John Hogan’s Exit from Clear Channel Cushioned with Cash. Although the official line from former Clear Channel Media + Entertainment chairman and CEO John Hogan and the company is that he wanted to “spend more time with his family” and the time was right, a fair number of jaded industry watchers will never believe he wasn’t forced out – especially just seven months after he was moved to the company’s New York City offices to work more closely with CC Media Holdings chairman and CEO Bob Pittman. The company’s 8-K filing details what Hogan is walking away with after his time leading the division. Here’s what he can count on: $900,000, representing the amount previously earned by Hogan pursuant to a supplemental incentive plan with respect to 2012 performance; an annual bonus of $77,250 for performance during 2013; and a prorated annual bonus with respect to the days he was employed during 2014. Pursuant to the Separation Agreement and in consideration of the extension by Mr. Hogan of certain restrictive covenants applicable to him, the vesting of 93,076 restricted shares of Class A Common Stock of CCMH granted to Mr. Hogan on October 22, 2012 will be accelerated and CCMH will repurchase 83,938 of such shares (the aggregate repurchase amount of such repurchased shares, the “Repurchase Amount”), provided Mr. Hogan does not revoke the Separation Agreement. Additionally, in exchange for the Separation Agreement, Mr. Hogan’s release of claims and the extension of certain restrictive covenants applicable to him, and provided that Mr. Hogan does not revoke the Separation Agreement, CCB agreed to pay Mr. Hogan: $333,000, representing the remaining amount earned by Mr. Hogan pursuant to a supplemental incentive plan with respect to 2011 performance; an “equity value preservation payment” equal to $1,027,355, paid in a lump sum payment; a lump sum severance payment equal to (x) $1,538,000 minus (y) the Repurchase Amount; a severance payment equal to $3,297,000, paid over 36 months; and a payment of $1,000,000, paid over 12 months, beginning on the first anniversary of the date of separation. Hogan is also entitled to receive continued healthcare coverage for 36 months, continued secretarial services for 6 months, $20,000 in outplacement services, and a housing allowance of $25,000 per month for up to 9 months, which amount is grossed up for certain applicable taxes; provided, that the housing allowance payments will stop if Mr. Hogan ceases to have obligations under the terms of his current lease agreement. CCB also will pay up to $25,000 for Mr. Hogan’s reasonable legal fees incurred in connection with the negotiation of the Separation Agreement.
Sean Hannity to Air on Salem’s WDTK, Detroit. The Motor City destination for Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity show is Salem Communications-owned WDTK. The program will air live in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot. It previously was heard on crosstown news/talk WJR since its 2001 national debut. WDTK general manager Chris MacCourtney states, “The opportunity to bring Sean Hannity aboard was one we felt we could not pass up. Sean was an instant hit when he came to Detroit and he continues to be one of the most popular talk personalities in the market. He will join an already solid lineup of talk talent on ‘News/Talk 1400.’” Since the first of the year, Hannity’s program had been added to Salem outlets WIND, Chicago; WWRC, Washington; and KSKY, Dallas.
Double Shot of WGN, Chicago News. Two items from Tribune’s WGN, Chicago: First, as Chicago media writer Robert Feder reported over the weekend, assistant program director Alex Quigley has been upped to operations manager at news/talk WGN, Chicago. Quigley worked in the market at former Emmis alternative rock WKQX as interactive program manager. When he first came to WGN he hosted the weekend show “ChicagoNow Radio” and “Chicago Preps Plus.” WGN vice president of creative content Todd Manley said in a memo to staffers, “This is a recognition of Alex’s role in our expanding future…He’ll be mentoring producers and searching for new talent that builds our farm system, coordinating special programming, scheduling, digging deep on ratings analysis, and dreaming big dreams.” Second, longtime television news personality Walter Jacobson brings his “Perspective” commentaries to the station beginning this Thursday. Robert Feder reports that the longtime WBBM-TV anchor who exited the station last February will present his 90-second feature on Thursdays during Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano’s midday show and they will be repeated on the weekend during “The Sunday Spin: Politics with Rick Pearson” program. Jacobson will also appear as a contributor to various shows on WGN. Jacobson tells Feder, “Having been listening to WGN Radio since the day I became a reporter, and believing it’s the best in the business, I’m thrilled to be joining the team. For me, it’s a perfect fit at a perfect time. The station’s coming back, and 2014 is going to be an intriguing and exciting year in Chicago’s wild and woolly politics.”
Salem Communications Buys Eagle Publishing for $8.5 Million. It had been reported recently that this deal was on the way and now it’s official as Salem Communications enters into a deal to purchase the assets of Eagle Publishing that includes conservative book publisher Regnery Publishing, and digital properties RedState.com and HumanEvents.com. In a statement, Salem CEO Edward Atsinger III says, “Eagle is one of the most influential companies in the conservative media space. Its addition to Salem brings together a unique portfolio of conservative media properties and fits with our strategy of integrating traditional media and new media assets all serving the same target audience. The opportunity we like most about this acquisition is that each of Eagle’s businesses matches up so well with Salem’s extensive media platform. With 102 radio stations and a dozen major national websites all targeting the conservative community, this provides a perfect marketing platform to promote Eagle’s products to a wider audience.” The purchase price is $8.5 million and current Eagle CEO Jeff Carneal will exit the organization as a result of the acquisition.
‘A-List’ Talent Jon Bon Jovi and John Fogerty Added to Howard Stern Birthday Broadcast. The January 31 birthday bash broadcast for SiriusXM’s Howard Stern just added two more “A-list” talents as Jon Bon Jovi and John Fogerty will join Steven Tyler, David Letterman and Louis C.K. for the show to be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. On his program, Stern announced, “We have told you on the music side of things that we have Steven Tyler coming by to do a little number in honor of my birthday, I’m so honored…[today] I am excited [to announce that]…Jon Bon Jovi is going to perform…I am very excited to see Jon and thank him for that. And also one of my heroes will perform that night—one of the greats, the all-time greats. A guy whose every record I bought when he was in Creedence Clearwater Revival, and later his solo stuff, John Fogerty will come by to perform two great songs – I won’t say what the songs are, [but] we’re really excited about that…the list just begins there, Robin, it just begins there [there is] a huge amount of musicians coming by to help us out…it’s great.”
Sports Talk Host Jeff Dubay Exits KSTP, Minneapolis in Budget Move. Twin Cities sports talk personality Jeff Dubay, who fought a public battle against drug addiction to return to the airwaves in the market on Hubbard Radio’s KSTP, has left the station in what he says is a budget-related move. The Star-Tribune reports Dubay – who worked at Clear Channel’s “KFAN” sports talk brand for 10 years before a crack cocaine addiction sidelined him – sent social media messages indicating that he was let go from the late morning show he co-hosted with Judd Zulgad because of financial reasons. The station posted a message on its Facebook page confirming the matter was financial and not performance related. The paper reports KSTP waived Dubay’s non-compete and he is free to work in the market if the opportunity arises.
Shannon Staying With the Redbirds. St. Louis Cardinals fans will continue to hear Mike Shannon as the voice of the National League team that appeared in the 2013 World Series, as the former MLB player signs a two-year contract extension. This will be Shannon’s 42nd year as a Cardinals broadcaster and 56th year with the team. According to club president Bill DeWitt, “Mike’s voice has become the soundtrack to St. Louis baseball. We look forward to having him back in the booth this season and for years to come.” It is anticipated that Shannon will call all Cardinals’ home games this year for St. Louis flagship KMOX and roughly 30 road games for the CBS Radio-owned talk station. Fox Sports Midwest‘s Rick Horton and former lefty relief pitcher Al Hrabosky will do the remaining road games. Shannon will continue his work throughout the year on KMOX pre-game, post-game, and morning drive call-in segments.
Great Read! TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is pictured intensely absorbing the new book authored by independently syndicated talk show host Jim Blasingame titled The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance (2014 SBN Books). Blasingame is the longtime host of the very successful program “The Small Business Advocate Show” which is targeted to helping independent entrepreneurs and business owners cope with the day-to-day issues that face people running their own companies during this era of rapidly accelerating change. This book, Blasingame’s third, is “his best work yet,” according to Harrison and “must-reading for anyone out there on the perilous high seas of today’s turbulent marketplace…especially those who are doing it independently without the backing of the Wall Street/banking/big-time money machine.” Harrison goes on to say, “This includes those brave and hardy ‘Davids’ owning and operating independent radio stations and small groups, syndication companies and internet communications startups bucking the death grip of today’s mega-corporate ‘Goliaths.’” The premise of the book is that small business owners are operating at a time that is so momentous it has never happened before. Blasingame, a veteran of TALKERS magazine’s Heavy Hundred, identifies it as an epochal marketplace shift that’s causing the 10,000 year old Age of the Seller to be replaced by the Age of the Customer. With an introduction by Steve Forbes, Blasingame’s book reveals how these two ages are existing concurrently in parallel universes, and how much time business-people have left to join the emerging universe. He says relevance is replacing competitiveness and explains how to recognize when you arrive at the “moment of relevance,” how to connect with “new-influencers” who co-own your brand message; why you must be a good storyteller; the good, the bad and the ugly of social media; and he identifies the “killer app” that wasn’t a part of your past but will dominate your future. Broadcasters interested in learning more about this book and perhaps scheduling Jim Blasingame as a guest can visit AgeoftheConsumer.com or email email@example.com.
WHYY, Philadelphia-Led Local Journalism Center Awarded CPB Grant. The recipient organization of a Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant for $1.5 million is the new multimedia local journalism center (LJC), Keystone Crossroads — a collaboration of Pennsylvania public media stations. The new Keystone Crossroads is led by WHYY, Philadelphia. Pittsburgh’s WQED and WESA FM, Central Pennsylvania’s WPSU and Harrisburg’s WITF will be partner stations. The LJC will focus on the challenges the cities are facing, including a shrinking tax base and crumbling infrastructure, and enormous budget deficits. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting states, “By combining smart storytelling with energetic civic engagement, Keystone Crossroads will help Pennsylvanians see the challenges of their cities more clearly, understand how they are related, and create a forum for potential solutions at both the local and state levels.” CPB president Pat Harrison adds, “Local Journalism Centers are really centers of collaboration comprising public media stations working together to report on local stories with significant impact. This kind of focused collaboration ensures in depth reporting on issues of importance and concern to Pennsylvanians and of interest to all Americans.” In addition to Keystone Crossroads, CPB funds six other LJCs across the country, including: EarthFix based in the Northwest; Fronteras in the Southwest; Harvest in the Midwest; Innovation Trail in upstate New York, the Southern Education Desk in the South, and most recently the Energy LJC in the Rocky Mountains.
Chris Christie Scandal, Hillary Clinton in 2016, New Congressional Spending Deal, ObamaCare Enrollment Status, A-Rod Suspension/Legal Challenge, and Golden Globe Awards Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/13). The ongoing analysis of the Chris Christie lane closure scandal and apology press conference; speculation about Hillary Clinton’s plans to run for president in 2016; the new $1 trillion spending plan approved by Congress; enrollment in healthcare plans via the Affordable Care Act; Alex Rodriguez 162-game suspension and his plans to challenge the arbitration ruling; and the aftermath of Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TALKERS Publishes Second Annual “Heavy Hundred” of Sports Talk Radio. The editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, have compiled the second annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America. The eagerly anticipated list is posted today (11/7). Like its long-established “sister list” – the long-running (18 years) annual “Heavy Hundred” that ranks talk radio hosts working in the news/talk and general talk genres – the editors of TALKERS magazine have ranked sports talk hosts, duos or ensembles from 1 to 100 based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors. The results are, admittedly, subjective. Being true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due. Those qualities include: courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness. The other concrete qualification for inclusion is hosts must be working – that is, have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station at the time of publication. TALKERS salutes the fine broadcasters who made this year’s second annual list! To see the entire roster, please click here.
Darryl Parks Exits Clear Channel. The longtime WLW, Cincinnati steward and architect of so many of the talk shows that aired on the station has been let go by Clear Channel. Programmer Darryl Parks was PD of WLW from 1999 to 2010 when he was promoted to vice president of news/talk operations for the entire company. He remained based at the Cincinnati cluster and hosted a Saturday morning talk show on WLW. The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter broke the news on Wednesday afternoon and in his report calls Parks “arguably the most influential person in Cincinnati radio” during his time as PD of WLW. As per policy, Clear Channel doesn’t comment on personnel matters but has confirmed that Parks is no longer with the company. The move is likely a restructuring of management within the company but Parks drew attention to himself last month with a blog post criticizing acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn’s AM revitalization program and referred to the NAB/RAB Radio Show as a “circle jerk.”
CBS Corporation Reveals Q3 Numbers: Radio Up 1%. For the company as a whole, revenue was up 11% but the radio division’s net revenue rose just 1%. With so much of CBS’ revenue from television and cable, the company doesn’t spend much time talking about radio. EVP of investor relations Adam Townsend did single out the fledgling CBS Sports Radio Network, saying, “CBS Sports Radio network continues to help drive our results. Plus, digital revenue was up 19% in the quarter. And nontraditional revenue, including our growing local events business, was up 9%.” The company says it expects the radio division to be up in the low single digits in the fourth quarter.
Clear Channel Radio Revenue Up 3%. CC Media Holdings issued its third quarter 2013 financial results and the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment division’s revenue increased by 3% or $25 million. Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “Strategically and financially, our third quarter results reflect the growing strength of our Media+Entertainment business, while we continue to make meaningful progress in moving Outdoor forward internationally and in the Americas. At Media+Entertainment, we outperformed the entire radio sector in revenue growth, including in our major markets. Increasingly, our radio business is benefiting from our strategic approach to advertising that sets us apart in the marketplace.” Among numerous other points made about the division’s recent achievements, the company notes that there are now “39 million iHeartRadio registered users as of September 30, 2013, up 114% from the end of the 2012 third quarter, and crossing the 30 million registered user mark faster than Facebook, Twitter, Spotify or Pandora, and second only to Instagram. iHeartRadio’s total listening hours were up 30% in the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. Mobile represented 60% of iHeartRadio total listening hours during the quarter.”
Tony Katz to Host Evening Show on WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis and talk show host Tony Katz have agreed to terms for Katz to debut his “Tony Katz Tonight” program on the station airing from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight beginning Monday, November 11. Katz will be based out of his Tomorrow Media Network studios in Los Angeles. Katz most recently hosted a weekend program on Emmis-owned KFTK-FM, St. Louis “FM News Talk 97.1” where he also serves as the regular fill-in for the station’s Dana Loesch. Katz states, “I’m thrilled to be with Emmis, a company that has fought hard to be strong in this ever-shifting radio landscape. I’ve had a great relationship with the company, with Dana and especially KFTK program director Jeff Allen, who gave me nothing but support, opportunity and encouragement. To go from there to the capable and fearless hands of WIBC program director David Wood makes me truly believe that this is the start of a long, profitable relationship.” Katz is a columnist with TownHall and Christian Post and a frequent commentator on “Fox and Friends” and “The Kudlow Report” on CNBC. He is also a sought after public speaker.
Bill Cunningham’s TV Show Renews on The CW. WLW, Cincinnati talk show host Bill Cunningham can also claim success in his other media endeavor – the Tribune-produced television talk program “The Bill Cunningham Show.” Now, Cable & Broadcasting reports that the show has been picked up for another season – its third – by The CW Network which airs the show at 3:00 pm ET. The TV project was one of those that began back when former Clear Channel radio president Randy Michaels was heading up Tribune. Former Clear Channel programmer Sean Compton is one of the executives whom Michaels brought to Chicago and has risen to president of programming and entertainment for Tribune Broadcasting. Compton is quoted in the piece saying, “The growth of ‘The Bill Cunningham Show’ over the past three seasons has exceeded all expectations. When compared to perceptually bigger shows, Cunningham consistently comes out on top. His demo conversion steadily yields impressive results and we are extremely proud of this show.”
A Peek Inside: NAB Futures 2013. Radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke was recently invited to attend – and deliver a keynote speech! – at the invitation only NAB Futures 2013 that took place in Laguna Beach, California. Cooke describes it as “a think tank about how broadcasters can embrace and exploit the ‘disruption’ that has changed how consumers consume media.” He reports back interesting tidbits from such speakers as: James McQuivey, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research and the author of Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation; Scott Burnell, global lead, business development & partner management at Ford Motor Company; Jason Dorsey, “The Gen Y Guy” who wrote Y-Size Your Business: How Gen Y Employees Can Save You Money and Grow Your Business. Get Holland Cooke’s scoop on the NAB Futures 2013 here.
