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Clear Channel Creates Major Markets Operating Group. Executive vice president Hartley Adkins, executive vice president Tom McConnell, senior vice president Kelly Kibler and Greg Ashlock are the MMOG’s four division leaders. The latter is Clear Channel Los Angeles’ former president, who adds president of Clear Channel Southern California duties. Each leader reports to chairman/chief executive officer Bob Pittman, who states, “As a company, we continue to assess every aspect of our operations to make sure we have the right structure in place to efficiently and effectively leverage our position as the country’s leading multi-platform media and entertainment company. Our Major Markets Operating Group will collaborate with our local market management to oversee our entire spectrum of media and entertainment platforms in our largest and highest revenue-generating markets. These include everything from our core broadcast radio and its strong digital platform, whose traffic has doubled in the last year, and the extremely successful iHeartRadio digital platform, to events and our expanded coordination with Clear Channel Outdoor – all of which we are increasingly mobilizing to benefit our national and local advertising partners.” President of regional markets Matt Martin continues in his position; however, president of operations for major markets Tom Schurr departs the company. Regarding Schurr, Pittman notes, “During his tenure with us, Tom played a big role in Clear Channel becoming the media and entertainment leader it is today. All of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment joins me in thanking Tom for the many contributions he has made to our company.” Meanwhile, Pittman states Major Markets Operating Group will increase empowerment and accountability of the company’s individual market leaders.
Sullivan Takes Over Middays on WGST, Atlanta Today. Less than two years after exiting the afternoon drive slot on CBS RADIO’s then-triple A WZGC, Atlanta, Rich “Sully” Sullivan returns to the air in the market as the new 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm host on Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s news/talk WGST. Station program director Matt Shiflett says, “We are excited to have Sully join our team. His knowledge of the city and ‘man-on-the-street’ attitude will solidify 640 WGST as Atlanta’s compelling talk radio station.” Sullivan was the afternoon drive personality on WZGC “Dave FM” for six years from 2006 through 2012 before the station flipped to sports talk.
Cleveland’s “Fan” Continues as Gladiators Flagship. For the third consecutive season, CBS Radio Cleveland’s WKRK “Sports Radio 92.3 The Fan” will be the Arena Football League team’s radio outlet. According to CBS Radio Cleveland vice president/market manager Tom Herschel, “The intense, hard-hitting games of the AFL fit perfectly into our lineup.” Gladiators’ chief operating officer Mike Ostrowski comments, “We are extremely excited to continue our relationship with ‘The Fan.’ They do a great job of delivering football-related stories, updates, and content to our fans. We look forward to working with them again this season with the on-going goal of growing the Gladiators brand in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.” Doug Plagens enters his third successive year handling play-by-play, while current “Fan” personality/former National Football League player Dustin Fox will provide analysis on home games. In addition to game broadcasts and pre- and post-game shows, the station will air daily Gladiators reports each afternoon.
New Weekend Shows Added to TheBlaze Radio Network. Beginning next Saturday (3/22), TheBlaze Radio Network is expanding its lineup including new programs featuring cable news/talk personalities Will Cain and S.E. Cupp; KFMB, San Diego talk host Mike Slater and long-time radio and television producer Mike Opelka. TheBlaze Radio Networks VP of programming Dom Theodore says, “This new Saturday lineup underscores TheBlaze Radio Network’s commitment to original programming. We are absolutely thrilled to add Mike Opelka, Will Cain and SE Cupp, and Mike Slater to our already successful Saturday talent roster of Chris Salcedo and Joe Pags. This is just another great step in our continued growth as a network.”
Odds & Sods. Radio pro Turi Ryder is on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago in the 11:00 pm to 2:00 am slot all this week (3/17-21). Ryder, who worked a six-month stint on WGN last year from her home studio in the Bay Area, has relocated to Chicago. She appears this week in the unsettled slot between evening host Pete McMurray and overnight personality Nick Digilio…..Results Radio’s new FM signal in Rhinelander, Wisconsin signs on as a sports talk outlet branded “Sports Radio 96.5” using programming from CBS Sports Radio Network plus Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick and regionally syndicated personality Bill Michaels. The company won WHOH at 96.5 FM in an FCC auction in 2013.
Nielsen: 68% of Americans Heard a Network Radio Commercial During Average Week. That figure is for Americans 12 and older, according to the Nielsen March 2014 RADAR Radio Network Ratings report which says more than 181 million persons heard a network radio commercial during an average week. Other bulletpoints from the survey designed to illustrate the reach of network radio include Nielsen’s conclusion that commercials aired on the 46 measured networks reached: 71.2% percent of persons aged 18-49 (95.8 million listeners) and 71.9 % of persons aged 25-54 (90.0 million listeners). In the top 25 DMAs, network radio reached: 70.7% of persons aged 12+ (95.1 million listeners); 74% of persons aged 18-49 (51.1 million listeners); and 74.6% of persons aged 25-54 (48.6 million listeners). View the study here.
