Tag: "defamation suit"
Mike Francesa to Address Industry at Talkers New York 2013. The list of major speakers continues to grow as WFAN, New York afternoon drive sports talk goliath Mike Francesa joins the roster of industry leaders who will be speaking at “TALKERS New York 2013,” the 16th annual installment of talk radio’s longest-running and most important annual convention. Francesa will deliver a solo keynote address titled, “The Sports Talk Radio Phenomenon.” He will discuss how sports talk fits into the general radio industry, where it is going both locally and nationally and how it operates within the business model of the PPM world. Francesa, who has been a major host on WFAN since the late 1980s, is also seen across the nation on the YES Network simulcast of his radio show and hosts a syndicated weekend program “The NFL Now” in addition to participating in numerous other sports broadcasting projects. He is currently ranked number one on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio Hosts holding the position as the Most Important Sports Talk Radio Host in America. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “The addition of Mike Francesa as the sports talk radio keynote speaker at this year’s conference puts it over the moon. One of the big buzzes of the business is the relentless growth of this exciting branch of the talk radio universe. Who better than the king of the format to give insights into the genre’s place in the scheme of things? We are delighted!” More headliners will be named in the coming days along with the 50-plus speakers that will be participating in the conference. The event is set for Thursday, June 6, 2013 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side. Registration for the day including all activities and food service is $199 per person. An advance sellout is expected due to space limitations. Registration is limited to members of the working media and can only be taken via telephone. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413. Complete agenda details are being posted daily. Stay tuned.
Todd Schnitt Not Giving Up on Bubba the Love Sponge Lawsuit. The Tampa Bay Times reports talk show host Todd Schnitt has fired his legal team, hired a new lawyer and is continuing to pursue legal action against former crosstown rival Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem). The first trial ended in a victory for Bubba as the jury decided not to award Schnitt and wife Michelle damages for defamation over a series of criticisms and accusations Bubba leveled at Schnitt when he competed with Bubba in morning drive as MJ Kelli. Now, Schnitt has fired C. Phillip Campbell and Jonathan J. Ellis and has hired Wil Florin to represent him and his wife. Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the bizarre elements of the previous trial: Campbell being pulled over for DUI while driving the car of a young paralegal who, unbeknownst to him, worked for Bubba’s lawyer’s firm; the tip-off to police that Campbell was driving the car was made by someone from that same firm; and Bubba’s lawyers had possession of Campbell’s briefcase for 18 hours (though they say they didn’t open it). That missing briefcase is the basis for the new suit. How this will end is anybody’s guess, but one thing is for sure: Both Schnitt and Clem are spending a lot of money on legal fees. Yes, they are getting a lot of publicity for their radio programs but it is very expensive publicity.
Laura Ingraham Added to American Forces Network. Courtside Entertainment Group announces today that the Laura Ingraham show is being added to the American Forces Network with the opportunity to be heard by more than one million U.S. service members and their families. Ingraham states, “It is fantastic to be back on the air – and it feels even more special knowing that all of our friends listening on Armed Forces Network can hear us around the globe. The energy and enthusiasm from listeners, affiliates and advertisers since I returned to the airwaves has been overwhelming. From Tucson to Jacksonville, from Washington, DC to Seattle, Americans are energized and enthusiastic about our daily conversation about our country’s past, present and future. Politics is important – but so is the culture around us. As a single parent of young children and a cancer survivor, I have a unique perspective that connects me with listeners of all political stripes. Our conversation is a fun-filled ride that moves beyond the Beltway to the real-life ups and downs we all face.”
Veteran Media Executive Lynne Constantini Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze. The former EVP of affiliate sales and marketing at Scripps Networks Interactive and SVP of programming at Time Warner Cable joins TheBlaze as president of business development. In her new position Lynne Constantini will oversee the growing network’s content distribution efforts, as well as affiliate marketing, advocacy, business affairs and business development initiatives. She previously negotiated TheBlaze’s successful carriage deal with DISH as an outside consultant. Constantini says, “As a cable industry executive and consultant, I have been attracted to the rare independent network that has strong, unique content and a passionate engaged audience that drives results for operators and that is what I have found with TheBlaze. TheBlaze is unlike other start-up networks; it has a built-in loyal audience, a full slate of live, original programming, speaks to an underserved and growing conservative audience and has extensive marketing reach through affiliated media assets including on radio and on the web. I am excited to work with Glenn, Chris Balfe and the rest of the team on building TheBlaze and continuing the network’s success in improving the businesses of its distribution partners.”
Listeners Are Busy and Talent Is Spooked. That’s the assessment of radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke who asks broadcasters the provocative question: “RU@Speed-of-Life?’ In today’s article, Cooke says radio programmers must get up to speed (literally) with the intense pace of modern life which, when coupled with the PPM, puts tremendous pressure to manage air time in a way that is in keeping with today’s breakneck tempo. For example he advises hosts not to begin their shows by listing all the things they’ll be doing before the show ends. He says programming clock designers should go the extra step in designing transitions between programming elements (such as newscaster to talk show host segments) in a completely seamless manner. Never stop the action through over-explanation. Don’t miss this timely and informative piece. Read it here.