WestwoodOne Opens Creative and Production Studio for Radio Marketers. Saying that it wants to help marketers develop “world-class audio,” WestwoodOne announces the opening of a full-service Creative Services division to be “powered” in part by TM Studios. The company says it will “provide multi-platform marketing solutions including on-air, digital and experiential components, built upon the company’s core service producing engaging audio experiences that connect people with their passions in life. The studio is currently preparing to work with marketers to produce audio ads for WestwoodOne’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII.” WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine states, “Audio plays a vital role in the new media landscape and WestwoodOne is uniquely positioned to help marketers integrate creative, multiplatform audio advertising into the mix. Marketers need a reliable partner who understands how, where and when today’s mobile consumers are interacting with audio and the ability to develop audio content that can stand out from the competition. Be it mobile, terrestrial or digital consumption, the team at WestwoodOne Studio has the talent and expertise to create the most compelling and effective advertising to give our marketers the most exposure.”
Phil Valentine Kicks Off ‘Spreading the Truth’ Tour. Nashville-based syndicated talk show host Phil Valentine is launching what he’s calling the “Spreading the Truth” tour to promote the newly released DVD of his film “An Inconsistent Truth.” Valentine will be in Pensacola, Florida at the Cordova Mall on Sunday, November 10 in conjunction with his Pensacola affiliate station WCOA. Valentine reports that the movie – which challenges the notion of runaway, man-made global warming and takes its title from a twist on Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth – “hit the #1 spot on Amazon.com’s documentary list shortly after its release. It’s the winner of three film festival awards including the Nevada Film Festival. The film enjoyed a limited run last year in select theaters and was the top-grossing movie per screen in the entire country its first two weeks out. It’s the 20th top-grossing nature documentary of all time, out-grossing films like “Cool It, Gasland and Fuel.” Valentine states, “I think the fact that we hit #1 on Amazon so quickly is a testament to the appetite out there for the truth. People inherently know carbon dioxide is not some kind of poison. They instinctively know they’re being lied to. We just arm them with the facts.” The Spreading the Truth tour kicks off in Pensacola then moves to Nashville. Other tour dates are being added.
Odds & Sods. Chicago Cubs radio color analyst Keith Moreland is stepping down from his role. WGN, Chicago announces the former Cub has made the decision to leave the broadcast booth to spend more time with his family. In a note to the WGN staff, Moreland stated, “I would like to thank the fans, the folks at WGN Radio, my colleagues in the booth, the Ricketts family, and the Cubs for this great opportunity. After spending three years doing it, I’ve simply decided that I want to spend more time at home in Texas.” Moreland became a permanent fixture with play-by-play broadcaster Pat Hughes in February of 2011…..Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston announces the return of its off-season baseball show “Red Sox Hot Stove,” a weekly, one-hour program hosted by WEEI.com editor Rob Bradford and Red Sox reporter Alex Speier that will air every Thursday night from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm through February. The program will focus on all off-season moves made by the Red Sox and in Major League Baseball, including free agency and trades, the GM and owners’ meetings and the league’s annual Winter Meetings, taking place this year from December 9-12 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, FL. Bradford and Speier will be joined on a recurring basis by Red Sox manager John Farrell, general manager Ben Cherington and assistant general manager Mike Hazen. In addition, listeners will regularly hear from other managers, general managers, agents and players from around baseball.
‘There She/He Is, Miss Indiana…’ Okay, so that’s not exactly how the song goes. Nonetheless, the attractive woman you see here is Mekayla Diehl (right) who was crowned Miss Indiana USA 2014 this past Sunday. The handsome lad seated and wearing the tiara is Federated Media news and programming guru Jon Zimney of ‘95.3 FM MNC’ (Michiana News Channel) in South Bend, Indiana, and WOWO-AM/FM in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Miss Diehl visited the broadcasting facility to talk about her being crowned to represent the state of Indiana.
ObamaCare Criticism, Election Day Results, Benghazi Case, GOP 2014 and 2016 Strategies, Iran Nukes, Miami Dolphins ‘Bullying’ Story and Tony Dorsett Health Issues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/6). The ongoing scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; Tuesday’s election results; renewed criticism of the handling of the deadly Benghazi attacks; Republican prospects and strategies for the mid-term elections in 2014 and the presidential election in 2016; Iran’s nuclear weapons program; controversy over the suspension of Miami Dolphins player Richie Incognito; and former NFL great Tony Dorsett’s admission he suffers from possible effects of football injuries were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talk Host Mandy Connell Grabs KHOW, Denver Morning Gig. Moving to Denver from Clear Channel’s WHAS, Louisville is talk show host Mandy Connell who takes over the morning drive show on the company’s KHOW, Denver effective August 19. The program host position opened after longtime KHOW morning man Peter Boyles exited the company. Connell states, “Moving to Denver has been my goal for many years. The city is vibrant, beautiful and full of great people. When you throw the mountains into the mix, there simply isn’t a better place to be. When you listen to my show, you’ll hear the things you and your friends talk about. Pop culture, politics and those questions about life you ponder are all fair game – only funnier.” Connell moved from WINK, Fort Myers to WHAS in 2010 to host the mid-morning show. Clear Channel Denver VP of programming Greg Foster states, “We’re fortunate to have a host of Mandy’s caliber at the helm of TalkRadio 630 KHOW’s morning show. Mandy’s entertaining style, humor and passion are sure to connect with TalkRadio 630 KHOW’s listeners and advertisers.” A number of years ago while she was still hosting at WINK, Mandy Connell was selected by the TALKERS editorial board to have the honor of presenting the award for “Woman of the Year” to that year’s recipient, Laura Ingraham. At the time, while still a relative newcomer, Mandy told the crowd that someday she hoped to have developed a strong enough career in the radio business to be the recipient of that award herself. Looks like she may well be on her way to fulfilling that prophecy!
Cumulus Media to Flip FM Side of News/Talk WAPI, Birmingham to Sports in Deal with ESPN for Paul Finebaum. That’s the report from AL.com although confirmation from Cumulus Media and ESPN has not been received. Formerly Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum recently announced a deal with ESPN that would give him a syndicated sports talk show plus other opportunities with the sports media giant. He exited Cumulus Media’s sports talk WJOX, Birmingham in January of 2013 after working out his contract and to explore other options. Now, he’ll return to WJOX via ESPN but the deal appears to include Cumulus adding another sports talk station to the market to carry ESPN’s national programming and the report is that news/talk WAPI-AM/FM will sacrifice its FM signal to the new station. ESPN had an affiliate in the market in SummitMedia’s WZNN – the former ‘ESPN 97.3 The Zone’ – but the company is flipping that station to a still-to-be-determined music format saying it couldn’t make money as the second sports talk station in the market. Finebaum’s new radio show is expected to debut on August 12. AL.com published the ESPN logo you see here reporting it’s been seen circulating in Birmingham on posters.
Mark & Dave Exit News/Talk KEX, Portland; Michael Castner Takes Over PM Drive. Mark Mason and Dave Anderson leave Clear Channel’s Portland news/talk station KEX and Michael Castner, who’d been with the Wall Street Journal Radio Network for the past several years hosting the discontinued “The Daily Wrap” program, is now hosting the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm show. Prior to joining WSJRN, Castner worked at Clear Channel’s WRNO, New Orleans.
KFTK-FM, St. Louis’ Dave Glover Talk Star Search Contest Names Winner. Afternoon drive talk show host Dave Glover announces the winner of the talk host search contest executed by the Emmis news/talk outlet. St. Louis native Brian Moncey won the search based on votes cast online. Moncey picked up 52% of the final week’s votes with a record-breaking 263,000 total contest votes cast and he’ll get the chance to host the 5:00 pm hour of Glover’s program (the date for the show has not been set). Moncey comments, “When I was coming up with a name for the show I asked my friends if they had any suggestions. They immediately replied “So, Here’s the Thing” because that’s what I say ALL THE TIME.” Moncey says he will talk about “the insanity that’s going on in the world and the mundane of every day.” He was among 10 talk show hopefuls selected by the Dave Glover show to compete after submitting a two-minute audio entry. The contestants then faced off in a head-to-head battle with the participants receiving the most online votes advancing to the next round. The final round consisted of Tom Wall, a St. Louis surgical instrument technician (16%); Randy Johnston, founder of Lighthouse Architects, Inc. in St. Louis (32%); and Moncey, a creative project manager specializing in videos (52%). “NewsTalk 97.1” program director Jeff Allen states, “We’ve done this contest in the past and wanted to bring it back this year. Our listeners loved it and responded with huge online voting numbers and, who knows, we may find a new talk star.” His submission can be heard at www.971talk.com/star.
Consultant Kevin Mackall Joins Clear Channel as SVP of Visual Branding. Longtime MTV executive Kevin Mackall has been working for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment on a consulting basis on visual packages for the company’s marquee events such as the iHeartRadio Music Festival and projects like the national country and top 40 television spots. Now, he assumes the title senior vice president of visual branding. The company says that in this capacity he’ll “manage the company’s visual branding production including station logos, television commercials, outdoor campaigns and brand packages for Clear Channel events such as the iHeartRadio Music Festival, iHeartRadio Album Release Parties and the iHeartRadio Ultimate Pool Party.” He’ll report to president of national programming platforms Tom Poleman, who says, “By having him on the team full time, I’m excited that we’ll now be able to spread his creative expertise more deeply through Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, including station branding, iHeartRadio Theater productions and logo projects.”
SiriusXM’s Opie & Athony Show Broadcasts Live from Montreal’s ‘Just for Laughs’ Festival. The Opie & Anthony show on SiriusXM is broadcasting live from Montreal’s ‘Just for Laughs’ comedy festival today and tomorrow (7/25-26). The satcaster states that, “along with comedian Jim Norton, O&A are bringing their uncensored, unpredictable SiriusXM show to Montreal…offering fans a rare opportunity to see ‘The Opie & Anthony Show’ live and in person.” Also, the duo will host a special “Midnight Surprise” performance at Theatre Sainte-Catherine on Friday, July 26 beginning at 11:59 pm ET, featuring a special lineup of comedians personally curated by them that will be revealed on that morning’s live radio show. The O&A cast and crew will be on hand for the Montreal festivities.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Visits KDKA, Pittsburgh. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai spent Thursday at CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh where he spoke about his work concerning the future of the AM band including the related issues of signal quality, HD radio, the future of digital AM, expansion of translator availability for AM broadcasters and regulations in general. Appearing on the Mike Pintek program, Pai stated, “The FCC needs to consider the best of these suggestions because time, frankly, is not on the side of AM, especially among younger listeners because they are going to be fickle as they can be and if we don’t provide an AM radio outlet for them, they’ll go elsewhere.” Pai also addressed the bandwidth issue and explained to KDKA listeners how the digital explosion is eating up available bandwidth. “If you’re watching video on an iPad, you’re consuming 128 times more bandwidth than you would be making a phone call on a cell phone. That bandwidth is a scarce resource, it has to come from somewhere…so, one of the things we at the FCC are trying to do is make more spectrum available…it’s been a big challenge, we don’t have a lot of spectrum just sitting there.” Commissoner Pai (center) is pictured here with staff from CBS Radio Pittsburgh.
‘AM 560 The Answer’ Chicago Host Joe Walsh to ‘March for Peace.’ Former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh – currently hosting the afternoon drive show at Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” – will join New Beginnings Church Pastor Corey Brooks for the “Let us Live” Peace March in downtown Chicago on Saturday, July 27. Brooks was a recent guest on Walsh’s radio show in the aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict. Brooks state, “We have an epidemic and although this is a problem on the South Side in the black community, it’s an issue that we cannot resolve on our own. We need help to figure out a way for young black males to stop killing young black males. We’re asking everyone to join us to raise the level of awareness and let people know this is not a black issue, it’s a humanitarian issue.” Walsh adds, “While so many leaders have been grandstanding, Pastor Brooks is doing a lot to help fix the hurt and reduce the violence in Chicago. I’m honored to join him for this peace march. This is all about unity. No matter what color you are, this problem belongs to us all.”
Industry Mourns Death of CBS Seattle Engineer Arne Skoog. As reported in Radio World, longtime CBS Seattle engineer and RF facilities manager Arne Skoog passed away on Monday, July 22 after a battle with colon cancer. Radio World technical advisor and director of engineering & MIS at CBS Radio Seattle Tom McGinley is quoted saying, “Our beloved Arne Skoog lost his battle with colon cancer on July 22, 2013. A number of us were able to see him in recent days and spent some cherished moments reminiscing about many of the memories and the wonderful contributions he has made to our enterprise over the past 20-some years he has served us.”
Edward Snowden Enters Russia, Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath, Anthony Weiner Pressured to Drop Out of NYC Mayoral Race, Detroit Bankruptcy Filing and Caroline Kennedy Nominated as Ambassador to Japan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/24). Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is granted temporary asylum in Russia; the aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict; the exploding controversy over Anthony Weiner’s run for NYC mayor; the Detroit bankruptcy filing; and President Obama’s nomination of Caroline Kennedy for Ambassador to Japan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Bid4Spots: Auction an Alternative to Unsold Inventory. In a piece published today (7/23), TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian profiles Dave Newmark’s successful Bid4Spots digital auction initiative. There was a time when numerous players were getting into the business of using the internet to deal with unsold inventory on radio stations. Dave Newmark tells Mike Kinosian why the others failed and how he struggled to find the right business model that would eventually lead to success. It was during a casual conversation with a software developer when he had an epiphany. “I immediately thought of those ad exchanges and I realized what they all had wrong. They had the supply and demand equation backwards. Forward auctions work well only when the demand is high and the supply is low. If I could figure out when demand would be at its lowest point – when regular airtime buyers were pretty much gone from the store – it would be as close to ‘next week’ as possible.” Newmark’s road to success was not a smooth one. In this fascinating piece he details his trials and tribulations. He also explains why stations and advertisers are happy with his model of moving unsold inventory. Read it all here.
Are You a Thinker or a Feeler? More importantly, are your listeners and callers thinkers or feelers? In a new TALKERS column posted today (7/23) by branding specialist Dr. John Tantillo, he states that understanding the difference between these two approaches to the issues of the day can have an impact on your show and determine how effectively you orchestrate discussions of them on the air. Using the examples of the current Zimmerman verdict and Rolling Stone cover controversy, Dr. Tantillo examines the relationship between branding and controversy pointing out that the most important thing to focus upon is how the controversy directly impacts the customer’s (or fan’s) loyalty to the brand and nobody else’s. He says we should be less concerned about public relations and more interested in “targeted relations.” To read the entire column, please click here.
Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan Named Among ‘Giants of Broadcasting’ Honorees. This is the 11th annual staging of the “Giants of Broadcasting” that is sponsored by the Library of American Broadcasting. It celebrates “distinguished leadership or performance in television and radio” and will take place October 16 at New York’s Gotham Hall. Smulyan is among 11 honorees this year including Anne Sweeney, Alex Trebek, Barry Diller, Morley Safer, Dick Cavett, Robert L. Johnson, David E. Kelley, Richard E. Wiley, Richard Leibner and Carole Cooper. The Library of American Broadcasting is located at the University of Maryland and the organization states it is “entering its 42nd year serving as the national information resource for the radio and television industries and the academic communities that rely upon it for depth and expertise. Its collections of historic documents, professional papers, oral and video histories, books and photographs are among the nation’s most extensive.”
Red Zebra Re-Tools Afternoons on WTEM, Washington. Recently retired Washington Redskins star Chris Cooley becomes part of the new “The Drive with Cooley and Czabe” afternoon program on Red Zebra-owned sports talk outlet WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980″. Cooley – who just joined the station for Washington Redskins game broadcasts with the company – joins Steve Czaban and WTEM weekend host Al Galdi for the new program that will debut August 1 and will air from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Czaban currently hosts “The Sports Reporters” with Andy Pollin in the afternoon drive slot. Red Zebra says Pollin remains with the station and will sub for the vacationing Tony Kornheiser beginning August 5. About the new show, Czaban jokes, “I will work tirelessly to make Chris Cooley the second-most-beloved ex-Redskin tight end on radio in the DC market.”
