Tag: "Ed Schultz"
Journal’s WTMJ and ‘The Lake’ Name J. Pat Miller to Marketing Post. At the Milwaukee properties news/talk WTMJ and adult hits WLWK “94.5 The Lake,” Journal Broadcast Group ups J. Pat Miller to the new position director of marketing & innovation. The company says that in his new role, he’ll be responsible for the overall marketing activities of WTMJ and WLWK as well as designing and implementing new brand programs. VP and GM Tom Langmyer comments, “J. Pat has demonstrated his ability to create and develop new revenue streams. He will focus more of his attention on additional initiatives to grow our business.” Miller adds, “This new role is vital to our growth and the industry as a whole. The incredible team here at Journal’s Milwaukee Radio Operations can effortlessly pull off most anything we create.” Miller is overseeing the promotions department and the company announces that Alison Helf is named promotions manager.
Tribune’s WGWG-LP, Chicago Brings McKnight Aboard. The fledgling sports talk station Tribune’s WGN is building and airing on LMA’d WGWG-LP “The Game 87.7” adds another local sports talk personality to its staff. Connor McKnight – who’s served with CBS RADIO’s WSCR “The Score” for the past four years – joins “The Game 87.7” for an on-air role. According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, McKnight will “make his first appearance Thursday (2/27) on Mark Carman’s show, which airs from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.” Feder reports he’ll become part of the daily lineup. At WSCR, McKnight hosted the “Hit and Run” baseball show as well as having been an anchor and reporter at the station. Read Feder’s story here.
Chris Dimino Set to Join ‘680 The Fan’ for ‘Rude Awakening’ Show. As reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho, former WQXI sports talk personality Chris Dimino will become part of WCNN “680 The Fan” in an on-air capacity as his non-compete clause from WQXI expires on March 17. Dimino has been working for the station in an off-air capacity since last September but Ho reports he’ll join Christopher Rude and Perry Laurentino on the morning show soon. Dimino was part of the WQXI morning program – including fellow hosts Steak Shapiro and Nick Cellini – that was fired in the wake of the poorly thought out bit poking fun at former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason who is suffering from ALS. Read Ho’s entire piece here.
NAB Rejects Elimination of Advertising Tax Deduction. As part of a comprehensive tax code overhaul proposal being spearheaded by House Ways and Means Chairman David Camp (R-MI), the deduction that businesses can claim for advertising expenses would be eliminated and this oft-considered-but-never-enacted change has the NAB letting legislators know how it feels about it. NAB EVP of communications Dennis Wharton states, “NAB strongly opposes any job-killing proposal that would limit the ability of thousands of large and small businesses from fully deducting their annual advertising expenses. Advertising on local radio and television stations is a key driver of the American economy – indeed, a recent study found local broadcast advertising generates $1.05 trillion in GDP and supports 1.48 million jobs. NAB will work with lawmakers and other stakeholders to ensure the advertising tax deduction continues to create economic prosperity and well-paying jobs.” Since ad deduction elimination is just one part of a comprehensive tax overhaul proposal, it’s difficult to say how it would affect a company’s bottom line in the long run. Camp has stated his goal is to simplify the tax code – not to increase anyone’s tax burden – and there are other proposed changes that promise to help the bottom line of corporate and individual taxpayers. This is an election year so it’s unlikely there will be any action on this front any time soon.
FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn Defends CIN; Implies It’s Misunderstood. During a speech at Washington, DC’s Media Institute on Wednesday (2/26), FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn defended the controversial Critical Information Needs (CIN) study that would have researchers quizzing journalists and managers about how they choose news stories and information for dissemination to the public. Her speech came the day after Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) promised legislation to put the FCC’s study to rest for good, citing its potential intrusion into First Amendment areas and its scope being beyond the purview of the Commission. Clyburn explained that the Commission needs to understand the markets it regulates. She said that she would never be a part of anything that seeks to chill free speech or shape news gathering and that the goal was to “gather data and other information about whether there are any market entry barriers, preventing local communities from receiving important information…I am about facilitating ownership and opportunities and making sound decisions about our most critical industries based on solid research and not rhetoric.” Still, critics of the study argue that neither Clyburn nor FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler have adequately explained the connection between interviewing news people about story selection policy and barriers to station ownership for minorities.
Valerie Blackburn to Step Down at CBS RADIO Los Angeles. The word from Los Angeles is Valerie Blackburn – currently serving as controller for the CBS RADIO Los Angeles cluster and general manager of news/talk KFWB (residing in the KFWB license trust) – is resigning from her positions and is planning to take some time away from radio and work to travel and be with family and friends. Her exit will not be immediate and it’s assumed CBS is already working on finding her replacement.
Schultz Honored by Arizona Progressives. Nationally syndicated talk show host and MSNBC personality Ed Schultz is pictured here speaking at the annual Arizona Advocacy Network dinner on Saturday, February 22. Schultz was honored by the group for his work on key progressive issues and he addressed the attendees. He was clearly in the right state at the right time with the controversy over the Arizona religious freedom bill such a hot-button issue. (Photo: Josselyn Berry)
RAB: Radio’s Digital Revenue Expected to Rise 22%. That’s from the just-released Benchmarking: Local Radio Stations’ Online Revenues report from Borrell Associates and the Radio Advertising Bureau. The report states that digital revenues went up 15% in 2013 and the total figure for 2014 could be as high as $520 million. Some figures from this year’s report: the average radio station brought in $166,490 in digital advertising – about 3% of its total revenue; some large-market stations report making millions; the average revenue for four-station clusters is approaching $750,000. The data for the study is culled from three sources: ad revenue reported by the stations, local business ad spending, and a survey of radio managers. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “We’re experiencing year-over-year, double-digit growth in radio; and to truly maximize this revenue stream this survey continues to provide us with areas to improve upon and ultimately grow our overall revenue share. Most notably, sales managers are looking for continued training for their sales staffs and a better understanding of the digital buying community. The RAB is poised to help in this area through our professional development programs and outreach.”
Odds & Sods. Talk show host Stephanie Miller‘s “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” hits Fort Lauderdale, Florida Saturday, March 1. The progressive talker, whose show has played in theaters to sold-out crowds across the country, is appearing at the Parker Playhouse along with John Fugelsang, Carlos Alazraqui, special panel guest Judy Tenuta and more surprises…..“SportsRadio 94” WIP-FM, Philadelphia is presenting the “Great Birds Debate” remote broadcast today at Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia. The station says it is one of the few times all year that the WIP airstaff is on the same stage together. Personalities Angelo Cataldi, Rhea Hughes, Michael Barkann, Ike Reese, Anthony Gargano, four-time champion Rob Ellis (also a member of the CBS 3 Sports Team), Josh Innes, Howard Eskin, CBS 3 Sports Director Beasley Reece, and Philadelphia Eagles insider Dave Spadaro will all be present to discuss and debate questions about the Eagles present and future. The event is free and open to the public…..At Detroit urban talker WCHB, John Mason leaves that Radio One outlet to take over the morning slot at sister urban AC WDMK where Reach Media’s Tom Joyner has been airing. Joyner moves to mornings at WCHB and that bumps talk host Mildred Gaddis from AMs to afternoon drive in Mason’s old slot…..A couple of notes from SiriusXM: U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will appear on the next installment of the “SiriusXM Leading Ladies” series, “candid conversations with influential and inspiring women who have forged their own paths to leadership and success.” SiriusXM P.O.T.U.S. host and veteran White House correspondent Julie Mason will host the program on March 4 before a live audience at The Newseum in Washington, D.C. In addition to the one-on-one conversation between Leader Pelosi and Mason, the one-hour town hall style event will have an interactive element featuring questions from an audience of SiriusXM listeners, female students from D.C. universities and Newseum members. Also from SiriusXM, sports talk host Casey Stern re-ups with the satcaster for his daily hosting spot on the MLB Network Radio channel, as well as for expanded duties on additional SiriusXM sports channels. Stern will continue to host “Inside Pitch” alongside his co-host, former Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden, every weekday afternoon…..Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York is bringing the world of fashion to its airwaves as it takes a look back at NY Fashion Week with an exclusive interview with Kenneth Cole. Hosted by Cristina Cuomo, editor of Manhattan magazine, from the Modern Luxury arm of Cumulus Media, the interview digs into Cole’s ambitions and inspirations. He also shares details of his groundbreaking advertising campaigns, views of fashion, social media, and much more. WABC program director Craig Schwalb says, “It was a real honor to work with our sister publication Manhattan and Cristina Cuomo to bring the iconic designer to WABC Radio. We are already making plans for this fall’s Fashion Week.”
Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises More Than $200,000 at ‘Golden Mike’ Event. At Monday evening’s black tie 2014 Golden Mike Award Dinner honoring BMI president Del Bryant, the Broadcasters Foundation of America raised more than $200,000 for its mission of helping broadcasters in need. More than 200 television, radio, and music industry executives and celebrities were in attendance. The evening was hosted by CBS News’ Bob Schieffer. Presenters for the evening were longtime personal and professional friends of Bryant’s: Michael Bolton, performer and BMI songwriter; Jack Sander, former chairman of the BMI board of directors; and Sandra Lee, internationally acclaimed culinary and home style expert and host of four highly rated programs on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, plus HGTV. Legendary singer, songwriter, musician, and actor Kris Kristofferson performed, as did songwriter Brenda Russell, who sang her top 10 hit “Piano In The Dark,” and “Get Here.” Dolly Parton opened a very moving video that provided a glimpse into Bryant’s amazing life — from his early years growing up as the son of songwriters Boudleaux and Felice Bryant through his incredible 42-year career at BMI where he championed the works of some of the biggest songwriters in entertainment. Pictured above are (from l-r): Jim Thompson (president of the Broadcasters Foundation), Michael Bolton, Sandra Lee, Del Bryant, Bryant’s son Thaddeus, Kris Kristofferson, Brenda Russell, Bob Schieffer, and Phil Lombardo (chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation).
Brewer Vetoes ‘Religious Rights’ Bill, ObamaCare Criticism, U.S.-Russia Tensions Over Crimea-Ukraine, Immigration Legislation, Bitcoin Controversy, and Hillary Clinton in 2016 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/26). Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoes legislation that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to some based on religious beliefs; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the political tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the strife in Ukraine and Crimea; new immigration legislation that includes an amnesty component; the bitcoin movement and recent events questioning its value; and speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Mike Kinosian
Specifically, a justifiable desire eventuates to compare certain talk hosts to the late entertainer (as opposed to the CBS-TV and former Sporting News Radio broadcaster of the same name) who – in addition to “The Godfather of Soul” was often dubbed the “hardest-working” person in show business.
Not that those in other genres of this medium are slackers – Ryan Seacrest represents the definitive textbook example of a supremely ambitious music radio star – but a select group of talk radio hosts do the improbable of overseeing multiple long-form weekday programs (often back-to-back).
That handful of Herculean talk realm performers has at various times included, among others, the likes of Thom Hartmann, Rusty Humphries, Lars Larson, Michael Smerconish, and Ed Schultz. Some such as Alan Colmes and Sean Hannity have had and continue to have a daily radio/daily TV mix.
As laudatory as that most assuredly is, someone in Tampa took conscientiousness and mindboggling to an even more impressive level.
New York Losing Progressive Talk Outlet WWRL. Progressive talk host Karel – whose Long Beach, California-based talk show is heard on Access.1’s WWRL, New York – reports the station says it will flip to Spanish-language programming on December 27. The station airs progressive talk programming including Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Premiere’s Randi Rhodes, and Leslie Marshall as well as non-political shows including Radio America’s Dr. Joy Browne, WYD Media’s Phil Hendrie plus various health and wellness shows. New York’s Amsterdam News reports the station is telling employees “low advertising revenue” is the reason for the format flip.
Brown Boosted to Bonneville International President. KSL Broadcast Group president Darrell Brown is promoted to president of parent company Bonneville International. Brown will oversee Bonneville’s 12 radio properties in Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City, as well as Salt Lake City television outlet KSL-TV. ”Bonneville International is known across the industry for its integrity and quality,” he comments. “As a group, these stations are committed to serving and building-up their local communities. I am honored to be part of Bonneville’s legacy.” Brown joined KSL last August, after having previously spent 28 years at McGraw-Hill Broadcasting.
Sports Talker WFAN, New York Sponsors Red Hot Chili Peppers-Headlines Show at Barclay Center. With the Super Bowl just across the river the next day, CBS Radio sports talk giant WFAN, New York is sponsoring a big event across the other river at the Barclays Center titled, “WFAN’s Big Hello to Brooklyn.” The announcement was made this morning as WFAN morning team Boomer Esiason (left) and Craig Carton (right) welcomed Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith (center) into the studio and announced his band will be headlining the show on Saturday, February 1, 2014. The concert will also include: New Politics, MS MR, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, and Basic Vacation. CBS calls it “the biggest weekend in sports and entertainment, and is the exciting conclusion to Barclays Center’s “Kickoff In Brooklyn” series which also includes championship boxing (1/30/2014) and a match-up between the Brooklyn Nets and the Oklahoma City Thunder (1/31/2014). CBS Radio SVP, strategic events and partnerships Amy Stevens says, “The intersection of sports and music is never bigger than during the weekend of the Super Bowl. Red Hot Chili Peppers are an American institution and rock ‘n’roll icons, and what better way to celebrate football’s championship than with this incredible lineup of artists for local fans and the thousands in New York from around the world.”
WFAN’s Mike Francesa to Exit YES Network. The New York TV simulcast of WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa will end on January 31 after the current contract expires and WEPN-FM afternoon drive host Michael Kay’s program will take over the time slot on the Yankees-owned cable channel. The New York Daily News reports that the change was a financial matter and that CBS Radio was asking more for the rights to the program than YES wanted to pay. The Daily News piece speculates that cable’s Madison Square Garden Network may have the “inside track” with Francesa as he’s considered close to Garden management. The story also notes that fledgling cable channel CBS Sports Network, which is airing WFAN’s Boomer & Carton morning show, is not enticing to Francesa because he fears he’d have to change his content to appeal to the national audience.
Steak Added to WCNN Menu. In addition to existing members Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran, “The Front Row” on Dickey Broadcasting, Atlanta’s WCNN “Sports Radio 680 The Fan” will be comprised of Stephen “Steak” Shapiro as well. Formerly the 17-year host of “Mayhem in the AM” on Lincoln Financial Media’s crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone,” Shapiro has won numerous Georgia broadcasting awards and starts his daily 9:00 am – 12:00 noon assignment on January 2. WCNN president/general manager David Dickey comments, “I am excited to have ‘Steak’ back on ‘The Fan.’ He is one of the best-known and most-talented sports personalities in the country. ’Steak’ will become an important part of what is already the region’s biggest and most-experienced sports-talk line-up. His homecoming is yet another example of Dickey Broadcasting’s ongoing commitment to invest in the best talent, the best content and the biggest partnerships.” Shapiro, who replaces Ray Mariner, adds, “‘The Fan’ gave me my start and is the reason I moved to Atlanta [from Boston] almost 20 years ago. I am ecstatic to be back doing what I love. ’The Fan’ has been the number one sports talk station in the south for so many years. To be able to be a part of such a winning team with so many folks I have worked alongside in the past and consider friends is really thrilling.” Shapiro founded Big League Broadcasting in 1997 and was its president for roughly 14 years.
Dare to be Crap-Free. When it comes to online content, it’s easy to think you have a staffing problem or a time management problem or a resources problem, when what you really have is a crap problem. In a new column posted today (12/16) by noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, he writes, “There’s stuff on your site that is irrelevant to your station and is keeping people from finding what they DO want to find there. Your social media is probably influenced more by what everyone else is doing in social media, rather than what will cause your biggest fans to love you all the more.” To read how Chris Miller can help you get crap-free and focused on results for 2014, please click here.
