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WEEI Goes to Bat for Battling Kids. During the last week of August, Entercom’s New England sports brand WEEI completed its 11th annual Jimmy Fund radio-thon to benefit the Dana Farber Cancer Institute raising more than $3.4 million. TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian recently had a long chat with WEEI vice president of programming Jason Wolfe about the history of the fundraiser and WEEI’s connection to the charity. Read his piece here.
Atlanta Sports Talk Hosts “Two Live Stews” Off LFM’s WQXI “790/The Zone.” Doug and Ryan Stewart have been taken off the midday show at Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talker WQXI, Atlanta “790/The Zone.” According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho, the two are taking their ouster well with Doug Stewart telling him, “It’s incredible what we’ve done there over 11 years. I want to thank the fans who supported us. This isn’t the last you’ve heard from us.” The Stewarts are under contract through the end of the year and, although Ho reports their agent is trying to get them an early release from their deal that would allow them to work in the market sooner, they have a non-compete that would probably keep them off Atlanta radio until July of 2013. With that in mind, any speculation they could end up on CBS Radio’s new sports talk FM due to debut in October would be complicated by their contract situation.
Chicago Public Media Taps the Tribune’s and WGN’s Rick Kogan for Fill-In Gig. While Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ searches for a full-time replacement for PM drive talk host Steve Edwards (who’s exiting the organization to become deputy director of the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago), Chicago Tribune columnist and WGN’s “The Sunday Papers” host Rick Kogan will host the program until a permanent replacement is found. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports Kogan will give up the WGN gig while sitting in at WBEZ, telling him, “I’m flattered by this fascinating creative challenge. And I welcome the change in lifestyle. After all these years, it’ll be nice for a while not to have to get up at 4:30 in the morning every Sunday.”
Please Stop Copying. That’s the plea from Sabo Media chairman Walter Sabo in his most recent column for TALKERS. Sabo writes that too many talk show hosts are encouraged to take a page from some other very successful talk show host when what they should really be doing is using their own life experiences and feelings to express their own world view in an entertaining way. Interestingly, Sabo notes that many of the country’s “heritage” radio stations will sound funny to a non-native. “You’ve had the experience of listening to a legendary station for the first time and being shocked that it sounded horrible. Yes, it sounded horrible to you because you didn’t grow up in that city with that station. That’s not your station. The truly great stations are endemic to their cities. They copy no other station. Instead, they have created a mirror of the interest needs and tastes of their listeners.” Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.
Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby Reunited on Radio After Kuby Assaulted on the Streets. No, the arch-conservative and leftist duo that ruled the airwaves on WABC, New York for 10 years is not back together for a new radio show. But activist attorney Ron Kuby and conservative talk host Curtis Sliwa, who hosts the morning show on Salem Communications’ WNYM “970 The Answer,” did speak together on Sliwa’s program after Kuby was bloodied in an assault last week. Kuby went on Sliwa’s program to explain how he got into a fight with two young people who were shouting anti-gay epithets. The story made the New York Daily News and Sliwa even wove the incident into a live read for a Long Island dentist whom he said he would recommend to Kuby in case he needed any dental work after the beating. He did not.
Social Media: Your Frequent Flier Program. Radio programmer and digital entrepreneur Chris Miller says, when it comes to social media for radio stations, the people you reach are not your “friends,” they’re your “frequent fliers,” and you need to treat them as such to use social media more effectively. Miller says research indicates there are three primary reasons people follow brands on social media: 1) to get the advantage of insider information; 2) to get special deals and offers; and 3) to learn more about things you do that they like or are interested in. Learn what Miller says you can do to satisfy those interests. Read his piece here.
