Tag: "Dial Global"

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

| August 9, 2017

CBS News Radio Appoints Bolton Manager, Affiliate Sales. Most recently a consultant to AT&T/DIRECTV on the syndication of radio shows hosted by Dan Patrick; Rich Eisen; and Joe Buck, Amy Bolton is named manager, affiliate sales at CBS News Radio. “Amy has an unrivaled depth of affiliate sales experience,” CBS News Radio general manager Craig Swagler comments. “The relationships she has formed with stations over the years make her an excellent fit for the position. I look forward to the contributions she will make in this new role as we continue to work closely with our affiliates and explore new partnerships.” Bolton declares that, “CBS News Radio is the gold standard in original radio journalism; this is a dream job. I am thrilled to be part of the next phase of this award-winning organization and deliver our affiliates the highest quality programming.” In addition to having previously consulted Cox Media Group news site Rare.us and ABC Radio, Bolton, who grew up in Rome and holds a University of Maryland Bachelor of Science degree in human ecology and marketing, spent nearly six years as senior vice president of talk & news for Westwood One (formerly Dial Global), and ten years as vice president of affiliate sales, news/talk at Dial Global (acquired Jones Radio Network).

Last Call For Dawson. On the Kansas City Chiefs broadcasts as a commentator since 1984, former quarterback Len Dawson will not return to the booth after the 2017 NFL season. The team’s chair and chief executive officer Clark Hunt, son of team founder Lamar Hunt, declares, “Next to my father, few people have had a more lasting impact on the Kansas City Chiefs than Len Dawson. Over the course of his legendary career – first as a player and later as a broadcaster – Len has been a part of every major moment in franchise history. We sincerely appreciate his many contributions to ‘Chiefs Kingdom’ since he arrived as a player in 1962. We look forward to having Len as part of the Chiefs Radio Network for the 2017 season.” Chiefs Radio Network executive producer Dan Israel notes, “It has been a true privilege and honor to have Len at the center of our broadcast team for the last 33 years. His contributions to not only this sport, but our industry, are incredibly profound. I am thankful he will continue to be part of the Chiefs Radio Network this season; he will forever be welcome as a part of our broadcast team family.” Dawson led the Chiefs to victory in Super Bowl IV and three AFL championships. “Looking back on my career, I’ve been blessed for what I had the opportunity to do,” Dawson comments. “I could not have accomplished so much without my teammates and colleagues – I am grateful for each of them.” Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf, and Dawson are the only three dual-honorees as players and broadcasters in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Cumulus Media Kansas City classic rock KCFX “101 The Fox” is the team’s flagship.

ABC Radio Names Hubbard Country Producer/Reporter. Fittingly based in Nashville, Stephen Hubbard joins ABC Radio as a country producer and reporter. While Hubbard will primarily be reporting for ABC Radio, he will support all ABC News platforms. In a staff memo, ABC Radio vice president and general manager Steve Jones notes that award-winning producer Hubbard is “well known in Nashville and around the country world. He will continue to report on all things country including interviewing the genre’s biggest stars. With more than 20 years of experience, Stephen has worked on a variety of projects including CMT specials starring Reba McEntire and Miranda Lambert; Great American Country’s ‘Opry Live’; ‘Music City Keep on Playin,’ a benefit concert for the victims of the 2010 Nashville flood; and ‘Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountains Rise’ telethon after the 2016 East Tennessee wildfires. He recently interviewed Shania Twain, Thomas Rhett, Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, and Brad Paisley. This summer, Stephen worked on ABC Radio’s 4th of July special – ‘Country Family Salute’ – with country star Josh Turner, and ABC Radio’s Memorial Day special – ‘Kelsea Ballerini’s Summer Road Trip.'” A country content contributor to ABC Radio since 2010, Hubbard most recently was a producer for ABC-TV’s Nashville affiliate WKRN-TV (channel 2). Two-time Emmy nominee Hubbard received an Associated Press award for “Best TV Producing in Tennessee.”

Wetherbee Wins Weather Recognition. Owing to his daily forecasts and severe winter weather broadcasts on the Georgia News Network, Envision Radio Networks meteorologist John Wetherbee is the recipient of this year’s GABBY Award for Excellence in Broadcasting for “Best Weather Coverage.” Wetherbee states, “This is so exciting to be recognized by GAB for my weather reporting throughout Georgia and having the ability to continue to grow and succeed in my life-long passion – radio. It is just so cool.” With its weather component, Envision Radio Networks’ EnvisionVirtualServices provides stations up to five daily forecasts each weekday and 24-hour on-call severe weather coverage on a barter basis. Wetherbee’s recognition took place as part of GABCON 2017, a convention for Georgia television and radio broadcasters.

PPM Data – Round Two. Information for the July 2017 ratings period has been released for Washington, DC; Boston; Miami; Detroit; Seattle; Phoenix; Minneapolis; San Diego; Denver; Tampa; Baltimore; and St. Louis. Nielsen Audio’s July 2017 survey period covered June 22 – July 19. See the data from these 12-PPM markets here.

Townsquare Media Q2 Net Revenue Up 2.6%. Compared to the second quarter of 2016, Townsquare Media’s net revenue increased 2.6%, which is consistent with previously issued guidance. Chairman and chief executive officer Steven Price comments, “We are pleased to report another solid quarter that was in line with our expectations. Our second quarter performance was anchored by our Local Marketing Solutions segment, where revenue increased 4.3% over the prior year, and 4.8% excluding political revenue. Our results in this segment are representative of the continued strength of our local advertiser solutions and the strength our local teams.” Entertainment net revenue and net income were approximately flat. Adjusted EBITDA was also approximately flat, consistent with previously issued guidance. Diluted net income and diluted adjusted net income per share are of $0.20 and $0.21, respectively. In terms of year-to-year comparisons, the company’s net revenue decreased by 1.1%. Conversely, Local Marketing Solutions net revenue increased by 2.9%. The company repaid $6.7 million of long-term debt and there are year-to-year decreases in entertainment net revenue (-10.2%); net income (-39.4%); and adjusted EBITDA (-5.0%).

NABJ and NAHJ To Hold Combined 2020 Confab. As they did last year in Washington, DC, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) will have a joint convention in 2020. NABJ president Sarah Glover comments, “NABJ is looking forward to hosting another joint convention with NAHJ. Both groups executed a memorable convention experience for our members and the journalism industry last year. We have a lot of momentum to build off of as we head into 2020. It only makes sense to bring black and Hispanic journalists together as we move toward what is shaping up to be a history-making election in 2020.” Meanwhile, NAHJ president Brandon Benavides remarks, “As we move toward returning to a joint convention with NABJ, we will be recognizing the priorities in our programming, special events, and all elements of a conference that our members value most. It is critical that as the two largest journalism associations of color, we not only make an investment into our student journalists, but also provide the best resources to develop talent and make it our mission to create more leadership training opportunities for all of our journalists.”

Demand for Spanish-Language Spots Skyrocketing. Given radio’s reach and growing podcast audiences, digital audio advertising is considered by many to be the single most effective medium to connect with Hispanic audiences. According to Nielsen research, radio reaches more than 92% of Hispanics regardless of language preference. Oink Ink co-founder Dan Price explains his company has produced Spanish radio spots for various clients, but it has been especially busy the last seven months. “We are working with a number of clients to create relevant Spanish-language radio spots that demonstrate an understanding of nuances of the culture and diversity within the Hispanic market.” According to Pew Research, Hispanics are the youngest ethnic group in the United States, while data from Latinum Network indicates ads targeting Hispanics in Spanish significantly increase their interest in purchasing products. Price comments, “We didn’t need research to tell us that thoughtful, creative ads work better – regardless of the language. [Nonetheless], it’s nice to have facts that demonstrate the value of the work we do for our clients. We work with the best Spanish-speaking writers, actors, and sound mixers in the country – the ads are resonating culturally.”

Remembering Glen Campbell. After battling against Alzheimer’s since 2011, singer-songwriter Glen Campbell lost his fight against the disease yesterday (Tuesday, 8/8) in Nashville; the 1968 Country Music Association “Entertainer of The Year” was 81. A rural Arkansas native, Campbell hosted “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour” on CBS-TV. A midseason replacement that debuted in January 1969, the series ran until June 1972; Jerry Reed and Anne Murray were among the show’s regulars. In the mid-1960s, Campbell briefly toured with the Beach Boys and he really hit it big in 1967, earning multiple individual Grammy nominations for “Gentle on My Mind” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.” One year later, “Wichita Lineman” reached the Top 5. All three of those singles were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. While continuing to do extremely well on the country charts – more than two-dozen top 10 hits and five songs that reached #1 – Campbell went on to have pop notoriety with “Galveston” and “It’s Only Make Believe.” By the mid-1970s, he again enjoyed considerable success – this time with “Southern Nights” and the often parodied “Rhinestone Cowboy.” Altogether over a six-decade span, the sharecropper’s son and seventh of 12 children, released more than 70 albums and won six Grammys among 20 nominations. He sold 45 million records; had 12 gold albums; four platinum; and one double-platinum. Approximately 80 different Glen Campbell songs reached the country, top 40, or adult contemporary charts, nine ascending to #1. The 2005 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee was in-demand as a session player, featured on the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby”; Jan & Dean’s “Dead Man’s Curve,” and Shelley Fabares’ “Johnny Angel” (among others). As part of the Wrecking Crew, he played on recordings of artists ranging from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Nat Cole to Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, and The Monkees. The 2014 film “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me” followed Campbell and his family during a farewell tour in the United States, Australia, and Europe as he dealt with his illness. The powerful “I’m Not Going to Miss You” from the film landed an Oscar nomination (losing to “Glory” from “Selma”) and a Grammy nomination (losing to “Let It Go” from “Frozen”). Tim McGraw sang it at the 2015 Academy Awards. Campbell’s appropriately-titled final studio album, “Adios,” was released earlier this year. Donations that will support Alzheimer’s research may be made to the Glen Campbell Memorial Fund at Brightfocus Foundation.

After Cutting “Idol” Fox Answers with “The Four.” We’ve seen it unfold countless times in radio. Station executives determine a particular on-air talent is no longer sufficient enough for the salary and they then hold their breath when that personality (or team) crosses the street to join the competition. After a 15-season run on Fox, “American Idol” will surface on ABC midseason with iHeartMedia Los Angeles KIIS “Kiss-FM” morning drive star Ryan Seacrest continuing as host. Yesterday (Tuesday, 8/8), Fox announced it will deliver a new singing competition series – “The Four” – from Armoza Formats and ITV Entertainment. With a tagline of “We start with the best and only get better,” Fox’s “The Four” will not launch until 2018. While the network has yet to announce a specific premiere date or host for “The Four,” the show is not expected to be slotted directly against “Idol” or NBC’s Carson Daly-hosted “The Voice.” Each week, the top four will sing against challengers to retain their slots on the show. A panel of (yet-to-be cast) music experts and personalities will choose the original finalists from auditions. Similar to “American Idol,” viewers will be able to vote from home on four contestants. They get to decide who is brought on the show by voting on streamed auditions, influencing which challengers will take on “The Four.” Fox Broadcasting Company president of alternative entertainment Rob Wade maintains “The Four” (billed as “The Final Four” in Israel, as pictured) is nothing like “American Idol,” categorizing it as the most “pure, clean format” for a singing competition he has ever seen, while Fox Television Group co-chair/chief executive officer Dana Walden opines singing competition series have become “much more about celebrity panelists and less about” turning aspiring singers into stars.

Savannah’s “G-100” Grabs Station of the Year Honors. In a Georgia Association of Broadcasters award ceremony held this past weekend at Jekyll Island, Alpha Media Savannah (Georgia) – Hilton Head (South Carolina) classic hip-hop WXYY “G-100 The Throwback Station” was named “Station of the Year” for “Division Radio A/Large market.” Alpha Media Savannah – Hilton Head vice president and market manager Gigi South points out that “G-100” celebrated its first birthday last month and “winning ‘Station of the Year’ is a major accomplishment. The state of Georgia has many super radio talents. This is a huge honor and we are so grateful to our listeners [as well as to our] staff and Alpha Media, which gives us the tools and celebrates our passion to win.” Program director Amini remarks, “In one year, we have made groundbreaking history. Listeners call, text, find us on social media, and stop us in person just to share their love for the ‘Throwback’ music. From Hurricane Matthew coverage, to collecting toys, to helping kids get fit and perform in school, everything we do is intended to give Savannah the best on-air product and listener experiences.” Meanwhile, station personality Mark “Shark” Ediss was cited as Georgia’s “Best On-Air Personality.” Among persons 12+ in Savannah’s latest (Spring 2017) Nielsen Audio book, “G-100” ranks ninth (4.1, 12+); Cumulus Media urban contemporary WEAS and iHeartMedia CHR WAEV are tied at #1 – each with 8.3 (12+). In Hilton Head’s comparable spring 2017 results, Alpha Media country WUBB is on top with a 6.5 (12+), while WXYY is sixth (2.6, 12+).

Nation’s Capital First Up in Café Mocha “Salute Her” Tour. Launched over seven years ago, 2017 Gracie award winner Café Mocha Radio kicks off its “Salute Her: Beauty of Diversity Tour” in just over two weeks (8/25) in Washington, DC. Among those being honored there are White House journalist/author April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks; actress Pam Grier; Grammy winning singer Stephanie Mills; entrepreneurs Germaine Leftridge and Vivian Pickard; and author Joi-Marie McKenzie. The syndicated radio show will have similar award ceremonies and networking events in New York City (9/28); Charlotte (11/4); and Chicago (12/14). This year’s theme, “Redefining What Perseverance Looks Like from the Inside Out,” underscores the importance of women maintaining their inner spirit to find strength. Café Mocha creator and executive producer Sheila Eldridge comments, “Over the years, we have honored more than 300 women. Our honorees demonstrate passion, creativity, and drive to break down barriers in their respective fields, truly redefining what perseverance looks like.” Café Mocha co-host comedienne Loni Love notes, “I am especially looking forward to honoring our incredible unsung heroines, these extraordinary women who are doing so much great work for others and rarely get recognition for their service.”  Café Mocha incorporates urban contemporary music with hot topics and is “radio from a woman’s perspective.” The two-hour program heard in 35 markets features interviews with singers, celebrities, politicians, and those making headlines.

More Music Radio News and Career MovesAfter 14 years with Beasley Media Group, including the last three as chief revenue officer, Heather Monahan departs as the company eliminates her position. “I want to thank my team, partners, clients, and all the amazing people I have known over the years,” she writes on her LinkedIn account. “It has been an emotional few days and I wanted to thank everyone for their love and support.” The Clark University graduate spent four years as a Wilks Broadcasting market manager before joining Beasley as executive vice president of sales in March 2003 ….. Starting next Monday (8/14), Jackie Paige takes over mid-days (10:00 am – 3:00 pm) on Urban One Richmond urban contemporary WCDX “iPower 92.1/104.1.” Operations manager Yonni Rude notes, “Jackie’s talent and positive energy make her the perfect fit for Radio One Richmond.” Paige most recently was at Curtis Media Group Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville, North Carolina urban contemporary WIKS “101.9 Kiss-FM” ….. Two-year WEZL program director Tyler Reese departs the iHeartMedia Charleston, South Carolina country station. Reese previously was music director at Nashville country sibling WSIX “The Big 98” and has worked at similarly-formatted co-owned WKKT “96.9 The Kat,” Charlotte and WMAD “96.3 Star Country,” Madison ….. The new night talent at Entercom Sacramento classic rock KSEG “Eagle 96.9” is Chris McCoy, whose previous experience includes working for nine years in Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey) at adult contemporary WMGQ “Magic 98.3.” In addition, McCoy did morning drive at Jerry Lee Radio Philadelphia adult contemporary WBEB “More FM” ….. To pay tribute to the passing of Glen Campbell (see the story above), Rick Jackson’s entire three-hour United Stations Radio Networks (USRN) “Country Classics” program on the weekend of August 26 and 27 will be comprised of Campbell’s greatest hits and his story ….. Following a five-year stint as senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Greensboro, Rich McMillan departs. He oversaw adult contemporary WMAG; CHR WMKS “100.3 Kiss-FM”; FM news/talk WPTI; WTQR “Q104.1 – New Country”; and WVBZ “Rock 105.7 – Man Up.” Prior to his time in Greensboro, McMillan programmed Miami and Birmingham stations for the company when it was known as Clear Channel. Exiting the iHM Greensboro cluster as well are WMAG program director Gary Nolan and WVBZ imaging voice Matt Pencola ….. The third annual, three-hour “Hungry for Hip-Hop” concert presented by iHeartMedia Orlando urban contemporary WTKS-HD2 “104.5 The Beat” takes place in two weeks (8/24) in downtown Orlando and will feature an all-female lineup. “Beat” on-air personality Viva La Koi will host. Proceeds will benefit Pathlight HOME, a nonprofit organization that provides affordable housing and economic opportunities to Central Florida’s homeless ….. Having recently taken a hiatus from programming Sarkes Tarzian Fort Wayne, Indiana adult contemporary WAJI “Magic 95.1,” Dan Baisden returns to radio for part-time/weekend on-air duties at Adams Radio Group’s crosstown, similarly-formatted WWFW “103.9 Sunny FM.”

Monday, May 9, 2016

| May 9, 2016

Talkers2016 logoCONVENTION ALERT — TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations Approaching Sellout this Week.  The 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention is projected to reach its registration capacity sometime this week. TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations will take place on Friday, May 20 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.  The event will feature more than 65 luminous industry speakers in a power-packed day of presentations, panel discussions, keynote addresses, talk rumble, techno-exhibits, live broadcasts and numerous networking opportunities including breakfast, lunch and closing reception.  Registration fee is $299 per person and includes all events and activities.  Registrations for this special event are open only to media industry professionals and communications students and can only be booked via telephone with credit card at 413-565-5413.  Registrations will only be sold until 5:00 pm ET on Thursday, May 12 of this week.  After that, the event will be officially sold out.  Registrations will not be sold at the door.  For complete up to the minute agenda, hotel and sponsorship information, please click here.  If you plan on attending, do not wait and do not get shut out!  Register now!

albeechristinaMedia Sales and Marketing Pro Christina Albee Named CMO at Cumulus Media.  The company calls this a newly created position but Pierre Bouvard had been serving as chief marketing officer for Cumulus Media/Westwood One.  Regardless, Christina Albee is named chief marketing officer of Cumulus Media, a position in which she’ll report to Suzanne Grimes, whose title is president, Westwood One division and EVP of corporate marketing, Cumulus Media.  As for Bouvard, he nowcumulus logo reports to Albee in the new position chief insights officer in which he leads research and insights efforts.  Back to Albee; she’s most recently been head of sales marketing for social news magazine Flipboard.  Prior to that she was chief marketing officer at Dial Global where she was instrumental in its rebranding to Westwood One.  She was general manager, marketing solutions at Condé Nast Media Group from 2008 to 2013, and served in numerous sales and management positions with Time, Inc. from 1991 to 2007. Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner states, “Christina brings tremendous experience and energy to this critical role.  We are delighted that she will apply her considerable skills and talent to the development of new marketing strategies that will facilitate new revenue opportunities throughout our organization.”  In addition to Pierre Bouvard, also reporting to Albee will be VP of social media Lori Lewis and SVP of brand partnerships Tommy Page.

giffordlarryLarry Gifford Named to PD Post at CKNW, Vancouver.  American news/talk and sports talk radio pro Larry Gifford is officially named program director at Corus’ Vancouver news/talk station CKNW.  Gifford – who’s served in recent years with ESPN Radio and Bonneville’s KIRO-FM andcknw KTTH-AM in Seattle – has been consulting the station’s programming for several months.  Corus VP news and information Western Canada Kenton Boston says in a company memo, “We are very fortunate to have Larry join the already talented team at CKNW and AM 730.  His leadership is a natural fit, not only for Vancouver, but for our team across the country.  His insight and expertise will be instrumental as we focus on our future as the leading multi-media company in Canada.”

anderssendrewDrew Anderssen Upped to OM for WDBO-FM, WDBO-AM, and WMMO-FM at CMG Orlando.  Spoken-word radio programming pro Drew Anderssen – currently serving as director of branding and programming for news/talk WDBO-FM “News 96.5 FM” and sports talk WDBO-AM “ESPN Orlando 580 AM” – is promoted to operations manager for the two stations as well as sister classic hits WMMO.  This promotion comes at the same time as fellow cluster programmer and OM Stevie DeMann adds urban contemporary WCFB “Star 94.5.” to his OM responsibilities.  Anderssen comments, “I am thrilled to take on a larger leadership role with [program director] Hildi Brooks and her team at the legendary WMMO.  The artist base of WMMO is experiencing a tremendous resurgence in popularity, and the station has a history of delivering fantastic returns for our advertisers.  I’m thankful for the opportunity [Cox Media Group RVP and GM] Susan Larkin has provided for Stevie and me, and I believe it will allow us a unique opportunity for our teams to better meet the needs of listeners and advertisers in the Orlando market.”

RamseyLA16Dave Ramsey Packs LA’s Shrine Auditorium.  Pictured here on stage at the legendary Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles is nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey, hosting his Smart Conference on Saturday (5/7).  Other speakers at the conference included: Rachel Cruze, Chris Hogan, John O’Leary, Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. Les Parrott, Dr. Meg Meeker, and Michael Jr.  The event was marketed with the assistance of LA affiliate KEIB “The Patriot.”  Prior to the event, station PD Robin Bertolucci said, “When Dave Ramsey comes to town, Patriot listeners come out to welcome him.  Close to 6,000 people plan to attend this weekend’s SoCal Smart Conference and that is a testament to the trust and respect KEIB’s listeners have for Dave Ramsey.”

Odds & Sods.  The new morning drive show at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WKRK-FM, Cleveland is “The Kencarmanlima16 Carman Show with Anthony Lima.”  Carman (right) is officially in the driver’s seat and update anchor Lima (left) has been promoted to co-host.  This comes three months after former morning host Kevin Kiley resigned from the station….. In Tulsa, Steve Hunter joins E.W. Scripps’ to serve as operations manager for the five-station group there that includes: country KVOO, CHR KHTT, country KXBL, classic hits KBEZ, and news/talk KFAQ…..WHO, Des Moines-based talk show host Simon Conway is pulling triple duty today conwaysimonand tomorrow (5/9 & 10).  Conway will be hosting his usual afternoon drive show on WHO and his regular morning drive show on WMT, Cedar Rapids, but he’s also adding morning drive duties on iHeartMedia’s WFLF, Orlando…..Talk show personality Tom Donahue is launching a new, daily show on Trinity Associates Broadcasting-owned WFYL, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (northwest of Philadelphia) today.  The show – titled “Philly Freedom” – airs at 6:00 pm…..E.W. Scripps news/talkRadio 620 WTMJ - WRS (662c) WTMJ, Milwaukee wins 10 awards from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.  In a ceremony held in Madison on Saturday (5/7), WTMJ picked up honors for News/Talk Station of the Year, Best News Operation, Best News Writing, Best Live On-Scene Reporting, and more.  Scripps Radio Milwaukee VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “Receiving these awards from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association reinforces our mission of madisonjoeserving our community and being famous for localism.”…..SiriusXM talk show host Joe Madison delivered the keynote address at the NAACP Washington branch’s 56th Annual Human Rights Award Banquet on Friday (5/6).  At the ceremony, District Judge Traci McDonald-Kemp was honored with the organization’s Human Rights Award…..Former San Diego Chargers player Nick Hardwick is named color analyst for Chargers radio play-by-play based at iHeartMedia’s San Diego operations…..Richard C. Hoagland’s “The Other Side of Midnight” radio program is now airing in the 12:00 midnight to 2:00 am slot on KCAA, Loma Linda.  The program previously was aired on Art Bell’s “Dark Matter Digital Network.”

The Presidential Race, Canadian Wildfire, North Korea Workers Party Congress, West Point Photo Controversy, Britain EU Exit Issue and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The activities of the candidates for president and the potential controversies surrounding the summer’s political conventions; the enormous wildfire in Alberta that caused some 88,000 people to evacuate Fort McMurray; North Korea’s Workers Party Congress and leader Kim Jong Un’s statements about nuclear weapons; the controversy over a photo of black female West Point cadets appearing to give the black power salute; the looming vote in Great Britain over whether to leave the EU or not; and the weekend’s NBA and NHL playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

nab logoNAB Names Four to Radio Board.  Four broadcasting executives have been named to the NAB Radio Board of Directors by the NAB Radio Executive Committee and Joint Board Chairman.  Joining for two-year terms, effective June 2016 are: Hartley Adkins, president, Northeast Division and Corporate Operations, iHeartMedia; Andre Fernandez, president, CBS RADIO; Deon Levingston, regional vice president, Radio One; and Jose Valle, president of Political & Advocacy Sales, Univision Communications Inc.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

| May 27, 2015

recode logoFormer Dial Global/WW1 Execs Launch Program Sales and Distribution Firm. Former Dial Global and Westwood One executives Spencer Brown and David Landau announce they are partnering with Michael Rolnick to form the firm DGital Media.  They describe it as “an audio engagement company that partners with media brands to create, distribute, and monetize spoken-word audio products.”  The company’s first venture will be the creation of the Re/code Radio network in partnership with Revere Digital LLC.  Re/code is a tech news web destination founded by journalists Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher.  The first program to be rolled out will be “Re/code Decode” with host Kara Swisher, expected to go live in June.  Revere Digital COO Lorenzano Kennett comments, “With the proliferation of mobile devices and the popularity of podcasts, we want to make sure our content is available to our audiences wherever they are – in the car, in the office, etc.  By partnering with DGital Media, Re/code will be able to leverage our authoritative content and brand with outstanding audio programming, distribution and monetization.”  DGital Media co-founder David Landau adds, “Partnering with Re/code as a brand accomplishes exactly what we set out to do – which is to amplify media brands through audio.  The Re/code Radio network will bring the same excellence in reporting and analysis to readers through the spoken word.”  Also joining the company as chief content officer is Chris Corcoran, former EVP for content at Dial Global/Westwood One, and as executive vice president for sales and strategy, Grace Carrick, formerly vice president of sales at Dial Global/Westwood One.

2015 NYC 150Talkers New York 2015 to Mark 25th Anniversary of TALKERS Magazine.  The forthcoming 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2015 – will also serve as the publication’s 25th “birthday party.”  TALKERS was launched by publisher Michael Harrison in June of 1990 with the first issue of TALKERS: The Information-Radio Newspaper hitting the streets on July 23rd of that year.  TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This is an important milestone, not only for us, but for the talk radio and media industries as well.  That little trade publication provocatively named ‘Talkers’– that dared to refer to the relative handful of spoken-word stations that existed at the time as an ‘industry’ — has chronicled, championed and inspired one of the most colorful and historically significant chapters of American broadcasting ever gathered and archived in one continuous collection.  This year’s conference will serve as a milestone honoring that achievement and rich body of work.”  Casey adds, “Not only will Talkers New York 2015 have features that make note of this history but we will be publishing a number of retrospectives looking back at the past quarter-century in the days and weeks surrounding the conference and leading up to the official anniversary date in July.”  Talkers New York 2015 is sold out but a few choice sponsorship opportunities remain available.  For information, please call 413-565-5413.  To see the latest updated agenda, please click here.

alphamedia logoAlpha Media to Pay $38,250,000 for Morris and JMJ Stations.  From a filing with the FCC, we learn the price for the 36 stations that Morris Communications and JMJ operate in Topeka and Salina, Kansas; Amarillo, Texas; Palm Springs and Victor Valley, California; Anchorage and Wasilla, Alaska; Grays Harbor-Hoquiam, Washington and Wenatchee-Columbia River, Washington: $38,250,000.  This is not an all-cash deal.  Morris will receive $20 million worth of Alpha Holdings private stock (8,196,722 units in the aggregate), $6,585 worth of Alpha Holdings II private stock, and $18,250,000 in cash.

delaneykateKate Delaney Joins NBC Sports Radio for Weekend Shows.  Sports and news/talk radio pro Kate Delaney is adding weekend talk duties at NBC Sports Radio to her plate as she takes over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm Saturday and Sunday shows from Anita Marks, who left the network to join WEPN-FM, New York “ESPN New York 98.7FM.”  During the week, Delaney is host of the GCN-syndicated “America Tonight” late night news/talk show.  NBC says Delaney’s show will feature “players, coaches, experts and analysts…from the locker room to the playing fields and beyond.”  Delaney’s sports pedigree includes being the first woman to host a solo sports radio talk show on WFAN, New York City and KRLD, Dallas.  She’s covered 15 Super Bowls, 10 U.S. Opens, and 15 Final Fours.  She has also been to the Kentucky Derby 10 times along with the other two Triple Crown races, the Preakness and the Belmont.  NBC Sports Radio program director Jack Silver comments, “It’s a major coup for us to have Kate with us on the weekends.  She connects really well with sports fans.  She’s smart, funny, and she knows her way around the world of sports.  Kate brings great energy, insight, and opinion to our weekend lineup.”

Odds & Sods. Joining the lineup of weekend talk shows at Talk Media Network is the “Into Tomorrow withgravelinelogo Dave Graveline” program.  In welcoming the almost-20-year-old program to the company’s roster, Talk Media Network CEO Josh Leng says, “The ‘Into Tomorrow’ team travels the globe to deliver the most comprehensive technology discussion available on radio, each and every week.  Talk Media mcpheemicheleNetwork is proud to offer radio stations this valuable program via satellite, for easy automation and scheduling.”…..Journalist and talk show host Michele McPhee – formerly with Entercom’s WRKO, Boston – is the new afternoon drive personality at WMEX, Boston, the daypart held briefly by Howie Carr before WRKO again became his syndicated program’s Boston affiliate.

2016 Presidential Prospects, ‘Is FOX News Bad for GOP?’ Flap, Hillary’s Role in Benghazi, Clintons Finances Scrutiny, ISIS Successes in Iraq and Syria, Amnesty Order Loses Round in Court, Obama Accuses Russia of Aggression, FIFA Scandal, Deadly Texas and OK Floods, and NBA/NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/26).  The activities of the potential candidates for president in 2016; reaction to historian Bruce Bartlett’s contention that FOX News is “self-brainwashing” conservative voters; more debate over Hillary Clinton’s role in the deadly Benghazi attack; ongoing scrutiny of the Clintons’ financial dealings and income reporting; the success of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and questions about America’s Iraq policy; President Obama’s amnesty order loses round at the Appeals Court level; Obama accuses Russia of military aggression; a report of widespread corruption at FIFA – soccer’s governing body; the deadly flooding in Texas and Oklahoma; and the NBA and NHL playoff action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, October 14, 2013

| October 14, 2013

trn logoTalk Radio Network Sues Epic Times in U.S. District Court for Tortious Interference and Misuse of Trade Secrets.  EpicTimes.com is the website developed around talk show host Jerry Doyle – who is currently embroiled in legal issues surrounding the recent dramatic changes and financial issues at Talk Radio Networkepictimes logo At the core of this most recent action is a two-pronged complaint by TRN.  It alleges Epic – the company of which Jerry Doyle is president and CEO – is interfering with contracts TRN has with both Doyle himself and talk host Rusty Humphries by using their services for content for the EpicTimes.com site.  The interference claim is based on TRN’s assertion that it has exclusive content creation deals still in effect with Doyle and Humphries.  The complaint also alleges that Epic is misusing trade secrets through Epic’s conversion to its own use of the “confidential and proprietary business information of plaintiffs provided to Doyle in confidence and subject to nondisclosure agreements.”  TRN is seeking an injunction to prevent further use of the proprietary information and $150,000 in damages plus legal fees.

L&L logoL&L Broadcasting Acquires Border Media Trust San Antonio Stations.  What’s been rumored to have been in the works turns out to be true as Larry Wilson’s Portland, Oregon-based L&L Broadcastingktsa announces its buying the San Antonio radio stations from the Border Media Business Trust.  The stations include adult hits KJXK “102.7 Jack FM,” regional Mexican tri-mulcast KLEY “La Ley 95.7,” KSAH-AM/FM, CHR KTFM, news/talk KTSA, sports talk KZDC and Spanish KHHL.  The additions put the L&L station count at 43.  Wilson says, “This is a great cluster of radio stations located in a beautiful market operated by a very talented group of people.  We are excited to add them to our growing company.”  Trustee Larry Patrick adds, “We could not be happier to have found a wonderful home for our San Antonio stations.  Larry Wilson and his L&L Broadcasting represent the best in broadcasting. We wish him continued great success with this cluster.”  Piper Jaffray & Co. assisted L&L Broadcasting in the transaction and Patrick Communications was the broker for the Border Media Business Trust.

