Tag: "Dr. Laura"

Thursday, January 16, 2019

| January 16, 2020

WBZ-AM, Boston Cuts Four Air Staffers in ‘Employee Dislocation.’ News of which on-air personalitiesiHeartMedia has let go in its “employee dislocation” program continues to become known.  The Boston Globe reports that Boston’s heritage all-news WBZ-AM is losing four news staffers.  Gone are political commentator Jon Keller (who continues to serve with CBS TV at WBZ-TV), morning drive news anchor Deb Lawler, sports anchor Tom Cuddy, and talk show host Bradley Jay.  It’s not clear yet if the station will ask other staffers to share those duties or if they will be handled remotely.

More iHeartMedia Cuts. In addition to the downsizing noted in the story above, here are more of the broadcasters who lost their gigs with iHeartMedia stations whom TALKERS magazine has learned about: Joe Concha, “WOR Tonight” host, WOR, New York; Cliff Avril, sports talk host, KJR, Seattle; Chris Merrill, talk host, KOGO, San Diego; Marilyn Harris, host, WKRC, Cincinnati; Jarred Diglio, APD, WRKO, Boston; Dale Donovan, host, WKRC, Cincinnati; Lori Schmidt, sports reporter, WTVN, Columbus; Dario Melendez, sports talk host, WRNW, Milwaukee; Shea Raftus, producer, WRNW, Milwaukee; Dan Nawrocki, PD and host, WSPD, Toledo; Jerry Pickering, morning show staffer, WSPD, Toledo; Don Zellers, morning show staffer, WSPD, Toledo; Joe Gallagher, weekend host, WGY-AM/FM, Albany; Tank Spencer, host and news anchor, WWNC, Asheville; Tony Bristol, program director, WTAG, Worcester; Carl Falk, sports talk host, WHTK, Rochester; Cameron Hendricks, news director, WKIP/WJIP, Poughkeepsie; Dianne Zanin, reporter, WKIP/WJIP, Poughkeepsie; Alex Womer, host, asst. production director, WFNN, Erie; Bill Hickok, sports talk host, KBMR, Bismarck; and Steve Bortstein, program director, KCQL, Farmington, New Mexico.

iHeartMedia Ups Three Programmers to EVP. In conjunction with iHeartMedia’s new Markets Group structure, the company promotes three of its senior programming executives to division executive vice presidents of programming for the iHeartMedia National Programming Group, effective immediately.  Jeff Hurley, Tony Travatto, and Angela Watson Charles join current EVPs of programming Andrew Jeffries, Thea Mitchem, Maynard, and Gene Romano.  They report to National Programming Group COO Brad Hardin.  Each member of the EVP of programming team will partner with the company’s division presidents, “collaborating with each Division to provide national programming assets, services and resources.”  Here’s how it breaks down: Mitchem and Jeffries will work with Kevin LeGrett and Scott Hopeck and the Region Division, comprised of the company’s largest markets (i.e. New York and Los Angeles); Romano and Maynard will work with division presidents Tom McConnell, Tony Coles, and Linda Byrd and the Metro Division.  Travatto, Hurley, and Watson Charles will work with division presidents Shosh Abromovich, Nick Gnau, and Dan Lankford and the Community Division.  iHeartMedia chief programming officer Tom Poleman says, “We’re excited to add Angela, Jeff and Tony to our already extremely talented executive vice president of programming team.  They each have deep experience building great local brands with a blend of math and magic, and they’ll provide excellent leadership to our programmers in our Community Division markets.”