On the Road in Oklahoma City. Nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey is on the road again visiting affiliate stations and producing live shows that draw thousands. He’s pictured here at the Crossings Community Church in Oklahoma City. With his brand new, intimate “Living a Legacy Live Event,” Ramsey speaks about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. For this appearance, author Jon Acuff joined Ramsey on stage. Local affiliate KOKC realized the direct benefits of the live show for its audience and the station. KOKC’s Rob Adair states, “Anytime Dave Ramsey comes to Oklahoma City for an event with our radio station, everyone wins — our clients, our listeners, our station. Our ‘Living a Legacy’ was filled to the roof with listeners. Dave delivers again…but over-delivering is just his style.”
Harvey Nagler and Walter Sabo Join Growing Lineup of Stellar Speakers at Forthcoming TALKERS Los Angeles Event. Two more industry leaders have joined the roster of speakers at the forthcoming TALKERS New Media Seminar scheduled for Thursday, October 11 between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm in association with the Los Angeles Press Club at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. CBS Radio News VP Harvey Nagler will be joining the panel, “Spoken Word Radio: The Big Picture” along with Phil Boyce, VP/director, spoken word format, Salem Communications; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media Management, LLC; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; and Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media. The session will be moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. In addition, Sabo Media chairman Walter Sabo will be presenting a special address titled “Interactivity and Video: The Key to Your Business Future.” Based upon registrations already booked, the event is projected to be sold out by the end of this week or very early the next. Full up-to-the-minute agenda details will be posted here at Talkers.com tomorrow – but to assure registration, attendees are advised to sign up now. Because it is open only to working media, there is no online registration — only by telephone. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.
Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour Continues; Featured in Special Documentary on Current TV. The very successful “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” that comedienne and nationally syndicated talk show host Stephanie Miller has headed for the past 18 months or so was featured in a documentary on Friday, September 14 on Current TV. The program featured an “(almost) uncensored inside look into how it all began with never before seen footage from behind the scenes and exclusive inside commentary from Stephanie and co-stars John Fugelsang, Hal Sparks, and Aisha Tyler.” And the tour continues with stops at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre on September 29 and New York City’s Beacon Theatre on October 27.
The Adventures of Gas Can Man Hit Ft. Myers Market. Sun Broadcasting’s WFSX, Estero, Florida (“92.5 Fox News”) used the traveling political character Gas Can Man to offer some of its listeners gas at the January, 2009 price of $1.84 per gallon last Thursday. Gas Can Man is traveling the country in a gas can costume to associate high gas prices with the presidency of Barack Obama. WFSX and morning drive host Drew Steele arranged a deal with a local gas station to offer gas at the low price to the first 150 lucky drivers to line up at 7:30 am that morning. Steele stated prior to the promotion, “High gas prices have been one of the main topics of concern that our listeners have expressed in the last few months and we are going to do something about it for one morning for 150 of our neighbors. While Washington argues about billions and trillions of dollars they need to remember that the $60 or so many people are now paying to fill up their tanks is about double what it was just a few years ago — and that extra $30 or more each week is REAL money that has a serious impact on our families and our economy.”
Cross-Promotion. WJRW, Grand Rapids, Michigan talk show host and news director Dave Jaconette appears on this electronic billboard promoting the local appearance of “Blue Man Group” coming to the area this week as part of Broadway Grand Rapids’ Fall 2012 lineup.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. SiriusXM sports talk host Dino Costa is profiled in the October edition of Men’s Journal in a piece called: Dino Costa: The Angriest Man on the Airwaves. Costa (pictured below in a photo by Kareem Black) is part of the satcaster’s Mad Dog Radio channel and is quoted in the piece saying, “To do the kind of show I demand of myself is an all-consuming undertaking. Every time I take to the air, what happened yesterday is old news. There isn’t enough of that in radio today. The worst thing you can be in radio is predictable, and 99% of radio is predictable.”…..LAF-ing CLIFF Media of Fort Wayne, Indiana, parent company of “Speed Talk” and RadioSpeedTalk.com, announces the departure of co-owner and “Speed Talk” co-host and executive producer Pete LaFaucia. “Speed Talk” was a weekly one-hour racing show that at its height had 10 radio affiliates nationally. The show’s creators have decided to split due to creative differences. LAF-ing CLIFF Media will dissolve with Cliff Tanner retaining “Speed Talk,” RadioSpeedTalk.com, and its affiliates reforming under the name Cliff Dawg Media…..The Martone family is moving the studios of news/talk WOCA-AM/FM, Ocala, Florida to the Paddock Mall. The station will overlook the food court and have a 12-foot glass wall that will allow mall patrons to see the main studio.