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Mark Jorgenson of Jorgenson Broadcast Brokerage. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Mark Jorgenson of Jorgenson Broadcast Brokerage of Greenville, South Carolina. Jorgenson was a 12-year veteran of television sales and radio ownership in Southeastern markets before deciding that he liked putting deals together better than he did operating stations. He says, “I enjoy matching people up with great opportunities and that’s what the brokerage business is all about.” Jorgenson describes today’s radio station market as “sluggish due to a lack of capital to finance deals.” He says, “There are plenty of potential buyers and even more potential sellers but without institutional financing to make the deals happen, we won’t see the volume of transactions we’ve seen in the past. Brokers have to be creative and persistent to make deals happen in today’s financial climate.” He continues, “There are even radio deals where some portion of the purchase price might be handled with a seller note. The key is for the buyer to have access to at least some cash. Private investors, family, and friends are the most likely source to finance new ventures these days.” To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
Talkers Los Angeles 2013 Is Set for Thursday, October 10. The third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention has been set for Thursday, October 10 and its outstanding agenda is shaping up to be a blockbuster. It is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and held at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are very enthusiastic about the growth and positive impact of this Southern California gathering. It started out three years ago as an experimental LA regional get-together and blossomed into an exciting companion to our big New York convention.” The event - open only to members of the working media – will feature a power-packed day of panel discussions, keynote addresses, special presentations, technology and services exhibits, tremendous networking opportunities and abundant food and refreshments (lunch is sponsored by Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity who will address the attendees from New York). Speakers already set include (in alphabetical order): Robin Bertolucci, PD, KFI, Los Angeles; Phil Boyce, VP spoken word format, Salem Communications; Holland Cooke, radio consultant; Skip Essick, PD, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Erica Farber,CEO/president, RAB; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD/WYM Media; Rusty Humphries, host, Talk Radio Network; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Tom Leykis, president, The New Normal; Don Martin, senior VP sports programming, Fox Sports Radio/Clear Channel Media and Entertainment; Kevin McCullough, CEO, XtreMedia; Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media; Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News; Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment/Podcast One; Chris Pendl, creative director, Bonneville Seattle; Walter Sabo, CEO, Sabo Media; Eric Stanger, VP of operations and affiliate marketing, The Sean Hannity Show/Premiere Networks; Alan Stock, host, KDWN, Las Vegas; Paul Vandenburgh, president/GM/host, WGDJ, Albany; and Michael Zwerling, owner, KSCO, Santa Cruz with many more to be announced in the coming days. The latest broadcasting equipment and remote gear will be on display as presented by Broadcasters General Store and Comrex Corporation. Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone and the event is expected to be a very early sellout. So don’t wait – avoid being shut out. For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413.
WFAS, White Plains Afternoon Host Lisa Wexler to Run for Judicial Office. Lisa Wexler is an attorney and currently the PM drive talk host on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WFAS, White Plains, New York. She tells TALKERS magazine she’s being nominated to run as a Republican for the Probate Judge of Weston and Westport (Connecticut) in November. “I’ve practiced this area of law for many years, and I’m very excited to run and be able to serve the people with knowledge and compassion.” Wexler notes the position is part time and, if elected, she will be able to continue her radio work.
WRSB, Canandaigua, New York to Flip to Business Talk. The station was purchased earlier this summer by Genesee Media Corporation and has been serving the area south of Rochester with a religious format. According to YNN.com, GMC will brand the station “Business 1310” and will use programming from Bloomberg, NBC News and Marketwatch. The report also indicates that Genesee intends to add the programming to other AM signals in the region.
Sonoma Media Group Announces Kevin Wodlinger Is New Local Business Development Manager. The company says Kevin Wodlinger comes to its five-station Santa Rosa, California cluster from his most recent position in Grand Junction, Colorado as market manager for the Cumulus Media cluster that is now owned by Townsquare Media. Wodlinger replaces longtime employee Jeriann D’Elicio, who recently announced her resignation. Michael O’Shea, president of Sonoma Media Group, comments, “Kevin is the real deal – a consummate sales executive with a great track record of teaching, coaching and leading in local business development. We are delighted to have his expertise and leadership in our building.” The company operates news/talk KSRO, country KFGY “Froggy 92.9,” classic rock KVRV “97.7 The River FM,” hot AC KMHX “Mix 104.9,” and CHr KHTH “Hot 101.7.”
New Motor Sports Network to Begin Operations. The Midwest Racing Radio Network announces it is preparing to begin operations and has named Brian Douglas vice president of broadcast operations. Douglas also serves as host. The company states it will initially feature one two-hour motorsports show via live audio stream and podcast in a format for broadcast stations to air daily five days a week. Also, the network will feature a live one-hour Sunday evening program and a national highlights podcast show containing results, interviews, and the upcoming regional racing schedules as submitted from tracks across the country.
Cigar Dave Goes Live on TV. Nationally syndicated media personality “Cigar Dave” Zeplowitz is pictured here (at right) hosting the first-ever live televised broadcasts from the 2013 International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Convention at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas. The telecasts aired live on Sunday, July 14, Monday, July 15 and Tuesday, July 16. Cigar Dave reports his telecasts featured new premium cigar releases and accessories, interviews with premium cigar manufacturers and personalities, and presented viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the IPCPR Convention, that up to now, has been closed to the general public and only open to the trade. “Cigar Dave” says, “This marks the next evolution of the Cigar Dave Show as we transition into a digital, multi-platform provider of relevant content for Alpha Males. Eighteen years ago, I was the first broadcaster to host a radio show dedicated to cigars and the Alpha Male-lifestyle. This year’s live IPCPR telecasts commence a major expansion into televised and digital content that appeals to Alpha Males and a new generation of Millennial Males who enjoy cigars, spirits, manly pursuits, and the Good Life.”
Odds & Sods. Public radio station WKSU, Kent, Ohio drops some of the daily classical music programming to add NPR’s “The Takeaway” with John Hockenberry and “On Point” with Tom Ashford to the midday schedule…..Sun Broadcasting changes the news/talk trimulcast of WFSX-AM and FM and WNOG-AM in Fort Myers. It keeps WFSX-FM news/talk as “92.5 Fox News” and pairs up the AMs as a sports talk duo “The Fan.”
ObamaCare Implementation, Detroit Bankruptcy, Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Race, U.S. Syria Policy and British Prince Born Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/22). The delay of the employer mandate and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the bankruptcy case of the city of Detroit; the aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict; the potential candidates in the 2016 presidential race; the United States’ policy regarding Syria; and the birth of the son of Prince William and Kate Middleton were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Peter Boyles to Debut New Morning Show at Salem’s KNUS, Denver. Longtime KHOW, Denver morning drive personality Peter Boyles joins Salem Communications’ KNUS, Denver for a new morning drive program beginning Monday, July 1. Boyles was let go from Clear Channel’s KHOW after a widely publicized incident of workplace violence in which he became physically aggressive with producer Greg Hollenback. Boyles took responsibility for his actions in a regular column he writes for the Cherry Creek Chronicle but, as the Denver Post reports, he also took the opportunity to slam Clear Channel saying, “Clear Channel is a culture of fear.” Regarding bringing Boyles aboard, KNUS vice president and general manager Brian Taylor tells the Post, “He’s a legend. He really cares about wanting to speak for his audience.” Boyles’ arrival at the station moves the Steve Kelley program to the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot on KNUS. In a statement from Salem, Boyles comments, “I believe we can change the face of Denver radio as well as the political future of Colorado. That’s how much I believe in this show and what we can do. I’m delighted to join the Salem team in Denver and help take KNUS to the next level. We’re going to do some great radio and I can’t be more excited.” Salem VP/director spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “There is no doubt Peter Boyles is a Denver talk radio institution. When the opportunity came for us to grab Peter’s show we wasted little time in making it happen. Denver radio needs this guy, who truly does a remarkable show.”
New Sports Talk Programming to Air on WGNU, St. Louis in August. Well, it’s not exactly new. According to Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, current KFNS sports talk personality Tim McKernan, via his company insideSTL Enterprises LLC, will lease time on 920 AM LLC-owned WGNU – currently airing urban talk – beginning on or around August 1. The lineup will be familiar to St. Louis sports talk fans as it will include many of the market’s well-known sports talk personalities who’ve worked at KFNS and at other stations: McKernan himself with Doug Vaughn and Jim Hayes; Frank Cusumano; Kevin Slaten plus (former MLB slugger) Jack Clark; and a new show featuring Post-Dispatch columnists Bryan Burwell and Joe Strauss plus KTVI-TV sportscaster Charlie Marlow. McKernan is undertaking the venture as KFNS owners are shifting the programming to a guy talk format. The programming will also be available on McKernan’s insideSTL.com, an important aspect of his business plan. McKernan tells Caesar, “What this opportunity provides us is a chance to see if this lineup, if this website and this business plan can indeed work and can set us up for the potential of purchasing a radio station in the near future.” McKernan is not leasing the weekend time from WGNU.
WPEN, Philadelphia’s Darren Daulton to Have Brain Surgery. Greater Media sports talk outlet WPEN, Philadelphia “The Fanatic” announces baseball talk show host and former MLB star Darren “Dutch” Daulton has been diagnosed with two tumors on his brain and will undergo surgery to have them treated next week. Daulton – a member of the 1993 pennant-winning Philles – hosts the nightly “Talking Baseball with Dutch” show that airs from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm during baseball season on WPEN.
Entercom’s WEEI, Boston Donates 1,000 Red Tickets to First Responders. As a way of saying “thanks” to the many first responders who came to the aid of those affected by the Boston Marathon bombing in April, Entercom’s sports talk WEEI donated 1,000 tickets to last night’s Boston Red Sox game versus the Toronto Blue Jays. The company says, “These groups and individuals will include those who have displayed acts of heroism and valor, and have shown us examples of courage.” Tickets were distributed to: First responders including the Boston Police, Fire and EMS workers; the Boston Athletic Association; the communities of Dorchester, Arlington and Medford; the Massachusetts State Police; the Massachusetts National Guard; Boston area hospitals. Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Jeff Brown states, “On behalf of Entercom and WEEI, we send our deepest appreciation for the bravery and service of these responders during our city’s time of need. We are forever grateful for their heroism and hope this small gesture brings a smile to some faces across Boston on Thursday evening.”
The Conclave to Feature Performance by Recording Artist Keaton Simons. The Conclave’s first-ever “GAMEDAY,” a day devoted entirely to sports, will wrap with a performance by Best Revenge Records recording artist Keaton Simons (pictured here). It’ll take place at a reception at KTWN, Minneapolis’ studios just before the Minnesota Twins vs Cleveland Indians game at Target Field. The Conclave says that the Los Angeles Times termed Simons “a triple threat” captivating audiences with an authentic voice, compelling and soul-baring songs, and a true command of both acoustic and electric guitars in every genre. Simons’ second album “Beautiful Pain” is co-produced by Mikal Blue who has also worked with Colbie Caillat and One Republic, and includes songs co-written with friends and peers including Jason Mraz and others. Conclave executive director Bob Shannon says of Keaton, “‘No Rain In The Forecast’ is the tune I’m singing. His appearance at the KTWN rooftop party during Conclave 38 will be a night of great music, baseball and beer. How could it get better than that?”
The NAB Announces Panelists for Leadership Breakfast. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) announce the panelists for the 2013 Radio Show Leadership Breakfast, titled “Opportunities in a Changing Economy,” presented by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. The event will be held Thursday, September 19, from 7:15 am to 9:00 am at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando. The Leadership Breakfast will feature a panel discussion about expanding opportunities in radio for acquisitions and revenue in a growing economy. Panelists include Lew Dickey, CEO of Cumulus Media; Mary Quass, CEO of NRG Media; Jeff Warshaw, CEO of Connoisseur Media and Larry Wilson, CEO of Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting. The panel will be moderated by Lew Paper, a partner with Pillsbury, and will be preceded by opening remarks from Marci Ryvicker, managing director, senior equity analyst, for Wells Fargo Securities, LLC.
Centennial Stations Win Virginia Association of Broadcasters Awards. Centennial Broadcasting II, LLC’s Fredericksburg, Virginia, hot AC WBQB “B101.5” and “NewsTalk 1230” WFVA (formerly adult standards during the contest period), won five First Place awards at the 76th Annual Virginia Association of Broadcasters Awards Banquet held June 21 at the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel. WBQB won the following awards in the Medium Market category: 1st Place – Outstanding Website; and 1st Place – Best Commercial – Steamers Seafood Grill and Bar Star Search. WFVA won the following awards in the Medium Market category: 1st Place – Outstanding News Series: “Battle of Fredericksburg”; 1st Place – Best Human Interest Series: “Teen Violence Turns Personal”; and 1st Place – Best Documentary Or Public Affairs Program: “Sniper: 10 Years Later.” Market manager Tom Hamilton states, “I am so proud of the sensational, award-winning talent at B101.5 and NewsTalk 1230 WFVA. This is certainly a reflection of their passion for creating great radio and their dedication to the Fredericksburg community.” WBQB and WFVA operations manager Chuck Archer says, “There is one word that comes to mind when I think of the individuals involved in the creation of these award winning pieces and that’s ‘passion.’ They eat, drink, breathe and sleep great radio and constantly find ways of making it better.”
Odds & Sods. SiriusXM talk show host Michael Smerconish calls his most recent story about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s chances of winning the White House in 2016 published Philadelphia magazine “neither a valentine, nor a hit piece, but rather an analytical look at what impediments he will face if he runs.”…..SiriusXM announces music, TV and movie icon Cher will answer fan questions during an intimate Q&A session with an audience of listeners as part of its “Town Hall” series. The program will be moderated by original Studio 54 doorman Marc Benecke and Myra Scheer, executive assistant to former Studio 54 co-owner Steve Rubell, and current hosts of the Marc and Myra show SiriusXM’s Studio 54 Radio.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” with co-hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the program schedule at WBLF, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania and WBAT, Marion, Indiana….. Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program schedule at WGAW, Gardner, Massachusetts and WLSC, Loris, South Carolina…..GCN-syndicated “America Tonight” with host Kate Delaney adds affiliates WLEE, Richmond, Virginia and WTLS, Tallassee, Alabama…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” featuring Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete is added to the program lineup at CKLW, Windsor/Detroit and WADB, Asbury Park, New Jersey…..“The Commercial Real Estate Show” with Michael Bull adds affiliates KIVA, Albuquerque and WGKA, Atlanta.
SCOTUS Gay Marriage Ruling Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 24-28. The Supreme Court’s striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and dismissing and appeal of California’s Proposition 8 on jurisdictional grounds was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the Obama emissions policy. Following at #3 was the NSA surveillance program and the case of Edward Snowden and at #4 was the death of the Texas anti-abortion bill. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Jacksonville Judge to Arbitron: Try Again…or Else. Or else the complaint against Renda Jacksonville will be dismissed. U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard struck Arbitron’s complaint that Renda Jacksonville illegally used its property – PPM ratings data it had allegedly acquired from a local ad agency – calling it an impermissible “shotgun pleading” and giving Arbitron until July 26 to file an amended complaint or it will be dismissed. The court writes “A shotgun complaint ‘contains several counts, each one incorporating by reference the allegations of its predecessors, leading to a situation where most of the counts . . . contain irrelevant factual allegations and legal conclusions.’…Consequently, in ruling on the sufficiency of a claim, the Court is faced with the onerous task of sifting out irrelevancies in order to decide for itself which facts are relevant to a particular cause of action asserted.” To be clear, this not a judgment about the legitimacy of Arbitron’s claim but it’s a smack down of the way the complaint was written and the judge was clearly not happy about it. Paraphrasing what the TALKERS legal department tells us, “Judges hate it when litigants waste the Court’s time.”
