Tag: "David Field"

Friday, March 7, 2014

| March 7, 2014

wheelertomFCC Will Seek Public Comment on Ownership Rules; Reversal of Cross-Ownership Bans Appear Unlikely.  Reports are circulating in the media trades that senior FCC officials say FCC chairman Tom Wheeler will propose relaxing cross-ownership bans, but in a blog post dated March 6, that tone is not expressed.  Wheeler writes about the Commission’s duty to undertake and complete the 2014 Quadrennial Review.  He discusses some of the proposals regarding maintaining current ownership rules that will be open for public comment but many industry watchers say this should not be cause to think a Wheeler-chaired Commission will ultimately relax current cross-ownership bans.  Much of Wheeler’s concern in the blog is with television joint sales agreements and he’s clearly out to change those.  You can read Wheeler’s entire post here.

newsmax logoNewsmax Chief Chris Ruddy Announces Cable TV News/Talk Project.  In a piece in Bloomberg Businessweek, Newsmax founder and CEO Chris Ruddy announces his plans for a new cable news/talk network with Fox News Channel as his target.   Ruddy is quoted asking, “How do you have something so successful in cable that nobody else wants to imitate or cut into their market share?  It defies reason.”  Ruddy tells Bloomberg Businessweek his goal is “to be a little more boomer-oriented, more information-based rather than being vituperative and polarizing.”  He says that if he can get 10% to 15% of FNC’s audience, he’s going to be “hugely profitable.”  The piece states FNC bills $1 billion a year.  He understands the cable carriers don’t want to pay new networks and believes even if he has to pay them to carry the network, he’ll make money.  Currently Newsmax TV is online featuring talk media personality Steve Malzberg.  Ruddy does not say what the programming will look like when he’s ready to launch in June.  Read the entire Bloomberg Businessweek story here.

pelosiSiriusOdds & Sods.  Nationally syndicated “America Tonight” talk host Kate Delaney keeps her sports talk chops sharp as she sits in on the NBC Sports Radio Network this weekend hosting the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm slot both Saturday and Sunday this weekend…..In honor of Women’s History Month, SiriusXM host Julie Mason (left) sat down with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (right) before a live audience at the Newseum in Washington, DC on Tuesday, March 4.  It’s part of the “SiriusXM Leading Ladies” series of candid conversations with influential and inspiring women who have forged their own paths to leadership and success.

ramseySADave Ramsey Deep in the Heart of Texas.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey is pictured here on stage at the Lila Cockrell Theatre in San Antonio as he presented his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” on Thursday (3/6).  Ramsey talked about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.  His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage.  Ramsey combined forces with L&L Broadcasting’s news/talk KTSA to promote this event.  KTSA GSM Coreena Hazelett comments, “L&L Broadcasting and ‘550KTSA’ are thrilled to partner with the Dave Ramsey team in bringing life-transforming content to entrepreneurs and leaders as well as teaching families how to live now so you can leave a powerful legacy for your family.  We, along with our sponsors, sincerely believe in the importance of contributing to the growth of business and the quality of life for families here in San Antonio.”  Ramsey also hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” on Wednesday along with Cruze and speaker Chris Hogan.  The content of that presentation was how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 400 team members.

lanevemarkLaNeve Named to Entercom Board of Directors.  From the sales and marketing world comes the newest member of the Entercom board of directors as Mark LaNeve joins immediately.  He has served as COO of WPP’s Global Team Ford – an agency that serves as the marketing and advertising partner to Ford and Lincoln businesses globally.  During his time as chief marketing officer at Allstate Insurance, he led the marketing for the company and developed the long-running “Mayhem” campaign.  Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “Mark LaNeve is a tremendous addition to Entercom’s board of directors.  He has led some of America’s most iconic brands and ad campaigns.  He will bring a new and fresh perspective to the Entercom board.”

medvedCPACMichael Medved Broadcasts from CPAC.  Seattle-based Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Medved (right) is pictured here interviewing Republican Senator from Utah Mike Lee (left) at the radio row at CPAC 2014 taking place in Washington, DC.  The event is the American Conservative Union’s annual confab of conservative activists being held at the Gaylord Hotel & Convention Center.

Obama vs. Putin/Ukraine-Crimea Unrest Top News/Talk Stories This Week.  The political crisis in Ukraine and Crimea and the scrum between President Obama and Vladimir Putin were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Coming in at #2 was ObamaCare Criticism.  At #3 was the Israel-Palestinian talks followed by the 2016 presidential race at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  ABC News Radio adds WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte to its roster of affiliate stations…..Yahoo! Sports Radio announces KXFN, St. Louis flips to sports and takes its lineup of national sports talk hosts.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

| February 11, 2014

entercomEntercom Revenue Down 2% in Q4; Dips 3% for 2013.  The 2013 fourth quarter numbers for Entercom are in and the company reports net revenue was down 2% on $99.6 million though adjusted net income per share was basically flat.  Also free cash flow increased by 2%.  For the full year of 2013, net revenue dipped 3%.  Though station expenses decreased slightlyfielddavid during the year, station operating income decreased by 8% to $125.8 million.  Entercom will hold a conference call with investors and analysts at 12:00 noon ET today (2/11).  President and CEO David Field says in a statement, “Entercom’s fourth quarter revenues declined 2% while revenues excluding political advertising posted a 2% increase.  2014 began on a solid note with January revenues up moderately over the prior year.  We are optimistic about 2014 performance based on improving sales capabilities and execution, strong ratings and meaningful local growth opportunities.”

beasley logoBeasley Broadcast Group to Work with Propel Marketing for Online Marketing.  In an effort to expand its online marketing, Beasley Broadcast Group announces it is engaging Propel Marketing to “assist Beasley’s local clients in building and expanding their online marketing opportunities and solutions.”  In a statement, Beasley says that Propel’s products and services include website and mobile site design, search engine optimization, lists and local directories, social media services and online reputation management.  It further states that the “agreement affords Beasley’s local account executives access to a robust portfolio of online marketing services.  Beasley’s relationship with Propel Marketing enhances the on-air and online advertising opportunities already available to existing and future clients, especially small businesses that typically do not have in-house resources to create and implement successful online marketing campaigns.  Propel Marketing will not only create and deliver online marketing solutions, but also provide a dedicated team of specialists to ensure that Beasley’s clients are fully leveraging Propel Marketing products.”  Beasley EVP and CFO Caroline Beasley states, “We are extremelybeasleycaroline excited by this relationship.  It gives us the ability to respond to any request a local advertiser may have that involves exploring a digital component.  The ability to combine radio’s powerful reach with Propel Marketing’s wide assortment of online products and services will greatly enhance a local advertising campaign.”  Newly appointed vice president of digital Stacey Sedbrook adds, “By integrating online marketing with their current radio marketing efforts our clients are able to both extend their audience reach and more efficiently target their messaging.  Beasley sales professionals remain the primary contact for our advertising customers.  Our goal remains helping local businesses build their brands and grow their revenue.  We can now offer integrated marketing solutions under the Beasley Broadcast brand allowing advertisers to streamline their marketing efforts with a trusted local partner.”

mckayjeffTALKERS Posts Part-Two Today of Three-Part Special (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks.  Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal of winding up in television production.  Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations.  Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year.  It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide.  When Clearwolkoffdanno Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks (now simply “Premiere Networks”), he became VP of affiliate relations.  However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel.  Wolkoff faced a career crossroads and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio.  His vision was Envision Radio Networks — a highly successful and forward-thinking company that envisionnetworks newcreates over four-dozen content products and services for radio stations and media outlets nationwide, customizing solutions for clients, producers and affiliates.  It is a company literally founded after another syndication and programming company decided they had a good product that despite making money, didn’t make enough money for their bottom line.  What Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry.  He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows.  His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets.  Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that later) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication.  In today’s installment, Wolkoff discusses exactly what it takes to build a formidable syndication firm from scratch and shares his view of the changing nature of the syndication business as well as radio in general.  In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward.  I’ve seen this movie many times before.  Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.”  To read part two of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here.  And if you missed part one published yesterday, read that here.

krasnymaxMax Krasny Joins CBS RADIO as VP/Sales and Strategic Alliances.  The former WestwoodOne EVP takes on the vice president, sales and strategic partnerships position with CBS RADIO’s Altitude Group division which focuses on helping brands connect with consumers using CBS RADIO stations, along with CBS Television stations and their digital properties, as well as CBS’s outdoor assets.  Max Krasny reports to the executive leadership of the Altitude Group: Rich Lobel, executive vice president and CMO, and Sue McNamara, senior vice president, sales.  Lobel states, “Max is a seasoned pro who brings a marketing acumen to a client’s business, and knows how to deliver creative excellence that makes brands stand out and get noticed.  No one has a better portfolio of local assets under one roof than CBS including: radio, television, out-of-home, live events, websites, mobile and social apps.”

wls-am logoFCC Socks WLS-AM, Chicago with $44,000 Fine.  The Forfeiture Order comes from the station failing to identify the sponsor of programming that aired back in 2009.  The content was in the form of long-form shows – two two-hour programs, a one-hour show – plus 90-second and 15-second spots and promotional announcements paid for by Workers Independent News.  During the two-week period in question, the FCC determined that 11 announcements were aired without proper sponsor identification and issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for $44,000 – 11 violations at $4,000 per.  Cumulus argued that the commission had in the past reduced fines to a one-time violation amount and that it should just have to pay $4,000.  But the commission ruled that no such precedent had been set and that the forfeiture amounts in failure to identify sponsorships cases reflect the unique aspects of each case and thus the commission considers this case to be comprised of 11 violations, not one.

clarkjackFormer MLB Slugger and Talk Host Jack Clark Apologizes to Albert Pujols.  During a discussion on WGNU, St. Louis, sports talk host and former MLB slugger Jack Clark alleged that former Cardinals player Albert Pujols used performance enhancing drugs during his time in St. Louis.  Pujols threatened to sue and the station ended the contract between Clark’s co-host Kevin Slaten and Clark, cancelling their show.  The station also issued an apology to Pujols.  But for a time Clark maintained his assertion about Pujols and even challenged Pujols to a live debate – an invitation Pujols’ attorney refused.  Now, Clark issues the aforementioned apology and Pujols agrees to withdraw his lawsuit.

farmjournalmedia“Market Rally” Readies for March Launch.  What is said to be the first-ever, long-form agricultural commodity markets-focused national radio program will debut next month (3/10). That is when Farm Journal Media launches Chip Flory-hosted “Market Rally.”  The one-hour weekday program will air at 2:00 pm (CT), immediately following the close of major commodity markets.  Farm Journal Broadcast Division senior vice president Brian Conrady remarks that a “really solid group of stations” is already committed to air “Market Rally” and he anticipates “several more” before the program debuts.  “The show fills a programming void for many stations,” Conrady comments.  “It wraps their day’s farm coverage with a new, information-packed, entertaining program.  It is all about markets, which everyone knows farmers cannot get enough of.”  Flory notes, “We have a long list of guest analysts anxious to share their market perspective with the audience each day.  We will take listener questions/comments via phone, text, and social media.  Our goal is to remove as much confusion as possible from this increasingly volatile marketing environment.”  Flory remains editorial director of Farm Journal’s “Pro Farmer” newsletter and he will host “Market Rally” from FJB’s new studio in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

wmalbeatlesThe Beatles Played in Washington, Too!  As America remembers The Beatles’ arrival in this country 50 years ago this week, much of the attention is focused on the New York-based national broadcast on the “Ed Sullivan Show.”  But Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington knows that the group’s first public concert was in Washington, DC.  Pictured here in the WMAL studios are Fox News Channel chief Washington correspondent – and noted Beatles expert – James Rosen (center) and “Mornings on the Mall” co-hosts Brian Wilson (left) and Larry O’Connor (right) after being on the air for Tuesday’s celebration of The Beatles’ first concert on U.S. soil – in the Nation’s Capital.  Among other guests remembering The Beatles on the program were: The Beach BoysMike Love, Rolling Stone Magazine’s David Wild, Herman’s Hermits singer Peter Noone, and local Fox 5 anchor (and former “Good Morning America” weather anchor) Tony Perkins, who discussed his love for the Beatles as an African-American youth growing up in D.C.

wsouhunterOdds & Sods.  Baltimore Orioles broadcaster Jim Hunter recently visited his alma mater Seton Hall University and spoke with student staffers at his old college radio station – WSOU-FM – about making it in sports broadcasting today.  Hunter, pictured here (third from the right) surrounded by students, stressed to them the importance of preparation, noting that the need to do your homework doesn’t end when you graduate from college.  He also shared tips on improving on-air performance and how to tell listeners a good story…..New York City broadcasting legend John Gambling returned to the radio recently, if only briefly, to speak on WABC, New York with Frank Morano on his Sunday “Morning with Morano” program.  Morano and Gambling talked about the state of radio today, the tradition of the Gamblings and covering weather events…..For the 18th consecutive year, ESPN Radio is providing comprehensive coverage of NBA All-Star 2014, culminating with an exclusive radio broadcast of the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, February 16.  Kevin Calabro will describe the action throughout the weekend with analyst Jon Barry.  They will be joined by studio analysts Marc Kestecher and P.J. Carlesimo and reporters Marc Stein and Shelley Smith.

brentmegSCRABrent & Meg Honored for Keeping Studio City, California Free of Dog Poop.  Although they are heard all over the world on TalkersRadio (weekdays 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm PT), the experimental talk station that lives on this website, the dynamic husband/wife radio duo of Brent & Meg (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald) believe in the concept of cleaning up your own backyard as well as tackling the issues of greater humanity.  This past Saturday evening (2/8) they were honored by some of LA’s top movers and shakers for their community volunteer work in regularly picking up dog poop (no kidding) found on the streets of LA’s Studio City – the neighborhood from which their daily show emanates (as well as their home).  The gala appreciation dinner took place at Carla’s Café on the CBS Studio Center lot.  Pictured here are (from l-r): State Assemblymember, 46th District, Adrin Nazarian; Los Angeles City Councilmember, 2nd District, Paul Krekorian; Meg McDonald (Brent & Meg Show on TalkersRadio); Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; and Brent Seltzer (Brent & Meg Show on Talkers Radio).  Upon learning of Brent & Meg receiving this honor, TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo’s music editor/director Duane Doobie issued the statement: “I seldom listen to talk radio, but when I do, I prefer Brent & Meg.  True, like most talk show hosts, they are full of sh*t… but in a helpful, solutions-oriented way.”

