherty. Travis writes on his Fox Sports Outkick the Coverage blog that he wanted to remain with the station but that corporate would only approve a $5,000 raise. He’ll continue to write for Outkick the Coverage and appear on Fox Sports TV.
Deal for Statesboro, Georgia Stations Closes. According to the Statesboro Herald, the $600,000 deal that has six stations in the market changing hands has closed. Neal Ardman is operating Radio Statesboro, Inc. and will acquire the stations from Georgia Eagle Media. That company will retain ownership of the towers which will be leased to Radio Statesboro. The stations include: adult contemporary WPMX-FM “Eagle 102.9,” country WHKN, news/talk WMCD-FM, classic rock WZBX, news/talk WWNS and sports talk WPTB. According to the story, the formats on WWNS and WPTB will flip in the near future and Radio Statesboro plans to drop classic rock on WZBX and go CHR.
Radio Show Sets “Magic of Radio” Session. Renowned programmer/WCBS-FM, New York wakeup talent Scott Shannon, Cumulus Media syndicated morning drivers Bob (Kevoian) & Tom (Griswold), and Westwood One consumer expert Clark Howard will discuss ways that their fellow on-air personalities can effectively impact listeners in a positive manner. The four noted talents will share their opinions at next month’s (9/10 – 12) Radio Show in Indianapolis in a Gary Berkowitz-moderated session, “The Magic – Radio’s Storytellers.” Also on the agenda is the (Friday) 9/12 “Programming Masters Series,” which addresses the effect of the multi-platform media environment on radio programmers. Panelists will include Marilu Henner; ABC News Radio vice president and general manager Steve Jones; Howard Cogan (the voice of Jack-FM); Kane; and HOCO Productions and The Blaze Radio Network vice president of programming Dom Theodore. The Radio Show is produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB)and National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).
Michael Brown Death Aftermath, American ISIS Fighter Killed, U.S. Military Policy in Iraq and Syria, Mid-Term Elections, Obama Climate Change Deal, Lois Lerner Emails Controversy, and IMF’s Lagarde Under Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/26). The aftermath of the shooting death of Michael Brown; the death of American Douglas MacArthur McCain killed in Syria while fighting for ISIS; the Obama Administration’s military policy in Iraq and Syria; the looming mid-term elections; President Obama’s reported plan to skirt the U.S. Senate for a global climate change treaty; new information about the status of Lois Lerner’s IRS emails; and investigation of IMF chief Christine Lagarde on fraud charges were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Local Radio Responds to Napa Earthquake. The most severe earthquake to hit Northern California in 25 years registered a 6.0 and was centered in Napa, California on Sunday morning. Local media responded and – although knocked off the air for about 30 minutes — Wine Country Broadcasting’s news/talk KVON, Napa (and sister hot AC KVYN, St. Helena) did return to the air to serve the region. Farther south in San Francisco, sources tell TALKERS magazine that local television went wall-to-wall with its coverage. As for radio, KSFO weekend personality Ethan Bearman says that competition KCBS-AM covered it “like a quality news network” while sister news/talk KGO covered the event and took calls until San Francisco 49ers football began. Bearman says, “I had my producer, Leigh Wolf, toss aside what we had planned. We started the show interviewing a rep from PG&E about power and gas in Napa, took a couple of callers, then interviewed Ross Stein, a geophysicist from the USGS about earthquakes and this one in particular. We had more callers sharing stories, then an interview with CHP officer Daniel Hill about safety and road closures, followed by more callers sharing stories. We also interviewed Yountville councillor Richard Hall about the damage in his town up the road from Napa, then many more callers.” Bearman tells TALKERS that what KSFO was able to do was use its two-way nature to do what TV couldn’t. “TV doesn’t provide more than a 10-minute loop. Straight news on KCBS-AM is just talking to the listener while we provided that human contact, that outlet of expression, that connection with others. It was really powerful and received a lot of positive feedback.”
Beck’s TheBlaze Negotiated with CNN for HLN Partnership. But, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal by Keach Hagey, the two sides could not come to an agreement on terms. Hagey’s report states that CNN executives recently held talks with agents from Glenn Beck‘s TheBlaze about a partnership that would change the programming on the struggling HLN channel that would have seen TheBlaze content replace the current shows on HLN. It’s being reported that CNN is in talks with Vice Media about a similar partnership. The WSJ reports that HLN’s total viewership has declined 22% for the season to date, and dipped 19% in the 18 to 49 demo, based on Nielsen numbers.
KFWB Accelerates Talk-to Sports Transition. Los Angeles talker KFWB was expected to conduct its transition to all-sports early next month; however, this past Sunday at midnight, CBS Sports Radio Network programming took over the 980 AM dial position. Word quickly spread and there was plenty of activity/reaction on social media. Included in the commentary are two classy postings from people who have worked at KFWB. On-air talent Lisa Osborne writes on her Facebook page: “It is KFWB’s last weekday as a news/talk station – format flip next week to all sports. Tune in if you can today to this heritage news station. If you grew up in LA, you can sing the jingle – that is what everyone does when they find out I work here. I’ve worked with some real pros here including: Penny Griego, Phil Hulett, Bret Lewis, Rhonda Kramer, Ken Jeffries, Elaine Perkins, Bill Nesbitt, Paul Lowe, Michael Shappee, Maggie McKay, Philip Luther Nash, Michael Knight, Russ Spears, Donna Page, Andy Ludlum, Joe Guimond, Cyndee Maxwell, and plenty more. Iconic Los Angeles traffic reporter Kramer comments, that she was “only 26 years old” when she began reporting traffic on the station. “It has always been home and I have worked with some of the most talented individuals in the news broadcast business. It has been an honor to work with pros like Dan Avey, Charlie Brailer, Don Hurbert, Bob Howard, John Brooks Jack Popejoy, Judy Ford, Andy Ludlum, and most recently, Maggie McKay, Michael Shappee, Lisa Osborne, Penny Griego and Phil Hulett. Working here has been extremely rewarding, affording me the opportunity to win 18 Golden Mikes. I am proud of my work on KFWB and have made friends here who will be in my life forever. I wish nothing but the best for the new sports format. Thanks KFWB for the wonderful memories. You will always be a part of me.” Quite a few industry personnel who did not work at the station were partisans. “I was your biggest fan,” New Normal entrepreneur/talk host Tom Leykis writes. “Seriously. I grew up in New York listening to ‘1010 WINS.’ When I came to live in LA in the 1980s, KFWB, clearly modeled after WINS, became my new best friend…As a lifelong radio guy, I wanted to let you all know that, for me, you all were the best.” On one hand, advanced timing of the format flip is a bit of a surprise, yet on the other, there is considerable logic to it. The station has already secured a program director – Owen Murphy (from Seattle) – and it has cleared CBS Sports Radio programming. That lineup includes a well-known local quantity, Jim Rome, who will be heard 9:00 am – 12:00 noon. One more major piece to be added though is a locally originated morning show, which will likely debut in two weeks (Monday, 9/8). A format change was practically inevitable, as the station’s 6+ PPM shares thus far in calendar year 2014 have topped out at .3 (January, February, and May) and included .2 showings in March, April, June, and July. KFWB’s July ranking was #42. One year ago (July 2013), it ranked #39 (.5), still significantly lower from its all-news days. It actually would be ironic (or perhaps purposefully intended) if a morning show is installed September 8, as that will mark the five-year anniversary KFWB switched from all-news to all-talk. When CBS Corporation acquired KCAL-TV, Los Angeles (Channel 9) in 2002 (to go along with KCBS-TV Channel 2), it put them over the limit of radio and television properties in the same market. Three years ago, CBS Radio placed KFWB into a Diane Sutter-headed trust, under the name The KFWB Asset Trust. Director of news programming at CBS Radio Los Angeles’ all-news KNX – and formerly (and simultaneously) holding that same title for KFWB – Andy Ludlum posts on his Facebook page, “After 46 years of delivering news to the people of Southern California, the news watch has stopped for KFWB. I have been fortunate to have spent the past 25 years of my life working there with some of the most talented people to ever open a microphone or write a news story.” Ludlum posted the photo above showing the final minute of the final full newscast with Maggie McKay (right), Ted Sobel (center), and Michael Knight (left).
KTAR-FM, Phoenix Re-Brands; Tweaks Programming. The Bonneville news/talk station announces it is re-branding at the same time it is making programming changes and unveiling its new website designed specifically for mobile users. The station is now “KTAR News…on 92.3 FM and KTAR.com.” Bonneville Phoenix market manager Scott Sutherland states, “This re-brand and website re-launch lets the community know that our commitment to live and local news has never been stronger. And it also signals that KTAR News is a multi-platform media brand that distributes audio news and talk show content on FM Radio, KTAR.com and the KTAR App, as well as written, audio and video story content online across all devices.” Programming changes include more news content in middays with “Arizona’s Noon News and Karie Dozer” (from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm) and an earlier start (2:00 pm) for afternoon drive team Mac and Gaydos. Bonneville Phoenix VP of content and operations Ryan Hatch comments, “Our ‘mobile-first’ design will deliver a powerful, multi-media user experience on smartphones, where our online audience continues to migrate. Using the very latest technologies, the site also seamlessly adapts to tablets and desktops to deliver the same quality experience across all platforms.”
NRG Media, Woodward in Four-Station Transaction. The price for the latest NRG Media purchase – the quartet of Woodward Communications facilities in Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa – is $3.55 million. NRG Media chief executive officer Mary Quass is “delighted to have the opportunity” to add the stations to her company’s platform. “We continue to look for great radio properties that are located in the Midwest and are an integral part of the communities they serve,” she comments. “Regarding NRG, Woodward Communications president and chief executive officer Tom Woodward states, “It is a well-known, community-oriented radio broadcast company with a great Midwestern culture and presence. Our strategic plans and related growth goals positioned the sale of the Waterloo properties. We salute the loyal, talented and dedicated staff we were fortunate to work with. We will continue to operate, grow and enhance our award-winning, seven-station radio group in the Appleton-Green Bay, Wisconsin markets which we’ve owned since the late-1970s.” The deal is for KFMW “Rock 108″; KOKZ “Iowa’s Classic Hits”; KWLO “1330 ESPN“; and KXEL “Iowa’s News & Talk Station.” Woodward Communications has operated these outlets the past two years. Prior to that, Bahakel Broadcasting owned KXEL for 54 years (1958 – 2012); it owned the other three from 1996 – 2012.
Found: WLS-AM’s “Next Talk Star.” If you wonder where the next generation of talk radio personalities is coming from, the answer might be professional wrestling. John Chase Gregoles (pictured here) emerges as the winner of WLS-AM, Chicago’s “Next Talk Star” competition and the Lake Geneva, Wisconsin resident is a day trader who has a background in … sports entertainment. This represents the Cumulus Media-owned talk station’s third such promotion, with WLS-AM program director/operations manager Peter Bolger pointing out, “Our last two winners are still on the air with a weekend show and occasional fill-in. It is certainly possible we will be as fortunate with this year’s winner. What the finalists had to say about talk radio and the passion they have for it was instructive and extremely energizing.” Gregoles comments that he “wants to broaden the audience of talk radio.” Wannabes submitted auditions via the station’s website. WLS-AM narrowed the submissions to 10 semifinalists; the top five were then determined by online voting. Bolger; WLS-AM’s (9:00 am – 11:00 am) Kass & Cohn co-host Lauren Cohn; 2012 winner Stephanie Trussell; and 2013 winner Laura Kelly were among those judging the competition. Gregoles gets to host a two-hour WLS-AM show, receive a limo ride to/from the studio, and a trip for two to Mexico.
MLB Baseball Continues to Give Boost to Most Flagship Stations. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents his second analysis of the performances of MLB flagship stations this season – this time based on July PPM data. Again, the flagships in markets where baseball has traditionally been good to its radio outlet and in markets where the team is performing well continue to benefit from increased listenership. In this report Kinosian tracks how flagship stations have performed over the past five PPM surveys, compared to July 2013, how they rank in their respective markets, and how the stations stack up based on MLB divisions. Check out Mike Kinosian’s analysis here.
Sabo: It Is a Widespread Myth That “Ours Is a Very Big Sports Town.” As a globetrotting media consultant, Walter Sabo reports, “There is noticeable bravado in every city about the local level of sports fandom.” In a new opinion piece certain to spark disagreement on the part of many TALKERS readers, Sabo makes the case that even though most radio markets claim to be “big” on sports or even the “biggest” sports city in America, the “facts don’t match the roar of the crowd.” He writes, “According to the data presented from the major league national teams, every city is pretty much the same.” To read this informative and provocative piece in its entirety, please click here.
Lee ‘Hacksaw’ Hamilton Hangs Out Fill-In Shingle. West Coast sports talk pro Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton, most recently with Broadcast Company of the Americas-owned XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090,” announces he’s making himself available as a “radio free agent” for freelance work as “Hacksaw & Company,” as he says, “sports talk radio designed for your market, when you need a pinch-hitter.” Hamilton’s daily content can be seen at (www.leehacksawhamilton.com). He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arkansas Stations Swap Frequencies; AC Turns Conservative/Christian Talk. A pair of Arkansas FMs are swapping positions on the dial – John M. Dowdy-owned hot AC KKTZ moves from 93.5 up to 107.5 while AC KOMT moves to the 93.5 frequency. KKTZ will remain hot AC but KOMT flips to conservative/Christian talk using content from Salem Radio Network, Westwood One and Premiere Networks. The new talk station will air: Bill Bennett in AM drive followed by Mike Gallagher, Dennis Miller, Michael Medved, Mark Levin, Janet Mefferd and “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory.
Odds & Sods. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, radio pro Mike Stephen is joining WGN, Chicago for a weekend show called “Outside the Loop Radio” that will air from 6:00 am to 7:00 am Sunday mornings, effective October 4. The eight-year-old show is promoted as “Chicago’s Almost Above-Ground Audio Magazine,” and promises “interviews with local newsmakers on everything from arts and politics to the environment and food.”…..Sitting in for Jimmy Barrett on Clear Channel’s WRVA, Richmond in morning drive all this week is Mark Wainwright…..CBS RADIO’s sports talker WJFK-FM, Washington “106.7 The Fan” and IMG Sports Network agree to an extension that will allow Virginia Tech football and men’s basketball play-by-play to be heard on the station through the 2018 season.
Ferguson Provides News/Talk Radio with Red Meat on Controversial Issues for Both Left and Right. The tragic events that have unfolded in Ferguson, MO have provided talk radio opinion leaders from the left, right and in-between with more than enough fresh material on mainstay topics around which to build their cases. Some see it as another horrific indication of unjust racial inequality in America and the troubling expansion of a militarized police state. Others see it as further infuriating evidence of the rise of crime, unwarranted playing of the race card and growing disrespect and lack of support for law enforcement. Almost all are concerned about its reflection of the declining state of journalism and increasing suppression of the press and First Amendment rights. Asked by Salem Radio Network VP news & talk programming, Tom Tradup (for a forthcoming article in September’s Townhall Magazine) his take on talk radio’s role in the matter and whether he sees it as negative or positive, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Ferguson contains a tempest of pressing and controversial American issues. There’s red meat for both the left and right in this tragedy. Talk radio – collectively – has played a positive role in responding to and covering it by airing all the different ideologies, including those that are politically incorrect, and moving the vital discussion forward. Some hosts have gone directly to the scene putting local people on the air to present real life perspectives, thus bringing the public closer to the disturbingly obscured truth.” The article will contain comments from Sean Hannity, Mike Gallagher, and SiriusXM personality David Webb who went to Ferguson where he interviewed a wide variety of residents including African American businesspeople. Tradup tells TALKERS, “I’m proud of our industry leading the national conversation on this issue, and look forward to highlighting the great work many shows did inviting audience members to experience the story-behind-the-headlines.”
Mike Gallagher: “I Can – and Will – Do Better.” On his Salem-syndicated talk program yesterday (Wednesday, 8/20), Mike Gallagher became embroiled with one of his callers (“James”). The two discussed James’ opinion that releasing surveillance video of 18-year-old Michael Brown robbing a convenience store prior to the shooting that took Brown’s life was, in and of itself, a “violent act.” There was considerable shouting between host Gallagher and caller “James” with the latter hanging up. Gallagher maintains the on-air exchange bothered him the rest of the day and it prompted him to write on Facebook Wednesday night, “Today on my radio show, my emotions got the best of me. I have been bothered by that exchange all day and I wanted to formally apologize. While I steadfastly disagree with [caller James’] contention that the surveillance video of Michael Brown robbing a convenience store was not a ‘violent act,’ I should not have interrupted James as I did. I will give a more detailed and specific apology on the air tomorrow, but I wanted to put it in writing tonight. I should not have reacted the way I did, and I certainly should not invite people to call my show and then disagree so passionately that I don’t give them much of a chance to talk. I am sorry. I can – and will – do better.”
Dan Mason To Cox Media Group Tampa As OM. To clarify, the Dan Mason appointed operations manager for three Cox Media Group Tampa facilities is the former WODS, Boston program director – not the CBS Radio president and chief executive officer with the same name. CMG vice president and market manager Keith Lawless comments, “Dan’s approach to programming is firmly in line with ours and he is a welcome addition to our team. I am confident his contributions will help us continue to compete and win.” Cox Media Group vice president of programming Steve Smith explains, “We took our time searching for the right fit, and Dan is that guy. He will add his expertise in management and talent development to some of our other super-brands in Tampa. We welcome Dan to the CMG family.” Mason – who begins his new assignment in about two weeks (9/8) – states that he is “thrilled” to join the “fantastic team” in Tampa on “three of the most exciting and unique brands not just within Cox Media Group, but the country. I am grateful to Keith Lawless and Steve Smith for the opportunity to lead the team.” Mason’s Tampa OM duties involve alternative WSUN “97-X,” CHR WPOI “Hot 101.5,” and talk WHPT “102.5 The Bone.” He will also be director of branding & programming for “Hot 101.5.” Mason’s previous programming background includes Clear Channel Miami CHR WHYI “Y-100″; Entercom Sacramento outlets CHR KDND-FM “107.9 The End” and hot AC KBZC “Star 106.5″; and Clear Channel Cleveland CHR WAKS, “96.5 Kiss-FM.”
CMG Talkers Clear “The Dana Show.” The agreement for Radio America‘s “The Dana Show” includes Cox Media Group talk outlets in Atlanta (WSB-AM); Orlando (WDBO-FM); Jacksonville (WOKV-AM/FM); Dayton (WHIO-AM/FM); Tulsa (KRMG-AM/FM); and Athens, Georgia (WGAU). Cox Media Group vice president of marketing/news-talk-sports format leader Nick Roberts comments that, “Cox Media Group strongly believes in growing new talk talent — people who can be the next superstars. We believe Dana has the ability to reach the next generation of listeners.” Radio America chief operating officer Mike Paradiso states, “The growth of ‘The Dana Show’ has been outstanding. Dana and all of us at Radio America are excited about her success across the country. It is a privilege to be working with a great company like Cox and their heritage stations.” Host Dana Loesch originates her daily program from Emmis St. Louis’ KFTK.
When Broadened Aspirations Deserve a Thank-You. For well over one-half century (1926 – 1983), New York City’s female-targeted WOR was America’s #1 rated radio station and the country’s top-biller. Similarly-programmed talkers KABC, Los Angeles and WGN, Chicago were typically second and third. Partnership pioneer Tom O’Neil understood that his business was show business and grew the crown jewel of the RKO Radio Network - WOR – by hiring major stars from other media. Nowadays though, when topflight radio personalities seek to broaden their horizons in other media, most radio managers try to quash such plans. Tipping his cap to the O’Neil model, Sabo Media chief executive officer Walter Sabo strongly suggests that when on-air personalities possess the ambition to do more than radio, management should reward them with a hearty “Thank-You.” Click here to read Sabo’s exclusive TALKERS article.
Donahue to Retire from KYW. After a five-decade Philadelphia broadcasting career, Harry Donahue is retiring. Tomorrow (8/22) is the last day on the job for the morning drive co-anchor at CBS Radio-owned all-news KYW. CBS Radio Philadelphia senior vice president and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “Harry’s voice is one of Philadelphia’s most familiar. His contributions to KYW are immeasurable. He is a consummate professional and will be sorely missed by those who have worked with him all these years, as well as our many listeners who set their alarms to 1060 each morning.” Donahue reflects that when he was hired at KYW, “I couldn’t believe it. It was, and remains, the preeminent radio station in Philadelphia. I have done what I always wanted to do. To work in my hometown and having been part of this iconic radio station – it just doesn’t get any better.” Donahue joined KYW in 1973. He began his career as an announcer for Philadelphia’s former WPBS (now WUSL) and as a manager of media relations for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Donahue is the longtime play-by-play voice for Temple University athletics – men’s football and basketball. The latter is heard on KYW’s talk sibling WPHT; he will continue those responsibilities.
Tree Media Releases Climate Crisis Film “CARBON.” Production company Tree Media is supported by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (DiCaprio is the film’s narrator). Made in collaboration with nationally syndicated, WYD Media progressive talk host (and recipient of the 2014 TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award) Thom Hartmann, CARBON explores crucial issues related to the climate crisis. Hartmann stresses, “We need serious action to address the most pressing issue of our time. Communities across the world have taken action in the most direct and effective ways possible by taxing and trading carbon. For us to beat this crisis, many more need to join.” According to DiCaprio, “97% of climate scientists agree: Climate change is happening now and humans are responsible. We cannot sit idly by and watch the fossil fuel industry make billions at our collective expense. We must put a price on carbon — now.” This is the first film in the “Green World Rising” series that will include three additional ones covering solutions to the climate crisis. Director Leila Connors explains, “This film is meant to be an asset for the climate movement and to generate momentum for the global reduction of carbon emissions. We must move toward renewable energy and to create a real solution.” CARBON was produced by George DiCaprio, Mathew Schmid, Roee Sharon and Earl Katz, and presented by Thom Hartmann.
Return of the Hochman Burger. For the second year, Beasley Broadcast Group Miami’s WQAM “Sports Radio 560″ afternoon (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) driver Marc Hochman can go into a certain Boca Raton establishment – Red’s Backwoods BBQ – and order a burger that is named after him. “As a guy, I don’t think there is a bigger honor than [that],” he contends. “In my radio career, I have interviewed everyone from Hulk Hogan and Mike Tyson to Pat Sajak and Al Roker. As a program director, I have been nominated twice for ‘Sports Radio Station of the Year’ for the Marconi Awards, but I have never been more proud of anything than [this]. For the record, the “Hochman Burger” is accompanied with cheddar cheese, barbeque sauce, and is topped with Funyuns.
Los Angeles’ KFWB to Air NFL and NCAA Slate. Set to launch the station’s all-sports format early next month, KFWB, Los Angeles newly-named program director Owen Murphy reveals KFWB will carry a complete schedule of NFL and NCAA play-by-play. In addition, the hour-long USC sports spotlight “Trojans Live” will return for its second season. The Tuesday evening (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm) program devoted to USC sports features men’s head football coach Steve Sarkisian. This is KFWB’s fifth year as flagship of the NBA‘s Los Angeles Clippers and it becomes the exclusive Los Angeles home for Westwood One‘s coverage of all NFL Sunday night, Monday night and Thursday night games. That schedule begins in two weeks (9/4) when Green Bay takes on reigning champion Seattle. Murphy states, “With rumors swirling about the NFL draft coming to Los Angeles in 2015, and maybe an NFL team as well, we could not be more excited to deliver great Westwood One football programming to a football hungry town so deserving of its own team. There is no better product than Westwood One’s March Madness play-by-play and we are proud to have the opportunity to present it to the most passionate and knowledgeable hoops fans in America.” The station’s broadcast schedule will include the NFC and AFC Championship games, Pro Bowl, and next February’s Super Bowl.