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Glen Dingley of Kingtron, Inc. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Glen Dingley of Texas-based Kingtron, Inc. Dingley brings years of experience as a chief engineer to his brokerage firm stating, “So much equipment is outdated and incompatible out there. My clients really respect my insights and advice. When you are buying or selling a station, you are mainly purchasing equipment with which to broadcast. Station personnel, policies, and other assets can change, but without good equipment, you are not competitive.” Dingley’s advice to first-time buyers, many of whom are currently displaced station managers, is to try to connect with an investment firm or individual. He says, “There is still a lot of glamour involved with owning a station, but investors need direction and guidance. Go locate those people and show them what you know and how you can assist them in the industry and help them make money in the broadcasting business. Also try to stay in the media-related industry to keep your pulse on the state of the business and the changes it will take in the next 10 years.” To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, click here.
KDWN, Las Vegas PD John Shaffer Named President of APTRA. That’s the Associated Press Television and Radio Association and it means that Beasley programmer John Shaffer will spend the next year heading the organization that represents 13 western states including: California, Nevada, Hawaii, Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Washington, Colorado, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Alaska and Oregon. The passing of the gavel took place at APTRA’s annual Mark Twain Awards Banquet, held Saturday, June 22 at the Pasadena Convention Center, in Pasadena, California. Shaffer has served as vice president of the APTRA Board of Directors for the last two years and as the Nevada Radio representative on the board for the past four years. Beasley Las Vegas market manager Tom Humm says, “John serves as program director and news director for KDWN and is perfect for this position. He is a perfectionist, and believes in the importance of both maintaining integrity and getting information out to our communities in a timely manner. These skills will serve him well as president of APTRA.”
New York State Broadcasters Association Recognizes Outstanding Achievement at Annual Ceremony. The New York State Broadcasters Association held its 47th annual “Awards for Excellence in Broadcasting” on Monday evening at the Sagamore Resort Hotel in Bolton Landing. Winners in radio included: WNOW-FM, a CBS station, received recognition for “Outstanding Commercial” (Guiffre Auto Group — Forget About It), “Outstanding Promotion Announcement or Series” (We’re All Sandy Hook) and “Outstanding On-Air Broadcast Personality Or Team” (Zann On 92.3 NOW). Emmis Communications-owned WQHT-FM picked up an award for “Outstanding Station Sponsored Event” (Hot 97’s Summer Jam 2012 Nicki Minaj) and WNYM-AM was singled out for “Outstanding Sportscast” (Al Gattullo Sports Report). WFUV-FM, the region’s NPR member station, collected awards for “Outstanding Public Service Announcement/Campaign” (Striking a Chord), “Outstanding Public Affairs Program Or Series” (Cityscape), “Outstanding Spot News” (Sandy’s Aftermath), “Outstanding Feature Story” (Big Andy, Little Andy, And The Gift of Hope”) and “Outstanding Commentary/Editorial” (Roommating 101).
Georgia Tech Football and Hoops Off WQXI, Atlanta. IMG College – the agency that negotiates the rights to play-by-play for Georgia Tech (and many other schools) announces that the school’s football and men’s basketball will not air on Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk WQXI, Atlanta this season as they have since 2001. Games are also broadcast on Cumulus Media’s FM all-news WYAY and the signal more than covers the area, according to Georgia Tech athletic director Mike Bobinski. He states, “We will continue to maintain a relationship with WQXI as a significant local sports talk station, but the flagship designation, by mutual agreement, will come to an end.”
With a Little Help from My Friends. KXL, Portland mid-morning host (and longtime TALKERS Heavy Hundred host) Jim Villanucci tells TALKERS that he survived the trauma of not having his contract renewed after 14 years of service as afternoon drive host at Cumulus‘s heritage talk outlet KKOB, Albuquerque because of a little help from his friends in the industry – some of whom he had never even met in person. The best way to describe Villanucci – who admits that upon losing his position at the Albuquerque talker he was “scared” and went through some “rough stuff” emotionally – is grateful. He tells TALKERS he is grateful and “happy” to now be working with a new team at Larry Wilson‘s Alpha Broadcasting hosting the late morning show on news/talk KXL, Portland, giving praise to Wilson as well as Scott Mahalick, Milt McConnell and Bob Profitt and mentions a bunch of “random names” in the industry who rose to the occasion of giving him support – even if it just meant “listening” and giving him encouragement during the dark days between jobs. These include Laurie Cantillo, Andrew Paul, Tom Becka, Mark Davis, Joe O’ Neil, Heidi Harris and Marc Germain, among others.
WIOU, Kokomo, Indiana to Flip to Sports Talk. The Hoosier AM/FM, LLC news/talk WIOU, Kokomo will flip to sports talk beginning July 1 using content from ESPN Radio including “Mike and Mike in the Morning,” Colin Cowherd, SVP & Russillo and “Coach & Company.” Longtime WIOU staffer and current program director Rob Rupe keeps his position with the station. According to a piece in the Kokomo Tribune, station manager Ernie Caldemone says, “I feel as long as we continue to be local in our community, we’ll do extremely well. I think we’ve been known as the sports station, because we already carry a half-day schedule. I just felt like with the sports we already have, why not go to all sports, 24/7?”
Connectivity Is the Watchword at CE Week in NYC. Radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke reports from New York City where the Consumer Electronic Association is hosting CE Week. He says the buzzword everyone is using is “connectivity” as more and more consumers expect the electronics they purchase to be able to connect to the internet. “Thus Blu-ray has flatlined. It’s the highest-quality hardware for viewing hard-copy software. But as we spend more time watching Hulu and Netflix and other streaming video, physical video disks seem to be going the way of audio CDs obsoleted by iTunes and other download depots.” Read Holland Cooke’s complete report here.
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio announces the CBS Sports Radio Network hits the 300-affiliate mark just nine months after launching the network. CBS Radio SVP of programming Chris Oliviero states, “Hitting the 300-affiliate mark in less than a year is a significant milestone and testament to the overwhelming love of, and support for sports radio in this country.”…..Media and advertising analysis firm BIA/Kelsey announces the expansion of its executive team with the promotions of analyst Michael Boland to vice president, content, and analyst Jed Williams to vice president, consulting. In addition, veteran digital media executive Warren Kay has joined the firm as executive-in-residence…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFED, Washington “Federal News Radio” debuts a new logo that celebrates it as a multimedia source of federal news and information. Program director Lisa Wolfe says, “I’m very happy with our new logo. It gives appropriate recognition to our two major distribution platforms and streamlines our public-facing image. Our new branding more accurately reflects the multimedia news organization we always have been.”
Fisher House PSAs and Public Affairs Show Available for Fourth of July Programming. Bloomquist Media reports that stations interested in airing PSAs and public affairs programming that makes an emotional connection with listeners can conveniently get them from a Dropbox link right here. The Fourth of July-themed PSAs and the 30-minute Fisher House public affairs program help promote the Fisher House Foundation which builds comfort homes at military and VA hospitals where the families of wounded warriors can stay at no cost while their hero is recovering. Radio stations across the country continue to help Fisher House and their mission to support military families in their time of greatest need.
‘Gang of 8’ Amnesty Bill, IRS Scandal, NSA Surveillance/Snowden Asylum Issue, Obama Climate Change Policy, George Zimmerman Trial, and SCOTUS Rulings Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/24). The immigration bill that would give amnesty to illegals already in the U.S.; the ongoing investigation into the IRS scandal; the battle over extradition of Edward Snowden and the NSA surveillance program; President Obama’s move to sidestep Congress to push his climate change policy through; opening arguments in the trial of George Zimmerman and the Supreme Court rulings were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Pioneering Talk Radio Host Gene Burns Dead at 72. Longtime talk radio host and broadcasting pioneer Gene Burns has died, succumbing to a long illness marked by a series of strokes. In the words of TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison, “Gene was one of the greatest of the great and classiest of the classy – a true ‘wordsmith’ and gentleman who symbolized everything good about talk radio and served as one of the major engines that drove the ascent of its modern era.” Until recently forced by illness into retirement from on-air performing, Burns had spent a decade and a half as a key host on KGO, San Francisco where he did a general news/talk program as well as a very popular restaurant and entertainment show. The veteran of a number of great stations, he made his mark in the late-1980s and early-1990s as a member of the legendary lineup at WRKO, Boston that also included the late Jerry Williams. That was followed by a brief but high-profile stint at WOR, New York and national syndication on the WOR Radio Network. Harrison adds, “Gene Burns practiced a brand of libertarian-based, intellectual populism in his approach to political news/talk that set the standard for the format’s emergence as a voice for the average person to stand up to big government, big business, big media and big anything. Although ‘conservative’ in his orientation, he eschewed blatant partisanship, avoided banal cookie-cutter left-versus-right talking points and dealt with each issue in an academically probing and credible manner.” Burns’ ground breaking work in the early-1990s stood as the inspiration for TALKERS magazine’s annual Freedom of Speech Award and the tradition of the annual State of the First Amendment Address delivered at the publication’s conventions. He is ranked the 23rd most important radio talk show host of all time by TALKERS in its “Heaviest Hundred” feature which is updated twice a decade. Harrison concludes, “His rich, baritone voice coupled with the artistry of his word selection and ability to construct a logical argument was about as close to music as one could hear within a spoken word context.” A special honoring the life and work of Gene Burns aired on Sunday, May 26 on KGO hosted by David Weintraub and a special tribute will be presented honoring his legacy at Talkers New York 2013 on Thursday, June 6.
Adult Contemporary is a Relatively Low-Involvement Format on Facebook. According to digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, “There are several major-market adult contemporary stations on Facebook who have a ton of followers, but very little interaction going on. As a former AC programmer, I absolutely feel their pain; AC is a low-involvement format. At the same time, most of these stations have fallen into a rut about what they post. The quality of the post is in the level of engagement you get from it. When thousands or tens of thousands follow you, and you get two or three ‘Likes’ on your posts, you gotta shake up your thinking.” In a new column posted today (5/28) Miller suggests that although consistency is basically a good and necessary thing, there is a dark side to it and to avoid falling into a rut, radio broadcasters of all formats should make changes to approximately 10% of their posts on a regular basis. To read the details and Miller’s entire piece, click here.
Kent Sterling Returns to Indy on Sports Talk WFNI. News/talk and sports radio pro Kent Sterling re-surfaces on the air at Emmis’ sports talk WFNI, Indianapolis for a weekend program with Chris Hagan called, “Ahead of the Curve with Hagan and Sterling.” He most recently served with Bonneville at its St. Louis sports talker WXOS but exited that post to return to Indianapolis. Prior to his work at WXOS, Sterling served as program director at Emmis’ news/talk flagship WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. Sterling’s and Hagan’s weekend program airs from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays.
NBA on Radio Is a Different Breed of Sports Play-by-Play. Major League Baseball is the sport that could be called radio’s best friend and the NFL’s astounding popularity makes its games and surrounding programming popular with listeners. While the NBA’s regular season games are not generally thought of as “programming gold” across the country, it appears that having even a moderately successful team combined with a flagship station with a strong nighttime signal, can be a recipe for success with basketball play-by-play. According to information from Arbitron based on PPM data from 27 NBA teams in 25 PPM markets, certain places are simply basketball towns – the Los Angeles Lakers rule Los Angeles on KSPN with average game estimates larger than the Dodgers, Angels, Kings and Ducks grabbing a 4.0 share with Men 25-54 (average of all 82 games). And perennial contenders the San Antonio Spurs dominated on WOAI with a 9.8 share with Men 25-54. However, less successful teams on strong flagships performed well during the regular season: the Milwaukee Bucks just squeaked into the playoffs but on heritage WTMJ garnered a 10 share with Men 25-54; the Cleveland Cavaliers missed the playoffs yet grabbed a 9.7 share (M 25-54) on WTAM; and the Detroit Pistons also missed the playoffs but notched an 8.0 (M 25-54) share on the highly rated WXYT-FM. Considering games in the East and Midwest air in the evenings, numbers for the stations cited above – and others not cited here – are impressive nighttime ratings.
Flagship Stations Should Capitalize on Cross-Promotional Opportunities within Baseball PBP. According to Bonneville Seattle creative director Chris Pendl, ”If you’ve made the investment on play-by-play sports on your station, it’s important to maximize the return on your investment by trying to recycle that audience to another daypart on your station.” Arbitron reports that MLB drives cume increases as much as 50% to 65% during baseball season. Pendl tells TALKERS, ”This influx of audience is one of the reasons we pay rights fees, share revenue, or give up inventory to carry this programming. In a climate with little or no external marketing dollars, I’ve often joked that our promotional time within baseball play-by-play is the closest thing we’ll get to an interstate billboard or TV campaign.” In an exclusive article posted today (5/28) Pendl describes and shares a production/promo technique conducted by Bonneville to cross-promote the station via the baseball audience that he calls “situation baseball return liners.” To read the entire piece and hear examples of its execution, click here.
Buckley to Sell KYZZ, Salinas, California to Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters. Buckley Communications announces it is selling sports talk KYZZ, Salinas, California to Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters. The price is yet to be announced. KYZZ is the FM side of the sports talk simulcast that also airs on Buckley’s KIDD, Monterey and Buckley says it will continue with its ESPN Radio affiliation on KIDD. Mt. Wilson has not announced its format plans for KYZZ. Saul Levine’s Mt. Wilson also owns country KKGO, Los Angeles and classical simulcast KMZT-AM, Beverly Hills and KMZT-FM, Big Sur, California.
WTOP Hacking: Why You Should Worry. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes about the recent hacking of the websites of Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington and its sister WFED “Federal News Radio.” Weisman is one of the nation’s foremost experts on scams, he operates the website Scamicide that presents up-to-date information about scams, fraud and identity theft, and is the author of The Truth About Avoiding Scams (FT Press 2008). In this column, Weisman explains the methods used by the WTOP hackers and explains the steps users can take to avoid becoming the victim of similar attacks. Read Weisman’s entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. Martz Communications’ WPDM, Potsdam, New York flips from a simulcast of FM sister WSNN to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio Network…..Wilks License Company’s sports talk WZOH, Columbus becomes part of the Cleveland Browns radio network based at CBS Radio’s WKRK, Cleveland…..WTOP, Washington crowns Nathan Stanford from Harrington, Delaware the 2013 winner of “Commuter Idle” – an “extreme commuter” competition for listeners experiencing the daily horrors of commuting in and around Washington. Stanford’s commute begins with a 3:00 am alarm and a one-hour drive. He then boards a commuter bus for a 90-minute ride from Kent Island to Foggy Bottom, rides the Metro, and hustles on foot to his office in Rosslyn. Stanford’s travels from Delaware to Virginia average more than five hours a day, though the commute can be much longer in the summer months with Friday beach traffic. He receives $1,000 in gas money and will enjoy a limo ride to and from work from Reston Limousine. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “The question that we hear most often is, ‘Why do these people do it?’ It’s fascinating to hear their personal stories and accompany them on their crazy commutes. We feel their pain, and as DC’s traffic authority we’re here to help.”
KOIL, Omaha’s Mulberry Lane Meets the Beach Boys and John Stamos. Musical act Mulberry Lane opened for the Beach Boys (which includes actor and musician John Stamos) in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Saturday, May 25. Pictured here are (from l-r): Bo Mulberry, Bruce Johnston, Rachel Mulberry, Mike Love, Allie Mulberry, and John Stamos. The Mulberry sisters – based in Nebraska – also host a weekend talk show on NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha called the “Mulberry Lane Radio Show.” The station describes the ladies’ program saying the sisters “decided to bring their busy lives to live radio with a show based on sisterhood, womanhood, motherhood, and the humor and mishaps of trying to juggle it all – woven together with music, harmony and a dash of wit.” It airs Saturdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.
Longtime KNX, Los Angeles Anchor Harry Birrell Dies. Longtime Los Angeles news personality Harry Birrell died on May 26 after a battle with lung disease at age 85 in Thousand Oaks, California. Birrell was an anchor at all-news KNX, Los Angeles for more than three decades – beginning in 1968 when the station flipped to the all-news format and ending with his retirement in 1999. Birrell switched from his anchor role at the station to Ventura County correspondent in 1993.
Kevin Miller Stops By TheBlaze. KIDO, Boise morning drive talk show host Kevin Miller was visiting Dallas – home of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze – and took some time to stop by the studios to check out the production of the Glenn Beck program. Here’s a shot of Beck (l) and Miller (r) inside the spacious former movie/TV studios that are home to Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts production facility.
