Tag: "Emmis Communications"
Glenn Beck and Saudi Student Settle Suit Over Boston Marathon Bombing Accusation. TALKERS readers who’ve been following this story are aware that Glenn Beck and his media firm TheBlaze were being sued by a Saudi Arabian student – Abdulrahman Alharbi – whom Beck continued to allege was the “money man” behind the terror attack at the 2013 Boston Marathon even after the feds had investigated and cleared him. Alharbi was also injured in the bombing. Now comes news that the sides have settled and as is usually the case in settlements such as this, neither party is admitting any fault and the terms of the settlement are not being disclosed. In August, U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris had ordered TheBlaze to reveal its sources that Beck, et al, had cited as the basis for its actions. Beck and TheBlaze refused to do so. In a joint statement after the settlement, the sides said, in part, “Defendants have agreed to settlement of the pending action in furtherance of fundamental principles of journalistic integrity by preserving the confidentiality of their sources consistent with their rights and privileges under the First Amendment. The Plaintiff has pursued this action for the reasons set forth in his Complaint and believes those interests have been served by this resolution.” It’s unclear how much Alharbi stood to gain if he prevailed in a trial because Judge Saris had previously ruled that Alharbi would not be allowed to sue for punitive damages or the charge of unjust enrichment against the defendants.
Oregon Judge Recommends TRN Suit Against Cumulus Be Dismissed; TRN Attorney Plans Objection. As reported by Law 360, U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark D. Clarke is recommending that the antitrust suit filed by Talk Radio Network Enterprises against Cumulus Media, Compass Media Networks, Lew Dickey, Charles Steinhauer, and WYD Media Management be dismissed because the same claims were settled in a federal court in New York in 2014. Clarke wrote, “Dismissal with prejudice pursuant to a settlement agreement constitutes a final judgment on the merits and precludes parties from reasserting the same claims in a subsequent action. Such dismissal prevents reassertion of the same claim between the same parties. The 2014 judgment is therefore final and subject to claim preclusion.” However, TRNE attorney Joseph Alioto tells Law 360, “We made it very clear in the complaint that the conduct resumed after the settlement, and that’s the important preposition, after. The allegations in the complaint are required, at this stage of the game, to be accepted as true and all inferences are to be drawn in favor of the non-moving party, which is the plaintiff. Our allegations are that after the settlement, [Cumulus Media] recommenced the same conduct, which causes a new claim to arise.” TRNE alleges that Cumulus subsidiary Westwood One and the other plaintiffs conspired to create for themselves an unfair advantage in the nationally syndicated ad bundling market. TRNE says Westwood One was able to use its dominance in the marketplace to avoid the transparency needed for the complainants to be certain of how much they are owed. The other claims in the suit include: breach of implied covenant and fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, conversion, and others and Clarke recommended they also be dismissed because the claims as pleaded are “vague.” However, he leaves the door open to those non-antitrust claims be repleaded.
Joey Reynolds Returns to the Airwaves. For 15 years radio legend Joey Reynolds held court in the wee small hours of the morning on WOR, New York and the WOR Radio Network. Now, Reynolds is back on the air on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York on Sunday evenings at 9:00. Reynolds (right) launches the new show this Sunday with his first guest, none other than WABC icon Cousin Brucie (left), who’s currently hosting shows on SiriusXM – including the “Cousin Brucie’s Saturday Night Party.” Reynolds’ pal Art Vuolo informs us that the new Reynolds program will soon also be heard on Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles and in syndication through the efforts of William G. Nye and Mike Cave.
KFTK-FM, St. Louis Adds Two New Signals to News/Talk Brand. St. Louis news/talk KFTK-FM is adding two signals to its brand. Emmis Communications announces the programming is now also being heard on WQQX-AM (licensed to East St. Louis, Illinois) and translator K254CR, St. Louis at 98.7 FM. Program director Jeff Allen says, “‘FM NewsTalk 97.1’ is often the #1 talk station in St. Louis and for years we have been getting requests to expand the reach of our traditional radio signal. This move does that. You will now be able to hear our programming from the far west edge of the metro, well into Illinois, down past south St. Louis and a strong signal downtown. Just choose the dial position that comes in best on the radio where you are.”
Pettiette Upped to VP/Director of Sales for CBS RADIO Houston. Sales pro Michael Pettiette moves up from his regional director of digital sales for the CBS RADIO Houston station group to vice president and director of sales. He’s been with CBS for the past five years. He started his radio career with iHeartMedia as an account executive. Pettiette will now oversee multi-platform sales and revenue for the cluster that includes hot AC KHMX, sports talk KIKK, country KILT-FM, sports talk KILT-AM, CHR KKHH, and Spanish KLOL-FM.
‘103.7 The Game’ in Lafayette Adds TV Simulcast for AM Show. The morning drive “SportsChat with Dave Schultz” on Delta Media’s KLWB, Lafayette “103.7 The Game” is now airing in a TV simulcast with the company’s KXKW-TV 32.1 “The American Sports Network.” General manager Chuck Wood states, “We are working diligently to put our products where our viewers and listeners are. This additional delivery system will make our ‘Live and Local’ programming available to more local eyes and ears. Additional programming will be coming to American Sports Network 32.1 very soon.” Dave Schultz adds, “I’m looking forward to showing Acadiana how much fun I have in the morning bringing them ‘SportsChat.’ Hoping this opens the door to more listeners and in-studio guests joining in the fun.”
Odds & Sods. A new deal between Westwood One and Emmy and Peabody Award-winning comedian and actor Paul Mecurio has been struck to have WW1 provide exclusive ad sales representation for his “2 Chairs and a Microphone” podcast that’s available via audioBoom…..KMG Networks’ Anchor Dashboard – a customizable real-time dashboard that delivers essential information directly to news anchors in the studio – is now being implemented at more than 35 of Salem Media Group’s locally hosted news/talk and Christian teaching talk stations, including: WNYM and WMCA, New York, KRLA and KKLA, Los Angeles, and WIND and WYLL, Chicago…..AdLarge Media signs a deal for exclusive ad sales representation of New Mommy Media, a network of dynamic audio podcasts “designed to grow with the listener and her child, from the first trimester to the terrible twos and beyond.” New Mommy Media was created by Sunny Gault boasts 60,000 downloads a month across a variety of targeted content choices…..What do you do when you’re interviewing a Trump and you run out of time? You employ the Art of the Deal! WHP, Harrisburg afternoon drive host Ken Matthews tells TALKERS magazine he was interviewing Donald Trump Jr. and, after eight minutes, found himself up against the break. Trump Jr. told Matthews he was too busy to sit on hold for three minutes, could he negotiate a change in the format? “So we negotiated the break times live on the air with him and my producer! A very funny Trump moment.”
The Presidential Race/Candidates’ Health, IRS Commissioner Impeachment Issue, National Anthem Protests, U.S.-Philippines Relations, Bayer-Monsanto Merger, Venezuela Crisis Worsens, U.S. Refugee Policy, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/14). The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, especially the brouhaha over the health of both candidates; the Republicans’ move to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen for his role in the agency’s treatment of conservative organizations; the ongoing national discussion over Colin Kaepernick and other athletes’ decisions not to stand during the playing of the National Anthem; Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s adversarial attitude toward the U.S. and his recent decision to buy weapons from Russia and China instead of the U.S.; the acquisition of St. Louis-based Monsanto by Germany’s Bayer; the worsening economic conditions in Venezuela; the U.S.’ decision to allow up to 110,000 more refugees into the country; and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Rome Visits KNBR, San Francisco. Nationally syndicated sports talk personality Jim Rome (left) is seen here with KNBR, San Francisco afternoon drive sports talker Tom Tolbert (right) on the latter’s program on Monday (9/12). Rome was visiting the city and appeared on Tolbert’s program live from Cumulus Media’s Levi’s Lounge at KNBR.
Bannon Is the Latest in a Long Line of High-Profile Radio Talkers to Make a Splash in Politics. Whereas most of the media coverage of Breitbart News, LLC chairman Stephen K. Bannon’s appointment this week as CEO of the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign, portrays him primarily as a “pugilistic” media/business/financial figure, the controversial iconoclast was also a rising talent in the world of talk radio. Until taking leave this week to join the Trump campaign, Bannon has served during the past year as the anchor/lead personality on the “Breitbart News Daily” 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET program on the SiriusXM Satellite Radio “Patriot” channel – a position he performed so effectively that it landed him on the 2016 edition of the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” list of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “I distinctly got the impression, talking to Bannon, that he viewed himself as a ‘team-player’ in an ensemble production and not as the specific star of the show. However, the TALKERS editors felt that he was a very distinct and powerful voice on the program worthy of inclusion on the prestigious list which focuses on stand-out personalities.” Harrison adds, “There is an irony to Bannon now finding himself on the same team with former Fox News Channel head Roger Ailes – also involved with the Trump camp as a consultant. Bannon viewed Fox as being a significantly different type of news reporting agency than Breitbart and aggressively approached the organization as a prime competitor. He seemed quite proud of his depiction of Breitbart as being more news and journalistically oriented than Fox – as well as the rest of today’s big news media players – and more about reporting facts than personality-oriented opinion. This could be an example of politics making strange bedfellows.”
