Tag: "Cumulus Media"

Monday, November 23, 2015

| November 23, 2015

Paris Attacks Aftermath and Brussels Tensions Top Weekend News/Talk Stories.  The aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris, the question of how to deal with Syrian refugees and specific threats to Brussels, Belgium were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.  The Paris aftermath and the Syrian refugee question ended last week as the top stories, landing atop the weekly Talkers TenTM chart, and they continued to be top points of discussion for news/talk outlets that featured live and local programs or carried live national shows over the weekend.

hessbillCumulus Expands Bill Hess’ Role in DC to Operations Manager.  Programming pro Bill Hess – currently serving as program director for news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington and Cumulus Media corporate PD/talk – is adding operations manager duties for the Washington. DC cluster.  Hess’ 38-year radio career has provided him with experience across numerous radio formats.  In addition to his news/talk and sports radio programming experience, he’s also programmed ACs WSNE, Providence;cumulus logo WHYN-FM, Springfield, MA; and WASH, Washington and classic rock WBIG, Washington.  Cumulus SVP, content and programming Mike McVay says, “Bill is an exceptional programmer.  The growth that WMAL has experienced under his direction is nothing short of astounding.  He has excelled as a corporate PD and will continue in that role.  Bill is deserving of this recognition.”  Hess says of his new duties, “On the heels of our team’s success at WMAL, I’m thrilled to be working with Louie Diaz on the rebirth of Washington’s legendary ‘Mix 107.3.’  Thanks to Gary Pizzati, Mike McVay, Jake McCann and Beth Cohen for this opportunity.”

spadeabillBill Spadea Replaces Jim Gearhart on New Jersey 101.5 AM Drive Show.  Back in September, WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” morning drive personality Jim Gearhart suffered a severe concussion at his home while on vacation.  Recovery from the injury has been difficult, putting Gearhartgearhartjim on an extended leave of absence.  Now, Townsquare Media announces that Gearhart will not be able to return to his duties with the station and that Bill Spadea is assuming the role of host of the morning show.  Gearhart had been with the station for the past 25 years and is a member of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.  Spadea has been Gearhart’s chief fill-in since 2014 and voices the station’s daily feature “Bill Spadea’s New Jersey.”  Spadea says, “I’ve always looked up to Jim Gearhart as a legend in New Jersey media. His shoes are too large for me to ever fill completely, but I am honored and humbled and will try my best to live up to his legacy of unequaled radio and service to the people of New Jersey.”


valentimikeDetroit Lions Deny Trying to Silence WXYT-FM’s Mike Valenti.  Usually when a radio station ceases to be a pro sports team’s flagship, it’s because of money – either the rights got too expensive or the station was outbid.  But CBS RADIO Detroit market manager Debbie Kenyon says in a statement that Lions management wanted to pressure the station into firing talk host Mike Valenti for his staunchwxyt-fm logo criticism of the team’s performance.  Kenyon issued the following statement, “CBS RADIO and the Detroit Lions are parting ways.  ‘97.1 The Ticket’ has served as the flagship station for the Lions for more than a decade.  CBS RADIO says it has been negotiating with the Lions a wjr logolong time.  It is sad to say goodbye, but in the end it came down to the integrity of CBS — the refusal to be censored in talking about the team and making honest assessments on the air about this team.”  Crain’s Detroit Business reports the team says that isn’t true.  It quotes Elizabeth Parkinson, Lions’ SVP of marketing and partnerships, saying the mandate to fire Valenti in order to get a renewal with the club is “categorically a lie” and that Cumulus simply offered a better deal.  But in the Crain’s piece, Valenti’s manager, Mort Meisner, said the team made Valenti’s firing part of the conditions for renewing with the team and that team officials were regularly calling Kenyon to complain about Valenti’s criticism of the team’s performance and its management.  Read it here.

Odds & Sods.  Conservative talk pro Steve Malzberg – seen nightly on Newsmax TV – is sitting in for Salemmalzbergsteve Radio Network’s Bill Bennett on his morning drive show, “Bill Bennett’s Morning In America” this Friday (11/27)…..The NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers will remain with iHeartMedia in the Steel City as the team and the company come to terms to keep games airing on rock WDVE and sports talk WBGG-AM/W292DH-FM.  The renewed deal extends through the 2018 season and contains elements of promotional support for the Steelers via iHeartMedia’s six Pittsburgh stations.

boonecharlieLegendary WCCO, Minneapolis Personality Charlie Boone Dies at 88.  As one half of the morning radio team “Boone and Erickson,” Charlie Boone was a fixture on Twin Cities radio for some 40 years, literally owning the daypart during the halcyon days of AM radio from the 1960s through the 1990s.  He died on Sunday (11/22) at the age of 88.  The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports he and Roger Erickson worked together for 37 years before Erickson’s retirement in 1998.  Boone continued to host a solo Saturday morning show from that point until 2010.  Boone arrived at WCCO from his previous gig in Fargo in 1959.  He and fellow air staffer Erickson hit it off personally and management put them together on the radio in 1961.

Bill Payne Dies at 76.  Oklahoma broadcaster Bill Payne passed away in Tulsa on Friday 11/20 at the age of 76.  Payne was the founder of the Oklahoma Academy of Radio.  Payne was a pioneer in the field of FM broadcasting putting KWHP-FM, Edmond, Oklahoma on the air in 1962.  His Payne Radio Group operates 13 stations across eastern Oklahoma.  The company continues to be led by Payne’s son Will Payne.

Friday, November 20, 2015

| November 20, 2015

cainhermanChanges Coming to the Herman Cain Show in January.  TALKERS sources hear there are some changes coming to the WSB-AM, Atlanta-based Herman Cain show with the New Year.  Cain will remain with Cox Media Group’s WSB hosting the late morning show but Westwood One will no longer serve as affiliate sales and ad sales rep for the national syndication of the show.  TALKERS hears WYM Media will serve as affiliate sales rep and there will be a new ad sales rep, but that deal has not been inked yet.

wjr logoCumulus Media’s WJR, Detroit to Serve as Lions Flagship in 2016.  Detroit Lions play-by-play has been heard on CBS RADIO’s sports talk WXYT-FM for the past 12 seasons, but starting next year, the games will be heard on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR.  The Detroit Free Press is reporting the story and says many of the details are not known at this time.  Dan Miller and Jim Brandstatter are expected to remain in the booth going into next season.

wwhp logoNew Talk Outlet to Debut in Bloomington-Normal and Champaign, Illinois Markets.  The classic hits format will disappear from Smash Hit Media’s WWHP, Farmer City, Illinois on Monday and a news/talk outlet will spring up in its place.  Former WRPW, Bloomington “Cities 92.7” morning drive personality Ian Bayne will serve as morning host on the new “Newstalk 98.3.”  WWHP’s primary signal covers the area directly between the centers of the Bloomington-Normal and Champaign markets.

bellart15Art Bell and KABC, Los Angeles Collaborate for Thanksgiving Special.  Los Angeles news/talker KABC and paranormal talk legend Art Bell are presenting “An Art Bell Out-Of-This-World Thanksgiving Special” on Thursday, November 26 from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.  This 12-hour specialkabclogo features programs hand-picked by Bell, who says, “We are thrilled to be back on the great 790 KABC, where we had great success.  My loyal fans will love that I’m personally hand picking the best 12 hours of out-of-this-world radio.” Bell’s nightly program, “Midnight in the Desert with Art Bell” (syndicated by his own Dark Matter Radio), is airing on AM/FM outlets in addition to its internet home base.

Odds & Sods.  The Grammy Award-winning band Train will perform at the official opening of CBS RADIO’s new New York performance space on Tuesday (11/24).  The company announces the opening of the Adorama Livecbsradio Theatre in Hudson Square in Manhattan, saying it will “serve as a showcase for artists, newsmakers, top athletes and other special guests.” It will play host to events from its six New York market radio stations, including sports WFAN and all-newsers WCBS-AM and WINS.  The company says that in the coming weeks the theatre will present performances by Southside Johnny and Shaggy, as well as live interviews with Chris Martin from Coldplay and Charles Osgood, host of “CBS Sunday Morning” and the syndicated radio feature “The Osgood Files.”  Today’s announcement marks the launch of CBS RADIO’s 11th performance space, wwtn logojoining outlets in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Washington, D.C. and Detroit, among others…..Cumulus Media’s “SuperTalk 99.7 WTN” in Nashville is presenting its annual “From Hunger to Hope Radiothon” on Monday, November 23 to benefit the Nashville Rescue Mission.  The station will share stories and invite listeners to make donations to the Nashville Rescue Mission.  WTN says that through the years its listeners have raised more than $750,000 for cause.

2015SportsHH logoLGTALKERS Magazine Presents the 2015 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk. Yesterday(11/19), the editors of TALKERS magazine present the fourth annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America. This list ranks sports talk hosts, duos or ensembles from #1 to #100, based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors. The genre of sports talk radio has evolved greatly and grown exponentially over the past 15 years to go from being a fringe format to an important sub-genre of spoken-word radio programming. With this in mind, the editors of TALKERS debuted the Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk in 2012 to acknowledge the hard-working air personalities on sports talk radio. The results of this list are, admittedly, subjective. Being true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due. Those qualities include: courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness. The other concrete qualification for inclusion is hosts must be working – that is, have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station – at the time of publication. See the complete 2015 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here!

fantasyNXS logoNew Fantasy Sports Platform Provides Radio with Turnkey Method of Tapping into Booming DFS Industry. Tampa, Florida-based FantasyNXS is providing a custom-designed way for radio stations, networks, and personalities to generate revenue from the booming fantasy sports industry. FantasyNXS is the first online mall for daily fantasy sports (“DFS”). According to company president and CEO, David B. Hirsch, “Our platform enables radio stations, networks and personalities to get into the DFS business at no cost and provides them with a new and engaging way to monetize their audience.” Hirsch adds, “When a broadcast entity joins FantasyNXS as a partner, we create a customized hub or ‘storefront’ for them that features their branding, content and contests. It also has its own, easy-to-remember URL on our site, which facilitates off-line promotion and advertising.” What distinguishes FantasyNXS from the current big dogs in the fantasy sports business – DraftKings and FanDuel? Hirsch tells TALKERS that FantasyNXS provides a different business model, more game formats and free-to-enter promotional contests. He states, “Our business model is completely different. Think of us as the first online shopping mall for daily fantasy sports. Our platform enables third parties to get into the DFS business for themselves. We build a customized hub or storefront for our partners on our website. We then create contests for them designed to appeal to their target audience. These contests appear in their hub and in the general game lobby for all FantasyNXS members to play. Our partners promote their contests by driving prospects to their hub. We administer the contests and take care of all compliance and back-office operations. We then split the net proceeds we earn from each contest with our partners.” Hirsch explains, “We also offer more game formats than anyone in the business, including Salary Cap, No Cap and Top-X. We also offer all three of these formats in our proprietary ‘Beat the Pro’ setting, which is ideally suited for radio celebrities. In ‘Beat the Pro,’ all of the contest’s entrants compete head-to-head, but collectively against the celebrity show host. Everyone who beats the celebrity splits a portion of the prize pool. ‘Beat the Pro’ offers a fantastic way for radio personalities to personally engage their audiences.” How do participating broadcasters make money? According to Hirsch, “FantasyNXS works off of a revenue split. Our partners earn a portion of the net proceeds we earn from the contests they promote. Also, our partners are credited as the referring affiliate for all FantasyNXS members who sign-up through their hub. This means recurring revenue every time one of these members enters any cash-entry contest in FantasyNXS. Our turn-key system can put a station into the DFS business with no cost.” Hirsch advises, “We can put radio entities into the DFS business, but they will have to actively promote their contests and drive prospects to their hub. The more they promote, the more money they’ll make.” Broadcasters licensed to states that forbid DFS or have network listeners banned from playing due to their local state laws can become involved in another, non-monetary version of the FantasyNXS platform that specializes in “social gaming.” Has the recent negative news about some states’ stances on fantasy sports impacted the millions of people who regularly play fantasy sports? “Of course,” states Hirsch. “In particular, the recent cease and desist letter presented to FanDuel and DraftKings by the New York State Attorney General has left a lot of fantasy sports fans on the sideline. In the coming months, you’re going to see more of this type of activity as our society comes to grips with the daily fantasy sports phenomenon. We ultimately believe that DFS will continue to thrive, but in a regulated environment.” Broadcasters interested in learning more about FantasyNXS can email Brad Fain at brad@fantasynxs.com or click here for more information.

talkersten logoSyrian Refugee Debate Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of November 16-20.  The political debate over U.S. policy toward Syrian refugees was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week.  At #2 was the aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris.  Coming in at #3 was the battle against ISIS and following at #4 was the investigation of the bombing of the Russian airliner over the Sinai Desert.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallJesse Ventura Joins Michael Harrison for New Episode of ‘Up Close and Far Out.’ In this week’s installment of the PodcastOne international hit, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” posted today (11/17), TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is joined by former Minnesota governor and prolific talk media personality Jesse Ventura for a conversation described by Harrison as, “One of the up-closest and farthest-out episodes of this show ever.” Ventura currently hosts a weekly program on Ora TV titled, “Off the Grid with Jesse Ventura,” (www.ora.tv) in which he serves up an unfiltered dose of his opinions and commentaries on the issues of the day delivered in his trademark tell-it-like-it-is “wrestling rant” style. Ora TV is the trailblazing video platform launched several years ago by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim with Larry King as an internet platform upon which the legendary King could continue his post-CNN hosting career. Harrison – an admitted professional wrestling fan – and Ventura talk about the old days of the entertainment-sport when the future movie star andventurajesse governor was making his mark as a colorful “bad guy” in the ring and then as the first “heel” color commentator (prior to Ventura, all ring commentators were biased toward the fan favorites – known as “faces.”) Ventura broke new ground as an announcer who openly rooted for the bad guys – know in the profession as “heels.” The conversation moves on to some heavy, controversial and provocative subject matter. Ventura discusses how his high-profile, anti-defamation/unjust enrichment lawsuit against the late Chris Kyle of American Sniper fame (in which the court ruled in his favor) has led to him to presently being blackballed by the mainstream media. Ventura talks about his critical views on U.S. foreign policy, the George W. Bush Administration, hypocrisy, and several conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11 and the war on terror. He talks about his show, “Off the Grid,” and how the title is reflective of his current lifestyle in which he lives part of the year in Mexico, untethered to paved roads, government provided utilities and, to a large extent, the internet. He discusses his turning to atheism and pacifism…and leaves a tantalizing hint that he just might become involved in the forthcoming race for the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party – which has shown interest in him as a possible candidate. To hear the conversation in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

| November 11, 2015

cookehollandCooke: Do What Cable Is Doing.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke clarifies that statement.  “I don’t mean do what cable news channels are doing, contrived political arguments.  That’s being done to death there, and has become an unfortunate ‘Talk Radio’ caricature… I’m saying do what you see on basic cable channels and so-called ‘Over The Top’ (OTT) TV such as Netflix.  And as I listened to Sony Pictures Television chairman Steve Mosko, the little voice in my kept whispering ‘podcasting.’”  Cooke is reporting from New York for TALKERS magazine from the NAB Show/New York where Mosko was interviewed by former New York Times media writer (now doing a show on SiriusXM) Bill Carter.   Read more of Cooke’s story from NYC here and watch for his report from the Consumer Electronics Association’s CES: Unveiled press event later this week.

wtmjDebate15WTMJ Provides Extensive Coverage of the Debate.  Last night’s GOP primary debate in Milwaukee was covered in depth by E.W. Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ.  The station held a listener event at its historic Radio City Studios.  Midday host and editor-in-chief of RightWisconsin.com Charlie Sykes interviewed candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz on the air.  “Wisconsin’s Afternoon News” host John Mercure anchored special debate coverage including on-site reporting and an in-studio appearance from GOP chairman Reince Priebus.  Mercure is pictured here hosting one of the listener forums he conducted before, during and after the debate at the station.  After the debate, WTMJ weekend host and RightWisconsin.com managing editor Collin Roth hosted a two-hour on-air program featuring listeners’ reactions to the debate and analysis with a panel of experts.  The station says the WTMJ Voter Forum will be continued for future GOP and Democratic debates.

wscr logoCubs to ‘The Score’ Move Is Official.  Rumor from earlier this fall reported by TALKERS that CBS RADIO is moving the Chicago Cubs play-by-play broadcasts from all-news WBBM-AM to sports talk WSCR are confirmed in a press release by the company.  The Cubs began airing on WBBM-AM after an exclusive relationship with Tribune’s WGN ended.  With the Chicago White Sox’ move to Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM beginning next season, CBS decided to shift the broadcasts of the Cubs to “The Score.”  The Cubs made it to the National League Championship this season so continued success could be good news for WSCR.

Odds & Sods.  The Tulsa radio cluster of E.W. Scripps names David Abel the new vice president and general manager.  Abel moves to Tulsa from his most recent position with Apex Broadcasting’s Charleston and Hilton Head, South Carolina operations.  In Tulsa, Scripps operates country KVOO and KXBL, classic hits KBEZ, CHR KHTT and news/talk KFAQ…..Salem Radio Network “Morning in America” host Bill Bennett took part in thebennettBloomberg15 Bloomberg education conference “Workforce 2016 and Beyond: Innovative Approaches to Retraining Millions for the Jobs of Tomorrow” on Tuesday (11/10).  He spoke on a panel discussion (pictured here, Bennett at far left) addressing the education and workforce problems that exist in America today and expressed his belief that America needs to emphasize STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in the early grades to train and prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow…..Yahoo! Sports Radio cracks the Philly market with the addition of new affiliate WNJC which will begin airing the sports talk network’s evening, overnight and weekend programming, effective November 16…..Colorado-based WeedStream now airs on iHeartMedia’s iHeartRadio app.  WeedStream is an entertainment company focused on the legalized marijuana culture with WeedStream Radio, WeedStream TV and WeedStream Events.

wabc logoCumulus Media’s WABC Honor’s New York’s Veterans.  WABC, New York is honoring America’s veterans with a special series of Veterans Day features.  The special content features an interview with Kevin Lacz, an Iraq veteran and star of the award-winning hit film, American Sniper, and will air throughout the day today.  In the series, Lacz discusses the importance of Veterans Day, the issues Veterans face today, and other related topics.

armstronggettyArmstrong & Getty Holding Weeklong  Fisher House Foundation Fundraiser.  The KSTE, Sacramento-based news/talk morning team Armstrong & Getty – Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – is hosting its 5th annual fundraiser for Fisher House all this week to commemorate Veteran’s Day week.  Over the past four years, Armstrong & Getty listeners have donated more than $1.7 million to Fisher House to help them build new Fisher homes on the grounds of VA and military medical centers to help bring military families together as their loved ones receive medical treatment.  This year, the goal is to raise an additional $500,000 for Fisher House and surpass the $2 million mark.

webyWEBY, Pensacola Presents Special Tribute Program to Vietnam Veterans.  This special 10-hour program chronicles the Vietnam era and honors Vietnam Veterans through the lens of the American Forces Vietnam Network – the Saigon-based radio and television operations that served the troops.  The program was aired on the Spinnaker License Corporation-owned WEBY, Pensacola in segments prior to today’s airing of the entire 10-hour program.  It features recordings of these historical broadcasts including combat correspondents’ interviews with servicemen; interviews with veterans of the Vietnam War that have interesting stories about their service; and, adding background and color to the broadcast, many of the program hosts who proudly served in those very difficult circumstances have been interviewed to share their memories and experiences.  The program was created by Mike Bates.  He can be reached at MikeBates@1330weby.com.

2016 Presidential Race/Milwaukee GOP Debate, University of Missouri Tensions, Veterans Day, Syria-Russian Military Alliance, Status of Obama Immigration Order, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/10).  The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the run-up to last night’s GOP primary debate in Milwaukee; the racial tensions on the University of Missouri campus and the resignation of the president and chancellor; the activities surrounding Veterans Day; the military relationship between Russia and Syria; the legal status of President Obama’s immigration order; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, November 6, 2015

| November 6, 2015

womentalkart15The State of Women on Talk Radio: Part 5.  Today (11/6), TALKERS magazine concludes its multi-part story looking at the status of women on talk radio in 2015.  Written by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, it addresses one of the most-asked questions TALKERS editors hear: Why aren’t there more women on talk radio?  Today we sum up the opinions and philosophies and ask what does it all really mean?  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says management often makes the mistake of trying to duplicate a successful artistic product – whether it is movies, television shows, books, or, in this case, radio programming – by approaching it formulaically… a mindset that totally misses the point.  “When Rush Limbaugh became a phenomenon by talking conservative politics, corporate focused on the conservative aspect of his stunning success as the magic formula and a whole slew of talent-challenged Rush wannabes spewing conservative talking points just for the sake of ‘being conservative’ were unleashed upon the airwaves.  Only a relative handful of them who were truly ‘talented’ have withstood the test of time.”  And so it is with women on talk radio.  The problem is not so much an equal opportunity “employment” issue as it is the larger question of where “news/talk radio” is willing to go to increase its audience, broaden its demos and insure its viability to survive in the years ahead in what is clearly becoming a brave new world… while remaining an “issues-oriented” medium.  One answer may be to find “magnetic” women and see what they can do in news/talk radio versus laying out the formula for a news/talk show and filling the job with a woman.  Read the entire piece here.

wtop logo NEW 1-15Rumors of Cuts at Hubbard’s WTOP and WFED in Washington.  TALKERS sources in the Washington market tell us that budget-related cuts are taking place today at Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP and its sister station WFED.  Some of the staffers reported to be exiting are traffic reporter Ari Ashe, digital manager John Myer, and WFED afternoon personality Francis RoseTALKERS is also hearing that the company will not fill the role vacated recently by reporter Andrew Mollenbeck and that there may be an unnamed sales staffer who is also out.

entercomEntercom Q3 Report: Up 3% on Same-Station Basis.  This quarter’s financial report from Entercom reflects the new income from its deals with Lincoln Financial Media and Bonneville International that saw Entercom add stations in major and large markets — Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles and San Diego.  As a result, the company posts a net revenue increase of 15% on $114.7 million compared to the same period a year ago.  Entercom CEO David Field states, “I am pleased to report anfielddavid outstanding quarter for Entercom driven by strong organic revenue growth across our station group and the seamless integration of our new acquisitions in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, San Diego and Denver.  While we are delighted with our progress and opportunities at the new stations, we are particularly pleased by our strong market share gains in the rest of our markets which enabled us to post approximately 3% same-station revenue growth for the quarter, and just over 4% growth when excluding the impact of political advertising.  We also achieved strong double-digit growth in free cash flow and adjusted net income per share and believe we are very well positioned for continued strong performance in 2016 and beyond.”

cumulus logoNew Cumulus CEO Mary Berner Reports Q3 Financial Data: Net Revenue Dips 7.8%.  Chief executive officer Mary Berner has been on the job for less than a month after replacing Lew Dickey and her first quarterly report was full of financial challenges for the company; but as a board member since the spring, she knew all the figures.  Cumulus Media stock has been beaten up over the past year, and not without cause.  The 2015 Q3 net revenue was $289.4 million, that’s a 7.8% drop versus the same period a year ago.  For the first three quarters of the year, net revenue was $859.9 million, down 8% year-bernermaryover-year.  Cumulus also recorded an impairment against intangible assets and goodwill of $565.6 million.  For the quarter, broadcast advertising was down 4.3% while digital advertising sunk 35.4%.  Berner says, “Despite Cumulus’ recent challenges, my early experiences have reinforced my appreciation for the strength of the company’s aggregate assets, including its people.  I was hired by the company’s board of directors to maximize the value of those assets and I believe that, through focused execution, we will be able to capitalize on the operational leverage that appears to exist in the company.  While such efforts will not be easy nor, in many cases, immediate, I intend to institute a relentless commitment to improvement over the coming months to drive results for all stakeholders.”

ewscrippsE.W. Scripps Radio Segment Flat in Q3.  The Cincinnati-based company got into the radio business as a result of the merger with Journal Communications, acquiring its TV and radio properties (with Journal getting E.W. Scripps’ publication segment).  In this third quarter report, Scripps president and CEO Rich Boehne says the radio segment was flat.  “Radio revenue and expenses of $20.4 million and $16.3 million were essentially flat with the prior period.  Segment profit in the radio division was $4.1 million in the third quarter of 2015, compared to $4.5 million in the 2014 quarter.  The company is committed to its digital segment and recently acquired podcast platform Midroll earlier this year.  “Digital revenues were $10.9 million, up $3.7 million from the prior period.  Excluding Midroll, revenue increased 25%…Segment loss in the digital division was $3.6 million in the third quarter of 2015, compared to $5.6 million in the 2014 quarter.”

iheartmedia logo smalliHeartMedia Partners with FOX Business Network and FNC for GOP Debate Coverage.  The means that audio of the November 10 GOP primary debates in Milwaukee will air on 130foxbusiness iHeartMedia-owned news/talk stations.  FOX Business Network and FOX News Channel are producing the debate in conjunction with The Wall Street Journal.  The FBN primetime debate will be moderated by managing editor of business news Neil Cavuto and global markets editor Maria Bartiromo, along with WSJ’s editor-in-chief Gerard Baker.  iHeartMedia says that radio stations broadcasting the event will also host debate parties highlighted by pre and post-event coverage from local personalities.

beckerKMBZObama15Radio Personalities Visit White House for ObamaCare Event.  The White House calls it the “latest installment of ‘Live from the White House’” with President Obama conducting a round of interviews with radio personalities on the topic of the Affordable Care Act and the importance of reducing the number of people without health insurance.  The radio news anchors spent Thursday, November 5 with Obama Administration advisors and the president himself.  Taking part were: Mary Shedden of non-commercial WUSF, Tampa; Alice Rios of news/talk KRLD, Dallas; E.J. Becker of news/talk KMBZ, Kansas City; Dave Ross of news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle; and Ryan Cameron of urban contemporary WVEE, Atlanta “V103.”  Pictured here is KMBZ’s E.J. Becker (left) interviewing President Obama (right) in the Oval Office.  Becker says, “It’s not every day that you get a call from the White House, asking if you can be in Washington the next day.  With the current political landscape, the importance of so many issues affecting Kansas Citians, along with the honor of interviewing a sitting President, who could say no!”

bobandtomBob Kevoian Announces Retirement at National Radio Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.  One half of the Bob & Tom Show morning team took the opportunity of last night’s induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame to announce his retirement from the business.  Bob Kevoian told the gathering in Chicago that he will retire from the nationally syndicated radio program by year’s end.  Kevoin said, “I always thought you had to die or be retired for five years to be considered for any hall of fame.  Thank God I’m not dead, but I am going to retire at the end of this year and walk away from the mic.”  Partner Tom Griswold commented, “It was a huge thrill to be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame with my partner Bob.  He will always be a part of the Bob & Tom Show, and his presence will continue to be felt as we broadcast the show for many years to come.”

ramseyCruzeHoF15Dave Ramsey Inducted into National Radio Hall of Fame.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame last night (11/5).  Although Dave himself was unable to make it to Chicago for the ceremony, his daughter, New York Times best-selling author Rachel Cruze (pictured), was there to accept the award on his behalf.

2016 Presidential Race and Trump’s ‘SNL’ Appearance Tied for Top News/Talk Story of the Week.  The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the controversy over Republican hopeful Donald Trump’s scheduled appearance on “Saturday Night Live” tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was the crash/possible bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt.  Coming in at #3 was the military relationship between Russia and Syria followed by the UC-Merced stabbings 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.

Monday, November 2, 2015

| November 2, 2015

womentalkart15The State of Women on Talk Radio: Part 1.  Today (11/2), TALKERS magazine begins presenting a multi-part story looking at the status of women on talk radio in 2015.  Written by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, it addresses one of the most-asked questions TALKERS editors hear: Why aren’t there more women on talk radio?  Before attempting to provide answers to that and other relevant questions, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison explains that when we say “talk radio” in this instance, we’re speaking about “political news/talk” radio.  “Over the years, the popular sub-genre of ‘political news/talk’ radio has hijacked the broader term ‘talk radio’ in the minds of many.  This is unfortunate because there are other viable forms of talk radio out there beyond traditional ‘news/talk’ – and the potential for expansion into even more realms of pertinent topicalitybertoluccirobin is huge.”  In this first part, KFI and KEIB, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci begins to answer the question from her perspective as a veteran programmer.  “News/talk originally evolved around men who were primarily doing political talk.  Many women are not into that.  It’s not that they don’t care about politics or have strong opinions, but the divisiveness of that style can be off putting to many women.  So, more men listening leads to more male-oriented talk which leads again to more men listening.”  Read the entire piece here.

kinosianmikePPM Analysis: MLB Flagship Stations.  TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a final look at the performances of stations serving as flagships for Major League Baseball franchises based on ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey.  Since this report is not based on ratings from actual game time dayparts, it reflects the overall movement of a station with baseball listening as one possible factor.  In this report, see charts illustrating the AQH shares of stations from September 2015 to October 2015, from October 2014 to October 2015, as well as the market ranks and how the flagships stacked up based on MLB divisions.  Click here for the full report.

koaiHeartMedia Gives KOA, Denver FM Simulcast.  There’s no longer an FM simulcast for Marco Broadcasting’s pot-themed classic rocker KBUD, Golden, Colorado “Smokin’ 94.1.”  iHeartMedia is buying Marco Broadcasting’s FM translator K231BQ, Golden for $950,000 and it immediately begins airing the signal of the company’s Denver news/talk KOA.  The news was announced during yesterday’s Denver Broncos pre-game show.  iHeartMedia says in a press release, “The new 94.1 FM signal covers the Denver area.  850 AM is one of the most powerful stations in North America, and will continue to reach areas well beyond Colorado’s Front Range. In the coming weeks, KOA NewsRadio will expand its coverage on 94.1 FM in Boulder, resulting in full market coverage of 94.1 FM in the Denver-Boulder metropolitan area.”

vulpifrankFrank Vulpi Named Market Manager for Cumulus Media Westchester.  Radio management pro Frank Vulpi joins Cumulus Media as vice president/market manager for the company’s Westchester, New York radio stations.  Vulpi comes to Cumulus from his most recent post as a sales executive with Bloomberg, LP.  Prior to joining Bloomberg, Vulpi was VP/GM at United Stations Radio Networks.  On his new position, Vulpi states, “It’s an exciting time to be a part of Cumulus Media.  The company’s depth and breadth of offerings and creative solutions are well positioned to serve the interests of our advertising partners.  I am very impressed with and fortunate to be associated with a team of high integrity managers who are concerned with the positive career growth of their team members.”

hannity Vegas15Sean Hannity Packs Vegas Casino for Live Event.  The Premiere Networks-syndicated talk radio and cable TV superstar was in Las Vegas last Friday doing his show from affiliate KDWN “News Talk 720.”  Later that evening Sean Hannity filled the Orleans Casino Showroom with fans during the “An Evening With Sean Hannity” live event.  The musical guests for the program included Lee Greenwood and Craig Campbell.   Pictured here at the KDWN studios are (from l-r): KDWN morning host Chad Forster, KDWN PD John Shaffer, Hannity and KDWN morning host Dave Carney.

biakelseyBIA/Kelsey: Total Local Advertising Revenue to Grow 3.75% in 2016.  Details from the annual advertising forecast from BIA/Kelsey will be presented at the company’s Future of Local Digital Media conference in Los Angeles in December.  Meanwhile, it says it is forecasting total local advertising revenue in the U.S. to reach $146.6 billion next year – up from $141.3 billion this year.  Online/digital revenue will grow to $42.6 billion in 2016, representing 29.1% of total local media revenue, up from $38 billion in 2015.  BIA/Kelsey says the “power brew” of mobile, social and video are the categories fuelingfratrikmark growth in the local online/digital segment.  BIA/Kelsey chief economist Mark Fratrik states, “Mobile is the primary force behind the continuing increase in digital advertising, largely driven by social advertising.  Mobile spending is growing faster than expected, cutting into the growth of other online advertising.  For example, online spending on ads viewed through desktops is still increasing, but overall only at single digit growth rates as more of the attention of consumers and advertisers alike shifts to mobile.  Local video spending on all platforms — mobile, online, TV over-the-air, cable and out-of-home — will grow, along with local video’s slice of the local advertising pie.”

kravitzpinkyLongtime WOND, Atlantic City Talk Host Pinky Kravitz Dies at 88.  The broadcaster known as “Mr. Atlantic City” died on Saturday (10/31) at the age of 88.  Pinky Kravitz had worked as a talk host at Longport Media’s WOND, Atlantic City since 1958.  He had missed his first ever air shift back in May after undergoing open heart surgery.  Kravitz chose to retire from WOND in August due to ongoing health issues.  New Jersey Broadcasters Association president Paul Rotella says in a statement, “Long before there was a Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity there were broadcasters like our friend Pinky Kravitz, who kept the talk radio format alive and well and indeed vibrant for five decades, thus paving the way for the great talk radio resurgence we witness today.  Legendary broadcasters like Pinky led the way in providing radio audiences with a rich and compelling listening experience.  In the best tradition of broadcast – live and local – Pinky had an engaging warmth with his audience that transcended the airwaves, which he did almost every day for over half a century.”

thompsonfredLawyer, Senator, Actor and Talk Host Fred Thompson Dead at 73.  Although he was best known to most Americans as the fictitious district attorney Arthur Branch on the “Law & Order” franchise, Fred Thompson also worked in spoken-word radio.  His first career was as an attorney. He served three terms as a Republican U.S. Senator from Tennessee.  His radio work began in 2006 when he began with ABC Radio Networks filling in for Paul Harvey.  He joined Westwood One as a talk show host in 2009, taking over the time slot formerly held by Bill O’Reilly’s “The Radio Factor.”  That gig ended in 2011.  Thompson died Sunday (11/1) from complications from a recurrence of lymphoma.  TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian spoke with Thompson twice for profile pieces.  Read Kinosian’s story here.

elliottjoeLouisville Talk Host Joe Elliott’s WGTK ‘970 AM The Answer’ Program Cancelled.  After five years on Salem Media Group-owned WGTK, Louisville, Joe Elliott’s program was cancelled by management.  Elliott hosted the 8:00 am to 11:00 am program and announced his exit via Twitter.  Elliott previously worked in the market hosting the evening program at iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WHAS.

Odds & Sods.  In Minnesota, Hubbard adds KBUN-FM, Blackduck as a simulcast to sister sports talk KBUN-AM, Bemidji which carries the Fan Radio Network programming based at iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis…..Former WUCS, Hartford and Maxim Radio host Michael Bower is sitting in for Andy Slater onbowermike iHeartMedia’s sports talk WINZ, Miami today from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET…..Actor Danny Trejo was a guest on “Business Rockstars” recently speaking with host Ken Rutkowski about his new venture – a restaurant called Trejo’s Tacos…..The Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame announces next May’s Class of 2016 inductees.  The board of directors and the advisory council have chosen: Harry Chapman, Warren Medley, Dave Overton, Aaron B. Robinson Sr., Charlie Scott and Cal Young Jr. for the next class…..Boston University-owned news WBUR-FM, Boston’s names Anthony Brooks the NPR-affiliate station’s new senior political correspondent.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

| October 20, 2015

freemanbrianCurtis Media and WPTF, Raleigh to Fill Exiting Brian Freeman’s Roles.  Relocating to the Naples-Ft. Myers area where his family owns a home is Brian Freeman who’s been morning drivewptf logo personality at Curtis Media news/talk flagship WPTF, Raleigh.  Freeman was also PD for the station and director of spoken word formats for the company.  Announcing his exit via Facebook, Freeman says he’s seeking work in the Naples-Ft. Myers market.  “My time at Curtis Media Group has been one of the best experiences of my lengthy career.  Special thanks go out to Don Curtis, Trip Savery, David Stuckey, David Lewis and all my fellow co-workers.”

kantordavidDavid Kantor to Head Radio One’s Radio Group.  Radio executive David Kantor moves from his position as president and CEO of Radio One’s syndication arm Reach Media to CEO of Radio One’s radio division, putting him in charge of the company’s 54 stations in 16 markets.  In making the announcement, Radio One president and CEO Alfred Liggins comments, “I’ve been partners with David (and Tom Joyner) in Reach Media for 11 years.  I highly respect his work ethic and intelligence.  David’s skill set, his business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit are second to none.  I’m excited about his leadership of our network and local radio business and I have every confidence that he will do an outstanding job.”