Talk Host Ralph Bailey Begins KERN, Bakersfield Program Next Monday. After quitting his talk show at Buckley Broadcasting’s crosstown KNZR on Thursday after an eight-year stint, Ralph Bailey will take over the PM drive program on American General Media’s KERN. Bailey wrote on his Facebook page, “It is official!!! I signed a contract today to join American General Media. I’ll be Scott Cox‘s guest today at three and begin my own 3-6 p.m. drive time show on Monday, March 4. I could not be happier! I have security in a business that is not that secure and for the first time in my life I’m making a little scratch! I’d like to thank Rogers Brandon and Toni Snyder. It is great to feel wanted and appreciated.”
KERN, Bakersfield’s Scott Cox to Anchor The Californian-AGM Morning Show Endeavor. Talk radio personality Scott Cox is moving away from the PM drive slot that Ralph Bailey is taking over in order to host a new morning program that is a joint effort of American General Media and The Bakersfield Californian. The show – “First Look with Scott Cox” – will emanate from The Californian newsroom in which a radio studio has been built. While KERN will provide the producers and technical expertise, the newspaper’s reporters will be regular guests during talk segments. Californian CEO Richard Beene says of the initiative, “The Bakersfield Californian has always prided itself about being on the cutting edge of technology (our website bakersfield.com was launched back in 1995) and we are keenly aware that readers and advertisers are finding new ways to obtain content and reach their advertisers. That’s why change is part of our company culture, and serving our readers and advertisers on multiple platforms is something we talk about every day.” The program will also be streamed live in high-definition video on the paper’s website. Beene writes in his editorial in the paper, “’First Look’ will add to The Californian‘s existing video programming, which includes ‘BVarsity Live,’ live local sports and breaking news. The Californian plans to expand its live video programming later this year. So yes, newspapers are alive and well, changing and evolving. Join us in March for ‘First Look.’”
Not All That Glitters is Gold. According to radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, broadcasters should avoid falling under the spell of Facebook “likes” and the impulse to “go viral” — which he describes as “shiny, distracting objects.” He advises, ”The number of Facebook ‘likes’ you have is almost completely without meaning. In addition, working to have something go viral is probably taking you away from what you should be doing!” Read Chris Miller’s informative and valuable article here.
ESPN O&O KESN, Dallas Parts Company with Ben & Skin. Sports talk KESN, Dallas and midday personalities Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade were not able to come to terms on a new contract and the duo have left the station. They wrote on their Facebook page. “We have declined a final offer from ESPN on a new deal. We’re parting ways with them for now. Future is unwritten. Thank you for your support throughout the years. We are eager to write the next chapter of our adventure. Stay tuned.”
John Sweeney Exits WGDJ, Albany. The former Republican congressman from New York began a one-hour daily talk show at Capital Broadcasting’s “Talk 1300” two weeks ago but has left the station. The Albany Times-Union reports John Sweeney’s exit comes after it became apparent that the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon time slot was too much for the attorney and political consultant. Owner and GM Paul Vandenburgh told the paper too many unforeseen scheduling conflicts have made the show untenable.
TECHNICAL WATCH: Radio Moves Beyond ISDN to Deliver Studio Quality Remote Audio. Welcome to the Age of the IP Codec. Back in the “good old days,” if you wanted to get audio from point A to point B you had basically two choices: a dedicated land line from good old Ma Bell (a.k.a, the phone company) or you sent a tape. Then, Ma Bell decided to get rid of dedicated equalized services – at least interstate. These days, it’s very difficult if not impossible to get a dedicated broadcast service even in the same city. This prompted devices like the Comrex two-line and three-line frequency extender systems. These allowed someone to utilize two or three dial-up lines to get audio from one place to another with reasonable audio quality. The next step was ISDN – a digital dial-up service. With the development of devices such as the Telos Zephyr, FM quality audio was easily passed, with very little audio delay, between two locations. This has been the norm now for close to 20 years. Enter the IP codec – essentially ISDN on steroids. IP codecs utilize the internet as the transport medium. Now, for just the cost of the internet service you already have installed, you can literally transport audio all around the world – in many instances with slightly more round-trip delay than with ISDN, but that is easy to work around using mix minus. Noted radio technical consultant and TALKERS columnist Tom Ray brings us all up to speed on this new era in remote audio delivery in a must-read clear and concise article, here.
Salem Radio News Series Spotlights “The Poorest of the Poor.” SRN vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (pictured here in Guatemala) spent the last week in that Central American country as Salem Radio News prepared a news series titled, “The Poorest of the Poor.” Speaking about his experience there, Tradup tells TALKERS, “Guatemala is only a few hours by plane from the U.S., but living conditions for youngsters are light years away. And the statistics take on heartbreaking new meaning when you actually spend time with children there. We embedded with the American relief agency Food for The Poor to cover both the tragedy and the hope for impoverished children in Guatemala.” Tradup says Guatemala has the highest malnutrition rate of any country in the Western Hemisphere. The week-long SRN News special series will profile the challenges facing government and private agencies targeting ways to reverse the grim statistics on malnutrition and infant mortality in Guatemala.
Odds & Sods. Lisa Bloom – daughter of former radio and television talk show host (and high-profile attorney) Gloria Allred – is joining NBC’s “Today” show as a legal analyst says TVNewser. Bloom hosted the CourtTV show “Lisa Bloom: Open Court” from 2001 to 2009…..Arbitron’s Carol Hanley is named to the Allliance for Women in Media board of directors. Hanley serves as SVP, chief sales officer for Arbitron.
