Tag: "Dr. Drew Pinsky"

Thursday, August 15, 2013

| August 15, 2013

wolfejasonBoston Shocker: Jason Wolfe To Exit Entercom, Boston. Twenty-two years ago, a then 24-year-old Jason Wolfe joined WEEI-AM, Boston’s first fulltime sports operation. As the greater-Boston native (Sharon, Massachusetts) writes today on his Facebook page, he “could not have been more excited” to work “on the blank canvas” he had in front of him. It was announced today that the vice president of programming and operations of Entercom, Boston sports WEEI AM & FM and talk WRKO is leaving the company. Entercom, Boston vice president/market manager Jeff Brown states that Wolfe not only “defined sports talk radio in Boston, but nationally as well,” adding, “There are very few people who have influenced an industry like Jason has. From his work with the Jimmy Fund [a charity that supports adult and pediatric cancer care/research at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute] and the Red Sox‘s historic championship run to WRKO’s engagement with politics, Jason’s behind-the-scenes work has made an impact few people will ever understand.” Syracuse University alum Wolfe reflects that his involvement in WEEI’s growth “has been a tremendous honor. WEEI went from a single radio station to a regional sports network and added a world-class digital platform. Today, it is one of the biggest radio brands in any format, anywhere in the country.” Wolfe notes that four-time Marconi Award-winner WEEI was, “#1 for six straight years through the fall of 2008.” Boston’s competitive radio landscape changed four years ago though when CBS Radio introduced WBZ-FM as “The Sports Hub,” giving WEEI a strong head-to-head challenger. Changes have followed at WEEI, including the recent departure of longtime afternoon drive co-host Glenn Ordway. In the 22 years Wolfe spent at WEEI, he chronicles that, “The Red Sox won two World Series; the Patriots won three Super Bowls and went to two others; the Celtics won one championship and went to a second NBA Final; and the Bruins won a Stanley Cup and returned to the Final this season.” Regarding his farewell from Entercom, a graciously philosophical Wolfe acknowledges on Facebook that, “This is a business and companies are always looking ahead to decide what’s best for their future. Entercom has an obligation to do what is in [its] best interest. I respect and accept that. I am thankful to everyone at Entercom for all they have done to support me. I wish them all the best in the future. It’s now time for me to move on and begin the next chapter of my career.” Word regarding a successor to Wolfe is expected to be announced soon.

TalkersRadio logo_200TALKERS Magazine Set to Launch TalkersRadio on Tuesday September 10.  After several months of technical testing and initial talent scouting, TALKERS magazine announces that it will be officially launching its experimental online talk radio station initiative  – TalkersRadio – on Tuesday September 10TalkersRadio is a 24/7/365 streaming spoken-word internet radio station that will be available to listeners on the trade publication’s website, www.talkers.com as well as TuneIn and will feature a unique brand of stationality that, as publisher Michael Harrison describes, “views the world through the lens of the talk media industry and expresses a love of the art of the medium, its participants and its listeners for their own sake.”  TalkersRadio’s mission will be to serve as 1) a laboratory for interesting new concepts and talent in talk; 2) a farm system to help develop deserving up-and-comers; 3) a real-time stage for talent to audition for specific jobs and opportunities; 4) a platform for “bridge shows” - a new device by which suddenly terminated AM/FM talk show hosts can do a series of final shows to say goodbye to their listeners and/or announce their upcoming plans within a radio show context; 5) a vehicle for “orphan shows” – programs that do not conveniently fit into prevailing AM/FM station format categories; 6) a showcase for new and adventurous programming concepts and ideas; and 7) a medium to exclusively broadcast TALKERS magazine live events. During the test period, TalkersRadio successfully broadcasted the entire Talkers New York 2013 live in June as well as “Talk Radio Day at the United Nations.”   TalkersRadio will also carry several regularly scheduled programs to give it, as Harrison describes, “the feel and consistency” of a real radio station…. But Harrison adds, “It won’t get hung up on its lineup.  These regularly scheduled shows will be more like ‘limited engagement’ runs of a show at a theater than forever-entities to which the station will be married and by which it will be defined.”  Some of these will be talk shows about the industry but most will just be talk shows about life and its endless spectrum of topics in general.  “The key,” according to Harrison, “is most of the programming will be of the types that are unavailable elsewhere…or at least YET unavailable. We most certainly want to get things rolling that will then go on to much bigger platforms in the business.”  TalkersRadio has been in development for the past year and a half and is a joint project between TALKERS parent company Talk Media, Inc. and Westborough, Massachusetts-based communications firm Backbone Networks Corporation.  It is featuring the leading-edge concept in broadcasting technology developed by Backbone (the system currently in place at the recently-launched Boston Herald Radio) that makes it extremely convenient and affordable for talk show hosts and organizations looking to “set up their own online sticks” to do a fully produced program – with live callers and guests – from an amazingly simple technical remote and portable set up.  According to Harrison, “Our partners at Backbone are technical wizards.  Having them power this operation gives us the flexibility and means to really make a significant contribution to talk radio as both a cultural art form and a 21st century-rooted business — the ongoing mission of TALKERS magazine.”  Look for information about the initial programming set for TalkersRadio being posted on Talkers.com this week and next beginning with the following story.

studentrobbieNoted Pop Music Producer and Talk Show Maverick Robbie Student Signs on to Host Midday Show on TalkersRadio.  As TalkersRadio prepares its official launch on Tuesday September 10, the experimental internet talk station’s general manager David Bernstein announces the signing of emerging talk radio personality Robbie Student to serve as host of his own charter talk show on the station which will air live weekday afternoons between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm ET.  “Robbie Student” is the talk radio air name (although “Student” is his legitimate family name from an earlier generation) of noted record industry music producer and impresario Rob Stevens who, among his numerous credits, has executive produced (with Ms. Ono) all 10 of Yoko Ono’s recent number one hit singles in the burgeoning field of EDM (electronic dance music).  Bernstein says, “In his ‘daytime’ gig as Rob Stevens, this amazingly interesting guy has worked with some of the biggest name artists in rock and pop including Red Hot Chili Peppers and other greats and brings a pop culture sensibility to news/talk radio with a level of comfort for which others have reached but few have grasped.”  Frontier Fifty member Robbie Student came to the attention of Bernstein and TALKERS management last year while hosting a daily program on the fledgling internet stream of WOR, New York when it was still owned by Buckley Broadcasting.  Bernstein says, “It was amazing – whenever this guy was on the WOR stream, the internet metrics took a huge jump.  He consistently had more listeners online than some of the biggest players in AM/FM radio who were on at the same time.  Things like that stand out.  Most importantly, Robbie Student is just plain different.  He brings a no-nonsense, everyman approach to the mic and talks with great intelligence and insight about everything from music, television and movies to independent politics, economics, parenting, education and psychology – all with an enlightening level of evolved consciousness.  We are so pleased to let him run wild a couple of hours a day on this baby radio station and see where it goes.”  Student has a degree in Philosophy from Columbia University and has done significant community work in his home-town New York City with youth basketball programs helping kids from diverse backgrounds reach their goals.  More new signings for TalkersRadio will be announced tomorrow and next week.  For more information about TalkersRadio call 413-565-5413.  GM David Bernstein can be emailed at david@talkers.com.

PodcastOneAbacast LogoCourtside Entertainment Group’s PodcastOne Links Up With Abacast. The objective is to have Abacast‘s Clarity Digital Radio System place customized commercials for PodcastOne clients in specific markets. Among other things, the system provides campaign management, audience metrics and delivery for live and on-demand digital audio programming. Courtside Entertainment Group chairman/chief executive officer Norm Pattiz remarks, “This is another example of taking advantage of the latest technology to pattizprovide services that advertisers expect. This is consistent with our promise to have the best-targeted ad solution in an industry poised for rapid growth.” Abacast’s integrated service will be released in the fourth quarter and chief executive officer Rob Green notes that his company is, “making a commitment to podcasting by extending the Clarity Digital Radio System to the podcasting market.  We couldn’t be happier to be chosen by PodcastOne.” Introduced this past February, audio-on-demand PodcastOne hosts roughly 200 podcasts by, among others, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Jay Mohr, Adam Carolla, Steve Austin, Penn Jillette, Dennis Miller, Laura Ingraham, and Tom Green.  Norm Pattiz will be a featured speaker at the forthcoming Talkers Los Angeles 2013 set for Thursday October 10.  The event, open only to members of the working media, is nearing a sellout.  For more information or to register, call 413-565-5413.

smulyansmartphoneSprintSprint To Begin Installing NextRadio Application. It will transpire over the next few years and enables consumers to listen to local radio stations on their smartphones. Sprint‘s HTC One and HTC EVO 4G LTE models will be the first models with the app. NextRadio is Sprint’s smartphone app that delivers an interactive artist and ad experience to FM-enabled smartphones. Data for the application is supplied by TagStation, the cloud-based engine that offers stations the ability to upload branding images that display as default artwork in the NextRadio app, as well as call letters, format, station name, and slogan. Major and vocal proponent all along is Emmis chairman/chief executive officer Jeff Smulyan who declares the announcement is, “a credit to the entire radio industry, which has unified to make this happen. We set a new course as an industry, one that will bring exciting audience and advertiser engagement opportunities.” Emmis chief technology officer Paul Brenner is president of NextRadio, LLC and he explains that, “Whether the station is large market, medium market, small market, commercial or non-commercial, this free service will provide listeners with a visual radio listening experience. Radio stations no longer have to add the cost of internet streaming to get local FM radio on a mobile device.” Smulyan notes more than 1,500 stations signed up for TagStation’s free services; thousands more are expected following today’s news. Beasley, CBS Radio, Entercom, Greater Media, and Hubbard registered for additional services through TagStation. “Passionate, insightful vision of industry leaders like Jeff Smulyan helped to make this prospect a reality,” comments New Jersey Broadcasters Association president/chief executive officer Paul Rotella. “We will continue to support initiatives that promote the precious value of radio.” Also endorsing the concept of FM receivers in smartphones are The Radio Advertising Bureau and National Association of Broadcasters.