TalkersLA2013Talkers Los Angeles 2013 a Success.  More than 250 radio and associated industry professionals gathered and 55 speakers participated in a non-stop day of speeches, special presentations, and panel discussions tackling the major issues facing the talk media industry at Talkers Los Angeles 2013 this past Thursday (10/10).  Among the major issues covered are the growing need for the radio industry to have an accurate cross-platform ratings system; develop new ways to program commercials that generate results for the advertisers without chasing away listeners; explore new spoken-word formats that tap into unfulfilled opportunities; attract younger demos to talk radio; and bring back more live and local programming to the broadcast day.  To read an overview of the event and see photos of its key sessions, speeches and attractions, please click here.

wwwl logoEntercom Debuts Hybrid Talker in New Orleans.  Today is launch day for Entercom’s new hybrid talk station WWWL, New Orleans “3WL.”  Calling it an extension of its “Gulf South POWERhouse” WWL-AM/FM, the company says it “builds on the success of this legendary New Orleans station by offering a branch focused on the passions of New Orleans.”  Vice president and general manager Chris Claus says, “‘3WL 1350’ celebrates the three greatest passions of New Orleanians: sports, food and fun!  Think of ‘3WL’ as a radio station as tasty as gumbo, as fun as Mardi Gras and as passionate as Saints fans on Sundays.  In the three weeks since we announced ‘3WL,’ the response has been overwhelming.  ‘3WL’ is perfectly set up to succeed and deliver real results for our advertisers.”  WWL operations and program director Diane Newman is overseeing the station’s programming.  The lineup is as follows:  “Morning Drive with T-Bob Hebert and Kristian Garic”; NBC Sports Radio’s Erick Kuselias in late mornings; “The Food Show” with Tom Fitzmorris from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; and “The Lighter Side of The Spud Show” with John Spud McConnell from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  NBC Sports Radio rounds out the rest of the day.  Newman says, “Today is the culmination of a lot of hard work and planning.  Our lineup from top to bottom is as good as any in the country.  With sports in the morning, food at lunch, and a larger-than-life personality, Spud McConnell, in the afternoon, ‘3WL’ launches with tremendous strength, proven talent, and unquestioned passion.”

kkoblogoAnother #1 Finish for KKOB.  The Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talker finished #1 12+ for the 53rd straight Nielsen Audio book in a row.  Program director Pat Frisch tells TALKERS magazine, the station finished #5 in Adults 25-54 and #2 in Men 25-54.  “Our TSL is a high 9:15 minutes a week in Adults 25-54, that’s #1 in the market.”  Frisch also reports that he’s especially proud of afternoon talk show host Scott Stiegler who took over the afternoon program seven months ago and has taken it to #1 Adults 25-54.  Frisch says, “Morning drive personality Bob Clark finished #1 again in mornings.  He’s been #1 for seven straight years in that daypart.”

wgmd logoTalent Shuffle at WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  Resort Broadcasting’s FM news/talk WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware “The Talk of Delmarva” makes some personality changes as late morning host Mike Bradley becomes part of the morning drive show alongside Judy ManginiBill Colley leaves the morning program and now heads up the PM drive show.  Jim Rash moves from afternoons to the late morning slot.

switzerbryanBryan Switzer to Exit Cumulus Media Networks.  After eight years in the radio business, Bryan Switzer announces he’s leaving his VP of affiliate sales position with Cumulus Media Networks.  Switzer started his career in network radio with ABC Radio Networks in April of 2006.  During his time in the music industry, he served as VP/GM of Atlantic Records and senior VP of national promotion at Universal South.  He says, “Since moving from records to broadcast eight years ago, this is without a doubt the most exciting company I’ve been associated with.  I have a great deal of respect for what Lew and John Dickey have built and are building.  I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time for me to move on and turn a page.  I can’t thank Dennis Green enough for the opportunity to continue my role through the Cumulus acquisition of Citadel two years ago.  It’s been a privilege to work under his leadership.  As for me, it’s time I get back to serving my creative genes, and though I’ve made no commitments as of yet, I’m extremely excited by the prospects!”  Switzer can be reached at bryanbenjamin1@gmail.com or 615-838-0809.

kiroBonneville’s KIRO, Seattle Turns 78 Tomorrow.  Radio history buffs can learn more about the history of one of the Emerald City’s most famous radio signals at Bonneville’s MyNorthwest.com right here.  The station – now a sports talker – began its life spinning records on October 15, 1935 and would play second fiddle to the Fisher family’s KOMO until getting a power upgrade to 50,000 just prior to Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor.  The war kept the FCC from handling any power upgrade requests and KIRO was, for some time, the most powerful signal in the Pacific Northwest.

hennerbaileyMarilu Henner Rocks Sun Broadcast Group Upfront Party.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Marilu Henner (pictured here with SBG CEO Jason Bailey) appeared at the Sun Broadcast Group’s 2014 Upfront Party at the Penthouse Lounge in New York City on October 11.  The day after making an appearance at the Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference where the TV and film star introduced herself to the talk radio industry, Henner was one of the stars representing her show before the hundreds of media people in NYC including agency reps, programmers, station managers, and network suppliers who attended the party.  Speaking about the now-five-year-old event, Bailey told the attendees, “I am so humbled as I look around at all the people here supporting us.  We’ve been working so hard to be a very different kind of network for all of you over the last five years and tonight you’ve welcomed us into your busy lives with open arms.  I can’t thank you enough for standing by us and believing in our mission as we aim to transform radio.”

bryantdelBroadcasters Foundation of America Names BMI’s Del Bryant ‘Golden Mike’ Recipient.  The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces Broadcast Music Inc. president Del Bryant is its recipient of the 2014 Golden Mike Award.  The award will be presented on Monday, February 24, 2014, at a black-tie fundraising gala at the Plaza Hotel in New York City to benefit the Foundation’s mission of helping broadcasters in need.  BFoA chairman Phil Lombardo says, “Del has been an admirable and inspiring supporter of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation for many years.  Well-known and respected across the broadcasting and music industries, his contribution as a longtime member of the Foundation’s board of directors is immeasurable.  We are proud to award him the 2014 Golden Mike.”  Bryant comments, “I am honored to be recognized by the Broadcasters Foundation of America with the Golden Mike Award.  I have always felt strongly about giving back to the community, both from a professional and personal standpoint.  It has been a privilege to support the Foundation and to collaborate with them throughout the years.  I commend them for the exceptional work they do for broadcasters and the sweet and understanding attitude with which they do it.”  The son of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant – the legendary songwriters who penned classics such as “Bye, Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” All I Have To Do Is Dream,” the Tennessee state song, “Rocky Top,” and more – Bryant’s rich musical heritage inspired his accomplishments and passion for the business.  He joined BMI in 1972, and worked in numerous areas of the company for 32 years, rising to president and chief executive officer in 2004.

Monday, September 9, 2013

| September 9, 2013

trn logoTRN Issues Response to Reports of Financial Problems at the Company.  TALKERS magazine has received a press release from Talk Radio Network and CEO Mark Masters in response to reports of financial problems at the company.  Below is the full press statement as received from TRN at 2:30 pm ET on 9/9:

ARE YOU DIAL GLOBAL’S (WESTWOOD ONE’S) NEXT VICTIM?

      The truth about the proposed merger between Dial Global/Westwood One and Cumulus is a dark one for our industry.  Dial Global/Westwood One’s market power in programming and sales representation, combined with Cumulus Network’s programming and distribution power in the top 100 U.S. markets, will have a devastating effect on most every area of the radio industry. Our previous experience with Dial Global/Westwood consists of improper, illegal, and/or unethical conduct that is set forth in the second amended complaint http://www.trn1.com/uploads/files/SecondAmendedComplaint.pdf in our pending antitrust action against Dial Global/Westwood One and others.   If this merger is allowed to occur, the results of our previous experiences with Dial Global/Westwood One will be magnified tenfold to radio stations and content producers, which will be at the mercy of the newly empowered Dial (Westwood One)/Cumulus and the leverage that can be brought to bear by this new behemoth.

If this merger is allowed to occur, the culture of corruption at Dial/Westwood, as described in our second amended complaint, and other filings, will surely infect and spread within the new behemoth entity and victimize the rest of the industry, resulting in a super monopoly.

Sadly, the actions described in the second amended complaint are forcing the TRN companies to cut back to the basic operating essentials pending resolution of the multiple issues raised in their legal actions against Dial Global/Westwood One.  We had hoped that the change in management at Dial Global/Westwood One would bring about a new paradigm focused on correcting the prior harms in a manner which would be helpful to our companies and the industry as a whole.  Sadly, recent events have shown that the opposite is true and that the behaviors that gave rise to the lawsuits against Dial/Westwood One are endemic throughout the Dial/Westwood One monopoly.   The ruthless and unethical behaviors that have continued through multiple executive teams at Dial/Westwood are breathtaking in their scope and arrogance.

We encourage the rest of our industry to stand together, and with us, now.  We have been in business for 20 years, and have had excellent relationships with the other companies in our industry during that time.  But this is a horse of a different color.  Please contact the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition (antitrust@ftc.gov) and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (antitrust.complaints@usdoj.gov or (202) 307-2040), your state’s Attorney General, and your local member of Congress about the dangers of this proposed merger and its threat to your First Amendment rights, business and products.  As for us, we will continue to pursue Dial Global/Westwood One in federal court and other appropriate forums, for monopoly and other improper behaviors, expose the behaviors described in the second amended complaint,  and achieve ultimate victory from the tragedy that Dial Global/Westwood One have imposed upon our companies and others within the industry.

DIAL/WESTWOOD ONE SCORES INITIAL VICTORY WITH ARNN

The actions described in the second amended complaint with respect to America’s Radio News Network (“ARNN”), and additional actions which will be the subject of future filings, have now succeeded on an interim basis with respect to ARNN.  Specifically, ARNN has been forced to suspend its broadcast operations, effective at the close of its broadcast day on Friday, September 6, 2013, pending the successful outcome of its actions against Dial Global/Westwood.  ARNN has arranged for appropriate feeds to be provided to its affiliates for a reasonable period of time to enable them to secure alternate programming.

AS TO RUMORS OF OTHER ONGOING OPERATIONS

All of the TRN companies have been severely damaged by the Dial Global/Westwood One conduct addressed above and also addressed in the various legal actions which the TRN companies have brought, or will bring, against Dial Global/Westwood.    That conduct has forced all of these companies to make wrenching internal decisions and to take painful internal actions.  As Dial Global/Westwood One has been collecting our advertising revenues, but refusing to pay them over to us or to account for them, these companies have now been forced to reduce as many operating costs as possible.   However, the current rumors of an alleged shutdown of broadcasting operations for non-ARNN programming are unfounded.  Broadcasts of the other programs are continuing without interruption.

CALL TO ACTION!

If Dial/Westwood can do this to us, they certainly can do this to you – so you need to join together, and with us, in opposing this dangerous merger, with as much force as you can muster, so that you can have a future that is not controlled by a monopoly http://www.trn1.com/uploads/files/SecondAmendedComplaint.pdf

wadedonromaDon Wade Passes at 72.  Longtime WLS, Chicago morning personality Don Wade – who hosted the program with his beloved wife Roma – died on Friday at the couple’s Florida home.  It was almost a year ago that Wade suffered a seizure and was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.  He underwent an operation but never returned to the air at WLS.  Roma Wade posted the following statement on the WLS website (in part): “Last Friday morning, my hero, my best friend, my soulmate left this mortal coil behind and entered the realm of spirit while wrapped in my loving arms.  God blessed us with almost an entire year since Don’s surgery to embrace life, love, family, and adventure, all while knowing that his time on this beautiful earth was drawing to a close.  What a gift!  What a joy to be entrusted with my magnificent man’s care for that precious time.”  Wade began his work at WLS in 1985 with Roma by his side, remaining with the station as it transitioned to talk in 1989 and moving to AM drive.  Current Salem Radio Network VP, news & talk programming Tom Tradup was VP and GM of the station and charged with flipping it to talk including firing some of the most beloved DJs in Chicago history. He says Wade stayed with the newly formatted station, “Don’s infectious good humor, intelligent grasp of the issues, and his uncanny ability to connect one-on-one with men and women throughout Chicagoland convinced me he had to stay.  He and Roma (in those days they kept their marriage a secret) were the very first ‘hires’ I made at the new WLS Talkradio 890.  Over the years, Don’s popularity—and our ratings and revenue—soared as he and Roma woke up countless hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans.”  Chicago media writer Robert Feder has more on Wade’s passing here.

millerchrisMad Social Networking Skills.  Noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller tackles the question, “So what is it that differentiates ‘mad’ social networking skills from ‘casual’ skills, or just plain competency?”  Does it involve video shooting and editing, coding, HTML, or actual IT knowledge?  In a new column posted today (9/9) Miller writes, “There’s more to being a good jock than listening to yourself talk.  There’s more to being a good sales manager than just knowing a lot of clients.  And, there’s more to having ‘mad’ social networking skills than being passionate about posting a ton of stuff!”  He goes through five levels to which truly effective social networking skills must rise to be truly effective.  They are: 1) Know your target; 2) Know how to talk and listen to your target; 3)  Learn how to write well and with style; 4) Understand what fits and doesn’t fit in terms of actual content; and 5)  Actively remain engaged to know if your message is reaching the target.  To read Chris Miller’s entire column, please click here.

iheartradiotalkClear Channel Launched Update App for iHeartRadio Talk.  The beta version of iHeartRadio Talk was released in July was done with what president of digital Brian Lakamp admits is “very limited mobile functionality.”  But now the company is offering new updates for iOS and Android apps to allow users to access more talk content.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment states, “The updated apps will feature a directory for talk that now allows users the ability to browse and select from hundreds of programs.  For the first time ever, segments from ‘The View’ and ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ will be available to coincide with ABC‘s new season.”  CC believes that iHeartRadio Talk is “the first audio platform offering on-demand, listener-created talk content alongside popular news, celebrity and entertainment audiosodes…The service is trending to be a more popular feature for men than women, though iHeartRadio’s demographic has traditionally skewed more female, allowing the digital service to attract a burgeoning audience.”

esiasonboomerBoomer Esiason Debuts on Boston’s ‘Sports Hub.’  The ever-busy Boomer Esiason – co-host of the ‘Boomer & Carton’ morning drive show on CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York, sports TV personality and color man for WestwoodOne’s Monday Night Football broadcasts – is debuting on CBS O&O WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” today.  For the past couple of years, Esiason made a Monday morning appearance on crosstown WEEI, Boston with John Dennis and Gerry Callahan.  The segment was recorded before Esiason went on the air on WFAN.  Now, Esiason continues reaching Boston sports fans with his expertise with WBZ-FM’s Toucher & Rich.

salisburyseanSean Salisbury Teams with John Harris for Midday Show on Yahoo! Sports Radio.  Former NFL quarterback and sports talk media pro Sean Salisbury becomes part of the Yahoo! Sports Radio network lineup as co-host of “The War Room” with John Harris airing from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET daily.  Yahoo! Sports Radio CEO David Gow states, “Sean is a big-time addition to our lineup.  He does his homework, he is insightful and he is not afraid to voice his opinions.   And the combination of Harris and Salisbury provides some of the strongest football coverage in sports – we are delighted to announce his addition at the start of the NFL season.”  Salisbury adds, “I am excited to join Yahoo! Sports Radio and to work with John Harris.  I really look forward to working with the entire team there and creating great shows.  During his media career, Salisbury has worked for ESPN and CBS Radio.  He is currently on the Dallas Cowboys pre-game show for Fox Sports TV in Dallas.

siriusxmExecutive Changes and Promotions at SiriusXM.  An internal memo from SiriusXM president and content officer Scott Greenstein informs staff of some new management changes and congratulates those who’ve been promoted.  First, Jeremy Coleman, head of talk and entertainment for much of the past 10 years is named senior vice president, Howard Stern channels.  Greenstein notes that Coleman “worked closely on the initial development of the channels before Howard’s official launch on SiriusXM in 2006, and is now excited to move over to work with Howard and his team on further growth.”  Also, Tim Sabean is named senior vice president, entertainment and comedy.  He’ll oversee the comedy channels, as well as a variety of other key entertainment assets including: Opie & Anthony, Piolín Radio, Jason Ellis, Ron & Fez, Covino & Rich, and Dino Costa, as well as the Radio Sex channel.  Dave Gorab is promoted to vice president and general manager, talk programming.  Greenstein says Gorab has been instrumental in building the news and political talk channels and will expand his oversight to include politics, news, women’s, family, health, educational, religious and specialty talk programming.

mikemorrisbobsansevereCumulus Sports Talk “105 FM The Ticket” in Minneapolis Adds Local Talk with Help from Tom Barnard.  The Twin Cities sports talk tri-mulcast of WGVX (105.1), WGVZ (105.7), and 105.3 FM – up ‘til now relying on content from CBS Sports Radio Network – is adding a local PM drive program beginning todaybarnardtom featuring Mike Morris (left) and Bob Sansevere (right) from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Tom Barnard – morning institution who’s heard on the company’s rock KQRS – will also be heard on the station as the third hour of Barnard’s podcast will be aired from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm on the sports station.  The Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Neal Justin reports Barnard is bringing former WCCO personality Don Shelby aboard his three-hour podcast as his sidekick and he’ll also be part of the third hour sports talk segment.  KQRS operations manager Scott Jameson tells the paper, “We’ve got two well-performing rock stations and it’s smart to leverage those brands to help our baby brother grow up.”

wtoplogoVeteran Journalist Mike Murillo Joins WTOP, Washington.  Mike Murillo becomes part of the WTOP, Washington staff as an anchor and reporter beginning today (9/9).  Most recently, Murillo worked at Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia as anchor/reporter, studio technician and web andmurillomichael social media manager.  Prior to his stint in Philly, Murillo was a reporter at “FM News 101.9” in New York.  Murillo says, “Like many in this business, for years I have admired WTOP from afar.  I am truly excited to now become a member of this amazing news team.”  WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo adds, “Mike does it all.  Not only is he a seasoned anchor and street reporter, he’s a skilled web designer and broadcast technician.  We’re excited to have him join WTOP’s team of broadcast and digital journalists.”

Odds & Sods.  CBS Radio freelance reporter Donna Francavilla tells TALKERS magazine she is returning to TV for the first time in 15 years.  Though she will continue her freelance for CBS Radio, Francavilla has accepted a temporary, part-time on-air position at WBMA-TV, Birmingham, Alabama.  She recently won first, second and third place national communication awards from the National Federation of Press Women, serves as an Edward R. Murrow judge, freelances occasionally for Oprah’s OWN Network, and established a consulting company called Frankly Speaking Communications, LLC…..Cox Media Group’s news/talk WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton is the local affiliate for Cleveland Browns football.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

| September 5, 2013

hennermariluMarilu Henner Show Joins Sun Broadcast Group Lineup.  Actress, healthy lifestyle champion and talk show host Marilu Henner becomes part of the Sun Broadcast Group as her daily show is added to the syndicator’s program schedule.  SBG says the entertainment- and lifestyle-oriented show is “designed as a brand-new approach to talk radio and is non-political and non-controversial.”  Henner is a seven-time New York Times bestselling author, and famously, one of 12 people in the world verified with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory.  Sun EVP Steve Gallagher states, “The sunbroadcastgrouplogolisteners, the clients and the agencies are all saying the same thing; that talk radio needs to be reinvented.  We are excited beyond belief to be able to be working with Marilu Henner, whose boundless energy and love of life will be shared on radio, the most personal of all mediums.  She is a natural!”  Henner’s program will be fed live from its Los Angeles base from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET and, according to Sun, its format is compliant to PPM methodology.  It will consist of celebrity interviews, lifestyle and health segments, phone calls and fun benchmark segments like “Healthy Hollywood Tips,” “Marilu’s Memory Minute,” and “Backstage Pass” where Marilu’s celebrity friends pull back the curtain on show biz!  Speaking about this new venture, Henner says, “I love to share life-empowering information that inspires positive changes in people, and there’s no better way to do that than through a daily radio show.  Its impact is immediate, global, and intimate, all at once!  That’s why I’m thrilled to be part of Sun Broadcast Group.  Their philosophy — that radio should be ‘helpful, not hurtful’ – is totally in sync with the way I live my life!”

trn logoTalk Radio Network Companies Issue Official Statement on Cumulus Acquisition of Dial Global.  Radio industry watchers are aware of the pending suit filed by Talk Radio Network involving a number of the parties and people involved with Dial Global (now Westwood One and from now on referred to in this publication by that name) and few would be surprised that TRN is against the acquisition of Westwood One by Cumulus.  Today, TRN issued this official statement: “Over the past five years, Dial Global has become a monopoly.  Dial engaged in a long list of illegal and unethical behavior, including failing to pay us our share of advertising revenues generated by our programming.  We have detailed that conduct in two cases pending against Dial (and others) in federal court in Manhattan and Oregon.  Dial’s illegal conduct has continued recently, as it has refused even to pay to us our advertising revenues, which Dial collected as our ad rep.  We believe that discovery in our actions will show that Dial’s conduct was part of a deliberate strategy to acquire or destroy viable companies by interfering with revenue streams that Dial controls as a result of its monopoly power.  Dial’s history shows that all members of the industry should be concerned about, and should act to prevent, Cumulus’ proposed acquisition of Dial.  In our view, if the transaction goes forward, the combined company could dominate both the radio station platforms in the top 100 markets and the talk and news content for broadcast in those markets.  At the same time, we are concerned that Dial’s history of illegal and unethical conduct could infect Cumulus and affect the way the merged entity does business.  The threat that this merger poses is not just to us.  It is to every independent content provider, to many other members of the industry, and more generally to a vibrant marketplace of ideas on radio.  We will continue to pursue our claims against Dial vigorously, and we will take all necessary actions to oppose Cumulus’ proposed acquisition, including in our pending litigation with Dial, with appropriate governmental authorities, and in the media.  We have heard from other members of the industry with similar concerns.  Given the implications for others, we encourage all independent content providers and other affected members of the industry to rise up and express opposition in every proper forum.”

maxjaredJared Max Exits ‘ESPN New York 98.7.’  Sports radio personality and news anchor Jared Max leaves ESPN’s New York City O&O WEPN where he was co-hosting the early morning “Maxed Out” show (3:00 am to 6:00 am) alongside Robin Lundberg.  Prior to his work with ESPN, Max had served with CBS Radio at all-news WCBS, New York.  Robin Lundberg continues hosting the early morning show from 4:00 am to 6:00 am solo.  On his website, Max says, “In the past two-and-a-half years at ESPN, I have achieved seismic growth – professionally and personally…While I will greatly miss my listeners and friends who regularly called the show, I hope that our relationship will remain intact through my next venture.”

boomercartonBoomer & Carton Being Wooed by YES Network.  WFAN, New York morning drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton are currently seen hosting their radio program on the MSG Network.  But, according to a report in the New York Daily News, that could change as the YES Network is in talks to bring the duo to their platform.  The Daily News says the current deal between CBS Radio and MSG expires this month and that MSG has the right to match any offer.  Daily News columnist Bob Raissman says the only way he sees the duo leaving for the Yankees-owned YES is if it offers CBS “stupid money” for the simulcast rights.  He further opines that the three biggest attractions on MSG’s programming lineup are Knicks games, Rangers games and Boomer & Carton, so MSG would be nuts not to match any reasonable offer.  Stay tuned.

raytomDISURBING TREND: Where Are All the Radio Engineers?  Multi-lettered radio engineer Tom Ray – principle of Tom Ray Consulting – writes about what sees as a trend that bodes ill for the radio business: a dearth of qualified radio engineers.  In this piece published today, Ray states, “Because of the shortage, there are stations hiring IT people and sending them to the transmitter site.  Sure, many things at the transmitter are IT based these days.  But the output of the transmitter and the antenna system isn’t.  These people are untrained at working around high voltage and RF.  Someone is eventually going to get badly hurt or killed because they do not know how to work around high voltage and current.”  Ray enumerates the long list of duties today’s engineer is expected to handle – not to mention the wide array of technologies about which he’s expected to have expertise – and it becomes pretty clear the future of radio station facilities could be in deep doo-doo.  Read Tom Ray’s column here.

westwoodonesports logoOdds & Sods.  The 2013 NFL season begins tonight with the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens at the Denver Broncos.  WestwoodOne Sports announces its coverage of the game as well as its slate of 97 NFL games over the course of the season, including playoffs and Super Bowl XLVIII…..ESPN Radio is also airing NFL play-by-play this season on Sunday afternoons.  The network is debuting some new football programming including “Football Sunday on ESPN Radio” which airs from 1:00 pm to 7:30 pm ET hosted by Jonathan Coachman and featuring Eric Allen, Tim Hasselbeck and Tom Waddle providing analysis.

cc9-11Clear Channel Again Partners with 9/11 Day.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment was the media partner with 9/11 Day for the inaugural 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance in 2011 and will serve in that capacity again this year.  MyGoodDeed is the respected 9/11 nonprofit which annually organizes the federally recognized 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance.  Over the last three years, Clear Channel has committed over $10 million in support, the single largest media contribution by any 9/11 Day partner.  Now through September 11, Clear Channel’s 840 radio stations will air a series of on-air public service messages in support of 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance.  Listeners who want to participate can choose options including volunteering, donating to charities of their choice, or simply making a voluntary pledge to dedicate time on 9/11, or another day, to performing good deeds that help others in need.

U.S. Debates Syria Action, G-20 Summit, ‘Common Core’ Controversy, Weiner Heckler Encounter, and Bill Clinton Vegan Claim Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/4).  The testimony before Congress regarding military action against Syria; President Obama’s arrival at the G-20 Summit; controversy over the federal mandate of “Common Core” for United States public schools; Anthony Weiner’s encounter with a heckler in NYC and Bill Clinton’s alleged claim of being a vegan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, August 30, 2013

| August 30, 2013

townsquare logoTownsquare Announces Stations Acquisition; Deal Worth Approximately $281 Million.  Townsquare Media, LLC announces that it has executed definitive documentation related to three transactions with Cumulus Media Holdings, Inc. and Peak II Holding LLC which, upon consummation, will result in Townsquare acquiring assets including 71 radio stations in 15 markets. After the deal is consummated, Townsquare will own 312 radio stations in 66 markets and have operations in 25 states, making it the third largest owner of radio stations in the United States and the largest, “best-capitalized owner and operator of radio stations solely focused on small and mid-sized markets.”  In a press release this morning, Townsquare reports it is acquiring assets including 53 radio stations (three of which will be assigned to a divestiture trust) in 12 markets (Battle Creek; Cedar Rapids; Danbury, Connecticut; Faribault-Owatonna, Minnesota; Kalamazoo; Lansing; Portland, Maine; Portsmouth-Dover-Rochester, New Hampshire; Quad Cities; Rochester, Minnesota; Rockford, Illinois; and Waterloo, Iowa) from Cumulus for cash.  Townsquare is also acquiring Peak, which owns assets including 11 radio stations in two markets (Boise and Fresno) for cash and equity units of Townsquare.  Finally, Townsquare will exchange certain assets including five radio stations, in Fresno it is acquiring from Peak, for Cumulus assets including 15 radio stations in two markets (Dubuque and Poughkeepsie) and a de minimis cash settle-up payment in favor of Townsquare.  In total, Townsquare will be acquiring 68 stations from Cumulus, three of which will be assigned to a divestiture trust, and eleven Peak stations, five of which will be exchanged to Cumulus, resulting in a net increase of 71 stations.  Townsquare expects to finance the transactions with a mix of secured and unsecured debt financing, Townsquare equity units and cash on hand.  Townsquare has received debt financing commitments from its various financing partners in connection with the transactions and will complete its financing in compliance with the covenant package of Townsquare Radio, LLC’s existing Senior Unsecured Notes indenture.  “These transactions represent the continued evolution of Townsquare Media into one of the nation’s largest local media companies and allow us to reach a scale which opens the door to new strategic opportunities,” comments Townsquare Chairman and CEO, Steven Price. “The assets we are adding to our portfolio are market leading brands with strong competitive positions in their respective small and mid-sized markets. We are excited by the opportunity to deploy our differentiated local-media strategy across a broader footprint in order to better serve our communities and our advertising clients.”

cumulus logoCumulus Announces Expected Dial Global Acquisition.  Cumulus Media Inc. issues a press release this morning announcing “a series of strategic transactions that solidifies the company’s position as a leading producer of high-quality content and continues to reshape its footprint focused on the top 100 markets.”  The transactions announced today include:

• Acquisition of Dial Global, Inc. for $260 million in cash (consisting of approximately $45 million attributable to equity and the retirement of $215 million of debt)

• Sale of 53 radio stations in 12 small and mid-sized markets to Townsquare Media for $238 million in cash (inclusive of the acquisition of net working capital)

• Swap with Townsquare Media of 15 radio stations in two small & mid-sized markets in exchange for the receipt of five stations in Fresno, CA (market #68)

dickeylew“These transactions give us the necessary scale to provide the marketing and enterprise solutions our advertising and affiliate partners require,” said Lew Dickey, CEO of Cumulus. “Our goal is to be the leading producer of premium audio content distributed through multiple platforms while continuing to build our broadcast platform in the top 100 U.S. markets.”

The acquisition of Dial Global will add sports, news, talk, music and programming services content – enabling Cumulus to provide a wider variety of options to approximately 10,000 U.S. radio stations, other media platforms and international platforms.  New content acquired through the Dial Global acquisition will include NFL, NCAA, NASCAR, Olympics, AP Radio News, NBC News and other popular programming.  Cumulus expects the transaction to be deleveraging based upon identified cost synergies of approximately $40 million, with additional upside from revenue growth potential through the creation of new content vehicles for broadcast radio advertisers.  Additionally, Cumulus believes the opportunity exists to distribute premium, curated audio content across emerging new media platforms.  Further, Cumulus intends to service broadcasters’ demands for premium content and enterprise solutions in Europe, the Americas and Australia.

wgnlogoWGN, Chicago Announces New Lineup.  Yesterday (8/29), TALKERS reported the reuniting of Chicago radio personalities Wendy Snyder and Bill Leff on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago.  Now, the station issues a releasecochransteve detailing the programming changes – some of which were reported a few weeks ago – that take place on Tuesday, September 3.  As reported earlier, Steve Cochran assumes morning drive duties; he’s followed by Wendy & Bill from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; husband and wife team Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano (pictured at left) air from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and Garry sirottmurcianoMeier continues to host the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot.  David Kaplan maintains his 7:00 pm show start but wraps at 11:00 pm when Pete McMurray, who expands his role with the station, starts hosting the 11:00 pm to 2:00 am program.  As reported earlier this week, Nick Digilio becomes a full-time host with the station on the 2:00 am to 5:00 am slot.  Weekends are spotlighted by the return of Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey (pictured lower right) to the station in the Saturday 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot beginning September 14.  Other changes include: “The Design Dude with Frank Fontana” airing from 6:00 am to 7:00 am, followedomalleymarkey by “Mr. Fix-it with Lou Manfredini” from 7:00 am to 10:00 am.  When not affected by sports preemptions, Bill Moller will follow Kathy and Judy from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm and “Sports Central” will remain in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm time slot.  The Sunday lineup will introduce a new show dedicated to the discussion of the Chicago political landscape.  Chicago Tribune writer Rick Pearson will host “Chicago Way: Politics with Pearson” on Sundays from 7:00 am to 9:00 am.  “The Dean Richards Sunday Special” will follow at 9:00 am, extending an additional two hours until 1:00 pm.  In addition to his Saturday show, Bill Moller will air from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.  Brian Noonan remains in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot, followed by the return of Chicago treasure, Rick Kogan, from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm.  Comedian and media personality, Patti Vasquez, will air from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am.  Playing a feature role in the future of WGN’s new lineup will be “720 Snackables.”  These spotlight segments will live online and on-air as interviews, video shorts, and podcasts.  They’ll feature the WGN family of experts including Dean Richards’ “A-List Interviews,” “Legally Speaking with Karen Conti,” “Bertrand on Books” with Steve Bertrand, “Flavor HD” with Hannah Stanley & Dane Neal, “Steve Dale’s Pet World,” Paul Green’s “Paul & The Politicians,” “Good Cents with Ilyce Glink,” and more.

rtdnagavelChris Carl New RTDNA Chair.  WDEL, Wilmington, Delaware director of news and programming Chris Carl is the new chair of the Radio Television Digital News Association.  Pictured here is outgoing chair Vince Duffy of Michigan Radio (l) passing the gavel to Carl (r).  Carl notes that for the first time in the organization’s history, the RTNDF chairman, RTDNA chairman and RTDNA chair-elect are all radio people as Duffy moves to the Foundation chair for the next year, and the membership elects Amy Tardif of WGCU-FM, Fort Myers as the chair-elect.

Odds & Sods.  Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is set to make regular appearances on CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM “Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan.”  Every Tuesday he’ll join the “Vinnie & Cook” show at 11:00 am…..Guaranty Broadcasting’s KYPY, Baton Rouge flips from classic country to a simulcast of sister sports talk WNXX “104.5 ESPN”…..New Jersey Devils hockey will continue to be heard on CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM/FM and beyond.  The club signs a new, multi-year deal with the station to keep games on for the ninth straight season beginning in October…..Clear Channel moves Portland Trailblazers basketball from news/talk KEX to sister sports talk KPOJ for the coming season to avoid preemptions…..Bob Smith retires from his post as host of “1370 Connection” at pubcaster WXXI, Rochester, New York after a 25-plus-year career with the station.  Smith suffered a stroke in April and is still undergoing rehabilitative care.

jimmyfundcheck13More Than $3.3 Million Raised in Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon.  Entercom sports radio WEEI and regional cable sports channel NESN have teamed up for 12 years to air a two-day radio-telethon to benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. This week’s event helped raise more than $3.3 million – about the same amount raised the year prior.  This puts the 12-year total at more than $34 million.   Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Jeff Brown states, “The outstanding generosity of our listeners across New England year after year not only supports a great cause but betters the lives of those who need it most.  These past two days have been the most emotionally rewarding for the entire WEEI and Entercom Boston family this year.  We remain both humbled and thrilled to have played a role in helping the selfless team at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in their fight against cancer.”  A check was presented at last night’s Red Sox game.  Pictured (from l-r) are: Red Sox owner John Henry, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino, Entercom Boston VP/market manager Jeff Brown, Jimmy Fund director Suzanne Fountain, WEEI executive producer Joe Zarbano, WEEI director of marketing Adam Ralston, NESN president Sean McGrail, and Wally the Green Monster.

catenaccijoeWilmington, NC Sports Talk Show Adds Saturday Edition.  The weekly “Sports Connection” show hosted by Port City Daily sports writer Joe Catenacci adds a Saturday edition that begins a run on Sea-Comm-owned rock WBNE, Wilmington “103.7 The Bone.”  Joe Cat’s show began as a co-operative effort between the Port City Daily and Sea-Comm news/talk WNTB and WLTT airing Monday evenings from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Beginning tomorrow (8/31) Catenacci and co-host Cori Stukes will broadcast live every Saturday from Hell’s Kitchen on Princess Street in downtown Wilmington.  He says in the Port City Daily, “Over the last eight months, we have connected the local community with some of the top names in sports from across the country.  Even with a focus on local, we continue to get some of the household names when it comes to industry.  Locally, every high school football, basketball and baseball coach has made an appearance on the show at least once, as well as UNCW coaches and players.”

freemanedgeTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is picked up by a number of new affiliate stations, including: WCKG-AM, Chicago; WBAT-AM, Marion, Indiana; KENT-AM, Parowan, Utah; WRSB, Canandaigua, New York; WASB, Bridgeport, New York; W286AE-FM, Fairport, New York; and WNZS, Bangor, Maine…..“Late Night Health Radio” with host Mark Alyn joins the programming lineup at KABC, Los Angeles…..Talk Media Network’s “Frontlines of Freedom” with Lt. Col. Denny Gillem is added to WFPA, Fort Payne, Alabama…..The “Unlock Your Wealth” feature by Heather Wagenhals is added to affiliate stations WPGR, Pittsburgh; KFIV, Modesto and KWSX, Stockton, California; and WEZO, Augusta, Georgia.