Odds & Sods. Connecticut talk show host Mary Jones announces she’ll retire from Buckley Broadcasting-owned news/talk station WDRC-AM, Hartford as of December 23 in order to spend more time with her husband and enjoy winters in Florida. Jones tells TALKERS it was a big decision but she is excited about the change….. WMAL-AM/FM, Washington “Mornings on the Mall” co-host Larry O’Connor is doing some double duty during the holiday season. O’Connor will sub for WABC, New York-based Geraldo Rivera beginning December 20 through the end of the year (and the end of his national syndication run) and will also sit in for WestwoodOne-syndicated personality Dennis Miller on January 2 and 3 – the last two days of his 10:00 am to 1:00 pm airing (the show begins airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on 1/6)…..“Libertarian-conservative” media personality Wayne Allyn Root will be guest host on Cumulus Media Networks’ “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage from December 23 – 30. Root is author of The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide (Regnery 2013) and serves as a commentator on Fox News Channel and TheBlaze.
KSCO, Santa Cruz Personality Ethan Bearman’s Profile Rising. Talk radio personality and writer Ethan Bearman is getting more recognition in the Santa Cruz market as his locally focused talk show on Zwerling-owned KSCO, Santa Cruz grows in popularity. Recently, Bearman was a go-to media voice for a KION-TV news piece (captured here) on the anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. View that video here. Also, Bearman, who has intensely covered the hot issue of dirty needles, trash and other refuse in the town’s parks that’s making it unsafe for people to use, was part of a clean-up crew that made the news for its work. Read about that issue in a piece in the Santa Cruz Patch here. Bearman is a visible example of a growing trend in news/talk radio in which talk hosts are eschewing monolithic political party doctrine and instead are approaching their programs on an issue-by-issue basis.
Hawkins Scores With CRN Special. Over the weekend (Saturday, 12/14), former NBA player Tommy Hawkins premiered his CRN Digital Talk Radio holiday special “We Wish You a Jazzy Christmas.” According to CRN chief executive officer Michael Horn, “‘We Wish You a Jazzy Christmas’ is filled with holiday-themed jazz music, along with Tommy’s infectious, warm personality. His love of jazz and the holidays combine for such a treat. It is the perfect accompaniment for an evening by a Christmas tree.” Following a standout collegiate career at Notre Dame (where he was a two-year All-American), Hawkins went on to play in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers and Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings). He later became vice president of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. For approximately 15 years beginning in 1970, “Hawk” was a staple on Los Angeles siblings KABC and KLOS. As part of his basketball-to-broadcasting transition Hawkins not only became KABC’s sports director, he also did “Sports Snorts” weekday mornings with remarkably talented Frazer Smith on KLOS. In addition to doing weekends on KKJZ “K-Jazz,” Los Angeles, Hawkins has written “Life’s Reflections: Poetry for the People.” His CRN special will play throughout the holiday season.
Over $120,000 Raised in KFXX Special Olympics Radio-thon. Entercom-owned sports outlet KFXX “1080 The Fan” afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) hosts Isaac Ropp (pictured here at left with some female fans) and Jason Scukanec (second from right) anchored the third annual 28-hour Special Olympics Oregon radio-thon, which brought in more than $120,000. Program director Jeff Austin comments, “We are proud to partner with Special Olympics Oregon. The overwhelming support of our station’s staff, our listeners, and advertisers was a testament to the bond Isaac and Suke have with their audience.” Scukanec (“Suke”) states, “We cannot thank our listeners enough – Portland is a special community and this is a very special cause. We talk about sports and high-powered athletes every day, but these Olympians are the real athletes. They are the real champions and we are privileged to honor their spirit and dedication.” Special Olympics Oregon chief development officer Kim Bergstrom adds, “We are honored to partner with [KFXX]. Isaac and Suke’s radio-thon helps raise funds to support year-round sports training and competition opportunities for thousands of individuals with intellectual disability. In addition, they generate immeasurable awareness of the importance of Special Olympics Oregon programs for athletes and their families.” This year’s $120,000 radio-thon total surpassed last year’s mark by more than $45,000.
Broadcast Electronics Bumps Up Bealor To President. Effective immediately, Broadcast Electronics executive vice president of product development Tim Bealor is upped to president of the Quincy, Illinois-based company. ”I am honored to be asked to lead BE into its 55th year and the next phase of the company’s growth,” he comments. ”Next year is going to be an exciting time for Broadcast Electronics and its customers.” Bealor began his Broadcast Electronics career as a technician in 1975. Over the past 38 years, he has held a variety of technical, support, product management, sales leadership, and marketing positions with the company.
Peter Bolger Named OM/PD at WLS-AM, Chicago. Most recently with Clear Channel as director of AM programming in the San Antonio market, Peter Bolger joins Cumulus Media to head up programming and operations at its Chicago news/talk WLS-AM. In a statement, Cumulus COO John Dickey says, “Chicago radio is a competitive and important market where we’re excited to add Peter’s expertise that positions up for future growth. Bolger adds, “I think Chicago radio is the best there is. Fortunately, we have incredible talent and deep resources at WLS. I want to thank John Dickey, Mike McVay and Donna Baker for the opportunity to be part of the historic WLS brand. I can’t wait to get started.”
Walker Announces His Retirement. Six-year Entercom, San Francisco vice president/market manager Dwight Walker has been in radio for 30 years – the last 25 in the Bay Area. He will be departing the company’s four-station (all are on FM) Bay Area operation, which is comprised of adult contemporary KOIT-FM, classic rock KUFX “The Fox,” sports KGMZ “The Game,” and urban AC KBLX. ”It has been a fun, rewarding, stimulating, and fantastic time,” he comments. “I have cherished my years with Entercom, a world-class company. The vision of Entercom management and their commitment to radio is what will keep our industry and this cluster moving forward in a thriving and robust way.” Family, travel, and Tahoe will become Walker’s top priorities, but he insists, “San Francisco will always be a part of an amazing and charmed life that I hold near and dear to my heart.” According to Entercom station group president Weezie Kramer, “Dwight Walker is one of the best in the business. Everyone at Entercom deeply appreciates Dwight’s years of hard work and leadership. He will be missed in San Francisco and across the radio industry.” Prior to joining Entercom, Walker was vice president of sales for cross-town Cumulus-owned KNBR, KFOG, and KSAN. For nine years (1997 – 2006), he was general manager of KFOG and KSAN when Susquehanna owned those facilities.
Dave Ramsey Changes Nashville Affiliates. Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey moves to a new Nashville affiliate station beginning in the New Year as it joins Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WLAC to air in the 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm time slot. Since January of this year, Ramsey’s show has been airing on Cromwell Radio Group’s sports talk WPRT “102.5 The Game.” In a piece in The Tennessean, Cromwell’s Bud Walters admits the melding of Ramsey’s show and sports talk wasn’t the best fit and that the move is a mutual one. “We have been friends for more than 20 years, and while we enjoyed this partnership from a personal standpoint, we both realize that from a business perspective our brands would be better served if we return to our respective formats.” Dave Ramsey VP of broadcast Brian Mayfield states, “It’s great to be back on a news/talk station in Middle Tennessee. WLAC has a long-standing tradition of quality radio in Nashville, and now with the addition of our show, offers the top three talk shows in America back to back.” CC Nashville OM Michael Bryan adds, “We’re very excited to add the Dave Ramsey show to WLAC in the New Year. Dave’s a legend in Nashville radio, and this aligns the power of his brand with the very best platform in talk radio. It is a true home run for our listeners and advertisers.”
Ed Schultz to Launch Live Theatrical Tour in 2014. Nationally syndicated radio talk show host and MSNBC star Ed Schultz will be taking a show live to theaters in 2014. Working in conjunction with Ron Hartenbaum‘s WYD Media, “The Ed Tour” commences on Saturday, February 8 with a booking in Fort Lauderdale and then several stops in the West including Seattle on Friday, February 21 with more locations to be announced shortly. WYD Media has paved the way via an effective working model for talk show hosts to take theater-style shows on the road with the wildly successfully “Sexy Liberal Tour” starring Stephanie Miller which has also revved up for a number of dates in the remainder of 2013 and throughout 2014.
Weather Channel and WestwoodOne Renew Ad Sales Agreement. WestwoodOne and The Weather Channel announce that they have signed a multi-year agreement for the former to provide ad sales representation for The Weather Channel’s radio service. The renewal runs through 2016. The Weather Channel provides daily, customized cross-platform weather reports to individual radio stations around the country giving up-to-the-minute information on local weather or critical storm warnings. WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine says, “We are delighted to continue our partnership with The Weather Channel and to represent its superior brand across the radio community. Weather is a hugely covetable component in the audio space, and serves as a critical resource for listeners. In fact, we have found that listeners are more likely to tune or tap in for weather information than most all other content. We are happy to know we can continue to provide our listeners access to the best weather information available.”
SBS Readies AIRE Radio Networks. Set to debut January 1, Spanish Broadcasting System‘s AIRE Radio Networks will reach listeners in nine of the top 10 markets with a weekly audience reported to be approximately 12 million listeners – roughly one-quarter of the U.S. Hispanic population. AIRE Radio Networks will feature shows focused on current events, health and family, finances, education, sports and entertainment. ”This creation solidifies SBS’ expanding presence in Hispanic media and entertainment,” explains SBS chairman/president/chief executive officer Raul Alarcon. ”We’re excited about capitalizing on syndication growth opportunities. AIRE Radio Networks will extend our top-ranked offerings to advertisers and listeners nationwide.” Aire Radio Networks senior vice president of network operations & affiliate sales Elisa Torres comments, “We have put together a stupendous lineup to deliver a national platform. With AIRE Radio Networks’ targeted choices and vehicles, we anticipate rapid growth for clients seeking to embrace nationwide Hispanic listeners.” The Aire Networks include the “Advantage Network,” targeting Hispanic men; “Young Adult Network,” geared to Hispanics 18-49; “Millennial Network,” targeting Hispanics 18-34; “Prime Family,” aimed at families on weekends; and “The Mandril Network,” featuring Ricardo “El Mandril” Sanchez of Los Angeles’ KLAX “La Raza.”
WAUK, Milwaukee Sports Talk Personality Steve “The Homer” True Injured in Car Accident. Sports talk host and Marquette University men’s basketball play-by-play voice Steve “The Homer” True was in critical condition yesterday at a Milwaukee hospital after his car was hit by an alleged drunk driver at 10:00 am on Wednesday morning. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports WAUK owner Craig Karmazin issued a statement late last night saying, “I spoke with Homer’s wife, Nancy, tonight. She said Homer is doing pretty well and that doctors want to monitor his condition overnight. On behalf of the True family and all of us at ESPN Wisconsin, I’d like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers.” True suffered a head injury in the crash. He has worked for Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting at WAUK for the past eight years.
NASBA Fires Off Letter to Washington Opposing Elimination of Advertising Deductions. The National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations submitted an official letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp and Ranking Member Sander Levin detailing the opposition by the member state broadcasters associations to the possibility of altering the current deduction businesses may take for advertising expenses. The letter reminds the legislators that any change to the deduction would harm broadcasters, notes that advertising has been part of the allowed deductions since the Tax Code was adopted 100 years ago and that radio stations generally receive 96% of their revenue from advertising (Television’s percentage is 94).
Odds & Sods. Clear Channel’s KBME, Houston – flagship station for Houston Rockets hoops – will simulcast some of the team’s games on other CC stations in the cluster. Some games will air on news/talk KTRH and a select number of Saturday games will simulcast on AC KODA and classic rock KKRW…..ESPN Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” will be broadcasting live from Pardee Plaza on the campus of USC tomorrow in advance of the Stanford at USC game that ESPN Radio will air this weekend.
ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, GOP 2014 Strategies, Iran Nukes Deal, and Typhoon Haiyan Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/13). The debate in Washington over fixing the rollout of the Affordable Care Act or scrapping it altogether; Republican strategies for the mid-term elections in 2014; the proposed nuclear technology development deal between the United States and Iran; and the aftermath of deadly Typhoon Haiyan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CBS Radio’s WPHT, Philadelphia to Add Dick Morris for PM Drive. The station is making programming moves in anticipation of Michael Smerconish’s departure to SiriusXM Satellite Radio in April and announces political consultant, author and media personality Dick Morris will begin hosting the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm shift. Currently, Smerconish is on from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm followed by Rich Zeoli and Steve Martorano from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. WPHT does not say if Zeoli and Martorano will remain with the station and be moved to the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot or if it has other plans yet to be announced. CBS Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “Dick is a great addition to our lineup of live and local personalities, and provides a voice that will raise the audiences’ interest in what’s happening in politics today. As someone who isn’t afraid to express his opinions or make bold predictions, his show won’t just be a win for Philadelphia and WPHT, it’s a win for radio.”
MSNBC’s Ed Schultz to Move to Weekend Slot. News/talk personality Ed Schultz announced at the end of his Wednesday evening program that he will be vacating the 8:00 pm ET time slot on MSNBC to begin hosting a two-hour weekend program on both Saturday and Sunday – from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm beginning in April. Saying it is “a big opportunity for ‘The Ed Show’ and my brand.” Schultz said on the air that the five-nights-per-week gig isn’t for him and he’s looking forward to more time to prepare stories. He told viewers, “I raised my hand for this assignment for a number of personal and professional reasons…My fight on ‘The Ed Show’ has been for the workers and the middle class. This new time slot will give me the opportunity to produce and focus on stories that I care about and are important to American families and American workers.” MSNBC offered a congratulatory statement from Phil Griffin but is not announcing just yet who will take over the slot leading into the channel’s prime time star, Rachel Maddow. Schultz’s program has performed well for the network. On Tuesday, March 12, for example, Schultz came in second to Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly but beat CNN’s Anderson Cooper in most demographics (in Persons 25-54 Schultz grabbed 195,000 to Cooper’s 170,000, according to TVByTheNumbers.com). Schultz also fared better than his lead-in, Chris Matthews. Schultz continues to host his nationally syndicated talk radio program.
Bonneville Seattle Announces Programming Appointments. Vice president and market manager Carl Gardner promotes KIRO-FM news director Pete Gammell to program director for news/talk KIRO-FM; KIRO-FM assistant program director Jason Antebi to PD of sister news/talk KTTH and sports talk KIRO-AM “710 ESPN” program director Brian Long to senior director of programming for the Bonneville Seattle stations. Gardner says of Long, “Brian is a talented programmer and proven ratings winner. He brings experience, focus, and a leadership style that will be invaluable to our content teams on all three stations.” The programming positions opened up when programmer Larry Gifford announced he would be leaving the KIRO-FM and KTTH stations back in early February. On Gammell’s rise to PD, Gardner states, “Pete instinctively understands KIRO Radio. He was born and raised in Tacoma, educated in Seattle, came up through the KIRO Radio newsroom and has been a leader in shaping KIRO’s distinctive blend of news and conversation. More than anyone, Pete just gets the unique role this station plays in our community.” Gammell began his radio career at KIRO Radio in 2000 and moved to San Francisco to work as associate news director at KCBS, San Francisco from 2006 to 2008. Jason Antebi, who will run the day-to-day programming of KTTH and continue in his role as the architect of KIRO Radio Weekends, worked as a producer in Los Angeles at KLSX, KRLA and KFI (2006-08). He served as executive producer at Greenstone Media and as an executive producer of the TRN-syndicated Phil Hendrie show.
TALKERS magazine Unveils the 2013 Heavy Hundred. The editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, present the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America –– a popular annual feature that has come to be known as the “Heavy Hundred.” This is one of the most challenging tasks that TALKERS undertakes each year considering that there are thousands of talk show hosts across the country, ranging from national icons to those laboring in relative obscurity. Aside from the hosts whose sheer numbers and fame demand their inclusion on this list, the selection process is subjective with the goal being to create a list reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor as well as giving credit where credit is due. The TALKERS magazine editors who painstakingly compile this super-list draw upon a combination of hard and soft factors when evaluating candidates. These include (in alphabetical order): courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, ratings, recognition, revenue, service, talent and uniqueness. We acknowledge that it is as much art as science and that the results are arguable. There is one concrete qualification for inclusion. Hosts must be working at the time TALKERS magazine initially posts the list in order to be considered. They must have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station at “press time.” The list remains intact from that point forward until the next year’s edition. In past years, TALKERS magazine has included sports talk hosts in the Heavy Hundred. Last year, due to the massive growth in the sports talk genre, sports talk radio has earned a Heavy Hundred of its own, the 2013 installment of which will be published by TALKERS in the coming months. TALKERS magazine salutes the fine broadcasters who made this year’s list. To view it, click here.