 ArbitronNielsenIs The Arbitron-Nielsen Transaction Hitting A Snag? The Federal Trade Commission reportedly wants more information before it decides whether to approve the $1.26 billion deal, whereby Nielsen would acquire Arbitron. It was believed the okay was further along in the process, however, The New York Post reports that the FTC is calling for additional particulars from television station owners affected by a potential Nielsen-Arbitron merger. Roughly two weeks ago, Nielsen officials felt that by the end of this month, they would have a good grasp of where the situation stood, but former New York assistant attorney general-antitrust lawyer Sally Hubbard tells The Post that, if the FTC is, “still currently talking to sources, it does make you wonder.” It was last December when Nielsen revealed it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire Arbitron for $48-per-share, however, the FTC several months later stymied the proposed union of the two ratings behemoths. On a call with investors, Nielsen chief executive officer David Calhoun said the company had complied with the FTC’s latest concern and he flatly states, “It is on them to come back to us.” Calhoun is optimistic this deal will be approved, in that, he says the companies operate in different media sectors. Once companies comply with such FTC requests, the commission has 30 days to complete its review and take action.

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hrt large 200Arbitron Releases “Hispanic Radio Today 2013.” Approximately 95% of Hispanic consumers in the United States tune to the radio in an average week and Arbitron summarizes those listening habits throughout a comprehensive 84-page overview. Numerous colorful charts, graphs, and tables are featured, with a ranking of formats by Hispanic audience share especially interesting. Stats are based on Hispanic audience share, Monday-Sunday, 6:00 am – midnight, AQH Hispanic Persons 12+, from spring 2012. As one might expect regional Mexican is a dominant #1 (19.2%) followed by Spanish Contemporary (10.7%). Three English-language music formats are next: CHR (9.8%), rhythmic CHR (7.7%); and adult contemporary (6.1%). Spanish adult hits is #6 (5.9%), but then come hot AC (4.0%); country (3.5%); classic hits (3.5%); and news-talk (3.3%) rounds out the top ten. The remaining seven formats in this particular breakout are: Spanish tropical (3.1%); classic rock (2.2%); Spanish news-talk (1.9%); Spanish variety (1.0%); Spanish religious (.9%); Tejano (.9%); and Spanish sports (.3%). In addition to Arbitron audience data for each format, “Hispanic Radio Today 2013″ features Scarborough consumer profiles. The full study is available exclusively to Arbitron clients.

raylizBuckley Brings in Ray as California Marketing Manager. It is a new position for Buckley Radio‘s California-based properties. Working from Fresno at the company’s rhythmic CHR KSEQ “Q 97,” Liz Ray will help oversee sales and marketing for sibling stations in Monterey, Bakersfield, and Merced. Buckley Radio president Joe Bilotta comments, “We are looking to partner with the advertising community in a joint effort to insure a respectable return-on-investment when they work with us. Liz will greatly assist and direct these efforts.” Executive vice president – west coast Kathy Baker remarks, “Liz Ray has an extensive 27-year sales, sales management background in the broadcasting industry and she has an outstanding reputation. We are thrilled to have her on-board.” Most recently, Ray was general sales manager of Fresno adult contemporary KJWL and that market’s KYNO-AM, when it was talk. She previously was local sales manager for the Fresno Bee. 

malikbreeannaClear Channel Moves Malik From San Antonio To Houston as VP/Sales. Transitioning from her role as president of the company’s cluster of stations in its San Antonio home base, Breeanna Malik becomes vice president of sales for the six stations that comprise Clear Channel, Houston. Clear Channel senior vice president of operations Kelly Kibler Owens observes, “Houston is a thriving market. Breeanna brings unique strategic insight, while also keeping many of her client relationships intact within Texas.” Clear Channel, Houston president/market manager Eddie Martiny notes, “Breeanna’s performance in San Antonio has been absolutely outstanding and we are excited to have her lead our sales efforts in Houston.” Malik comments that her “true passion is leading sales organizations” and “building new client partnerships through Clear Channel’s integrated multi-platform programs.” Prior to becoming Clear Channel, San Antonio market president last October, Malik was director of sales and general sales manager there.

Rotoworld 200NBC Sports Radio 125Rotoworld Becomes NBC Sports Radio’s Fantasy Sports Information Brand. Fantasy sports participation has grown more than 60% in the past four years. Estimates are that more than 35 million people in the United States and Canada actively engage in some form of this activity. The Rotoword-NBC Sports Radio union brings player updates and information, live interviews, and on-demand programming to rabid fantasy sports fans. On-demand specialty shows will be hosted by NBC Sports Radio (a joint venture between NBC Sports Group and Dial Dial Global 125Global) anchor/Rotoworld contributor Kay Adams, who appears weekly on NBC Sports Network’s “Fantasy Football Live – Thursday Night.” In addition to being Dial Global’s executive vice president/general manager sports programming, Chris Corcoran is a fantasy fan/player and he comments, “Rotoworld has always been my go-to fantasy source for news and information – I couldn’t be more excited to welcome this partnership. Our exclusive programming will help feed this extremely loyal fantasy fan base.” NBC Sports Digital/Rotoworld director of fantasy content Brett Vandermark remarks, “This is a natural extension for Rotoworld, as sports radio has long been a popular platform for fantasy sports players. This agreement allows fantasy players to access Rotoworld on virtually every platform.” Dial Global chief executive officer Paul Caine adds, “This [Rotoworld] partnership elevates our digital presence to a whole new level.” Programming begins the week after next (8/26). It will include interviews on NBC Sports Radio throughout the NFL season with Rotoworld writers and talent. Two 60-minute NFL-related fantasy shows per week (Tuesdays and Fridays) will be available on the NBC Sports Radio on-demand network.

SunStardome 100Sun To Serve As CNN en Espanol Radio and Fox Deportes Radio’s Ad Sales Rep. The national sales representation agreement between Sun Broadcast Group and Stardome Radio Networks commences immediately; partnership between Stardome and new generation national broadcast network Sun expands Spanish products offered by Sun’s Spanish Language Division, Sun Latino. According to Sun’s chief executive officer Jason Bailey, SBG’s goal has “always been to be the leader in offering top quality programming” to its affiliate and agency partners. “This partnership with Stardome and the addition of CNN en Espanol Radio and Fox Deportes Radio to our sales lineup are clear examples of our continued commitment to the powerful U.S. CNN 100Fox Deportes 100Hispanic market.” Stardome Radio Networks managing director/chief executive officer Anthony Hernandez comments, “The Sun Broadcast Group team has demonstrated that they represent a growing trend of highly specialized network advertising sellers. The selection of Sun Broadcast Group to focus on selling U.S. ad sales inventory was a strategic move to focus and pair our network radio sales products with specific partners with specialized areas of proficiency.”

elleranneewcrs 2South Carolina Broadcasters Association Bestows Show of the Year STAR Award to “Meet Me at the Diner.” Hosted by WCRS-AM, Greenwood, South Carolina owner Anne Eller, the daily 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm program features interviews with personalities having local, statewide, or national interest. Victors were announced at a combination dinner/presentation ceremony this past Saturday (8/10) at Columbia’s Metropolitan Convention Center. This was WCRS’ first-ever entry; no first timer had won the category before. In addition to owning WCRS-AM and doing the daily “Meet Me at the Diner” program, Eller is a regular South Carolina Radio News contributor.

Talkers LA 2013_125_62413Talkers Los Angeles 2013 Nearing Sellout – More Speakers Named to Agenda. The third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention set for Thursday, October 10 is shaping up to be a blockbuster.  The gathering is already closing in on being an advance sellout some seven weeks before the event so it is advisable for media professionals interested in attending to register now.  It is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and held at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm.  TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are very enthusiastic about the growth and positive impact of this Southern California gathering.  It started out three years ago as an experimental LA regional get-together and blossomed into an exciting companion to our big New York convention.”  The event - open only to members of the working media – will feature a power-packed day of panel discussions, keynote addresses, special presentations, technology and services exhibits, tremendous networking opportunities and abundant food and refreshments lavishly catered by the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company (lunch is sponsored by Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity who will address the attendees from New York).  Speakers already set now include (in alphabetical order):  David Bernstein, GM, TalkersRadio;  Robin Bertolucci, PD, KFI, Los Angeles; Phil Boyce, VP spoken word format, Salem Communications; Kevin Casey, VP/executive editor, TALKERS; Bill Carroll, host, KFI, Los Angeles; Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Holland Cooke, radio consultant; Skip Essick, PD, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Erica Farber,CEO/president, RAB;  Michael Harrison, publisher, TALKERS; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD/WYM Media; Phil Hendrie, WYD Media; Rusty Humphries, host, Talk Radio Network;  Frank Kramer, morning co-host (Heidi & Frank), KLOS, Los Angeles/founder of Toad Hop Network;  Mike Kinosian, managing editor, TALKERS; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Tom Leykis, president, The New Normal; Andy Ludlum, director of news programming, KNX/KFWB, Los Angeles; Leslie Marshall, WYM Management; Don Martin, senior VP sports programming, Fox Sports Radio/Clear Channel Media and Entertainment; Kevin McCullough, CEO, XtreMedia; Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media; Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News; Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment/Podcast One; Chris Pendl, creative director, Bonneville Seattle; Walter Sabo, CEO, Sabo Media; Eric Stanger, VP of operations and affiliate marketing, The Sean Hannity Show/Premiere Networks; Alan Stock, host, KDWN, Las Vegas; Chuck Tyler, PD, KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles; Paul Vandenburgh, president/GM/host, WGDJ, Albany; Bill White, PD, KQTH-FM/KFFN-AM/FM, Tucson  and Michael Zwerling, owner, KSCO, Santa Cruz with many more and complete agenda details to be announced in the coming days.  The latest broadcasting equipment and remote gear will be on display as presented by Broadcasters General Store and Comrex Corporation. Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone and, AGAIN the event is approaching  a very early sellout which is projected to happen within about a week.  So don’t wait – avoid being shut out. For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413.

