Tag: "Dave Wheaton"

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

| December 11, 2012

Holland Cooke: Start Your Own Media Station.  Noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke says getting laid off during this year’s pre-Christmas industry bloodbath, though painful and scary, might not be the worst thing that can happen to enterprising broadcasters.  In a boldly worded opinion piece, the forward-thinking programming advisor connects numerous dots and cites fascinating examples painting a positive picture of just how much opportunity now exists in the digital world for radio people daring enough to go “stickless.”  He points to a number of telling signs in the changes in our culture – such as Larry King’s new online show being listed in a larger font on the USA Today television listings page than his former home, CNN.   Cooke writes, “Anyone who uses Twitter online can click-to-listen.  Those who Tweet on smartphones or iPad simply touch-to-listen.  Voila!  You’re in-the-pocket, where AM/FM radio used to be.” Read his piece here.

Rumors of Format Change at WTKK, Boston Rampant.  The Boston media is all over the rumors that Greater Media will flip the news/talk station to a different, music-based format in the near future.  The local media picked up on domain name registrations such as 969BostonsBeat.com, 969TheBeat.com, and Power969.com.  The Boston Herald speculates the change is coming because “’toxic’ all-talk formats aren’t attracting enough younger listeners.”  Greater Media spokesperson Heidi Raphael states, “We deal in a business of attitudes and being responsive to the preferences of our audiences and the needs of our advertisers and communities.  We are continually exploring our options, looking for ways to improve our product and brands.  No decisions have been made on any changes to the format.”  Radio operators register domain names that go unused frequently so the actions by Greater Media don’t necessarily mean a change is coming but it certainly means the company is considering it.

Dave Ramsey Changes Affiliates in Home Town of Nashville; Jumps from WWTN to Sports WPRT.  The nationally syndicated Dave Ramsey show will move to Cromwell Radio Group’s sports talk WPRT “102.5 FM The Game” beginning January 1.  Ramsey’s program has aired on Cumulus Media’s WWTN, Nashville since the program debuted in the early 1990s.  Ramsey states, “After 20 years on WWTN it is very difficult to leave.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t come to terms with Cumulus on a simple renewal agreement.  There are a lot of great people at WWTN and we’ll miss them.  But we’re excited to have the opportunity to work with an independent radio station owner the caliber of Bud Walters.”  It appears as though the move is being precipitated by Cumulus’ desire to give its own talk programs more exposure – in this case, giving Mike Huckabee a full three hours on WWTN.  The new schedule at WWTN puts Huckabee on live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and allows Phil Valentine a 3:00 pm start to his PM drive show.  At the same time, Cumulus announces its newly acquired Michael Savage will air live from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am.  Cumulus Nashville market manager Mike Carpenter states, “We believe in the Mike Huckabee show and anticipate that this change will accelerate the governor’s popularity in Nashville.  Mike is a man of such character that we feel our clients will appreciate the opportunity to make him a key part of their marketing plans.  His on-air interest in music expands our talk repertoire and will play extremely well in a city where the music industry is the number three employer.  As for Savage, we assure you that a large number of our listeners will be happy to learn that their pleas have been heard and that Michael Savage is back on in Nashville.”

FCC Approves Transfer of WFAN-FM, New York to CBS Radio.  The $75 million deal that sends Merlin Media’s former WRXP, New York to CBS Radio as WFAN-FM, New York is approved by the Federal Communications Commission.  The station changed its call letters to WFAN-FM and CBS began operating it under an LMA on November 1 simulcasting sports talk WFAN-AM on the signal.

More on Changes at XEPRS, San Diego.  Yesterday, TALKERS reported sports talk XEPRS, San Diego “XX1090” let morning hosts Dave Palet and Jeff Dotseth go.  But now we’ve learned more as midday hosts Josh Rosenberg and Charod Williams have also been let go.  Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton is now on mornings and the San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that former morning hosts Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith will return to the station in AM drive soon and Darren Smith will move to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot.  Kaplan and B.R. (Smith), who were fired after Kaplan made disparaging comments about a female sportscaster, have been hosting the San Diego Union-Tribune’s online TV morning show and, according to the report, would continue in that role.

Dave Wheaton Exits WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne.  As tipped by Indiana Radio Watch’s Blaine Thompson, news director Dave Wheaton leaves his position at Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne to take the assignment editor post at Granite Broadcasting’s WPTA-TV, Fort Wayne (channel 21) and WISE-TV, Fort Wayne (channel 33).