Odds & Sods.  A new talk station launches in the Mobile market after Cumulus Media splits the simulcast ofstephandoug Gospel WXQW and WGOK and turns WXQW into “660 News/Information.”  The lineup includes Doug levinmarkStephan’s “Good Day” in morning drive, WMAL-AM/FM, Washington-based Chris Plante for late mornings, Westwood One’s Phil Valentine in PM drive, Mark Levin in evenings plus WW1’s “Red Eye Radio,” “America in the Morning” and “First Light” programs…..A new Sunday program launches on Salem Media’s WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” on October 25.  “Effective Radio with Bill Samuels” is the creation of New York activist Bill Samuels and promises to be a show “about action.”  Samuels says the show will be a potent vehicle to “channel the collective energy and brainpower of New Yorkers to actually do something about” the city’s problems.  The show airs from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon and will be produced and co-hosted by Morgan Pehme, executivefoxxleno director of Samuels’ nonprofit advocacy organization EffectiveNY.  WNYM’s Frank Morano will serve as supervising producer…..SiriusXM’s “Town Hall” series of Q&As before a live studio audience continues, this time from Jay Leno’s garage in Los Angeles with Jamie Foxx serving as host.  During the show, Leno speaks with Foxx and answers questions from SiriusXM listeners about his career, his years hosting “The Tonight Show” and his new CNBC series “Jay Leno’s Garage.”…..Red Zebra Broadcasting reports that just two months after making its WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980” station app available to listeners, it’s been downloaded more than 23,000 times.  Red Zebra Broadcasting president and CEO Rick Carmean says, “The way people are consuming radio is changing. In the near future, the primary method of reaching listeners will most likely noorygeorgebe through their mobile device.  The mobile app should give sports talk formats a big advantage going forward if the radio station provides good content and strong talent.”…..The Halloween eve tradition continues on Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” as host George Noory welcomes paranormal expert Rosemary Ellen Guiley.  She’ll discuss the mystical powers of black mirrors for the first hour of the program, followed by three hours of ghost stories and open-line callers as “Ghost to Ghost AM” takes to the airwaves.

buckjoeUndeniableDIRECTV Making ‘Undeniable With Joe Buck’ Available to Radio Stations.  The new weekly DIRECTV program, “Undeniable With Joe Buck,” is being made available to sports and news/talk radio stations.  DIRECTV says that new episodes of the show will air each Wednesday evening and radio partners will be able to re-broadcast the audio the following day.  The one-hour program will be formatted to allow stations to sell time during the show.  The guests being interviewed by Joe Buck this first season of the program include: Derek Jeter, Abby Wambach, Troy Aikman, Chuck Liddell, Michael Phelps, Jimmy Johnson, Wayne Gretzky, Bob Baffert, George St. Pierre, and Jerry Jones.

talkersradio logoClaire Carter Launches New Show on TalkersRadio.  Veteran talk pro Claire Carter, founder of The Good For You Network – an internet venture that provides news and information that is “good for you to know about” (personal,carterclaire national and global well-being) – has launched a new radio program titled, “Good For You Radio,” that debuts today (10/20) on TalkersRadio.  TalkersRadio is an online platform hosted and operated by TALKERS magazine to serve as an experimental lab and showcase for innovative new concepts and shows in development in talk radio programming.  Carter’s career experience includes hosting television shows for FX Cable and CNBC, guest hosting on the ABC and CBS Radio Networks, writing for PARADE magazine, providing media training and teaching “The Art of Interviewing” for the New School for Social Research.  Carter’s debut installments feature an in-depth, personal conversation with noted life coach Mike Jaffe — author of Wake Up! Your life is Calling: Why Settle for Fine When So Much More is Possible? (Author House, 2011) — about how the events of 9/11 transformed his career and life; an informative wake-up call with Dr. Peter Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, about the vulnerability of America’s grid to terrorist attack; and an interview with Dr. Mark Liponis, corporate medical director of Canyon Ranch, about new ways of dealing with catastrophic diseases.  On announcing the launch of this new program, TALKERS GM of broadcast operations David Bernstein says, “Working with Claire Carter on this project is deeply satisfying to me as both a broadcaster and a human being.  She is an extraordinarily intelligent, articulate and sensitive conversationalist who goes deep into her subjects and creates a meaningful listening experience about the truly important stuff of life.  Like so many shows that have gotten their start on TalkersRadio, I am confident that ‘Good For You Radio’ has a bright future.”  To listen to the program, please click here.

knmlCondit15Native Son Visits KNML, Albuquerque.  UFC fighter Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit (center) poses for a photo in the KNML, Albuquerque studios with “The Opening Drive” personalities Jeff Siembieda (left) and JJ Buck (right).  Condit is an Albuquerque native and resident who will fight for the UFC welterweight title in Las Vegas on January 2, 2016.

2016 Presidential Race, Looming Clinton Benghazi Testimony, Liberal Party Sweeps Canadian Elections, Syria and ISIS Military Campaigns, Israel Violence, Release of Truth Film, and MLB Playoffs and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/19).  The activities of the candidates for president in 2016; Thursday’s testimony from Hillary Clinton about the deadly Benghazi attacks; Canada’s Liberal Party led by Justin Trudeau sweeps Canada’s elections; the military campaigns being waged in Syria and against ISIS by Russia and the U.S.; ongoing violence between Palestinians and Israelis; the release of the film Truth detailing CBS’ investigation into George W. Bush’s Texas National Guard Service; and the MLB playoff games and the weekend’s NFL contests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

| October 14, 2015

riverssmokeyRivers Flows to Scripps Tucson As OM. Beginning next Monday (10/19), former seven-year iHeartMedia Phoenix vice president of programming Smokey Rivers takes over as operations manager of the Scripps-owned stations in Tucson. According to Scripps Tucson vice president and general manager Leon Clark, “It was a long and active search – we are very fortunate to welcome Smokey to Scripps. He is a creative idea generator with an extensive and varied background in several formats. His expertise is perfect for our [Tucson] stations. I am confident Smokey will continue to help grow these very important brands in the Tucson market.” In thanking Scripps management for being “provocative throughout the interviewing and hiring process,” Rivers states, “I look forward to this opportunity to help lead the Scrippsewscripps Tucson stations to even greater success.” Prior to joining iHeartMedia Phoenix in 2005, Rivers spent more than six years as CBS RADIO‘s vice president of adult contemporary programming. His vast resume also includes a stint as national vice president of programming for Stoner Broadcasting Systems. In addition, Rivers has been director of programming and operations for stations in New York City, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington (DC), St. Louis, Memphis, and Birmingham. He most recently was managing partner of Reeber Hospitality. Among persons 12+ in Nielsen Audio‘s summer 2015 Tucson book, Scripps Tucson adult contemporary KMXZ “Mix” ranks second (7.2) behind Cumulus Media country outlet KIIM (9.4). With their summer 2015 Nielsen  Audio 12+ shares/rankings in parentheses, the other Scripps Tucson stations are rhythmic hot AC KTGV “The Groove” (2.1, #11); talk KQTH (1.3, #17); and sports KFFN-AM “ESPN Tucson” (1.1, #19).

hewitthughSRN’s Hugh Hewitt to Be Panelist on December and March GOP Presidential Debates. For two of the upcoming Republican presidential primary debates, Salem Radio Network talk show host Hugh Hewitt will be part of the journalist panels. CNN and SRN are again working together with SRN handling audio distribution of the debates that will be televised on CNN. The two events are December 15 at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas and March 10 in Florida. Hewitt states, “I am excited by the opportunity to continue to help shape the conversation about which of the candidates ought to be the GOP nominee in 2016. My focus remains on posing questions that elicit answers GOP primary voters will find helpful in casting their ballots.”

armstronggettyArmstrong & Getty to Anchor Mornings on KEIB, Los Angeles.  The iHeartMedia news/talker KEIB, Los Angeles “The Patriot 1150” will feature KSTE, Sacramento-based morning duo Armstrong & Getty in the 5:00 am to 9:00 am daypart effective November 2.  The show – hosted by Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty and also heard on iHeartMedia stations in markets including San Francisco and San Diego – will bump Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck to the afternoon drive slot.

jvJV Inks New Deal with iHM; ‘The Doghouse’ to Air on ‘Talk 910.’  It’s a multi-layered deal for air personality JV, a.k.a. Jeff Vandergrift, as he and iHeartMedia/San Francisco come to terms on a new contract.  In part one, “The JV Show,” featuring Vandergrift and co-host Selena, continues on CHR KYLD, San Francisco “WiLD 94.9.”  Part two reunites Vandergrift with former partner Elvis, a.k.a. Dan Lay, for an afternoon talk show (4:00 pm to 6:00 pm) on sister station KKSF “Talk 910.” The two worked together at KYLD in the past – as well as at CBS RADIO’s WKRK, New York during the “Freedoghouse FM” format period.  iHeartMedia says JV will also “produce and distribute content through his production company.”  To make room for “The Doghouse” on KKSF, Gil Gross moves to 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, followed by Cory & Joel from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  iHeartMedia San Francisco SVP/programming Don Parker comments, “JV is one of the Bay Area’s best and consistently top-rated personalities.  We’re thrilled to have him extend his tenure on ‘WiLD 94.9,’ along with fulfilling his passion for talk radio with a new show on ‘Talk 910.’…he will not only continue entertaining the WiLD audience, but he and Elvis are part of a new and exciting generation of talk radio.”

meinersterryWHAS, Louisville Host Terry Meiners Prevails in Defamation Case.  The Kentucky Court of Appeals has ruled that WHAS, Louisville talk show host Terry Meiners did not defame Louisville police officer Sam Cromity when he discussed on his radio show the traffic citation Cromity gave him and compared Cromity to Don Knotts’ television character Barney Fife.   Meiners received a speeding ticket in 2011.  He spoke about the incident on his radio show and said he did not deserve a ticket and called Cromity a “troubled public servant,” an “out-and-out liar,” and referred to him as “Black Car Barney,” an allusion to the “Andy Griffith Show” character.  Not only did Meiners beat the traffic ticket, he won the first round of Cromity’s suit against him in 2013.  In the September 25, 2015 Appeals Court ruling, Judge Laurence VanMeter wrote, “Disparaging statements that are not so definite or precise to be branded false cannot support an action for defamation.”

Odds & Sods.  The NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and CBS RADIO news/talk WCCO-AM ink a new multi-year radio partnership for the station to continue as the team’s flagship radio station.  Under the terms, Alan Hortonwcco logo returns for his ninth season as the Wolves play-by-play announcer and will team up with studio host John Focke to produce the 30-minute pre- and post-game shows…..Cumulus Media extends its deal with IMG to continue as the exclusive flagship radio station for University of Tennessee athletics through Knoxville stations country WIVK-FM and sports talk WNML-AM/FM.  The stations are continuing a 40-year relationship with the IMG Vol Network, one of the oldest and largest collegiate radio networks in the country…..Westwood One and client The National Pork Board are presenting content called “daily porkcasts” across the network’s programming.  WW1 says “the daily ‘porkcast’…is a fun and engaging consumer brand integration that reminds listeners to create pork-inspired meals to complement the changing season.  The campaign, which includes commercials running in Westwood One’s NFL and country programming, will also feature live read spots from CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki Barber during his ‘Tiki & Tierney’ morning radio show. The radio ads will prompt listeners to search for recipes that fit their local, real-time weather forecast based on location.  Consumers will be driven to a website where recipes for all seasons are available step-by-step.”

Democratic Candidates Debate/2016 Presidential Race, Russian Syria Military Campaign, U.S. Syria-ISIS Policy, Israel Violence, GOP House Speaker Issue, European Migrant Problems/U.S. Immigration Policy Controversy, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/13).  The first Democratic presidential candidates’ debate and the activities of the GOP presidential candidates; Russia’s military campaign in Syria; the United States’ military policy in Syria and with regard to ISIS; the recent violence in Israel; the process of replacing outgoing GOP House Speaker John Boehner; migrant problems affecting European nations and the related U.S. immigration policy debate; and the MLB playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

| September 29, 2015

cumulus logoCumulus Board of Directors Installs Mary G. Berner as CEO; Lew Dickey to Remain as Vice Chairman and Director.  New Cumulus Media chief executive officer Mary G. Berner has been a member of the board of directors of Cumulus since May and she replaces company founder Lew Dickey as CEO – although Dickey will remain a director of the company as serve as vice chairman.  The Cumulus board of directors states Berner is a “seasoned media business operator” who previous experience includes her most recent post as president and chief executive officer of the Association of bernermaryMagazine Media.  From 2007-2011, she was chief executive officer of Reader’s Digest Association and, before that, chief executive officer of Fairchild Publications.   The press statement continues: “During the course of her highly successful career, she has led some of the world’s best known brands and content platforms, including Glamour, TV Guide, W, Women’s Wear Daily, Every Day with Rachael dickeylewRay and Allrecipes.com.”  Cumulus board chairman Jeffrey Marcus – who also serves as a partner with Crestview Partners (which manages funds that own 27% of Cumulus stock) – says, “Under Lew Dickey’s leadership, the Cumulus team has built a formidable national and local footprint, becoming the second largest operator of radio stations in the country, with more than 460 stations across 90 markets, approximately 8,500 broadcast radio affiliates and numerous digital channels serving over 225 million listeners nationwide.  However, maximizing the value of these assets requires making them work together effectively and efficiently.  At a time when the media landscape continues to undergo seismic transformation, Cumulus needs a broad-based media operator who can leverage its outstanding resources – from its core strength in radio to its growing presence in digital, experiential and other emerging platforms – and capitalize on thedickeyjohn industry’s strong fundamentals.  The board has had the benefit of seeing Mary in action and is fully confident that she is the right leader for Cumulus.”  Berner comments, “I am honored to have been asked to lead Cumulus Media and am eager to work with the board and the company’s talented teams to implement Lew’s vision of building the next generation multi-platform media company.  As the director who led the Operations Review Task Force established by the board, I have insight into the issues that Cumulus faces, but I also know the operational leverage that can be generated by first focusing on execution.  Radio is a powerful and unique medium – the number one mass reach medium in the U.S. – and Cumulus possesses all of the elements to be one of the industry’s winners.  I look forward to bringing a renewed focus on operating excellence at all levels and in all functions to help Cumulus realize its potential and generate improved financial performance and increased value for shareholders.”  The press statement makes no mention of the status of John Dickey, EVP content & programming, but the New York Post is reporting he has exited the company and a “huge reorganization” is impending.  TALKERS has not confirmed those reports.  Cumulus stock, which has been battered in recent months, closed today (9/29) at 68 cents per share.

harrisonhurley15Michael Harrison Interviews Harry Hurley About “All Things New Jersey” – Including Host’s Two-Year Tenure as Senior Exec at Trump Atlantic City Hotel.  In a riveting one-one-one discussion about the various ways the Garden State has been recently evoked in the national presidential conversation, Michael Harrison interviews WPGG, Atlantic City “morning mayor” (and TALKERS Heavy Hundred member) Harry Hurley on the latest installment (9/29) of the Podcast One international hit, “Up Close and Far Out.” Prior to launching a stellar 25-year career as a major New Jersey radio personality, Hurley worked directly for Donald Trump as the senior executive of one of his four Atlantic City Hotels (a job for which “The Donald” personally interviewed and subsequently supervised him) and candidly discusses what it was like being with the current GOP front-runner during those heady days along the Jersey Shore.  Hurley worked with Trump personally every weekend for two years and shares important first-hand insights into the billionaire’s management style, business instincts and character.  In addition, the Jersey-born talker shares his insights, based on experience, into the economic role and cultural direction of casino gambling in the nation.  He also talks about his personal on- and off-air encounters with Gov. Chris Christie (including insights to “bridgegate” and the Dallas Cowboys/Jerry Jones debacle) as well as the effect that the Miss America pageant (for which Hurley has served as a preliminary judge) has on the region.  Michael Harrison states, “New Jersey is an enigmatic, colorful home to nine million with its own unique set of extraordinary assets, daunting challenges and notably engaged local media.  I can think of no one more qualified to provide outsiders with an accurate explanation of this endlessly intriguing, largely misunderstood state and its compelling connection to current national politics than WPGG morning master Harry Hurley.”  To hear the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

Odds & Sods.  Radio industry services start-up DGital Media launches a production division called DGital Media Studios.  The company says the division “will focus on developing and producing proprietary audio content” and its first project is a fantasy sports platform called Fantasy Sports Voices…..AMG/Parade announces the launch of “Athlon Sports Radio” on SiriusXM.  The Monday and Tuesday evening program will air from 7:00 to 9:00 ET on Sirius XM’s College Sports Nation.  The program grows out of the company’s 10-plus preseason magazines covering college, professional and fantasy football, college basketball, professional baseball, golf and NASCAR.  AMG/Parade was formerly Athlon Media Group which consists of the newspaper-distributed magazines Athlon Sports & Life, Parade, American Profile, Spry Living, and Relish…..British soccer legend Sir Alex Ferguson will sit down for an in-studio Q&A at the SiriusXM studios in New York as part of its “Town Hall” series.  Sir Alex will chat with SiriusXM host Charlie Stillitano before a live, studio audience on Friday, October 9. 

Trump Tax Plan, 2016 Presidential Race, Pope Francis Visit Aftermath, Boehner’s Exit from Congress, Obama-Putin Meeting, and Water on Mars Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/28).  The unveiling of the Donald Trump tax plan; the activities of the rest of the candidates for president in 2016; the aftermath of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States; the state of the GOP in the wake of House Speaker John Boehner’s announced resignation from Congress; the tensions between Russia and the United States and President Obama’s meeting with Vladimir Putin at the UN on Monday; and NASA’s revelation of the discovery of water on Mars were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, August 28, 2015

| August 28, 2015

owensronnRonn Owens to Return to KGO, San Francisco on Monday.  Weeks after undergoing surgery for phase one of Deep Brain Stimulation treatment for his Parkinson’s Disease, legendary Bay Area talk personality Ronn Owens posts on his Facebook page that he’s feeling better – minor complications notwithstanding – and will return to KGO, San Francisco’s airwaves on Monday.  Here’s what he had to say: “Just checking in (with a three-day growth of beard!) to let you know that I’m feeling much better and plan to be back on the show on Monday.  Falling down the stairs after the Deep Brain Stimulation surgery slowed my recovery due to the resulting blood clot on the surface of the brain, along with another blood clot in the lung and a nasty cough.  Those factors have also forced my doctors to postpone the second phase of the DBS process (implanting a battery pack in my chest) until late October.  Nonetheless, the DBS procedure is still on track for success and I look forward to it being able to reverse my Parkinson’s symptoms by 5 to 7 years when it’s complete in early November.”  Prior to his recent surgery, Owens spoke with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison on the latter’s international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” on the PodcastOne platform.  You can check out that discussion here.

wnnhNew Hampshire Gets New FM N/T Station – Howie Carr Headlines Lineup.  Beginning Monday (8/31) Binnie Media-owned WNNH-FM, Concord, New Hampshire will re-launch as “99.1 NH1 News, New Hampshire’s Newsradio.”  The station will provide the Concord area with what is being described as “continuous local news updates on the top stories from around the Granite State, along with opinion and analysis from nationally recognized personalities, including Howie Carr weekday afternoons.”  The “NH1” brand has been serving New Hampshire as a major statewide TV and radio newscarrhowie organization.  “99.1 NH1 News” will feature hourly updates from the NH1 News staff. The NH1 Radio News Network will continue to broadcast on 12 radio stations in New Hampshire, including stations in Concord, Nashua, Portsmouth, the Lakes Region, and Lebanon.  In 2014, NH1 News received a Granite Mike Award for the Best Radio Newscast from the New Hampshire Association of Broadcasters.  The local news coverage on “99.1 NH1 News” will be augmented by the world and national resources of CBS News.  Binnie Media EVP Lee Kinberg tells TALKERS, “This is the next logical step in the growth of NH1 News.  Last month NH1 News on WBIN-TV was the #1 10:00 pm news in New Hampshire and in less than a year, NH1.com is achieving over 800,000 page views a month. “99.1 NH1 News” brings our comprehensive local news coverage to Concord’s radio listeners.”  In addition to Carr, nationally known personalities including Don Imus, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, and Michael Savage round out the weekday lineup.  Carr tells TALKERS, “It’s an honor to be working with all the great professionals at NH1 News, and to be able to reach a whole new audience in the Granite State — especially with the presidential primaries coming up in less than six months.”  This marks the 24th affiliate for Howie Carr’s rapidly-growing independent regional talk network.  Binnie Media owns 16 stations in Maine and New Hampshire.

sullivanbobBob Sullivan Exits Daily Role on KOGO, San Diego.  His comments to the San Diego Union-Tribune about leaving his co-host role on the afternoon drive show with former San Diego city councilman Carl DeMaio are pretty sanguine, still there’s a tenor of disappointment in Bob “Sully” Sullivan’s comments that he and the station have different philosophies about what the show’s topics should be.  Sullivan tells the paper, “I like to talk red-meat topics — illegal immigration, gun control and minimum wage — and I think the station wants that segment to go more toward local politics, pension reform and the water crisis.  Carl is very passionate about that stuff and I just am not.”  Sullivan’s 16-year tenure with the station will continue as he’ll still be business editor and serve as a fill-in host.  DeMaio has been on the program for the past five months – shortly after losing a race for a seat in Congress.

cosbyritaRita Cosby to Host Weeklong Web Series on Education.  The hour-long program – titled “Back to the Books Radio” – will appear exclusively on WABC, New York’s website beginning Monday, August 31.  On the program, Rita Cosby will “discuss timely and critical issues in American education with some of the nation’s most prominent voices in education, including highlighting: teacher and student standards, busing, charter schools, Common Core, and illegal immigrants and who should pay for their education.  The series is a provocative and no-holds-barred look at the issues that are important to those who are concerned that the educational system is failing the country’s children — what is working, and what is not.  The series looks in-depth at New York City’s massive public education system with more than one million students and 1,700 schools.”  Each show features interviews with top experts and thought leaders in New York and U.S. education.

townhallcomSalem Media Group Re-Brands TOH News with Townhall.com Collaboration.  Raising the radio profile of its conservative website Townhall.com will likely be one of the effects of Salem Media Group’s decision to rename its top-of-the-hour news product with the brand Townhall.com.  SMG says the site “reaches 3 million unique visitors every month.  This will be a brand extension to the powerful SRN News product that provides both news/talk and Christian talk stations a strong 24/7 radio news service.”  Salem says it will continue to produce the SRN News feed at :55 past the hour,  primarily for Christian stations and that the Townhall.com branded product will be designed for news/talk stations.   Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce comments, “We will continue to offer the outstanding reporting that is a hallmark of SRN News with great anchors and respected correspondents like Greg Clugston at the White House, Linda Kenyon at the Senate and Wally Hindes at the House.  The new brand extension will allow us to better market the product for news and talk stations and we can’t think of a better partner than Townhall.com which is so respected and well-known.”

wmen logo‘640AM Sports’ in Fort Lauderdale Shuffles Hosts.  Midday sports talk host Joe Raineri moves to afternoon drive on WMEN, Fort Lauderdale “640AM Sports,” replacing Hank Goldberg.  Currently, the midday daypart consists of DirecTV/FOX Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and Rich Eisen from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm but there is speculation that the station will opt for adding Colin Cowherd’s new FOX Sports Radio program – set to debut in September – to the slot currently held by Eisen.

Odds & Sods. Abundant, thunderous changes taking place with Major League Baseball‘s Boston Red Soxobriendave have even spread to the broadcasting booth. While it doesn’t take effect until next year, Dave O’Brien will shift from radio play-to-play to the television side, calling Red Sox games on NESN. O’Brien, who has a renowned national presence from his ESPN television exposure, will succeed Don Orsillo, whose contract isn’t being renewed. No word yet on a successor to O’Brien on the Red Sox Radio Network, whose flagship is Entercom Boston sports outlet WEEI-FM. Quincy, Massachusetts native O’Brien miklaszberniejoined the Red Sox radio booth for the 2007 season – when the Red Sox wound up winning the World Series…..St. Louis sports media pro Bernie Miklasz returns to Hubbard Radio‘s WXOS “101ESPN” on Monday, August 31  to revive his sports talk show.  The longtime St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports writer is exiting his position with the paper to begin hosting the 7:00 am to 10:00 am program.  He will also write for the station’s 101sports.com website…..ESPN Radio announces that Ian Fitzsimmons will host the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot with Will Cain, Trevor Matich, and Freddie Coleman next week.  The network is reportedly preparing to officially announce Dan LeBatard will assume that daypart permanentlyzaklana later in September…..Former Philadelphia Eagles great Brian Westbrook is reprising his football expert role at Greater Media‘s WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” on the AM drive Anthony Gargano show.  Westbrook will be part of the Monday program from 9:00 am to 10:00 am following Eagles games during the NFL season…..ABC News announces Lana Zak is the newest member of the Multi-Platform Reporter team.  Zak began her career with ABC News as an anchor producer for Diane Sawyer at “Good Morning America.”  Most recently, she has served as a coordinating producer for ABC’s Specialized Units.

New Economic News Program to Debut in January.  This new offering comes from Walter O’Connell Tax Services, LLC on a weekly basis beginning January 2, 2016.  According to O’Connell, “Economics-Weekly.com” is a one-hour radio program featuring selected readings in economics from top economic bloggers from around the world and “was founded on the belief that liberty and free trade are created, and sustained, through economic understanding.”  O’Connell says, “Our current weekly syndicated radio program is a perfect pre-air or post-air program for news, business, economic, political or current event programing.”

hannity montgomerygentry15Country Duo Montgomery Gentry to Appear on ‘Hannity’ Tonight.  Country music will be a topic on FOX News Channel’s “Hannity” this evening (8/28) as country superstars Montgomery Gentry will be on the program.  Eddie Montgomery (left) and Troy Gentry (right) recently spoke with Sean Hannity (center) about their new Blaster Records album, Folks Like UsPhoto: Monarch Publicity.

TV Reporters Slayings/Gun Control Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of August 24-28.  The tragic slayings of WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward and the related issue of gun control were the most-talked-about stories during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM this week.  At #2 was the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump.  Coming in at #3 was the debate over immigration policy followed by the possible presidential candidacy of Vice President Joe Biden at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

| August 13, 2015

Mark Levin Plunder Deceit2Levin (Again) Lands At #1. Syndicated talk host Mark Levin’s “Plunder and Deceit” will reportedly debut at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list across all three categories of hardcover nonfiction, e-book nonfiction, and the combined list. This will be his fourth consecutive #1 New York Times bestseller. One of Levin’s previous books, “Liberty and Tyranny,” spent 38 weeks on that bestseller list and sold over one million copies. In a statement to Breitbart News, however, Levin emphasizes that he doesn’t “write books for The New York Times – I write them for people who love their country, want to learn about their country, and want to save their country. ‘Plunder and Deceit’ is a particularly important book. It is intended to stir the citizenry, particularly younger people, to understand what big government is doing to them and how its policies are destroying their liberty and prosperity.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison asked Levin, “What is the key to your success as a best-selling author so we can share it with other talk hosts who write books.”  Levin immediately acknowledged that he is not the only accomplished author among the ranks of radio talk show hosts – then added, “It takes me a year or more to write a book.  It involves extensive research and scholarship.  You have to be willing to commit a lot of time to it — most weekends, early mornings, and late nights. I don’t have ghostwriters or co-authors, etc.  There’s a difference between being an author and having your name on a book.”     Landmark Legal Foundation president Levin is syndicated through Cumulus Media‘s Westwood One; “Plunder and Deceit” was released last Tuesday (8/4).

Cowherd, ColinHoping His Herd Heads with Him to Fox, Premiere. Speculation has become reality now that one of the worst-kept secrets in recent history is official: After a 12-year association with ESPN (the last two days there being controversial owing to his on-air comments questioning the intelligence of Dominican ballplayers), Colin Cowherd will indeed join Fox Sports and Premiere Networks in just over three weeks (Tuesday, 9/8). That is when he will begin hosting “The Herd,” a three-hour program, which will air simultaneously on Fox Sports Radio Network and Fox Sports1 (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm, Eastern). Fox Sports Radio is produced/distributed by Fox Sports and iHeartMedia subsidiary Premiere Networks. “Colin is one of the most powerful and talented personalities in sports media today,” asserts PremiereFox Sports Radio Networks president Julie Talbott. “His addition to Premiere’s lineup demonstrates our continued commitment to reaching diverse audiences with the best talent the industry has to offer. We are excited to join with Fox Sports in bringing Colin’s passionate and engaging brand of sports entertainment to millions of people across multiple platforms. By leveraging our combined reach, we’ll have the opportunity to connect with more sports fans than ever before, while delivering unmatched results for our partners.” Cowherd states that, “It is hard to put into words how much fun it is for me, as a broadcaster, to build something with really smart, talented people. I cannot wait for this next chapter in my career to start. Fox Sports is the perfect spot for me at this time in my life.” On Sunday mornings during the NFL season, Cowherd will be part of the Fox-TV “NFL Kickoff” crew. According to Fox Sports national networks president Jamie Horowitz, “Colin is the first person I hired for my first daily studio show at ESPN, so it’s fitting that he’s the first one I’m hiring at FS1. Colin is a unique voice in sports media with a loyal following of fans. We are looking forward to building our daytime programming around him.” Before joining ESPN, Cowherd did a morning drive sports show on KFXX, Portland; was sports anchor at WTVT-TV, Tampa; and sports director of Las Vegas TV station KVBC. He began his career as the play-by-play voice for the Pacific Coast League’s Las Vegas Stars.

Robbins & MarkleyAlpha Media and Robbins & Markley Ink Multi-Year Renewal. Heard weekdays on talk siblings KXL, Portland (9:00 am – 12:00 noon) and WMBD, Peoria, Illinois (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm), Scott Robbins and Jamie Markley extend their deal with parent company Alpha Media. Executive vice president of programming, Scott Mahalick states, “Robbins and Markley bring a contemporary style and entertaining flare that connects with the audience in a big way – we are proud they are on our winning team.” Alpha Media Portland senior viceAlpha president/market manager Milt McConnell notes, “Robbins and Markley have made a tremendous showing in Portland. Scott and Jamie are two of the best communicators in our business, and we are thrilled to have them for years to come.” Meanwhile, Alpha Media Peoria market manager Mike Wild remarks, “Scott and Jamie reflect real-life, day-to-day; they are [two] of the most genuine personalities anywhere. Their chemistry is unique and they both have an amazing sense for content. The show is a completely fresh approach to talk radio.”

National Radio Day Cake2Circle Next Thursday as National Radio Day. Especially when considering that some offbeat things – including specific foods – somehow garner their own special day, it is rather odd that there has not heretofore been a border-to-border celebration dedicated to the medium of radio. That will change one week from today (Thursday, 8/20) when non-commercial radio stations in more than 30 U.S. cities will participate in Seattle-based “not-just-for-profit social enterprise” Brown Paper Tickets’-formulated “National Radio Day.” This year, the FCC has awarded construction permits to nearly 2,000 low-power FMs and as National Radio Day “lead organizer” Sabrina Roach explains, “This is a great opportunity to get to know the new low-power stations by working on a common project together. A low-power FM is like community glue. These new media outlets can become powerful resources that help neighbors to organize, share, and find solutions together. I wanted to introduce an opportunity for all kinds of non-commercial stations to work together and to engage their communities by celebrating radio with listeners and independent producers.” Stations can promote National Radio Day (August 20 is also “National Lemonade Day”) on social media using the hash tag “#NationalRadioDay.” Brown Paper Tickets will provide promotional assistance and support for National Radio Day events organized by all participating U.S. stations. By the way, the significance of choosing August 20 as National Radio Day (which has actually been observed since the early-1990s) is to honor the day in 1920 that Detroit news station 8MK (now CBS Radio-owned WWJ – and still all-news) was licensed by the FCC. On August 31, 1920, 8MK aired the first news radio broadcast featuring local election results. WWJ’s Pittsburgh sibling KDKA-AM debuted on November 20, 1920 and, of course, has long claimed to be the “world’s first commercial radio station.”

Seacrest, RyanNBC Selects Seacrest to Host Late-Night Rio Coverage. With less than a year to go until the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, NBC-TV announces that its host of live late-night coverage will be KIIS “Kiss-FM,” Los Angeles morning personality/”American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest. During the 2012 London Games, Seacrest was a correspondent and he co-hosted the closing ceremony. NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell promises that, “The late-night atmosphere will be electric. We are thrilled to have Ryan Seacrest in the middle of it all capturing Rio’s unique flavor, talking to Olympic athletes, and telling the NBC 2016 Rio Olympics Logo 2stories of the day.” Seacrest reflects, “Joining the NBC Olympics team at the 2012 London Games was an exhilarating experience. I appreciate Jim Bell’s confidence, along with everyone at NBC Sports. I can’t wait to reunite with the team of broadcasters and producers for the 2016 Rio Olympics, and I look forward to hosting the live late night show.” Bob Costas hosted NBC’s primetime and late-night Olympic coverage at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and he has been primetime host for every NBC-covered Olympic Games since 1992. Mary Carillo previously hosted Olympics late-night coverage. The Summer Games from Rio begin August 5, 2016.

Elswick-Cruz 2Answers From a Presidential Hopeful. During his visit to Arkansas’ GOP headquarters, Republican presidential  candidate/junior Texas senator Ted Cruz did on on-air interview with KHTE “The Answer,” Little Rock afternoon drive host Dave Elswick. The two commemorate the occasion with a selfie.

Bligh, JimReady for his Close-up. Part of the enjoyment industry people derive when watching television shows or movies is trying to identify an announcer’s voice when the radio plays in the background, or spotting radio talents used as “extras.” In the country’s #7 film this week, “Rikki and The Flash,” Meryl Streep’s rock singer character struggles and fumbles operating a cash register as a part-time checkout clerk. The camera catches fellow employee “Chris” grimacing at the next register. Portraying “Chris” is Salem Radio Network east coast affiliate relations manager Jim Bligh, who shot his scenes in Westchester County, New York. Advanced film buffs might recognize Bligh from his appearances in “A Beautiful Mind,” Cloverfield,” and “Man on a Ledge.”

Sirius-XM-Logo 2Odds & Sods. Two sports programming notes from SiriusXM that take effect next Tuesday (8/18). Former University of Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke will host – alongside Mark Packer – SiriusXM “College Sports Today” twice a week (9:00 am – 12:00 pm ET) throughout the college football season. In addition, former PGA tour professional/television analyst Mark Lye will join radio personality Bruce Murray on the satcaster’s weekly “Let It Fly with Murray & Lye.” The one-hour (8:00 pm – 9:00 pm) program will air every Tuesday night, starting next week. Lye has previously been an analyst on SiriusXM’s pre- and post-round coverage.

Donald Trump Surpasses POTUS as Most Talked About Person on News/Talk Radio Yesterday (8/12).  Top topics include the Presidential Race, the Iran Nukes Deal, Immigration Reform and the Chinese Devaluation of the Yuan.  According to TALKERS research, fallout from last week’s audience record-breaking GOP debate on Fox News Channel continues to dominate conversation on news/talk radio across America this week and people (and the media) remain fixated on Donald Trump.  Very rarely does anyone top the President of the United States as the most-talked-about person for a day, let alone a week.  We will know how Trump fares versus Barack Obama by tomorrow morning (8/14) in terms of this week’s survey.  Other hot topics include the presidential election in general, Hillary Clinton’s email controversy and the global economic impact of China’s devaluation of its currency.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

| August 12, 2015

National Radio Hall of FameNational Radio Hall of Fame Voting Starts Today. After a five-year hiatus, listeners again have the opportunity to participate in selecting National Radio Hall of Fame inductees. For the next two weeks (through Wednesday, 8/26), voters can text 36500 with their one vote for the four nominees (each) in the “Music Format On-Air Personality” and “Spoken Word On-Air Personality” categories. National Radio Hall of Fame chair Kraig Kitchin declares, “These eight personalities are beloved by their listeners. Giving the audience an opportunity to participate in the process of acknowledging their favorite hosts for their contributions over the years just makes sense.” Nominees and text info for the “Music Format On-Air Personality” are Delilah (text “DELILAH” to 36500); Elvis Duran (text “ELVIS” to 36500); Steve Harvey (text “STEVE” to 36500); and Ryan Seacrest (text “RYAN” to 36500). Nominees and text info for the “Spoken Word On-Air Personality” are Sean Hannity (text “HANNITY” to 36500); Clark Howard (text “CLARK” to 36500); Jim Rome (text “ROME” to 36500); and Dr. Laura Schlessinger (text “DR. LAURA” to 36500). Listener-chosen winners will be announced at the end of this month (8/31), and we cannot forget that all-important fine print that “message and data rates may apply.” In addition to the two listener-voting categories, four categories are being voted on by a panel of 400 industry professionals. The induction ceremony takes place November 5 at the Museum of Broadcast and Communications in downtown Chicago.

Interactive Advertising BureauIAB Gears Up For Debut Podcast Upfront Showcase. The one-day marketplace for advertisers and media buyers to preview podcast programming will be held next month (9/10) in New York City. Scheduled to present at Interactive Advertising Bureau‘s inaugural podcast upfront showcase include representatives from AdLarge Media, Midroll, NPR, Panoply, Podtrac, and WNYC. Industry Initiatives, IAB vice president Carl Kalapesi explains, “More and more advertisers are incorporating audio programming into their digital marketing strategies. The individual and intimate listening experience enjoyed by podcast listeners provides a unique vehicle for brands to connect with consumers. IAB is excited to bring so many digital audio leaders together to discuss their upcoming programming and the wide array of advertising opportunities available through podcasts.” Invited executives will get to preview content developments from each presenting company in 20-minute segments.

Cassell, RussCassell (Posthumously) Wins SCBA Radio Personality of the Year Award. The “State Television And Radio” (STAR) awards of the South Carolina Broadcasting Association honor “exceptional accomplishments of the state’s stations and their broadcast professionals.” Entercom-owned talk WYRD-FM, Greenville-Spartanburg host Russ Cassell (left), who passed away last year, won the “Radio Personality of the Year” award. Entercom market vice president and generalEntercom Upstate manager Steve Sinicropi declares, “The broadcasting legacy of Russ Cassell lives on; our entire team is grateful for the SCBA recognizing Russ with this important award.” The cluster’s production director Stan Fisher received STAR recognition for best production-multi spot campaign on rock WTPT “93.3 The Planet” for local attorney Rob Ianuario. In the station’s first year in the format, WYRD-AM “ESPN Upstate” sports broadcaster Greg McKinney was recognized with a “Sportscaster of the Year award of merit at the event, which was held in Columbia, South Carolina over the weekend.