Doug MacGunnigle Rises to PD for WPRO and WPRV in Providence. At Cumulus Media’s Providence station group, programmer Doug MacGunnigle is promoted from assistant program director to program director for news/talk stations WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM and WPRV-AM under new operations manager Mary Ellen Kachinske.  MacGunnigle has been APD since October of 2017.  Cumulus Providence VP and market manager Holly Paras says, “Doug MacGunnigle is a tremendous asset to our news/talk stations.  With 20 years’ experience in Providence radio, Doug knows the market and stations inside and out.  He was the natural choice to lead WPRO and WPRV moving forward.”  MacGunnigle comments, “I grew up listening to WPRO and it is truly a humbling honor to be given an opportunity to lead this legendary radio station.  I look forward to helping bring these stations into the future, while continuing to protect and grow WPRO’s legacy as one of the great news/talk stations in the country.”

Joe Pags Fills Afternoon Role at KXNT, Las Vegas. Nationally syndicated talk radio personality Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo is the new host of the afternoon drive show on Entercom’s KXNT, Las Vegas.  Pags’ program is based at iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio and is syndicated via Compass Media Networks.  Entercom Las Vegas SVP and market manager Dan Kearney says, “We are excited to bring the energy and passion of Joe Pags to our listeners throughout Las Vegas and the Valley.  With Americans facing another crucial election year in 2020, his common-sense approach to current events and natural ability to navigate breaking news will fit perfectly in our already superstar KXNT lineup.”   The Joe Pags Show also recently added iHeartMedia’s WKBN-AM, Youngstown, Ohio and Alpha Media’s KFOR-AM, Lincoln, Nebraska.

Phil Valentine’s New Podcast Takes Off. WWTN-FM, Nashville afternoon drive host Phil Valentine says his newest podcast, “I’m Calling Bovine Scatology,” is already charting on news and politics formats on Apple Podcasts.  He reports the show is ranked at #130 on the news chart and #35 on the politics chart.  Valentine jumped into podcasting a year ago with his son, Campbell, on their podcast, “The PodGOATs.”  It was a top 10 History podcast for all of 2019 on Podbean.  Valentine says, “Look, podcasting is to radio what FM was to AM in 1968.  I worked for the first FM talker in the country – the late WWDB in Philadelphia.  WTN, where I am in Nashville, was one of the first FM talkers.  I’m used to being on the cutting edge.  Trust me, podcasting is where everything is going.”  Valentine, who says his show finished 2019 as the #1 talk show in Nashville with a 12.9 share with Men 25-54, inked a new deal with Cumulus Media last year that includes a deal to sell advertising on his podcasts.

WSB, Atlanta Broadcasting in HD. Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM is now broadcasting in HD on the 95.5 frequency.  Cox Media Group moved WSB’s transmitter and antenna in August of 2019 from Flowery Branch to East Atlanta.  WSB director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs says, “Combined with the recent transmitter and antenna move, listeners will get an even more enhanced sound coming from their speakers on HD-enabled radios.  The addition of HD is another part of the ongoing strategic move WSB has made to offer our listeners the best possible listening experience and our advertisers the best possible exposure for their goods and services.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth is serving as guest host on the nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” today and tomorrow (1/16-17).  Hayworth served six terms in Congress and for years hosted his own daily talk radio program in Phoenix.  He’s also filled in for such national hosts as Mark Levin, Michael Savage, and Mike Huckabee.  The “Todd Starnes Show” is heard on some 60 affiliate stations and is distributed by Hamilton Strategies…..WGCL-TV, Atlanta reports that Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has named talk radio personality Martha Zoller – along with two other appointees – to a seven-year term on the Georgia state Board of Education.  The body makes policy for Georgia’s 1.8 million public school students.  Martha Zoller currently hosts the 9:00 am to 10:00 am show on Jacobs Media’s WDUN-AM/FM, Gainesville, Georgia.  In addition to her radio career, Zoller was an aide to U.S. Senator David Perdue from 2014 to 2018.  She served on Governor Kemp’s campaign.  She left her radio career to run for Congress in 2012 but lost in the Republican primary to Doug Collins, who won the seat…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports on what he calls the “musical chairs” in the news department at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM.  He says the station wanted to move current afternoon drive news anchor Lauren Cohn to middays, along with news director John Dempsey’s move from mornings to afternoons and Nick Gale’s move from middays to mornings.  But Cohn apparently viewed the move as a demotion and fought it.  As it turns out, Dempsey will move to middays and Gale will anchor during Erich Mancow Muller’s morning show…..Nationally syndicated host and clinical psychologist Dr. Ellen Kenner celebrates her 22nd radio anniversary on February 1.  She’s also the author of The Selfish Path to Romance (2011, Winans Kuenstler Publishing, LLC) and she can be booked for interviews in advance of Valentine’s Day by reaching out to syndication@drkenner.com…..Affiliates of Envision Networks nationally syndicated financial talk show “The Jared Dillian Show” – hosted by self-made millionaire Jared Dillian – can receive the show’s podcasts to include as part of their program offerings on their websites.  Dillian says, “I’m pleased we’re able to make parts of the show available in one of my favorite formats.”  “The Jared Dillian Show” is part of the 24/7 Smart Talk Radio Network based in Chicago and distributed by Envision Networks.