Envision Radio Network Names Paul Harris “America Weekend” Host.  Talk radio pro Paul Harris is named the host of the new “America Weekend” program from Envision Radio Networks.  Executive producer Kipper KcGee says, “I’m thrilled to be working with Paul again.  We will be announcing the remainder of the ‘America Weekend’ lineup in coming weeks, and look forward to demonstrating that news/talk radio can enjoy weekend ratings and revenues!”  McGee worked with Harris in St. Louis and at WLS, Chicago.  Harris states, “I’m excited about launching ‘America Weekend’ to give both affiliates and listeners something more compelling, with great stories, interesting interviews, and my own perspective on what’s happening.”

Clear Channel Donates WDTW, Detroit to the Minority Media and Communications Council.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is donating progressive talk outlet WDTW, Detroit – a 5,000-watt Class B signal – to the MMTC under the Clear Channel-MMTC Ownership Diversity Initiative.  Clear Channel CEO and chairman John Hogan states, “We applaud MMTC for creating a program that helps minority broadcasters develop the skills and experience necessary to become successful broadcasters.  We’re pleased that the donation of these resources will give the opportunity for enthusiastic new entrepreneurs to own and operate their own radio station.”

Main Street Radio Network Launches New Weekly Program.  “The RichLife Show” with host Beau Henderson is a weekly one-hour program that, according to syndicator Main Street Radio Network, is “a fast-paced hour with a BIG mission to help listeners live healthy, wealthy, fulfilled lives on purpose by combining a highly engaging mix of education, entertainment, inspiration, and motivation.  The format of the show is financial Q&A, discussion around listeners’ biggest questions and concerns, and relevant expert interviews.”  Henderson is a senior financial advisor, Master Certified Success Coach, and Certified Master Behavioral Analyst and author of the book, The RichLife – Ten Investments For True Wealth.  Main Street president Jane Silk says, “We know ‘The RichLife Show’ will be a great addition to our current shows and our rapidly growing radio network.  Beau Henderson is a caring, honest person who truly has the listener’s best interest in mind.  Beau will cover a variety of topics such as all aspects of living rich: money, health, meaningful relationships, and living a fulfilled life of purpose.  Beau and RichLife advisors have built an online community through a weekly newsletter and social media that now exceeds 35,000 committed to living their definition of a RichLife.”

KGO, San Francisco Partners with Good News in Oakland for News Feature.  Cumulus Media San Francisco news/talker KGO announces a partnership with internet media outlet Good News in Oakland to create a feature that “will highlight a person or organization in Oakland that has made a difference in creating a positive image for the East Bay’s largest city.”  Good News in Oakland is described as an “internet-based renewable psychological socially responsible environmentally focused media outlet.”  Stories will be produced by KGO reporter Tihanna McCleese and Good News in Oakland founder Sean Kennedy.  KGO program director Paul Hosley states, “We’re thrilled to enter into this partnership with Good News in Oakland. This collaboration will give KGO listeners an opportunity to hear about the positive side of the city…stories that have not been told before.”  Features will air at 6:46 am, 1:46 pm, and 5:46 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.

WNYM, New York Begins Picture Caption Contest for Lunch with Sliwa & Lichtman.  Salem Communications-owned WNYM, New York’s PM drive team of Curtis Sliwa and Jeffrey Lichtman are enjoying their new street-level studio with the giant display window at the Hotel Pennsylvania on 7th Avenue.  The station and hotel management say they are getting such a buzz from New Yorkers about the setup that they’re beginning a photo caption contest to capitalize on the publicity.  WNYM is asking fans to take a picture of Sliwa and Lichtman broadcasting, give it a caption and post it via Twitter or Instagram or send it to the station via email.  First prize is lunch with Sliwa and Lichtman.  Other prizes include Broadway show tix, restaurant deals and more.  WNYM general manager Sean O’Neill states, “The iconic Hotel Pennsylvania with Curtis Sliwa and Jeffrey Lichtman broadcasting live in the hub of midtown Manhattan is an extraordinary opportunity to personalize the radio experience in the digital age.  Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers walk through this block daily and now have the opportunity to connect face to face with their favorite radio personalities.”

Quentin Tarantino Entertains Live Audience at SiriusXM.  As part of the “Town Hall Series” on SiriusXM, noted filmmaker Quentin Tarantino (l) was interviewed by Village Voice film critic Scott Foundas (r) before an intimate, live studio audience.  Tarantino, who also took questions from the crowd, discussed his new film “Django Unchained” and told stories about his career as a film director.  Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur / WireImage for SiriusXM.

ESPN Radio Broadcasts 24 College Bowl Games.  The college football bowl season will bring plenty of play-by-play to ESPN Radio affiliates as the sports media giant announces plans to broadcast 24 bowl games.  Beginning with the Gildan New Mexico Bowl on December 15 and wrapping up with the National Championship game between Notre Dame and Alabama in Miami on January 7, ESPN Radio’s coverage will span 16 days.  David Norrie and Bill Rosinski will call five of the games beginning with the S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on December 20.  Additionally, both the “Mike & Mike in the Morning” and “SVP & Russillo” programs will originate from South Florida on Monday and Tuesday, January 7 and 8.