“Ragz” To Program Portland’s “Game.” Alpha Media Portland sports outlet KXTG “750 The Game” names Mike “Ragz” Ragozino program director and afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) host. Executive vice president of programming Scott Mahalick comments, “‘Ragz’ is uniquely qualified to lead the staff of ‘The Game’ and practice what he preaches everyday on the air. He ‘gets’ the entertainment factor in sports radio like no one else in this business.” Ragozino reflects that ever since he got into the radio business, “It was always about taking a new challenge head on, without fear of failure, having fun and most importantly, entertaining the audience. Joining Alpha Media – and more specifically ‘750 The Game’ – offers me a chance to do what I love for an incredible company in a beautiful city that has the same passion for sports as I do.” The Queens, New York native has 12 years of classic rock programming/on-air experience at WNNJ, Sussex, New Jersey and WAOR, South Bend, Indiana. When WAOR flipped to sports in May 2012, it enabled “Ragz” to accomplish his dream of programming an all-sports station. In addition to programming it, he co-hosted a weekly one-hour show with Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown. Ragozino begins his Portland assignment in just over two weeks (Monday, 9/8).
BOB-FM to the Romantic Rescue. “You’ll hear all sorts of stuff” is the way BOB-FM positions itself and a recent audio clip from the station underscores that positioning statement. This particular BOB-FM though is not an adult hits outlet here in the United States, but a radio station broadcasting at 106.7 and 106.9 in Knebworth, Hertford, Ware, Hatfield, Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth Garden City, Welwyn Garden City and Watton-at-Stone. Knebworth most likely gave away the location as the United Kingdom. Reminiscent of something syndicated personality “Delilah” or Karen Sharp on her nightly “Love Songs” show on Los Angeles adult contemporary KOST “Coast 103″ might do, BOB-FM morning talents (or “breakfast presenters,” as they are more elegantly called) Graham Mack and Amy Stevenson came to the aid of a young woman (“Sarah”) yearning to reconnect with her dream man (“Sam”). The back-story is that Sarah met Sam at a music festival that featured Justin Timberlake and it was love at first sight. The snafu was that Sarah didn’t get Sam’s number, so she did what was only logical – call BOB-FM to track him down. Her email to Mack and Stevenson recapped that part of the story and stated her desire to meet the 25-year-old, 6′ 5″ Hertfordshire dog trainer. It took Mack and Stevenson all of two days to locate him. Especially if you are a hopeless romantic, click here to listen to the complete interchange.
“Proactive” Patient Will Overcome Ovarian Cancer. That is what Robin Marshall optimistically writes on her Facebook page. Cumulus Media‘s “Sound Solutions” production manager states that, “Short and sweet,” she has stage two or slight stage three Ovarian cancer but “all was removed.” Doctors “did snippets” from her other organs for biopsy purposes and regardless of the results,” Marshall will be treated with “a very strong regiment of chemo.” As she laments, “It is nothing that anyone looks forward to.” Realizing she has a difficult road ahead, Marshall will remain in the hospital until this Saturday (8/23), but she declares, “I have hope.” At the “end of the day,” however, Marshall stresses, she will survive Ovarian cancer because, “I was proactive. There are no options – I want to live.”
ISIS Beheading, Ferguson Turmoil, Rick Perry Indictment, Gaza Crisis and ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Among Top Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20). The stories listed in this headline were some of the most talked about on news/talk radio yesterday However the breaking story of ISIS beheading American journalist James Wright Foley was by far the most-dominating conversation on American talk radio according to the ongoing research from TALKERS. Check here tomorrow for the complete top stories and most-talked-about people listings for the entire week.
Learfield Launches Spanish Network for Texas A&M Football. Beginning with next week’s (8/28) season opener against South Carolina, fans of the Texas A&M Aggies will hear complete Texas A&M pigskin game coverage in Spanish on Univision Radio Houston’s KLAT; Salem Espanol San Antonio’s KRDY; KAMA, El Paso; and MBM Radio McAllen’s KVJY. Aggies games will also be on SiriusXM Deportes en Vivo Channel 551. Chancellor John Sharp of The Texas A&M University System explains, “It is important we share the Texas A&M brand across the state, To do so, we need a Spanish language option for our fans. We believe this is a real step forward for Aggie sports as we begin our third season in the SEC.” The Texas A&M Spanish Network will feature Pedro Vela Almaguer on play-by-play and Alberto Rodriguez doing color commentary. There are 55 English-language radio affiliates on the Texas A&M Sports Network. All 12 Aggies’ regular season and any postseason games will be carried on the Texas A&M Spanish Network.
TALKERS Affiliate Roundup. Rich Beem & Sandy McIlree-hosted “Beemer & the Bald Guy” welcome Cumulus Myrtle Beach, South Carolina’s WSEA “100.3 The Team” as an affiliate to its Nineball Radio Networks-distributed Sunday morning golf show.
Colossal Sales Deal Between Katz and Cumulus. Radio rep firm Katz Radio Group announces it has agreed to a new deal with Cumulus Media that is creating a new rep division at Katz dedicated to Cumulus owned-and-operated stations nationwide. The firm – Westwood One National Sales – will provide advertisers and agencies direct access to all of Cumulus’ radio stations. In a press statement, the companies say, “The new long-term agreement supports the companies’ mutual goal to evangelize the power of sound and drive more dollars into the sector. Westwood One National Sales will exclusively represent Cumulus stations nationwide and focus on providing integrated, multi-platform marketing solutions aimed to meet the rapidly evolving needs of advertisers. Westwood One National Sales will also offer advertisers and agencies access to Cumulus’ newly developed traffic system. The cutting-edge technology is designed to improve speed-to-market, giving Cumulus advertisers and agencies real-time pricing and availability of minute-by-minute, market-by-market opportunities across the country.” Katz Radio Group president Mark Gray says, “Our common goal is to get radio a much bigger share of advertiser spending by solving their marketing problems and showcasing the unmatched results radio delivers. Our new partnership with Cumulus to launch Westwood One National Sales strengthens our ability to deliver the most innovative marketing solutions for advertisers and agencies across the expanding advertising platform of one of our important partners.” As a result of this, Bryan Forbes is promoted to senior vice president, general manager of Westwood One National Sales. His current post with KRG is vice president/director of sales. Westwood One National Sales will have dedicated offices in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.
Fighting for AM in New Cars; NAB Pleads with BMW. After learning that BMW’s new electric model – the i3 – will not include an AM radio due to the engine’s causing interference with AM reception, the NAB’s Gordon Smith wrote a letter to BMW asking the company to reconsider the move and re-engineer the system to accommodate AM, as some other manufacturers have. Smith writes, “In the last decade, AM radio has embraced an evolution towards ethnic language programming, with a wide variety of formats serving a melting pot of diverse communities that make up the fabric of America. Indeed, two-thirds of all minority-owned stations are now broadcast on the AM band; and many of these radio stations serve as a community gathering spot for vital information about health services, education and job opportunities.” Smith goes on to note that in many markets, sports broadcasts – from high school to the professional level – are only heard on AM signals. How BMW will respond, if at all, is anyone’s guess but it’s worth noting that radio stations that are also streamed could be heard via the owner’s smartphone which the i3 allows to be connected to its audio system. Still, that the AM band — where most talk radio shows reside — is considered disposable by a major auto manufacturer (combined with the growing popularity of electric autos) is a huge red flag for AM stick owners.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Talks AM Revitalization in Columbus. The campaign for AM revitalization being championed by FCC commissioner Ajit Pai was the topic at Wednesday’s town hall meeting held by the Ohio Broadcasters Association where Pai spoke and heard from broadcasters and the public on the matter. Pai said three things he’s been thinking about lately regarding AM revitalization are: eliminating nighttime skywave protection for clear channel AM signals; allowing the use of synchronous transmission systems on the AM dial; and allowing stations to go all-digital on a voluntary basis. But Pai said that by Halloween it’s his hope that the FCC will adopt AM revitalization that would: 1) move forward with an FM translator window designed for AM broadcasters and, 2) ask the public to comment on a new batch of specific proposals for improving our AM radio rules because “the proposals we made last year, while they will help AM broadcasters, aren’t going be a panacea.”
Rome Added as KFWB Gears Up To Sports Flip. Rumors of a talk-to-sports format change by Los Angeles’ KFWB will become reality sometime in September and the station locks in CBS Sports Radio mega-talent – and LA native – Jim Rome as a cornerstone. Trustee for KFWB Asset Trust, Diane Sutter, comments, “It has been nearly two years since Southern Californians have been able to enjoy Jim’s show and he is just a hint of what listeners can expect from the new KFWB sports lineup. We are thrilled and excited to bring Jim back home to his many Los Angeles sports fans.” Rome, a genuine sports radio host original, will be heard on KFWB 9:00 am – 12:00 noon and will originate the program from Orange County. Remarking that he is “thrilled to be returning home” on KFWB, Rome states, “CBS Sports Radio has provided me with an incredible opportunity to communicate with our nationwide audience via various platforms, but to reunite with our Los Angeles-based fans is particularly meaningful to me, personally and professionally. I look forward to bringing ‘the jungle’ back home to Los Angeles.” Rome has been with CBS Sports Radio since the network launched approximately 18 months ago. It is believed sports KFWB’s moniker will be “The Beast.” For years, KFWB had been an all-news station and competed against CBS Radio‘s KNX (which later became its sibling) in that arena. Five years ago though (September 2009), it switched to talk. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio‘s July 2014 PPM report, KFWB ranks #42 (.2). It will be butting heads against existing all-sports outlets KSPN (1.2 in July, #28); KLAC (.9, #32); and KLAA (.3, #40).
Clear Channel’s Political Advertising Tool Now Incorporates Nielsen Data. Earlier this year, Clear Channel Media + Entertainment announced the development of its proprietary radio targeting tool for political advertisers – dubbed Audience Delivery Optimizer (AuDiO). Now, the company reports that it is now incorporating Nielsen’s radio audience measurement data to further enhance its ability to identify key voter segments. CC says this marks the first time that Nielsen’s Portable People Meter currency data has been combined with specific public voter information – creating a powerful new tool for political advertisers. Clear Channel calls AuDiO a “first-of-its-kind radio optimization tool that enables political campaigns to precisely identify the 10 voter segments that are most crucial in key election districts.” It goes on to say that with the integration of Nielsen’s industry-standard audience measurement data into AuDiO, political advertisers now have access to even more robust identification capabilities for their radio buys. Using the 10 most common political segments, AuDiO can determine how many voters radio reaches in any political district around the country. It can then identify the media preferences of any segment, giving advertisers key information about which media are best to reach which voters. AuDiO works at all levels of national, statewide and local elections, and will be available for the upcoming 2014 election cycle.
GCN Adds ‘Lock-N-Load’ to Morning Offerings. New to the Genesis Communications Network stable of programs is the Bill Frady-hosted daily program “Lock-N-Load.” The company states that the show “covers all spectrums relating to the world of the gun, including the gun industry, trends, self-defense and, of course, those that would strip away your rights. With guests such as the 3D gun guru Cody Wilson, Gunowners of America executive director Larry Pratt, Noble Peace Prize nominee Dr. Jim Garrow, tactical trainer Chris Costa, psychologist Dr. Linda Lagemann and many others, ‘Lock-N-Load’ explores the dynamics of the uniquely American Second Amendment and everything that goes along with it.”
Jim Bohannon Addresses Tennessee Association of Broadcasters Conference. Sitting on a panel about spoken-word radio titled, “Give’em Something to Talk About,” Westwood One-syndicated talk show host Jim Bohannon appeared at the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters conference in Nashville. Pictured here (from left to right) are: Westwood One’s Misti Douglas, Jean Williams, and Chrystal Heidemann, Governor Bill Haslam, Bohannon, and Westwood One’s Donny Walker.
IS Iraq Campaign/U.S. Military Involvement, Hillary Clinton-Obama Relationship, Michael Brown Slaying Aftermath, Limbaugh-Robin Williams Suicide Comments Controversy, and Israel-Hamas Cease Fire Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/13). The Iraq campaign of IS and the Obama Administration’s involvement of U.S. military personnel; the rift between Hillary Clinton and President Obama over U.S. foreign policy; the tensions in Missouri after the shooting death of Michael Brown; controversy over Rush Limbaugh’s comments after Robin Williams’ suicide; and the cease fire between Israel and Hamas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
ABC News Radio to Expand Radio Operations with New Programming, New Relationship with Skyview Networks. As the relationship between ABC News Radio and Cumulus Media comes to an end in December, ABC News president James Goldston says the news organization is preparing to “expand its operations to invest in new programming, take control of distributing and marketing our content and deepen our affiliate relationships.” ABC News Radio will, beginning in January, enter into a new relationship with Skyview Networks to help it deliver the content and handle ad sales. Vice president and general manager of ABC News Radio, Steve Jones, tells TALKERS that when the organization became aware the relationship with Cumulus Media was coming to an end, Disney/ABC took the opportunity to really examine its place in the broadcast radio business. As a result, Jones says today’s announcement is about commitment to the radio business. “As we were looking at the landscape we decided we wanted to have a different route to serve our radio stations and we wanted to ensure that we were going to be connected with them at all times, 24/7, and the only way to be able to do that would be to own the last mile of distribution to them.” Jones says ABC is buying receivers for hundreds of affiliate radio stations. He says that by controlling that part of the operation, it will allow ABC to grow the business significantly. Jones says this new relationship and system of operation will allow ABC to capitalize on the entertainment opportunities that are available to it via ABC and parent company Walt Disney, and bring them to broadcast radio. Jones says ABC did more than 20,000 live, one-on-one two-ways with radio stations last year – over and above the scheduled newscasts. He says, “In the course of having those conversations with stations about what it is they want every day from us, we would get more and more feedback about where they felt we could serve them and we weren’t really able to do it as fully as we wanted to and that’s what this new relationship is going to allow us to do. We’re going to be in control of the relationship with the stations and we think we can grow the business and better serve the radio community.” Skyview Networks, says Jones, has incredible technical proficiency, and has a technical solution that will allow ABC to not only manage the programming but also sell radio advertising. The news ad sales relationship will be important says Jones. “It’s going to be a much more integrated relationship. I have the responsibility for the P&L for the business and am very heavily engaged with them on how, strategically, we’re going to be approaching the sales community. We really want to use the power of the ABC brand to let the ad community know that we’re committed to radio and we will be here next year and into the future.” Jones says Skyview will be hiring radio sales people and ABC is adding staffers as well. Beginning today, Heidi Oringer joins the company as director of affiliate solutions; Amy Bolton is named specialist, affiliate solutions; and Mary McCarthy is now manager of affiliate solutions. Not all of the changes will happen in January, ABC News Radio re-launched its new website today (8/7).
Townsquare Media Q2 Net Revenue Up 7.8%. This is the first quarterly report for Townsquare Media as a publicly traded company and although the news is positive – pro forma net revenue for Q2 was $106.3 million – an increase of 7.8%, local advertising pro forma net revenue decreased $0.2 million, or 0.3%. The real upside was digital as the company reports “other media and entertainment pro forma net revenue increased $7.9 million, or 39.3%, to $28.2 million, primarily attributable to growth across our live events, digital marketing services and national digital assets.” Townsquare’s actual net revenue was up 46.6% due to the Cumulus Media and Peak Broadcasting II acquisitions. Chairman and CEO Steven Price says in a statement, “We are pleased to be reporting solid second quarter results, following the successful completion of our initial public offering in July. We delivered a 7.8% increase in pro forma net revenue. Our results continue to demonstrate the strength of our diversified revenue strategy. We enjoyed solid performance in most of our local advertising markets together with strong performance across our live event, digital marketing service and national digital assets. These more than offset advertising revenue softness in certain markets within our local advertising segment.”
Round Three of July PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of July 2014 PPM 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 survey period was June 19 through July 16. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Stephen A. Smith to SiriusXM Move Confirmed. The rumor that ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith would be leaving his daily show on WEPN-FM, New York for SiriusXM – specifically the Mad Dog Radio channel – is confirmed by ESPN and SiriusXM. But Smith’s new gig is a cooperative effort by the two companies and Smith will still make appearances on WEPN-FM. The Stephen A. Smith show will air on SiriusXM from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and will lead into Chris “Mad Dog” Russo’s afternoon drive show. The show will be produced and broadcast from ESPN Audio’s headquarters in Bristol. Smith comments, “Words can’t express how excited I am to be going to SiriusXM. I’ve waited a long time for this. All I’m going to say is September 2 can’t arrive soon enough.” ESPN has not announced whether Smith’s co-host Ryan Ruocco will get a new partner for the WEPN-FM midday show or continue to host solo.
WCCO to Hold Gubernatorial Debate. This evening (8/7), CBS RADIO news/talker WCCO, Minneapolis is hosting a live GOP primary election debate at its WCCO Radio Cambria Gallery in downtown Minneapolis. The program takes place from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm and will be broadcast on the station in addition to being open to the public and to the press. The station says the debate will be hosted by talk personality John Williams and political commentator Blois Olson. Participants include leading GOP candidates Scott Honour, Marty Seifert, and Kurt Zellers. Topics will include medicinal marijuana, Sunday liquor sales, taxes, and other hot-button issues.
Premiere Networks to Unveil Online Platform for ‘Dr. Dave’s Ultimate Prep.’ On the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the relationship between Premiere Networks and Dr. Dave Creative Entertainment, Premiere announces it will launch an “innovative, user-developed online platform for Dr. Dave’s Ultimate Prep. The latest in an exciting group of new services to be launched, Ultimate Prep provides on-air and online content, viral videos, ‘thought starters’ for text and audio, and the hottest lifestyle prep. Beginning this fall, users will be provided with a sophisticated, interactive online experience allowing them to easily navigate and customize their prep.” Dr. Dave Creative Entertainment provides a suite of multimedia morning show prep, comedy and production services for radio, television and digital platforms. EVP/chief content officer David “Dr. Dave” Kolin says, “The opportunities at Premiere Networks and Clear Channel are truly limitless – it’s been a dream come true. The group we have assembled is composed of talent I’ve worked with for 20-plus years in radio and television. Combined with Dan Brassem in affiliate relations, Premiere’s Julie Talbott and Jennifer Leimgruber, and many others throughout the company, we are a formidable, winning team. I look forward to a path of continued genuine innovation.”
Jason Lewis Promoting Galt.io Venture. The news of Minneapolis-based talk show host Jason Lewis quitting his nationally syndicated talk show in dramatic fashion last week and announcing his intent to pursue a digital venture called galt.io is now followed by Lewis’ fully promoting this next step in his career. Lewis calls Galt.io an online social platform that’s based on the philosophy of Ayn Rand. He says his new venture is designed to cater to Americans “going Galt.” In a press release, Lewis cites examples of this movement, including: The “tax inversion” merger craze, where American corporations such as Medtronic are relocating overseas to avoid punitive federal and state corporate income taxes, even though the initial costs of large mergers can be quite expensive; expatriate Americans renouncing their citizenship in order to avoid US taxes has reached record proportions, due in part to the bizarre notion that the U.S. government taxes citizens abroad on their foreign income; trillions of dollars sitting idly in corporate coffers, as well as excess reserves at the Federal Reserve now totals a whopping $2.5 trillion. These trillions of dollars could be put to work if only federal policies rewarded risk and profit instead of penalizing them; and an economy, which despite a strong second quarter in 2014, has grown at an anemic 2.1% annual rate since the recession ended in 2009 and a labor participation rate stuck at record lows.
Cool Job Opportunity. Greater Media’s news/talk WBT and hot AC WLNK in Charlotte seek a promotions and events coordinator. The company is looking for a fun, outgoing, hands-on and dedicated individual with entry-level event planning experience for a full-time position in our marketing and promotions department. This position works to ensure the timely and successful execution of promotional events through teamwork and coordination with other departments and staff. This position reports directly to the marketing director. Responsibilities include daily event planning from inception to completion and working the station sponsored events. Other responsibilities include meetings with clients and community partners, maintaining event equipment, upkeep of station calendars, and working with the promotions team to plan and execute station promotions. Excellent organization, communication and time management skills required. Knowledge of Microsoft Office and other promotional based software a plus. This position requires an individual who exhibits great interpersonal communication skills, is an enthusiastic and dynamic team player, is interested in demanding projects and enjoys working in a fast paced environment. Availability to work weekends, evenings and holidays is a must. Please send your cover letter and resume to: Greater Media Charlotte Operations Director Matt DuBois at: email@example.com or Greater Media Charlotte, WBT/WLNK Human Resources, One Julian Price Place, Charlotte, NC 28208. No phone calls please. Greater Media Charlotte is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Potential Ebola Crisis, Low Obama Approval Ratings, Congressional ObamaCare Report, Gaza Violence, Immigration Policy/Southwest Border Crisis, Russia vs West, and Obama Executive Actions Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/6). Concern and debate over the Ebola outbreak in Africa and a possible treatment; newly released approval ratings for President Obama the lowest of his presidency; the Congressional ObamaCare report highlighting millions of exemptions from the federal law; the violence between Israel and Gaza-based Hamas; the state of the U.S. immigration policy and the border crisis in the Southwest; Russia’s response to the West’s sanctions over its aggression in Ukraine; and the ongoing controversy over President Obama’s use of executive actions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Goes ‘Next Generation’ on KOY, Phoenix. The business talk format on Clear Channel’s KOY, Phoenix is gone and the company is airing a news/talk format it has dubbed “KFYI 2 The Next Generation of Talk.” The lineup for the station is: Armstrong & Getty (piped in from KSTE, Sacramento), the Radio America-syndicated Dana Loesch show, Casey Bartholomew, Portland-based “Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis” and Premiere’s “America Now” (which is seeking to replace Andy Dean as the permanent host), among others. Certainly, these hosts are a bit younger than the majority of the news/talk radio personalities working today, but critics will argue that building a lineup to appeal to a younger audience faces almost impossible odds on an AM band station. Although, the station is available via Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio platform.
Burnie Thompson Show Exits WYOO, Panama City and WVFT, Tallahassee; Show to Continue Online. The Florida talk show hosted by Burnie Thompson – based in Panama City and focused on state and regional issues – lost its last two affiliates as Magic Broadcasting II dropped the show citing low ratings. The program had aired in afternoons on WYOO, Panama City “Talk Radio 101” and in Tallahassee on WVFT “Freedom 93.” Thompson, who promises the show will re-emerge on Monday, August 11 at MyFreedomRadio.com, posted on his Facebook page the following comments about his departure: “They didn’t fire me as much as they took away your voice on the radio in Panama City and Tallahassee. Now you can no longer express your support or criticism of elected officials by name on ‘Talk Radio 101.’ They will continue to pipe in a nationally syndicated show or find someone who follows the new rules that forbid editorializing on local elections. I think they’ve underestimated how much this all meant to you and how many of you there are. I know they’d rather upset you than Congressman Southerland, Gov. Rick Scott, or Jay Trumbull Jr.’s financiers.”