ObamaCare Criticism, Hillary Clinton in 2016, Immigration Reform, Winter Olympics, Winter Weather, and Shirley Temple Black Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10).  Scrutiny of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the release of new documents about the Clintons and Hillary’s possible run for president in 2016; the move in Washington to pass immigration reform legislation; the Winter Olympics games in Sochi, Russia; a new winter storm reportedly heading for the South and East this week; and the death of former child star and U.S. Ambassador Shirley Temple Black were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

| November 12, 2013

bloomquistrandallRandall Bloomquist Returns to Programming as Corporate News/Talk PD for Cumulus.  Cumulus Media announces the appointment of four executives to corporate programming posts and Randall Bloomquist – out of the radio station programming business since exiting WGST, Atlanta in January of 2009 – is named corporate PD for news/talk.  Current corporate programmer Jim Mahanay is named corporate PD for sports, allowing him to focus fully on thiscumulus logo growing aspect of Cumulus’ business.  In other appointments, Derek Madden of KLOS, Los Angeles and Scott Jameson (OM/PD at the Minneapolis cluster) continue their local station responsibilities but also add corporate rock programming duties.  In a statement, Cumulus COO John Dickey says, “Our success depends on executing effectively across programming at the local and national levels, which is why I’m very pleased about these new appointments that will help Cumulus continue building on our commitment to the very best content.”  Randall Bloomquist, who most recently operated Bloomquist Media executing content and promotional work for clients including Fisher House Foundation, says of returning to radio programming, “I’m thrilled to join Cumulus at this exciting time in the history of radio and audio content.  Cumulus is a true audio platform company well positioned to help shape the future of our industry.  I look forward to working with John Dickey, Mike McVay and the rest of the Cumulus news/talk team to create great radio that resonates with listeners and delivers for clients.”  In his career, Bloomquist has also programmed WMAL, Washington; WBT, Charlotte; and WRVA, Richmond.  He previously was the Washington, DC bureau chief for Radio & Records.

toucher&rich’98.5 The Sports Hub’ Renews ‘Toucher & Rich’ Morning Show.  Reporting that the morning team of Fred Toucher (left) and Rich Shertenlieb (right) has placed number one in the Men 25-54 demo for the past 14 Nielsen PPM rating periods, CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” inks the duo to a new, multi-year contract.  CBS Radio Boston SVP and market manager Mark Hannon says, “’Toucher & Rich’ have connected with Boston sports radio listeners over the last four-plus years with their innovative, clever and funny content.  They are two great guys who have done an amazing job of anchoring ‘98.5 The Sports Hub,’ and we are thrilled that they will continue to wake up Boston for years to come.”

brucedamonKNBR, San Francisco Host Damon Bruce Status Unknown.  Sports talk host Damon Bruce has been under fire from many quarters after a rant related to the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin case in which he stated the influence of women is causing sports to “lose its way.”  He said, in part, “There are very few – a small handful – of women who are any good at this at all.  That’s the truth.  This is guy’s stuff.  This is men’s stuff.  And I don’t expect women to understand men’s stuff anymore than they should expect me to be able to relate to labor pains.”  It’s being reported that Bruce has been suspended for two days but that his job is also still in jeopardy.  If the suspension report is accurate, he should be back on his 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show on Wednesday (11/13).  For his part, Bruce is not apologizing and has indicated in recent Tweets that he’s not surprised by the “piling on” that’s taking place in the media over his comments.  Part of a recent Tweet states, “If me pointing out men set policy/tone/rules/ in sports makes me a sexist, bad guy, than ‘say goodnight to the bad guy!”

hollanderjoelJoel Hollander Joins Entercom’s Board of Directors.  Former CBS Radio president and Westwood One chairman and CEO Joel Hollander is named to the board of directors for Entercom Communications Corp.  Currently, Hollander is president and CEO of 264 Echo Place Partners, his own media consulting firm.  Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “We are delighted to have Joel Hollander join Entercom’s board of directors.  Joel’s unique background, intellect and expertise make him an ideal addition to our board.”  Hollander adds, “I look forward to serving Entercom’s shareholders and helping grow their unique and powerful set of assets.  This is an exciting time for radio, and Entercom is strongly positioned to succeed going forward.”

flynnbillWEGO, Winston-Salem Talk Host Bill Flynn to Run for U.S. Senate.  Over the weekend, WEGO, Winston-Salem morning drive host Bill Flynn announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate as a Republican.  Flynn hopes to win the Republican primary and challenge Democrat Kay Hagan who defeated Elizabeth Dole in 2008.  The Winston-Salem Journal reports that Flynn spoke to about 50 people at a “Sunday Funday” event in Kennersville, North Carolina.  Truth Broadcasting Company, owner of WEGO “AM 980 The Eagle,” has not announced the point at which Flynn will give up his daily radio program.

wgnlogoWGN, Chicago Adds Blackhawks Programming to David Kaplan Show.  Former Blackhawks player Eddie Olczyk is already a regular guest on David Kaplan’s evening sports talk show on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago.  Now, the station is adding more of Olczyk and making a live event out of the show.  The broadcast series dubbed “The Eddie O Show” — a series of six one-hour radio broadcasts hosted throughout the 2013-2014 season – will feature Olczyk during Kaplan’s show.  Each broadcast will feature in-depth hockey talk and listeners will have an opportunity to submit questions throughout the show.  The season premiere takes place on Monday, November 18 at Scout Waterhouse & Kitchen in Chicago and is open to the public.  The audience will have the opportunity to enter to win Blackhawks prizes, including merchandise and tickets.  Olczyk also serves as the color analyst for Blackhawks hockey on Comcast SportsNet Chicago and WGN-TV Channel 9.

biakelseychartBIA/Kelsey: Radio to Capture 11.5% of Local Ad Spend in 2013.  In a report detailing local ad spending, advisory firm BIA/Kelsey projects that radio will have garnered 11.5% of local ad spending for 2013 – totaling $15.2 billion – when all is said and done.  The full report is available to clients and radio stations and states that radio will grab the fourth largest share of local ad revenue behind direct mail, newspapers and TV.  The reports states, “The local radio market is growing, albeit at a more moderate pace than it once did, by expanding its offerings to off-air platforms, providing a wider range of listener experiences and advertiser opportunities.”  Chief economist and report author Mark Fratrik adds, “As we move toward 2014, it’s clear the radio industry has adapted to incredible competition from all sides, with streaming and other audio competitors taking audiences.  Yet local radio is surviving, and in some instances, thriving, and poised to compete well in the new marketplace.  Radio is also beginning to deliver other compelling digital services that help its local advertisers navigate promotional opportunities. With the right attitude towards the new reality of increased competition and strategic planning, local radio stations can prosper.”  The report offers tempered good news for radio when it states, “Another indication of the success of the radio industry’s performance is the recent increase in values of publicly traded radio companies.  Like other local media companies, values of public radio companies have increased by 68.2% through the first three quarters of 2013, easily beating the performance of the overall stock market.  But as competition for audience share continues to cut into audience share for radio stations, the industry needs to be on its toes to remain competitively viable.”

rhodesrandiRandi Rhodes Hints at Departure from Premiere in New Year.  The message board on her website is full of her fans commiserating the potential end of her Premiere Networks-syndicated talk show based on comments the progressive talk star made on her program about being unemployed in January.  There’s been no official statement from Randi Rhodes outside of the show chatter and Premiere has issued no notice to affiliate stations as of today (11/12).

Odds & Sods.  Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett will be away from his “Morning in America” nationally syndicated program tomorrow (11/13) and Peter Kirsanow, a former member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, will sit in the guest host chair.  Kirsanow is a regular contributor to the National Review and is a partner with the Benesch’s Labor & Employment Practice Group and a member of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee…..Front Range Sports Network adds University of Kansas and Duke University men’s hoops to the programming at KDSP, Denver and KJAC, Fort Collins-Greeley…..Jim Blasingame’s “The Small Business Advocate” prepares to celebrate the program’s 16th anniversary on November 17.

ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, Veterans Day, Incognito-Martin Case, Philippines Typhoon Devastation, and ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’ Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/11).  Ongoing debate and criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; the Veterans Day holiday; the case of Miami Dolphins player Jonathan Martin’s leaving the team and Richie Incognito’s television interview; the death and destruction after Typhoon Haiyan hits the Philippines; and the controversy over the new film “Blue Is the Warmest Color” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

| November 6, 2013

entercomEntercom Reports Q3 Revenue Down 4%.  Bucking the trend of recent third quarter reports from other broadcasters showing generally moderate revenue growth, Entercom’s Q3 2013 financial statement indicated revenue down 4% on $98.4 million.  President and CEO David Field stated that station expenses increased 5% and the resulting adjusted EBITDA was down 22% to $26.2 million.  Field did tell investors during yesterday’s conference call that the company has been paying down debt, “We alsofielddavid continued to direct our substantial free cash flow towards debt reduction.  During the third quarter alone, we cut our net debt by $20 million, and have now lowered our net debt by nearly $450 million over the past six years.”  Field reported that local sales were down 5% and national revenue was basically flat.  Field admitted the company’s sales effort was the problem, stating that in the markets in which the company operates, total radio revenue was up 1%.  “Plain and simple, our sales performance in the third quarter was poor.  We failed to get the job done and that is unacceptable.  We lagged our radio peers by a significant margin, and failed to capitalize on our strong brands, ratings and marketing capabilities.”  Field reminded investors that the company anticipated a down third quarter due to recently enacted changes in the company’s sales strategies and practices and that the changes will make the company stronger in the long run.

sagaSaga Communications Inches Up 1.6% in Net Revenue.  For the third quarter of 2013, Saga Communications says the $35.8 million (ex political) resulted in a net revenue increase of 1.6%.  CEO Ed Christian told investors during yesterday’s conference call that considering how much the companychristianed is down from the loss of political from last year to this, the results are not bad though he had hoped to be up 2%.  Christian can be downright chatty during these conference calls and he took the time to reference a Barron’s article indicating America may be at the beginning of decades of slow growth and suggested radio’s prescription for adapting to such an economy is to focus on rebuilding radio’s image.  He says research shows people like radio but there needs to be more trust and respect.  “If we blend the community – and you can define community any way that you like it – if we blend the community and we blend radio into one, we’ll continue to survive and prosper, even in a 2% GDP world.”

salemcommunicationsSalem Communications’ Broadcast Division Announces Flat Q3 Numbers.  The broadcasting division of Salem Communications was up just a hair – 0.3% on $46 million dollars for the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago.  During yesterday’s conference call, CFO Evan Masyr broke down the company’s performance by format, reporting, “Thirty-nine of our radio stations are programmed in what we call our foundational format Christian Teaching and Talk, these stations contributed 45% of total broadcast revenue and increased 1% for the quarter.  Block programming increased 2.3%, while infomercials were down 29.7% as we continue to reduce the infomercials on our radio stations to improve the overall programming on the stations.  Our 26 news/talk stations had a decrease of 6% in revenue for the quarter.  Overall, these stations contributed 14% of total broadcast revenue.  The revenue from the 12 contemporary Christian music stations contributed 24% of total broadcast revenue and had an increase of 5% for the quarter.  Again, we continue to see strong results from many of our music stations, most notably in this quarter Los Angeles and Dallas. The seven stations that we have programmed in Spanish language, Christian Teaching and Talk grew by 26%, and these stations comprised 2% of our broadcast revenue.  Finally, with respect to the formats that we focus on the 10 stations in a business talk format, and that format contributed 3% of our broadcast revenue and had a decrease of 2% in revenue.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript.  Members can read the entire call here.

barnsmitchNielsen Promotes Mitch Barns to CEO.  The ratings giant – which recently brought radio ratings into its fold with the acquisition of Arbitron – announces that Dwight M. “Mitch” Barns will succeed David L. Calhoun as chief executive officer effective Jaunary 1, 2014.  Barns has been with Nielsen for the past 16 years, currently serving as president, global client service, which oversees $5.5 billion in revenue and leads the efforts of Nielsen’s Watch and Buy client service teams worldwide.  Upon Barns’ succession, David Calhoun will becomenielsen logo executive chairman of the board of directors, at which time Nielsen’s current Chairman of the Board, James M. Kilts, will step down as chairman, but will remain a board member.  Calhoun states, “Nielsen is successfully implementing its global strategy, and the time is right to name the next leader to take the company to its next phase of growth.  Mitch’s strong track record at the helm of a number of key Nielsen business units around the world – combined with his vision and commitment to our strategic plan – puts the company on solid footing for continued global expansion and value creation.  I will continue to remain invested in Mitch’s success in my new role.”  Barns adds, “I am honored by this opportunity to serve Nielsen as its chief executive officer, and I am thankful for the board’s vote of confidence.  Throughout my 16 years at this company, I’ve been privileged to work side-by-side with talented leaders and associates in Nielsen businesses across the world.  I look forward to continuing our work together to anticipate client needs with ongoing innovation and expand our footprint in developing markets, while consistently delivering growth and enhancing shareholder value.”