AFFILIATE ROUNDUP. Free Talk Live Adds WCKG, Chicago to Affiliate Roster.  Free Talk Live (FTL) is now heard live every weeknight on Chicago’s WCKG-AM.  FTL co-hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge tell TALKERS, “It’s a major addition to our affiliate lineup and it’s great to be on live in such a big market.  Thanks to station manager Matt Dubiel for making it happen.  We’re excited!”  That along with several other new stations brings the maverick show out of New Hampshire that has become a staple of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred up to a total of 125.  New ones include: WBAT-AM, Marion, IN; KENT-AM, Parowan, UT; WRSB-AM, Canandaigua, NY; WASB-AM, Bridgeport, NY, W286AE-FM, Fairport, NY, and WNZS-AM, Bangor, ME.  Also, existing affiliate WAVH-FM, Mobile, AL has expanded FTL to weeknight overnights and existing affiliate WGAN-AM, Portland, ME has added a simulcast on WMGX-HD2.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

| February 21, 2013

nms2013logoNorm Pattiz to Address Industry at Talkers New York 2013. The list of major speakers continues to grow as Courtside Entertainment CEO Norm Pattiz joins the roster of industry leaders who will be speaking at “TALKERS New York 2013,” the 16th annual installment of talk radio’s longest-running and most important annual convention.  Pattiz will deliver a solo address titled, “From Westwood One to Podcast One.”  He will pattiznormdiscuss the challenges facing broadcast radio companies as they integrate their product lines into a workable balance between on-air and digital venues with the focus being monetizing radio on the internet.  In the past year, Westwood One-founder Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment has shown aggressive growth – offering such personalities as Dr. Drew Pinsky, Laura Ingraham, Bill O’Reilly and more to its affiliates.  The company’s recent signing of Ron Paul to a talk radio deal has been a big source of buzz and the industry anxiously anticipates the coming internet launch of Podcast One – an online initiative of Pattiz’s Launchpad Digital Media.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “The subject of balancing the interests of on-air and online radio broadcasting with the focus on revenue generation has never been more important in the radio industry conversation than it is right now.  Norm Pattiz brings extraordinary historical background as well as future-based vision to the discussion.  His participation adds to this being the most important TALKERS event ever.”  More headliners will be named in the coming days along with the 50-plus speakers that will be participating in the conference.  The event is set for Thursday, June 6, 2013 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  Registration for the day including all activities and food service is $199 per person.  An advance sellout is expected due to space limitations.  Registration is limited to members of the working media and can only be taken via telephone.  For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  Complete agenda details are being posted daily.  Stay tuned.

madisonjoeSiriusXM and WOL, Washington Talk Host Joe Madison to Interview Barack Obama Today.  Assuming the president’s schedule doesn’t take a sudden turn in another direction, SiriusXM-based Joe Madison, whose AM drive show is also heard on Radio One’s WOL, Washington, DC, will tape an interview with him for airing, presumably tomorrow.  The subjects covered will include Black History Month, a follow-up on the State of the Union and other topics.  President Obama — certainly not considered the most radio-friendly president by conservatives – has actually done a lot more radio than many of his recent predecessors.  The president has appeared on Madison’s show in the past, been interviewed by WYD Media-syndicated personality Michael Smerconish and has appeared on numerous music-formatted morning programs.

sabowalterRadio Station Staffers Pre-occupied with Job Security. This gets in the way of paying attention to important trends and information vital to competing and growing successfully during these times of rapid technological and cultural change.  Noted consultant Walter Sabo makes this key point in his latest article for TALKERS in which he cites five significant trends of importance to radio broadcasters.  They include the importance of video to radio online and sales presentations, the radio host as owner of intellectual property, the still-untapped female market in spoken word radio, and the emergence of the listener as a media star.  Sabo suggests not asking listeners to “like” you on Facebook or “follow” you on Twitter.  Instead, he says you should be offering to like and follow them! Read the entire article here.

backusdonDon Backus Named Eastern Region Sales Manager for Broadcast Electronics.  Broadcast Electronics (BE) announces the promotion of Don Backus to Eastern Region sales manager.  In this new role he’ll represent BE’s RF and studio lines, which include AudioVAULT, Commotion and The Radio Experience (TRE) studio brands as well as BE’s AM, FM and HD Radio™ transmitter lines to customers in the East.  Previously, Backus represented Commotion, a Broadcast Electronics company, as vice president of global market development.  Backus will continue his efforts with Commotion, increasing the company’s presence in new global markets.  BE VP of studio products Ray Miklius says, “Don’s education, experience, and extensive knowledge of the radio industry will serve radio broadcasters well as they look to improve their operations.”

Father-Son Sports Talk Webcast to Get Terrestrial Outlet in Las Vegas.  The Las Vegas Review-Journal spotlighted a local father-son team who have been hosting a weekly, two-hour sports talk podcast on the local Las Vegas internet site lvrocks.com.  Now the duo of Bryan Feldman and his son Jaycob are planning to have their Sunday evening show air on Lotus Broadcasting’s KLAV, Las Vegas beginning March 3.  Bryan Feldman previously worked in radio for CBS/Infinity.  His bio says he’s hosted talk shows and worked as a marketing specialist with pro sports teams including the Detroit Lions, Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings.

cookehollandHolland Cooke to Speak About Social Media at NAB Show in Las Vegas.  Consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke confirms: “Take it literally!  We’ll FEED YOU” at the Lunchtime Social — as in Social Media — Wednesday, April 10, at the National Association of Broadcasters NAB Show convention in Las Vegas.  NAB will provide box lunches to attendees at this interactive 90-minute session, where HC will demonstrate how radio stations and radio and netcast talent are using Social Media “to grow audience reach, deepen the relationship you have with ‘your tribe,’ and MAKE MONEY.”  For more information, click here.

goldenmike2013The Broadcasters Foundation of America to Honor David J. Barrett at Golden Mike Award Ceremony.  The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces it will present its 2013 Golden Mike Award to David J. Barrett, chairman and chief executive officer of Hearst Television Inc., at a gala to benefit the Foundation on Monday, February 25 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.  Legendary sports broadcaster Jon Miller will host the event, which will include presentations by comedian, author and talk show host Steve Harvey and “America’s Doctor,” Dr. Mehmet Oz.  Iconic singer and actress Darlene Love will perform.  The annual gala is the year’s top fundraiser for the Foundation, which supports broadcasters who can no longer work due to a catastrophic event, illness or family circumstances.  The Award honors exemplary service to the industry.

koil logoNRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha to Host Mayoral Debate.  The five candidates in Omaha’s mayoral race will take part in a debate to be held at the University of Nebraska-Omaha on Thursday, March 14 7:00 pm and the event will be broadcast live on NRG Media’s KOIL.  NRG Media personality Mike’l Severe will serve as moderator and KOIL personalities Tom Becka and Clint Bellows along with KETV City Hall reporter Todd Andrews will question the candidates.  KOIL program director Neil Nelkin says, “This is a hotly contested race for mayor as we have several critical issues in the city of Omaha that will dictate the future direction of the city including employment and education.”  The station says a limited number of tickets will be available to the public via the KOIL website and that Tom Becka will provide listeners with free tickets during his program.

Odds & Sods.  Former Vice President Al Gore will appear on SiriusXM’s “Town Hall” series to promote his new book, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change (Random House 2013).  He’ll be interviewed before a studio audience by Ari Rabin-Havt, who hosts “The Agenda” on the satcaster’s progressive talk channel…..MLB’s Oakland A’s ink a multi-year deal with CBS Radio’s KHTK, Sacramento to air their games on the sports talk station…..The National Association of Broadcasters are announcing that CBS TV journalist Bob Schieffer will receive the NAB Distinguished Service Award during the 2013 NAB Show.  Schieffer will accept the award at the opening keynote session on April 8 in Las Vegas.

Sequester Issue, Gun Legislation, Jesse Jackson, Jr. Guilty Plea, Oscar Pistorius Case, and Storm Q/Climate Change Debate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/20).  The battle in Washington over the sequester issue; ongoing debate over gun legislation proposals; Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s guilty plea in his illegal campaign funds usage case; the Oscar Pistorius murder case and Winter Storm Q/climate change controversy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

| February 20, 2013

cclogoClear Channel Media and Entertainment Up 4% in Q4 of 2012; Premiere National Sales Down.  The Media and Entertainment division of CC Media Holdings was up 4% in the fourth quarter of 2012 on revenue of $821.5 million.  But that figure was helped greatly by the $40 million in political advertising the division realized.   Otherwise it would have been down by as much as $9 million.  During yesterday’s conference call with analysts, CFO Tom Casey also said, “We increased national advertising sales by 17% over last year’s fourth quarter, or 3% caseytomexcluding political, and local revenues grew 5%.  We also saw a nice lift in revenue from digital, with our listening hours up 68% over the fourth quarter of 2011, fueled by increased iHeartRadio usage, which reached 118 million total listening hours in December.”  But both Premiere Networks and the Total Traffic Network had down fourth quarters and are off to sluggish starts in 2013.  The company does not break down specific numbers for these divisions.  Casey did say Total Traffic Network is still struggling with the merger of Metro Networks.  As for Premiere, he simply said national sales were weak for the division.  For the full year of 2012 Casey reported, “Media and Entertainment revenues grew 3% to $3.1 billion.  National revenue rose 9%, driven by both our new national advertising efforts and political.  Local revenue was up 2% for the year.  Our top advertising categories were auto and telecommunications.  Political advertising reached $70 million for the year.”

limbaughrushRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to Remain on WABC, New York – for Now.  During yesterday’s CC Media Holdings conference call with analysts, chief financial officer Tom Casey did not give specifics when asked about thehannitysean much-speculated-upon move of Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh from his current and longtime home at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York to Clear Channel’s crosstown WOR.  But he did say, “No decisions have been made…we’re working through our options.”  Contracts with WABC for both Limbaugh and Sean Hannity run through the end of 2013 and it doesn’t appear CC is preparing to exercise the 90-out clause and move the shows to WOR.  Still, the option to move them to WOR in January of 2014 after their deals with WABC end must seem like a nice, clean way of doing it – if that is the company’s ultimate goal.