McCollim, JasonMcCollim Heads to Colorado Springs as iHeartMedia’s Senior VP/Programming. Transferring from Spokane where he programmed iHeartMedia talker KQNT and KKZX “The Classic Rock Station,” Jason McCollim is appointed senior vice president of programming for the company’s Colorado Springs and Pueblo stations. Senior vice president of programming/regional markets Tony Coles states, “McCollim is one of our rising stars. He has done an incredible job for us iHeartMediain Spokane. His leadership skills and passion for programming will allow him to ramp up quickly and build immediate relationships with the programming and sales teams.” Colorado-Pueblo market president Darci Ewell comments, “Jason’s proven track record in Spokane and his versatile experience will make him an incredible asset to the Colorado Springs-Pueblo cluster. Jason brings a high level of energy and creativity that will greatly benefit our team.” McCollim remarks, “I am very excited about working with the fantastic iHeartMedia team in both Colorado Springs and Pueblo; thanks to Tony Coles and Darci Ewell for the opportunity to work in one of the most beautiful parts of our country.” McCollim spent more than 14 years at KQNT and KKZX; he is vice president of the Inland Empire Bloodhounds Search & Rescue. The Colorado Springs stations he will oversee are rhythmic CHR KIBT “The Beat”; hot AC KVUU “My-99.9”; adult contemporary KKLI “Sunny 106.3”; country KCCY “Y-96.9; and classic rock KDZA “Z-107.9.” The three Pueblo facilities are classic hits KPHT; KCCY “Fox Sports 1350″; and talk KCSJ.

rdio-logoRdio Debuts Live Broadcast Radio. The global music streaming service begins with nearly 500 U.S. stations. Listeners can mark songs they like as a favorite, share the song, start a custom station based on the song or view more music by the artist. Paying subscribers to Rdio’s $3.99 and $9.99 plans can download songs for unlimited listening, add it to a custom playlist, listen to related songs from that artist or recently played songs on that station as often as they want. Rdio chief executive officer Anthony Bay comments, “We are committed to providing Rdio customers around the world with easy access to the audio content they want to hear through innovative features that enhance listening. Broadcast radio brands and talent continue to be the dominant tastemakers in music, so integrating live broadcast radio into Rdio’s critically acclaimed customer experience is an exciting development that we are thrilled to introduce.” Through a September 2013 partnership with Cumulus Media, Rdio has access to Cumulus’ programming and is promoted on Cumulus stations. Cumulus Media chief executive officer Lew Dickey states, “Bringing our national platform of stations to Rdio allows us to instantly create broader access for our listeners and new opportunities for advertisers to reach their target audiences. The combination of our premier broadcast assets with Rdio’s acclaimed user experience and music discovery features creates a full-service listening experience that is unparalleled.” In addition to music, live broadcast programming includes sports content from local stations as well as through Cumulus Media’s Westwood One. Featured stations include Cumulus Media-owned country WNSH, New York; rock KLOS, Los Angeles; triple-A KFOG, San Francisco; urban-rhythmic oldies WRWM, Indianapolis; and country WSM-FM, Nashville. Additional stations will launch later this year.

WOWOWOWO Producing 90-Year Retrospective. The Fort Wayne (Indiana) talk outlet is observing its 90th anniversary and – appropriately enough – is putting together a 90-minute documentary. Station executives are in the process of gathering interviews from former employees for the special, which will cover WOWO’s impact and reach. In addition to audio samples of historic and comical moments, Bob Sievers, Jack Underwood, Jay Gould, and Bob Chase are among those who will be featured. Program director Ryan Wrecker (Wrecker@WOWO.com) is seeking station memorabilia that can be displayed during the ongoing celebration, as well as memories past staffers or listeners would like to share. Those contributing will receive a preview edition of the special, which is scheduled to air on Federated Media-owned WOWO (Thursday) November 19.

KNX 2KNX Schedules Second Annual Blood Drive. In light of the fact that blood donations typically dip during summer months, KNX, Los Angeles is joining the American Red Cross for the CBS Radio all-news outlet’s second annual blood drive. The five-day event at participating Red Cross blood centers starts two weeks from Saturday (8/29) and concludes the following Wednesday (9/2). CBS Radio vice president/Los Angeles market manager Dan Kearney American Red Cross 2comments, “KNX is proud to team up with the Red Cross once again as we expand our blood drive effort. We know summer is a challenging time for people to think about donating blood, and we hope to raise awareness so our listeners will lend their support and help the Red Cross maintain a safe and stable blood supply.” American Red Cross Southern California blood services external communications manager Tony Briggs notes that although many donors stepped up to give following a pressing call issued earlier this month, “The American Red Cross continues to have an urgent need for blood donors of all blood types to give before Labor Day.” Last year’s inaugural two-day KNX blood drive produced 834 pints of blood, which helped 2,502 patients. Greater Los Angeles/Southern California donation locations include Arcadia, Glendale, Santa Monica, Claremont, Downey, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Granada Hills, Los Angeles, Laguna Hills, Long Beach, Pasadena, Pomona, Rancho Cucamonga, Santa Ana, Santa Clarita, Thousand Oaks, Torrance, West Covina, Woodland Hills, and Yorba Linda. As an incentive (and while supplies last), blood drive sponsor – The Southern California Gas Company – will give blood donors a KNX emergency preparedness guide; two tickets to Hollywood’s Laugh Factory; a ticket to Madame Tussauds Hollywood; and a sample of Hawaiian Host chocolates.

Maranville, TimMaranville Departs USA Radio Networks. One-year USA Radio Networks chief content officer-director of channel development Tim Maranville exits. He expresses thanks to “everyone at USA for all the hard work, especially show hosts Steve Deace, Kevin Jackson, Steve Noble, Jim Sharpe, Joe Messina, Chris and Emilee, Angie Austin, and Tony Perkins. The future is bright and I hope to have one, maybe two, announcements about my next contribution to the planet by mid-September.” Maranville joined USA after a nearly six-year run as vice president of programming at Westwood One. He previously was vice president and director of operations of the Denver Radio Company; vice president and director of operations of Sun City Communications; director of operations at KFRC, San Francisco; and director of operations of Phoenix stations KMLE, KOOL, and KZON. In addition, he owns/operates Mutations Media and he co-owns The Show Must Go On, an independent syndication consulting and affiliation company.

Donald Trump Continued to be the Second Most Talked About Person on News/Talk Radio Yesterday — a VERY close second to Barack Obama (8/11).  Top topics include the Presidential Race, the Iran Nukes Deal, Immigration Reform and the Chinese Economy.  According to TALKERS research, fallout from last week’s audience record-breaking GOP debate on Fox News Channel continues to dominate conversation on news/talk radio across America and people (and the media) remain fixated on Donald Trump.  Other hot topics include the presidential election in general, Hillary Clinton’s email controversy and the global economic impact of China’s devaluation of its currency.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

| August 11, 2015

Crowder, ChanningFor WQAM – Three’s A Crowd in PM Drive. Today’s arrival (Tuesday, 8/11) of Channing Crowder will transform the afternoon drive program (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) of CBS Radio-owned WQAM “Miami Sports Radio 560” into a three-person affair, as the former Miami Dolphins linebacker joins Marc Hochman and Zach Krantz. Regarding Crowder, program director Ryan Maguire comments, “His insight as a former college and professional football player – as well as his one-of-a-kind brand of humor – will be a great addition to what MarcWQAM and Zach bring to the table every day. This is going to be a very unique, locally focused program that will be entertaining and insightful.” Crowder remarks, “I am excited for the opportunity to work with ‘Hoch’ and Zach. We are going to bring listeners a different kind of show they won’t be able to find anywhere else.” A former all-South East Conference player at the University of Florida, Crowder began at WQAM in 2009 as a contributor. Prior to becoming part of “Hochman, Crowder, & Krantz,” he co-hosted the station’s mid-day (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm) program.

Vassilaros, DimitriPittsburgh Broadcaster in Online “Crowd-funding” Campaign. The “Don’t Spy on Me” project, which began last Monday (8/3) and ends in three weeks (9/1), creates an internet show for Pittsburgh talk host Dimitri Vassilaros. Online programs, of course, are not subject to Federal Communications Commission regulations, so callers are able to speak freely. Vassilaros tells TALKERS, “Forgoing short-term revenue to create long-term value has helped many internet startups become desirable to investors. This new radio show will provide people with a platform where they can express their thoughts, amplify their voices, and talk back to all authoritarians. Internet freedom means unlimited choices, not government restrictions. Your right of privacy is worth fighting for.” Vassilaros’ background includes being a talk show host on Pittsburgh stations KDKA-AM and WTAE, as well as a columnist/reporter for The Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

Rogers, Mike“Something To Think About” Notes Affiliate Benchmark. Seven months after its debut, the weekday vignettes that its syndicator – Westwood One – labels a “slice of Americana” eclipse the 150-station mark. In fact, the station count for the segments voiced by former Michigan congressman/ex-FBI agent Mike Rogers that stations air thrice daily is up to 156. Westwood One senior vice president of affiliate sales Dennis Green states, “We have been searching for a strong voice that provides a common sense and thought-provoking take on relatable topics that concern all Americans. Mike Rogers brings that home in his commentary, which gives listeners a chance to pause and reflect on the ideals that are important to us all and are without any political bias.” Outgoing House IntelligenceWestwood One Committee chair Rogers remarks that surpassing the 150-station mark so fast is “really exciting” and that listener feedback is inspiring. “It truly is an honor to be welcomed into cars, homes, and businesses of so many people across the country.  Sometimes, it is the simplest message that has the greatest impact.” Among those airing the commentaries are Cumulus Media New York talker WABC; co-owned Chicago talker WLS-AM; San Francisco talk sibling KSFO; iHeartMedia-owned Miami talk outlet WIOD; and CBS Radio Pittsburgh talker KDKA-AM.

McGraw-Milhaven-PicOdds & Sods. The lucky guy who is all smiles is McGraw Milhaven. The KTRS, St Louis morning man recently took 40 listeners on a 12-day, six-country, 11-city tour of Europe including stops in Berlin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and London. Milhaven is seen here capturing a memory at the Tower Bridge over the Thames.

Glenn Beck2Beck in the War Room. Sporting an orange ball cap, Premiere Radio Networks host Glenn Beck was among hundreds who turned out last night (Monday, 8/10) in Dallas for the world premiere of the Kendrick Brothers’ film “War Room.” Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup (on Beck’s left) interviewed Beck, as well as area dignitaries and “War Room” cast members. The red carpet event was held at Dallas’ Majestic Theatre.

Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Megyn Kelly were the Most Talked About People on News/Talk Radio Yesterday (8/9).  Top topics included GOP Debate(s) on Fox, the Iran Nukes Deal and Immigration Reform.  According to TALKERS research, fallout from last week’s audience record-breaking GOP debate on Fox News Channel continues to dominate conversation on news/talk radio across America.  Other hot topics include the presidential election in general – especially Bernie Sanders’ encounters with the Black Lives Matter movement, Hillary Clinton’s email controversy and Jeb Bush’s problems gaining (or holding onto) traction.

Friday, August 7, 2015

| August 7, 2015

LoganCumulusLogan adds WFTW Programming Duties. One-year hot AC WNCV “Coast 93.3” program director and morning talent “Logan” takes on similar responsibilities within the Cumulus Media Fort Walton Beach (Florida) cluster for talk WFTW. Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “Logan has done an outstanding job since joining the Fort Walton Beach/Destin cluster. It has been a pleasure watching him work to make a significant impact in both ratings and revenue with WNCV. I am very excited we are recognizing his talent and affording him additional opportunities to grow with our company.” Corporate program director for news-talk-sports Jim Mahanay remarks, “I am excited anytime we can have a programmer with a fresh perspective enter the news/talk format. Logan has proven himself as a strong music PD and he now has that opportunity in news/talk.” Logan offers a “big thanks” to DeSimone, Mahanay, and Cumulus Media senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay. “Cumulus has given me opportunities – I am going to grow with them,” Logan states. “I am a huge fan of the news-talk format, and I cannot wait to get audio from Michael Savage.” Prior to joining WNCV, “Logan” spent eight years as morning host/assistant program director/music director for Philadelphia hot AC WISX “Mix106.1.” His resume also includes stops in New York City at CHR WHTZ “Z-100” and in Dallas at hot AC KDMX.

nielsen logoNielsen Audio Releases Final Round of July 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of Nielsen Audio July 2015 PPM ratings data has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The July 2015 survey period covered June 18 through July 15.  You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. In addition, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

levinmark (2)Odds & Sods: This past Monday (8/3), Westwood One host Mark Levin surpassed the one-million level of Facebook “Likes.” His book, “Plunder and Deceit,” was released the following day (Tuesday, 8/4) and it has reached #1 on Amazon‘s “Best Seller” list…..In an October 13 simulcast with CNN, Westwood One will be the exclusive radio provider of coverage from the first Democratic primary debate of the 2016 presidential race. The debate will take place in Nevada, with exact location details to be announced later. CNN will serve as moderator and exclusive national broadcaster of that debate.

Lewis, Rickfox_header_0_1421149119

Rick Lewis Hits Quarter Century Mark Hosting “Talky” Mornings at Classic Rocker, KRFX, Denver.  For over two decades the “Lewis & Floorwax Show” dominated the morning airwaves on iHeartMedia’s KRFX-FM (The Fox), Denver. The show was an excellent example of the widespread genre of music radio morning shows that lean heavily on pop cultural talk content. Suddenly in January of 2014, co-host Michael Floorwax retired from the airwaves, by his own choosing, due to an ongoing chronic health issue that began acting up. His co-host Rick Lewis was encouraged to keep the show going as it had a very loyal fan base and was an extremely dependable “revenue machine.”  Lewis re-tooled the mostly spoken word show (that plays approximately two songs per hour), renamed it “The Rick Lewis Show” and forged ahead. Fans were happy and relieved that the show continued. Advertisers continued their support and The Rick Lewis Show has more than survived, it has thrived. Nielsen Audio spring PPM numbers indicate that “The Fox” is the market’s top station among adults 25-54. Ratings are up from 2014 and so is revenue.  On July 31, 2015 Rick Lewis celebrated 25 years as the morning radio host at the station – a rarely achieved milestone in the radio industry.  Lewis tells TALKERS, “I have many people to thank including my long-time friend and radio partner Kathy Lee who really stepped up her game.  Thanks to my long-time partner Michael Floorwax for a helluva run, you are missed!”  Lewis adds, “Also the support of the rest of the crew in the morning, Colfax, Dragon Redbeard and Robbyn Hart has been significant. Thanks also to Michael Harrison, a visionary man who gave me my first big break at KMET, Los Angeles in 1984.  I was just out of college, working at that heritage radio station with some legendary radio performers. Mike believed in me and gave me my first full time job in LA.”  Harrison recalls, “I recognized immediately that this earnest young man was the total package.  He had movie star looks, a command of album rock and its culture, and most importantly the ability to adeptly punctuate his jock work with listener calls and artist interviews – a quality I always looked for in DJs during my rock PD days.”  KRFX is the FM home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos and the multi-faceted Lewis also hosts the official Denver Broncos pre-game show every week during the football season.  And if that isn’t enough Lewis has a band, The Rick Lewis Project, featuring some of the most acclaimed musicians in the region. As a drummer for the band, Lewis has played as opening act with legends such as BB King, James Brown, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Def Lepard, and The Who among others.  When he is not on the radio or playing in his band, Lewis finds time to perform in the Denver area as a stand-up comic.  He also recently shot a TV pilot called “Ride Away,” a motorcycle adventure show. The show is currently being shopped and produced by reality TV’s famous bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman and his wife Beth. Lewis believes “the secret to longevity in the business is to have many irons in the fire.”  He tells TALKERS, “I still get up every morning and can’t wait to get behind the microphone and entertain the fans in Denver.  For years, I always thought KMET in LA would be the pinnacle of my radio career, man was I wrong!”

Beasley Media GroupBeasley Broadcast Group Reports Q2 Results. Second quarter net revenue is up $1.1 million ($25.9 million to $27 million), but Beasley Broadcast Group‘s net income is off by $500,000 ($3 million to $2.5 million). This past December, Beasley and CBS Radio completed a 14-for-five swap involving three markets. CBS Radio acquired two Philadelphia stations (WRDW and WXTU), as well as three Miami outlets (WKIS, WPOW, and WQAM). In exchange, Beasley picked up one Philadelphia station (WIP-FM); six Tampa facilities (WHFS-AM, WHFS-FM, WLLD, WQYK, WRBQ, and WYUU); and seven Charlotte properties (WBAV, WBCN, WFNZ, WKQC, WNKS, WPEG, and WSOC). According to Beasley chair and chief executive officer George Beasley, the company’s second quarter results “reflect a continuation of recent overall industry and market trends.” On a pro forma basis, net revenue decreased 6.0% while SOI declined 8.4%. “The decline in pro forma revenue is primarily attributable to overall weakness in Charlotte, Las Vegas, and Wilmington [Delaware], which resulted in reduced operating leverage and ultimately impacted SOI,” Beasley comments. “We were able to partially offset the revenue decline, however, through cost reductions that resulted in a 4.9% – or $1 million – reduction in station operating expenses. We also made further progress on our debt reduction efforts during the quarter, while continuing our commitment to return capital to shareholders.” Addressing the station swap with CBS Radio, Beasley remarks, “It substantially broadened and diversified our local radio and marketing solutions platform. Since closing, we have been initiating strategies to extract operating and financial synergies. We are actively implementing integration, cost efficiency and operating plans while remaining true to our value proposition by focusing on targeted localism and delivering quality programming, effective online marketing solutions and dedicated service to listeners and advertisers in these markets.” As far as the future is concerned, he notes the company remains “focused on operating our station clusters to match or exceed their market’s revenue performance while further strengthening our balance sheet. We believe our integration, programming, personnel, cost-efficiency and operating changes are now showing progress.”

week headerBarack Obama and Donald Trump were the Most Talked About People on News/Talk Radio this Week.  GOP Debate(s) on Fox, the Iran Nukes Deal and Immigration Reform Lead the Topics Discussed.  According to TALKERS research, the just-concluding week of August 3-7, 2015 has been dynamic to say the least as the brewing interest in the presidential race of 2016 reached its first major boiling point with yesterday’s (8/6) long anticipated GOP debate(s) on the Fox News Channel and Fox News Radio gathering enormous attention and conversation. Other hot topics included the Iran nuke deal, ISIS activity, immigration reform, race relations, the Planned Parenthood funding issue, Hillary Clinton’s emails, and the Nashville theater attack.  To see the entire list of the week’s most talked about topics and people, please click here.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallMichael Harrison Chats with Former FEMA Director (and Current KHOW, Denver Talk Host) Michael D. Brown as 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Approaches. It was almost a decade ago (August 23-31, 2005) that Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast of the United States with winds of up to 175 mph and flood waters of biblical proportions rising from the ocean and falling from the sky — leaving in its wake almost 1,900 fatalities, $108 billion in damages, and countless casualties and lives upended. Michael D. Brown – the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the time and Under Secretary of Homelandbrownmichael Security (“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”) became the official poster boy for everything that went wrong with the federal government’s too-little-too-late response to one of the greatest disasters in American history. Some of the criticism that fell upon Brown was deserved – but much of it wasn’t. After all, it was an epic crisis and involved numerous overlapping agencies, governments, and politicians charged with making things right. Brown took a severe beating from the media as well as a proverbial bullet for the team and stepped down from his position with the Bush Administration. A lawyer by trade, Brown went on with his life, taking away an enormous amount of wisdom and experience from the episode. Undaunted, he began speaking to groups around the country about the insidious side of politics, and the human complexity of management and team play. He wrote a candid book about his role (and responsibility) in Katrina — Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm, Hurricane Katrina, the Bush White House, and Beyond (Taylor Trade, 2011). He also began a successful talk show hosting career in Denver – first at KOA and then at KHOW, where he presently presides over a daily program 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm MT. In the newly posted installment of the weekly international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” (8/4), Brown is interviewed by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison about inside-Washington politics, the war on terror, the nature of the political mind, the psychological profile of presidents, the general state of media and journalism as well as what his life is like as a big market talk show host 10 years after Katrina. To hear this must-listen conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

salemmediagroup logoCool Job Opportunity. Salem Radio in New York is looking for a dynamic individual to join the sales team for “AM970 The Answer,” which is news/talk format, and the legendary WMCA “AM570 The Mission, New York’s Christian Talk.” Compensation is commensurate with degree of experience and skills. This is a fabulous career opportunity for the right individual with one of the finest broadcasting companies in America. Salem Media Group is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Sales experience involving media is a must. Undergraduate degree required. A unique opportunity to work closely with Jerry Crowley and Phil Boyce, two proven winners and innovators. For more information and to apply, click here.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

| August 6, 2015

Tidwell, LanceTidwell Tapped as iHM San Antonio SVP/Programming. Inbound from Tucson where he was iHeartMedia‘s senior vice president of programming, Lance Tidwell transfers to San Antonio for similar duties. Executive vice president of programming for iHeartMedia major markets Brad Hardin comments, “I am extremely pleased to welcome Lance to the iHeartMedia San Antonio family. Tidwell is a strong talent and has had much success in his tenure with iHeartMedia. His programming acumen and depth of experience will allow him to ramp up quickly and build immediate relationships with the programming and sales team.” San Antonio market president Marlene Trevino remarks, “I am excited that our San Antonio programming operations will be led by Tidwell. He understands our company¹s vision to be innovative with every move. Lance¹s experience collaborating with programming and sales teams will provide us and our partners with unbeatable forward momentum in the continued evolution of our brands in the San Antonioiheartmedia logo small2 market.” Tidwell notes that he is “grateful” to Trevino and Hardin “for the chance to work with these great brands and team in San Antonio. I am eager to get started and lead the market to continued growth and success.” In addition to having programmed in Seattle, Memphis, Hartford, Monterey-Salinas, and New Haven (Connecticut), Tidwell was chief operating officer for Southern Star Broadcasting. With 6+ share/market ranks from the most recent Nielsen Audio PPM sweep in parentheses (July 2015), iHeartMedia’s San Antonio cluster consists of country KAJA “KJ-97” (6.0, #3); mainstream CHR KXXM “Mix 96.1” (4.8, #5); adult contemporary KQXT “Q-101.9” (4.7, #6); talk WOAI (4.2, #10); rhythmic CHR KZEP “Hot 104.5” (2.1, #19); regional Mexican KQXT-HD3 (1.8, #20); sports KTKR “The Ticket” (.6, #26); and classic country KRPT “B-Buc” (.2, #27).

CBS Radio LogoCBS Radio Q2 Revenue Off 5%. While second quarter revenue for CBS Corp. increased 1% to $3.22 billion from $3.19 billion in 2014, CBS Radio revenue declined 5%. Executive chair Sumner Redstone states, “CBS is at the center of the action during an extremely exciting time in media. We continue to succeed as a result of our world-class content.” According to president and chief executive officer Les Moonves, “This quarter underscores the key steps we are taking to build out our long-term growth strategy. Our premium content remains the cornerstone of our success, and I am confident this fall’s new primetime lineup will lead us to another victory next season.” The company’s local broadcasting revenue was down 2% to $654 million from $665 million, as television station revenue was up 1%, and local broadcasting operating income (OI) fell 8% to $198 million from $215 million. The company posted net earnings of $332 million, down from $439 million in the year-ago period.

Nielsen LogoNielsen Audio Releases Third Round of July 2015 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of July 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus.  The July 2015 survey period covered June 18 through July 15.  You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

National Radio Hall of FameNational Radio Hall of Fame Nominees Announced. The 24 candidates in six categories were determined by the organization’s steering committee. National Radio Hall of Fame chair Kraig Kitchin brings back public engagement through social media balloting in the “Music Format On-Air Personality” and “Spoken Word On-Air Personality” categories. This is the first time that will be done in the last five years. “This impressive list of nominees represents the best examples of talent with commendable audience relationships past and present,” Kitchin declares. “Each individual and show was selected after extensive deliberation by the steering committee. We are all looking forward to seeing the results as determined by our industry peers and listeners nationwide.” The four nominees to be voted on by a participant panel in the “Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more)” category are Tom Barnard (Minneapolis); Johnny Dare (Kansas City); Johnny Holliday (Washington, D.C.); and Ronn Owens (San Francisco). Those in the “Active Local/Regional (10 years or more)” category are “Big Boy” – real name Kurt Alexander (Los Angeles); Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison (Philadelphia); Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart (Chicago); and Garland Robinette (New Orleans). The four candidates in the “Networks/Syndication (10 years or more)” category include Tom Kent (Cleveland); Dave Ramsey (Nashville); Diane Rehm (Washington, D.C.); and Michael Savage (San Francisco). Those in the “Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more)” category are Bob Kevoian & Tom Griswold (Indianapolis); Bob Kingsley (Weatherford, Texas); “Marketplace” (Los Angeles); and Harry Shearer (Los Angeles). Nominees to be voted on by listeners nationwide in the “Music Format On-Air Personality” category are Delilah (Seattle); Elvis Duran (New York); Steve Harvey (Atlanta); and Ryan Seacrest (Los Angeles). In the “Spoken Word On-Air Personality” category, the nominees are Sean Hannity (New York); Clark Howard (Atlanta); Jim Rome (Los Angeles); and Dr. Laura Schlessinger (Los Angeles). Voting begins today; names of the winners will be revealed in just over three weeks (8/31). The induction ceremony will be held in three months (11/5) at the Museum of Broadcast and Communications in downtown Chicago.

NextRadio LogoCollege Broadcasters Inc LogoNextRadio, CBI Team To Find Best Radio Spot. College students are encouraged to create/submit a 60-second radio spot, as NextRadio and College Broadcasters Inc. (CBI) join forces to find the “best-of-the-best in radio spot ads.” According to NextRadio president Paul Brenner, there are currently 50,000 – 70,000 radio spots that run each month supporting the NAB National Awareness Campaign, which launched in February; “this is a huge opportunity for students to have their radio spot played nationally among thousands of broadcast stations and heard by millions. We will get the opportunity to showcase rising talent for the radio industry.” CBI president Greg Weston comments, “CBI is thrilled to team with NextRadio to offer students from our media outlets this unprecedented opportunity to have their work appear in front of millions of listeners. Not only will the winners get national exposure for their talent, they will be able to take advantage of the educational opportunities available to them at the National Student Electronic Media Convention.” First-place winner will have his or her 60-second spot included in “flight four” of the NAB National Awareness Campaign, which starts October 1. The contest begins one week from next Monday (8/17) and will run through September 18; winners will be announced September 28.

Westwood OneWhistling StraitsWestwood One, PGA of America In Multiyear, Multiplatform Deal.  Live hole-by-hole coverage of the PGA championship returns to Westwood One for the first time in a decade. In addition, Westwood One will provide short-form updates, as well as a Brad Heller-anchored recap show, “The PGA Championship Tonight.” Senior vice president of sports for Westwood One (and parent company Cumulus Media) Bruce Gilbert remarks, “Westwood One is proud to present the 2015 PGA championship. It is a very exciting time in professional golf with so many terrific stories this year. Our team is prepared and excited to describe the remarkable performance of the world’s best players live from the PGA championship for the next few years.” PGA of America chief commercial officer Jeff Price states, “Westwood One and SiriusXM are synonymous with live, major sports event broadcasting. The PGA of America is delighted that we will partner with these two world-class radio partners to bring the drama and excitement of the PGA championship to fans.” Broadcast coverage from the PGA championship at Whistling Straits Golf Course in Kohler, Wisconsin begins one week from today (Thursday, 8/13). It will run through (Sunday) the 16th and can be heard on SiriusXM, Westwood One Sports affiliates, and WestwoodOneSports.com. SiriusXM PGA tour radio host Earl Forcey will anchor the joint coverage from the 18th tower, while former pro golfer/Golf Channel host Charlie Rymer will be lead analyst. Westwood One’s Ted Emrich will anchor short-form reports from the course, and provide leader board updates during the long-form coverage. Looking ahead, Westwood One Sports will provide PGA championship coverage next year from Baltusrol Country Club in Springfield, New Jersey and, in 2017, from the Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte.

2016 Presidential Candidates-GOP Debates, Nashville Theater Attack, Iran Nuclear Deal, Immigration Policy Debate, Hillary Clinton Email Investigation, Baltimore Gets Help with Violence, MH370 Debris Confirmed, and Deflategate Flap Among Top News Stories Yesterday (8/5). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and tonight’s GOP debates; the thwarted attack on a cinema in Nashville on Wednesday; the political battle over the proposed nuclear deal with Iran; the ongoing controversy over America’s immigration policy; the Feds supply help to Baltimore’s police in battling the explosion of murders in the aftermath of the Freddie Gray slaying; the plane debris found last week is confirmed to be from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370; and the NFL’s deflategate case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, July 31, 2015

| July 31, 2015

cumulus logoCumulus Media’s 2015 Q2 Report: Net Revenue Dips 8.8%.  That negative number is not so surprising because Cumulus had issued forward-looking statements that predicted results pretty much in line with what the final numbers turned out to be.  Net revenue for the quarter was just shy of $300 million, accounting for the 8.8% decrease compared to the same period a year ago.  Broadcast advertising was down 8.4% and the digital advertising category was off 19.5%.  Further breaking down the broadcast advertising category, network and national sales took the biggest hits – down 16% and 10.8%, respectively – and local ad sales slipped 3.9%.

cookehollandCooke: Local Radio Still an Opportune Career Path.  In a brand new installment of Talkers TV, media consultant Holland Cooke calls “this latest round of corporate cutbacks real scary.”  And he predicts there are more firings to come saying, “financially, it’s inevitable.”  Still, Cooke reckons, “This can be an opportune time for on-air talent,” because, in his view, “so much of what now comes out the speaker has been automated and voicetracked and has become so ‘un-local,’” and because “listeners and advertisers can hear the difference.”  In a two-part series in his monthly newsletter, HC outlines where employment opportunity lies and what salaries are typically being paid.  And Cooke stresses two skills imperative for today’s job-seekers: digital production savvy, and, as he puts it, “knowing how to actually get hired.”  He emphasizes that “simply knowing how to do your job won’t GET you your job.”  If you attended Talkers New York 2015, you already have part one, in the June issue of Holland’s newsletter, which was distributed at the conference.  Part two is in the August issue, which is available even to non-subscribers.  Click here for download instructions. To view Cooke’s presentation on Talkers TV please click on the Talkers TV box in the upper right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

espnradioESPN Radio Announces August Lineup for Former Cowherd Slot.  With the recent benching of soon-to-be-exiting personality Colin Cowherd, ESPN Radio goes to its O&O stations as well as the network for talent to fill the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET network time slot.  Next week, KEPN, Los Angeles “ESPN LA 710” afternoon drive hosts Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley will be heard nationally.  The weeks of August 10 and 17 belong to network personality Michelle Beadle and ESPNLA’s Ben Lyons.  For the week of August 24, WMVP, Chicago afternoon drive duo Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman – a.k.a. “Waddle & Silvy” – will be featured on the network program.  ESPN Radio has not yet announced a permanent show to fill the spot where “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” aired.

fosternedKTAR-FM, Phoenix Newsman Ned Foster to Retire.  After a career that has spanned 40 years in radio news, “Arizona’s Morning News” anchor Ned Foster will retire from the station at the end of November.  The Boston native is enshrined in the Arizona Broadcast Hall of Fame.  Foster, who has worked at such heritage signals as WBZ-AM, Boston; KFWB, Los Angeles; and WOWO, Fort Wayne, says, “It’s hard for me to believe how fortunate I’ve been and how much fun I’ve had.  I am humbled and gratified beyond words that so many people over so many years found it worth their while to tune in.  Thank you!”  Bonneville Phoenix VP of content and operations Ryan Hatch adds, “Ned is the consummate newsman and he’s had an absolutely remarkable career.  We can’t thank him enough for helping Arizona commuters get to work informed and on-time each morning.”

Odds & Sods. A joint effort between Alpha Media Portland and Seattle’s Feedback Media is bringing the business talk radio show “Business Briefing” with Brian Bushlach to Sinclair Radio’s news/talk KVI, Seattle.  The show – a popular Portland market program for the past 10 years – will air on Saturday mornings at 8:00.bushlachbrian  Bushlach says, “Seattle is the epicenter of American business.  Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Costco, Nordstrom, Expedia and Alaska Airlines have become household names, but think about companies like Tommy Bahama, Trident Seafoods, REI and others who are also leaders in their sector.  We’re looking forward to featuring companies big and small, with execs and owners sharing jacksonraynardtheir stories each weekend.”…..Media commentator and public relations expert Raynard Jackson is sitting in for Roland Martin on his nationally syndicated midday talk radio show (7/30 and 31).  Jackson’s guests include actress/entrepreneur Erika Alexander, hip hop artist BriaMarie and former NFL player Mike “Scooter” McGruder…..ABC Radio announces some of the special Labor Day programming it is offering.  The three one-hour specials are: “The Election Show: 16 Things to Know Before 2016,” co-hosted by ABC News correspondent Cheri Preston and ABC News political director Rick Klein; “Back to School Survival Guide,” hosted by Michelle Franzen; and “Streamline and Simplify Your Life,” hosted by Scott Goldberg…..Football season is upon us and FOX Sports Radio says its continuing a partnership with Big Ten Network to present an audio simulcast of the latter’s “BTN Live” television show to radio station affiliates.  Beginning August 10, the program will be available for air Monday through Friday from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET.  The show is hosted by Big Ten Network personalities Dave Revsine, Mike Hall and Rick Pizzo, with Big Tenzookdoug Network analysts Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and other special guests…..Woof Boom-owned news/talk WHBU-AM, Anderson-Muncie, Indiana (also heard on translator W279CL, Anderson at 103.7 FM) moves local personality Doug Zook to the 7:30 am to 9:00 am slot and begins airing Premiere NetworksSean Hannity in the afternoon drive daypart.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The sports talk show “Jay Mohr Sports” from Premiere Networksmohrjay and FOX Sports Radio Network is added to the lineup at the following stations: KVET, Austin; KHKA, Honolulu; WOLF-AM, Syracuse; KQWB, Fargo; and WKGN, Knoxville…..The Envision Networks-syndicated Sunday night talk show “The John and Leah Show,” featuring hosts John Ziegler and Leah Brandon, is added to the lineup at WPGP, Pittsburgh “AM 1250 The Answer.”…..The GCN-syndicated “Freedom Feens” show is added to the program schedule at KTKK, Salt Lake City.

hochmanMeyer15WQAM, Miami Covering College Football.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: Miami Hurricanes play-by-play voice Joe Zagacki, WQAM afternoon drive host Marc Hochman, and Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer at the Big 10 media days in Chicago.  Hochman tells TALKERS that the station partnered with the Capital One Orange Bowl to broadcast from all of the major college conference media days.

2016 Presidential Candidates and Trump Criticisms Tie for Top Spot on Talkers TenTM for Week of July 27-31. The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the extreme media attention Donald Trump is receiving tied for the most-talked-about news/talk radio stories of the week.  At #2 was the case of the hunting and killing of Cecil the lion by a Minnesota dentist.  Coming in at #3 was the Planned Parenthood videos scandal and following at #4 was the debate over immigration policy in the United States.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s chart here.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

| July 30, 2015

iheartmedia logo smalliHeartMedia Reports Q2 Revenue Up 4%.  The privately-owned iHeartMedia announces its Q2 financial numbers and reports revenue was $841 million – up 4% compared to the same quarter in 2014 – and stating that it saw “strength across the business (core local and national broadcast advertising revenue, traffic and weather business, syndication business and events).”  The companybresslerrichard says its expenses rose 5% year-over-year attributable to “event production costs, timing of barter and trade expenses, sales compensation expense and costs related to music licenses and performance royalties.”  Chief operating officer and chief financial officer Rich Bressler says in a press release, “We’re pleased with the revenue and OIBDAN growth we achieved this quarter.  We continue to invest in our capabilities across both iHeartMedia and outdoor to realize the full value of our multi-platform assets.  With no significant debt maturities until 2018, we can continue focusing on growing the top and bottom lines across our business segments.”  Total debt for the media giant is reported as just shy of $20.4 billion.

stigallchrisStigall: The Importance of Talk Radio. WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall writes in a piece published in TALKERS today about recent events that have given him pause to reflect on the value of talk radio to the greater society.  Stigall says that an important cog in the media machine would be missing if talk radio did not exist.  He says, “Call talk radio propaganda if you’d like, but it can only thrive if it offers something consumers want to hear and delivers results to advertisers and sponsors.  I know in our show’s case we’re blessed with both.  Whether it’s Limbaugh’s leading voice of conservatism, Levin’s case for millennials to engage in their country’s political future, Hannity’s demands for more scrutiny of a taxpayer-funded entity, or simple assessments of current and future leaders’ character – talk radio is the only place it’s found consistently.”  Read Stigall’s entire piece here.

hotchkisskeithiHeartMedia Charlotte Hikes Hotchkiss to Market President. Senior vice president of sales Keith Hotchkiss is elevated to market president of iHeartMedia‘s six-station Charlotte operation. Hotchkiss remarks that, “iHeartMedia Charlotte boasts some of the most talented on-air hosts, programmers, and sales professionals in the country. It is my goal to lead and expand, providing innovative solutions for our client partners across all our platforms, while also creating the best radio for our listeners. This is an exciting time to be in the radio industry. I could not be more proud to represent one of the world’s most enterprisingiHeartMedia Charlotte media companies in one of the nation’s greatest cities.” Prior to being transferred to Charlotte, Hotchkiss spent more than 15 years at the company’s Cleveland cluster, where he ultimately became general sales manager. With (6+) Nielsen Audio June 2015 PPM market share and market rank in parentheses, iHeartMedia’s Charlotte cluster consists of country WKKT “The Kat” (7.3, #3); classic rock WRFX “The Fox” (6.5, #4); adult hits WLKO “The Lake” (6.3, #5); CHR WHQC “Channel 96-1” (5.3, #7); and WEND “New Rock 106.5 – The End” (3.1, #12 ). WRFX-HD2 “Fox Sports FM 98.7″ does not appear in Charlotte’s June sweep.

Odds & Sods. The news/talk format airing on WMEL, Cocoa Beach, Florida and operated by John Harper’s Broadcast House LLC will move to Genesis Communications’ WIXC (licensed to Titusville, Florida) beginning Sunday, August 9.  Rama Communications has been leasing the station to Broadcast House…..Matt Jones’ “Kentucky Sports Radio” will continue to be heard on stations in the Blue Grass State as Jones renews with the network.  The show airs from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on WKJK, Louisville; WLAP, Lexington; and other iHeartMedia stations across the state using the Kentucky News Network…..Christopher “Jack” Johansing is promoted to marketing director at Benztown.  He’s been with the company for the past five years serving as coordinator, web, marketing & affiliate relations.