Martha Zoller’s Gettin’ Busy. Georgia talk show host Martha Zoller recently returned to the radio after an unsuccessful run for Congress last year. She’s heard on Cox Media Group’s WGAU, Athens in AM drive with co-host Tim Bryant and – she tells TALKERS – now on about 10 affiliate stations across the state.
KMOX, St. Louis Brings Chris Hrabe in from Memphis for Evening Sports Show. The 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight “Dave Sinclair Sports Hub” has a new host as KMOX brings Chris Hrabe in from Flinn Broadcasting’s WHBQ, Memphis, beginning April 4. Hrabe (pronounced RAY-bee) will host Cardinals and Blues post-game shows in addition to the aforementioned shift. He’ll also be responsible for contributing content to KMOX.com. Director of programming and operations Steve Moore states, “Chris is a terrific addition to our sports team. He’s a talented and accomplished broadcaster, with roots in the Midwest. He’s well versed in Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and his recent career experience has provided him tremendous insight into the Southeastern Conference. Sports fans in St. Louis will be pleased to hear his fresh insights and we are confident he’ll make an immediate impact on our programming.”
Savvy Texas Broadcaster Brings Pontiff Selection to Local Audience. Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS about KTBB, Tyler, Texas owner Paul Gleiser’s taking ownership of the new Pope selection story. He writes: Station managers across the US were already coping with ownership demands for digital and social media revenue as two news items this week complicated such planning: Arbitron issued a “Social Media Do’s & Don’ts” memo and the Federal Trade Commission issued guidelines for sponsored social media content. Meanwhile, KTBB, Tyler owner/GM/pundit Paul Gleiser (pictured at left in Vatican City) spent a week in Rome…making money with internet content…in market #142. Full disclosure: Paul is my longtime, long-suffering client; and, admittedly, his coverage of this week’s papal transition hit the ground running because he covered the same story eight years ago. In both cases, he sold the sponsorship to – you guessed it – the local Catholic hospital. And he’s a Methodist! Other local advertisers fund his on-site coverage of the national political conventions every four years, and the full week he and his sports guy spend at the Super Bowl run-up, and other special stuff. Those sponsors get extra bang for their buck when the local TV station Paul also filed for let him plug them on the tube. Win-win-win. All accomplished with equipment in checked luggage, and an assist from ABC News Radio, of which KTBB is an affiliate. See/hear/read what Paul filed from Rome here, and ask yourself “Why not?” What can you craft for advertisers that delivers them, and your listeners, something special?
KINB, Oklahoma City Flips to Sports Talk. The Kingfisher, Oklahoma-licensed FM station had been airing a standards format for the past two years (it was an alternative outlet before that). The station is part of the Last Bastion Trust including other stations Citadel had to jettison in order to complete the 2007 ABC Radio deal. A proposed sale to Ferris O’Brien in 2010 never was consummated and the station’s remained in the trust ever since. The flip from “105.3 The Martini” to “105.3 The Pro” using CBS Sports Radio Network’s programming happened on March 12.
Odds & Sods. Keith Olbermann settles with Current TV over his firing. According to numerous media reports – including The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.com – though the details are confidential, Olbermann and Current TV have settled his $50 million suit against the Al Gore-owned cable network that’s in the process of being sold to Al Jazeera…..Clear Channel’s sports KTKR, San Antonio agrees to renew its deal with the Houston Astros to carry the team’s games during the 2013 season…..Mark Evans moves from adult contemporary WIKY, Evansville, Indiana to sunny San Diego to become the news man on the “Mornings with Chip and LaDona” AM drive show at Clear Channel’s KOGO.
Washington Sequester/Deficit Battle, New Pope Named, North Korea Threats, Upstate New York Shootings, and Gun Legislation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/13). The debate in Washington over the sequester and moves to reduce the budget deficit; Catholic Church names new Pope; ongoing threats by North Korea; fatal shooting rampage in Upstate New York; and gun legislation proposals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Fred Lundgren
KCAA Radio, Loma Linda, California
LOMA LINDA, CA — The inaccuracy of Arbitron surveys have been a pet peeve of mine for many years. So, when The Nielsen Company announced the purchase of Arbitron, I decided to celebrate the event with a little punditry. Initially, the announcement made me think of this quote by Winston Churchill…
“The only recorded instance in history of a rat swimming towards a sinking ship.”
CBS Sports Radio Network Announces National Morning Show: Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson. When the CBS Sports Radio Network officially begins on January 2, former New York Giants great Tiki Barber, sports talk personality and current KGME, San Francisco afternoon co-host Brandon Tierney and longtime ESPN broadcaster Dana Jacobson will make up the morning drive show airing from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET. CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason states, “CBS Sports Radio has been able to attract some of the most renowned names in the business, and Tiki, Brandon and Dana are just the latest example of the network’s star power. We’ve assembled an impressive group of professional athletes and accomplished broadcasters to bring fans unrivaled sports commentary, and the most entertaining lineup in all of sports radio. The launch of CBS Sports Radio provides an additional way for us to use our content, debuting original programs to millions of listeners across the country on day one. The network’s reach in the major markets is unsurpassed, and the marketplace has taken notice of our depth and broad range of offerings.” CBS Radio is announcing the morning show will clear on such outlets as: WIP-AM, Philadelphia); WFOM-AM, Atlanta; WXYT-AM, Detroit; WJZ-AM, Baltimore; KFNZ-AM and KJQS-AM, Salt Lake City; and WSJZ-FM, Orlando.
Another Look Back at the Harsh Reality of Sandy and its Intense Relationship with Radio. American voters are conditioned every four years to believe that the presidential ballot they are about to cast will be the most crucial such decision they will make in their entire lifetimes. That was certainly a dominant theme of the 2012 campaign, yet less than 10 days before Election Day, something else began percolating that had approximately 20% of the country hitting the “pause” button to politics: Sandy. Innocuous as the name sounds, “Sandy” unfortunately arrived as advertised and now, weeks later, harsh reality remains in its wake. It is impossible to factor precious loss of lives and the shattering of countless dreams into the billions of dollars of wreckage caused by one of the unkindest of oxymorons – a so-called “perfect storm.” As another testament to our democracy, the November 6 election went off without a hitch and the country would ready itself for one of its proudest traditions – setting aside a day of thanksgiving (albeit followed by the dubious recent sales custom known as “Black Friday”). Radio stations though in locales that include the country’s #1 market – New York City – are continuing to focus on what has been consuming them since (roughly) Saturday, October 27. Suffering through Sandy was brutal. For many, enduring the aftermath is considerably worse. As the radio industry returns from the Thanksgiving weekend, TALKERS takes another look back at the our medium’s intense relationship with the “weather event” that was so dominant a factor in current events that it even upstaged a presidential election – as seen through the eyes, lives and dedicated work of broadcasters at CBS Radio‘s all- news WCBS-AM, New York and Cumulus Media‘s news/talk WMAL, Washington, DC. To read TALKERS managing editor/west coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian‘s epic article click here.
WTDY-AM/FM, Madison Drops News/Talk; Stunting with Christmas Music. The Wisconsin State Journal reports that “several broadcasters” have been let go by Midwest Family Broadcasting as the simulcast of news/talk programming on WTDY AM 1670 and WTDY FM 106.7 ended late on Wednesday and was replaced with Christmas music. Talk personality John “Sly” Sylvester and news director Amy Barrilleaux both communicated via social media that they had been let go by the station and that it is flipping formats but that they knew no more. Midwest Family owns seven stations in the market that include: rock WJJO; AC WMGN; rhythmic CHR WJQM; country WWQM; WLMV Spanish music; and oldies WHIT. The word on the street is that the simulcast will become a CBS Sports Radio Network affiliate on January 2 but that has not been confirmed.
ESPN in Agreement for Exclusive Rights to College Football Playoff Contests. The sports giant announces it has reached agreements in principle to obtain exclusive rights to broadcast the games and the affiliated programming for the college football championship and playoff games that will begin after the 2014 season and begin in January of 2015 when the new playoff system begins. ESPN Radio will be part of the broadcast of these games. The announcement was made Wednesday by ESPN president John Skipper and Bill Hancock, executive director of the BCS and the future college football playoffs. Skipper states, “Because of college football’s widespread popularity and the incredible passion of its fans, few events are more meaningful than these games. We are ecstatic at the opportunity to continue to crown a college football champion on ESPN’s outlets for years to come, the perfect finale to our year-round commitment to the sport.” ESPN is in the midst of a four-year agreement for the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). The network televises all five games from the current format, including the Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta Bowls, as well as the BCS National Championship Game. The two BCS National Championship Games on ESPN (2011, 2012) have generated the two largest audiences for any program in the history of cable television. The new playoff will be administered by the Football Bowl Subdivision conferences and independent institutions. The agreement in principle is subject to completion of definitive documentation and all necessary approvals.
Stephen King-Owned WZLO and WZON, Bangor Progressive Talk Simulcast Splits. “The Pulse” website states the stations have split their simulcast of progressive talk and are featuring Christmas music on the FM signal with a “BIG surprise” the station will reveal after Christmas. The stations have been a simulcast for the past 2 ½ years – first as a sports talk station, then as the progressive talk outlet. The FM side had been playing a triple A format prior to the simulcast. WZON at 620 AM continues to air a progressive talk format featuring a local morning show with Don Cookson, WYD Media’s Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Premiere Networks’ Randi Rhodes, Thom Hartmann, Cox Media’s Clark Howard and Leslie Marshall.
April NAB Show to Feature Q&A with News Corp’s Chase Carey. The National Association of Broadcasters announces the spring NAB Show scheduled for April 6-11 in Las Vegas will feature a question-and-answer session with News Corporation president and chief operating officer Chase Carey. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith will conduct the session. Smith says, “As a leading executive of one of the world’s preeminent media companies, Chase Carey has valuable insight into today’s multi-platform global media environment. I look forward to our conversation at the NAB Show and hearing Mr. Carey’s vision of what the future holds for the media business worldwide.” Carey has served in his role at News Corp since July of 2009. Prior to that he was president and CEO at DIRECTV, Inc.
French-Language Quebec Talk Host Suspended for Anti-Semitic Incident. CHMP, Quebec late night talk show host Jacques Fabi has been suspended from his program after allowing a female caller to his program make anti-Semitic statements. The caller was responding to Fabi’s discussion of the violence in Israel and Gaza and blamed the Jews, then went on to intimate that Hitler should have been allowed to finish the job. Fabi never stopped her and, according to complaints to the CRTC and the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, seemed to encourage her rant. The CBC reports station spokesman David Crete said, “The comments that were aired earlier this week are unacceptable…hosts and journalists are subject to ethical rules. If they are not met, penalties are applied.” It is not clear how long Fabi’s suspension will be. CHMP is owned by Cogeco.
British Broadcaster Fined for Anti-Gay Remarks. The British agency that regulates broadcasting content – Ofcom – levied a $6,400 fine against the company that owns a Leeds, England station that serves the South Asian community. The incident stems from a program hosted by Rubina Nasir – known as Sister Ruby – in which she interpreted passages in the Koran that indicated homosexuals should be punished – physically and mentally – for practicing their sexuality. Ofcom ruled the statements made during the broadcast were likely to “encourage or incite the commission of a crime.”
Rock 102 Thanksgiving Tradition. WAQY, Springfield, Massachusetts morning drive team Bax & O’Brien helped gather food and money for those in need in the area with the broadcast of their annual Mayflower Marathon food drive over the Thanksgiving week. Hosts Mike Baxendale (center) and John O’Brien (far right) are pictured here announcing a donation of $10,000 to the Open Pantry – a local organization that provides food to those in need. The annual charity event is a signature of Saga Communications’ “Rock 102” and the Bax & O’Brien morning show during which the duo broadcast continuously for two days while encouraging listeners to fill a Mayflower moving van with food staples for the hungry.
Salem Communications Pays $4 million for WJKR, Columbus. Salem Communications’ new FM talk outlet in Columbus, Ohio is costing the company $4 million according to the FCC filing. The Radio One station is being LMA’d by Salem until the deal closes. Salem installed its conservative talk format on November 1 and dubbed it “98.9 FM The Answer.” In addition to its numerous news/talk AMs, Salem owns FM outlets that program primarily Christian formats. The new Columbus acquisition is the first FM signal for the secular news/talk format for Salem.
Mike O’Meara Returns to DC Airwaves in January. Dave Hughes’ DCRTV.com reports that Washington, DC radio personality Mike O’Meara will be back on the terrestrial airwaves in the market in January with a two-hour evening program airing on Metro Radio’s WTNT. O’Meara and former partner Don Geronimo dominated Washington, DC talk radio during their time together on CBS Radio’s then-hot talk WJFK-FM before Geronimo took time off following the untimely death of his wife Freda. O’Meara has been producing a popular podcast via his mikeomearashow.com site along with Rob Spewak, Buzz Burbank and Oscar Santana – all of whom are reported to be part of the WTNT program as well. O’Meara briefly returned to terrestrial radio last year when he hosted mornings at Cumulus Media’s classic rock 105.9 The Edge. However, the station dropped music to become the FM signal for WMAL.
Consumer Electronics Show Preview – The Radio Connection. Each year, radio consultant Holland Cooke covers the huge Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas in January for TALKERS magazine. But November always brings the preview of the show and Holland was there as well. He says radio should pay attention for several reasons. The most obvious reason is to get a line on what’s going to be hot for Christmas so AEs can target the appropriate retailers. Holland says the Consumer Electronics Association forecasters predict tablets will dominate this holiday season. The CEA is saying sales of tablets will be up 112% over last year. TVs are going to be big with 20% of American adults saying they plan to buy a television this holiday season. Read more from Holland Cooke here.
Progressive Shows May Find Another Home in Seattle. The news that CBS Radio’s KPTK, Seattle will flip formats in January – not confirmed by CBS but the station will likely become a CBS Sports Radio Network affiliate – has left a sour taste in the mouths of numerous progressive talk hosts and their syndicators. But the local blog SeaTacRadio.com reports that KLAY, Tacoma is planning to add some of the progressive talk shows – reportedly WYD Media’s Stephanie Miller and the Ed Schultz show – currently heard on KPTK to its program schedule. As numerous CBS Radio and Cumulus stations prepare to flip to sports talk in January, KPTK is just another victim of the companywide desire for affiliate stations. While consumers and the consumer press bemoan the proliferation of sports talk (“How many sports stations do we need in this market?”), the answer is that CBS Radio and Cumulus need to have affiliates in as many markets as possible to be able to sell a national sports talk product to national clients.
Main Street Radio Networks Partners with Broadcast Affiliate Sales. Main Street Radio Networks enters into a deal with Broadcast Affiliate Sales for the latter to handle its marketing and affiliate sales for current and future programs. The network syndicates “Battle Line with Alan Nathan” and the “Doctor Evelyn Higgins Show.” Recently the company announced it was working with Salem Radio Networks for distribution of its programming. Main Street president Jane Silk says, “We know BAS will be a great addition to our rapidly growing radio network. Everyone at BAS has an extensive history in the radio industry and an unmatched sales record. Partner Mike Tyler was elected to the NAB Board of Directors and his father John Tyler is the creator of the first ever satellite delivered radio network. These people are the best in the business.”
John McConnell Joins InterNetwork Broadcasting for App Development. Former ABC Radio Networks SVP of programming John McConnell is working with InterNetworks Broadcasting on the development of its Blurt app. The app that lets you record and share 10-second audio updates with the world and McConnell has joined its leadership team in further development of the app. He’ll focus his efforts on new content and distribution partnerships and overall business development. Blurt co-founder Clark Burgard states, “John boasts an impressive track record in radio broadcast and digital media, and his experience will surely enhance our efforts to bring an audio experience to text-based social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. We’re thrilled to welcome him to the Blurt team.”