U.S. Syria Action Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 26-30.  The question of whether the United States should take action against Syria was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was the March on Washington anniversary tied with American race relations.  Following at #3 was Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV VMAs and at #4 was the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Creating a Worldwide Network –
One “Hobby” Station at a Time

| August 27, 2013

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

COWLINGTON, Oklahoma — When you think of syndicators, you think of giants like Premiere or Dial Global.  When you think of radio stations that carry syndicated programs, heritage stations like New York City’s WABC and KABC  in Los Angeles come to mind.  What you don’t think is a syndicator setting up their operation, or their entire radio station’s operation, in a bedroom in their home located in rural Oklahoma.  You also don’t think anyone working out of a room about the size of a one-car garage distributing 24 hour programming, seven days-a-week on three continents.  What you also don’t think is that anyone can do all of this, with an operating budget that equals the pay before taxes of a young adult working full-time at a fast-food restaurant.

Read More

Thursday, August 1, 2013

| August 1, 2013

limbaughrushRush Limbaugh Celebrates 25 Years in Syndication Today.  It was 25 years ago today that Rush Limbaugh began his national syndication based at WABC, New York.  When Ed McLaughlin’s EFM Media Management began producing and distributing the Rush Limbaugh program in August of 1988 on 56 affiliate stations, many in the industry thought the idea of a midday national talk radio program was absurd and would fail.  But Limbaugh’s EIB Network flourished and the rest is history.  Of course, Premiere Networks now syndicates the show that’s heard on close to 600 radio stations.  In a statement, Limbaugh says, “The relationship we’ve established here – between the audience and myself – is everything.  It’s meant more to me than I’ll ever be able to fully describe.  It’s the best three hours of the day!  We’re going to do this for a long time to come.”  Premiere Networks notes, “Mr. Limbaugh also pioneered an entirely new model for talk radio.  Defying industry convention, he does not book guests on his program. Centered on the news of the day, he describes his unique approach as ‘a serious discussion of issues, combined with irreverent humor.’  He has enjoyed uninterrupted status since the early 1990s as the leading talk radio host in the U.S., and the program continues to expand its reach.  In the past year alone, ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show’ has experienced an 11% audience increase (Source: Arbitron, Nationwide).

saboonfoxbusMedia Biz Buzzing About Newspaper-Online Radio Ventures.  Pictured here is Sabo Media (r) CEO Walter Sabo appearing on Fox Business with “Markets Now” host Dennis Kneale (l) discussing the Boston Herald’s online talk radio station project, “Boston Herald Radio.”  Kneale quizzed longtime radio executive and consultant Sabo about what the two media bring to the table in joint ventures such as these.  Sabo stated that the talk radio programs can help deliver a younger and more engaged audience to the newspaper world (which has suffered circulation and revenue declines) and the radio shows benefit from working with an experienced news gathering organization.  “It allows them to bring those stories to life instantly, which has always been their (the newspaper’s) biggest challenge.”  Watch Sabo’s appearance on Fox Business here.

cbsradio logoCBS Reports Q2 Revenue for Radio ‘Even.’  CBS quarterly investors’ conference calls have always been pretty much about television and yesterday’s 2013 Q2 call was no different.  It’s not that CBS doesn’t care about radio.  President and CEO Les Moonves has stated in previous calls that they like radio.  He doesn’t gush about it like he does about TV but CBS has no debt on the radio side and therefore it’s a cash business for the company.  During yesterday’s call CBS COO Joseph Ianiello termed radio “even” during the second quarter compared to the same period a year ago and told investors the division is pacing flat for Q3.  For CBS, total revenue was up 11% year-to-year due mostly to fees paid by television operators to carry CBS TV stations as well as international syndication deals and digital streaming revenue.

journalbroadcastgroupJournal Broadcast Group’s Radio Division Up 2.3% in Q2.  Journal Communications announced 2013 second quarter financials yesterday and the Journal Broadcast Group breaks out the radio division from the television segment.  It reports that, compared to the same quarter a year ago, revenue from radio stations increased 2.3% to $19.9 million, or 4.7% excluding political revenue.  Radio political advertising revenue was $0.1 million, compared to $0.5 million.  Local advertising revenue — excluding political — increased 5%, primarily due to an increase in retail advertising.  National advertising revenue — excluding political — decreased 4.9% to $1.8 million, primarily due to a decrease in media advertising.  Operating earnings from radio stations were $3.8 million compared to $4.4 million, a decrease of 13.8% or a decrease of 19.0% excluding acquisition costs in both years.  Radio operating expenses increased 7.1%, or 9.3% excluding acquisition costs in both years, primarily due to employee-related expense increases and the impact of credits received from an industry-wide music licensing fee settlement in 2012.

frontier50 graphicTALKERS Magazine’s Frontier Fifty 2013 Will Be Posted on Wednesday, August 7.  The new installment of one of the most popular and certainly important TALKERS magazine annual features — “The Frontier Fifty” — is set to be unveiled this coming Wednesday, August 7.  The Frontier Fifty is officially described as a Selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters.  This year’s format will depart somewhat from the features’ early approaches by including executives who have built valuable platforms for internet talk broadcasting as well as talent who do talk shows and/or podcasts on the web.  In addition it will be a numbered list in which designees are ranked according to importance as determined by the TALKERS editorial board.  As followers of this feature know, TALKERS did not publish a 2012 installment of the feature because as the publication’s VP/executive editor Kevin Casey puts it, “This arena has evolved and grown at such a dizzying speed, we wanted to be sure that we presented this important snapshot of the state of the internet talk radio’s movers and shakers as accurately and relevantly as possible.  We took an extra year off to study the scene and get it as close to being right as possible…no easy task.”  This year’s Frontier Fifty is being sponsored by Broadcasters General Store.

wxtg logoRed Zebra Shucks Two Signals in Norfolk-Virginia Beach for $1.2 Million.  Dan Snyder-owned Red Zebra sells sports radio combo WXTG-AM/FM “The Game” to local operator Local Voice Media which will flip the duo to a triple A format soon.  The price of the stations and seven acres of property in Hampton is $1.2 million and according to the Daily Press, the stations will continue to air Washington Nationals baseball through the rest of the season and will be Washington Redskins affiliates during the 2013 season.  Additionally, the paper reports that two staffers – AE and air talent Greg Bicouvaris and production director Brock Briggs will remain employed with the new owners.  Local Voice Media also operates triple A WTYD, Williamsburg, Virginia “92.3 The Tide.”  The Daily Press notes Richmond, Virginia investment firm Blue Heron Capital recently completed a $3 million investment in Local Voice Media, formerly known as Davis Media.  The firm began investing in the company two years ago and has helped it expand into Columbia, South Carolina and Wilmington, North Carolina.

deanmichaelwQuick-and-Dirty Three-Minute Sound Conditioning.  Large corporations and government bureaucrats will often spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on soundproofing and sound conditioning for an audio studio.  They’ll even spend tens of thousands of dollars simply on the consultants to tell them how to soundproof and sound condition a studio.  That may make sense to you if you’ve got venture capital money to burn and don’t mind being out of business in a few years.  It may also make sense if you’re working for the government because the money is someone else’s and you think you’ll never go out of business.  But according to syndicated talk show host Michael W. Dean, co-host of GCN‘s “The Freedom Feens,” “The rest of us have to make do with what we have.”  In a new column posted today (8/1), Dean writes, “The advent of ip hardware codecs has allowed talk radio hosts to produce nationally syndicated shows from our homes.  And people working for corporate radio are often called to do remotes in a variety of environments.  You can buy portable devices that acoustically isolate a microphone, but using one is basically like sticking your head in a small box.  That is not conducive to doing a good show, especially if you’re doing on-the-spot interviews with a variety of guests.  Today I’ll show you how to temporarily sound condition a room in three minutes at no cost.  This will vastly improve the audio reaching your microphone, and thus, your audience.  First, you have to understand the difference between soundproofing and sound conditioning.  Many people use these two terms interchangeably.  However, they are not the same thing.  Soundproofing keeps outside sounds out and inside sounds in. Sound conditioning dampens native reverberation in a room.  Effective soundproofing is a lot more expensive and complicated than sound conditioning.”  To read Michael W. Dean’s entire column, please click here.

podcastone logoPodcastOne Adds Sports USA Programs to Offerings.  Yesterday, TALKERS reported that NFL Hall-of-Famer Joe Namath would begin producing podcasts for Sports USA throughout the 2013 football season.  Now, Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne and Sports USA announce the Namath podcast as well as “Conversations with Joe Morgan,” “The Ross Tucker Football Show” and “Against the Grain with Dave Miller” will be available via PodcastOne.  Pattiz states, “Joe Namath invented the sports media icon as we know it.  He knows what it means to break new ground and likes to do things his way.  We’re a guaranteed perfect fit.  I am looking forward to working with Bob Moore and the talented team at Sports USA as we create great experiences for listeners and opportunities for advertisers.”

kesn logoMLB Great Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez  to Contribute to ‘ESPN Dallas 103.3.’  “Pudge” Rodriguez played for the hometown Texas Rangers twice during his MLB career (he won a World Series ring with the Florida Marlins in 2003) and he and his family are putting down roots in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.  ESPN O&O KESN and sister Spanish sports talk “ESPN Deportes Dallas” (KZMP-AM) have brought Rodriguez aboard to serve as a baseball contributor through the rest of the 2013 season.  ESPN says Rodriguez will serve in several capacities for both stations including a bi-weekly call-in segment, the voice of featured “Pudge’s Eye” vignettes, as well as personal appearances.  ESPN Dallas VP/GM Pete Dits states, “We are extremely excited and proud to have one of the greatest catchers in MLB history as a part of our team.  As the radio flagship of the Texas Rangers in English and Spanish, this only solidifies our commitment to bringing the best Rangers and baseball coverage to the sports fans in DFW.”

kxsp the drive logoJournal’s Sports Talk KXSP, Omaha Adds New PM Drive Show.  Joe Quinn and Nick Handley are the new afternoon drive sports talk team at Journal Broadcast Group’s Omaha sports talker “590 ESPN Radio” (KXSP).  Quinn was producer and co-host for the past three years on Des Moines’ KXNO.  Handley, a 14-year sports veteran who most recently co-hosted the “Hail Varsity Radio Show” airing in Lincoln and Columbus, Nebraska was the sports director for the Three Eagles cluster of stations in Columbus.  KXSP program director Kurt Owens says, “The new show will be called ‘The Drive’ and will bring a fresh new approach to afternoon sports talk in Omaha.  Joe and Nick’s combined experience of covering sports in Nebraska and Iowa mirrors our huge AM 590 signal.  AM 590 listeners will really enjoy these two young-yet-experienced broadcasters bringing their perspective to sports each afternoon.”

nbcsportsradio logoNBC Sports Radio Network Passes 300-Affililate Mark.  The nationally syndicated sports talk radio programming initiative NBC Sports Radio Network – a cooperative effort of Dial Global and NBC Sports – announces it has passed the 300-affiliate mark.  Dial Global Sports EVP and general manager Chris Corcoran says, “Signing more than 300 affiliates so quickly is a true testament to the mass appeal of our talent and programming, creativity of our producers, and hard work of our exceptional sales and affiliate teams.  We are especially honored to partner with such great radio stations across the country as we work together to connect avid sports fans, consumers, and advertisers.  We continue to be motivated to reach more audiences by the amazing feedback we regularly receive from our local station owners, program directors and listeners.”

callahanbrownpanmassWEEI-FM, Boston Staffers Take Part in Pan-Mass Challenge.  “93.7 FM WEEI”  morning drive co-host Gerry Callahan (r) and Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Jeff Brown (l) will take part in the Pan-Mass Challenge – a two-day bike ride across Massachusetts that can be as long as 190 miles – to benefit the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  WEEI will help recognize and celebrate this year’s event with a live broadcast of the Salk & Holley show on Friday, August 2 from 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. from the PMC’s opening ceremonies in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.  Billy Starr, founder and executive director of the Pan-Mass Challenge says, “Entercom and WEEI have both been fabulous friends and partners.  They have ensured that the PMC message is heard – and understood – far, wide and often.”  Jeff Brown comments, “I am proud to continue Entercom’s support of the Pan-Mass Challenge and we are also proud to be raising additional money through our dedicated team of riders and virtual riders.  Our own Gerry Callahan will be taking part in his sixth ride and it is such an honor, both for WEEI and for all of us at Entercom Boston, to be a part of this dynamic cause and help the dedicated Dana-Farber doctors and researchers discover cures for cancer.”

ObamaCare Implementation Battle, Anthony Weiner Scandal, NSA Surveillance Program, Chris Christie-Rand Paul Feud, and Looming MLB Suspensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/31).  The fight in Washington over the implementation and funding for the Affordable Care Act; the political fallout from the Anthony Weiner scandal; reports of the vast nature of the NSA surveillance program, Republican in-fighting over policy and the Chris ChristieRand Paul feud; and the expected suspensions of numerous MLB players were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, July 29, 2013

| July 29, 2013

bostonheraldradio logoBoston Herald Radio Launches August 5 at 6:00 am ET.  The concept of the full-blown, digital-age “media station” predicted and described for the past decade by Michael Harrison and other radio industry visionaries will be taking a giant leap toward coming to fruition at 6:00 am ET on August 5.  The Boston Herald newspaper is unveiling its ambitious new initiative “Boston Herald Radio” – a Boston-centric news/talk/sports radio station that will begin its life as a venue for four live three-hour shows running weekdays from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm.  These programs include:

katzjeffspeaks–          6:00 am to 9:00 am – “Live from the Newsroom with Jeff Katz” (Katz is a well-known talk industry personality most recently heard in Boston on WRKO and Talk 1200.)

–          9:00 am to 12:00 noon – “Morning Meeting with Jaclyn Cashman and Hillary Chabot” (Cashman is a former Springfield, MA TV anchor/reporter and multimedia consultant and Chabot is the chief political reporter with the Boston Herald.)

–          12:00 noon to 3:00 pm – “The Michael Graham Show” (Graham is a former WTKK host and current Boston Herald op-ed grahammichaelcolumnist.)

–          3:00 pm to 6:00 pm – “Sports Town with Jon Meterparel and Jen Royle” (Meterparel is a former WEEI personality and current Boston College play-by-play announcer and Royle is an Emmy-award winning Major League Baseball reporter, TV/radio host.)

This will be the first news/sports/talk radio platform in the Boston market backed up by a full multimedia newsroom under the brand of a major newspaper and one of a handful of such operations beginning to pop up around the country.  News reports will be provided capalboshattuckthroughout the broadcast day by Boston Herald editors and reporters.  Feature elements will include Boston Herald music, TV, movie reviews, political and business reports, style and food segments as well as live reports from staff reporters who travel with all four major teams and provide extensive high school sports coverage.  The stream will be managed by Backbone Networks (the same company working on the forthcoming mid-August launch of TalkersRadio) and carried by Tune In as well its home base on the Boston Herald website and its mobile news and sports apps.  The shows will be streamed from a studio adjacent to the Boston Herald newsroom.  The studio team includes executive producer Tom Shattuck (formerly of WRKO and WTKK) and two part-time producers (Shattuck pictured at right, is here with Backbone Networks VP of engineering development George Capalbo, at left).  Boston Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca tells TALKERS, “Consumers want news and information that is mobile, and they want to be active participants connecting and collaborating on the issues of the day, not passive receptors being lectured to.  That is our mission in print, online, in video presentations and now Boston Herald Radio.”  Sciacca adds, “I see myself not as a newspaper editor but as the leader of a news organization that creates high-quality, original content for use across platforms — whether it is print, web or broadcast.”   According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who was writing and speaking about the potential of newspaper websites providing radio broadcasters with powerful platforms to operate on the internet as long as 10 years ago,  “This amazing development in Boston marks the tipping point in the evolution of the digital-age news and entertainment platform.  The brilliant and obvious idea of newspapers and radio stations rubbing their two sticks together (literally and figuratively) will send sparks flying that will potentially proliferate into a  21st century ‘media station’ wildfire.  By ‘media station’ I mean an online platform that has the cultural stationality of a radio station, a television station, a newspaper and a magazine combined – all in one location – fueled and synergized by the combined resources of each.”  Harrison maintains that the internet alone is not a practical platform.  He says, “By itself, the internet has no form, no definition and no prestige, similarly neither do the so called ‘airwaves’ of 20th century audio and video media.  The key is to build prestigious, well-defined platforms that will sail across the internet — the way ships, yachts and ocean liners sail the seas and the way glorious theaters give Broadway its pizzazz or great stadiums separate the big leagues from sandlot baseball.  If an actor, dancer or musician is performing ‘on Broadway,’ that could mean they are doing their act on the stage of the Winter Garden or on the sidewalk in front of the Winter Garden.  It is the same thing with the internet.  Prestigious, well-resourced platforms give you a place to put the key to monetization: a box office!”  Walter Sabo, CEO of the New York City-based consultancy firm Sabo Media (whose clients have included SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Parade magazine and numerous leading radio firms and talent), says, “When Jeff Katz or Michael Graham are on the air doing their shows in a studio right next to the Boston Herald newsroom, they will be one door away from an-in house news gathering and processing operation that employs hundreds of journalists.  This is a brilliant move!”  Sabo adds that his firm has been developing a new division for the past several months that will specialize in advising newspapers in executing this kind of move, stating, “I have been hearing from a number of publications – dailies and weeklies – that are very interested in pursuing these exciting new opportunities, but they realize that they not only need people with on-air broadcast experience, but people who have broadcasting management insight as well.  The Boston Herald was smart to hire Tom Shattuck.”  Summing up the synergy aspect of his new media station, Boston Herald editor-in-chief Sciacca tells TALKERS, “Our multimedia reporters are producing award-winning purcellsciaccavideo reports every day, producing broadcast-quality segments with compelling interviews and streaming content.  Is this a TV newsroom?  An online newsroom?  A radio station?  A newspaper?  It’s today’s Boston Herald.”  He continues, “The power of Boston Herald Radio when it comes to breaking news will be incredible.  Listeners can be confident they will be not only engaged and entertained by our talk shows, but will be insiders on breaking news in real time.”  Boston  Herald publisher and president Patrick J. Purcell (pictured at left with Joe Sciacca, right, in the Boston Herald newsroom) says, “Internet radio is exploding and it makes sense that the Herald rounds out our multimedia platform with talk radio programming.  It’s perfect synergy.  Boston Herald Radio will be fast-paced, uncensored, entertaining, completely interactive and, most important, very respectful to our listeners.  We have a terrific team of seasoned hosts who are smart, respected and extremely versatile.  They live in our communities and fully understand and appreciate the complexities of issues folks care about.”

sabowalterMemo to Newspapers on the Verge of Launching Radio Stations on Their Websites:  Do it Correctly!  Noted radio consultant Walter Sabo is no stranger to working in the intersection between print media and talk radio.  In a new advice column posted today (7/29), he offers several key points from a list of essential ingredients that are required for talk-oriented media stations based on publication websites to achieve success and longevity.  He advises newspaper executives to hire experienced radio executives to lead the station as well as seasoned, accomplished talk hosts to execute it.  He suggests protecting and growing the brand by taking advantage of the traffic already on the website and creating programming that delivers topics in which newspaper readers are already interested.  Most of all, understand that talk show hosts are like newspaper columnists – more so than reporters.  Listeners realize this and do not expect the spoken word of opinion to mimic the printed word of editorial fact and objectivity.  To read Walter Sabo’s entire piece, please click here.

cumulusAnother Report of a Cumulus Split from Limbaugh and Hannity.  We’ve heard these rumors before about Cumulus Media dropping Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and the latest comes from Politico.  The mag reports that inside sources say Cumulus is not satisfied with the results of negotiations to reduce the cost of airing the Limbaugh and Hannity programs on their 40-some news/talk stations that carry them.  Both contracts reportedly are limbaughrushup at the end of this year.  As most industry insiders are aware, there are cash considerations as well as inventory that airs outside the actual programs associated with carrying Limbaugh and Hannity and that, presumably, is what the bone ofhannitysean contention is.  Politico does report that a Cumulus spokesperson said the company does not comment on negotiations with talent under contract.  Cumulus holds its Q2 conference call tomorrow morning but don’t hold your breath waiting for Lew Dickey to comment on the Limbaugh/Hannity issue.  The tone of the Politico piece makes it sound as though this is about the politics of Limbaugh and Hannity and whether the “Sandra Fluke case” is still haunting the sales efforts.  If that were the case, negotiations over the cost of the programs would be irrelevant.  Ultimately, the Dickeys’ decision will likely be based upon whether they make enough money off of Limbaugh and Hannity to justify the cost while considering what the company could do with personalities such as Michael Savage, Mark Levin and Mike Huckabee to cover the time slots now held by Limbaugh and Hannity.

millerchrisThe Social Media Trick You Don’t Know You Know.  Although the term “call to action” has a slightly different application in broadcasting than it does in social media, it is increasingly growing in importance as a concept to managing content in the digital arena.  In a new column posted today (7/29), noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller says that radio broadcasters can apply “call to action” concepts with which they are very familiar from their broadcasting experience to social media with merely a few tweaks and turns of a phrase.  To read Miller’s entire column, please click here.

kjce-am logoEntercom Splits KJCE-AM/FM, Austin Simulcast; New Lineup for KJCE-AM.  The FM side of Entercom’s KJCE, Austin becomes an urban AC outlet as the new “96 R&B” featuring Premiere NetworksSteve Harvey in morning drive.  KJCE-AM remains news/talk as “News Radio 1370” with some additions to the lineup, returning Talk Radio Network’s “America’s Morning News.”  Entercom Austin vice president and market manager Alan Kirshbom states, “By bringing back ‘America’s Morning News’ from 5:00 am to 8:00 am and moving Courtside Entertainment’s Laura Ingraham to live programming from 8:00 am to 11:00 am, KJCE once again proves it is Austin’s and Texas’ Talk Station.”  The station is also bringing back Dial Global’s Dennis Miller to air from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm followed by Dave Ramsey and Premiere NetworksSean Hannity.

kroi logoRadio One’s All-News KROI, Houston Partner with KHOU-TV for Weather.  Radio One all-news “News 92 FM” announces a partnership with CBS TV O&O “KHOU 11” for the latter to provide weather for KROI.  Radio One regional vice president Doug Abernethy states, “Why compete with the best when you can team up with the best?  KHOU 11 has built a stellar reputation as a local weather leader in Houston and we are thrilled to welcome KHOU 11 and their outstanding meteorologists to join our 24-hour ‘News 92 FM’ team to provide our audience the best, most accurate, up-to-the-minute weather coverage.”

michaelsbillSyndicated Bill Michaels Sports Talk Program Adds Madison.  Based at Entercom sports talk WSSP, Milwaukee, the statewide syndicated Bill Michaels program announces it will add Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s WOZN-AM, Madison “The Zone” beginning August 8.  The midday sports talk show airs live from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and is in its second year of syndication.  “We’re delighted to welcome another Mid-West Family Broadcasting station to the Bill Michaels Sports Network,” says Michael Keck, vice president and market manager for Entercom Wisconsin.  “Bill’s enthusiasm and talent is contagious and that’s a big reason we continue to grow.”  Michaels comments, “This is a dream come true.  I feel like I’m now able to reach all Wisconsin sports fans.  I’m anxious to connect with the strong sports fan base that is represented in Mad-town.”

jacksonkevin‘The Black Sphere’ Radio Show Gaining Traction.  The Kevin Jackson-hosted “Black Sphere Radio Show” announces it adds WEZO, Augusta, Georgia to its list of affiliate stations.  Earlier this year the program added Salem Communications’ WGUL and WLSS in the Tampa-St. Petersburg and Sarasota markets.  Program senior producer Mickey White says, “Kevin is gaining in popularity and we will be adding markets and new sponsors in the very near future.  Kevin’s blend of entertainment with politics is getting lots of attention.  We are in talks with stations across the country, including some large market stations in Nevada, Colorado and California and we expect to make a lot of big announcements in the near future.”

rhodesaustinMan Arrested After Threatening WGAC, Augusta’s Austin Rhodes.  A 25-year old Augusta, Georgia man was taken into custody last week and held on $2,600 bond after allegedly threatening WGAC, Augusta talk show host Austin Rhodes with bodily harm.  After Darnell Tyray Chambers made what Rhodes considered a threatening statement about him on Facebook, he reported the threat as per Beasley Broadcast Group company policy.  According to the Columbia County News-Times, police arrested Chambers on charges of making terroristic threats and acts.

handel20yearsKFI, Los Angeles Celebrates 20 Years of Bill Handel.  Clear Channel news/talk giant KFI, Los Angeles is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Bill Handel as the morning drive talk personality on the station.  Handel began hosting the program in July of 1993 but the station says it will officially celebrate the anniversary with an extravaganza for listeners in November but on Friday, July 26, Rich Marotta, Michelle Kube, Mike Nolan, Neil Saavedra and Gary Hoffmann reminisced about their favorite Handel moments during the 5:00 am hour of the program.  To say that Handel is important to the station’s success would be an understatement.  Handel is consistently one of the highest-rated daily talk radio programs in the country in terms of cume.

Monday, July 15, 2013

| July 15, 2013

Talk Radio Stations Answer Call for Live Radio After Zimmerman Verdict.  The number of talk radio stations that rose to the occasion after the George Zimmerman verdict late Saturday night and the following day was, according to TALKERS sources around the country, surprisingly large considering the time (especially in the East) that the verdict was announced.  Certainly there were many stations caught unaware at that late hour but even many of those that were not able to bring local talent in for a live program were prepared enough to air network coverage of the news.  Several TALKERS sources report hearing local talent take to the air in the Pacific Time Zone and put callers on the air to discuss the case.

madisonjoeSiriusXM’s Joe Madison Races to Cover Zimmerman Verdict; Broadcast Response to Case.  High-profile talk media personality Joe Madison lived up to his moniker “The Black Eagle” late Saturday night after the Sanford, Florida jury reached its verdict and found George Zimmerman not guilty of the charges against him in the death of Trayvon Martin.  Minutes after the verdict was announced, Madison went to the SiriusXM Washington, DC broadcast facility to do a live broadcast that aired from 11:00 pm Saturday evening to 1:00 am Sunday morning on the satcaster’s “Urban View Channel.”  Madison opened up the lines to callers to, as he said, “give people a platform to react and share their feelings.”  SiriusXM reports, “It was a powerful show.  Major figures joined the show by telephone – among them Rev. Jesse Jackson; Ben Jealous, president/CEO, NAACP; Marc Morial, president National Urban League; attorney Daryl Parks, co-attorney for the family of Trayvon Martin; and Roslyn Brock, chairwoman of the NAACP.  ‘Urban View’ then went into a special schedule all day Sunday, serving as a sounding board for listener response.  The channel aired live shows taking calls from around the country throughout the day.”

traduptomMedia Coverage of Zimmerman Verdict Analyzed and Criticized.  In the immediate aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict, the news/talk radio industry is analyzing media coverage of the case – especially from cable news/talk outlets and what some talk radio practitioners tend to call the “left-leaning mainstream media.”  In a somewhat high-profile incident, former temporary Associated Press staffer Cristina Silva, who had left the news organization before the incident, according to the AP, Tweeted: “So we can all kill teenagers now?  Just checking.”  Salem Radio Networks VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS magazine that after learning about this he, as a member of the TV Digital News Directors Association, as well as an AP subscriber, contacted AP executive editor Kathleen Carroll.  She informed Tradup that Silva was “a temp who no longer works for us.”  Breitbart.com reports Silva worked for the AP for the past three years with her last byline being July 9 of this year.  Tradup has more to say about the coverage he witnessed and the radio broadcasts he heard to those he saw on cable TV.  He writes, “Radio (gasp) simply covered the verdict.  ABC, SRN, CBS, local stations…all pretty much the same model:  No scary theme music, no weird camera angles, and no need to manufacture emotions or distort what happened.  Just the facts…Not on cable.  Kate Bolduan and Chis Cuomo on, of course, a special edition of CNN’s “New Day” program, reporting on the verdict with agonized scowls on their faces…presenting video of ‘major cities’ all over America where protesters marched after the verdict had been announced.  An objective viewing of the ‘protests’ revealed turnout to be literally dozens of people.  Cuomo physically wrung his hands as he opined that people nationwide are ‘disturbed’ by the verdict.  Kate Bolduan sat stoically next to him, nodding and grimacing over the jury’s verdict on this travesty of a ‘news’ program.  On MSNBC, Melissa Harris-Perry suggested that ‘all over America, African-American parents are hugging their children tighter’…implying that they are trembling in their homes as a result of the Sanford, Florida jury action.  What unsubstantiated baloney. How insulting to African-Americans.  How insulting to our entire legal system.  The state of broadcast journalism in America has always been pretty low, an occasional Edward R. Murrow notwithstanding.  But the deifying of Trayvon Martin by CNN and other cable myna birds simply to generate ratings makes me happy to instead operate in radio news…where actual facts still matter.  Our TV counterparts have served up disgraceful bias and doctored opinions disguised as ‘news coverage.’”

marconiawardSports Talkers Outshine News/Talkers in 2013 NAB Marconi Award Personality Honors Finalists.  The National Association of Broadcasters announces the finalists for the 2013 NAB Marconi Awards honoring personalities and radio stations for excellence.  The winners will be announced at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando on September 18.  This year, in the major market and syndicated categories, news/talk personalities are noticeably absent while sports talk talent is prominent.  Fox Sports Radio/Premiere Networks’ Petros & Money are finalists in the syndicated category and in the major market category, WFAN, New York’s Boomer & Carton and KTCK, Dallas’ “The Musers” (George Dunham and Craig Miller) are finalists.  Clear Channel news/talk KFI, Los Angeles is up for Legendary Station, as is Entercom’s sports talk WEEI, Boston and CBS Radio all-newsers KYW, Philadelphia and WBBM, Chicago.  News/talk and sports are dominant in the Large Market Station of the Year category with CBS Radio’s WCCO, Minneapolis; Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence; Entercom’s WWL-AM, New Orleans; and CBS Radio’s WXYT-FM, Detroit all in contention.  View all of the finalists here.

sedanojorgeJorge Sedano to Exit WQAM, Miami to Join ESPN.  The Florida SunSentinel reports that WQAM, Miami program director and afternoon drive personality Jorge Sedano will leave the station he’s been with for 11 months to take a multi-platform position with sports giant ESPN.  The specifics of his new position with ESPN are unclear but he is expected to start there in the fall.  Sedano is a fixture in sports media in South Florida and has also worked at Lincoln Financial Media’s WAXY.  He took over the program director position at WQAM after four months away from radio in the market during which he pursued TV opportunities.  He replaced Lee Feldman who exited the WQAM PD post for opportunities outside the radio business.  Sedano also hosted the pre- and post-game shows for Miami Heat games on the Sun Sports telecasts.  Obviously, this opens up a great sports talk radio opportunity in South Florida.

imusdonMerlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia Replaces Lionel with Don Imus in AM Drive.  New York-based media personality Lionel – seen by New Yorkers both in the early morning and during evening news casts on WPIX-TV – waslionel piped in alongside former morning host Al Gardner when Merlin turned the station into a talk-formatted outlet after purchasing it from Family Stations, Inc.  Gardner exited the station in March of this year and Lionel remained in AM drive.  In addition to his work with WPIX-TV, Lionel also operates the successful internet venture lionelmedia.com.

millerchrisFeeding the Endlessly Hungry Mouth: Coming Up with Content for Your Social Media Outreach.  Content gathering is a massive headache for a lot of social media experts.  It can take over two hours a day to do it effectively.  Considering the fact that in radio there are a lot fewer full-time social media folks and a lot more people have added some social media duties to their already long job descriptions, it is even tougher to be consistently interesting, funny or helpful.  In a new column posted today by noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, he suggests several types of content.  These include 1) using a lot of photos (they are more convenient and often more effective than videos); 2) posting in-depth articles (all you need is to click to them); 3) posing questions about hot-button stories (talk radio is more adept at this than music radio); and 4) employing the services of Google Alert to help gather material.  To read Chris Miller’s entire piece, please click here.

kernenbobBob Kernen to Serve as VP/COO for jacAPPS.  Jabobs Media’s jacAPPS division – developer of mobile applications – announces internet veteran Bob Kernen will join the company as vice president and chief operating officer.  The company reports that “this move marks a major step in the growth of the company, ranked by Crain’s Detroit Business as the number #2 mobile application developer in Southeast Michigan, and the industry leader in the Business-to-Business category.”  President Paul Jacobs says, “Since its inception in 2008, jacAPPS has been on a consistent, upward trajectory.  As our company nears its fifth anniversary, we needed a visionary with the right blend of media and web experience – and Bob’s the guy.”  Kernen has served as VP/product development and data for Sharecare, creating a digital database, mobile applications, and a comprehensive back-end data system.  Prior to that, he was the co-founder of GrokMusic, oversaw digital product development for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, developed emerging media platforms for A&E Television Networks, and helped develop the digital strategies for Hearst’s Women.com and Microsoft’s Web TV Networks.

katzjeffspeaksJeff Katz Subs in Morning Drive at WRNO, New Orleans.  Former “TALK 1200” Boston (WXKS-AM) morning man Jeff Katz sets his alarm clock pretty early tomorrow morning — if only for a day – as he’ll fill in on Clear Channel’s news/talk WRNO-FM, New Orleans.  Katz provides a thrice-daily commentary heard on WCAP, Lowell-Boston and has recently been heard filling in for Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated host Todd Schnitt and New England Talk Network regional host Michael Graham.

trautmannconradDial Global’s Conrad Trautmann Given ‘Engineer of the Year’ Honor.  Dial Global announces chief technology officer Conrad Trautmann has been named “Chapter Engineer of the Year” by the Society of Broadcast Engineers’ Chapter 15 (SBE 15), which serves the New York City metro area.  Trautmann is the first recipient of this new award, which recognizes the efforts of a specific individual who best furthers the goals and objectives of their SBE Chapter and provides an outstanding example of local/regional leadership and ethics.  SBE 15 chapter chairman Jeff Smith states, “We are thrilled to honor Conrad with our first ‘Chapter Engineer of the Year’ award.  Within Conrad’s 30-plus years of service to SBE 15, he was instrumental in reestablishing the chapter in the 1980s after declining membership and financial troubles caused the Chapter to cease operations.  Conrad is recognized for implementing a model that has made SBE 15 the largest and most financially stable SBE local chapter in the country.”  Trautmann oversees the company’s broadcast engineering, program distribution, back-office IT, and software development.  He is a nationally recognized and respected leader in the broadcast engineering field, with prior senior engineering positions at Dial Global, Westwood One, Metro Networks, Cox Radio, and Chancellor Media.

kroibarajasconductsHe Was Born in a Crossfire Hurricane.  All-news KROI, Houston’s Mike Barajas show off his conducting and Mick Jagger moves as he leads the Houston Symphony Orchestra in a rendition of the Rolling Stones’ classic “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”  The “News 92 FM” afternoon anchor received a little help from Symphony conductor Brent Havens as he assisted the performance of the works of the Rolling Stones at Jesse H. Jones Hall.  Photo by Robert Land Productions.

