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Dick Broadcasting Signs with Eastlan Ratings for Triad Market Stations. Certainly this is big news for the Bellevue, Washington-based ratings firm as Dick Broadcasting is the first broadcaster to sign on with Eastlan in a market served by Nielsen Audio’s PPM surveys. This story doesn’t involve a spoken-word radio station as Dick operates only classic rock WKRR “Rock 92” and CHR WKZL in the Triad market, but it’s one broadcasters of all stripes find interesting. According to a press release issued by Eastlan, under the terms of a new multi-year agreement, the company will field its initial audience measurement study in the Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem market this summer. Dick Broadcasting VP/GM Dick Harlow comments, “I was surprised to learn that we are the first to make this switch in a PPM market. The meter was supposed to be the savior and all it’s done is increase our annual payments to Nielsen. And now we find out to win in the PPM game you need a magic black box to job the system. At some point, enough is enough. We look forward to working with Eastlan Ratings to see who people in the Triad choose to listen to rather than who they are exposed to. Plus the sample size will be about triple the number of meters now in the market.” Eastlan president and CEO Mike Gould adds, “After more than 16 years of providing radio ratings in markets coast-to-coast, we’re finding broadcasters and media buyers who don’t know the Eastlan story are few and far between. Our methodological hybrid of telephone recall (landline and cellular) and e-surveys isn’t sexy but it’s fair and it’s reliable. We are thankful that Dick and his colleagues trust Eastlan as their preferred ratings vendor. We are going to help save them a lot of money by getting their ratings investment back in line with the realities of today’s radio revenue stream.”
Kollins to Program KGMZ, San Francisco. San Francisco sports talker KGMZ “95.7 The Game” has a new PD two-and-a-half months after Jason Barrett exited the position for family reasons. Entercom announces Don Kollins assumes the post on June 12. Company market vice president Steve DiNardo says, “After an exhaustive search, the best choice was located north of us – way north – in Canada! We’re excited to have Don join the San Francisco programming team. He comes to us with an established record of success – specifically in sports and news/talk formats. His experience in managing both play-by-play relationships with professional sports teams as well as personalities makes him the ideal choice for this position. Under Don’s leadership, I’m confident that we will continue to build on the successes that Jason Barrett achieved during his four-year tenure as PD.” Kollins comes to Entercom from Rogers-owned CJCL, Toronto “SportsNet 590 The Fan.”
Michael Harrison and Richard Neer Reminisce About Their First Two and a Half Years in Radio. There’s a whole lot of ancient radio and pop cultural history discussed in this week’s installment of the hit international podcast for media freaks, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” as the TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher is joined by his close friend and colleague of 48 years – Richard Neer – in an intimate conversation about how they met in 1967 at their first job at the same radio station, WLIR-FM, Long Island. They were teenage broadcasters struggling to survive in their first toe-hold as pros (while still attending college) at a small beautiful/classical music-formatted FM station in Garden City where they served as staff announcers/news readers and engineers that fumbled their way through the challenging process of learning to run the board and announce records that were targeted to a far older audience while trying to avoid the wrath of a demanding owner. By 1970, they had learned their craft under fire and actually became quite good at it, earning the respect of WLIR’s owner, John Rieger, who appointed Harrison program director and Neer music director of a new progressive rock format for the station that the duo suggested. As it turned out, the station’s new format was an instant smash, WLIR-FM went from obscurity to national prominence, and Harrison and Neer were catapulted, within 10 months of the new format’s debut, to highly coveted, on-air positions at the legendary WNEW-FM, New York. Both went on to colorful 48-year careers in music, talk and sports radio as well as trade publishing. Neer subsequently wrote FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001) which still stands as a widely quoted reference work about the golden era of album rock broadcasting. To hear the podcast in its entirety and enjoy descriptive insights into what it was like to be a couple of kids in small-time radio back in the late-1960s, please click here or the player box located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
KSFO, San Francisco Raises $135,000 for Fisher House Foundation. During the Memorial Day holiday weekend, Cumulus Media-owned news/talker KSFO, San Francisco’s morning show with Brian Sussman, Katie Green and Sheri Yee helped raise $136,000 for the Fisher House Foundation. The “KSFO Morning Show” broadcast live from the Palo Alto Fisher House Friday morning from 5:00 am to 9:00 am and featured interviews with soldiers and their families who have used Fisher House’s services. Listeners donated online and by phone during the live broadcast and throughout the Memorial Day weekend. KSFO supported the fundraiser through on-air recorded and live promotional announcements, listings on KSFO.com and a message from Brian Sussman on the KSFO newsletter. This is the fifth consecutive year for KSFO’s Memorial Day weekend fundraising effort. KSFO has raised more than $600,000 for Fisher House Foundation over the past five years. Sussman comments, “Once again the KSFO audience has revealed its profound patriotism! This kind of generous giving is representative of the American spirit.”