Cecil the Lion Case, 2016 Presidential Candidates-Trump Criticisms, Planned Parenthood Videos Scandal, Iran Nuclear Deal, Bill Cosby Rape Allegations, Samuel DuBose Slaying, Lois Lerner-IRS Case, and the NFL’s Tom Brady Decision Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/29).  The case of the Minnesota dentist who hunted a protected lion in Zimbabwe and the public outcry; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the intense scrutiny of Donald Trump; the aftermath of the release of videos showing Planned Parenthood doctors haggling over the price of body parts from abortions; the proposed nuclear deal with Iran; the rape allegations being leveled against Bill Cosby; the slaying of unarmed motorist Samuel DuBose in Cincinnati by a police officer; new allegations of Lois Lerner destroying evidence in the IRS scandal; and the NFL’s upholding of the four-game suspension of Tom Brady were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, July 20, 2015

| July 20, 2015

cbsradio logoScott Herman Promoted to COO of CBS Radio.  President Andre Fernandez announces EVP of operations Scott Herman has been promoted to chief operating officer for CBS RADIO.  The company says that in this new role, Herman will continue to report to Fernandez and lead local operations across the division’s 117 major market stations.  CBS RADIO’s market managers will now report to Herman.  Fernandez states, “Scott has ahermanscott tremendous reputation in the industry, and is a distinguished representative for radio.  He understands CBS RADIO’s vision for the future and will provide strength to our senior leadership team as we move forward with a variety of key growth initiatives.  Having someone with Scott’s experience collaborating directly with our station management will result in new value for CBS RADIO and our partners.”  The company notes that, because of this experience, Herman “works particularly close with the division’s news and talk stations, and his expertise in this area has allowed CBS RADIO to retain its leadership position in the format.”  Herman was promoted to EVP, Eastern Region for CBS in 2003.  Prior to that, he was senior vice president, market manager for the division’s New York properties, including all-newsers WINS and WCBS plus sports talk WFAN.  Herman was vice president and general manager of WINS from 1994-2003 and WNEW-FM on two different occasions during the 1990s.

trn logoTRN Loses Appeal of Back Pay Judgement in Savage Case.  The appeal of the ruling by an arbitration panel that the Original Talk Radio Network Inc. owes talk host Michael Savagesavagemichael $800,000 in back pay is unsuccessful after the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco ruled Friday in Savage’s favor.  A small victory for TRN, though, as the Court denied Savage’s request for sanctions against TRN for filing a “frivolous appeal.”  This latest court action stems from Savage’s original suit against TRN to void his contract with the syndicator after the relationship between the two parties had soured and Cumulus Media’s Westwood One pursued Savage’s services.

espnradioEarly Line on Cowherd’s Replacement at ESPN Radio: Le Batard.  According to TALKERS sources, there are two scenarios for filling the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot on ESPN Radio after Colin Cowherd does his final show for the network before departing for FOX Sports.  The first is that Dan Le Batardlebatarddan moves to the slot and Jorge Sedano slides down from his 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm show to assume Le Batard’s 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot.  The second possibility is that ESPN keeps Le Batard where he is and moves Sedano into the midday program.  TALKERS sources also say ESPN is high on Bomani Jones, who hosts sedanojorgethe 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm show and potential talent shuffles could involve a better daypart for his show.  As for Cowherd, reports indicate that he was making about $2.5 million with ESPN and that FOX Sports will pay him approximately $6 million per year.  Just what FOX Sports’ plans are for Cowherd are not set in stone and the company hasn’t been specific, but it’s expected he’ll host a nationally syndicated radio show and host a TV show on Fox 1, possibly at 6:00 pm to compete with ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”

wibclogoEmmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis Adds Radio America’s Chad Benson Show for Evenings.  Saying the show has a “Gen-X perspective,” WIBC-FM, Indianapolis programbensonchad director David Wood announces the Radio America-syndicated Chad Benson show joins the station’s lineup for the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot.  Wood says, “I was looking for something unique and contemporary for evenings.  I found it in Chad Benson.  Chad’s show has a great energy and Gen-X perspective, but still with conservative sensibilities.  Plus he’s got the best set of tattoos in talk radio.”  Radio America says Benson’s sense of showmanship and entertainment was developed from years in music radio and has had a huge influence on him as a talk host.

digilionickWGN, Chicago’s Nick Digilio Returns to the Air; Explains Stomach Ailment Exacerbated by Alcohol.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports on the return to the WGN airwaves of overnight personality Nick Digilio, who was back hosting his show today (7/20) after an absence of a month.  Digilio explained to his listeners that he landed in the hospital after complicating existing stomach troubles by consuming too much alcohol being unable to eat much food.  He explained that he came down with a stomach ailment in May that made it difficult to eat.  His overconsumption of alcohol caused him to spend five days in the hospital. Now, he says he’s done drinking.  He admits it was a stupid thing to do and blames no one but himself.  Read Feder’s piece here.

pasacritawalterWalter Pasacrita to Host Local Show on Sports Talk KONO-AM, San Antonio.  The station had been an oldies outlet before flipping to sports talk in January of 2014.  Now, the Cox Media Group-owned station is adding a local show by market pro Walter Pasacrita, who previously co-hosted a sports talk show with Jeff Vexler on iHeartMedia’s crosstown KTKR.  Pasacrita will host the afternoon drive show on KONO-AM.  He tells the San Antonio ExpressJeanne Jakle he is prepared to take on the competition on crosstown sports talkers KTKR and KZDC.  “I have more experience on the radio in San Antonio than the rest of those people.  I’m more passionate about sports than the rest of those people.  I don’t sugarcoat anything. . .and don’t let relationships get in the way of what should be stated.  I tell it like it is.”

kvet-am logoSean Adams and Chip Brown to Host Mornings on KVET, Austin.  A new, local sports talk show replaces ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike on iHeartMedia’s KVET, Austin.  Sean Adams moves from his early afternoon “Adams Theory” show to the morning slot alongside Chip Brown for “The Bottom Line with Sean Adams and Chip Brown.”    Brown was most recently with crosstown Total Austin Sports Radio-owned KTXX-FM.  The two worked together from 2007-2010.

talkersradio logoTalkersRadio’s “Vox Animali with Lori Lundin” Posts Second Installment.  The second installment of the groundbreaking, experimental talk show, “Vox Animali” hosted by award-winning radio journalist Lori Lundin is posted today (7/20) after receiving widespread positive response to its pilot episode last month.  The series – the latest offering of TalkersRadio’s “laboratory” workshop – is dedicated to raising awareness of the plight of animals that are institutionally abused and tortured at the hands of humans and foster respect for the dignity of all earthly creatures.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “I am so pleased that we are able to address a deeply important cause that hardly gets its due share of attention in the media – including talk radio – and when it does get attention, it is usually in the form of ridicule.”  Harrisonlundinlori continues, “We are very happy to have a brilliant and talented radio journalist of Lori Lundin’s caliber spearheading this project.”  Lori Lundin – who has received a number of prestigious industry honors including a Gracie this year – is an anchor with WTOP, Washington, DC and a reporter/podcaster with the Washington Examiner.  Harrison adds, “Lori, who is a breast cancer survivor and an all-around inspirational human being, brings a level of intelligence, sensitivity and empathy to her work that takes it beyond today’s typical newsroom fare in connecting to the heart as well as the brain.”  TALKERS general manager of broadcast operations, David Bernstein adds, “This is a heck of a show.  It has the potential to become a very influential vehicle for consciousness-raising for the animal rights movement, one of the fastest growing areas of public sentiment in America today.  And that’s what TalkersRadio is all about – developing spoken-word programs that address issues and interests outside the rigid boundaries of everyday broadcast radio.”  The new installment of “Vox Animali” features a look at the abuse and suffering of chimpanzees and presents an interview with Laura Bonar of Animal Protection of New Mexico.  Another current show under development on the TalkersRadio platform is “Healed Planet” hosted by Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel personality Alan Colmes that explores the human consciousness movement.  A recent “graduate” of TalkersRadio is the weekly “American Family Farmer” hosted by Doug Stephan.  Its mission is to champion the beleaguered small farmers of the nation being pushed out by the alliance of Big Agriculture and Big Government.  It has now cleared about 30 stations and is adding new ones daily on the GCN and Radio America platforms.  Bernstein says, “TalkersRadio is not set up to compete with broadcast radio or develop long-term hit shows for its own sake… but rather, as an experimental theater… a laboratory… to help new ideas develop to the point that they find a regular home on broadcast media.”  To listen to TalkersRadio, please click here.  For more information, contact David Bernstein at 413-565-5413.

Odds & Sods.  There’s a new, two-year contract for some 400 NPR staffers represented by SAG-AFTRA.  The union announces the new pact will provide 2 ½ % salary increases at the start of each of the next two years.  Other provisions include NPR paying 70% of health care benefits and a contribution of 7% of workers’ pay into the retirement plan…..Hubbard Broadcasting donates $5 million to the Newseum in Washington, DC and gets naming rights to the concourse level of the building.  Hubbard chairman and CEO Stanley Hubbard comments, “Our family has always been a strong advocate of a free press.  Because it is the only institution solely devoted to educating the public about the fundamental value of First Amendment freedoms and free expression, the Newseum is a great gift to the nation and the world.  It’s an honor for our family and our company to help support this noble cause.”

WachsWalkerDr. Daliah Wachs Welcome’s Scott Walker.  Nationally syndicated talk host and practicing physician Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) welcomes Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (left) to Las Vegas.  Walker – a just-announced candidate for president in 2016 – visited the Silver State a day after announcing his candidacy.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

| July 15, 2015

EntercomMajor Market Swapping Among Entercom, LFM, Bonneville. Official settlement has been reached between Entercom Communications and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding Entercom’s acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media. The proposed transaction involving LFM properties in three markets was announced last December. Another player entered the mix, and as part of the DOJ resolution, Entercom gains entry into the second-largest market by exchanging four Denver stations with Bonneville. Somewhat resembling an MLB mega-swap conducted prior to baseball’s July 31 trading deadline, Entercom is cutting ties with adult contemporary KOSI “Continuous Lite Rock,” KYGO “#1 For New Country,” KKFNLincoln Financial Media “Sports Radio – The Fan,” and sports KEPN “The Zone” in exchange for Bonneville Los Angeles classic rocker KSWD “The Sound” and $5 million in additional consideration. After the dust settles, Entercom will have facilities in four (new for them) top 20 markets – Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, and San Diego. Leading their respective stations there – and all having the Entercom title of vice president and general manager are: Peter Burton (Los Angeles); Mike Fowler (Atlanta); Doug Abernethy (Miami); and Bob Bollinger (San Diego). Amy Griesheimer remains in place as vice president and general manager of Entercom Denver; she has been with the company since 2002. Entercom president and chief executive officer David Field comments, “We are delighted to be moving forward on our long-delayed acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media and adding their terrific brands, markets, and people to our organization. We are also very excited to be acquiring ‘The Sound,’ the fastest growing radio station in Los Angeles, through our station exchange with Bonneville. Adding Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, and San Diego to our footprint will meaningfully enhance our ability to serve our listeners, customers, employees, and shareholders. This is a great day for Entercom that will enhance our competitive position and bolster our growth potential well into the future.” According to Entercom chief operating officer Weezie Kramer, “Lincoln Financial Media, Bonneville, and their teams have built world-class brands. We are excited about the opportunities to continue to grow these stations and to provide our listeners and customers with the best compelling local content and dynamic, integrated marketing solutions. I am excited to welcome Doug, Bob, Mike, and Peter to Entercom. They are great leaders and managers with a proven track record of success. As we enter these vibrant markets, we are thrilled to have such talented and experienced media veterans at the helm. Amy has been a tremendous leader for Entercom Denver. We know her experience, leadership, and vision will continue to drive ratings, revenue, and audience engagement for our stations [there].” BonnevilleMeanwhile, Bonneville president Darrell Brown remarks, “Denver is a vibrant, growing area where we see great opportunity. The stations we are acquiring are legacy brands and provide a powerful cluster in this market. They align well with our existing portfolio, allowing us to expand our regional footprint. Bonneville’s core mission is building and lifting the communities where we own broadcast properties. We have a commitment to provide quality sports, news, and entertainment products and we are thrilled to serve the Denver market.” After spending seven years as director of sales for Lincoln Financial San Diego, New York native Burton joined Bonneville seven years ago. Entercom Los Angeles will consist of KSWD “The Sound,” which in 12 of the last 13 Nielsen Audio PPM ratings periods, has been in the 3.0 – 3.9 range. In the most recent sweep (June 2015), it ranks sixth (3.7, 6+); “The Sound” registered a 3.9 in March, April, and May. Fowler most recently was director of sales for ESPN Chicago. The LFM cluster that Entercom is acquiring in Atlanta is comprised of hot AC WSTR “Star 94,” which has back-to-back increases (3.0 – 3.2 – 3.8, April-May-June, 6+) to finish #11, and WQXI “ESPN 790 The Zone” (.2, 6+). Abernethy joined Entercom three months ago, following ten years as a Radio One regional vice president. Among the three Miami stations Entercom is picking up from LFM is adult contemporary WLYF “Lite-FM,” which – in May – finally unseated Cox Media Group urban AC WHQT at #1. With consecutive up-trends (6.8 – 7.1 – 7.3, April-May-June, 6+), “Lite” remains at #1. The other two Miami stations Entercom is acquiring are classic hits-oldies WMXJ “Magic 102.7” (4.4, #7, 6+, June 2015) and sports WAXY “The Ticket” (1.9, #20). It was just last week that Bolinger exited CBS Radio San Diego as senior vice president and market manager. As is the case in Miami involving adult contemporary WLYF, Entercom is getting a #1 station (6+) in San Diego with adult contemporary KIFM “Easy 98.1” (5.5, #1, 6+, June 2015). In addition to “Easy,” the San Diego cluster-mates Bolinger will oversee are KSON “New Country” (4.5, #6) and alternative KBZT “It’s About the Music” (2.6, #16). June 2015 (6+) ratings performances for the properties leaving Entercom and joining Bonneville are 5.3, #4 (fourth successive up trend) for KYGO; 4.7, #6 for KOSI; and 2.0, #19 for KKFN; KEPN does not appear in the June sweep. Stations remaining under the Entercom Denver banner are June 2015 pacesetter classic rock KQMT “The Mountain” (6.6, #1, 6+); hot AC KALC “Alice” (4.0, #9); and adult standards KEZW “Studio 1430 – Timeless Music” (.5, #28). They will be joined by Lincoln Financial Media additions rhythmic CHR KQKS “KS-107.5” (3.5, #12, 6+, June 2015); KYGO-HD2 “Comedy 103.1” (#18, trending 1.7 – 1.8, 1.9 – 3.0, 6+); and KRWZ “Cruisin’ Oldies – AM 950” (1.5, #23). Purchase price for Entercom’s Lincoln Financial Media acquisition is $105 million. Approximately three-quarters of it – $77.5 million – is in cash and the remaining $27.5 million in “Series A” perpetual convertible preferred stock held by Lincoln Financial Group. Time Brokerage Agreements will enable Bonneville and Entercom to operate the swapped properties immediately upon closing of the Lincoln Financial Media acquisition. It is anticipated that closing of the Lincoln Financial Media acquisition and beginning of the Bonneville-Entercom TBAs will occur within several business days. Entercom expects the Bonneville transaction will be finalized by fourth quarter.

connoisseur media logoConnoisseur Media Bought by Management and Petrus Holding Company.  Westport, Connecticut-based Connoisseur Media has been bought in a joint effort by the company’s management and Petrus Holding Company, LP, a Perot Company.  In a statement issued today, Petrus says existing management team will continue to operate the stations, with Petrus as their financial partner.  Connoisseur Media operates 42 radio stations and digital assets in 12 markets across the U.S.  Connoisseur CEO Jeffrey Warshaw states, “We are very excited to partner with The Perot Companies to continue our focused and disciplined growth strategy.  It is important for us to have a partner who shares our values and supports our long-term growth strategy.” Perot Companies chairman Ross Perot, Jr. says, “The Perot Companies and Connoisseur share common values, an entrepreneurial culture and a long-term approach to operating and building world-class companies.  Our investment will allow Connoisseur to continue investing in its people while ensuring it can remain prudently financed, locally focused and innovative.”

mccainmeghanPremiere Networks Names Meghan McCain Host of ‘America Now.’  A new, young host has been named for Premiere Networks’ nationally syndicated radio talk show “America Now.”  Media personality and author Meghan McCain takes over the role of permanent host of the show that first featured Andy Dean as host.  He left the program in July of 2014 to focus on his ConnectPal digital platform.  (San Antonio-based personality Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo has been hosting the show on an interim basis.) Premiere says the show will continue to be based in Los Angeles and air live from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.  McCain comments, “I can’t wait to engage listeners across the country as we shine a spotlight on the stories and issues thatamericanow logo affect us all.  Creating a dialogue to inform, inspire and entertain people is what’s always driven me, and hosting ‘America Now’ is an exciting opportunity to help drive the national conversation.  I’m excited to be joining a network with such an amazing lineup of hosts.”  Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott states, “Meghan is smart, enthusiastic and outspoken, and we’re excited to have her join our roster of industry-leading programs reaching diverse audiences across America.  As talk radio continues to connect with and engage millions of people across multiple platforms, we’re confident Meghan’s unique perspective and experience in politics will resonate with America Now’s national audience and create powerful marketing opportunities for our partners.”

rossfredaRoss Promoted to News Director at WBAP and KLIF in Dallas.  Moving up from her assistant news director position at Cumulus Media’s WBAP and KLIF in Dallas, Freda Ross is the new news director for the stations.  Ross has been with WBAP since 1994 and added KLIF duties after Cumulus acquired the station.  She is heard daily on KLIF as midday news anchor.  Operations and program manager Tyler Cox says, “Freda has earned the respect of her colleagues and is a long-standing, influential leader in the WBAP/KLIF news department.  She was the natural choice for this promotion to news director.”  Ross comments, “I’m excited to take on the responsibilities of being news director for WBAP and KLIF.  Both are well-respected heritage stations that have served the DFW community for decades. I look forward to the opportunity to continue bringing honest, thought-provoking news coverage to our listeners.”

coxmediagroupCox Media Group Makes ‘Major Senior Leadership Changes.’  These executive moves affect the National Ad Platforms, radio and digital businesses of Cox Media Group.  They include: Kim Guthrie being named EVP of National Ad Platforms and president of CoxReps,guthriekim the country’s largest television advertising rep firm based in New York City; Bill Hendrich takes over for hendrichbillGuthrie as EVP of radio and CMG research, based in Atlanta; and Marian Pittman becomes the company’s EVP of digital strategy and will oversee digital’s content and sales from her base in Atlanta.  Guthrie’s assumption of the CoxReps presidency comes as Jim Monahan retires from the company after 35 years.  The company says new radio EVP Bill Hendrich joined CMG Radio in 1996 in Orlando and has led countless award-winning teams that have produced outstanding creative content for CMG’s radio audiences, quantifiable sales results for customers, and internal and external customer service satisfaction for CMG’s employees and clients.  The company’s Orlando VP/GM Susan Larkin is promoted to regional VP of Jacksonville and Orlando Radio.   Finally, Pittman makes her move after serving with the company as VP of news and marketing for television.

nbcsportsGyllenhaalJake Gyllenhaal Visits NBC Sports Radio’s Amani Toomer and Dan Schwartzman.  The two co-host “Going Deep with Amani & Dan” from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET on the NBC Sports Radio Network and recently hosted actor Jake Gyllenhaal in the studio about his new movie, Southpaw.  The film is the story of a boxer who fights his way to the top only to find his life falling apart around him and features Rachel McAdams and Forest Whitaker.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: Schwartzman, Gyllenhaal, and Toomer.

Obama Strikes Nukes Deal with Iran, Prison Escape of Mexican Drug Lord, 2016 Presidential Candidates, Bill Cosby Rape Allegations, Illegal Immigration Policy-Kate Steinle Death, Greek Debt Issue, Caitlyn Jenner ESPYs Appearance, the MLB All-Star game, and NASA’s Pluto Mission Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/14).  The West’s deal with Iran to end economic sanctions on the nation and allow its nuclear program to proceed; the controversial “escape” from prison of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the renewed chatter about allegations Bill Cosby drugged and raped women; the controversy over the U.S.’s illegal immigration policy, the sanctuary cities, and the death of Kate Steinle; the Greek debt solution and its effect on world financial markets; Caitlyn Jenner’s appearance on the ESPYs tonight and her receiving the Arthur Ashe Award; the MLB All-Star game; and NASA’s New Horizons flies by Pluto were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

| July 1, 2015

2015 NYC 150Talkers New York 2015 ‘Variety, the Spice of Life’ Video Posted Today. One of the most interesting panel discussions of the Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference (held on June 12) is posted today on Talkers TV.  Personably moderated by TALKERS GM/broadcast operations David Bernstein and introduced by syndicated “On Call” host Asa Andrew, MD — the colorful session includes (in alphabetical order): Michael “Bax” Baxendale, co-host, WAQY-FM, Springfield, MA “Rock 102”; Dr. Joy Browne, host, GCN; Tony Bruno, host, WIP, Philadelphia; Thom Hartmann, host, WYD Media; Doug Stephan CEO/host, Stephan Multimedia; and Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore.  The main mission of the session is to illustrate that although “talk radio” is usually generalized in the media and the mind of casual observers as being predominantly “right wing political programming hosted by middle aged white males” that – in fact – there is far more of a variety of successful talk shows in the industry than that one stereotype would indicate.  Baxendale represents the hundreds of successful “pop culture” programs heard on music-oriented stations; Browne proves that a relationships/psychology show can survive and thrive for years as a varietal component of the traditional news/talk format; Bruno illustrates that even within the world of all sports talk radio, there is room for a show to attain success that doesn’t limit all conversation to sports, per se; Hartmann proves that there is room in the talk radio universe for a progressive take on the issues; Stephan displays the staying power of a morning “generalist” program that combines politics with lifestyle issues within the context of standard news/talk radio; and Larry Young is a primary example of the viability of urban talk within the spectrum of programming needs and opportunities.  Andrew opens the session by discussing the major sponsorship opportunities available in the health care field for stations airing a weekend show of that nature within its programming menu.  Moderator Bernstein points out that the concept of “variety” also works within the internal structure of a show without being untrue to its mission.  To view the video in its entirety, please click here.

hogeadamHoge Adds WGNplus.com Sports Editor-In-Chief Duties. Already serving as Tribune talker WGN, Chicago’s “Insider” for the NFL‘s Chicago Bears, Adam Hoge is named sports editor-in-chief for WGNplus.com, where he will oversee expansion of digital content including blogs, podcasts and special streaming events. According to vice president of programming and content Todd Manley, “Gettingwgnplus logo Adam’s blog in the WGN family was a huge win for us last year. Now, we plan to capitalize on his coaching skills across our digital platforms. With Tribune Media’s launch of Gracenote Sports, WGN has an even greater arsenal of resources.” Hoge comments, “We live in an ‘on-demand’ world and radio is no different. That really is what WGNplus.com is all about. I am looking forward to working with a great lineup of sports personalities to create the type of content our listeners and readers are seeking.” In addition to being the Bears’ “Insider,” Hoge co-hosts WGN’s “The Beat” each Saturday (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) and Sunday (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm). The first WGNplus.com streaming event is a Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup marathon; it starts this Saturday (7/4) at 12:00 noon.

wptf logoWPTF Taps Lewis as GM. Six-year Cumulus Media Myrtle Beach (South Carolina) market manager David Lewis is named general manager of Curtis Media Group talker WPTF, Raleigh. Curtis Media Group executive vice president Trip Savery remarks, “We are pleased to welcome David to Curtis Media Group. His experiences as an advertising agency principal, publisher, and radio manager will be of great value to our customers. WPTF is one of the most iconic brands in North Carolina; we look forward to evolving the station under David’s leadership.” Lewis comments, “I am excited to join Curtis Media and the WPTF team. I look forward to blending my past experience with the talented group that Don Curtis and Trip Savery already have in place, as we further develop our products and content while providing superior results for our clients.” Lewis – who joins WPTF next Monday (7/6) – was formerly the publisher of Charleston Gourmet Magazine.

owensronnRonn Owens to Undergo Surgical Procedure for Parkinson’s Relief.  San Francisco talk legend Ronn Owens announced to his listeners on Monday (6/29) that he will be part of the largest clinical trial of Parkinson’s Disease treatment through deep brain stimulation in the country.  It’s being done at UCSF and will take place in August.  According to KGO-TV, San Francisco “ABC7,” the KGO-AM talk personality says his symptoms have become obvious over the past year.

businessrockstars logo15Business Rockstars Places Features on Six CBS RADIO Stations.  The deal between Business Rockstars and CBS RADIO calls for six radio stations to air the “Business Rockstars Minutes” and for the “Everything Entrepreneur” podcast to be available online via CBS’ Play.it podcast network.  The radio feature will be heard on news/talk outlets WPHT, Philadelphia; WCCO, Minneapolis; KMOX, St. Louis; KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh; KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas, and WTIC-AM, Hartford.  Business Rockstars Network co-founder and chairman Steve Lehman comments, “With the addition of the new CBS RADIO stations, this brings our Business Rockstars Minutes network above 140 affiliates.  The launch of the “Everything Entrepreneur” podcast on Play.it will bring our entertaining and educational entrepreneurial content to a new audience.”

limbaughrush15Forbes Releases 2015 ‘World’s Highest-Paid Celebrities’ List; Stern at #5, Limbaugh at #11.  The annual “World’s Highest-Paid Celebrities” list for 2015 from Forbes has been released and radiosternhoward personalities making the list again include SiriusXM’s Howard Stern at #5 with an estimated $95 million in earnings (he also works for NBC TV); Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh at #11 with an estimated $79 million in earnings; Premiere Networks/iHeartMedia personality Ryan Seacrest at #21 with an estimated $60 million in earnings; and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel talk host Sean Hannity at #89 with an estimated $29 million.

Odds & Sods.  The Jacksonville Times-Union reports that 25-year WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville program directordorwartmike Mike Dorwart is downsized in what’s being termed at “restructuring” at the news/talk outlet.  He tells the paper he was surprised by his firing but has nothing but positive things to say about his quarter century with the Cox Media Group station…..At the Pensacola cluster of Cumulus Media, Terry Michaels is named full-time promotion director for the group that includes news/talk WCOA…..Former Cincinnati Enquirer media writer John Kiesewetter joins Cincinnati Public Radio’s online platform and radio outlet WVXU-FM.  Kiesewetter’s media blog Media Beat is now located at wvxu.org.  Additionally, Kiesewetter will appear on some of the local programs produced and broadcast on WVXU; WMUB, Oxford, Ohio; and online at wvxu.org, including the daily talk show “Cincinnati Edition” and the weekly arts and culture magazine program “Around Cincinnati.”…..Content creation professionals at Chicago Public Media have reached their first union agreement with management after voting to unionize in December of 2013.  The unit includes anchors, hosts, reporters, producers, editors and those who create digital content.  The two-year contract includes newly established scale rates for each covered position, annual increases, professional development in job classifications as well as progressive discipline and a grievance and arbitration procedure.

freemanian‘Free Talk Live’ Host Ian Freeman Featured in ‘Today’ Piece on Parking Meter Issue. Nationally syndicated talk radio host Ian Freeman – heard on the GCN-distributed “Free Talk Live” with co-host Mark Edge – was featured in a piece on NBC’s “Today” show about his work putting coins in parking meters in Keene, New Hampshire’s public lots in cases where people’s meters are expiring or about to expire.  The New Hampshire Supreme Court recently ruled against the City of Keene in its suit to have the self-proclaimed “Robin Hood of Keene” activists’ meter plugging actions declared illegal.  In the suit, the City also accused Robin Hood of Keene of harassing the meter maids and the request for a “buffer zone” around the workers was sent back to the lower Court.  See the “Today” piece here.

elleranneAuction15Weekend Revenue Generator.  Always on the lookout for creative ways to entertain and add to the bottom line, WCRS, Greenwood, South Carolina owner and air personality Anne Eller poses in the studio during last weekend’s on-air and online auction show called, “Anne’s Trash-to-Treasure Auction.”  The vibrant and colorful local station owner tells TALKERS magazine the on-air and Facebook auction created a buzz in the area with people posting bids online.  “Calling it was like running a three-ring circus!”  The 7:00 am to 9:00 am auction led into Eller’s classic country music show that airs on Saturdays at 12:00 noon.  She says they are making the auction show a regular Saturday morning feature.

cookebrideConsultant Holland Cooke Ties the Knot.  Media consultant and TALKERS magazine contributor Holland Cooke (right) is pictured here with his new bride Lori Pollock (left) at his seaside home on Block Island, Rhode Island on Monday, June 29 shortly after the pair “eloped.”

Chris Christie Enters GOP Race/2016 Presidential Prospects, Trump’s Miss America-Miss Universe Troubles, Fourth of July Terror Threats, Greece Debt Issue/EU Tensions, New York Prison Escapee Caught, SCOTUS ObamaCare and Gay Marriage Rulings, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, U.S.-Iran Nuke Negotiations, SC Confederate Flag Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/30).  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie enters the Republican primary race; the legal battles between presidential candidate Donald Trump and NBC over the Miss America and Miss Universe pageants; concerns over radical Islamic threats to Americans over the Fourth of July weekend; the Greek debt problem and its effect on the European Union and world financial markets; the aftermath of the capture of New York prison escapee David Sweat; the Supreme Court’s recent rulings on federal subsidies for the Affordable Care Act and gay marriage; the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private emails used for State Department business; and the South Carolina Confederate flag issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

wbrp logoCool Job Opportunity.  Baton Rouge, Louisiana news/talk outlet WBRP-FM “Talk 107.3 FM” is seeking a morning show board op/producer.  This position requires constant attention to detail in regards to time and content, as well as phones and uploading shows to web.  You must be an excellent team player and focused to successfully air a smooth broadcast. This is a live and local show that discusses local events/issues/politics etc.  Interest in those things is helpful.  Must be willing to work early morning shift (and some weekends); have proven ability to multi-task effectively; experience with DAD Systems preferred but not required; have ability to accept direction and be flexible with changes; ability to find, record, and edit audio/quick learner (will be learning Adobe Audition if unfamiliar); be willing to accept responsibility and work under moderate supervision while resolving varied problems; work effectively in a team environment; project an appropriate professional appearance and demeanor.  No phone calls, please.  Send resume/aircheck/social media links to: jobs@gbcradio.comGuaranty Corporation is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

| June 30, 2015

2015 NYC 150Talkers New York 2015 “Programming Talk Radio in 2015” Video Posted Today. One of the most important panel discussions of the Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference (held on June 12) is posted today on Talkers TV. Skillfully moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey and introduced by Radio America syndicated host Dana Loesch, the take-away-packed session includes (in alphabetical order): Carl Anderson, EVP, programming, iHeartMedia; Mike Bendixen, PD, Newstalk 1010, CFRB, Toronto; Valerie Geller, CEO, Geller Media International; Scott Masteller, PD, WBAL, Baltimore; and Mike McVay, SVP, content & programming, Cumulus Media. Subjects covered include keeping the news/talk format fresh and modern, the primacy of content, the relationship today between programming and sales, overcoming widespread negativity about the news/talk format, the benefits and pitfalls of branding, the challenge of hiring good talent, the effective utilization of social media and more. To view the video in its entirety, please click here.

hunnicuttclayHunnicutt Exits iHeartMedia to Head New Record Label.  A shocker in the radio biz as longtime iHeartMedia exec Clay Hunnicutt leaves his EVP and general manager of national programming platforms position to become president of the new record label Big Loud Records.  The move was announced to iHeartMedia staffers via a memo from national programming platforms president Tom Poleman.  He writes, “After more than 15 years here with us, Clay Hunnicutt has decided to leave iHeartMedia to become president of Big Loud Records, a record label startup. Clay has not only been a great partner to me in the day-to-day operations of national programming, he’s also become a great friend; I know you all feel the same.  He’s been a pioneer and leader in shaping the great company that we are today, and for that I’ll always be thankful.”

courtemanchejasonCumulus Media Los Angeles Courts Courtemanche as VP/Sales. Former iHeartMedia Chicago vice president of sales Jason Courtemanche relocates to Los Angeles for a similar position with Cumulus Media talker KABC-AM and classic rocker KLOS. Cumulus Media senior vice president of operations Tom Schurr comments, “I am thrilled to be working with Jason again. He is a smart, competitive, experienced broadcast executive who attracts top talent and produces results for partners and stations. We are excited to have a leader of his caliber joining the team.” Courtemanche remarks, “I am looking forward to this excitingCumulus opportunity on the west coast with these two legendary radio stations and the highly respected sales team. I am committed to getting in the trenches and helping make Cumulus the place to be in Los Angeles media.” Prior to his stint at iHeartMedia Chicago, Courtemanche was sales manager for CBS Radio Chicago all-news operation WBBM-AM; general sales manager for iHeartMedia San Diego; and director of sales for San Diego-based MVS International Communications.  In pro hockey for six years (1993 – 1999), Courtemache played for various teams in the ECHL, IHL, AHL, WCHL, and CHL.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallBridging the Generational Divide – 17 Year Old Talk Radio Rising Star, Pavlina, Meets Michael Harrison on “Up Close and Far Out” Podcast.  It starts out light and chatty but quickly develops into an insightful dialogue that spans the generational divide.  Seventeen-year-old, multi-platform talk radio host Pavlina Osta is interviewed by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison on this week’s installment of the international hit Podcast One production “Up Close and Far Out.”  “Pavlina” has been remarkably active as a self-motivated “celebrity journalist” since the tender age of 11 — racking up archives of more than 450 interviews with famous figures in show business, music, sports and public policy.  She hosts a weekly radio show called “Pavlina’s Kidz Place” heard on Florida stations WAPN, Holly Hill; WAPB, Madison; and WELE, Ormond Beach plus a number more across the Sunshine State and scattered around the country — as well as maintaining a very active website and YouTube presence. She is already a two-time Gracie Award winner and holds the Guinness world record for the most radio interviews conducted in 24 hours.  She conducted 347 interviews, each being a unique set of at least five questions. The entire 24-hour periodPavlinaMHselfie15 was broadcast live on Ustream.tv and via Live365.  Pavlina, a published author and tireless charity volunteer, has attended a number of industry conferences including the last two TALKERS events in New York City where her irrepressible personality, charisma and unique flair for fashion caught the attention of industry leaders – many of whom have begun championing her career.  She served a summer internship with Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity in 2014 and is working this summer with Salem stations (WNYM and WMCA) in New York City under the direction of Phil Boyce.  She has also received vigorous talent coaching by David Bernstein. Pavlina recently made an appearance on Newsmax TV as a guest of Steve Malzberg further fueling her rocketing profile as a media figure to be reckoned with.  Upon interviewing Pavlina for “Up Close and Far Out,” Michael Harrison states, “What this remarkable young woman lacks in polish and sophistication, she more than makes up for in sheer likability.  She oozes positive energy, remarkable charisma, unmistakable style and indelible authenticity.  Plus, and most important, just under the surface of her ‘contemporary teenage girlishness’ lies an uncommon intelligence and wisdom that are clearly fueling this young woman’s self-motivated juggernaut to stardom.  I didn’t treat her like a kid – but, rather, the amazing young woman into which she is clearly developing.  I gave her the respect of asking her tough questions. We talked about kids today – sex, drugs, peer-pressure, education, even tattoos and body piercing, plus more.”  On being interviewed by Michael Harrison, Pavlina states, “We actually covered more than I’ve ever done in an interview. This was a lot of fun.  I appreciate it.”  To hear the entire conversation between Michael Harrison and Pavlina, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page on Talkers.com. (Pictured here are Michael Harrison and Pavlina in a selfie taken at Talkers New York 2015 on June 12.)

ppmunit altVoltair and PPM Controversy Getting Play in Consumer Press.  The digital publication FiveThirtyEight.com (published by ESPN) just posted a story by Carl Bialik that brings the industry’s concern about the reliability of the PPM technology used by Nielsen Audio to lightvoltair image with more of the public.  The piece uses the demise of the smooth jazz format as the primary case against the ratings technology – though it does point out that the talk and classical formats are likely adversely affected by alleged inadequacies in the PPM, as well.  Though the piece doesn’t go into detail about how Voltair works, it offers a summary of the processor’s recent history, including the moratorium on it in Canada.  The piece also poses the question: If this controversy turns the radio ratings on its head, isn’t that a potential death knell for the entire industry?  One anonymous industry executive replies, “When you’re buying on a flawed system, nobody’s winning.”  Read the entire article here.

tacinelliglenGlen Tacinelli Named 77WABC General Sales Manager.  Heading up the sales efforts at Cumulus Media-owned news/talk WABC, New York is Glen Tacinelli, who begins his role as general sales manager on July 13.   Tacinelli comes to WABC from Eastman Radio’s New York office, where he’s repped radio stations in more than 137 markets across the United States for the past seven years.  Prior to that he served at CBS RADIO’s WCBS-FM, New York.  He began his radio career at Arbitron (now Nielsen Audio).  Cumulus New York VP/market manager Chad Lopez states, “We are thrilled to welcome Glen Tacinelli as the GSM to the iconic, legendary WABC brand.  Glen’s outstanding talent, knowledge of the New York radio market and expertise in selling some of the top AM stations across the country is exactly what we were looking to add to the Cumulus New York team.”