Monday, July 8, 2013

| July 8, 2013

manleytoddWGN, Chicago Names Todd Manley VP/Creative Content.  Todd Manley recently held the same title at CBS Radio’s crosstown triple A WXRT.  Now he comes to Tribune’s news/talk WGN with the title vice president/creative content.  This isn’t his first gig with Tribune, having been production director and creative director at the company from 1998 through 2008.  His programming experience also includes a term as PD at KTRS, St. Louis.  WGN still has not named a program director for the station after letting programming pro Bill White go shortly after the arrival of Jimmy de Castro as the station’s president and general manager in late May.

kleinaaronAaron Klein Does Weekly WABC, New York Show Despite Laryngitis. Not unlike a gimpy football player who takes to the field on game day even though his leg is in bad shape, Israel-based journalist and talk show host Aaron Klein didn’t let a case of acute laryngitis keep him off of WABC, New York last night (7/7).  Despite being told to rest his voice for the next two weeks, Klein couldn’t bring himself to call in sick for his popular 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm Sunday show.  He tells TALKERS, “The news cycle continues full force.  There’s a revolution in Egypt.  I read the full immigration reform bill and found some major unreported elements.  And I’ve got new information on Edward Snowden.  There’s just too much to talk about.”  Klein did give his voice a rest several times during the program by playing some previously recorded segments.

conclaveThe Conclave Special Rates Expire After Today.  The Conclave announces that the deadline for its $399 tuition for the 2013 Learning Conference taking place July 17-19 in Minneapolis has been extended to Monday, July 8.  Citing fiscal year budgets that don’t begin for many until July 1 and the conclusion of many stations’ second quarter budgets on June 30 – not to mention the recent Fourth of July holiday weekend – the Conclave Board of Directors has elected to extend the conference’s $399 tuition.  Executive director Bob Shannon says, “We received many inquiries regarding the June 30 tuition deadline, asking for it to be moved into July.  Because we want as many industry professionals, students and teachers interested in attending to be here, it was an easy call to make!”  After July 8, Conclave 38 tuition rises to its on-site rate of $499.  In addition to extending the tuition deadline, the Conclave announced that its specially priced sleeping room rate of $139 at the Doubletree Park Place Hotel would similarly be extended to those reserving rooms by Monday, July 8. After that date, any remaining Conclave rooms at the Doubletree will be offered to the general public at an increased rate.  For more on the 2013 Learning Conference, click on http://www.theconclave.com.

dial global sportsDial Global Names Three to Sports Sales Division.  Beefing up its sports sales division, Dial Global announces the hiring of Matthew Colborn as director of sports sales, West Coast; Dial Global account manager Julie Boruchov moves to the new role of director of sports sales, East Coast; and Amilia Poin assumes the role of sports coordinator.  Senior vice president/director corporate sports at Dial Global Michael Schreck boruchovjuliestates, “I’m thrilled to officially announce Matt, Julie, and Amilia in their new roles.  Collectively, they bring a tremendous amount of audio and integrated sales experience, which will supplement our already strong sports sales division and benefit our clients and marketing partners.  I look forward to working closely with Matt, who brings 15 years’ experience developing strategic ad campaigns for multiple high-profile categories.  Julie’s immeasurable knowledge of the industry coupled with success selling our sports assets and Amilia’s understanding of our sports programming have already proven to be invaluable to the success of our sports group.”  Colborn comes to Dial Global from US Interactive Media (USIM), where he was the director of client services.  Boruchov began her audio career as a sales assistant at Westwood One, moving up to sales planner and account executive.  Following Westwood One’s merger with Dial Global, Boruchov became an account manager.  Poin most recently worked in Dial Global’s traffic division where she acted as a liaison between sales and production to ensure proper placement and delivery of all commercials in Dial Global’s sports programming.

berryheadshaveTalk Host Michael Berry and Staff Help Raise $110,000 for Fisher House Foundation.  KTRH, Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry (also heard on nine other Clear Channel stations across the country) and his staff committed to shaving their heads if they were able to raise $20,000 for Fisher House Foundation.  Berry, pictured here getting his head shaved, tells TALKERS he’s proud to announce that he and his staff helped raise much more.  Prior to the Fourth of July holiday, Berry and his crew were soliciting donations to Fisher House and had hit the $50,000-mark until Russell Ybarra – owner of Gringo’s Tex-Mex and Jimmy Changa’s matched the total pushing it up to $100,000.  More donations upped the total to $110,000 and the money will help pay for a second Fisher House in the Houston area.  Fisher House provides housing for the families of American Armed Forces personnel who are being treated for injuries suffered in the line of duty so they can be near their loved ones while they recuperate.

grahammichaelMichael Graham Subs for Laura Ingraham Today and Tomorrow.  Talk pro Michael Graham sits in for Courtside Entertainment-syndicated talk show host Laura Ingraham on July 8 and 9.  Here’s an update on Graham’s work.  Graham exited Greater Media after it flipped longtime talk station WTKK, Boston to rhythmic AC earlier this year.  He’d been a host there for eight-plus years.  Shortly thereafter, he debuted his new show, “The Natural Truth” which airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daily on his creation, New England Talk Network.  Graham says, “My daily show is focused on local issues here in New England, giving local talk fans a place to speak out about everything from the Boston Marathon bombings to the Aaron Hernandez case to John Kerry‘s latest display of yachtsmanship.”  The program is currently heard on six affiliate stations: WBNW, Concord, Massachusetts; WCRN, Worcester; WPLM, Plymouth, Massachusetts; WCCM, Salem, New Hampshire; WXBR, Brockton, Massachusetts; and WESO, Southbridge, Massachusetts.  Graham, who is a frequent guest on Fox News Channel and other cable news channels and is a columnist for the Boston Herald, states, “It’s always an honor when a talk host is willing to share her audience with me.  The fact that Laura is the one of the most successful radio talk hosts in history just makes it that much more fun.”

huardbrockKIRO-AM, Seattle Sports Talker Brock Huard to Sponsor Third Annual Free Football Camp.  This Thursday, July 11, KIRO-AM, Seattle “710 ESPN” talk show host and former college and NFL star Brock Huard will participate in the third annual “Brock Huard Youth Football Camp,” where more than 150 youths, ages 8-18, will take the field at Renton Memorial Stadium.  The camp is a partnership with Sports in Schools, the station and former NFL players Dave Wyman and Damon Huard and will teach kids the value of teamwork, perseverance and hard work.  Brock Huard says, “For the third consecutive year, I’m thrilled to give back to the community that has given so much to me, and without all of our tremendous partners, none of it could happen.”

powersbillCalgary Sports Fans, Broadcasting Community Mourns Death of Bill Powers and Wife.  The Globe and Mail reports that Bill Powers’ stepson Derek Puffer has been charged with two counts of second degree murder in the death of the Calgary sports radio legend and his wife Donna.  The 71-year-old Powers, who retired in 2009, was the longtime voice of the Calgary Stampeders.  He worked as a print journalist before switching to radio.  He worked for many years at CHQR, Calgary and CKXL.

wachsbonaduceDr. Daliah and Danny Bonaduce.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs is pictured here with radio and television star Danny Bonaduce.  Dr. Wachs met up with Bonaduce while on her annual cruise – this time to Alaska – with listeners.  Wachs and her group enjoyed the opportunity to sit at the captain’s table, get a private tour of the bridge and more.  She says of meeting Bonaduce, “We were happy to know we were mutual fans. LOL!!!”

Thursday, June 27, 2013

| June 27, 2013

dahlsteveSteve Dahl and Garry Meier to Be Inducted into National Radio Hall of Fame.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that the Chicago-located National Radio Hall of Fame is announcing the class of 2013 feature Chicagomeiergarry radio personalities and former partners Steve Dahl and Garry Meier in addition to other inductees Blair Garner, John Lanigan, Paul W. Smith, Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo, Charley Steiner, and (posthumously) radio manufacturer Powel Crosley, Jr.  Dahl, currently busy with his own podcast venture, and Meier, hosting afternoon drive at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago, were superstars in morning drive at WLUP-FM for 14 years before an acrimonious breakup in 1993.  Dahl continued to work with other cast members while Meier eventually partnered with Roe Conn at WLS before joining WGN.  The Radio Hall of Fame states, “They became the most-talked-about radio team in the city’s history, representing a generation and ushering in an era of content envelope-pushing that was imitated nationwide.”  Blair Garner is hosting “America’s Morning Show” at Cumulus Media’s country WNSH, New York.  Paul W. Smith hosts the morning program on news/talk WJR, Detroit.

whfs logoStaff Additions at CBS Radio’s ’98.7 The Fan’ in Tampa.  WHFS, Tampa “98.7 The Fan” program director John O’Connell announces additions to the staff at CBS Radio’s Tampa Bay sports talk station.  First, veteran sports announcer Jim Lighthall joins Justin Pawlowski on “Fan Interference with Justin Pawlowski and Jim Lighthall” from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and that show is now being produced by Jeff “Pants” Pantridge who moves up from his position producing the “Kirk and Dinger Morning Show.”  Lighthall is a 1990 graduate of the University of South Florida and has been a sports announcer for over 21 years.  He is the play-by-play voice of USF men’s basketball, a member of the USF Football broadcast team and has been the station’s 20/20 sports update reporter since the station’s launch.  Taking Pantridge’s place producing the AM show is Ed “Special Ed” Grube who joins the station from CBS Radio’s sister hip hop outlet WLLD “WiLD 94.1.” to be head producer for the program featuring Kirk McEwen, Chris “Dinger” Dingman and Roxanne Wilder.  O’Connell states, “We are very excited about these additions and what Ed brings to the table.  His quick wit, creativity and great sense of humor will bring a new dimension to the ‘Kirk and Dinger Morning Show.’ Ed has the ability to help take the show to the top of the ratings, and like Jim, he’s a big basketball fan who offers a unique perspective.”  Also producer Bryan Drake shifts from production duties in middays to the evening “Fabulous Sports Babe Show” airing from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

newsjunkie logoMidday Changes at WTKS, Orlando.  Shawn Wasson “The News Junkie” takes over the 11:00 am to 3:00 pm show at Clear Channel’s hot talk WTKS, Orlando “Real Radio 104.1” after Jason “Buckethead” Bailey exits the station.  Bailey commented on his departure via Facebook saying he has nothing bad to say about the people or the station.  “Can I explain the whole thing and how it panned out? Nope…not right now.  It’s not as easy as some people seem to think it is.  Will I miss ‘Real Radio?’  More than anyone will ever know.  The ‘Real Radio’ gig was a dream come true for me…”

wbtlogoGreater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Named Station of the Year by NCAB.  Greater Media Charlotte announces WBT-AM/FM was named the 2013 Station of the Year award (large market category) this past week during the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters (NCAB) Annual Convention in Greensboro.  The winners of this year’s top station awards were determined by a distinguished panel of out of state media executives. The Station of the Year Award was given to radio stations with achievements during 2012 that highlight innovative programming, with an emphasis on audience involvement and promotion, and a commitment to their local community.  Greater Media Charlotte vice president and station manager Trip Savery states, “It is fitting that North Carolina’s first and most legendary radio station, WBT would win the inaugural NCAB station of the year award.  We are very proud to receive this honor from NCAB.”

trn logoTRN Files New Suit Against Courtside Entertainment and Dial Global.  In the original suit TRN filed against numerous radio syndication and ads sales organizations alleging antitrust violations Courtside Entertainment was a defendant but a California judge removed Courtside from that complaint ruling it was not connected to the antitrust allegation.  Now, TRN files a complaint in United States District Court District of Oregon Portland Division against Courtside and Dial Global alleging tortious interference with both TRN’s contract with Michael Savage and Laura Ingraham.  The suit seeks unspecified damages plus legal fees other and further relief.

nhl logoArbitron Releases NHL Radio Play-By-Play Stats.  Outside of Canada, NHL hockey on the radio has never been considered a radio goldmine in broad terms.  But a strike-shortened season may have been a factor in increased interest where the mindset is that every game counts, according to analysis from Arbitron.  The ratings company released average game cume (6+) and average game share (Men 25-54) data and draws some conclusions about the sport’s effect on radio audience.  Probably most notable is that the teams that performed best for their flagship stations are largely East Coast and Midwest teams that have a long tradition in the league and their fan bases go generations deep in the markets.  For example, the top seven teams in terms of average game share (Men 25-54) were (in order): Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings, and the Philadelphia Flyers.  Pittsburgh, whose flagship is Clear Channel’s alternative rock WXDX-FM, was far and away in first with a 33.3 average game share in that demo.  Arbitron notes that the young male-skewing alternative flagship station helped achieve this.  Also keep in mind that the top two teams, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, have no NBA franchise in their markets with which to compete for audience during the winter months.  Arbitron also wonders where the help for radio flagships is from the NHL.  “Try finding any radio information on the teams web pages and it’s almost nonexistent.  Download a schedule for Outlook, or an Apple product and TV information is everywhere…radio is likely nowhere to be found.”

DM&MDrew Lane Begins Podcast Venture.  One half of the former WRIF, Detroit Drew & Mike morning drive show – Drew Lane – has partnered up with producers Mike Wolters and Marc Fellhauer to begin producing a podcast called DM&M podcast.  Lane’s and Mike Clark’s contracts were not renewed at the Greater Media rock station and former alternative CIMX, Windsor, Canada duo Dave and Chuck the Freak were brought in to take over mornings last month.  So far, Mike Clark is not part of the podcast venture.

archerrobOdds & Sods.  Rob Archer is the new midday news anchor at Clear Channel’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles after the exit of Chris Lane…..At Advanced Media Partners’ Peoria, Illinois stations that includes sports talk WZPN, Stephanie Blue is the new production director…..SiriusXM Radio and Rural Radio LLC announce the debut of Rural Radio, a 24/7 channel devoted to providing a wide variety of programming for and about rural American life, the western lifestyle and agribusiness interests.

rutherforddaveCalgary Talk Host Fired After Criticizing Station Flood Coverage.  CHQR, Calgary talk show host Dave Rutherford, about whom TALKERS wrote yesterday regarding the looming end of his long-running radio program, was taken off the air on June 25 after criticizing the Corus-owned station for its coverage of the local floods.  Rutherford tells the Calgary Sun he’s still not sure of his status but says he was told his program will not return after he lashed out at management for not broadcasting locally on CHQR when the station was evacuated due to flooding and instead piped in programming from CHED, Edmonton.

SCOTUS Gay Marriage Rulings, Obama Climate Change Policy, George Zimmerman Trial, Aaron Hernandez Case, NSA Surveillance/Snowden Asylum, and Obama Africa Trip Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/26).  The striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 by the Supreme Court; the emissions limits to be set by the EPA under the president’s direction; the trial of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin; the case against former Patriots player Aaron Hernandez; the NSA surveillance program and the case of Edward Snowden; and President Obama’s African trip were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

| June 18, 2013

mayhemAMLincoln Financial Media Fires WQXI, Atlanta’s “Mayhem in the AM” After Mocking Bit About ALS-Stricken Steve Gleason.  The three sports talk personalities that made up the “790 The Zone” morning showwqxilogo “Mayhem in the AM” – Steak Shapiro, Nick Cellini and Chris Dimino – have been extremely contrite in the aftermath of their firing from the station by Lincoln Financial Media.  Although Nick Cellini initially told the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho that his firing was, in a way, a relief and called the station a “sinking ship,” he later wrote to Ho saying his words were made “out of pure emotion” and said the station has been nothing but fair to him over the years.  Both via the AJC article and social media, all three have expressed their sorrow for their actions and have reached out to former New Orleans Saints player Gleason to apologize.  Still, many in the industry are shaking their heads and wondering how three grown men could , first of all, even come up with the idea to craft a bit that mocks an ALS patient and second, apparently, never think twice about it before going ahead with it on the air.

wolfenycspeechReflections on a Tragedy and the Fundamental Role of Radio.  That is the title of the closing keynote address at the recent Talkers New York 2013 (6/6) convention delivered by Jason Wolfe, VP programming for Entercom Boston.  In a serious, heartfelt speech, Wolfe — whose company owns and operates news/talk WRKO and sports talk WEEI in Boston, among others — recounts the events and emotions of the tragedy surrounding the bombing of innocent civilians at the Boston Marathon from the perspective of being a radio broadcaster.  He discusses the responsibility broadcasters have in dealing with unexpected hardships and crisis — in providing help, information and comfort to the population in their listening area.  Wolfe is introduced by WOLB, Baltimore morning host and longtime local African American community leader/facilitator Larry Young.  See Young’s introduction and Jason Wolfe’s entire speech on TalkersTV by clicking here.

seegerTALKERS Debuts New “Media Broker Spotlight” Feature Today (6/18). In support of the idea that the time is right for displaced radio station managers and first-time buyers to get into radio station ownership, TALKERS in association with its sister trade publication RadioInfo and Sandi Bergman‘s brokerage website RadioTVDeals.com, is launching a weekly feature titled “Media Broker Spotlight.” Each week’s installment will focus on an individual broker deemed small and independent buyer-friendly — profiling the broker, sharing their opinions of marketplace conditions and highlighting three or four listed opportunities that fall into this category. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We strongly believe many of the talented management veterans who presently find themselves on the beach due to the cutbacks plaguing the mega-corporate sector of the industry should consider going into radio station ownership. They should do so on a modest level going into local markets, rolling up their sleeves, working hands-on and breathing new life into properties that if purchased at the right price still have some tread on their tires. There are numerous sellers out there willing to play ball with buyers who show the will and know-how to operate a station properly, as well as numerous sources of local and non-traditional financing from investors who believe in the potential of community-oriented radio. Not every station in America is part of the Clear Channel/Cumulus/CBS complex… and they should not be overlooked. These independent “orphans,” if you will, can thrive with the proper amount of tender loving care. The future of AM/FM radio depends on this as do the careers of so many dedicated broadcasters who have a love for radio flowing in their veins.” This week’s opening installment features media broker Edward F. Seeger of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina-based Seeger Media, LLC. To read the feature, click here.

hendriephilPhil Hendrie Continues National Syndication of His Show Partnering with WYD Media Management.  There was no reason to believe Phil Hendrie was going to hang up his headphones when news broke that he and Talk Radio Network were parting ways at the end of their deal this month and now Hendrie will forge ahead partnering with Ron Hartenbaum’s WYD Media Management beginning June 25.  Hendrie says, “Ron gets my show and has a highly talented and motivated team behind him.  Our longtime loyal affiliates and advertisers will appreciate the level of professionalism and sophistication they bring to the table.”  Starting on June 25, Hendrie’s show will be distributed in a new time slot from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET with affiliates airing his “Comedy Gold” broadcasts through July 5.  On July 8, Hendrie will be on the air live “as he weaves his famous web of satire and comedy.”  Hartenbaum states, “Broadcast radio needs the breadth, depth and creativity of Phil Hendrie.  There’s a whole new generation of listeners ready to join the ranks for what Phil has to offer.  He’s a comic genius who’s going to grow in ways most people can’t even imagine…stay tuned!”

furmanronaldDial Global Brings Ronald Furman Aboard as Chief Revenue Officer.  Ronald Furman comes to Dial Global from his recent post as executive vice president and managing director of Insignia Sports/Entertainment where he led the go-to-market strategies across integrated television, digital, mobile, technology, social, event, live-game, and activation platforms for multiple content properties, including The Pro Football Hall Of Fame, The NFL Alumni Association, various NFL teams and emerging leagues such as dialglobal logo USEWSOF/MMA.  At Dial Global he’ll be responsible for the company’s overall revenue generation.  He will be based in New York City and will report directly to CEO, Paul Caine.  About Furman, Caine says, “Ron is a recognized industry leader who is proficient at building, developing, and leading high-performing sales teams across multiple media properties.  And the timing is perfect, as we announce that Dial Global will broadcast over 90 games this season, including all Monday Night, Sunday Night, and Thursday Night Games, the Thanksgiving Day Triple Header, a full slate of Sunday Afternoon Games, the entire post-season, and Super Bowl XLVIII.  His deep sports knowledge and client relationships are a perfect complement to our strength in the sports market, and we look forward to working closely with Ron as we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in audio content and distribution.”  During his career Furman has also worked as senior vice president, sports sales at Comcast/NBC Universal, and held senior vice president positions at the NFL, Viacom and Univision Communications.

bloomquistmedia logoBloomquist Media Wins New York Festivals Gold in Community Service Documentary Category for ‘A Grateful Nation.’  Talk radio practitioners are by now well aware of Bloomquist Media’s work with the Fisher House Foundation – the organization that raises funds to provide housing for the families of American servicemen and women to be near their loved ones as they recover from injuriesbloomquistrandall sustained in battle.  In a cooperative effort, Bloomquist Media and Fisher House produced the Memorial Day radio special “A Grateful Nation,” which told four stories of service and sacrifice by members of the U.S. military and their families.  Because Fisher House Foundation played a role in all of these stories, the organization’s message was organically woven into the compelling content.  The program aired during Memorial Day weekend 2012 on news/talk radio stations, as well as Sirius XM satellite radio.  Bloomquist Media president Randall Bloomquist says, “This award has tremendous meaning for us.  We are always striving for excellence — to produce compelling radio that both entertains the audience and makes them aware of an important community cause.  To be honored for creating a truly world-class radio program is a testament to the caliber of our work.”

newyorkfestivalsAmerican Radio Programs Win Honors at New York Festivals 2013 International Radio Awards.  The competition for these prestigious awards is intense as broadcasters from around the globe submit entries.  Some of the American winners in the 2013 competition include: ESPN which won a gold medal in the News Reports/Features category for “Breaking the Silence” – an edition of “The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap” and pubcaster WGBH, Boston which took home the gold in the News Programs category for its “Underground Trade.”

shepardsullivanWHYN-AM, Springfield Morning Show Receives Local Accolades.  Brad Shepard (l) and Bo Sullivan (r) – morning drive co-hosts at Clear Channel’s WHYN-AM, Springfield, Massachusetts – were named the favorite local radio personalities in polling by the readers of the Springfield Republican for its “2013 Reader Raves.”  Sullivan has been with the station for some 15 years and Shepard was paired up with him for the AM show 10 years ago.  Shepard tells the paper, “I really have to say ‘thank you’ to our listeners and everyone who voted for us.  This was absolutely unexpected; we didn’t go out drumming up support.” Photo: Mark M. Murray, The Republican

Sports USA Adds Two Games to 2013 College Football Schedule.  The tally of college football games being offered to affiliate stations now hits 20 as Sports USA announces the “Cowboy Classic” featuring LSU versus TCU on August 31 and the Big Ten matchup of Wisconsin at Ohio State on September 28 are added to the schedule.  The Sports USA season begins on August 29 with USC at Hawaii.

wheelisbradBrad Wheelis to Exit ABC News Radio.  The news organization is moving the origin site of all of its newscasts to New York and that means Los Angeles-based Brad Wheelis will leave the network at the end of this month.  Wheelis has been with ABC News Radio since 2001 and he currently  anchors the 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm hourly newscasts.  Prior to joining ABC News Radio, Wheelis was an anchor at CBS Radio’s WCBS, New York.

mcconnelljohnRadio Executive John McConnell Teams with ACM to Form Broadcast Initiative.  Longtime ABC Radio executive John McConnell – now president of Entertainment Radio Network and founder of McConnell Media, LLC – teams with veteran talent agents Marc Guss and Phil Sutfin, co-founders of leading talent management company ACM, to launch and spearhead ACM Broadcast.  The New York City-based company aims to create “a unique business environment where established and burgeoning talent strategize on using radio and other audio broadcast platforms as the foundation to build their brand.”  McConnell states, “I’ve always believed in the power of radio and am a proponent of making that a priority in a performer’s career.  I look forward to working with talented individuals and helping them to realize their full potential as they soar to new heights.”  About their new partnership, Marc Guss says, “John has always been one of my main go-to radio programming executives because of his innovative thinking.  What a thrill it is to now be working together under the same roof with the same objectives.”

NSA Data Mining, Immigration Amnesty Proposal, Syrian Rebels Arms Aid Program, Atlanta Radio Hosts Mock ALS Patient, and Turkish Unrest Among News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/17).  The ongoing controversy over the National Security Agency’s collecting phone and email records; the debate over amnesty to illegal aliens in the U.S.; the program to provide arms to Syrian rebels; the firing of Atlanta sports talk hosts for mocking former NFL player and ALS sufferer Steve Gleason; and the political unrest in Turkey were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

| June 5, 2013

cumulusCumulus Names New Market Manager, Sales Chief for San Francisco.  Cumulus Media announces Steve Sklenar has been appointed market manager for the company’s San Francisco stations and Kevin Crespo has simultaneously been installed as national and regional sales manager for the cluster.  Sklenar comes to Cumulus Media from his most recent post as assistant vice president and director of sales at Lincoln Financial Media’s San Diego stations.  Sklenar says in a statement, “To be tapped as the leader of Cumulus San Francisco is both exciting and humbling.  This is without question one of the most coveted positions in all of broadcasting, not just radio.  The history and prestige of these stations in the San Francisco community comes with great responsibility.  We will not take that lightly.”  Sklenar is in charge of talk KSFO, news/talk KGO, sports talk KNBR and KTCT, triple A KFOG and KFFG and classic rock KSAN “The Bone.”  Cumulus EVP and co-COO Jon Pinch says, “Steve and Kevin are well-suited to take leadership and sales development roles at this legendary cluster of stations.  They will round out a solid team that’s contributing significantly to our growth in San Francisco.  After meeting with numerous qualified candidates, John Dickey and I are confident that these two gentlemen will have immediate positive impact on our business moving forward.”

moodys logoMoody’s Cumulus’ Speculative Grade Liquidity Rating to SGL — 2 from SGL – 3.  Moody’s Investors Service announces it has upped Cumulus Media’s Speculative Grade Liquidity Rating from SGL – 2 to SGL – 3 “reflecting improved access to the senior secured revolver due to the recent amendment of the 1st lien credit agreement. The amendment reduces the revolver commitment to $150 million from $300 million, but replaces the total net leverage test with a 1st lien net leverage requirement enabling full access to the cumulusrevolver.”  Moody’s says the B2 Corporate Family Rating remains unchanged and explains why: “Leverage remains elevated due to revenue and EBITDA falling below expected levels for the six months ended March 31, 2013 which prompted the downgrade in the corporate family rating earlier this year. Management indicated that pro forma revenues decreased $5.6 million or 2.5% in 1Q2013 compared to 1Q2012 reflecting lower political revenue, the winding down of unfavorable legacy Citadel barter transactions, and challenges related to its syndicated talk segment.”  However, Moody’s cites the turnarounds of a number of Cumulus’ “10 underperforming stations” for the upgrade and goes on to state, “Looking forward, revenue growth is expected to be flat in 2013 due in part to the absence of significant political advertising.  Moody’s expects Cumulus to generate roughly $175 million of annual free cash flow versus our prior estimate of $200 million to reflect management’s comments that it expects to invest roughly $25 million annually in CBS Sports Radio, Nash FM and related country format branding, its Traffic network, as well as SweetJack.”

steinhauercharlesCharles Steinhauer Ascends to Chief Operations Officer at Dial Global.  Moving up from his most recent position as president of operations with Dial Global, Charles Steinhauer is promoted to chief operations officer.  The company states that in this new position, Steinhauer will be responsible for overseeing the management of the company’s day-to-day operations — including technology, distribution, research, compliance, and strategy.  He will continue to be located in New York City and will report directly to CEO Paul Caine.  In his previous post, he managed all sales support divisions for Dial Global.  The company also notes that Steinhauer “is one of the leads on an industry-wide research initiative working to improve how radio is incorporated into Marketing Mix Models, which are widely used by advertisers to evaluate how product sales are influenced by advertising.”  About his promotion, Steinhauer says, “I’m very excited to be working with Paul Caine and to continue to move the company forward with all of the Dial Global family.  I look forward to working even more closely with our staff and our outstanding content and distribution partners to create optimum value for our audiences and advertisers.  I couldn’t be more fortunate.”

nms2013logoTora Fisher to Perform at Talkers New York 2013.  At the tender age of 23, she is both a rising pop star and a humanitarian.  Tora Fisher of the Fisher family that spearheads Fisher House Foundation – the charitable organization that provides housing around the country for the visiting families of hospitalized American servicemen and women wounded in battle – will be appearing at Talkers New York 2013 tomorrowtora (6/6).  The young singer/songwriter, whose heartfelt song “Finally Free” currently sits at number 29 and number 21 on the RadioInfo pop songs and rock songs charts respectively, will open the event’s Freedom of Speech Award Ceremony with an a cappela performance of the Lee Greenwood anthem “Proud to Be an American.”  Ms. Fisher, who is a spokesperson for Fisher House, will be backed up in the performance by two female cadets from West Point, Mary Kay Messenger and Alexis Cole.  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Even though this annual event is geared to talk radio, we have a tradition of presenting some of the world’s greatest up-and-coming singers performing inspirational music at key moments in the proceedings.  Having Tora Fisher perform this powerful song at Talkers New York 2013 is extremely meaningful and certainly in keeping with this tradition.  Not only is this beautiful young woman one of the most talented female singer/songwriters I have heard since the golden days of the great ones like Joni Mitchell and Laura Nyro – she has a powerful personal story of courage and will that is both touching and compelling.  As a child of 13, she survived a terrible plane crash that took the life of her father and set her on the road to becoming mature beyond her years and a powerful artist of both words and music.  Add to that her dedication to the families of America’s brave young service people and…well, you have a very, very special young lady indeed.  Everyone who sees her perform at this event will be touched and certainly remember where they first heard and saw Tora!”

trn logoTRN Sues Former Attorney in Anti-Trust Case.  Talk Radio Network has filed suit in Oregon against California attorney Joseph Alioto alleging that he did not move with the speed promised and in a time frame that would prevent TRN from suffering further damages in its anti-trust suit against numerous sales rep firms and radio programming syndicators.  TRN is seeking more than $10 million in damages and relief.  In the claim, TRN alleges that after making a $125,000 retainer payment, Alioto repeatedly failed to file the complaint in a timely fashion and when Alioto decided to withdraw from the matter, he caused TRN further losses due to the time that had passed.  TRN claims Alioto did not have good cause to withdraw from the matter.  Allegations include fraud and legal malpractice.

whitebillProgrammer Bill White Exits WGN, Chicago.  One of the first moves on the part of WGN, Chicago’s new president and general manager Jimmy de Castro is to make a change in program directors for the heritage news/talk station.  Talk programming pro Bill White leaves the station after two years in the director of programming and news position.  White states, “Having the opportunity to work with such a tremendous team at one of America’s legendary radio stations has been a privilege and an honor.  I wish the staff and WGN Radio much success in the future.”  Bill White can be reached at wwhite989@aol.com.  In a memo to staffers, de Castro wrote, “Sometimes managers have to make difficult decisions on behalf of a few to build a brighter future for many.  Today, we are losing the services of a friend and delightful professional, Bill White.  Please join me in wishing him the best in his future endeavors.”  There’s no word who will replace White but industry watchers believe de Castro will go with someone who either currently works in the Chicago market or is very familiar with it.

newsmax logoNewsmax Reports #1 Online Reading Status.  Conservative media firm Newsmax announces that according to digital measurement firm comScore, during April, of the 65 million Americans using all digital platforms, Newsmax sites led all other sites in web traffic with over 14 million monthly unique visitors.  comScore notes that Newsmax exceeded such competitors as HuffPost Politics and Fox News Politics with these recent April numbers.  Newsmax also was #1 in the same category for personal computer users who read News/Politics online.  According to comScore, Newsmax received 14.4 million monthly unique visitors in April — up from 13.3 million the previous month.  HuffPost received 14 million monthly unique visitors from the News/Politics category and Fox News received 10.9 million monthly unique visitors in April, respectively.  comScore’s top 10 breaks down this way:  Newsmax Sites – 14.4 million monthly unique visitors; Huffington Post Politics – 14 million; Fox News – 10. 9 million; CNN Politics — 9 million; NBC News.com Politics — 7.5 million; Politico.com — 6.5 million; Current TV — 6.3 million; The Economist Group — 3.7 million; The Hill.com — 3.2 million; and Mother Jones.com — 2.9 million monthly unique visitors.  Speaking about Newsmax’s achievement, CEO Christopher Ruddy states, “We are once again honored to be the number one digital political news site for the second month in a row.  It is a testament to quality of our digital content that consumers online, on smartphones and on tablets continue to look to Newsmax for the latest political news.”

fccnewFCC Has New Acting Chief of Enforcement Bureau.  The Federal Communications Commission announces that FCC acting chairwoman Mignon L. Clyburn has appointed Robert H. Ratcliffe to the position of acting chief of the commission’s enforcement bureau.  Currently, Ratcliffe is the deputy chief of the media bureau.  The position opens as P. Michele Ellison moves to the chief of staff post.  Ratcliffe is a longtime staffer at the FCC having spent more than 35 years at the agency including as acting chief of the media bureau and as deputy chief of the enforcement bureau.  In a statement, Clyburn says, “I am pleased that Mr. Ratcliffe has agreed to serve in this critical role.  Bob is a top-flight lawyer who will bring his vast experience, sound legal judgment, and overall sense of fairness to this effort.”