salkmikeSports Talk in Boston Is “Its Own Breed.”  That’s the sentiment from sports talk personality Mike Salk, who is preparing to return to his native Boston to join Michael Holley for the PM drive shift on Entercom’s WEEI in mid-March. He says he can’t say enough about the people of Seattle and how much he’s enjoyed his time at Bonneville’s KIRO-AM co-hosting with Brock Huard.  But he also says, “The passion and intensity of Boston sports fans – the frustration when things don’t go as they’d like – those things are different in Boston than anywhere else in the country.”  Salk will fill the void in the afternoon show that opened whenholleymichael longtime Boston sports personality Glenn Ordway was let go from the station last week.  Salk tells TALKERS the fact that Boston is such an intense sports town helps make WEEI “the gold standard for sports radio.  It’s why people have always talked about it as one of the biggest sports stations, if not the biggest and most important sports station in the country.”  Salk says the opportunity to work in his hometown at WEEI is one thing, but the goal is to capitalize on it and he’s excited about working with Michael Holley.  “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to talk sports with him every day.  Not just talk sports but ‘banter.’  That’s the fun thing about sports radio, it’s not always arguing, it’s not always angry or fighting; I think of it more as bantering – two guys going back and forth with a smile on their faces.  Sometimes it gets heated, sometimes it’s just straight fun, but it’s banter.”  Salk is a rabid Boston Bruins fan and he says he’s looking forward to getting back to a hockey town.  “It’s in wolfejasonmy blood.  I grew up watching those games.”  Salk and Huard helped build the midday show at KIRO-AM to the point they hit the #1 mark in men 25-54 last September.  He’s been a part of the ESPN Radio network since 2007, hosting “SportsCenter Saturday” and serving as a regular fill-in host over the past few years.  Prior to going to Seattle in 2009 he worked for ESPN 890 in Boston (WAMG) for four years co-hosting middays with Bob Halloran.  Vice president of programming Jason Wolfe says, “Mike Salk has a proven record of success, and I couldn’t be more excited to bring him back home to Boston.  He’s a very skilled broadcaster, a fun personality and a passionate sports fan.  I’m really looking forward to the new dynamic that he and Michael Holley will provide on a daily basis.”

wfni logoEmmis Adds FM Translator to Sports WFNI, Indianapolis Brand.  The translator W298BB at 107.5 FM is simulcasting part of sister WFNI-AM’s programming but is carrying ESPN Radio’s midday programming of Colin Cowherd and SVP & Russillo from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.  In a statement, Emmis Indianapolis SVP and market manager Charlie Morgan says, “The launch of ‘FM 107.5 The Fan’ demonstrates Emmis’ deep commitment to making ‘The Fan’ Indy’s dominant sports brand.  Given that Emmis is credited with creating the first sports talk station in the United States, it only seems fitting that we would deliver the city’s first FM sports station to Indy’s sports-loving fans.”

niewkathleenIllinois Attorney and Radio Host Found Liable in Missing Money Case.  Illinois attorney Kathleen Niew, her husband and her law firm were found partially liable in DuPage County Court for the some $2.3 million that a local couple claims Niew misappropriated.  Niew hosts a brokered financial advice program on Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago.  The couple, Jamal and Leda Khoury, deposited the money in an account controlled by Niew.  According to the Chicago Tribune, her former attorney stated in court filings that the Niews are victims of the same crime as a third party is responsible for the missing money.

wtoplogoOdds & Sods.  Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington reports a big January in the Arbitron PPMs.  Vice president of news and programming Jim Farley says the station went up dramatically from January a year ago in the 25-54 demo.  He also says, “WTOP is # 1 25-54 full week and both drives, #2 nights and #3 middays and weekends.  Note the incredible 11.4 share in persons 25-54 in morning drive and the even more eye-popping 14.4 women 25-54.  Full week we’re also # 1 with women 25-54 and I give the credit on that to WTOP PD Laurie Cantillo.”…..In another note from WTOP, the station announces it is adding Wall Street Journal Network news anchor Joan Jones to its roster of news anchors.  Jones has been a network business anchor for Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal Radio Network since 2008, writing and anchoring network broadcasts and customized business updates for major market stations.  Prior to joining WSJ, Jones was the morning news anchor at WPHT in Philadelphia and the morning co-host of “Chris and JJ” on Philly’s B101.  She states, “What an honor to join this legacy radio station and to work alongside the best in the business.”…..WFLA, Tampa-based news anchor Martin Giles is retiring from Clear Channel on March 1.  In a report from the Tampa Bay Times, the 76-year-old Giles says he’s leaving the place he’s been for 28 years due to the workload where the company requires them to do news for Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and other markets as well.  “It’s an overload of work they were handing us.  I’ve had a little trouble with it…I am really worn out when I go home on Friday.”…..The Heritage Foundation-produced “Istook Live!” talk show – hosted by former Oklahoma Congressman Ernest Istook – adds C.J. Wheeler as co-host and executive producer.  In the additional role of executive producer, Wheeler will oversee the show’s content across radio, digital and TV platforms.

Sequestration/Deficit Reduction, Gun Control Issue, Immigration Reform, Soaring Gas Prices, and Oscar Pistorius Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/19).  The Washington battle over who’s responsible for the looming sequestration; the ongoing dialog over new gun control measures; the Obama Administration’s policy on immigration reform; the fast-rising prices at the pump; and the murder case of Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

| August 21, 2012

Gow Communications to Pay $5.17 Million for KFNC, Houston.  The sale of sports talk outlet KFNC, Houston to Gow and Educational Media Foundation that was announced in the spring is coming close to the finish line as David Gow and company should begin LMAing the station Cumulus put into bankruptcy protection as early as September 1.  The station – positioned as ESPN 97.7 – is expected to continue to broadcast ESPN programming at least for a while.  Gow also operates crosstown sports talk KGOW and Yahoo! Sports Radio and there have been some changes there with Travis Rodgers moving to the early afternoon slot on both KGOW and the national network.  KGOW is preparing to debut Adam Clanton and John Wessling in the afternoon drive slot, according to David Barron of the Houston Chronicle.  Clanton currently works for KPRC-TV but will wrap up his role with the station this weekend.  As for the Yahoo! Sports Radio network, a new PM drive show is being developed and will be announced soon.  The network’s Craig Shemon returns to weekends from the midday slot.

Heidi and Frank Return to the Terrestrial Airwaves in Los Angeles.  Cumulus Media names Heidi Hamilton and Frank Kramer the new morning show on KLOS, Los Angeles, taking over for Mark & Brian beginning September 4.  Brian Phelps surprised the industry last week announcing he would also be leaving the Cumulus classic rocker at the same time Mark Thompson would, although Thompson made his decision to retire public earlier this summer.  Cumulus COO John Dickey told TALKERS over the weekend that Brian Phelps was “part of a large consideration pool” of candidates for the new morning program.  In announcing “The Heidi and Frank Show,” Dickey states, “After a long and thoughtful search which overwhelmed us with great, established talent and new talent waiting to be discovered both in and out of radio, I couldn’t be more pleased with the selection of ‘The Heidi and Frank Show’ to continue on the tradition that Mark and Brian set in place with 25 years of Hall of Fame radio.”  Hamilton and Kramer have been producing an internet radio show since CBS Radio shut down hot talk KLSX, Los Angeles in a format flip.  The Frosty, Heidi and Frank program (with Frosty Stillwell) aired there successfully for years.  They also worked at KABC after the demise of KLSX.  Prior to the KLSX era Hamilton and Kramer hosted the morning show at crosstown Hot AC KYSR.   On the new gig, Heidi Hamilton states, “KLOS is rock.  KLOS is the definitive iconic rock radio station in the world.  It’s one of those stations that evokes a feel good emotion while you’re driving in your car.  I’m beyond honored that Frank Kramer and I have been invited to become a part of something so legendary!  The ‘Heidi and Frank Show’ fans are second to NONE and I know they will be with us on this long fun ride together.”  Frank Kramer comments, “If it would have been any other station than KLOS, I would have said no.  We have a huge following across the world and only a station as large and iconic as KLOS could lure us back to radio.  To be given this opportunity is an honor and a privilege.  With the continued support from my partner, Heidi Hamilton, and the fans that never left us, and the fans waiting for us to return, the next 25 years are going to be one hell of a ride.”

The Battle for Control over Sirius XM Continues and the Momentum Seems to be Shifting in Favor of John Malone’s Liberty Media.  Yes, what seemed like an odd story just a matter of months ago has developed into a high stakes big business drama.  John Malone and Liberty Media, the company that rescued the merged satellite radio company from burning up in the atmosphere back in 2009 by gobbling up 40% ownership at what has turned out to be a super good deal for them has asked the FCC for approval to take outright control of Sirius XM Radio, noting it plans to raise its stake in the satellite radio company above 50%. The request follows disclosure earlier this week that Liberty, SiriusXM’s largest shareholder, was inching up its collection of shares in Sirius from approximately 46.2% to an aggressively postured 48%.  In last week’s filing, Liberty said it will “have purchased sufficient shares of Sirius’s common stock and will convert its preferred shares such that the transfer of control will be completed within 60 days of commission consent.”  Raising its stake above 50% and being granted FCC approval to take absolute control opens the way for Liberty to replace Sirius management and spin its Sirius stake off to Liberty shareholders. But would replacing Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin be a wise move?  Probably not.  Although coldly brash and hard-nosed as they come, Karmazin is an extremely effective radio broadcast executive and business strategist who has done a world class job of getting Sirius XM to its present state of health.  Reports from inside Liberty indicate that John Malone recognizes that and is giving “Mel” wiggle room to back pedal off his earlier blurts that he wouldn’t work for anyone else.  There is a huge lesson here for wannabe broadcast industry moguls (and there sure are a lot of them out there):  When you turn to venture capitalists and outside big money investors to save your ass, they will likely wind up owning it.

In Search of the Effective Commercial.  There’s a trend away from humorous commercials in radio, according to H-and-H Communications president Al Herskovitz.  Research indicates Madison Avenue is questioning the effectiveness of funny ads and, as it applies to talk radio advertising, Herskovitz writes that the “recognizable spokesperson” – read, the talk show host – is much more effective.  But there are still problems there that need to be solved.  Read Al Herskovitz’s piece here.

Courtside Entertainment’s “Loveline” Clears Tampa Market.  Cox Media’s FM hot talker WHPT, Tampa – The Bone – adds Courtside Entertainment Group’s “Loveline” featuring Dr. Drew Pinsky, Mike Catherwood and Simone Bienne for the 1:00 am to 3:00 am slot.  “Loveline” becomes part of Cox’s young male-targeted talk outlet that features Bubba the Love Sponge in morning drive and Cowhead in PM drive.