Odds & Sods.  Taking home two awards from the Virginia Association of Broadcasting is Monticello Media’s news/talk WCHV-AM/FM, Charlottesville, Virginia.  The station was honored with the “Outstanding Newscast” and “Outstanding News Series” awards.  Program director Joe Thomas says, “Less than eight years since taking over a station with no local news content, I am so proud of news director John Peterson, his news team and our afternoon drive host Coy Barefoot and their efforts to both inform and entertain our community!”…..Delta Media Corporation welcomes Ben Love to the station’s permanent program lineup on sports talk KLWB-FM, Lafayette, Louisiana “103.7 The Game.”  Love, who hosts “Bumper to Bumper Sports with Ben Love,” is an award-winning sports media pro who recently was honored with the Best Website Feature, Best Website Column awards and finished second for Best Website Game Story by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association…..SiriusXM plans regular coverage of Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. in September on The Catholic Channel.  SiriusXM says it will feature around-the-clock coverage each day, including live broadcasts of all of the major events during the Pope’s visit, including his appearance at the World Meeting of Families and Papal Mass in Philadelphia, his speech at the United Nations, the mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, and more.

masondanMason Elected BFA Co-Vice Chair, Treasurer. Recently retired CBS Radio president and chief executive officer Dan Mason is elected co-vice chair and treasurer of the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Broadcasters Foundation chair Phil Lombardo declares that, “Dan is one of the Foundation’s most ardentBroadcasters Foundation of America ambassadors and he gives tirelessly of his time. The entire board is grateful that he is taking on these additional responsibilities to advance our charitable mission of helping broadcasters in need.” As CBS Radio’s president/CEO, Mason oversaw more than 125 stations in 27 markets. The National Association of Broadcasters’ executive committee honored him as its 2012 “National Radio Award” winner for his outstanding leadership in the industry.

SCOTUS Gay Marriage and ObamaCare Rulings, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Trump-NBC Fallout, Iran Nukes Negotiations, NY Prison Escape Aftermath, Greece-EU Tensions, and ISIS Atrocities Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/29).  Last week’s rulings by the Supreme Court supporting federal subsidies for the Affordable Care Act and making same-sex marriage legal in all states; the potential candidates for president in 2016; Donald Trump’s skirmish with NBC over the Miss America and Miss Universe pageants; the negotiations between the West and Iran over its nuclear program; the capture of the second escapee from a New York prison and the aftermath of the ordeal; the economic tensions being created by Greece’s inability to pay its debt to the IMF and talk of its exit from the EU; and the ongoing atrocities being perpetrated by ISIS were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

| June 23, 2015

talkersnyc15RatingspanelSean Hannity Moderates Blockbuster Panel on Audience Measurement at Talkers New York 2015 – See Video Today!  One of the highlights of the recently held (6/12) Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference is now posted on Talkers TV – “The State of Radio Ratings.”  Moderated by Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity, the panel includes (in alphabetical order): Phil Boyce, SVP, Salem Media Group; Erica Farber, president/CEO, RAB; Steve Goldstein, CEO, Amplifi Media; Richard Harker, founder, Harker Research; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM, E.W. Scripps; Jon Miller, VP Audience Insights, Nielsen Audio; and Greg Moceri, CEO, Moceri Media.  The session is introduced by Brian Kilmeade, host, Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel.  The hard-hitting, no-holds-barred conversation addresses the ongoing problem of achieving accurate radio ratings – particularly in the spoken-word formats – during audio media’s transition into the digital era. Issues such as the PPM, the new Voltair device, achieving adequate sample size, and the challenge of rating elusive online listenership are analyzed.  Each panelist brings their own insights, problems and solutions to the discussion with Nielsen’s Jon Miller formidably bearing much of the brunt of probing questions and stinging criticism.  This video is a must-view for all professional radio broadcasters today.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “I have been organizing and attending industry conferences since 1976.  This particular session provides more valuable take-aways than any I have ever witnessed in my entire career, as well as moving the interests of a fairer and more productive radio industry forward.  My congratulations to all the participants – especially Jon Miller – for bring their A-games to the table.  And Sean Hannity shows what a major league host and moderator he is – above and beyond his skills as a ‘political’ talk show host.  Sean’s constituency in this case is everyone who makes, or is trying to make, their living in radio.  He delivers a real clinic on how to run a discussion.  I give him a 10.”  To view the entire session, please click here.  Coming tomorrow:  An intimate “fireside chat” between Cumulus Media EVP, John Dickey and Michael Harrison.

voltair imageTelos Alliance’s Dr. Barry Blesser Explains Voltair’s Success.  The conclusion drawn by Telos Alliance director of research Dr. Barry Blesser regarding his company’s controversial Voltair products is, “The way that the radio industry handles the current Voltair controversy will influence its likelihood of surviving.”  Most industry pros are aware of Voltair and the controversy over the reliability of Nielsen Audio’s PPM measurement system.  Those who are not should be getting up to speed quickly and Blesser’s paper illustrates – from Telos Alliance’s perspective at least – what Voltair does, what it doesn’t do, and how it is affecting what radio listeners hear and don’t hear in PPM-rated markets.  The selling point for the $15,000 signal processing unit is that it helps stations make up for alleged inadequacies in the PPM technology and Blesser’s paper explains how those inadequacies manifest themselves for radio programmers.  One of the issues is Blesser’s assertion that different types of audio are “friendlier” to PPM code tones than others.  He says, “Voltair is basically an AGC (automatic gain control) compressor that keeps the tones higher in amplitude when they are on their way to becoming too small.  Voltair produces tone energy similar to that of a well-encoded audio signal.  The tones are perceived as being louder in part because they are of longer duration.  Why does increased duration make a difference?  Because the detector cannot identify the frequency of a tone if it is too short.  When a tone is relatively constant for the full half second, all is well; but if the tone lasts for less than a tenth of a second, the meter has no idea about its frequency.  And the exact frequency is required to determine the meaning of the codes. Tones are truncated when the spectral content of the program is in short bursts. Interestingly, speech is comprised of short spectral bursts.”  That last part may not bode well for spoken-word programming.  Nielsen says it is testing the Voltair unit, but so far the industry has heard nothing.  Blesser writes, “In the decade since PPM was rolled out, radio has changed dramatically as programmers, who, ‘teach to the test’ of PPM’s technical properties, have shortened or eliminated spoken word segments, moved clocks around, and even dumped whole formats.  Now, with Voltair providing tremendous insight as a monitoring/measurement tool, this dynamic has accelerated as programmers have proven to themselves the correlation between PPM’s technical underpinnings and raw meter count.  Assuming Nielsen refuses to address technical issues raised by Voltair, we can expect this trend to accelerate.  Call it the law of unintended consequences where a measurement methodology drives programming decisions, determines careers and discards content, all in service to watermarking success.”  Read the entire paper here.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallFly Me to the Moon – Actually the Moons (of Pluto)!  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has been expanding his probes beyond radio deep into the media universe via his international hit Podcast One program “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” This week, he takes his audience of “media freaks” billions of miles across the solar system in advance of NASA’s “New Horizons” mission’s unprecedented fly-by of the Pluto system on July 14.  Harrison interviews Dr. Alan Stern, a leading planetary scientist who is the “principle investigator” of this exciting and historic project and the two get into illuminating detail of the solar system’s unfolding new paradigm.  There is a lot more to the debate about whether or not Pluto is a “planet” than the mainstream media is indicating… and there is hardly consensus among scientists about the topic.  Harrison states, “All these technologically wondrous probes and space satellites are connecting the human nervous system to places that were once considered one-dimensional abstractions, completely out of reach.  After all, ‘media’ is the extension of human consciousness by technological means – plain and simple.  We used to use drums and smoke signals.  Then we accomplished such major feats as laying a trans-Atlantic cable across an ocean.  Now we are ‘wiring’ the solar system!  Anyone see an amazing pattern here?  To listen to Michael Harrison’s exclusive conversation with Dr. Alan Stern, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com.

nyfest smallNew York Festivals Names Winners in 2015 International Radio Program Awards.  The winners in this year’s New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards were presented last night (6/22) at the annual gala at Manhattan Penthouse in New York City.  The Grand Jury honored RTÉ Ireland with the prestigious title of Broadcaster of Year and TBI Media UK with Production Company of the Year.  In addition, three prominent companies earned the coveted Grand Award: New York Philharmonic USA, TBI Media UK, and WNYC-Radiolab USA.  Commercial broadcasters from the U.S. that won awards included ESPN Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and Gold Coast Broadcasting’s news/talk KVTA, Ventura, California.  The 2015 Grand Jury awarded 3 Grand Awards, 53 Gold trophies, 62 Silver, 58 Bronze, and 117 Finalist Certificates submitted from 32 countries.  All entries were judged online by the NYF Radio Awards Grand Jury of radio experts from stations and companies around the globe.

Odds & Sods.  Former Cumulus Media executive Marko Radlovic – market manager for Los Angeles stations KABC and KLOS – returns to Spanish Broadcasting System to serve as SVP and West Coast regional manager…..iHeartMedia has a new senior vice president of programming for its New Hampshire stations.  Tim Moore is in charge of programming for the station including news/talk WGIR-AM, Manchester; WQSO-FM, Portsmouth; and sports talk WPKX, Portsmouth.  He takes over for Jeff Pierce who recently joined Saga Communications’ Portland, Maine station group.

carrhowieSiegel15Boston Legends Go to Bat for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  Boston talk radio legend Howie Carr (right) chats with WXKS, Boston “Kiss 108” morning personality Matty Siegel (left).  The two were at The International in Bolton, Massachusetts for the Ted Rubin Memorial Golf Tournament – a six-year old charity event that has raised more than $1 million for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Dr. Richard Stone’s Leukemia Research.  It was Howie Carr’s first live remote since he took ownership of the Howie Carr Radio Network in 2014.  Carr jokes, “It’s great to be working with the Jimmy Fund and Dana Farber, especially with an elder radio statesman I’ve always looked up to since my youth – Matty Siegel.”

gracies15b2015 Gracie Awards.  The 2015 Gracie Awards were presented at the New York Hilton on June 22 by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation.  This photo shows just a few of the high-profile attendees and winners.  (From l-r): Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Lori Lundin, anchor/reporter WTOP and Gracie winner (also host of the new experimental animal rights show “Vox Animali” on TalkersRadio); Kristen Welch, chair, AWM/F and SVP, global content operations, Discovery Communications, Inc.; Chad Lopez, VP/market manager, Cumulus New York; Kelly Ford, WNSH, New York host and Gracie Winner; Maire Mason, VP/GM WNSH, New York; Valerie Blackburn, VKB Media Consulting and past chair of AWM/F; Pavlina Osta, Gracie Winner; Loren Raye, Gracie Winner and co-host of “The TJ Show,” WODS-FM, Boston; Matt Bosso, WASH-FM, Washington; Emme, supermodel; and Kay Olin, Olin and Associates and past chair of AWM/F.

madisonrisingREDMadison Rising Releases New Album American Hero RED.  That band that bills itself as “America’s most patriotic rock band,” is releasing its American Hero RED album. Madison Rising says the new record is completely remixed and remastered to deliver the cleanest and strongest sound possible.  It includes four additional tracks: “Amazing America,” the band’s powerful rendition of the classic Marines’ Hymn, the hauntingly beautiful “Soldier’s Christmas” and its brand-new rendition of the Irving Berlin classic, “God Bless America.”  As with the original American Hero album, American Hero RED is anchored by Madison Rising’s best-selling rock rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.”  Originally released in the summer of 2012, both the song and video have become huge hits, catapulting the band into the national spotlight and creating one of the most loyal fan bases in rock music history.  The band has recently partnered up with Concerned Veterans for America as well as the Young Marines National Youth Organization and is currently embarking on an ambitious 70-city tour.  Madison Rising is on a mission to make great rock music and send a message that American culture is alive and well.  Led by navy veteran and former 8404 FMF Corpsman Dave Bray, the band promotes the principles of liberty, independence, smaller government and personal responsibility. For review copies, please contact albumreview@madisonrising.com.

Charleston Church Massacre/SC Confederate Flag Issue, Obama Uses ‘N-word,’ Pope Francis’ Climate Encyclical, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Taylor Swift-Apple Music Case, and Massive U.S. Govt. Cyber-Breach Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/22).  The aftermath of the church massacre in Charleston and South Carolina’s debate over the Confederate flag; President Obama’s use of the “n-word” during an interview; the flap over Pope Francis’ climate change encyclical; the potential candidates for president in 2016; Taylor Swift calls out Apple Music over payments to songwriters and musicians; and concern over the massive security breach at the government’s Office of Personnel Management were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

| June 16, 2015

talkersnyc15RatingspanelRave Reviews Mounting for Talkers New York 2015.  Complete Agenda Videos to be Posted Here in Coming Weeks Beginning Monday (6/22).  The sessions at the recent Talkers New York 2015 are being widely praised as some of the best in the colorful 18-year history of the annual event.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “The panels and presentations at this conference were just packed with non-stop takeaways.  We are extremely gratified by the positive response and feedback that we have been receiving from so many of the hundreds of people who packed this SRO event.”  Casey adds, “Now through the technology of being an online ‘media station’ we will be able to share this information with everyone in the world interested in what was said in New York this past Friday (6/12).  We will kick it off with the blockbuster panel, “The State of Radio Ratings” moderated by Sean Hannity that already has the entire industry buzzing.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Salem Media SVP Phil Boyce, E.W. Scripps Milwaukee VP/GM Tom Langmyer, Amplifi Media CEO Steve Goldstein, Moceri Media CEO Greg Moceri, Radio Advertising Bureau president/CEO Erica Farber, Nielsen Audio VP Jon Miller, and FOX News Channel and Premiere Networks host Sean Hannity (not pictured: Richard Harker of Harker Research).

crenshawmillsMills Crenshaw New PM Drive Host at KLO, Salt Lake City.  Station general manager Matt Webb says, “Our audience has been asking for a local host in our afternoon drive time slot and we think we’ve landed the best in the business when it comes to local talk radio.  Mills is a true icon in Utah radio and we’re pleased to have him as part of our radio family.”  Mills Crenshaw has been in talk radio since 1965 and now is hosting “Drive Time Live with Mills Crenshaw” from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  He comments, “I am thrilled to be part of such a prestigious radio lineup on a legacy station such as KLO.  To be on the same station with Bill Bennett, Laura Ingraham, and Michael Medved is a true honor.”

cooperleanderCooper to Manage Beasley’s Atlanta Religion and Talk Outlets.   This is a promotion for LeAnder Cooper who moves up from the assistant business manager post to general manager for Beasley Media Group’s religion WAEC and talk WWWE in Atlanta.  Company EVP of operations Brian Beasley states, “We are deeply impressed with LeAnder’s commitment to WAEC and WWWE, and we have great confidence she is the ideal professional to serve as general manager of two historically successful AM stations in the Atlanta radio market.”

nielsen logoNielsen’s RADAR June 2015 Released; 167 Million Americans Reached.  The June 2015 RADAR from Nielsen is out and the ratings giant reports that this survey indicates more than 167 million Americans age 12 or older listened to a network radio commercial during an average week.  As industry pros are aware, Nielsen RADAR reports estimated audiences to network commercials broadcast by affiliates of the subscribing networks.  RADAR audience estimates do not account for listening to all network radio programming.  RADAR delivers data for the entire country but it also breaks out numbers for reach into the top 25 DMAs.  That data shows network radio reaches 64.6% of persons aged 12+; 68.5% of persons aged 18-49; and 69.3% of persons aged 25-54.  Nielsen’s RADAR (Radio’s All Dimension Audience Research) June 2015 Report is the standard currency for national network radio ratings and measures 43 individual radio networks.  These networks are operated by AdLarge Media, American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Premiere Networks, United Stations Radio Networks and Westwood One.

Odds & Sods.  Nashville-based, Westwood One-syndicated talk show host Phil Valentine has a role in the new film The Secret Handshake, starring Kevin Sorbo (Hercules, God’s Not Dead), pop star Amy Grant and countryvalentinephil music singer Mark Collie.  The film was written and directed by Howie Klausner, who co-wrote Space Cowboys starring Clint Eastwood and Tommy Lee Jones.  In the movie about a young boy who starts down the wrong path and is taken on a camping trip by three concerned men, Valentine plays the role of a novelist pitching another book idea to Sorbo’s character.  Valentine says, “Hey, I got to do a scene with Hercules.  It doesn’t get much better than that.”…..Three of FOX Sports Radio’s talk shows will broadcast from the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington as part of the network’s coverage of the tournament.  “Jay Mohr Sports,” “Steve Gorman SPORTS!” and JT “The Brick” will air from Washington June 17-19 and the network’s coverage will continue through the weekend with national anchor Dan Breyer providing live updates during play…..Sports USA announces its 2015 NCAA football schedule, kicking off the season with an opening week doubleheader featuring Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines facing Utah on Thursday September 3 and Washington Huskies head coach Chris Petersen’s return to Boise State on Friday September 4.  The 2015 schedule consists of 16 regular season games plus four bowl games.

rtdna logoRTDNA/Hofstra University Survey Indicates Local News Content Stabilizing.  That study by Hofstra University professor emeritus Bob Papper summarizes local news content for TV and radio.  Looking at the radio numbers, Papper reports that “66.2% of radio stations in the survey run local news — 71.9% of AM stations and 63.9% of FM stations.  The overall percentage running local news is down around 4 points (3.8) compared to last year — which was down 7.7 from the year before.  AM and FM stations were down about the same amount.”  The report shows, among other things, the number of minutes of news stations in different size markets air and one thing that pops out is the dip in minutes aired from major market stations to large market stations.  The weekday average number of minutes of news aired on major market stations was 129.3.  Large market stations aired much less news – 35.8 minutes on average during the week.  That number shoots back up for medium markets – 70.7 minutes and remains almost level in small markets at 68.9 minutes.  Read the study report here.

theblaze radio networkTheBlaze Radio Network’s Independence: An American Story Distributed by Premiere Networks.  The Fourth of July special “Independence: An American Story” – from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network – is being distributed to stations by Premiere Networks.  The show is hosted by TheBlaze’s Doc Thompson and Skip LaCombe and features appearances by several Blaze hosts, including Andrew W.K. and Sheriff David Clarke.  “The special highlights stories and conversations about the American Dream being achieved; the renewal of national pride and the accomplishments only possible in an independent, free nation; and why, despite the challenges facing Americans, this is the greatest nation on Earth.”  It’s available for news/talk stations to air from July 3-5, 2015.  Stations interested in this special should contact Premiere Networks’ affiliate relations department at 818-377-5300.

2016 Presidential Race/Jeb Bush Announces, Rachel Dolezal Case, Drone Strike Kills al Qaeda Leader, ISIS Military Activity, EU-Greece Tensions, TTP Trade Deal, and NHL and NBA Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/15).  Republican Jeb Bush officially enters the race for president in 2016; the case of Spokane NAACP head Rachel Dolezal who resigned from the post after questions about her identifying as black became a major news story; the U.S. military uses a drone strike to allegedly kill al Qaeda leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi; the United States’ policy in Iraq as ISIS continues its military campaign there; the state of the EU and Greece’s place in it as the Greek government fights the EU’s efforts to affect its policies; the tenuous state of the TTP trade deal; and the NHL and NBA Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, June 15, 2015

| June 15, 2015

2015 NYC 150Packed Talkers New York 2015 Conference a Hit with Attendees.  Talk media industry practitioners jam-packed the India House in Manhattan’s Financial District on Friday, June 12 for a full day of presentations, panels and speeches as TALKERS magazine celebrated its 25th anniversary serving the talk radio industry at its 18th annual New York-located national conference.  The day began with a continental breakfast and reception titled, “Breakfast with Hannity,” sponsored by the Premiere Networks-syndicated talk radiokilmeadeHannityFrancesa15 superstar.  WFAN, New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa kicked off the presentations with a powerful and informative welcoming speech.  Panel discussions included such topics as “The State of Radio Ratings,” “The Big Picture,” “Generating Talk Radio Revenue,” “Programming Talk Radio in 2015,” “Variety, The Spice of Life,” and “Navigating a Talk Host Career.”  The program also included a one-on-one “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Cumulus Media EVP, content & programming John Dickey, plus the TALKERS quiversTalbott15Awards Presentation during which WOLB, Baltimore morning host Larry Young received the “Humanitarian of the Year Award,” Howard Stern co-host Robin Quivers received the “Woman of the Year Award,” CBS Radio News VP Harvey Nagler was presented the “Lifetime Achievement Award,” and ABC Television, director, business continuity Howard B. Price received the “Freedom of Speech Award.”  Michael Harrison states, “We are deeply gratified, humbled and grateful by the SRO turnout and the tremendous love and support we have consistently received that has allowed TALKERS and all its various projects to make it to the quarter-century milestone.  This conference exuded a level of confidence about the future of the talk industry held by its key players that we haven’t seen in years!”  Video of each of the sessions and presentations will be made available online via Talkers TV, along with detailed story and photographic coverage of the conference, beginning next week.  Above right, FOX News’ Brian Kilmeade, WFAN’s Mike Francesa and Sean Hannity share a joke.  Lower left, Premiere Networks’ Julie Talbott (left) presents the Woman of the Year Award to Robin Quivers (right).

limbaughrush15iHeartMedia to Create New Boston Home for Rush Limbaugh on WKOX.  Dropping the Spanish music format “Mia 1430,” iHeartMedia will launch “Talk 1430” WKOX on Monday, June 29 with Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh as the centerpiece along with company stalwarts Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck surrounding him.  WKOX is licensed to Everett, Massachusetts and its primary signalwkox logo covers the city of Boston and reaches many of its suburbs.   iHeartMedia is going with a sports and talk hybrid using FOX Sports Radio content in addition to syndicated talk programming.  Here’s the lineup: “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North” in AM drive; Glenn Beck from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Limbaugh; Sean Hannity from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; “America Now” from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; Westwood One’s Mark Levin from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight; and FOX Sports Radio during overnights.  iHeartMedia Boston market president Alan Chartrand says, “We are excited to bring this powerful lineup of talk show hosts to our cluster here in Boston.  We are confident that the biggest names in the talk radio format will serve our listeners and advertisers well.”

voltair imageCanada’s Numeris Orders Voltair Units Disabled Until Further Notice.  Canada’s Numeris – formerly called the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement – has ordered all Canadian radio stations to disconnect their Voltair units from their audio chains.  The audio processor manufactured by 25-Seven – a division of TelosAlliance – has been a controversial topic within U.S. broadcast circles recently for reportedly enabling stations in Nielsen’s PPM markets to “amplify” the encoding that PPM receivers use to “hear” in order to give stations credit for listening.  As was discussed at the Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday (6/12) on the “State of Radio Ratings” panel, Voltair is currently being tested by Nielsen but no such edicts have been issued here.  Canada’s Numeris states in a letter to station owners that the order to shut off Voltair comes because of the “importance of a level playing field.”  Numeris admists it doesn’t know if the technology is affecting ratings or not but that it expects to have an analysis of Voltair done within 60 days.

hessbillCumulus Media Elevates Hess to Corporate PD of News/Talk. A session moderator at last Friday’s (6/12) “TALKERS New York 2015,” Bill Hess takes on corporate responsibilities in addition to his role as program director of Cumulus Media Washington, DC news/talker WMAL-AM/FM. According to Cumulus executive vice president of content and programming John Dickey, “Bill is one of the format’s best minds. We look forward to sharing him within our company.” Senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay comments, “This promotion enables us to take advantage of Bill’s previous experience as a corporate programmer and rewards him for the amazing job that he is doing at WMAL.” Hess remarks, “I deeply appreciate – and am incredibly energizedCumulus by – this opportunity to work with John Dickey, Mike McVay, and our team of talented programmers as we continue to drive the success of the industry’s leading platform of news-talk brands, both on-air and digitally.” Formerly senior vice president of programming for Air America Radio, Hess was brand manager for Clear Channel/iHeartMedia and was PD of talk stations in Providence (WHJJ); Springfield, Massachusetts (WHYN-AM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (WTAG), as well as operations manager of Washington, DC progressive talker WWRC, sports WTEM, and conservative talk WTNT. The Philadelphia native has programmed FM music stations in Washington, DC (adult contemporary WASH and classic rock WBIG); Providence (hot AC WSNE and classic hits-oldies WWBB); Springfield, Massachusetts (hot AC WHYN-FM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (adult contemporary WSRS).

wrkologoNew Course Set at WRKO, Boston.  In a press statement announcing the hiring of Alison Harris as sales manager for Entercom’s news/talk WRKO, Boston, VP and market manager Phil Zachary says filling this two-year-vacant post signals the station’s readiness to forward with the next step inharrisalison its evolution.  He comments, “Like every talk radio station in America, WRKO has been evolving with the changing media habits and demographic shifts in our society.  We did not want to fill this important position until our course was set for the future and we found the perfect candidate.  I’m thrilled we’re now at that point and that Alison was available to us.”  Harris is a 22-year media pro who was most recently with Clear Channel Outdoor’s Washington, D.C./Baltimore Division as vice president of sales.  The Boston news/talk will part with Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh next month and says it will announce its new, official lineup a little later this month.

Odds & Sods.  Boston journalist and talk show host Michele McPhee told her listeners on Friday afternoon that she expects to beat the charges leveled against her after a late night incident on Thursday that resulted in her beingmcpheemichele arrested for DUI, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer.  McPhee – heard on WMEX, Boston in afternoon drive – says she can’t comment specifically on the advice of her attorney.  She was pulled over after a police officer reported seeing her car swerve on I-93 in South Boston.  The Boston Herald reports she became belligerent with the officer and even sustained a head injury while the officer was arresting her…..Salem Media Group names Randy Bush general manager of its Little Rock station group that includes Christian contemporary KKSP, Christian teaching KDIS and news/talk KHTE “96.5 The Answer.”…..Townsquare Media announces Mike “Sandman” Sanders is the new operations manager for its Billings, Montana cluster that includes news/talk KCHH “Newstalk 95.5.”  He was most recently with Riverbend Communications as music director and afternoon personality at adult contemporary KCLE, Idaho Falls “Classy 97.3.”

Nielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of May 2015 PPM Data.  The fourth and final round of May 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford.  The May 2015 survey period covered April 23 through May 20.  You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

njba logoNJBA Conference and Gala Begins This Week.  The annual New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference and Gala opens this week in Atlantic City with his year’s theme: “Broadcast Has  New Attitude.”  NJBA president  & CEO Paul Rotella states, “We’re going to hear from a variety of voices during this conference which  will provide you with the latest and most substantial evolution in research, technology and advancement in audience measurement.”  During the conference, the NJBA will be honoring FOX News’ Judge Andrew P. Napolitano as its recipient of the Howard L. Green Humanitarian of the Year.  Also, Greater Media’s Peter Smyth will induct Dan Finn, Harry Hurley, Dick Swetits, and Kevin Williams into the NJBA Hall of Fame.

hobbsgabe‘Get Well’ Wishes to Gabe Hobbs.  Longtime radio pro and Gabe Hobbs Media principal, Gabe Hobbs is recovering from a ruptured disc in his lower back.  He writes to the industry that he’s been largely unable to communicated while literally “on his back” in the hospital for the better part of the last two weeks.  He writes, “As some of you may have heard, I have been hospitalized with a ruptured disk in my lower back for a couple of weeks.  My back just seemed to explode on the afternoon of May 26th and I’ve been largely unable to answer emails, phone calls or texts ever since.  I couldn’t even sit up or walk for 9 days.  I’m finally able to do a little work on the computer and have somewhat cogent phone conversations at this point…My apologies as I know many of you are wondering if I just dropped off the face of the earth.  Everyone at TALKERS wishes Gabe a speedy recovery.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

| June 11, 2015

2015 NYC 150Talkers New York 2015 Set to Rock Big Apple Tomorrow.  Talk media professionals from all across America (and the world) will be gathering at the historic India House in the Financial District of lower Manhattan tomorrow for the 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important national convention.  The event – which sold out three weeks in advance – will feature 65 industry speakers discussing the major issues and challenges facing talk broadcasting on air, online and on satellite including the state of audience measurement systems, integrating the art of radio into the technology of the digital age, adapting to changing sociological and generational attitudes, generating revenue in a new paradigm, navigating controversy and managing on air careers, plus a whole lot more.  Talkers New York 2015 will be the “reality” site of two major documentary films about the media currently in production – plus TALKERS will video record all sessions and speeches for later playback on TalkersTV, free of charge.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Every one of these spectacular events has had its own colorful story and has played a significant role in the fascinating evolution of this vital scene we call talk radio.  However, this one is particularly special to me because it coincides with the 25th anniversary of the founding of TALKERS magazine way back in the ancient year of 1990!”  To see the full agenda, please click here.

iheartmedia logo smalliHeartMedia-Unified Partnership Further Enhances Data-Driven Marketing Approach.  This partnership is being termed a “long-term” one with iHeartMedia investing in marketing technology firm Unified in order to “accelerate the company’s growth and expansion.”  iHeartMedia says the data-driven partnership will deliver “unprecedented insights to advertisers across iHeartMedia’s portfolio of radio, digital, mobile, live events, social and on-demand entertainment and information services.”  Further, it states, “The companies’ strategic partnership will leverage Unified’s Social Operating Platform, the marketing industry’s leading data and analytics platform, to aggregate and unlock the massive data sets generated from iHeartMedia’s 858 radio stations; 70 million registered users of its iHeartRadio platform; 87 million monthly digital uniques; more than 20,000 annual events; and more than 75 million social media users across its network.  In addition, iHeartMedia will contribute data generated from its programming and consumer audiences to Unified’s award-winning data platform.  The combination of iHeartMedia’s data and Unified’s analytics technology brings the power of attribution, audience identification, and impact analysis associated with digital marketing to the unparalleled scale of broadcast media.”  iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman comments, “Data-driven solutions are transforming the way that we deliver new value to our marketing partners, providing the ease, measurability and precision of digital marketing at the incredible scale of broadcast.  Unified allows us to leverage big data in new ways that make our portfolio of products, technology platforms, content and personalities the most powerful marketing vehicles available today.”

nielsen logoNielsen Audio Releases Third Round of May 2015 PPM Data.  The third of four rounds of May 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus.  The May 2015 survey period covered April 23 through May 20.  You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

bearmanbookcoverTalkers Books Gearing Up for Three Releases in Second Half of 2015.  After a 10 year hiatus since the publication of its last book, Modern Aging: A Guide for Seasoned Citizens to Achieve Health, Happiness and Purpose (Talkers Books, 2005) by upper demographics expert Carole MarksTALKERS announces plans for three new releases under the imprint Talkers Books during the second half of 2015.  Scheduled for release in July is Liars & Whores: How Big Government and Big Business Are Working to Save Their Own Assets, Not Yours (Talkers Books, 2015) by rising talk star Ethan Bearman. Bearman, who hosts a weekly show on Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco and another nationally syndicated by GCN, is described by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey as “one of the brightest, personable and politically independent of the industry’s new breed of young talkers with the potential to become the voice of Generation X.” Bearman’s book will be available in hard and soft cover versions as well as an e-bookhigginsbookcover configuration.  That will be followed by the August release of the first in a series of e-books under the umbrella description, “The Talkers Manifesto Series.” Titled, The Dr. Higgins Guide to Health and Wellness: Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Spiritual by Evelyn Higgins, D.C.  (Talkers Books, 2015), it is written by a rising star in the field of alternative health care who came to the attention of the TALKERS editorial staff via her outstanding work in Georgia talk radio over the past several years.  Scheduled for release in the fall is Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (Talkers Books, 2015) by Bernadette Duncan.  In this revealing memoir, Duncan recounts her first-hand impressions working with some of the biggest names in talk radio during her 31-year career as a producer for such personalities as Larry King, Sally Jessy Raphael, Tom Snyder, Lou Dobbs, Gil Gross, Charles Osgood, Mike Gallagher and many more. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We are enthusiastic about reinvigorating our book publishing arm.  The talk radio world is full of potential literary stars and we are going to do our best to help them find their readerships.”

Odds & Sods.  At the Cumulus Media cluster in New York City, production whiz Fitz is now serving as the producer of the daily “Right Now with Doug McIntyre” program that airs from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm on news/talk WABC.  Fitz was previously production director for sister hot AC WPLJ…..The Boston Herald has been named one of three finalists for the Innovator of the Year award presented by the Associated Press Media Editors for the creation of Boston Herald Radio and its integration into the news organization’s daily multimedia news process.  The winner will be selected in October.

Police Excessive Force Cases, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Military Progress/U.S. Military Policy in Iraq, TTP Trade Deal, New York Prison Break, ObamaCare Court Challenge, and NBA-NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/10).  The spate of alleged excessive force incidents by police across the country and talk about relations between police forces and the Black community; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the military progress of ISIS in Iraq and the U.S. military’s response; the controversy over the TTP trade deal and questions about what’s really in the pact; the ongoing search for two escaped murder convicts in New York State; the expected ruling from the Supreme Court on health care subsidies and how it may affect ObamaCare; and the NBA and NHL Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, May 11, 2015

| May 11, 2015

kabc logoCristina Perez Quits KABC, Los Angeles Gig.  There’s no immediate word from Cumulus Media about what it will fill the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart with now that Judge Cristina Perez has resigned from her five-month-old “Judge Cristina Live @ 9” program.  The Southern California attorney, television personality and erstwhile radio host posted an explanation for her exit on her website, stating, in part, “At this time in my life for personal reasons I’ve decided to step away from this radio opportunity.  Because truthfully, I’m a work-a-holic, with a thriving law practice and TV show, a pending TV project and a third book project as well as the establishment of an arbitration/mediation practice.  And, most importantly, I am the mother of an 11 year old girl – and time will not wait as she grows up. I cannot miss another minute of that.”

wls-am logoWLS-AM, Chicago Eliminates APD/Exec. Producer Post.  According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Cumulus Media’s elimination of the assistant program director/executive producer position at its Windy City news/talk station means Tracy Slutzkin exits.  Feder writes that she’d been with WLS-AM for a total of 19 years during two stints.  She began with the station as an intern and worked her way up to producer of the Don Wade and Roma morning drive program.  In 2006 – after time at WFLD-TV’s news department – she returned to the station as APD and executive producer.  Program director Peter Bolger will assume her responsibilities.

mikeandmikeMove to NYC Ahead for Mike & Mike; Qerim to Join as Third Personality.  Sports media giant ESPN is confirming it will move the “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show – simulcast on ESPN Radio and cable’s ESPN2 – its Bristol, Connecticut headquarters to studios in New York City effective February 8.  Parent company Disney says, “Being located directly above ABC’s “Good Morning America” studio will allow for a wider variety of in-studio voices from the world of entertainment and pop culture for Mike & Mike as the shows work together on bookings.  GMA contributors will also appear whenqerimmolly opportunities arise – for example, Robin Roberts on sports, GMA legal analyst Ryan Smith discussing legal matters or ABC News chief meteorologist Ginger Zee on weather impacting sports.  When appropriate, Golic and Greenberg will appear on GMA.”  Sports Business Daily is reporting that current NFL Network host Molly Qerim will exit the league-operated cable/satellite channel and become a third member of the show co-hosted by Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg.  ESPN only says it its press release that additional elements to the show will be announced at a later date.

biakelseyBIA/Kelsey Releases Automotive Industry Local Ad Spending Study.  The media consulting firm estimates that the auto industry will spend $15.1 billion in local advertising this year – of which 77% is estimated to be allocated to traditional media.  BIA/Kelsey believes radio will get 11.6% of that.  In releasing the data from this study, SVP and chief economist Dr. Mark Fratrik notes that by 2019, digital advertising will represent 1/3 of the automotive local ad spend.  He says, “The auto industry and television came of age together as keystones of twentieth-century American culture.  The two industries remain closely tied, with the auto industry being dependent on over-the-air television advertising, and all auto vertical subcategories relying heavily on traditional media to get their message to their audience.”  Pure online advertising, consisting primarily of search, is the largest digital automotive channel.  BIA/Kelsey projects all growth in local advertising for the automotive vertical category will occur on online/digital media, reaching 30% of total local advertising by 2019, up from 12% in 2015.  Industry subcategories featured in BIA/Kelsey’s automotive vertical forecast include auto dealers, other motor vehicle dealers, auto parts and accessory stores, tire dealers, and gas stations.

John PotterRAB’s Potter Set to Retire. Fifteen-year senior vice president of professional development John Potter will be leaving the not-for-profit trade association in about seven weeks (6/26). Radio Advertising Bureau president and chief executive officer Erica Farber comments, “We have been extremely fortunate to have John’s sales/management acumen at the RAB, where he truly leaves an indelible mark across the organization and entire radio industry. I tried to talk him out of this; however, it is now time for John to enjoy quality time with his family, especially his grandchildren. He can travel and indulge his passion for photography.” Potter remarks that, throughout his career, he has, “trained nearly 20,000 salespeople and sales managers across all 50 states. I cherish the friendships I have made with myRAB Logo colleagues and I am truly thankful for the great ride. I am looking forward to the next chapter with my family and on the open road.” A then-18-year-old Potter began his radio career nearly 50 years ago as a recording engineer at Ohio State University‘s WOSU. He went on to hold various sales and management positions with Citicasters; Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia); Cumulus; Great American Broadcasting; Great Trails Broadcasting; Jacor; North American Broadcasting; and Taft Broadcasting.

siriusxmSiriusXM to Launch Career Series Targeting Millennials and Their Parents.  The six-part series – called “Career Playbook Radio” – will be hosted by Jim Citrin, partner at executive search firm Spencer Stuart and best-selling author on leadership and career success.  The show is intended to give millennials, young professionals, and parents of recent college grads expert insight into getting a great job and laying the foundation for a successful career.  SiriusXM says it will be a weekly conversation with top executives, industry veterans, and thought leaders sharing their personal experience and knowledge with aspiring young professionals who are seeking to carve out a distinctive place with their careers in the first decade after graduation.  Guests will include:  Gail McGovern, CEO and president, American Red Cross; Justin Smith, CEO, Bloomberg Media Group; J. Patrick Doyle, CEO and president of Domino’s Pizza Inc.; Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of People Operations at Google Inc.; Lori Goler, vice president of human resources and recruiting at Facebook, Inc.; Kristen Fitzpatrick, managing director, alumni & MBA career and professional development, Harvard Business School; Admiral Eric Olson, retired Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM); and Soo Hong, chief human resource officer, WeWork.   It launches on May 16 and is available via SiriusXM On Demand on smartphones.

beasley logoBeasley Using Zipwhip Technology for Studio Line Texting. The initial rollout incorporated Zipwhip’s technology that allows the station to send and receive text messages using their existing call-in request or studio line telephone numbers into 18 Beasley Media radio stations across 5 markets.  Zipwhip, Inc. is a cloud texting platform and service provider.  Beasley says that as opposed to the traditional texting option for radio stations, short codes, Zipwhip’s technology enables its stations to create a more seamless conversational texting strategy.  “Texting lowers the barrier separating radio-listening consumers and advertisers in a way that is less pervasive and intrusive than current strategies such as email or online display ads.  Beasley stations rely on two-way messaging to build trust and loyalty and ultimately to increase overall engagement by listeners. An added benefit is that stations can offer a new sponsorship opportunity with their text enabled request or studio line.”