Harlem Shake Takes Over KDKA. The YouTube phenomenon “Harlem Shake” invades the newsroom at CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh. This still shot is from a video posted on the KDKA-TV website and shows late morning talk host Marty Griffin (in the Santa hat) leading the rest of the crew – including morning hosts Larry Richert and John Shumway and Shelley Duffy, PM drive host Bill Rehkopf, midday host Mike Pintek, sports reporter and weekend host Rob Pratte and creative services director Kelly Pidgeon – in boogeying to the tune.
Free Speech Isn’t Always Pretty. The jury that heard arguments in the case of Todd Schnitt versus Todd Clem (Bubba the Love Sponge) didn’t believe that the actions by Clem on his radio program rose to the level of reckless disregard for the truth that would have been required to find him guilty of defamation. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes that because all parties were public figures by virtue of their occupations, the bar is set higher for them than it would be for private citizens. “Clem’s attorney argued to the jury that the case was a matter of free speech and that no one listening to a radio talk show host who specializes in bombastic rhetoric would take what is said as a serious representation of fact,” states Weisman. Schnitt’s legal team tried to make the connection that some incidents in which Schnitt and his wife felt physically unsafe during and after encounters with Clem’s fans – members of the Bubba Army as they are known – but apparently the direct connection to Clem’s on-air rhetoric was not strong enough. Read Weisman’s analysis of the case here.
Newsmax Broadcasting’s Steve Malzberg Program to Air on SiriusXM. The new radio and internet talk program developed by Newsmax Broadcasting and featuring talk personality Steve Malzberg will also be featured on SiriusXM’s America’s Talk channel from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm beginning February 4. Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy states, “Our surveys show a very significant part of the Newsmax audience subscribes to SiriusXM. This new outlet will allow SiriusXM subscribers and our online viewers to easily enjoy ‘The Steve Malzberg Show’ in their car anywhere through America’s Talk.” Newsmax recently announced the launch of this program – a new nationally syndicated radio show that will be simulcast on Newsmax TV, an online media station that features news, commentary, lifestyle and entertainment programming.
The Super Bowl Means Wing Bowl for WIP, Philadelphia. This is the 21st year that CBS Radio’s sports talk WIP, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94WIP” will present the “Wing Bowl” chicken wing eating contest. The promotion begins this afternoon at 5:00 pm when WIP’s Al Morganti and Rhea Hughes host the official “weigh-in” for all 27 contestants live from Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia. The actual contest takes place Friday at 6:00 am at the Wells Fargo Center. What started as a smallish radio promotion 21 years ago has developed into one of the world’s largest wing eating contests and provides WIP with enormous visibility. A portion of the proceeds from the sold-out event will go to charity. Here’s the list of prizes in this year’s competition: $20,000 cash prize, a one-of-a-kind Wing Bowl Champion ring and a gold medal from Steven Singer Jewelers; a 2013 Nissan Pathfinder S-L from Montgomeryvillle Acura; a new Harley Davidson 883 Sportster Motorcycle from Barb’s Harley Davidson, West Collingswood, NJ; earrings and necklaces from Steven Singer Jewelers; and all inclusive Apple Vacations to the new Barcelo Bavaro Beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Jay Mohr Broadcasts Virtually from Super Bowl Media Week. That’s Fox Sports Radio Network personality Jay Mohr on the video monitor chatting with NFL Hall-of-Famer Emmitt Smith who’s seated on the Fox Sports set in New Orleans. Mohr is on the road this week on a comedy tour and he’s taking advantage of his travels to visit some affiliate stations while doing his program virtually from the media center at the Super Bowl. Mohr’s program – airing live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET on FSRN – has reached the 100 affiliate mark adding stations including WDFN, Detroit; WINZ, Miami; KRKO, Seattle; KGME, Phoenix; KLSD, San Diego; WDAE, Tampa; KPOJ, Portland; KTKR, San Antonio; WSAI, Cincinnati and more.
KJR, Seattle Moves Dave “Softy” Mahler to PM Drive. Clear Channel’s Seattle sports talk duo of KJR, Seattle and KNBQ, Centralia announces midday personality Dave “Softy” Mahler moves to the PM drive slot that opened up when longtime station personality Mike Gastineau retired from the station in December. Taking over the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program are Seattle Times columnist Jerry Brewer and former Gastineau co-host Elise Woodward.
KDKA, Pittsburgh to Hold 5th Annual Warmathon. CBS Radio’s news/talk KDKA, Pittsburgh is broadcasting the 5th annual Warmathon – a live, two-day broadcast in conjunction with Dollar Energy Fund, Inc. on February 7 and 8 – to benefit Dollar Energy Fund’s Hardship Program. The program helps limited-income families maintain or restore basic utility service. The event has raised more than $1.15 million since 2009 and more than 3,500 limited-income families in the greater Pittsburgh region have benefited from the generosity of Warmathon donors.
3 Daughters Media Files Petition to Deny in WLNI, Roanoke-Lynchburg Acquisition. Gary Burns-led 3 Daughters Media has filed a petition to deny with the FCC contesting the pending acquisition of talk outlet WLNI, Lynchburg by Mel Wheeler Inc. from Centennial Licensing LLC. Burns contends that if Mel Wheeler is allowed to acquire WLNI, it will put him in control of 48% of the market revenue – well over the 40% rule. The fact that the two cities of Roanoke and Lynchburg are some 60 miles apart but are part of the same market for sales purposes adds confusion to the situation but Burns maintains the designation is flawed and points to the Commission’s forcing Cumulus to spin off stations in Flint, Michigan and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania as comparable examples.