Odds & Sods.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington hosts a special “school” edition of its “Ask the…” program today at 10:00 am.  Mark Seagraves serves as moderator for the commercial-free hour featuring a Q&A session with superintendents and school board officials from Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Fairfax County and the District of Columbia…..Entercom’s New England sports talk juggernaut WEEI produces the 11th Annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon beginning today and running through tomorrow.  The fundraising extravaganza takes place live from Fenway Park from 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight both days.  Last year the event raised more than $3.3 million for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute…..Nationally syndicated radio host Phil Grande of the “Phil’s Gang” program will broadcast his show live from the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week with broadcasts starting at 3:00 pm ET.  Grande will have special guests Donald Trump, Florida Governor Rick Scott and Sarasota Republican Chairman Joe Gruters plus many other guests.  In addition, he will have up to the minute news, updates and of course his own commentary.  The 2012 Republican National Convention is being held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum August 27-30, 2012.

CBS Radio News Announces Convention Coverage.  Dial Global and CBS Radio News will deliver coverage from the two national conventions – the Republican National Convention in Tampa August 27 through 30 and the Democratic National Convention September 4 through 6.  Coverage plans include anchored coverage, updates, special reports, special features, and one-on-one interviews with correspondents, pundits and political experts.  CBS Radio News states it will “provide expert reporting and analysis, featuring an experienced lineup of respected and award-winning correspondents and commentators, including Howard Arenstein, Pam Coulter, Peter King, Dan Raviv, Peter Maer, Andrew Mollenbeck, Brian Montopoli and Professors Dotty Lynch and Leonard Steinhorn.


Los Angeles Radio Personality Paul Crosswhite Passes Away.
  Southern California newsman and DJ Paul Crosswhite died on August 17 after a long illness.  Crosswhite served as a news person at both KFI and KNX-FM during his career.  He also was an evening and morning drive host at KTWV, Los Angeles – The Wave – for 10 years.  According to LARadio.com’s Don Barrett, “Crosswhite did news during most of his tenure in Southern California radio and has received Golden Mike Awards for documentary, feature and best newscast.  He did news during the glory years of KNX-FM.  During the Gulf War, he won the Associated Press Award for best newscast.  When he moved to “the Wave,” he gave up news to become a DJ, originally in the evenings and, later, mornings after the female morning drive team collapsed.”

Romney-Ryan Team, Obama Medicare Cuts, Facebook Stock Plummets and Syria Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20).  The Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket hitting the campaign trail full-swing; President Obama’s cuts to Medicare; the sagging stock price of Facebook; and the ongoing violence in Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

| July 26, 2012

Talk Media Personality Ed Schultz Reveals Wife Wendy is Battling Ovarian Cancer.  Syndicated talk radio host and MSNBC personality Ed Schultz has been off of both of his programs for the past week and took the time yesterday to call in to his radio show to speak with guest host Mike Papantonio to announce that his wife Wendy is being treated for ovarian cancer.  Schultz told his audience they received the diagnosis last Wednesday and Wendy underwent surgery on Tuesday of this week.  “The doctors feel like they got all of it.  It was a very successful surgery, but we got a long way to go.”  Schultz took the opportunity to thank the staffs of both of his programs for their help in covering while he’s been away and said he will be missing from both programs for some time, although how long is not known.  “Doing a radio and TV show isn’t exactly what I’m thinking about right now.  I’m going to be with my wife through all of this…We both feel like we’ve been through the wringer and you lose track of time, you lose track of what you’re doing.  And everything changes, but we’re going to be OK.  We’re going to get through it.”  The staff of TALKERS magazine wishes the best to Ed and Wendy at this challenging time in their lives.

Clear Channel Names Clay Hunnicutt EVP of Programming.  This is a big move up for the SVP eastern region and VP of country as Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces Clay Hunnicutt becomes executive vice president of programming for the company.  The promotion also puts Hunnicutt in charge of programming in markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Washington, Baltimore and San Diego.

Morning Hosts, Former Employer Settle in Potentially Precedent-Setting Case.  When Q92 (WDJQ, Canton, Ohio) morning hosts Pat DeLuca and Charlotte DiFranco left the D.A. Peterson, Inc.-owned station after their contracts expired in February of this year and began an internet radio show, Peterson demanded the two cease their project saying it was in violation of their non-compete.  The two sued Peterson and in April Stark County Common Pleas Judge Charles E. Brown Jr. ruled the two forms of communicating – webcasting and terrestrial radio – were different enough that the duo were not in violation of their non-compete.  Peterson responded by asking they be prohibited from webcasting or streaming within a 60-mile radius of the station (although TALKERS is not sure how that would be accomplished or enforced).  Judge Brown denied that request but did rule DeLuca and DiFranco may not use tapes of programs they did while working for Peterson and that they must return the tapes.  Also, Brown ruled Peterson owes the two back pay for vacation.  As it stands the sides are agreeing to settle the dispute and Peterson says the two will be paid when all the tapes have been returned.  Whether this case sets any sort of precedent regarding the difference between terrestrial and internet broadcasting in future disputes is obviously unknown at this point, but is nonetheless an interesting ruling as far as talent and employers are concerned.

Courtside Entertainment’s “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew Pinsky” Clears Boston.  The twice-daily medical advice and “life enhancing insight” feature from Courtside Entertainment gets a major-market clear on Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston, adding the city to its other major markets — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington DC.  Courtside Entertainment Group president Bob Moore says the power of Dr. Drew Pinsky’s brand is astounding.  “There are 15 million Google searches related to health and wellness every day, and 75 million related to celebrities.  Calling Dr. Drew!  Drew knows what listeners want and we are pleased to partner with the legendary WTKK to ensure they get it.”

Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington Brings Fox 5 Washington Sports Director Aboard for Football Show.  WTTG-TV, Washington, DC acting sports director Dave Ross will join Red Zebra’s ESPN980 — WTEM – for the month of August to fill in for Tony Kornheiser in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot and host the “NFL This Morning” program.  WTEM says the show will cover everything Redskins and the entire NFL.  “Over the five weeks, Dave will have daily Redskins guests as well as live reports from all 32 NFL cites while going in-depth on every team in the league.  The show will originate from Redskins Park, where ESPN980 has an exclusive studio.”  WTEM president and CEO Rick Carmean states, “Redskins coverage is our wheelhouse and this show will continue our dominance in that area.  There is no better way to begin that coverage than with Dave Ross at Redskins training camp.”

Delmarva Broadcasting to Debut FM Talk Station on September 4.  The station will be positioned as Delaware 105.9 and former WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Maryland program director and morning host Dan Gaffney – who just last week announced his departure from that station – will be part of the new station’s lineup.  Delmarva is splitting the FM simulcast of country WKTT, Salisbury, Maryland – currently broadcast on both the 97.5 signal of WKTT and WZKT’s 105.9 licensed to Lewes, Delaware to the northeast.

WTKK, Boston Adds Andelmans for Friday Middays.  The Andelman brothers – Dave, Dan and Michael – have hosted “The Phantom Gourmet Radio Show” on Saturdays on the station since April of 2007.  Dave Andelman is CEO of Phantom Gourmet, Inc. which produces not only the radio show but a TV show of the same name that airs in Boston, Providence and in Maine in addition to some of Beantown’s biggest food-centric public events.  Now, the three will host a Friday show from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm that will “cover anything that’s topical,” according to Dave Andelman.  Program director Grace Blazer tells TALKERS, “The Phantom Gourmet and the Andelman Brothers are staples on Boston radio, TV, and genius at throwing big events all over New England.  Over the past five-plus years, the Andelman brothers have connected on-air, online and in person with 96.9’s listeners and advertisers and we’re delighted to bring their family to yours on Fridays in addition to Saturdays.  Let the fader begin.”  The three are the sons of well-known Boston sports media personality Eddie AndelmanDoug Meehan continues to host the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show Monday through Thursday.

Mark Tauscher Joins Journal’s Packers Broadcasts.  Retired Green Bay Packers lineman Mark Tauscher becomes part of the broadcast team for Journal Broadcast Group’s radio and TV coverage of the team’s games this season.  Tauscher will provide pre- and post-game analysis on the Packers Radio Network and pre-game analysis on the Packers TV Network.  Journal director of network operations Carl Moll states, “Mark brings listeners and viewers a fresh perspective on how players think and react to game situations in the NFL. His knowledge adds dimension to the Packers coverage originated by Journal’s radio and TV networks.”

Midwest Communications Buys Backyard Broadcasting’s Sioux Falls Cluster.  There’s no price on the transaction being disclosed yet but the seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KELO and sports KWSN but the stations will become part of Midwest Communications’ portfolio pending FCC approval.  The sale leaves Backyard Broadcasting with stations in three markets: Muncie, Indiana; Williamsport, Pennsylvania; and Olean, New York.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  XtreMedia CEO Kevin McCullough, host of his own nationally syndicated daily talk radio program and co-host of the “Baldwin/McCullough Live” weekend program with Stephen Baldwin, announces his company is producing a new TV program beginning in September called, “Hannah Help Me.”  The show stars former PBS personality and mother of seven Hannah Keeley who will help mothers who are wrestling with the mess of life to gain insight and strategies in coping with the worries of parenthood…..WFED, Washington AM drive co-host Francis Rose is filling in for Cumulus Media Networks talk host John Batchelor on his Saturday evening WABC, New York-based program this weekend…..Cloud-based advertising software company Abacast announces veteran media executives Ivan Braiker of Hipcricket and John Maffei of Playsino are named to the company’s board of directors…..The syndicated weekend automotive show “America on the Road,” hosted by Mike Anson and Jack Nerad, ends production this weekend after 23 years.  Anson says, “Weʼve been contemplating shutting down for about a year, but wanted to wait until all of our current advertising contracts had concluded.”…..NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart will be guesting on the United Stations Radio Networks-syndicated program, “The Final Lap Weekly” this coming weekend.  The program is produced and co-hosted by Kerry Murphey in California…..SiriusXM delves into the vast “Twitter-verse” with its newest program, “Politics Powered by Twitter,” heard on the satcaster’s POTUS political talk channel.  The one-hour daily show airs live at 6:00 pm ET and is described as a “new radio format that reports to listeners exclusively what politics are being talked about on Twitter, including trends and Tweets from politicians, journalists and celebrities who have active voices on the key political issues, electoral races and breaking news.”