Cumulus Media Q2 Net Revenue Up 2%. That figure is pro forma – the actual net revenue is up 21.4% but that number is so high because it’s affected by the acquisition of Westwood One and the Townsquare transaction. Breaking down the radio side of things for Cumulus Media, the numbers tell the story of a challenging second quarter. The company reports “broadcast advertising revenue decreased by $4.0 million, primarily due to a $9.4 million decrease in network spot revenue, a $9.8 million decrease in local spot revenue and a decrease of $2.6 million in national spot revenue. These decreases were partially offset by a $2.9 million increase in revenue from the addition of two radio stations being operated under a local marketing agreement in the Chicago market and the benefit from $14.9 million of reduced producer revenue shares at Westwood One.”
Envision Adds Content to ‘America Weekend.’ The weekend programming block, “America Weekend,” designed for news/talk radio stations offered by Envision Networks announces more additions to its content. Envision adds “Animal Radio” as part of the new “America Weekend” lineup. The nationally syndicated “Animal Radio” show has been on the air for 14 years and is heard on 125 affiliate stations. “America Weekend” also has added “Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline,” “Smith and Sabatino,” and host Ed Kalegi.
Round Two of July PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of July 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was June 19 through July 16. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Jim Jones Returns to Westwood One as Senior Director, News Affiliate Sales. Just after the unveiling of its new news product – a collaboration with CNN Newsource – Westwood One announces that Jim Jones is named senior director, news affiliate sales. The company says that in this new position, Jones will be overseeing affiliate sales for Westwood One’s news vertical and will be based in Washington and report to SVP of affiliate sales Dennis Green. Jones worked for Westwood One for 15 years and was previously VP of affiliate sales, news/talk. Most recently he was with Focus 360. Green comments, “Jim has an extensive knowledge of the news product and has been involved in the affiliation of major news networks with a high level of success. Our affiliates will have the benefit of Jim and his team’s knowledge of integrating our new white label news product into the station’s lineup as we find new audiences to bring news and information from around the world.”
“We Initially Went for a Vacation and Found a War.” Talk show host and perennial Heavy Hundred member Alan Stock, heard mornings on KDWN, Las Vegas, joins what seems to be a growing list of prominent talk show hosts (Sean Hannity, Ethan Bearman, John Batchelor) who have taken their microphones to Israel for a closer perspective on the Gaza conflict. However, in the case of Stock (who has broadcasted from Israel several times during recent years), the original plan was to take his family there on vacation – during which the violence broke out quickly, changing his agenda. Stock interviewed a number of prominent Israeli figures including a wide array of Knesset Members (Israel’s Congress) such as conservative Likud Party leader Moshe Feiglin and liberal Labor Party leader Hilig Bar. Stock tells TALKERS, “Both agreed that all tunnels had to be destroyed and all rocket launching sites had to be eradicated. Both said that these things had to happen regardless of what it took to accomplish these goals. While they have different views on domestic issues, they — and all other members of the Knesset I interviewed — agreed on the unified need for an effective defense.” Stock adds, “I was able to call in with daily reports to my show. Much of the information reported from the region focused on Israeli air attacks on Gaza, missing the other half of the story — the need for those attacks to put an end to rockets constantly being fired from Gaza into Israeli population centers. If it wasn’t for Iron Dome, Israeli casualties would have been as great or greater than the Arab casualties. In Las Vegas, at least, talk radio [KDWN] and FNC gave a more balanced picture of what was really going on in this latest war.” Above, Stock (l) is pictured with Knesset Member Natan Sharansky (r), once a Soviet refusenik who spent time in the Soviet Gulag and who later moved to Israel. On a completely separate note, Stock tells TALKERS that his one-time morning co-host at KXNT, Las Vegas, Kerri Kasem is going to co-host his show this Friday (8/8). She’s visiting Las Vegas for a Nevada Broadcasters Association gala the following night where they will be giving special mention to her late father, Casey Kasem. Stock reports she will also be meeting with Nevada legislators to get the same bill passed that’s working its way through the California legislature that would allow adult children of divorced parents the right to petition the court to have visitation rights if they are being prevented from doing so by the new spouse (as was the case with Kerri and her siblings regarding their father).
WestStar MultiMedia Enters Film Business. The company founded by computer expert and nationally syndicated radio host Kim Komando and Barry Young is branching out into the film business as WestStar MultiMedia’s Barry Young Entertainment division announces it’s working in conjunction with OceanBlue Entertainment and Magnolia Pictures to present the film Frontera — starring Ed Harris, Eva Longoria, Michael Peña, and Amy Madigan – which is set for theatrical release September 5, 2014. Barry Young says, “We are very excited to have quietly watched the progress and development of Frontera over the past 18 months. Frontera provides a careful and thoughtful look at the issue of America’s border disarray with a superb cast. As we push our company and efforts even further into the development of digital programming with such projects as ‘The Kim Komando Show’ now being produced not only for radio, but also as a full television production, shooting live with 10 HD cameras, we are actively but very selectively perusing additional film projects.” Young adds, “We will not consider film projects with violent and meaningless content, but rather look only at thought-provoking projects that can make a difference in the lives of its audience, such as a new Christmas production for release in 2015 and another major production based on the best-selling Anne Rice novel, Christ The Lord: Out of Egypt, the story of Jesus Christ at age 7 as he and his family depart Egypt to return home to Nazareth.”
Odds & Sods. Saying it is focusing on the fan this NFL season, Westwood One is collaborating with its 500-plus AM and FM station partners to promote its prime time Monday, Thursday, and Sunday Night NFL broadcasts with exclusive content, special features, and local tune-in promotion. Every Monday, Thursday, and Sunday, NFL-affiliated stations will be able to access a Game Day package featuring game-specific audio highlights, on-air vignettes, special features, and customized tune-in promos featuring Westwood One Sports’ lineup of NFL announcers, including Kevin Harlan, Scott Graham, Kevin Kugler, Ian Eagle, and James Lofton…..Former St. Louis Rams player Will Witherspoon becomes part of the St. Louis Rams radio broadcast team for games heard on flagship WXOS, St. Louis “101ESPN.” Witherspoon joins the booth team of Steve Savard and former Rams star D’Marco Farr.
Cumulus Media New York’s ‘Bark in the Park’ a Succcess. The trio you see here are WABC, New York personalities (from l-r) Curtis Sliwa, Mark Levin, and Ron Kuby (plus Kuby’s pooches) at last weekend’s 4th Annual “Bark in the Park” at Overpeck Park in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. Levin served as the host for the event. It was presented in conjunction with The North Shore Animal League America & Bergen County Animal Shelter/Adoption Center and Cumulus is proud to note that the adoption mission was a success as 19 dogs and 4 cats were adopted. Also taking part in the event were WPLJ’s Todd Pettengill and Race Taylor, “NASH FM 94.7″ personality Kelly Ford, “Radio 103.9″ host Roxie, plus WABC’s Geraldo Rivera.
Gaza Violence, Ebola Threat/Treatment Controversy, Immigration Policy/Southwest Border Crisis, Army General Killed in Afghanistan, ISIS Campaign/Threat to Christians, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, and Russia’s Ukraine Aggression Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/5). The ongoing strife in the Gaza Strip and the West’s Israel policies; the threat of an Ebola pandemic and controversy over a new treatment for the virus; the U.S.’s immigration policy and the border crisis in the Southwest; the assassination of U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Harold Greene in Afghanistan; the ISIS campaign to create a caliphate in Iraq and Syria and the group’s threat to Christians; the primaries for this fall’s mid-term elections and the 2016 presidential race; and Russia’s bolstering of troops along the Ukraine border were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Panel Discussion, “The State of Talk Radio Programming.” Today (7/29) marks the 11th consecutive business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with a panel discussion titled, “The State of Talk Radio Programming,” moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey. Panelists include: Andy Bloom, OM, WPHT/WIP, Philadelphia; Phil Boyce, VP/spoken word programming, Salem Communications; Bill Hess, PD, WMAL, Washington, DC; Gabe Hobbs, CEO, Gabe Hobbs Media; and Craig Schwalb, PD, WABC, New York. The panel focuses on a variety of topics pertinent to today’s talk radio programming strategies with an emphasis on dealing with the common criticism that the format is skewing too old. Moderator Casey starts it off asking “Is talk radio a kingmaker that wins elections or is talk radio dead?” He points out that to read the press this format receives, one would get the impression both of these statements are true. The reasoned answers by all participants are illuminating – drawing upon facts and context as opposed to bias and emotion. To view this entire presentation, please click here. Coming tomorrow: A panel discussion moderated by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian titled, “Developing and Managing a Talk Show Hosting Career.” Featured speakers include: Tom Becka, KOIL, Omaha; Ron Hartenbaum, WYD Media; Tom Marr, WCBM, Baltimore; Joe Piscopo, WNYM, New York; and Martha Zoller, WGAU, Athens, GA/Georgia News Network. The Talkers New York 2014 conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Michael Castner Moves to AM Drive at KEX, Portland. Changes in the programming schedule at Clear Channel’s Portland news/talker KEX include the shift of afternoon drive personality Michael Castner to host of the morning drive program alongside the current staff of co-anchor Lacey Evans, news director Brad Ford and traffic reporters Michael Convery and Lynne Masterson. As a result Paul Linnman leaves the AM show for a commentator role with the station. Taking over the afternoon drive slot is Houston-based talk personality Michael Berry whose show slides down from evenings to the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot and San Antonio-based Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo is now heard in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm time slot.
Laura Ingraham Doesn’t Discount Run for Office. It’s not exactly a statement of intent, but Courtside Entertainment Group-syndicated talk show host Laura Ingraham tells RealClearPolitics that she’s “keeping an open mind about running for office in the future.” The comment comes at the end of a piece about her influence on some of the primary races – specifically the assertion that she was instrumental in helping Dave Brat upset Eric Cantor in the Virginia U.S. House primary and her current stumping for Joe Carr as he takes on Lamar Alexander in the Tennessee U.S. Senate primary that takes place on August 7. Ingraham was in Nashville recently at a campaign event for Carr – a Tea Party-backed candidate who is drawing a line in front of Alexander on the immigration issue. Read the entire story here.
SiriusXM Posts Q2 Revenue Hike of 10%; 380,000 New Self-Pay Subscribers. After a somewhat down 2014 Q1 report, SiriusXM rebounds with what CEO Jim Meyer is calling an “outstanding” quarter. SiriusXM’s revenue for the quarter was $1.035 billion – a 10% increase from the same period a year ago. Net income was $120 million. Last quarter, SiriusXM reported adding just 267,000 new subscribers but that figure is up dramatically with almost 475,000 new subscribers added – approximately 380,000 of those self-paying subscribers. Meyer comments, “We set new records for trial conversions to self-pay, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin in the quarter, and we are raising our 2014 guidance for revenue, adjusted EBITDA, and free cash flow. Our extraordinary operating performance supported the buyback of over 350 million shares in the quarter, or approximately 6% of our outstanding stock. Perhaps more importantly, we improved our superior content by adding even more channels and shows created with major brands and personalities, such as Joel Osteen, NBC’s TODAY Show, and YouTube, and we expanded the range and depth of our commercial-free music programming with the introduction of three new channels in the categories of country, women’s pop, and dance. As the leader in audio entertainment, we never rest in searching for new content that our subscribers will love.”
Meeting of the Mentors. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (left) paid a visit Sunday (7/27) to his old friend, radio legend Dick Robinson (right), founder and chairman of the mega-successful Connecticut School of Broadcasting (CSB). The two veteran radio “mentors” compared notes about the state of the industry and according to both men, it was an uplifting, stimulating discussion that left them “inspired and optimistic” about the future of the business. CSB – the oldest and largest group of broadcasting schools in America — is a tremendous success story that celebrates its half-century anniversary this year. The institute that launched thousands of careers was founded by then-renowned Hartford DJ Robinson in 1964 (pictured below at WDRC, Hartford at that time) to help aspiring young broadcasters learn the fundamentals of radio performing and production and has since grown to include 12 East Coast campuses from Boston to Miami. According to Robinson, “Our success is based largely on the fact that we have grown, evolved and expanded the definition of what we cover as the years and decades went by…and we are still doing exactly that – evolving with the times. Whereas we started primarily as a school for DJs, we have grown to encompass all aspects of the radio business as well as television including the burgeoning field of sports and all aspects of audio and video production.” Robinson says, “We are a remedy to the high cost and long-term commitment required to attend a standard college or university communications department curriculum – a process that leaves graduates in significant debt and doesn’t necessarily guarantee enhanced prospects of gaining employment in the field.” Robinson also explains, “We are also a practical alternative to four-year schools for adults in their late 20s, 30s and even older who want to change careers or start a new one in the broadcast business.” The obvious question arises: Considering the economic challenges facing radio today with staff cutbacks and the future of AM/FM in question, are there still opportunities for people of any age in the fields of radio and broadcasting? Robinson’s response: “Absolutely! More than ever! With radio stations and multi-dimension ‘media station’ operations that include audio, video, graphics, and text elements all on one platform popping up not only on newspaper websites – but the online arms of a wide variety of businesses, demand for people who have what we would consider basic radio and television skills is growing exponentially. And that’s only half of it – never before in the history of our industry has there been so much opportunity for entrepreneurial broadcasters to make it on their own. In the old model, a majority of the people aspiring toward a career in radio or television would have to seek employment and get past a gatekeeper to be able to work in the field. Very few had the resources and connections to go out and buy a radio or TV station. But today, it is just a matter of ‘knowing what to do’ to be in business for yourself as a media practitioner. At CSB we are teaching our students how to be entrepreneurs as well as talent, technicians, and marketers.” Reflecting upon the get-together, Michael Harrison states, “Dick Robinson is one of the most extraordinary men the radio industry has ever produced. His school has taught countless broadcasters the art and craft of our wonderful business and he is still going strong as a station owner, format innovator and mentor of mentors. There isn’t a lifetime achievement award big enough for what this guy has done and continues to do.”
AdLarge Media Appoints Green VP/Digital Sales. Former PodcastOne national account director Jay Green is tapped to become AdLarge Media‘s vice president of digital sales and content partnerships. AdLarge Media co-founder and president Cathy Csukas comments, “We are delighted to bring Jay on board to steer our digital audio and mobile strategy. Jay’s impressive background and knowledge of digital audio advertising trends, combined with his expertise in operations and management, make him the ideal candidate to help us meet our expansion goals.” The company’s chief executive officer and co-founder Gary Schonfeld remarks that, “Jay’s keen understanding of the digital audio marketplace will advance our objectives and those of our digital and mobile partners. He is skilled at developing the kind of customized programs and packages that national advertisers have come to expect from AdLarge Media.” Green states that he is “passionate about digital audio advertising” and that he is “dedicated to creating first-to-market campaigns for our advertisers. AdLarge’s reputation for innovation and excellence was a compelling reason for me to become an integral member of their team. It’s an exciting time to join the company.” Prior to working at PodCastOne, Green spent 10 years at Dial Global, where he ultimately became vice president of strategic operations. His background includes sales, campaign management, sales planning, research, audience analysis, and market research for various new product launches.
Washington, DC-Based RELM Network Adds Food Show. The program – titled, “Foodie and the Beast,” has been airing on Hubbard Radio-owned WFED, Washington “Federal News Radio” for the past six years and now joins the growing lineup of streaming and on-demand content at RELM Network. The program is hosted by David and Nycci Nellis and is an offshoot of Nycci’s popular DC website “The List” (AreYouOnIt.com,) which has been dubbed by The Washington Post as “one of the premier resources for all things food and wine in DC and beyond.” Nycci is a gourmet cook and a veteran food journalist in radio, TV and print. The show is also seasoned with world-renowned guests, including celebrity chefs Wolfgang Puck, Thomas Keller, Michel Richard and Mike Isabella – as well as famous cookbook authors, farmers, marine biologists, oystermen, winemakers, distillers and brewmasters.
NPR Debuts New Curated Streaming App. An interesting new development from NPR is its curated streaming app dubbed NPR One. A story in TechCrunch identifies the new app – separate from NPR’s existing mobile platform apps – as one that “combines the benefits of both streaming and traditional terrestrial radio” with the new app. TechCrunch reports that it “uses a combination of streams of NPR’s public news broadcasts, combined with stories that are curated for your specific tastes. You can get regionally relevant content by letting the device have access to your location settings, and you can also search for podcasts and other content to teach the app about what you want and get it instantly.” Read the whole TechCrunch story here.
Cumulus Media Honors Youngstown Cluster with President’s Cup. The corporate prize for best sales performance for the second quarter of 2014 at Cumulus Media goes to the company’s Youngstown, Ohio eight-station group as it receives the coveted President’s Cup. Each quarter, one market is recognized for its overall performance among the company’s 90 radio markets. The Youngstown staff (pictured here) that operates country WQXK “K105,” CHR WHOT “Hot 101,” news/talk WPIC, news/talk WSOM, classic rock WYFM “Y103,” rock WWIZ “Rock 104,” and sports talk simulcast WBBW-AM/WLLF-FM will share the $10,000 prize. Vice president and market manager Rick Parrish says, “I am very proud of the success our Youngstown sales team, programming team and support staff have achieved with our eight radio stations that serve northeast Ohio and Pennsylvania. Our team set the goal to bring the Cumulus President’s Cup to Youngstown, and through hustle and hard work, we did it!” Cumulus EVP and Co-COO John Pinch adds, “The team in Youngstown has performed at record levels this year and is well deserving of this award. To win the President’s Cup requires contribution from every person at every level in the cluster. Congratulations, Cumulus Youngstown!”
Cool Job Opportunity. Greater Media Charlotte is seeking talented sales people to work in the Charlotte Market at news/talk WBT-AM/FM and hot AC WLNK “107.9 The Link.” Greater Media is seeking applicants with: quantifiable success in radio/media sales or another industry; the drive, hunger, and ability to see the sales process through from prospecting to the final close; courage to ask for and deliver remarkable programs; a love and passion for winning; integrity and pride in being a full-service rep; new business expertise and a creative mind; a desire to exceed expectations and move up quickly; independent and entrepreneurial performers; excellent verbal and written communication skills. At Greater Media Charlotte, you will be surrounded by people who love to have fun and work extremely hard. We offer great benefits and lots of incentives for self-starters, while enjoying the stability of a privately owned media company with two of Charlotte’s best radio stations. If you think you are ready for the next step in your career and think you have the talent to make it happen, we want you on our team! Send your resume and a cover letter to: Sandra Szoke, director of sales, Greater Media Charlotte, Inc., WBT/WLNK Radio, One Julian Price Place, Charlotte, NC 28208; firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls please. Greater Media Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Gaza Violence/New Anti-Semitism, Flight 17 Probe/Russian Influence in Ukraine, Immigration Policy Debate/Child Illegals Influx, Pentagon Afghanistan Waste Report, Ebola Fears, and Ray Rice Suspension Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/28). The continuing violence in the Gaza Strip and increased incidences of anti-Semitism in Europe; Russia’s influence in the Ukraine and the effort to fully investigate the downing of Flight 17; debate over the immigration policy in the U.S. and the influx of illegal minors entering the country; the recent Pentagon report detailing billions in spending waste in Afghanistan; renewed fears of an Ebola virus outbreak; and outrage over the two-game suspension NFL star Ray Rice received after knocking his wife unconscious in a domestic dispute were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: David Bernstein Moderates “The State of Local Talk Radio” Panel. Today (7/21) marks the fifth business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with the event’s powerful “The State of Local Talk Radio” panel moderated by TALKERS general manager/broadcast operations David Bernstein. The panel – introduced by rising talk star Ethan Bearman of KSFO, San Francisco — features an array of leading local radio figures including Michael “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, WAQY (Rock 102), Springfield, MA; Jerry Crowley, VP/GM Salem Communications-New York; Lee Harris, morning anchor, 1010WINS, New York; McGraw Milhaven, morning host, KTRS, St. Louis; and Larry Young, morning host, WOLB, Baltimore. The panel, described by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey as “excellent and inspiring,” covers an array of topics including the most effective use of social media by local radio, the power of community news and human interest stories, how to cover large, diverse metropolitan areas and their suburbs, the emerging powerful relationship between local radio and newspapers, the revenue benefits of local broadcasting and the true meaning of “local” as opposed to superficial lip-service, among others. The theme of the session is summed up by Larry Young, the 18-year morning host of African American community talk station WOLB, Baltimore, who states, “The most important aspect in local radio is making sure that the constituency you serve feels that you are doing your job to keep them informed. Information is power and the more information you give them, the more apt they are to listen to you.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Anyone who is championing the cause of local radio should not only view this amazing video, but show it to anyone willing to watch who has influence over the course radio is taking during these delicate, transitional times.” To view “The State of Local Talk Radio” please click here. Coming tomorrow: “The Talkers Awards Ceremony – Part 1 – Presentation of the Humanitarian of the Year Award” emceed by Westwood One legend Jim Bohannon and featuring the presentation of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Broadcaster by Talk Media, Inc. CEO Carole Marks to WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale personality Joyce Kaufman. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
KMJ-AM/FM Promotes Blake Taylor to PD. After the recent departure of Skip Essick from the program director post at Cumulus Media’s news/talk combo KMJ-FM and KMJ-AM in Fresno, APD/news director/morning news anchor Blake Taylor is promoted to the position. Taylor joined the stations in 2007 after spending five years serving as program director at KERN, Bakersfield. Cumulus EVP and COO John Dickey comments, “Blake Taylor’s news experience, digital savvy and competitive energy make him the perfect PD to bring a new generation of listeners to the legendary KMJ-AM and FM. We’re pleased that Blake continues to grow with Cumulus Media.” Taylor adds, “I’ve served as news director at KMJ for almost seven years now, and we’ve experienced some amazing growth during that time. But there are many more opportunities ahead as we continue to grow our audience while maintaining our position as the go-to breaking news station in California’s Central Valley. I look forward to taking on the challenge!”
Talent Moves at CBS RADIO’s ’92.9 The Game’ in Atlanta. After a year in morning drive at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WZGC, Atlanta “92.9 The Game,” Jason Bailey (a.k.a. Buckethead) exits the station and Marc James moves from afternoon drive to the wake-up show alongside Randy Cross. Moving in to co-host afternoons with Carl Dukes is former crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone” personality Mike Bell. Meanwhile, Bailey tells TALKERS he’s available for his next challenge. He’s repped by Paul Anderson, who can be reached at email@example.com. You can check out his website at: www.jasonbailey.com
Clear Channel Re-Brands Sports Talker KLSD, San Diego. Sports talk outlet KLSD, San Diego gets a makeover as the station is now “XTRA 1360 Fox Sports San Diego.” This marks a change from the station’s previous affiliation with NBC Sports Radio. As part of the changes, the station will become the local radio partner of the NFL’s San Diego Chargers airing play-by-play and broadcasting the “Chargers Power Hour Show” weekdays from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Steve Hartman returns to San Diego to host the “Loose Cannons” PM drive show with Mike Costa. For morning drive, Fox Sports Network’s Dave Palet and Jeff Dotseth team up. In between, the station is airing FSRN’s Jay Mohr followed by Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick. Evenings will include “XTRA at Night” from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm and “Fox Sports Tonight with Jason Smith” from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm. The changes take place today (7/21).