Cool Job Opportunity. Talk Radio Producer/Guest Booker extraordinaire required. The successful candidate has access to A-level guests, stars and newsmakers. They have demonstrated initiative delivering breaking news in context and have shown innovation generating unique angles to Topic A stories, as well as original topics that connect with target listeners or viewers in personal ways. They have major market experience producing entertaining news and talk programs in television or radio stations or network newsrooms. They live and breathe current events, business, politics, pop culture, social media, new technology, etc. Please send resume & cover letter to: email@example.com. Do not attach audio files. Los Angeles-area applicants with a giant Rolodex are strongly preferred. We are an EOE.
Immigration Reform, 4th Quarter GDP Drop, Giffords Gun Testimony, Chuck Hagel Confirmation Hearing, and Israel-Syria Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/30). The debate in Washington over immigration reform; the unexpected drop in the U.S.’ GDP in the fourth quarter of 2012; former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ testimony at gun legislation hearing in Washington; Chuck Hagel’s pending Senate confirmation hearing; and Israel’s attack on suspected weapons inside Syria were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Steven J. J. Weisman
TAMPA — The circus has left Tampa, Florida. Four years after statements by Tampa talk show host Bubba The Love Sponge (Todd Clem) ignited a lawsuit by rival morning show host MJ Kelli (Todd Schnitt) and two weeks of trial, a jury took a mere three hours to reject Schnitt’s and his wife’s claims of defamation and dismissed all 24 counts of the complaint.
The bizarre case became even more bizarre when during the trial, one of Schnitt’s lawyers, Charles Campbell Jr., was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. A motion for a mistrial was denied when the judge was satisfied that the jury had not heard of the charges. It was even alleged by the Schnitt legal team that Campbell had been set up for the arrest after drinking with a paralegal who unknown to him worked for the law firm that represented Clem.
Schnitt vs Bubba: A Crazy Friday. There are two aspects of the Todd Schnitt vs Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) defamation suit to report from Friday: First was Michelle Schnitt’s testimony, the second was the circus revolving around Schnitt attorney Charles Philip Campbell, Jr.’s arrest on DUI charges two days prior. On Friday, Michelle Schnitt took the stand while the prosecution played recordings of Bubba calling her a “whore.” She testified that he meant she was sexually promiscuous and unfaithful to her husband and said it was “the most disrespectful thing you could say about somebody.” She told the jury she was very worried about public reaction to the accusations. She stopped practicing law to raise their children but testified that she believes her professional reputation has been harmed. Also at issue is whether Michelle Schnitt is a public figure because she appeared regularly on Schnitt’s MJ Kelli program. She denies making any money from the appearances. She also denied having anything to do with getting Bubba charged with felony animal cruelty while working as an assistant state’s attorney – something Bubba accused her of on the radio and in his defense in court. Meanwhile…Schnitt’s attorney asked for a mistrial and the judge is expected to rule on that request today. Here’s why: According to the Tampa Bay Times, Clem’s lawyers had possession of attorney Charles Campbell, Jr.’s briefcase for almost a day, having access to transcripts, depositions, notes and more. How they got it is straight out of a TV law drama. Campbell and fellow attorney Jonathan Ellis were at a steak house having dinner and drinks when they met a pretty paralegal named Melissa Personius who chatted them up. She said she worked at a firm other than the one she really does, but they didn’t know that at the time. Campbell talked about the case to the young woman. The two left together in Melissa’s car and were pulled over with Campbell behind the wheel. He refused a breathalyzer and was booked. Melissa was set free. The Times reports that an attorney at Adams & Diaco (which represents Bubba and for whom Melissa actually works) called the police to report a man (Campbell) about to the leave the restaurant drunk. In the back of Melissa’s car was Campbell’s briefcase. She later retrieved her car with the briefcase. Adams & Diaco denies ever opening the case before Campbell got it back some 20 hours later. On Friday, Personius took the stand to answer questions by the judge but she pleaded the Fifth to each question. Ironically, Personius’ driver’s license has been suspended for a prior DUI and other moving violations. The obvious conclusion is that Campbell was set up by Melissa Personius, but whether her bosses put her up to it is not known since she pleaded the Fifth.
Cumulus Media’s All-News WYAY, Atlanta Names Jennifer Perry PD. Cumulus Media’s all-news WYAY, Atlanta “All News 106.9” announces Jennifer Perry is named program director. Perry most recently worked with Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries on his local WGST, Atlanta afternoon drive program before the station flipped to Spanish sports talk. She has also served as news director at WLAC, Nashville. In announcing the hire, Cumulus corporate PD of news/talk/sports Jim Mahanay says, “We’re fortunate to have someone of Jennifer’s credentials to lead the team at ‘All News 106.7.’ She is one of the most talented people in the news business. She brings vast experience as a journalist, anchor and administrator. She is a great fit for our all news operation in Atlanta.”
If I Were the CEO of YouTube. Media consultant Walter Sabo offers a “modest proposal” about what he would do if he were CEO of YouTube. In this piece, Sabo explains that each medium creates its own stars and pushing them to other media platforms rarely works. In the case of YouTube, web stars have blossomed on the service and Sabo says the key to success and making money on the web involves integrating advertising into the programming these web stars have created. Sabo believes media platforms must not try to be something they are not. Maybe there’s a lesson for radio in this, too. Check out the five things Walter Sabo says he would do if made CEO of YouTube in his piece here.