Dan Brady Promoted at Dr. Laura’s Take On the Day LLC. Media pro Dan Brady is promoted to director of podcast operations & program audio for Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s Take On the Day, LLC.  In this role, Brady will be responsible for managing the Dr. Laura podcasts, including the “Call of the Day,” as well as the Dr. Laura Family Premium podcasts.  Take On the Day co-owner Geoff Rich says, “Dan has been critical to the success of Dr. Laura’s ‘Call of the Day’ podcast, growing it to over 2.5 million listens per month in two years and making it a top 10 podcast in Apple Podcasts Kids and Family and Parenting categories.  It’s a thrill to tap into Dan’s knowledge, experience and creativity.”

British Broadcaster Graham Mack Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Veteran British talk personality and program director of FIX Radio in London, Graham Mack, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Mack take a deep dive into the major international news stories emanating from the United Kingdom – including the rise of Boris Johnson and the latest developments regarding Brexit as well as Megxit – the crisis facing the Monarchy in the wake of the Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex bombshell. Don’t miss this fun, fascinating, and informative conversation! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Impeachment Moves to Senate, Presidential Election, Putin Power Grab, U.S.-China Trade Deal, Record Dow/The Economy, and MLB Sign-Stealing Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/15). The articles of impeachment are delivered to the Senate and Lev Parnas’ interview on CNN; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November and the row between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders; the Russian government resigns as Vladimir Putin seeks constitutional changes to remain in power; Trump’s trade deal with China; the Dow closes over 29,000 and the roaring U.S. economy; and the MLB’s sign-stealing scandal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

New Studios for Griffin Communications’ Radio Stations in Tulsa. The five Tulsa, Oklahoma radio stations owned by Griffin Communications have moved to the company’s eight-year-old facility on North Boston Road.  The stations – including news/talk KFAQ and four music brands – join the company’s television properties.  The facility was constructed in 2011 for the television stations with room left over for the future expansion that it would ultimately use for the radio stations.  Griffin CEO David Griffin says, “We are very excited to bring these stations home.  Combining radio with our TV stations, billboards, websites, and digital products deepens our commitment to the Tulsa market and provides an unmatched footprint.  Additionally, it provides these radio stations with new, state-of-the-art studios and synergy opportunities so that they can continue to serve Green Country with exceptional content and broadcasting capabilities.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Tomorrow night (1/17), Coldplay will perform at the inaugural RADIO.COM Live event series in front of a small audience of KROQ, Los Angeles listeners to mark the grand opening of the new HD Radio Sound Space – a state-of-the-art entertainment hub – in the heart of Los Angeles’ Miracle Mile on Wilshire Boulevard. Entercom’s RADIO.COM will stream the special performance live nationwide starting at 7:00 pm PT/10:00 pm.  RADIO.COM SVP and general manager Pam Russo says, “We’re honored Coldplay will kick off the RADIO.COM Live event series at the grand unveil of the HD Radio Sound Space.  We are excited to offer fans exclusive access to this once-in-a lifetime performance, live via the RADIO.COM app and website nationwide as well as on select HD Radio stations. This is the first of many events that we will be hosting live from the heart of the city and we are looking forward to giving fans everywhere insider access.”…..Entercom names “Nick and Kristen” (pictured at left) the new morning show on country KWJJ, Portland “99.5 The Wolf,” effective January 22.  The duo was most recently the morning drive show at Bonneville International’s adult contemporary KOIT, San Francisco.  They say, “We are so thrilled to work alongside [SVP/MM] Kim Martinez and [OM/PD] Scott Roddy.  Both are dynamic and inspiring leaders in our industry who elevate their staff and their stations.  We’re equally as excited to share our lives and bring the best new country to Portland.”…..Air personality Kacie Kozman is officially named midday host at Hubbard Radio’s alternative KDKB Phoenix.  Kozman has been hosting the daypart since Ian Camfield exited last month to join Entercom’s alternative KVIL, Dallas.