WEEI, Boston Morning Personality John Dennis Steps Away from Daily Duties. After 19 years as co-host of the morning show on Entercom’s sports talk WEEI, Boston, John Dennis is leaving his role as co-host of the program to deal with health issues. In a statement announcing the move, Dennis says he’s making the decision on the advice of his doctors that he reduce his workload. Dennis has been partnered with Gerry Callahan since the show launched. Kirk Minihane joined the program in 2013. Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Phil Zachary says the show will continue with Callahan and Minihane. “John is a Boston radio icon and will remain an important part of the WEEI family going forward. To that end, we have been working with John to define a new role for his considerable talents.” Zachary says Dennis will work with station advertisers, act as an ambassador to sponsors and community organizations, and occasionally host WEEI programs. “Most important to him is that John will continue his compassionate work with our annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon and will appear in our live broadcasts from Fenway Park, August 29 and 30.” In April of 2015, Dennis took a leave of absence from the station to enter rehab for alcoholism.
Jan Mickelson Returns to WHO, Des Moines Airwaves. After suffering a stroke in November of last year that made him unable to host his daily 9:00 am to 11:30 am show on iHeartMedia’s WHO, Des Moines, Jan Mickelson returned to the air hosting a half-hour segment of his program live from the Iowa State Fair yesterday (8/18). Mickelson’s show has been hosted by fill-in personalities since last fall. Mickelson told KCCI-TV, Des Moines that after suffering the stroke and being treated in Iowa he traveled to China for a 2,400 needle acupuncture treatment and says he has a lot of his mobility back. Mickelson will continue to host the 11:00 am to 11:30 am portion of the show as he continues to rehabilitate.
Jeff Smulyan Offers to Take Emmis Communications Private. Via his E Acquisition Corp., Emmis Communications chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan is offering to take Emmis private by acquiring outstanding, publicly held shares of Emmis for $4.10 per share in cash. That’s a 3% premium above the August 18 closing price of Emmis’ stock ($4.00). Smulyan has backing lined up from Falcon Investment Advisors. The offer also includes the commitment to sell many of its publishing assets as well as WLIB-AM, New York and its four Terre Haute, Indiana signals – country WTHI, classic rock WWVR, hot AC WFNB, and sports talk simulcast WFNF/W258BA.
The Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of August 15-19. The presidential campaign, including Donald Trump’s staff changes that bring Breitbart chief Stephen K. Bannon aboard to head the campaign, was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. Close behind at #2 was the aftermath of the shooting death of an armed black man by police in Milwaukee. Coming in at #3 was the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the controversy over a phony robbery claim by U.S. swimmers, followed by the battle for Aleppo and Russia’s involvement in the Syrian conflict at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Odds & Sods. If you live in the Charlotte area, you might want to know that Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM is seeking an experienced board operator. It’s a part-time position of between 15 and 20 hours per week, including nights and weekends. If you’re interested, contact program director Jason Furst at email@example.com …..High School athletics is on the schedule this school year at E.W. Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee’s digital platform. “Preps Live” is broadcasting high school football play-by-play in 2016, airing 26 contests via WTMJ.COM and the WTMJ Radio App.
Community Conversation. On Wednesday afternoon, E.W. Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee held a “Community Conversation” to address the shooting death of a young black man by a Milwaukee police officer and the protests that followed. WTMJ vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer tells TALKERS magazine, “The community response has been overwhelming. It’s WTMJ’s responsibility to help provide some longer-term historical context on this story. The visceral reactions to Saturday’s events need to be countered with real in-depth perspective. It’s really the story of a decades-long shift in the economy and social structure of an American city. Similar stories have unfolded across the country, particularly in the Midwest and Northeast. These stories require more than ‘video showbiz’ of demonstrations and quick sound bites. We hope to make a difference, with a more thoughtful and deeper approach in our coverage.” Pictured here in the WTMJ studio are (clockwise from the left): WTMJ afternoon anchor/host, John Mercure; Reverend Willie Briscoe, minister, New Covenant Baptist Church; Toron Brown, businessman and Sherman Park resident; Earl Ingram, president, Earl Ingram Media and former talk show host at WMCS, Milwaukee.
TALKERS 2016 Conference to Feature Podcasting Panel. Attendees at this year’s TALKERS 2016 Bridging the Generations conference at Hofstra University on Friday, May 20 will have the opportunity to hear PodcastOne chairman and founder Norm Pattiz moderate “The Podcasting Session.” This panel will feature: Panoply/The Slate Group chief content officer and co-founder Andy Bowers; WOR, New York program director Tom Cuddy; Hubbard Radio SVP of programming Greg Strassell; and Edison Research VP of strategy Tom Webster. This panel discussion will delve into the issues relevant not only to the podcasting platform itself, but also into issues AM/FM broadcasters who are also producing podcasts are dealing with. TALKERS magazine executive editor Kevin Casey says, “Podcasting is obviously a hot topic in the radio industry right now. Talk radio practitioners are eager to learn about the best practices for producing and selling this digital content and this panel discussion, led by industry pioneer Norm Pattiz, will send them home with actionable information on this nascent form of broadcasting.” TALKERS 2016 Bridging the Generations is nearing a sellout. For complete agenda information click here. To register or for sponsorship information, call 413-565-5413.
Emmis Fiscal Q4 Revenue Down 6%. The Indianapolis-based company functions on a fiscal calendar and its 2015 fourth quarter ended on February 29 of this year. Emmis Communications reports its radio net revenue was $36.4 million, down 6%. For the full fiscal year of 2015, radio revenue was $169.2 million, compared to $176.3 million in the prior year, a decrease of 4%. President and CEO Jeff Smulyan states, “Emmis’ fourth quarter was weak, mostly due to expected underperformance in Los Angeles. The good news is our first quarter is much improved and currently pacing flat to the prior year. New York’s performance has been stellar, ratings in LA have begun to grow again, and ratings across our other radio markets are very strong. NextRadio is coming off a fantastic National Association of Broadcasters convention, and momentum is building. At NAB, it was announced that PRSS, the distribution network for public radio, is being integrated into NextRadio. Carrier and handset conversations are robust, and advertiser interest is high. In addition, we will launch in our first international market, Peru, in the coming weeks. I couldn’t be more pleased with the efforts of Paul Brenner and his team in bringing NextRadio to our industry and to listeners everywhere.”
Salem Media Group Broadcast Revenue Rises 4.2%. It was a quarter of increases all the way around for Salem Media Group. Its total revenue increased 4.4%. The broadcast segment saw revenue rise 4.2%. Digital media was up 4.6% and publishing revenue increased 6.5%. CEO Ed Atsinger says the 4.2% broadcast sector increase “compares favorably to the market generally which was up about 1.7% at least in the markets in which we operate according to Miller Kaplan. Our block programming had another solid quarter, up 7.1%, local spot revenue grew 3.6%, network revenue grew by 16.7%. And geographically, we had a strong market performance in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, while facing some weakness in the Dallas market.”
Radio One Reports First Quarter Revenue Hike of 3.1%. Company president and CEO Alfred Liggins III says the good first quarter news is continuing into the second quarter. For Q1 of 2016, Radio One net revenue was approximately $109.1 million, an increase of 3.1% from the same period in 2015. Station operating income was approximately $39.6 million, an increase of 10.1% from the same period in 2015. Liggins states, “We saw a sequential monthly improvement in our radio revenues as the first quarter progressed, and that positive momentum is continuing into Q2 where we are pacing up low single digits. Political revenues were strong, which augurs well for the fourth quarter when we historically receive the bulk of political radio advertising. TV One had a strong first quarter, with growth in both advertising (+3.5%) and affiliate revenues (+12.3%). All four of our reportable segments posted year-over-year, double-digit adjusted EBITDA growth. Overall I was pleased with our 13% growth in consolidated adjusted EBITDA, the stabilization of our radio revenues, and growth of radio cash flow.”
Saga Communications Net Revenue Up 12.7%. For the radio segment of Saga Communications, the pro forma net operating revenue was up 4.6% on revenue of $27.5 million for the first quarter of the year. The company closed on its purchase of classic rock WLVQ, Columbus during the quarter and had been operating the station under an LMA since last November. Saga reports that free cash flow increased 35.4% to $4.9 million and operating income increased 40.1% to $5.3 million.
Sports Talker John Lund Crosses Street to KNBR, San Francisco. The Bay Area sports talk personality leaves Entercom’s KGMZ “95.7 The Game” to become co-host of the afternoon drive show at Cumulus Media’s KNBR with Tom Tolbert. John Lund co-hosted the midday “Papa & Lund” show with Greg Papa at KGMZ. He’s also worked at KXTG-AM, Portland; KESN-FM, Dallas; WXYT-FM, Detroit; WEAE-AM, Pittsburgh; and KZNS-AM, Salt Lake City. KNBR program director Lee Hammer says, “John brings a wealth of sports knowledge and experience to KNBR. He’s worked in San Francisco for several years, and has keen insights into our Bay Area teams. KNBR fans are in for a real treat when he’s teamed up with Tom Tolbert in afternoon drive. It will definitely be ‘appointment listening.’”