KABC, Los Angeles to Carry NHL’s Kings. The Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings will have a new radio home next season as Cumulus Media agrees to have news/talk KABC, Los Angeles serve as the team’s radio flagship for the next five years. The Los Angeles Times reports that the news will be made official today. The move from Clear Channel’s KEIB to KABC may fuel speculation that KABC could flip to sports in order to allow Cumulus to air the CBS Sports Radio Network on the signal. CBS Radio and Cumulus are partners in the syndication of the CBS Sports Radio Network. But it may be just that – speculation. For years rumors about a flip to sports by underperforming AM outlets have bounced around LA. Crosstown KFWB has long been part of that chatter although there’s probably little reason to believe the market needs another AM sports talker with three (KSPN, KLAC, KLAA) all hovering near a 1.0 share (Persons 6+, June 2014 PPM) or less.
Odds & Sods. Hard-working WHO, Des Moines-based talk personality Simon Conway (PM driver there) is doing double duty this week and next as he’s filling in on the morning show at Clear Channel’s WFLF, Orlando “NewsRadio 102.5” today through Wednesday and then again next Monday – all in addition to his WHO duties…..Recently retired Chicago Bears long snapper Patrick Mannelly joins CBS RADIO’s sports talker WSCR, Chicago for football-related broadcasts, including co-host of the Sunday Bears pre-game show and making appearances during the week on WSCR programs…..Broadway Media is exercising an option to buy sports talk KOVO, Provo, Utah from Simmons Media. The station is chock-full of regional programming with David James and Patrick Kinahan in mornings, Jake Scott and Tony Parks from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, Hans Olsen and Scott Garrard from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, and Spence Checketts and Gordon Monson in afternoon drive. These shows are simulcast from Simmon’s KZNS-AM, Salt Lake City and KZNS-FM, Coalville. KOVO is an NBC Sports Radio affiliate.
Covering the Downing of Flight 17. Pictured here in Maidan Square in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev is ABC News Radio correspondent Aaron Katersky who continues to report from Ukraine following the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17.
Hubbard Names Drew Horowitz President and COO. Just a week after announcing that president and CEO Bruce Reese was stepping down from his role with the company, Hubbard Radio today announces that Drew Horowitz, executive vice president and chief operating officer, is named president and chief operating officer, effective immediately. Ginny Morris remains chairman and chief executive officer. She states, “For the past few years I have had the privilege to work with Drew and see first-hand what a gifted broadcaster he is. Drew’s passion for the radio business and for the people with whom he works is evident in how he approaches every opportunity and every challenge. I look forward to further partnering with him as we continue to move our business forward.” Horowitz came over to Hubbard from Bonneville International in 2011 where he’d been EVP and COO since 1992. Horowitz comments, “I am honored to have this wonderful opportunity to work more closely with Ginny and to be part of this extraordinary family-owned company. I’m looking forward to continuing my work with the rest of the leadership team to further Hubbard Radio’s success across our seven nationwide markets.”
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Michael Harrison Moderates “Radio: The Big Picture” Panel. Today (7/18) marks the fourth day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with the event’s powerful “Radio: The Big Picture” panel moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. The panel features an array of leading radio figures including Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Sam Kimball, CRO, Livestream; Tom Langmyer, VP/news/talk programming, Journal Broadcast Group; Tom Leykis, CEO, The New Normal; Mike McVay, SVP, Cumulus Media; and Walter Sabo, CEO, Sabo Media. As Michael Harrison’s series of “Big Picture” panels are known to do, this fast-paced, sometimes rollicking session cuts a broad swath across many of the universal topics of importance to radio broadcasters in general – including the future of the stick (AM/FM radio), the relationship between talk and music radio, the pros and cons of utilizing video as a component of digital radio, the evolving relationship between radio and newspapers, techniques for lowering the news/talk demos, overcoming the challenges of rating radio accurately in the digital era and much more. To view “Radio: The Big Picture” please click here. Coming Monday: “The State of Local Talk Radio” panel moderated by TALKERS GM of broadcast operations, David Bernstein and featuring Michael “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, WAQY (Rock 102), Springfield, MA; Jerry Crowley, VP/GM Salem Communications-New York; Lee Harris, morning anchor, 1010WINS, New York; McGraw Milhaven, morning host, KTRS, St. Louis; and Larry Young, morning host, WOLB, Baltimore. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Pistons Radio Network Chooses Chapman to Be Executive Producer. Five-year Orlando Magic radio network executive producer Jake Chapman departs the Sunshine State to handle similar responsibilities for the Detroit Pistons radio network and its Greater Media sports-formatted flagship WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1.” WMGC program director Jason Dixon states, “We are thrilled to welcome Jake to the ‘Detroit Sports 105.1′ and Pistons radio network team. His skill set and his experience working in the NBA made him a perfect fit to join us. Jake shares our vision to provide Pistons fans with unparalleled content and coverage of their team.” Palace Sports & Entertainment and Detroit Pistons executive vice president/chief marketing officer Charlie Metzger remarks, “We appreciate Jake’s ability to provide entertaining and informative year-round content for our fans; we look forward to his coverage of Detroit basketball.” In addition to being responsible for day-to-day network operations, Chapman will host the team’s pre-game and post-game shows, as well as various other programming. He begins his new assignment in three weeks (8/6).
‘The Mighty 1090’ San Diego’s Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith Team with Fox Sports San Diego for TV Special. The afternoon drive duo of Scott Kaplan (right) and Billy Ray Smith (left) – “Scott & BR,” on Broadcasting Company of the Americas-operated XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” is working with Fox Sports San Diego on a seven-part TV series that will begin airing on Tuesday, July 22. The series is being filmed at the Fox Sports San Diego studios and will feature athletes and sports celebrities being interviewed by Kaplan and Smith as well as segments with other San Diego sports reporters. “The Mighty 1090” programming and operations manager Mike Shepard comments, “I am thrilled to partner with Fox Sports San Diego on this special series. The exclusive ‘Scott & BR’ content created specifically for the network is an exciting venture that will bring San Diego sports fans something they’ve never had before.”
Odds & Sods. Congratulations are in order for Pat Frisch, AM operations manager at Cumulus Media’s Albuquerque cluster, who this week is celebrating his 15th anniversary with the station group. Frisch is ops manager for news/talk giant KKOB and sports talker KNML “610 The Sports Animal.”…..In celebration of its three-year anniversary, the Yahoo! Sports Radio is broadcasting live from Las Vegas beginning Monday, July 21. Dubbed, “Super Week,” the network says the broadcasts will emanate “from Lagasse’s Stadium at the Palazzo Hotel and Casino with more than 80 hours of live programming packed with superstar guests including Mike Tyson, Dana White, Stephen Curry and more.” Hosts taking part in the Las Vegas broadcasts include: Steve Czaban, Travis Rodgers, Geoff Ketchum, John Granato & Sean Salisbury, Ken Thomson, and Peter Brown. Yahoo! Sports Radio CEO David Gow states, “This is a great opportunity to spotlight our entire lineup. We’re thrilled to be partnered with the Venetian and Palazzo and it’s truly an honor to broadcast from the magnificent Lagasse’s Stadium.”…..Entercom’s WWKB, Buffalo is the new flagship for University of Buffalo football and men’s basketball play-by-play. The school’s games return to WWKB after being heard on Cumulus Media’s crosstown WHLD “Sports Radio 1270 The Fan.”
NAB Hands Hayes Marconi Award Performance Duties. Louisiana-born, Nashville-based, country songwriter/artist, multi-instrumentalist Hunter Hayes has been selected to entertain at the NAB‘s Marconi Radio Awards dinner September 11 in Indianapolis. According to NAB executive vice president of radio John David, “Hunter Hayes is a talented musician, whose performance will contribute to a memorable 25th NAB Marconi Radio Awards dinner. Atlantic Records and Warner Music Nashville connected us so Hunter can join radio in saluting the Marconi nominees and winners.” Hayes’ platinum-selling, self-titled debut album was released on Atlantic Records three years ago. Among his accomplishments are three number one singles: “Wanted,” “Somebody’s Heartbreak,” and “I Want Crazy.” Established in 1989, the Marconi Radio Awards – named after inventor/Nobel prizewinner Guglielmo Marconi – recognize stations and individuals for excellence in 21 categories. This year’s Radio Show (9/10 – 12) is produced by the NAB and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Joining the lineup at KWTO-AM, Springfield, Missouri, is the Courtside Entertainment Group-syndicated Laura Ingraham show which is being heard from 9:00 am to 10:00 am and from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm…..KYDT, Sundance, Wyoming adds the nighttime edition of the GCN-syndicated “Freedom Feens” show featuring Michael W. Dean.
Child Immigration Crisis Tops Talkers TenTM for Second Straight Week. The influx of child illegal immigrants in the Southwest and the political issues surrounding the problem was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of July 14 – 18, landing atop the Talkers TenTM for the second week in a row. At #2 this week was the Israel-Hamas violence. Following at #3 was the ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria and the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines plane over the Ukraine came in 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.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Mike Francesa’s Sports Talk Keynote Address. Today (7/16) marks the second day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with the event’s powerful sports talk keynote address delivered by WFAN, New York sports talk radio legend, Mike Francesa. The focus of Francesa’s speech consists of 1) his opinion that the current lack of ratings for online “re-purposed” radio content is damaging radio; 2) the benefits of being live and local; and 3) the burgeoning role of sports in American life. Francesa states, “I have done the same show at the same time on the same station for 28 years. I never wanted to be syndicated. I believe in live and local.” Although respecting the importance of digital and social media, he believes that radio broadcasters place too much emphasis on it to the detriment of their on-air content and performance stating, “I take a limited approach to the new technology…I don’t have a Twitter account.” Regarding sports, itself, as a subject and field of interest to the media, he advises, “I think we are at the beginning of a sports explosion the likes of which you haven’t seen yet. If you’re in the communications business, you’d better get on board. Sports today is what Hollywood was in the 40s and 50s.” To see the entire session, please click here. Coming tomorrow (7/17): RAB, CEO/president Erica Farber moderating the panel, “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” with Ron Furman, CRO, Westwood One; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Joe Puglise, president/market manager, Clear Channel, New York; and Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Dave Elswick Show Expands to Searcy, Arkansas Market. Longtime Little Rock talk radio personality Dave Elswick’s KHTE “96.5 The Voice”-based show will be heard on KSMD, Searcy, Arkansas starting July 21 as the show begins efforts to network across the state. Elswick states, “This is exciting as I will now reach the North Central part of the state. My goal is to touch all Arkansans and keep them informed about what is happening in their state.” Additionally, Elswick tells TALKERS magazine he is in the process of launching a 24/7 online TV station as he explores new platforms.
KKOB, Albuquerque Personality Rides on Soon-to-Be-Deactivated Sub. The market’s namesake nuclear sub USS Albuquerque is being de-activated after 30 years of service to the U.S. Navy. Last week, KKOB, Albuquerque weekend personality Terrie Q. Sayre – pictured here at the periscope of the sub – was able to take a voyage on it. The sub is based in San Diego and during Sayre’s visit, she went out to sea in it and was able to dive to 600 feet, take sharp angle maneuvers, take part in periscope viewing and more. Sayre reports they even did a burial at sea involving a three torpedo salute.
CBS Sports Radio Morning Show Gets Online Video Simulcast. Beginning immediately, the morning drive show hosted by Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney, and Dana Jacobson on the CBS Sports Radio Network – heard from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET – is available in a live, online video simulcast, especially targeting consumers using mobile and tablet devices. Network director of programming Eric Spitz says, “We are excited to launch yet another way to expose our programming to audiences nationwide. Tiki, Brandon and Dana prove every day to be dynamic and passionate sports hosts, and providing additional access to the show follows the trend of listeners spending more time with the program.”
’99.9 The Fan’ in Raleigh Holds ‘Fan Town Hall.’ Tomorrow morning Capitol Broadcasting-owned sports talk WCMC-FM, Raleigh “99.9 The Fan” is presenting the first-ever “Fan Town Hall” with four of the most influential people in Triangle college sports today at Full Frame Theater in nearby Durham. Panelists will include: Duke athletic director Dr. Kevin White; North Carolina Central athletic director Dr. Ingrid Wicker-McCree; NC State athletic director Debbie Yow and North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham. The 90-minute, commercial-free event will be moderated by WCMC-FM afternoon drive host Adam Gold and WRAL-TV sports anchor Jeff Gravley. Topics to be addressed include the state of college athletics, successes and challenges athletic departments are experiencing and much more. Station program director and OM Dennis Glasgow states, “This is a historical event that’s never been done before in the Triangle, and to bring together these four remarkable people will be a fascinating 90 minutes inside the looking glass of college sports. Our Town Hall format will be less traditional in that we’re encouraging conversation among our special guests, and its unique format will allow social media questions throughout the event.”
Golloher Joins Fox News Radio as Correspondent. Former freelancer Jessica Golloher – who’s been based in Moscow for the past six years – joins Fox News Radio as a correspondent based in New York. In this new role, Golloher will report on breaking news and provide daily live reports while covering stories in the Northeast and across the country. During her time in Moscow, Golloher provided live coverage of stories, including Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the crisis in Ukraine, and the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Golloher previously worked at radio stations in Washington, Boston, Tulsa, and Los Angeles.
Odds & Sods. All-newser KNX, Los Angeles is tackling the Western drought story as it relates to Southern California on July 31 during a day-long program titled, “Running on Empty: Our Epic Drought.” The CBS RADIO station says KNX’s news staff, “led by producers Charles Feldman and Laraine Herman, will look at the impact the worsening drought will have on” the population. KNX will detail what sets the current drought apart from those the state has experienced in the recent past. Among the questions to be answered are what food products might disappear from shelves and which ones will get costlier, who decides who’ll be able to tap into the eroding water supply and what will the long-term effects be on the local environment and wildlife? Seven KNX reporters have conducted more than 50 interviews with California Governor Jerry Brown, representatives from the Metropolitan and Orange County Water Districts, climatologists, environmentalists, farmers and others…..Cumulus Media news/talk WABC, New York reports a coup as former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson appeared on “The Ride Home with Pat Kiernan and Rita Cosby” on Wednesday afternoon to “address publicly for the first time” her departure from the paper. She talked about her reaction to Arthur Sulzberger saying she was let go because of her management style, her feelings about the current state of journalism and more…..Thirty-two year NPR veteran Margaret Low Smith is leaving the public radio network where she’s been serving as senior vice president/news to become a VP at The Atlantic. Smith will also be the president of the publication’s AtlanticLIVE Events division…..CRN Digital Talk Radio announced the winners of its 2014 Food & Wine Awards during an appearance at the 33rd Annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival at the Kapalua Resort in Hawaii. CRN president & CEO Michael J. Horn and CRN personality “Sommelier of the People” Michael Jordan made the presentations on a special live broadcast of the network’s nationally syndicated “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” show. Michael Browne of the Kosta Browne Winery and Robert Cabral of Williams Selyem shared the Winemaker of the Year honor. Dean Fearing of Fearing’s Restaurant in Dallas, Texas was named Chef of the Year. Zimzala Huntington Beach, California was crowned Restaurant of the Year. Sommelier of the Year honors went to Troy Smith at Montage in Laguna Beach, California. CRN listeners selected the winners from a list of nominees.
SRN’s Dennis Prager Visits Death Row. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dennis Prager is pictured here (right) with an unidentified death row inmate at Angola State Prison in Louisiana – the nation’s largest prison. Prager spent Monday, July 14 at the prison as part of the annual “Returning Hearts Celebration,” organized by the Christian organization Awana. Among that organization’s projects is work with prison inmates. Prager has been lecturing to evangelical pastors all over the country about the American Renewal Project. Prager shared his experiences at the prison with listeners on his programs yesterday and today. During a meeting with the inmate pictured here, Prager asked the man if he felt sorry for himself. “No,” he responded. “But I do regret the things I’ve done.”
NYC Competitors Get Together at Big Fundraiser. These two New York City talk radio personalities – Geraldo Rivera from Cumulus Media’s WABC (left) and Mark Simone from Clear Channel’s WOR (right) – usually compete against each other in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon time slot. But they are pictured here together as they attend and speak at a fundraiser luncheon for the city’s 100-year-old charity The Police Athletic League of New York City.
Child Immigrant Crisis-Immigration Policy Reform, Eric Holder Racism Comments, Middle East Turmoil, Possible Warren 2016 Presidential Run, Hookah Craze, and Western Drought and Summer ‘Polar Vortex’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/15). The ongoing child immigration crisis in the Southwest and debate over who’s responsible and how to fix it; Attorney General Eric Holder’s comments that criticism of the Obama Administration are race-based; the violence between Israel and Hamas and the ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria; Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s recent travels and speculation she’s gearing up for a ‘stealth’ 2016 presidential bid; chatter about the health issues surrounding the current hookah craze; plus the Western drought and the summer ‘polar vortex’ affecting the Midwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Did SiriusXM Have the Right to Fire Anthony Cumia? A week after satellite broadcaster SiriusXM terminated Anthony Cumia of the “Opie & Anthony” show, TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes about the underlying legal aspects of the case. Weisman explains that – although he hasn’t read Cumia’s contract – most performers who sign a contract these days have a morals clause in their deals that give the employer the right to fire employees who do things while off duty that reflect badly on the company. Weisman offers some history of the morals clause and explains what employees finding themselves in Cumia’s situation might have in their arsenal with which to fight back. Read Weisman’s entire piece here.
KFBK, Sacramento Gives Gubernatorial Nominee Talk Show Appearance. In an effort to do what Clear Channel Sacramento VP of programming Ken Charles says is “covering the biggest stories and the most relevant news for Sacramento and California,” news/talk KFBK welcomed Republican gubernatorial nominee Neel Kashkari to the airwaves, allowing him to host a three-hour show last night (7/10) from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Charles said, “We invited both Kashkari and Governor Brown to host a show with us to provide them a unique forum to speak with the citizens of northern California. We look forward to Kashkari’s appearance tonight and hope we hear from the governor very soon.”
WHYN, Springfield to Name Adam Wright Morning Drive Co-Host. Two weeks after parting company with longtime morning drive co-host Brad Shepard, Clear Channel Springfield, Massachusetts is prepared to announce Adam Hamada Wright will join co-host Bo Sullivan on air for AM drive duties. Wright operates Westfield, Massachusetts based Advertus Media, a creative and media buying agency, and will continue that business in addition to his radio work. He says, “WHYN is a heritage news/talk station and I look forward to carrying on an incredible tradition of broadcasting there. This new additional adventure is the culmination of a lifelong dream of hosting a talk show and the ability to return to radio after 14 years. I will forever be grateful to Sean Davey and Jerry Hyland for coming up with this insane idea and I will honor those who came before me on this storied station, especially Brad Shepard who I consider an amazing talent and friend.”
Dianna Kelly Joins ’98.3 The Torch’ in Des Moines. Taking on the role of news director for Cumulus Media news/talk outlet KWQW “98.3 The Torch” is Dianna Kelly. Cumulus states that the “experienced broadcast journalist and talk personality has held on-air positions for stations in Kansas City, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Fresno, Jacksonville, Grand Rapids, and suburban Nashville. She has been honored with six Associated Press awards for her feature reports.” Kelly says, “What a pleasure to be working with the brightest minds in radio! The future of radio is here and it’s at Cumulus. I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it.”
Round Three of June PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of June 2014 PPM 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 survey period was May 22 through June 18. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page of RadioInfo.com here.
Dino Costa Moves Show Base to NYC. Two months after the former SirusXM sports talk personality Dino Costa began his own internet-based sports talk show at dinocostashow.com, he announces he’s moving his base of operations from Cheyenne, Wyoming to New York City later this summer. Costa explains on his website that he initially hated life in New York when he first went to work for SiriusXM but, to his own surprise, realized he missed the City after moving back to the West and settling in Cheyenne. Costa says his show will be MIA for a week when he and his family make the move back to New York.
Odds & Sods. Mixing it up a bit is Premiere Networks as the syndicator brings rock/talk WMMS, Cleveland and classic rock WDTW, Detroit personality Alan Cox in to sub for Andy Dean on the “America Now” program on Monday, July 14. Though Dean is decidedly conservative, Cox likes to operate more in the pop culture/lifestyle arena. This should be an interesting listen…..A Manhattan street was named for the longtime WINS, New York reporter who passed away last year at age 86, just two weeks after filing his last report for the station. The New York Daily News reports that the corner of W. 43rd St. and 10th Avenue will bear the name “Stan Brooks Way” as a tribute to the journalist who worked for WINS for almost 50 years. Brooks and his wife lived near the intersection…..CBS RADIO’s KNX, Los Angeles continues its “KNX On Your Corner” series with a live remote broadcast from northern Orange County on Friday, July 25. The station says the broadcast will include a series of special reports focusing on important issues in the cities of Brea, La Habra, Yorba Linda and Placentia. Additionally, local civic leaders will appear as special guests throughout the day as KNX gives listeners insight into the unique attributes of the area. “Adding to the local flavor of the day, KNX will broadcast live from Arthur’s Coffee Shop in La Habra. Free refreshments will be offered and the public is invited to meet the people behind the microphones of Southern California’s only all-news radio station.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to new affiliate stations WAMT, Orlando; KMET-AM, Banning, California; WGRV, Greeneville, Tennessee; WNNG-FM, Unadilla, Georgia; and WFPA, Ft. Payne, Alabama…..Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” program adds 10 new affiliate stations including KLAV, Las Vegas; WELE, Ormond Beach, Florida; KVNA, Flagstaff, Arizona; and WMXB, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Child Immigration Crisis Top News/Talk Story This Week. The influx of minor immigrants from Central America crossing the Southwestern borders and the immigration policy controversy associated with it was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of July 7-11, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was the ISIS campaign in Iraq. At #3 was the Israeli-Palestinian violence and at #4 was the state of President Obama’s approval ratings. 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 and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Cumulus Media Moves Kevin Metheny to KGO and KSFO, San Francisco. From his current position with Cumulus Media as program director of WJR, Detroit, Kevin Metheny will go West to take the helm of Bay Area news and talk stations KGO and KSFO as operations manager, effective July 14. The company says that Metheny is “a career content creator whose other recent work includes the successful launch of CBS RADIO’s country KMNB, “BUZ*N @ 102.9” in the Twin Cities; program director of WGN, Chicago; and 13 years with Clear Channel in various roles, including regional vice president of programming.” Cumulus EVP and co-COO John Dickey states, “Kevin Metheny’s reputation and accomplishments are unparalleled. His deep understanding of spoken-word radio and ability to work with bigger-than-life talents make him the ideal candidate to lead the legendary KGO and KSFO.” Metheny takes over for Ron Escarsega, who exits the stations.
WIND, Chicago Pulls Joe Walsh Off the Air After ‘Conversation About Words.’ Chicago talk show host (and former U.S. Congressman) Joe Walsh was pulled off his radio program on the Salem Communications-owned talk station yesterday (6/19) after he used a number of racial slurs while engaging in what he termed (via Twitter) “an honest, adult conversation about words without resorting to alphabet soup phrases (C-word, N-word etc.).” Walsh was riffing on the controversy over the NFL’s Washington Redskins losing its trademark due a recent Trademark Office decision. He Tweets that he “Found out that if I said Redskins or Cracker or Redneck Bible Thumper I could stay on. But if I said N***er or Sp**k, they cut me off.” As reported in the Daily Mail, Walsh is expected to be off the radio today and will meet with management later this afternoon. Walsh is fairly new to talk radio and apparently didn’t think an academic discussion was the same as outright use of the words he was discussing. Still, management is understandably skittish about the matter. Time will tell if this afternoon’s meeting is about setting it right or a pink slip for Walsh.