Conservative Talk Digital Platforms Merge. Effective June 1, the two conservative talk digital platforms Red State Talk Radio and WDFP Digital will become one network. Red State Talk Radio program director Premo Mondone says, “Our goal is simple. We will utilize the growing technology of digital broadcasting to produce the very best in grassroots, common sense, conservative programming. This merger will allow Red State Talk Radio to move to the next level. Put simply, I think that in time, we can establish ourselves as the dominant conservative Internet talk radio station in America.” Joining the newly merged company will be WDFP’s Donna Fiducia (formerly of the Fox News Channel) and Don Neuen, co-host of “Cowboy Logic Radio.” The result of the merger will be new programs joining the Red State network and the platform will broadcast two digital streams (Studio A & Studio B), which will allow the station more capacity and flexibility. It also plans to bring new contributors on board.
WW1 Wraps NCAA Lacrosse Title Game Coverage. The championship game for college lacrosse was played over the weekend at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia with the Denver University Pioneers beating Maryland to claim the school’s first title. Pictured here is Westwood One announcer Jason Horowitz (left) interviewing winning coach Bill Tierney (right).
ISIS Progress in Iraq and Syria, Hillary Clinton Emails Case, 2016 Presidential Prospects, B.B. King Murder Allegations, Texas-Oklahoma Floods, Memorial Day Weekend, NBA-NHL Playoffs, and Anne Meara Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/25). The military progress of ISIS taking territory in both Iraq and Syria; the ongoing talk about Hillary Clinton’s use of private emails for State Department business; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the allegation by B.B. King’s family that he was poisoned by two associates; the severe floods affecting parts of Texas and Oklahoma; the Memorial Day holiday; the weekend’s NBA and NHL playoff action; and the death of comedienne and actress Anne Meara were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Business Rockstars Radio to Debut. Via a strategic alliance with the Wall Street Business Network, “Business Rockstars Radio” will premier its national radio syndication effort on March 31 on 10 major market stations. Business Rockstars Radio, hosted by Ken Rutkowski, features “rockstar” CEOs, entrepreneurs, and start-ups and targets the 30 million “Wantrepreneurs” in the U.S. The March 31 rollout is the “launch pad” for the national rollout of the program. Salem Radio Division president David Santrella states, “Salem is excited to be adding more compelling and relevant content to our Wall Street Business Network. We thank the Good Life Network for their efforts in securing the Business Rockstars Radio program for our growing business-format platform, and look forward to a long and mutually successful relationship with both the Good Life Network and Business Rockstars Radio.” The program will air live from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET and debut on: KDOW, San Francisco; KVCE, Dallas; KTEK, Houston; WZAB, Miami; WAFS, Atlanta; KKOL, Seattle; WBZW, Orlando; KYCR, Minneapolis; KSAC, Sacramento; and KGU, Honolulu. Business Rockstars Radio co-founder Steve Lehman comments, “Business Rockstars Radio is loaded with powerful entrepreneurial content presented in a fun, fast-paced, two-hour daily show. The program has big name CEOs, entrepreneurs and start-ups that discuss their adventures in starting, growing and funding businesses. These stories inspire and educate listeners, from billion dollar start-ups to business train wrecks.”