Talk Host Paul Westcott Moves to WTAG, Worcester for Mornings. Radio personality Paul Westcott has been with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WGIR and WQSO in Manchester, New Hampshire for the past two years. Now, he’s making the move South to take over the morning drive show at the company’s news/talk WTAG, Worcester. Westcott states, “WTAG has a great heritage with unlimited potential to find a younger and broader audience both locally and regionally.” Westcott spent three years at Clear Channel digital headquarters in New York and created a channel called the “White House Brief” which he’ll continue to produce. CC regional programming manager Rob Anthony says. “We couldn’t be happier to have Paul joining the team at WTAG. He has a very strong political background and a wonderful concept of how important it is to be local.” Westcott replaces Jim Polito who left to join Fox TV O&O WFXT, Boston.
Dynamic Coast-to-Coast Conversation. The power of issues-oriented talk radio and its unlimited positioning options were amply demonstrated this weekend as two fresh-on-the-scene mavericks hooked up on the phone and showed that there can be more to this medium than predictable partisan polarization. Shown at left, GCN syndicated weekend talent Ethan Bearman, a relative newcomer to the field located in his Northern California studio yesterday, interviewing Jonathan Miller (right) in the Washington, DC offices of No Labels. Miller, a former two-term Kentucky State Treasurer, is co-founder of the DC-based, bi-partisan political organization dedicated to finding common ground between today’s political extremes. Their slogan is, “Stop fighting, start fixing.” Bearman, described recently by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as “the Colin Kaepernick of young talk show hosts,” positions his independent brand of politics as “left, right and forward.” His program airs live on Sundays from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT. The industry should take note.
NBC Sports Radio Is in New Orleans for Super Bowl Coverage. Fledgling sports talk network NBC Sports Radio is taking its stars and production to New Orleans to originate from the site of Super Bowl XLVII. The Dial Global and NBC Sports initiative announces it will have a “major presence in New Orleans as the excitement builds for Super Bowl XLVII. There will be live talk, reports, highlights and features throughout the week from Super Bowl Radio Row, Super Bowl Media Day and the NBC Sports Network television set.” NBC and Dial Global report that the Erik Kuselias show will air live every evening from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET. “Amani and Eytan,” featuring former NFL pro Amani Toomer and Eytan Shander, will air live each evening from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET. “Speaking of Sports with Rob Simmelkjkaer” will air the morning of Super Bowl Sunday from 8:00 am to 9:00 am in addition to other NBC Sports Radio weekend shows. NBC Sports Radio Update anchor Kay Adams will also contribute interviews during the week.
SiriusXM Broadens Pete Dominick’s Role with AM Drive Show. Comedian Pete Dominick has been hosting a PM drive program on the satcaster’s politically oriented POTUS channel. Beginning February 11, he’ll move to morning drive on the newly re-named Indie channel for a new show called “Stand Up! with Pete Dominick.” With the change in dayparts, Dominick will be allowed to go well beyond political issues to a more broad selection of topics. Dominick began working at Sirius in 2006 on the Raw Dog comedy channel. The new gig will mean he has to give up his daily job warming up the crowd at Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.”
WBEZ, Chicago Devises Promotion to Get New P1s (and Have Them Make Some More!). Working with creative partner Xi Chicago, public station WBEZ, Chicago is executing a promotion called “Radio for the Curious Class” designed to gather P1s based on the fact that they are interesting people – and encouraging them to make more interesting people via their “Go Make Babies” campaign. The station says the campaign is being dubbed the “2032 Membership Drive” and inspires interesting people to hook up with interesting people and make more interesting people, thereby creating the next generation of listeners. This campaign aims to populate the curious class with a call to action to visit www.GoMakeBabies.com, where people can take an “Interesting Assessment.” Visitors will then be offered up links to current WBEZ content based on their tastes, along with potential mates who share their interests. The app also features a Future Viewer gallery where people can upload photos of their interesting child/future listener and in return receive a “Future Curious Class Member” onesie. The campaign elements include local print outlets, WBEZ.org promotion and mobile experience; digital banners, Pandora and Facebook ads; contextual out of home, wallscapes, train platforms, bus shelters and street decals, taxi tops and bumper stickers and T-shirts with messaging and taglines such as: Do it. For Chicago; We want listeners tomorrow. Go make babies today; Hey Interesting People, get a room already. And then put a crib in it; To anyone NOT currently running a virtual farm: GoMakeBabies.com; and You’re an interesting person. Pass it on. Like, literally. Through your DNA. Chicago Public Media vice president Daniel Ash says, “We tasked Xi with developing an attention-getting campaign that speaks directly to young adults who’ve never heard of WBEZ and who respond positively to tongue-in-cheek irony and playfulness. Certainly it’s a different approach than what one would expect from a public media station but we hope this will reach, and resonate with, younger news consumers who’ve never heard of us.”
Hubbard’s WXOS, St. Louis Announces “Sportscaster Factor” Contest. Sports talk outlet “101 ESPN” WXOS, St. Louis is conducting a promotion to give a lucky and talented St. Louisan a chance to become a weekend talk host on the station. Unlike some of the other contests for sports talk gigs, auditioning for this one won’t start in a bar or restaurant. The first rounds take place at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Participants who audition will get the chance to present their on-air delivery and show hosting skills alone in a room via a microphone with the judging panel present. During these initial auditions, listeners will be given a “yes” or “no” vote by each of the judges, and those who impress the panel of experts during the preliminaries will be invited back for the Final Round. The Final Round of the “Sportscaster Factor” will be held on Saturday, March 2 at the Main Gym inside the Vadalabene Center on the SIUE’s campus, and the general public is welcome to attend this final set of auditions. During the Final Round, those participants deemed “the best of the bunch” will be given tips and pointers by the 101 ESPN pros, before being given a chance to make their last best impression with the judging panel. After a detailed evaluation of all the finalists conducted at the conclusion of the Final Round of auditions, the “Sportscaster Factor” winner will be named that evening, with a weekend show of their own on 101 ESPN to follow in the near future.