The Artist’s Secret: The Force that Guides Successful Radio Personalities

| March 9, 2015

By Bill McMahon
The Authentic Personality
CEO

mcmahonbillEAGLE, Idaho — I’ve been coaching radio personalities and studying gifted artists for over 25 years.  I’ve been privileged to work with some remarkable performers like Kidd Kraddick, Jeff of Jeff and Jer, Rush Limbaugh, and Dr. Laura.  I’ve observed successful songwriters, authors, screenwriters, and creators of TV shows.  I’ve learned a lot about where great artists get their inspiration and how they create.

I’ve discovered successful artists across the media spectrum — those who’ve created hit songs, blockbuster movies, best selling books, top-rated TV shows, and the most listened to radio shows — are guided by a common force I’ve come to call “The Artist’s Secret.”  It has three elements.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

| April 1, 2014

mandisdanDan Mandis Hosts Early Afternoon Show at WWTN, Nashville.  Talk radio pro Dan Mandis is the new 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm personality at Cumulus Media’s WWTN, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7.”  Mandis, who spent years as executive producer of the Dr. Laura Program, has most recently been programming such talk radio outlets as Clear Channel’s KHOW and KKZN in Denver and Federated Media’s WOWO, Fort Wayne.  He also hosted thewwtn logo Saturday morning show on KOA, Denver.  With Mandis’ arrival at “SuperTalk 99.7,” the station is now live and local from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm.  He’ll follow morning host Ralph Bristol and late morning personality Michael DelGiorno while leading into PM drive host Phil Valentine.  WWTN program director Brian Wilson states, “We think Dan’s view of the world is just familiar enough to be comfortable for our audience and at the same time just different enough that he’ll make a lot of people stop and think twice about the disease behind the symptoms.  As the fourth leg to the table, we think all our core shows will complement each other.  The effect is that the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts.”  Mandis comments, “There are so many reasons to be excited about this opportunity.  Being part of an amazing talk radio station on FM is one, and living in a great city like Nashville is another.  I honestly can’t wait to get started.”

mandersbill‘PowerTalk 96.7’ Fresno Host Bill Manders Receives Kidney from Teen Suicide Victim.  Afternoon drive personality Bill Manders returned to his show on Clear Channel’s news/talk duo KALZ and KRZR in Fresno after kidney transplant surgery three weeks ago.  According to local TV station KFSN, Manders received a kidney from a local teen who had just committed suicide.  It turns out 17-year-old Lexi Morris’ father Jason is a regular listener to Manders’ program and made the unusual request that Manders receive his daughter’s kidney.  As the story notes, this is not the usual procedure but the kidney was a perfect match.  Manders tells the TV station, “I was in tears when I heard her story, but I would rather concentrate on the plusses in her life.  She was smart, athletic, she has a great family, and I know she’s there looking down on me, so I’ve got to honor her.”  Read the whole story here.

