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Mike Francesa’s A-Rod Interview Creates Media Blitzkrieg in NYC. When embattled New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez (lower right) stormed out of his grievance hearing with MLB officials and went straight to WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa to kvetch to him, the New York City media reacted with such intense criticism of the broadcast that it only goes to cement Francesa’s standing as the most important sports broadcaster in town. Rodriguez left his MLB meeting regarding allegations of PED use and lashed out at the process and expressed his disdain for Commissioner Bud Selig. Local media outlets accused Francesa of being too easy on — or actually downright chummy with – A-Rod. But, Francesa maintains that he asked all the pertinent questions. He told Newsday, “I felt like I asked him every hard question you could possibly ask him. I don’t think there’s anything I could ask him about that wasn’t asked.” Regardless, it was the interview that every media outlet in town has been aching to get and WFAN’s Mike Francesa got it. As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison puts it, “It seems that the rest of the Big Apple media don’t ‘get it’ regarding the influence and success of Mike Francesa as a talk show host, as indicated by the extent to which they constantly bash, parody and even mock him. They judge him by their own often-hypocritical journalistic standards and don’t understand that by giving him so much attention – even as severe critics – they feed into the very process that makes Francesa so remarkably successful. It is downright comical how they accuse Francesa of being ‘used’ by A-Rod as some kind of media patsy or suck up when in fact it is they — in their fits of transparent jealousy — who are being used by both Francesa and A-Rod. Regardless of whether he does it consciously or inadvertently, Mike Francesa is a master talk show host of sports or any genre from which most others can learn a thing or two about taking ownership of your targeted turf.”
Eastlan Employs E-Surveys to Enhance Methodology. The 1999-formed Bellevue, Washington-based ratings firm will be augmenting current telephone-based methodology with “e-surveys,” which have been tested the past six months. E-surveys will be integrated into Eastlan’s standard methodology in all markets beginning next spring. “E-surveys will not replace our current methodology but rather enhance it,” stresses chief technology officer Bert Hambleton. “The portion of survey respondents recruited electronically will have the choice to participate via e-survey or through a callback on their cell phone.” Eastlan’s main reason to incorporate e-surveys was to increase participation among young radio listeners, and Hambleton states, “The process has worked very well.” During this year’s pilot e-survey project, Eastlan noticed wider participation among 12 – 49s; the most dramatic increase was in participation among 25 – 44s. Eastlan president/chief executive officer Mike Gould comments that, “It is incumbent upon ratings providers to reach a sample that is as representative of the local market composition as possible. Being able to recruit and survey electronically, in addition to our telephone based methodology, will absolutely improve the long-term viability of our affordable radio ratings service. Best of all, we can do so without raising our rates.” E-survey completion rates were slightly higher among women versus men.
The FCC’s Media Bureau Announces Comment Period Opens for AM Revitalization Proposal. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Matter of Revitalization of the AM Radio Service was published in the Federal Register yesterday and therefore the comment period is open through January 21 and reply comments must be filed by February 18. The Commission is seeking comment on a number of proposals designed to afford relief to AM broadcasters and to revitalize the AM radio band, and also is soliciting further proposals for revitalization of the AM radio service.
Odds & Sods. Salem Communications announces it will increase its quarterly dividend to shareholders by 5% making the payment $0.0550 per share to be disbursed on December 27…..There’s a whole lot of Matt Patrick hitting the airwaves next week. The KTRH and KPRC, Houston talk personality will be heard three times per day on Monday and Tuesday November 25 and 26. He’ll do his morning show on KTRH from 5:00 am to 8:00 am and his afternoon show on KPRC from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Then he sits in for KTRH-based syndicated host Michael Berry from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
Marketing Firm CRN International Names Jim Alkon Marketing Director; Promotes Robert O’Mara. Radio marketing firm CRN International announces it names Jim Alkon marketing director, describing his mission “to extend the profile of the company among consumer brands and advertising agencies.” Most recently, Alkon was managing director of his own consulting firm Meetings and Media. At the same time, CRN ups Robert O’Mara to managing director, strategy and business development, and adds two new sales managers: Amanda Alvarez and Maureen Conlin who take the title associate director of strategy and business development. CRN International describes itself as a company, using the slogan, “We Use Radio Differently,” that extends “the boundaries of radio marketing beyond simple spot advertisements and has customized programs to meet specific business objectives. This has kept the award-winning company on marketing’s cutting edge for close to 40 years, serving prominent clients such as Microsoft, Chrysler, Sears, Kellogg’s, Kraft, Major League Baseball, HBO and Unilever.” President and founder Barry Berman states, “We will continue to be part of the conversation in social media, on our recently relaunched website and in tutorial and perspective pieces on how understanding a client’s very specific business objectives is the first step to developing the right customized marketing campaign. We have been able to employ radio in non-traditional ways to achieve results typically way beyond expectations.”