Emmis Reports Fiscal Q4 Results; Smulyan “Significantly Outperformed Our Markets.” Emmis Communications reports the results of its fiscal fourth quarter (which ended February 28, 2013) for 2013 with net revenue up 2%. Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan stated up front during the investor’s conference call, “I could not be more proud of what happened last year and I could not be more proud of what’s happening now. Because of our unique reporting structure, we have a pretty good handle on what the first quarter of our next fiscal year will look like and we’re equally pleased with that. I think it was a transformative year for Emmis for a couple of reasons. I think we solved this industry’s most vexing problems with capital structure and we did it because we have a unique culture here and a culture that I think stands out and I think people are starting to understand that their culture makes a difference.” Chief financial officer and COO Pat Walsh broke down the financials a bit, stating, “Pro forma for our station divestitures, radio net revenues consisting solely of our domestic stations grew 3%. Revenues in markets where Emmis competes, excluding barter revenues, grew 2.8% during the quarter. Emmis’ pro forma radio revenues reported on the same basis to Miller Kaplan grew 4.2%…automotive was once again our largest category, representing 11% of revenues, with the category growing nearly 20% as U.S. auto sales continued to accelerate. Wireless and financial services also exhibited strong growth at approximately 20%. Education and media also showed high mid-single-digit growth, high – mid to high single-digit growth. Other top ten categories such as restaurants, entertainment, healthcare and retail showed flattish growth with beverages off during the quarter.” During Q&A, Smulyan answered a question about whether IP-based services are sapping AM/FM audience. Smulyan responded, “We’ve been streaming like most of our brethren for almost 17 years and we haven’t cracked the code. We know Pandora hasn’t cracked the code. We know TuneIn hasn’t cracked the code or Spotify, so we know that that’s a challenge. I have one friend in the industry who says, let’s be honest. When we take a terrestrial listener at a 35% or 40% margin and we can convert that same listener to an IP-based stream, that listener goes from a 30% or 40% margin to zero.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Read the entire call here.
Entercom Reports Revenue Down 2% in Q1. Entercom announces financials for the first quarter of 2013 and reports net revenue down 2% on $78.4 million. Station operating income was flat at $20.5 million and free cash flow increased from $1.2 million to $3.9 million. Entercom CEO David Field noted the drop in net revenue was offset by a 3% decline in station expenses. Regarding sales during the first quarter, Field said, “Local and national revenues were essentially the same with both down low-single digits. Our best-performing markets were Indianapolis, Kansas City, Memphis and New Orleans. Top-performing categories were financials, travel, telecom, home improvement and drugstores.” Looking at the company’s status in general, Field stated, “It is important to reiterate that our efforts to pursue smart ways to reinvent our business model have not come at the expense of reinvesting in our future. To the contrary, we continue to boost our investment in new brands and content, expanded distribution, better operating systems and enhanced digital platforms to strengthen our value proposition to our listeners and customers and create new revenue opportunities. And we are very pleased with the state of our brands. We had a very solid set of winter ratings results and like how we are positioned in our markets across the country.” Again, thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. You can read the entire conference call here.
Arbitron Releases ‘Radio Today 2013’ Study to Clients; News/Talk #1 PPM Format. The full study is only available to Arbitron clients but here are some of the takeaways from “Radio Today 2013”: “News/Talk/Information and Talk/Personality remained the number one format in PPM markets and was number two in the rest of the U.S. The 2,121 rated AM, FM, HD Radio, and streamed stations in these formats far exceed any other format. Like other spoken word formats, they rank prominently in highly educated, high-income listeners.” And relative to TALKERS magazine’s analysis of the shared audience between news/talk and country in Jeff McKay’s piece above, the Arbitron report notes that “country and new country, already number one in our report last year, grew again to remain in first place and reach another record audience share. The format benefited most from an influx of listeners aged 18-24 and is even number two among teen listeners nationally.”
Odds & Sods. Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee (along with its sister TV station with the same calls) was honored at this past weekend’s Wisconsin Broadcasters Association annual “Awards Gala” for broadcast excellence. WTMJ won radio news station of the year and radio station of the year. The station also won nine other awards including best radio show for “Midday with Charlie Sykes.”…..Andrew Marcus, director of the new film “Hating Breitbart,” which explores the life and impact of the late media guru Andrew Breitbart, will debate Wade Rathke, the founding organizer of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) on Rathke’s radio show. The show will air on May 17 at 10:00 am ET on KABF-FM, Little Rock, Arkansas, where ACORN was founded…..Entertainment Weekly editor Jess Cagle will moderate a Town Hall special on SiriusXM with film star Hugh Jackman on May 28 at 7:00 pm ET. Entertainment Weekly operates its own channel on the satellite radio service.
Radio America’s Dr. Joy Browne Program Adds 10 Affiliate Stations. The nationally syndicated Dr. Joy Browne program – now distributed by Radio America – picks up 10 new affiliate stations for the longest-running radio show of its kind. New to the program are: WWRL, New York; WSNO, Montpelier-Barre-St. Johnsbury, Vermont; KHGG, Ft. Smith, Arkansas; WNIX, Greenville, Mississippi; KWBW, Hutchinson, Kansas; WIMS, Michigan City, Indiana; WFEB, Sylacauga, Alabama; and KVPI, Ville Platte, Louisiana.
Internet Talk Station, LA Talk Radio, Continues to Grow – Adds Maria Sanchez to Daily Line Up. Veteran talk radio host Maria Sanchez is now part of the growing LA Talk Radio team as the host of her own daily live radio program, “The Maria Sanchez Show.” The show covers current events, newsmakers and lifestyles. As a woman, a mother, and a Hispanic, Maria is being presented by LA Talk Radio as having “a unique perspective that is not represented in most of radio.” A 20+ year career in radio, she developed her skills in the medium as a talk radio talent at KFI, Los Angeles, a weekend host and substitute host for such personalities as Bill Handel, John & Ken, and Phil Hendrie. “I am thrilled to be back behind the mic and to be working with LA Talk Radio! The ability to be relevant, topical, and without commercial interruption is a fabulous opportunity to really explore topics and guests” says Maria. Sam Hasson, owner of LA Talk Radio, tells TALKERS, “We look forward to a long and storied relationship with Maria, a true pro in the radio industry.”
24th Annual Imus Radiothon Airs on WABC, New York Next Week. WABC, New York-based Don Imus will broadcast the 24th annual “Imus Radiothon for the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer” next Tuesday and Wednesday, May 14 and 15. The radiothon will also be broadcast to Imus show affiliates and be seen on Fox Business Network from 6:00 am to 10:00 am ET.
The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Announces Candidates for Career Achievement Awards. The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame announces the Career Achievement candidates. Members will cast their votes in July and eight Georgia radio professionals selected will be announced in October. The 7th Annual Induction Awards Ceremony will be held Saturday October 19, 2013 at the Atlanta/Marietta Hilton Hotel and Conference Center. The 2013 candidates (some positions are former) are: Harry Beadle, newsman at WGST, Atlanta; Tom and Paul Collins, The “Tiger Twins” on WQXI, Atlanta; Bill Edwards, host of “Good Morning Savannah” on WTKS, Savannah; Robert “Flash” Gordon, morning host on WKZK, Augusta; Steve Goss, host of “Morning Edition” on WABE, Atlanta; Charlie Hill, announcer at WCEH, Hawkinsville; Kaedy Kiley, morning host on WRVR, Atlanta; Greg McClure, program director at WFOM, Marietta; Kelly McCoy, afternoon host on WSB-FM, Atlanta; Nelle Reagan, host of “Talk of the Town” on WRGA, Rome; Bill Rice, host of “Soul Session” on WLET, Toccoa; Mike Roberts, owner WQMJ, Macon; Deborah Richards, news director, WKHX, Atlanta; and Mark Summers, mornings at WBBQ, Augusta.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze to Be Available in Tri-State Area Via Cablevision’s Optimum TV. Beginning later this month, Glenn Beck-founded TheBlaze network will be available to New York City and the surrounding area as it will be included in Cablevision’s Optimum Preferred, Silver and Gold Packages. The channel is available to Optimum TV commercial customers with Optimum Business or Optimum Entertainment. Cablevision VP of video product management, Bradley Feldman, states, “Optimum TV is the only cable provider in the Tri-State area to bring our customers original programming from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, and the independent network will add more diversity to our strong lineup, providing our customers with more choices that our customers appreciate.” In a statement from Beck’s organization it says TheBlaze “offers a full slate of original news and opinion shows like ‘Real News,’ ‘Wilkow!’ and ‘For the Record,’ late night comedy like ‘The Wonderful World of Stu’ and ‘B.S. of A.,’ family-friendly programming like ‘Liberty Treehouse’ as well as thought-provoking documentaries and original specials. TheBlaze first launched on September 12, 2011 as GBTV and quickly grew into one of the world’s largest online streaming networks with over 300,000 subscribers. One year later, TheBlaze became a television network.”
CBS Q1 2013 Report: Company Up 6%, Radio’s Top 10 Markets Up 2%. The bulk of the discussion during yesterday’s conference call centered around TV for CBS, as it usually does. But CEO Les Moonves stated up front that the company continues to build “on the terrific debut of the CBS Sports Radio Network. We’ve added 20 affiliates to our roster since our last call. In addition, CBS Radio played a major role in this year’s success of the Academy of Country Music Awards. This is a show that perfectly complements our radio audiences, as evidenced by all the artists who mentioned the power of radio in their acceptance speeches.” CFO Joseph Ianniello noted that, comparable to the same period a year ago, the top 10 radio markets were performing up about 2%. Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. Read more here.
Former Citadel/Cumulus Birmingham Cluster Manager Bill Thomas Sues Company for Unlawful Termination. Add discrimination to that under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Bill Thomas, a.k.a Michael Thomas Stainback, alleges in the complaint filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama that the company knew he had heart ailments that resulted from a 2009 heart attack yet he still performed his job well and even received bonuses based upon performance. Thomas alleges that in February of 2012, after telling Cumulus corporate management that he’d been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, he was terminated by the company six days later. He’s seeking unspecified damages as well as back pay.
‘Freedom Feens’ Show to Join GCN. The “Freedom Feens” weekend talk show co-hosted by Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi will debut on the Genesis Communications Network on Saturday, May 11. Dean and Vedadi describe their program as a “great-sounding, feisty weekend show about free markets, the police state, the war on drugs, the right to keep and bear arms, computer security, honest money, self-defense, self-employment, marriage, do-it-yourself media production, marketing, music and more.” Regarding the title of their program, the duo explain, “‘Feen’ means ‘fiend,’ and the ‘Freedom Feens’ support the rights of the smallest minority, the individual.”
Time to Do Some Spring Cleaning Out at the Transmitter Site. For many of you who broadcast out of the Northwest, Midwest, North, and Northeast, this winter was a bear! Snow, ice and wind can cause issues for your transmission facilities. So it’s time to do a thorough inspection of your transmitter sites – both the main transmitter sites and anywhere you may have an STL transmitter or receiver. In a timely article posted today (5/2) noted engineering consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray offers up an invaluable “to-do” list to make sure your transmitter remains happy in the coming spring, summer and fall months after enduring a pretty painful and damaging winter. Get the whole story here.
Odds & Sods. WRKO, Boston afternoon drive talk show host Howie Carr broadcasts live from La Verdad Mexican restaurant near Fenway Park this afternoon from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm as he promotes his latest book , Rifleman (Frandel, LLC 2013), a true-crime story about infamous Boston mobster Steven Flemmi. Carr will stay after his program ends to sign copies of the new book…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington is conducting its second annual “Communter Idle” contest through Friday, May 3. The contest asks DC commuters to share their daily travel horror story to win prizes and possibly be the grand-prize winner who’ll receive $1,000 in gas money and a limo ride to work courtesy of Reston Limousine. Runners-up will receive $150 gas cards…..It may be a sign of the times that one of the most popular shows on CNN is the new “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” travel and food program that airs on Sunday evenings on the cable news/talk channel. But new CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker is so thrilled with the its performance that he’s already ordered another season of the show that will debut on September 15.
Cinchcast, Inc. Establishes Strategic Advisory Board. One of radio’s technological innovators and dynamic entrepreneurs of the new digital age, Alan Levy – founder and CEO of BlogTalkRadio and its “white-label” sister firm Cinchcast, Inc. – has announced the appointment of two well-known executives to Cinchcast’s new strategic advisory board: Tom Glocer, former CEO of Thomson Reuters and Steve Bornstein, former head of the NFL‘s digital media operations and ABC Sports/ABC, Inc. president and ESPN chairman. Levy tells TALKERS, “It’s an honor to be working with Tom and Steve as we continue to build, develop and scale the Cinchcast and BlogTalkRadio businesses.”
Practically an Exclusive. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) doesn’t do a lot of conservative talk radio shows. But Talk Radio Network star Rusty Humphries – who spent part of his earlier career at KKOH in Reno – was able to secure a no-holds-barred interview with Senator Reid at Humphries’ affiliate station KDWN, Las Vegas. Reid was in his home state while the Senate is on recess and he spoke with Humphries about the hot issues facing Congress. Pictured here are (from l-r): Humphries, Reid, and KDWN program director John Shaffer.
Suspects Arrested in Marathon Bombing, ObamaCare Implementation, Benghazi Cover-Up Charges, and Gay Athletes Flap among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/1). The arrest of more suspects connected with the Boston Marathon bombing case; the cost and implementation of the Affordable Care Act; charges that the Hillary Clinton-run State Department covered up aspects of the Benghazi attack; and the flap in the media over gay athletes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Up 4% in Q4 of 2012; Premiere National Sales Down. The Media and Entertainment division of CC Media Holdings was up 4% in the fourth quarter of 2012 on revenue of $821.5 million. But that figure was helped greatly by the $40 million in political advertising the division realized. Otherwise it would have been down by as much as $9 million. During yesterday’s conference call with analysts, CFO Tom Casey also said, “We increased national advertising sales by 17% over last year’s fourth quarter, or 3% excluding political, and local revenues grew 5%. We also saw a nice lift in revenue from digital, with our listening hours up 68% over the fourth quarter of 2011, fueled by increased iHeartRadio usage, which reached 118 million total listening hours in December.” But both Premiere Networks and the Total Traffic Network had down fourth quarters and are off to sluggish starts in 2013. The company does not break down specific numbers for these divisions. Casey did say Total Traffic Network is still struggling with the merger of Metro Networks. As for Premiere, he simply said national sales were weak for the division. For the full year of 2012 Casey reported, “Media and Entertainment revenues grew 3% to $3.1 billion. National revenue rose 9%, driven by both our new national advertising efforts and political. Local revenue was up 2% for the year. Our top advertising categories were auto and telecommunications. Political advertising reached $70 million for the year.”
Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to Remain on WABC, New York – for Now. During yesterday’s CC Media Holdings conference call with analysts, chief financial officer Tom Casey did not give specifics when asked about the much-speculated-upon move of Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh from his current and longtime home at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York to Clear Channel’s crosstown WOR. But he did say, “No decisions have been made…we’re working through our options.” Contracts with WABC for both Limbaugh and Sean Hannity run through the end of 2013 and it doesn’t appear CC is preparing to exercise the 90-out clause and move the shows to WOR. Still, the option to move them to WOR in January of 2014 after their deals with WABC end must seem like a nice, clean way of doing it – if that is the company’s ultimate goal.
Sports Talk in Boston Is “Its Own Breed.” That’s the sentiment from sports talk personality Mike Salk, who is preparing to return to his native Boston to join Michael Holley for the PM drive shift on Entercom’s WEEI in mid-March. He says he can’t say enough about the people of Seattle and how much he’s enjoyed his time at Bonneville’s KIRO-AM co-hosting with Brock Huard. But he also says, “The passion and intensity of Boston sports fans – the frustration when things don’t go as they’d like – those things are different in Boston than anywhere else in the country.” Salk will fill the void in the afternoon show that opened when longtime Boston sports personality Glenn Ordway was let go from the station last week. Salk tells TALKERS the fact that Boston is such an intense sports town helps make WEEI “the gold standard for sports radio. It’s why people have always talked about it as one of the biggest sports stations, if not the biggest and most important sports station in the country.” Salk says the opportunity to work in his hometown at WEEI is one thing, but the goal is to capitalize on it and he’s excited about working with Michael Holley. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to talk sports with him every day. Not just talk sports but ‘banter.’ That’s the fun thing about sports radio, it’s not always arguing, it’s not always angry or fighting; I think of it more as bantering – two guys going back and forth with a smile on their faces. Sometimes it gets heated, sometimes it’s just straight fun, but it’s banter.” Salk is a rabid Boston Bruins fan and he says he’s looking forward to getting back to a hockey town. “It’s in my blood. I grew up watching those games.” Salk and Huard helped build the midday show at KIRO-AM to the point they hit the #1 mark in men 25-54 last September. He’s been a part of the ESPN Radio network since 2007, hosting “SportsCenter Saturday” and serving as a regular fill-in host over the past few years. Prior to going to Seattle in 2009 he worked for ESPN 890 in Boston (WAMG) for four years co-hosting middays with Bob Halloran. Vice president of programming Jason Wolfe says, “Mike Salk has a proven record of success, and I couldn’t be more excited to bring him back home to Boston. He’s a very skilled broadcaster, a fun personality and a passionate sports fan. I’m really looking forward to the new dynamic that he and Michael Holley will provide on a daily basis.”