Overflow Crowds Attend Dallas Premiere of Obama Movie.  The Dallas premiere of the Dinesh D’Souza-produced political film “2016: Obama’s America” was a huge hit as two theaters in a local multiplex were filled with viewers for the film that goes into national theatrical release the first week of August.  Pictured here with D’Souza (c) are Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher (r) and Salem Communications talk host Mark Davis (l) who is hosting morning drive on the company’s 660 The Answer – KSKY, Dallas.

Presidential Campaign, Aurora Massacre Aftermath, Syria Instability, and Jobs Market Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/25).  The ongoing presidential campaign; the aftermath of the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting; the violence and political implications associated with Syria’s instability and the flat jobs market were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

| July 17, 2012

Merlin Media Abandons News Format in New York and Chicago.  As indicated earlier today, Merlin Media held a major pair of staff meetings in New York and Chicago this morning and as speculated it was to announce a significant change in the operations of its two major properties in these markets.  According to reports, the Randy Michaels-headed company flipped WEMP, New York‘s “FM News 101.9″ shortly after 10:00 am ET to “New Rock 101.9.”  Chicago’s “FM News 101.1″ (WIQI) has been recast as a hot AC, “i101.”  It has been less than a year since these all news formats were launched with a tremendous amount of industry buzz – but the ratings and critical evaluations fell terribly short of expectations.

Paul Finebaum, Citadel and Former GM Bill Thomas Settle Lawsuit.  Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum, Citadel and former WJOX, Birmingham general manager Bill Thomas have reached an amicable settlement in their claims regarding Finebaum’s employment at the station, now owned by Cumulus.  The terms are not being released but the upshot is Finebaum will work out his contract with the station that ends in January of 2013.  Whether he will negotiate to re-sign with the station beyond that or seek to join another broadcast outlet is unknown.  In a joint statement, Thomas and Finebaum say that claims were contested and the settlement in no way constitutes an admission by any party concerning the validity or invalidity of any claim, counterclaim, or defense raised in the litigation.  Further, Finebuam says, “I am particularly pleased that the claims involving Bill Thomas are resolved.  I have known Bill for many years and have valued his advice.  We both regret that we became personally entangled in what was essentially a business dispute with former management and we look forward to repairing our relationship.”  Cox Media’s crosstown sports talk outlet WZNN continues to express interest in acquiring Finebaum’s services after his deal with Cumulus runs out, as reported in the Birmingham News.  But Finebaum’s attorney, Russ Campbell, says his client will issue no comment on his future intentions.  The original legal claims included Finebaum’s contention that Thomas and Citadel coerced him into signing a contract addendum that worked against his best interests and Citadel claimed Finebaum negotiated with another party in violation of his contract.  Finebaum’s show is heard in some 30 markets in the Southeast and is also available on SiriusXM.

Courtside Entertainment Group Breaks Simone Bienne Out with Daily Features.  British psychosexual and relationship therapist Simone Bienne – a co-host on the nightly nationally syndicated “Loveline” radio show – is featured on a new twice-daily vignette called “Lovelink with Simone Bienne.”  Each evening Bienne is part of the “Loveline” show with Dr. Drew Pinsky and Mike Catherwood.  Now Courtside Entertainment offers what it calls “her unique professional insight with a distinctly female perspective through two, one-minute commentaries every weekday.”  Courtside owner Norm Pattiz says, “Simone Bienne is a bottle rocket of energy, insight and intelligence.  We are delighted to have lured her across the pond to the States and are confident American radio listeners will be as taken with her charm, wit and knowledge as we are.”

Staff Meetings at Merlin Media’s New York and Chicago Stations Scheduled for Today.  As the two all-news FMs approach their first anniversary, the word on the street is that staff meetings have been called for this morning at WEMP-FM, New York and WIQI, Chicago.  Industry watchers are aware the ratings for the two all-news stations have not budged much since their debut last August and although there is no insight into what staffers can expect to hear this morning, staff meetings like this usually indicate a major change of some sort.

Drew Anderssen Moves from KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa to WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando.  Program director Drew Anderssen, who’s been programming Cox Media’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa for the past 12 years, moves to the company’s Orlando cluster to take the program director role at news/talk WDBO-AM/FM beginning August 6.  Cox Media Orlando vice president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “Drew has had an incredibly successful track record leading the KRMG brand.  His talent and passion for digital innovation will be a great asset not only for WDBO but for our entire cluster.”  Anderssen replaces Steve Holbrook who left the Cox Orlando operations in June after almost 30 years with the company.

Scottie Nell Hughes Joins Cast of Politichicks.  The online media site Politichicks.TV announces SNH Media president Scottie Nell Hughes joins the staff of the “all-in-one web destination that addresses the concerns of conservatives from the women’s point of view.”  Hughes’ company handles PR for talk radio personalities Rusty Humphries, Michael Berry and Mark Skoda, among others.  Now she becomes part of the Politichicks team.  Politichicks executive producer Beverly Zaslow says, “Scottie Nell brings a valuable energy and passion to a group of dynamic women and her background in talk radio has taught her to think on her feet and not be afraid to ask hard questions.”  Hughes joins the other “politichicks” – former “Dallas” cast member Morgan Brittany, “The Young & the Restless” cast member Ann-Marie Murrell, activist Sonnie Johnson and talk radio host Dr. Gina Loudon as co-host.

John Bishop Named Co-Host on KOZN, Omaha’s “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” Show; Gary Sharp Named Station’s Sports Director.  There’s been another change in the lineup at NRG Media’s sports talk KOZN, Omaha after Matt Schick – the host recently named to replace Kevin Kugler on the show – accepted a position with ESPNU (ESPN’s college sports channel).  John Bishop, most recently program director and co-host of the morning drive show at KOZN’s sister station KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska, will take over the co-hosting duties alongside Mike’l Severe on “Unsportsmanlike Conduct.”  Kugler had announced he would be leaving the show to take a position with the Big Ten Network and will continue to contribute to KOZN on a limited basis.  NRG Omaha operations manager Neil Nelkin says, “We hire great talent on the ZONE as it’s a station sports figures and leaders tune to.  Bishop is well known throughout sports circles in Nebraska, namely as a distinguished sportscaster with decades of experience with Husker athletics, Creighton sports and the College World Series.  Bishop more than has the credentials, experience and the chops for this role on The ZONE…now I want to keep him for a while.”  Additionally, Nelkin announces Gary Sharp returns to Nebraska to take the sports director and morning show co-host position at sister station KZOT.  Sharp most recently worked with Minnesota Twins minor league club the Ft. Myers Miracle.  Prior to that he was sports director at the Nebraska Sports Network.  He’ll co-host the KZOT morning show with Jason Peter.  He says, “I am extremely excited for the opportunity to return to radio at a great station and most importantly to return to Nebraska.  We’ve had some great success here in Fort Myers and I will miss the people and relationships I have developed in baseball.  I am sure Jason is chomping at the bit to get started and I am sure we will have some spirited sports conversations that will make great radio.”

Clear Channel Seeks WHBA for Calls for Its New Boston FM.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment will take over the operation of alternative rocker WFNX, Boston on Monday and the request of new call letters WHBA gives no clue as to what format the station will assume when the change takes place.  The Boston Globe is planning to put the alternative format online and has already hired some of the WFNX staff to run it.  Talk radio fans in Boston might like to see an FM signal for the company’s WXKS – Talk 1200 – but those calls certainly don’t seem very news/talky, do they?  Regardless, the wait is on and let the speculation continue!

Cumulus Promotes Dave Crowl, Shuffles Market Managers.  Cumulus Chicago market manager Dave Crowl adds more regional vice president duties in addition to continuing to oversee Chicago’s news/talk WLS-AM and classic hits WLS-FM but the company brings Donna Baker up from Houston to take over the market manager position in Chicago.  Cumulus RVP Chuck Bortnick steps into Houston to oversee that market and will take on additional RVP duties for the region.

TALKERS magazine Publishes Debut “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America.”  The editors of TALKERS magazine are pleased to announce the publishing of the first annual TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk.  A companion to its “sister list” – the annual Talkers 250 Featuring the Heavy Hundred that ranks talk radio hosts working in the news/talk and general talk genres – the editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, present the debut class of this annual feature honoring the sports talk radio industry’s 100 most important hosts, duos or ensembles.  In order to create this list, the editors took into account a combination of hard and soft factors and the results are, admittedly, subjective.  Staying true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due.  Those qualities include:  courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness.  View the 2012 TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here.

A Tribute to WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa.  The number-one ranked sports talk host on this year’s TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk is WFAN, New York PM drive host Mike Francesa, who’s spent the past 23 years as dean of sports talk in the nation’s biggest market.  Fellow WFAN personality Richard Neer writes that Francesa’s “relentless curiosity and work ethic, along with his relationship with some of the biggest names in television broadcasting, gave him unique insight” that served as a foundation for a sterling sports media career.  Read Richard Neer’s tribute to WFAN’s Mike Francesa here.

2012 Presidential Race, Penn State Report, Hillary Clinton in Egypt, Welfare Work Requirement Issue, and Weak Retail Sales Numbers Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/16).  The 2012 presidential campaign; the Louis Freeh-led report on the Penn State-Jerry Sandusky case; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to post-election Egypt; the controversy over the Obama Administration’s relaxing of welfare work requirements; and weak retail sales figures were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

| July 10, 2012

Istook Enters Syndication Arena.  Former 14-year Oklahoma City congressman Ernest Istook will host a daily 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET news/talk show – “Istook Live!” beginning July 16 that, according to its producers, will “drill deep into the hottest issues facing Americans.”  A production of the media division of The Heritage Foundation’s sister organization Heritage Action for America, the show will emanate from Heritage’s Robert H. Bruce radio studios at the think tank’s Capitol Hill headquarters.  Istook, well-regarded in talk radio circles as a sought-after guest and fill-in host, has been a Distinguished Fellow at the conservative think tank since 2007 and has represented and explained many of its positions on the issues on stations all across the country.  Sources at Heritage tell TALKERS that in addition to “getting the real deal about the issues from the most relevant Washington players, Istook will also field calls from listeners across the country.”  Istook tells TALKERS, “Amid the punditry and spin of the 24-hour news cycle, we intend to clarify the real threats to freedom and the American Dream, and talk about how American taxpayers can counter those threats.”  Heritage Action for America CEO Michael A. Needham states, “Heritage Action worked tirelessly to promote individual liberty and the free enterprise system.  Talk radio long has been a part of that effort.  Now, ‘Istook Live!’ will further discussion of the biggest issues facing our country and provide Americans with a better understanding of the battle of ideas that shapes the news.  We’ll give them virtual access to the halls of Congress and inner-workings of Washington.”  The launch, production, syndication and sales of “Istook Live!” will involve the coming together of a variety of formidable forces that TALKERS founder Michael Harrison described as “what appears to be talk radio’s version of the dream team.”  Ron Hartenbaum of WYD Media Management and Liz Laud of WYM Media Management will lead syndication and affiliate sales, Gary Shonfeld’s AdLarge Media will handle advertising sales and Gabe Hobbs of Gabe Hobbs Media will consult the project. The show initially will be broadcast via www.istook.com as affiliate stations are built out.