Talk Radio: The Next Generation. XtreMedia president and nationally syndicated talk host Kevin McCullough holds his newborn baby son Jonathan Stephen McCullough weighing in at 8 lbs, 5 oz. McCullough reports that both Jonathan and mom are doing well!
Talk Radio Hosts Invade New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Primary election is tomorrow (1/10) and in what has become a talk radio tradition – the New Hampshire Primary Radio Row – is putting the candidates and the issues on the air for local listeners and national audiences alike. The radio row event is organized by TALKERS magazine and the Talk Radio News Service and includes more than 45 programs broadcasting live from the Manchester Radisson. National programs include: Dial Global’s Neal Boortz, Thom Hartmann and Michael Smerconish; Radio America’s Roger Hedgecock; Genesis Communications Network’s Kate Delaney; Syndication One’s Al Sharpton and Warren Ballentine; Main Street Radio Network’s Alan Nathan; “A Touch of Grey” with Carole Marks; Michael Skoda; Dr. Gina Loudon; and Ed Morrissey. Local talk hosts include: WOR, New York’s John Gambling; WTKK-FM, Boston’s Jim Braude and Margery Eagan; WTKK’s Michael Graham; Stephen K. Bannon of KABC, Los Angeles; Marc Bernier of WNDB, Daytona Beach; Michael Berry of KTRH, Houston; Lee Davis of WYDE-FM, Birmingham; Scott Hennen of KNOX, Grand Forks, North Dakota; Mark Skoda of WMPS, Memphis; Lisa Wexler of WFAS, Westchester, New York; Ken Pittman and Phil Paleologos of WBSM, New Bedford; Richard Girard of WGAM, Manchester; Paul Westcott of WGIR, Manchester; Dan Mitchell of WKBK, Keene; George Russell of WSMN, Nashua; Mark Johnson of WDEV, Waterbury, Vermont; Steve West of WKVT, Brattleboro, Vermont; John Harper of WUVR, Dartmouth, New Hampshire; Tony Lopes of WVBF, Taunton, Massachusetts; and Jeff Santos of WWZN, Boston.
SCOTUS Hears Indecency Arguments Tomorrow. This day seems like a long time coming but tomorrow the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments about the FCC’s handling of broadcast indecency. The case comes to the Court with regard to television violations but the rules are the same for radio. Recent fines against ABC and Fox were overturned by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals after the court ruled the regulations are vague and unevenly applied – especially concerning the difference between how the rules are applied to over-the-air broadcast versus cable and satellite. That’s what ABC and Fox will argue tomorrow. The FCC will argue that even in the current era, most Americans expect broadcast TV (and radio by extension) to be “relatively safe” media for family consumption. Many legal observers believe that the likely ruling from the Supreme Court will be the request that the FCC make the indecency rules very clear and that its method of enforcement be just as clear. Interestingly, former FCC chairman Michael Powell – who now works for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association – is quoted by Bloomberg saying if he were voting on the cases in question again, he would dissent this time. “I’ve always been deeply troubled by the way the First Amendment changes when you change channels.”