Lotus Communications’ ‘SuperGol’ Soccer Show Scores Affiliates.  The Spanish-language soccer show “SuperGol” recently snagged its 25th affiliate for the one-hour program targeted to younger Hispanic men.  The show airs live from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm PT and is hosted by Halim Zadat and Erika Garza.  The show is produced by Lotus’ KWKW, Los Angeles and station president James Kalmenson says, “The young US-born Latino is a growing segment of the sports audience that’s responding extremely well to the program.  Latinos of all generations are avid soccer fans, making the soccer-themed talk show an ideal platform for younger audiences while maintaining the traditional sports target of men 25-54.”

Gow Broadcasting Acquires Sports Flash Radio Network.  The service that specializes in sports updates is acquired by Gow Communications, the company that is operating Yahoo! Sports Radio.  Gow announces at the same time that its affiliate base has grown to more than 360 stations.  David Gow states, “We are really pleased with the ongoing expansion of our affiliate base.  The acquisition of the Sports Flash Radio Network extends our reach to both sports-format and non-sports-format stations.  And the additions of new shows we have introduced over the past year have enabled us to achieve industry-leading growth.”

‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, Looming ObamaCare Costs, Michigan Right-to-Work Bill Controversy, Hillary in 2016, and Aussie DJ Prank Fallout Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/10).  The GOP versus Obama fight in Washington over avoiding the “fiscal cliff”; the costs associated with ObamaCare that will begin to take effect in 2013; the battle in Michigan over the union-busting right-to-work bill; the proposition Hillary Clinton will run for president in 2016; and the fallout after the Australian DJ prank call to Kate Middleton’s hospital in London were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Covering Breaking News

| August 13, 2012

How news/talk radio stations can take ownership of breaking news events

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS magazine
VP/Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — News/talk stations covering breaking news have a challenge in this era of shrinking news departments and pared-back staffs.  In order to be the place to which people turn for coverage of breaking news and then the talk about the news, stations must have a pre-planned approach and use their people creatively in order to compete for the consumer’s attention.  With the recent case of the Aurora shootings last month, stations beyond Denver woke up to a major breaking story from out of market that was the only thing people were talking about that morning.

The Rolodex of the well-run news room can help the station respond to such complex cases where gun law experts, psychology practitioners, crime experts and others are used by stations to bring local analysis to the story.  How stations prepare for and execute coverage of breaking news and the talk about that news determines how “on top of the story” a station and its talk hosts sound.

Read More

Friday, May 18, 2012

| May 18, 2012

Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio Hits 10 Million Registered Users in Eight Months.  The digital media player that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has been vigorously promoting is growing, according to CC, “faster than nearly all other entertainment platforms, including Pandora, Facebook, Spotify and Instagram.”  The iHeartRadio player has more than 10 million users since the 10 million figure includes just registered users – only required for the custom station service.  Brian Lekamp, president of digital for CCME, states, “iHeartRadio has demonstrated incredibly rapid adoption, more than two times faster than other leading entertainment services – it’s mind-blowing.  We are thrilled with the consumer reaction and feedback.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, using the tremendous promotional power of our broadcast radio properties, has been able to drive this adoption like no other company could.  iHeartRadio offers a great product supported by unparalleled promotional capabilities.”

NPR Facing Fiscal Downturn; May End Year in the Red.  In a piece by Paul Farhi for the Washington Post, the challenging financial situation NPR is dealing with as the U.S. economy continues to struggle is brought to light.  New CEO Gary Knell tells Farhi NPR has operated at a deficit three out of the past four years and had to dip into its endowment fund to cover expenses.  This comes after the brutal 2008 fiscal year in which NPR was forced to cut 7% of its workforce after coming up $23 million short.  The situation for NPR is that corporate underwriting – or advertising – has fallen dramatically.  Instability in some of the corporate positions responsible for fundraising and underwriting have not helped the content provider, either.  NPR states that through March of this year, it was operating at a deficit of $2.6 million beyond what the endowment covers and when the end of its fiscal year rolls around in September, it may still be in the red.  Knell has told employees the last thing he wants to do is cut staffing and programming but he also states NPR cannot continue to operate as it is.  He tells the Post, “NPR has been withdrawing from the bank and we can’t keep doing that,” he said. “We have to be at break-even or be in a positive position on an annual basis, or I can tell you at some point we’re going to have to turn the lights off.”