WBAP, Dallas’ Hal Jay and Brian Estridge Credited with Saving a Life. A Dallas-area man is saying information he heard about the signs of a stroke while listening to Hal Jay and Brian Estridge on Cumulus Media’s WBAP, Dallas caused him to go the hospital because he believed he was having a stroke. Turns out he was and he may be alive today as a result of that broadcast. Several weeks earlier Hal and Brian did a broadcast from North Hills Hospital where they discussed the signs of a stroke. The man happened to be listening that morning and it very well may have saved his life.
CRN Digital Talk Radio Star Robert Conrad Attends Hollywood Collectibles Show. Television star and CRN Digital Talk Radio personality Robert Conrad appeared at the recent “The Hollywood Show,” film and TV collectibles event at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel. Along with Larry Manetti – co-star of the “Magnum P.I.” series and a fellow talk show host with CRN Digital Talk – Conrad greeted hundreds of fans who waited in line to meet him, get autographs and chat about his career. Conrad says, “I’m very honored and excited to be asked to participate in this show and I’m especially happy to see so many fans who came out to give me a wonderful welcome.”
Bubba-Schnitt Trial: Day Two. On day two of testimony in the Hillsborough County, Florida courtroom where nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is suing Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) for defamation, the questioning surrounded Bubba’s on-air language calling for the “death” of Schnitt – who was hosting mornings at WFLZ, Tampa as MJ Kelli. Schnitt’s attorney focused on Bubba’s statements that included: “We seek and destroy,” “I will not be happy until I have an MJ funeral in the streets in Tampa, Florida,” and “MJ, that’s the only person I really want to die, seriously.” On the witness stand for part of the day was former Clear Channel Tampa market manager Daniel DiLoreto who said on the stand that he was “stunned” by Bubba’s comments about wanting Schnitt “to die.” Schnitt’s attorney is trying to convince the jury that Bubba’s language went beyond typical radio disc jockey feuding to putting Schnitt and his family in fear for their safety at the hands of members of the “Bubba Army,” as Clem’s fans are known. Clem’s attorney is trying to paint all the on-air talk as simply the words of feuding disc jockeys with no real threat to anyone’s safety. When questioned by Clem’s attorney if he ever heard Clem actually ask anyone to hurt Schnitt, DiLoreto replied he had not.
John O’Connell Named PD at CBS Radio’s Tampa Sports Stations. Programmer John O’Connell moves to the Tampa cluster of CBS Radio stations from the company’s West Palm Beach operations where he most recently served as OM and PD. O’Connell will program WHFS-FM, Tampa “Sports Radio 98.7” and WHFS-AM “CBS Sports Radio 1010.” O’Connell came to South Florida after spending 15 years working in the Boston market at such outlets as Kiss 108, WBMX and WEEI. He became program director for alternative rocker WPBZ-FM in 1996 and later increased his responsibilities to oversee several stations in the region. CBS Tampa SVP and market manager Ben Hill says, “I have complete confidence in John’s experience and leadership, having worked closely with him over the years. He is confident and ‘walks the walk’ when it comes to achieving results. And the fact that no one can match what we offer when it comes to sports programming will enable John to create a listener experience that is completely driven by the fans.”
Seth Payne Joins Midday Show at KILT-AM, Houston. Former Houston Texan Seth Payne becomes part of the “Mad Radio” midday show at CBS Radio’s sports talk KILT-AM, Houston “SportsRadio 610” beginning Monday, January 21. Payne replaces Brad Davies who remains with the station on a part-time, fill-in basis. He’ll co-host the program with Mike Meltser. KILT-AM program director Gavin Spittle says, “I can’t thank Brad enough for being a part of ‘Mad Radio.’ In one year, we have seen a 100% increase in this time slot and while we will miss him on a daily basis, I’m glad that he wants to remain on the team in a part-time capacity. Seth is a natural fit and from day one, he’s impressed us. We’re really excited about the all-new ‘Mad Radio.’” Payne states, “I’m grateful to Gavin Spittle for this opportunity and I appreciate all the guidance I’ve received from him and the talented people at ‘SportsRadio 610.’ I especially look forward to working with Mike Meltser. He is an extremely talented and intelligent individual, and I know we’ll have a lot of fun.”
Celebrating in the Holy Land. XtreMedia nationally syndicated talk host Dani Johnson (pictured here at left with Israeli comic Yisreal Campbell) celebrates her one-year anniversary in talk radio with a trip to Israel. Johnson, along with fellow XtreMedia talk hosts Kevin McCullough and Stephen Baldwin, were invited by representatives of the Israeli government to come and witness Israel’s progress in agriculture, culture, and technology. Johnson is producing her weekly radio program from Israel and Campbell will appear on the edition of her program that airs live on Sunday, January 20 from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Johnson’s program is heard on more than 85 affiliate stations.