Tribune’s WGN, Chicago Takes Top Honors at IBA Awards Ceremony. Chicago news/talker WGN was honored with the Chicago Market Station of the Year award at the 2014 Illinois Broadcasters Association Silver Dome Awards ceremony held in Peoria on Wednesday, June 18. This is the seventh year running for WGN taking home that honor. The Tribune-owned station also was honored with first place wins in six categories, including: Best play-by-play team for Chicago Blackhawks broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray; Best radio series or documentary for “Beyond Bartman: The Story of the 2003 Cubs,” produced by David Kaplan, Trey Elling and Dan Levy; Best radio feature for “Halloween Rescheduled,” with Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder; Best station website for wgnradio.com; Best use of new media for the “Graveyard Shift Tours,” video with Nick Digilio and Dan Sugrue; and Best non-humorous commercial for “Des Plaines Golf Center,” produced by Jason Skaggs. WGN president and GM Jimmy de Castro states, “We are thrilled to have taken home seven awards and to be recognized by our peers at the Illinois Broadcasters Association. You can’t be named Chicago Market Station of the Year without terrific contributions from people like John and Troy of the Chicago Blackhawks and the incredibly talented family at WGN Radio. These awards are a testament to the strong sense of collaboration at our station and the amazing buzz in our hallways.”
Odds & Sods. The chairman of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will take over as general manager of sports talk KLAA, Orange, California after the exit of David Baronfeld. The radio management pro had been GM of the station for the past three years…..Compass Media Networks announces its NFL play-by-play schedule for the 2014 season. Some of the key games the network is offering include: the 49ers at the Cowboys on 9/7, the Raiders at the Seahawks on 11/2, and the Cowboys at the Bears on 12/4…..Sports USA also announces its NFL play-by-play schedule for the coming season. Games available through it include the Saints at the Falcons on 9/7, the Broncos at the Seahawks on 9/21, and the Packers at the Bears on 9/28…..Staradio Corp.-owned rock station WYKT, Kankakee, Illinois will flip to sports talk as “105.5 the Ticket” beginning July 10. The station will use CBS Sports Radio Network programming and will air NFL play-by-play from WestwoodOne as well as local high school football and basketball.
Joy at the United Nations. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Joy Browne (right) is pictured here interviewing an unidentified expert from the United Nations at yesterday’s “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations” – the massive radio row at the iconic headquarters of the World Organization — produced by TALKERS magazine in association with the Talk Radio News Service and the United Nations Foundation. Dr. Joy Browne will be at the Talkers New York 2104 conference taking place at the historic India House in Hanover Square today. Meet her there!
Iraq Turmoil Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of June 16-20. The political turmoil and violence taking place in Iraq and the Obama Administration’s policy toward the nation was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the crisis of child illegals pouring over the borders in the Southwest and the larger topic of immigration reform. At #3 was the recent primary results and races and the state of the GOP followed by Hillary Clinton’s memoir tied with speculation about the 2016 presidential race 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.
Talkers New York 2014 on Verge of Sell Out – Only 20 Seats Left. As of 12:00 noon ET today (6/10) only 20 registrations remain available for Talkers New York 2014, the 17th annual installment of the talk radio and media industry’s longest running and most important national convention. According to the event’s organizers, the sale of registrations will officially close at 5:00 pm ET today. This year’s event – only 10 days away — covers the existential issues facing not only talk radio – but radio in general – as both a business and iconic piece of the broader pop cultural picture. According to its director, Michael Harrison, the gathering will “connect the future of talk radio with its past.” Harrison says, “This conference was way ahead of the curve when it was first launched in the late 90s as ‘The New Media Seminar’ in pointing the way toward radio’s inevitable entry into the digital era. While most other conferences are now acting as if the digital age were something new and obsess on the technical aspects of the medium as if we just discovered websites and social media, this year’s conference will accept the internet, apps, and multi-platform options as a given and concentrate on how we can get back to the basics of what makes ‘radio’ special, important, financially viable and culturally indispensable — regardless of the technology via which it is distributed.” Harrison also points out, “Everyone knows how difficult it is to be a professional in this industry these days between layoffs and economic uncertainty. The movers and shakers – both established giants and up-and-coming prospects – that attend this great event create an infinite set of relationships upon which careers and businesses are built. In other words, not only does this convention offer information and inspiration, it also provides its attendees one of the industry’s most potent annual networking environments and opportunities.” There will be more than 55 industry leaders in speaking roles at the conference which takes place on Friday, June 20 at the iconic India House in the heart of New York City’s historic Financial District. Registration is only open to professionals (and broadcasting students) working in radio and related media. They are neither transferable nor refundable. The cost is $249 per person which includes all sessions, receptions, exhibits, food and refreshments. Registrations can only be booked over the phone with credit card. Call 413-565-5413. Again, the sale of registrations closes as 5:00 pm ET today. For up-to-the-minute agenda information and further details please click here.
Glenn Beck Buys D-Day Flag for $350,000. According to a report in the New York Daily News, Premiere Networks syndicated talk personality Glenn Beck – through his Mercury One charity – purchased a 70-year-old U.S. flag that flew over USS LST 493 involved in the Normandy landing on June 6, 1944. The story notes that the tattered, 48-star flag was part of an anonymous online auction via Bonham’s and had been estimated to fetch between $25,000 and $35,000. Though the auction was anonymous, Beck announced the purchase on his radio show.
KFTK-FM, St. Louis’ Loesch and Glover Honored by MBA. Honors from the Missouri Broadcasters Association were handed out at the organization’s annual banquet in Branson on Saturday, June 7 and two personalities from Emmis’ KFTK “FM News/Talk 97.1” were winners. Midday talk personality Dana Loesch (who is also syndicated nationally via Radio America) and PM drive host Dave Glover took home first-place awards – Loesch for Best Air Personality and Glover for both Spot News and Editorial. KFTK program director Jeff Allen says, “We have been blessed with some of the best local talent in the country at 97.1 and I think these awards are an example of that. Dana and Dave produce unique, compelling content every day and make it sound easy. Believe me, it’s not! Congratulations to them and their staffs.”
Grand Rapids-Based Bill Simonson Goes National with CBS Sports Radio. Sports talk personality Bill Simonson broadcasts a daily program from Cumulus Media’s WBBL, Grand Rapids that airs on nine other signals across Michigan. Now, Simonson is hosting a nationally syndicated version of his “Huge Show” via CBS Sports Radio Network. MLive.com reports Simonson began the 10:00 pm to 2:00 am ET show on Saturday, May 31. In the story, Simonson says his goal is to talk about the hot sports topic of the week with people from all over the country. He notes the big national sports talkers get the high-profile guests but he wants to hear “the voice of the people.”
First Round of May PPM Data Released. PPM data from the first of four groups of 11 markets for the May 2014 period (April 24 – May 21) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). TALKERS magazine’s sister publication, RadioInfo, has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
Nielsen Withholds Los Angeles PPM Data. At this juncture, don’t expect Nielsen Audio to say anything specific about the reason the Los Angeles PPM data wasn’t included in the release of the May 2014 numbers – it’s just saying the data is being withheld for “additional quality control.” Nielsen not being specific about when the data will eventually be released either. When ratings information is withheld, it’s due to newly acquired information that the final report is compromised for one reason or another. When the report is issued, Nielsen will likely offer and explanation to subscribers.
Odds & Sods. According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Ben Fong-Torres, Deidra Lieberman quietly resigned from Cumulus Media’s KGO last month after moving from the GM post to an AE position. Lieberman succeeded Mickey Luckoff in 2011….The GCN-syndicated “Freedom Feens” show hosted by Michael W. Dean goes daily adding a 1:00 am to 3:00 am ET program to its weekend offering that airs on Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm…..Add a whole bunch more awards for Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington, DC as the all-newser collects eight Chesapeake AP Awards. This year alone, WTOP has won more than 30 major awards for excellence in journalism, including five regional Edward R. Murrow Awards and seven National Headliner Awards…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles welcomes Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti into its studios tomorrow (6/11) for the regular “Ask the Mayor” program. The show is hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman. Topics discussed will include: drone use by the LAPD, raising the minimum wage in the city and the LA Kings’ Stanley Cup run.
Bergdahl Prisoner Swap/Terror Suspects Returned, Hillary Clinton Book Tour/2016 Presidential Race, Las Vegas Cop Killings/Gun Control Issue, VA Hospitals Scandal, U.S. Jobs Figures Report, Child Immigration Influx-Arizona Immigrant Dumping, and NBA-NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/9). The aftermath of the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap and speculation about released terror suspects returning to the battlefield; Hillary Clinton’s book tour and her prospects for running for president in 2016; the killing of two police officers in Las Vegas and renewed discussion about gun legislation; the continuing commentary about the VA Hospitals scandal and treatment of America’s veterans; the recent U.S. jobs figures report indicating employment on the uptick; the cases of child illegal immigrants being warehoused in Arizona and the dumping of other illegal immigrants in that state; 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.
Sean Hannity Keynotes Petroleum Conference. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Sean Hannity served as the keynote speaker at the 2014 Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, North Dakota last week. Hannity addressed the attendees at the 22nd annual event, praising the oil boom in North Dakota and urging America to become energy independent. The Premiere Networks personality said, “In spite of government, you have been able to show the entire country that there is an answer out there — the answer is oil, the answer is energy, it’s the lifeblood of our economy…You have shown the country the way, I just hope that America is wise and smart enough to follow North Dakota.” Hannity has been vocal on his radio program about America’s need for energy independence. Through his “Get America Back to Work” campaign, Hannity teams up with companies in oil-rich states to help promote and inform those in need of work of the openings available to them. In the photo here, Hannity is seen on stage at the Bismarck Civic Center.
WABC, New York’s Rita Cosby to Meet with Pope. TALKERS magazine sources report that television and radio journalist Rita Cosby – now co-host of “The Ride Home” on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WABC, New York – is being granted an audience with Pope Francis and will report back to the WABC listeners next week. The talented journalist is getting a “once in a lifetime” chance for an audience and will be in Rome next week. While the technical details are reportedly still being worked out, it’s possible Cosby will co-host the 5:00 pm ET show (alongside Pat Kiernan) from Rome. Cosby’s visit comes as the popular and personable pontiff prepares to meet with sexual abuse victims next month.
CBS RADIO Brings Zinno to Atlanta’s ’92.9 The Game.’ Sports talk personality Mark Zinno is making the move from CBS RADIO’s WJZ-FM, Baltimore “105.7 The Fan” south to sister sports talk station WZGC, Atlanta “92.9 The Game.” Zinno – a former U.S. Special Forces service member who was deployed to Iraq in 2005-06 – hosts the evening show on WJZ and will handle the same daypart at WZGC. He tells DCRTV’s Dave Hughes he’ll miss the Baltimore market but that “it’s the right move for me.”
KSEV, Houston Owner Patrick Wins Primary Race for Texas Lieutenant Governor Seat. Current Texas state senator Dan Patrick – who is also owner of Houston talk station KSEV – won the right to face Democrat Leticia Van de Putte in the general election in the fall after beating three-term Republican incumbent David Dewhurst in yesterday’s primary. In Texas, the lieutenant governor is considered the second most powerful post as he or she controls the senate’s legislative schedule as well as the budget process by also serving as the leader of the legislative budget board.
Odds & Sods. At CBS RADIO’s Atlanta cluster, Andy West is promoted from his creative services director role at sports talk WZGC “92.9 The Game” to imaging director for the entire cluster that includes news/talk WAOK and urban contemporary WVEE…..Townsquare Media’s oldies WJLT, Evansville, Indiana will flip to sports using ESPN programming, according to Tristatehomepage.com. The date of the format flip has not been announced yet.
Thanking a D-Day Survivor. The veteran in the middle of this photo is 97-year-old General Jerome Richard, the oldest surviving member of the Veterans Corps of Artillery and a D-Day survivor. Richard worked with Frank Capra to capture footage of the D-Day invasion for posterity. He appeared at the “Stand With Israel” event hosted by Salem Communications news/talk station WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian talk WMCA, New York. Pictured with Richard are Kevin McCullough, nationally syndicated host and afternoon personality on WMCA (left), and WIND, Chicago and WNYM personality Joe Walsh (right). Also in attendance at the event were Salem Radio Network personalities Michael Medved, Dennis Prager and Mike Gallagher. WNYM morning host Joe Piscopo also took part in the program.
JT the Brick Emcees American Cancer Society Event. That’s Fox Sports Radio Network personality JT the Brick (right) posing for a shot with University of North Carolina basketball head coach Roy Williams (left) at the recent 7th Annual American Cancer Society Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic festivities. JT had the honor of emceeing the event and getting the chance to play golf at Shadow Creek and Southern Highlands in Las Vegas. The multi-day event raised more than $500,000 for the American Cancer Society and drew coaches from around the nation, including event founder and University of Oklahoma head basketball coach Lon Kruger, Williams, University of Nebraska head basketball coach Tim Miles, Kansas State University Head basketball coach Bruce Weber and University of Nevada, Las Vegas head basketball coach Dave Rice.
Cool Job Opportunity. Farm Journal Media seeks a radio affiliate manager. Farm Journal Media is the nation’s leading agricultural media company and in late 2012 added radio to its portfolio with the purchase of the AgriTalk radio network. The primary role of the radio affiliate manager will be to develop new affiliates and provide support to existing affiliates for current and future Farm Journal radio shows syndicated nationally. A secondary role will be to provide maintenance of existing television affiliate relations. Candidate must be highly motivated, organized and have exceptional interpersonal skills in order to communicate effectively with affiliates. Background and experience in radio affiliate relations is highly preferred. All Farm Journal Media platforms will be at your disposal for promotional purposes. Qualifications include, but are not limited to, the following: Bachelor’s degree in communications, marketing or other related field preferred; Also valuable, experience in media sales and/or sales management; excellent negotiation skills; flexibility to travel as necessary; position is based out of South Bend, Indiana; familiarity with agriculture and/or farm programming helpful, but not required; compensation (salary and bonus opportunities) commensurate with experience. Please email a letter of introduction and resume to: Mark DePrez, VP/GM, Farm Journal Radio, firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls please.
UCSB Deadly Shootings, VA Hospitals Scandal, 2016 Presidential Race/Mid-Term Primaries, White House Exposes CIA Agent, Climate Change Debate, and NBA/NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/27). The aftermath of the deadly UCSB shootings and the renewed controversy over gun control legislation and mental health care; the continuing conversation about the VA hospital scandals and care for U.S. veterans; speculation over candidates for president in 2016 and the results of primary elections for this year’s mid-term races; the flap over the White House’s exposing a top CIA agent; the ongoing debate over human activities and their relationship to climate change; and NBA and NHL playoff action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
It’s Official: Cumulus Shifts WYAY, Atlanta to News/Talk. As you can see, the official brand still employs the word “news,” but the all-news format is gone as Cumulus Media’s WYAY, Atlanta becomes “Newsradio 106.7.” The change comes with the debut of the Michael Graham show in the 8:30 to 12:00 noon slot today (5/12). The other shows that are part of the station’s talk lineup include Cumulus Media’s John Batchelor show which airs from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am and “Red Eye Radio” in the overnight slot. Both morning drive and afternoon drive will remain news programs. The station is the home of Atlanta Braves baseball and partners with WAGA-TV “Fox Five” and The Atlanta Business Chronicle. Cumulus EVP and co-COO John Dickey says, “‘Newsradio 106.7’ is Atlanta’s best resource for in-depth news and compelling, entertaining talk about the things that matter most in our lives. Our five-star news team, in partnership with ‘Fox Five,’ tells listeners what’s happening locally, nationally and around the world. Our fresh talk personalities, including Michael Graham and Kim Peterson, help the audience understand, respond and sometimes even laugh about those events.”
Progressive Talk to Disappear from KKZN, Denver. The story from Clear Channel’s Denver station group is that the progressive talk format on KKZN is ready to be dumped, although an official announcement has yet to be made and what will take its place is not yet known. KCNC-TV personality Gloria Neal had hosted the evening show on KKZN until last week when she was let go. She posted on her Facebook page that the format would change and all current hosts would be gone from the station.
Second of Two-Part Special on “Business Rockstars” – Meet Quintessential “Connected” Host, Ken Rutkowski. The second of our two-part series on “Business Rockstars” centers on the host of this daily, two-hour program who has a somewhat similar style to Charlie Rose and adroitly produces the same meaty results, although the centerpiece guests he gets to “hang out with” each day are “very cool people” who — in the business world — turn nothing into something. “That is the angle I like,” comments “Business Rockstars” host/co-founder (with Steve Lehman)/co-owner/president Ken Rutkowski. “How many people can say that almost every one of the 1,500 people they have talked with in the last two years is ‘amazing’? We have three or four ‘amazing’ guests on every day.” Some have entire chapters of their life they have never shared, yet Rutkowski — named in 2009 as an intelligence analyst at the Oprah Winfrey Network — elicits nuggets from them. “They have tips to help people,” he remarks. “By listening to the show, it is almost like getting a nice degree in business — but in a fun way.” To read part-two of the TALKERS special feature on “Business Rockstars with Ken Rutkowski” by managing editor Mike Kinosian posted today (5/12), please click here.
Rush Limbaugh Salutes U.S. Military with Tractor Giveaway. With Memorial Day 2014 as the backdrop, Premiere Networks talk star Rush Limbaugh is teaming up with Mahindra USA to give away one Mahindra Max 22 tractor to an active duty or veteran of the U.S. military. The winner will be selected in a random drawing on May 26. Mahindra USA is an active supporter of the military and offers the “Mahindra Pride Military Appreciation Program,” recognizing the commitment of members of the armed forces. The Military Appreciation Program offers an extra $200 rebate for active and retired U.S. military personnel with the purchase of a new Mahindra tractor and qualifying implement. It also supports Operation Finally Home with its “Build To Rise” program, which provides custom-built, mortgage-free homes to our heroes and their families. Limbaugh states, “I’d like to thank Mahindra, the world’s number-one-selling tractor, for their generosity. And God bless all of you who protect our freedom. We are pleased to join with Mahindra USA in giving away one of their spectacular tractors to a deserving active duty or veteran of our military.”
Crowd-sourced Film Hits Goal on Mike Gallagher Show. The drive to raise funds by a group of independent filmmakers to produce a film about controversial Philadelphia abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell hits its goal of $2.1 million – three days before their deadline – during the Mike Gallagher show on Friday, May 9. Gallagher says, “I am so grateful and proud of our listeners who contributed literally tens of thousands of dollars today to help make this important movie a reality.” Listeners to Gallagher’s program—as well as audiences of fellow Salem Radio Network hosts Bill Bennett, Hugh Hewitt and others—were asked to contribute start-up funds for the project. If the $2.1 million had not been raised by midnight on May 12, all donations would have been returned to listeners and the film would not have been produced.
WEEI-FM, Boston Tweaks Midday Talent. A change in the midday lineup at Entercom’s sports talk WEEI-FM, Boston as Mike Mutnansky exits the “Mut & Lou” show and will stay with the company in another capacity to be announced later. Joining Lou Merloni for the new midday show, dubbed “Middays with MFB,” is former NFL tight end Christian Fauria and New England native, 970 ESPN Pittsburgh sports personality and Clear Channel Pittsburgh sports director Tim Benz. The new lineup takes place later this month. WEEI program director and brand manager Kevin Graham says, “We are thrilled with the new team we have assembled. This show will be the only sports radio program in New England that offers listeners insight from a former major leaguer and a former NFL player. When you add in the sports radio experience of New England native Tim Benz, listeners will hear a brand new sound in the market.” Fauria played four seasons with the Patriots earning Super Bowl rings at Super Bowl XXXVIII and XXXIX. More recently Fauria has worked as a college football analyst for CBS, does color commentary for Patriots preseason games locally on WBZ-TV and hosts a pre-and-post-game show during the NFL regular season. Benz was born in Boston and is a graduate of Syracuse University. He served as a radio beat reporter for the Pittsburgh Steelers and also worked at stations in Columbus, Salt Lake City and Syracuse.
Mohn Moving to NPR as President/CEO. Current Southern California Public Radio (SCPR) chairman Jarl Mohn is appointed president and chief executive officer of NPR. When Mohn begins his NPR term in July, he will be succeeding Paul Haaga Jr., who has been acting president/chief executive officer since last year. NPR board chair/ideastream Cleveland chief operating officer Kit Jensen remarks, “We are delighted to welcome Jarl. His background as a successful media executive and innovator makes him ideally suited to lead NPR as it continues to expand its reach and play a unique role in public service journalism and cultural programming. Jarl has a deep commitment to the public radio system, love of radio and passion for quality journalism. He has demonstrated throughout his career a keen ability to identify media and consumer trends. He has exhibited a strong track record on diversity and fairness.” According to Mohn, “This is not a job for me – it is a mission. I love public radio and NPR. It is a national treasure and it is more important now than ever. I want to make sure that the NPR staff, the member stations, and the others who make it happen have everything they need to do their best work.” Mohn was the founding president and chief executive officer of Liberty Digital; president and chief executive officer of E! Entertainment Television (January 1990 – December 1998); executive vice president and general manager of MTV and VH1 (1986 – 1990); and was a WNBC-AM, New York on-air talent in the 1970s.
Odds & Sods. Las Vegas talk show host Heidi Harris returns to the airwaves in the market hosting a daily, one-hour show on Silver State Broadcasting’s KBET, Las Vegas. Harris tells TALKERS magazine the show begins this evening (5/12) at 6:00 pm…..At Kirkman Broadcasting’s news/talk WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina, the Bryan Crabtree show expands, adding the 7:00 am hour. As of June 2, Crabtree’s program will air from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. He says, “I have spent the past 15 years informing listeners how to solve our communities’ problems and find solutions to society’s challenges. The response has been incredible and humbling. We will continue to grow our audience in Charleston by focusing on the stories that matter to citizens of the Lowcountry of South Carolina.”…..Beginning July 1, Compass Media Networks becomes the exclusive advertising sales agent for the on-demand audio programming of CBS Radio News. The programming includes audio podcasts of “60 MINUTES,” “FACE THE NATION,” “Weekend Roundup,” “CBS EVENING NEWS,” “What’s In The News,” “Tech Talk,” “Not Just Another Story” and “Reporters Notebook.”…..CBS RADIO news/talk outlet WCCO-AM, Minneapolis announces an extension in its partnership with the University of St. Thomas to broadcast Tommie football through the 2016 season. WCCO-AM’s Dave Lee will continue to provide play-by-play for the Tommies, along with WCCO-AM’s Eric Nelson doing color commentary…..KFYI, Phoenix afternoon host Mike Broomhead partnered with U.S. Senator John McCain to hold a Town Hall meeting on May 9 at which they welcomed Arizona veterans and their families to discuss the Phoenix VA Health Care System and how it has recently affected them. Case workers from McCain’s staff were on hand to answer questions and to help get veterans the services they need.
Katz Serves as Grand Marshall. WRVA, Richmond PM drive talk show host Jeff Katz is pictured here with his ride for the Bon Air Victorian Day Parade. On Saturday, May 10, Katz served as the Grand Marshall for one of the oldest civic parades in Richmond. Katz tells TALKERS magazine that although the official Grand Marshall’s hat was rather Victorian…the Grand Marshall’s ride, this cool 2014 Mustang convertible, was anything but.