Friday, May 8, 2015

| May 8, 2015

beasley logoBeasley Q1 Revenue Down 10.3% on Pro Forma Basis.  The asset exchange between Beasley Broadcast Group and CBS RADIO last fall makes the financial report for the former less cut and dried, but on a pro forma basis, net revenue was down 10.3%.  BBG chairman and CEO George Beasley comments, “On a reported basis, first quarter net revenue from continuing operations rose 87.2% and station operating income increased 92.3%.  However, given the required accounting treatment for discontinued operations following last December’s asset exchange, the results exclude the stations we gave up inbeasleygeorge the transaction.  As such, we continue to believe the pro forma presentation, which assumes the asset exchange occurred on January 1, 2014, better reflects the first quarter operating results.  On a pro forma basis, first quarter net revenue decreased 10.3% while SOI declined 12.2%.  The pro forma revenue decline is primarily attributable to overall market weakness in Charlotte and Tampa-St. Petersburg and softer ad sales at our Wilmington cluster during the first quarter, our reduction in spot units at the newly acquired stations and revenue in last year’s first quarter in Charlotte and Tampa-St. Petersburg related to the CBS affiliation that did not recur due to the change in ownership.”  Beasley adds, “In addition to our initiatives during the quarter to extract financial and operating synergies from the asset exchange, we made further progress on debt reduction while returning capital to shareholders.  During the first quarter we made credit facility repayments totaling $1.5 million, reducing borrowings to $96.2 million at March 31, 2015 and declared our sixth consecutive quarterly cash dividend.”

cbslogoCBS Corp. Q1 Revenue Dips 1.9%; Radio Segment Down 7%.  Radio is a very small part of the $3.5 billion that CBS Corp. billed during the first quarter of 2015.  CBS includes it in the Local Broadcasting segment (along with its television O&Os) and that division’s revenue for the quarter was $596 million, down from $626 million during the same period a year ago (a decrease of 5%).  But the radio portion of that sector fared a bit worse, dipping 7%.  Operating income for the Local Broadcasting segment was down 10.5%.

cookehollandCooke: Moms & Media.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke presents this analysis of the Edison Research “2015 Moms & Media” data from that company’s ongoing Infinite Dial project.  Cooke reports that, as previous data from numerous research sources has indicated over the years, “Mom is Secretary of the (family) Treasury to-the-tune-of $1.2 TRILLION a year in the USA.”  Moms are also tech savvy and their busy lifestyle welcomes new media.  Some takeaways from the study include: Mom spends more time per day (3 hrs 7 min) on the Internet than the survey population in general (2:51); 84% own a smartphone (69% last year); vs. 71% total respondents; and 64% of Moms surveyed own a tablet computer (47% last year).  For more data, see Cooke’s entire report here.

maylisaMay’s May 11 Return. Particularly in Los Angeles – perhaps the most commuter-centric market in the country – an on-air traffic reporter can become an integral component of a morning drive ensemble. Numerous notable examples exist in the City of Angels, including Lisa May, who will join the 6:00 am – 10:00 am “Heidi & Frank Show” on Cumulus Media rocker KLOS next Monday (5/11). Program director Keith Cunningham explains, “Lisa May is not just a traffic reporter or female sidekick; she is a radio brand and she is beloved by Southern California radio listeners. She will be doing a lot more than traffic – we can’t wait to get her in the building.” May admits that, “Joining a twosome can be tricky business. Usually you have to set up some ground rules and have a ‘safe word,’ [but] not with Heidi & Frank. That is what makes hooking up with them on KLOS so exciting. There is no telling what’s going to happen.” While her traffic reports the past two-plus decades have been heard on a number of Los Angeles outlets such as KACE, KGIL, KLAC, KMPC, KNX, KPCC, KPWR, and KABC-TV, May is best known for her lengthy tenure with “Kevin & Bean” on CBS Radio alternative KROQ. Among persons 6+ in Los Angeles’ latest Nielsen Audio PPM report (March 2015), KLOS (2.0) and KROQ (2.9) rank #23 and #13, respectively; iHeartMedia CHR KIIS “Kiss-FM” (5.3) leads the market (6+) for the third successive survey (including a February tie at #1 with adult contemporary sibling KOST “Coast 103”).

price howardHoward B. Price Named 2015 Recipient of the TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award.  The editorial board of TALKERS magazine has named the ABC Television Network director of business continuity, Howard B. Price, CBCP/MBCI as this year’s recipient of the prestigious Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech.  Price is being honored for his vigorous work and pro-active leadership in encouraging, inspiring and teaching the radio and television industries to be prepared to serve the public in times of emergency and crisis.  In announcing the naming of Price the recipient of the award, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Howard B. Price is an industry hero who inspires us to rise to our highest purpose – and that is to serve and protect the public well-being.  He reminds terrestrial broadcasters that they have the potential (and are arguably obligated) to be in the same societal role as first responders such as firefighters, police, emergency medical teams and rescuers of all sorts.”  Harrison adds, “As a publisher, I am deeply proud of the numerous articles he has contributed to TALKERS and RadioInfo instructing our readers how to deal with civil unrest, acts of terrorism, and natural disasters such as earthquakes, perfect storms and historic blizzards – all of which have occurred on a seemingly regular basis in recent times. His presentations in print, at conferences and numerous speaking engagements clearly show stations how to stay on the air and mobilize their resources in a positive and productive manner when the community is under siege.”   Harrison concludes, “This is a bit of a departure from our usual focus in presenting an industry individual with this award designed to raise awareness of the First Amendment in action – but nothing could be more important for licensed broadcasting facilities than to be able to provide the public with vital information when needed, especially in life and death situations, thus protecting the platform’s reputation and credibility as a place to turn for truth when the chips are down.”  Price is a 40-year veteran of radio, television and newspapers, he is a two-time EMMY Award winner, and a two-time recipient of The George Foster Peabody Award. He has worked domestically and internationally as a news producer, assignment editor, bureau chief, reporter and anchor, covering some of the biggest stories of our time, including the 9/11 attacks, the 2003 Northeast blackout and Superstorm Sandy.  A certified business continuity professional (CBCP), Howard is charged with maintaining the operational resilience of all ABC News platforms around the globe. He also serves as an in-house consultant to the ABC Owned Television Station Group. Howard holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and an MBA in management and marketing from New York University.  A guest lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he has been a featured speaker at numerous professional conferences and workshops (including TALKERS), and a contributor to many trade publications. He is a member of the Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRII), the Business Continuity Institute (BCI), the Association of Contingency Planners (ACP), the Contingency Planning Exchange (CPE), the Northeast Disaster Recovery Information Exchange (NEDRIX), the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS).  Howard is the founder of the website, MediaDisasterPrep.com, and writes its companion blog, MediaDisasterPrep.wordpress.com. Price is fond of telling anyone who’ll listen that events are disasters only if you haven’t planned for them.  He can be reached via email at Howard.B.Price@abc.com.  Howard B. Price will be presented the Freedom of Speech Award at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12.   For registration, hotel and sponsorship information, please call 413-565-5413.

ramseyLasVegasstaff15Dave Ramsey Brings Smart Money Event to Las Vegas.  The Smart Money live event from talk radio superstar and best-selling author Dave Ramsey was presented to a packed house at Canyon Ridge Christian Church last night (5/7).  He discussed how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence, working with local affiliate KXNT to promote the event.  Financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan joined Ramsey on stage.  CBS RADIO Las Vegas vice president of programming Cat Thomas says, “Dave has become a staple in growing our talk audience on the FM dial.  Dave is positive, upbeat, real and listeners get that.”  During the same visit to Las Vegas, Ramsey also hosted his EntreLeadership 1 Day Event on Wednesday in which he spoke about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 450 team members.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Carlos Diaz, co-host of “Carlos and Dayna” on KXNT; Thomas; Ramsey; Maureen Pulicella, general sales manager; and Jerry McKenna, SVP/market manager.

ellergolferOn the Green in Greenwood.  Station owner/host Anne Eller (left) of WCRS (1450 AM), Greenwood, SC  has been out on The Links at Stoney Point in Greenwood every afternoon this week, broadcasting live from the scene of the Self Regional Classic leg of the Symetra Tour, a tour for professional and amateur golfers seeking to gain their LPGA card.  Eller has spent the past few days interviewing both the men and women behind the event, as well as many of the women competing for the $30,000 cash purse, the largest of the Symetra Tour.  One of the golfers Eller had on the show is rookie Michelle Piyapattra (right).

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update.  The Radio America-syndicated “Dana Show” hosted by Dana Loeschloeschdana announces new affiliate stations:  KSEV, Houston; KSGF-AM/FM, Springfield, Missouri; KBYR-AM, Anchorage; KGNC-AM, Amarillo; WVFT, Tallahassee; WYOO-FM, Panama City; KCNR, Redding, California; and WBLF, Johnstown-Altoona-State College, Pennsylvania.

talkersten logoBaltimore Unrest Aftermath Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of May 4-8.  The social, legal and political ramifications of the violent protests in Baltimore were the several aspects of the most-talked-about story of the week.  At #2 was the entrance of three more candidates into the 2016 presidential race.  Coming in at #3 was scrutiny of the Clinton Family Foundation followed by the deadly prophet drawing contest in Garland, Texas at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

| May 5, 2015

berrymichaelMichael Berry Renews with iHeartMedia.  Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry inks a new long-term deal with iHeartMedia that runs through 2020.  Berry’s program is based at news/talk KTRH, Houston and is heard on iHeartMedia stations in 13 additional markets.  The former Houston city councilor started his talk radio career with the company in 2005.  Berry states, “While I’m loyal to the company I’ve worked with for so long, this agreement is about the future, not the past. From Bob Pittman, our chairman and CEO, and Rich Bressler, our president, COO and CFO, to Kelly Kibler, my EVPO; Eddie Martiny, my market manager; and Marc Sherman and Bryan Erickson, our programming directors in Houston — every single one of them is committed to our show, our team, and the way we do things.  They’ve provided a platform for me to serve my sponsors, entertain our listeners, and raise money for Veterans, and I’m incredibly excited about our future.”  Bob Pittman comments, “Michael is a great talent, and his audience loves and relies on him – both for the news and important information he provides every day, and for his strong commitment to his community of listeners and the causes important to them.  We are very pleased that Michael will continue his strong work for us, and delighted that he’ll continue to be such a key part of our team.”

lewisloriCumulus Brings Digital and Social Media Pro Lori Lewis Aboard.  This new relationship brings industry-respected digital and social media maven Lori Lewis together with Cumulus Media as she becomes the company’s new vice president of social media.  A press release says in her new position, she’ll work with Cumulus’ programming and sales teams to develop integrated social media strategies for the company’s radio stations and the Westwood One network.  She will also provide social media solutions to Westwood One’s affiliate partners as part of the company’s Enterprise Solutions Group.  Lewis will report directly to president and CEO Lew Dickey.  Lewis was most recently with consulting firm Jacobs Media.  Lew Dickeycumulus logo comments, “Lori is our industry’s foremost authority on social media.  She has architected successful social strategies for many of the biggest brands in radio.  We are excited for Lori to bring her unique experience and expertise to our station group as well as to our affiliate partners at Westwood One.”  On joining Cumulus, Lewis says, “I am honored to take this newly created role within Cumulus, and to create real value and impact socially for our audiences, advertisers and affiliate partners.  Many mistake social for volume, when in fact it’s about differentiating.  This move, on behalf of Lew Dickey and [Cumulus SVP] Gary Pizzati, speaks volumes of their leadership and foresight in moving Cumulus forward, and I thank them for that.”

entercomEntercom Promotes Kramer to COO, Names Levy to Board of Directors.  Station group president Louise Kramer is promoted to chief operating officer for Entercom Communications Corp.  In a press statement, the company says, “Kramer is a media veteran who has been withkramerweezie Entercom since 2000, most recently serving as station group president.  In this role, she spearheaded the company’s reinvention efforts, focusing on enhancing the company’s future growth and directly overseeing several of the company’s markets.  Ms. Kramer is a member of Entercom’s operating committee and, since 2013, has served as chairperson.  Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “Weezie is an enormously talented and effective leader who has made a huge impact on our organization since she joined Entercom in 2000.  Like so many great leaders, she is totally and selflessly committed to her team’s success, bringing levydavidher vast energy, intelligence, creativity, and high standards to our entire organization.  I am thrilled to see her continue to rise to the highest levels of our company.”  Also, the company reports that David Levy is named to the board of directors.  Levy has served as president of Turner Broadcasting System since 2013.   In this role he oversees all creative and business activities of the Turner signature entertainment networks —TBS, TNT, Turner Classic Movies, truTV, Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Adult Swim — and their digital brand extensions, as well as Turner Sports.

wmal logoCumulus Has a Buyer for WMAL, Washington Transmitter Site.  According to Bethesda Magazine, Cumulus Media has a deal with two prominent area home builders who will turn the Bethesda, Maryland site of WMAL-AM, Washington’s transmitter into a 76-acre housing development.  Winchester Homes and Toll Brothers are reported as the buyer but no sale price has been announced yet.  According to real estate firm CBRE, the land could hold up to 300 homes on quarter-acre lots in accordance with current zoning regulations.  Cumulus will relocate the WMAL-AM transmitter.

younglarry and cohostsRadio One Revamps WOLB, Baltimore’s Larry Young Show.  The urban morning drive talk show lead by radio personality Larry Young is now being simulcast on Radio One’s translator W291BA at 106.1 FM.  That signal airs Christian music and is branded “PRAISE 106.1.”  Joining Young (center) and co-host Coach (left) is former WWIN, Baltimore “Magic 95.9” midday personality Tim Watts (right).  The station says, “We’re combining the best of the Praise format with the information, entertainment and ‘ground level’ interaction that our listeners already expect from Larry’s show.  For additional color, we’ve welcomed Tim Watts back to be part of this daily roundtable of all things Baltimore and our community.”

gordonmaryGordon Named Sales Manager for iHeartMedia Tampa. The appointment of Mary Gordon as sales manager for iHeartMedia‘s Tampa cluster takes effect in four weeks (6/1). Senior vice president of sales Fernando Bauermeister comments that, “Mary’s experience of leading successful teams made her a natural choice for the position. We are excited to have Mary join our staff and we look forward to her helping our clients grow their business.” Gordon states, “I am extremely excited to be given the opportunity to join the team of talented professionals at iHeartMedia Tampa. I look forward to utilizing the amazing assets that iHeartMedia has in its arsenal to find solutions to the key marketing objectives in the west Florida region.” Gordon’s background includes a stint in sports marketing for IMG (International Management Group), as well as being general sales manager – and later director of sales – for Cumulus Media Atlanta’s country WKHX “Kicks 101.5” and WYAY. The eight-station iHM Tampa cluster includes: urban contemporary WBTP “The Beat”; WDAE “Tampa Bay’s Sports Radio”; talk WFLA; CHR WFLZ “The Hit Music Channel”; country WFUS “US-103.5”; talk WHNZ “Impact Radio”; hot AC WMTX “Mix 100.7”; and WXTB “98 Rock.”

hoyttomHoyt Heads to Louisville as Salem Media Group GM. Founder-president of Missouri-based AdAbilities Tom Hoyt – is named general manager of Salem Media Group Louisville talk outlet WGTK “The Answer” and WFIA “The Spirit – Christian Talk & Praise.” Salem vice president of operations Mike Moran notes, “We were looking for a general manager with a combination of strong leadership skills, management experience, and a proven sales orientation. I believe with Tom we found a man who delivers on all those fronts and brings the additional benefit of knowing and loving the city of Louisville.” Hoyt comments, “I cannot imagine a more ideal opportunity than this position with Salem Media Group in Louisville. The stations are heritage properties with a veteran staff. I am thankful that Mike has selected me and I am looking forward to building on the success the team has established.” Hoyt – who succeeds Tim Hartlage at the Louisville talk combo – previously worked in the market for Cox Media Group; was vice president and chief sales officer for CommunityLink Publications; general sales manager of Emmis St. Louis; and director of sales for Barnstable Broadcasting‘s stations in Greenville, South Carolina. Hartlage continues working for Salem, focusing on local ministry.

sagaSaga Communications Q1 Revenue Down 1.2%; Radio Division Dips 2.6%.  For the first quarter of 2015, Saga Communications is reporting net revenue decreased 1.2% on income of $29.1 million.  Revenue for the radio segment was $24, 276,000 – a decline of 2.6% compared to the same period a year ago (the TV segment was up).  Other data reported included free cash flow up 5.2% to $3.6 million for the quarter ended March 31, compared to $3.4 million for the same period last year.  Station operating expense decreased 0.8% to $22.8 million (station operating expense includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations) compared to $23.0 million for the same period last year.  Operating income was $3.8 million.  Net income for the period was $2.1 million ($0.36 per fully diluted share).

Odds & Sods.  Philadelphia news/talker WPHT will play a role in the local appearance of Kentucky Senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul.  After his press conference at the People’s Plaza on Independence Mall onwpht logo Monday, May 18, the senator will make a special appearance at the Independence Seaport Concert Hall for a discussion focused on his book, Taking a Stand: Moving Beyond Partisan Politics to Unite America.  WPHT host Dom Giordano will moderate…..Longtime WGN, rosenbergmiltChicago radio host and current WCGO, Chicago personality Milt Rosenberg was recently honored by the City of Chicago for among other things, “bringing the world of ideas to millions of listeners, combining a scholar’s understanding of the humanities broadened our citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to important resources in the humanities.”

2016 Presidential Prospects, ‘Prophet Drawing Contest’ Shooting, Clinton Family Foundation Scrutiny, Baltimore Aftermath, and California Drought Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/4).  The influx of new candidates for president in 2016 including independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and Republicans Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee; the aftermath of the weekend’s shooting of two purported ISIS followers at a “prophet drawing contest” in Garland, Texas; Bill Clinton’s dismissal of criticism of the Clinton Family Foundation finances; the civil and political situation in Baltimore and questions about how Freddie Gray died; and the worsening drought in California and the battle over water policy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, May 1, 2015

| May 1, 2015

cumulus logoA Down First Quarter for Cumulus Media.  The numbers here are compared to the same period in 2014.  Cumulus Media reports 2015 Q1 net revenue dipped 7.2% on income of $271,079,000.  Revenue was down across the board at the company in the first quarter and here’s the breakdown: broadcast revenue was $251 million (down 7%) and digital revenue was $8.06 million (down 16.4%).  Political ad revenue was down 67.7% and a portion of the net revenue drop was due to an increase in the license fees and other category which rose 9.1%.  Breaking down the broadcast revenue a bit further, local and national spot sales were down a bit – 3.6% and 2.4% respectively – but network revenue sank 13% on income of $86.7 million.

radioonelogoRadio One Down 4.8% in Q1.  Urban media operator Radio One reports a down first quarter of 2015 on income $105.8 million – a drop of 4.8%.  The company saw positive results in its cable TV advertising sector – up 9.9% — and that helped ease some of the decline in other sectors.  The radio broadcasting segment was down 9.4%.  Radio advertising was down 5.5% and digital advertising dipped 6.1%.  Meanwhile, in the category “event revenue & other” Radio One dropped a dramatic 82.6%, due in part to a timing issue relative to annual events.

jacobsmediaInside the Mind of the Sports Radio Fan.  Using data from its recent Techsurvey 11, Jacobs Media presents this analysis of the media usage of the typical sports radio fan.  Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs says, “Since our Techsurveys expanded to more than a dozen formats several years back, it has afforded us the opportunity to study how fans of different formats differ when it comes to media and technology use.  No group of radio listeners typifies that more than sports radio partisans.  In their quest to find a good game, up-to-date info, fantasy sports, draft information, gossip and rumors, these savvy fans use a lot of different media options.”  Some of the media habits of sports radio fans that the survey highlights center around the smartphone.  Sports radio P1s are very frequent texters and they stream audio and video on a more frequent basis than P1s of other radio formats.  For more, see the full story here.

cookehollandYES-YOU-CAN Sell Rush Limbaugh.  Media consultant Holland Cooke presents some tested means of selling the “controversial” leading news/talk radio host – Rush Limbaugh.  As Cooke points out, just because there’s been some backlash against Limbaugh’s show and his affiliate stations doesn’t mean stations can’t find sponsors for the show.  After, as Cooke observes, “This guy moves product.”  In this piece he offers some thoughts on whom to prospect, how to write spots that work and how storytelling can work in your favor.  Read it here.

harrisonmichael5-15Michael Harrison to Do 60-Second Daily Feature on Media for Boston Herald Radio. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has entered into an agreement with the Boston Herald to write and perform a weekly 60-second feature titled “Michael Harrison on the Media” beginning Monday (5/4) that will be dropped into the pioneering online station’s programming flow several times a day as well as its growing network of terrestrial partners.  In it, Harrison explores the direct connection between media and the human condition – past, present and future – commenting on the impact of changing communicationsbostonheraldradio logo technology on society and culture.  According to Harrison, “I love the idea of being connected with such a forward-thinking organization as the Boston Herald and its ground-breaking media station, Boston Herald Radio.  Creating one of these tight little pieces each week helps sharpen my insights and ability to express them and just like my weekly, longform podcast ‘Up Close and Far Out’ on Podcast One, it gives me the opportunity, at this seasoned stage in my life, to dabble in speculation about the broader scope of media outside the radio industry itself for a worldwide consumer audience of ‘media freaks.’  What fun!”  Boston Herald Radio Network executive producer Tom Shattuck tells TALKERS, “I am thrilled to have these exclusive commentaries by Michael Harrison running on our platform!”  To hear an installment of “Michael Harrison on Media” please click below.

      1. MH-On-the-Media-1.mp3

2015 NYC 150Spectrum of Talk Radio Programming to Be Addressed on “Variety, the Spice of Life” Panel at Talkers New York 2015.  At the Talkers New York 2015 conference taking place on June 12, talk personalities from a variety of styles of programming will discuss the industry, their roles in it, and the future of talk content when they appear on the “Variety the Spice of Life” panel.  Moderated by TALKERS general manager of radio operations David Bernstein, the panel will feature: Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host at classic rock-formatted WAQY “Rock 102,” Springfield, MA; Dr. Joy Browne of Genesis Communications Network; Tony Bruno, WIP-FM, Philadelphia; Thom Hartmann of WYD Media; Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia; and Larry Young, WOLB, Baltimore.  This panel will present hosts from disparate backgrounds and radio formats, including a rock jock appealing to listeners immersed in rock and pop culture; the industry’s longest-running radio psychologist; a season sports talk pro; a progressive host with a multi-disciplined background; a nationally syndicated morning talk generalist; and an urban personality working mornings and heavily involved in the community on a local station.  Bernstein says, “This will be an exciting panel to moderate – there is so much more to talk radio than one would think having it always described in the media as just a bunch of conservative white men talking politics.”  Talkers New York 2015 takes place on Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in New York City’s financial district.  Space is limited, so register today by calling 413-565-5413.  For the full agenda, please click here.

podcastone logoPodcastOne Platform to Host Bossip Podcast.  Bossip.com is billed as the “premier online destination for African American popular culture and entertainment news.”  Now, it is partnering with PodcastOne to produce the “Bossip Presents: Don’t Be Scared” podcast.  A press release says, “The weekly podcast is a viciously funny conversation between Bossip’s awkward, quirky and at times terrifyingly honest trio, Bossip staffer-hosts David Dennis, Jason “Jah” Lee and Danielle “Danni” Canada.  PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz comments, “Bossip.com has built a great digital platform that hits the right points of humor and news in entertainment gossip.  This new podcast extends their site to the rapidly growing audio-digital platform, and provides a strong content addition to our roster of websites who have turned to podcasting as an impactful way to communicate with their loyal audience.”

alphamedia logoDone Deal: Alpha Closes on Coast Radio and Free Lance-Star Stations.  There are seven more radio stations officially in the Portland-based Alpha Media fold after the closing took place on the deals with Coast Radio Company and Free Lance-Star Radio.  As previously reported when the sales were announced, Alpha gets three California signals from Coast: adult contemporary-formatted trio KUIC, Vacaville, KKIQ, Livermore, and KKDV, Walnut Creek.  And from Free Lance-Star it acquires: country WFLS and talk WNTX in Fredericksburg, Virginia; CHR WVBX, Spotsylvania, Virginia; and classic rock WWUZ, Bowling Green, Virginia.   Alpha chief Larry Wilson says, “We are very fortunate to be able to work with such great employees at all of the stations.  Each cluster is exceptional and brings its own unique attributes to the company, allowing us to build a diverse and dynamic culture.”

Odds & Sods.  Talk radio personality Leslie Marshall joins the iHeartRadio platform as her podcast is nowmarshallleslie being featured there.  Marshall also announces she’s begun writing a blog for Blue Nation Review and has penned her first column titled, “It’s 2015 and Sexism Is Alive and Well in Clinton Coverage.”…..Getting a national presence is WINS, New York weekend news anchor David Weiss who has two features that will be distributed by America’s Talk Radio Network.  The five-minute “News for You” show features Weiss’ take on the world and national news and the two-minute “Slice of Life” is a more offbeat take on daily life…..In Seattle, Ed Ronco is the new local host of “All Things Considered” on KPLU.  He’s been with the station for two years and also hosts a weekly travel segment titled, “Going Places.”

srnCapitolGangSalem’s Capitol Gang.  Posing for a shot at Salem Media Group’s reception at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday evening (4/30) are (from l-r): Salem Radio Network host Dennis Prager, Townhall.com news editor Katie Pavlich, hosts Bill Bennett and Mike Gallagher.  The event was to honor freshmen members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House.  It was also attended by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and U. S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” with hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge add newfreemanedge affiliates to their roster including: KIXZ, Amarillo, Texas; Chattanooga market trimulcast WSDT, WEPG, and WSDQ; KTUI, Sullivan, Missouri; and KAZZ, Parowan, Utah and its Cedar City, Utah K253BU at 98.5 FM…..The Marilu Henner show is added to the program schedule at: KTUI, Sullivan, Missouri; WGGH, Marion, Illinois; WIMS, Michigan City, Indiana; KHUC-FM, Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

talkersten logoBaltimore Protests and Violence Top Talkers TenTM.  The week of protests, violence and questions about the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody were all facets of the most-talked-about story of the week.  Coming in at #2 on this week’s Talkers TenTM was the 2016 presidential prospects.  At #3 was scrutiny of the operations of the Clinton Foundation followed by the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case of four states with anti-gay marriage statutes at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

| April 29, 2015

pricehowardPursuing Truth Amid Civil Unrest.  Media outlets have experienced a number of situations recently that qualify as true “danger zones” in which to send their reporters and tech crews if they choose to cover the event first hand.  ABC TV director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes today about the hazards radio news staffers are facing in situations similar to what’s been happening in Baltimore and – not too long ago – Ferguson, Missouri.  He presents a plan for broadcasters to follow in preparing for coverage of such news events in the future.  Read his entire piece here.

dickeylewLew Dickey, Cumulus, Agree to Continuation. The co-founder of Cumulus Media will be remaining in-place for at least another three years: Lew Dickey extends his employment agreement as the company’s president and chief executive officer. In addition, he will carry on as a board member through 2018. According to board member Jeff Marcus, “We are grateful that Lew Dickey, who has built Cumulus into a leading national media business, has renewed his commitment to lead the company into the future. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with Lew to build value for our shareholders.” In other news at the Atlanta-based company, Ridgemont Equity PartnersRobert “Trey” Sheridan, III, will retire from Cumulus’ board when his termCumulus ends at this year’s annual stockholders meeting; Association of Magazine Media (MPA) president and chief executive officer Mary Berner will be nominated to fill Sheridan’s vacated seat. Dickey comments, “We are fortunate to be adding Mary Berner to our board. Her insights and experience will be valuable as we continue to position the company for long-term success in the changing media landscape.” Elsewhere, Cumulus lead director, Jeffrey Marcus, is appointed non-executive board chair. Marcus has been a Cumulus board member since 2011. He is a partner with Crestview Partners, Cumulus’ largest stockholder.

zampillodanRed Zebra Officially Names Dan Zampillo to PD WTEM, Washington.  The company owned by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder announces former WXYT-FM, Detroit and SiriusXM program director Dan Zampillo is taking over the programming reigns at its sports talk WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980.”  The PD position opened up after Chuck Sapienza exited in the middle of the on-off-on again addition of the new “Man Cave” morning show hosted by Chris Paul and Jason ReidRed Zebra Broadcasting CEO Rick Carmean says, “When it comes to sports, we have the best on-air talent in the area.  We look forward to having Dan join our team.  He brings great leadership, experience and fresh insight.”


What News/Talk Fans Are Doing When They’re Not Listening To Your Station.  In a piece prepared for TALKERS magazine by Jacobs Media based on data from the company’s recently released Techsurvey 11, company president Fred Jacobs presents a media and tech profile of news/talk P1s.  He notes that while news/talk P1s tend to lag behind younger demos in the tech and social media areas, that’s changing.  “Fans of the format are more likely to own a tablet, listen to podcasts, and subscribe to satellite radio.  They are less apt to be social networkers.  Compared to just a few short years ago, news/talk devotees are catching up tech-wise with their kids.  The data show that six in 10 stream video at least weekly while nearly eight in 10 own a smartphone.”  See how news/talk P1s choose to use social media and why they turn to broadcast talk radio.  Read the entire piece here.

Odds & Sods.  From the podcast genre comes news that PodcastOne is unveiling a new series featuring TV personality and entertainment reporter Katie Wagner, and international celebrity psychic Voxx Voltair.  Dubbed, “InnerView with Katie and Voxx,” it promises to combine “the hottest news in Hollywood with astrology, clairvoyance, numerology, and Tarot readings and features the latest gossip, fashion trends, and secrets from celebrity guests.”…..At the same time CBS RADIO and CBS Local Digital Media announce some new on-demand programming on its Play.it platform.  New shows include podcasts from SHOWTIME Boxing Commentator Paulie Malignaggi, ELLE Style correspondent Alia Ahmed-Yahia, TED.com speaker Julian Treasure, former CNN senior executive producer Michael Schulder’s “Wavemaker Conversations,” “The Marilu Henner Show”; and “Boomer & Carton” producer Al Dukes’ interview series with media moguls called, “Al’s Boring Podcast.”…..SiriusXM is launching “Let’s Talk with Abby and Ari,” a live, one-hour weekly, call-in show hosted by MSNBC The Cycle’s Abby Huntsman and Ari Melber.  The show will entail Huntsman and Melber examining the news of the day first, and welcoming tastemakers and newsmakers for interviews in a relaxed, casual style.  “The show will be a conversation at the cross-section of current events, politics and entertainment.”…..ESPN 2 “First Take” moderator Cari Champion is now hosting a new weekly ESPN Audio podcast called, “espnW Presents: Be Honest with Cari Champion.”  It will feature the “straight-shooting, always-honest Champion talking sports and more with A-list athletes and celebrity guests.”

srnlogoSalem Radio Network to Organize Aid Drive for Nepal Earthquake Victims.  Via its Washington-based SRN News, Salem Radio Network launched a campaign on its 1,600-plus affiliates nationwide to encourage donations on behalf of victims of last Saturday’s earthquake in Nepal.  The network is working with Oklahoma City-based nonprofit relief organization Project HOPE.  SRN will generate funds to rush food and emergency supplies to the stricken area.  The effort includes Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk hosts Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Eric Metaxas and Hugh Hewitt.

fisherhouselogoFisher House Foundation Offers Memorial Day Special to News/Talk Outlets.  As it has done in the past, Fisher House Foundation is offering news/talk radio stations a three-our Memorial Day Weekend program titled, “A Hero’s Best Medicine.”  Fisher House says this year’s program contains “all-new, compelling and diverse storytelling.  The show shares the role that Fisher House plays in military heroes’ recovery, giving family a safe place to stay just steps from their hospital rooms.”  Some of the stories told include that of Marine Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, a Medal of Honor recipient, and his family in South Carolina. Carpenter threw himself on a grenade in Afghanistan to save a fellow Marine’s life. His parents spent nearly three years in a Fisher House; and Marine Cpl. Jake Schick, a wounded warrior who attracted the attention of Clint Eastwood and landed a role in the blockbuster film “American Sniper.”  Schick met his wife in a military hospital.  Throughout his recovery she stayed in a Fisher House.  The program is hosted by KARN, Little Rock afternoon host Doc Thompson.  For affiliation details on “A Hero’s Best Medicine,” news/talk stations should send an email to radio@fisherhouse.org with the word “radio” in the subject line.

Baltimore Protests, SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, Clinton Foundation Scrutiny, Nepal Quake Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Iranian Navy Intercepts U.S. Ship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/28).  The tactics to curb the violent protests in Baltimore and the political aspects of the event; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case challenging the anti-gay marriage laws in four states; the ongoing scrutiny of the financial operations of the Clinton Foundation; the aftermath of the earthquake that’s taken more than 5,000 lives in Nepal; the potential candidates for president in 2016 including new possibilities Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley; and the interception of a U.S-flagged ship in the Strait of Hormuz by an Iranian Naval vessel were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, April 24, 2015

| April 24, 2015

swansonjackJack Swanson to Lead KCBS, San Francisco Programming.  Legendary spoken-word programmer Jack Swanson is named director of news and programming for KCBS “All News Radio 740AM and 106.9FM.”  CBS RADIO SVP and market manager Doug Harvill says, “Jack has a distinguished track record of leading iconic radio stations.  He’s a terrific leader with a deep understanding of how a marketkcbs-am logo leading station such as KCBS can be a trusted and active member of its community.”  Swanson served for years as vice president of programming at Cumulus Media’s KGO and KSFO, San Francisco.  He began his radio career as a news anchor/reporter for WLS, Chicago before becoming the news and program director for KGO, San Francisco.  From there he became president and general manager for KING-FM, Seattle.  He says, “Being asked to lead one of the best news teams in the country is one of those rare situations that don’t present themselves often.  I’m looking forward to contributing to the amazing growth of this legendary station in the years ahead.”

CBS RadiFruge, Thomas Involved in CBS Radio Programming Changes. Concurrent with CBS Radio Las Vegas vice president of programming Charese Fruge transferring to Houston for similar duties (and to be operations manager there), the company promotes Cat Thomas to succeed Fruge in Las Vegas. Thomas will continue as day-to-day programmer of Las Vegas’ KXTE “X107.5 – Alternative First”; talk KXNT AM & FM; and KXST “CBS Sports Radio 1140.” Senior vice president and CBS Radio Houston market manager Sarah Frazier comments, “Charese is a talented programmer and leader. Her longstanding relationships in the music industry, passion for radio, and ability to create special experiences for the listener are an integral part of why she is such a great fit for Houston. We are thrilled to have her join the Houston team, as we continue to grow and build upon our brands under her guidance.” Frugefrugecharese remarks, “This role is the opportunity of a lifetime and a chance to finally be back in the south. I am honored and am looking forward to working with the Houston team to help take these amazing brands to the next level. I have made lifelong friends in Las Vegas and appreciate them always making me look good.” Meanwhile, senior vice president and CBS Radio Las Vegas market manager Jerry McKenna states, “Cat Thomas is a veteran programming executive whose experience in this market is unmatched. He has thomascatsuccessfully programmed [CHR] KLUC for the better part of two decades and most recently, has been the driving force behind the success of our spoken-word brands. Our stations are in very capable hands.” According to Thomas, “This is a dream come true. We have the biggest brands in the market. I have loved this group since we put these stations together in 1996. None of this would be possible without the passion of our staff. As [the late Ohio State University football coach] Woody Hayes said, ‘You win with people,’ and we have great people from top to bottom.” A member of the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame, Fruge will oversee programming for hot AC KHMX “Mix 96.5”; sports outlets KIKK-AM and KILT-AM; country KILT-FM “The Bull”; CHR KKHH “Hot 95-7”; and Spanish contemporary KLOL “Mega 101.” She starts her new assignment – which will include day-to-day PD responsibilities for “Mix” and “Hot” – one week from Monday (5/4). Her resume includes on-air and programming stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, San Diego, Denver, and New Orleans. In addition to KXTE, KXNT AM & FM, and KXST, Ohio State University alum Thomas will oversee CHR KLUC “Las Vegas’ #1 Hit Music Station” and hot AC KMXB “Mix 94.1.” Eight years after being night personality at KLUC, Thomas was elevated to program director (1996); he became PD of KXNT AM & FM, KXST, and KXTE last year. Similar to Fruge, Thomas’ first day on his new job is one week from Monday (5/4). Elsewhere at CBS Radio Las Vegas, KLUC assistant program director John “J.B. King” Bernard is promoted to program director and “Mix” assistant program director/music director Jonathan “J. Love” Campbell is boosted to PD of that station. Bernard joined KLUC 17 years ago and has been APD since 2001. He previously worked in San Francisco, Phoenix, and Sacramento. With CBS Radio Las Vegas the past three years, Campbell formerly programmed in Providence, Oxnard-Ventura (California), and Reno (Nevada).

carrhowieThe Howie Carr New England Juggernaut Rolls On.  In a remarkable display of just how potent an independent regional talk radio network can be, radio/newspaper/author phenomenon Howie Carr continues to expand the reach of his Howie Carr Radio Network north into New Hampshire and southeast into Connecticut.  Bringing the growing lineup to 22 radio stations (including flagship WRKO, Boston) are WASR, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire as well as Connecticut’s WMRD, Middletown and WLIS, Old Saybrook.  On penetrating the Nutmeg State, Carr tells TALKERS, “I’ve always had a sizable audience inwliswmrd logo Connecticut, and I’m happy that my listeners there can now find me even more easily.  As a kid, I wanted to go to Wesleyan, and now I’m in Middletown — and Old Saybrook.”  Don DeCesare, president/GM of WLIS/WMRD adds, “We’re thrilled to have Howie Carr as part of our onair lineup.  Howie has been New England’s voice for years.  We’re proud to add that voice now and be his stations in Connecticut.”  Regarding this latest expansion of Carr’s network, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is only going to be a matter of months before the flood dam bursts and Howie Carr becomes a major national host eventually heard in all 50 states.  He is at the top of his game.”  Meet Howie Carr at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12.  The annual conference is on the verge of a sellout.  For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413 or click here.

medvedmichaelSalem Radio Network Welcomes Michael Medved Back. It’s a gradual return to his daily, syndicated talk radio show, but Michael Medved is slowly working his way back after treatment for throat cancer.  Medved announced his hiatus from the program back on January 30.  Now, SRN VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “We are SO grateful to have Michael Medved transitioning back into his SRN talk show.  Monday he appeared by phone, and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday he has been in his Seattle studio, hosting guests like U.S. Senator John McCain for discussion of today’s Obama apology for U.S. raids killing two hostages, plus the Senate confirmation of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General of the United States.”  Medved has been a nationally syndicated host for the past 18 years.

nj1015BattleshipNJJim Gearhart and New Jersey 101.5 Morning Show to Broadcast from Battelship New Jersey.  In recognition of Memorial Day, WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” morning host Jim Gearhart and the rest of the morning show will broadcast from the deck of the Battleship New Jersey on May 22.  In a letter inviting listeners to attend the broadcast, Gearhart writes, in part, “While the nation celebrates the start of summer this year, I invite you, your family and friends to honor the service and sacrifice of our veterans and active military during a special live broadcast of the ‘New Jersey 101.5 Morning Show’ aboard America’s most decorated battleship.  The morning show team will be on the deck of Battleship New Jersey, located on the waterfront in Camden on Friday, May 22 joined by veterans, honor guards, military agencies and state dignitaries for patriotic music, discussions and storytelling…As a Naval veteran and the father of two enlisted men, it is my privilege to commemorate our military this Memorial Day Weekend, and I encourage all active and retired servicemen and women, as well as civilians, to come enjoy the show and share their appreciation for those who make America the land of the free and home of the brave.”