Ramsey, Rich Headlining Radio Show. In a vCreative-sponsored session, financial expert/radio host Dave Ramsey will keynote this year’s Radio Show. Part of his “Cutting Edge Trends in Marketing” address at the confab, produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau and the National Association of Broadcasters, will include a conversation with country music artist John Rich (right) of the duo Big & Rich. According to RAB president and chief executive officer Erica Farber, “We are delighted and honored that Dave Ramsey and John Rich will join us at this year’s conference. These two incredible innovators will share some great ideas. Radio Show attendees will walk away with tremendous takeaways they can then put to use immediately.” NAB executive vice president of radio John David comments, “The power of radio has contributed to the successful careers of both Dave Ramsey and John Rich. We are pleased to present these talented and engaging individuals at the Radio Show.” Ramsey’s daily syndicated eponymous radio program is heard on more than 550 stations, while his “Financial Peace” and “Total Money Makeover” books have sold more than a combined 10 million copies. He was inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2013 and into the National Radio Hall of Fame two years later. The Radio Show will be held in more than four months (9/21 – 23) at Nashville’s Omni Hotel; The Ramsey-Rich session takes place the first day of the conference, Wednesday, September 21.
PodcastOne and MediaDC Launch Two New Podcasts. Two new shows are debuting on the PodcastOne platform. MediaDC, publisher of The Weekly Standard and Washington Examiner, is working with PodcastOne to present “Examining Politics by Washington Examiner” and “Weekly Standard Confab.” Washington Examiner senior congressional correspondent David Drucker hosts “Examining Politics” which will revolve around the publication’s editorial content. It’ll feature Drucker and a roundtable of staff. “The Weekly Standard Confab” is hosted by managing editor Eric Felton, who will be joined by a different guest each segment to talk about topics ranging from politics, policy and international affairs, to arts and culture. PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “There’s just too much going on this election season for PodcastOne not to be part of it. In partnering with MediaDC to produce and distribute podcasts from The Weekly Standard and Washington Examiner, we’ve accomplished our mission.”
Odds & Sods. The USA Radio Networks-syndicated “Trending Today USA” with Rusty Humphries moves to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart and adds a new affiliate in iHeartMedia’s WGST, Atlanta. Station PD Dan Hunt says, “Rusty has a great history in Atlanta and we are excited to have him back on Talk Radio 640 WGST. ‘Trending Today USA’ provides our listeners with the latest news and information in real time, while bringing a fresh perspective that can’t be duplicated anywhere else in the market.”…..KCSP, Kansas City sports talkers Danny Parkins and Carrington Harrison were disturbed by the Kansas City Chiefs’ decision to draft Tyreek Hill after the football player had pleaded guilty to hitting and choking his pregnant girlfriend. They decided to do something positive about it and started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the Rose Brooks Center domestic violence shelter. So far they have raised more than $12,000.
The Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton Email Server Case, Battle Against Islamic State, North Korea Nukes, Russia-NATO Tensions, California Ups Legal Cigarette Purchase Age, and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/4). GOP candidate Donald Trump secures the nomination with a victory in the Indiana primary election; allegations by Romanian hacker Guccifer that he accessed Hillary Clinton’s private email server; the death of a Navy SEAL in Iraq and the ongoing battle against Islamic State; the reported build-up of nuclear weapons by North Korea; Russia’s military posturing and threats against NATO; California becomes the second state to make tobacco purchases legal for those 21 and older; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Marc Cox Takes Over Midday Show at KFTK, St. Louis. Effective today, the Marc Cox show is being heard in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot on Emmis Communications’ news/talk KFTK-FM, St. Louis. Program director Jeff Allen tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that replacing Dana Loesch with Cox has nothing to do with dissatisfaction with Loesch – who’s been with the station for the past seven years – but has more to do with the station’s desire to keep a live-and-local program schedule. Loesch syndicates her show nationally via Radio America and re-located her family to the Dallas area from St. Louis. About Cox’s promotion from Sunday nights to a daily program, Allen says, “We are thrilled to be able to expand Marc’s role at the station with a show that has already proven to have high appeal to our listeners. We are returning this weekday show back to its local roots because we need to be ‘live and local’ in that part of the day to serve the St. Louis Metro area best. We are excited about the debut of Marc’s show and I am sure our listeners will be too.” Cox is an Emmy award-winning, 25-year veteran of television news. He served with KMOV-TV, St. Louis as an anchor, reporter and producer for 19 years. KFTK notes Cox has been honored by the Associated Press and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, receiving multiple Emmy nominations and two Emmy awards.
WPGG, Atlantic City’s Harry Hurley Holds 8th Annual Charity Dinner at Congress Hall; Co-Headliner Joe Piscopo Hints at Gubernatorial Run. Atlantic City morning radio giant Harry Hurley hosted his eighth annual dinner at the venerable Congress Hall in Cape May, New Jersey on Saturday. It was an event that was co-hosted this year by WNYM, New York morning host Joe Piscopo. WPGG, Atlantic City’s Hurley tells TALKERS magazine that the evening was a “rousing success. We had members of the New Jersey legislature and the highest-ranking county, constitutional and local officials, as well as presidents of major industries in New Jersey in attendance.” New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called in live and addressed the gathering that was being attended by Christie’s father Bill. During a Q&A with Piscopo, the comic and “Saturday Night Live” alum told Hurley that he is interested in running for the New Jersey governor’s seat next year and is “seriously looking into it.” Hurley will be honored with the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host by TALKERS magazine at the TALKERS 2016 Bridging the Generations conference at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York (Long Island) on Friday, May 20. See more information about the conference here.
SiriusXM Boasts 30.1 Million Subscribers. The satellite radio company announces today that it added 465,000 net new subscribers in the first quarter of this year, putting it over the 30 million subscriber mark for the first time in company history. SiriusXM will report its financials on April 28 but says that as of March 31, self-pay net additions were 348,000 in the quarter, resulting in a self-pay subscriber base of 24.6 million at quarter’s end. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “SiriusXM has grown from a pioneering startup to a media powerhouse in less than 15 years of service by providing listeners with the best audio entertainment available. Our exclusive, unmatched content and ease of use has led us to this important subscriber milestone. I’d like to thank our dedicated employees, our valuable content creators and brands, our automotive distributors, and most of all our paying subscribers for their contribution to our success.”
WXYT-FM, Detroit Re-Ups with Afternoon Personality Mike Valenti. Detroit sports talk personality Mike Valenti – co-host of the afternoon drive “Valenti & Foster” program (with Terry Foster) – signs a contract extension with CBS RADIO to continue in that role with WXYT-FM “97.1 The Ticket” on a long-term basis. Program director Jimmy Powers comments, “I am pleased Mike will continue to be part of many Detroiters’ drive home every day for years to come. He has the uncanny ability to give listeners a unique perspective, honesty and strong opinions like very few in the industry.” Valenti left his Upstate New York home to study journalism at Michigan State in 1998. He joined CBS and WXYT in 2004 when he was partnered with Foster. WXYT says Valenti & Foster have “maintained their #1 position among men 25-54 and adults 25-54 for more than five years.”
Odds & Sods. News pro Molly Paige is now part of the “Portland’s Afternoon News” program on Alpha Media’s KXL, Portland, working with managing editor Jim Ferretti, fellow anchor Joe Simons and reporters Mike Turner and Brett Reckamp. Paige had most recently been working in Washington for NBC News Radio as an anchor/writer and producer…..Anchorage, Alaska Assemblywoman Amy Demboski will be hosting a two-hour afternoon show on Alaska Integrated Media’s news/talk KVNT, Anchorage, effective April 20…..WHO, Des Moines-based afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway took his show on the road recently to raise funds for the Puppy Jake Foundation. Conway tells TALKERS magazine that more than $75,000 was raised while he was on the air. He’s pictured at right with service-dog-in-training Chris Kyle, named for the “American Sniper.” The Puppy Jake Foundation is dedicated to helping military veterans through the assistance of well-bred, socialized and professionally trained service dogs.
WTOP, Washington Nabs Eight National Headliner Awards. The National Headliner Awards have been recognizing journalistic excellence since 1934. They are awarded by the Press Club of Atlantic City. This year, Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is the recipient of eight National Headliner Awards, including: first place for best website for WTOP.com, first place for radio news series for Jamie Forzato’s “Heroin Epidemic,” and first place for online only writing by WTOP.com sports editor Noah Frank. Second place honors went to J.J. Green for his news series, “Quiet Killer,” best station newscast for the September Pope coverage, for feature and human interest story for “Canine Rehab” by Nick Iannelli, and for online only writing by WTOP.com living editor Rachel Nania. The WTOP staff won third place for its breaking news coverage of the Freddie Gray riots. WTOP director of news and programming Mike McMearty says, “Our newsroom takes great pride in the recognition that comes with all awards, but the National Headliners are especially gratifying because of their long history and being judged on the national level.”
Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore Honored with National Headliner Award for Freddie Gray Coverage. Baltimore news/talk WBAL “NewsRadio 1090” took home the top national honor this week for “State of Emergency in Baltimore,” the best local radio newscast and coverage of Freddie Gray’s death the best breaking and continuing coverage. WBAL’s Scott Wykoff took third place for best radio feature or human interest story for a piece on a horse named Talk Show Man, after the late WBAL host Ron Smith. WBAL president and GM Cary Pahigian says, “These prestigious awards ratify WBAL NewsRadio 1090’s standing as Maryland’s No. 1 radio news source. It also recognizes an extremely talented group of anchors, reporters, producers and writers. It’s a great day for WBAL Radio.”