Entertainment Radio Network Partners with Men’s Health Magazine to Create Weekly Show. Men’s Health, the well-known men’s magazine, announces a partnership with Entertainment Radio Network (ERN) to create “Men’s Health Live,” a weekly, one-hour branded show that will be distributed across terrestrial radio and a variety of on-demand audio channels. Slated to premiere in January 2013, the program will cover the latest news in health, fitness, nutrition and all things men. Men’s Health editor Peter Moore and Men’s Health contributing editor Gregg Stebben will co-host the show. Moore tells TALKERS, “ERN is the perfect partner and platform to bring the Men’s Health brand’s must-have advice and information for guys to the airwaves on a weekly basis. Guys live in their cars, and with today’s connected dashboard, we’ll be there with them, making sure they reach their ultimate destinations safely, and with abs.” Alan Taylor, CEO of ERN adds, “We are thrilled to be working with Men’s Health. This strategic partnership will add yet another pillar of strength to the largest men’s magazine brand with the addition of a radio and digital audio platform. It will further enable Men’s Health to expand its core audience through our many audio distribution partners such as Aha Radio, Stitcher Radio, iTunes and others.”
Petraeus Scandal, Benghazi Investigation, Obama Administration Cabinet Changes, and ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/13). The growing David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell scandal; the investigation into the Benghazi attack; imminent changes in the Obama Administration Cabinet; and the ‘fiscal cliff’ challenges facing the administration and Congress were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Political Talkers Take Stock of Positioning in Post-Election Environment. Contrary to the stereotype often depicted by the mainstream and political press that news/talk radio hosts all fit a standard model, TALKERS magazine observes that this is hardly the case – especially now that the all-consuming election of 2012 is in the history books and political talk show hosts are assessing their personal position strategies for the new chapter of history at hand. Actually this is a process that has been in play for several years and not exactly a brand new trend sparked by the election. Key players such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Jerry Doyle, Rusty Humphries and Michael Smerconish have had significantly different takes on the conservative side of the dial as have hosts the likes of Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Stephanie Miller and Alan Colmes been diverse in their approaches from the left. However, recently concluded elections – especially presidential contests – have a way of making talent in this arena reassess and reflect upon their strategies. Read the rest of this story here.
Lincoln Financial Media Re-Signs Two at KKFN, Denver. Sports talk outlet “104.3 The Fan” KKFN, Denver inks new deals with midday co-host Scott Hastings of the “Drew and Scott” show as well as with morning drive co-host Joel Klatt. Klatt also handles pre- and post-game programs for Colorado Rockies baseball and does college football color commentary for Fox Sports and his new deal is structured to allow him to continue in those roles.
Dave Ramsey Storms Seattle. In what is being termed his last live event of the fall season, nationally syndicated financial talk sensation and New York Times best-selling author Dave Ramsey recently performed in front of a record crowd his brand new, intimate “Living a Legacy Live Event” in Seattle. Ramsey spoke to the crowd about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter Rachel Cruze joined him on stage. Affiliate KTTH says it saw direct benefits of the live event for their audience and their station. President and GM Carl Gardner says, “Up close and personal, Dave made a big impression on our clients and his listeners. He knows how to build a loyal following – one person at a time.” Ramsey is pictured above with the staff of KTTH.
Francis Rose in for John Batchelor Tomorrow. WFED, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Francis Rose sits in for Cumulus Media Networks’ John Batchelor tomorrow night. Rose – who as a media pro superserving federal government employees on Hubbard’s WFED has a view like few others of Washington, DC culture – is available for guest shots on how the federal government, both executive branch and Congress, are handling the aftermath of the election and the fiscal cliff. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Radio America’s Peter Schiff show is picked up by KQMS-AM/FM Redding, California; WCCF, Punta Gorda, Florida; WBCH, Hastings, Michigan…..Genesis Communications Network’s Alex Jones joins the program schedule at KFNX, Phoenix…..WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish show is now heard on WSJM, Benton Harbor/St. Joseph, Michigan…..Dial Global’s Dennis Miller is added to the program schedule at WFJX, Roanoke, Virginia and WLRT, Lexington, Kentucky…..Cox Media’s Clark Howard is picked up by WHTH, Heath, Ohio (Columbus)…..Dial Global’s Jim Bohannon is added to the program schedule at KGY, Olympia, Washington and WLOB, Portland, Maine…..Dial Global’s “America This Morning” and “America This Week” – both hosted by Jim Bohannon – are picked up by WXDE, Lewes, Delaware…..Cumulus Media Networks’ Michael Savage is picked up by KFNX, Phoenix…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” is added to WXDE, Lewes, Delaware; KPSF, Desert Hot Springs, California; and WEZS, Laconia, New Hampshire.
The Presidential Election Tops the Talkers TenTM for Week of November 5 – 9. The race for president was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was the congressional races and the ballot issues. At #3 was the looming tax increases followed by the deficit issue at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.
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 Andelman. Doug 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.
Right and Left Come Together at the TALKERS New Media Seminar to Denounce the Practice of Organized Advertiser Boycotts. They might not agree on many things but a love for the business of talk broadcasting and its role as a vehicle for the practice of the First Amendment can indeed make for strange political bedfellows. In a rare display of unity, two of the highest-
profile and distinctly politically opposite talk show hosts in the business condemned the increased practice of organized advertiser boycotts by political organizations as a means of shutting down voices on radio and television with which they disagree.
Conservative host Sean Hannity (Fox News Channel and Premiere Networks) and progressive host Ed Schultz (MSNBC and the independently syndicated Ed Schultz show) delivered their powerful remarks at the TALKERS New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7. Hannity included the statement as part of his keynote address which opened the conference. Schultz presented his opinion while delivering the event’s “Annual State of the First Amendment Address.” During his presentation at the non-partisan, industry-wide gathering, Hannity played excerpts from a variety of well-known talk show hosts making controversial statements on the air that subsequently resulted in calls for advertiser boycotts and/or the firing of the hosts. The clips included hosts from all over the spectrum – left, right and popular culture (still referred to by many as “shock jocks”) – with ear-perking clips from Don Imus, Howard Stern, Opie & Anthony, Mike Malloy and more. Both Rush Limbaugh’s reference to Sandra Fluke and Ed Schultz’s description of Laura Ingraham as “sluts” were included to underscore the point that no single faction of the talk radio universe was exempt from participating in the practice of political or artistic controversy. Hannity’s remedy: Change the dial. Schultz concurred. Both made their cases for the sake and survival of the talk radio industry as well as protecting the spirit of the First Amendment. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for complete coverage of the New Media Seminar in the coming days and weeks.
Cumulus Media Officially Announces Geraldo Rivera Rollout. This has been expected since shortly after Geraldo Rivera made his talk radio debut on Cumulus Media‘s WABC, New York and KABC, Los Angeles in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Now, Cumulus says it will expand the show to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET time slot and begin a national rollout on August 13. In a statement, Cumulus Media COO John Dickey says, “When Geraldo agreed to host shows for Cumulus stations in New York and L.A. we had a hunch there’d be substantial national listener interest in his incisive and insightful style. And now we’re thrilled that with Geraldo such a success in those two markets, the show will be available across the country.”
Glenn Beck Renews with Premiere Networks for 5 Years and a Reported $20 Million per Year. That figure is according to The New York Times‘ Brian Stelter who cites a “person with direct knowledge” saying the deal will pay Glenn Beck $100 million over the course of the new, five-year deal. In addition to handling affiliate and ad sales for Beck’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET nationally syndicated radio show, Premiere Networks also assists in ad sales for some of Beck’s non-radio efforts including his internet video channel GBTV on which his daily afternoon talk show is broadcast.
NBC Partners with Dial Global for Syndication of Sports Radio Content as NBC Sports Radio Network. According to what Rob Simmelkjaer, senior vice president of NBC Sports Ventures and International tells USA Today, the new project will start with hourly sports updates and a couple of short-form features. But Simmelkjaer says NBC hopes to have two three-hour evening sports talk shows (one each for 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm ET starts) ready for syndication by fall. He says, “The goal is to start with a beachhead of programming and gradually expand to 24 hours per day, seven days per week maybe in 3 to 5 years.” Dial Global will handle affiliate and ad sales for the service and Simmelkjaer says it will be sold in tandem with Dial Global’s NFL radio broadcasts.
Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire Surface at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. Talk show hosts Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire had most recently hosted the morning drive show on Curtis Media Group‘s WZTK-FM, Burlington, North Carolina before the station flipped formats to Spanish music earlier this year. Now, the duo will replace Vince Coakley in the PM drive slot beginning July 2. In June of last year, Coakley took over the afternoon show for Tara Servatius who currently hosts mornings on WRNN-AM/FM, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. WBT program director Carl East says, “These guys bring a great sense of energy and fun to the air. Those who have been in Charlotte for a while already know what Brad is capable of. They are very clever observers of the issues of the day, whether they are local or national. The audience is going to love engaging them.” Brad Krantz previously hosted afternoons at WBT alongside Richard Spires for four years from 1999 to 2003.
KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Names Chuck Meyer News Director. CBS Radio‘s news/talk KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas brings news pro Chuck Meyer aboard as news/director and anchor for the station’s PM drive news block. Meyer previously served as news director at WIOD, Miami and KING, Seattle and as program director at KVET, Austin and KCUB, Tucson. KXNT-AM/FM program director Andrew Paul says, “Chuck brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our staff. We are thrilled to have him lead our news team on multiple platforms.” The move allows former news director Joe Gillespie to focus on his duties as host of the station’s morning drive news program.
Jay Cutler to Join WMVP, Chicago for Weekly Appearance. ESPN Chicago announces Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will be live in the studio with ESPN 1000′s Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman each Monday from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm. In announcing the multi-year deal, ESPN 1000 president and general manager John Craven states, “ESPN Chicago could not be more excited to welcome Jay Cutler to our already solid on-air lineup. Waddle & Silvy’s extended access to Jay will give Bears fans his insights into the game and a glimpse of his personality they have never heard before both on air and online.” ESPN has sold the show to Miller Lite, the official beer of the Chicago Bears.
Talk Host Michael Smerconish to Welcome NAB Crystal Radio Award Winners Tonight. Nationally syndicated WYD Media talk host Michael Smerconish will use the “magic” of technology to gather together all 10 NAB Crystal Radio Award winners at the NAB Education Foundation’s “Service to America” black-tie fundraiser taking place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC this evening. Smerconish will welcome the winners to the stage and acknowledge their accomplishments.
The End of an Era as NPR’s “Car Talk” Hosts Retire in September. Hosts of the ubiquitous weekend public radio show “Car Talk” on NPR – brothers Tom and Ray Magliozzi – will retire in September and record no more calls from Americans with questions usually having to do with their cars. But the show will go on for at least a few more years. NPR will continue to produce the show with previously aired audio from the show’s dense library of content. TALKERS magazine spoke with “Car Talk” producer Doug Berman several years ago for a feature story about the production of weekend talk programs. Unlike many shows, car talk is not a “live” call-in show. Calls are recorded during the week or callers are asked to call in at specific production times. As a result, the show has probably gathered more content than necessary at times and, in addition to “repurposed” content, there may be some calls to “Car Talk” that have not seen the light of day. Also, Berman tells the Boston Herald that they’ve reviewed the ratings for new shows and repeats and have found no difference. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was asked about the future success of “Car Talk” by the Los Angeles Times and he stated, “Not many shows that are maintenance, how-to shows can carry it off where people listen to be entertained. That makes the show extremely potent.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Cox Media Group‘s WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta nabs 11 from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. Among the accolades WSB picked up include “Station of the Year” large market and “Best Radio Program” and “Best Talk Host” honors for WSB-based nationally syndicated star Neal Boortz…..Beasley Broadcasting‘s news/talk WGAC, Augusta, Georgia wins the Georgia Association of Broadcasters “Radio Station of the Year” award in the mid-sized market category. The station’s personalities also were individually recognized with coveted “Gabby” Awards: News director and morning show host Mary Liz Nolan won “Best Newscast; sports director Ashley Brown won “Best Sportscast” and “Best Sports Story or Series” and Dallas Reece was honored for the year’s “Best Commercial.”…..WBZ, Boston news anchor Joe Mathieu interviews “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley at the WBZ NewsRadio Business Breakfast about his first year as anchor of CBS’ evening news program Tuesday, June 12 at 8:00 am…..Fox Sports Radio continues its coverage of mixed martial arts with simulcasts of FX‘s “UFC on FX: Fight Night.” FSRN simulcast last Friday’s program and will do it again on June 22 at 9:00 pm ET with a two-hour post-fight call-in show beginning at 11:00 pm ET.
You’re Never Too Old…to Play Pro Football. That’s 50-year-old Stan Nawalaniec of the Stan & Haney PM drive show on Beasley Broadcasting‘s hot talk WRXK-FM, Bonita Springs, Florida – 96 K-Rock Talk That Rocks – suited up with two unidentified players on the United Indoor Football League‘s Florida Tarpons. Stan signed on for a one-game deal with the undefeated team and was a member for its last regular season game Saturday, June 9 played at Southwest Florida’s Germain Arena in Estero.
Ed Schultz Added to Growing Lineup of Movers, Shakers and Stars at New Media Seminar. “Big Eddie,” star of MSNBC’s nightly “The Ed Show” and nationally syndicated progressive talk radio sensation has been named to deliver the annual “State of the First Amendment” address at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7. The speech, which has a rich history dating back more than two decades, is a longtime tradition in the talk show industry and will take place during the Freedom of Speech Ceremony at this year’s event. WTOP, Washington VP of news and programming, Jim Farley will be this year’s recipient of the prestigious Freedom of Speech Award. This year’s NMS/NY will feature a lineup of more than 50 industry speakers addressing a variety of topics including the state of programming in talk radio, methods of generating revenue during tough times, the challenge of selling controversy, designing successful digital and social media strategies, the changing role of news, the continuing growth of sports talk, and lots more. A detailed agenda for the June 7 event will be posted at Talkers.com this coming week. This year’s New Media Seminar marks the innovative launch of an updated model sensitive to the tough economic and stressful conditions of the times. Significant restructuring has been applied to lower the costs of registration (only $99), accommodations and travel as well as moving the event from the weekend to a weekday. According to TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, “Both conferences will be national in scope and regional in flavor, a recipe that worked amazingly well at last year’s successful experiment, the Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum.” NMS 2012 will consist of two one-day conferences. The first will be held in New York City on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side. According to its organizers it is on the verge of a sellout. The second – presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club – will take place on Thursday, October 11 in Los Angeles at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. Harrison says, “We learned a tremendous amount at last year’s ‘happening’ in L.A. There is something very exciting, fulfilling and productive about one single, power-packed day with no time-wasting fat or money-wasting frills. It was executed purposefully under the radar to test the waters for this new model on a national scale and it succeeded beyond our wildest expectations, reaching maximum registration capacity in a matter of days. Although the New Media Seminar has actually grown consistently larger and has been a sell-out every year of its existence, we recognize that conditions are such that a change would eventually be necessary as well as beneficial to the working person in our business – at least during this stressful period of tight budgets and high industry economic uncertainty. At TALKERS we insist on being ahead of the curve. Industry conferences need to include and be accessible to professionals in the trenches as well as the corporate elite. This new model is a gift to the business.” Because quick sell-outs for each event are expected, registration is limited to working media. (As indicated, New York is on the verge of a sellout.) For registration and sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or e-mail her at email@example.com.
UPDATE!!! HOTEL INFORMATION FOR NEW YORK ATTENDEES. The Doubletree by Hilton Metropolitan New York at 569 Lexington Avenue (3 blocks away) has rooms available for $359 per night for a limited time. You may register online via www.dtnewyork.com. On the main page, click on reservations and type the letters TNM in the group code box. Or you can call 800-222-8733 and give the code TNM when speaking to the guest services staff.