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update.  The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Dr. Joy Brownebrownejoy show is added to the program schedule on WOMI, Owensboro, Kentucky…..Tom Gresham’s greshamtom“Gun Talk” adds new affiliate stations WCGO, Evanston, Illinois; WMXI-FM, Laurel, Mississippi; KFEQ, Saint Joseph, Missouri; and KELY, Ely, Nevada to its roster…..AdLarge Media reports “The National Marijuana News” program is added to the lineup at: WHIG, Colorado Springs; WPEK-AM, Asheville, North Carolina; and WNOS, New Bern, North Carolina…..Christian radio offering “The HopeLine with Dawson McAllister” is two months into syndication and already heard on nearly 100 stations including recent new affiliates: WGEN-FM, Chicago and the MyGen Radio Network; WTRJ-FM, Jacksonville; and WCLN-FM, Fayetteville, North Carolina.

talkersten logoIran Nuclear Negotiations Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of April 20-24.  The negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was the ISIS violence tied with the military action taking place in Yemen.  Coming in at #3 was the 2016 presidential prospects tied with the scrutiny of the operation of the Clinton Foundation, followed by the death of two hostages at the hands of American drones at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

| April 22, 2015

nielsen logoNielsen Announces Q1 Financials; Revenue Up 4.4%.  In announcing the numbers for the first quarter of 2015, Nielsen N.V. reports revenue was down 2.1% due to the impact of foreign exchange, but up 4.4% on a constant currency basis, compared to the first quarter of 2014.  CEO Mitch Barns states, “Nielsen’s first quarter results again illustrate the consistency of our business model and strong execution, with 4.4% total company and 10.0% emerging markets revenue growth on a constant currency basis.  These results reflect the 35th consecutive quarter of constant currency revenue growth.  In addition, we were pleased to raise our quarterly dividend 12%, as we continue to deliver on our commitment to drive ongoing shareholder value.”

rudymaxasworldSSI’s Bob and Mary Carey Host Rudy Maxa’s World Travel Show from Iceland.  Telling us that he guest hosts the program about every six weeks, Syndicated Solutions Inc. president Bob Carey says the latest show he co-hosted with his wife Mary was from the hot new destination – Iceland.  Carey’s company syndicates the “Rudy Maxa’s World” weekly travel show.  Among the things Carey discovered about the unlikely tourist destination of Iceland is that geothermal energy and technology make Iceland an ideal place to grow hothouse fruits and vegetables and that The Blue Lagoon geothermal health and wellness spa is becoming a popular destination for American and Canadian travelers who can get there in five hours from the East Coast of North America.

Odds & Sods.  WTOP, Washington Capitol Hill correspondent Dave McConnell was honored at the Capitol for his many decades of journalistic service.  McConnell was recognized by Congresswoman Eleanor Homes Nortonmcconnelldave by being entered into the Congressional Record.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Mark Warner also delivered thank you speeches in his honor.  McConnell recently celebrated his 50th anniversary with the station.  McConnell can be heard live each weekday morning and afternoon, just steps from the House floor, in his hourly “Today on the Hill” segments…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles will present a special program on the high cost of housing in Southern California on Thursday (4/23).  The station says that “not only can fewer people afford to buy a house, LA has become one of the most unaffordable rental markets in the country.  Add it up and it makes finding a place to live near your job unlikely and often prevents employers from attracting the most qualified candidates.”  The show will feature special expert guests and will be hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman.

cumulus logoNo Performance Bonuses for Cumulus Media Executives This Year.  The Compensation Committee of Cumulus Media, Inc. awarded no annual incentive compensation nor long-term incentive awards to Cumulus executives in 2014, according to a Definitive Proxy Statement filed with the SEC.  The filing notes that the Compensation Committee would have the discretion to grant the applicable target award if “Cumulus achieved budgeted EBITDA goals, and satisfied other objectives related to managing costs, developing content, achieving gains in market share, as well as successes in strategic planning and implementation and optimizing financial liquidity.  In reviewing the performance and compensation levels of the executive officers for 2014 at the completion of that fiscal year, the Compensation Committee determined that the quantitative financial performance objectives were not met at the threshold level.  As a result, no annual incentive compensation was paid for 2014.”  The filing also reports that no equity incentive awards (stock) were granted either.  “In light of the size and timing of equity award grants to the named executive officers in 2013, which awards were made in October of that year, as well as data provided by Meridian Compensation Partners LLC with respect to the compensation of the executive officers, general industry conditions and actual Company performance in 2014, the Compensation Committee did not grant any long-term incentive awards to the executive officers in 2014.”  So, what did Cumulus officers make in 2014?  Here are a few of the numbers:  president and CEO Lew Dickey earned $1,456,000 in total compensation; SVP, treasurer and CFO Joseph Hanna earned $554,125; EVP of content and programming John Dickey earned $881,192; SVP secretary and general counsel Richard Denning earned $509,942; and recently retired EVP and co-COO Jon Pinch earned $757,851.

wachsKennedyRaising Awareness for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) reports to TALKERS that she’s been assisting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with its spring campaign and was recently honored to work with six-year-old leukemia survivor Kennedy (left) as Dr. Wachs accompanied her to her first television interview on KSNV-TV.

Iran Nuclear Negotiations/Corker Bill, ObamaCare Subsidies Addressed by SCOTUS, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Baltimore Police Protests, Yemen Military Action, Ben Affleck ‘Roots’ Cover-Up Case, and Bryan Price Profanity-Laced Presser Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/21).  The controversy over the Obama Administration’s role in negotiating a nuclear program with Iran and the bill drafted by Senator Bob Corker that would give Congress the ability to approve or disapprove the final deal; the case before the Supreme Court challenging the legality of health care subsidies as provided by the Affordable Care Act; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the protests against the Baltimore police after the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody; the ongoing Saudi strikes in Yemen and the U.S.’ naval presence in the region; chatter about Ben Affleck’s plea to leave his ancestor’s history of slave ownership out of the “Finding Your Roots” program; and Reds manager Bryan Price’s dropping of 77 f-bombs in a post-game press conference were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, April 13, 2015

| April 13, 2015

masondanDan Mason Announces Retirement from CBS RADIO; Andre Fernandez to Assume President Role.  In a letter to company staffers president and CEO Dan Mason announces he’s stepping down from his post this month.  Here’s the text of his letter: “After an unforgettable eight years leading CBS RADIO, I am announcing today my retirement at the end of April.  Witnessing all that we’ve accomplished and knowing the bright future ahead for our company has not made this an easy decision.  It has been an honor and privilege to serve as president and CEO and I want to express my gratitude to all of you.  My passion and love for this industry is well known and I’ve enthusiastically watched as we’ve transformed our broadcast business and simultaneously evolved our digital product.  I couldn’t be more proud of our accomplishments – everything from creating new music formats, andcbsradio logo launching sports on FM, to the evolution of Radio.com and now Play.it, our on-demand podcast network.  We’ve made it easier than ever before for listeners to experience our content through new online, mobile and event platforms.  However, as much fun as I’ve had, it’s now time to “pivot” in my personal life.  With four kids either grown, out of the house or on their way to college, I would like to do some “retirement” type things like leisure travel and spending more time doing my favorite hobbies.  Broadcasting will always be part of my life.  I am happy to continue with CBS RADIO on a consulting basis, and I will also be doing more work for the Broadcaster’s Foundation, a cause that I believe so much in.  Finally, this fall I will be doing play-by-play for select college basketball games, a passion I followed early in my career.  I guess you never get rid of the disc jockey blood you’re born with.  Most people are lucky enough to have one great run at the helm of an organization – I’ve had two.  My thanks to Leslie Moonves who has been so supportive of every new road we traveled down since this extraordinary second time around began for me in 2007.  His desire for great content has been an inspiration for all of us and will no doubt continue to be the foundation of the company.  Thank you as well for facing everyfernandezandre opportunity with optimism and dedicating yourselves to teamwork, excellence and creativity. You have been great colleagues.  I look forward to seeing you all grow in the years ahead, adding to a long list of successes.”  CBS Corp. has announced that former Journal Communications president and COO Andre J. Fernandez will be the radio division’s new president effective next week.  The company says that Fernandez will oversee the direction and management of the division, which includes 117 stations in 26 major markets as well as a growing collection of digital assets.

cookehollandAnalysis: RAIN Summit West.  Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas covering not one but three conventions for TALKERS magazine this week.  His piece covers the RAIN Summit West, which historically precedes the annual NAB Show.  Cooke writes that it’s impossible to go out in public and not see people interacting with their iPhones so it only stands to reason that this is the new frontier on which consumers need to be reached.  He reports that on one panel dealing with podcasts, PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz extolled the virtues of the podcast format.  “Podcast listeners are P1 listeners because they have to perform a positive task” by connecting.  Pattiz reckons these “lean-forward listeners” are “much-more engaged” than “lean-back” AM/FM/TV users.  Cooke says social media was also front-and-center at RAIN and on one panel discussion, “Jumpwire Media’s Gavin McGarry sounded almost stern:  ‘Social media is NOT for marketing.  It’s about building community.  And he urged that stations take it seriously: ‘Outsourcing social media to your interns is not an option.’  Your brand is at stake.”  Read Cooke’s entire report here.

limbaughrushRush Limbaugh to Seek New Home in Indy.  In a statement from both Premiere Networks and Emmis-owned news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis, the former’s Rush Limbaugh program will cease to be heard on WIBC-FM after July 3.  The statement doesn’t say which party chose not to renew the contract nor where the show will be heard after the current deal expires.  Emmis Indianapolis SVP/market managerwibclogo Charlie Morgan comments, “Premiere has been a great partner, and Rush has been an iconic part of WIBC’s heritage and success.  WIBC has a strong lineup of live-and-local personalities delivering great radio, and we will continue to be Indianapolis’ home for listeners with a passion for conservative values and principles.”  Premiere president Julie Talbott adds, “We’ve had a wonderful partnership with Emmis for many years, including a long history of ratings success for the Rush Limbaugh Show in Indianapolis.”

lowenbergjustusCumulus Names VP/Sales … Right Now. The vice president of sales position is landed by Justus Lowenberg and it is actually for Cumulus Media‘s Right Now Traffic Network in San Francisco. Cumulus vice president of sales for news-talk Jaysson Reno remarks, “Justus will be a strong addition to our sales leadership team in San Francisco. His track record and experience will take our Right Now Traffic Network to new levels and provide maximum value for our community of listeners and advertisers.” Lowenberg comments, “With a top notch staff and elite brand of call letters, I am excited to be joining the Cumulus San Francisco team. The Right Now Traffic Network offers advertisers an unparalleled opportunity to connect with Bay Area listeners as they seek out route information in one of the most traffic congested markets in the country.” Lowenberg previously was in network sponsorship sales for iHeartMedia‘s Total Traffic Network and was national sales manager for Entravision Communications. He began his radio sales career at Infinity Broadcasting – CBS Radio in 1999 as an account executive.

kaufmannjustinWGN, Chicago to Debut Justin Kaufmann Show on April 16.  Recently recruited from Chicago public radio outlet WBEZ, Justin Kaufmann will begin his regular program on Tribune’s WGN this Thursday.  “The Download” will air from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm as reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder today (4/13).  WGN VP of content and programming Todd Manley tells Feder “The Download” is a “daily mirror on Chicago revealed in multiple chapters.  You’ll hear a variation of WGN talk soup thatwgn logo new replays pieces of interviews from earlier in the day not in ‘best of’ style, but to challenge ourselves to be more reflective and less reactive.  Justin has a passion for revealing the hidden stories in breaking news, and we’ll pack one hour each night with A-list guests, too.  We also look forward to town hall conversations on location and some deep dives into music and comedy.  You’ll be treated to a kind of sonic architecture you won’t hear anywhere else.”  Kaufmann was most recently executive producer at WBEZ, in charge of the local shows “The Morning Shift” and “The Afternoon Shift,” among others.

SmartphonesIndiana Senate Passes Resolution To Activate FM Radio In Smartphones. More specifically, Senate Resolution 28 addresses the importance of Indiana residents having a link to emergency information from broadcasts of local radio stations via their Smartphones. A chip enabling Smartphone owners to monitor FM radio stations already exists in Smartphones available in the United States. Founded in 2013 – and with partial funding from NAB Labs – wholly owned Emmis Communications subsidiary TagStation – developed the NextRadio hybrid radio Smartphone app that combines the devices’ built-in FM tuner and the Internet. Ever since September 2013, Sprint customers have been able to listen to FM stations through that carrier’s android devices. Comparable legislation is scheduled for review in other states.

Odds & Sods.  This week, WGOW, Chattanooga afternoon personality Brian Joyce will be filling in for talk host Michael Graham on WYAY, Atlanta “NewsRadio 106.7” on Tuesday (4/14) after having subbed for him earlier injoycebrian the month.  Both talk stations are owned by Cumulus Media…..Tribune’s WGN Radio is partnering with the McCormick Foundation, WGN TV, Chicago Tribune and Hoy to launch the Illinois Tornado Relief Effort 2015 to help communities struggling with the devastation caused by the April 9 tornadoes.  The Illinois Tornado Relief Effort will support nonprofit agencies providing disaster relief and recovery efforts to those communities hardest hit by the tornadoes.  The McCormick Foundation will match the first $500,000 raised at 50 cents on the dollar.  Additionally, during an interview on April 10 with Roe Conn on WGN, Chicago, Governor Bruce Rauner made a personal donation of $100,000 to the Illinois Tornado Relief Effort…..A change in formats in Spokane as iHeartRadio flips sports talk simulcast KZFS/K257FX at 99.3 to contemporary Christian branded as “UP 99.3.”…..West Virginia morning personality Kay Murray retires from West Virginia Radio Corp.-owned news/talk WAJR, Morgantown after 35 years on the air…..The NBA’s LA kfwb wlogosClippers and sports talk KFWB, Los Angeles “The Beast 980” are announcing a new exclusive multi-year broadcast rights agreement.  The station will continue to be the official radio home of the Clippers for all preseason, regular season and playoff games as well as present comprehensive year-round coverage.  Play-by-play duties will be handled by Brian Sieman in his eighth season calling Clippers action on the radio, while the “Voice of the Clippers,” Ralph Lawler, and former Clipper Michael Smith team up with Sieman to call all nationally televised games not shown on Fox Sports PRIME TICKET.   Long-time Clippers broadcaster Isaac Lowenkron will continue to host Clippers pre-game, halftime and post-game shows.  “The Beast 980” personalities George Wrighster and Brett Winterble also host “Clippers Hardcore” before every game.

daviesrichardRichard Davies Retires from ABC News Radio; Begins New Weekly Podcast Venture.  After an almost 30-year career with ABC News Radio, Richard Davies is leaving the network to pursue his own project called “How Do We Fix It?”  Davies’ venture is a weekly podcast that allows him to perform as a talk radio host, speaker and broadcaster.  This new weekly project will entail Davies and fellow journalist, Jim Meigs, former editor-in-chief of Popular Mechanics, calling on experts and seeking solutions to vital maters that concern the public — from getting out personal debt to finding better teachers for kids to the probing the future of space exploration, “How Do We Fix It?” proposes to present “positive views on challenging matters.”

itsonlasvegasRAB and NBA Partner for Las Vegas Radio Sales Event.  In partnership with the Radio Advertising Bureau, the Nevada Broadcasters Association presented a gathering of Vegas-area radio stations along with local advertising agency, marketing and client executives for “Radio. It’s On In Las Vegas!”  The April 9 event was described as a “thought leadership, content-infused networking seminar.”  Featured speakers included primetime television and radio host, best-selling author, Jeffrey Hayzlett; Bill Rose, senior vice president, Nielsen Audio; and Erica Farber, president & CEO, Radio Advertising Bureau.  For the event’s finale, top Las Vegas radio talent engaged in a roundtable during which they discussed the personal connections and relationships they form with listeners across the local community every day.  Talent included: KWNR’s JoJo Turnbaugh, KSNE’s Marco in the Morning, KOMP’s Brittney & Sparks, KLUC’s Chet Buchanan, KMXB’s Mercedes, KKLZ’s Mike O’Brian, KDWN’s John Shaffer, and KWWN’s Mitch Moss.

krokDuckTexas Motor15Chris Krok at Texas Motor Speedway.  WBAP, Dallas personality Chris Krok (pictured here at the mic) speaks to a group of listeners and some of the “Duck Dynasty” clan at the Texas Motor Speedway during his “Chris Krok and His Flock” live event promotion.  This took place just prior to the Duck Commander 500 race.  Krok MC’d “Racing with Faith,” an event that included him interviewing NASCAR drivers about their faith as well as “Duck Dynasty” stars Phil Robertson and his son Alan.  Krok tells TALKERS magazine, “We’ve been doing this great event at Texas Motor Speedway for two years now, but this was by far the most incredible one yet!  What a privilege for me to do this.”

WW1WodonFrozenFour15The Frozen Four Airs on Westwood One Sports.  The radio sports network broadcast the college hockey finals over the weekend – dubbed The Frozen Four – live from Boston’s TD Garden as the Providence Friars came back to beat Boston University in the final game, 4-3.  Pictured here is Westwood One’s Adam Wodon (left) interviewing the Friars’ Brandon Tanev (right), who scored the winning goal.

larsonlarsBarrett15First Amendment Friday Benefits Youth Athletics.  Portland-based talk show host Lars Larson is pictured here holding a Barrett .50 caliber rifle that was raffled off to benefit the St. Helen’s Girls Softball League.  The raffle was part of a series of remotes the KXL, Portland and Compass Media Networks personality does from his favorite local gun store, NW Armory.  Larson says the team asked for his help in raising funds last year and he’s been happy to help.  The league netted $34,000 from last year’s raffle and hopes to achieve similar results this year.  Larson says the league bought a small tractor for field maintenance, some automatic electronic defibrillators, and a number of other things.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

| April 8, 2015

iheartmedia logo smalliHeartMedia to Unveil Programmatic Ad Buying Platform.  Enlisting Jelli to help devise the new platform, iHeartMedia announces it’s set to debut the programmatic radio ad-buying platform for its 850-plus radio stations in addition to making the technology available to other industry operators via its sales subsidiary Katz Media Group.  Using cloud-based technology from Jelli, the platform will offer automated broadcast radio ad buying which it says is “the foundation for iHeartMedia to be able to offer its ad inventory to advertisers and agencies looking to leverage programmatic and automated technology including private market place and exchange environments to improve the buying process and reduce administrative hurdles and delays.”  Further, the company asserts, “the new,jelli logo programmatic solution will also allow iHeartMedia to apply its rich data and insights to the planning process and will utilize data sets to enable unique forms of targeting, such as music-based psychographic groups, weather and traffic patterns, purchase behavior and other environmental, population and consumer trends.”  Additionally, Katz Media Group, the top national sales firm katz mg logorepresenting more than 275 radio broadcasters including iHeartMedia, Cumulus, Entercom, Cox Media Group and others, will launch ‘Expressway from Katz,’ the first industrywide programmatic buying ad exchange at scale for the radio industry’s most important players, which also uses the same technology.   Katz Media Group president Mark Rosenthal says, “As the top national sales firm representing many great radio companies, we felt it was critical that radio take the lead.  Expressway from Katz will deliver the capabilities and speed of automation and programmatic to all of our radio companies as we bring the power of radio to advertisers, providing unprecedented scale and customer knowledge.”  Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “This partnership is an innovative milestone for the radio industry.  Radio has always provided unmatched value, and now we can bring today’s data sources, targeting at scale and the speed, ease and precision of programmatic buying to our advertising partners, matching or exceeding the capabilities of any other media sector.”

gallianimelissaGalliani Elevated to KGO, KSFO GSM.  Three-year KGO and KSFO, San Francisco senior account manager and “team leader” Melissa Galliani is boosted to general sales manager of the Cumulus Media talk siblings. Cumulus vice president of sales for news/talk Jaysson Reno comments, “Melissa’s long-term association with KGO and KSFO makes her an invaluable asset within our company. Her high level of integrity, dedication, and track record made her the perfect fit for this well-deserved promotion.” Galliani – who possesses a San Francisco State University Bachelor’s degree and a Dominican University MBA in Team Leadership – states that she is “excited” and “pleased to be a part of the management team of KGO and KSFO, two brands that I hold close to my heart. I appreciate the opportunity to work with the radio stations in this new capacity. I will continue to value the team spirit for reaching our goals individually and collectively, and for meeting the needs of our marketing partners and advertisers.” After beginning her media career at KGO in 2000 as an account executive, Galliani was in business development at San Francisco’s KNTV-TV; local sales manager for KFRC, San Francisco; and KSFO’s local sales manager.

frebergstanStan Freberg Dead at 88.  TALKERS magazine mourns the passing of radio and advertising legend Stan Freberg, who died Tuesday in Santa Monica, California at the age of 88.  Freberg’s career covered just about all of the media bases – radio, television, publishing, records and advertising – and his humor was deemed as effective no matter into which medium he delved.  TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey observes, “For those who may be under the impression that the video age has diminished the effectiveness of the audio arts, one need only look to the supremely creative work of Stan Freberg to see how wrong that impression is.  He was, and still is, an inspiration to any who are working to create attention-grabbing audio.”  See The New York Times’ obituary of Freberg here.

weismanstevenCan and Should You Censor a Political Ad?  TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes today about the case involving Chicago’s ABC TV outlet and its refusal to run a political ad from a PAC.  The case raises the issues of just what are the legal responsibilities of a broadcast outlet when I comes to political advertising?  Does a station even have to accept political advertising at all?  These and more questions are addressed by Weisman in the murky arena of political advertising on broadcast stations.  Read it here.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallMichael Harrison Chats with Dr. Joy Browne on Podcast “Up Close and Far Out” – Also Discusses the Relationship Between Information and the Fabric of Reality.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison engages in a fascinating, candid dialogue with syndicated radio psychologist Dr. Joy Browne on the fifth and latest installment of his weekly podcast series “Up Close and Far Out” on the platform, PodcastOne.com.  Harrison and Browne tackle a variety of issues including the impact of the digital age on human thinking and social relationships, as well as the past, present and future of advice-giving in talk media.  They talk about the importance of credentials, transparency and credibility in “doctor” shows, generational differences in the modern era and the state of the cinema and live theater in America.  The podcast also includes Harrison’s ongoing observations about the relationship between media, technology and the wiring of the human nervous system.  He boldly suggests that the “digital era,” in which we are rapidly becoming immersed, will not last as long as the “analogue era” from which we are exiting and that an even larger, more important era of human technological development is waiting in the wings, perhaps only 20 years down the road.  Harrison states that this next era (that he cites on the podcast) will create changes in humanity that will make the current digital period seem quaint and primitive by comparison.  To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” player located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS and RadioInfo websites.

HD Radio LogoUpdate: HD Radio Passes Benchmark. Several more car models – including the Mazda Miata MX-5, Nissan Maxima, and the Scion iA and iM – will have iBiquity Digital‘s HD Radio as standard equipment. That brings HD Radio’s total to over 200 vehicle models and iBiquity Digital chief operating officer Jeff Jury comments, “This is a tremendous milestone. More listeners are tuning in than ever before. Millions of new vehicle owners will get to enjoy HD Radio broadcasting. A record number of HD Radio-equipped vehicles have been sold this year. This is another step toward complete standardization of digital radio across North America.” The announcement was made at last week’s New York International Auto Show. Other vehicles that will offer HD Radio are the Honda Civic, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Optima, Lexus RX, Mitsubishi Outlander, and Toyota RAV4. More than 100 vehicle models are integrating digital radio technology as standard equipment.

boldgoldfounationBold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation Names Board of Directors.  In an effort to “help prepare tomorrow’s frontline communicators,” Bold Gold Media – operator of nine commercial radio stations in Northeast Pennsylvania and Upstate New York – is establishing the Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation.  The foundation will focus its efforts on providing funding and resources to educational organizations that train tomorrow’s broadcast and media leaders.  Now, Bold Gold president Vince Benedetto announces the board of directors for the foundation.  It includes: Benedetto; Ashok Divecha, business manager, Bold Gold Media Group; Bob Soper, president, Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority; Justin Moon, president, Kahr Arms; Mike Bean, president, Mohegan Sun Pocono; Doug Fink, president, Pennsylvania Paper & Supply Company; Kevin Tinkelman, owner, Kevin’s Worldwide; Doug Thomas, president, Gateway Ford; Josh Sheard, president, Sage Investments; Bud Williamson, president, Digital Radio Engineering/ Neversink Media Group; Michael Harrison, publisher & editor, TALKERS and RadioInfo; and Jimmy Wayne, musician/writer/performer/author, president, Barbershop Tours, Project Meet Me Half Way.

meterpareljonFormer WEEI, Boston Personality Jon Meterperel Debuts Podcast.  Former longtime WEEI, Boston personality Jon Meterparel is debuting his new sports talk podcast with ONE World Sports on April 10.  Dubbed, “The Meter Is Running,” the program promises to “deliver to fans insightful, lively – and occasionally controversial — conversations with some of the top influencers and stars in global sports.  The show will be distributed on iTunes, social media platforms and ONEWorldSports.com.”  Guests appearing for the first show are Sports Illustrated senior writer and MLB Network analyst Tom Verducci, offering his take on the 2015 MLB season’s hottest teams and players; and, reflecting on his NHL days, Stanley Cup-winning former New York Rangers coach “Iron” Mike Keenan, now coaching the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) 2014 championship team Metallurg MG.  Future guests are to include: ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney, actor and producer Mike O’Malley and former “Saturday Night Live” writer and “30 Rock” executive producer Robert Carlock.

Odds & Sods.  Alabama talk hosts Matt Murphy and Dale Jackson are now heard in multiple markets after Cumulus Media made the move to expand their presence.  Murphy is based at the company’s news/talk WAPI, Birmingham, in middays and is now also heard on WLWI, Montgomery, Alabama and WVNN, Huntsville.  Jackson is based at WVNN, Huntsville and is now also heard in mornings on WAPI…..Derek Fogel is promoted from executive producer to program director for Max Media-owned sports talker WXLT, Marion, Illinois “103.5 ESPN Southern Illinois.”  Fogel will also serve as morning drive sports anchor for Max Media’s sister news/talk WJPF.

Rand Paul Announces Bid for President, California Drought, Iran Nuclear Negotiations, Religious Freedom Act/Indiana Pizza Joint Case, Russia Hacks White House Allegations, Yemen Military Action, SC Cop Charged with Murder, Rahm Emanuel Wins Re-Election Runoff, and MLB Season Opens Among Top News Stories Yesterday (4/7).  Kentucky Senator Rand Paul officially announces his bid for president in 2016; the debate over the reasons for the California drought; the negotiations with Iran over the progress of its nuclear program; controversy over the various religious freedom acts and the case of the Indiana pizza joint threatened for supporting that state’s law; allegations the Russians are responsible for hacking the White House’s computer system; the Saudi-led military action taking place in Yemen; the case of the South Carolina police officer charged with murder for shooting a black motorist in the back as he fled a traffic stop; Rahm Emanuel survives a runoff election to remain mayor of Chicago; and the start of the 2015 baseball season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

| April 7, 2015

costarebeccaposedProfile: ‘The Costa Report’ Host Rebecca Costa.  TALKERS magazine managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian profiles the host of the weekly talk radio program “The Costa Report” in a piece published today (4/7) in TALKERS magazine.  The life and work of Rebecca Costa is almost as amazing as the information she pulls out of her guests and the news and data she relates during her two-hour weekly broadcast.  A glimpse into Costa’s head shows why she is different than many people who host talk radio programs.  She tells Kinosian that her childhood as the daughter of two scientists meant daily discussions about science and public policy.  “That was how we ate dinner,” matter-of-factly points out Costa, who lived with her family in Laos during the Vietnam War.  “We entertained ourselves with science and policy. Even though I veered out of the engineering field into biology, I believe physics is easy because there are rules that govern the physical universe.  Once you learn the rules, everything works that way.  What we know about biology though is very limited.  It is much more complex than physics will ever be; I like things that are difficult and multi-faceted.”  Costa’s show formula involves a deep discussion with a guest – a sort of Charlie Rose-type approach.  “Hour one of ‘The Costa Report’ has an in-depth interview, while the second hour features a commentary, roundtable, and technology/legal update.  I use the same formula every single time because repetition equals perfection.  You cannot perfect anything unless you have repeatability.  That is a primary tenet in science, but apparently, people in radio do not know about it.  Even with the best show in the world and if you [integrate] systems where you can increase quality, it still does not matter if you cannot make money.”  Read more of Mike Kinosian’s profile of Rebecca Costa here.

curtiskubyBestDayEverCumulus Partners with Chevy for Food Giveaway.  Dubbed #BestDayEver, Chevy partnered with Cumulus Media to promote a series of free food giveaways in markets across the country on April 1.  Numerous food trucks in markets including New York, Chicago, Nashville, Kansas City, and Minneapolis provided free food to the first to line up for the meal.  Pictured here are WABC, New York midday duo Curtis Sliwa (left) and Ron Kuby (right) enjoying a slice of pizza from NY Pizza in Midtown Manhattan while promoting the Chevy #BestDayEver event on their show.  Cumulus says that the surprises continued for local firemen and policemen in all five markets, when the food trucks pull into their stations with surprise food drops.  Delighted breakfast and lunch-goers were encouraged to share their thanks using #BestDayEver, which generated almost 874,000 social impressions by Cumulus fans alone.  Radio fueled the promotion with on-air live mentions and social pushes letting fans know when and where surprise food trucks were going to pop up.  Onsite video crews captured the action in real time and sent edited content to Chevy’s LIVE YouTube video stream.  Chevy’s channel generated 3 million viewers during an eight-hour live stream on Chevrolet’s YouTube channel and received 600 comments a minute.

Odds & Sods.  Sports media personality Rich Eisen is now being heard in Central Florida as his DirecTV-produced and Fox Sports Radio Network-distributed TV/radio simulcast is being cleared on “SportsTalkFlorida” – a format being aired on Genesis Communications’ WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando…..In Los Angeles, all-news KNX is presenting its monthly “Ask the Mayor” program this Thursday (4/9) as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti sits in the “hot seat” to take listener calls and Tweets.  KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman host the show…..Chicago radio icon Milt Rosenberg returns to the Windy City airwaves on suburban WCGO (Evanston) to host a daily 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm program.  The 90-year-old Rosenberg hosted “Extension 720” for nearly 40 years on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago prior to exiting the station in 2012.

Rolling Stone UVA Rape Story Case, Religious Freedom Act/Indiana Pizza Joint Story, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Iran Nukes Talks, Militant Islamic Violence, and Wisconsin-Duke Championship Game Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/6).  The report by the Columbia School of Journalism on the Rolling Stone UVA Rape Story and the admission of failings by the magazine; the various religious freedom acts and the case of the small-town Indiana pizza joint that’s been the target of activists for supporting the act; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the controversy over the Obama Administration’s negotiations with Iran over its future nuclear policy; the cases of violence being perpetrated by militant Islamic organizations; and the NCAA Men’s Championship game between Duke and Wisconsin were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, April 3, 2015

| April 3, 2015

kinosianmikePPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian provides another thorough ratings assessment, as he updates the status of all-news outlets. You might recall that in January, the format – albeit with a qualifying database of approximately 20 stations in PPM markets – managed to do something rather astounding: It kept all of them out of negative “Holiday” 2014 – January 2015 territory. The natural question now is: Did the format keep this incredible momentum going? Using data from Nielsen Audio‘s February 2015 PPM survey, Mike examines the performances of all-news facilities in sweep-to-sweep and year-to-year comparisons, as well as charting them in terms of 6+ rank andPPM Monitor 6+ market share. Additionally, we have a side-by-side look of the format’s ultra-impressive January numbers and – in some cases – ironically similar February stats. See the exclusive all-news analysis and overview here.

demaiocarlKOGO Adds DeMaio For Midday Duty. San Diego talker KOGO is pairing Carl DeMaio and  Bob “Sully” Sullivan as co-hosts of the 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm “DeMaio – Sullivan Report.” KOGO program director Brian Long comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Carl DeMaio to our lineup. I have no doubt that, with his experience as a government watchdog and his inside knowledge of politics, this will be the most talked about show in San Diego.” According to DeMaio, “Our show will give San Diegans a vehicle to learn not only about important issues, but to get involved in making a difference and advancing solutions.” In addition to focusing on local news, the three-hour weekday program on theKOGO  iHeartMedia-owned station will combine investigative journalism to examine stories behind the stories. The 40-year-old, Dubuque, Iowa-born DeMaio (Republican and openly gay) previously served four years (2008 – 2012) on San Diego’s city council representing district five. DeMaio lost to former congressman Bob Filner in San Diego’s 2012 mayoral contest and he was defeated by incumbent Scott Peters two years later in a race for California’s 52nd congressional district seat. He is a Georgetown University alum.

mohrjayMohr Wins Big By Horsing Around. As part of its March Madness “Celeb Pick ‘Em” series, USA Today‘s “For the Win” featured an interview with Fox Sports Radio host Jay Mohr. Within the piece, the star of the 2008 – 2010 CBS-TV sitcom “Gary Unmarried” (which co-starred Paula Marshall) revealed how a bet he made on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament netted him an unusual payoff. It was 16 years ago (1999) and St. John’s was making a run to the “Elite Eight” under head coach Mike Jarvis. Mohr was wagering with a friend who kept saying, “Double or nothing.” His friend – a jockey at Santa Anita racetrack – eventually ran out of money. If St. John’s went another round in the tournament, the friend told Mohr he’d give Mohr the horse on which he (the jockey) was sitting. St. John’s – and Mohr – won but since the actor/comedian had a small yard, the horse was not with him very long. For the record, the St. John Red Storm beat Maryland 76 – 62 in the infamous game-winning bet for Mohr, but lost to Ohio State in a squeaker (77 – 74) the next round. According to Mohr, the primary excuse someone should offer for missing work to watch the Final Four should simply be that you are going to watch the tournament. “If you are not in a sports-friendly work environment,” he says, “I would fake a birth.” It is Mohr’s contention that talk radio show callers should push the envelope and “make the hostFox Sports Radio uncomfortable. The crazier they are, the more fun we have when we play it later when we run out of ideas of our own.” So – how did Mohr do with his NCAA brackets this year? Not bad. He correctly has Kentucky and Michigan State in the Final Four, but also included Iowa State and Ohio State, rather than Wisconsin and Duke. He had Duke losing to San Diego State in the third round and Wisconsin falling to Ohio State in the Elite Eight. His prediction for the final game is that Kentucky’s Wildcats will beat Michigan State’s Spartans.

wfan logo (2)francesamikeNewsday Reports Tense Relations Exist Between WFAN Sports Talk Legend Mike Francesa and CBS Brass.  According to a report yesterday in Newsday (4/2), sports talk WFAN, New York afternoon star Mike Francesa says his relationship with executives at the station’s parent CBS Radio have “never been worse.”  In a story written by Neil Best, the iconic media figure who will be delivering the welcoming keynote at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12, has described his relationship with company brass as “very poor,” “awful” and “terrible.”   According to the story, speaking during a break in his show at the Hard Rock Cafe in Manhattan, Francesa said that for legal reasons he cannot go into detail about the nature of the dispute. But he acknowledged one source of tension is his ongoing frustration over his often pre-empted simulcast on Fox Sports 1 and 2, and CBS’ inability or unwillingness to find a contractual solution.   The story goes on to report, Francesa did not name the executives with whom he is at odds, but he specifically excluded CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves, who was a target of harsh criticism from him after Moonves fired Don Imus in 2007.  What does Moonves make of Francesa’s status with CBS in 2015? “We love Mike,” he said. “He’s done a great job . . . Let him keep doing what he’s doing and getting the ratings he’s doing and I’m very happy with him.”  TALKERS magazine’s annual feature “The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America” (also known as the “Talkers Sports Talk Heavy Hundred”) lists Francesa consistently as being THE most important radio sports talk host in the business  — local or national – and has been described by Michael Harrison as “one of the treasures of the talk media industry, sports talk or otherwise.”  Ironically, Harrison has also described the executives that run CBS Radio, with whom Francesa is likely at odds, as “among the smartest and classiest in the business.”  So it would be to the benefit of all parties concerned, including Francesa’s legion of devoted fans and detractors alike, that this dispute is soon settled.  To read the entire Newsday piece, please click here.

proffittProffitt to Pacifica Foundation Radio as Executive Director. In just over five weeks (6/11), former KUHF, Houston chief executive officer and general manager John Proffitt will take over as executive director of Pacifica Foundation Radio. Pacifica national board chair and interim executive director Margy Wilkinson states, “We have spent much of the past year stabilizing Pacifica after a turbulent time. Bringing on permanent, experienced leadership is the next step. While Pacifica still faces significant challenges, I am confident that John can see us through them and put our network back on a path of growth.” National board vice chair Lydia Brazon remarks, “John’s significant experience in radio broadcasting speaks for itself, but it is his recognition of Pacifica’s unique place in today’s media landscape that impresses most. I fully trust John Proffitt can and will rise to the challenge.” Proffitt comments, “I deeply admire the Pacifica commitment to independent news and feature reporting that tell the stories other media outlets frequently ignore or soft-pedal. Its leadership in broadcasting and promoting local art andPacifica Foundation Radio performance is second-to-none, as is its grassroots support from the community. I consider Pacifica to be a national treasure and feel honored to work for its success.” Recording engineer and producer Proffitt spent 25 years at KUHF; more recently, he was a volunteer fundraiser/host (“Thresholds” and “Open Journal”) at Pacifica Houston’s noncommercial KPFT. He will be based in Pacifica’s Berkeley, California headquarters. The five noncommercial stations Pacifica operates are WBAI, New York; KPFK, Los Angeles; KPFA, San Francisco; KPFT, Houston; and WPFW, Washington, DC.