SiriusXM Enjoys Good Q2.  The second quarter of 2012 has been good to SiriusXM.  The satcaster reports adding 622,042 net subscribers during the period and more than 1 million in the first two quarters of this year.  CEO Mel Karmazin says he expects revenue to approach $3.4 billion in 2012.  “SiriusXM continues to demonstrate robust growth and strong operating execution despite a challenging economy.  Our second quarter subscriber gains mark a record quarter of net additions since the merger of SIRIUS and XM in July 2008.  While we continue to be conservative in the face of a weak U.S. economic outlook, customers continue to embrace our unparalleled programming lineup, allowing us to raise subscriber guidance for the second time this year.”

“Loveline” Gains Major Market Clear in Boston.  The late night sex and relationships show “Loveline,” featuring Dr. Drew Pinsky, Mike Catherwood and Simone Bienne, is added to the evening schedule at Entercom’s rock WAAF-FM, Boston.  The Courtside Entertainment-produced program show tackles listeners’ questions about love, relationships and sexuality with the help of its expert hosts and advice from a regular line up of popular guests. “Loveline” airs on WAAF-FM weeknights from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

CNN Enters Digital Audio News Realm with CNN Radio Soundwaves Destination.  The digital arm of news giant CNN unveils CNN Radio Soundwaves – “the network’s online destination for news content formatted in an original listening experience.”  CNN says this new audio beat will enhance the way users consume news by offering content in four forms: audio, text, photo and video.  CNN Radio president Tyler Moody says, “Soundwaves is a new frontier for CNN Radio.  Some stories are enhanced by an audio format, and we want to deliver a product that gives people that option.  Also, being able to socialize Soundwaves gives us the opportunity to engage in two-way communication with our audience – not just broadcast to fans.”  Powered by SoundCloud, users are able to embed sound clips across social networks.

Rusty Humphries Launches New Cigar Line.  Talk Radio Network and WGST, Atlanta PM drive talk host Rusty Humphries adds a new product to his line of official Rusty items – the Rusty Humphries El Presidente cigar line and its first product, The George Washington.  Humphries says the cigar line, only available in select cigar shops across the country and online via his website, has been met with immediate demand from cigar connoisseurs across the country.  U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (r), pictured here with Humphries (l) in Atlanta, is a big fan.  Humphries has marketed numerous products bearing his name in the past, including beef jerky, Bar-B-Q sauce, salsa and more.  He says the cigar venture just makes sense.  “One of the reasons I decided to make a cigar line was because after visiting several cigar lounges around the country, I realized that patrons of cigar shops were very loyal not only to their favorite cigar but to talk radio as well.  Why not combine the two together?”

Fox Sports Radio Network Talent Broadcast from London 2012 Olympic Games.  Fox Sports Radio talent will be front and center when the 2012 Olympic Games begin on July 27.  First, Dan Patrick, host of the DirecTV/FSRN sports talk show, and Pat O’Brien, co-host of the “Loose Cannons” show on FSRN, will serve as NBC anchors for the games.  “Fox Sports Tonight” co-host (and six-time Olympic gold medalist) Amy Van Dyken will join co-host Rob Dibble with daily updates and interviews from the London games.  Also, tennis star Andy Roddick – who co-hosts the “Roddick & Bones” weekend show on FSRN – will be competing in the games on the U.S. tennis team.

WCHV, Charlottesville-Based Joe Thomas to Broadcast from Freedom Fest 2012.  Virginia talk show host Joe Thomas – based at WCHV, Charlottesville and regionally syndicated – will take his show on the road to Las Vegas where he will broadcast both his WCHV morning drive show and his regionally syndicated PM drive show from “Freedom Fest 2012” at Bally’s Hotel.  Thomas states, “I’m looking forward to reinforcing my show’s theme of free markets, opportunity and liberty from this great annual event.”

CRN Digital Talk Host Larry Manetti Airs Ernest Borgnine Tribute Today.  Actor and nationally syndicated talk show host Larry Manetti will pay tribute to his good friend Ernest Borgnine – who passed away over the weekend at age 95 – on his CRN Digital Talk program today.  Manetti says, “We were close friends who shared a lot over the years so I’m happy to join with our other good friends and listeners in a tribute to Ernie’s life and work.”   Manetti and Borgnine worked together on the upcoming film, “The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vincente Fernandez,” which turned out to be Borgnine’s final film.  The film was directed by Elia Petredis, who will appear on today’s program along with actors Robert Wagner and Dennis Farina.  Manetti’s program airs live at 4:00 pm PT.

Talk Star Mark Levin to Emcee WABC and WPLJ-FM Promotion.  The promotion in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey is the 2nd Annual Bark in the Park being held Saturday, July 14 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm and is designed to allow dog owners and their pets to enjoy a day in the park.  Dog lover, author and talk host Mark Levin will emcee the event that will include contests and activities for dogs, with various pet exhibitors, demonstrations and plenty of food and drink.  There will be many puppies available onsite for adoption through the North Shore Animal League America and the Bergen County Animal Shelter.  Mark Levin will be joined by Mark Simone of 77 WABC and Bill Evans, senior meteorologist for Channel 7 Eyewitness News and will also be broadcast on WPLJ-FM.

Obama Proposes Middle-Class Tax Cut Extension, Weak Jobs Creation Numbers, Affordable Care Law, and 2012 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/9).  President Obama’s proposal to eliminate the Bush tax cuts for Americans making more than $250,000 per year; the weak job creation numbers and their effect on the financial markets; the Affordable Care law and how it will impact employers and families; and the 2012 presidential race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, May 4, 2012

| May 4, 2012

CNN Ratings Cause for Concern at Headquarters.  The executives at Time Warner and subsidiary CNN/U.S. are displeased with cable news/talk channel CNN’s performance in the April Nielsen ratings after much time and money has been spent tweaking the programming there.  The New York TimesBrian Stelter reports that sources say Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes has made his dissatisfaction with the channel’s performance known to his subordinates.  Over the past 18 months CNN has made numerous programming changes including replacing Larry King with Piers Morgan in the 9:00 pm ET slot; the addition of Soledad O’Brien as host of the morning show; and a new 7:00 pm ET show with Erin Burnett.  CNN has long stated publicly that it delivers a unique news product around the clock with which advertisers like being associated.  In fact, the entire CNN unit (including other domestic and international channels) is poised to make a record $600 million in operating profit this year.  The company issued the following statement in response to reports about the April ratings.  “Despite the perennial ratings stories and quotes from anonymous sources, CNN continues to deliver quality journalism which is uniquely valuable to audiences, advertisers and distributors.  In fact, CNN is on track to deliver its highest profits in its history and continues to reach more people on more platforms than any other TV network.”  Still, as Brian Stelter writes, “Performance of CNN/U.S. drives public perception — and employee pride — and declines there may gradually damage CNN’s networks as a whole.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “CNN would probably do better in both ratings and revenue if they stopped obviously competing with Fox News Channel and MSNBC in trying to be entertaining and opinionated concentrating, rather, on really being journalistic on a level not seen for years on American television.  There is an opening in the marketplace for such a product a mile wide and a deep need and hunger for it by a significant segment of the public.”

CC Media Holdings Reports Q1 Revenue Hike of 3%.  That 2012 first quarter revenue increase comes as CC Media Holdings posts $1.36 billion in revenue compared to the $1.32 for the same period a year ago.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – which excludes the parent company’s outdoor divisions – was up 6% or $39 million compared to the first quarter of 2011.  CC Media Holdings CEO Bob Pittman states, “Since the start of 2012, we have continued to invest in our rapidly growing digital products and services, while strengthening our operations to better serve our marketing partners and our consumers.  We have enhanced our ability to help our partners take advantage of the unique size and scale of our media, entertainment and outdoor assets, with a particular focus on multi-platform solutions that no other company is able to deliver.”

KTRS, St. Louis Officially Announces Martin Kilcoyne Midday Host.  Monday’s story announced CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis was parting company with midday talk host JC Corcoran and would replace him with KTVI-TV, St. Louis sports director Martin Kilcoyne.  The station makes that official with general manager and partner Mark Dorsey stating, “Martin is a proven broadcaster, both in television and radio, and KTRS looks forward to bringing his personality, wit and opinions to the airwaves.”  Kilcoyne will assume the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show beginning Monday, May 14.  He says of his new gig, “I am thrilled to have an opportunity like this.  I’m a sports guy, but I love to talk about all things.  The plan is to have a show that St. Louis will find lively, topical and fresh.  I’m not Ted Koppel, but I’m also not Ted Baxter.”

First Quarter Positive for Salem Communications.  The first quarter of 2012 has been pretty good for Salem Communications and subsidiary Salem Broadcasting.  The parent company is reporting an increase of 6.1% on revenue of $54.3 million compared to the same period one year ago.  On the broadcasting side, Salem is up 2.9% on revenue of $44 million.  Broadcasting still makes up the bulk of Salem’s revenue but digital continues to perform well rising 33% over the same period in 2011 on revenue of $7.4 million.  The company is bullish about Q2 projecting a revenue increase of a couple percentage points with a total revenue goal of more than $55 million for the quarter.