Arbitron Reports Q1 Revenue Up 5.5%. The first quarter of 2012 has been good to Arbitron Inc. as the company states net income increased 9.6% on revenue growth of 5.5% during the period that ended March 31. Total revenue for the quarter was $106.4 million and it came primarily from annual rate increases, including the continued phase-in of price increases for the PPM. Arbitron CEO Bill Kerr states, “Our results and our activities in the first quarter are well aligned with our long standing priorities for enhancing our core services and for generating revenue growth. We unveiled our marketing mix modeling service at the recent Advertising Research Foundation convention. We expect to have the complete service up, running and ready to improve radio’s visibility among the top agency media planners by the middle of the summer.” Kerr also said, “Digital radio remains a key priority as we continue our work to follow radio onto its new digital platforms in order to quantify this growing audience segment thereby enabling customers to monetize it.” Guidance for the rest of 2012 indicates Arbitron expects revenue to be up between 5% and 7%.
Cox Media Announces Talent Lineup for New Tampa FM Talker “The Bone.” Last week Cox Media Group announced it would drop the rock music on WHPT-FM, Tampa – “The Bone” – built around the success of AM drive talent Bubba the Love Sponge and PM drive counterpart Cowhead. Now, the company announces the rest of the lineup consisting of talent already working in the Cox stable. Following Bubba from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon is former WTKS-FM, Orlando – Real Radio 104.1 – personality Drew Garabo, who currently is AM drive host on the Cox Tampa cluster’s rock WSUN-FM. From 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm Cox imports Billy Madison and his KISS-FM, San Antonio morning show crew for a midday talk program. Following Cowhead in PM drive is Bubba cast member Matt “Spice” Lloyd who’ll host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program. Cox Radio Tampa vice president and market manager Keith Lawless says of the new direction of The Bone, “The top-rated performance on our current shows clearly tells us that Tampa Bay likes what they hear and is asking for more. We have worked hard to insure we are giving them what they want with these compelling new shows. This is an exciting time in Tampa Bay radio.”
Clark Howard Sponsors 46th Habitat for Humanity House. Cox Media nationally syndicated financial and consumer issues talk host Clark Howard announces he’s challenging the Tulsa community to help him build a Habitat for Humanity house in the city. Howard is putting up half the money it’ll take to build the house — $35,000 – and is asking listeners to Tulsa affiliate news/talk KRMG-AM/FM to donate the rest. The Tulsa Habitat build will be parallel to a build in Joplin, Missouri that Clark is also sponsoring on the one-year anniversary of the devastating tornado as part of his on-going “Project Home” campaign. The Tulsa home will be the 46th Habitat for Humanity home that Howard has helped sponsor.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. New York talk radio personality Loose Kannon – Rob Stevens – is heard on the WOR, New York internet stream from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm daily beginning Monday, April 23. Stevens previously was heard on Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York internet stream. He tells TALKERS he’ll be heard between former New York Governor David Paterson and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee on the stream…..Main Street Radio Network president Jane Silk is publishing a new book on May 5 titled The Poetic Gourmette (Changing Lives Press 2012). The book is billed as a “compilation of uniquely formed recipes inspired by emotional challenges experienced by the author at the time of creation.” Silk says, “I would move on to cooking and experimenting with various ingredients, which to me were like words. Every time I mixed an ingredient, I was expressing another feeling. When I completed my recipes, I felt that I had dealt with whatever the world had sent my way.”…..ESPN Radio and USC agree to a multi-year deal to allow the sports giant the exclusive national broadcast rights to Trojans home football games…..The Automotive Journalism Society of America names talk host Jeff Shade’s syndicated, KRKO, Seattle-based “Talk About Cars” the “Best Automotive Radio Show” for 2012. Shade’s program is heard on KRKO, Seattle; WIXC, Melbourne, Florida; and WAMT, Orlando to name a few and is gaining new affiliates each week…..KYKN, Salem, Oregon talk host Bill Post’s program is expanded from two to three hours daily, now airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. General manager and station owner Mike Frith states, “I’m delighted with the way in which Bill Post has taken the show from a compelling hour to a second hour and now a third hour of great local, Oregon oriented talk. He has consistently kept the show topical, fun and informative and our listeners have responded very positively to the show.”
2012 Presidential Campaign Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 16-20. The ongoing 2012 presidential campaign returned to the #1 spot on the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio. Following at #2 this week was President Obama’s proposed oil industry regulations. At # 3 was ongoing debate in Washington over the federal budget deficit and the death of the ‘Buffett Rule’ in the Senate. And at #4 was the scandals involving the Secret Service and the Government Services Agency. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published each Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Revolution on the Hill. That was the name of the first event held on the Capitol Hill lawn on Monday, April 16 and sponsored by former presidential candidate Herman Cain. The purpose of the rally was to draw attention to tax reform, fiscal responsibility and the importance of electing true conservatives in government and included such speakers as Dick Morris, Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist. Also taking part were some important talk show hosts. Pictured here at the event are (from l-r): Cox Media’s Neal Boortz; Talk Radio Network and WGST, Atlanta’s Rusty Humphries; and WLAC, Nashville-based Radio America-syndicated host Steve Gill.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds WRHL, Rochelle, Illinois and Montana tri-mulcast KYLW, Billings; KBSR, Laurel; and KHDN, Hardin…..Better Health Network’s Dr. Bob Martin health talk program is added to the weekend lineup at KFWB, Los Angeles.
The FCC and You – Part 2: An Explanation of Obscenity. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes the second in a series of exclusive articles covering crucial regulatory information of which all license holders must be aware. Here Weisman outlines the three-pronged guidelines to defining obscenity and discusses some of the court cases that have helped codify the FCC regulations as they stand today. Read more here.
Rivers Radio Launches Progressive News/Talk Station in Atlanta. WGUN, Atlanta debuted as a progressive news/talk outlet yesterday featuring a lineup that includes: Syndication One’s Warren Ballentine, The Ed Schultz Show, Premiere Networks’ Randi Rhodes, WYD Media’s Thom Hartmann, and The Mike Malloy Show. Rivers Radio EVP and general manager Kevin Hemmings states, “Atlanta’s 1010 is excited to be able to offer this incredible lineup to our rapidly growing audience. For the first time in a very long while, the listeners of Atlanta now have a diverse choice of viewpoints and opinions.” WGUN had been airing an oldies/standards format.
Syracuse Talk Personality Jim Reith Joins Pubcasters for New Shows. Longtime WSYR, Syracuse talk show host Jim Reith – a 27-year employee of the station who was downsized in October of 2011 – begins a new career in the public media world when he debuts a 30-minute TV talk show on WCNY-TV, Syracuse in May and a radio talk show on WCNY-FM, Syracuse in the fall. Reith tells the Syracuse Post Standard, “I want to be a local guy doing local topics with local people. I want to inform people about local issues in a more developed way than you can do with a sound bite. And I want to entertain people and have some fun.” Reith’s TV talk show will air daily from 6:30 pm to 7:00 pm starting May 14 and in the fall he’ll begin a daily three-hour radio talk show on classical WCNY-FM’s HD 3 channel.
Cumulus-Finebaum Suits May Reach Settlement Out of Court. If Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Robert Vance has his way, the lawsuits between WJOX-FM, Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum and employer Cumulus Media will be settled out of court. According to the Birmingham News, Vance has ordered the two sides to get back to the negotiating table in order to settle the contract dispute. The two sides were in court last week for a hearing before Vance and they appear closer to a settlement. Finebaum is suing over contractual issues that took place when Citadel owned the station and Cumulus is countersuing claiming breach of contract.
Leland Conway Moves to WRVA, Richmond for PM Drive. Lexington, Kentucky talk show host Leland Conway leaves his afternoon drive show at Clear Channel’s WLAP after six years to take over the same time slot at the company’s WRVA, Richmond. Conway fills the slot at WRVA that opened when the station parted ways with Doc Thompson. Back at WLAP, the station will get assistance from WHAS, Louisville talk host Mandy Connell and others filling in Conway’s afternoon show until a permanent replacement can be found.
WTMA, Charleston Morning Host Richard Todd Resigns. Citing the difficulty of being a single parent after the passing of his wife from cancer back in January, WTMA, Charleston, South Carolina morning drive host Richard Todd has resigned from the station. Todd returned to the radio in February after taking some time off subsequent to the death of his wife Mary Todd on January 3. Todd told his audience he would not be leaving his position had it not been for his wife’s passing. He said he isn’t able to focus and prepare the way he needs to in order to execute the show the way he’d like.
Former NFL Players Greg Koch and N.D. Kalu Exit KILT, Houston. The two had been contributors to CBS Radio’s sports talk KILT, Houston where they worked on both its coverage of Houston Texans football and with some of the station’s sports talk shows. Now, the Houston Chronicle reports the two have resigned from the station and the scuttlebutt is that they will resurface at Clear Channel’s crosstown sports talk KBME. KILT program director Gavin Spittle tells the paper, “We appreciated the time they were here. We have been fortunate to build a large staff, and with that will come departures. And with departures comes rebuilding, and we are excited about our future.” Greg Koch is an attorney and N.D. Kalu works in the real estate business in the Houston area.
Former Senator Arlen Specter Hangs Up on GCN’s Jason Lewis. Former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter grew tired of his time on Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis show – especially of having to sit through commercial breaks – and hung up on Lewis, but not after admonishing him for how the interview was being conducted. Specter was on the program to promote his latest book, Life Among the Cannibals (Thomas Dunne Books 2012). GCN reports Specter was upset Lewis didn’t spend enough time with the Republican-turned-Democrat discussing his book. After the second commercial break he told Lewis, “I gave you 10 minutes. You’ve been over every subject except for my book. I’ve listened to two rounds of your commercials. I think it’s insulting. I’ve been in a lot of interviews in the course of the past 30 years and you are absolutely insulting! I told you the last time around I wasn’t looking to sit around and listen to your commercials, and I didn’t want to hang up on you. But I want to tell you this is no way for anybody to run an interview. I’m as experienced as you are, if not more so. And that’s all I have to tell you, so goodbye!”
WFED, Washington PM Drive Host Francis Rose Available to Comment on Latest Government Waste Scandal. A new report from the Inspector General at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), the agency that buys goods and services for the Federal government, says leadership spent over $822,000 on a conference attended by about 300 people in October 2010 (over $2700 per attendee). The report says “many of the expenditures on this conference were excessive and wasteful and that in many instances GSA followed neither federal procurement laws nor its own policy on conference spending.” This story has been gaining traction among government waste watchers and is already huge in the nation’s capital. Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFED (sister station to WTOP) uniquely targets its programming to Federal employees – particularly the bureaucracy’s movers and shakers – and is all over this breaking scandal. (See http://www.federalnewsradio.com/445/2812012/GSA-head-Johnson-resigns-two-others-fired.) Afternoon drive host Francis Rose tells TALKERS he is available for live and taped interviews via telephone on talk shows around the country to provide insight into its outrageous details. Rose can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by cell at 202-657-9907.
Jim Rome’s New CBS Sports Network Show Airs Tonight. Sports talk icon Jim Rome begins a new chapter in the TV side of his sports talk career as CBS Sports Network – CBS’ new sports cable channel – broadcasts the first edition of his TV show since Rome parted company with ESPN. Rome appeared on the “Late Show with David Letterman” last week to promote the new show and talk sports. Rome’s new TV program airs nightly at 6:00 ET.
GOP Primary/2012 Presidential Campaign, Syrian Violence, ObamaCare Status, Iran Nukes, Gas Prices and NCAA Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/2). The Republican primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign; the drive to end the violence in Syria, the politics surrounding the legal status of President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act, Iran’s nuclear ambitions; the rising price of gas and the NCAA basketball finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rush Limbaugh Controversy Brings Political Attack Tactics to Talk Radio. Perhaps it’s because the nation is in the grips of a still-stagnant economy during a contentious election year or maybe it’s just a sign of the times. But, the talk radio industry is being invaded by political special interest groups and their hard-nosed tactics and it appears some broadcasters are playing along. Broadcasters – and radio stations more specifically – have traditionally competed with each other intensely on many levels. But going after each other’s advertisers with threats of guilt-by-association in order to hurt the other’s business is something in which they have rarely engaged. The reason is simple: It pollutes the same body of water from which all broadcasters drink. If one day your programming is poison to sponsors, who’s to say my programming won’t be tainted next week. And the special interest groups are noticing this and employing it as well. Media Research Center founder and president L. Brent Bozell III has written an open letter to MSNBC president Phil Griffin taking the cable news/talk network to task for what he terms its hypocrisy. Bozell notes MSNBC talent Ed Schultz, Al Sharpton and Lawrence O’Donnell spent part of their March 13 programs “attacking Rush.” He then lists statements made by Ed Schultz over the years as “vile, repugnant venom coming out of Schultz’s mouth.” Bozell promises he’s not going to let up on MSNBC, either. So, what are some broadcasters guilty of with regard to this case? Potentially bringing harm to the entire talk media industry – especially the already hard-hit radio side – by willingly allowing special interest groups that do not represent the actual listeners of these programs to provide ammunition against one of their own (a broadcaster) for the sake of what is really a political goal and not a business goal. Broadcasters willing to join the political battle at the expense of maintaining the integrity of their broadcasting business model may find out down the road that attempting to serve two masters – politics and the business of broadcasting – is a very difficult task to handle successfully. If you wish to read Mr. Bozell’s piece, it’s here.
Problematic Data: Bloomberg Poll Concludes America Wants Limbaugh Fired. That’s the result of a Bloomberg poll of 1,002 Americans conducted from March 8 to 11 asking questions about the GOP candidates, how they feel about the birth control coverage issue and, whether Premiere Networks star Rush Limbaugh should be fired for his remarks about Sandra Fluke and her testimony. According to the Bloomberg data, 53% of Americans believe Limbaugh should be fired for his remarks and 30% of those who expressed that point of view were Republicans to boot! TALKERS is not questioning Bloomberg’s polling techniques but as alluded to in the story above, it should be underscored that the poll in question doesn’t survey Rush Limbaugh’s regular listeners. It doesn’t even survey regular talk radio listeners. Therein lays the problem. Consumer media will grab hold of the result of this poll and conclude that the end is near for Limbaugh since a majority of the country wants him fired. But as TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has been telling the dozens upon dozens of media outlets he’s spoken with on this issue since it began, Rush Limbaugh doesn’t broadcast to a majority of the country. He broadcasts to a niche audience – a sizeable one to be sure – but a niche nonetheless. Asking a sample of all Americans how a talk radio station should be programmed is analogous to asking the same sample about how to program the Golf Channel. Read the Bloomberg poll story here.
First Spot on Tom Leykis’ New Talk Show Sells on eBay for $1,225. FishbowlLA reports the first spot on Tom Leykis’ soon-to-debut talk show that will hit the internet on April 2 has been purchased by Stitcher chairman Noah Shanok for $1,225. Leykis tells FishbowlLA’s Richard Horgan, “The winning bid, in my view, proves what I have always believed, which is that the reason that some people say that internet content cannot be monetized is because they try to sell advertising for new platforms the same way it’s sold in so-called ‘old media.’ What these new platforms really require is out-of-the-box thinking and a completely different approach.” Leykis has been paid by CBS Radio since his program based at the former hot talk KLSX-FM, Los Angeles was dropped along with the rest of the format. Leykis’ The New Normal will broadcast his new talk program as the CBS contract comes to an end.
Buckley Broadcasting Chief Rick Buckley to Be Honored Posthumously by Broadcasters Foundation of America. At the Broadcasters Foundation of America breakfast held in conjunction with the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas on April 18, the late president and CEO of Buckley Broadcasting will be honored with the Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award. The award honors an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship. It salutes its namesake Lowry Mays and is underwritten by The Clear Channel Foundation and Wiley Rein, LLP. The BFoA states, “Rick Buckley was a beloved and highly respected broadcaster who passed away suddenly this past July from a brain embolism. For more than four decades Buckley led the family-owned Buckley Broadcasting, which includes renowned WOR Radio in New York. He was a longtime member of the Broadcasters Foundation Board of Directors and served as its treasurer for many years. In recognition of his commitment to the charitable mission of the Broadcasters Foundation, The Rick Buckley Memorial Fund was established shortly after his passing.”