Sexual Assaults in U.S. Military, Looming MLB PEDs Suspensions, Lung Transplant Controversy, Susan Rice National Security Adviser Nomination, and IRS Targeting of Conservative Groups Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/4).  Testimony of military chiefs addressing the high rate of sexual assaults in the U.S. military and Senator Saxby Chambliss’ associated comments; the reports of numerous suspensions coming from Major League Baseball for PED violations; the controversy over a 10-year-old girl’s need for a lung transplant and the government’s transplant program; Susan Rice’s nomination for national security adviser; and the IRS’ targeting of conservative non-profit groups were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

| April 17, 2013

arbitronArbitron Shareholders Approve Acquisition by Nielsen Holdings N.V.  At yesterday’s special meeting of stockholders, Arbitron’s shareholders voted to approve the acquisition of the company by Nielsen Holdings N.V.nielsen logo with 98.99% of the shares voting in favor of the agreement and plan of merger.  These shares represented approximately 77.11% of total outstanding shares of Arbitron common stock as of the March 8, 2013 record date for the Special Meeting.  As previously announced on December 18, 2012, Arbitron Inc. and Nielsen Holdings N.V. entered into a definitive agreement for Nielsen to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of Arbitron for $48.00 per share in cash.  The deal remains subject to certain regulatory approvals, including expiration of the Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust waiting period, and customary closing conditions.

DG-logoHorizontalDial Global Closes on Recapitalization.  Dial Global first announced plans to enter into recapitalization of its existing credit facilities, other obligations and equity interests back on March 4.  Now, it reports it has entered into an Amended and Restated Credit Agreement with General Electric Capital Corporation, as administrative agent and collateral agent on a “First Lien Credit Agreement,” which, after taking into account a $15 million paydown, consists of a term loan of $136 million and revolving credit commitments of approximately $23 million, $18 million of which is drawn.  The maturity date for that is October 21, 2016.  DG also states it has entered into a Priority Second Lien Credit Agreement with Cortland Capital Market Services, LLC, as administrative agent and collateral agent, Blackrock Kelso Capital Corporation, as syndication agent and as the lender party for an additional $31.5 million term loan facility, with a maturity date of July 21, 2017.  The Company issued to Blackrock penny warrants to purchase 7.5% of the Dial Global common stock.  The Second Lien Credit Agreement was a restructuring of the existing approximately $93 million in second lien obligations and was accomplished by amending and restating the Second Lien Credit Agreement to provide for a $30 million term loan with a maturity date of April 16, 2018 and exchanging approximately $63 million in remaining obligations under the prior Second Lien Credit Agreement for a new Series A preferred stock of the Company.  Lenders received penny warrants to purchase 12.0% of the Company’s common stock and 12.0% of the outstanding shares of Series B preferred stock, Series C preferred stock and Series D preferred stock.  Those will be subject to forfeit, in whole or in part, if the Dial Global retires all or a portion of the $30 million second lien term loan and the Series A preferred stock held by such 2L lenders prior to certain specified dates.  As part of these agreements, stockholders of preferred stock and warrants were granted certain corporate governance rights, including the right to elect three directors to the Dial Global’s new eight-person board of directors.  The three newly-elected directors are Brian Pope, Marshall Merriman and Ethan Underwood.

smerconishmichaelWashington Post’s Erik Wemple Examines Smerconish Departure from WPHT.  In a piece in the Washington Post, media writer Erik Wemple takes a look at Michael Smerconish’s exit from longtime home base WPHT, Philadelphia for his new employer SiriusXM and, more specifically, Smerconish’s unwillingness to be defined as a dyed-in-the-wool conservative Republican and the CBS Radio station’s move to remain true to the conservative talk radiowpht logo philosophy.  Smerconish debuted this week on the satcaster’s POTUS channel – politics of the United States – that serves those interested in politics in general as opposed to the conservative and liberal talk channels the service also offers.  Smerconish is not afraid to criticize what he believes are faults with both the news/talk format or the country in general, telling Wemple, “The problem for the country, I think, is that too many [people] cannot differentiate between entertainment and substance.  The country is paying a price for this brand of polarized media…Too many politicians are taking their cues from people with microphones.”  Wemple spoke with WPHT GM Marc Rayfield who says Smerconish’s philosophical change over the past few years veered from the station’s objective.  He says there’s little passion for “middle-of-the-road.”  He also says Smerconish “didn’t serve our core values.  We wanted to remain conservative…We had been talking about the direction of the radio station for some time and we came to a mutual conclusion that we were not necessarily the best fit for each other.”  Michael Smerconish will deliver the State of the First Amendment address at the Talkers New York 2013 conference in New York on Thursday, June 6.  Read Wemple’s piece here.

bohannonjimRadio Legend Jim Bohannon Celebrates 30 Years in Syndication.  The lifelong radio broadcaster has been in national syndication with Dial Global and its predecessors for 30 years as of Friday, April 19 when he celebrates that mark.  Jim Bohannon began with the old Mutual Radio Network as a reporter and then started filling in for Larry King on his nationally syndicated program.  The network was acquired by Westwood One and Bohannon took over for King’s late night slot in 1993.  Bohannon recently re-signed with Dial Global (which acquired Westwood One) and will be honored with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from TALKERS magazine at the Talkers New York 2013 industry convention in New York City on Thursday, June 6.

stephandougDoug Stephan Adds a Dozen Affiliates.  Doug Stephan’s Stephan Multimedia reports the company has picked up a dozen new affiliates for the company’s radio offerings including Stephan’s “Good Day” nationally syndicated morning program, the weekend “Talk Radio Countdown Show” and others.  New affiliates include: WNZS, Bangor, Maine; KTPA, Prescott, Arizona; WLBK, DeKalb, Illinois; KLEY, Wellington, Kansas; KMAS, Shelton, Washington; KVPI, Ville Platte, Louisiana; KXAR, Hope, Arkansas; KKLE, Winfield, Kansas; KOAL, Price, Utah; KUGN, Eugene, Oregon; WICO, Ocean City, Maryland; and WTIM, Taylorville, Illinois.

mmgradionet logoMedia Management Group Expands into Network Syndication; Warren Eckstein’s Pet Show Joins Initiative.  Longtime WOR, New York and WOR Radio Network personality Warren Eckstein returns to national syndication via Media Management Group’s new MMG Radio Network division.  The syndicator reports Eckstein’s “The Pet Show” launched on Saturday, April 6 on more than 100 stations. ecksteinwarren Additionally, Warren’s “Pet Tip” can be heard daily on more than 200 stations.  MMG also announces the new network will be led by Alan Eisenson, MMG’s EVP of business development.  MMG states, “Eisenson has a 23-year background successfully programming news/talk radio stations in New York, Denver, Las Vegas and, most recently, Clear Channel’s news/talk properties in Sacramento and San Francisco.”  On the new initiative, Eisenson says. “As the industry environment continues to evolve, the opportunity presented itself to acquire some of the format’s top talent in various niches.  We’re thrilled to have seized that opportunity.  We’re honored to be working with an accomplished pro like Warren Eckstein, and excited by the array of top caliber talent to come as we expand the network.”  The MMG Radio Network says it will eventually include 12 hours of programming produced weekly and tailored for stations’ weekend lineups.  The programs will also include a broad roster of digital elements, making them completely customizable for listeners to consume exactly when and how they wish.

schruckwindremSeton Hall University Radio Station Honors Alumni Glenn Schuck and Bob Windrem.  Two alumni of Seton Hall University’s radio station WSOU, South Orange, New Jersey “The Loudest Rock” were honored at the station’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony this past Saturday.  WINS, New York reporter Glenn Schuck (left) and NBC News producer Bob Windrem (right) were inducted during WSOU’s 65th anniversary dinner, which drew more than 200 people together to celebrate the station’s birthday.  Some of the attendees included station alumni Bob Ley, Anthony Delia, Bill Rock, Full Metal Jackie, Pete Tauriello, Christina Stoffo, Frank Garrity, Mike DePippa, Joe Guzick, Mark Mitchell, and Gary Susalis, among others.

Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath, Gun Legislation Proposals, and Teen Rape/Suicide Cases Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/16).  The aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing was the dominant story on news/talk radio across the country on Tuesday.  Other stories that registered included proposals for gun legislation and the high-profile cases of young teens allegedly raped who then committed suicide.  The top stories are the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, April 11 2013

| April 11, 2013

fishercommunicationsFisher Communications to Be Acquired by Sinclair Broadcasting for $373.3 Million.  Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. announces that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire Fisher Communications, Inc. for $373.3 million.  The deal will see Fisher shareholders get $41 in cash for each share of Fisher common stock.komologo  That’s 44% over the closing price of Fisher stock on January 9 of this year.  Fisher only owns three radio signals – hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5,” all-news KOMO-AM and news/talk KVI (it manages South Sound Broadcasting-owned KOMO-FM as a simulcast of KOMO-AM).  It owns 20 television stations.  Sinclair president and CEO David Smith states, “We are excited to acquire Fisher and expand our coverage westward, especially in the two key markets of Seattle (DMA 12) and Portland (DMA 22).  Started in 1910, Fisher’s history of operating television and radio stations in the northwest corner of the U.S. has played an important role in its communities and in producing high-quality local news.  We look forward to expanding upon those traditions and improving the cash flow of the stations through the benefits that come with our scale.”  Sinclair began selling off its radio stations in the 1990s and sold the final bunch in 2000.  It seems very likely that the TV-centric company would turn around and sell the Seattle radio stations, however it has not indicated its intent regarding a return to radio.

knx logoKNX, Los Angeles to Celebrate 45 Years as All-News Outlet.  On Monday, April 15, CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles will recognize its 45th year as an all-news radio station.  As the company notes in a statement, “A stunned nation was still in shock following the assassination of Martin Luther King when just 11 days later on April 15, 1968, CBS-owned KNX-AM significantly increased the time it devoted to news coverage, essentially launching an all-news format that continues today…Less than two months after the King shooting in Memphis, KNX would be covering another national tragedy, this one with indelible ties to Los Angeles, when Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was killed at the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard.  Before the 60s drew to a close, KNX would cover a moon landing and a Manson massacre, symbolic of the mix of ludlumandyprominent national and local events that were to become the fabric of KNX’s dedication to reporting major news stories.”  KNX director of news and programming Andy Ludlum says, “Since 1968 we’ve seen eight U.S. presidents, six California governors and five L.A. mayors.  We’ve had riots, fires, earthquakes, mudslides, hosted the Olympics, lost a couple of football teams, rooted the Lakers to 11 titles, watched OJ run wild on the freeways and recently endured a nightmarish hunt for a fugitive cop-killer.  And through it all, KNX has embodied trust, integrity and credibility.  We all feel a sense of responsibility to follow in the footsteps of so many great KNX news people like Bill Keene, Alex Sullivan, Jon Goodman, Barry Rohde, Beach Rogers, Dave Zorn and Harry Birrell, to name just a few.  You hear the pride in the great heritage of KNX in the work of today’s anchors like Dick Helton, Vicky Moore, Tom Haule, Linda Nunez, Diane Thompson, Jim Thornton and Chris Sedens.”

courtsidelogoRoby Wiener Joins Courtside Entertainment Group.  Ad executive Roby Wiener becomes part of the Courtside Entertainment Group in a newly created position: executive vice president of client strategy.  Courtside says that in this post, Wiener will oversee branding, client strategy and market research for all of Courtside’s divisions, including radio, Launchpad Digital Media and PodcastOne.com.  She will be based in New York and will report pattiznormdirectly to Courtside chairman Norm Pattiz.  Pattiz states, “I can’t think of a better person to communicate the value of the changes that are going on in media today.  I’ve known Roby longer than I’ve known my wife and I love her almost as much.  I couldn’t be happier to have her as a part of our team on this very exciting ride.”  Wiener most recently served with Dial Global, joining the company after its merger with Westwood One which she’d been with since 2006 as chief marketing officer and EVP of marketing.  Previously, Wiener served as executive vice president client strategies & services for the Premiere Radio Networks for eight years and spent over 11 years at Warner-Lambert, a leading consumer product company that was among the top five largest national radio advertisers, as senior media manager of the company’s Advertising Services Department.  She says, “Technology continues to shape the way people share ideas and my passion has always been to help advertisers be an important part of that dialog.  Launchpad’s communication platform provides a remarkable new approach for advertisers to tell their stories with an authenticity that truly resonates with consumers, engaging with them on their terms.  I have had the pleasure of working with both Norm Pattiz and Dan Yukelson at various stages of my career and I am eager to collaborate with them and the team in this new venture.”

hatleybrentLongtime Bubba the Love Sponge Producer Brent Hatley Exits.  The man who’s been Bubba the Love Sponge’s right-hand man for the past 13 years tells the Tampa Bay Times that there is no acrimony between he and Bubba the Love Sponge – he simply wants to branch out into other things and he’s unable to pursue those interests while continuing to work on the program.  Bubba told his audience that Brent Hatley would be leaving, admitting he’s surprised by the move but saying the door is always open to Hatley coming back should he choose to.  In the meantime, Shannon Burke – former WTKS, Orlando talk show host and current personality on Bubba’s online radio channel Radio IO – will get a weeklong tryout to take over Hatley’s role with the WHPT, Tampa-based program.

kfwbKFWB, Los Angeles Adds Sports Programming.  L.A. news/talk outlet KFWB announces it is adding sports talk content to its news and talk programming. Using content from CBS Sports Radio Network and NBC Sports Radio Network, the station will air Jim Rome’s commentaries (CBS) as well as the Amani & Eytan show (NBC) with Amani Toomer and Eytan Shander for the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot plus the Eric Kuselias program (NBC) from 3:00 am to 5:00 am.  KFWB is also adding the locally produced “KFWB’s Sports Knight with Michael Knight” for the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot.  Knight serves as an anchor with the station.  KFWB general manager Valerie Blackburn says, “As the flagship station of the Los Angeles Clippers, we want to give our sports fans more of an opportunity to be part of the sports conversation.  We continue to look for ways to give our listeners and clients the best possible programming options available.”

ksro logoLocal Group to Buy Five-Station Santa Rosa Cluster.  The investors – Sonoma Media Group — is headed by former owner of the stations, Lawrence Amaturo, who sold the cluster in 2000 for almost $30 million.  The price to re-acquire the stations from Connecticut-based Maverick Media is $4.5 millionamaturolawrence according to a piece in the Press-Democrat.  The stations include news/talk KSRO, classic rock KVRV “The River,” CHR KHTH “Hot 101.7,” country KFGY “Froggy 92.9,” and hot AC KMHX “Mix 104.9.”  Amaturo tells the paper, “The opportunity was irresistible.  More than half of this community is listening to these stations each week…They’re more popular than when I sold them in 2000, but their revenue is down and their profit is down.  I’m able to reinvest in these radio stations, in programming and promotion, which the current owners were not able to do. There was too much debt.”  Amaturo says he has no plans to make changes to the stations and may consider bringing local programs that were recently cancelled back to the air.

raytomIP Codecs, Transmitters, the Future of AM and other Cool Stuff.  These are the topics addressed in this week’s column by TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray, inspired by his visit to the 2013 NAB Show in Las Vegas.  According to Ray, “Just about everything I saw at the NAB was IP, IP, IP.”  The engineering wizard also shares his seasoned insights into the revitalization of AM approaching the subject from angles ignored by most industry observers.  On the subject of transmitters (yes, we still use them in radio), Ray says the trend is to deliver more in less space.  Read the entire installment of the engineering column that “isn’t just for engineers because in today’s radio environment programmers and management have to worry about engineering a lot more than they used to” by clicking here.

lycangarySouthern California Radio Writer Gary Lycan Dies at 68.  The longtime Orange County Register radio columnist had been battling prostate cancer for the past several years and died in his sleep on Tuesday at age 68.  Gary Lycan’s final column ran in the OC Register on Saturday.  He began his career with the paper in 1962 as a copy boy and worked his way up to assistant managing editor for features – a post he held until he left his full-time position with the paper in 2002.  Since that time and up to his death, he continued to write his radio column as a freelancer.   It was widely regarded as a special window into the radio and media world for Southern California readers.

ramseynabhofDave Ramsey Enters the Hall of Fame.  At the NAB Show Luncheon on Tuesday, nationally syndicated talk show host Dave Ramsey was inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.  He’s pictured here (r) with NAB chief executive officer Gordon Smith (l) accepting a commemorative plaque.

Gun Legislation Proposals, Immigration Overhaul Bill, North Korea Missile Threats, Mitch McConnell-Ashley Judd Case, and Obama’s Budget Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/10).  The continuing efforts to pass gun legislation; the immigration overhaul bill offered by Senate Democrats; tension over North Korea’s missile threats; the controversy over the recording of Republican Senator Mitch McConnell’s Ashley Judd strategy; and President Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

| April 9, 2013

paiajitFCC Commissioner Ajit Pai’s Panel at NAB Show Addresses Future of the AM Band.  To someone outside the business eavesdropping on the FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai-moderated panel at the NAB Show it would seem almost bizarre that in an era where every other word uttered in connection with media is “digital” that a long discussion about saving the AM band could take place, but that’s exactly what happened in Las Vegas on Monday.  As the AM-friendly Pai led the talk about AM’s future, there were several ideas put forth about how to keep the band alive – one of which included crafting legislation to flip the whole band digital.  This idea was supported by CBS Radio SVP of engineering Glynn Walden who suggested that very soon HD radios will surpass satellite radio receivers in numbers (presumably due to inclusion in new car information/entertainment systems).  Other suggestions included making it easier for broadcasters to use FM translators by changing the regulations to simplify their move to the same location as the original city of license.  Still, other observers noted that these suggestions all involve making the operation of an AM station more expensive – in some cases requiring tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.  In recent years, numerous broadcasters have told TALKERS that one of the beauties of buying an AM station is that, in relative terms, it’s more affordable than an FM operation and allows for easier entry into the business for minority and foreign-language operators.

cookeholland2013 NAB Show: “Metamorphosis: The Changing Face of Media & Entertainment.”  Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports that “change” is certainly the name of the game in Las Vegas this week as radio broadcasters gather to talk about their medium and its integration into the fast-changing, bigger picture that is the world of information and entertainment.  Holland reports on numerous sessions he attended dealing with such issues as the changing face of sales as it applies to markets of all sizes; the technical limitations of the AM band; AM/FM radio’s future in the car dashboard; and the opening keynote by NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith.  Read Holland’s column here.

nms2013logoAgenda Set for Talkers New York 2013.  The roster of industry luminaries signed up to serve as speakers at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 has been announced and it reads like a who’s who of the talk radio industry.  Not yet named on the list are several more “surprise” speakers including the yet-to-be revealed recipient of the 2013 Freedom of Speech Award which will bring the total to around 50.  In making the announcement, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “In the 16-year colorful history of this national conference, I believe this is the best and most balanced lineup of speakers we’ve ever assembled.  This power-packed gathering of management, programming, sales and technical leaders will directly address today’s most important issues, as the radio industry – not just spoken-word – faces some of the most existential challenges of its century-long history.”  Talkers New York 2013 takes place on Thursday, June 6 between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm at the Concierge Conference Center, 780 Third Avenue on Manhattan’s East Side.   The event, which is on the verge of being an early sellout, is open exclusively to members of the working media.  Registrations can only be booked by credit card over the phone at 413-565-5413.  To see the up-to-the-minute agenda and schedule, click here.

bokenyibernardBernard Bokenyi Named PD at Sport Talk KXTG, Portland.  Alpha Broadcasting’s sports talk KXTG-AM “750 The Game” announces Bernard Bokenyi is the station’s new program director.  Director of programming Scott Mahalick states, “Bernard brings a genuine passion and drive to sports radio that is invaluable to ‘750 The Game’ and Alpha Broadcasting.”  Bokenyi has served with Alpha Broadcasting for the past three years.  Prior to that he served as executive producer at Good Karma’s WKNR, Cleveland and spent a number of years based in Chicago with Sports News Radio.  On his new gig he says, “I am truly honored to be given this opportunity with such a great radio station and to be a part of a company that is committed to creating quality content.”

freemanedge“Free Talk Live” Adds Two Affiliates.  The independent, nationally syndicated talk show “Free Talk Live” – co-hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge – announces two new affiliate stations join the program.  First, replacing the soon-to-be-ending “Daily Wrap,” Georgia Eagle Broadcasting’s WRWR-AM, Warner Robins, Georgia adds FTL for the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot.  Over in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Hutton Broadcasting’s triple A KVSF-FM is flipping to talk and will add FTL for the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight time slot.

federrobertChicago Media Journalist Robert Feder to Exit Time Out Chicago.  Longtime Chicago media writer Robert Feder – who’s wrote for the Sun-Times for decades and most recently has been a fixture at Time Out Chicago, announces that due to a change in the ownership structure of Time Out Chicago, he’s accepted a buyout of his deal and says he looks forward to continuing his coverage of Windy City media in another incarnation very soon.

waltonmcnabbThe Land of the Giants.  Prior to last night’s Dial Global broadcast of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game in Atlanta, NBC Sports Radio personality Donovan McNabb of the network’s “Under Center with McNabb and Malone” program interviewed basketball great Bill Walton who served as an analyst for Dial Global’s radio coverage of the game.

Margaret Thatcher Dies, Gun Legislation Issue, North Korea Threats, Immigration Reform, and News Reporter Faces Jail Time Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/8).  The death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher; various gun legislation proposals; the threats against the U.S. and South Korea from North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; immigration reform proposals; and the legal battle being fought by Fox News reporter Jana Winter to protect her sources in the case of Colorado shooter James Holmes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

| April 3, 2013

infinitedial logoArbitron/Edison Research’s Infinite Dial 2013 Indicates Radio Still Dominates In-Car Listening; the Smartphone Is the Hot Delivery Tool.  Tuesday’s webinar from Arbitron and Edison Research provided a treasure trove of data for radio execs and sales personnel wishing to prove that radio is still a relevant medium in today’s world.  But much of the data also showed that over the course of the past 15 years, it’s been easy to see the leaps and bounds by which digital media is gaining on the traditionals – AM/FM and broadcast television.  Some of the key takeaways for talk stations:

  • Of those surveyed (18+) who’ve ridden/driven a car in the past month, 84% used AM/FM radio; 63% used the CD player; 29% an iPod or mp3 player; and 12% used online radio.

Obviously, the online radio usage (defined as AM/FM stations over the internet as well as pure plays) will continue to rise as that technology becomes more available and easier to use.

  • 58% of those surveyed report AM/FM radio as the medium used “almost all of the time” or “most of the time.”
  • 72% of respondents do not have a Bluetooth connection in their car.  A technology that would aid online usage in the vehicle.  That will change quickly as manufacturers make them standard in new cars.

The Smartphone.  Reaching potential listeners via smartphone technology is crucial to the future of content providers.  Fifty-three percent of Americans (estimated to be 139 million) own a smartphone – up from 44% just last year.

  • About 75% of persons 18-34 own smartphones
  • Of all people (12+) who own smartphones, 44% have ever listened to online radio.  Expect that number to grow rapidly.
  • Although just 18% of smartphone owners listen to online radio daily, that’s still a big number – more than 25 million Americans (12+) – and that is also likely to grow exponentially.

Podcasting.  Although podcasting listening has leveled out over the past two or three years – about 12% or 32 million Americans have listened to an audio podcast in the last month – more than 25% of weekly podcast users have listened to six or more during that period.  The takeaway for stations/talk hosts/content providers producing podcasts is that loyal podcast users consume a lot of them.  That’s good for sales to know.  Also, the goal of converting P1s into podcast users is a worthwhile one since it appears they often become hooked on the format.

Some of the key observations by Arbitron’s Bill Rose and Edison’s Tom Webster from this year’s Infinite Dial research project include:

  • Over the population, digital platforms do not appear to replace traditional media usage, they tend to enhance them;
  • The smartphone is the most important device media businesses are dealing with and the smartphone is functioning as a “two-way” radio today;
  • Online radio reaches 86 million people per week for an average of 12 hours, with so many choices it is imperative to have a strategy that cuts through the clutter;
  • 66% of those surveyed who wake up to a smartphone use the alarm sound, not music to talk content, convince them to do otherwise!

hunnicuttclayClay Hunnicutt to Receive 2013 “Humanitarian of the Year” Award at Talkers New York 2013.  The 2013 recipient of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Broadcaster (also referred to as “Humanitarian of the Year”) has been selected by the TALKERS editorial board.  This year’s recipient is Clear Channel Media & Entertainment EVP of programming, Clay Hunnicutt.  The 25-year veteran of radio broadcasting has been selected for this important honor in recognition of the key role he has played in paving the way for the Fisher House Foundation to become one of the radio industry’s most actively spotlighted charities, thus providing invaluable support in the form of free housing to the families of service men and women injured in combat during their visits to them at the hospital.  To learn more about Fisher House Foundation visit www.fisherhouse.org.  While serving as CC’s SCP/Community Engagement he arranged for a company-wide 2010 Veterans Day initiative in support of Fisher House.  Every CC station spotlighted Fisher House on that day and urged listeners to donate online or via text.  That event was repeated in 2011.  These campaigns alone (2010 and 2011) raised a total of $1.2 million for Fisher House.  In addition, the company donated $3 million in PSA airtime around Veterans Day 2012.  Fisher House representatives inform TALKERS that Hunnicutt has also helped them make vital connections at the local level.  Hunnicutt tells TALKERS, “If you’ve never been to a Fisher House – you must go!  Just one visit will change your life because they are making the lives of so many soldiers and sailors better.  They took the challenge of helping the men and women that put their lives on the line for our freedom every day to a whole new level.  It is a world class organization that delivers on everything they say they will do, and that always puts the needs of other first.  This is something we should all aspire to do, and make a priority with our individual time and our stations.”  Hunnicutt will be presented the award on Thursday, June 6 at Talkers New York 2013 during the afternoon “Freedom of Speech Award Ceremony.”  The event, which is nearing a sellout, is open to members of the working media.  Registrations can only be booked over the phone at 413-565-5413.

millerdennisDennis Miller Celebrates 6th Radio Anniversary.  It’s been six years since comedian and Saturday Night Live alum Dennis Miller began a daily radio talk show on the old Westwood One radio network.  On Friday, March 29, Miller celebrated his 6th anniversary on the Dial Global network hosting some friends from the old days.  Fellow SNL cast members Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon, along with Seth Meyers appeared on the program as did fellow television star Tim Allen.

duemigsteveWDAE, Tampa’s Steve Duemig Returns to Air with New Deal.  Tampa sports talk host Steve Duemig was taken off the air at Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa last week after the two sides hit some sort of snag in their contract negotiations.  According to the Tampa Bay TimesEric Deggans, Duemig said he was asked to sign a new contract before the window that would allow him to speak with other companies opened.  When he refused, he was taken off the air.  Now, Duemig says he’s back with a three-year deal that, according to the paper, includes no new money.  He tells the Times, “But am I happy? I won’t answer that.”

raytomProof of Performance, Transmitter Control and Other Technical Stuff Radio Station Staffers Should Understand…at Least a Little.  In a page out of the Engineer’s Truth is Stranger than Fiction files, renown engineering wizard and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray cites a couple of “strange but true” examples of how crazy things can get in to today’s radio station environment when it comes to “little” things like which buttons to press when the transmitter goes haywire and avoiding trouble with the FCC by staying within compliance.  In the process he sheds light on standard concepts like “proof of performance” and “turning a transmitter on and off” that programming-types really should know and in language that they can actually understand…we hope!  To read Tom Ray’s column, click here.

francesamikeMike Francesa Signs Long-Term Renewal with WFAN, New York.  American sports talk radio icon Mike Francesa inks a deal to remain the afternoon drive host on CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York for years to come.  The exact term of the contract is not being disclosed but CBS Radio president Dan Mason states, “Mike has earned his place inwfan logo radio history as a great broadcaster and we’re thrilled to continue our relationship with sports radio’s most celebrated host.  WFAN and Mike Francesa are synonymous with the absolute best in sports programming excellence.  These two powerful brands have endured the test of time, and remain a very relevant force in the industry nearly three decades after they first went on the air.”  As part of the deal, Francesa’s long-running Sunday morning “The NFL Now” show will be aired on the CBS Sports Radio Network beginning this fall.  Vice president, sports programming, CBS Radio Mark Chernoff states, “Mike represents the heart and soul of WFAN, and we’re proud he will continue to make the station his long-term broadcast home.  Like no one else, Mike can take a story to the next level and involve his listeners in thought provoking ways with topical and opinionated conversation.  He has set the standard for what represents an entertaining and informative radio program.”  Francesa says, “I’m very proud of what we have accomplished at WFAN.  I am also honored and thankful to CBS Radio for its continued commitment, and most of all to the listeners for their enduring loyalty.”  Mike Francesa will be the sports talk keynote speaker at Talkers New York 2013 on Thursday, June 6.  The event, which is nearing a sellout, is open to members of the working media.  Registrations can only be booked over the phone at 413-565-5413.

zpolitics logoOdds & Sods.  WGAU, Gainesville, Georgia-based talk show host Martha Zoller announces the coming debut of her Georgia politics website called Zpolitics.  Zoller states, “I am thrilled to announce the launch of my new website, Zpolitics.  We created this online hub to satisfy the desire for relevant news, smart political commentary, and sharp analysis from Georgia’s top pollsters, strategists, and grassroots activists.”….. The “Mo’Kelly Show” celebrates its one-yearokellymorris anniversary on Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles this Saturday, April 6 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  Show host Morris O’Kelly reports that over the past 12 months, guests have included NAACP president Ben Jealous, Pleasanton Tea Party president Dr. Bridget Melson, members of Congress, state leadership from both the Democratic and Republican parties and entertainment guests such as actresses Gabrielle Union and Tamara Tunie, comedian Cedric the Entertainer and musicians Joe Sample, Will Downing and Eric Benét.  O’Kelly also hosts various mornings on sister progressive talk station KTLK and serves as American political correspondent for the BBC…..Sunrise Broadcasting flips oldies WGNY-AM, Newburgh, New York to sports talk using ESPN Radio.  The company also plans to flip country WZAD, Wurtsboro, New York (Poughkeepsie market) as a simulcast soon.

GAcompositeThe Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Announces 2013 Legacy Inductees.  The following Georgia broadcasters will be honored at the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame 7th Annual Induction Awards on October 19, 2013 at the Atlanta/Marietta Hilton Hotel and Conference Center.  The Class of 2013 includes (in alphabetical order): Palmyra Braswell, the first black female disc jockey in Macon, Georgia (WBML ) and educator; George Crumbley, sales manager at WSB, Atlanta and father of The Peach Bowl; Jimmy Dunaway, WSB, Atlanta farm director and news anchor; Al Evans, Jr., WVLD, Valdosta owner, on air known as Danny Dee; John Holliman,  WSB reporter and Peabody Award recipient; Don Kordecki, WKRW, Cartersville owner and civic leader; Royal Marshall, WSB, Atlanta talk show host and producer; Leonard Postero, creator and voice of weekly sports program “Leonard Losers”; and Annie Lee Small, WYTH, Madison co-owner and Atlanta’s first female announcer.  The Legacy inductees join other honorees: James “Alley Pat” Patrick, 2013 Founders and Directors Award and Jim Woodruff, Jr., 2013 Elmo Ellis Spirit Award.  Pictured here are: Top row (l-r): Palmyra Braswell, George Crumbley, Jimmy Dunaway, Al Evans, Jr., John Holliman. Bottom row (l-r): Don Kordecki, Royal Marshall, Annie Lee Small, Leonard Postero.