Buffalo Food Pantries Aided by Entercom Thanksgiving Promotion. Entercom Buffalo and the NHL‘s Buffalo Sabres teamed up earlier today (11/21, 7:00 am to 9:00 am) for a Thanksgiving turkey drive to benefit local food pantries. Any donor dropping off a turkey was given two tickets to an upcoming Sabres game, leading Entercom Buffalo operations manager Tim Wenger to comment, “The Sabres stepped up in a big way to help the community by donating the tickets to this cause; Entercom is honored to join the effort.” The event took place in the parking lot at the Entercom Buffalo offices. Tickets distributed there were for games against the Montreal Canadiens (11/27); New York Rangers (12/5); Ottawa Senators (12/10), and Winnipeg Jets (12/17). Entercom-owned sports outlet WGR is the Sabres’ flagship. The New York State cluster also includes news/talk WBEN; CHR WKSE “Kiss”; alternative WLKK; classic rock WLKK HD2 “The Lake”; adult contemporary WTSS “My Star”; sports WWKB; and rhythmic oldies WWWS “Solid Gold Soul.” All proceeds directly benefitted the Buffalo City Mission and the Food Bank of Western New York.
‘SuperTalk 99.7’ Goes Commercial Free for Rescue Mission Radiothon. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WWTN, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7 WTN” will drop the spots on Monday, November 25 from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm during its annual Cumulus Nashville Radiothon to raise money for the Nashville Rescue Mission. WTN personality Michael Delgiorno will broadcast live on-site at the Nashville Rescue Mission from 7:30 am to 8:30 am. Cumulus VP and market manager Mike Carpenter states, “This radiothon gives the community an opportunity to give back into the community and really help change people’s lives. There are many ways to get involved with charities, but this one is unique because it’s not just about immediate needs. It helps restore their lives and overcome huge hardships. WTN’s listeners are very giving people who always go above and beyond our expectations in supporting the Mission. We look forward to exceeding our goal again this year.”
Miller’s Mission Kicks into Gear for the Holidays. KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller (center, holding the Chex) is surrounded by staffers at the Boise Rescue Mission and KTVB-TV weather anchor Larry Gebert (second from right) as Miller begins another year of “Miller’s Mission.” Miller is broadcasting from a local Walmart (and living there for an entire week) while collecting items to benefit the Boise Rescue Mission.
Tribune to Cut Roughly 700 Newspaper-Related Jobs. The tightening comes as Tribune plans to sell or spin off its publishing operations - which includes The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Hartford Courant - in order to concentrate more on television stations. In a memo yesterday (11/20), chief executive officer Peter Liguori informed staffers that the publishing operation’s business units will be organized “by function, rather than by geography.” Specifically, according to Liguori’s memo, “We must take better advantage of Tribune’s unique size and reach.” The goal, he wrote, is to “continue investing in the lifeblood of our business: best-in-class reporting, effective sales, and digital growth. Ensuring the long-term strength of our mastheads will, unfortunately, result in the selective reduction of our publishing staff.” Iconic Chicago talk outlet WGN is Tribune’s lone radio property.
ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, Obama Approval Ratings, UN Climate Talks, U.S.-Afghanistan Security Deal, and ‘Knockout’ Attacks Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/21). The scrutiny over the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and the government’s website; President Obama’s sinking approval ratings; the walkout of member nations at the United Nations climate talks; the shaky state of the proposal for Afghanistan’s security beyond 2014; and the rise in incidents of “knockout” game attacks were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.