The Presidential Race/Colorado GOP Delegate Controversy, Boston Globe Trump Satire, Bill Clinton vs Black Lives Matter, North Korea Nuke Threats, and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president and the controversy over Colorado’s GOP delegate wins; the satirical front page published by the Boston Globe forecasting a Trump presidency; the backlash after Bill Clinton’s taking on Black Lives Matter protestors at a recent rally; concerns over North Korea’s nuclear weapons build-up; and Friday night’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
Irv Brown Retires from ‘Mile High Sports’ in Denver. Denver market sports talk personality Irv Brown officially retired from Mile High Sports-owned KDCO, Denver last week. Brown co-hosted the show with his longtime partner Joe Williams. The 81-year-old Brown recently had back surgery and his recovery has been slow and he’s still not cleared to drive a car. Brown had been working in the media in Denver for most of the past 40 years.
Presidential Race/Super Tuesday, European Migrant Problem, Scalia Replacement Debate, Teacher Resigns Over Stolen Phone Nude Pic, and Gray Hair Gene Discovered Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/1). The activities of the candidates for president and yesterday’s Super Tuesday primaries; the problems European nations are facing due to the influx of Syrian migrants and NATO’s report on Islamic State operatives in the migrant community; the ongoing debate over the timetable for replacing late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; the forced resignation of a South Carolina teacher after a student stole her phone and circulated a nude photo of the teacher; and the discovery of a gene responsible for the graying of human hair were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Ramsey Smart Money Tour Hits Spokane. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar – and New York Times best-selling author – Dave Ramsey (right) brought his Smart Money live event to Spokane yesterday (3/1) before a packed house at the INB Performing Arts Center. Ramsey Solutions personality (and Ramsey’s daughter) Rachel Cruze (left) joined him on stage. Ramsey combined forces with Morgan Murphy Media’s news/talk KXLY, Spokane “News Radio 920” to promote the appearance. Station PD Bud Nameck (center) says, “This is the second time that Dave and Rachel have come to Spokane for an event since we partnered with the show. It’s enlightening for me to see and hear the impact Dave’s message has on our listeners. The Smart Money event sold out, and when we gave away a few tickets the phones went crazy! Our clients love the interaction with Dave and Rachel.” Ramsey also hosted his EntreLeadership 1 Day Event in Spokane on Monday, February 29.
Luis Felix Exits WVNJ, New York. Programmer Luis Felix announces his departure from Universal Broadcasting’s WVNJ, Oakland, New Jersey. Felix says that after seven months with the station and the addition of such programs as Premiere’s Glenn Beck, GCN’s Dr. Joy Browne and the Alex Jones show, things at the station are going in the right direction. He and ownership were unable to come to terms on a new compensation package. He says he’s focusing on his consultancy efforts that will aid in brand exposure for radio, retail and municipal clients.
PodcastOne-Barstool Sports Partnership to Launch Two New Shows. The relationship between PodcastOne and Barstool Sports deepens with the launch of two new podcast programs. Barstool Sports president David Portnoy will host his eponymous show and Barstool Sports editor Dan Katz will host “Pardon My Take.” PodcastOne and Barstool have been in business together since 2014 when three podcasts – “KFC Radio,” “Daily Mail” and “#Mailtime” – premiered on PodcastOne’s platform. Portnoy’s show is a look inside Barstool Sports including its “controversies, decisions and stories from the past that have molded” Barstool into what it is today. Katz’s program “features the most ‘correct sports takes’ in history and includes special guests to help break down the biggest sports stories of the week.” PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz comments, “Barstool Sports has consistently ranked among our network’s most-listened-to podcasts. Going from three podcasts a week to five is great for both of us, but more importantly, it’s great for our audience and the advertisers who want to access them.”
Howard Freshman Exits CBS RADIO Los Angeles. After a 21-year career with CBS RADIO, Howard Freshman exits his marketing and promotions director position with all-news KNX, Los Angeles. Freshman also worked for KFWB prior to its recently closed sale from the KFWB Asset Trust to Charlie Banta-led Universal Media Access. During his time with CBS RADIO he’d also led marketing efforts for KTWV and KRTH in Los Angeles. He served with several broadcast companies during the 1980s and 1990s, including Emmis Communications, where he was part of the team that turned then-adult contemporary KMGG, Los Angeles into successful hip hop outlet KPWR “POWER 106.” Freshman says he’s involved in several volunteer projects right now but seeking new opportunities. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or phoned at 562-810-7072.
Odds & Sods. Las Vegas talk media personality Alan Stock (pictured here) was part of a panel discussion about the presidential primary race on KLAS-TV on the eve of the Nevada Republican Caucus on February 23. Stock – who hosts the afternoon drive show on CBS RADIO’s KXNT, Las Vegas – tells TALKERS magazine he’s been a regular panelist on KLAS-TV addressing political issues….Pittsburgh Pirates play-by-play will continue to be heard on CBS RADIO’s sports talk KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “SPORTSRADIO 93-7 The Fan.” The station and the team announce the signing of a new, multi-year contract extension.
BFoA Honors Bob Pittman; $400,000 Raised for Charity. The Broadcasters Foundation of America presented its 2016 Golden Mike Award to iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman at a gala ceremony and fundraiser at the Plaza Hotel on Monday (2/29). More than 325 radio and television executives attended the fundraiser at which some $400,000 was raised to assist broadcasters who find themselves in acute need. Elvis Duran hosted the festivities. Also, at the event, the 2016 Dick Clark Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to legendary broadcaster and “CBS Sunday Morning” anchor Charles Osgood. The award was accepted by humorist and “CBS Sunday Morning” correspondent Mo Rocca for Osgood, who was unable to attend due to recent surgery. Pictured above are (from l-r): Rocca; iHeartMedia Entertainment Enterprises president John Sykes; country recording artist Cam; Pittman; BFoA president Jim Thompson; NPR president and CEO Jarl Mohn; BFoA chairman Phil Lombardo. Photo: Wendy Moger-Bross.
BFoA Honors Bob Pittman; $400,000 Raised for Charity. The Broadcasters Foundation of America presented its 2016 Golden Mike Award to iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman at a gala ceremony and fundraiser at the Plaza Hotel on Monday (2/29). More than 325 radio and television executives attended the fundraiser at which some $400,000 was raised to assist broadcasters who find themselves in acute need. Elvis Duran hosted the festivities. Also, at the event, the 2016 Dick Clark Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to legendary broadcaster and “CBS Sunday Morning” anchor Charles Osgood. The award was accepted by humorist and “CBS Sunday Morning” correspondent Mo Rocca for Osgood, who was unable to attend due to recent surgery. Pictured above are (from l-r): Rocca; iHeartMedia Entertainment Enterprises president John Sykes; country recording artist Cam; Pittman; BFoA president Jim Thompson; NPR president and CEO Jarl Mohn; BFoA chairman Phil Lombardo. Photo: Wendy Moger-Bross.
Can America Afford to Elect a Crazy President? The reigning queen of psychology on news/talk radio, Dr. Joy Browne, is the featured guest on this week’s installment of the PodcastOne international hit series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” In a fascinating, non-partisan dialogue, Michael Harrison and the nationally syndicated GCN host dissect the psychological profiles of the major candidates running for president basically addressing the question, “Is ANYONE who thinks that he or she has what it takes to assume the most awesome responsibility of life and death over the human race playing with a full deck to begin with?” In setting up the conversation, Harrison states, “I am fascinated by the psychology of power and that obviously doesn’t become any more interesting than the psychology of the President of the United States and those who put themselves through the public humiliation of seeking the job.” In this stimulating podcast, Browne amply displays the extraordinary skills that have made her a non-political staple of the politically oriented, news/talk genre for decades, and still going strong. To listen to the entire conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Alpha Media Closes on Digity Purchase. This is no ordinary acquisition as Alpha Media balloons to approximately 250 stations in 50+ markets by closing on in excess of 110 Digity properties. Over and above that, Alpha Media becomes the country’s third-largest broadcast company in terms of number of markets and fourth-largest regarding station count. Alpha Media chair Larry Wilson comments, “We are very pleased to get this remarkable transaction done. In our fold is now an exceptional stable of diversified stations and markets, serving not only their towns but surrounding areas and communities. It has been a tremendous pleasure to work with respected broadcaster [Digity chief executive officer] Dean Goodman and his management team. We look forward to joining forces with the phenomenal people at Digity doing radio the right way.” Goodman remarks, “I have been honored to work with the great broadcasters of Digity. They know their roots are in live and local and their future is dynamic. They will excel with Alpha as individual and collective entrepreneurs. We hand off a thriving company, up this year at the top of the industry. I wish Larry [Wilson] and his team all the best; they have assembled a great platform.” Only two of the 28 Digity markets are PPM-metros – San Jose and West Palm Beach. The other facilities are in Missouri: (Bethany-Cameron, Clinton, Farmington-Festus, Moberly-Macon, and Waynesville-Lebanon); Iowa (Fairfield, Fort Dodge, Grinnell-Newton, and Mason City); Minnesota (Albert Lea-Austin, Luverne, Mankato, and Redwood Falls); South Dakota (Brookings, Madison, and Watertown); Illinois (Aurora and Joliet); Nebraska (Columbus and Lincoln); Michigan (Saginaw-Bay City-Midland); North Carolina (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville); Ohio (Canton); South Carolina (Myrtle Beach); Texas: (North Dallas-McKinney); and Wisconsin (Kenosha-Waukegan). When this deal was first announced in August 2015, the purchase price was reported to be $264 million.