Greater Media Philly Named a Top Workplace. This is the third successive year the company has earned such recognition from an annual survey conducted by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com. Hundreds of companies take part in the survey and as Greater Media Philadelphia vice president/market manager John Fullam states, “Great companies start with great employees. We are fortunate to have an extraordinary team dedicated to serving Philadelphia, our listeners, and advertising partners every day.” Judges are employees and evaluation for the “Top Workplaces” program is based upon feedback from a fall 2013 employee survey conducted by Workplace Dynamics. The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a special publication insert yesterday (3/23) to announce the honor. Greater Media’s four-station Philadelphia cluster consists of adult hits WBEN-FM “95.7 Ben-FM,” WMGK “Philadelphia’s Classic Rock,” WMMR “Everything That Rocks,” and sports WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic.”
Cumulus Nabs Agase for VP Sales Post in Chicago. Chicago market sales pro Paul Agase is named vice president of sales for Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM “Chicago’s Talk Leader” and classic rock WLUP “97.9 FM The Loop.” Most recently, Agase was general sales manager at CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM. He’s also worked in the market at sports talk WSCR “The Score,” triple A WXRT, WKSC “103.5 Kiss FM,” and WBBM-FM “B96.” Cumulus EVP and co-COO John Pinch comments, “Paul has made a significant impact driving sales for Chicago radio. His talents are an ideal match for Cumulus Chicago’s iconic stations and we are excited to welcome him to the company.”
Comrex Welcomes Torelli as Market Development Manager. Multi-disciplined media pro Joe Torelli joins Comrex Corporation as market development manager. The company says that in this role, Torelli will spearhead awareness and drive acceptance of the Comrex LiveShot products in the broadcast, education, worship and government markets. Comrex managing director Kris Specht states, “Joe comes to Comrex with extensive experience on both sides of the broadcast industry starting as a photojournalist at WFLA-TV, Tampa where he first used Comrex products. Capitalizing on his field experience there and over a decade at NBC News covering world events, he transitioned to design and delivery of market focused products at Avid, Quantel and, most recently, Apple products that became standards in the industry. That background will help Comrex grow the acceptance of the LiveShot products.” Torelli says, “I see LiveShot as truly amazing technology and I’m no stranger to highlighting new technology and differentiating features to the market. I’m excited about the opportunity to help extend LiveShot’s appeal and acceptance.” Comrex LiveShot delivers live video and audio over a range of IP networks. LiveShot is used by TV stations and networks to deliver high-quality, low-latency, full-duplex video and audio from anywhere internet access is available.
Ethan Bearman Adds KGO, San Francisco to His Roster of Radio Homes. Multi-platform talk show host Ethan Bearman, one of the 2014 first-time members of TALKERS magazine’s newly published “Heavy Hundred,” has just been named regular host of the Sunday 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot on KGO, San Francisco. Bearman has also been retained by the Cumulus San Francisco cluster to do fill-in at KGO’s sister station KSFO where he’ll be keeping the mic warm next week for morning host Brian Sussman (also a 2014 Heavy Hundred inductee) between 5:00 am and 9:00 am on April 3 and 4. The hard-working Bearman also has a two-hour weekend syndicated show carried by Genesis Communications Network (GCN) and is a regular member of the air staff at Michael Zerling’s nationally famous KSCO, Santa Cruz where he hosts 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm weekdays. Bearman tells TALKERS, “I am blessed and honored to be working with some of the best professionals in the industry – Michael Zwerling is one of the most ardent examples of a broadcaster dedicated to serving the local community and creating breakthroughs in modern marketing techniques. Ted Anderson is a dynamo of entrepreneurial innovation, who has built GCN into a powerhouse among the up-and-coming syndicators. And now, the mighty Cumulus, where I am honored to work at one of the truly legendary sets of call letters in America – KGO – with a staff that is the very embodiment of broadcasting professionalism.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has been quoted as saying, “I have heard one of the major voices of talk radio’s future and it emanates from a young man named Ethan Bearman.”
Media Usage Research (and What You Can Do With It). Media consultant Holland Cooke pens a brief synopsis of some of the recent media usage research that’s been published recently and takes it a step further and offers some advice that station operators can use to put their best foot forward. Smart owners and programmers are not getting depressed about the changing media landscape; they are doing their best to adapt to how people are using media. Cooke offers some thoughts about working with that mindset. Read it here.