Emmis Adds FM Translator to Sports WFNI, Indianapolis Brand. The translator W298BB at 107.5 FM is simulcasting part of sister WFNI-AM’s programming but is carrying ESPN Radio’s midday programming of Colin Cowherd and SVP & Russillo from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. In a statement, Emmis Indianapolis SVP and market manager Charlie Morgan says, “The launch of ‘FM 107.5 The Fan’ demonstrates Emmis’ deep commitment to making ‘The Fan’ Indy’s dominant sports brand. Given that Emmis is credited with creating the first sports talk station in the United States, it only seems fitting that we would deliver the city’s first FM sports station to Indy’s sports-loving fans.”
Illinois Attorney and Radio Host Found Liable in Missing Money Case. Illinois attorney Kathleen Niew, her husband and her law firm were found partially liable in DuPage County Court for the some $2.3 million that a local couple claims Niew misappropriated. Niew hosts a brokered financial advice program on Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago. The couple, Jamal and Leda Khoury, deposited the money in an account controlled by Niew. According to the Chicago Tribune, her former attorney stated in court filings that the Niews are victims of the same crime as a third party is responsible for the missing money.
Odds & Sods. Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington reports a big January in the Arbitron PPMs. Vice president of news and programming Jim Farley says the station went up dramatically from January a year ago in the 25-54 demo. He also says, “WTOP is # 1 25-54 full week and both drives, #2 nights and #3 middays and weekends. Note the incredible 11.4 share in persons 25-54 in morning drive and the even more eye-popping 14.4 women 25-54. Full week we’re also # 1 with women 25-54 and I give the credit on that to WTOP PD Laurie Cantillo.”…..In another note from WTOP, the station announces it is adding Wall Street Journal Network news anchor Joan Jones to its roster of news anchors. Jones has been a network business anchor for Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal Radio Network since 2008, writing and anchoring network broadcasts and customized business updates for major market stations. Prior to joining WSJ, Jones was the morning news anchor at WPHT in Philadelphia and the morning co-host of “Chris and JJ” on Philly’s B101. She states, “What an honor to join this legacy radio station and to work alongside the best in the business.”…..WFLA, Tampa-based news anchor Martin Giles is retiring from Clear Channel on March 1. In a report from the Tampa Bay Times, the 76-year-old Giles says he’s leaving the place he’s been for 28 years due to the workload where the company requires them to do news for Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and other markets as well. “It’s an overload of work they were handing us. I’ve had a little trouble with it…I am really worn out when I go home on Friday.”…..The Heritage Foundation-produced “Istook Live!” talk show – hosted by former Oklahoma Congressman Ernest Istook – adds C.J. Wheeler as co-host and executive producer. In the additional role of executive producer, Wheeler will oversee the show’s content across radio, digital and TV platforms.
Sequestration/Deficit Reduction, Gun Control Issue, Immigration Reform, Soaring Gas Prices, and Oscar Pistorius Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/19). The Washington battle over who’s responsible for the looming sequestration; the ongoing dialog over new gun control measures; the Obama Administration’s policy on immigration reform; the fast-rising prices at the pump; and the murder case of Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Don Wade and Roma Won’t Return to WLS, Chicago; Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft to AM Drive. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder broke the news late yesterday that longtime morning drive duo Don Wade and his wife Roma won’t return to the air at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago as they continue to focus on Don’s health. Wade had surgery in September to remove a cancerous brain tumor and treatment for the condition continues. In a statement via agent Eliot Ephriam, the couple said, “The daily stress of rising each day at midnight to prep for our 5:00 am show does not help the healing process. So we are choosing a different path and focusing on what’s really important for us right now.” Late morning hosts Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft have been filling in since Wade’s surgery and were permanently named to the AM drive post yesterday. Weekenders Jake Hartford and John Kass have been subbing in Wolf and Proft’s 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot and they assume the permanent roles there. Feder reports Cumulus COO John Dickey visited Chicago recently to meet with Ephriam about the Wades and was keen to get them back on the air. It’s widely believed that Don and Roma were a profitable program for WLS due to the high number of endorsement spots the show carried. In a statement, Dickey said, “Don and Roma are Chicago, and 27 years waking Chicago up is an amazing feat. The focus and strength it takes to do live radio every day on one of the world’s biggest stages will serve Don well as he continues to heal. We wish Don and Roma the best and will always keep a mic open for them.”
Todd Schnitt Exiting WFLA, Tampa? Not So Fast…Nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt – whose program is distributed by Compass Media Networks and since its inception in 2002 has been based at Clear Channel’s WFLA in Tampa – will remain based at WFLA after all. Schnitt had recently announced a deal with Clear Channel to remain in the PM drive slot there had not been achieved. But now, Schnitt and the company have come to terms. Clear Channel announces it has signed Schnitt to a new multi-year contract for his “top-rated” program. CC vice president of programming for Tampa Doug Hamand states, “We are thrilled to extend our relationship with Todd Schnitt and ‘The Schnitt Show.’” He is a staple of the community in Tampa Bay, broadcasting for more than 19 years with 11 of those on WFLA.” Schnitt gave up his AM drive CHR show on sister WFLZ (on which he was M.J. Kelli) earlier this year to focus on the PM drive talk show. On his new contract, Schnitt says, “I’m thrilled to announce my new, multi-year deal with Clear Channel Tampa. 970 WFLA has been The Schnitt Show’s home for 11 years. I really appreciate the outpouring of support from my loyal listeners.”
Programmer Alan Furst Heads to Radio One’s All-News KROI, Houston. Current WIBC-FM, Indianapolis PD Alan Furst is leaving the Emmis news/talker and heading back to Texas to program Radio One’s all-news KROI, Houston “News 92 FM.” Radio One flipped the station to all-news in the late summer of 2011 and it has been programmed by consultant Ed Shane and Radio One executive programmers. Furst, who has worked in Houston and previously worked with Ed Shane’s consulting firm, says he’s excited to get back. “I’m thrilled to return to Houston and join ‘News 92 FM.’ Radio One has put together a great team and the energy in the building is electric. We’re going to build something very big and very special that will become a force in the nation’s fourth largest city.”
Baseball Stations: Plan Now for Spring Training. Radio consultant Holland Cooke says that too few stations that carry their local MLB team establish a presence at their team’s Spring Training facility. “Smart baseball stations are cheerleaders, and really smart baseball stations start cheering a month before Opening Day, when every team is in 1st place.” Cooke writes that there are (at least) five very good reasons for jumping on this before the regular season starts, including some documented ratings upticks for stations that do get on board during Spring Training. Read his entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. Spanish-speaking New York Mets fans will be served by ESPN O&O station “ESPN Deportes Nueva York 1050 AM” (WEPN) as the station will broadcast 150 regular season games, select exhibition season games and (should the unlikely happen) postseason games, in Spanish. ESPN New York’s David Roberts states, “Our commitment to serving the Hispanic sports fan is a top priority for our company. We are delighted to join forces with the Mets organization for this comprehensive and wide reaching opportunity.”…..CBS Radio O&O all-news WNEW-FM, Washington will begin airing the audio of CBS Television’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday, December 16. SVP/market manager Steve Swenson states, “Each week, CBS News and ’60 Minutes’ bring to life incredible investigative pieces, interviews, and features that are renowned all across the world. Many local residents find themselves in a car traveling home on Sunday evenings not able to watch the program on WUSA-9. With this simulcast we can provide listeners with access to their favorite news program.”….. Actor, author, former “Dancing with the Stars” champ and retired U.S. Army soldier, J.R. Martinez, ventures into the world of talk radio as he fills in from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm today on KFI, Los Angeles for the vacationing Bill Carroll.
Are You Prepared for the End of the World? No, the editors of TALKERS do not actually believe that next Friday, December 21 will be the end of the world, regardless of what the Mayan calendar says or doesn’t say – or where the sun will be in relationship to the center of the Milky Way galaxy. But we DO believe that this topic will be one of great interest next week in terms of pop cultural fodder and will be in the news in a variety of ways that will run from the serious to the silly, encompassing science (astronomy), parapsychology (astrology), history, politics and conspiracy theory – all of which make for juicy entertainment. According to well-known radio-friendly psychic healer Kathleen Milner, the coming long-anticipated date will NOT mark the end of the world, but rather the end of a dark age in human events and the beginning of a golden one. Talk show hosts and music format morning gabbers should be prepared for the end of the world by booking people like Ms. Milner and others to spice up on-air conversation. After all it is a once every 26,000 years opportunity! Kathleen Milner can be phoned at 571-926-8158. For more information click here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Kate Delaney’s independently syndicated “America Tonight” program is added to the program schedule at KSCB, Liberal, Kansas.
‘Fiscal Cliff’ the Top Story on News/Talk Radio for Fourth Straight Week. The battle in Washington over solving the “fiscal cliff” issue was the most-talked-about-story on news/talk radio during the week of December 10-14, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was the Michigan “right to work” law controversy. At #3 was the Portland mall shootings followed by North Korea’s rocket test at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.
Radio in the Northeast Should Be Prepared for a Potential Perfect Storm. Last year, it was the Halloween Snowprise – an early cold snap fed by a lot of moisture that produced a foot of snow in some places, and felled leaf-laden trees and power lines, blacking out parts of the northeast US for days. This year – Halloween Week could bring a trick some meteorologists are already calling “potentially historic” – a strong tropical storm or hurricane named Sandy, with the Northeast again in the crosshairs. This rare climatic event could be what one network weather anchor called an “atmospheric bomb” – produced by a hurricane colliding head-on with a strong cold front. The jet stream bows northward as it approaches the coast, sucking the storm closer to land, instead of pushing it out to sea. The scenario is eerily reminiscent of the 1991 “Perfect Storm,” which left 12 people dead and more than $200 million in damage after it slammed into the East Coast. Power outages and flooding were widespread. Now is the time to prepare. Howard B. Price of ABC News urges broadcasters in the Northeast to learn the lessons of two radio group operators, who faced serious operational challenges following the EF-5 tornado that leveled a third of Joplin, MO in May 2011, and Hurricane Irene in August 2011, whose impact was felt across the Northeast for days. To read his timely and informative article click here.
CBS Radio’s Atlanta Sports Talker Debuts. WZGC-FM, Atlanta “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” sprang to life yesterday afternoon at 2:00 pm ET with the PM drive show “Game Time” with Carl Dukes, Kordell Stewart and Rachael Baribeau the first show to hit the air. The trio talked Georgia sports, national sports and introduced the rest of the air staff to the listening audience. The station lineup consists of: “Opening Drive” hosted by Rick Kamla, Randy Cross and C.J. Simpson in morning drive; Jerome Jurenovich and Jamie Dukes from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm; “Mac & Jason at Night” with Mac McDonald and Jason Goff from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm; “Overtime” with Jim Murray from 10:00 pm to 2:00 pm; and “The Mitch Evans Experience” from 2:00 am to 6:00 am. Programming the latest CBS Radio sports talk FM to go on the air is Terry Foxx.
KJRB, Spokane Drops Talk Shows for All-News Programming. Mapleton’s news/talk KJRB, Spokane, Washington is eliminating most of its talk shows for an all-news approach. The station drops TRN’s Laura Ingraham and Jerry Doyle and Cox Media’s Neal Boortz for TRN-operated America’s Radio News Network news blocks airing from 3:00 am to 7:00 pm. The station maintains its local financial program from 12:00 noon to 12:30 pm and the KHQ-TV local news simulcast from 5:00 pm to 5:30 pm. It also continues to air The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “Daily Wrap” with Michael Castner in the evenings and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” program.
Columbus Sports Talker Fired After Inappropriate Tweet. Dispatch Broadcast Group has fired sports talk host Scott Torgerson about a week after he Tweeted, jokingly, that he wished for the firing or death of ESPN’s Desmond Howard. Torgerson – former co-host of “The Common Man & The Torg” PM drive show on WBNS, Columbus “Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan” – was initially suspended after the Tweet began to create a firestorm of criticism. Ironically, the station used Twitter on Wednesday (10/24) to notify its fans that Torgerson was no longer with the company. As AwfulAnnouncing.com’s Matt Yoder notes in his blog, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit – a former Ohio State quarterback and still beloved personality in Columbus – got involved in denouncing Torgerson’s Tweet and that probably added to the momentum necessary to make Dispatch let Torgerson go. The fact that WBNS is an ESPN affiliate may or may not have been a contributing factor. As of now, Mike Ricordati continues to host the PM drive show solo. This is not the first case of a talent being fired for an insensitive or inappropriate Tweet and it won’t be the last. Hosts who are hired to push the envelope and also use social media to do so for the purposes of promoting their act and their program have to be careful. There are certain subjects that must be avoided. Wishing death, injury or some other personal assault on someone – even as a joke – is likely to get the host in trouble and probably fired.
Larry King’s Third Party Candidate’s Debate Produced by Ora TV. One way to look at it is that broadcasting legend Larry King’s days of hosting A-List politicians and celebrities for his interviews and debates is over as he has moved to the digital television network Ora TV. But others might see fledgling internet TV stations as the future and all it will take is a smash internet TV show to capture the public’s interest and the medium will begin to compete seriously with broadcast and cable TV. Now, Ora TV seems to be shooting for niche programming and Tuesday’s broadcast of King moderating a third party candidate’s debate provided that. King hosted Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, Jill Stein of the Green Party, Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party, Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party for a program in which the four largely explained how they differ from the Democratic and Republican party candidates. The debate was broadcast from the Chicago Hilton Hotel with a live audience. King explained at the start, “We think all voices should be heard. I think this is a noble cause.” CSPAN did air the program on cable TV in the U.S. Pictured here are Kristina Tobin, chair of the Free & Equal Elections Foundation (l) and Larry King (r).
Karel Joins Huffington Post Live Web Program. Long Beach, California-based talk host Karel – heard on KGO, San Francisco and in syndication across the country – appeared on the Huffington Post’s half-hour roundtable talk show “HuffPost Live.” The webcast program is hosted by Huffington Post’s Jacob and Alyona and usually features talent from afar piped in via web video batting around the issues of the day. Karel is pictured here in his home studio via webcam on the “HuffPost Live” program.
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio extends its deal with the NFL’s Chicago Bears to continue airing Bears play-by-play and other Bears-related programming on its Chicago signals. The games will continue to be heard on all-news WBBM-AM/FM with programming such as “Bears All Access” airing on sports talk WSCR “The Score.” The terms of the new deal was not announced…..Legendary college basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski returns to SiriusXM for his weekly “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K” program. This is the eighth season Krzyzewski has hosted the program on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog channel. For last night’s season opener, Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino were guests…..Emmis’ KFTK, St. Louis “FM NewsTalk 97.1” is working with Americans for Prosperity on a promotion to sell gas to 200 lucky listeners for the “pre-Obama Administration” price of $1.84 per gallon. FM NewsTalk 97.1’s Randy Tobler will broadcast live from the Country Club Car Wash in O’Fallon, Missouri from 8:00 am to 10:00 am on Saturday, October 27.
WPRO, Providence Hosts Rhode Island Candidates Debate. Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7 FM in Providence hosted the candidates for the 1st Congressional District in Rhode Island for an hour-long, uninterrupted debate. Pictured here at left is Democratic Congressman David Cicilline and, at right, Republican challenger Brendan Doherty in the studios at WPRO. Not pictured is moderator and WPRO news director Bill Haberman who facilitated the contest. In addition to airing the debate live on the radio with analysis during the Matt Allen program that followed the debate, WPRO provided a video stream and a live, interactive Tweet chat at 630wpro.com.