WFAN and Brooklyn Nets Extend Broadcast Rights Agreement. The multi-year deal between CBS Radio New York sports outlet WFAN “The Fan” and the NBA‘s Brooklyn Nets goes beyond NBA basketball to cover other parts of the business at Barclays Center, including select college basketball games, concerts, and live events. As it has since the 2004 – 2005 season, WFAN will continue as the team’s radio flagship. According to CBS Radio president Andre Fernandez, “CBS Radio is proud to continue our association with the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center. We have defined our position in sports broadcasting by delivering the most extensive coverage of local programming and events. We continue to make aggressive investments in exclusive content our audiences can’t find anywhere else.” Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment chief executive officer Brett Yormark comments, “Our relationship with CBS Radio continues to give us a major voice in the nation’s largest market. This new agreement comes on the heels of our recent extension with YES Network, providing the team with premium exposure on two of the country’s most popular sports outlets.” WFAN news sibling WCBS-AM will be the Nets’ secondary radio outlet. Prior to relocating to Brooklyn, the team was called the New Jersey Nets. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for New York City, WFAN ranks ninth (3.8, 6+); iHeartMedia adult contemporary WLTW “Lite FM” leads the field with a 6.7 (6+).
Hyde Heads to Entercom Sacramento as GSM. Fourteen-month Pandora account executive Corey Hyde joins Entercom Sacramento as general sales manager. Vice president and market manager Lance Richard comments, “It is exciting to add Corey to our team. He has an impressive track record of success and he brings experience in developing dynamic, integrated campaigns and long term partnerships for local clients. His leadership skills and experience in this market make him the perfect fit for Entercom Sacramento.” Hyde remarks, “I am thrilled to be joining Lance Richard and the team at Entercom Sacramento. Radio is stronger than ever, and we have the best local stations in the market. I look forward to using our wide array of marketing assets to drive real results for our clients.” In his 13-year radio career, Hyde spent nearly 10 years with CBS Radio Sacramento as a senior account executive and three years with iHeartMedia Sacramento as an AE. Entercom Sacramento consists of KCTC “ESPN 1320″; CHR KDND “The End”; alternative KKDO “Radio 94-7”; KRXQ “98 Rock”; classic rock KSEG “The Eagle”; and hot AC KUDL “Star 106.5.”
Baldwin Exits Weekend “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.” Effective immediately, actor Stephen Baldwin departs “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.” The two-hour syndicated weekend program carried by approximately 250 affiliates on Kevin McCullough‘s eight-year-old XtreMEDIA and simulcast on BizTV is rebranded “Radio Night LIVE.” As Baldwin’s work schedule increased the past few months, McCullough explains, “The more difficult it has become for him to make the show. For the past eight years, we have enjoyed the liveliest and – on most nights – the funniest weekend radio broadcast in America. Our listeners will immediately feel the impact of Stephen’s absence from the talk radio airwaves. To be realistic, however, because of his filming schedule in 2015, his workload severely prevented him from being with us even one out of two weeks. This is great for him because his passion is acting. Our staff, our sponsors, and listeners will miss Stephen’s unique humor and spunk. His personality is one-of-a-kind and Stephen will always be welcome to a microphone we have named in his honor; we are thrilled though at this chance to take our broadcast to another level. ‘Radio Night LIVE’ will take the signature humor we have developed over the years, add cutting edge ‘next generation’ guests, experts, and entertainers and explode Saturday night in ways previously unseen.” Baldwin comments, “God has been so good to me and all I want to do is to follow where He is leading me. My time doing the show is something I will always remember. Our listeners brought much laughter and insight into my life.” It is possible that McCullough will utilize a series of rotating guest hosts such as KRLA, Los Angeles’ Elisha Krauss; Karol Markowicz of The New York Post; YouToo America‘s Gina Loudon; as well as Ashley Papa and Kayleigh McEnany. McCullough continues hosting his weekday 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm “After Hours” show on Salem Media Group New York’s WNYM “AM 970 The Answer”; the “Kevin McCullough Show” for Salem Media Group; and “News That Makes You Think.”
Four More Years: WGN, Northwestern Extend Rights Agreement. The union between 50,000-watt WGN, Chicago and Northwestern University will keep Wildcats football and men’s basketball on the Tribune talker through the conclusion of the 2019 – 2020 season. In addition, the voice of Wildcats football since 1990 and men’s basketball since 1996 – Dave Eanet – signs a four-year contract. WGN Radio president and general manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We are proud to present Northwestern basketball and football anchored by Dave ‘Mr. Cat’ Eanet. We look forward to bringing our listeners the excitement of Chicago’s Big Ten team in the years to come.” According to Northwestern vice president for athletics and recreation Jim Phillips, “The Northwestern Wildcats and WGN Radio have forged a special relationship over the last two decades. WGN not only is a broadcasting force, but a true Chicago institution. We have shared many thrilling moments through the years, and we look forward to many more memories with WGN Radio as the home of Chicago’s Big Ten team.” Eanet was inducted into the WGN Radio Walk of Fame last year. Former Chicago Bear Ted Albrecht is WGN’s football analyst on Wildcat broadcasts, while former college and pro head coach Joey Meyer provides analysis on basketball broadcasts. WGN has been the radio home of the Wildcats since 1996. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for Chicago, WGN ranks fifth with a 4.2 – its best showing since last June’s 4.3; CBS Radio‘s all-news WBBM-AM is on top with a 6.8 (6+).
Louisville Lineup Changes at WHAS, WKRD. Starting next Monday (2/29), former WKXW “New Jersey 101.5,” Trenton personality Mary Walter will oversee a weeknight 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm program on iHeartMedia Louisville talker WHAS. Of Walter, director of iHeartMedia Louisville’s AM programming Kelly Carls comments, “She is always prepared; keeps her finger on the pulse of the news; and she does a great job connecting with listeners. We are delighted she will be offering her unique perspectives every day.” A WHAS fill-in beginning in 2009, Walter remarks, “I am so excited to be with the WHAS audience on a regular basis. I have grown to love the local listeners over the years. They are so engaged and informed that it makes the job fun.” She previously worked at radio stations in Washington, DC; Phoenix; Denver; and Omaha. Meanwhile, at co-owned all-sports WKRD “790 KRD,” Howie Lindsey is named 7:00 am – 10:00 am host; contributors Matt Willinger and Katie George will join him. Another change there will find TheCardinalConnect.Com founder Nick Coffey taking on 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm duty. “We are very excited to expand our local sports coverage on WKRD,” notes Kelly Carls. “Mornings, mid-days and afternoons, we now have local sports fans covered with updates, insights, and compelling conversation about the teams and games that really matter.” Lindsey and Coffey will debut one week from Monday (3/7). Among persons 12+ in Nielsen Audio‘s winter 2016 book, WHAS ranks #1 (7.4) and WKRD is #12 (1.2).
Cumulus Media Dallas Sets Fourth Spring Job Fair. Jobseekers and hiring companies will come together in less than two weeks (3/9) as Cumulus Media Dallas presents its fourth annual Putting Texans Back to Work Spring Job Fair at the Plano Centre. In attendance will be representatives from over 100 companies in search of quality candidates from the Dallas, Collin, and Denton County areas of North Texas. No registration is required for job seekers; however, registration deadline for companies looking for qualified individuals is one week from Monday (3/7). The Cumulus Dallas cluster includes sports KESN “ESPN Radio 103.3”; talk KLIF-AM; CHR KLIF-FM “Hot 93.3”; country KPLX “The Wolf”; KSCS “New Country 96.3”; sports KTCK “The Ticket; and talk WBAP.
BTC Begins HD Radio Data Services in Canada. A partnership between the Broadcaster Traffic Consortium (BTC) and exclusive mapping and technology data partner HERE leads to Canada’s first in-vehicle HD Radio Traffic service. Honda is the first brand to offer the service to its customers on certain 2015 and 2016 models. Broadcaster Traffic Consortium president Paul Brenner comments, “The BTC and all of our member stations are excited to be the first to market for HD Radio data services in Canada. Honda and HERE are valued partners that expect constant innovation and quality services regardless of our borders or radio station ownership. Unified broadcasters, collaborating to deliver a common service, bringing innovation solutions to automakers is better for the strategic and long-term viability of the broadcast radio industry. BTC is proud to be a leader in this space.” HD Radio Traffic enables drivers and passengers to view detailed information on local traffic conditions in real time on their vehicle’s audio display screen. The BTC has stations providing coverage in most areas within greater Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary; the service is expected to expand to additional Canadian markets. Originally founded in 2007 with eight broadcast groups – Beasley Broadcast Group; Bonneville International Corporation; Cox Radio; Emmis Communications; Entercom Communications; Greater Media; NPR; and Radio One – BTC has grown to include 23 broadcast groups in the United States and Canada. It builds a nationwide terrestrial broadcasting network to distribute local traffic and other map-related data via FM and HD Radio technology.
Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 22-26. Primary races and activities of presidential candidates were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was Apple’s refusal to hack the phone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists. At #3 was the battle over the timeline for replacing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, followed by Islamic State’s reported threats against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week; it is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. View this week’s entire chart here.
BFA to Fete Fritts with “Excellence in Broadcasting” Award. Former 23-year National Association of Broadcasters president and chief executive officer Eddie Fritts is named this year’s Broadcasters Foundation of America‘s recipient of the Lowry Mays “Excellence in Broadcasting” award. Underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation, the award is given each year to a broadcaster, “whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.” Fritts’ past recognition includes “Broadcaster of the Year” awards at both the New York State Broadcasters Association and the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. In addition, he is the past recipient of the Broadcasters Foundation’s “Golden Mike” and “Chairman’s” awards. Inducted into the Giants of Broadcasting’s Hall of Fame in 2010, he received the NAB’s “Distinguished Service” award one year later. Fritts – who launched The Fritts Group in March 2006 – will be honored with this particular acknowledgement in approximately two months (4/20) during the NAB Show in Las Vegas. The Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars to thousands of broadcasters and their families. Individual donations can be made to the Guardian Fund. Corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative; bequests can be arranged through the Legacy Society.
Cumulus Media Florida Outlets Aid in Tornado Recovery. Personal and household items, as well as monetary donations, are being collected by 14 Cumulus Media stations in Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Mobile, and Pensacola (Florida) for those affected by this week’s tornadoes in Century and Pensacola. Radio station staffers will be at various locations for six hours today (Friday, 2/26), nine hours tomorrow (Saturday, 2/27), and four hours on Sunday. Listeners are being asked to help tornado victims with water, personal hygiene items, household cleaning items, tarps, laundry detergent, diapers, wipes, book bags, crayons, pens, pencils, paper, clothing, and non-perishable food items. Cash donations should be directed to the Gulf Coast recovery effort through the American Red Cross and the United Way.
Cool Job Opportunities at CBS, Los Angeles. TALKERS has learned that CBS Radio Los Angeles is now looking to fill the following positions as soon as possible at all-news KNX 1070: news reporter, writer, and news production assistant. For more details and to apply, please click here: WWW.CBSRADIO.COM/CAREERS.
Odds & Sods. Pittsburgh-based “The Union Edge” adds suburban Minneapolis talker KTNF “AM 950 The Progressive Voice of Minnesota” as its 27th affiliate. KTNF president Chad Larson comments, “KTNF has been a longtime union advocate, covering labor issues since 2004 in the Twin Cities. We look forward to carrying another program focused on the many accomplishments labor has made for our nation as well as the modern threats facing working families and our ability to collectively bargain in the workplace.”
TALKERS magazine Closed for the Holidays. The offices of TALKERS magazine will close on December 24 and will reopen on Monday, January 4. During this holiday break, we will monitor all calls to our offices at 413-565-5413 and emails to email@example.com. We wish all of our readers, business partners and friends working in the radio industry a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
CBS Appoints Michael Simon to Senior Advisor Post. The actual title of Michael Simon’s new position with CBS RADIO is senior advisor, data analytics and political advocacy. Previously, he led Barack Obama’s presidential campaign’s analytics team. In this role with CBS, he’ll work closely with senior management to enhance CBS RADIO’s overall data analytics capabilities, as well as create new data-driven ad products and strategies for political campaigns, candidates, and related committees and organizations. CBS RADIO president Andre Fernandez says, “Michael is one of the foremost experts in data analytics whose expertise will quickly elevate our efforts in transforming our vast collection of user information into more meaningful business applications. The ongoing assessment and development of cutting-edge data collection systems will lead to smarter programming and marketing decisions, and optimized advertising purchases in the future. With the 2016 election race underway, now is the ideal time to develop new efficiencies across our data management platforms and business-to-business application tools.” Simon is a data analytics entrepreneur based in New York City. He is a regular commentator on big data, politics and business intelligence, and has been featured in media including The New York Times, “PBS NewsHour,” USA Today, CNBC, the Wall Street Journal, Buzzfeed, Mashable, Slate and the Cook Political Report, and has been an invited guest speaker at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and the World Economic Forum of Young Global Leaders.
Kauffman Upped to DOS at Entercom Sacramento. General sales manager at the Entercom Sacramento station group since March of this year, Stacey Kauffman is promoted to director of sales. Sacramento VP and market manager Lance Richard comments, “In a short time, Stacey has made a powerful impact with Entercom Sacramento. Her business and sales management skills have enabled us to improve our sales execution, develop more impactful advertising campaigns for our clients and grow our business and market share. I am thrilled to be able to promote from within and reward Stacey’s success.” Before joining Entercom, Kauffman held various management and sales positions with Hubbard Broadcasting in Chicago, Emmis Communications and Merck.
Round Two of December PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of December 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was November 5 – December 2. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Christmas in Greenwood. It has been a busy holiday season for WCRS, Greenwood, SC co-owner and morning host Anne Eller. The industrious, talented and entrepreneurial woman operates not only a dynamic local talk station in the beautiful “small town America” market, but a unique jewelry store as well. Eller spices up her programming on WCRS synergizing the two assets with on-air jewelry and collectible items auctions that have been wildly successful over the Christmas gift-giving season. Eller is pictured at left in the eclectic store – Sharp Facets Gallery – with the famous and beloved WCRS mascot, Gracie.
2016 Presidential Race, Battle Against Islamic State, Black Lives Matter Minnesota Protest, the Christmas Holiday, Refugee and Immigration Policy Criticism, and NFL Action/Odell Beckham Suspension Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/22). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the results of the most recent polls; the ongoing battle against Islamic State military forces; the legal case over Black Lives Matter’s wish to protest at the Mall of America near Minneapolis; the coming Christmas holiday; the U.S. policies concerning refuges from Syria and the nation’s larger immigration matter; the playoff push in the NFL and the controversial suspension handed to Odell Beckham Jr. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Emmis Fiscal Q1: Radio Down 5.3%. Reporting financial data from the company’s fiscal first quarter, Emmis Communications’ net revenue from radio was $42.6 million compared to $45 million one year ago. However, publishing net revenue was up 5.8% during the quarter, driven by strong growth at Los Angeles magazine, Texas Monthly and Atlanta. President and CEO Jeff Smulyan comments, “While this was a challenging quarter, we are encouraged by what we see looking forward. Our Q2 radio revenues are pacing up low single digits, we had a record-setting ‘Summer Jam’ concert in New York, and ratings are bouncing back in Los Angeles after some expected turbulence.” A press statement quotes Smulyan as very positive about the NextRadio project. “The Emmis-created, industry-led initiative to make FM broadcast radio available on smartphones and tablets, NextRadio, has incredible momentum. The announcement last week that NextRadio is now available for download in the Amazon App Store is the first in what we hope will be a series of positive announcements. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the way our industry has come together to support NextRadio.”
Tony Bruno Shocks Philly and Radio Biz with Surprise ‘Retirement.’ Working with co-host Josh Innes in the afternoon drive slot on CBS RADIO’s sports talk WIP-FM, Philadelphia only since February, sports talk pro Tony Bruno exits the station after topping crosstown rival WPEN-FM’s Mike Missanelli in the latest ratings. Bruno says via a message on his website that, contrary to the rumors, he has no problem with Josh Innes or management at WIP but that he’s retiring from radio and TV forever. “First off, I did not quit in haste because I ‘hated’ or couldn’t work with Josh Innes. That is totally untrue. Josh and I have never had any arguments or confrontations during or after any shows since day 1. The modern world of radio and social media has sucked the fun out of doing this due to ‘factions’ whose sole attempt is to provoke ‘wars’ or have listeners ‘take sides’ to anger or distract the process of doing radio every day.” Bruno will continue to produce his weekly podcast and you can read his message here. Meanwhile, WIP programmer Andy Bloom now is charged with keeping WIP on top of rival WPEN without Tony Bruno. Speculation on who will be teamed with Innes in the afternoon drive slot has begun with some suggesting late night host Jody McDonald likely to be considered.
Delmarva Broadcasting Chief Pete Booker to Retire from Company. In a Facebook post, Delmarva Broadcasting president and CEO Pete Booker announces he’s “retiring” from the company as of Monday, July 13. He writes, “I will miss the people and always remember the great times. By the way, this doesn’t mean I’m retiring from life. Look for me to do some great new things!” Booker served as an operations manager at Delmarva from 1980 to 1988. He joined the Mid-Atlantic Network in 1989 and stayed through 1993. He’s been back at Delmarva for the past 22 years.
WGN, Chicago’s Nick Digilio to Return to Air Soon. The overnight personality on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago told the station’s morning host Steve Cochran that he hopes to return to his nightly program on July 20, according to a report from Chicago media writer Robert Feder. Whatever ailment has sidelined the 50-year-old host and caused him to drop 35 pounds, he’s not saying yet, but promises to talk about it when he returns to his regular show. Read Feder’s story here.