kfilogoKFI, Los Angeles Critic Files Petition to Deny License Renewal.  It’s probably not surprising to anyone at Clear Channel’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles that Alex Nogales, representing the National Hispanic Media Coalition, has filed a Petition to Deny the station’s license renewal application.  Nogales has long been a critic of the station’s programming.  It’s hard to say whether Nogales actually believes the FCC would act on his assertions that because hosts such as John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou speak against illegal immigration that their show is “harmful and dangerous” and this could qualify as actionable or whether he just wants to get some publicity by announcing the filing of the Petition.  Regardless, as we’ve seen countless times before – and most recently with the Commission’s refusal to deny license renewal for Cumulus’ WMAL-AM/FM, Washington – disagreements with the opinions of talk show hosts are not valid reasons for non-renewal.  As it wrote in the recent WMAL case, the FCC states, “The Commission is prohibited from exercising any power of censorship over broadcast stations with respect to content-based programming decisions.  A licensee has broad discretion – based on its right to free speech – to choose the programming that it believes serves the needs and interests of the members of its audience.”

moceritonyProgrammer and Consultant Greg Moceri’s Son Tony Writes New Hannity Theme Music.  Tony Moceri is the 13-year-old son of talk radio programmer and consultant Greg Moceri and resides in Ada, Michigan.  Tony has been playing piano since he was five and currently is a percussionist in his middle school’s band.  Greg Moceri tells Mlive.com hannityseanthat, though he’s worked with Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity in the past, his connection didn’t influence the use of his son’s work.  He says Hannity’s staff was seeking new music, “They wanted a change and asked for something upbeat and lively for the show opening.  I wasn’t thrilled with what I was finding and then I remembered Tony’s piece and sent it to some people that I work with.  They all thought it was perfect and so I sent it to Sean.  I didn’t tell him where it came from; I didn’t want him to feel obligated.  But he loved it and now they are using it.”  Hannity told Mlive.com, “Isn’t this a great story?  When Greg sent me the music, I thought it was a pop song and wondered why I had never heard it.  I have a son about the same age…and I listen to a lot of kids music.  I love music and this is spectacular.”

wgnlogoOdds & Sods.  Hockey is back and so is WGN, Chicago’s broadcast series, “Chicago Blackhawks Live,” a number of one-hour radio remotes during the 2013-2014 season that take place over dinner and feature current Blackhawks players, legends, and front office executives.  It’s hosted by Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray and the season premiere will feature Blackhawks forwards Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw.  It takes place on November 11 at 7:00 pm at Old Town Pour House in Chicago…..Cuts at Rogers Communications are affecting some of the company’s spoken-word outlets.  The Ottawa Citizen reports that CIWW, Ottawa is losing seven staffers as the station will simulcast sister CJCL, Toronto “Sportsnet 590” for weekends and part of the weekday programming.  In all, Rogers is reportedly laying off 94 staffers…..MLB‘s Miami Marlins games will be heard on Clear Channel‘s sports talk WINZ, Miami beginning with the 2014 season.  This past season, Marlins play-by-play was heard on Lincoln Financial Media‘s WAXY, Miami.

monsondoriKIRO-FM, Seattle’s Dori Monson to Take on Governor Inslee in Hoops Challenge.  KIRO-FM, Seattle talk show host Dori Monson gets to face off with Washington Governor Jay Inslee in a charity basketball game tonight that will be broadcast live on KIRO-FM.  The “Clash on the Court” will benefit Food Lifeline and Sports in Schools.  The program consists of a five-on-five co-ed game between local youth, coached by Monson and Inslee, followed by a five-on-five game featuring show hosts from KIRO Radio and “710 ESPN Seattle” up against local politicians handpicked by Jay Inslee.  The event will conclude with a one-on-one game between Monson and Inslee.  Monson jokes, “This may be my first and only opportunity to force a local politician to go right!  This proves that, for us aging basketball players, we check our politics at the gym door.  I’m thrilled Governor Inslee and I – along with our colleagues – are able to get together to raise money for two great organizations.”

ObamaCare Criticism, Presidential Approval Polls, Election Day, Toronto Mayor Crack Case and NFL Bullying Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/5).  Criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; new lower numbers for President Obama’s approval ratings; the high-profile races in Tuesday’s elections, including gubernatorial contests in Virginia and New Jersey; the admission by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford that he’s used crack cocaine in the past; and the accusations of bullying within the Miami Dolphins organization were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

RAIN Summit: “It’s Complicated”

| September 18, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

 

ORLANDO — The NAB/RAB Radio Show kicks off today; but several hundred attendees got here a day early to spend yesterday talking about non-AM/FM “radio,” at Kurt Hanson’s RAIN (Radio And Internet News) Summit.

Even just a few years ago, streaming was a novelty, an adjunct to on-air programming.  Not now.

  • Smartphones have replaced alarm clocks, watches, cameras, calculators, appointment books, TV Guide, GPS…shall I continue?  There is an app for that.  Heck, iPhone obsoleted its predecessor iPod, and (imagine someone awakening from a 10-year coma hearing this?) we now get our music from our phones.  So, without even confronting data about mushrooming streaming audio consumption, broadcasters are undeniably in be-there-or-be-square territory.
  • Read More

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

| July 24, 2013

iheartradiotalkClear Channel Moves Full-Steam Ahead into Digital Talk with iHeartRadio Talk.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces its newest digital platform – actually a custom feature of the existing iHeartRadio – dubbed iHeartRadio Talk.  The company calls it “the first mass-market audio platform with the ability to offer on-demand, listener-created talk content alongside popular news, celebrity and entertainment ‘audiosodes.’”  The company also says iHeartRadio Talk will feature “Daily Pulse,” a customizable talk channel featuring the most up-to-date news and culture highlights, which allows users to add content that is most important to them.  Clear Channel president of digital Brian Lakamp states, “Talk radio listeners are some of the most dedicated and engaged listeners in the world, and now with iHeartRadio Talk, we are giving those listeners access to their favorite talk content anywhere they are.  Plus, for the first time ever, listeners who have been accepted into the iHeartRadio Talk library will be able to record and instantly share their perspective on any topic they choose – it’s basically like offering ‘audio Twitter.’  We are giving a voice to the everyman, and at the same time are enabling iHeartRadio users to discover and enjoy thousands of ‘audiosodes’ from the best talent around the country – something only Clear Channel is able to offer.”  As part of the initiative, Clear Channel has struck a deal with ABC TV to have the new feature include audio from “Good Morning America,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The View.”

courtsidelogoCourtside Entertainment Brings Greg Batusic Aboard as COO.  Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group announces former Westwood One executive Greg Batusic joins the company in the newly created position of chief operating officer.  Batusic will be based in Los Angeles and report to Pattiz where he’ll be in charge of day-to-day operations of both Courtside Entertainment Group and Launchpad Digital Media/Podcast One.  Norm Pattiz comments, “In the early years of Westwood One, Greg helped lead the way to the multi-billion dollar network radio business.  Now, while we do the same thing to on-demand audio, Greg’s expertise and leadership will be invaluable.  He knows what it takes to build a company and an industry from the ground up and I’m happy to be working together again.”  Batusic spent 15-plus years with Westwood One.  During his career he has also served as executive vice president of global sales for Gibson Guitar.  Prior to Gibson, he co-founded The Promotional, L.L.C. and served as the managing partner of the promotion company.  He oversaw all operational business, marketing development and revenue generation through high profile promotional programs.  Batusic says, “It’s my great pleasure to be working with Norm again.  The vibe at Courtside is very much the same as it was at Westwood One – a lot of life, contagious energy and innovative ideas.  I’m excited to be a part of it.”

raytomCASE STUDY:  How to Launch an Independently Syndicated Talk Show.  In a highly informative column posted today (7/24) noted radio engineering consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray outlines a step-by-step guide to launching an independently syndicated talk show using “Ron Ananian: The Car Doctor” as a case study.  In it, Tom ananianrondiscusses every detail: from building a studio to purchasing satellite time; covering details such as getting the audio from the studio to the satellite, acquiring a toll-free, call-in line; launching an affiliate relations campaign, handling sales and audio production; as well as offering podcasts and building an accompanying website.  Ray says, “Going into independent syndication, while not simple to do, will give you a great sense of satisfaction.”  Actually, if you have a good show, launching an independently syndicated program is quite do-able.  To read Tom Ray’s entire column, which is sure to help you get started, please click here.

sabowalterFive Tips to Instant Cume Growth.  Since the advent of PPM, many programmers have ceased worrying about certain elements that were deemed vital to the diary method but are now considered unimportant in the age of PPM.  They are especially ignoring past-proven, cume-builders based on the premise that once people are listening — you already got ‘em.  This is a huge mistake.  Unless you have a major billboard, TV and newspaper advertising campaign in place you cannot afford to waste the power of your own air in generating cume.  In a new column posted today, noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo addresses the AM radio problem of cume shrinkage and offers five tips to turn this negative trend around.  To read the column, please click here.

entercomEntercom CEO David Field Addresses Employees in ‘Midyear Update.’  In a companywide memo, Entercom CEO David Field delivers what’s termed a “midyear update” that serves as both a pep talk for the immediate future and a slap on the back for what the company has achieved thus far.  Field states that coming fielddavidout of the company’s management meetings in Minneapolis last week where they heard presentations on the state of the business and what the company can do to grow he believes, “We have terrific content, large audiences, outstanding personalities, great ratings, and powerful listener engagement.  I found the meetings extremely motivating and informative and really enjoyed the time with our team of top-notch programming leaders.”  Field then goes on to address numerous items under the subheadings Investing in Our People, Investing in Our Future, Making Entercom a Better Place to Work, and Why We Matter.  Finally, he waxes positive about the radio business, “And radio is thriving.  More people listen to AM/FM radio than ever before in history.  And AM/FM radio has more than 9x the combined listening of all satellite and internet radio combined.  The addition of our digital platforms has enabled us to engage our audiences and serve our advertisers in unprecedented ways.  We have generated hundreds and hundreds of case studies demonstrating our effectiveness in delivering results for our customers.”  To read David Field’s entire memo, click here.

kkoblogoKKOB, Albuquerque Records 52nd Straight #1 Book.  Cumulus Media’s news/talk KKOB, Albuquerque notches its 52nd straight Arbitron ratings book at the top of the heap for Persons 12+ in the Spring ’13 ratings clarkbobperiod.  AM operations manager Pat Frisch tells TALKERS magazine the station is #5 in the market with Men 25-54 (Mon-Sun 6A-Mid) and notes “TSL is driving KKOB up to nine hours, two hours more than the Winter ’13 book.”  Frisch also states, “The station is being driven by the king of mornings, Bob Clark (6:00 am to 10:00 am), and midday giant Rush Limbaugh (10:00 am to 1:00 pm).  Both had over a nine-share in their time slots in the Spring book.  I am finishing up my 14th year here at KKOB and 13 of those years have been at #1 and all of this is accomplished because of a great staff that gets it.”

wdmt logoEntercom to Flip WDMT, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to Sports Talk.  Speaking to the local Times-Leader, Entercom general manager Ryan Flynn says that although the adult alternative format heard on WDMT “The Mountain” had done “OK from a ratings standpoint” over the past 10 years, the company has not been able to monetize the format.  With that, the station will become “The Sports Hub 102.3” on August 5.  It’ll use NBC Sports Radio Network programming but will air a local, three-hour sports talk show in afternoon drive.  The host(s) for that program have not been named.  It’s interesting to note that the “Sports Hub” moniker is also used by CBS Radio in Boston on WBZ-FM which is in vicious competition with Entercom’s WEEI.

mccluresaraSara McClure Named VP of Sales at CC Sacramento.  Sara McClure is a veteran of Northern California radio sales, most recently serving with Entercom in numerous sales capacities.  Now she joins Clear Channel Media and Entertainment as vice president of sales for its six-station Sacramento cluster that includes: news/talk KFBK-AM/FM, talk KSTE classic hits KHLX “Classic 93.1,” adult hits KQJK “93.7 Jack FM,” and rhythmic oldies KHYL “V101,” .  McClure worked with a Bay Area ad agency beginning in 1995 and has also served with CBS Radio.  She says, “With my background in multimedia integrated selling, I know the timing is right to make my move to Clear Channel.  I am looking forward to teaming up with [market president] Dave Milner to lead the Sacramento cluster and leverage the company’s industry-leading capabilities.”

wfsx-wnog logoThom Abraham to Host AM Drive on Fort Myers Sports Duo.  As TALKERS reported on July 23, Sunabrahamthom Broadcasting is splitting the two AM signals off its news/talk trimulcast WFSX-AM/FM and WNOG-AM “92.5 Fox News.”  The sports duo “The Fan” will feature Nashville-based Thom Abraham in the 6:00 am to 9:00 am slot.  Abraham – whose show is heard in Nashville on WNSR as well as on WNTC, Drakesboro, Kentucky and WZZN, Huntsville, Alabama – was heard in the Fort Myers market on former sports talk WJBX from 2001 to 2004.