Colloquial Spanish Term Kills Ad Deal for CBS RADIO and Univision in Texas. The Dallas-based Pizza Patron chain’s ads for its new pizza with jalapenos in it won’t air on CBS RADIO or Univision stations in Texas. According to a story published on NorthCountryPublicRadio.org, the name of the product and the content of the ad are too controversial for the broadcasters. The radio campaign for La Chingona implies that only chingones are able to handle its spiciness. What is a chingone? A search of urban dictionaries indicates a chingone is what Americans would call a “bad-ass,” but the root of the verb is the Spanish slang for f**k. Younger Hispanics say there is nothing inherently bad about the word but they admit it’s not a word they would use in front of their grandmother, either. According to the NorthCountyPublicRadio.org piece, this isn’t the first time the company, whose target audience are Mexican immigrants, has ruffled feathers. Several years ago it did a “pesos for pizza” promotion that offered discounts for customers paying with Mexican pesos. The company received a lot of flak but business jumped 34%. The most recent promotion apparently has CBS RADIO and Univision fearful of the FCC due to the use of the chingona term.
Brenner’s Run At Radio Royalty. By now, you most likely know that popular comedian David Brenner passed away over the weekend. The Philadelphia native succumbed to cancer at the age of 78. What you might not be aware of, however, especially if you read any one of at least a dozen or so different obituaries is that Brenner holds a relatively high-water mark in radio history. Nowhere though was it mentioned in any account we saw. It was as if radio was magically expunged from Brenner’s past. Lest anyone doubt it though, David Brenner did, in fact, replace Larry King when the bespectacled talk show veteran quit his syndicated radio show nearly 20 years ago (June 1994). Perhaps part of the confusion is that King was a nighttime fixture for years and in January 1993, Jim Bohannon – King’s regular fill-in – took his slot. King though did not disappear – he segued to afternoon drive. Most will remember Bohannon directly replacing King at night – which is true. It is also correct though that Brenner then succeeded King in PM drive. Unlike King, who transferred his Mutual Broadcasting show from Washington, DC to Westwood One in Los Angeles, Brenner based his program from New York. According to Claudia Puig – then a superb writer for the Los Angeles Times (6/24/1994) – Brenner’s afternoon drive program was carried “in more than 100 markets” and the comedian did not attempt “to emulate King or to discuss weighty topics.” Puig opined in her piece that to many in talk radio at the time, the move represented, “a clear-cut example of the heightened emphasis being given to entertainment in their format, as opposed to information.” Regarding the succession, iconic Los Angeles talk radio personality Michael Jackson commented to Puig that it was, “sad when you see a Larry King replaced by a David Brenner. Let’s see what kind of staying power Brenner’s show will have. If you equate entertaining with telling jokes, I’m not that good at it, but if you equate it with hospitality and building a bridge with an audience, that’s what I do.” Rewinding 20 years and witnessing how the industry viewed this choice to take over for Larry King is certainly a fascinating exercise. Esteemed talk show host Bruce Williams chimed in back then by saying, “Brenner is an unknown quantity. He is certainly a very funny comedian. I don’t think he has exhibited as yet an interview capability or a radio capability, but then all of us were unknown quantities before we got into this.” Taking a somewhat different tact – and as a reminder – this is from a 20-year-ago Claudia Puig column in the Los Angeles Times, KABC and KMPC, Los Angeles’ then general manager George Green commented, “Larry King was tired and they replaced him with a pure entertainer in hopes of drawing younger people. As talk radio has become a very hot medium, you start looking at the word ‘entertainment’ as being more important than it was before. ‘Entertainment’ does not necessarily mean a program that makes you laugh. There can be many ways to entertain.” King producer Pat Piper did similar duties for Brenner. “There have always been attempts in radio to make people laugh,” Piper mentioned to Puig. “It is good to hear some guys having fun. When people call in, they say, ‘David, this is such a breath of fresh air.’ Not all of talk radio has to be what you see on ‘Crossfire.'” Brenner had a two-year contract with Westwood One. As it turned out, that was exactly how long the experiment lasted, as the syndicator pulled the plug on Brenner’s PM drive effort in June 1996. Notwithstanding a limited two-year radio run, Brenner was as adept at observational humor as anyone else was. His 1983 album “Excuse Me, Are You Reading That Paper?” is a comedy classic. Most, of course, will remember the Temple University honors graduate from a slew of “Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson” appearances that began in 1971. Many published accounts have the number of visits at 158 – the show’s most frequent guest and fifth most popular guest host (75 times). The five-time author (his latest – “I Think There’s a Terrorist in my Soup” – was published in 2003) headlined four HBO specials. Prior to getting into comedy, Brenner helped write, produce, and direct 115 television documentaries. Longtime Brenner friend Joan Rivers tweeted, “RIP David Brenner. I adored him, and laughed more with him than anybody. Sad, sad, sad. Knowing David, he’s now making the devil laugh.” The funniest Brenner-related note we came across was relayed by family representative Jeff Abraham who points out that Brenner’s final request was to have $100 in small bills tucked in his sock, “just in case tipping is recommended where I’m going.” Brenner’s gravesite will read, “If this is supposed to be a joke – I don’t get it.”
Talk Host Dr. Daliah Wachs Organizes Fundraiser. Las Vegas-based talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs is organizing a fundraiser to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Dubbed “FROST” (Fundraising Radio Host), Wachs says the contest will involve a challenge to radio hosts. The radio host who brings in the most proceeds will be awarded a prize valued $1000, a plaque, and recognition as the 2014 FROST winner. Runner ups will be recognized as well. It’ll start April 14 and end May 10. Interested radio hosts can message Dr. Daliah Wachs at email@example.com before April 1.