Cool Job Opportunity. Midwest Communications seeks news director. Believe it or not there are still rewarding jobs in radio news. WHBL, Sheboygan, Wisconsin is looking for a news director who will be given the freedom to create and the tools to win. You’ll spend as much time in the field as you do in the newsroom. We need someone who is a triple-threat: strong on-air skills, a good reporter, and a good writer. We set the news standard in our market. It’s on-air and on our website before it’s in the newspaper. We do some enterprise reporting. We do some investigative work. If you have a passion for news, whether on the radio or online, we want to talk with you. We offer a competitive salary and a full benefits package. Send your resume and mp3 to WHBL brand manager Kelly Meyer at: email@example.com or snail mail to Kelly’s attention at: 2100 Washington Avenue, Sheboygan, WI 53081. No phone calls, please. Midwest Communications is an Equal Opportunity Employer by choice. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.
Radio News Pro Dan Scanlan Dies. Radio news pro Dan Scanlan died over the weekend after suffering a heart attack on Saturday morning at his northern Virginia home. He was 74. Scanlan’s career included stops at such storied radio news franchises as WINS, New York, AP Radio, Mutual/Westwood One (as both anchor and Senate correspondent), as well as freelance work for CBS Radio and WCBS, New York. Most recently he was weekend anchor on NBC News Radio. Earlier in his career he worked at WHYN-AM, Springfield, Massachusetts.
WHO, Des Moines’ Simon Conway Grabs Charity Drive Honors. In a contest among a number of radio talk show hosts to see who could help raise the most cash for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society sponsored by talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs, WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway came in first after raising almost $4,500. Wachs dubbed her talk host challenge FROST (fundraising radio host). She says hosts wishing to considered for the next round of FROST, write to her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Movement Afoot to Curtail Media’s Free Speech? In a story by Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner, he writes that Federal Elections Commissioner Lee E. Goodman warns there is brewing sentiment within the FEC to support changing the exemption that the media enjoys regarding support of political candidates and/or issues. Goodman tells the paper, “I think that there are impulses in the government every day to second guess and look into the editorial decisions of conservative publishers.” The piece cites Premiere Networks talk star Sean Hannity and the movie division of Citizens United for effectively endorsing candidates. As the story notes, all media currently enjoys the right to endorse candidates and promote them without being subject to limits or disclosure requirements. It’s unlikely that such a move would pass legal muster but Goodman’s comments to the Examiner indicate frustration with conservative media on the part of liberal staffers at the FEC.
Jennifer Perry Exits WYAY, Atlanta. The former WGST, Atlanta afternoon news anchor had been the news director at Cumulus Media’s all-news WYAY “All News 106.7” since its inception as a news station 16 months ago, but now the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports Perry is leaving the station for a position outside the radio biz. The move coincides with the station’s addition of another talk show that begins Monday, May 12 – this one featuring Michael Graham in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot – to what had been a true all-news format. There’s no indication the programming changes were part of Perry’s decision to exit. Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson has been hosting a show from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm since last fall. Ho also reports that he hears the station will change its handle from “All News 106.7” to “NewsRadio 106.7” in the near future.
CCM+E Teams with Grupo Radio Mexico for iHeartRadio Hispanic Network. It was a natural progression given Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s existing relationship with Grupo Radio Mexico syndicating “El Show Del Mandril” via Premiere Networks, but the additional ventures announced today (5/8) take the relationship much deeper. The launch of the iHeartRadio Hispanic Network will mean listeners to the digital entertainment platform will be able to hear Grupo Radio Centro, Grupo Radio Mexico stations and “El Show Del Mandril.” Grupo Radio Mexico owns and operates 51 radio stations across multiple formats in 13 Mexican markets — including the leading station cluster in Monterrey and Guadalajara. As part of the deal, beginning later this year, iHeartRadio will become the exclusive digital ad sales provider for these market-leading Mexican stations. In what CC is calling an industry first, it will replace all local Mexican station ads with consumer-targeted U.S. ads and that this also marks the first time iHeartRadio will provide U.S. listeners with radio broadcasts from leading stations throughout the Mexico Republic. GRC chairman and CEO Francisco Aguirre says, “This is the second step in the groundbreaking partnership between our two companies. Bob Pittman and I share a vision to expand both companies beyond their respective borders in a very fast paced and evolving digital landscape. Our Mexico stations are market leaders across all demographics and we look forward to their natural expansion in the U.S. through the iHeartRadio Hispanic Network.”
Biz Biggies Rock On — The Colorful History and Present-Day Innovation of Industry Entrepreneur Steve Lehman. Actually there are two stories here. One is the colorful history about the birth and early days of Premiere Networks which was launched by noted industry entrepreneur Steve Lehman and his partners Tim Kelly, Louise Palanker, and Ed Mann in the mid-1980s and went on to become one of network radio’s greatest successes. The second story is about the more recent launch of an extremely innovative multi-media, radio-based syndicated program called “Business Rockstars,” hosted by brilliant business expert and organizer of billionaires, Ken Rutkowski. What is the connection between these two stories? Steve Lehman. In a fascinating two-part special feature written by TALKERS managing editor/west coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian, we are taken on a radio journey that spans three decades from the early days of modern syndication and consolidation to today’s leading edge of multi-platform talk radio. “I saw the need for something that was not ‘old politics’ on talk radio,” declares Lehman, who was fascinated by an article that indicated there are 30 million “wantrepreneurs” in the United States. “I thought that is a great audience to try to educate and to entertain about something I am passionate about — entrepreneurship. ‘Business Rockstars’ is an entrepreneurial business platform that is driven by radio, television, and social media. Those are the springboards to the monetization model, which is live events, content and product sales, and membership.” Part one begins today (5/8). Read it by clicking here.
CRN Digital Talk Syndicates ‘Let’s Talk Tech.’ The weekly radio program “Let’s Talk Tech” with host Christian Wheel is now being syndicated nationally by CRN Digital Talk Radio. The program airs live Saturdays 8:00 pm ET from home base KFWB, Los Angeles. The show is described as covering everything from “smartphones to the internet, home theater to security, software to digital cameras.” CRN CEO Michael Horn says, “Christian is fluent in things called ‘C/C++,’ ‘Visual Basic’ and ‘x86 assembly.’ But more important, he’s fluent in radio. Christian explains tech-related topics so everyone can understand and enjoy them.”
Help for the Industry from the Experts at LDR Interactive. The company says that it is launching its #Engage Blog to offer “broadcast solutions to motivate, measure and monetize your audience.” LDR Interactive says the #Engage Blog shares “perspectives from the leadership team behind the Listener Driven Radio phenomenon and the growing TopicPulse real-time social measurement platform.” The LDR #Engage Blog will feature insights on motivating, measuring, and monetizing audience engagement by offering a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most successful implementations of real-time, social, local, mobile, and interactive programming across LDR’s partner stations. LDR says it will also share unique perspectives from its world-class team of software engineers, broadcast managers, sales managers, and programmers. Blog posts have been published by CEO, Daniel Anstandig; director of sales, Tracy Gilliam; and TopicPulse support and client services manager, Dana Hall.
Sullivan Heads to Brew Town with Entercom. From his most recent gig with Cumulus Media in Mobile, Chuck Sullivan heads north to the Dairy State to serve as VP/GM for Entercom’s Milwaukee cluster, taking over for Michael Keck who left for opportunities in the Twin Cities. Sullivan will oversee CHR WXSS “103.7 Kiss FM,” hot AC WMYX “99.1 The Mix,” and sports talk WSSP “Sports Radio 1250.” He says, “I couldn’t be more excited about this tremendous opportunity. Entercom Milwaukee has some of the most powerful and iconic brands, from ‘Kiss FM,’ the most-listened-to station in Wisconsin, to ‘99.1 the Mix’ and ‘SportsRadio 1250.’”
Odds & Sods. The Ayn Rand Institute announces it will begin producing a weekly, two-hour talk radio program hosted by executive director Yaron Brook. In addition to seeking AM/FM affiliates, the program will air on the digital Liberty Express Network and the Ayn Rand Institute’s own site, aynrand.org. The show debuts June 9…..Sports talk personality Jay Mariotti expands his digital reach by joining with PodcastOne for distribution of his daily show. Mariotti’s program is heard via Genesis Communications Network and on his own Mariottishow.com platform…..Lisa Namerow, former SVP of strategic partnerships and audio monetization at Slacker Radio is joining XAPPmedia as senior vice president of business development and publisher relations for the company that provides an interactive audio advertising service.
Nielsen to Make Cuts at Three Call Center Locations. The Baltimore Sun reports that Nielsen will make cuts to its call-out workforce at locations in Sarasota, Florida; Radcliffe, Kentucky and Columbia, Maryland. The paper reports the call center cuts are part of the company’s efforts to consolidate operations since the acquisition of Arbitron by Nielsen last year. Though no filing with the Maryland State Department of Labor has been reported, filings have been made in Florida and Kentucky with cuts of 220 and 237 workers being made respectively.
Net Revenue Up 12.1% at Radio One; Liggins Cautious. The financials from Radio One, Inc. for the first quarter of 2014 are in and the company reports net revenue was approximately $111.1 million, an increase of 12.1% from the same period in 2013. It reported a net loss of approximately $25.2 million or $0.53 per share compared to $18.1 million or $0.36 per share the same period a year ago. Radio One president and CEO Alfred Liggins III says, “Reflective of the broader economy, we experienced a slowdown in revenue growth in Q1. Adjusting for timing differences on major events, consolidated revenue was up by 5.4% compared to Q1 2013. Looking across the segments, TV One achieved its highest-ever show ratings, with the “NAACP Image Awards Show.” However, the benefits of the NAACP partnership will be felt over the longer term as during the first quarter, TV One had higher programming amortization associated with the initial telecast of the Image Awards. Our internet business continued its profitable trajectory and had robust 27.6% revenue growth year-over-year. Looking ahead, core radio revenue is currently pacing down mid-single digits for the second quarter, but we anticipate markets picking up momentum in the second half of the year as political spending ramps up.”
Lew Dickey Is “Bullish on the Stick” – Shares Insights into the Big Picture of Cumulus Media’s Corporate Strategy at Canadian Music Week. In a “Fireside Chat” between Cumulus Media president/CEO Lew Dickey and Talkers/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison held during the opening sessions of an international radio summit in Toronto, the head of the America radio industry’s second largest group said that he is “bullish” on radio when asked where the stick stands within his company’s long-term strategy. The 40 minute-conversation took place at 9:30 am Wednesday (5/7) at “Radio Interactive: International Radio Summit” held as part of this week’s ongoing multi-media festival, “Canadian Music Week.” Dickey made the comment when asked by Harrison how Cumulus plans to balance its attention between the traditional AM/FM federally licensed platform (the “stick”) and all of its many digital age assets. Harrison asked, “Considering the massive amount of capital you have invested in traditional radio, is there the danger of a conflict between the stick and your other media? More importantly, how do you feel about the future of the traditional radio station in general in this rapidly changing environment?” Dickey responded that – yes, “times have changed in the past five years alone faster than ever and will probably change even faster in the coming five years” but he is nonetheless “bullish on the stick” and that all of Cumulus Media’s projects and multi-media endeavors are based upon the foundation and strength of traditional radio. He said, “What we are doing is building upon our radio assets as the foundation of our larger media reach, always keeping in mind the importance of radio as the base of this larger system.” Dickey went on to say that he personally believes in the uniqueness, importance and future of radio as a vital audio medium and has great respect for the basics that drive its success – music, entertainment, information and especially talent. He summed it up stating, “In today’s media marketplace, the size of your reach counts. You can’t effectively compete with emerging and already-existing giants such as Google with limited audience reach – that’s why you have to be able to provide advertisers with a large, multi-media package for maximum exposure which even includes magazines that we have among our assets. That does not mean we do not value the tremendous importance of radio or the radio station in particular. It is just that the ability of each station to compete effectively is enhanced when it is connected to a larger set of platforms increasing the reach we can provide to advertisers.” Acknowledging Harrison as one of the industry’s leading experts on talk radio, he praised the importance of the format “in its broader definition” – even as it applies to music radio — stating, “Talk radio is more than just the political talk that many tend to narrow it down to when referring to the format. Talk radio is all over the radio in many different forms…it appears on rock and pop music radio as morning shows, it’s in the all-news broadcasts…it is certainly in sports talk and it is our very act of talking that makes radio programming of all formats really work.” When Harrison complained that there doesn’t seem to be the same level of format innovation today as there was in the past – and that he can’t see how radio can survive if its owners and managers think today’s formats can exist in a ‘snapshot’ and not be replaced by new ones, especially when these rapidly changing times demand it, Dickey smiled and said, “You must have been a fly on the wall at one of our recent corporate meetings! I specifically asked the question, ‘When was the last time we’ve seen a significantly new format emerge in radio?’ There is no doubt this is a concern that we care about greatly. However, I want to point out that we have good programming people on our team and we encourage them to be creative in this regard.” Dickey added, “However, keep in mind, formats DO evolve as the times demand… it is just not always as noticeable as the debut of brand new formats that mark a departure from those that came before them.” Harrison asked Dickey about audience measurement stats and his view of the PPM in particular to which he responded that “PPM would be far more accurate if we had a larger sample and until that day we have to deal with the potential of large fluctuations that can cause problems especially when dealing with tight margins within the rankings of stations.” When asked if he counters that with some emphasis on qualitative selling in addition to the quantitative approach – especially on the local level, Dickey responded, “Even on the local level advertisers want data – we are living in an age in which data and measurement play a critical role in just about everything. So even in situations in which there are no ‘ratings’ per se, it is incumbent upon the sales force to come up with information that conveys something measurable.” Immediately following the conversation with Dickey, Michael Harrison was asked how he felt it went to which he responded, “That guy is one smart dude!” Prior to facilitating the chat with the Cumulus head, Harrison delivered the conference’s keynote address titled, “Staying Iconic in the New Pop Culture,” in which he reiterated his basic principles that for music radio to maintain its standing in society it must reclaim ownership of the music culture and not stray from the basic tenets of entertainment, magic, humanity and caring – trusting its future as much on instinct and courage as on research and fear.
Global Warming/Clean Air Act, Boko Haram Kidnappings, Monica Lewinsky Vanity Fair Piece, 2016 Presidential Race/Mid-Term Elections, House Holds Lois Lerner in Contempt, and Russian Aggression in Ukraine Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/7). The Obama Administration’s push for tougher regulations on power plant emissions and the debate over global warming; the global community’s response to the capture of Nigerian school girls by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram; Monica Lewinsky breaks her silence about affair with President Bill Clinton; the potential candidates for president in 2016 and this fall’s mid-term elections; former IRS official Lois Lerner found in contempt by House; and continued concerns about Russian aggression in Ukraine were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cory Callewaert Named PD at CC’s Bay Area News/Talkers. Bay Area talk radio pro Cory Callewaert is promoted from his assistant program director post at Clear Channel’s San Francisco cluster to PD of news/talk outlets KKSF “Talk 910” and KNEW “960 The Patriot.” The latter station is largely conservative syndicated fare – Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Andy Dean – while KKSF features local and regional programming with Armstrong & Getty (based at KSTE, Sacramento), Frosty Stillwell in middays and Gil Gross hosting PM drive. Callewaert’s experience in the market includes a stint with CBS RADIO co-hosting the Cory & Lex show at former hot talker KIFR-FM “106.9 Free FM” and two years as APD at KKSF and KNEW from 2003 to 2005. He rejoined Clear Channel San Francisco in 2009.
NYT Magazine Spotlights Rogers, Huckabee and Political Talk Radio. In a piece by Mark Liebovich in The New York Times Magazine, current Fox News Channel/former WestwoodOne talk show host Mike Huckabee and soon-to-be WW1 talk personality (and current House Intelligence Committee chair) Mike Rogers (R-MI) chat about talk radio and politics. Rogers recounts meeting Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey at WJR, Detroit personality Paul W. Smith’s wedding. The two chatted and Dickey asked if he’d ever considered getting into talk radio. The rest, as they say, is (developing) history. Both he and Huckabee offer comparisons between politics and media and Huckabee sums it up telling Liebovich “If you have more votes than the other guy, you win; if not, you lose.” Same with ratings. “Anybody who thinks, Oh, I’m really smart and articulate, good for me…if he doesn’t have people who watch and listen to him, he’s gone.” Read the whole story here.
KXIC, Iowa City’s Dottie Ray to Retire. Iowa City radio personality Dottie Ray is retiring from Clear Channel’s KXIC “Iowa City’s News & Sports Leader” after a career that has spanned 64 years in the market. Ray hosts her daily eponymous show from 8:45 am to 9:00 am. The station says she began broadcasting her fifteen-minute program back in 1950 and since then has informed listeners about local organizations, artists and events. She has interviewed thousands of guests over the years, always focusing her program on the Iowa City community and non-profit organizations. To celebrate her contributions to the community, AM-800 KXIC will be broadcasting one final interview with Dottie Ray, flipping the microphone around to ask Dottie about her career. KXIC morning host Jay Capron will conduct the interview on Tuesday, May 13. The entire 9:00 am hour will be dedicated to Ray, with several special surprises planned for the program. CCM+E Iowa City OM JJ Cook says, “She is an amazing lady and a very passionate and involved broadcaster. Dottie is a true Iowa City icon and I’m lucky to have had the pleasure of working with her for the past 11 years.”
Entercom Introduces SmartReach Digital. Headed up by Stephen Gibbons, the Entercom division is intended to help local businesses navigate digital marketing options. Gibbons most recently was vice president of marketing and vice president of national sales at Dex One. Entercom president and chief executive officer David Field states that, “SmartReach Digital is an exciting and important expansion of our company’s product line and a perfect complement to our core radio business. Our goal is to be the preferred choice to meet the advertising and marketing needs of our local customers.” The new division will focus on designing and implementing integrated digital marketing strategies for local businesses. It will offer a number of products and services that “enable local businesses to attract, activate, and engage targeted leads.” Field adds, “We believe our new SmartReach Digital products will bolster our ability to deliver powerful and effective solutions for our customers.” As of April 1, SmartReach Digital has debuted in six Entercom markets; over the next 12 months, it will be rolled out in other markets where the company owns stations.
NFL Draft Day Draws Radio Coverage. The National Football League’s annual draft has become one of the sport’s prime events and – especially since it moved from being held exclusively on the weekend to the first two days happening on a Thursday and Friday – it’s become a major event for radio coverage as well. CBS Sports Radio announces it will be on hand and broadcasting live from Radio City Music Hall in New York to its more than 300 affiliate stations. The network says evening duo Chris Moore and Brian Jones of “The Mojo Show” will be live from 6:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET for round one of the draft and from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm on Friday for rounds two and three. CBS Sports Radio overnight host Damon Amendolara will serve as reporter. Over at NBC Sports Radio and WestwoodOne, that network’s Scott Graham will anchor the coverage with updates and one-on-one interviews throughout the night. Donovan McNabb will co-host “Under Center with McNabb & Malone” from Radio City. Later that evening, NBC Sports Radio crew of Jon Stashower, Amani Toomer, and Eytan Shander will go live with features, special reports, and expert analysis. NBC Sports Radio is a joint venture between NBC Sports and WestwoodOne. CBS Sports Radio is repped by WW1.
Salem Communications Reports Q1 2014 Revenue Up 12%. But that big hike includes the recent acquisition of Eagle Publishing, as CEO Ed Atsinger noted during the investors conference call yesterday. Atsinger says the company is very bullish on the acquisition of Eagle and what it can mean to the company’s multi-platform efforts. More on that shortly, first the numbers. Salem’s broadcast division was up 5.4% while its internet and e-commerce division revenue rose 32.9% and the publishing division went up 44%. Breaking down the radio numbers a bit, Atsinger said, “Forty of our radio stations are in the foundational Christian teaching and talk format. These stations contributed 45% of total broadcast revenue and increased 4% for the quarter. Advertising revenue was up 9% while block programming on this format was up 3%. We have 27 stations in news/talk and they increased 16% for the quarter, due to an increase in political revenue. Overall, these stations contributed 17% of total broadcast revenue.” Back to the integration of publishing with broadcasting, Atsinger says the addition of Eagle and imprint Regnery dovetails nicely with its stations’ conservative philosophy as well as with its digital properties including TownHall.com, HumanEvents.com and RedState.com. He said Regnery just published the book Blue Collar Conservative by former senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum – its first significant title – and it used its nationally syndicated news/talk shows and digital assets to plug the book. Regarding this, Atsinger says, “This marketing approach we think will help us boost sales, but I think it will also regularly provide additional leverage in terms of being competitive for signing up new attractive offers.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read the whole transcript here.
Odds & Sods. The new radio play-by-play voice of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars is Frank Frangie, who replaces Brian Sexton as the team switches from former flagship WOKV-AM/FM to Seven Bridges Radio-owned sports talker WJXL “1010XL.” Sexton had called all 392 games in the franchise’s history. He’ll move to jaguars.com where he’ll serve as senior correspondent. Former Jaguars players Jeff Lageman and Tony Boselli will remain in the game-day booth as analysts…..Boston sports talk personality Glenn Ordway reports the app for his internet radio show is now available. The “Big Show Unfiltered” app makes its debut just months after Ordway launches his venture Sportstalkboston.com…..Former WNTA, Rockford, Illinois talk host Doug McDuff lands across the Illinois-Wisconsin border at WTJK, Janesville “The Big AM 1380” to host the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show, according to mystateline.com. WTJK is owned by Good Karma but is being operated by Big Radio under an LMA with the sale of the station to Big Radio pending.
Global Warming Debate, 2016 Presidential Race/Monica Lewinsky Interview, Obama Economic Legacy, Benghazi Aftermath, and Russian Aggression in Ukraine Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/6). The reignited debate over climate change and the Obama Administration’s policy regarding power plant emissions; the 2016 presidential race and Monica Lewinsky’s piece in Vanity Fair in which she goes public about her affair with President Bill Clinton; the tepid U.S. economy and the Obama Administration’s fiscal legacy; continued investigation into the deadly Benghazi attack; Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and fears other former Soviet bloc nations have about Vladimir Putin’s motives were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rush Limbaugh’s Camp Responds to Media Matters Piece. The consumer media war against conservative talk radio – led by Media Matters for America – has, in general, not seen a lot of pushback from the program hosts themselves and the producers of the shows. But Premiere Networks-syndicated Rush Limbaugh, the chief target of criticism, fired back at Media Matters after a piece by its senior fellow Eric Boehlert was published in The Huffington Post that proclaimed Limbaugh’s program a ratings failure in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. Limbaugh program spokesperson Brian Glicklich penned a response to Boehlert’s piece in which he takes Boehlert to task for, primarily, publishing the three stations’ weekly AQH numbers with the implication they are Limbaugh’s numbers before clarifying that later in his piece. He then adds his statistics about changes in Limbaugh’s ratings on those outlets. With just four months under his belt on these stations, one thing is for sure: Limbaugh is still the primary target for Media Matters and scrutiny of the these signals is something the industry will see a lot of over the next year or so.