Celebrity Promotion for ObamaCare, Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath, IRS Scandal, MLB Suspends Ryan Braun, Detroit Bankruptcy Fallout, and Anthony Weiner Internet Sex Issues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/23).  The implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the Obama Administration’s use of celebrities to promote the controversial law; issues of crime and race relations in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict; the IRS policy targeting conservative groups and individuals; MLB suspends Ryan Braun for PEDs – A-Rod believed to be next; the fallout from Detroit’s bankruptcy filing; and the new allegations of sexual dalliances by New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

| May 9, 2013

emmisEmmis Reports Fiscal Q4 Results; Smulyan “Significantly Outperformed Our Markets.” Emmis Communications reports the results of its fiscal fourth quarter (which ended February 28, 2013) for 2013 with net revenue up 2%.  Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan stated up front during the investor’s conference call, “I could not be more proud of what happened last year and I could not be more proud of what’s happening now. Because of our unique reporting structure, we have a pretty good handle on what the first quarter of our nextsmulyanjeff fiscal year will look like and we’re equally pleased with that.  I think it was a transformative year for Emmis for a couple of reasons.  I think we solved this industry’s most vexing problems with capital structure and we did it because we have a unique culture here and a culture that I think stands out and I think people are starting to understand that their culture makes a difference.”  Chief financial officer and COO Pat Walsh broke down the financials a bit, stating, “Pro forma for our station divestitures, radio net revenues consisting solely of our domestic stations grew 3%.  Revenues in markets where Emmis competes, excluding barter revenues, grew 2.8% during the quarter.  Emmis’ pro forma radio revenues reported on the same basis to Miller Kaplan grew 4.2%…automotive was once again our largest category, representing 11% of revenues, with the category growing nearly 20% as U.S. auto sales continued to accelerate.  Wireless and financial services also exhibited strong growth at approximately 20%. Education and pandoralogomedia also showed high mid-single-digit growth, high – mid to high single-digit growth.  Other top ten categories such as restaurants, entertainment, healthcare and retail showed flattish growth with beverages off during the quarter.”  During Q&A, Smulyan answered a question about whether IP-based services are sapping AM/FM audience.  Smulyan responded, “We’ve been streaming like most of our brethren for almost 17 years and we haven’t cracked the code.  We know Pandora hasn’t cracked the code.  We know TuneIn hasn’t cracked the code or Spotify, so we know that that’s a challenge.  I have one friend in the industry who says, let’s be honest.  When we take a terrestrial listener at a 35% or 40% margin and we can convert that same listener to an IP-based stream, that listener goes from a 30% or 40% margin to zero.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript.  Read the entire call here.

entercomEntercom Reports Revenue Down 2% in Q1.  Entercom announces financials for the first quarter of 2013 and reports net revenue down 2% on $78.4 million.  Station operating income was flat at $20.5 million and free cash flow increased from $1.2 million to $3.9 million.  Entercom CEO David Field noted the drop in net revenue was offset by a 3% decline in station expenses. fielddavid Regarding sales during the first quarter, Field said, “Local and national revenues were essentially the same with both down low-single digits.  Our best-performing markets were Indianapolis, Kansas City, Memphis and New Orleans.  Top-performing categories were financials, travel, telecom, home improvement and drugstores.”  Looking at the company’s status in general, Field stated, “It is important to reiterate that our efforts to pursue smart ways to reinvent our business model have not come at the expense of reinvesting in our future.  To the contrary, we continue to boost our investment in new brands and content, expanded distribution, better operating systems and enhanced digital platforms to strengthen our value proposition to our listeners and customers and create new revenue opportunities.  And we are very pleased with the state of our brands.  We had a very solid set of winter ratings results and like how we are positioned in our markets across the country.”  Again, thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript.  You can read the entire conference call here.

arbitronArbitron Releases ‘Radio Today 2013’ Study to Clients; News/Talk #1 PPM Format.  The full study is only available to Arbitron clients but here are some of the takeaways from “Radio Today 2013”:  “News/Talk/Information and Talk/Personality remained the number one format in PPM markets and was number two in the rest of the U.S.  The 2,121 rated AM, FM, HD Radio, and streamed stations in these formats far exceed any other format.  Like other spoken word formats, they rank prominently in highly educated, high-income listeners.”  And relative to TALKERS magazine’s analysis of the shared audience between news/talk and country in Jeff McKay’s piece above, the Arbitron report notes that “country and new country, already number one in our report last year, grew again to remain in first place and reach another record audience share. The format benefited most from an influx of listeners aged 18-24 and is even number two among teen listeners nationally.”

wtmjOdds & Sods.  Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee (along with its sister TV station with the same calls) was honored at this past weekend’s Wisconsin Broadcasters Association annual “Awards Gala” for broadcast excellence.  WTMJ won radio news station of the year and radio station of the year.  The station also won nine other awards including best radio show for “Midday with Charlie Sykes.”…..Andrew Marcus, director of the new film “Hating Breitbart,” which explores the life and impact of the late media guru Andrew Breitbart, will debate Wade Rathke, the founding organizer of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) on Rathke’s radio show.  The show will air on May 17 at 10:00 am ET on KABF-FM, Little Rock, Arkansas, where ACORN was founded…..Entertainment Weekly editor Jess Cagle will moderate a Town Hall special on SiriusXM with film star Hugh Jackman on May 28 at 7:00 pm ET.  Entertainment Weekly operates its own channel on the satellite radio service.

brownejoyRadio America’s Dr. Joy Browne Program Adds 10 Affiliate Stations.  The nationally syndicated Dr. Joy Browne program – now distributed by Radio America – picks up 10 new affiliate stations for the longest-running radio show of its kind.  New to the program are: WWRL, New York; WSNO, Montpelier-Barre-St. Johnsbury, Vermont; KHGG, Ft. Smith, Arkansas; WNIX, Greenville, Mississippi; KWBW, Hutchinson, Kansas; WIMS, Michigan City, Indiana; WFEB, Sylacauga, Alabama; and KVPI, Ville Platte, Louisiana.

sanchezmariaInternet Talk Station, LA Talk Radio, Continues to Grow – Adds Maria Sanchez to Daily Line Up.  Veteran talk radio host Maria Sanchez is now part of the growing LA Talk Radio team as the host of her own daily live radio program, “The Maria Sanchez Show.”  The show covers current events, newsmakers and lifestyles.  As a woman, a mother, and a Hispanic, Maria is being presented by LA Talk Radio as having “a unique perspective that is not represented in most of radio.”  A 20+ year career in radio, she developed her skills in the medium as a talk radio talent at KFI, Los Angeles, a weekend host and substitute host for such personalities as Bill Handel, John & Ken, and Phil Hendrie.   “I am thrilled to be back behind the mic and to be working with LA Talk Radio!  The ability to be relevant, topical, and without commercial interruption is a fabulous opportunity to really explore topics and guests” says Maria.  Sam Hasson, owner of LA Talk Radio, tells TALKERS, “We look forward to a long and storied relationship with Maria, a true pro in the radio industry.”

imusdon24th Annual Imus Radiothon Airs on WABC, New York Next Week.  WABC, New York-based Don Imus will broadcast the 24th annual “Imus Radiothon for the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer” next Tuesday and Wednesday, May 14 and 15.  The radiothon will also be broadcast to Imus show affiliates and be seen on Fox Business Network from 6:00 am to 10:00 am ET.

gahofnom13The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Announces Candidates for Career Achievement Awards.  The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame announces the Career Achievement candidates.  Members will cast their votes in July and eight Georgia radio professionals selected will be announced in October. The 7th Annual Induction Awards Ceremony will be held Saturday October 19, 2013 at the Atlanta/Marietta Hilton Hotel and Conference Center.  The 2013 candidates (some positions are former) are: Harry Beadle, newsman at WGST, Atlanta; Tom and Paul Collins, The “Tiger Twins” on WQXI, Atlanta; Bill Edwards, host of “Good Morning Savannah” on WTKS, Savannah; Robert “Flash” Gordon, morning host on WKZK, Augusta; Steve Goss, host of “Morning Edition” on WABE, Atlanta; Charlie Hill, announcer at WCEH, Hawkinsville; Kaedy Kiley, morning host on WRVR, Atlanta; Greg McClure, program director at WFOM, Marietta; Kelly McCoy, afternoon host on WSB-FM, Atlanta; Nelle Reagan, host of “Talk of the Town” on WRGA, Rome; Bill Rice, host of “Soul Session” on WLET, Toccoa; Mike Roberts, owner WQMJ, Macon; Deborah Richards, news director, WKHX, Atlanta; and Mark Summers, mornings at WBBQ, Augusta.

Friday, April 12, 2013

| April 12, 2013

wls-am logoWLS, Chicago Celebrates 89th Anniversary with Special Event.  Afternoon drive co-host Roe Conn will emcee a star-studded array of the biggest names in Chicago radio – past and present – who will be taking part in a special broadcast this evening from historic Navy Pier to celebrate 89 years of WLS Radio entertaining Chicago.  Joining Conn at the event will be some of the biggest names from WLS’ past — Dick Biondi, Catherine Johns and Wayne Messmer – plus special birthday greetings from Larry Lujack, Jeff Hendrix, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Rep. Peter Roskam and Notre Dame Football Coach Brian Kelly.  Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will be on hand to present WLS with a special proclamation.   “The Big 89” launched the careers of many celebrities, including Gene Autry, Larry Lujack and Bob Sirott.  Other local personalities like Dick Biondi and John Records Landecker are still heard on Cumulus Media’s sister classic hits WLS-FM.  Landecker states, “When I got into radio I never expected one set of call letters to mean so much to me, and to so many listeners.  WLS, ‘The Big 89,’ truly is the 50,000 watt blow torch of the Midwest.”  The station debuted on the evening of April 12, 1924 from the Sherman House Hotel in Chicago.  The WLS call letters were taken from the nickname – World’s Largest Store – for Sears-Roebuck’s West Side Headquarters on Homan Avenue.  Cumulus COO John Dickey says, “What started as the world’s largest store has become one of the world’s legendary stations.  Happy birthday 89. You don’t sound a day over 40!”

sternhowardAppeals Court Sinks Stern’s SiriusXM Suit.  A New York state appeals court rejected SiriusXM personality Howard Stern’s argument that the satcaster should have paid him bonus money based on the subscriber count of XM Satellite Radio.  Stern, through his production company One Twelve, had argued that when he was paid stock awards for performance based upon subscribers to Sirius, the company should also have counted subscribers to XM which merged with Sirius in 2008.  Stern lost the $330 million suit in the lower level court and appealed the decision.  But the appeals court – in a one-paragraph decision – stated that Stern’s 2004 contract with Sirius was “unambiguous” and denied the appeal.

fishercommunicationsSinclair to Keep Fisher’s Seattle Radio Stations.  In reporting yesterday’s announcement of the acquisition of Fisher Communications by Sinclair Broadcast Group, we questioned whether Sinclair – which got out of the radio business almost 14 years ago – would want to keep the three Seattle stations or offload them once the deal is consummated.  But during a conference call with analysts, Sinclair chief financial officer, executive vice president,komologo secretary of SCI and secretary of Sinclair Television Group Inc. David B. Amy addressed the radio stations, “Our understanding is that they work very closely with the Seattle television stations, and are complementary to, and benefit the Seattle television stations.  So we’ve been in radio in the past, and we’re familiar with what works and what doesn’t work within a television market in that regard.  So it will take us some time to, I guess, verify those comments that are being made to us. But at this point, no, we haven’t made any decision to do anything but to continue the way they are.”  Fisher owns hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5,” all-news KOMO-AM and news/talk KVI.  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript of the call.  You can read it in its entirety here.

weei logoDavid Field to Speak to Entercom Boston Staffers Today.  Bruce Allen’s Boston Sports Media Watch is reporting that Entercom CEO David Field is making an appearance at the Boston offices in a “town hall meeting”fielddavid style in which he’ll attempt to deal with what Allen is calling a “toxic environment” at the cluster.  Allen writes that he’ll presumably “attempt to assuage hard feelings and improve morale.  The source says the meeting is to tell employees that ‘everything is fine, and to enjoy the brand.’”  This comes on the heels of Boston Red Sox Network air personality Jon Rish’s decision to exit the network as the baseball season is just beginning rather than take what was reported to be a 30% pay cut.  Allen also is reporting that his source says Field will take questions from the staff but that questions had to be submitted in advance.

wphtWPHT, Philadelphia Moves Gary R’nel to Afternoon Co-Host Position; Rich Zeoli to Evenings.  At CBS Radio news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia, current afternoon drive co-host Rich Zeoli is moving to the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot as Gary R’nel moves to the afternoon drive slot as new afternoon host Dick Morris’ partner.  In February, WPHT announced that political consultant and former Fox News Channel contributor Morris would join the station for PM drive as part of changes to accommodate the move of longtime WPHT host Michael Smerconish to SiriusXM.  Zeoli posted the confirmation of his status on his Facebook page when he wrote, “It’s official, starting April 15th I will be moving to 6:00 to 10:00 on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT.  Thanks friends for your support and encouragement the last several weeks.”

fair50 Talk Show Hosts Heading to DC Next Week for Live Broadcasts Discussing and Opposing the Senate Amnesty Bill – More Invited to Participate from Home.  Wednesday, April 17 and Thursday, April 18 are the dates set for this year’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” mega-radio row held in the nation’s capital by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).  50 talk show hosts will be originating their programs during those two days from Capitol Hill, interviewing a parade of high-profile guests from politics, government, the media and public policy organizations.  Due to the overwhelming interest expressed by far more hosts than can be accommodated on the scene at this live event, FAIR is encouraging interested talk show hosts around the country to participate from their home markets with a “concentrated, collective and loud” nationwide push to alert listeners, who might be so pre-disposed, to oppose amnesty.  FAIR communications director Bob Dane has issued the following statement to hosts around the nation: “Please join 50 of your colleagues at ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ by devoting some, or all, of your program on April 17 and 18 to talking about the massive immigration giveaway moving through Congress.  The bill is complex but the call-to-action is simple.  As we did successfully in 2007, we need you to ask your listeners to call their lawmakers, say ‘no,’ and flood the Capitol switchboard on those two days.” For more information click herehttp://www.fairus.org/VoicesAgainstAmnesty

kupersteinadamNBC Sports Radio Network Adds Weekend Shows. Rounding out its weekend programming, the NBC Sports and Dial Global sports radio network initiative announces that last Sunday, the network debuted “Kup and Schultz,” featuring Miami’s Adam “Kup” Kuperstein and Huffington Post sports columnist Jordan Schultz.  “Kup and Schultz” will air schultzjordanregularly on Sundays from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.  Also, the network assigns a weekend show to weekday overnight host Dan Schwartzman as he debuts “Schwartzman Saturdays,” airing from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET. Kuperstein states, “I’m honored to be in such good company on the NBC Sports Radio team. Our show will be a fast-paced, fun, fresh look at sports.  I can’t wait to get started!”  Schultz adds, “I’m thrilled to be hosting a new show for NBC Sports Radio where I can bring my Huff Post perspective and passion for sports to a new audience.  It’s a tremendous opportunity to work with a highly respected network that already provides great sports talk.”

hedgecockrogerRadio America’s Roger Hedgecock Adds Six New Affiliates.  Six more stations add the nationally syndicated and San Diego-based Roger Hedgecock program to their lineups.  They are: KMJ-AM, Fresno; KGNC, Amarillo; KION, Monterey-Salinas-Santa Cruz, California; KHQN, Salt Lake City; WLFJ, Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina; KCNR, Redding, California.

kozntorreNRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha Broadcasts from Bob Gibson Statue Unveiling.  NRG Media sports talker KOZN, Omaha “The Zone” broadcast from the recent unveiling of a statue of St. Louis Cardinals great Bob Gibson by the Sarpy County (Nebraska) Sports Commission and the minor league Omaha Storm Chasers at the club’s Werner Park on April 11.  During the five-hour live remote, KOZN Damon Benning and Gary Sharp welcomed numerous high-profile guests including former MLB manager Joe Torre.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Benning, Torre and Sharp.