CNN Suffers Lowest Prime Time Rating in 15 Years.  Time Warner’s CNN is getting more bad news after getting clobbered in the April Nielsen’s released last week.  Now, TVNewser reports “Piers Morgan Tonight” – which aired at 9:00 ET – pulled in just 39,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo on Tuesday, May 15.  The show garnered 284,000 total viewers which was not a record low.  The piece notes the program faced competition in the form of the season finale of “NCIS: L.A.,” “America’s Got Talent” and “Dancing with the Stars” which, all together, had 39 million total viewers.

WOWO, Fort Wayne Reporter Held in Contempt for Phone Use in Court.  WOWO, Fort Wayne news director Dave Wheaton was found in contempt at the Allen County Superior Court for using a station-owned iPhone while covering a guilty plea at a murder case at the courthouse.  Two sheriff’s deputies noticed Wheaton texting on the phone – a violation of court rules – and confiscated the phone.  Wheaton told Judge Fran Gull he did not see the numerous signs warning of the ban on phones in the courtroom to which the judge replied, “Candidly, I don’t believe you,” reports the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.  The ban has been in effect since 2007 after courtroom attendees were found taking photos.  The judge ordered the phone destroyed but allowed WOWO owner Federated Media to download the contents first.

The State and Future of News on America’s News/Talk Radio Stations.  The rise of digital news sources, today’s quickening news cycle and the economic realities of our times are forcing news/talk radio stations to evaluate their news product and adapt to continue to serve their listeners.  In a feature story by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey coming to Talkers.com next week, programmers speak on the record about their news philosophy and its practical application.  KMOX, St. Louis operations director Steve Moore says despite the factors some think puts radio at a disadvantage for news, it’s still a very important element.  “Local news is the foundation for everything we do and that includes providing content and information for our programming staffs.  That relationship goes both ways.  Talent use their connections to flesh out stories that are heard on our newscasts.  A strong, local news department should be the perfect complement to a good talk show host.”  Read what some of today’s top news/talk programmers are saying about the state of news on their stations and in the larger media mix at Talkers.com next week.

Michael Harrison to Speak at New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference.  June promises to be a busy month for Michael Harrison.  Less than one short week after the New Media Seminar in NYC, the publisher and founder of TALKERS magazine will deliver a special address at the 65th Annual New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference on June 13.  The address titled, “The Future of the Stick and the Shtick: How Terrestrial Radio can Thrive in the Digital Age,” will provide a realistic focus on the key issues and challenges facing AM and FM radio today as it finds its place in the new and exotic landscape of 21st century technology and culture.  One of the key points that Harrison plans to make is that even though talk radio broadcasters are licking their chops at the prospect of music radio’s demise, one of the keys to talk radio’s growth in the coming years will actually be the survival and revival of music radio as a commercial and cultural force.  Harrison says, “An AM and FM band of only spoken word programming will not be enough to keep terrestrial radio afloat.  For terrestrial radio of all formats to have a healthy place from which to operate, it must reclaim ownership of the music scene - no doubt a daunting task.”  Harrison goes on to say that this can actually be done.  “The music scene in America has a desperate need for big-time leadership in terms of breaking new artists and product as well as defining and creating a cultural environment in which a healthy and  purposeful industry can operate.  This is something that radio has historically done effectively and can do again in the new century.”  Harrison suggests the key to doing this is to bring back the disc jockey as a viable broadcasting art form and the plugged-in music director as a connection to the street and marketplace.  “When music radio gave up its franchise on personalities - on-air talents who can present, deliver, and ‘sell’ a song, it set in motion its own destruction as well as inflicting damage to the music business itself.  It is not too late to correct this.”  The 65th Annual NJBA Conference will take place at Caesar’s Atlantic City June 12-13.  For information call 888-657-2346.

2012 Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for 7th Consecutive Week.  The race for president between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney once again was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of May 14-18, 2012.  Following at #2 was the Greece and Euro Zone fiscal crisis; at #3 was world financial markets activity; and at #4 was President Obama’s gay marriage stance.  The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart of the top stories and people on news/talk radio here.

Commentators of the Year.  That’s ESPN’s Mike Golic – co-host of ESPN Radio’s and ESPN2’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show (c) – holding the awards given to him and co-host Mike Greenberg (not pictured) for being named Team ESPN’s Volunteer Commentators of the Year.  Next to Golic are ESPN EVP of production John Wildhack (l) and president of ESPN, Inc. John Skipper (r).  Golic and Greenberg were honored at a luncheon yesterday (5/17) with the award given to an ESPN commentator “who provides positive impact in the community through his or her volunteer efforts.”  The duo led the way on ESPN Radio for the “Don’t Give Up ESPYs V Foundation Auction” which raised more than $800,000 for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.  They have contributed their personal time to emcee the Jimmy V Basketball dinner, and visit military sites, like the Intrepid this year for ESPN’s Veterans Week.  Each received $1,000 to be donated to the charity of their choice and both elected to give it to The V Foundation.