Fox News Channel Brings Dennis Kucinich Aboard as Contributor. Liberal ex-Congressman Dennis Kucinich – who served eight terms in the House of Representatives – becomes part of the cable news/talk channel’s contributor corps. In a statement about his new endeavor, Kucinich says, “Through 16 years in Congress and two presidential campaigns, Fox News has always provided me with an opportunity to share my perspective with its enormous viewership.”
George Noory Debuts On-Demand Video Show. The Premiere Networks nationally syndicated late-night talk star begins his new weekly internet television program titled, “Beyond Belief with George Noory.” The program is a project with GaiamTV.com and delivers new episodes every Friday evening at 7:00 and on demand daily. As you might expect, the program is billed as “dynamic discussions on paranormal phenomena, conspiracies and all things unexplained.” Noory is pictured here on the set interviewing Dr. Katherine Albrecht for a show about privacy and RFID chips.
KIRO-FM, Seattle Debuts Weekend Pet Show. Dubbed, “It’s Raining Cats and Dogs with Shawn Stewart,” the program has its premiere airing Sunday, January 20 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle. The show features pet experts from the Ahimsa Dog Training Center who will take listener questions regarding everything they need to know about raising their beloved best friends. “In this case, the tail does wag the dog,” says KIRO Radio’s assistant program director Jason Antebi. “I’ve never seen a city more in love and obsessed with their companions than Seattle! This show is the perfect addition to the KIRO Radio weekends.”
Comrex Moves Full-Force into Digital Video Delivery Market. Devens, Massachusetts-based Comrex Corporation announces it is shipping its new LiveShot Video IP Codec – the first video product for professional broadcasters in the company’s 51-year history. Comrex says the new technology provides high-quality, low-latency, full-duplex video and audio over both wired and wireless IP data services, including challenging internet links such as 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi with end-to-end delay as low as 200ms. Comrex managing director Kris Specht states, “Our core customer for the past several decades has been the radio broadcaster. It was in response to requests from some of our longtime customers that had worked in radio — and who had subsequently moved over to television — to create a product that would do for TV what our ACCESS IP Audio Codecs have done for radio. LiveShot provides the small form factor, unmatched reliability, high-quality performance and easy operator experience that Comrex customers have come to expect.” The LiveShot Video IP Codec system consists of the LiveShot Portable, a small, lightweight, camera-mounted unit that attaches to the camera’s 3-stud or V-mount battery mount with the battery attaching to the outside of the LiveShot Portable. On the studio side, the LiveShot Studio rack-mount unit interfaces with the facility’s audio/video router or switcher. The units connect via an IP data connection and utilize Comrex’s CrossLock™ VPN which provides a one-button connection from either the studio or the field once the units have an internet connection. CrossLock also provides data encryption and intrusion protection for added reliability. Complete details on the LiveShot Video Codec’s features and specifications can be found by visiting www.comrex.com.
Face Time with Dr. Drew. WFAS-AM, Westchester personality Lisa Wexler appeared on HLN’s “Dr. Drew on Call” to discuss the case of Jodi Arias – accused of stabbing her boyfriend 29 times – and the Steubenville, Ohio rape case. In addition to her work as a talk show host on WFAS, Wexler is an attorney and an author.
Filling In. WFED, Washington afternoon drive host Francis Rose subs for Cumulus Media Networks’ John Batchelor on his WABC, New York-based program this Sunday evening from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am ET.
The Alliance for Women in Media Announces 2013 Board of Directors. With Kay Olin, president of Local Focus Radio serving as the National Chair, the 2013 board of directors of the Alliance for Women in Media will convene on January 25 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, for its first board meeting and then will participate in judging the 2013 Gracie Awards on January 26 and 27. The following individuals will serve as Directors at Large: Christina Anderson from Silver Spring, MD; Lori Conkling, executive vice president, distribution, A+E Networks, New York; Cyndee Everman, vice president, DW/BI, care and marketing tools, Time Warner Cable, Charlotte; Nancy Giles, contributor, CBS Broadcasting, Inc., New York; Sandy Girard, vice president, brand management and development, SiriusXM Radio, New York; Carol Hanley, chief sales officer, Arbitron Inc., Chicago; Annie Howell, executive vice president, corporate communications and media relations, Crown Media Family Networks, New York; Kimberly Maki, vice president, corporate communications and web strategies, Bright House Networks, Orlando; Janet Noll, national sales director, Rural Media Group – RFD-TV & Rural TV, Omaha; Deborah Parenti, executive vice president of radio, Radio Ink, New York; Roni Selig, senior executive producer/director, health, wellness and medical unit, CNN, New York; Keisha Sutton-James, vice president, Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, New York; Christine Travaglini, president, Christal Radio, New York; and Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee, president and chief executive officer, NAMIC, Inc., New York.
Obama Executive Gun Actions Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 14-18. President Obama’s executive gun actions landed atop the Talkers TenTM this week as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio. Coming in at #2 was the legislative arms debate. At #3 was the debt ceiling tied with the tax cut battles and following at #4 was the American hostages in Algeria tied with the Mali Violence. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people of the week as discussed on news/talk radio. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Dr. Joy Browne Joins Radio America. The longtime WOR Radio Network syndicated talk star signs with Radio America for national distribution of her radio program. Dr. Joy Browne – a licensed clinical psychologist – had been a staple of WOR, New York and the associated network for more than 15 years. Now, she makes her debut in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot on the Radio America network on Monday, January 21. Browne states, “What a great way to start the New Year, surrounded by loyal affiliates, being discovered by a whole new audience and working with the terrific group at Radio America. Yay!” Radio America CEO Mike Paradiso says, “We are very excited about working with Dr. Joy. Talk radio listeners are hungry for engaging programming that covers relevant issues outside of politics and Dr. Joy is a perfect fit. She will be a great addition to our existing lineup.”