ESPN Montana to Provide Local Focus. The Montana Radio Company is bringing the Worldwide Leader in Sports to Montana – a state without any professional sports franchises. Tucker Sargent is project manager for ESPN Montana and he tells the University of Montana’s Montana Kaimin they are developing a website that will serve as the web hub for the three FM stations that will be simulcast in the Helena, Missoula and Great Falls markets. Ben Cately, who does play-by-play for the Missoula Osprey minor league baseball team is hosting the morning drive show that will be featured across the network. Sargent says the network will cover local schools as well, “High school sports have been pretty much completely ignored everywhere in the country. Most other places with an ESPN station are in major markets that have professional and college teams that dominate the scene. And while we still think that the professional teams need to be talked about, the high school sports matter quite a bit and need to get reported on as well.”
GOP Primaries/ 2012 Presidential Race, Afghanistan Civilian Massacre Aftermath, Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program, Syria Violence and Soaring Gas Prices Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/14). The tightening GOP primary race after Rick Santorum’s Tuesday victories and the 2012 presidential race in general; the fragile state of the Afghanistan operations after the killing of 16 civilians by a U.S. soldier; ongoing concern over Iran’s nuclear weapons projects; the Syrian violence against its citizens; and the American public’s concern with rising gasoline prices were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Limbaugh Clarifies Controversial Remarks and Apologizes to Sandra Fluke. Facing mounting critical and advertiser pressure in the aftermath of his harsh commentary about law student Sandra Fluke and her testimony before Congress about birth control (see Friday’s story below), Premiere Networks host Rush Limbaugh has issued the following statement and apology on Saturday evening: “For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke. I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit? In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone’s bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a presidential level. My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.” There has been no official word from Premiere Networks on advertisers leaving Limbaugh’s program but numerous media reports are indicating that advertisers Sleep Train, Select Comfort, ProFlowers, Quicken Loans, Citrix Systems, Carbonite and Legal Zoom have pulled their ads from the program. NBC News is reporting an e-mail from Select Comfort spokeswoman Gabby Nelson states, “Due to recent commentary by Rush Limbaugh that does not align with our values, we’ve made the decision to immediately suspend all advertising on that program.” According to ABC News, ProFlowers said Sunday on its Facebook page that it has suspended advertising on Limbaugh’s program because his comments about Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke “went beyond political discourse to a personal attack and do not reflect our values as a company.”
Threat of Lawsuit Against Limbaugh Raises Legal Questions for Broadcasters. With Rush Limbaugh’s apology to Sandra Fluke in the rear view mirror, Fluke has told the consumer press she is entertaining the idea of suing Limbaugh for his words against her. Those citizens sympathetic to Fluke (and Democratic politicians willing to use the assault on Fluke as a sort of symbol for all that is wrong with talk media) would like to see a Fluke suit succeed. But TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says a case against Limbaugh is a bit murky due to Fluke’s status in the public eye. Weisman reminds us that the Supreme Court has protected journalists commenting on matters of public concern. “Since the landmark case of New York Times v. Sullivan, it has been recognized that public officials could not successfully sue for defamation unless it could be proven that the journalist acted with actual malice – that is that he or she was aware that what he or she was saying was a lie, or a reckless disregard for the truth.” In that decision Justice Brennan even wrote there is a “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open and that it may well include vehement, caustic and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.” But Sandra Fluke is not a public official, is she? No, but Weisman says, “The Supreme Court has refined the standard to make distinctions between involuntary public figures – those who are always public figures – and people such as Sandra Fluke who are public figures on specific issues. As a limited-purpose public figure, Sandra Fluke has, by testifying, put herself into a position where she can be criticized and commented upon in regard to her stated positions with journalists feeling secure that they can make mistakes in commenting about her testimony without legal liability.” But Weisman says that doesn’t necessarily mean clear sailing for Limbaugh should Fluke proceed with legal action. “The extent of Limbaugh’s comments could be considered, however, to be beyond the permissible when dealing with a limited-purpose public figure. Alternatively, it also could be considered that Limbaugh’s comments could be considered to be indefensible even using the lower standard presented by the malice test because his comments could be interpreted as having been made with malice – that is he knew they were false – or made with a reckless disregard for the truth. Thus there may be some significant liability on Limbaugh’s part in regard to libelous comments that he made about Fluke. Limbaugh may argue that his actions were not to be considered as literal and that they were merely hyperbole. He may also argue in his defense that no one would believe what he said to be accurate which might be a fascinating defense that could ultimately hurt him overall more than losing a defamation claim.”
Accurate Analysis of Talk Media Necessary Before Piling on Conservative Commentators. Consumers – and to some extent industry insiders – have been more than willing to condemn conservative commentators such as Rush Limbaugh (and KFI, Los Angeles’ John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou on the regional level) for language that some may say is, at the very least, not civil. But columnist, Fox News Channel analyst and former Clinton Administration official Kirsten Powers writes that liberals may need to clean up their own house before judging Rush Limbaugh. In her piece, “Rush Limbaugh Isn’t the Only Media Misogynist” published by the Daily Beast, Powers calls it a “war on women” and states, “Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, Matt Taibbi, and Ed Schultz have been waging it for years with their misogynist outbursts.” In the piece, Powers illustrates that liberal political and social commentators have made very similar comments as Rush Limbaugh without liberal groups batting an eye at their transgressions. Powers writes about Bill Maher, “But the grand pooh-bah of media misogyny is without a doubt Bill Maher – who also happens to be a favorite of liberals – who has given $1 million to President Obama’s super PAC. Maher has called Palin a ‘dumb twat’ and dropped the C-word in describing the former Alaska governor.” This raises several interesting points. First, yes, Sarah Palin is a politician and not an innocent 30-year-old law student. See TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman’s analysis of that in the piece above. Second, many see what Bill Maher and Rush Limbaugh do for a living as very different. But that’s really not so. Both are entertainers who comment on social and political issues. It’s true that Maher operates on pay cable and Limbaugh on free, over-the-air radio, but there have been no FCC regulations violated in this case so that comparison is moot. Ultimately what’s very possible the entertainment industry – of which talk media is a part – is seeing is a groundswell of public support for a more civil tone in the nation’s public discourse, even when that discourse comes to them through the vehicle of entertainment.
KFI’s John and Ken to Undergo Cultural Sensitivity Training. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles issued a “Memorandum to the Los Angeles Community” in the wake of the John and Ken-Whitney Houston episode that cost the duo a seven-day suspension. The seven-point memo signed by market manager Greg Ashlock, program director Robin Bertolucci and marketing director Neil Saavedra includes assurance that John Koblyt, Ken Chiampou and “key staff and management” will “participate in cultural sensitivity training furthering their awareness of the cultural melting pot that is Southern California.”
Emmis to Make Case to Avoid Delisting. Six months ago Emmis Communications received notice from the Nasdaq Stock Market LLC its stock had to regain compliance with the $1 minimum bid rule in order to continue to be traded on the market. In a Friday SEC filing, Emmis stated, “The Company has requested a hearing before the Panel, which will stay any delisting action in connection with the Staff Determination and allow the continued listing of the Company’s Class A Common Stock on The Nasdaq Global Select Market until the Panel renders a decision subsequent to the hearing. At the hearing, the Company intends to present a plan to regain compliance with the Rule and request that the Panel allow the Company additional time within which to regain compliance. While the Company believes that it will be able to present a viable plan to regain compliance, there can be no assurance that the Panel will grant the Company’s request for continued listing on The Nasdaq Global Select Market, or that the Company’s plans to exercise diligent efforts to maintain the listing of its securities on Nasdaq will be successful.” That chance to plead its case could come by tomorrow.
Radio Pro Paul Barsky Joins WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale for PM Drive. Paul Barsky has worked extensively in the Philadelphia market at music outlets WMMR-FM, WYSP-FM and WPLY-FM and in other markets as well. Now he’s holding down the PM drive shift at James Crystal’s WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale following lead-in talk star Joyce Kaufman.
WGN, Chicago Whittles “Cubs Song” Entries Down to Three. Tribune’s WGN, Chicago is holding a contest for the “next great Cubs song” to be played before each broadcast of Chicago Cubs play-by-play on the station. It solicited more than 300 entries since the contest was announced and has winnowed that down to the final three: “Cubs Win” by 17 Candle, “Let’s Go Cubbies” by The Fold, and “Rockin’ Right at Wrigley” by Derrick Procell. Now it’s up to voters to hit the WGN website to vote on their favorite. The winner will be announced by AM drive host Jonathon Brandmeier on March 16 and the song will be played live during Brandmeier’s Opening Day broadcast on April 5 from the Captain Morgan Club at Wrigley Field.
Opinion: Phil Valentine Says Fear of Offending is Lethal to Talk Show Hosts. Dial Global talk show host Phil Valentine responds to TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer stating just the fear of offending someone puts all talk hosts on a slippery slope and the latest “guidelines” from the Asian American Journalists Association take it to an absurd extreme. Read Phil’s piece here.
Harris Poll of “America’s Favorite News Personalities” Sure to Cause a Stir; Diane Sawyer America’s Fave, Rush Limbaugh Not. This recent poll of 2,016 American adults conducted by Harris Interactive lumps a list of 26 news anchors, interviewers and radio and television talk show hosts into one broad category – “news and current affairs personalities” – and asks the subjects which three are their favorites and which three are their least favorites. The results? Diane Sawyer, Anderson Cooper, Brian Williams and Bill O’Reilly (tied with Barbara Walters) land in the top four spots for favorite. In the least favorite category, Rush Limbaugh, Nancy Grace, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity fill the top four spots. The fact that news anchors and talk show hosts are lumped together for the purposes of this poll is interesting. At TALKERS, we consider them very different animals. One has to wonder how many typical media consumers consider the duties Diane Sawyer handles on a daily basis and what Rush Limbaugh does on his program to be the same or similar (even though Limbaugh often refers to himself as “America’s Anchorman!”) Breaking down the results by political affiliation shows the following results: Among Republicans the four favorites are Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Limbaugh and Diane Sawyer. Among Democrats the four favorites are: Sawyer, Anderson Cooper, Brian Williams (tied for second), and Barbara Walters. What may be the most interesting facet of this poll from a statistical standpoint is independents ranked their top four favorites the same as the “general population”: Sawyer, Cooper, Williams and O’Reilly. If you landed high on the least favorite side of this poll, it apparently doesn’t necessarily hurt your listenership/viewership. While CNN’s AC 360 (Anderson Cooper’s prime time show) garnered 648,000 total viewers (average) during November of last year according to Nielsen, Rush Limbaugh’s estimated weekly cume during the same period was more than 15 million, according to TALKERS. These are not the same measurement systems but the difference is stark, nonetheless. Back to cable/news talk for a moment; MSNBC’s Ed Schultz beat CNN’s AC 360 (head-to-head competition) in the November ’11 Nielsens with 944,000 total viewers. However, Ed Schultz wasn’t even offered as one of the 26 “news and current affairs personalities” to those taking the poll. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was included in the poll. She came in tied for seventh favorite with 7% of all respondents naming her their fave.
Entercom Kansas City Drops Classical for Business Talk Radio on KUDL. Entercom plans to drop the classical music on KUDL 1660 – Radio Bach – and will turn the station to a business talk-formatted outlet as early as this week with an official start on March 5, according to local reports. Former KMBZ talk host Mike Shanin is expected to host an 11:00 am to 1:00 pm program and, according to Bottom Line Communications, the station will be closely aligned with and cross-promoted by sister news/talk KMBZ-AM/FM. While there is no official word from Entercom Kansas City, it’s being reported the station will carry programming from the Wall Street Journal Radio Network, Bloomberg Radio and is developing more local programming. Entercom donated its classical music library to Kansas Public Radio and University of Kansas.
Black Leaders in Southern California Still Upset with John and Ken. KFI, Los Angeles PM drive hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou returned to the air yesterday after a seven-day suspension for using the words “crack ho” while discussing the death of Whitney Houston. There are black leaders in Los Angeles still upset the duo have not been fired and the Los Angeles Times reports California State Senator Curren D. Price, Jr. was one of a number of black leaders scheduled to meet with Clear Channel management yesterday before John and Ken took to the air. Citing the duo’s penchant for controversy, the leaders are asking for KFI to replace them. Senator Price is quoted in the Times saying, “There are many thoughtful and talented journalists in Southern California. KFI-AM needs to replace John and Ken with some of them. I’m sure their radio sponsors will be grateful.”
Photographer Takes Radio Station to the Court of Public Opinion. Harrison Strategies senior partner and broadcasting attorney Matthew B. Harrison writes that it is important to know more about intellectual property law than just enough to avoid litigation. Disputes involving intellectual property aren’t always played out civilly within the established legal system. Brawls are erupting in the Wild West of social networking, where threats of litigation don’t have much standing and unconventional is the nature of attacks. Read Harrison’s column here.
CBS Sports Network Debuts; Jim Rome Debuts April 3. The CBS Sports Network is up and running in time for the college basketball post-season. CBS’ new cable and satellite channel will attempt to capitalize on CBS’ long history of sports programming and will use personality-based shows to try to compete with ESPN. Premiere Networks talk radio star Jim Rome is leaving ESPN to take his cable TV show to CBS Sports Network beginning April 3. Veteran television and radio sports personality Tim Brando’s 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET daily radio talk show on Yahoo! Sports Radio is being simulcast on the new channel.
“America’s Healthcare Advocate” Hits 60 Affiliate Mark. The Kansas City-based “America’s Healthcare Advocate” show hosted by Cary Hall announces it is now heard on 60 affiliate stations across the country. Hall states, “If you would have asked me seven years ago whether this show would be nationally syndicated on 60 stations coast to coast, I would have said, ‘impossible!’ It’s amazing to me how we continue to grow. Obviously the ongoing debate over PPACA (aka ObamaCare) has generated a tremendous amount of interest in our broadcast. Additionally, the informative shows we are able to do with nationally recognized experts in the health insurance and healthcare industries make us the go-to source across the country for information on these topics.”
GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, New WikiLeaks Release, Oscars and Ohio School Shooting Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/27). The GOP primaries on the eve of the Michigan and Arizona primaries, the continuing concern over Iran’s nuclear weapons program, WikiLeaks’ release of e-mails from a U.S. security firm, the Academy Awards and the shooting at an Ohio high school that left one student dead were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Irish Eyes Are Smilin’. Irish Radio Network USA chairman and CEO Adrian Flannelly (r) and his wife and Irish News Network VP and executive producer Aine Sheridan (c) will be honored with the 2012 Ambassador of Ireland Award to be presented by the Saint Patrick’s Committee of Holyoke and the Republic of Ireland on Sunday, March 18, 2012 at the Yankee Pedlar Inn in Holyoke, Massachusetts by Consul General Michael Lonergan. Seated at left is Springfield City Councilor, former WHYN, Springfield talk show host and member of the Ambassador’s Award committee Kateri Walsh appearing on Flannelly’s program to announce this year’s recipients. The Ambassador’s Award recognizes individuals whose activities have brought the people of the United States and Ireland closer together. Flannelly and Sheridan are being honored together as a husband and wife whose professional careers personify that bridge-between-people that this prestigious award represents.
JUPITER, FL – Greetings from the Jupiter office of TALKERS. I’ve been spending the winter at our condo down here in Palm Beach Gardens with my husband Murray, the retired dentist, and it has been simply wonderful! Done a bit of traveling around the state and let me tell you, there’s some really good radio in Florida. Especially some of the local shows that trade publications never write about.
For example, I found a little gem of a talk show tucked away weekends on, of all things, an adult music station. It is hosted by an absolutely dazzling lady that I’m sure many of you will remember from her colorful film, media and show business history. But before I get to that, I must share with you a deliciously juicy rumor that I am almost certain is true involving two of the biggest stars in progressive talk radio…
Schultz and Hartmann are cooperating for the greater good!
That’s right, get this!