You’re Here Because of Ben Hoberman. The recent passing of Ben Hoberman – the architect of KABC-AM, Los Angeles’ talk format in the early 1960s – has caused some of the industry’s great thinkers to look back at what made KABC and Hoberman so successful. Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo writes today in TALKERS (5/6) that Hoberman understood the basic premise behind great talk radio: It’s a show. Sabo also says Hoberman followed a number of other prescriptions for success, including these two: He invested in new technology and he embraced fresh, often outrageous talent. Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Address AM Revitalization and Cross-Ownership Rules at PAB Meeting. At the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters meeting in Hershey on Monday (5/5), FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai told the assembly that he wants to implement the workable aspects of the Commission’s AM revitalization program by the fall. He told the gathering, “Small broadcasters and large broadcasters alike want to revitalize AM radio. So do civil rights organizations and those favoring increased ownership diversity. Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, the list goes on. Indeed, I’ve been amazed by the chord that AM revitalization has struck throughout the United States. When I made this proposal in September 2012, I never imagined the response we would receive…Time isn’t on the side of this grand old band, so let’s commit ourselves to getting this done by Halloween. Our proposals will not be a panacea for the real problems confronting AM broadcasters. But they will help. For example, I’ve heard from numerous AM broadcasters desperate for FM translators. That’s why we need to move forward with an FM translator window designed for AM broadcasters. If the FCC acts soon, that window could open next year. In addition to asking for comment in our NPRM on specific proposals, the Commission also solicited other ideas on how to improve the AM band, both in the short term and the long term. And we received many suggestions from station owners, engineers, and listeners. We need to sort through them and figure out which ones merit action and which ones need further study. Beginning this summer, I plan to hold a series of meetings with stakeholders to discuss these proposals. And I invite you to participate. If you have an idea for revitalizing the AM band, don’t be shy. It’s not too late to tell us what you think.” Regarding the cross-ownership rules, Pai is realistic about what can be accomplished, stating, “Unless the courts intervene, I see no prospect that the FCC will bring all of its media ownership rules into the 21st century in the next couple of years. But I do see a glimmer of hope when it comes to the newspaper-radio ownership ban. The Commission has signaled an openness to getting rid of this anachronism. And as the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu put it, ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’”
Newsweb Radio to Change Programming on Two Chicago FMs. The programming on two of the four stations currently airing Newsweb Radio’s progressive talk programming will cease and begin airing a Polish-language format under a time-brokerage deal. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the story and he reports WCPT-FM, Arlington Heights at 92.7 and WCPQ-FM, Park Forest at 99.9 will begin airing the Polski.FM-branded format on June 2. Newsweb Radio president Charley Gross tells Feder the move will allow the company to focus progressive talk on its 820 AM flagship, 92.5 FM (which covers mainly the western suburbs and northwest Illinois) and its webstream while providing a source of revenue from the other two stations.
Saga Communications Net Income Down 9%. Although the company’s net operating revenue was up by 0.8% with $29,423,000 realized in the first quarter of 2014, net income for Saga Communications was down 9% from $2,949,000 in 2013 to $2,439,000 this year. Saga’s long term debt dropped from $58,828,000 during the same period in 2013 to $46,078,000 in 2014.
Odds & Sods. Changes in weekend programming at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KSFO, San Francisco put an end to Barbara Simpson’s weekly show…..Clear Channel adds a little FM strength to the market coverage of news/talk WRVA, Richmond. The formerly dark translator W253BI, licensed to Glen Allen, Virginia at 98.5 FM, gives WRVA more potential coverage in the northern part of the market…..The “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” presented by WYD Media nationally syndicated talk media personality Stephanie Miller rolls into Albuquerque for a show at Popejoy Hall on Saturday, May 10. Miller, along with fellow performers John Fugelsang and Carlos Alazraqui, will also do a show in Minneapolis on June 7.
Scianna Named BRN Director of Communications & Marketing. That is a brand new title for Bott Radio Network and the one landing it is Paul Scianna, founder/executive director of the first Missouri-based Family Policy Council associated with Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. Bott Radio Network president and chief executive officer Rich Bott states that, “This new role is consistent with the exciting growth of Bott Radio Network and will help facilitate our continuing expansion and use of new media platforms to better serve our listeners and broadcast ministry partners. Paul has been a longtime friend of the Bott family, and he has a passion for the mission, vision, and values of BRN. Paul will have a key role in serving our listening audience, broadcast ministry partners and business sponsors, as well as engaging community leaders, pastors and our associates as we implement new ways to advance our vision of getting the word of God into the people of God.” Scianna comments that he is “excited and humbled” to join BRN “at this point in the organization’s 52-year history. Bott Radio Network has established a strong foundation on which we can build to fulfill its vision of broadcasting the timeless message of hope.” Scianna previously was vice president of the college testing company ACT; manager of internal corporate communications for Sprint; and senior vice president of corporate and public affairs for the PR firm Fleishman Hillard.
Enjoying the Accolades. The staff of The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “WSJ This Morning with Gordon Deal” poses with their Excellence in Financial Journalism Award received from the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) which recognizes reporters from the national and local press whose work was published, posted or broadcast in 2013 and contributed to a better and balanced understanding of business or financial topics. The “WSJ This Morning” crew was honored with one of only 11 awards given by the organization for the program’s coverage of the government shutdown. Pictured here (from left to right) are: Mike Gavin, Gina Cervetti, Deal (holding the award) and Dave Duncan.
Obama WH Correspondents’ Dinner Speech, Mid-Term Election Prognostications, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Rice Withdraws from Rutgers Speech, and Clean Air Act Battle Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/5). Criticism of President Obama’s highly political speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner; the most recent polls indicating Democrats may suffer losses in the mid-term elections in November; continued aggression in Ukraine by pro-Russian forces; former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice withdraws from her speech at Rutgers University; and the political battle over the Obama Administration’s restrictions on power plant emissions as part of the Clean Air Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Ups Jeff Brown to SVP. There are new corporate SVP stripes for Jeff Brown as Cumulus Media promotes him from VP/market manager of its Atlanta cluster to senior vice president, Cumulus Corporate. In this new post, Brown will be responsible for regional operations oversight in 26 Cumulus markets and he will report to EVP and co-COO Jon Pinch, who comments, “We are thrilled to be able to promote from within for this high level position. Jeff has the energy, intellect and experience that will make him a valuable resource for our market managers.” Brown states, “It is a tremendous honor to be asked to play a larger role in the development of our ever-expanding platform and the execution of our key strategies. I am truly excited to help drive the continued growth and evolution of Cumulus, as it creates and distributes the very best in entertainment products and services for our listeners, communities and advertisers.” A search for Brown’s replacement at the Atlanta cluster is underway.
Davis Joins Heller in Wisconsin Sports Talk Simulcast. Milwaukee Bucks radio play-by-play voice Ted Davis is becoming part of the Mike Heller show heard on Clear Channel’s WOKY, Milwaukee “The Big 920 Milwaukee” and WTSO, Madison “The Big 1070 AM.” Heller’s program airs from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm and Davis will join from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The company says Davis will bring 26 years of NBA play-by-play experience to Mike Heller’s show. CCM+E regional market president Jeff Tyler comments, “We are extremely excited to have a pro like Ted join Mike Heller and the rest of our great on-air team. Ted will bring another dimension to the best sports talk line up in Madison. With Ted Davis, the exclusive Wisconsin Badgers broadcast franchises, and more exciting plans on the horizon, we know Madison will continue to embrace ‘The Big 1070’ as Madison’s choice for sports talk and play-by-play.”
Cumulus Q1 Revenue Up 3.7%. For the first three months of 2014, Cumulus Media reports net revenue, on a pro forma basis, was up 3.7%. The company reports “net revenue increased $10.5 million to $292.0 million, from $281.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2013. The increase was due to $3.1 million in broadcast advertising revenue, of which $2.2 million was from an LMA in Chicago entered into in January 2014 (the ‘Chicago LMA’), offset by a $9.9 million decline in network spot sales and the loss of approximately $2.2 million of third party network station compensation. Broadcast advertising revenue growth also benefited from $13.0 million of reduced producer revenue shares at WestwoodOne. Digital advertising increased $4.5 million due to revenue from our partnership with Rdio and revenue increases from our streaming and digital commerce initiatives. There was a $1.3 million increase in political advertising revenue; and a $1.6 million increase in affiliate license fees and other non-ad-based revenue.” In a statement, CEO Lew Dickey says, “This quarter was marked by the accelerated integration of WestwoodOne. We now expect to complete the two-year integration approximately three quarters ahead of time and will exceed the stated synergies by 5% to 10%.”
NAB Radio Board Makes Appointments. Named to two-year NAB Radio board seats are: Lincoln Financial Media president/chief executive officer Don Benson; Radio One chief executive officer Alfred Liggins; CBS Radio president/chief executive officer Dan Mason; Hubbard Radio chair Ginny Morris; Clear Channel chair/chief executive officer Bob Pittman; and Federated Media vice president Tony Richards. Those appointments take effect in June. Meanwhile, NRG Media president/chief executive officer Mary Quass is unanimously elected to the first vice chair seat of the NAB’s executive committee. Eagle Communications general manager Gary Exline is appointed to fill a vacant board seat, while Jawco Inc. owner John Wharff is appointed to serve until June 2015.
AdLarge Media, Motor Racing Network Team for Exclusive Sales Agreement. The pact is for national advertising sales representation of Motor Racing Network’s NASCAR racing on radio and digital audio platforms. It includes all MRN flag-to-flag coverage, including 51 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and qualifying events; 21 NASCAR Nationwide Series events; 22 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events; and 13 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar championship events. AdLarge Media chief executive officer/co-founder Gary Schonfeld states, “This outstanding addition to the sports properties we represent drives our company forward in network radio sports, and places us at the forefront of auto racing on radio and digital audio. If it has four wheels and goes really fast, you can buy the audio advertising from AdLarge.” The firm’s president/co-founder Cathy Csukas comments, “Each week, millions of radio listeners hear MRN’s vivid descriptions of exciting, fast-paced NASCAR racing action. Their live coverage and in-depth programming produces the kind of consistent listener engagement that national advertisers want. We are excited to partner with MRN again and to deliver their passionate NASCAR audience to our advertisers.” According to MRN president/executive producer David Hyatt, “With Gary, Cathy, and their excellent team, national advertising sales representation is a collaborative partnership that generates success for advertisers and affiliates. Their independent status allows them to be adaptable and innovative. They create customized campaigns that connect advertisers with NASCAR fans.” AdLarge is seeking a sports sales executive who will be dedicated to this undertaking. Chief revenue officer/radio sales Don Wachsmith remarks that, “It is imperative we expand our sales management to include a focused sports sales leader to spearhead our national advertising sales efforts with MRN’s motor sports coverage.” This is MRN’s 45th consecutive year covering NASCAR; more than 600 radio stations carry the broadcasts.
Cool Job Opportunities. “Think CNN with a hint of the Daily Show!” We’re on the hunt for America’s SMARTEST, most authentic, engaging, entertaining news personalities – real people who can react to, comment on and amplify the news… and do it in short, 3-minute segments. These are NOT “anchor” positions, we’ve got that covered. It’s not a talk show. It’s a true INTEGRATION of news and personality. If you…are a world-class storyteller, talk TO the listener, not AT them, eat, sleep and breathe news, are smart (but not cerebral), have a point of view but aren’t an ideologue, understand what “shareable” content is, know how to integrate social media, are comfortable with the fact that NEWS is the DNA of the radio station (your job is to generate TSL), are a winner and a team player and want to work in a highly desirable LARGE market…send cover letter, resume and mp3 of your work to: email@example.com
Odds & Sods. New York market traffic reporter Joe Nolan is recovering after suffering a heart attack over the weekend. Nolan does traffic on WCBS-FM on the Scott Shannon program…..In conjunction with cable’s Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports Radio will provide coverage of the 2014 NFL Draft beginning Thursday, May 8 live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Jay Glazer and anchor Don Bell will cover the first three rounds on Thursday and Friday. Weekend coverage will showcase the final four rounds that take place on Saturday…..NBC Sports Radio – the WestwoodOne and NBC Sports Group joint venture – is celebrating a major milestone today as the network announces it has passed the 400 station mark. WestwoodOne COO Charles Steinhauer comments, “We are very proud of the tremendous growth the NBC Sports Radio Network has experienced since inception. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of our top-rate talent, producers, and affiliate sales team we are able to continue to extend the reach of this outstanding sports talk content for our listeners and advertisers.”
Nielsen Study Reports Radio Listening at ‘All-Time High’; Hispanic and African America Audience Makes Up Almost 30%. In its quarterly State of the Media: Audio Today report, Nielsen concludes radio listening in the United States reached an all-time high with 244 million Americans listening to the radio each week – that’s 92% of all Americans 12-plus. But this report dives into the numbers of Hispanic and African American listeners. The increase in total 12+ cume for each demographic was not dramatic – Hispanic listening went up 1.4% from last March to this, and African American listening rose just 0.6% during the same period. But the report notes interesting conclusions about usage. For example, the top daypart for listening by Hispanics is the midday 10:00 am to 3:00 pm and the average time spent with radio each week is 12 hours and 13 minutes. For African Americans, midday is also the top daypart for listening and the time spent with radio each averages 12 hours and 10 minutes. Check out the study here.
Sponsors Quickly React to Less-Than-Sterling Remarks. Fallout over racist comments attributed to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling continues, as CarMax, Kia, State Farm, and Virgin America pull advertising support from the NBA team. According to a CarMax official, “These views [by Sterling] directly conflict with CarMax’s culture of respect for all individuals. While we have been a proud Clippers sponsor for nine years and support the team, fans and community, these statements necessitate that CarMax end its sponsorship.” A Kia official states, “Comments allegedly made by Clippers owner Donald Sterling are offensive and reprehensible. They are inconsistent with our views and values. We are suspending our advertising and sponsorship activations with the Clippers. Meanwhile, as fans of the game of basketball, our support of the players and the sport is unwavering.” Two high-profile Clippers players are spokespersons for two of those advertisers: NBA Players’ Association president Chris Paul for State Farm and Blake Griffin for Kia. A State Farm representative notes that, “The remarks attributed to the Clippers’ owner are offensive. While those involved sort out the facts, we will be taking a pause in our relationship with the organization. We are monitoring the situation and we will continually assess our options. We have a great relationship with Chris Paul and will continue supporting the ‘Born to Assist’ advertising campaign involving Chris and now other NBA players.” The Clippers on Sunday lost game four of its playoff series to the Golden State Warriors. It was the highest-rated game of the playoffs so far (ABC-TV), registering a 5.0 overnight rating. In San Francisco (the Warriors play in Oakland), the game had a 9.8, the third-highest-rated first round game on any network in more than a decade.
Indulging in Local Customs. That’s “Into Tomorrow” host Dave Graveline enjoying a shisha while visiting Turkey. Graveline tells TALKERS he’s been in the Mediterranean to serve as moderator at the annual Global Press Conference for IFA – the big consumer tech show that takes place in Berlin every September, from which Graveline broadcasts his show. He explains, “Each year in April, they bring nearly 400 journalists from around the world to a venue in the Mediterranean to talk about the latest trends in consumer electronics, leading up to that trade show. This year I was asked to be emcee for the event.” Graveline says he moderated several panels in addition to the press conference.
Donald Sterling Racist Recording, Obama Asia Trip, Midwest Tornadoes, Kerry Israel ‘Apartheid’ Comments, Russian Aggression/Sanctions, and ObamaCare Criticism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/28). The case of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s recorded racist rants; President Obama’s trip to Asia; the deadly tornadoes that ripped through the Midwest on Sunday; controversy over Secretary of State John Kerry’s comment that Israel runs the risk of becoming an apartheid state; new sanctions being levied against Russia and Vladimir Putin’s continued aggression in Ukraine; and scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CBS RADIO Puts Kibosh on WFAN-Francesa YouTube Channel. According to a piece in the New York Daily News, a fan channel for sports talk WFAN-AM/FM and PM drive host Mike Francesa will no longer present audio or video of the station’s programming after the operator of Twitter’s @WFANAudio agreed to cease and desist putting audio or video on his YouTube channel. The story says CBS reached out to YouTube to protect its copyright on the content and YouTube let the operator know it would suspend his account if he didn’t cease. The paper reports it connected with @WFANAudio who said he made no money off the venture. He says he’s merely a big fan of the station but he understands the copyright issue and will stop putting audio on YouTube.
‘The Ticket’ in Dallas Extends Norm Hitzges for Three Years. The Dallas Morning News has the story and it focuses on Norm Hitzges’ age – he’ll turn 70 this summer. If Hitzges stays through the end of his new three-year deal at the Cumulus Media station, he’ll be 73 when he signs off for good…if he does. Hitzges holds down the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot on the station that, the paper points out, is populated by younger hosts trying to capture that all-important men 25-54 demographic. As for Hitzges’ response to his success after 17 years on KTCK, Dallas, he simply says, “I landed in a really good spot.”
O’Donnell Set to Transfer to Clear Channel Springfield as OM/PD. In two weeks (5/12), Clear Channel Poughkeepsie program director Terry O’Donnell will relocate to Springfield, where he will become operations manager and program director of the company’s cluster in that western Massachusetts market. Regional programming manager Rob Anthony comments, “I am thrilled to have Terry joining the team in Springfield. His knowledge of the formats and track record of making great radio speaks for itself.” O’Donnell states, “I can’t thank my current team in Poughkeepsie enough. I am looking forward to this new opportunity.” O’Donnell will oversee news/talk WHYN-AM, hot AC WHYN-FM “Mix 93.1,” and WRNX “Pioneer Valley’s Country.”
Nielsen Presents Radio ROI Research to Group Heads in NYC. The meeting at Clear Channel New York headquarters announced on Friday took place as planned with Nielsen and the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) hosting an event featuring panel discussions and speakers titled “Nielsen Cracks the Code on Radio ROI. As noted in TALKERS/RadioInfo on Friday, the event was to focus on Nielsen’s ROI measurement tool for radio. Radio group heads attending the event were joined by key marketers and advertisers. Clear Channel chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and CBS RADIO president and CEO Dan Mason welcomed advertiser, agency and industry attendees. Nielsen EVP of global product leadership Steve Hasker presented the study’s findings. Two panel discussions followed — the first, moderated by Michael Kassan, chairman and CEO of MediaLink, discussed the power of radio for marketers and how it should best be considered in the marketing mix. Panelists from across the media landscape included: Gayle Fuguitt, president and CEO, The ARF; Matt MacDonald, BBDO; John Nitti, ZenithOptimedia; Ritu Trivedi, MediaVest and Mary Ellen Johnson Jalenek, American Express. The second panel was moderated by Bob Pittman and featured the heads of major radio groups, including Lew Dickey, CEO, Cumulus Media; David Field, CEO, Entercom; and Dan Mason. The group discussed Nielsen’s study and how they believe it will improve the perception of radio within the ad community.
Genesis to Syndicate Weekly Elizabeth Dougherty Show. The weekly “Dougherty Report” program, hosted by culinary expert Elizabeth Dougherty, will air live from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight on Saturdays beginning May 10 and will be syndicated by Genesis Communications Network. The company says Dougherty’s program “sends listeners on an adventure of good food, along with interviews and a unique take on the news of the day, for parents in particular.” It also says Dougherty has an extensive background in food writing and culinary arts training. The program is based out of flagship WAMT, Orlando.
BIA/Kelsey Delivers U.S. Local Spend Estimate for 2013-2018. Just what will local radio’s slice of the advertising pie look like in 2018? According to BIA/Kelsey’s “U.S. Local Media Forecast,” radio advertising accounted for 11.1% of the total $133.2 billion spent in 2013 (direct mail, newspapers, and TV led the category). The primary sources of revenue for local radio in 2013 were automobile dealers ($1.43 billion), wireless telecommunications ($650.8 million), and full-service restaurants ($647.8 million). Based on changes in the overall local media marketplace, BIA/Kelsey estimates that the overall local media market will grow faster than previously thought through 2018. By 2018 the total will be $158.6 billion, of which $16.7 billion – or 10.5% – will go to local radio. Obviously, the big growth is expected to be in digital. BIA/Kelsey predicts, “Digital media continues to increase its share of total local media revenues, growing from $31.7 billion (23 percent) in 2014 to $52.7 billion (33.2 percent) in 2018.” Find out more about the forecast here.
“Armed American Radio” Celebrates Fifth Anniversary. Last night (4/27) marked the benchmark broadcast for the Salem Radio Network-distributed and Mark Walters-hosted program. “It was no surprise to me that the time was right for a program of this type,” Walters comments. “While the mainstream media continues to promote an anti-gun agenda, millions of law-abiding gun owners have found a new home on the radio dial that talks about their decision to carry a firearm. We provide a hard-hitting, fact based, entertaining discussion about all things related to the pro-gun rights movement.” The now three-hour syndicated program was launched in April 2009 as a one-hour, Atlanta only-based show.
Odds & Sods. Six-year Sun Broadcast Group exec Steve Gallagher departs. Most recently, Gallagher was SBG’s executive vice president. He joined the company in February 2008 as vice president of programming. Gallagher’s prior credits include being director of operations for Citadel Communications Harrisburg (2005 – 2008); operations manager/program director of Nassau Broadcasting stations in Monmouth-Ocean, New Jersey (WOBM-AM, WOBM-FM and WADB) and in Allentown (WWYY “Lite 107″)…..Religious/Christian broadcaster Starboard Media Foundation (also known as Relevant Radio) agrees to acquire Multicultural Broadcasting‘s Spanish-formatted WNSW. Purchase price for the New York City AM outlet is reportedly $10.1 million. Michael J. Bergner (Bergner & Co.) was the exclusive broker for the transaction. Starboard owns stations in Chicago, Austin, and Providence, as well as several Wisconsin outlets in Madison, Green Bay, and Eau Claire…..The Public Radio Program Directors Association announces the association’s president and CEO, Arthur Cohen, has decided to retire effective January 1, 2015 after an orderly leadership transition process of eight months. The PRPD says Cohen, a veteran public radio programmer and manager will retire after a remarkable career of more than 35 years of service in public media.
August Dates Set for Rising Through the Ranks Course. The Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), and the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group (MIW) are presenting the seventh annual “Rising Through the Ranks” seminar, August 27-28, at the BMI Nashville headquarters in Tennessee. The organizations say that, as in years past, BMI will offer 20 scholarships for this year’s program. These scholarships cover the cost of the professional development course, which is designed to foster and educate emerging female radio sellers and managers within broadcast radio. This year’s course will focus primarily on women in the radio workplace and sales and management techniques; including problem solving, budget reviews, managing team personalities, and personal brand building. Scholarship winners will also have the opportunity to hear from leading radio industry executives across various station groups and industry backgrounds. Confirmed speakers include: Lynn Anderson, CEO, Integrated Media Solutions Group; Lindsay Cerajewski, general sales manager, CBS Radio; Tincy Crouse, market manager, Cromwell Radio; Erica Farber, president and CEO, RAB; Katie Gambill, president and general manager, 5-Star Radio; Kim Guthrie, executive vice president, Cox Media Group; Brandeis C. Hall, vice president, professional development, RAB; Emily Hunt, local sales manager, KSL Broadcast Group; Laurie Kahn, president and CEO, Media Staffing Networks; Sue McNamara, senior vice president, sales, CBS Radio; Kay Olin; partner, Olin & Associates; and Dan Spears, vice president, licensing, BMI. Kay Olin says, “’Rising Through the Ranks’ is the epitome of the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group. With the generous help from BMI and the RAB, this two-day training workshop allows us to continue to develop, and help foster female sales managers to senior positions in the radio industry.”