Benghazi Terrorism Question, Presidential Race Polls, Debate Aftermath, World Series and Hurricane Sandy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/24). The conflicting reports of who knew the Benghazi attack was an act of terrorism and when they knew it; the presidential race polls; analysis of the presidential debates; the Giants-Tigers World Series; and the looming threat to the U.S. from Hurricane Sandy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Radio Coverage of Campaign 2012 Shifts to Charlotte. The Democratic National Convention gets underway in Charlotte, North Carolina today and runs through Thursday. Talk show hosts and news staffers from stations of all formats are ensconced in their radio row remote studios preparing to report to their markets over the next three days. The non-partisan Talk Radio News Service will operate a booth on radio row and more than 100 talk show hosts will broadcast from the city – either in the convention center itself or from “alternative” sites – as they work to bring the Democratic message to their listeners or attempt to counter the message of the Obama campaign. Salem Radio Network’s Bill Bennett – host of “Morning in America” – will broadcast from the city. Bennett is seen here (r) enjoying a pre-convention meal at a Charlotte eatery with “Morning in America” regular guest and Fox News Channel contributor Byron York (l). Joining them for the shot at center is former Tennessee Democratic congressman and MSNBC contributor Harold Ford, Jr. who stopped by to say “hello.” While eating there Bennett was surrounded by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Soledad O’Brien of CNN and former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack among other Democrats He tells TALKERS, “I enjoyed unnerving my Democratic friends.”
Jorge Sedano Joins WQAM as PD and PM Drive Host. The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson reports that South Florida sports media personality Jorge Sedano is taking the program director role at Beasley Broadcasting’s sports talk WQAM that was left vacant when Lee Feldman exited for interests outside of the media field. Sedano, who left Lincoln Financial Media’s WAXY, Miami in April to pursue TV work, will also become the afternoon drive host while current PM drive guy Dan Sileo will move to the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm slot left vacant by Michael Irvin’s recent departure. South Florida media chatter indicates Sileo was originally being considered for the midday slot but was hired for PM drive when he became available after exiting WDAE, Tampa and Sid Rosenberg was suddenly let go from the PM drive slot. Sedano recently was hired to host the pre- and post-game shows for Miami Heat games on the Sun Sports telecasts. He also is a part-time sportscaster for WFOR-TV, Miami – CBS4. Sedano tells the Herald, “From a lifestyle perspective, this makes the most sense. When I left 790, I needed to harness my skills and work on the craft and it’s led me to this position on the TV side, so it obviously paid off. I felt if I wanted to get back in radio, and it was a perfect situation, I would get back. This is perfect situation. I can put my imprint on the radio station.”
A Huge Day for the Expansion of Sports Talk Radio. It has been 25 years since WFAN, New York signed on as the first all sports talk radio station – an experiment that was considered bold and certainly risky on the part of then-owner Jeff Smulyan’s Emmis Broadcasting. But it certainly did prove to be a risk worth taking as sports talk radio has gone on to be one of the hottest and dynamic genres of radio in the industry – second only to political news/talk in the spoken word realm. Today the sports juggernaut picks up even more steam with the launch of two more major networks joining the ranks of four other biggies in what is becoming a crowded super-competitive marketplace. NBC Sports Radio, in partnership with Dial Global, takes to the airwaves today and CBS Sports Radio is also going nationwide with the first phase of its rollout.
Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston Re-Images as “NewsTalk 96.9.” The FM talk outlet has re-branded itself as “NewsTalk 96.9” The station’s website is still 969bostontalks.com but the station seems to be promoting its news coverage more – with emphasis on the “24-hour news center.” There are no programming changes to the station and, as you can see in the image here, the station is promoting its coverage of all things election 2012.
Judge Denies Preliminary Injunction in Emmis Case; Shareholder Meeting Scheduled for Today. Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan was pleased with Friday’s ruling in which U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker denied the injunction request of five preferred shareholders who wanted to stop the company’s shareholder meeting today at which they will vote on a plan to take some of the rights away from preferred shareholders and not pay some $10 million in past-due dividends. Judge Barker ruled that the shareholders group “failed to meet any of the threshold requirements for injunctive relief.” She also noted that had she granted the injunction, “both Emmis’ stock price as well as its efforts to refinance before the November 2012 deadline could be seriously and adversely affected.” The minority shareholders group claims today’s vote is a “blatant attempt to grab wealth” from them but Emmis denies that and counters the move is designed to cut expenses and to improve the company’s fiscal health. Jeff Smulyan controls the common stock’s voting power and therefore today’s vote is expected to go his way. It should be noted that the judge’s decision last week does not stop the minority shareholder group from suing for damages after today’s vote takes place. The group has not indicated one way or the other if it intends to take such action.
WPRO, Providence Provides Live Political Debates. Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7 FM in Providence hosts congressional debates this week. Today at 6:00 pm, Democrats Anthony Gemma and David Cicilline ( who’ll face off in the primary next week) will appear on the air. The debate will be moderated by WPRO news director Bill Haberman. Tomorrow at 6:00 pm, Republican candidates for Congress in the Second Congressional District — Michael Gardiner, Michael Riley, Don Robbio and Kara Russo will debate before moderator Bill Haberman and guest panelists Tara Granahan and Andrew Gobeil from the “WPRO Morning News.” The station is also making the debates available via video on WPRO.com with an accompanying, live Tweet Chat.
J.D. Hayworth Sits in on New KVI, Seattle in PM Drive. Talk show host and former Arizona U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth will warm the PM drive chair for Cumulus Media Networks talk host Mark Levin until he can become part of the Fisher Communications news/talk station’s newly revamped lineup on September 24. Hayworth, who hosted his own successful talk show on KFYI, Phoenix for years, will also sub as co-host on the morning drive show at Cumulus’ KSFO, San Francisco this week – Wednesday through Friday as well as next Monday.
Radio Pro Jay Andrews Returns to Alma Mater to Manage Student Station and Host AM Drive Show. North Georgia media pro, former station owner and radio personality Jay Andrews is doing his first morning drive program on Brenau University’s WBCX, Gainesville, Georgia today as he returns to the college to do the radio show and manage the student radio station. Andrews tells AccessNorthGa.com, “The choice to go back to 89.1 WBCX was an easy one. Brenau University is my alma mater, and having the opportunity to manage this remarkable student station, return to the air, and most importantly help students learn the radio, TV and internet media businesses is quite an honor.” During his career, Andrews has worked as a radio personality on numerous North Georgia stations. He owned WDGR, Dahlonega, Georgia, and he managed Jacobs Media Corporation’s WDUN, WMJE and WGGA in Gainesville. On the new morning show Andrews says, “It’s a whole different animal from a format and production standpoint. Since it is technically a morning show it will move faster. We will also attempt to open the format up to more listeners by taking phone calls, interviewing Brenau newsmakers, and also become more involved in the community. We will work toward having regular contributors covering news, and current and historical events. As always we will try do this with style, great hit music, and humor.”
“Poorman” Finds On-Air Home at Small California Station. Jim Trenton, the original “Poorman” of California radio and creator of the mega-successful syndicated program “Loveline” will turn 60 next year. The fame he enjoyed while co-hosting the show has become a distant memory. The successful radio and TV series is primarily (and rightfully) associated with Dr. Drew Pinsky. Trenton’s stardom quickly faded after he was fired from “Loveline” for encouraging thousands of listeners to join him for a midnight surprise birthday party on the front lawn of a co-worker…and listeners showed up, by the thousands…but that was almost 20 years ago. The Poorman continues to feel bitter about losing the show he feels he created. Since then, he has either been fired or stormed away from a dozen stations. His career has never recovered. Ah, but now his career has been given a spark of new hope. Courageous station owner Fred Lundgren, CEO and president of news/talker KCAA, San Bernadino/Riverside, California has taken a chance and hired Trenton to host a daily one-hour show at 12:00 noon on the “station that leaves no listener behind.” Read Lundgren’s humorous account of why he put one of radio’s notorious bad boys back on the air and how it’s going by clicking here.
WABB-AM, Mobile Sold by Dittman Broadcasting to Omni Broadcasting. Fort Walton Beach, Florida-based Omni Broadcasting filed on Friday (8/31) with the FCC to transfer the license of news/talk outlet WABB (1480 AM), Mobile for a reported purchase price of $106,000. Omni also closed the same day to purchase time for the Ticket Sports Network until the close of the sale. Earlier this year the companion WABB-FM (97.6) was sold to the Educational Media Foundation for $3.1 million, which in turn sold the assets of that station to Cumulus Media in return for WRQQ-FM, Belle Meade, Tennessee and WDLT-FM, Chickasaw, Alabama, giving Cumulus upgraded coverage of the Mobile market with the 97.6 FM signal.
TAB President and Radio Advocate Ann Arnold Dies. The widely popular Ann Arnold, longtime president of the Texas Association of Broadcasters, died Saturday (9/1) at her office at the age of 67 after battling leukemia for many years. Arnold headed the organization since 1987. She had been a strong defender of Texas’ open government laws and during her tenure doubled the membership of the TAB. “Ann Arnold was an extraordinary and inspiring woman,” says TAB chairman Mary Mike Hatcher of Bryan Broadcasting. ”She was fearless in her advocacy for local radio and television broadcasters, for the public’s right to know how elected officials run our government, and in her long fight with cancer.” TAB VP Oscar Rodriguez adds, “Ann was passionate about Texas and optimistic about the future. She cherished the opportunity to help local broadcasters strengthen their communities and had yet to find the challenge that would daunt her.” (Photo: Mike Wenglar)
Presidential Campaign/Democratic National Convention, Isaac Aftermath, Rising Gas Prices and Iran-Israel Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/3). The presidential campaign and the approaching Democratic National Convention; the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaac; the rising price at the pump for gasoline; and Iran’s threats to strike American bases if Israel takes military action against it were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talk Radio Wraps Up Major Week of High-Profile Broadcasting and News Gathering. The Republican National Convention week was a busy one for the country’s news/talk stations as well as more than 100 outlets that chose to broadcast live from radio row in Tampa and many more than that sent hosts, staffers and news people to the city to cover the convention and report back to their markets. According to a report issued to TALKERS by the Republican National Committee, this year’s radio row generated some 1,551 radio interviews smashing 2008′s record of 1,263. The convention radio row is not only fertile ground upon which to produce a live broadcast with a huge pool of political experts, candidates and surrogates available as guests in one compact location, but it is also an opportunity to get some national attention as Compass Media Networks’ Todd Schnitt did on Fox News Channel (upper left photo). Talk hosts in major markets and nationally syndicated stars certainly have the ability to book big-name guests via phone but the chance to actually rub elbows with big political stars, speak with them face-to-face and chat in a “live” situation is unique to this political season. It also provides members of the talk radio community with a place and reason to meet and network in a working situation conducive to enhancing existing relationships and forging new ones. The Ernest Istook program, hosted by the former congressman and produced by WYD Media, also emanated from the convention site this week and gave Istook the opportunity to chat with U.S. Rep. and former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (here at right).
Yankees Baseball Stays on WCBS, New York for at Least One More Season. The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick reported it earlier yesterday and CBS Radio confirms it in a release. Apparently the Yankees have rejected overtures from ESPN to join the company’s new FM-enhanced sports talk outlet WEPN for they will stay with WCBS for the 2013 season. Numerous industry watchers had expected to see a big bidding war for Yankees baseball and perhaps we’ll see that next season but if this report is correct, it’ll be another year before CBS Radio and Disney/ESPN battle it out for Yankees rights.
Bill Rehkopf Returns to KDKA, Pittsburgh. The former morning news man at CBS Radio’s KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh returns to the Steel City after being involved in the start-up of the company’s Washington, DC all-newser WNEW-FM. Rehkopf was the featured morning drive anchor at the station. Now, he’ll anchor KDKA-AM’s “KDKA Afternoon News” from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Current anchor Rose Ryan-Douglas remains with the station to work on the PM drive show. In a statement, Rehkopf says, “Working in the nation’s capital was extremely exciting and rewarding. However, my family and I have deep roots in Pittsburgh and this is a terrific opportunity at KDKA. It’s a perfect professional fit for me and works well for my family. I look forward to providing Pittsburgh with a quality program of essential news, information and entertainment to wrap up their work day.”
Reports of Mel Selling Sirius XM Shares Raises Eyebrows. In a release issued after yesterday’s closing bell, news from Sirius XM Satellite Radio that CEO Mel Karmazin will be selling an additional 30 million shares of the publicly traded company (Sirius XM SIRI) this fall has both Wall Street and radio industry observers speculating as to what it means. Considering the timing involved – Mel’s contract is up this year and major investor Liberty Media (LMCA) is closing in seeking control – there is evidence to support the educated guess that the company’s chief is heading for the door. Other possibilities include that Mel is simply cashing in his chips for a job clearly well done or that it is a maneuver to throw an obstacle in the way of Liberty taking control. The price to exercise the 30 million options shares is $0.43. This means the shares will cost Karmazin $12,900,000. If he were to sell them all at $2.50 the price would be a cool $75,000,000, delivering a profit of $62,100,000. Analyst Spencer Osbourne writes in the Seeking Alpha newsletter, “I can imagine that the news relating to an insider at Sirius XM selling 30,000,000 shares will not be well received by the market. Be prepared, because this news is going to cause some wild speculation and debate. I would not be surprised to see the stock price move down on this news. Between the Liberty cloud and now the Karmazin cloud, the uncertainty is building for Sirius XM.”
NBC Sports Radio Announces Affiliates for Next Week’s Launch. As NBC Sports Radio and partner Dial Global prepare to debut their late night and overnight sports talk radio shows and hourly sports news reports on Tuesday, September 4, the list of affiliates for the programming is being made public. The build-up to a national affiliate base with a big rollout is always a challenge and NBC is gearing up with a lot of medium and small market stations for its sports talk shows and has some major market clears on small or outlying signals. For example, The Amani & Eytan 10:00 pm to 1:00 am show will air in markets including Huntsville, Santa Barbara, Evansville and Roanoke. But it will also clear secondary signals in the Washington, DC, Denver and Charlotte markets. Both Amani & Eytan and the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm Erik Kusilias show will be heard on WPOP, Hartford. To see where the shows will debut, click here.
Emmis Delivers Good News to Staff in the Form of Bonuses. Emmis Communications CEO Jeff Smulyan issued an e-mail memo to staffers informing them that they would be receiving cash bonuses to reward their loyalty and dedication to the company during these tough economic times. Full-time employees will be getting a $1,000 bonus while part-time staffers will each get $250.
Salem Communications to Pay Q3 Dividend. The board of directors of Salem Communications declares a dividend for the third quarter of 2012 that will pay shareholders of Class A and Class B common stock 3 and ½ cents per share. The dividend will be paid to all shareholders of record as of September 14 and will be paid on September 28.
Katie Couric’s TV Talk Show to Debut on September 10. The show, titled simply, “Katie,” will be broadcast in syndication beginning on Monday, September 10 and all media eyes will be on the television legend as she begins a new chapter in her career. She was once the most popular personality in morning talk television but Katie Couric left to take the helm of the “CBS Evening News,” a job that even her harshest critics would admit is probably beyond anyone’s ability to succeed in this day and age. But as Howard Kurtz examines in his excellent piece in the Daily Beast, the question is whether Couric’s newsy approach to issues and distant personality will grab daytime TV viewers. Couric clearly appears to be bucking the trend in what makes successful daytime talk TV but she appears determined. Read Kurtz’s piece here.