hochmanshow groupMarc Hochman Officially Signs with Beasley to Host PM Drive on WQAM, Miami.  Nothing is ever official until the contract is signed but Marc Hochman’s departure from Lincoln Financial Media’s crosstown WAXY last fall with the intent on sitting out his non-compete and landing in PM drive at WQAM was one of radio’s worst-kept secrets.  As soon as it was legal (at 12:01 am on 4/1), Hochman (second from left) inked a pact with WQAM to begin his run as the station’s afternoon personality.  The new Marc Hochman show will also feature Zach Krantz (right), former Miami Dolphins cheerleader Sha Tabb (second from right), and longtime WQAM producer Victor Bermudez (left).  WQAM program director Andy King says, “Marc is an incredible talent and one of the most creative minds in radio.  His ability to blend sports, pop culture and humor into an entertaining show has led him to tremendous success throughout his career and I’m excited for him to continue that success here at 560 WQAM.”  Hochman adds, “I am the quintessential ‘radio nerd,’ so the opportunity for me to host an afternoon drive show on the most legendary sports talk station in Miami was one that I couldn’t pass up.  When I first moved to Miami in 1987, I listened to WQAM all the time.  Now, a little over 25 years later, I’ll be sitting behind that microphone, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!”  The station also announces that one of the most legendary voices in South Florida sports history, Howard Schnellenberger, has signed on as the imaging voice of the Marc Hochman show.  All the show intros and production will be voiced by Schnellenberger.

morganmelanieMelanie Morgan Returns to Radio in Santa Rosa.  Long time Bay Area news radio and talk radio pro Melanie Morgan (formerly with Cumulus Media’s KGO and KSFO, San Francisco and, for a time, with TRN’s “America’s ksro logoMorning News”) joined Sonoma Media Group-owned KSRO, Santa Rosa, California as news director and morning anchor.  She began her news director duties yesterday (3/31) and starts on-air next Monday (4/7).  Melanie replaces a heritage morning news anchor, David Wesley Page, who retired from radio about a month ago after nearly 30 years on the KSRO morning news.  Morgan is married to former longtime KGO program director Jack Swanson.

mitchellbrianBrian Mitchell and Scott Jackson Re-Up with WTEM, Washington.  Two of Doc Walker’s co-hosts on Red Zebra Broadcasting’s WTEM, Washington “ESPN980” are in the fold for another three years.  The companyjacksonscott announces that Brian Mitchell and Scott Jackson have extended their contracts with the station, keeping them on the “Inside the Locker Room” with Walker through 2017.  The mid-afternoon show teams former Washington Redskins Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell along with veteran talk show host Scott Jackson.  Mitchell has been a part of the “ESPN980” family for five years.  Brian also is a contributing member of the Washington Redskins Radio Network, offering analysis pre-game, post-game and during halftime.  Jackson has worked at WTEM for nine years and will serve in many additional roles, including hosting “Redskins Recap,” Mondays after Washington Redskins games and as the station’s lead NBA analyst.  Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “’Inside the Locker Room’ has been a ratings success.  To have all three guys under contract for the next few years makes our station stronger.  Doc, B-Mitch and Jack have so much fun on the air, you can’t help but laugh along with them while listening.”