Legal Battle May Ensue Over Merlin Media’s Blago Billboard.  This billboard pictured here is one of several purchased by Merlin Media in the Chicago area promoting all-news WIQI-FM – FM News 101.1.  Crain’s Chicago Business reports Merlin consultant John Gehron commenting on the marketing campaign saying, “We wanted to have something that we thought would be fun and get people’s attention.”  And apparently it has.  Attorney Sheldon Sorosky, who represents former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich – currently serving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption – says the use of Blagojevich’s image may violate an Illinois law prohibiting one’s image from being used for commercial gain without one’s consent.  Sorosky tells Crain’s it’s called the Right to Publicity Act and it states, “A person may not use an individual’s identity for commercial purposes during the individual’s lifetime without having obtained previous written consent from the appropriate person or persons.”  Sorosky says they have not decided whether to take legal action or not at this point.

Ric Edelman Celebrates 20 Years on the Radio This Weekend.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Ric Edelman, host of “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman,” marks 20 years on the radio with his broadcast this weekend.  Edelman, an award-winning financial advisor, heard along with financial advisors Brandon Corso and Anderson Wozny, is heard in 56 markets including on WABC, New York; WLS, Chicago; and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, DC.  He says, “It is a genuine privilege to do this show.  As I always say, ‘Money doesn’t come with instructions,’ so I’m honored for the opportunity to share my knowledge with so many listeners from across the country.”  Edelman, a member of TALKERS 2012 “Heavy Hundred,” is also seen on public television across the country as his TV program of the same name is in its second season.

Pamela Furr to Join New Atlanta All-Newser.  Talk show host and news anchor Pamela Furr confirms via Facebook that she’s headed to Atlanta to become part of the Cumulus Media FM all-news outlet slated for WYAY-FM in a few weeks.  The company has confirmed it will turn the outlet into an all-news station soon and obviously has begun hiring.  Furr most recently worked full time at Clear Channel’s WPTI-FM, Greensboro-Winston-Salem as co-host of the morning drive show.  She’s been freelancing doing news at CC’s WRDU-FM, Raleigh the past few weeks.

Atlanta Business Chronicle to Provide Content for Cumulus’ “All News 106.7.”  When Cumulus Media flips the switch on WYAY-FM, Gainesville, Georgia turning it into “All News 106.7,” the Atlanta Business Chronicle will provide exclusive business updates at :20 and :50.  In a statement, Cumulus co-COO John Dickey says, “Our partnership with the Atlanta Business Chronicle is consistent with our mission of bringing the most credible news and information to Atlantans 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  ABC is the definitive business news brand in Atlanta and 106.7 will be the definitive radio news and information brand in Atlanta.”  ABC publisher Ed Baker states, “It’s exciting that intelligent Atlantans are finally getting a much-needed all-news format.  We’re very excited to be a part of something new and different.  Quality business reporting is more important than ever and this partnership will allow us to deliver something special to our community.”

Cumulus Brings Celebrity News Blogger Perez Hilton Aboard for Nightly Radio Show.  At the same time the company announces that the new “Perez Nights Live” will replace Dial Global’s “Billy Bush Show” on stations where it airs and expects the show to debut on about 50 affiliate stations.  “Perez Nights Live” will feature Perez Hilton and co-host Adam Bomb and will consist of celebrity news chatter and music.  Cumulus co-COO John Dickey states, “Successful contemporary stations all have one thing in common: They keep their listeners on the cutting edge of music and pop culture.  Leading stations in our business set trends.  Perez doesn’t report on pop culture, he is pop culture.  ‘Perez Nights Live’ will take the important evening daypart and turn it into a brand enhancing experience.”

2012 Presidential Race Lands Atop Talkers TenTM for Fifth Straight Week.  The 2012 presidential campaign was again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of April 30 – May 4, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  The race barely beat the case of Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng which landed at #2 followed very closely by President Obama’s Afghanistan visit and the government’s release of Osama bin Laden documents tied at #3.  The shocking death of retired NFL star Junior Seau came in at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published each Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart for this week here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup.  The “At Home with Bob Vila” feature from Compass Media Networks debuted this week on such signals as KOGO-AM/FM, San Diego; WTKK-FM, Boston; KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; KFNN, Phoenix; and KVON, Napa, California…..Courtside Media Group’s “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew” is being aired on Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP-FM, Washington…..“The Small Business Advocate with Jim Blasingame” is picked up by WZFG, Fargo; WHTX, Youngstown; and WGGH, Marion, Illinois….. “The Doctor’s Orders Radio Show” with Dr. Kipp Van Kamp is added to WTKI-AM/FM, Huntsville, Alabama and WEKI-AM/FM, Decatur, Alabama.

Profiling Courage.  That’s KIRO-FM, Seattle talk show host Dave Ross (r) pictured with Sgt. Leroy Petry (l).  Ross recently interviewed the Medal of Honor recipient for inclusion in the Memorial Day radio special “A Grateful Nation” – a one-hour program produced by the Fisher House Foundation and distributed by Premiere Networks.  Sgt. Petry is an Army Ranger who lost his hand while saving two comrades after he grabbed and tossed an enemy grenade during a battle in Afghanistan.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

| December 7, 2011

Merlin Media Enters the Philly Market.  The Randy Michaels-led Merlin Media is not deterred by slow starts in New York and Chicago and will bring what many suspect is an all-news FM outlet to Philadelphia after agreeing to buy Family Stations Inc.’s class B WKDN-FM, Camden, New Jersey.  Merlin announces in a release that it is searching for radio pros with the line – “Merlin Media is now actively looking for staff that can pronounce Schuylkill, Wissahickon, Manayunk, Tredyffrin, Gwynedd, Pennsauken and Bryn Mawr.”  If Merlin does go with a news format, CBS Radio’s KYW is currently news leader in Philly topping the recent Arbitron PPM for November with a cume of more than 1 million and a 7.4 AQH (persons 6+).  The sale price has not been announced.  Harold Camping’s Family Stations Inc. recently agreed to sell WBGR-FM, Annapolis, Maryland to CBS Radio which will debut an FM news station there in the New Year.  The price for that station was $8.5 million and although there’s no official word on the price Merlin is paying for WKDN, reports are circulating it’s in the $22 million neighborhood.

Cumulus Media Networks Names Gary McNamara and Eric Harley New Co-Hosts for “Red Eye Radio.”  This is a consolidation of two late-night radio shows owned by Cumulus Media: the “Red Eye Radio” show founded by talk host Doug McIntyre and the WBAP, Dallas-based “Midnight Radio Network” (known to many fans over the years as the “Midnight Trucking Radio Network”) program hosted by Eric Harley and Gary McNamara.  Cumulus SVP of affiliate sales and broadcast operations Dennis Green says, “Adding Eric and Gary to our versatile lineup of talk programming is a fantastic opportunity for the network and provides two dynamic personalities to our affiliates.  This is another daypart where we can offer high-quality solutions to stations looking for relevant content that connects with local audiences.  We truly appreciate the road map Doug has created for delivering overnight listener engagement with ‘Red Eye Radio’ and we’re proud that he will continue to be part of our company.”  The company isn’t prepared to say what McIntyre’s new duties will be but reiterates he will remain with Cumulus.  He also hosts the 5:00 am to 6:00 am hour on WABC, New York.  The combined affiliate bases will put the new “Red Eye Radio” program on about 150 affiliates and airs live from 1:00 am to 6:00 am Monday through Sunday beginning January 3, 2012.

Courtside Entertainment Group/Dial Global’s “Loveline” Adds Simone Bienne to Show.  The long-running “Loveline” late-night radio show co-hosted by Dr. Drew Pinsky and Mike Catherwood adds British sex and relationship therapist Simone Bienne to the program.  Bienne works with Pinsky on the CW Network program “Life Changers.”  Courtside Entertainment Group managing partner Norm Pattiz says of the addition, “Since taking over the program six months ago, we have committed ourselves to increasing its audience and broadening its appeal while maintaining its edgy, entertaining and irreverent approach.  ‘Loveline’ is an advice show like no other and the addition of Simone will help us reach more stations, more advertisers and more audience.”  Courtside produces the program and Dial Global is the exclusive distributor and national ad sales rep.  It airs live Sunday through Thursday from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.

NBC O&O TV Stations to Partner with Non-Profit News Organizations.  According to the Los Angeles Times, in an effort for Comcast to show federal regulators it is committed to strengthening local and public-interest programming after its acquisition of NBCUniversal, some 10 major market NBC TV O&Os will partner with non-profit news organizations for enterprise and analytical reporting.  One example is KNBC-TV, Los Angeles working with Southern California Public Radio to use stories produced by each other and, in some cases, working with each other on stories.  A similar arrangement is being started between WCAU-TV, Philadelphia and WHYY, Philadelphia.  The Times story notes the model for this is a relationship between KNSD-TV, San Diego and the internet news organization Voice of San Diego which have been sharing content for some time.  KNSD-TV pays Voice of San Diego $3,700 per month.  It’s not clear how much money will change hands – if any – in the new deals described above.

Southern California Talkers Invited to Attend Nathan Pacheco Performance.  Those who attended the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum were treated to a surprise appearance by Disney Pearl Records rising international superstar Nathan Pacheco, whose lunchtime performance of “Nessun Dorma” was received with a thunderous standing ovation.  The young opera singer has been gathering worldwide attention and acclaim with the current release of a single, “O Holy Night,” performed with British star Katherine Jenkins, a forthcoming album release produced by Leo-Z (Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli), and numerous concert and television appearances.  TALKERS has just learned that this exciting artist will be performing a concert titled “Home for the Holidays” at the Geffen Theater in Los Angeles on the evening of  Sunday, December 18 and Disney Pearl Records would like to make tickets to this special event available to attendees of the recent LARTF.  The first five LARTF attendees who contact Larry Harris at 360-417-8138 or e-mail at talkharris@olypen.com will each receive a pair of free tickets to this wonderful concert.  This offer is only appearing this morning (12/7) on this TALKERS headlines report — so act quickly. If you did not see Nathan Pacheco at the Talkers event check out a video of “The Making of Nessun Dorma” at  http://nathanpacheco.com/videos.php.

2012 GOP Candidates, Trump-Moderated Debate, President Obama’s Kansas Address and Euro Zone Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/6).  The field of Republican candidates for president, the proposed Donald Trump-moderated GOP debate, President Obama’s national address from Kansas and the ongoing Euro Zone debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.