Gettin’ Jiggy with Gary Johnson. At the Kansas Libertarian Convention held over the weekend, internet radio personality Jiggy Jaguar a.k.a. James Lowe (right) sat down with the Libertarian Party’s former presidential nominee Gary Johnson (left) to discuss issues near and dear to the libertarians. Lowe’s program is heard via his own KJAGRadio.com and the Transmedia World Wide network.
Michael Graham to Middays on WYAY, Atlanta. Talk radio pro Michael Graham is saying good-bye to Massachusetts and New England and heading south for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show at Cumulus Media’s WYAY, Atlanta “All News 106.7.” Graham has been hosting a program on the New England Talk Network and on the Boston Herald’s digital audio project since Greater Media flipped WTKK, Boston from talk to urban contemporary (as WBQT). Cumulus is getting away from the all-news on WYAY – it’s already added market pro Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson to the schedule in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm shift – though there’s no indication it has plans to change the drive time news programming anytime soon. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports the changes but Graham himself bids a fond adieu to New England and a not-so-fond adieu to the Massachusetts political scene which he blames for WTKK’s demise. He singles out Governor Deval Patrick and you can read that here.
Glenn Beck Talks About Film Projects to Hollywood Reporter. Talk radio star and media entrepreneur Glenn Beck tells the Hollywood Reporter that there’s a reason he bought a movie studio in Texas – The Studios at Las Colinas in Irving: He has plans for three film projects with many more hopefully to come. The facility, where such movies as “Robocop” and “JFK” were filmed, also serves as the base for his radio and digital operations under his TheBlaze banner but his Mercury Radio Arts film division has plans for the three films – one set in ancient history, one in modern history and a third “faith-based” project – that are underway. Read the Hollywood Reporter piece here. Meanwhile, Beck also appears irked that he’s pigeonholed as a political right-winger by the media, telling the magazine, “Everybody thinks they know who I am because of my stint on Fox – that was two years of my life. I’m much more into culture than I am into politics, and that’s where I intend on making my stand.”
Clear Channel Restructures Sales Efforts; Extent of RIF Unknown. The prospect that Clear Channel Media + Entertainment intended to change the structure of its sales force has been rumored for some time and now the plan has been put into effect. The exact nature of the realignment is not known but the company released the following statement: “As a policy, we don’t discuss personnel matters. However, for the last several months we have been flattening our senior management organization to reduce overlap. Now we are aligning our sales organizations to this new structure and to give more resources, authority, and accountability to the most productive members of our team so we can operate as effectively and efficiently as possible.”
Johnson to Replace Hanson at Broadway Media. A number of changes taking effect at Broadway Media in Utah to report. First, the company announces that its Salt Lake Radio Group market manager G. Craig Hanson is leaving the company after 37 years to enter the ownership end of the business in St. George, Utah. Taking over for him will be Stephen C. Johnson. He’ll serve as general manager and CEO of the Salt Lake Radio Group that includes: KXRK, KUDD, KUUU, KEGA, KYMV and KALL. Johnson spent the last 35 years with Simmons Media. Other moves include Broadway Media VP/administration Bret J. Leifson exiting to pursue other interests. Joining the companies is John G. Kimball who will serve as general manager and CEO of Real Media – the division that operates Broadway’s digital, technical, event and entertainment, and outdoor media assets. Kimball has worked in the market with Bonneville and Real Salt Lake.
Second Round of March PPM Data Released. PPM data from the second of four groups of 12 markets for the March 2014 period (February 27 – March 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
FCC Issues FNPRM for 2014 Quadrennial Review; Ownership Regs Proposed to Remain, Cross-Ownership Open for Consideration. The Federal Communications Commission has released its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that initiates the 2014 Quadrennial Review and chief among the topics are the broadcast ownership rules. The Commission is proposing to keep the current radio broadcast ownership rules in place but it is open to discussion about relaxing the radio-newspaper cross-ownership ban as well as the radio-television cross-ownership rules. This has Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai furious in his dissent. He takes the Commission to task for, 1) failing to complete the 2010 Quadrennial Review and; 2) putting proposals such as the radio-newspaper cross-ownership ban question into the 2014 review. Here are his words: “Congress has instructed us to review the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule every four years and repeal or modify it if we determine that it is no longer in the public interest. And here is the simple truth: The Commission has not been able to conclude since 2000 that the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule remains in the public interest. And today, the Commission dodges the issue entirely, putting off the issue until 2016, sixteen years after our last determination! What’s the solution at this point? While writs of mandamus are not to be issued lightly, I believe that the D.C. Circuit would now be justified in ordering the Commission to remove the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule from our books. We have had plenty of opportunities to justify maintaining the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule, but instead we have chosen to punt — including today.” Pai’s sentiment that the FCC works too slowly, especially in an era when changes in technology are happening at an ever-faster pace while government seems to work slower than ever, is one echoed by many in the broadcasting industry. Consider the Commission’s conclusion regarding how digital media is affecting broadcast media. It’s important to understand that the quote from the FNPRM is relative to broadcasters’ (TV also) desires to relax ownership regulations. Whether you agree or not, it’s the Commission’s assessment of the current state of the audio entertainment landscape that indicates its willingness to only see one moment in time, without regard for the future. “Despite broadcasters’ claims to the contrary, we tentatively find that, for purposes of the Commission’s ownership rules, non-broadcast sources of audio programming are not yet meaningful substitutes for broadcast radio stations with respect to either listeners or advertisers. While alternate platforms such as satellite radio and Internet-delivered audio are growing in popularity, broadcast radio remains the dominant radio technology. In 2012, 92 percent of Americans age 12 or older listened to broadcast radio, a figure that has remained essentially constant over the last decade. Satellite radio still serves only a small portion of the population, even though its subscription rates continue to climb. And though recent data suggest that a significant portion of adult U.S. broadband households (42 percent) listen to Internet-delivered audio programming, we note that millions of U.S. households continue to lack broadband connections. In addition, only 14 percent of Internet radio listeners listen in their cars, where most broadcast radio listening occurs. Thus, we tentatively conclude that Internet-delivered audio programming is not yet a meaningful substitute for broadcast radio listening for most listeners. We seek comment on this tentative conclusion and invite commenters to provide any more recent relevant information and data. We believe, moreover, that satellite radio and content delivered via the Internet generally are national platforms that are not likely to respond to competitive conditions in local markets.” Even if you agree with these conclusions (which, obviously, many do not), will they still be true in 2015, 2016 (when the 2014 Quad is supposed to be delivered to Congress) or 2017?
BIA/Kelsey’s New Study Explores ‘Reinvention of Audio.’ The full name of the study from BIA/Kelsey is “The Internet Radio Revolution Has Arrived: Platforms, Services, Audiences and Advertisers Reinvent Audio,” and as the title implies, it works to make sense of the state of audio entertainment and its relationship with the advertising world as it exists today, plus where it’s going in the near future. The study authors note a five-step process that occurs when a major change affects the media: 1) Fundamental breakthroughs in enabling technologies occur, 2) Entrepreneurs and their investors experiment with getting the right value proposition into the market, 3) Consumers find the winning technologies and begin to use them, 4) Advertisers sensing a new opportunity for connecting with their consumers allocate “experimental budget,” and 5) Media companies and publishers take new platforms seriously. The report states, “It is only when we reach this last phase that we really get a sense of how fundamentally a technology will impact us in the long run.” It believes the audio business is entering this fifth phase. Read the entire study here.
iHeartRadio Gets into Subaru’s STARLINK. Japanese automaker Subaru was a little late to the party with a digital infotainment system but the new STARLINK is available on many of its 2014 cars and now Clear Channel Media + Entertainment announces its iHeartRadio will be included on the system. The STARLINK infotainment system is being demoed at the New York Auto Show beginning tomorrow (4/18). Subaru of America marketing strategy & launch manager David Sullivan, says, “We are thrilled to have iHeartRadio as our first content partner for the STARLINK cloud service application. The award-winning service brings a huge amount of programming and custom content to Subaru vehicles with a great, easy-to-use interface.”
ObamaCare Criticism, IRS-DOJ Tea Party Connection, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Sebelius Senate Run, Tax Day, and Bloomberg vs the NRA Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/16). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the allegation that the Lois Lerner led department of the IRS contacted the Department of Justice about prosecuting the Tea Party; escalating aggression by Putin’s Russian forces in Ukraine; speculation that former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will run for the U.S. Senate; chatter about the complex U.S. tax code and the number of taxpayers supporting benefit takers; and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plans to battle the National Rifle Association were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Limbaugh Commenting on Colbert’s Hiring: “War on the Heartland of America.” Clearly – not everyone was doing cartwheels regarding yesterday’s announcement that CBS-TV has selected Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman as “Late Show” host when Letterman departs sometime next year. Colbert will gear up for the new assignment by retiring his fake conservative persona (which he has described as a “well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot”) on Comedy Central‘s “Colbert Report” at the end of this year. Perhaps the most vociferous and vitriolic public comments concerning the late-night succession involving Colbert were made by Rush Limbaugh on Thursday’s (4/10) Premiere Networks broadcast. He claims that CBS-TV’s hiring of Colbert has, “declared war on the heartland of America. No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values, conservative values. Now it is just out in the open. What this hire means is a redefinition of what is funny, and a redefinition of what is comedy, and they’re blowing up the 11:30 format.” Limbaugh and Letterman are hardly allies, yet Limbaugh noted that, “The world is changing – people don’t want the kind of comedy that Carson gave us, or even Letterman gave us. It is the media planting a flag. There is no unity in this hire.” Furthermore, Limbaugh contends that CBS-TV has, “hired a partisan, [a] so-called comedian, to run a comedy show.”
WABC, New York’s John Batchelor to Debut Author Video Series on WABCradio.com. WABC, New York and WestwoodOne syndicated talk show host John Batchelor begins a new online video program titled “John Batchelor Author Series” (sponsored by online bookseller Entitle) in which he “takes his appreciation of literature, history, and political intrigue to a new level” via long-form interviews with today’s most intriguing authors. Batchelor comments, “I used to be an author, and I enjoy the enthusiasm of hearing in depth of a new book, well told by the person who survived the research, the writing and the publishing. It’s fun for me to learn the stories of the making of the stories.” WABC program director Craig Schwalb states, “No one does books better than John Batchelor, and the ‘Author Series’ proves that. This is a natural extension of John’s passion and we hope that his listeners in New York and across the country will enjoy it.” The program launches with an in-depth interview of Thomas Cahill the author of Heretics and Heroes. Future episodes include: Robert Klara author of FDR’s Funeral Train, Eri Hotta author of Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy and George H. Nash author of The Crusade Years 1933-1955. Fresh episodes will appear weekly on wabcradio.com.
KARN-FM, Little Rock Names PD; Seeks Afternoon Host. Little Rock news/talker KARN-FM names Adam Thomas program director for the station and the Arkansas Radio Network. Thomas takes over for longtime PD and PM drive host Dave Elswick who, along with morning host Bob Steel and news director Jack Heinritz, exited the station last week. Thomas is seeking a new afternoon drive personality for the station and says, “The afternoon show should be a compelling blend of information and entertainment. Opinion and point-of-view are important, but this program must appeal to a broad segment of the Little Rock community. Candidates must have a mastery of current events, a relentless curiosity, and the ability and desire to talk about more than politics. A willingness and ability to engage the audience outside the show via personal appearances, digital media and other channels is a must.” Send resumes and airchecks or links to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Little Rock PM Host” in the subject line. Cumulus Media is an EOE.
Former Governor, WTIC Host John Rowland Indicted on Federal Elections Violations Charges. A week after former Connecticut Governor John Rowland resigned from his afternoon drive talk show on CBS RADIO’s WTIC, Hartford, he has been indicted by a federal grand jury on seven counts related to alleged illegal campaign activity. Rowland, who resigned from the governor’s office in 2004 and eventually served 10 months in prison after being charged with corruption, is this time accused of scheming to work for two Connecticut political campaigns and trying to conceal from both the public and the Federal Elections Commission that he was being paid by the campaigns.
WTJK, Janesville to Flip to News/Talk. The newly acquired Janesville, Wisconsin sports talker that Scott Thompson’s Big Radio purchased from Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting is flipping to news/talk as “The Big AM 1380” beginning Monday, April 14. The station – an ESPN Radio outlet under Good Karma’s ownership – will focus on local content and Scott Thompson will host the morning drive show. The rest of the day will feature: Glenn Smith from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, Andrew Liebetrau & Andy Gannon from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, Tony Huml from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and Sly from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Program director Andrew Liebetrau comments, “We are incredibly excited to do more for our local listeners, partners and communities. Not only will we have a lot of great new and local content, but we will continue to offer some of the great local programs we have had for years.”
Odds & Sods. Former NFL quarterback Jake Plummer is producing a weekly podcast for Sports USA Network. Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “Jake Plummer is a true superstar with a huge following in the college and pro football sports world. We are excited to add Jake’s show to our growing list of digital audio programs as we continue to produce current, fresh, and informative sports programming.” Plummer is currently an NFL game analyst on Sports USA’s “Sunday Doubleheader” package as well as a college football analyst on the Pac-12 Television Network…..Alison Cuddy exits Chicago Public Media-owned WBEZ, Chicago where she has been serving as arts & culture reporter and producer. She leaves to become program director for the Chicago Humanities Festival…..The “Sports Business Radio” show, hosted by creator Brian Berger, celebrates its 10th year on the air. It debuted on KXL, Portland and then moved to national syndication via Sports Byline USA Network.
Meet the New Boss. The New York-based staff of ABC News Radio poses for a photo with newly named ABC News president James Goldston (at center). Goldston was given a standing ovation by the ABC News Radio staff when he visited them today just hours after getting the top job at the network. Goldston, most recently senior vice president overseeing content and development, succeeds Ben Sherwood who is stepping down from the president position in a few weeks after assisting Goldston during the transition phase.
ObamaCare Criticism Top Talk Story for Week of April 7-11. The ongoing scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act was again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 was the 2016 presidential race tied with this fall’s mid-term elections. Following at #3 was global warming and at #4 was the move to charge former IRS official Lois Lerner with contempt tied with Kathleen Sebelius’ resignation as Health and Human Services Secretary. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
BRADENTON, Fla. — No, this is not about the Emmys, the Oscars, the Clios, the Obies, the Tonys, the CMAs or the Golden Globes. No, this not about these lesser annual awards. They all make way for the most important citations that occur around this time, and this is the seventh year – the Annual Hersky Awards. As you all know, the Herskys honor outstanding achievement in the field of talk radio advertising and sales.
There may be a handful of readers who are still among the uninitiated, so let us restate the few, simple rules. There is no actual statuette, naked or semi-clothed (just the mock-up seen here)! There is no committee, although nominations and suggestions from the greater broadcast world are accepted and reviewed. There is no formal event with a red carpet or fashion parade. Keep in mind, however, the honors are pretty much confined to national entities, since reviewing every talk show or program in the country is a physical impossibility. The decisions of the judges are final, and there is only one judge (see byline above). So, may I have the envelopes!
Dan Mandis Hosts Early Afternoon Show at WWTN, Nashville. Talk radio pro Dan Mandis is the new 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm personality at Cumulus Media’s WWTN, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7.” Mandis, who spent years as executive producer of the Dr. Laura Program, has most recently been programming such talk radio outlets as Clear Channel’s KHOW and KKZN in Denver and Federated Media’s WOWO, Fort Wayne. He also hosted the Saturday morning show on KOA, Denver. With Mandis’ arrival at “SuperTalk 99.7,” the station is now live and local from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm. He’ll follow morning host Ralph Bristol and late morning personality Michael DelGiorno while leading into PM drive host Phil Valentine. WWTN program director Brian Wilson states, “We think Dan’s view of the world is just familiar enough to be comfortable for our audience and at the same time just different enough that he’ll make a lot of people stop and think twice about the disease behind the symptoms. As the fourth leg to the table, we think all our core shows will complement each other. The effect is that the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts.” Mandis comments, “There are so many reasons to be excited about this opportunity. Being part of an amazing talk radio station on FM is one, and living in a great city like Nashville is another. I honestly can’t wait to get started.”
‘PowerTalk 96.7’ Fresno Host Bill Manders Receives Kidney from Teen Suicide Victim. Afternoon drive personality Bill Manders returned to his show on Clear Channel’s news/talk duo KALZ and KRZR in Fresno after kidney transplant surgery three weeks ago. According to local TV station KFSN, Manders received a kidney from a local teen who had just committed suicide. It turns out 17-year-old Lexi Morris’ father Jason is a regular listener to Manders’ program and made the unusual request that Manders receive his daughter’s kidney. As the story notes, this is not the usual procedure but the kidney was a perfect match. Manders tells the TV station, “I was in tears when I heard her story, but I would rather concentrate on the plusses in her life. She was smart, athletic, she has a great family, and I know she’s there looking down on me, so I’ve got to honor her.” Read the whole story here.
Marc Hochman Officially Signs with Beasley to Host PM Drive on WQAM, Miami. Nothing is ever official until the contract is signed but Marc Hochman’s departure from Lincoln Financial Media’s crosstown WAXY last fall with the intent on sitting out his non-compete and landing in PM drive at WQAM was one of radio’s worst-kept secrets. As soon as it was legal (at 12:01 am on 4/1), Hochman (second from left) inked a pact with WQAM to begin his run as the station’s afternoon personality. The new Marc Hochman show will also feature Zach Krantz (right), former Miami Dolphins cheerleader Sha Tabb (second from right), and longtime WQAM producer Victor Bermudez (left). WQAM program director Andy King says, “Marc is an incredible talent and one of the most creative minds in radio. His ability to blend sports, pop culture and humor into an entertaining show has led him to tremendous success throughout his career and I’m excited for him to continue that success here at 560 WQAM.” Hochman adds, “I am the quintessential ‘radio nerd,’ so the opportunity for me to host an afternoon drive show on the most legendary sports talk station in Miami was one that I couldn’t pass up. When I first moved to Miami in 1987, I listened to WQAM all the time. Now, a little over 25 years later, I’ll be sitting behind that microphone, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!” The station also announces that one of the most legendary voices in South Florida sports history, Howard Schnellenberger, has signed on as the imaging voice of the Marc Hochman show. All the show intros and production will be voiced by Schnellenberger.
Melanie Morgan Returns to Radio in Santa Rosa. Long time Bay Area news radio and talk radio pro Melanie Morgan (formerly with Cumulus Media’s KGO and KSFO, San Francisco and, for a time, with TRN’s “America’s Morning News”) joined Sonoma Media Group-owned KSRO, Santa Rosa, California as news director and morning anchor. She began her news director duties yesterday (3/31) and starts on-air next Monday (4/7). Melanie replaces a heritage morning news anchor, David Wesley Page, who retired from radio about a month ago after nearly 30 years on the KSRO morning news. Morgan is married to former longtime KGO program director Jack Swanson.
Brian Mitchell and Scott Jackson Re-Up with WTEM, Washington. Two of Doc Walker’s co-hosts on Red Zebra Broadcasting’s WTEM, Washington “ESPN980” are in the fold for another three years. The company announces that Brian Mitchell and Scott Jackson have extended their contracts with the station, keeping them on the “Inside the Locker Room” with Walker through 2017. The mid-afternoon show teams former Washington Redskins Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell along with veteran talk show host Scott Jackson. Mitchell has been a part of the “ESPN980” family for five years. Brian also is a contributing member of the Washington Redskins Radio Network, offering analysis pre-game, post-game and during halftime. Jackson has worked at WTEM for nine years and will serve in many additional roles, including hosting “Redskins Recap,” Mondays after Washington Redskins games and as the station’s lead NBA analyst. Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “’Inside the Locker Room’ has been a ratings success. To have all three guys under contract for the next few years makes our station stronger. Doc, B-Mitch and Jack have so much fun on the air, you can’t help but laugh along with them while listening.”
Business Rockstars Radio Affiliates with CRN Digital Talk Radio. This week “Business Rockstars Radio,” hosted by Ken Rutkowski began an affiliation relationship with CRN Digital Talk Radio. The program that features “Rockstar” CEOs, entrepreneurs, and start-ups targeting the 30 million “Wantrepreneurs” in the U.S., joins CRN’s integrated audio platform combining television, radio and social media. CRN Digital Talk Radio CEO Mike Horn says, “We’re thrilled about our new partnership with ‘Business Rockstars Radio,’ a show with such compelling content, we’ve decided to air it three different times across our platform. ‘Business Rockstars Radio’ is the only national entrepreneurial radio show that brings in ‘Rockstar’ CEOs and entrepreneurs combined with the magic of Ken Rutkowki’s talent and continuing with each guest on the show. We are also excited to partner with the legendary Steve Lehman, a name synonymous with cutting-edge talk radio.” Lehman adds, “We’re excited to expand the Business Rockstars Radio footprint by joining Mike Horn’s renowned CRN Digital Talk Radio Network. This new alliance will add an additional 11 million television households across the U.S. to the Business Rockstars Radio Network, allowing us to reach more ‘Wantrepreneurs’ with fun, fast-paced, and compelling content about growing, starting, and funding businesses.” Business Rockstars Radio guests include some of the biggest CEOs and entrepreneurs daily, including: Nolan Bushnell (Atari and Chuck E. Cheese Founder), Akon (musician and entrepreneur), Daymond John (Host of ABC’s “Shark Tank”), Cheryl Tiegs (model, actress and entrepreneur), Thom Beers (CEO of Freemantle Media), Scott Painter (Founder and CEO of TruCar) and many others.
Sports Talk Post-Super Bowl. The American sports (and money!) juggernaut that is the National Football League plays a huge role in the success of sports talk radio in America. Not to disparage the MLB, NBA, NHL and NCAA, but it’s clearly the most successful and popular league in professional sports in America. So, what effect does the end of the NFL’s season the first weekend in February have on sports talk stations? TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian takes an in-depth look at sports talk radio’s performance in PPM markets leading up to the Super Bowl and in the month that follows. Check out his report here.
McHale Named VP/CTO for Journal Broadcast Group. The Milwaukee-based company announces Brian McHale is its new vice president and chief technology officer, overseeing “the leadership, management, implementation and long-term planning of the company’s technical and physical infrastructure across its 13 television stations and 35 radio stations in 11 states.” Journal Broadcast Group also says McHale will “ensure the efficient and on-schedule delivery of media content, identify emerging technologies and how to profitably deploy them, and work closely with Journal’s leadership team to develop the company’s operational and strategic direction.” McHale comes to Journal from Seattle’s Fisher Communications where he was vice president of technology.
How to Help Your Remote Guests Shine. Radio is a busy business and sometimes hosts must process guests with a level of assembly-line speed that doesn’t always allow for the kind of attention to detail that can make the difference between a quality broadcast and a tune-out. Many interviews on radio sound like there was no forethought to audio quality. And many guests sound like they were thrown into an unfamiliar situation with no preparation. In a very helpful, extensive advice piece posted today (4/1) Genesis Communications Network (GCN) talk show host Michael W. Dean (“The Freedom Feens” and “Michael Dean After Dark”) offers advice on how to maximize the quality of your remote guests covering everything from programming content to technical delivery in today’s frenzied radio environment. To read it in its entirety, please click here.
ObamaCare Criticism, Russian Aggression, North and South Korean Tensions, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Discrepancies, Global Warming, and “Noah” Criticism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/31). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the international implications of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and Eastern Europe and President Obama’s dealings with Vladimir Putin; heating tensions between North and South Korea; conflicting information from the Malaysian government about the disappearance of Flight 370; renewed debate about global climate change; and criticism of the new film “Noah” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.