Sam Sorbo to Launch Daily Talk Show. Actress/author and True Feminist CEO Sam Sorbo is beginning a daily, three-hour talk show on Wednesday (3/26). A press statement says she’s being “tapped by America’s Talk Network, Inc. to host a new daily talk show that will be syndicated and exclusively represented by Talk Radio Network Enterprises.” The eponymous show will air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. CEO Mark Masters says Sorbo is “an ‘independent conservative,’ an accomplished entrepreneur, who has an uncanny ability to connect with the listeners on a visceral level.” Sorbo states, “I view it as a privilege to be behind the microphone…Ronald Reagan understood the power of humor, satire and good-natured ridicule in ways that created a massive ‘Big Tent of Voters.’ My goal is to follow that model in creating a ‘Big Tent of Listeners’ for ratings success for our stations.”
Houston Judge Allows KCOH Suit Back Before Court. The months-long dispute between former KCOH, Houston talk show host Michael Harris and South Houston Community Development Corp. president Jesse Dunn will return to the courts after being dismissed last month. Harris claims Dunn made false representations to induce Harris into obtaining personal lines of credit totaling $130,000 to finance radio station equipment and operations. Last month the case was dismissed but Harris’ lawyer Robert Collier argued he was unaware of the motion for summary judgment and didn’t have time to respond. The suit was reinstated on March 11 and, according to the Houston Chronicle, Collier will ask that the court put KCOH assets into receivership for accounting and control.
Eastlan Adding Three Markets. Tallahassee, Florida; Columbus, Georgia; and Hammond, Louisiana are the metros that the ratings company will begin surveying this spring. Eastlan president/chief executive officer Mike Gould comments that, “As Eastlan rolls into our fifteenth year, we are grateful to the small and medium market radio leaders who have recognized the value in carefully scrutinizing their radio ratings/vendor relationship. We never imagined we would be fortunate enough to become the senior radio ratings provider in the United States.” Nielsen Audio is already measuring Tallahassee and Columbus; Hammond was an unrated metro. Roughly five months ago, Eastlan added 11 other markets in Texas, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, and Arkansas.
Chris Stigall and Taylor Swift Goofing in NYC. WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive personality Chris Stigall (right) takes what he calls the “ultimate selfie” with pop and country superstar Taylor Swift (left) at the 8th Annual Taste of Hope Wine Dinner to support City of Hope in New York City’s Tribeca on March 20. This event is just one of the fundraising projects City of Hope produces to help raised funds to cure — and ultimately prevent — cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases.
Coast to Coast AM from Boise. Nationally syndicated late-night star George Noory (left) poses for a photo with KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller (right) backstage at the Egyptian Theater in Boise during a visit to the city. The Premiere Networks-syndicated “Coast to Coast AM” personality was in town for a live show at the Egyptian Theater. Also pictured here is Noory Productions president Tom Danheiser (c).
HD Radio Cited in Growth of Broadcaster Traffic Consortium Revenue. The Broadcaster Traffic Consortium (BTC), is a nationwide broadcasting network that distributes location-based data — including: local traffic, weather, and fuel prices via radio technology to navigation devices and automobile in-dash systems. The consortium reports that revenue for 2013 continued to grow and it anticipates more growth in 2014. The consortium was established in 2007 and since that time its total revenue compound annual growth rate is 50.8%. The addition of HD Radio technology for traffic data in 2011 comprises 20% of the BTC’s total revenue. Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth says, “Greater Media is now seeing a return on our investment in BTC. The transmission of traffic data via our HD signals allows us to be an integral part of the digital dashboard. We are pleased to see that revenue growth is exceeding our expectations.” Getting traffic data via HD Radio allows users to avoid eating up their allotted data on bandwidth-intense activities like traffic. The BTC says, “The smooth launch with auto manufacturers Honda and Mitsubishi last year has opened the door for additional automakers to realize the value of HD Radio Data real-time traffic.” The founding members of the BTC include: Beasley Broadcast Group; Bonneville International Corporation; Cox Radio, Inc.; Emmis Communications; Entercom Communications Corp.; Greater Media; NPR and Radio One.