businessrockstars radioBusiness Rockstars Radio Affiliates with CRN Digital Talk Radio.  This week “Business Rockstars Radio,” hosted by Ken Rutkowski began an affiliation relationship with CRN Digital Talk Radio.  The program that features “Rockstar” CEOs, entrepreneurs, and start-ups targeting the 30 million “Wantrepreneurs” in the U.S., joins CRN’s integrated audio platform combining television, radio and social media.  CRN Digital Talk Radio CEO Mike Horn says, “We’re thrilled about our new partnership with ‘Business Rockstars Radio,’ a show with such compelling content, we’ve decided to air it three different times across our platform.  ‘Business Rockstars Radio’ is the only crn logonational entrepreneurial radio show that brings in ‘Rockstar’ CEOs and entrepreneurs combined with the magic of Ken Rutkowki’s talent and continuing with each guest on the show.  We are also excited to partner with the legendary Steve Lehman, a name synonymous with cutting-edge talk radio.”  Lehman adds, “We’re excited to expand the Business Rockstars Radio footprint by joining Mike Horn’s renowned CRN Digital Talk Radio Network.  This new alliance will add an additional 11 million television households across the U.S. to the Business Rockstars Radio Network, allowing us to reach more ‘Wantrepreneurs’ with fun, fast-paced, and compelling content about growing, starting, and funding businesses.”  Business Rockstars Radio guests include some of the biggest CEOs and entrepreneurs daily, including: Nolan Bushnell (Atari and Chuck E. Cheese Founder), Akon (musician and entrepreneur), Daymond John (Host of ABC’s “Shark Tank”), Cheryl Tiegs (model, actress and entrepreneur), Thom Beers (CEO of Freemantle Media), Scott Painter (Founder and CEO of TruCar) and many others.

kinosianmikeSports Talk Post-Super Bowl.  The American sports (and money!) juggernaut that is the National Football League plays a huge role in the success of sports talk radio in America.  Not to disparage the MLB, NBA, NHL and NCAA, but it’s clearly the most successful and popular league in professional sports in America.  So, what effect does the end of the NFL’s season the first weekend in February have on sports talk stations?  TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian takes an in-depth look at sports talk radio’s performance in PPM markets leading up to the Super Bowl and in the month that follows.  Check out his report here.

journalbroadcastgroupMcHale Named VP/CTO for Journal Broadcast Group.  The Milwaukee-based company announces Brian McHale is its new vice president and chief technology officer, overseeing “the leadership, management, implementation and long-term planning of the company’s technical and physical infrastructure across its 13 television stations and 35 radio stations in 11 states.”  Journal Broadcast Group also says McHale will “ensure the efficient and on-schedule delivery of media content, identify emerging technologies and how to profitably deploy them, and work closely with Journal’s leadership team to develop the company’s operational and strategic direction.”  McHale comes to Journal from Seattle’s Fisher Communications where he was vice president of technology.

deanmichaelwHow to Help Your Remote Guests Shine.  Radio is a busy business and sometimes hosts must process guests with a level of assembly-line speed that doesn’t always allow for the kind of attention to detail that can make the difference between a quality broadcast and a tune-out.  Many interviews on radio sound like there was no forethought to audio quality.  And many guests sound like they were thrown into an unfamiliar situation with no preparation.  In a very helpful, extensive advice piece posted today (4/1) Genesis Communications Network (GCN) talk show host Michael W. Dean (“The Freedom Feens” and “Michael Dean After Dark”) offers advice on how to maximize the quality of your remote guests covering everything from programming content to technical delivery in today’s frenzied radio environment.  To read it in its entirety, please click here.

ObamaCare Criticism, Russian Aggression, North and South Korean Tensions, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Discrepancies, Global Warming, and “Noah” Criticism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/31).  Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the international implications of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and Eastern Europe and President Obama’s dealings with Vladimir Putin; heating tensions between North and South Korea; conflicting information from the Malaysian government about the disappearance of Flight 370; renewed debate about global climate change; and criticism of the new film “Noah” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Please Stop Copying

| September 17, 2012

By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media
Chairman

NEW YORK — Each talk host has a unique set of life experiences, opinions and feelings. When a host is encouraged and allowed to express their unique world view, the result is compelling radio and the cume grows. Tragically, and it is tragic, at some point most hosts are told to “sound more like…” or “did you hear so and so today?”

The reason Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura have been so successful is that they copy no one.  You may be surprised to learn that Howard Stern has never listened to most of the other hosts he’s bashed.