It is no secret that the progressive branch of the news/talk world has had its share of obstacles to overcome – weak-signaled outlets, poor business strategies (Air America), a slow start jumping into the modern talk era fray and a less sharply-defined target audience than conservative talk has been able to galvanize — just to name a handful.
Then there has been “The Great Ed Schultz-Thom Hartmann Scheduling Conflict” – otherwise known in the laws of physics as two objects not being able to occupy the same space at the same time. (Well, I’m not really sure if that actually is a law of physics – especially with String Theory and all that far out stuff that Michio Kaku talks about on the Science Channel – but you get my drift.)
For years, station programmers wanting to cobble together a decent progressive talk radio line-up and create a time-spent-listening feeding frenzy have had to deal with the inconvenient fact that the genre’s two biggest players both broadcast their midday programs live at the same friggin’ time! They are both in the studio between 12:00 noon and 3:00 pm ET. How frustrating that must be for the good folks at Dial Global who represent both of these acts (and have for years been earnest supporters of the progressive talk radio movement).
Unapologetic Progressive Talk Media Star Ed Schultz Wins Hubert Humphrey Award from Teachers Union; Forging Ahead Undaunted in Election Year. Progressive talk media icon Ed Schultz – seen nightly on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” and heard daily on his nationally syndicated Dial Global radio program – recently accepted the 2012 Hubert Humphrey Humanitarian Award from the United Federation of Teachers at the organization’s Social Studies Conference on February 4. Schultz was recognized for his work backing the stance of teachers unions in 2011. Schultz says, “I’m just excited to receive this award and I’m very appreciative of the recognition. We’ve worked hard in supporting teachers and public education and to have my name on the same plaque with Hubert Humphrey is certainly an honor.” Schultz tells TALKERS magazine he makes no apologies for the fact that he operates a political talk show and he sees his role as disseminating the truth about President Obama’s record. “I think people listening to liberal talk want to see the president defended. There’s been so much negativity…I think we end up becoming a filtering house on what is the truth and what is the record.” From an industrial standpoint, Schultz says he believes his program has all the elements it needs to keep an audience interested and he points to his nine years of success as proof. He takes the opportunity to question the political motives of major broadcasting operators. “There are companies out there that will not program any type of progressive talk. You have a ceiling of maybe 100 stations, you have some independent owners out there…it’s still a right-wing industry. Whether it’s Obama’s re-election campaign, no candidate is going to change the landscape of who owns signals.” Schultz’s anger about the misconceptions he believes the radio industry holds about the potential of progressive talk is hard to miss. He tells TALKERS, “Don’t give me this garbage that we don’t sell because we do, and I’m tired of that conversation. I was supposed to last 90 days; I’m in year number nine.”
KFI, Los Angeles Suspends John and Ken for Whitney Houston Comments. The Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan tips TALKERS that Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles is suspending PM drive duo John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou for comments about Whitney Houston. The station says, “Effective immediately, KFI AM 640 hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou have been suspended for making insensitive and inappropriate comments about the late Whitney Houston. KFI AM 640 management does not condone, support or tolerate statements of this kind.” John Kobylt says in the statement, “We made a mistake and we accept the station’s decision. We used language that was inappropriate and we sincerely apologize to our listeners and to the family of Ms. Houston.” During a discussion of Houston’s passing and reported drug abuse John Kobylt said, “At some point you’re just sick of it all, and so is everybody else in the industry. All her friends and hangers on, everybody who knew had to deal with her. It’s like ‘Ah Jesus…here comes the crack ho again, what’s she gonna do? Ah look at that she’s doin’ handstands next to the pool. Very good crack ho…’ After while everybody’s exhausted. And then you find out she’s dead. It’s like, ‘Really? Took this long?’” The station reports John and Ken will return to the air on February 27.
Clear Channel Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Embroiled in Bizarre Legal Tangle Stemming from Alleged Hit-and-Run. KTRH, Houston talk show host and former Houston city councilman Michael Berry is being accused of hitting another car outside a bar in Houston and taking off. The accuser is the owner of the car that got hit but the complicating circumstances are the pub in question is a well-known gay bar in the city and the establishment’s security cameras appear to confirm the conservative Berry was inside the bar. What’s complicating the issue further is the allegation the city’s hit-and-run division did not investigate the incident fully, perhaps because it involved Berry. KPRC-TV reports the Harris County District Attorney’s office met with Houston Police Department officials for three hours on February 16 asking officers involved why a full investigation wasn’t done. Police are being asked to reinvestigate the matter. Berry said on his radio show that he can’t talk about it but that listeners should “just trust that there are two sides to every story.” At issue according to KPRC-TV is that several witnesses say they told police they saw Berry behind the wheel but authorities maintain they were not told that during the initial investigation after which they decided not to file charges.
The Fox News-Media Matters Battle Heats Up; The Daily Caller Reports MM’s Tax Exempt Status Under Scrutiny. The non-profit Media Matters for America organization makes no bones about its campaign against Fox News and its programming. In May of last year the organization created the DropFox.com website designed to convince advertisers to end marketing campaigns on the cable news/talk channel. Now, The Hollywood Reporter writes that Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel-founded The Daily Caller is supplying Fox News with “ammunition” from its own reporting alleging Media Matters “coordinates its messages with the White House, a no-no for a tax-exempt organization that claims to be nonpartisan.” The Daily Caller also claims Republican lawmakers are looking into the tax status of Media Matters. Tucker Carlson is a regular contributor to Fox News Channel and this relationship led the news and opinion blog Mediaite to ask if Fox and The Daily Caller are working to together to which Fox told Mediaite, “There is absolutely no coordination with The Daily Caller” and Fox doesn’t know what is motivating Carlson’s timing on the reporting. The Daily Caller promises the next in the series about Media Matters alleges the organization has written scripts for NBC News.
Stacy Taylor Weekend Program to Leave KGO, San Francisco. Rich Lieberman 415 Media reports San Diego-based talk host Stacy Taylor is off the weekend schedule at Cumulus Media Group’s KGO, San Francisco. Lieberman says Taylor told him, “I’m disappointed, but that’s the way the business is today.” Taylor’s Saturday and Sunday afternoon program – which will air the final editions this weekend – is reportedly being replaced by a newsier program hosted by the station’s Pat Thurston. Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story stated that Christine Craft was a co-host of the Stacy Taylor program and was also let go from KGO. Craft is a fill-in host at KGO — not affiliated with Taylor — and remains at the station in that capacity. TALKERS regrets the error.
“Coast To Coast AM” Host George Noory Helps Raise Funds for Contributor’s Medical Bills. The host of the Premiere Networks late night program learned that frequent expert guest Mitch Barros – a weather/earth science reporter and creator of the “Earth Changes Media” podcast – was dealing with dreadful medical bills due to his newborn daughter Sophia’s heart complications. George Noory enlisted the help of his loyal listeners and helped raise more than $18,000 to help Barros pay the outstanding bill. Noory states, “I want to thank the “Coast to Coast AM” listeners for their generosity. Thanks to them, Mitch and his family can focus on what matters most – Sophia’s continued health and wellness.”
WOR, New York Celebrates 90 Years on the Air. Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, New York is celebrating its 90th year on the air in the New York City area. The station first signed on February 22, 1922 from Bamberger’s Department Store in Newark, New Jersey. Vice president and general manager Jerry Crowley says, “From the moment we first signed on the air with a broadcast of Al Jolson’s ‘April Showers,’ generations of listeners have counted on WOR for the best in information and entertainment. We are not only proud of our rich history, but also of our present stature as one of the top talk stations in the country and home of New York morning radio’s top-rated show. The years ahead look brighter than ever for WOR.” The station says it will commemorate its 90 years of continuous broadcasting by airing a series of archival audio pieces over the next week and a half, as well as remembrances and reflections from its current air staff. A larger celebration is being planned for later this year.
Ronnie “Night Train” Lane Exits Genesis’ WHBO, Tampa. Afternoon “Prime Time” co-host Ronnie “Night Train” Lane has been let go by Genesis Communications’ sports talk WHBO, Tampa. Lane tells the Tampa Bay Times he was very surprised by the move. “I asked if the decision was performance based. And all I was told was ‘We’re taking the show in another direction.’ That’s all I got. That’s all I was told.” Host Tom Krasniqi continues hosting the PM drive show solo. The two had been together co-hosting the show for the past 18 months. Last summer the station let third personality, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Mark Carrier, go from the program.
Conservative Talk Radio Documentary Getting Attention (and Ratings!) on Public TV in Milwaukee. Former talk radio producer and talk show host Brien Farley’s new documentary film “Liberty or Lies?” examines the popularity of conservative talk radio in the Milwaukee market. The film was initially a graduate level independent study that took off and eventually found a home on Milwaukee Public Television where a two-hour version of the film premiered on January 30 from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm and aired again on February 4. Interestingly, Farley’s work on the film began just before Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Republican state officials faced recall elections in 2011 that put the state in the center of the national discourse about public policy relative to public workers’ labor rights. Farley’s film covers talk radio in the market from the perspectives of its biggest local stars, its biggest media critics and many perspectives in between. He tells TALKERS that local response to the film has been excellent noting that public television audience research firm TRAC Media Services reported the film garnered a 2.7 share for the January 30 airing. Farley is an admitted fan of the format and says he believes the Milwaukee news/talk stations serve the market well. “I think the Milwaukee market is a fantastic example of the vibrancy and power of news/talk radio when done right. The programmers at WISN and WTMJ are very tuned into their audiences and responsive to what the people want…which is the real power of the news/talk format. They’ve also corralled some excellent homegrown talent which means a lot to local listeners.” The question, “Why is conservative talk radio successful?” is an ongoing curiosity among many mainstream journalists. In fact it’s a question TALKERS editors are asked almost daily by journalists working in the consumer media. Farley says he believes his film, in many ways, shows Milwaukee to be a microcosm of news/talk’s success on the national level. “AM radio is perhaps the lowest rung of the broadcast venues and yet the impact of the genre is huge! In Wisconsin, this was manifest in the November 2010 election results in which we saw the most comprehensive turnover in power – from Democrat to Republican – of any state in the country. This would not have happened without Milwaukee’s conservative talk radio. And now with the attempted recall of Republican Governor Scott Walker, conservatives, right-leaning independents and converted Democrats are flocking to talk hosts like Jay Weber and Vicki McKenna of WISN and Charlie Sykes and Jeff Wagner of WTMJ to hear the latest and find out what they can do to join the fight. Like it or not, Wisconsin is becoming a very different place because of conservative talk radio. I believe the same can be said of our nation thanks to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin et al.” Read more about Farley’s film and watch it here.
Phil Valentine’s “An Inconsistent Truth” Premiers in Memphis Tonight. The independently produced film by Nashville-based talk show host Phil Valentine and director Shayne Edwards that challenges contemporary theories of global warming, premiers in Memphis after several weeks in Nashville where Valentine calls it the “top-grossing event in theatres” there. Valentine is getting sponsorship and promotional help from MPS Broadcasting which operates news/talk WMPS, Memphis. MPS Broadcasting president Mark Skoda – who also hosts his own show on the station – says, “Phil’s new film is both entertaining and informative. It not only offers insights into the scientific skepticism of the global warming debate, but entertains as well. I have to say that after watching a copy of the film, this is a completely enjoyable 90 minutes of fun. And Phil brings his wit and sarcasm to the movie as few can. I hope our listeners will come out and join us for some fun in this premier event.”
Jacqueline Cohen Named National Account Manager at Dial Global. Jacqueline Cohen comes to Dial Global after 11 years with Cumulus Media Networks. She’ll be based in Los Angeles. Dial Global EVP of national sales Chris Long states, “It’s exciting whenever you can add someone as talented as Jacqueline to your team. She is a perfect fit for Dial Global and will do a great job representing us to the major agencies and advertisers on the West Coast.”
GOP Primary/2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 13-17. The GOP primary race and the larger 2012 presidential campaign was #1 on the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio. At #2 was the violence in Syria and America’s response. Coming in at #3 was the Iran-Israel tensions and at #4 was President Obama’s 2013 budget. The Talkers TenTM chart is the result of ongoing research by TALKERS and is published at Talkers.com every Friday. See the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Dial Global’s “Overnight America” with John Grayson is added to the lineup at WMPS, Memphis…..WSJM, Benton Harbor, Michigan adds “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge to the weeknight lineup and WKZO, Kalamazoo, Michigan adds FTL’s live Sunday edition…..The independently syndicated Armstrong Williams show recently debuted on WTNT-AM/FM, Washington and WGNU, St. Louis.
Walter Sabo Leaves COO Position at Merlin Media. Noted radio consultant Walter Sabo has parted ways with Randy Michaels’ Merlin Media, the heavily venture capital-backed firm that acquired a majority share of three radio stations this past summer from Jeff Smulyan’sEmmis Broadcasting including WEMP-FM, New York and WWWN-FM, Chicago and is in the process of picking up a fourth from Harold Camping’s Family Broadcasting – WKDN-FM, in the Philadelphia market. Merlin launched a relatively experimental all-news format at these stations targeted to what Sabo described as “working families” with an emphasis on the 25-54 female demographic. The stations (FM News 101.9 in New York and FM News 101.1 in Chicago) received a tremendous amount of attention (and intense scrutiny) in the media before, during and after their launch prompted by former Tribune Company CEO Michaels’ negatively colorful and controversial profile, in addition to the fact that they were taking a startlingly innovative and youthful approach to delivering the all-news format. Sabo was recruited to serve as architect of this approach due to his impeccable reputation as a longtime champion of the concept of targeting female listeners on FM and proven track record for success with spoken word on FM as a longtime consultant for WKXW-FM, Trenton (New Jersey 101.5). When a notable rise in ratings failed to materialize in immediately subsequent survey periods coupled with widespread criticism by radio industry observers of the stations’ formats and execution – further exacerbated by Michaels receiving negative publicity in the midst of all this for being arrested on DUI charges – the heat was on and Michaels began facing enormous internal and external pressure to modify the programming approach. He succumbed and the Merlin stations began moving in a more traditional all-news direction putting them in head-to-head competition with CBS’s long-established, traditional and wildly successful all-news outlets in New York and Chicago (WINS, WCBS and WBBM). With this repositioning, the challenge of competing against successful, established news outlets has not produced increased ratings and the Merlin all-news initiative has become prematurely tagged throughout the industry as a monumental failure. Sabo’s withdrawal from day-to-day operational and programming decisions, including his subsequent departure from Merlin, has been quietly happening below the radar for some time now. Up until this article’s publication (1/2), there has been no official press release, acknowledgement or statement from either Merlin or Sabo confirming or commenting on his exit. However,TALKERS sources inside Merlin and close to Sabo confirm that it is indeed true with Sabo telling TALKERS,“At this time my work with Merlin is complete. The primary job was to build the most competitive team on and off the air – Merlin has the best. Our initiatives gave investors the confidence to buy a station in a third market and grow the company. GTCR deserves enormous credit for investing in the radio medium. FM spoken-word is so hot that the demand for Sabo Media services has never been greater. Our clients find that our decades of experience in the FM talk format protects their investment and shortens the profit horizon. More importantly my beautiful wife Katie is seven months pregnant during the holidays. That’s the news.” Sabo will continue to serve as CEO of his consulting firm Sabo Media and internet branding and marketing company, HitViews.
Fox Sports Radio Network Debuts New Morning Program Featuring Andy Furman and Artrell Hawkins. Today is the debut of Fox Sports Radio Network’s new morning show – “Fox Sports Daybreak” – heard from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET and featuring former Cincinnati sports talk host Andy Furman and retired NFL defensive back Artrell Hawkins. Furman’s resume includes an 18-year run hosting “Sports Talk” at WLW, Cincinnati and, recently, the PM drive show at WQRT, Cincinnati. Hawkins is a contributor to the Cincinnati Bengals Radio Network. Furman has been hosting a weekend show with former NFL star Lincoln Kennedy for more than a year and that Sunday evening program with Furman and Kennedy will continue. Fox Sports Radio VP/GM Don Martin states, “We couldn’t be happier to have Andy and Artrell hosting our new morning drive program. The combination of a sports talk pro like Andy and a former professional football player like Artrell will be a great addition to our weekday lineup.” Fox Sports Daybreak replaces the Zakk and Jack program on the FSRN schedule.