Programmer Neil Larrimore Lands KFYI/KGME, Phoenix PD Position. Clear Channel Phoenix names former KMBZ, Kansas City program director Neil Larrimore PD for news/talk KFYI and sports talker Xtra Sports 910 (KGME). CC Phoenix director of operations and programming Smokey Rivers states, “Neil is the perfect complement to our Phoenix programming team. He is totally immersed in the flow of news and sports. In this ‘that’s so thirty seconds ago’ age, having a quality programmer focused solely on the output of our information products is essential to maintaining our quality edge.” Larrimore, who recently exited Entercom’s Kansas City news/talk outlet, says, “Information is the lifeblood of all media, now more than ever. The opportunity to work with these powerful brands and continue to evolve them on-air, on-site and online, is extraordinary! I can’t wait to get started!”
Rick Barber Retires from KOA, Denver. After 30 years on the air in Denver, Rick Barber retires from his late-night talk show on Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver. The Clear Channel station is filling the time with Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM.”
Drew Steele Takes Over AM Drive on WFSX-FM, Fort Myers; Trey Radel Exits to Run for Congress. Trey Radel announces his candidacy for Florida’s 14th Congressional District seat and exits the morning drive show at Meridian’s “92.5 Fox News” (WFSX-FM) in the Ft. Myers/Naples market. Meridian hands the reins of the morning drive show over to Drew Steele. Radel is a longtime media figure in the market serving as anchor on WINK-TV for years before joining “92.5 Fox News.” Radel is running as a Republican for the seat being vacated by Connie Mack who’s running for the U.S. Senate.
ESPN Radio Celebrates 20 Years in Operation. Once just a small part of the ESPN cable television-focused broadcasting company, ESPN Audio is now a major component of the ESPN brand. In January of 1992, ESPN Radio consisted of weekday drive-time commentaries on about 100 affiliates. The network now has 300 full-time affiliates and ESPN owns four stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas. SVP of ESPN Audio Mo Davenport states, “In 20 years, we’ve gone from airing only weekday, drive-time commentaries on 104 radio stations, to the amazing success of “Mike & Mike,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” Scott Van Pelt, Doug Gottlieb, and having ESPN Radio become the most-listened-to sports stream on the planet. Additionally, our local markets give fans the local angle on air and online. It is a tribute to our listeners and our team, which pushes us forward to greater success in serving the sports fan.”
Jim Rome Takes TV Show to CBS Sports Network. There’s no official confirmation from ESPN or Jim Rome’s camp but Big Lead Sports is reporting that Jim Rome’s “Rome is Burning” show will soon disappear from ESPN2 and Rome will begin a TV presence on the new CBS Sports Network. The site reports that Rome was offered a multi-year deal to remain with ESPN but he’s choosing to begin TV life anew with CBS’ new cable initiative. There would appear to be no affect on Rome’s radio program with Premiere Networks as a result of this.
KNX, Los Angeles Business Series Offers “The Business of Going Green.” The next event in all-news KNX, Los Angeles’ Business Breakfast Series is titled, “The Business of Going Green” and takes place Friday, January 20 at 8:00 am at the Los Angeles Convention Center. CBS Radio Los Angeles says “KNX Business Hour” host Frank Mottek will moderate a discussion that will explore how a sustainability strategy can be good for generating revenue and why being socially responsible doesn’t have to mean being fiscally irresponsible. The free event will include a resource expo, continental breakfast and expert panelists H. David Nahai and Paul Polizzotto. Nahai was senior advisor to the Clinton Climate Initiative and is president of David Nahai Consulting Services which advises and assists public and private entities involved in the environmental sector. Polizzotto is president of EcoMedia, a division of CBS Corporation, whose mission is to raise public awareness about environmental issues.
KIRO-FM, Seattle Debuts New Local Food Show. Hosted by local restaurateurs Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau and produced by Tina Cole, “Seattle Kitchen” airs Saturday mornings at 8:00 and Sundays at 10:00 am. As you’d expect, the program will feature restaurant reviews of Puget Sound eateries as well as recipes and, of course, fielding listeners’ questions. Program director Larry Gifford says, “Tom and Thierry are a natural fit and great addition. For the weekend chef, who better to learn from, laugh with and relax to than these guys?”