Westwood One Touts NFL Play-by-Play Audience Via Nielsen Research. In a blog post designed to promote the syndicator’s NFL play-by-play broadcasts, Cumulus Media chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard says that because radio audiences are only reported for average weekly estimates, “We never see how radio audiences build over time. For the first time ever, Westwood One, the official audio partner of the NFL, partnered with Nielsen to understand how audience reach grows through the season.” The research shows how cume builds from about 6.1 million in the first weeks of the NFL season to more than 21 million during the playoff run. The data also show that new persons join a broadcast as a game goes on and Bouvard says, “Season-long advertiser investment yield significant reach. Buying deep in the broadcast and long in the season results in massive reach.” See his blog here. The company also is reaching out directly to advertisers via a mail campaign using Boomer Esiason to lay out the reasons a season-long campaign will pay off. According to a piece in Ad Age, companies being targeted include Anheuser-Busch InBev, Gatorade, Hyundai, Pepsi, Visa and Xbox. Read the Ad Age piece here.
Kevin Jackson Show to Debut in 15-Plus Markets. The syndication of the Kevin Jackson show via USA Radio Networks is off to a good start, according to company officials, who state the show will debut in 15-plus markets, including six of the top 25 DMAs. USA chief content officer Tim Maranville says those markets include Atlanta, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Tampa, and Portland. “New markets are contacting us daily to affiliate with the show. Kevin Jackson is a conservative voice to be reckoned with.” The program airs live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart.
Nielsen Audio Releases Second Round of June 2015 PPM Data. The second of four rounds of June 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The June 2015 survey period covered May 21 through June 17. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods. NFL quarterback-turned-broadcaster Donovan McNabb is taking a leave of absence from his NBC Radio Network-syndicated program “Under Center with McNabb and Malone” (with co-host Mark Malone) after getting his second DUI arrest on June 28. ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio is reporting that McNabb faces a mandatory minimum 90 days in jail for this second offense…..A content-sharing arrangement between Townsquare Media and Nexstar Broadcasting Group in the Utica-Rome, New York market will include WFXV-TV “FOX 33” airing the news/talk WIBX’s “WIBX First News with Keeler” and, in return, WIBX will air audio from Nexstar’s WUTR-TV’s half-hour “Eyewitness News at 6” program…..NPR announces staffing changes on the “All Things Considered” programs. London correspondent Ari Shapiro and West Coast national desk correspondent Kelly McEvers are becoming part of the daily “All Things Considered” alongside co-hosts Robert Siegel and Audie Cornish. Melissa Block is exiting the show to serve NPR as special correspondent and Michel Martin takes over as host of the weekend edition of “All Things Considered” from Arun Rath.
China’s Market Plunge, Greece Debt Crisis, Global Markets Reactions, Illegal Immigration-Sanctuary Cities Controversies, 2015 Presidential Candidates, SC Confederate Flag Issue, Iran Nukes Negotiations, Bill Cosby Allegations, NFL Stars’ Fireworks Injuries, and Redskins Lose Trademark Right Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/8). The continuing Chinese stock market sell-off; the Greek debt issue and the nation’s status in the EU; the global financial markets’ reactions to the Asian and European financial news; the illegal immigration policy in the U.S. and the sanctuary cities controversy; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the South Carolina legislature votes to remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse; the deteriorating negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; the status of Bill Cosby’s image after unsealing of testimony in which he admits to acquiring Quaaludes to give to women; the cases of NFLers Jason Pierre Paul and CJ Wilson, both of whom lost fingers to fireworks accidents over the Fourth of July weekend; and the Washington Redskins lose trademark rights for the Redskins image were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Limbaugh-Cumulus Talk Radio Sales Issue Plays Out in Consumer Press. In a piece in the New York Daily News published over the weekend, the war of words over challenged sales of talk radio time at Cumulus Media properties (specifically WABC) became public as the paper quoted a “source close to Limbaugh” said, in effect, that Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey needs to stop blaming Rush Limbaugh for sales trouble at his news/talk stations. Dickey has made public statements – at both investor conference calls and in media appearances – about the negative effect of Rush Limbaugh’s February 2012 Sandra Fluke “slut” controversy that he says is still dragging down sales at his major market news/talk stations. As the Daily News story reports, Cumulus claimed that the high-profile controversy was responsible for lost millions in the first two quarters of 2012. But the story quotes the Limbaugh source stating, “Dickey keeps complaining about falling revenue, but his stations have long lagged behind their competitors in sales by a substantial margin. Rush Limbaugh’s ratings have outperformed every other program on WABC and many other Cumulus stations for years.” The piece notes that Cumulus is not commenting on this latest salvo. Limbaugh’s Premiere Networks contract with WABC, New York expires at the end of 2013 and with Clear Channel’s recent purchase of crosstown WOR, some industry watchers expect his program will move to WOR in 2014.
Michael Savage-TRN Actions Still in the Courts. The legal activity surrounding talk radio host Michael Savage’s successful bid to free himself from his Talk Radio Network contract last fall and subsequently sign on with Cumulus Media Networks is still in the courts. Michael Savage celebrated a Thursday, May 2 ruling in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in which Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers upheld the arbitration panel’s decision to release him from his contract and award him $863,454 plus other money from earnings. Responding to the ruling, Original Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters states, “We are appealing this ruling. We are confident of a successful outcome for OTRN in this next round of appeals.” Speaking to World Net Daily, Savage attorney Dan Horowitz says the case “establishes the ability of radio talent to break away from an employer like any other employee.”
Glenn Beck Delivers Keynote Address at NRA Convention. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio host and television and digital media entrepreneur Glenn Beck delivered the keynote address at this year’s NRA Convention held in Houston over the weekend. He’s pictured here during the speech holding a rifle given to him prior to an appearance in Kentucky. His 1 hour and 40 minute presentation was far more than a typical keynote delivered from behind a podium. Glenn Beck’s skills as a speaker and performer were clearly evident as he kept the audience rapt and engaged during what might have been an interminable amount of time to witness a lesser talented public speaker work. The politics of his message aside and from a purely industrial standpoint, his keynote at this event was a great example of how a top-notch communicator effectively delivers a message and shows why he stands above so many of his colleagues. See the speech here. Glenn Beck will also be speaking at the Talkers New York 2013 industry conference (although for a shorter period of time) on Thursday, June 6 where he will be receiving the 2013 Freedom of Speech Award.
Photograph Case Brings Legal Issues Home for Broadcasters. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says the legal issues surrounding the use of a photograph of a young man with Down Syndrome by Cox Media’s WHPT, Tampa on its website are numerous and serve as an excellent case from which broadcasters can learn. As we reported recently, the family of the young man – Adam Holland, who was 17 when the picture of him was taken in 2004 – is suing Cox Media in federal court in Tennessee for invasion of privacy, misappropriation of a likeness, defamation, intentional infliction of emotion distress and violation of a Tennessee statute regarding commercial exploitation of a person’s photograph. Weisman writes that photos such as the one of Adam Holland can become internet memes — images, videos, photographs or phrases that rapidly spread throughout the internet by way of search engines, social networking services, social news sites or video hosting services. Weisman states, “Often these memes may be altered for purposes of parody of the original work, a use that is protected in accordance with a long line of court decisions. However, other times there are serious intellectual property issues when an original work is used or adapted for commercial purposes as was the case with the use by WHPT. While the exception to the intellectual property laws of ‘fair use’ may apply when a piece is altered and used, as often is done on the internet, for non-commercial purposes, this defense does not apply when intellectual property is used for commercial purposes.” Read more of Weisman’s analysis of this case here.
Using Facebook to Turn News/Talk Radio Social Media Initiatives into a “Loyalty Content Marketing” Program: In a new article posted today (5/6), noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chis Miller advises readers, “You can turn your social media into a ‘loyalty content marketing’ program for those ultra-passionate fans you have.” Miller points out, “Unfortunately, just about all news/talk stations with a Facebook page have the same problem. There’s a lot of content posted about news. However, there is almost no content about what the talk shows are doing. I’m sure syndication is one reason for this; if the talk host is not in the building, how are you going to know what he or she is planning to talk about, and when? Even so, this is a problem with local talk hosts, too. I don’t see a lot of social media content about local shows. Those local talk host posts that I do see often don’t offer a lot of specifics. I’m not told when to listen; I’m not told why I would want to listen; I’m not invited to engage.” Miller shares a couple of basic but extremely valuable tips about how to use Facebook and Twitter more effectively for your news/talk station. To read the entire article, click here.
Holland Cooke Asks: Do Your Station Promos Sound ‘Like Blah, Blah, Blah?’ In a new article posted today (5/6) noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke tackles the ever-important goal of increasing Time Spent Listening (TSL). He says one of the keys to accomplishing this is to make effective use of station promos stating: “Nothing we say about the station on air adds listeners, because the only people who hear promos are already listening.” He says it is vital to think about your demos and specifically what they are doing and care about while listening when writing and producing promos. He addresses each of these considerations in the article, concluding, “Give a listen, outside the station and outside the box. Every time you hear your station say-something-about-itself – live format language, or produced promo — ask yourself: Will THAT cause a listener to come back again another time?” To read Holland Cooke’s entire column, click here.
Indiana Sports Broadcaster Greg Rakestraw to Program WFNI, Indianapolis. Emmis Communications announces Indiana sports broadcaster Greg Rakestraw is the new program director for its sports talk WFNI, Indianapolis “1070 The Fan.” The position opened up when Alan Furst left WFNI and sister news/talk WIBC-FM to join Radio One’s all-news KROI, Houston back in December. The company upped then-WFNI PD David Wood to programmer for WIBC, leaving the slot open. Rakestraw has worked at numerous Indianapolis stations including sports talkers WNDE and WXLW as well as at cable TV operation Home Town Sports Indiana.