North Korea Threats, Gun Legislation, ObamaCare Effects, Illegal Immigration, and Rutgers Basketball Coach Fired Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/2).  The ongoing concern over North Korea’s threats of military action against South Korea and America; the myriad gun legislation proposals; the effects of the Affordable Care Act; chatter over illegal immigration and amnesty legislation; and the firing of Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice after a video goes viral were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

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.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

| March 21, 2013

mcdowellrobertFCC Commissioner Robert McDowell to Step Down.  Republican FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell announces that he will exit his seat within the next few weeks – 14 months before his term was set to expire.  The National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith says of McDowell, “Robert McDowell has been a remarkably gifted public servant during his seven-year tenure at the FCC.  His good humor and grace have been matched only by his ardent support for fair media ownership rules and full-throated support for a vibrant First Amendment.  Commissioner McDowell will succeed in whatever path he chooses, and NAB wishes him well.”

launchpad logoNew York Public Radio Shows Repped by Launchpad Digital Media; Available on PodcastOne.com.  The Norm Pattiz-founded Launchpad Digital Media and digital content sitenypr logo PodcastOne.com work out a deal with New York Public Radio-produced content including “Freakonomics,” “RadioLab,” “Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin” and “On the Media.”  The podcasts of these shows will be represented for advertising sales by Launchpad and available on PodcastOne.com.  Launchpad says, “PodcastOne.com is already home to over 200 popular podcasts including CBS News, Adam Carolla, Dennis Miller, Ron Paul, Penn Jillette, Laura Ingraham, Maria Menounos, Tom Green, Dr. Drew and many more.”  Westwood One founder and Launchpad/PodcastOne.com chairman Norm Pattiz says, “New York Public Radio produces some of the most compelling, popular programming and we are proud to welcome these powerhouse audience magnets to the pattiznormLaunchpad/PodcastOne.com family.”  Director of digital underwriting for NYPR Sarah van Mosel states, “We’re so excited that Launchpad Digital Media has recognized the value of reaching the on-demand audience.  By harnessing this amazing content, Launchpad is paving the way for brands to finally connect intimately with listeners on a grand scale.”  According to Launchpad president Kit Gray, “These four podcasts alone are already downloaded more than 10 million times every month.  We are delighted to give our clients access to this loyal, educated and affluent audience that will continue to grow.”

nbcsportsradio logoNBC Sports Radio and Dial Global Name Brian Kenny Late Morning Host.  Filling the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET slot on the national sports talk radio network will be former ESPN personality and well-known sports media figure Brian Kenny.   The NBC Sports and Dial Global 24/7 sports talk network kennybrianproject debuts on April 1.  Kenny hosts “Clubhouse Confidential” on MLB Network and covers boxing for Showtime.  NBC and Dial Global say Kenny is a “respected interviewer who will go one-on-one with some of the biggest names in sports.  Additionally known for his adept skill as a ‘numbers cruncher,’ he will also go beyond the scores and delve into the data, breaking down the analytics of the games.”  Kenny hosted his own show on ESPN Radio and also anchored “SportsCenter” and “Baseball Tonight,” and called play-by-play for ESPN’s “Wednesday Night Baseball” and the “World Baseball Classic.”  Kenny was named “Media Personality of the Year” by SI.com in 2004.  He states, “I’m thrilled to be joining the team at NBC Sports Radio and Dial Global and I am excited to be back on the airwaves.  We look forward to building a show that fosters intelligent sports conversation with in-depth analysis.  It’s going to be a blast.”

sykescharlieWTMJ, Milwaukee Personality Charlie Sykes Hosts Annual “Insight 2013” Event.  The annual “Insight” live program is a big promotional event for Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee and late-morning personality Charlie Sykes.  “Insight 2013” takes place at a local hotel from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm on Wednesday, March 27, is broadcast live on WTMJ and features Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, United States Senator Ron Johnson, United States Congressman Paul Ryan and other office holders and media personalities.  Sykes’ own RightWisconsin.com – a digital destination for conservative content – is sponsoring the event.  In addition to being broadcast live, the program will be recorded and re-broadcast on Sykes’ 8:30 am to 12:00 noon show.

detersericEric Deters Leaves Morning Show Role on ClassX in Cincinnati.  The practicing attorney and well-known Cincinnati talk radio personality is leaving his role as morning host at Spryex Communications’ classic rock duo WMWX, Miamitown, Ohio and WKCX, Crittenden, Kentucky.  Eric Deters’ law practice is growing too much for him to dedicate the time necessary to hosting a three-hour morning program, ClassX manager Bill Spry tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter.  “Eric is taking a sabbatical possibly through the end of the year due to his law business exploding.  He may be doing a weekly show, or possibly a daily morning segment.  We’re not sure.”  Deters, who’s hosted shows for Clear Channel on WLW and Christian Broadcasting Systems’ former talk WQRT, began hosting the morning show in September of 2012.  Spryex brings Snake & Carson aboard to host the 6:00 am to 9:00 am program.

tuneinlogoTuneIn and Dial Global Agree to Sports Programming Deal.  Digital content aggregator TuneIn and Dial Global strike a deal for the former to feature select Dial Global-produced sports content.  The arrangement begins with full, live coverage of the 2013 NCAA College Basketball Tournament.  TuneIn VP of programming Kevin Straley says, “TuneIn is excited to align with a company known for delivering superior programming.  We’re thrilled by the opportunity to deliver exciting play-by-play basketball to all our listeners around the world.”  TuneIn will also feature Dial Global’s play-by-play coverage of the Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, Men’s Frozen Four, the Men’s and Women’s College World Series and the Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship semifinals and championship.

edisonresearchArbitron and Edison Research to Offer ‘Infinite Dial’ Webinar.  Scheduled for Tuesday, April 2, “The Infinite Dial 2013: Navigating Digital Platforms” from Arbitron and Edison Research will address the latest trends in consumer use of media, technology, and digital platforms.  Some of the issues to be reviewed include:  the growing penetration of smartphones and tablets and the ways people use these devices; radio’s continuing role in the lives of the digital consumer: at-work, in the car and as the “last word” before shopping; the continued growth of online radio usage and time spent listening; an update on social media use by brand and age demographics; and the devices people use to wake up in the morning.

Sequester Effects, Obama in Israel, Dr. Ben Carson-mania, North Korea Bluster, ‘Honors Night’ Cancellation, and the Soaring Dow Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/20).  The effects of the sequester; President Obama’s trip to Israel; the sudden popularity of Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson among conservatives; North Korea’s bellicose posturing; the cancellation of “honors night” at a Massachusetts High School; and the high-flying Dow were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, March 18, 2013

| March 18, 2013

wtmjFormer WGN and KMOX Exec Tom Langmyer to Consult Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee.  The Business Journal of Milwaukee reports that former WGN, Chicago vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer haslangmyertom been hired to consult Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee as it transitions from programmer Joe Scialfa, who has left the post.  WTMJ EVP Steve Wexler tells the publication, “I can confirm that we have made a change and are recruiting for a new program director.  Tom Langmyer is working with us during the transition to help recruit a new program director and work with our staff.”  Langmyer worked his way up from program director to general manager of KMOX, St.Louis.  After years in that post he moved to Tribune’s WGN, Chicago where he served as VP/GM until last October.

schnitttoddTodd Schnitt and Bubba the Love Sponge Settle in Mediation.  After a jury found Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) not guilty of defamation in the case brought against him by former crosstown rival Todd Schnitt, Schnitt got a new lawyer and prepared to take Bubba back to court claiming misconduct on the part of Bubba’s attorneys as a result of the DUI and misappropriated briefcase of his former lawyer, Phillip Campbell.  But, after a 12-hour mediation sessionbubba before mediator Jim Murman, the sides have agreed to end their spat – sort of.  According to TampaBayOnline, Bubba has agreed to leave Schnitt’s wife and children out of any future radio attacks, incurring a $5,000 fine per mention if he fails to keep his word.  Schnitt himself is fair game.  Bubba had intended to go after Schnitt to recoup his nearly $1 million in legal fees from the first trial but will withdraw that bid.  Bubba is heard in morning drive on WHTP, Tampa and was a rival of Schnitt’s when Schnitt – as MJ Kelli – held down mornings on WFLA-FM.  Now, Schnitt does only the PM drive show on news/talk WFLA-AM in the market. But there is still some acrimony and possible legal action – between Phillip Campbell and Schnitt.  After Schnitt fired Campbell, the latter went to court seeking about $1 million in legal fees from Schnitt.  But Schnitt’s new lawyer, Wil Florin, tells TampaBayOnline that Schnitt should not have to pay the money and that Campbell should have to refund almost $1 million previously paid because Campbell assured the Schnitt’s, after a 2008 DUI, that it would not happen again.

nbcsportsradio logoNBC Sport Radio Network Names Newy Scruggs Midday Host.  As the NBC Sports Radio and Dial Global 24/7 sports talk radio format is prepared for its round-the-clock debut on April 1, the networkscruggsnewy announces that KXAS-TV, Dallas sports director and former KRLD-FM, Dallas personality Newy Scruggs will host the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart with his program, “Voices of the Game with Newy Scruggs.”  The theme of the show is Scruggs will be joined each day by a major renowned and recognizable sports joneschipper“voice” during the entire second hour of the show.  Personalities will include Chipper Jones, Adrian Wojnarowski, Stan Van Gundy, Bobby Valentine and Chris Mannix.  Jones will begin baseball season in this hourly role on Tuesdays and then move into a weekly major contributor role as NBC Sports Radio’s MLB senior analyst once baseball season is fully underway.   Mannix, Valentine and Van Gundy are already part of the NBC Sports Radio roster and are expanding their roles.  Dial Global EVP and general manager Chris Corcoran states, “Hands down, ‘Voices of the Game’ is going to be special.  Not only is Newy one of the smartest and most reputable personalities around, but our unmatched and incredible daily guest hosts are going to deliver such a unique and informative show for affiliates, listeners and advertisers.”

werenumber1News/Talk Format Back to Place as Leading Format in February PPMs.  With Arbitron’s February PPM data set to be released after 5:00 pm today (3/18), some of the conclusions we can draw are that the news/talk format is coming back from its usual holiday lull and – across all 48 PPM markets, not any market in particular – the format is back to its spot as the leading format.  Industry pros who’ve been watching the performance of stations by format over the years are aware that formats in general can be said to be affected by seasonal factors.  The biggest and most obvious is how AC stations are buoyed by the public’s affection for Christmas music during the holiday period.  News/talk has historically – going back to the days prior to the PPM as well – performed well in the fall and spring periods and dipped a bit in the winter and summer periods.  Obviously, baseball tends to help news/talk stations avoid the summer drop.  With the recent uptick of concern about news/talk’s future – being aired in both the consumer and trade press – no doubt market managers and corporations will be eager to see how their individual news/talk stations performed in the PPM markets during the February period.

canzano logoKXTG-AM, Portland’s John Canzano Re-Ups with Alpha Broadcasting.  Midday sports talk personality John Canzano, host of “The Bald-Faced Truth” signs a multi-year extension with Alpha Broadcasting’s “750 The Game.”  He currently airs in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot.  Canzano is a popular sports media figure in the market serving as lead columnist for The Oregonian and as a regular commentator on KGW-TV.  He is also the co-founder of the Bald Faced Truth Foundation, a 501(c) 3 non-profit that helps children participate in music, art, sports and other co-curricular activities.  Alpha Broadcasting director of programming Scott Mahalick states, “John’s deep connection to the community through his Bald Faced Truth Foundation is just one of many reasons we are proud to have him on board with Portland’s premiere sports radio ‘750 The Game.’”

sabowalterSabo Says Radio Stations Are Becoming More and More Like TV Stations.  In a provocative article posted today in TALKERS (3/18), noted radio consultant Walter Sabo points out that the radio station of the not-too-distant future will appear similar in many ways to the television station of today.  As a matter of fact, this is a trend that is already becoming quite apparent.  To read Sabo’s column – which also includes insights into the danger of radio’s economic dependency on retail, the importance of bringing back research, and (for music programmers) the pitfalls of letting labels tell you when the songs they promote are at the peak of their hit potency – click here.

adamschadChad Adams to Exit Wilmington, North Carolina Talk Duo.  Hometown Wilmington Media general manager Beau Gunn announces morning drive personality Chad Adams will leave his position as morning host on March 29.  Adams is heard on WLTT, Bolivia, North Carolina and WNTB, Topsail Beach – stations branded “The Big Talker.”  Gunn states, “Chad has served the community and our company with hard work and dedication for the past three years.  We are sad to see him go and wish him the best in all of his new endeavors.”  In addition to hosting the morning show, he has appeared as a regular featured commentator on local cable news channel News 14 Carolina‘s ‘Capitol Tonight’ and as a guest political analyst on WWAY-TV.

kjfk logoAmericom Las Vegas Shutters Progressive Talk KJFK, Reno.  After eight years as a progressive talk outlet, Americom Las Vegas announces it has been losing money on the station for some time – “thousands of dollars a month” – and its hand is being forced.  The station says on its website, “Since we launched the station with an appearance by Al Franken in 2005, when nearly 500 people joined us at the Atlantis for now-Senator Franken’s appearance just days after we hit the air, we’ve known a passionate audience has been with us all along.  Unfortunately, this station was never able to generate the revenue necessary to sustain, and we simply cannot absorb the financial loss any longer.”  The station will continue to make some shows available online for now.

seltzerbrentBrent Seltzer, Still at Large” Syndicated Short-Form Series Picked Up by XM.  The quick-witted, two-minute commentary series hosted by legendary Southern California-based news personality Brent Seltzer is now heard daily on XM Satellite Radio talk channels 165, 166 and 168 in all dayparts.  Premiere Networks brokered the deal and describes the series as ‘funny, informative, creative and well-produced’.  The series, designed to air on both talk and music formats, is heard on KSRO, Santa Rosa, CA and is one of the most popular features on PodJockey.com.

bernierflaOdds & Sods.  Talk about being in the right place at the right time, pictured here is WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier (right) interviewing Florida State Senate President Don Gaetz during his annual “Legislative Listening Tour” from the Capitol in Tallahassee on the very day Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll resigned amidst a federal probe of internet cafes statewide…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington this week begins a special series called “Spy In The Sky” – an exclusive multimedia series that takes an in-depth look at the use of drones worldwide.  A federal appeals court has ruled that the CIA must provide a more detailed response to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU, seeking records about drone attacks.  This decision from a three-wtoplogojudge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is part of an ongoing national debate about the use of drones.  “Spy In The Sky” is a 10-part series that’s airing on WTOP this week.  Each report is also available on WTOP.com accompanied by exclusive photos and video.  In the piece, WTOP focuses on the use of drones both abroad and at home and how policy makers, police, and civil rights advocates are shaping their future…..In sunny Arizona, “Rosie on the House,” the home improvement talk show that has reached out to Arizona homeowners for almost 25 years, has added another radio station affiliate KGVY, Green Valley, south of Tucson.  The show was founded by Rosie Romero and his son Romey in 1988 and is heard on KTAR-FM, Phoenix; KNST, Tucson and several others across the state.  It’s syndicated by the Skyview Network.

ludlumawardKNX, Los Angeles Director of News Programming Andy Ludlum Honored.  CBS Radio’s Andy Ludlum was honored at the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists’ 2013 awards banquet on March 14.  The KNX director of news programming is pictured here (right) alongside KNX news anchor and longtime friend Bill Polish (left) who presented the award to Ludlum.  SPJ/LA presents the Distinguished Journalist awards to members of the profession who demonstrate good news judgment, a strong sense of ethics and a passion for getting the story right.  Honorees are journalists who have achieved a record of accomplishments over the course of several years.

Friday, March 15, 2013

| March 15, 2013

ksco logoKSCO, Santa Cruz Is an Independent Talker that Flies in the Face of Corporatism.  The news/talk radio station in question is not owned by a hedge fund or multi-billion dollar conglomerate.  Nor is it in debt.  Its ownership group doesn’t occupy the top floors of a big-city skyscraper.  You will not see the morning or afternoon show brandishing seven-figure contracts, nor the corporate PD flying into town on the company Lear jet, or the “brand manager” moving from market to market implementing new strategies to grow the market cluster.  The fact of the matter is none of the above elements – which have become somewhat commonplace in today’s radio industry – exist at this station.  10k KSCO (1080 AM) is located in Santa Cruz, California, in a neat stand-alone building (that also houses its smaller sister station KOMY 1340 AM – a facility that its owner uses as a developmental farm club) on a piece of land that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.  It would be the envy of any real estate developer in a town known for its college, its beach and boardwalk, liberalism, the state park land and forests that surround it, and is an 80-minute drive from San Francisco.  KSCO is also one of the last “mom & pop” radio stations left in the United States.  It has not only survived the Telecommunications Act of 1996, it has thrived despite consolidation based upon several key factors, including vision by its family ownership, a shocking format change by a chief competitor, along with a non-traditional revenue approach, and a solid and real commitment to a local audience.  To understand KSCO, how it operates and its success, you have to understand the people who run the highly successful news/talk station.  TALKERS correspondent Jeff McKay writes a special feature about a special station.  To read it, click here.

gardneralAl Gardner Gone from WWIQ, Philadelphia Morning Show.  At Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia “IQ 106.9,” morning co-host Al Gardner is out and, though TALKERS has not had a response yet to its inquiry from management about the move, chatter in the Philly radio scene is they want to take the morning show in a less “conservative” direction.  Morning show co-host Lionel and news director Michelle Murillo are still listed on the station’s web page, but it’s unclear what the station’s plans are for the future of the daypart.

mcnabbdonovanNBC Sports Radio and Dial Global Name McNabb and Malone PM Drive Hosts.  Six weeks after teasing the former NFL quarterback would be part of the NBC Sports Radio Network 24/7 lineup, it’s announced Donovan McNabb, andmalonemark another former NFL QB Mark Malone, will pair up for the network’s 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program called, “Under Center with McNabb & Malone” beginning April 1.  Mark Malone has been serving as an analyst for Dial Global Sports‘ Sunday afternoon NFL package and he also hosts “NFL Insider” each week.  Dial Global EVP/GM Chris Corcoran says, “We’ve got two quarterbacks, two leaders, two competitive former professional athletes and two current media personalities who know all sports – you know this is going to be a fun ride for sports fans!”

wind logoSalem Chicago Confirms New Joe Walsh Show.  As Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reported last week, one-term Republican Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh begins a new 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm talk show on Salem Communications’ WIND beginning Monday, March 25.  General manager Jeff Reisman states,walshjoe “There are few politicians in Illinois or anywhere in the country that garner as much attention as Joe Walsh.  Joe is an outspoken defender of freedom, and because of his firsthand experience in Congress, he brings a unique perspective to the national conversation as our country searches for answers during these challenging times.”  Walsh’s arrival bumps Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt to the 2:00 am to 5:00 am slot.  Feder quotes Walsh saying, “We’re at a crucial point in this country, and I’m excited to take the debate right to listeners throughout Chicagoland via the airwaves.  The radio program will be a great platform to help grow a freedom movement which is already gaining momentum right here in Illinois.  I intend to do with this program what I did as a U.S. congressman — speak plainly, speak directly, not worry about political correctness, and engage in respectful, engaging debate with all viewpoints.  This is just too important of a time for all of us to do anything less.”  Walsh’s agent tells Feder if things go well the show could go national.

grandephil‘Phil’s Gang’ Returns to Denver on KRCN.  The nationally syndicated business talk show “Phil’s Gang” – hosted by nationally recognized investor and entrepreneur Phil Grande – returns to the Denver airwaves on KRCN 1060 “The Biz” at 1:00 pm beginning Monday, March 18.  Radio Colorado Network general manager Les Haber states, “We are excited and very pleased that Phil Grande is back in Denver because he is one of the best investment talk show hosts in the country.  Phil Grande brings insightful information that is very current and very cutting edge to an audience that will benefit from his program.”  Grande’s show is independently syndicated to stations across America and he describes his program as providing “all the information that Wall Street and the government doesn’t want you to know.”

wzgc am showCBS Radio’s “92.9 The Game” Atlanta Adds Kristen Ledlow to AM Drive Show.  The five-month-old Atlanta CBS Radio sports talker brings Kristen Ledlow aboard the “Opening Drive” morning show with Rick Kamla and Randy Cross.  Ledlow takes over for CJ Simpson who leaves the program to be the in-game host of the WNBA’s L.A. Sparks broadcasts.  Ledlow comes to the station after serving as the Southeast field reporter with Fox Sports NEXT in Atlanta.  She’s also worked as television host and sideline reporter with ABC News in Tallahassee and as co-host on ESPN Radio in Tallahassee.   WZGC program director Terry Foxx states, “We were very fortunate that Kristen was available.  She has tremendous passion, an incredible personality and a love for sports.”

fisherhouselogoFisher House Foundation Offers Second Annual Memorial Day Program for News/Talk Stations.  For the second year in a row, the three-hour “A Grateful Nation” program is being offered for broadcast by news/talksladescott stations this Memorial Day weekend.  The program is a project of the Fisher House Foundation which provides no-cost housing and other support for the families of wounded warriors while their loved ones are being treated at military and VA hospitals.  The radio special debuted last year as a one-hour program, but was expanded to a three-hour format in its second year due to popular demand.  The program includes profiles of several wounded warriors who have overcome serious injuries to build full and happy lives.  It also looks at how today’s America remembers her fallen heroes and cares for the loved ones left behind.  It’s hosted by Scott Slade, award-winning host of “Atlanta’s Morning News” on Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/FM.  Slade states, “It’s so important that we continue to remember and support our volunteer military and their families.  These folks make incredible sacrifices to protect our freedom and keep us safe.  I’m honored to tell their stories.”  Produced by Bloomquist Media and distributed by Premiere Networks, interested stations can get more information and sign-up for “A Grateful Nation,” by contacting Kurt Kretzschmar at 602-374-6351 or kkretzschmar@premiereradio.com.

russilloryenRussillo and Ryan Come Off the Bench for Celtics Broadcast.  ESPN Radio personality Ryen Russillo and Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan will sub for Cedric Maxwell alongside Sean Grande in the radio booth for WEEI, Boston’s broadcast of Saturday’s Boston Celtics vs Charlotte.  Russillo co-hosts ESPN Radio’s SVP & Russillo show.

oneamerica logoHerring Broadcasting and The Washington Times Partnering on New Conservative Cable News/Talk Channel.  Various media reports indicate a new conservative-slanted cable TV news/talk channel is scheduled to hit cable systems beginning around July 1, 2013.  Deadline.com reports it’ll be called One America News, and be a combined effort of The Washington Times and Herring Broadcasting, owner of WealthTV.  President Charles Herring is quoted saying his family’s company has invested “hundreds of millions of dollars” into the San Diego-based media outlet that will broadcast a combo of news and conservative talk and expects to be available in about 10 million to 20 million homes to start.  The story also quotes Herring saying he plans “to open up another front and give independents, libertarians and all kind of different voices under the conservative umbrella an opportunity to express themselves.”

wilderchuckChuck Wilder Returns to CRN Digital Talk Radio Show.  Veteran radio host Chuck Wilder will be back behind the mic of his “Talkback with Chuck Wilder” program on March 18 on CRN Digital Talk Radio after being on medical leave since late January.  With Wilder out, a number of top radio personalities have been sitting in including: Barry Farber, Frank Morano of New York City’s WNYM AM 970, actor P.J.  Ochlan of the TV series “Castle,” Jennifer Horn, of “Doug Stephan’s Good Day,” Larry Van Aalst of CRN’s “What’s Cookin’ on Wine: Sonoma Report,” and actor and radio host Fred Dryer, among others.  Wilder says, “I’m extremely pleased to have such great talent filling in for me during my leave and I’m especially happy to hear how great our audience has responded to them in the interim.   It’s been a great experience to listen to the show these last two months, but I’m looking forward to returning to the studio and getting back to work.”  The show airs 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm PT on CRN and its affiliates across the country.

nms2013logoEclectic Group of Visionaries Set for “Big Picture” Panel at Talkers New York 2013.  The stellar roster of speakers at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 continues to be unveiled.  The lineup is being set for this year’s “Radio: The Big Picture” panel.  Moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, the panel’s speakers include (in alphabetical order): Jeremy Coleman, SVP/talk and entertainment, Sirius XMSteve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD/WYM Media; Mike McVay, SVP/programming, Cumulus Media; Tom Ray, president, Tom Ray Consulting; Walter Sabo, chairman, Sabo Media; and Dennis Wharton, VP/communications, NAB. “It is always an invigorating challenge to moderate these ‘Big Picture’ panels because of the diversity of specialties brought to the table by the movers and shakers participating,” says moderator Harrison.  “The idea is to create a lightning-fast informal chat session giving serious insights to at least 15 burning issues relevant to the industry.”  Talkers New York 2013 takes place Thursday, June 6 and is on track to being an early sellout.  Because of space limitations, registration is only open to working members of the media and can only be taken via telephone at 413-565-5413.  Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more agenda details about speakers, panels, presentations and award recipients coming in the immediate days ahead.

gallagherCPAC2013Mike Gallagher Live from CPAC.  Salem Radio Network syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher is in Washington, DC broadcasting his program live from the site of CPAC 2013.  He’s pictured here talking on the air with former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich and oil industry expert Scott Noble about energy policy.  CPAC 2013 takes place through this weekend.

Sequestration and Budget Battle Stay Atop Talkers TenTM for Fourth Straight Week.  The debate in Washington over the sequestration and the nation’s budget deficit and national debt was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Coming in at #2 was the naming of Pope Francis as leader of the Catholic Church.  At number #3 was the costs of the Affordable Health Care Act followed by North Korea’s military threats at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s chart here.

Friday, March 8, 2013

| March 8, 2013

journalbroadcastgroupJournal Broadcast Group 2012 Q4 Revenue Up 53% on Strong Political; Radio Up 15%.  Journal Communications chairman and CEO Steve Smith reports the Broadcast Group’s fourth quarter of 2012 was up an amazing 53% due to a very good quarter of political advertising.  He says that same-station revenue – excluding political – was up 4%.  Journal owns TV stations so when that was broken down, radio was up 15% for the quarter compared to the same period a year ago.  President and CFO Andre Fernandez went a little more in depth about radio during the conference call.  “On radio, revenue increased nearly 15% in Q4, but only 1.5% on a same-station basis excluding political and the extra week.  And that was driven by a 4% gain in local and helped by such categories as auto, up over 20%.  Political revenue was a more modest $700,000 in radio for the quarter and $1.7 million for the full year.  Looking ahead to the first quarter for radio, total revenue is pacing up in the mid-single digits, though in the low single digits on a same-station basis.”

nbcsportsradio logoNBC Sports Radio Moves Erik Kuselias to AM Drive; Jon Stashower to Evenings.  As the NBC SportsDial Global co-operative sports radio network project prepares to go full time on April 1, NBCkuseliaserik Sports Radio announces that current evening host Erik Kuselias will be the AM drive host airing from 6:00 am to 9:00 am and weekend sports talk personality Jon Stashower will move to the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot.  Kuselias has been in the evening slot for the network since its soft debut in September of stashowerjonlast year.  Rob “Stats” Guerrera will serve as Kuselias’ producer.  Kuselias states, “I’m thrilled to be in the prime spot for NBC Sports Radio’s first daily lineup. We believe this is the smartest and most fun sports radio program in the nation, and we look forward to the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.  Additionally, NBC Sports and Dial Global Sports allow us to have an unparalleled guest list, which will help us rejuvenate mornings for those looking for a fresh approach.”  As for the evening show, Jon Stashower says, “In sports, so much happens at night.  It’s when the games are played and so many of the stories break.  I’m really looking forward to being on every night to break down all that’s going on.”

2013hh logo 3 inchesHeavy Hundred to be Revealed at 12:00 noon ET on Tuesday, March 12.  The highly anticipated 2013 installment of annual TALKERS magazine feature, “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America,” — also known as the “Heavy Hundred” — will be posted at Talkers.com this coming Tuesday at 12:00 noon ET.  This marks the 19th edition of the feature (which launched in April of 1995 as the “Talkers 25” and was expanded to 100 in 1996).  In announcing the date, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “It is never an easy task for the TALKERS editorial board to arrive at a final list considering all the many factors taken into consideration, not to mention the pressure and consequences attached to the endeavor.  This year, however, has been especially challenging due to all the changes that have taken place in the composition of the industry during the past year and we needed an extra week to make last minute adjustments.  You wouldn’t believe all the screaming matches that take place in our conference room during this process every year.  It would make an amazing reality TV show.”

spanglertimothyKRLA, Los Angeles Debuts “The Bigger Picture with Timothy Spangler.”  Salem Communications’ KRLA, Los Angeles “AM 870 The Answer” brings a new program to its Sunday evening schedule as “The Bigger Picture” hosted by Timothy Spangler is airing in the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot.  The station calls it a show with “its focus on the unusual and humorous aspects of international affairs and global events…it brings the attitude and sensitivities of ‘The Daily Show,’ ‘The Colbert Report,’ and ‘Tosh 2.0’ to talk radio for a younger generation of listeners.”  Spangler is an accomplished young man having studied applied mathematics at UCLA and law at Vanderbilt University, he earned his PhD in law at the London School of Economics.  He is admitted to practice as an attorney in California and New York, as well as a solicitor in England and Wales.  He writes an award-winning syndicated foreign affairs column that appears each week in the Orange County Register and the Jerusalem Post, as well as other newspapers across the US.  He is currently an adjunct professor of law at UCLA School of Law.  He also serves as a visiting lecturer at the University College, London’s Faculty of Law and a senior fellow at the University of Melbourne School of Law.

herskovitzal2013 “Hersky” Awards for Achievement in Talk Radio Advertising and Sales Announced Today.  Each year, TALKERS magazine’s resident radio advertising and sales maven, Al Herskovitz, presents the “Hersky Awards” recognizing outstanding achievement in the field of talk radio advertising and sales.  This years presentations are made for the following categories: Best Live Read,  Best Humor, Best Produced,  Best Website Presentation of Sales by a Rep, Best Website Presentation of Sales by a Radio Station, Best Jingle, and Nosey (which means Most Stinky).  To read Al Herskovitz’s presentation of this year’s Herskys, click here.

RamseyVegasKXNTOn the Road with Dave Ramsey.  Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey has been on the road recently visiting markets including Kansas City and Las Vegas.  In Las Vegas he presented his intimate “Building Your Legacy” live event before a sold-out crowd.  At this event Ramsey’s daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined him on stage.  Local affiliate KXNT helped promote the event.  Ramsey (center) is pictured here with KXNT program director Andrew Paul (left) and SVP/GM Jerry McKenna (right).  Paul says, “Our listeners were thrilled to have the opportunity to meet and hear Dave.  He is such a dynamic speaker.  He motivated and inspired everyone.  We are so grateful and proud that Las Vegas was a stop on the ‘Building Your Legacy’ tour.”  Ramsey also visited Kansas City recently hosting his “EntreLeadership 1 Day” event there before a packed house at Folley Theater.  Ramsey, along with speaker Jon Acuff, spoke about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 300 employees.  Affiliate KCMO took part in the event.

valentinephilOdds & Sods.  Nashville-based syndicated talk show host Phil Valentine tells TALKERS magazine his program was the top-cuming talk show in the Nashville market during the Fall 2012 Arbitron survey.  Phil says his show had “more listeners than Limbaugh and Hannity combined and almost four times the listeners of Beck!”  The 12-plus DMA weekly cume for his program was 144,800…..CBS Radio Philadelphia announces all-news KYW reporter Mark Abrams will report live from Vatican City as the Cardinals of the Catholic Church prepare to elect Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.  The station reports Abrams has arranged interviews in Rome with a number of Catholic Church officials and clergy from the Delawaregreshamtom Valley.  His reports will begin this weekend on KYW Newsradio, and can be heard hourly throughout the conclave…..“Gun Talk Radio” host Tom Gresham reports that he delivered 16,630 new “Lifetime Members” to the National Rifle Association.  Gresham announced a special $300 Lifetime Membership deal with the NRA on his program during the second week in January with a special direct phone number.  The deal ended the last day of February.  He tells TALKERS, “It’s incredible that we were able to send the NRA almost five million dollars in only seven weeks.”…..Digital audio aggregator TuneIn announces the continuance of its relationship with Performance Racing Network.  With this alliance, TuneIn now carries the excitement of every NASCAR race.  Listeners can hear live coverage of all 36 races of the Sprint Cup Series, including the Coca-Cola 600, the Brickyard 400, and the Bank of America 500.

bfoa logoBroadcasters Foundation of America Announces Ward L. Quaal Recipients.  The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces the recipients of the 2013 Ward L. Quaal Leadership Awards that will be presented at the BFoA’s annual breakfast on April 10 at the Wynn Hotel during the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas.  The six honorees this year are: Skip Finley, radio executive, managing partner, Noepe Communications; Alan Frank, president/CEO, Post-Newsweek Stations, retired; David Kennedy, former president/CEO, Susquehanna Media Co.; Mike McKinnon, president/CEO McKinnon Broadcasting; Charles Osgood, TV news anchor, radio and TV personality; and Bob Schmidt, president/CEO Eagle Communications, retired.  The Leadership Awards are given annually in recognition of career contributions to the broadcast industry and the community at large, and are named in honor of iconic broadcaster Ward L. Quaal.  The breakfast, which is complimentary to all, is sponsored by the National Association of Media Brokers, Arbitron, Frank N. Magid Associates, the Television Bureau of Advertising, Marketron and the National Association of Broadcasters.