When working with talent it is never wise to encourage them to listen to other hosts because it destroys their internal navigation system. Each host has stories they want to tell, ideas they want to present and blessed opinions that must be heard. When they are forced to monitor other hosts, their own instincts soften and ultimately crumble.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

| August 29, 2011

All-News and Talk Radio Stations Keep Public Informed During Hurricane Irene.  The hurricane/tropical storm that swept up the East Coast over the weekend pushed radio stations, especially news and talk radio stations, into their familiar and historical roles as providers of timely and emergency information as Irene bore down upon their markets.  While radio of all formats can deliver this kind of information, news and talk radio does so without breaking format – they just alter the type of news, information and talk they provide.  Their P1s expect to be kept informed during these times and the many news and talk stations up and down the East Coast did an exemplary job of being there for their listeners.  (There were simply too many examples of stations serving their listeners this weekend to name them all!)  According to TALKERS monitoring of radio during the Irene event, the approach to coverage went through three basic phases: First, tracking and speculating on the direction, timing and tips for preparing for the storm.  Second, being in the storm itself when the power goes out and all hell is breaking loose (a crucial phase for radio).  Third, the aftermath — the details and politics of recovery.  The past 10 months have provided ample opportunity for coverage of natural disasters with a higher-than-usual occurrence of these, from intense snowstorms to floods to tornadoes and recent earthquakes.  News and talk radio remains the best link to accurate and timely information when the power goes out.  The bigger questions now include: Should emergency preparedness and local, on-the-ground coverage become a more institutional component of the competitive terrestrial radio infrastructure?  Also, should talk radio of all genres focus primarily on super-serving its most loyal fans (who are still in the habit of using radio) or break out of that role and aggressively try to bring new listeners to the format (or in the case of those who have left, back to the format)?  (Photo courtesy of NOAA.)

WJOX-FM, Birmingham Sports Host Finebuam’s Suit Against Citadel Revealed.  Thanks to a judge for unsealing the suits filed by Paul Finebaum against Citadel’s WJOX-FM, Birmingham, we know more about the claims.  The Birmingham News reports Finebaum – who has a deal with Citadel to host a show on WJOX-FM that is regionally syndicated – accuses WJOX-FM of breach of contract when Citadel declared bankruptcy in December 2009.  Finebaum further alleges he was subsequently forced to agree to contract changes under duress that have caused him “great financial impact.”  Finebaum alleges WJOX-FM, GM Bill Thomas threatened to remove his show from its affiliates and Sirius XM if he didn’t agree to a reduction in revenue from the show.  Citadel says Finebaum was fully aware it filed for bankruptcy when he signed the contract addendum in January 2010.  The company also states any talk of removing the show from affiliates was due to poor financial performance that the company did not want to continue.  Finally, Citadel questions why Finebaum is filing the suits now since Citadel exited bankruptcy protection more than a year ago and calls the suits a “pretense by which Mr. Finebaum hopes to avoid fulfilling his obligations under the employment agreement.”  Finebaum is under contract to Citadel through January 2013.

Clear Channel Ousts Vassilaros from WPTI-FM, Greensboro; Simulcasts Raleigh AM Show.  WRDU-FM, Raleigh’s “Morning Rush” program hosted by KC O’Dea and Carmen Connors is now heard on the company’s WPTI-FM, Greensboro as well.  Morning drive host Dimitri Vassilaros – who left his newspaper and part time radio gigs in Pittsburgh in January to take the WPTI-FM job – is out.  Vassilaros hosted a weekend show at CBS Radio’s KDKA and wrote a column for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review prior to heading south.