Obama 2014 Budget Top Talk Story for Week of April 8-12. President Obama’s Fiscal 2014 Federal Budget along with the sequester and other spending issues were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Coming in at #2 was gun legislation proposals followed by North Korea missile threats at #3.  At #4 was the immigration reform bill.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

| March 27, 2013

pittmanbobBob Pittman to Take Over Chairman of the Board Role at Clear Channel.  CC Media Holdings, Inc., in an SEC filing announcing the annual meeting of stockholders on May 17, moves to replace Mark Mays as chairman of the board with current board of directors member and company CEO Bob Pittman.  The filing states, “We believe that having the chief executive officer also serve as our chairman of the board provides us with a clear leadership structure.  As our chairman and chief executive officer, Mr. Pittman will continue to provide our board with insight into our operations and help facilitate the flow of information between management and the board.  Subject to his re-election as a director, Mr. Mays will remain a member of our board and we will continue to benefit from his experience as our previous chief executive officer.”

browns helmetGood Karma’s WKNR and CBS Radio’s WKRK Team Up to Grab Cleveland Browns Football from Clear Channel.  The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that Cleveland Browns football – for years heard onwknrlogo Clear Channel’s rock WMMS and news/talk WTAM – will air on WKNR “ESPN Cleveland” and WKRK “92.3 The Fan” beginning this fall.  Obviously, the unusual aspect of this is WKNR is owned by Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma and WKRK is CBS Radio’s sports outlet in Cleveland – both stations competing for the same listeners.  According to the piece, games will also air on CBS’ classic rock WNCX.  The Plain Dealer reports thatwkrklogo CC, CBS and Good Karma were all bidding for the rights when the latter two decided to work together.  Here’s how it is supposed to happen in the fall: a Rob Chudzinski coach’s show will air (on which station it’s not yet known) and the “Cleveland Browns Daily Show” on WKNR will expand from one hour to two.  Game days will see WKNR broadcast a four-hour pre-game show and WKRK will broadcast a two-hour post-game program.  It is expected that the booth team of Jim Donovan and Doug Dieken will remain in place.

kramerweezieEntercom Ups Weezie Kramer to Station Group President.  Weezie Kramer has been with Entercom as a regional president since 2005.  Now, the company promotes her to station group president putting her in charge of all 121 Entercom radio stations.   In this post she will supervise  Entercom regional presidents Michael Doyle and Deborah Kane and chair the company’s operating committee.  She’ll also continue to be in charge of a number of the company’s 23 markets and report directly to Entercom president and CEO David Field, who says, “For years we have operated with three wonderfully talented regional presidents, but the time has come to align our station group under a single operational leader to drive stronger organizational cohesiveness and effectiveness. In elevating Weezie to this role, we will enhance our coordination and clarity and drive faster decision-making. She will continue to work closely with Deborah Kane and Michael Doyle, providing an outstanding leadership team for our markets.”

stephandougDoug Stephan’s “Good Day Crowdfunding Show” to Put Entrepreneurs in Front of Giant Audience.  Doug Stephan’s nationally syndicated morning radio program – now in its 25th year – is inviting entrepreneurs to the largest crowdfunding pitchfest ever.  In a statement, Doug Stephan says, “‘The Good Day Crowdfunding Show’ brings the buzz of a broadcast radio reality series and pits crowdfunders in a contest judged by crowdsourcing industry thought leaders. hayesmike Entrepreneurs and businesses interested in raising capital, social lending and fundraising websites for their products, charity projects and creative ideas are invited to ‘pitch the experts’ on the first crowdfunding radio reality series.”  Good Day Crowdfunding has launched its own pre-launch to build community where crowdfunders can engage at http://GoodDayCrowdfunding.com.  Inside the community is a unique incubator project, Startup America Crowdfunding, where participants are guided from start to finish through successful money-raising campaigns.  The release continues, “As part of the project, creators of the best ideas will get a shot on the ‘Good Day Crowdfunding Show,’ to pitch their idea to millions in a fast-paced reality format.  The incentive is simple: The better the idea, the more promotion and airtime to over 3 million daily listeners across the US and online.”  The addition of the crowdfunding segment to Stephan’s program comes as the program begins working with Mike Hayes, current host of “StartUp America News” and an expert in entrepreneurship.  Hayes states, “This new reality based radio program is the ‘American Idol’ of crowdfunding.  Our intention is to help boost the impact of crowdfunding on America’s economy by creating and supporting crowdfunding success stories across any available platform.  We want to enable anyone, anywhere to follow, and fund their dream projects.”  Others joining Good Day for this project include: PR expert Ronjini Mukopadhyay, who has been central to several highly successful crowdfunding campaigns including StickNFind; entrepreneur Danny Kastner, a contestant on ‘The Apprentice’ and developer of Crowdjammer, a crowdfunding community solution designed to drive campaign backers to any crowdfunding project; and social impact marketer Robin Eschler, host of “Socially Conscious Investing” online radio and a pro in social lending, impact investing and online marketing.

cookehollandDentists are Prime Prospects for Radio Advertising.  Have you noticed when you visit your friendly family dentist lately that the office has likely evolved from projecting a serious “professional” environment to more “commercial” one with signs promoting elective cosmetic procedures (such as teeth whitening), electric toothbrush sales, awards programs for recruiting new patients and “like us on Facebook” display cards? The fact is, dentistry has changed over the years and today’s young crop of dentists find themselves in a business that requires far more media promotion than their cavity-filling forebears ever thought about (or would consider appropriate).  In a helpful article posted today (3/27) noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke sinks his canines into a potentially lucrative sales lead category.  Read it here.

madisonjoeWashington-Based Talker Joe Madison Exits WOL, Washington.  Talk radio personality Joe Madison’s program has been based at SiriusXM for several years and the show was carried by Radio One’s WOL, Washington after the latter had served as Madison’s base for more than a decade.  Now, Madison’s program is off WOL and solely available on SiriusXM’s “The Power” channel.  Radio One doesn’t appear to have a permanent AM drive replacement for Madison yet as midday host Ron Thompson has been sitting in.

finebaumpaulBirmingham Sports Media Personality Paul Finebaum Inks Book Deal.  Former WJOX, Birmingham sports talk host Paul Finebaum has signed a deal with Harper Collins that, according to SBNation.com, will tell the story of his radio show and its effect on the SEC.  Finebuam tells Al.com, “Primarily, it’s about the culture of the show and how the culture of the show interacts with the SEC.  But it does quickly go through my career and how we got to this point.  There will be commentary on why the SEC is better than everyone else.  It will certainly talk about the dominance of not only Alabama, but the conference.  The radio show will be woven in and out of the book, featuring little vignettes on the callers.”  Harper Collins plans to officially announced the deal this week.  Finebaum’s regionally syndicated radio show – now off the air after he left Cumulus Media’s WJOX and is sitting out a non-compete period – was also heard on SiriusXM.  It is expected that once the non-compete period elapses in late April, Finebaum will cross the street and base his program from WZNN, Birmingham “ESPN 97.3 The Zone” which is in the process of being sold by Cox Media Group to SummitMedia.

biakelseyBIA/Kelsey Sees Radio Station Online Growth Rising at Faster Pace.  The media advisory firm reports that, according to its first 2013 Investing in Radio Market Report, “Radio industry over-the-air revenues inched slightly upwards in 2012, increasing to $14.3 billion, a 1.5% change fratrikmarkfrom the year before.”  The company goes on to say that the “slight change is due in large part to the sluggish overall economy for 2012 and the increased competition radio faces in the local media market.”  It notes “station revenue mix will continue to shift somewhat and income from online advertising is expected to rise at a rate of about 10.8% annually over the next five years versus 2.5% from over-the-air.”  For 2013, BIA/Kelsey forecasts over-the-air radio revenues should see 2.3%, or $14.7 billion, again due to the slightly stronger economy.  BIA/Kelsey forecasts radio’s online revenue growth will reach $818 million by 2017, while the industry’s combined total revenue will reach $17 billion by 2017.   Vice president and chief economist Mark Fratrik states, “As the digital marketplace continues to rise in all sectors of advertising, radio is improving its listener engagement online and benefitting from the value of its web and mobile assets.  Overall, the industry is still recognized as an important part of the media mix as it continues to meander around, rising slightly with the rate of inflation but not keeping up with the economy.”

narvaezmonicaArbitron Names Monica Narvaez Hispanic Broadcaster Account Specialist.  In a role newly created, Arbitron Inc. appoints Monica Narvaez Hispanic broadcaster account specialist.  The company reports her duties will include: promoting the power of Spanish-language radio; generating solutions to help address Hispanic radio group needs; and developing programs for Spanish radio group training initiatives.  Narvaez has been with Arbitron for 10 years.  Prior to joining Arbitron she served with Nielsen as a web trainer, working with TV station research directors and sales executives using Scarborough Research.

millerdennisOdds & Sods.  Dial Global’s Dennis Miller interviews former Massachusetts Governor and former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on his nationally syndicated show today (3/27)…..Legendary actor and CRN Digital Talk Radio personality Robert Conrad says he is doing fine despite rumors on the internet this week that he has passed away.  Conrad, who hosts his own show on the network on Thursdays from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm PT, says, “I’m feeling well and in good health so I’m very surprised to hear that I’ve passed away, I must’ve missed that memo.”  The CRN studios received numerous calls from his listeners about the report…..Current.org reports that University of Alabama Birmingham-owned non-commercial WBHM, Birmingham news director Tanya Ott is moving to Georgia to take on the vice president/radio for Georgia Public Broadcasting.

waxylogoThe FCC Approves Move of WAXY-FM, Miami Signal.  Lincoln Financial Media’s acquisition of CBS Radio’s former AC WEAT, West Palm Beach was executed with the intent of bringing the now-WAXY sports talk FM simulcast signal closer to the Miami market.  After Clear Channel objected to the move, the FCC overruled that objection and LFM gets the okay to move the signal to its new city of license Miramar.  The 104.3 signal has been simulcasting WAXY since LFM took control.

njba logoNew Jersey Broadcasters Association Backs FM in Smart Phones.  The New Jersey Broadcasters Association passed a resolution on Tuesday, March 26 at its board meeting in support of the Sprint FM Chip proposal, reaffirming the absolute need to enable all cell phones within the United States to include (and activate) FM receiver capabilities in smartphones and other consumer electronic  devices.   NJBA president Paul Rotella states, “This is a rotellapaulmatter of vital importance to inform and protect our citizens especially in times of natural disaster, severe weather or other emergencies that require the unequalled power of radio to reach the public.”  The NJBA believes that because of the strength of broadcast and the power of the airwaves, local radio and TV stations are often the only available communications medium during disaster situations.  Rotella continues, “New Jersey Broadcasters see the value of making radio receivers available and installed in all telecommunications devices owned and used by the public, foremost of those is the ‘smart phone’ and, therefore, the New Jersey Broadcasters Association supports the agreement with Sprint to produce and sell over 30 million smart phones in three years with fully functional FM radio receivers as part of their ‘smart Phones’ and service for same.”

SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, Costs of ObamaCare, North Korea Threats, Euro Zone Jitters, Dow Continues to Soar, and Amanda Knox Re-Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/26).  The debate over the legality of gay marriage as the Supreme Court hears arguments; the costs of the Affordable Care Act; North Korea’s military threats; uncertainty in the euro zone after the Cyprus affair; the still-soaring Dow; and the Italian court’s ruling to re-try Amanda Knox were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

| September 19, 2012

NAB/RAB Radio Show Opens in Dallas Today.  Thousands of broadcasters from around the nation are gathering at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas for the annual “Radio Show” jointly presented by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).  The theme of this year’s event is ‘Hear What’s Next.”  The entire conference, which runs from this morning until the closing Radio Show Luncheon on Friday afternoon, is devoted to the medium of radio and its commercial industry with an eye on the future — from the music royalties issue to the general challenge of integrating into the digital era.  CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason served as chair of this year’s Radio Show Steering Committee.  TALKERS has correspondents on the scene and will provide coverage of the key events as they unfold.

Michael Harrison to Deliver Address This Morning:  “Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?”   TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will be presenting an “info-session” at the Radio Show this morning sponsored by this publication in which he addresses the question, “Can terrestrial radio thrive in the digital era?”  Harrison says, “Survival is not enough.  Survival is just a form of slow death.”  In an accompanying article he writes, “Survival is already happening and it isn’t as much fun as it’s cracked up to be as a spectator sport on the Discovery Channel.  In the reality show called terrestrial radio, sooner than later, survival will run out of gas.  For terrestrial radio, ‘survival’ is simply a slower form of imminent death.  It should be the goal of terrestrial radio to thrive in the digital era. Thrive? Is that even possible? Of course it is — but only if the medium’s players, from the very top on down, muster up the will to conquer the daunting obstacles standing before them.  It will take vision and courage fueled by bold ideas and action to slay the five-headed dragon threatening terrestrial radio with premature obsolescence.”  To read the entire article, click here.  If you are in Dallas, you can attend Harrison’s presentation in the Emerald Room at 10:15 am CT.