Cumulus Media Flips WMTI-FM, New Orleans from Oldies to Sports Talk. The Big Easy gets a new sports talk outlet as Cumulus Media drops the oldies on WMTI-FM and goes sports talk with programming from Fox Sports Radio Network, Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome and a PM drive show hosted by New Orleans Hornets broadcaster Gerry Vaillancourt.
New FM Talk Outlet for Little Rock. Crain Media Group drops the active rock on KKSP-FM, Bryant, Arkansas (located to the Northwest of Little Rock) and debuts a talk format it’s calling “Fresh Talk 93.3.” The lineup includes market news personality Neal Gladner in morning drive, Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham, Dial Global’s Clark Howard, Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” and more.
Progressive Talk Appears on WVKO, Columbus. The station at 1580 AM is owned by Bernard Ohio LLC and its website indicates it’s doing business as Clear Conscience Communications. The progressive talk lineup that debuted on January 2 includes Dial Global’s Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann and Bill Press plus Mike Malloy and Leslie Marshall.
Chris Schoenewald Exits Virginia-Based “Daily Constitutional” Program. The regionally syndicated “Daily Constitutional” – based out of WCHV-AM/FM, Charlottesville, Virginia and co-hosted by Joe Thomas and Chris Schoenewald – is undergoing changes as Schoenewald is leaving the program to run for office. He plans to announce which office he’ll seek soon. Thomas tells TALKERS the program will continue. “Adam Forster of Virginia Living Television and private investigator/TV anchor Nikki Lewis will be purchasing Schoenewald’s share and we’re hopeful to continue to grow and help stations in this area program locally oriented talk while freeing up their resources for news and marketing efforts.” The “Daily Constitutional” airs live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. In addition, Thomas hosts the morning drive program on WCHV-AM/FM.
Sam Malone in Israel. KSEV, Houston morning host Sam Malone is pictured here inspecting the cockpit of an Israeli F-16 during a tour of the Hatzor Air Force Base while on a trip to Israel. Malone broadcast his program live back to his Houston audience (via the very capable technology of the Comrex ACCESS) during which he interviewed numerous Houstonians serving in the IDF, important Israeli media figures and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. Malone tells TALKERS magazine his audience loved the content and his marketing department was able to get the broadcast event sponsored.
Iowa Caucuses, Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions, Holiday Sports Action and New Year Retrospectives Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/2). Today’s Iowa Caucuses for GOP candidates, the nuclear ambitions of the Iranian leadership, college and pro holiday sports action and 2011 retrospectives were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Mark Levin Attacks Michael Savage Over Gingrich Offer; Raises Question of Legality of Savage’s Actions. In response to Talk Radio Network star Michael Savage’s offer of $1 million to Newt Gingrich to drop out of the GOP race for the presidential nomination, Cumulus Media Networks talk host Mark Levin broadcast an offer to Savage to quit his radio program for good for the sum of $100,000. Now, clearly Levin is toying with Savage in the spirit of a good old fashioned radio war – according to the Daily Caller, he stated on his program, “Let me tell you, that’s extremely generous on my part because he’s already going nowhere…That’s right — he’s losing affiliates left and right. That’s what happens when you take your audience for granted and take your affiliates for granted.” But Levin also asked if Savage’s offer to Gingrich was a “legal bribe.” TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says the federal government generally leaves the policing of elections to the states but that some states have statutes prohibiting this behavior. South Carolina, for example, specifically prohibits offering or accepting or attempting to offer or accept money or other forms of compensation to induce a person to file or withdraw from an election. Violation could mean a fine of $10,000 or up to a year in jail but Weisman says the likelihood of a South Carolina prosecutor seeking charges in this instance would be slim. They would probably interpret it as a radio stunt and not what the statute was intended to prohibit. Nonetheless, at least in South Carolina, Savage’s offer is technically illegal.
Cumulus Media Networks Partners with Benztown Branding. This partnership brings together two of the industry’s largest production and imaging operations. Under the terms of the deal, Cumulus will manage the affiliation and ad sales for all of the Benztown Branding imaging and production libraries and in return, Benztown will manage the production of Cumulus’ stable of production services. Additionally, Cumulus will handle ad sales for Benztown programs including: “Roundtrip with Dave O,” “Dr. Bruce Hensel,” “The Storm Report,” “Old Farmer’s Almanac,” “The Todd N Tyler Radio Empire,” “The Bring It Minute with Tony Horton” and “Race Report Update.” Cumulus inked a deal to manage ad sales for Benztown’s “Melissa Etheridge Radio Show” earlier this year.” Cumulus Media Networks production libraries and imaging services affected by this deal include: Adrenaline, Ambush, Horsepower, Goldmine, Avalanche and Turbulence. Cumulus SVP of affiliate sales and broadcast services Dennis Green says, “This partnership is an outstanding opportunity to enhance the portfolios of both companies by combining some of the most talented and creative producers and designers in radio with our dedicated sales and affiliation teams. Benztown brings tremendous category knowledge to the table and has an extremely successful track record of delivering innovative services for stations. Working together allows us to broaden the scope of our collective efforts.”
Cincinnati Talk Host Andy Furman Resigns from WQRT. Andy Furman has hosted the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm talk show on Christian Broadcasting System’s WQRT, Florence, Kentucky for the past two years. He tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter that his last broadcast is Friday, December 16 but that he can’t say more because he’s “in a precarious situation.” Kiesewetter surmises Furman has a new deal that he can’t talk about just yet. Furman was a longtime sports talk host at Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati but exited that station three years ago. He’s been hosting some weekend programming for Fox Sports Radio Network in addition to his work in Cincinnati.
Jeff Weber to Resign from Blue Star Media Post. Blue Star Media owns and operates the Business TalkRadio Network and the Lifestyle TalkRadio Network as well as stations in the Stamford/Norwalk, Connecticut market and in Las Vegas, Pittsburgh and Boston. Jeff Weber has served as executive vice president of the company for the past 10 years but says he’ll step down at the end of the year. “I am extremely proud of our company’s growth since I joined it. It’s been very gratifying to see us increase the affiliate base of 112 stations airing BTRN’s programming to more than 1,000 now carrying the shows of LTRN and BTRN. In addition, the acquisition of our four radio properties helped round out a solid company.”
Clear Channel Brings Progressive Talk to Milwaukee on an HD-3 Channel. One of the country’s more successful progressive talk outlets is Clear Channel’s WXXM-FM, Madison, Wisconsin – 92.1 The Mic. Now, the company announces it’s simulcasting the station to the larger Milwaukee market on the HD-3 channel of Hip Hop WKKV-FM. Operations manager Tim Scott says, “92.1 The Mic is arguably one of the most successful progressive talk stations in the country. The upcoming presidential election and the political atmosphere in this state makes now the perfect time for progressive talk to expand its message to Wisconsin’s largest market.” It’s interesting to note that WXXM-FM almost flipped from progressive talk several years ago but a strong outcry from fans of the station convinced CC management that Madison was a market worthy of keeping the format. 92.1 The Mic features a stable of syndicated talk including Dial Global’s Bill Press, Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann and Ed Schultz plus Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes, Premiere Networks’ Randi Rhodes plus local talk host Doug Cunningham.
WTDY, Madison Gets FM Simulcast. Mid-West Family Stations takes the 106.7 frequency licensed to Mount Horeb, Wisconsin west of Madison and airs news/talk WTDY on the signal to complement its 1670 AM signal. WTDY-FM at 106.7 is a class A FM situated pretty far to the west of Madison. Fortunately, that part of Wisconsin is pretty flat.
TALKERS Offers Free Ads for Open Jobs. As a service to the talk media industry, TALKERS is making its online Jobs section available to any and all legitimate employers with positions to fill beginning immediately. Broadcasters and talk media-affiliated businesses with job openings should send position descriptions, requirements and contact information to TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey at: email@example.com. Also, be sure to let us know when the position is filled so we can pull the ad off our site. TALKERS keeps all job posting information strictly confidential and reserves the right to reject any ad for any reason.
2012 Presidential Race, Iran/U.S. Drone Case, End of U.S. Iraq Involvement and Euro Zone Debt Crisis/Markets Reaction Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/13). The ongoing battle between GOP candidates for president in 2012, the case of the U.S. drone Iran claims to possess, the coming end of U.S. military involvement in Iraq, the euro zone debt crisis and the reaction by the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research by TALKERS.
MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Moves to the 8:00 pm Hour. MSNBC brass are stirring up the pot in an attempt to boost its ratings by flipping “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” and Ed Schultz’s “The Ed Show.” Schultz will air at 8:00 pm ET and O’Donnell at 10:00 pm. MSNBC president Phil Griffin believes Schultz’s style is a better fit for the 8:00 pm hour and a better lead-in to its highest-rated show, “The Rachel Maddow Show.” Although O’Donnell’s program has more than doubled the ratings over CNN competitor Anderson Cooper, O’Donnell’s ratings in the 25-54 demo have dropped over the last month while Schultz’s have increased. Griffin states, “As the name implies, ‘The Last Word’ belongs at the conclusion of our programming day, thoughtfully wrapping up the day’s political dialogue. Ed’s passionate voice is a perfect kick-off to primetime at 8:00 pm.” The changes take place Monday, October 24.
KQTH-FM, Tucson Morning Host Jon Justice Gets ‘Best of Tucson’ Honors. This is the second year in a row that morning drive host Jon Justice has been honored with the ‘Best Radio Personality’ award and the third that he’s nabbed the ‘Best Talk Show Host’ award in the readers poll from Tucson Weekly. KQTH-FM program director Ryan McCreddan says of the honors, “Congratulations to Jon Justice on his wins in the Tucson Weekly’s 2011 Best of Tucson! Jon and ‘104.1 The Truth’ have some of the most loyal listeners in town and it shows over and over again with accolades like this.”
Fox Business Network Receives Orders to Differentiate from Fox News Channel. It appears that Fox Business Network programming has been drifting toward the same appearance as its sister cable news/talker Fox News Channel. So much so that EVP of programming Kevin Magee issued a memo to FBN staff to stop imitating FNC, according to Reuters. Magee confirmed the memo to Reuters and told the news service that Fox Business has to continue to focus its programming on business-related issues and find its own voice. In the memo Magee wrote, “The more we make FBN look like FNC the more of a disservice we do to ourselves. If we give the audience a choice between FNC and the almost-FNC, they will choose FNC every time. Earnings, taxes, jobs etc give us PLENTY to chew on.” Fox Business has not fared well in the ratings compared to its closest competitor CNBC.
KOA, Denver Adds Broncos QB Tim Tebow to its Football Coverage. The newest Denver Broncos starting quarterback will make four weekly appearances on KOA during this football season. Tim Tebow will be heard on the station’s Broncos coverage Monday mornings, Friday afternoons (with former Bronco Dave Logan) on the game day pre-game show (taped, obviously) and live from the locker room after each game.
WGN, Chicago’s Dean Richards Hosts Annual Breast Cancer Special. For the past 14 years, WGN-TV entertainment reporter and WGN-AM weekend talk host Dean Richards has been hosting a special breast cancer program during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and he’ll do it again on Saturday, October 23 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. The live, three-hour special will examine where we are in the fight against breast cancer and feature a panel of the nation’s leading medical experts, moving survivor stories, resources for cancer patients, the latest research and more.
What Happens in Vegas… The GOP primary race has been a boon for news/talk radio with all of the colorful characters and talk radio’s unique relationship with the candidates. For Dial Global syndicated talk host Neal Boortz, his relationship with candidate Newt Gingrich is personal – Gingrich has subbed as a host of his program (as has candidate Hermain Cain). Pictured here is Boortz (r) and Gingrich (l) at the most recent GOP debate in Las Vegas.
2012 Presidential Race/GOP Debate Aftermath, ‘Occupy’ Movement, Obama Jobs Bill and Exotic Animal Owner Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/19). The aftermath of the Tuesday evening GOP candidates debate and the 2012 presidential election , the ‘Occupy’ movement, the battle over the Obama Administration’s jobs bill and the bizarre case of the Ohio exotic animal owner’s suicide and unleashing of dozens of wild animals were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Big Eddie: Walkin’ the Walk. MSNBC and Dial Global progressive talk star Ed Schultz sits down with TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison and says he’s committed to the causes he talks about on his programs in a very hands-on way. He’s personally worked to assist Katrina victims, stood behind the public union workers in Wisconsin and is organizing free health care clinics in New Orleans. Schultz also tells Harrison he’s not afraid to criticize President Obama and often takes guff from fellow progressives when he does. On his media experiences Schultz says he knows the life span of a cable TV talk host can be very short but he makes no excuses for being himself — both on the radio and on TV — and is very proud of his “upstream swim” to success. Read the interview here.
Don’t Miss Michael Harrison at the Radio Show! TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison delivers his annual “State of Talk Media” address at the NAB/RAB-produced event in Chicago today (9/14) from 10:30 am to 11:45 am at the Hyatt Regency Chicago C/D. Today Harrison will discuss the current state and immediate future of talk radio and its related venues and presents his “10 things broadcasters need to know about the enormous changes taking place in talk radio” right now.
Talk Radio Programming Pro Len Weiner Heads Florida Cluster. The Genesis Communications-owned stations in the Tampa market – all-news WWBA, news/talk WMGG and sports WHBO – have a new programmer in radio pro Len Weiner. His programming resume includes WGN, Chicago; WMVP, Chicago; KMPC, Los Angeles and a decade spent at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut. Now he heads south to take the official title market program manager at the Genesis cluster.
TRN’s Michael Savage Releases New Fiction Thriller. Savage is no stranger to bestselling books – he’s penned eight of them. Now he’s out with a fast-paced fiction thriller titled, Abuse of Power (St. Martin’s Press 2011) – the story of a “hardened former war correspondent… smeared as a bigot and extremist by a radical leftist media-watchdog group…who uncovers a chilling terrorist plot.” A release states that Savage’s own experiences – including being banned from Britain by former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith – influenced this work.
Citadel Media Very High on Hot ABC Digital Product. Citadel Media says the ABC Digital service from ABC News Radio is one of the network’s fastest-growing products with 350 affiliations to date. The service that delivers customized, format-specific news and music/entertainment feeds directly to radio station websites has inked affiliation deals with several broadcast companies in the past month including Midwest Communications, Merlin Media, Three Eagles Communications, Journal Broadcast Group, Next Media, Times-Shamrock Communications, and JVC Broadcasting. ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones says, “When we break news, we alert our key radio station contacts so they can promote their leadership position on-air and drive listeners to their station’s site. This is a strong engagement feature that helps our customers increase their digital audience while seamlessly linking the on-air and online experiences.” ABC Digital offers brief stories from news categories such as World, National, Politics, Business, Entertainment and Health/Lifestyle, which are produced and updated 24 hours a day. Photos, slides and graphics accompany each story. The service can also be tailored for music-formatted stations to focus on stories about key artists for the major radio music formats.
Tea Party GOP Debate, Obama’s Sinking Approval Ratings, Jobs Bill and Race for Weiner Seat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/13). The performances of the GOP contenders for president at the Tea Party Debate, President Obama’s low approval ratings, the jobs bill Obama is presenting to Congress and Republican Bob Turner’s victory for the New York Congressional seat held by disgraced Democrat Anthony Weiner were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Dancing Cheek to Cheek. That’s Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher cutting the rug with Minnesota Congresswoman and GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann in Tampa. The photo was taken at the presidential debate “Watching Party” sponsored by Salem Communications news/talk outlet WGUL, Tampa that catered to an “overflow crowd.” Several candidates stopped by the party — emceed by Gallagher — after the debate. Salem Radio Network VP of news and talk programming Tom Tradup says, “Anytime you can herd hundreds of WGUL listeners together with a half dozen presidential candidates and everyone leaves smiling, I’d call that a successful station event!”