Day One of Testimony in the Bubba the Love Sponge –Todd Schnitt Case. Nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt (a former CHR morning show host in Tampa) is suing Bubba the Love Sponge (a.k.a Todd Clem) for defamation and day one of that trial got underway in a Hillsborough County, Florida court room yesterday. Clem spent about six hours on the stand answering questions from Schnitt’s attorney. He defended his use of the word “whore” in describing Schnitt’s wife Michelle, implying his listeners did not really think she’s a prostitute because he used the word. Schnitt’s lawyer is going to try to paint a picture of a battle in which Clem went overboard, causing the Schnitts and their kids to fear for their safety as the result of attacks from the “Bubba Army.” It’s difficult to predict how a jury is going to respond to the evidence but the key for Schnitt appears to be convincing them Clem went too far in encouraging the kind of behavior that caused the Schnitts’ house to be egged and to have ice cream thrown at their car. Case law would indicate Schnitt and his wife are public figures and even Clem’s use of the word “whore” to describe Michelle Schnitt is protected speech. Proving actual damages in this case might be difficult and it will be Schnitt’s lawyer’s job to convince the jury the Schnitts were truly in fear and thus, suffered psychological damage as a result of Clem’s behavior. There are more than 150 potential witnesses and the case could go on for another three weeks.
KLAA, Anaheim Names Bob Agnew Program Director. Sports talk programming pro Bob Agnew takes the PD post at Arte Moreno-controlled KLAA, Anaheim – the flagship station for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Agnew spent years programming KNBR, San Francisco and building it into one of the nation’s most successful sports talk outlets. KLAA general manager David Baronfeld says of Agnew, “If there were a Mt. Rushmore for sports radio programmers, Bob would be one of the faces you’d see. His impact in creating the most successful sports radio station on the West Coast is undeniable and having him join KLAA is truly exciting.” Of his new gig, Agnew says, “This is a great opportunity to continue to grow and develop AM 830 KLAA into one of Southern California’s premier sports radio stations. There has been a tremendous growth of sports programming across the county and I am excited to put my experience and expertise to work with the KLAA staff. I look forward to working alongside Roger Lodge, Travis Rogers and the rest of the very dedicated staff.”
Fox Sports Radio Network Announces Super Bowl XLVII Coverage. As the sports world prepares for the Super Bowl, Fox Sports Radio Network announces its broadcast plans for the week leading up to the game. For the 13th straight year, FSRN will be producing talk shows live from radio row, this year at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, with Andy Furman, Artrell Hawkins, Steve Hartman, Pat O’Brien, Matt “Money” Smith and Petros Papadakis leading the coverage. Fox Sports Radio reports that “as part of the week-long broadcast, ‘Jay Mohr Sports’ will host the first-ever virtual experience from radio row at the Super Bowl. Utilizing video conferencing technology, Mohr will transport his show to New Orleans each day via a 46” big screen TV, enabling him to chat with athletes, celebrities and guests in real-time as they come face-to-face with his life-size image atop the official Fox Sports Radio stage.”
Howard Stern Producer Gary Dell’Abate’s HIV/AIDS Prevention Work Includes New Initiative. The man most know as Baba Booey – Howard Stern producer Gary Dell’Abate – also serves as president of the nonprofit organization Lifebeat whose goal is to use the music industry to reach young people with messages of HIV/AIDS prevention. Dell’Abate got involved with LifeBeat after his brother died of AIDS. Lifebeat: Music Fights HIV/AIDS and the MTV Staying Alive Foundation are hosting a celebration today for The Arches of Hope interactive art installation. The event takes place at The Out NYC Hotel. The art installation was conceived and created by Patrick Duffy, creative director of the gay-oriented hotel. The Advocate reports that today through January 24, Lifebeat is asking people from around the country to participate in the campaign by tweeting messages that recognize the installation’s message of hope for an HIV-free generation with the hashtag #ArchesofHope. Messages will then be beamed to jumbo screens in Times Square and displayed via digital ticker tape embedded in the installation, and then shared across 12 major social media sites. Dell’Abate says, “We are also encouraging the public to sign a petition calling on President Obama and Congress to designate April 10 as National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day.”
SiriusXM Sports Talk Host Adam Schein Offends “Snooki.” “Jersey Shore” star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi was visiting the SiriusXM studios to promote her new TV show when sports talk host Adam Schein walked past her in the hallway. Schein tweeted that after the encounter, he “needed a shower.” The Tweet was quickly found by Polizzi and the followers of the two engaged in a Twitter war. According to Breitbart.com Polizzi complained to SiriusXM management and is “trying to get Schein fired” for the Tweet. This is one of those special moments that cause all of us at TALKERS to reflect on the beauty and value of social media.
Obama Signs Gun Controls, Americans Taken Hostage in Algeria-Mali Violence, Notre Dame Star Hoax, and Boeing 787 Fleet Grounded Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/16). President Obama signs gun controls, and asks Congress to do more; American’s taken hostage in Algeria in response to French involvement in Mali; Notre Dame star Manti Te’o’s involvement in a death hoax; and Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner is grounded after numerous battery fires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.