WABC LogoWABC to Report from the Final Four. In harmony with Cumulus Media sibling Westwood One, New York City talker WABC will have a presence during this weekend’s “Final Four.” Sports reporter Mike Gunzelman will broadcast from radio row in Indianapolis with extended sports reports within “[Don] Imus in The Morning,” “The Geraldo Rivera Show,” and “Right Now with Doug McIntyre.” According to program director Craig Schwalb,”With the continuing dialoguePrint surrounding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and all the excitement that is college basketball, it is an important intersection; WABC will be in Indianapolis for all of it.” Reports will be featured in newscasts as well as in social media. WABC will produce two live streaming programs, which will debut tomorrow (Saturday, 4/4) and Sunday (4/5) at 12:00 Noon. Live sports streams are separate from the station’s main WABC Radio stream.

KFWBKFWB, Clippers to Host Fan Appreciation Night. Flagship outlet of the NBA‘s Los Angeles Clippers – all-sports KFWB “The Beast” – will present a fan appreciation night one week from Monday (4/13) when the Clippers play the Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Various prizes and merchandise will be distributed throughout the game, and a halftime presentation willLos Angeles Clippers acknowledge “Beast” on-air personalities and station executives. Performances from the Clippers Spirit will tap things off as part of a 5:30 pm fan festival. Among the prizes is an MVP package that includes Clippers playoff tickets in the private suite of “The Beast” and a meet/greet with a Clippers’ broadcaster.

NAB LogoNAB Reveals Radio Board Election Results. Those voted to the National Association of Broadcasters’ radio board include: Bill Coleman, owner, Team Radio Marketing Group of Ponca City, Oklahoma. Bruce Goldsen, president and general manager, Jackson Radio Works of Jackson, Michigan. Randy Gravley, president and chief executive officer, Tri-State Communications of Jasper, Georgia. Bill Hendrich, vice president and market manager, Cox Media Group Jacksonville. Ed Henson, president, Henson Media of Louisville. Beth Neuhoff, president and chief executive officer, Neuhoff Communications of Springfield, Illinois. Bob Proffitt, president and chief executive officer, Alpha Media of Portland (Oregon). Their two-year terms will begin in two months (June).

KXKSAlbuquerque Picks Up A Sports Outlet. Newcomer to the format in Albuquerque is KXKS, which transitions to sports from a religious teaching format. According to general manager Eddy Aragon, “We are excited to bring the premier Fox Sports network to the most powerful sports radio signal in the Albuquerque market. Listeners will be able to tune to the 10,000-watt signal of KXKS [at 1190 AM], plus the simulcast signal on 107.5 FM.” Rock of Talk LLC operates KXKS under an LMA with licensee Wilkins Communications. The religious format that previously aired on KXKS moves to Wilkins’ KKIM. KXKS was not among the 21 stations listed in Nielsen Audio‘s fall 2014 ratings book.

KRFTcorcoranSt. Louis Sports Outlet Augments On-Air Lineup. Leased by web-based programming provider TalkSTL.com, sports talk KRFT, St. Louis brings in J.C. Corcoran for 7:00 am – 9:00 am duty and Kevin Slaten for 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm chores on the AM day-timer. In just over two weeks (4/20), former East St. Louis, Illinois-licensed WQQX talents Howard Balzer and Charlie “Tuna” Edwards will begin doing a daily 11:00 am – 1:00 pm program. TalkSTL.com co-owner and operator Scott Gertken comments, “We could not be more excited about the lineup we were able to finalize. We have done a whole lot in 10 days.” According to Corcoran, his morning drive show “will be exactly the same thing I have been doing. Anybody who listens to the show is going to hear J.C. Corcoran – they know what they are going to get. It will be a general interest talk show, entertainment, and a heavy dose of my twisted mind.” Gertken says he hopes to have KRFT as a 24-hour operation by next month.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The SBG-syndicated Marilu Henner program is added to the program schedule at: KINX-FM, Great Falls, Montana; WLAD, Danbury, Connecticut; WTHU, Thurmont, Maryland; and WOMI, Owensboro, Kentucky.

talkersten logoReligious Freedom Act Controversy Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of March 30-April 3.  The chatter about Indiana’s religious freedom legislation and Governor Mike Pence’s promise to “fix” the law – along with Arkansas’ vow to pass a similar law – was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week.  Coming in at #2 was the Iran nuclear program negotiations.  Following at #3 was the investigation into the downing of Germanwings Flight 9525, followed by the 2016 presidential prospects at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It’s published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

| April 2, 2015

mcvaymikeCumulus Media and Programmer McVay Renew Vows.  With Cumulus Media since September of 2011, programming and management pro Mike McVay agrees to a contract extension with Cumulus Media in which he takes on the new title senior vice president, content & programming for the company.  His old title was SVP, corporate/programming.  McVay reports directly to EVP, content & programming John Dickey.  In a press statement, Cumulus notes that McVay is “a 40-year programming professional with consulting, management, ownership, sales, programming and on-air experience, and has developed andcumulus logo launched several nationally syndicated programs.  He has programmed more than 800 stations around the world, including stations across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Grand Cayman and Puerto Rico.  In 1984, McVay and his wife Doris McVay launched McVay Media, a programming consultancy recognized around the world as the leader in its field.  He has also owned or managed radio stations in Honolulu, Cleveland, Naples, Key West and Flint, Michigan.  McVay was also one of the founding partners of Listener Driven Radio (now Futuri Media).  McVay comments, “I’m thrilled to continue to work for John and Lew and with the entire corporate programming team.  Cumulus has added, and continues to add, some brilliant minds to the management and programming teams.  The platform we have, the products and brands we’re developing, and what’s on the horizon makes this one of the best companies to work at in this industry…worldwide.  We’re having fun!”

douglasdwightDwight Douglas Pens Provocative Work of Theological Fiction.  Noted veteran broadcaster and writer Dwight Douglas – VP marketing, RCS Sound Software — has written and published a fictitious book that takes on and explores some of the core issues of theology and philosophy.  Titled, If God Could Talk… The Diary of a TV Journalist (CreateSpace 2015), the story involves a fictitious cable TV talk show in which the concept and question of what God would say if He could talk through the vehicle of such a platform is explored.  In it, Douglas amply displays his knowledge about modern talk media in addition to hisdouglasdwightbookcover personal thoughts on the deeper issues of existence.  He presents the questions why do most of the world’s great religions act as middlemen and interpreters of what God intends for humanity?  Why can’t God just speak for Himself directly and if he did, what might he say?  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Dwight Douglas has always been an extremely independent and creative ‘idea guy’ all the way back to his days as a major rock radio programmer.  He really shines as a writer – as indicated by this powerful, courageous book — and as a marvelous guest discussing it on both radio and TV talk shows.  Considering the central role religion plays in most of today’s tense international issues, this book couldn’t be more timely for talk radio conversation.”  To learn more about If God Could Talk… The Diary of a TV Journalist and scheduling Dwight Douglas as a talk show guest, please click here.

Odds & Sods.  There’s a new local voice on iHeartMedia’s KOGO, San Diego “News Radio 600.”  The station has brought former City Councilman Carl DeMaio aboard to partner up with current afternoon personality Bobdemaiocarl Sullivan and host the newly re-titled “DeMaio-Sullivan Report” from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  De Maio is a 40-year-old Dubuque, Iowa native who served one four-year term on the City Council as a Republican from District 5…..Cumulus Media splits the simulcast of sports talk on WSJZ-FM and WLZR-AM in Brevard County Florida.  Sports remains on WLZR-AM but WSJZ-FM flips to rock…..Cumulus Media promotes Mike Fadelli to vice president, sales for the San Francisco music stations KFOG, KSAN and KSJO.  Previously he oversaw sales at Cumulus sports talkers KNBR, KTCT and Entercom‘s sports KGME-FM.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutMichael Harrison Discusses Monica Lewinsky’s TED Talk, Rips Presidents and Politicians of Both Parties, and Interviews Linda Ronstadt.  The fourth in the new weekly podcast series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” is posted at PodcastOne (PodcastOne.com). It presents the publisher of TALKERS and RadioInfo reflecting upon the recent TED Talk delivered by Monica Lewinsky.  The famous – perhaps, infamous — White House intern who found herself embroiled in the center of one of the most sensational presidential scandals in history surfaces with compelling personal insights about her experiences as a 22-year old from the perspective of being a 40-year old, and sheds new light on the internet’s impact on what she describes as the “shame industry.”  Harrison, known for his steadfast adherence to a non-partisan political posture other than his staunch support the First Amendment, springboards off Lewinsky’s remarks and shares provocative comments about his distrust of politicians – left and right – and admonishes the media that ganged up on Lewinsky for giving “figurative oral sex” to presidents and politicians of both parties for years.  Harrison also presents his recent, compelling interview with Linda Ronstadt and talks about his days as a golden-eared radio PD who has come to recognize how difficult it is to accurately predict what kind of music anyone will really like in a media-fractured marketplace.  The podcast can be heard directly by clicking here or by clicking on the special “Up Close and far Out with Michael Harrison” player located in the right hand column of both the TALKERS and RadioInfo websites.

Indiana’s Religious Freedom Act, Iran Nuclear Negotiations, Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah Flap, New ISIS-al Qaeda Violence, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Germanwings Flight 9525 Investigation, California Issues Water Restrictions, and Cynthia Lennon’s Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/1).  The controversy over the religious freedom law passed in Indiana and a similar law proposed in Arkansas; the tenuous negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; the flap over perceived anti-American jokes made by new ‘Daily Show’ host Trevor Noah; recent spates of violence perpetrated by ISIS, al Qaeda, and Boko Haram; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the investigation into the downing of Germanwings Flight 9525; new water restrictions for California and its worst drought in recent history; and the death of John Lennon’s first wife Cynthia were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, March 30, 2015

| March 30, 2015

garciatonySix Tips for Success in Syndication.  The syndication game in the radio business has gotten so much more competitive over the years that today one must have a well-thought out and almost flawlessly executable plan in order to successfully bring a radio show to a national audience.  That warning doesn’t mean it can’t be done – it’s just gonna be real hard.  But Global Media Services principal Tony Garcia – a veteran of the radio and syndication businesses – writes in TALKERS magazine that a quick rundown of his six-point checklist can let you know whether or not you have a reasonable shot.  Point #1 is Know Your Product.  Sound easy?  Read more here.

ramseyDallas15Dave Ramsey Does Dallas. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar and New York Times best-selling author, Dave Ramsey is pictured here on stage at the Verizon Theater in Dallas where he hosted his “Smart Conference.”  This day-long event took place on Saturday, March 28 and included Ramsey, along with Chris Hogan, John O’Leary, Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. Les Parrott, Dr. Meg Meeker and Michael Jr. providing attendees with essential information on how to win with money, strengthen their marriages, build parenting skills and excel in their careers.  Ramsey also hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” in Dallas on Friday, March 27 during which Ramsey and Hogan spoke about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 400 employees.  Ramsey partnered with CBS RADIO-owned local affiliate KRLD-AM “Newsradio 1080” to promote the appearances.

gallagherFergusonPlayposterMike Gallagher to Play Roles in Ferguson: The Play.  Nationally syndicated talk radio pro Mike Gallagher – whose program is heard around the nation via Salem Radio Network – will take part in a controversial stage production in Los Angeles based on the shooting death of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson.  Regular TALKERS magazine readers are aware that Gallagher is, in addition to his radio work, an accomplished stage actor.  Hegallaghermike appeared on Broadway in the musical Memphis and who took home a TONY Award as one of the investors in the 2014 Broadway revival of Pippin.  In this production, based on the Grand Jury witness testimony, Gallagher will play three roles: a lawyer, a forensic toxicologist and a medical examiner.  At the end of the production, the theatre audience will be asked to judge whether or not Darren Wilson should have been indicted.  The play will be presented at the Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles for four nights – April 26-29.  The producers of the Phelim McAleer-written and Nick DeGruccio-directed play hope to bring it to the stage in Ferguson itself.

brandmeierUnhingedlogoJohnny B’s ‘Talk Unhinged’ Debuts on Westwood One Today.  Stating that the program is debuting on 100 affiliate stations across the country, Westwood One announces the new Jonathon Brandmeier show is called “Talk Unhinged,” and the company says it’s “an entertaining, offbeat look at news, pop culture, and sports–from the big trending topics to the stories about to fall through the cracks–combined with celebrity interviews and free-wheeling audience interaction.”  It airs live from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET and launches on such Cumulus Media stations as: home base WLS-AM Chicago; KABC-AM, Los Angeles; KLIF-AM Dallas; WWBA-AM, Tampa; KKAT-AM, Salt Lake City; WPRV-AM, Providence; and KTBL-AM, Albuquerque; among others.

pagetommyCumulus Media Recruits Tommy Page for New Executive Role.  Former Pandora, Billboard and Warner Bros. Records exec Tommy Page is now with Cumulus Media as senior vice president of brand partnerships  where he’ll focus live events for that division of the company.  In this position Page will report directly to president and CEO Lew Dickey, who comments, “As an artist and marketer, Tommy is a natural choice to create meaningful connections between artists, brands and their passionate fans through immersive and measurable marketing experiences.  Tommy has a deep understanding of the live experience and helping advertisers bring their brands to life with unique partnerships.”

veatanyaVea Promoted at KSL in Salt Lake City.  The new title for Tanya Vea at Bonneville International’s KSL radio and TV is vice president and general manager of KSL-TV and KSL Newsradio.  She has served as vice president station manager at KSL since April 2014, overseeing news, programming, marketing, operations and engineering.   According to a story in the Deseret News, she now assumes responsibility for all operating departments, including sales.  Bonneville president Darrell Brown comments, “Tanya will be an outstanding general manager. She has been a key contributor to many of the cross-platform initiatives, including the groundbreaking DMC combined newsroom for KSL and the Deseret News.  Her expanded role as general manager of KSL will now allow her to have a greater impact on the entire organization.”

Mike FezzeyEx-WJR Leader Fezzey Passes. Former WJR, Detroit president and general manager Mike Fezzey died of a heart attack on March 27 while on a business trip in Naples, Florida. The 58-year-old native Detroiter had been president/general manager of heritage talker WJR from 1994 to 2011, but for the past four years, was president of Huntington Bank‘s southeastern Michigan region. According to a WJR statement, “Mike Fezzey was a community leader; active in many charities and nonprofit activities in Michigan; and he was a leader in his church. Under [his] leadership, [Cumulus Media-owned] WJR maintained [its] position as Detroit’s preeminent radio station, and it became one of America’s leading news-talk stations.” Cross-town CBS Radio market manager Debbie Kenyon comments, “Mike was a leader in our industry for years. He was an inspiration to many in the way he transcended his career. He will be sorely missed by all of us.” Huntington Bank released a statement, which describes Fezzey as “an extraordinary member of the Huntington family who was highly committed to the Detroit area and making it a growing, vibrant community. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike’s family.” A former president of the Detroit Advertising Association, Fezzey received a Peabody Award for broadcasting excellence from the University of Georgia and the Neal Shine Award for philanthropy in journalism. In July 1996, Feezey selected Paul W. Smith to succeed the late J.P. McCarthy as WJR’s morning drive talent. On Saturday (3/28), Smith voiced a WJR commentary regarding Fezzey. Prior to being elevated to president/general manager at WJR, Fezzey was an account executive and sales manager there. His wife, Suzy, and their three adult children survive Fezzey.

brentmegCarnivalBrent & Meg Receive the Coveted ‘Poopy’ Award.  Nationally syndicated husband/wife duo Brent & Meg (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald) were recognized by the Los Angeles City Council for their role in the “Studio City Beautification” program instituted by the Studio City Resident’s Association and the City of Los Angeles to keep the streets free of unwanted dog droppings.  They are pictured at a special dinner honoring their community-mindedness at Carla’s Café, surrounding LA City Councilmember Paul Kerkorian of the second district (which includes major studios such as Universal and CBS). Meg and Brent are animal lovers and make sure that plastic mitt bags are available to “help dog owners keep our streets clean…not our movies…just our streets.”  The Brent & Meg Show now airs Monday through Friday 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET on the Genesis Communications Network (GCN) as well as on its anchor affiliate WWPG 1450, Atlantic City, New Jersey.  Brent & Meg will be serving as Official Masters of Ceremony at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12.  To register, call 413-565-5413 before it, again, sells out.

Monday, March 23, 2015

| March 23, 2015

nielsen logoNews/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 mostwtmj logo 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 wisn logodemographics, 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.

wlup logoIt’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 onmancow 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.”

wnov logoEric 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 itvoneric 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.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

| March 18, 2015

bouvardpierreBouvard Joins Cumulus Media as CMO. Former president of sales for ArbitronPierre 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 onlineCumulus 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.

nrgmediaJack 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.”

giffordRDEshotLarry 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.)

boldgoldmediagroup logoBold 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 andbenedettovince 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.

ppmunit altNielsen 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 logoNewsmax 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.”

cookecantilloWTOP 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).behindenemylines logo  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.

boomercartonTAZ15Pluggin’ 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.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

| March 14, 2015

Joe McDonnell #2Joe 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, havingJoe McDonnell - Josh Hamilton 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 Joe McDonnell #3wonderful 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 hisJoe & Elizabeth McDonnell “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.”

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

| March 3, 2015

kinosianmikePPM 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.

lopezchadLopez 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 logoCumulus 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.

FAIRHold2015Ninth 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 bdane@fairus.org or agiaritelli@fairus.org.

kiroKIRO-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.

TNM news logoPot 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 thatvoice@verizon.net.

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 twanglionel 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.

patrickTXdanpatrickTalking 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.

Cool Job Opportunity.  We are looking for a quick-witted, comedic-minded entertainer who has natural observational skills and a background in stand-up comedy, comedic acting, improv and natural timing.  If your friends think you’re hysterical, you’re the funniest person at any event, or you have a twisted view of life, this job’s for you.  Send video links of your work and resume to: comedysearch15@gmail.com.  An Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO).

Friday, February 27, 2015

| February 27, 2015

brandmeierjonathonWestwood 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 talkmillerdennis 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 westwood one NEWwell 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.

mccoysteveSteve 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 morningwyay logo new 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.”

weismanstevenWeisman: 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.

2015 NYC 150Today 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.

bohannonjimJim 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.

rogersleeRogers 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 theramseydave 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; stephandougWPBQ, 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.

hannityStigallCPAC15Hannity 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.

ramseysacramento15Dave 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.

ramseydave logoCool Job Opportunity.  Media Advertising & Sponsorship Sales, Ramsey Solutions – The Dave Ramsey Show.  This is not a normal job-posting… because this is not a job!  We have “one” incredible opportunity available, that will change your life.  The only question is “Are you that person?”  Ramsey Solutions has an opening for the right person who possesses as a minimum: Proven track-record of closing million dollar deals; Ability to deliver results for your client because you care enough to put together the right solution; Personal integrity that allows your to rise above your competition; Aptitude to hear the word ‘No’ as an opportunity; Fortitude to manage the resources of Radio, Video, Digital, Print, and Event Sponsorships to create unlimited earning potential; Strong working knowledge of what we do and “Why” it works so well every time!  This position provides the ability to represent: The Dave Ramsey Show — 3rd Largest Nationally Syndicated Talk Radio Show in the nation; 558 Radio Affiliates nationwide – 8.5 million weekly listeners; 2009 Marconi Award Winner; 2013 NAB Hall of Fame Inductee. Digital Footprint – 1.6 million weekly impressions; Podcast; Online Video Channel/App; Online Audio Stream; iHeartRadio Dedicated Channel.  Print Exposure — Two (2) Newsletters with more than 1 million subscribers combined.  Live Event Sponsorship — (20) Events each year reaching more than 75,000 in attendance.  The opportunity to prove what you can do begins now!  If you have what it takes to fill this “one” position then it’s your assignment to get our attention.  When we find this person we will commit to providing an incredible work environment, un-paralleled resources with a brand that delivers results, and the ability to control your own earning potential with no corporate imposed ceiling.  Apply online at www.daveramsey.com/careers.

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.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

| February 24, 2015

2015 NYC 150Sean 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 radiohannity (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, farberericapresident/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, Sagaboycephil 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 goldsteinsteveDistrict. 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 magazinelangmyertom 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, mocerigregpresentations, 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 logoTalkersRadio 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.

podcastone logo‘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 RNChewitthughsanctioned 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.

Friday, February 20, 2015

| February 20, 2015

entercomEntercom 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 fielddavidpresident 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 logo smalliHeartMedia 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.

nielsen logoRound 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.

wtemlogoWTEM, 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.

madisonjoeJoe 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.

ramseyDenver15Dave 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.

Monday, February 9, 2015

| February 9, 2015

wmal logoWMAL, 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.

businessrockstars radioBeers 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 beersthomAward-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, lehmanstevealong 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.”

rollinsrussWTKS-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.

triplettsteveTriplett 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.

Monday, February 2, 2015

| February 2, 2015

bubbaBubba 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.”

bohannonjimBohannon, 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.

medvedmichaelMedved 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.

mannellypatrickPatrick 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.”

brunotonyTony 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’sinnesjosh 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.”

greshamtomTom 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.”

businessrockstars radioBusiness 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 RutkowskiBusiness 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.”

Friday, January 30, 2015

| January 30, 2015

drexDreX 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.”

malzbergsteveMalzberg 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]newsmaxtv logo 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.”

levinmarkMark 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!”

worobchandWNDB, 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.

zeisepaulCBS 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.”

imusbroadway logoFifth 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!

wfanfantasyphenom5WFAN, 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…..Agermainmarc 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 brownejoyCommunications Network – is added to the program schedule at: WPTF, Raleigh; WDXR, Paducah, Kentucky; and WVFT, Tallahassee…..As noted earlier in the week, Premiere NetworksSean 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.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

| January 29, 2015

thunejohnSenate 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 fromfccnew 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.”

Mark LevinWestwood 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 myWestwood One 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.

leboncherylynLeBon 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 logoWEEI.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, shivesdrtomChicago 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.

bearmanKSCOcageTalk 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.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

| January 27, 2015

price howardGetting 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.

foxcarolynCarolyn 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.

leykistomnonameTom 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.”

Westwoon One Super Bowl AdsWestwood 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 SuperSeahawks - Patriots 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-AMXEPRS-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 theSan Diego Padres 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 withrogersmike 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 RichJohnjay 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.

WW1probowl15Busy 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.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

| January 22, 2015

ramseydaveDave 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.

carsonrobNew 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 noonplantechris 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 kcmo logotheir 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.”

ppmunitRound 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.

mcconnelldaveWTOP, 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-timewtop logo NEW 1-15 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 luciaraylive 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.

kfbklogoCool 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.

wkzoCapitolCovering 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.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

| January 20, 2015

bermanschnittTodd 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 majorwor logo 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.”

shapiroscottPremiere 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,premierenetworks new “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.

daunaisjimDaunais, 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 iswalkertim “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.

mcconnelljohnJohn 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 12:00deacesteveNEW14 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.

kcsn logoNon-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.

younglarryMLKtreeMartin 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.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

| January 13, 2015

wabcwnbm duoCumulus New York to Address Race Relations in ‘Radio Summit’ Simulcast.  News/talk WABC and urban contemporary WNBM “Radio 103.9” – both Cumulus Media properties – will present a historic radio summit “and simulcast covering some of the most pressing issues of our time.”  In the aftermath of the Ferguson grand jury decision, the Eric Garner case and the tensions between Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York Police Department, both stations will produce a 60-minute, commercial-free discussion focused on the New York City community.  The company says, “This broadcast will include substantial, heartfelt conversation discussing the issues facing the city, recounting events and proposing proactive solutions on how the city and its people can move forward.” Taking part in the discussion will be 77 WABC’s Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby, ‘Radio 103.9’ host DL Hughley and Minister Kirsten John Foy, Northeastcumulus logo Regional Director of the National Action Network.  It will air tomorrow (1/14) at 12:00 noon ET and will also stream on each station’s website.  WABC program director Craig Schwalb says, “Ultimately, our stations are here to serve the community and this historic simulcast demonstrates our commitment to our audiences in an honest, compelling way.”  WNBM programmer Ken Johnson adds, “We are happy to be a part of this extremely timely dialogue.  If we can set an example for a civil discussion and spark discourse nationally, then we have accomplished our mission.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was quick to react when learning of this development, stating, “What a powerful, productive idea and use of the enormous potential of radio as a medium of healing and education within the community it serves.  What is especially appealing about this initiative is the coming together of a heritage news/talk AM facility with a hip FM culture/music station for the purpose of aggressively and positively addressing highest-common denominator concerns.  This type of programming harnesses the inherent positive energy of consolidation.  When I hear about this kind of project it stokes my optimism about the future of radio.  Yes!”

mcconnellspudEntercom Replaces ‘Spud’ McConnell with Syndicated Show at New Orleans Sports Talker.  A longtime talk host on Entercom’s WWL, New Orleans, John “Spud” McConnell moved across the hall in 2013 to host the afternoon drive show on sports talker WWWL “3WL.”  Now, management says it’s being forced to make cuts and McConnell’s show drew the short straw.  Entercom New Orleans vice president and general manager Chris Claus tells the Times-Picayune’s David Lee Simmons that “I love Spud.  He’s a great entertainer, he’s a great host, he’s a great actor, he’s great in theater, he’s great in TV, and he’s great in the movies.  But, unfortunately, we had a position to eliminate and his was the one.”  The station will carry NBC Sports Radio Network’s “Under Center” with Donovan McNabb and Mark Malone.  Claus also told the paper he’d consider bringing McConnell back to news/talk WWL but there’s no opening for a host there right now.

felgermassarottiCBS RADIO Extends ‘Felger & Mazz Show’ at ‘98.5 The Sports Hub’ in Boston.  Afternoon drive sports talkers Mike Felger and Tony Massarotti have re-signed with CBS RADIO’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” on a multi-year deal.   As part of the new deal, Massarotti will write two columns per week for www.cbsboston.com and will host “The Baseball Reporters Show,” weeknights during the baseball season from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  CBS states in a press release that the duo “have consistently been the number-one show in afternoon drive with Men 25-54 for almost four years and running.”

bryantkimBryant Rejoins Westwood One as Executive VP of West Coast Sales.  Relocating to Los Angeles, Kim Bryant departs as Cumulus Media New York City market manager to become executive vice president of west coast sales for Cumulus-owned Westwood One. According to Westwood One president Steve Shaw, “Kim is a superb seller and a born leader. She will enhance the quality of our leadership team as we build the industry’s foremost sales organization.” Bryant remarks, “The opportunity to work with Steve Shaw and Westwood One is a dream. The New York Cumulus experience – including the people I have worked with over the last few years – has been terrific. It was a real once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I am thrilled to continue to work for Cumulus in this different capacity and I look forward to having/building success in the west.” Several years ago (2009 – 2011), Bryant was Westwood One’s regional vice president of western ad sales. Her previous background includes being president and market manager for San Francisco stations owned by Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia), and executive vice president of marketing and sales for international cable channel CineMoi. An announcement is reportedly forthcoming regarding Bryant’s replacement in New York City.

midwestcomm logoMidwest Communications to Flip WQTX, Lansing to Sports Talk.  The station will leave its country format behind and become “The Ticket 92.1 FM,” effective Monday, January 19.  Midwest Communications is working with program producer Spotlight Media Marketing Production and WQTX will continue to air non-sports morning show “Michigan’s Big Show” with host Michael Patrick Shiels, as  well as adding “Michigan’s Business Rap,” the “Griff & Grinz Show” with hosts Mike Griffith and Steve Grinczel, “The Drive” with Jack Ebling (who’s moving across town from Townsquare Media’s sports talk WVFN “The Game”), plus programming from Fox Sports Radio Network.

Odds & Sods.  From a report in the Alaska Dispatch News, Australian national Catie Quinn is being ordered to leave the country – and her gig as news director at Radio Kenai-owned news/talk KSRM, Kenai, Alaska.  Quinn’s E-3 work visa is expiring and her field is not specialized enough to allow her to stay under the E-3 conditions…..According to ESPN, consumption of its digital audio content was up in 2014.  The company says the download of its podcasts – ESPN On Demand – totaled more than 302 million last year and streaming of ESPN Audio content generated more than 7.8 billion total listening minutes, an increase of 8% over 2013…..Steve Holman is named the 2015 Georgia Sportscaster of thewtop logo NEW 1-15 Year.  Holman calls Atlanta Hawks games on CBS RADIO O&O WZGC, Atlanta “FM 92.9 The Game.”  He’s called almost 2,500 games without an absence during his almost three decades on the job…..Hubbard Washington, DC news outlet WTOP announces the release of a new mobile-optimized website as well as an interactive mobile app.  WTOP says the new site uses a “responsive” technology that formats the website appearance to match whatever device the user is on.  Other new features include expanded Living, Sports, Technology and Entertainment sections, an enhanced weather section, more photos and a “cleaner and more modern look.”

120px-WJZ-FMWJZ-FM Back as Birds’ Flagship. After Hearst Corporation talker WBAL had carried its games the past several years, the Baltimore Orioles are switching flagships to CBS Radio sports outlet WJZ-FM “The Fan.” The multi-year deal takes effect this season, with WJZ-FM being the key station across the seven-state, 34-station Orioles radio network. Baltimore’s “Fan” held rights to the team’s game from 2007 – 2010. CBS Radio Baltimore senior vice president Bob Philips declares, “This partnership with the Orioles is a great addition to our market leading #1 sports brand and platform in Baltimore.” Orioles’ vice president of communications and marketing Greg Bader comments that “The Fan” is “the ideal flagship home for the Orioles radio network. Partnering with the region’s premiere radio destination for sports fans allows us to effectively reach our diverse fan base on a daily basis and to develop valuable multiplatform marketing opportunities for our sponsors.” Joe Angel and Fred Manfra return for their twelfth season calling the team’s games.

knxonyourcornerKNX to Corner Beautiful Downtown Burbank. The 10-hour (9:00 am – 7:00 pm) visit later this month (Friday, 1/30) is part of CBS Radio-owned all-news KNX, Los Angeles’ “On Your Corner” series on local communities. Team coverage will focus on issues, events, and interesting places in Burbank – frequently referred to as the media capital of the world. “KNX Business Hour” host Frank Mottek will do his 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm broadcast from well-known Burbank eatery The Castaway, and he will be followed by Chris Sedens and Diane Thompson anchoring the afternoon news (2:00 pm – 7:00 pm). In 2013, “KNX On Your Corner” received the “Best Feature – News” Golden Mike Award from the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California.

milianolouFormer CBS Radio Newsman Miliano Passes. A 40-year national and local reporter, Lou Miliano, 67, died yesterday (Monday, 1/12) in a Pinellas Park, Florida hospice. Miliano was diagnosed with lung cancer several years ago. CBS Radio News vice president Harvey Nagler comments, “Lou was one of the unique, wonderful individuals in our business – and he was an extraordinary broadcaster. His use of sound and ability to transport the listener to the scene of the story set the standard in our industry, one that has been emulated by other broadcasters nationwide. He was expert in incorporating natural sound, vivid descriptions and visual references laced with the voices of those making or affected by news events. More than that, Lou was a joy to be around.” After beginning his career in 1967 at South Lake Tahoe, California’s KOWL, Miliano spent 12 years as a reporter, anchor, and news director at several stations around the country. Based in London as the European bureau chief for the RKO Radio Networks (1983-1989), Miliano did two tours with the Pentagon pool in the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq War and he covered the U.S. – Soviet summits in Geneva, Reykjavik, and Moscow. Miliano covered an array of stories for WCBS-AM, New York where he won Associated Press awards for “Best Continuing Coverage” for his work on the crash of TWA flight 800 and “Best Investigative Reporting.” He joined the CBS Radio Network in 1998 and retired in 2007. The Jersey City, New Jersey native attended colleges in Florida, California, and Colorado. He is survived by four daughters and three sons – there are no plans for a public funeral or memorial.

Charlie Hebdo Aftermath/Unity Rally, ISIS Hacks Pentagon Social Media, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Sinking Oil Prices/World Financial Markets Activity, and the Golden Globe Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/12).  The state of terror threats after last week’s massacre at Parisian newspaper Charlie Hebdo and the criticism against the Obama administration for not sending a high-level official to Paris unity rally; the hacking of the Pentagon’s social media network by ISIS; Mitt Romney’s possible run for president in 2016 and Paul Ryan’s statement he will not run; the continued sinking of oil prices and their effect on the world’s financial markets; and Sunday’s broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, January 12, 2015

| January 12, 2015

howellbigjohnCumulus 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.

connroeRoe 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.

rothlaurieDr. 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 membersusaRadioNetworks 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.

brooksericBrooks 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’ interestrotellapaul 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.

beckaliveeventTalk 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.

ferraranickRemembering 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.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

| January 7, 2015

bloomquistrandallRandall 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.

cristinajudgeKABC, 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.kabc logo  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.”

tylerjeffJeff 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.”

schnackejerrySchnacke 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 logoPodcastOne 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.

kleinaaronIsrael-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 hisconnectpal 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.”

cookehollandCES 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.

playit logoCBS 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 incbsradio 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 usrnsales 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.

kidd logoBuckley 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 logoCNBC 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.

Monday, January 5, 2015

| January 5, 2015

bubbaBubba 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.

carrhowieHowie 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.”

cohenshattuckBoston 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.

proftdanWLS-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.)

dealgordonNEWbannerFormer 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.

salemcommunicationsSeven 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.”

union edge logo‘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” dailyhuckabeemike 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.

sabowalterSabo: 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.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

| December 30, 2014

wheeler mikeCumulus 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.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

| December 17, 2014

mcintyredougDoug 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.

cataldiangeloCataldi 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.”

huckabeemike‘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.

hurleyharryWPGG, 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.

trn logo2Fourth 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.”

cbssportsradiologoCBS 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.”

compasslogoCompass 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 theconwaysimon 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.

Monday, December 15, 2014

| December 15, 2014

cumulus logoBig 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 companygilbertbruce 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 martindonas 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 postiheartmedia logo small 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 sportsWARM-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.

price howardSydney 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-NewsJeanne 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 logoMediaTracks 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.”

fisherhouselogoFisher 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 sgreenblatt@westwoodone.com.  Marshall Adams can answer questions about content at (412) 856-3400 or radio@fisherhouse.org.

hofstrahockeyPros 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.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

| December 11, 2014

iheartmedia logo smalliHeartMedia 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.

wmal logoStation 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.

carrhowieBoston 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 thewoailogo 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 kirofm logoup 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.

cookehollandTalkersTV 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.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

| December 10, 2014

morganbetsyBetsy 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 ourtheblaze logo 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.”

jacksondaleDIE-INWVNN, 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.

usrnUSRN 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.

rootlesFlint 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.

Friday, November 21, 2014

| November 21, 2014

harrisonherald2smallerMichael 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.

renojayssonCumulus 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.”

wgwg logoBen 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.

ramseyAustin14Dave 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.

rabRAB: 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’selswickdave 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.

bellmediaBell 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 logoMIW 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.

Monday, November 17, 2014

| November 17, 2014

srnlogoSalem 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 santrelladavidresponsibilities 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 boycephilnotably 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.

kfxr logoiHeartMedia 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.

goodmanforrestForrest 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.”

chasetomChase 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