Entercom Announces Deal with ESPN to Split WEEI, Boston’s AM and FM Signals.  Beginning October 5, ESPN Radio’s national sports talk lineup will be heard on WEEI-AM at 850 in Boston and the local talk of Entercom’s Boston sports brand will broadcast solely on WEEI-FM at 93.7.  This is a great deal for ESPN, which gets a Boston clear for its sports talk programming and play-by-play, including the entire MLB schedule (including this year’s playoffs), the NBA and college hoops and football.  The AM side is being re-branded “ESPN on WEEI.”  On the FM side, the Boston sports talker will still be the exclusive home of Red Sox baseball, Celtics basketball and NFL play-by-play.  For WEEI’s web presence, ESPNBoston.com will power WEEI.com’s video player with ESPN video content.  Entercom president and CEO David Field states, “We are excited to be expanding our partnership with ESPN in such a meaningful way.  Combining Boston’s leading sports station, WEEI-FM, and the new ESPN on WEEI 850 AM, together with our ability to cross promote content through our existing mobile and digital platforms, gives passionate Boston sports fans the very best in local and national sports content.”

WSAU-AM/FM, Wausau, Wisconsin Give Political Candidate Free Air Time in Equal Time Deal.  Pat Snyder is the morning drive host on Midwest Communications news/talk combo WSAU-AM/FM, Wausau, Wisconsin.  He’s also a Republican candidate for State Assembly but his popularity with listeners meant the station didn’t want to take him off the air until it had to.  The Wausau Daily Herald reports that since Snyder worked until August 30 – almost two weeks after Democrat Mandy Wright became his opponent on August 14 – Wright became eligible for equal time compensation.  So the station will give Wright five-and-a-half hours of time in the form of commercials to air between now and election day.  She tells the paper she’s happy with the deal and that the station was “amicable” in dealing with her.

Jim Ingstad’s Radio Fargo-Moorhead to Sell Cluster to Midwest Communications.  The six-station cluster of Jim Ingstad’s Radio Fargo-Moorhead will be sold to Wausau, Wisconsin-based Midwest Communications, pending FCC approval.  The stations are: news/talk KFGO-AM, sports KVOX-AM, classic hits KBVB-FM, Top 40 WDAY-FM, talk KRWK-FM and CHR KMJO-FM.  Six years ago Ingstad bought the stations from Clear Channel – the company that had purchased the stations from him several years prior.  No purchase price has been announced.

Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart to Debate Prior to the Election.  Dubbed “The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium” and taking place at Washington, DC’s George Washington University on October 6, Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly (also heard on news/talk radio stations via his daily feature distributed by Courtside Entertainment) and “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart will mix it up in a 90-minute debate about election issues.  O’Reilly and Stewart have a friendly but adversarial relationship and have both appeared on each other’s shows.  According to Deadline.com, the debate will be broadcast over the internet in a pay-per-view model.

WJJG, Chicago Flips Calls to Historic WCKG.  Talk outlet WJJG (licensed to Elmhurst, Illinois) is taking the calls of the former CBS Radio hot talk outlet WCKG-FM – once home to Howard Stern, Steve Dahl and others during its heyday.  The station says in a statement, “WCKG has boasted Chicago and national radio stars the likes of Bob Sirott, Steve Dahl, Howard Stern, Kevin Matthews, Jonathon Brandmeier, Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew Pinsky, Garry Meier, and Stephanie Miller.  Now, WCKG fans can add Mancow Muller, Alex Jones, and Michael Savage to the list of radio superstars linked to WCKG, on AM 1530.  General manager Matt Dubiel has been operating the station for the past year and has re-tooled the station’s programming lineup, marketing, studios and engineering.  He says he has plans to add live and local talk shows and a suburban showcase studio next.  “My mission is to bring WCKG to a worthy DuPage County suburb.  It’s high time for DuPage to have a marquee radio station with top-level talent serving our communities and Main Street businesses.”

Managing the Tight Sports Talk Playlist.  Sports talk hosts wishing to depart from the small number of stories in which their audience is interested on any given day do so at the risk of massive tune out.  WFAN, New York host Richard Neer writes that today’s sports talk host must work that much harder to keep those few topics fresh to serve both the new listeners coming in and the ones who’ve been along for the ride for some time.  Doing that and avoiding the temptation to veer off into uncharted waters are two of the biggest challenges for sports talkers.  Read Richard Neer’s column here.

Morning Host Hank Bonecutter Let Go from WJZM, Clarksville, Tennessee.  The twist here is that Hank Bonecutter, host of “The Bone Show” on news/talk/sports WJZM, Clarksville, Tennessee, is the former owner of the station and he just completed the sale of it to new owners Dave Loos Jr., Greg Walker and Mike Parchman in August.  He’d been affiliated with the station since 1973 and bought it in 1994.  He tells The Leaf Chronicle, “I have no ill will.  They have to do what they have to do.  I wasn’t sure I’d stay on to the end of the year anyway…My reporting and all we were doing was not in their whole scope of what the station would be about.  I don’t think there’s any question I’ve rubbed a lot of people the wrong way for several years.  I’m sure they were taking a lot of heat from some folks in town, but I can’t speak to whether that was part of their decision or not.”

Critics Slamming NBC TV’s Ouster of Ann Curry from “Today.”  In a story in the New York Post, many industry watchers are saying the network’s move to bump Ann Curry from its morning news/talk show “Today” is not getting the intended result: improved ratings.  In the three months since Curry was replaced by Savannah Guthrie, the ratings have slid further.  According to the story, with Ann Curry in the lineup the show averaged 4.94 million total viewers and 2.1 million viewers in the 25 to 54 demo in the 10 weeks before she left.  Since then, “Today” has dropped to 4.6 million total viewers and 1.9 million in the 25 to 54 demo in the 10 weeks after she was replaced.

Odds & Sods.  CBS Radio gears up for the 29th NewsRadio 1020 KDKA Spaghetti Breakfast being held this Friday from 5:00 am to 9:00 am at the Heinz Hall Garden Plaza in downtown Pittsburgh.  The breakfast feast features “KDKA Morning News co-hosts Larry Richert and John Shumway…..WHO, Des Moines PM drive host Simon Conway sits in today through Friday for Premiere Networks’ “America Now” with Andy Dean…..Corporate Turnaround partners with Broadcast Affiliate Sales to debut its new daily radio feature that consists of intriguing stories about ways business can improve and grow.  BAS’ Mike Tyler says, “Corporate Turnaround’s daily feature discusses many ways small business can improve their financial condition.  This feature will help radio stations get new advertisers.  The listeners will enjoy the feature and small business will get much needed information.”

Romney ‘Reliant on Government’ Comments, Media Matters-DOJ Relationship, and Libya U.S. Consulate Attack Aftermath/Muslim World Protests Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/18).  The fallout from a secretly recorded video of Mitt Romney speaking to donors about the 47% of President Obama’s base who are “reliant on government”; questions about whether Media Matters for America has a working relationship with the Department of Justice; the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya and the ongoing anti-America protests in the Muslim world were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

| June 28, 2012

News Corp. Splits Its Assets in Two.  News Corporation officially announces it will chop its company into two separate, publicly traded companies, one consisting of its entertainment properties and the other its  publishing assets.  The issue was decided at yesterday’s board meeting.  Under the plan, the entertainment division will include the TV and movie businesses – Twentieth Century Fox, the Fox broadcast network, Fox News Channel and the other cable networks.  The publishing arm will consist of the newspapers – The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London and The Australian as well as the other publishing assets — including Harper Collins.  This will presumably also include The Wall Street Journal Radio NetworkSNL Kagan reports the two primary reasons for executing the split are to distance the more profitable entertainment assets from the phone hacking scandal — this reason has been denied by CEO Rupert Murdoch — and to encourage investors who are keen on the entertainment side but not the publishing business.  The first nine months of News Corp.’s 2012 fiscal year saw the entertainment division bring in $18.66 billion in net operating revenue while the publishing division’s net operating revenue was $6.22 billion.  However, analysts are not in agreement that the split will encourage that much investment and ultimately be as valuable to the entertainment side’s stock as it might appear at first blush.

Yahoo! and Clear Channel Agree to Content Sharing Deal.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and Yahoo! partner on a distribution and cross-promotional deal in which Yahoo! will use the iHeartRadio digital platform as its official digital radio service while Yahoo! will be able to promote its content across CC’s 850 radio stations.  Yahoo! recently entered into deals with ABC News and CNBC to distribute jointly produced content across websites and television.  Interim Yahoo! CEO Ross Levinsohn – who is working to turn the struggling digital media company around and give it a focused direction – says of the pact, “This partnership will expand our ability to provide consumers and advertisers with the best premium content available and provide Clear Channel with unmatched digital reach.”  Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman says, “We were thrilled when Ross approached us about this partnership.  We like the direction Yahoo! is going and by working together we can accelerate growth for the both of us.”

The NFL’s Buffalo Bills Sue Cumulus Over “Incentive Rights Fee.”  Buffalo Bills play-by-play aired on Cumulus Media’s (and previously Citadel’s) WGRF-FM and WEDG-FM, Buffalo for the past 13 seasons through the 2011 season and now the team is suing Cumulus for what it says is the company’s failure to pay the “incentive rights fee” of about $1 million, according to the Buffalo News.  The suit states the incentive rights fee equals half the broadcaster’s gross revenues from the sale of related programming or advertising in connection with any Bills game, after accounting for certain costs.  The suit also contends, “For the 2011 NFL football season, the reasonable value of the exclusive radio broadcast rights and perquisites was believed to be at least $2.4 million, of which an amount believed to be at least $1 million remains due and owing.”  Attorneys for the team say Cumulus was to provide an independent auditor’s report on gross revenue and net revenue for the 2011 season and that has yet to happen.  The Buffalo News reports attempts to get a comment from Cumulus had not been successful.

Tom Leykis and Lionel on Strategies for Taking Talk Content to the Web.  This video from the recent 2012 TALKERS New Media Seminar – New York features The New Normal chief and talk radio legend Tom Leykis and LionelMedia.com personality Lionel discussing from-the-trenches strategies for bringing talk content – live streaming shows and podcasts – to the web.  The biggest challenge to this initiative is letting people know you are there and enticing them to listen.  Hear Leykis and Lionel speak about their work in this medium on this exclusive panel discussion in the TALKERS TV box on this page.  (Videography by Art Vuolo of Vuolo Video)

TuneIn Brings Major Broadcasters Cox Media Group, Emmis and Entercom Aboard.  Digital audio service TuneIn continues to build its roster of content with the signing of three of America’s big broadcasting companies to deals to distribute their audio.  Cox Media Group, Emmis Communications and Entercom radio stations will be heard on the TuneIn service that boasts 30 million monthly active listeners.  In announcing the deal, the chiefs of the three companies tout the enhanced distribution this will give their content.  Cox president Doug Franklin states, “As we transform into a digital media company, Cox Media Group is extending our great local brands to as many digital platforms as possible to seamlessly provide our audiences with the programming they want where and when they want it.  TuneIn leads the industry with their listener-first approach to everything they do, and we are excited to offer our broadcasts to the growing and vastly important digital audience.”  Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan comments, “Emmis is excited by today’s announcement.  We want to follow our listeners and deliver our content to the platforms they choose to use.  The TuneIn platform will provide our listeners from coast to coast another connection point with their favorite radio brands.”  And Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “This is a great deal for Entercom, for TuneIn and most importantly for our listeners. We are very pleased to align Entercom with such an innovative company as TuneIn, which will deliver our terrific local programming to a wider, digitally engaged audience.  Together, Entercom and TuneIn will deliver existing and new fans the best listening experience possible.”

Glenn Hall Named Managing Editor at TheBlaze.  Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts announces former editor in chief at TheStreet joins TheBlaze as managing editor.  The company states Glenn Hall will “oversee the day-to-day management and long-term editorial planning of TheBlaze.com’s editors and writers.”  Hall served as editor in chief at TheStreet until this past March and, according to comScore audience rankings, helped grow TheStreet into the 10th largest online financial media group, surpassing CNBC.com.  TheBlaze president and chief strategy officer Betsy Morgan says, “In under two years, we have attracted a growing team of over 25 reporters with a diverse range of experience ranging from a former CIA officer to CNN contributors.  We are excited to take our team to the next level with Glenn Hall who brings a strong track record of leading and overseeing high-quality coverage and award-winning journalism to TheBlaze.” Hall comments, “TheBlaze is an amazing web phenomenon that shows media can thrive in the new digital age provided the focus and mission are aligned with the needs of the audience.  I am excited about the opportunity to help grow this brand and raise the bar for digital journalism.”

CNN Suffers Worst Primetime Ratings Quarter in 21 Years; Cable News/Talk Network Makes Programming Changes.  TVNewser reports CNN’s 2012 second quarter primetime ratings were at their worst in 21 years with 446,000 total viewers and 129,000 in the adults 25-54 demo.  Compared to the second quarter of 2011, CNN is down 35% in total viewers in Total Day.  The numbers are similar in primetime with the network down 35% in total viewers and 41% in the adults 25-54 demo.  For individual shows, it’s hard to compare since the schedule has shifted and the same shows didn’t air at the same times last year.  But “Piers Morgan Tonight” (which hasn’t moved) is down 29% in total viewers and 33% in adults 25-54.  There is a bit of good news for the network as TVNewser reports June Nielsen numbers show younger viewers are increasing boosting Piers Morgan 9% in June, Anderson Cooper 5% and Erin Burnett 24%.  Meanwhile, the Time Warner cable news/talk network makes some programming changes: The seven-month-old “Early Start” show sees co-host Ashleigh Banfield move to the 11:00 am ET slot and newcomer John Berman becomes co-host of the program with Zoraida Sambolin.  Also, Kyra Phillips leaves CNN for duties at sister channel HLN.