Michael Harrison Writing a Book with Mike Kinosian about Talk Radio Set for Publication February 2012. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has announced he is writing a book about talk radio, in collaboration with TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian.  Talkers: The Irrepressible Voices of Radio will be published by Talkers Books and will be part history, part memoir and part commentary based upon radio pioneer Harrison’s 21 years as publisher of TALKERS, 45 years as a professional broadcaster, and his lifelong love affair with popular culture and media.  The primary focus will be Harrison’s observations of many leading figures of contemporary talk radio set against the backdrop of key events connected to the scene’s colorful history.  Material will be drawn from his professional and personal experiences with these extraordinary individuals and supplemented by the extensive database accumulated over the decades in the TALKERS archives.  He also delves back into his own roots as a kid listening to New York City Top 40 in the 1950s and 1960s to becoming an FM album rock groundbreaker on both coasts in the 1970s, an innovator in the trades and eventually one of the driving forces behind the modern talk radio era.  With more than a quarter century of insight and experience at Radio & Records, Inside Radio and now TALKERS — and as one of the radio trade publication world’s most prolific interviewers — collaborator Mike Kinosian brings his formidable radio background and writing skills to the project.  According to Harrison, “Between the two of us we know just about everyone who’s anyone in the talk business from a number of angles.  Mike Kinosian has personally interviewed and written biographical profiles of more than 100 spoken-word radio stars in his illustrious career as an industry chronicler.  His legendary “Mike Kinosian Interviews” remain the gold standard of radio trade journalism.  Having a professional of his stature supporting my efforts in this undertaking is nothing short of inspirational!”  Commenting on his joining forces with Harrison on this ambitious endeavor, Kinosian states, “It is a high honor and a rare privilege to serve as this book’s collaborator, not solely since the subject matter is so personally appealing, but also — and much more significantly — because it is with Michael Harrison.  No one else in the talk radio industry commands Michael’s immense level of respect and credibility.  His behind-the-scenes knowledge of the industry, credentials, accomplishments, detail to recount facts and especially his character are impeccable.”  Among those examined beneath their professional personas are Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Glenn Beck, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, G. Gordon Liddy, Michael Savage, Jerry Williams, Gene Burns and many more.  Harrison shares never-before-published stories about his personal conversations and dealings with Bill Clinton and George W. Bush regarding their relationships with the media.  He finally reveals the back story and truth about his controversial encounter with Al Franken during the future U.S. Senator’s Freedom of Speech Award acceptance at the New Media Seminar.  He talks about his longtime friendship with Alan Colmes, going back to the dreams they shared as part-time MOR jocks on a small Long Island AM daytimer 43 years ago.  He resurrects the colorful decade (1975-1985) he spent as one of the first FM “youth talkers” hosting a trailblazing talk show on L.A.’s legendary rocker, KMET.  Talkers: The Irrepressible Voices of Radio by Michael Harrison with Mike Kinosian promises to reveal a side of talk radio never before exposed to the public.  Summing it up, Kinosian states, “Unsurpassed quality is the dominant theme the two of us have stressed to each other in writing this book.  Based on the early drafts, we are well on our way to accomplishing that goal.”  The promotion of Talkers: The Irrepressible Voices of Radio will be supported with a national tour.

Scott Hennen Signs with Genesis Communications Network for National Distribution.  Talk radio pro Scott Hennen’s Fargo-based talk show, “Common Sense Club,” (heard in North Dakota on KNOX, Grand Forks from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm) will be distributed for national syndication via the Genesis Communications Network.  Hennen tells the Fargo Forum he expects to debut on about a dozen stations.

 

“The Talk” May Be Adding Two New Hosts for this Season.  The CBS daytime TV talk show “The Talk” lost hosts Leah Rimini and Holly Robinson Peete – their contracts were not renewed for the show’s second season.  The network is preparing to fill their slots alongside Sara Gilbert, Julie Chen and Sharon Osbourne with radio host and comedian Sheryl Underwood and Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner.  Jenner is signed to fill in for Osbourne for the show’s first two weeks of the new season but may stay on as Osbourne’s regular fill in.  Underwood will also be part of the first two weeks but is expected to be a regular this season.

Recognition of a Job Well Done.  CBS Radio’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles was recently recognized by Los Angeles City councilman Dennis Zine for its coverage of Carmageddon – the July shutdown of the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles.  Pictured here from left to right are: traffic reporters Jeff Baugh, Tommy Jaxson and Meghan Reyes; Councilman Dennis Zine, news director Julie Chin, and director of programming Andy Ludlum.

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