WPRO, Providence Late-Morning Host John DePetro to Host Live Interview Series. WPRO, Providence talk show host John DePetro is hosting a live interview series at the newly re-opened Greenwich Odeum theater in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. On Wednesday, May 8, DePetro will host former Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri, Alex and Ani CEO Giovanni Feroce, and Father Bernie Healey, pastor of Our Lady of Mercy, who also serves as Chaplain of the Rhode Island Capitol Police. He’ll speak with each for 30 minutes before a live audience as part of a fundraiser for the theater as all proceeds will go to the Odeum. DePetro says he chose the three guests for their interesting background and ability to tell good stories. He also likes the chance to facilitate a discussion before a live audience, telling the Warwick Beacon, “All of these people are very, very well skilled in the art of being good conversationalists. I’m more of a mechanism to get them to tell their stories. It’s been really fun to put it together with the speakers. They’ve been very receptive.”
Mike Greenberg Survives “The Mess.” ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg proudly brandishes the trophy he was awarded for completing the “Mike & Mike the Mess” obstacle course at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World. Greenberg (second from left) is pictured here with his family – wife Stacy, son Stephen and daughter Nicole – after making good on his wager with co-host Mike Golic in the “Mike & Mike Sheets of Integrity Challenge Presented by Werner Ladder.” The annual challenge pits the two hosts against each other as they fill out their March Madness brackets prior to the annual college hoops tourney.
Jacobs Media Summer School 4 to Kick Off Conclave Learning Conference. The Conclave announces the high impact sessions for Jacobs Media’s Summer School 4 which kicks off the 38th annual Conclave Learning Conference on Wednesday, July 17. Executive director Bob Shannon states, “Conclave 38 begins with what has become a tradition, the fourth annual Jacobs Media Summer School. This year, as part of our commitment to provide ideas that folks can actually take back to work and use, we’ll learn how winners think, how great morning shows are built, and how non-media companies are using social media in ways radio has never thought of. And, that’s just the first day of this year’s Conclave. Stay tuned for more agenda announcements this week.” The Summer School curriculum will include: One-to-one with Jaye Albright; Talent Development; Mobile 2.0; Simply Social; Inside the Mind of Dave Hamilton; Jobs To Do and much more. Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs says, “We have a great lineup for this year’s Summer School, including the star power of Rockwell inductee Jaye Albright to the legendary Dave Hamilton. Plus, the social media guru from the Mall of America – Bridget Jewell – and Target stores – Joe Curry. And we’ll have great sessions including social media effectiveness, what’s new in mobile apps and the challenge of the ‘digital dash.’”
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.
Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio to Feature Greater Media Stations. First it was Cumulus Media striking at deal with Clear Channel to have its radio stations available nationwide via the iHeartRadio digital radio platform, now Greater Media climbs aboard. Beginning in April, Greater Media’s 22 stations in Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, New Jersey and Charlotte will be available via the iHeartRadio app. Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth states, “We are thrilled to be able to provide our listeners with even greater access to our stations anywhere they may be listening throughout the country with this exciting platform.” Clear Channel president and CEO John Hogan says, “Adding Greater Media to iHeartRadio only improves our leading digital destination for consumers, expanding their ability to find the best and most complete online radio experience anywhere. Clear Channel Radio and Greater Media understand that radio connects local businesses to consumers like no other medium can, and this agreement offers more choices for our listeners which is what they want.”
Don Martin Promoted to Senior Vice President, Sports Programming for Premiere Networks. This is a promotion from his role as vice president and general manager for Fox Sports Radio Network which has been a division of Premiere Networks since it began collaborating on sports programming with Fox Sports more than 10 years ago. In this new role, Martin oversees all sports programming and operations for Premiere. Martin reports to Premiere president of content and affiliations Julie Talbott who says, “This is a well-deserved promotion, as Don’s leadership has been instrumental in the growth and strength of the Fox Sports Radio Network. His expertise, as well as his passion and dedication to this industry, make him a tremendous asset as we expand in the sports arena. With Don at the helm, I’m confident we will continue to see the positive impact and success of our programming.” Under Martin’s watch, FSRN has reached an all-time high of 400-plus affiliates. He continues in his role as general manager and program director of Clear Channel’s KLAC, Los Angeles. TALKERS magazine’s Mike Kinosian recently spoke with Don Martin about his work with Fox Sports Radio and KLAC. See the video in the Talkers TV box on the right side of this page.
KFTK-FM, St. Louis Adds More Local Talk; Expanded Shows for Dana Loesch and Dave Glover. Emmis Communications’ news/talk KFTK-FM, St. Louis is adding more live and local programming to its daily schedule with the expansion of the Dana Loesch and Dave Glover shows. Loesch moves from the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot beginning January 30. Dave Glover, the station’s longtime PM drive host, adds an hour to make his show live from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Program director Jeff Allen says, “Now with more Dana and Dave we can better cover the issues that matter to our St. Louis listeners. This is just another step in our commitment to respond to the local audience and to better cover breaking news anytime it happens.” The expansion of the two shows means TRN’s Laura Ingraham program will exit the station. Dana Loesch also does a live hour on Emmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm and Allen says that will continue.
Compass Media Marketing Announces Executive Staff. The newly formed advertising representation firm being organized by Compass Media Networks founder and CEO Peter Kosann announces Paul Gregery is installed as president of sales & marketing; Mary Giesen is named VP of sales planning; and Laura Peyer is New York account manager. The appointments are effective immediately and Peter Kosann says, “We are extremely fortunate to have these executives join us. This is a tremendous first step for our sales organization.” Paul Gregery served at Westwood One for more than eight years in a variety of capacities, including president of sales. Before that, he managed West Coast sales for the AMFM Radio Networks prior to its being acquired by Premiere Networks. Gregery also worked for more than a decade at the ABC Radio Network in a variety of sales positions. He will work out of Compass’ Los Angeles offices. Mary Giesen also worked at Westwood One where she quickly rose through the sales management ranks, ultimately serving as VP of sales planning, traffic & continuity, managing the sales planning staff and overseeing the management of the commercial inventory. She will work out of Compass’ New York offices. Laura Peyer previously served as the sports network sales executive at Skyview Networks, managing advertising relationships with clients throughout the New York, New England and the Midwest markets. Prior to Skyview, she held positions as national broadcast supervisor at MPG and sales planner at Westwood One. She also will work out of Compass’ New York offices.
Glenn Beck’s GBTV to Debut New Roundtable Show. In association with Glenn Beck’s internet news site The Blaze, GBTV will feature “Real News from The Blaze” airing weeknights from 7:00 to 8:00 beginning January 18. GBTV personality Amy Holmes will moderate the roundtable discussion of the day’s news. Participants will include Blaze editor-in-chief Scott Baker, Buck Sexton, Will Cain and S.E. Cupp. GBTV president of programming Joel Cheatwood says, “While GBTV is and will remain an information and entertainment network, we saw a real opportunity to provide the news that our audience is looking for and is too often ignored by the mainstream media. We are passionate about offering our audience a deeply reported and engaging look at the news and are excited to be able to draw on the incredible editorial resources at The Blaze.”
WIP, Philadelphia Brings Brian Haddad Aboard for Creative Services Director Post. The former KDKB-FM, Phoenix morning drive host is named creative services director and part-time host at the CBS Radio sports talk station. Operations manager Andy Bloom says, “We embarked on a three-plus month search to find the person who would make WIP the best-produced station in the country. There is no question we found the most creative mind and talented person to help us accomplish that goal. We view Brian as our new secret weapon.” Brian “Sludge” Haddad joined Sandusky’s rock KDKB-FM in June of 2010 to host the morning show. Previously, he’d worked at Cox Media’s WDYL-FM, Richmond.
KFNS, St. Louis Host Kevin Slaten Goes Solo After Ashlee Feldman Exits. The PM drive show on Grand Slam Sports’ KFNS, St. Louis will go with Kevin Slaten solo for a while after former MTV reality show star Ashlee Feldman exited the program. STLToday.com reports Feldman – a former college basketball player and star of MTV’s “Real World New Orleans” – missed her family in the East and decided to leave the program after a year. Slaten tells the site he’s not certain if he’ll remain solo or be paired up with another partner.
Fisher Communications’ KVI, Seattle Loses PD Travis Box to Home Life. Program director and producer Travis Box announces he’s leaving Fisher Communications to begin the most difficult job he’ll ever undertake – stay-at-home dad! Box has been producing the KOMO-AM/FM “Newsline” program and programmed KVI as it made the recent transition from oldies back to talk. KVI talk host Scott Carty will serve as interim PD.
New Hampshire Primary, Iran Nuclear Ambitions/American Sentenced to Death, Obama Chief of Staff to Exit and Tebow Rallies Boncos Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/9). The GOP New Hampshire Primary race, Iran’s nuclear weapons program and its sentencing to death American Amir Mirzaie Hekmati on charges of being a spy, the Obama Administration’s chief of staff Bill Daley to exit and Tim Tebow’s rallying the Broncos to victory over the Steelers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.