Sequestration Battle Remains Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 4 – 8.  Even with a number of major international stories breaking during the week, the battle over the sequester stayed atop the Talkers TenTM for the third straight week as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio.  At #2 this week was North Korea’s nuclear threats.  Coming in at #3 was Iran’s nuclear program followed by the death of Hugo Chavez at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on American news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, March 4, 2013

| March 4, 2013

DG-logoHorizontalDial Global Restructures Credit Status; Pays Down $15 Million of Existing Term Loan.  The industry has been watching the state of Dial Global’s debt situation and now the company announces that it, its lenders and certain of its stockholders have agreed to recapitalize the company’s existing credit facilities, other obligations and equity interests.  CEO Spencer Brown states, “The new agreements with our lenders represent a significant step forward for the company.  Once thesebrownspencer transactions close, we will have delivered our balance sheet and decreased cash interest expense.  The agreements will provide us with greater flexibility to actively manage and grow our business.  We look forward to closing these transactions in April and focusing on serving our clients.”  As part of the recapitalization, the company has entered into an Amended and Restated Credit Agreement, by and among the Company, General Electric Capital Corporation, as administrative agent and collateral agent, and the lenders party thereto which provides for a $15 million paydown of the company’s existing term loan and revolving credit commitments.  That agreement matures on October 21, 2016.  The company is also entering into a Priority Second Lien Credit Agreement among the company, the administrative agent, the syndication agent and the lender party for an additional $31.5 million through a term loan facility to the company, with a maturity date of July 21, 2017.  As part of this Dial Global agrees to issue it penny warrants to purchase 7.5% of the company’s common stock exercisable immediately following the consummation of the recapitalization.  Regarding the existing Second Lien Credit Agreement, dated as of October 21, 2011, lenders agreed to restructure their existing approximately $93 million in second lien obligations by amending and restating that agreement to provide for a $30 million term loan that matures five years after the expected closing of the recapitalization and exchanging approximately $63 million in remaining obligations under the existing Second Lien Credit Agreement for a new series of preferred stock of the Company.  Under various subscription and exchange agreements between the company and the holders of the company’s PIK Notes and Series A Preferred Stock, such holders have agreed, subject to the satisfaction of certain specified conditions, to exchange their PIK Notes and Series A Preferred Stock for equity securities of the company and have further agreed to make an additional equity infusion of $16.5 million.

villanuccijimCumulus Media’s News/Talk KKOB, Albuquerque and Talk Host Jim Villanucci Part Ways.  When talk radio personality Jim Villanucci’s contract came up at Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque the company chose not to renew it.  Villanucci tells TALKERS magazine that he’d been reaching out to Cumulus for the past several months about a contract renewal but the company didn’t appear interested in talking so he exited after last Thursday’s program.  Cumulus AM stations program director Pat Frisch is sitting in the PM drive slot for now as he seeks out a replacement.  Villanucci’s program was a big ratings-getter for the station for many years.  It will be hard to replace the kind of steady performance he’s achieved at KKOB-AM.  Villanucci tells TALKERS, “I leave KKOB after 14 years looking forward to my next opportunity.  I have had so many wonderful years working with some of the finest broadcasters in the business in a market that’s been very good to me.  I wish the good people of Albuquerque and the folks at KKOB the very best.  I would especially like to thank my former GM Milt McConnell, and wish my friend and PD Pat Frisch good  luck going forward. ”  Villanucci has been an annual face on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred for years due to his consistent performance and ability to branch out beyond the often-predictable news/talk topics heard on so many stations in the format.

sileodanDan Sileo Exits WQAM, Miami.  The statement from sports talk host Dan Sileo is brief and indicates the two sides were not seeing eye-to-eye on programming philosophy, “Our differences revolve around content issues and we wish each other the best.  As for me and my style of sports talk, I will never change.”  Sileo joined Beasley Broadcasting’s WQAM, Miami for the PM drive show after a successful stint at Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa.  He then moved to middays.

masonirelandL.A. Daily News Ranks Top Sports Talk Personalities Heard in Market.  To TALKERS editors, the thing that stands out about this list is that there are enough sports talk radio hosts – both local and nationally syndicated – to put together a ranking for the Los Angeles market.  But there are and KSPN’s Steve Mason and John Ireland tied for #1 this year with KLAC, Los Angeles’ Petros Papadakis coming in at #3 (there is no #2 since Mason and Ireland tied for #1).  Papadakis’ partner Matt “Money” Smith ranked #5 this year.  The paper also ranked the top nationally syndicated sports talk hosts heard in the L.A. market and the top three were: 1) Dan Patrick of DIRECTV/Fox Sports Radio; 2) Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith of Fox Sports Radio; and 3) Jay Mohr also of Fox Sports Radio Network.  Nice compliment for Jay Mohr since he’s only been in the gig since the beginning of the year.  And speaking of Jay Mohr…

mohrjayComedian, Actor and Sports Nut Jay Mohr Focuses on Fox Sports Radio Gig.  To show how serious he is about his new full-time gig as midday sports talk host on the Fox Sports Radio Network, Jay Mohr tells TALKERS magazine,Fox Sports Radio Logo “Honestly, I have turned off the sitcom and movie noise to concentrate on the radio show; those other doors are closed right now.  I cannot be on the phone trying to figure out how I am going to leave a studio at ‘this time’ to be on a movie set at ‘that time.’”  In this profile piece, TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian talks with Mohr about his radio influences, love of sports, comedy road work and how he got into the sports talk game by subbing for Jim Rome, and finally to his first full-time sports talk job.  He says of the fill-in work, “I thought if I could keep doing this, one day I might be able to do it for a living.  I listened to Jim for many years and he really changed sports talk radio.  He made it fun again.  My job is to reset the dial a little and bring everybody back to the fun part of it.”  Read the entire story here.

berrymichaelRising Talk Radio Star Says Host Endorsements Should Be Interesting (and a Whole Lot More).  He also says the goal of advertising on radio should be results – a simple concept often overlooked by sales and programming departments in their rush to sell the ads, give the client what they want and then get the spots on and off the air as quickly as possible.  Michael Berry is one of news/talk radio’s most dynamic and promising rising stars.  His mid-morning program is heard on KTRH, Houston as well as seven other respected talkers around the country.  Today (3/4) in an exclusive TALKERS piece he makes a number of powerful points about the marketing and delivery of advertising within the news/talk radio medium making the point that although host endorsements are an important technique to get the sponsor’s message across, the real trick is to do it in a way that also gets them results while proving to be a tune-in, and not a tune-out factor.  Berry (who will be speaking at Talkers New York 2013 on June 6) advises when it comes to writing and delivering commercial spots: 1) lose the copy points; 2) less is more; 3) trust the value of the endorsement (and don’t overload with justification); 4) be conversational throughout, building to the call to action; and 5) resist gimmicks and games.  To read this important article or pass it along to someone in your station or company who will benefit by it, click here.

morsechuckTalk Radio Pro Chuck Morse Joins IRN/USA Radio Network.  Boston-based talk personality Chuck Morse begins a daily, two-hour talk show (airing from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET) via the IRN/USA Radio Network.  Morse says of his new enterprise, “I am honored to work at the network founded by economist Larry Bates and award-winning talk pioneer, the late Marlon Maddoux.  I look forward to working with talk host Chuck Bates who carries on the tradition of excellence at IRN/USA.  With a national audience, I hope to follow in the footsteps of my mentor, the late Jerry Williams, who developed an intense bond with his callers and audience.”

baldwinstephenBaldwin/McCullough Radio Show Co-Host and Actor Tops Fundraiser Effort on Celebrity Apprentice All Stars Show.  Stephen Baldwin, actor and co-host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show “Baldwin/McCullough” (co-hosted by talk radio personality and XtreMedia CEO Kevin McCullough), and his team raised more than $600,000 for the American Red Cross during last night’s season premiere of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice All Stars.”  That sum set a new record for the most ever raised in a season kick-off episode.  Baldwin is competing for the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Foundation named in honor of his mother.

millerchrisWelcome to the Concept of Core-Casting.  It is a simple and elegant idea that puts one of the most effective radio broadcasting uses of social media into perspective and focus.  Noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller writes today (3/4) about how social media provides radio programmers and talent with a pipeline to communicate directly with their most ardent listeners and fans.  Miller writes, “There are companies outside radio who are learning how to use social media to leverage the power of their most valuable customers.  One day, some smart radio group is going to figure out that social media is not just more broadcasting in a different medium.  Neither is it just a matter of getting likes, shares and comments.  While most mass marketing involves some form of trolling for cume, this is different.  This is like the sales department taking its 10 biggest clients on a cruise.   It’s core-casting.”  To read Chris Miller’s entire piece, click here.

bubbaBubba the Love Sponge Talks Suicidal Man ‘Off the Ledge.’  After an agitated and despondent man who had barricaded himself inside a Tampa-area business and was threatening to kill himself called the Bubba the Love Sponge program on Friday, Bubba (Todd Clem) was able to calm the man enough that he put his weapon down and was taken into custody by local police.  The man, identified as Corey, locked himself inside The Car Store, a business owned by Bubba’s friends Todd and Shellie Herndon.  The man is a family friend of the Herndons.  Bubba says, “I’m just glad The Herndons are safe, no deputies were harmed and this gentleman can get the help he needs.”

teinowitzharryHarry Teinowitz Exits ‘ESPN 1000’ Chicago.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports ESPN O&O WMVP “ESPN 1000” is going with a two-man PM drive show featuring Carmen DeFalco and John Jurkovic as the station has cut ties with Harry Teinowitz after 12 years.  Feder reports a memo to the staff read, in part, “At 6:00 pm this evening Harry Teinowitz signed off air for the last time at ESPN Chicago.  Throughout the many years that Harry has been with us, he has served in many different roles and has helped to establish the ESPN brand in Chicago.  Harry’s contributions will be felt for years to come in every department at ESPN Chicago.  We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”  Afternoon drive on sports talk radio is, by many industry executives, considered to be more important than AM drive.  Feder reports the most recent PPM data show crosstown rival WSCR leads the market in the Men 25-54 demo with a 7.2 share compared to WMVP’s 3.4 share.

raytomRadio Broadcasters Still Learning About IP Codecs.  Last week’s TALKERS article by technical editor Tom Ray about the proper use and application of IP codecs raised several questions from readers indicating there is still a lot to be learned about this emerging technology that promises to be the next step beyond ISDN in remote audio delivery.  Today (3/4), the industry’s leading technical wizard addresses some of those issues — namely 1) the most important thing to have in place to use IP codecs effectively; 2) how to integrate service between brands of the device made by different manufacturers and get them to “talk” to each other; and 3) how to go about purchasing and testing an IP codec.  To read Tom Ray’s informative article or pass it along to the person at your station or company who manages technical issues and equipment, click here.

scheinadamOdds & Sods.  Sports talk personality Adam Schein joins SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio.  Beginning March 11, Schein will host “Schein on Sports” live from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm ET on the Mad Dog Radio Channel.  He had “The SiriusXM Blitz” alongside 2002 NFL MVP Rich Gannon on the NFL channel…..TVNewser reports former “Good Morning America” senior executive producer Jim Murphy will serve as executive producer for CNN’s new morning show that will be co-hosted by Chris Cuomo.  It had been rumored that Erin Burnett would be moved to mornings alongside Cuomo but reports indicate that many not be the case…..In other TV news, the New York Daily News reports Matt Lauer is on the hot seat since “Today” has fallen behind “Good Morning America” and the local “Good Day New York” on Fox5 in New York City.  The story indicated morale on the set is low and conflicting reports about whether a new executive producer will join the show are adding to the problems.  Several sources are indicating Matt Lauer may not be long for the program.

Friday, February 22, 2013

| February 22, 2013

pagliarulojoeHow Do You Know It’s a Good Topic and That It Will Work Where You’re Broadcasting?  That’s a great question with an increasing number of radio talk show hosts working “locally” by remote on more than one station or simply being syndicated across a region or the entire nation. So, TALKERS magazine went to a broadcaster who is eminently qualified to answer the question – Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, a member of the TALKERS Heavy hundred — who hosts mornings on KPRC, Houston; late afternoons on WOAI, San Antonio; weekends locally on KOA, Denver and weekends nationally on “The Weekend” show.  He is also a major “go to” fill-in host for such hosts as Glenn Beck, Todd Schnitt and many others. Pags writes, “Many years ago, I thought it was easy to gauge.  Whatever gets the phone ringing, right?  Not so much.  I take a lot of phone calls.  I’d say more than you might hear on other shows.  But, I insist they be of substance and advance the conversation or be really funny and entertaining.  Making the phones ring, it turns out, is easy.  ‘Abortion, for or against?  Here’s the number.’  That’s sure to melt the lines down and guaranteed to be a horrible show.  Those blinking lights are addictive and the interaction intoxicating, but I once heard a stat that showed 2% of all listeners will ever call into a radio show.  How do you make sure you’re engaging the other 98% as well?”  Read Pags’ entire article here.

grumdahldaraWCCO, Minneapolis Adds Weekend Food Show.  The CBS Radio news/talk station announces Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl brings her food writing talents to the WCCO lineup, hosting a one-hour show called “Off The Menu” beginning March 2.  Grumdahl, is a senior editor at Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine, she’s been the top voice in Twin Cities food since her work as City Pages restaurant critic (1997 to 2008,) launched her to national prominence with a string of James Beard Awards, the highest award of the food world.  WCCO program director Bob Shomper says, “WCCO has a long and rich history of food and nutrition, from the recipe shows and farm reports of the past to the latest dining trends and nutritional information of today.  Dara is the Twin Cities’ premier expert on food.  She will bring WCCO’s tradition of nutritional information to new heights, on all platforms, on-air, online and on mobile devices.  We are thrilled to have her on the WCCO team.”

baileyralphTalk Host Ralph Bailey Exits KNZR, Bakersfield.  Afternoon drive talk host Ralph Bailey resigns suddenly from his position with the Buckley Broadcasting station and although he gives no hint of where he may surface, The Bakersfield Californian speculates he may be headed for American General Media’s crosstown KERN.  Bailey wrote on his Facebook page, in part, “It was with a heavy heart that I tendered my resignation to Buckley Radio today.  However, future opportunities and challenges make it virtually impossible not to seek out new adventures.  I would like to thank Steve Darnell, Kathy Baker and, posthumously, Rick Buckley.  To my colleagues, I hope I was a team player who made the station and the client top priority and someone who grasped the concept of pulling on one side of the rope.  To my sponsors, I hope I played a small role in your success and thank you for your support!”

picarddannyBoston Sports Talk Host Gets Terrestrial Outlet.  Boston native Danny Picard – whose “I’m Just Sayin’” sports talk show appeared on recent editions of TALKERS magazine’s Frontier Fifty feature spotlighting internet-only talk radio hosts – gets his daily program added to the schedule at Blackstrap Broadcasting’s WUFC, Boston “NBC Sports Radio.”  The show is a simulcast of his 9:00 am to 10:00 am internet program but Picard tells TALKERS it is “essentially the same show I do now, only I’ll no longer be broadcasting from my South Boston living room apartment. I’ll be broadcasting from the 1510 NBC Sports Radio Boston studios on Marina Bay.”  Picard says he’s excited about the development.  “I’ve been hosting this show for a while now, and it’s a thrill to finally be heard on an AM signal in Boston every weekday.  I’m extremely passionate about what I do, and I look forward to expressing my passion to an expanding audience.”  Picard began doing his program from his University of Massachusetts-Amherst apartment in 2006.  He’s been covering all the major pro sports teams at Comcast SportsNet New England for the CSNNE.com site since it launched in 2009.  Picard continues his role with Comcast SportsNet.  Photo by Jennifer Bodnar.

whitmanshapiroThe Tom Joyner Syndrome – without the Expensive Planes!  Pictured here are two coast-to-coast broadcasting adventures.  First, at left are KRLA, Los Angeles “Morning Answer” co-hosts Brian Whitman (left) and Ben Shapiro (right) from their studios at Salem Los Angeles (Heidi Harris also co-hosts the morning show on KRLA).  On Thursday, February 21 the two pulled double duty by filling in on Salem’s New York news/talker WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” for Curtis Sliwa’s mcculloughhomestudioand Jeffrey Lichtman’s PM drive show as both were on vacation.  At the same time, New York City-based Kevin McCullough (at right), whose nationally syndicated broadcast airs mornings on his longtime flagship AM 570 WMCA in New York, has been pulling double duty in Los Angeles on Salem’s Christian talk station 99.5 KKLA-FM in afternoon drive (4:00 pm to 7:00 pm PT).  Kevin McCullough began doing the afternoon show in Los Angeles after the tragic Thanksgiving week motorcycle accident that eventually claimed the life of Salem personality Frank Pastore.  McCullough is pictured here Thursday evening doing the KKLA-FM show from the studios of New York-based XtreMEDIA.

larsonlarsTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Compass Media NetworksLars Larson is added to the lineup at KQV, Pittsburgh…..Michael Patrick Shiels adds country outlet WQTX, Lansing, Michigan to his affiliate list for his statewide AM drive show.  The add marks Shiels’ return to Lansing after exiting Cumulus Media’s WJIM a year ago and sitting out a non-compete…..Fox Sports Radio Network announces KGGS, Garden City, Kansas adds the network’s entire daily lineup as the station re-brands as “Big Dog Sports 1340”…..Dial Global and NBC’s NBC Sports Radio sign an agreement for Alpha Broadcasting’s KXTG-AM, Portland to carry their content…..Gow Broadcasting-operated Yahoo! Sports Radio adds affiliate KMZQ, Las Vegas for its sports talk programming…..“Right Turn Radio” – a program about addiction and mental health hosted by Woody Geissman and Abby Dean – now airs on WRKO, Boston Sundays at 7:00 pm.  The show is a production of Right Turn, a local non-profit that provides innovative outpatient treatment and supporting housing for addicts…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds new affiliate KRDO-AM/FM, Colorado Springs.

Sequestration and Deficit Reduction Top Talk Radio Topics for Week of February 18-22.  The battle in Washington over the looming sequestration and the related calls for deficit reduction were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Coming in at #2 was immigration reform.  At #3 was soaring gasoline prices followed by the costs of ObamaCare at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio each week based on ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, February 18, 2013

| February 18, 2013

blazergraceGrace Blazer Lands at Clear Channel Miami.  Former WTKK, Boston program director Grace Blazer is the new PD at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WIOD and sports WINZ, Miami.  She exited the Greater Media talk station when it flipped to rhythmic AC at the end of 2012.  Prior to WTKK, Blazer programmed WPHT, Philadelphia.  In a statement, Blazer says, “The depth of Clear Channel’s resources is phenomenal.  Working for our industry’s leading media company and programming WIOD and WINZ is a superb opportunity.  I’m excited to partner with Alex Tear, Lonny Anger and the talented staffs of ‘News Radio 610/100.3FM’ and 940’s ‘Sports Animal’ to grow these stations.”  The programming position at WIOD and WINZ opened up when Ken Charles moved up to the VP of programming position at Clear Channel’s Sacramento cluster.

cainhermanHermain Cain Joins Fox News Channel as Contributor.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Herman Cain becomes part of the Fox News Channel stable of contributors.  Cain, who took over the late morning slot long held by talk radio pioneer Neal Boortz at Cox Media’s WSB, Atlanta and his national syndication distributed by Dial Global, will make regular appearances on FNC where EVP of programming Bill Shine says in a statement, “Cain’s impressive resume makes him a valuable addition to the Fox News and Fox Business lineup.  As a political expert with business savvy, he brings an important voice to the nation’s debates.”  In addition to his recent run for president, Cain also was CEO of the Godfather’s Pizza chain and held the CEO position at the National Restaurant Association.

wfan logoNY Post Reports CBS Radio New York Weighing WFAN-AM/FM Options.  The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick writes that the brass at CBS Radio in New York City is weighing its programming options for the sports talk tandem of WFAN-AM and FM as the company must be eager to get the fledgling CBS Sports Radio Network programming on in the largest market in the country.  Currently, the full schedule of WFAN programming is heard on both signals but the need to get the new national network some Big Apple exposure is pressing.  A statement from the company to the Post goes, “We have a number of great options and are closely examining each one.”  At issue is the fact that WFAN-AM’s 660 signal is huge and the 101.9 FM signal is decent but nowhere near as far-reaching as 660 AM.  Will the local sports talk remain on 660 AM and the national network appear on 101.9 FM?  Will it be the other way around or a mixture of the two?  As Mushnick hints, you can bet some of the WFAN stalwarts – including PM driver Mike Francesa and AM drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton – would like to stay on the huge 660 AM signal.  CBS Radio is expected to make a decision within the next few months.

DG-logoHorizontalDial Global to Cease SEC Reporting.  The company cites, among other things, “the relatively limited historical volume of trading in the Company’s common stock and the applicable federal securities laws” as one of the reasons it will suspend its reporting obligations under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Dial Global’s board of directors determined that such action would be in the best interests of the company.  It says, “In reaching this conclusion, the Company’s Board of Directors considered numerous factors including the compliance costs associated with filing periodic reports with the SEC and the diversion of management attention from other matters that result from being a reporting company.”  Dial Global left the NASDAQ and its stock is traded on OTC Pink.  It states, “There can be no assurance, however, that a trading market in the Company’s common stock through the over-the-counter market or any other market will be maintained.”

landaudavidDavid Landau Gets Nice Severance from Dial Global.  Technically it’s not a severance but regardless, former co-CEO of Dial Global David Landau will receive $600, 000 per annum for the next two years plus other unspecified benefits after the company decided to re-align its corporate management structure and make Spencer Brown sole CEO and former co-CEO Ken Williams president.

stpierreronWPRO, Providence Lets Ron St. Pierre Go.  In a move that appears to be about saving money, Ron St. Pierre exits his role as PM drive host Buddy Cianci’s sidekick/executive producer.  GoLocalProv.com reports that this is the latest in a series of moves at the Cumulus Media station that began with the ouster of Andrew Gobiel from the WPRO morning show and the re-assignment of Tara Granahan from the AM show to other news duties.  The station brought WJAR-TV anchor Gene Valicenti in to host the morning program.  St. Pierre has served at WPRO as program director – the first time in 1988 – as general manager, and as host of the station’s morning show.  Ron can be reached at ron.stpierre@cox.net.

millerchrisGood Writing Is at the Core of Digital Success.  Writing for the internet is a very different art form than writing for the radio.  Noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller says, “Good writing is at the heart of what we do online, and how we communicate with our fans.  Don’t just do it for the art of it; do it because it can help stretch your few thousand Facebook fans into tens of millions of annual impressions.  Do it because it will help get your tweets re-tweeted.  We’re talking about building your numbers here!”  Miller advises TALKERS readers to avoid three common mistakes in writing for the web: 1) over-selling; 2) being boring; and 3) social desperation.  Read his entire piece here.

raytomWINTER ADVICE:  Be Sure to Install Deicers on your Antenna.  It is not too late to do it or to be concerned.  The failure to properly install deicers on your antenna to save a few bucks in the short term can not only interfere with the quality of your signal, it can put you off the air entirely, not to mention cause severe costly damage to your components and even create a major fire hazard.  TALKERS technical editor and noted engineering consultant Tom Ray says, “While money is tight all over, the last thing you need is your transmitter and/or building to be a smoking hulk.  Consult with someone qualified to guide you.  Think of it like buying an insurance policy.  You may not want to spend the cash, but it could save you a bundle in the long run.  Read Tom Ray’s entire article here.

trumpdonaldTrump-Maher Suit “Stretches Credulity.”  TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes that the $5 million suit Donald Trump is filing against Bill Maher has no chance of success, little chance of getting a day in court and could incur sanctions against Trump and his attorney for filing a frivolous lawsuit.  In case you missed it, Maher went on “The Tonight Show” in January and – based on the color of Trump’s hair – joked that he would donate $5 million to a charity of Trump’s choice if he would produce his birth certificate to show he is not the son of an orangutan.  Read more of Weisman’s account about why this spat is still going on and upon what legal ground the complaint stands (or doesn’t as the case may be).  It’s here.

johnsondanistudioXtreMEDIA Syndicated Host Dani Johnson Profiled in Forbes.  The host of the weekly XtreMEDIA-syndicated Dani Johnson program was profiled on Forbes.com on Thursday and, according to XtreMEDIA CEO Kevin McCullough, the story went viral “with 15,700 shares on Facebook in a little more than a day.  Heading into the weekend it was still the ‘Most Popular’ and ‘Most Read’ piece on Forbes.com.”  McCullough tells TALKERS, “Her story as a broke homeless woman to becoming a multiple millionaire to even now helping others get out of debt, restore relationships, and expand their influence is a story that rocketed her from one affiliate station in January of 2012 to 95 stations and counting in January of 2013.  Dani is the most important voice in all of American media – not just talk radio – that most of the nation still hasn’t heard from.  Hundreds of thousands of lives changed for the better, only proves the point that she has something that real audiences are looking for… connection!”  Read the Forbes story here.

Friday, January 25, 2013

| January 25, 2013

schnitttoddSchnitt vs Bubba Trial Delayed for One Day After Schnitt’s Attorney Arrested for DUI.  It’s a rather bizarre twist in what is a high-profile case in Tampa.  The judge in the case granted a one-day delay in the trial after Charles Philip Campbell, Jr. was taken into custody Wednesday evening on suspicion of DUI.  He refused to take a blood alcohol test andbubba was released on $500 bond.  The trial will resume today as nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is suing Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) for defamation.  Schnitt spent most of two days on the witness stand Tuesday and Wednesday.  Clem’s attorney tried to score a few public sympathy points telling Fox 13 Tampa, “I’m shocked that the case was continued.  I feel horrible for this jury that has been sequestered and pulled from their jobs, their lives and their families.”  He told the TV station he didn’t understand why Schnitt’s other attorneys couldn’t handle the case.

martinezjrKFI, Los Angeles Adds J.R. Martinez for Sunday Evening Program.  The “Dancing with the Stars” champ, best-selling author and retired U.S. Army soldier begins his permanent role as host of the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm Sunday program on Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles this Sunday.  J.R. Martinez was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and, shortly after arriving, his Humvee hit a roadside bomb that trapped him inside the burning vehicle.  He suffered severe burns over 34% of his body and spent 34 months at Brooke Army Medical Center recovering.  In October of 2012 he published Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength and Spirit (Hyperion 2012) that became a New York Times best-seller.  KFI program director Robin Bertolucci says, “He’s so inspirational and dynamic.  He filled in for Bill Carroll during the holidays and I just had to have him join our line up!  I’m thrilled he jumped at the opportunity and I’m excited to see what he will do with his own show.”  Martinez replaces the David Cruz program.  Cruz is concentrating on his four-hour daily program on sister progressive talk station KTLK.

wcnnfrontrowWCNN, Atlanta Goes Local in Late Mornings.  Dickey Broadcasting’s sports talker WCNN, Atlanta “Sports Radio 680 The Fan” is adding the new local show “The Front Row” for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart.  The show stars Ray Mariner, Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran (pictured here from left to right).  Golden and Finneran are also part of the “Rude Awakening” AM drive show (which will be trimmed by an hour to a 9:00 am stop beginning Monday).  Mariner was co-host of the morning show on Lincoln Financial Media’s crosstown CHR WSTR “Star 94” until he exited that post back in May of 2012.  The show replaces Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick program.

cookehollandAre You Ready for Some Baseball?  Okay, so much of the country is in Super Bowl mode right now, but radio consultant Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS that with so many news/talk stations (as well as sports talk signals) carrying MLB play-by-play in their markets, now’s a good time to begin preparing to take advantage of those expensive rights.  Cooke writes about ways to take ownership of the play-by-play beginning during spring training.  Once the season starts, use brief promotional slots – like top-of-the-hour IDs – to promote the next game.  Check out more on this in Holland Cooke’s Friday piece here.

esiasonboomerBoomer Esiason Tackles TV and Radio on Super Bowl Sunday; Dial Global Handles Exclusive Radio Coverage.  The NFL’s Super Bowl is usually the biggest TV event of the year but for the millions of Americans who can’t be near a TV, Dial Global’s exclusive radio play-by-play delivers the game.  This year, Boomer Esiason and Kevin Harlan will be in the booth calling the game for Dial Global.  But Boomer is also a CBS Sports employee (in addition to his AM drive work on WFAN, New York) and he’ll be on CBS TV as part of the pre-game show and the halftime broadcast.  After he finishes the pre-game show from the field, he’ll move upstairs to the radio booth to call the game with Harlan.  Talk about a busy day for Boomer!  Dial Global’s coverage of the event also includes such experienced talent as James Lofton, Mark Malone, Jim Gray and Scott Graham.  Joining Jim Gray for pre-game and halftime programming are NFL stars Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald.  Hall of Fame defensive back Rod Woodson will also be part of the extended pre-game program.

wfva logoWFVA, Fredericksburg, Virginia Returns to News/Talk on Monday.  After two years as an adult standards-formatted station, Centennial Broadcasting’s WFVA, Fredericksburg returns to airing a news/talk format using largely syndicated talent.  The program schedule will include: Cumulus Media NetworksDon Imus, Mike Huckabee, Mark Levin and Michael Savage as well as Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck.  Ten year WFVA veteran Ted Schubel will continue as the station’s news director and will also host a one-hour local program titled, “Town Talk With Ted,” airing weekdays at 8:00 am.  The show will introduce listeners to local businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence the Fredericksburg region.  Centennial Fredericksburg market manager Tom Hamilton says, “It has been nearly two full years since WFVA changed from a news/talk station to adult standards format.  During that time, we have paid attention to what our listeners have said.  Overwhelmingly, they told us they wanted news/talk back on WFVA.  By providing many of the most-listened-to talk show hosts in the nation, along with community involvement, local news and public affairs programming, we will better serve our listeners, our local businesses and our community.”

jonesalexKFNX, Phoenix Adds New Syndicated Programming.  Genesis Communications Network’s Alex Jones is part of the new lineup at Francis Battaglia-owned KFNX, Phoenix where he airs in the overnight time slot.  Also added to the station’s program schedule is Dial Global and Cox Media’s Herman Cain from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Dial Global’s Dennis Miller from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; and Cumulus Media NetworksMichael Savage who returns to the station to air in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot.

Obama Second Term Agenda Top News/Talk Story During Week of January 21-25.  The second term agenda of President Obama as outlined in his Inauguration Day speech was the top story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 this week was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi testimony.  At #3 was the battle in Washington over reducing the deficit and at #4 was the North Korea nuclear threat.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America and is based on ongoing research from TALKERS.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, January 21, 2013

| January 21, 2013

ARNNlogoAmerica’s Radio News Network Delivers Inauguration Coverage.  Anchored by ARNN’s Rachel Sutherland, the network will provide coverage of the Inauguration Day activities.  In addition to live reportssutherlandrachel throughout the morning, ARNN will cover: The oath of office for President Barack Obama, administered by Chief Justice of the United States, John G. Roberts, Jr.; The oath of office for Vice President Joseph Biden, administered by Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor; musical artists James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson, and Beyoncé. James Taylor will sing “America the Beautiful,” Kelly Clarkson will perform “My Country Tis of Thee,” and Beyoncé will sing the National Anthem; the presidential inaugural parade, which includes members from all branches of the armed forces of the United States.

kuhnerjeffWRKO, Boston Broadcasts from Inauguration Day in Washington, DC.  You’d expect to see a lot more conservative stations broadcasting from Washington, DC today if Mitt Romney had beaten Barack Obama but still, some are covering it as the news event that it is and WRKO, Boston AM drive host Jeff Kuhner is originating his show from the Nation’s Capital this morning.  Special guest commentary will include Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky at 7:15 am and conservative commentator Pat Buchanan at 8:30 am.  In addition to Kuhner’s morning program, the station will broadcast coverage of the Inauguration from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon.

cainhermanHerman Cain’s Nationally Syndicated Program Begins Today.  The succession of Herman Cain into the daily syndication slot held by Neal Boortz for so many years happens today with the Dial Global program debuting on some 80 affiliate stations.  It airs live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.  Cain, who hosted a nightly program in Cox Media’s WSB, Atlanta before taking a leave from radio in order to run for president, says of his new show, “Buckle your seat belts, because we are in full-blast mode.  I’m excited and inspired to be a voice against ignorance and stupidity.  This is a year when Americans are confused and worried about how government will impact them personally — with taxes, with health care changes, with their jobs, and the economy.   I want to use my life experience to inform them, and to prepare them.”  Dial Global SVP and general manager of news and talk Amy Bolton says of Cain, “A true American success story, Herman Cain came from humble beginnings, had a vision, worked hard and became a successful businessman, presidential candidate and now talk radio phenomenon.  Known for his no-nonsense style and ability to connect with everyday Americans, Herman Cain promises to deliver great radio.  Dial Global is thrilled to partner with Cox Media Group and Herman as we launch the next talk radio star.”

sileodanBeasley’s WQAM, Miami Suspends Dan Sileo for Twitter Comments.  Sports talk host Dan Sileo’s attack on Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews has earned him a two-day suspension from his midday sports talk show today and tomorrow.  The incident started when Sileo criticized the sports media for not covering the Manti Te’o story the way he felt it should have been covered and singled out Erin Andrews.  After Andrews Tweeted back she’d never covered a Notre Dame game, Sileo again Tweeted, “Love Erin Andrews either naked or in a porn. Not at a sports desk.”  He apologized for that remark.  Management at WQAM is not commenting other than to confirm that Sileo will be out for two days.

cookehollandBased on How People Consume Audio Content, Radio Sorts into Two Categories:  Live and Archived.  According to radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke, it is important for programmers to be cognizant of the two basic “piles” that radio falls into when it comes to how it is utilized by listeners.  They are basically determined by the content’s time-sensitivity.  In an exclusive article, Cooke outlines the major programming elements that fall into each of these categories and offers tips on how to best position them.  To read Cooke’s piece click here.

schnitttoddSchnitt vs Bubba: Day Three.  On the third day of testimony in the defamation suit talk show host Todd Schnitt has filed against Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem), much of the testimony revolved around that of Florida Statebubba Attorney Mark Ober.  He’s the state’s attorney who prosecuted Bubba the Love Sponge after his ill-fated wild boar slaying back in 2001.  The Tampa Bay Times reports Bubba had contended that Todd Schnitt’s wife Michelle, an assistant state’s attorney had conspired with Ober to bring the charges against him.  Ober denied there was any conspiracy between him and the Schnitts to prosecute in that case and said that Michelle Schnitt was fresh out of law school and not working on felony prosecutions at that time.

wgnlogoWGN, Chicago’s Parent Tribune Company Has New CEO.  Former Discovery Communications COO Peter Ligouri has been named the CEO of Tribune Company by the board of directors.  Ligouri takes over the media company that has suffered through a long and tumultuous bankruptcy.  But for those at news/talk WGN, Chicago – the company’s only radio property – the fear of being sold can be put on the back burner…for now.  In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Ligouri says he’s not “going into this job with a fire-sale sign.”  There has been speculation that there is interest in selling off the newspaper business and just focusing on television.  But Ligouri tells the Times that, though he can’t rule out that the new owners would want to sell the newspapers, the company has “unparalleled media assets, iconic brands in major markets and very talented, creative employees.”  As for the company’s Chicago properties including WGN radio, Ligouri states, “When you look at Chicago, a great radio asset in WGN radio, a great local TV station in WGN and an iconic newspaper … you know that you have great penetration in that city.  I think the opportunity is being outward focused and saying if so many of these people are coming to Tribune properties over the course of their daily lives, what can we do for them that will keep them informed and keep them with us?  Servicing the user will create a natural flow from platform to platform.”

salemcommunicationsSalem Communications Re-Brands WIND, Chicago as “AM 560 The Answer.”  The Chicago news/talk outlet WIND is being re-branded by owner Salem Communications as “AM 560 The Answer” a branding that the company’s stations in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Columbus also carry.  Salem vice president and director of spoken word formats Phil Boyce created the brand for WNYM, New York and is installing it in markets where it seems to fit.  He says WIND will still continue to reflect its Chicago personality.  “There is a unique attitude and spirit in Chicago, and we will capture it with the promos, liners, and on-air imaging.”

scprSouthern California Public Radio Employees Vote to Join SAG-AFTRA.  The almost 70 staffers at Southern California Public Radio – reporters, anchors, producers, and program hosts – have voted to join SAG-AFTRA, according to the Los Angeles Times.  SCPR is a nonprofit organization that is part of American Public Media and operates KPCC, Los Angeles; KUOR, Redlands; and KVLA, Coachella.  SAG-AFTRA issued the following statement: “We’re pleased and excited with the results of the union election at KPCC.  We are looking forward to working with the new SAG-AFTRA bargaining unit in partnership with KPCC management to negotiate a first contract.”

millerbidenStephanie Miller and the Veep.  WYD Media nationally syndicated progressive talk host Stephanie Miller (second from left) is pictured here with Vice President Joe Biden at the 2013 Green Inaugural Ball honoring President Barack Obama held yesterday evening at the Newseum in Washington, DC.  Here with Miller and Biden are “West Wing” actress Melissa Fitzgerald (left) and the Green Ball’s Shelley Cohen (r).