KOZN, Omaha’s Kevin Kugler Transitions to National Correspondent Duties.  Sports talk host Kevin Kugler, currently co-host of the “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” afternoon show at NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha – 1620 AM The Zone – will become a national sports correspondent for the station as he moves to a full-time position with the Big Ten Network – the conference’s TV network.  Kugler also serves as a play-by-play announcer for NFL football and NCAA basketball on the Dial Global Radio Networks and he will remain in that capacity.  KOZN program director Neil Nelkin states, “Kevin now gets a chance to cut his teeth as a play-by-play host for the Big 10 and still stay on The Zone.  It has been a joy and a privilege to watch Kevin as he evolved into a national sports correspondent.”  Kugler’s duties with The Zone will be as analyst, interviewer and guest anchor.  On his career transition, Kugler says, “This opportunity affords me the chance to remain on The Zone and stay in Omaha.  Although this is a new chapter for my career, I am still staying on my ‘home’ at 1620 The Zone but I will have even more insight to offer as a result of the various exclusive interviews and event coverage I will be able to do on BTN.”

KXL, Portland Names Dan Mitchinson PM Drive Co-Anchor.  Dan Mitchinson has been evening news anchor at Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle.  On July 9 he begins his new position with Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland where he’ll co-host the station’s “Portland’s Afternoon News” with Lacey Evans.  In a statement, Mitchinson says, “KXL is certainly one of the best-known news/talk stations in the country and one of the things that excites me the most it’s not just telling stories, but the way we’re able to start conversations with our listeners.  Anyone can read the news or check their Twitter account.  What KXL does best is tell passionate stories that make you feel even more involved with the city I now get to call home.”

The Anticipated ObamaCare Ruling, the Aftermath of the Arizona Illegal Immigration Law Decision, the 2012 Presidential Campaign, the Colorado Wildfires, and Eric Holder Contempt Vote Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/27).  The anticipation of the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; the aftermath of the Court’s decision on the Arizona illegal immigration law; the ongoing 2012 presidential campaign; the wildfires raging through Colorado and the attempt by House Republicans to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, May 11, 2012

| May 11, 2012

Entercom Reports Q1 Revenue Down 3%.  Some format changes in several markets and the usual first quarter doldrums can be blamed for the down performance of Entercom in Q1 of 2012, Entercom CEO David Field told analysts during the Q1 conference call.  Field states seven format changes that took place in 2011 – including three in major markets like Boston and San Francisco – have affected revenue.  But Field sees positive things ahead as he tells analysts May and June are pacing up and the third quarter of this year looks healthy.  Political ad spending is a major factor in improving revenue.  Other points mentioned by Field: Entercom cut expenses by 4% and was able to pay down $17.4 million of its senior debt leaving $592 million in senior debt.

Emmis Revenue Down but Jeff Smulyan Promises Greatly Deleveraged Emmis.  During his conference call with analysts, Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan reported net revenue down 11% — down just 3% when excluding the stations majority owned by Merlin Media – for the quarter ending February 29.  But Smulyan says his company is paying down debt – some $1.5 billion to date – and when current transactions are complete Emmis will be one of the least-leveraged companies in the radio business.  With recent transactions, Emmis is now a company operating clusters in Indianapolis, Austin, St. Louis, Terre Haute, and, of course its two major market signals: Hot 97 in New York and Power 106 in Los Angeles.

KILT, Houston Brings Nick Wright Aboard for AM Drive Co-Host Duties.  Currently hosting at Entercom’s KCSP, Kansas City, sports talk host Nick Wright moves south to join John Lopez on the morning show at CBS Radio’s KILT, Houston.  The position opened when Marc Vandermeer took a full-time position with the NFL’s Houston Texans, although Vandermeer will still be heard on the station doing Texans play-by-play.  KILT program director Gavin Spittle says of Wright’s hire, “We’re really excited to welcome Nick to our talented roster of hosts.  He has tremendous energy, passion and a history of ratings success.  His excitement to pair up with John Lopez is equal to our excitement to add him to our number one sports lineup for many years to come.”

Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly Play Town Hall in New York Saturday Night.  As part of the duo’s “Bolder and Fresher Tour 2012,” Dial Global nationally syndicated talk show host Dennis Miller and Fox News Channel star Bill O’Reilly – also heard on the radio via his Courtside Entertainment Group-syndicated “Talking Points” commentaries, will appear at Town Hall in NYC tomorrow night.  During the program each host takes a turn doing a monologue for the crowd.  Then the two sit down together to discuss and riff on the big issues of the day.  Upcoming shows include stops in Indianapolis, Chicago and Atlanta.

New Jersey Talk Host Found Shot Dead in Her Home.  Authorities in Linwood, New Jersey report 47-year-old April Kauffman was found shot to death in the bedroom of her home in that town.  She co-hosted a weekly talk radio show at WOND, Pleasantville, New Jersey during which she advocated for veteran’s causes and other issues.  The Associated Press is reporting that authorities have not made any arrests in the killing.

 

Michelle Jerson to Host Talk Shows at WWIQ-FM, Philadelphia.  Former New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Michelle Jerson is doing some fill-in work at Merlin Media’s new WWIQ-FM, Philadelphia.  She begins today by hosting the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot – eventually to be the home of Rush Limbaugh when the Premiere Networks superstar migrates over from his current Philly home at WPHT.  Jerson, who hosted a relationships program during her time at NJ101.5, tells TALKERS that she’ll do a non-political program today.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte to Air UNC Football and Hoops.  Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte is the official Charlotte affiliate for University of North Carolina football and basketball play-by-play after agreeing to a deal with the university’s rights holder, Tar Heel Sports Properties.  WBT will carry all games plus coaches’ shows featuring football coach Larry Fedora and basketball legend Roy Williams.  Tar Heels Sports Properties general manager Gary Sobba states, “We’re excited about this new partnership and bringing two terrific brands back together.  WBT has a very strong signal and will provide excellent coverage for the Tar Heel faithful in the Charlotte metro area.”

2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 7-11.  The 2012 presidential race landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the sixth consecutive week.  Close behind at #2 was President Obama’s gay marriage stance.  At #3 was longtime Indiana Republican Senator Dick Lugar’s loss in the primary election and at #4 was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s snubbing of President Obama by backing out of the G-8 at Camp David.  The Talkers TenTM is based on ongoing research by TALKERS and is published at Talkers.com every Friday.  View the top 10 stories and people as discussed on news/talk radio here.

Dave Ramsey Broadcasts from Tucson.  Nationally syndicated personal finance talk show star Dave Ramsey is pictured here in Tucson conducting his EntreLeadership Master Series at the Westin LaPaloma in Tucson.  Keeping with the theme of the week, today’s broadcast will focus on business and leadership questions from callers to the radio program.  Ramsey’s organization explains that EntreLeadership “combines the innovative spirit of an entrepreneur with the passion and drive of a leader.  This philosophy is how Ramsey has run his highly successful company and trained his leadership team since day one.  At EntreLeadership Master Series, Ramsey condenses 20 years of business and leadership wisdom into a seven day event.  Business owners and leaders who attend walk away with practical ideas that can improve their communication, organization, team culture, finances, negotiating and selling skills, marketing, advertising, and ability to make tough decisions.”  Last September, Ramsey’s latest best-seller, EntreLeadership, debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

| February 29, 2012

KFI, Los Angeles Management Meets with Black Activists; Promises Plan to Address Staff Diversity.  KFI, Los Angeles afternoon drive duo John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou returned to the air this week after a seven-day suspension for insensitive language about Whitney HoustonClear Channel Los Angeles management – as well as John and Ken themselves – met with a group of black activists to discuss the situation and, according to the Los Angeles Times, KFI is promising to devise a plan to address the station’s lack of diversity.  Activist Jasmyne Cannick tells the paper, “KFI has 14 shows, and 13 of them are hosted by white men.  There are no blacks in their newsroom.  This fosters an environment where insensitive comments like this can happen.  And they are not living up to Clear Channel’s statement of a commitment to diversity.”  Management didn’t speak to the Times but local activist Najee Ali seems convinced the station is sincere about addressing their concerns.  The Times quotes him saying, “The station pledged to make substantive changes in diversity.  They are trying to build a bridge.  John and Ken really want to put this behind them and move forward.  Their voices are needed in Southern California and they have done some good things.  We can’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.”

Entercom Reports 7% Drop in Revenue in 2011 Q4; FM Flips a Factor.  During a conference call yesterday announcing Entercom Communications’ financial numbers for the fourth quarter of 2011, CEO David Field referred to his company’s station portfolio as having gone through some pretty big changes in the last 12 months with seven format changes – three in two of the company’s biggest markets.  Of course he’s talking about blowing up San Francisco’s country KBWF-FM to create that market’s FM sports talk outlet as well as the changes in Boston to give sports WEEI an FM signal.  Also, news/talker KMBZ, Kansas City and WBEN, Buffalo were given FM signals at the expense of music FMs.  All this means an immediate loss of revenue that the company hopes will be paid back in time.  In a statement, Field said, “These moves significantly enhance our future growth potential and are expected to contribute positively to revenue growth commencing in the second quarter.  However, they diluted our fourth quarter revenues by 4%.  Excluding political and stations reformatted in 2011, fourth quarter revenues were flat.  We are optimistic on 2012 growth, bolstered by improving economic conditions, accelerating performance from newly reformatted stations and political advertising.  And we are highly encouraged by strong industry fundamentals as innovation accelerates, audience usage trends remain outstanding and radio remains the most cost-effective major advertising medium.”

MSNBC Beats CNN in February Prime Time Ratings.  CNN has been working to re-tool its programming to gain back some of the viewers it has been losing but the cable news/talk channel was not able to pull out a victory over competitor MSNBC in February despite the intense GOP primary election  season – including a Republican debate – and the death of Whitney Houston.  According to TVWeek, MSNBC averaged 988,000 total viewers during prime time in February to CNN’s 804,000.

Schnitt Happens in Detroit.  Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is pictured here in the studios at affiliate station WXYT, Detroit broadcasting live on Tuesday (2/28) as Michigan Republicans went to the polls to vote in the primary election.  Detroit was one of Schnitt’s key stops on the road to the Republican National Convention which will take place in Tampa the week of August 27.  Schnitt’s program is based at WFLA, Tampa from which he will bring his listeners a full-access pass.

Cumulus Media Networks Touts Affiliation Surge for “Red Eye Radio.”  Since changing the tone of the program through the merger of “Red Eye Radio” with the “Midnight Radio Network” hosted by Eric Harley and Gary McNamara, Cumulus Media Networks reports it has added 22 new affiliates to the station’s roster.  With major market O&Os WLS, Chicago and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington leading the pack, the network also reports stations including KCMO, Kansas City; WPRO/WEAN-FM, Providence; WGOW-FM, Chattanooga; and KKOB, Albuquerque have picked up the overnight talk show.

WDBO, Orlando Brings Mel Robbins Aboard for Live Midday Show.  Cox Media Group’s WDBO, Orlando notes it will be the first time in 11 years the station will have a local weekday talk host when Mel Robbins takes over the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot, bumping Dial Global’s Clark Howard to the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am shift.  Robbins hosts the A&E cable show “Monster in Law” and worked for five years as a public defender in Manhattan.  The station says when Robbins isn’t doing her radio show or filming for TV she “travels around the country on speaking engagements for Fortune 500 companies.  Robbins has appeared with Dr. Phil discussing her life coaching skills and is a regular on Anderson Cooper’s daytime program, ABC’s ‘Good Morning America,’ a bestselling author, and more.”  Robbins’ program will originate from her rural Massachusetts farm but will make frequent trips to Orlando.

Cumulus Gives Myrtle Beach Sports FM Better Signal; Splits AM Simulcast Off.  Cumulus Media Group is moving 93.9 The Team (WJXY-FM) to the 100.3 dial position currently occupied by CHR i100.3 (WSEA-FM) beginning March 5.  There are programming changes as well.  The station becomes ESPN Radio 100.3 and takes the ESPN programming with it as well as the local PM drive show hosted by Aaron Marks.  He’s the sports director and will be charged with programming the station.  The other change is the AM simulcast on WHSC splits off and becomes Fox Sports Radio 1050.  That station will air DirecTV/Premiere NetworksDan Patrick live, Premiere’s Jim Rome, Fox Sports Radio programming and play-by-play sports including minor league baseball.  WJXY-FM is in a trust to be sold.  It’s still unclear if Cumulus will simply move the CHR format over to 93.9 while that signal is on the market.  Aaron Marks says of the moves, “We are thrilled with the addition of Fox Sports Radio to our cluster of stations.  If there has been one complaint about our station I have heard since I started here last July, it is that Dan Patrick is a great show but doesn’t sound good unless it runs live.  The additional station will also allow us to provide the proper coverage to all of our local and regional colleges and professional teams. Every team can have a place to call home for all of their games and we’ll be able to add even more play-by-play than ever before at the high school, college, and pro level.”

Salem Radio Network Talk Star Mike Gallagher Broadcasts Live from WHK, Cleveland.  In the wake of the tragic deaths of three high school students in the Cleveland suburb of Chardon, Mike Gallagher traveled to Salem Communications’ O&O WHK, Cleveland to broadcast his program live from the area on Tuesday.  Gallagher railed against the news that the suspected shooter was bullied.  “That’s ridiculous, in my view, to go down this path, of suggesting that bullying is somehow to blame.  It might be part of the story, it might be part of the narrative.  It might be factual.  This kid’s some freak, who’s a goth who acts weird and is anti-social and he’s gonna get picked on.  Well, welcome to the real world…please don’t pretend that the kids who can’t handle it, who say they’re bullied, and therefore have to go get a gun and blow kids brains out somehow aren’t evil.  That IS evil.  E-v-i-l.  They are evil monsters who frankly ought to be executed for what they’ve done.  This kid ought to face the death penalty for his cold-blooded acts of violence.”