Thursday, January 10, 2013

| January 10, 2013

crowleyjerrySalem Communications Ups Sean O’Neil in NYC; Names Jerry Crowley VP/GM of WNYM and WMCA.  Former WOR, New York general manager Jerry Crowley joins the Salem Communications New York operations as vice president and general manager of news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian WMCA “New York’s Christian Talk.”  Sean O’Neil is promoted from GM to market manager for the NYC cluster.  Crowley, who had been with Buckley Broadcasting until late December when Clear Channel assumed control of WOR, reports to Salem Communications vice president and director of spoken word format Phil Boyce.  He states, “With Jerry’s longtime tenure running one of the nation’s leading talk radio stations, we could not have found a better match for our stations in New York.  I admired Jerry’s work across town during my 14 years programming WABC.  To get him on my new team at Salem is a huge opportunity to grow the station’s revenue and make an impact in New York radio.”

gillsteveTalk Host Steve Gill to End Radio Program.  Nashville, Tennessee-based talk host Steve Gill announces he will end his nationally syndicated talk program – including the local appearance on Clear Channel’s WLAC from which he operates – and focus his energy on his Gill Media enterprise that provides consulting and has seen him an increasing amount of public speaking.  Gill reports to TALKERS that “as part of the expansion plan under the Gill Media umbrella, his Gill Report published at www.gillreport.com will broaden its platform as the ‘go-to’ source for news and commentaries while introducing a variety of new ventures and service offerings.  The media company strives to enable its clients to better utilize both traditional and new media opportunities to communicate more effectively within various mediums.”  Speaking about leaving his talk show, Gill states, “While I have truly enjoyed my tenure at Radio America and WLAC, the commitment and restrictions associated with a daily, weekday morning show limit my ability to thrive in the areas where I can truly ‘give back’ in a more hands-on, one-on-one format.  Our time on the air has allowed us to make a difference, particularly in the political arena.  Rather than simply talking about the problems we face, I am excited to redirect our focus from radio to support clients, small businesses and individuals in a creative, results-oriented environment.”

kkoblogoKKOB, Albuquerque Notches 50th Straight Arbitron Book at #1 12-Plus.  Cumulus Media’s news/talk KKOB, Albuquerque garnered a 7.6 share in the Fall 2012 Arbitron book (Mon-Sun 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight) and hitting the top spot in the market for the 50th straight ratings period.  Operations manager Pat Frisch tells TALKERS, “When you think about it, that’s a long time – 12 ½ years at #1.  I hear it is the longest streak of any talk station in the top 70 markets.  I have been here 13 ½ years now.  And Rush and Hannity blew away the competition in middays 12-plus with an 11.2 share.”

DG-logoHorizontalBig NFL Divisional Playoff Weekend for Dial Global.  The play-by-play of this weekend’s NFL playoff games is carried exclusively on radio by Dial Global.  The schedule is as follows: on Saturday the Baltimore Ravens take on the Denver Broncos.  Kevin Kugler has the play-by-play, along with analyst Mark Malone and sideline reporter Scott Kaplan.  The action continues when the Green Bay Packers meet the San Francisco 49ers.  Kevin Harlan serves as play-by-play announcer, along with Hall of Famer Dan Fouts as analyst and Hub Arkush as sideline reporter.  On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks go head-to-head with the Atlanta Falcons.  Dave Sims has the play-by-play, with Hall of Famer James Lofton as analyst and sideline reporter Tony Boselli.  Following the conclusion of that game, the Houston Texans face the New England Patriots.  Ian Eagle has the play-by-play, along with analyst Trent Green and sideline reporter Lewis JohnsonScott Graham hosts the pregame, halftime and postgame shows for all four broadcasts.

rodriguezmattMatt Rodriguez Named General Sales Manager at KFWB, Los Angeles.  He comes to the KFWB Asset Trust news/talk station from Amaturo Group Ltd.’s Southern California cluster where he served as general manager.  Matt Rodriguez will be in charge of the sales efforts for its news and talk programming as well as Los Angeles Clippers basketball.  General manager Valerie Blackburn says, “Putting Matt in charge of our overall sales and sports efforts is a great win for KFWB.  He has raised the bar in generating sales wherever he’s worked and is a valuable addition to our team.”

robelotjaneAward-Winning Journalist Jane Robelot Anchors WMUU, Greenville, South Carolina Morning News.  Former CBS News correspondent and anchor Jane Robelot begins her position with Salem Communications’ WMUU, Greenville, South Carolina “Conservative Talk 94.5” today (1/10).  Robelot worked for CBS News in New York from 1995 through 1999 where she co-anchored “CBS This Morning.”  While at CBS News in New York, she won two national Emmy awards for journalistic excellence, and a national Emmy nomination.  Robelot returned to her hometown of Greenville in 2006 where she and her husband, Mario DeCarvalho, created their own production company, Carolina Zoom Productions.  She is a contributing anchor and reporter for Hearst-owned NBC affiliate, WYFF-TV in Greenville.  In 2009, Jane and her team won the prestigious Peabody Award for “Chronicle: Paul’s Gift,” a documentary about organ donation.  She also co-hosts a nationally syndicated Christian radio program, “Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef.”

KKSPlogoCrain Media Moves Little Rock Talk Station; Adds Full Time Sports Outlet.  Little Rock-based Crain Media announces it is moving the news/talk programming on KKSP — “Fresh Talk” — from its 93.3 FM dial position to the 96.5 position currently occupied by CHR KHTE beginning today (Thursday, January 10).  The station will add Cumulus Media’s Mike Huckabee and Dial Global’s Dennis Miller in the midday where sports talk shows currently air.  At the same time, the company is debuting a new full-time sports talk station branded “Fox Sports Radio FM93.3 Little Rock” using Fox Sports Radio Network programming as well as local shows “Game On with Wess and Michael” and Bo Mattingly’s sports talk show.  Station president Tatum Owenby says, “Our goal is to provide the Little Rock metro area with the most relevant and entertaining sports talk programming.  We are confident that Fox Sports Radio’s first-class lineup, combined with quality local content, will be a perfect fit for the sports fans in our market.”

wntb logoWNTB and WLTT, Wilmington, NC Combo Adds Local Shows.  The Wilmington, North Carolina simulcast of WNTB, Topsail Beach and WLTT, Bolivia – owned by Hometown Wilmington Media and branded as “The Big Talker 93.7 & 106.3” – announces two new local programs.  Port City Daily sports writer and local media personality Joe Catenacci will begin hosting a one-hour daily sports talk show from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Monday, January 14.  Also, local community leader L.S. “Bo” Dean Jr. debuts the Saturday morning “Hometown Solutions” show dedicated to featuring citizens, organizations and businesses that are agents of change in the local community focused on generating success for health and wellness, education, employment, economic development and other facets impacting quality of life in the Cape Fear region.  Program director Aimee Bowen states, “We are very excited to launch these two new programs that highlight the regional citizens and organizations working toward a better tomorrow and our incredible local sports scene.”

wxos logoWXOS, St. Louis Debuts New Weekend Programs.  Hubbard Broadcasting’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” announces three new weekend programs: “The Hot Corner” airs Saturdays from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm hosted by 101 ESPN’s Cardinals insider Brian Stull and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Cardinals columnist Derrick Goold will be talking all things Cardinals baseball; “MMA Hit Squad” a show dedicated to mixed martial arts/ultimate fighting starts January 19 and airs from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Saturdays.  It will be hosted by Jesse Finney and Chad Range; and, with the return of NHL hockey, “St. Louis Faceoff Today” begins airing Sundays from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm hosted by Fox Sports Midwest St. Louis Blues play-by-play voice John Kelly and St. Louis Post-Dispatch Blues beat reporter Jeremy Rutherford.  WXOS program director Kent Sterling states, “The next step in the growth of 101 ESPN will be in the weekends.  St. Louis is a seven-day-a-week sports town, and where there is hunger for unique content, 101ESPN will provide it.”

osgoodawardHappy Birthday, Charles Osgood!  Respected veteran Dial Global radio personality Charles Osgood, host of the popular “Osgood File” broadcasts, celebrated his 80th birthday on Tuesday. He’s pictured here posing for a photo in his newly revamped studio.  He’s holding a plaque presented by Dial Global executives and featuring a rhyme by his late father, “Early to bed, early to rise.  Work like a dog and advertise.”

Biden Gun Control Meeting/Executive Order Threat, Morgan-Jones CNN Debate, Obama Afghanistan Troop Withdrawal Proposal, and ‘All My Babies’ Mamas’ Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/9).  Vice President Joe Biden’s gun control meeting and threat of executive order to change gun laws; the contentious debate over gun laws between CNN’s Piers Morgan and talk host Alex Jones; the proposal to draw down the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the flap over the Oxygen channel’s “All My Babies’ Mamas” program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

| January 9, 2013

cclogoClear Channel Hires Bruce Gilbert for New Sports SVP Post.  Most recently, Bruce Gilbert has been the vice president of news, talk and sports programming at CBS Radio Dallas where he’s been in charge of KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan,” KRLD-AM “Newsradio 1080,” and the Texas State Network.  Now he joins Clear Channel Media and gilbertbruceEntertainment for the newly created position of senior vice president of sports operations.  CC says Gilbert will be “responsible for the creation, development and direction of sports programming at CCM+E, including Premiere Networks and the Fox Sports Radio Network.  He will also work with the National Programming Platforms team to expand sports branding across the company’s multiple platforms.”  Prior to CBS, Gilbert headed up Washington, D.C.-based Red Zebra Broadcasting as CEO, where he grew the company from three to 13 stations.  Gilbert also held the role of VP/general manager for the ESPN Radio Network, where he led programming, affiliations and sales for the network, and worked with owned-and-operated ESPN stations.  Premiere Networks EVP of news, talk and sports programming Carl Anderson states, “We are ecstatic to have one of the nation’s leading sports executives join our company.  Bruce has an amazing track record and unmatched dedication to building winning teams.  His credibility in the sports arena brings a wealth of expertise, knowledge and leadership to CCM+E.”  Some industry observers have noted Clear Channel has been lagging behind other major companies – especially CBS Radio and Entercom – in developing sports talk stations.  The arrival of Gilbert could signal a change and the company may begin to consider operating more sports talk stations.

tantarosandreaFox News Channel’s “The Five” Soaring in Ratings.  The 5:00 pm ET program “The Five” on Fox News Channel – co-hosted by Andrea Tantaros – has been climbing steadily in the ratings.  Last Friday, for example, the program logged more than 2 million viewers (Persons 2-plus), 339,000 viewers (Persons 25-54) and 807,000 (Persons 35-64), easily doubling its closest competitors on the other cable news/talk channels.  Andrea Tantaros is also host of her own talk radio program on Talk Radio Network (airing live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon) alongside best-selling author Jason Mattera.  TRN CEO Mark Masters says he believes she’s the only female broadcaster to star in a weekday TV program and host a nationally syndicated talk radio program.  “In a post 2008-2009 economy, we have been seeking shows that are highly entertaining, yet responsible and profitable for our station affiliates and advertisers.  Andrea has the ability to do both.  She’s a fresh voice who will inject new energy to the airwaves.”

moorebobBob Moore Joins Sports USA Media.  He’ll assume the title of president of Sports USA Media in his role with the independent sports play-by-play content syndicator.  Sports USA Media founder and CEO Larry Kahn says of him, “I’ve known Bob Moore for over 30 years.  His experience in working with play-by-play sports rights and creating programming around them is a perfect fit for us.  Bob has worked with multiple teams, including the L.A. Dodgers, the L.A. Kings, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Anaheim Ducks, the Oakland Raiders, the USC Trojans, the New York Giants, and the Brooklyn Nets.  Bob’s knowledge and background will be key factors in the continued growth of Sports USA Media.”  Moore states, “I have long admired Larry for building the largest independent play-by-play sports network and am eagerly looking forward to helping him expand his play-by-play business and making a major statement in the digital space.  We all know the demand for live sports is growing for both the audience and the radio stations.  We will be announcing several major expansions for Sports USA Media over the next several months.  If NBC, CBS and ABC can dedicate 24-hour sports television and radio networks, I think we can say the space is secure.”

thompsondocTalk Host Doc Thompson Joins TheBlaze Radio Network.  Talk radio pro Doc Thompson – recently heard on stations including WLW, Cincinnati and WRVA, Richmond – becomes part of the lineup at Glenn Beck’s online TheBlaze Radio Network hosting the morning drive program.  Program director Dom Theodore says of Thompson, “Doc Thompson has an amazing track record of success at some of America’s biggest talk stations, in addition to his many years of guest hosting for Glenn Beck.  His humorous style and unique approach make him the perfect choice for mornings on TheBlaze Radio Network.”  Also from TheBlaze, Chris Peterson signs on with the network to serve as assistant program director.  Peterson has served with Premiere Networks for the past five years.

zollermarthaMartha Zoller Back on the Radio.  After a run for Congress in Georgia that took her off the radio for the better part of 2012, talk host Martha Zoller returned to the air this week on Cox Media’s WGAU, Athens, Georgia alongside co-host Tim Bryant for the Zoller & Bryant morning drive program.  Prior to her run for office, Zoller was heard on Cox Media’s WXKT.  At the time the station was a talk and sports hybrid but has since flipped to a classic hits format.

wssp logoEntercom’s Sports Talk WSSP, Milwaukee Drops Fox for CBS.  The change will take place on Friday, January 11.  Entercom’s Milwaukee sports talk outlet WSSP “SportsRadio 1250” ends its affiliate relationship with Fox Sports Radio Network to begin airing the new CBS Sports Radio Network.  WSSP airs local programming during much of the day but will use CBS for the evening, late night, overnight and weekend dayparts.

bullmichaelOdds & Sods.  Michael Bull’s Atlanta-based “Commercial Real Estate Show” goes into national syndication via the Wall Street Business Network.  The program was founded in 2010 by commercial real estate broker Michael Bull on WAFS, Atlanta in 2010 to examine national commercial real estate and business issues and feature high-caliber guests from around the country, including well-known analysts, accountants, brokers, lenders, developers, attorneys and architects.  About the expansion, Bull states, “I’ve been delighted at the impact the show has had in just two years, and I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to continue to extend its reach.  We can tell by the location of podcast downloads that the content is relevant to audiences across the globe.  As we continue to add stations, the show’s comprehensive analysis and enlightening bohannonjimconversations will reach a much larger audience.”…..Dial Global nationally syndicated late night and early morning talk host Jim Bohannon will be one of six Inauguration Parade announcers who’ll be stationed along Pennsylvania Avenue on January 21 addressing the crowd.  Bohannon says, “This is quite an honor, and I’m eager to do it again.  I also announced the Carter parade in 1977, so I seem to do this every 36 years.  Guess I’d better enjoy it since I’m not sure how many 36 year increments I have left.  It should be fun announcing, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the Southeast A&P Remedial High Marching 37, as they form a giant grid…and a giant lock…in honor of this year’s inaugural theme!’ (applause).”

pressmanalanDr. Alan Pressman Moves to WOR, New York.  After 11 years on Access.1’s WWRL, New York, Dr. Alan Pressman takes his “Health Radio News” program to Clear Channel’s WOR, New York for a Sunday 8:00 am ET airing.  He says the show will be a live, caller-driven program.  Dr. Pressman states, “There are so many breaking stories about health and nutrition; stories the general public does not have easy access to.  We’ll be discussing issues in the news from around the world.  It’s really hard-hitting information.”

Gun Control Legislation, RGIII Controversy, Looming Additional Tax Battles, Obama Cabinet Nominations, and Flu Epidemic Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/8).  Gun legislation proposals; the controversy over Robert Griffin III’s playing time in the Redskins’ loss to Seattle; future tax hike debates in Washington; President Obama’s cabinet nominations and the flu epidemic that has hospitals overwhelmed were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, January 7, 2013

| January 7, 2013

cosbyritaRita Cosby to Host PM Drive at WOR, New York; PD Rumors Abound.  As Clear Channel Media and Entertainment continues crafting its new New York City talk radio station – on Friday, TALKERS told you about Mark Simone’s moving from WABC to WOR to host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show – we now know that Rita Cosby is in place to host the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program.  The journalist, TV news anchor and current correspondent for CBS’ syndicated “Inside Edition” television program has been subbing on Big Apple talk radio recently.  As for programmers, the speculation is that former hot AC WPLJ, New York program director Tom Cuddy is in place to program WOR.  If that’s the case, it’s interesting that CC has gone outside the realm of talk radio programmers for this signal.  One thing’s for sure, Cuddy certainly knows the New York market.

kleinaaronWABC, New York’s Aaron Klein Gains Big December PPM Audience.  The host of WABC, New York’s Sunday evening “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” program was the most-listened-to personality on the AM band during the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm among Men 35-plus.  Klein’s show was #3 in the market in that demo and during that time period behind only classic rock WAXQ and AC WLTW with a 7.0 share.  Klein tells TALKERS magazine, “This clearly demonstrates that there is hunger for live weekend talk radio programming if the content is compelling, exclusive, news-oriented and entertaining.”  Klein’s program beat out sports WFAN as well as the market’s two all-newsers in the Men 35-plus demographic.

ingrahamlauraLaura Ingraham Talks About New Show.  In case you missed it, Courtside Entertainment-syndicated talk host Laura Ingraham spoke with Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s Diane Brady last week about changes in her life and work as she left Talk Radio Network for a new deal with Courtside.  She told Brady, “After 11 years at TRN, it was time to retool how I approached the business.  That meant everything from whom I partnered with and how the show is delivered to the topics I cover.  Pounding on the same people and themes doesn’t expand an audience. Conservatives limit themselves when they just look at the world through a political lens.  Politics is an important part of what I do — my core beliefs haven’t changed — but people are disillusioned with it.”  She also pointed to her personal life as a reason for massaging the direction of her program.  “I’m a single mother to three young kids; I’ve been treated for breast cancer; I’m caring for my aging father.  There’s a lot more that unites us than divides us.  I want the show to be livelier, funnier, newsier, more unpredictable.  The personal connection with listeners is more satisfying than political conversations.”

cbssportsradiologoCBS Sports Radio Network Debuts Weekend Lineup.  Three days after premiering its weekday national sports radio network, CBS Radio brings its weekend lineup to the airwaves.  Kicking off on the first weekend of the NFL playoffs, the network’s schedule was as follows (parentheses indicate talent’s home base): Saturday/Sunday 2:00 am to 6:00 am Amy Lawrence (joins CBS Sports Radio from ESPN Radio); Saturday: 6:00 am to 10:00 am Marc Malusis (WFAN-AM/FM New York); 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Brandon Tierney (CBS Sports Radio); 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm Gregg Giannotti (KDKA-FM Pittsburgh); 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm Jody McDonald (WIP-FM Philadelphia and WFAN); and Saturday/Sunday 10:00 pm to 2:00 am Adam The Bull (WKRK-FM Cleveland).  Sunday: 6:00 am to 10:00 am John Kincade (WCNN-AM Atlanta); 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Vinny Cerrato/Rob Long (WJZ-FM Baltimore); 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm Jody McDonald/Kris Jenkins (former NFL player, and sports analyst); 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm Josh Innes and Ted Johnson (KILT-AM Houston); and Sunday/Monday 10:00 pm to 2:00 am Amy Lawrence.

liebermanrichBay Area Media Blogger Rich Lieberman to Host Afternoons at KOMY, Santa Cruz.  Rich Lieberman – who’s been writing the Rich Lieberman 415 Media blog for more than 10 years – had recently been doing some holiday fill-in work at Michael Zwerling-owned KOMY, Santa Cruz over the holidays.  Now Zwerling announces Lieberman has been hired to be permanent host of the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm program.  Zwerling states, “Rich has been blogging about media, sports, and entertainment for more than a decade and has built an amazing audience, including MANY famous people who crave mentions and acknowledgement by this new media sensation. This reminds me of how people would die to be mentioned in Herb Caen‘s column in the San Francisco Chronicle for nearly half a century.”

valentinebobbyBobby Valentine Joins NBC Sports Radio as Weekly Contributor.  Baseball’s Bobby Valentine is becoming part of the NBC Sports Radio network as a contributor to its coverage of Major League Baseball beginning this month.  The network says Valentine will call in weekly to affiliated stations and NBC Sports Radio talk hosts with his candid thoughts and observations on baseball.  In addition, Valentine will become a part-time co-host of a soon-to-be-announced daily Monday through Friday talk show that will debut in April as the network expands its programming lineup.  The NBC Sports Radio network is being distributed and supported with ad sales by Dial Global.  Valentine says, “I can’t wait to get started on NBC Sports Radio.  I’m looking forward to talking to our affiliates and network shows, and to being a major contributor to the network.  I always state my honest opinion and I can’t wait to share it with NBC Sports Radio listeners.”

millerchris“I Knew You’d Like This and That No One Else Would Show it to You.”  This is the attitude that digital consultant Chris Miller says delivers higher quality content when using social media such as Facebook.  In this piece for TALKERS, Miller explains how programmers can optimize their gains from Facebook using its EdgeRank algorithm.  Miller says EdgeRank “works to show you what they think will matter most to you.  It’s like a programmer picking songs; they want the good stuff to show up most often, and they don’t want to show you the stuff you don’t care about.”  Miller explains the three elements that make up the algorithm and offers some tips how to capitalize on it.  Read his piece here.

metalsheenaSheena Metal Celebrates Four Years at LA Talk Radio.  Los Angeles radio personality Sheena Metal is celebrating her fourth anniversary at the Sam Hasson-founded LATalkRadio.com.  Metal was a long-time evening personality at CBS Radio’s old hot talk KLSX, Los Angeles before the station underwent a format change.  Sam Hasson says, “Since she launched her daily radio show ‘The Sheena Metal Experience’ in January 2009, Sheena has grown tremendously in every way and built a respectable audience that is loyal and devoted.  We anticipate more great entertainment and intriguing guests in the coming year.  LA Talk Radio is proud to call Sheena Metal one of our own.”  In addition to “The Sheena Metal Experience,” she co-hosts two weekly talk programs: the paranormal hit “Haunted Playground” alongside psychic/medium Danielle Egnew (Tuesdays from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm) and the spicy “Two Chicks Talkin’ Politics” alongside actress Susan Olsen (of “The Brady Bunch” fame) airing Mondays 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  For music lovers, Sheena Metal can even be found hosting her weekly “Music Highway” show on Wednesdays from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Friday, January 4, 2013

| January 4, 2013

simonemarkMark Simone Begins Late Morning Show on WOR, New York.  Longtime WABC, New York personality Mark Simone is heading downtown to begin a new chapter in his career with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WOR.  Simone tells TALKERS he’s excited to begin hosting the daily 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  He says, “It’ll be a fast and fun daily look at what’s going on in the world, the city, entertainment, politics, tech, gossip, food, nightlife, my life, lives and whatever else they want to talk about.  Lots of great guests and listener calls, too.”  Simone says his 13 years at WABC wor710were great.  Management was always good to him and he’s finding it hard to leave his fellow co-workers but he’s encouraged to be re-joining general manager Steve Borneman who recently left WABC and is now with WOR.  “He’s a great leader and the best GM we ever had on the 17th floor at WABC and everyone on the air there would tell you that they would follow him anywhere.  He’s also hiring the best and smartest programming mastermind around.  This is just the beginning.  So, while I hate leaving the best co-workers in radio, it may not be long before many of them decide to join me here.”  Simone’s program fills the slot on WOR previously held by Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher.

valicenti show logoWPRO, Providence Makes AM Drive Change; Gene Valicenti to Anchor.  Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7 FM, Providence announces WJAR-TV co-anchor Gene Valicenti (pictured at left) is the new host of its “WPRO Morning News” program.  The station says “Gene brings more than 20 years of Rhode Island news broadcasting experience to the ‘WPRO Morning News’ each and every weekday.  With an intimate knowledge of Rhode Island and neighboring Massachusetts, the ‘WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti’ will help listeners get their weekday started with news, traffic, weather and the unique touch of Gene Valicenti.”  For more than two years Valicenti has been hosting his eponymous Saturday morning show on WPRO.  He says, “Rhode Island has been waking up to WPRO since the days of Salty Brine.  It goes without saying that hosting the ‘WPRO Morning News’ is a real honor for me.”  TALKERS columnist and respected industry consultant Holland Cooke, who happens to be a longtime resident of Rhode Island, comments that he believes this to be a very good move.  “I’ve been a big Gene Valicenti fan for years, but who here in Rhode Island isn’t?  His NBC10 newscasts have consistently led the ratings.  Beyond those impressive news chops, Gene’s approach to talk radio demonstrates what I hear as a welcome new trend, an antidote to the format’s caricature.  His Saturday radio show SMILES more than most other talkers I hear; and, though topical, he’s not obsessed with politics.  Gene strikes me as ‘a next-gen Salty Brine.’”  In related news, current morning news host Tara Granahan is promoted to assistant program director for the station.

kinosianmikeTALKERS magazine’s Sports Radio Feature, Part 3.  Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian wraps up a special three-part sports talk radio feature with a look at the December 2012 PPM ratings for sports talk stations in those markets.  Numbers freaks will enjoy checking out how some of the nation’s most prominent sports talk outlets performed during that period.  Peruse that data here.  Mike Kinosian’s three-part feature kicked off with a thorough look at the new CBS Sports Radio Network that debuted on Wednesday.  If you missed that, read it here.  The second part of this piece covered the new sports talk venture from NBC and Dial Global that premieres its weekend programming tomorrow prior to a full launch in April.  You can read that piece here.

noorygeorgeGeorge Noory Celebrates 10 Years as Host of ‘Coast to Coast AM.’  It was 10 years ago this weekend that George Noory took over the permanent host gig at Premiere Networks’ super-successful overnight program “Coast to Coast AM” and he plans a special show Sunday evening to celebrate.  The show will feature appearances by many fan-favorite guests, including paranormal investigator Joshua P. Warren and internationally known psychic Joseph Jacobs.  Noory will also share memorable interviews and highlights from the past decade.  Of the anniversary, Noory says, “It’s amazing how fast 10 years goes by and I’m looking forward to 10 more.  We have grown the affiliate base from 445 stations when I came on to 564, and have increased our digital, multi-platform audiences tremendously.  I want to thank my staff of dedicated producers and engineers, our affiliates, as well as the entire Premiere Networks team – they are the best in the business.”  Premiere Networks EVP of news, talk and sports programming Carl Anderson states, “After 10 successful years, George continues to take ‘Coast to Coast AM’ to new heights.  His ability to not only entertain and engage his loyal following of sleep-deprived listeners across multiple platforms, but also deliver positive results for stations and sponsors, is what makes him a stand-out star in the world of talk radio.  We look forward to celebrating many more milestones together.”

DG-logoHorizontalBig NFL Weekend for Dial Global Sports.  The first round of the NFL playoffs is here and Dial Global is providing radio broadcasts of the four Wild Card round games this weekend.  Play-by-play of the NFL playoffs has been a successful venture for Dial Global (and Westwood One before that).  Last year, the company commissioned a study by Edison Research to calculate listenership to the playoff games and the Super Bowl which, according to Edison, pulled in 23.1 million unique listeners to last year’s championship game, underscoring how many Americans aren’t able to be near a TV and turn to the radio to hear the big game.

snlkaganSNL Kagan Reports Current TV-Al Jazeera Deal a Challenge for Middle East Operator.  The pending $500 million sale of Al Gore-founded cable news/talk channel Current TV to Qatar-operated Al Jazeera is a bounty for Al Gore and Joel Hyatt but will likely be a big hurdle for Al Jazeera.  SNL Kagan states, “We think Al Jazeera may have to drop the license fee to zero in order to gain widespread support for carrying the channel in the U.S., a move that would certainly imperil its economic model, which relies upon license fees for 80% of the network’s revenue.  But maybe this is the only way for Al Jazeera America to gain a solid foothold in the U.S…In the U.S., the channel is available only in New York; Washington; Burlington, Vt.; Toledo, Ohio; and Bristol, R.I., versus 250 million households across the world in 120 countries.”

weei logoEntercom’s WEEI Expands Its Brand in the Granite State.  New England’s Boston-based WEEI sports talk radio brand expands in New Hampshire adding its eighth affiliate – Great Eastern Radio’s WZEI, Meredith.  WZEI is a class A FM covering the Lakes Region of New Hampshire.  The station will carry the entire WEEI daily sports talk lineup, its weekend programming and Boston Celtics basketball.  Great Eastern CEO Jeff Shapiro says, “We are very excited to bring coverage of everything New England sports to the Lakes Region of New Hampshire with 101.5 WZEI.  Great Eastern Radio and WEEI have a great partnership that has been key to great sports programming in northern New England for the past few years, and we look forward to extending that for years to come!”

kgologoKGO, San Francisco Wins Regional News Awards.  Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco picks up two 2012 awards for broadcasting excellence from the NorCal Radio Television News Directors Association.  The station won “Best News Broadcast” for the in-depth coverage of the Occupy protest and closure of the Port of Oakland anchored by Bret Burkhart and Chris Brecher; produced by Linnea Edmeier and Laura Podolak.  The judges said it “grabs you right out of the box (with) passionate and engaged reporting (and) paints a good word picture of what was going on.”  KGO reporter Scott Lettieri won “Best Light Feature Reporting” for his “Spotlight 810” piece on inmates performing Shakespeare in San Quentin.  The judges said it was “interesting and meaningful,” with a “great mix of dramatic Shakespeare readings, music, (and) inmate reflections on what they’re gaining personally by taking part.”  KGO program director Paul Hosley says, “We’re humbled by these awards.  The 5:00 pm hour is highly popular with listeners and features contributions from the entire news team.  We’re thrilled to have Scott Lettieri recognized for his remarkable work as well.  Scott is a master story teller and it showed in this report about inmates performing Shakespeare behind bars.”

Bloomberg’s WBBR, New York Celebrates 20th Anniversary.  Bloomberg’s WBBR, New York is celebrating its 20th anniversary as Bloomberg Radio – the 24-hour business and financial news outlet in the Big Apple.  To mark the occasion, anchor Tom Keene and reporter Charlie Pellett will join staffers at the New York Stock Exchange to ring the closing bell.

‘Fiscal Cliff’ Legislation Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 31 – January 4.  Debate over and passage of the laws designed to avoid the “fiscal cliff” was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, putting it at #1 on the Talkers TenTM.   Coming in at #2 was the Boehner House Speaker vote.  At #3 was financial markets activity followed by Hurricane Sandy aid legislation at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Eight Reasons Cain Will Click

| January 3, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Talk Radio consultant

cainhermanBLOCK ISLAND, RI — January 21 is Inauguration Day, for both our president, and his outspoken campaign opponent Herman Cain, whose nationally syndicated radio show debuts that morning.

Here’s why I predicted Cain’s success oh-so-publicly at the recent Arbitron Client Conference:

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Peacock Sports Network Playing The Hits

| January 3, 2013

Part Two of a Special Feature

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — As sure as 2013 has arrived, personal resolutions have been made, and a plethora of prognostications will bombard us.

crystalball130Equally as predictable is that not long into this brand new year, those well-meaning self-promises will be severely compromised, and one’s forecasting ability becomes cloudy-looking, at best.

Here, however, is something that could actually be a trend this year: Don’t be surprised if clusters with multiple talk stations jettison one of those signals to sports.

Ass