Business TalkRadio Network Announces New Daily Schedule.  Beginning March 5, Business TalkRadio Network adjusts its afternoon schedule with the addition of “The Big Biz Show” with Bob “Sully” Sullivan airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET; “Catalyst Radio Show” from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm; and the Tom O’Brien show from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  President and CEO Michael Metter states, “Sometimes in life things work out for a reason and this is truly one of those reasons.  We are proud about Bob ‘Sully’ Sullivan coming back to BTRN and even more so that he is anchoring our midday block.  With ‘Catalyst Radio’ our partners will truly embrace this Superman of the business world along with Tom O’Brien, a seasoned pro in the financial world.  You’ve seen them on many of the national television news outlets now experience them on your radio stations through Business TalkRadio Network.”

Virginia Tech and WJFK-FM, Washington Renew Multi-Year Deal.  CBS Radio’s Washington, DC sports talk outlet WJFK-FM and Virginia Tech IMG Sports Network strike a deal that will see Hokies football and men’s basketball play-by-play on the station’s schedule through the 2014-15 season.  The deal also includes airing of the weekly “Tech Talk Live” show featuring the school’s football and basketball coaches.

Ohio School Shooting Fatalities Grow, GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Rising Gas Prices, and Government Waste Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/28).  The fatal Ohio high school shooting; the Michigan and Arizona primaries and the larger 2012 presidential race; rising gas prices and Iran’s role; and the new report of redundant government programs and the money they are wasting were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Dave Ramsey Helps Celebrate 90 Years for WOR, New York.  Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey broadcast his program live from the Big Apple on February 27 – the first day his show aired live on WOR, New York’s program lineup.  WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley says, “Rarely in life, even as broadcasters, do we get the opportunity to affect the lives of many in one fell swoop.  Well, WOR is doing just that by airing the advice and wisdom of the great Dave Ramsey daily, in our coveted 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot on 710am.  At a time when the entire Tri-State area is stressed and in need of help with their finances, WOR comes to the rescue with Dave’s sage knowledge and direction which can, and has, changed the lives of many for the positive.  We are blessed to have him.”  While there, Ramsey helped WOR celebrate its 90th anniversary on the air.  Pictured here (from l-r) are WOR personalities Joe Bartlett, Dr. Joy Browne, Ramsey, Joan Hamburg and Dave Spencer.

 

Monday, January 16, 2012

| January 16, 2012

Clear Channel Drops the “Radio”; Becomes Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  Clear Channel Media Holdings chief executive officer Bob Pittman announces the “radio division” of the company is changing its name to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment to reflect its mission to deliver content via means beyond just terrestrial radio.  “Over the last few years, I’ve watched as Clear Channel Radio has pushed beyond the traditional boundaries of radio to reach more Americans every month than any other media company through an unmatched combination of broadcast, satellite, online and mobile assets,” states Pittman.  “Under John Hogan’s continued strong leadership, the new Clear Channel Media and Entertainment brand underscores that we are taking our brands and content wherever our listeners expect to find it.  And, in the future, as new places emerge where people want to access our powerful brands and content, we’ll be there, too.”  At the center of Clear Channel’s initiatives to move beyond radio station transmitters is the iHeartRadio website and app that delivers audio from its O&O radio stations of all formats, offers user-customizable stations plus audio from Cumulus Media, and soon, Greater Media radio stations as well.  The company is clearly putting forth the iHeartRadio internet site and mobile and tablet application as its primary weapon in the battle for ears being waged by Pandora, Slacker, Spotify and others.  John Hogan states, “Radio is both our history and the foundation upon which we will grow our company moving forward.  That will not change.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment represents our evolution as we prove our relationship with our listeners is so much more than just our transmitters and towers.  We will continue to serve our increasingly diverse audiences and local communities with the best content – music, news, emergency information, and public service – wherever they expect it, while supporting advertisers, strategic partners, music labels and artists with creative, multi-platform marketing opportunities that reach, activate and engage target audiences like no one else.”  It clearly appears that this move on the part of the largest owner/operator of terrestrial radio station licenses crystallizes the reality of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison‘s forecast originally published in 2007 that the entity known as the “radio station” would evolve into something more aptly described as the “media station” — a multi-tiered broadcasting entity the ranks of which are comprised of both licensed and unlicensed outlets operating on the even playing field of the internet.  According to Harrison, “Hogan’s statement that ‘radio is both our history and the foundation upon which we will grow our company moving forward’ is quite revealing and says it all… basically that a ‘radio’ station that defines itself as being just that — a ‘radio’ station – is behind the times.  An audio-only media brand in this new era is as incomplete as a newspaper without photographs or a motion picture without sound and as limited in its accessibility as the old yellow pages.”  Harrison goes on to comment, “Stick owners should beware of this inevitable development.  Although strategic use of the internet and digital distribution expands the radio station’s brand and evolves it into the media station, it also serves as a catalyst for non-licensed media stations to share the same space and compete for the same audience while unencumbered by the debt of stick ownership.”

Boston Herald Blasts Entercom Chief David Field’s Memo.  This is one of those motivational missives that some will think is right on and others will shake their heads at, but the Boston Herald’s Jessica Heslam pulls no punches in criticizing a memo from Entercom CEO David Field in which he uses his recent African safari vacation as a backdrop and the animal kingdom as a metaphor for the working world.  Field writes about the need for all employees – including himself – to bring their “A-game” to work because the tough business world is a survival-of-the-fittest place just like the African savannah he witnessed on his trip.  He alludes to American society as pampering us and not always holding us accountable as the wild of Africa does to its inhabitants.  He beckons the reader to strive for greatness at every moment of each workday generously stating his belief in everyone’s “untapped potential.”  Critics of this memo will point to Field’s elitist use of a transcontinental holiday as the basis of his memo, an unwitting comparison of his employees as animals, the assumption that they are not “giving it their all” in the first place, and that they are quick to blame others for any lack of success.  Some might go so far as to point to Field’s naiveté in needing to witness the wild close up to be reminded that life and the business world are both challenging and unforgiving.  Still, supporters of Field’s action will state that he’s only trying to point out that harnessing our talents and pushing ourselves to succeed is what makes great companies great, and that whining about tough circumstances will achieve nothing.  Heslam’s criticism could also cause managers and employees alike to debate – either internally or out loud – whether this type of motivational memo is truly effective.  How do the majority of employees see it?  As a thought-provoking pep talk…or an insulting memo from “corporate?”  See Heslam’s story and the entire memo here.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to Impact Talk Radio Conversation.  Most Federal holidays cause slow-downs in the normal processes of running live radio in the form of fill-in hosts, repeats and a diversion from the serious issues of the day.  However, MLK, Jr. Day has a history of doing just the opposite.  Although Federal agencies and a number of private business offices close today – it is even more than “business as usual” on the radio talk show airwaves of America as the holiday inspires discussion of a wide variety of compelling issues including civil rights, social justice, race relations and more.

Former New Jersey 101.5 Host Tommy G Launches Internet Show.  As a growing number of terrestrial broadcasters who find themselves off the air are doing, former WKXW-FM, Trenton overnight host Tommy G (Tom Gordon) is taking his talk host talents to the internet.  Gordon says he wants to cut out the “middleman” and bring his programming straight to the listener digitally.  In an exclusive piece for TALKERS magazine, Tommy G explains his mission and how he’s making it happen.  Read it here.

Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels Beats OVI Rap.  Media executive Randy Michaels pled guilty to driving improperly in a construction zone and the prosecutor agreed to drop the charge of operating a vehicle while impaired after Michaels’ attorney Steve Adams argued successfully that the officer had filled out the citation incorrectly and failed to fix it within the allotted 90-day period.  Michaels was charged in October of 2011 after Middletown, Ohio police found his car disabled in a road construction area during a rain storm.  The officer recorded that Michaels smelled of alcohol and failed roadside sobriety tests although he declined to take a breathalyzer.

Talk Radio Network Names Dave Nourie National Affiliate Consultant.  TRN CEO Mark Masters makes the announcement that Dave Nourie is joining his team to grow Talk Radio Network programs that include Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, Rusty Humphries, Jerry Doyle, Phil Hendrie, Mancow and the America’s Radio News Network news blocks.  “We are all very happy to have Dave join the Talk Radio Network family of companies, with the incredible growth of the news network, we needed someone with his skills and expertise to help serve our ever-growing list of affiliated stations.”

KOA, Denver Talk Host Dave Logan Loses High School Football Coaching Job.  The former Denver Broncos great and current Broncos radio play-by-play voice and PM drive host on Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver is out of his football coaching gig after independent Catholic high school Mullen High chose to take a different road.  It wasn’t for lack of victories or Dave Logan’s popularity with the students and team – in nine years at Mullen, Logan’s teams won four state titles with a record of 110 – 12.  School CEO Ryan Clement tells the Denver Post that the issue was Logan’s celebrity combined with the school’s desire to have a full-time staff member serve as coach.  Logan worked the gig with no pay.  But the Post reports Clement said Logan “had become the face of the school and that’s not what the new administration wanted, especially from someone who didn’t work at the school full time.”  Some students protested the firing and the paper notes Logan may surface to coach somewhere else as other schools are already seeking to talk to him about coaching.

Newsman Kevin Patrick Leaves Chicago for Washington, DC.  Chicago Radio and Media is reporting that Kevin Patrick is leaving Merlin Media’s WIQI-FM, Chicago – FM News 101.1 – to take a position with CBS Radio’s new all-news outlet WNEW-FM, Washington.  Though the move hasn’t been officially announced by either CBS or Merlin, the site reports WIQI-FM overnight anchor Mike Wilson will move onto the daytime schedule to fill Patrick’s role.  It’s unclear exactly what Patrick’s new position at WNEW-FM will be.

Arizona Broadcasters Hold Two-Hour Tribute to Bill Heywood.  A little more than two weeks after Phoenix-market radio legend Bill Heywood and his wife Susan took their lives in a Scottsdale hotel room, numerous Arizona broadcasters who knew and worked with Heywood took part in a two-hour tribute broadcast to him on Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix.  Hosts and jocks taking part in the Friday afternoon broadcast included: Pat McMahon, Preston Westmoreland, Bruce Kelly, Tim Hattrick, Jeff Scott and Michael Dixon.  Susan Heywood had been ill for some time and friends say the couple had been beset by financial troubles.  A memorial service was held on Saturday for Heywood and his wife.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

| November 2, 2011

Entercom Reports a Flat Q3. Entercom Communications reports its third quarter revenue figures were down 2% to $100.4 million but CEO David Field stated in a conference call that when taking out the political dollars, the company’s revenue was basically flat compared to the third quarter of 2010. Last year’s big political spending in the fourth quarter has this year’s Q4 pacing down some 5%. Field also noted that recent flips of FMs to sports – in Boston with WMKK-FM and in San Francisco with KBWF-FM – have hurt the immediate bottom line but will have a positive effect in time. FM is clearly where Entercom has its bets placed for the future as Field said AM-only revenue – not including simulcasts – make up less than 6% of the company’s revenue.

Cox Media Group Sells Connecticut AMs to Sacred Heart University. This transaction, when considering Entercom’s statement about its AM-only revenue in the previous story, makes industry watchers really begin to question the value of smaller market AM stations. Cox Media Group announces it will sell WSTC, Stamford and WNLK, Norwalk, Connecticut to Sacred Heart University but continue to own its FM music-formatted properties in the market. No price for the two AMs was announced but Sacred Heart will begin operating the stations under an LMA on Monday, November 5 with a closing expected in the first quarter of 2012. Sacred Heart owns WSHU-FM in Fairfield, Connecticut and seems very intent on continuing service to the communities as it takes over the stations. WSHU-FM general manager George Lombardi says, “As a public radio station, we consider ourselves to be a community resource, and we always look for ways to increase the service we provide our community. We are thrilled about this new opportunity, as we can now serve Norwalk, Stamford and Greenwich with an expanded, more reliable broadcast signal than we ever had before and by bringing our award-winning local reporting, insightful news and talk, and programs. WSHU has been deeply rooted in Fairfield County for 30 years, and we look forward to expanding our services in lower Fairfield County.” Local talk host Lisa Wexler will do her last broadcast on Friday, November 4 and as the station coverts to a non-commercial operation, the commercial syndicated programming will disappear as well. It’s being estimated some 10 staffers will be let go from the stations.

Merlin Media’s WWWN, Chicago Makes Jeff McKinney Midday Anchor. Since the firing of Dave Williams at Merlin Media’s FM News 101.1 in Chicago, Lise Dominique had been filling in at the anchor position. Now, Chicago Radio and Media reports Dominique moves to weekends and fill in and Jeff McKinney takes over the slot. McKinney worked for years as a news anchor at WCCO, Minneapolis. Also, it’s being reported that senior AE Karen Moss – with the station (when it was WKQX) since 1993 – has left her position.

Red Zebra Renews with Georgetown University for Basketball Play-By-Play. Red Zebra Broadcasting and Georgetown University agree to terms to have Hoyas Men’s Basketball air on its WTEM, Washington and WSPZ, Bethesda, Maryland sports talk stations. Hoyas play-by-play voice Rich Chvotkin continues behind the mic for his 39th season.

2012 Presidential Race/Cain Harassment Allegations, Euro Zone Debt Crisis, Financial Markets Activity, and ‘OWS’ Movement Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/1). The allegations of sexual harassment being leveled against GOP candidate Herman Cain and other aspects of the 2012 presidential race, the problems solving the Euro Zone debt crisis and its effects on the world financial markets, and the ‘OWS’ movement were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.