Attention Radio Sales Staffers! Your Job Was Born 90 Years Ago This Week. This week marks the 90th anniversary of the first sale of radio time. It was back in 1922 when New York radio station WEAF – owned by Bell Telephone Company – sold a 10-minute commercial to the Hawthorne Court Apartments in Jackson Heights, New York for $50. At about 5:00 pm on August 28, 1922 a pitch for the apartment complex was made to anyone who happened to be listening and the business of commercial radio was born. It didn’t take off like a rocket, as radio historians will tell you, but it certainly was the beginning of an industry. NPR produced a fantastic segment commemorating this event. Listen to the segment or read the transcript at NPR’s site here. (Photo: MTM Enterprises)
The Economy, Health Care and Foreign Policy Issues Topped the Talkers TenTM for the Week of August 27 – 31. These issues, as related to the presidential campaign and set against the backdrop of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. Coming in at #2 on this week’s chart was the RNC speeches. At #3 was the mainstream media’s coverage of the RNC and the firing of Yahoo! News bureau chief David Chalain and at #4 was Tropical Storm Isaac. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top talk topics as discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Dial Global’s Jim Bohannon and “Jill on Money” join the program lineup at WZKT, Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland…..Benztown Radio Network morning show “The Todd N Tyler Radio Empire” hosted by Mike Tyler and Todd Brandt replaces the syndicated version of Mark & Brian at KXFM, Santa Maria/San Luis Obispo…..“Malcolm Out Loud” is added to the programming at KKYT, Ridgecrest, California.
Tom Owens Out at Clear Channel. With the constant comings and goings of radio people these days – even executives – it’s tough to call anything a “shocker,” but Tom Owens has been part of the Clear Channel organization since its merger with the old Jacor back in 1998. Owens began with Jacor as programmer at rocker WEBN, Cincinnati and moved up to the top of the corporate programming ladder there before the merger. He was the head of Clear Channel programming until last fall when Tom Poleman was named president of national programming platforms and Owens was given the EVP of programming research and strategy title. During his time there, Owens was no stranger to the pink slip process – of course, participating in it from the position of handing them out. Now, as CC consolidates its programming research and ratings research groups into the national programming platforms division under Poleman, Owens leaves the company. The official word from Clear Channel is that Owens will still contribute to its strategic programming on a “consultant basis.” Sometimes in modern-day corporate jargon, that’s a nice way of saying, sayonara.
Emmis Picks Up Two Stations in Terre Haute. The purchase of sports talk combo WSDM-FM at 92.7 and WSDX-AM at 1130 (both licensed to Brazil, Indiana) from Crossroads Investments must be approved by the FCC but Emmis will be operating the duo under an LMA beginning September 1. Emmis Terre Haute general manager James Connor says in a statement, “We are excited to add the ESPN brand to the Emmis Terre Haute cluster of stations which includes WWVR-FM classic rock 105.5 The River and HI-99 WTHI-FM the Wabash Valley’s Country Station. We will continue to serve the listeners of Terre Haute, Brazil and the surrounding communities with quality programming and our continued commitment to community service.” In addition to ESPN programming, the combo airs local sports talk host Vaso Michels’ 5:00 am to 7:00 am program.
Talk Host Martha Zoller Loses Bid for Congress in Runoff Election. Gainesville, Georgia-based talk host Martha Zoller – who left her talk radio career to run for the new 9th Congressional District seat in Georgia – lost the Republican primary runoff to Georgia State Representative Doug Collins. In a message to supporters, Zoller stated, “I do not know what the future holds for me but I do know that there’s still work to be done. Don’t stop fighting for what you believe … don’t give up hope in the future of this great nation … and don’t for a second believe that your efforts over the last year were in vain.” Whether or not Zoller makes a talk host comeback is uncertain but she has hinted to the Georgia media that she is not done with her political aspirations.
Super Agent Eric Weiss Played Significant Role in Heidi & Frank/KLOS Marriage. One of the most prominent behind-the-scenes movers and shakers in the radio talent rep business, Eric Weiss of the LA-based Weiss Agency, first had the idea that Heidi and Frank would make a good fit in mornings at KLOS as far back as one year ago. According to Southern California radio historian Don Barrett of LARadio.com, Weiss had the idea that the duo would be perfect for mornings at the heritage LA album rocker when rumors began to surface that Mark & Brian might be heading into their final contract year before he even represented them stating, “I pursued the idea – spoke with both sides about it, and was able to help bring it to fruition.” There’s a huge lesson and insight in this for those who wonder how big time media talent agents operate. It is not just a matter of “get me a job.” Top agents smell potential connections and often put themselves in the mix as catalysts to a marriage before the main parties involved even think of it themselves. At RadioInfo and TALKERS, we are often asked by zealous-but-unproven talent yet to earn a track record if we can “recommend a good agent.” Our answer: “Any agent who would sign you as a client at this point in your career wouldn’t be a ‘good’ one.”
Karel Program to Air on CRN Digital Talk Radio. San Francisco-based talk host Charles Karel Bouley’s “The Karel Show” begins daily distribution via CRN Digital Talk Radio. The famously liberal and openly gay talk host began his talk career in 1998 on KFI, Los Angeles with his late partner Andrew Howard. Since then he’s also worked at KGO, San Francisco. CRN president and CEO Mike Horn states, “Karel raises questions, brings humor and creates compelling conversation with listeners and guests alike and we’re especially pleased to bring his outstanding show to CRN.” Karel has a national profile through his radio career, his books, blogs, syndicated columns (Huffington Post) and television appearances as both commentator and actor. He says, “CRN continues to blaze a trail in delivering content to listeners across America. I’m so glad they are taking the show. From the beginning, Mike Horn has been an advocate and I knew we’d get to this day.” The program airs live on CRN 2 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.
SiriusXM Board of Directors Sued by Shareholders; Suit Has No Merit Says TALKERS Legal Editor. The City of Miami Police Relief and Pension Fund, a SiriusXM shareholder, is contending that the SiriusXM board of directors has failed to prevent John Malone-led Liberty Media from assuming control over the satcaster. The suit, filed in Delaware Chancery Court, contends Malone and other Liberty-appointed members of the board are preventing other board members from “adopting anti-takeover provisions even if doing so would be in the best interests” of shareholders. Late yesterday, Delaware Chancery Court Judge Leo Strine ruled he would not stop Liberty from acquiring more shares as the plaintiffs had requested. He further stated he would hear expedited motions within the next month to decide if the investors’ case should go forward. But TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says what Liberty is doing is within its legal rights. In fact, Weisman says SiriusXM could be in breach of contract if it attempted to stop Liberty’s actions. Read Weisman’s exclusive analysis here.
Fox NFL Analyst Mike Pereira to Appear on KNBR, San Francisco This Season. NFL fans know former NFL VP of officiating Mike Pereira as the guy the Fox play-by-play team cuts away to when there’s a questionable call on the field that needs illumination. Now, Pereira will be part of the KNBR morning show with Gary Radnich and Larry Krueger for “The Rule Book” show Monday mornings at 9:30 during the NFL season. Program director Lee Hammer states, “We’re excited to have Mike join the KNBR family. In every NFL game, we see calls that leave fans in total disbelief. As the former head of officiating for the NFL, Mike will not only explain the rule, but try to explain why the official made the call. Mike no longer works for the league, so he’ll be critical when necessary and have the freedom to say when the officials clearly missed the call.” With the possibility of the league’s officials sitting out due to a contract dispute with the league and replacement officials working games, this could be a huge programming coup on Monday mornings for KNBR!
Mancow Chicago Video Simulcast a Done Deal. The “Mancow Experience” will be seen by Chicagoans on WPWR-TV – channel 50 in Chicago – from 6:00 am to 8:00 am beginning this fall . The Chicago Tribune reports what was teased earlier this summer is being confirmed by station management. The other aspect of this news for Erich “Mancow” Muller is that his show will have a new physical home base as production of the TRN nationally syndicated radio program will move to WPWR’s North Michigan Avenue studios. WPWR VP and general manager Mike Renda says, “This fall, Chicagoans will get a backstage pass into one of the most provocative radio programs in this market. Viewers will have unlimited access into Mancow’s madness, with a live, unedited simulcast that will bring this dynamic voice to life.” Mancow’s show is heard in the market on suburban WJJG.
New York’s WFAN Scores Eli Manning Appearances. New York Football Giants flagship WFAN, New York signs Giants QB Eli Manning to a multi-year deal to have Manning join PM drive host Mike Francesa at 5:05 the day after every Giants game during the season and the post-season. Vice president of programming for CBS Radio New York and WFAN operations manager Mark Chernoff says, “As the team’s flagship radio station, we’re proud to be the leading source of Giants news for football fans across the tri-state area. Having Eli every week is guaranteed to give listeners the best commentary, insight and discussion with a perspective only he can offer on the New York Giants. This will be appointment radio at its best.”
Salem Radio Network Gears Up for Convention Coverage. Dallas-based Salem Radio Network is prepping to cover the Republican National Convention in Tampa beginning on Monday. SRN vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup reports a full battery of SRN news staffers — including White House correspondent Greg Clugston and SRN U.S. Senate correspondent Linda Kenyon — will join SRN talk hosts Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and others at the network’s broadcast headquarters in the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Tradup tells TALKERS magazine, “We’ll either present superb Republican Convention coverage or the most over-staffed hurricane coverage in the history of 21st century radio…or both!” Tradup states the organization will also cover the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte the following week, and will include what it calls a “truth squad” led by former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett who hosts SRN’s “Morning in America” program.
NRG Media’s “The Zone” Omaha Sports Outlet Launches “Fully Interactive” Post-Game Show. Sports talk KOZN, Omaha announces the debut of the “Big Red Over-Reaction” post-game show that will immediately follow Nebraska Cornhuskers football games this season. The station is touting the program as “fully interactive” saying it “will immediately feature fan reaction via on-air and digital and social media, providing instant vent-and-release by Cornhusker fans nationwide via over-the-air call-in, Twitter tweets, Facebook posts, Huskermax.com and e-mails.” The show will feature The Zone’s legendary former Husker National Champion Blackshirt Jason Peter. Peter will be joined by “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” co-hosts John Bishop and Mike’l Severe and Jason’s morning show co-host Gary Sharp of “Sharp & Peter in the Morning.” NRG Media Omaha general manger Andy Ruback says, “We have the talent and the capability to deliver a program that the market has never seen before. Our personalities have a combined total of nearly 100 years of experience with Nebraska football and we believe that fans will appreciate our unique approach to post-game programming that they have never had before.”
Yahoo! Sports Radio Names Doug Russell and Mark Carman PM Drive Hosts. The slot opened up when Yahoo! host Travis Rodgers was moved to the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET slot on the network. Doug Russell moves up from the network’s evening program and Mark Carman has worked at Houston Texans flagship KILT, Houston as well as WGN, Chicago.
Organization Files Petitions with FCC to Deny Renewal of Fox-Owned TV Stations. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is asking the FCC to deny renewal of the broadcast licenses of three Fox TV stations – two in Washington, DC and one in Baltimore – because of News Corp.’s involvement in hacking scandals in England, according to The Hill. TV licenses, like radio broadcast licenses, come up for renewal every eight years and the three stations in question applied for renewal in June. Their licenses are set to expire in October. According to the story, CREW asked the commission to pull the licenses to all 27 Fox-owned TV stations back in May – citing the clause in FCC regulations that it only grants licenses to those of “good character” – but the FCC has taken no action. The commission rarely takes action in cases of ethics complaints and it is not expected to act on CREW’s complaint.
Presidential Campaign, Todd Akins Campaign Status, Prince Harry Naked Partying Incident, Merkel-Euro Zone Tensions, and Hurricane Threatens Tampa GOP Convention Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/22). The U.S. presidential campaign; Missouri Rep. Todd Akins campaign status in wake of “legitimate rape” comment; the fallout over Prince Harry’s naked partying in Las Vegas; German chancellor Angela Merkel’s difficult decision regarding Greece and the future of the euro zone; and the hurricane threat to next week’s GOP convention in Tampa were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Survey Says…TV and Public Radio Are Best Hopes for Employment in the News Business. The Radio Television Digital News Association/Hofstra University 2012 TV and Radio News Staffing and Profitability Survey indicates commercial radio news staffing remains flat but that there were 1,031 more TV news jobs in 2011. The study was done by Bob Papper, the Lawrence Stessin Distinguished Professor of Journalism and chair of the Department of Journalism, Media Studies, and Public Relations at Hofstra University. He reports in his survey that “the typical (median) radio news operation had a full-time news staff of one — the same as it’s been since I started doing these surveys 18 years ago. Radio news remains highly centralized, with the typical news director overseeing the news on two stations and more than three-quarters (77.6%) of all multi-station operations have a centralized newsroom.” Regarding non-commercial stations, he says, “Non-commercial stations fared much better than commercial ones. More than twice as many non-commercial stations reported increasing staff compared to commercial stations. The bigger the staff, the more likely for the station to have increased, and most of that increase came in the biggest markets (1 million and more).” Papper says more than half of radio news directors surveyed did not know whether their news division was profitable or not.
Premiere Networks Debuts Satellite Radio Show Hosted by Jack Abramoff. The Clear Channel Media and Entertainment-owned Premiere Networks is developing a talk show for the XM channel that Clear Channel programs – XM Talk 168 – hosted by former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff who finished serving a 43-month federal prison sentence for corruption. The weekend Jack Abramoff Show has been airing on SiriusXM’s XM Talk 168 since the last weekend of June and, for now, the program is satellite only. It’s possible this is a road test for a show that may have a future on terrestrial radio. Premiere Networks president, content and affiliate relations Julie Talbott, says, “From his experience in Washington to his fall from grace, Jack has a unique and interesting point of view and he’s not shy about sharing it. He’s a natural in front of the microphone and we’re excited to share this new talk program with audiences across the country.”
Emmis First Quarter Net Revenue Up 1.8%. That small hike is contingent upon removing the Merlin Media stations – in which Emmis still has a non-controlling interest – from the mix. With the Merlin stations included, the fiscal Q1 revenue for 2012 drops to $40.4 million – and 11% decline from the same period in 2011.
Former Twin Cities Sports Talk Host Jeff Dubay Speaks Out About Drug Conviction. Sports talker Jeff Dubay was co-host of the popular “PA and Dubay” show (alongside Paul Allen) on Clear Channel’s KFAN-AM, Minneapolis until his conviction on possession of crack cocaine in 2008. Yesterday (7/11) he went on Chad Hartman’s midday talk show on CBS Radio’s WCCO-AM, Minneapolis to talk about his fall from grace and the conviction that ended his sports talk career. The Pioneer Press reports Dubay told the audience he began using crack while dealing with a painful divorce after being introduced to it at a party at which “I had no business being.” Dubay credits former Vikings receiver George Rhymes, whom he met in prison, with helping him get over the addiction. Dubay says he hopes to get back into radio someday but for now wants to help others by telling his story.
NBC and Microsoft Reportedly Finalizing Their Media Divorce. The Daily Beast and Newsweek columnist Howard Kurtz is reporting that NBC and Microsoft are in talks for NBC to buy out Microsoft’s remaining 18% stake in MSNBC.com. The move, when finalized, would bring about a name change to the popular news site and it would become NBCNews.com. NBC and Microsoft entered into their media partnership back in 1996 with the cable news/talk channel MSNBC and the news website. The cable TV relationship ended back in 2005. Now, it appears NBC is ready to take 100 % ownership of the internet site as well.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment brings “veteran venture investor” Joseph Robinson aboard as EVP of strategic development. The company announces he’ll work closely with president of digital Brian Lekamp and president of national sales marketing & partnerships Tim Castelli…..KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh host Marty Griffin leads a live broadcast event in front of the Bellevue Borough Building today from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm to protest that town’s recently passed grilling restrictions. Griffin and KDKA-AM are opening the event to the public asking everyone to bring their appetite!…..WXKS, Boston – Talk 1200 – morning drive host Jeff Katz moderates the first live radio debate for the Republican candidates for the Massachusetts Congressional seat being vacated by long-time Democratic Rep Barney Frank. Sean Bielat, Dr. Elizabeth Childs, and Dr. David Steinhof – who face off in the September primary – will join Katz in the studio from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on Tuesday, July 17…..WQAM, Miami PM drive sports talk host Dan Sileo fills in on the AM drive show on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network on Friday, July 27…..Breitbart News Network editor Larry O’Connor continues his busy fill-in talk host schedule sitting in for WMAL-AM/FM, Washington midday host Chris Plante today and tomorrow. Next week he’s in for SRN’s Hugh Hewitt on Monday and Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries on Wednesday.
2012 Presidential Race, Texas Voter ID Law Challenge, Obama Tax Cut Repeal, ObamaCare Repeal Efforts, and Municipal Bankruptcies Among Top News Talk Stories Yesterday (7/11). The 2012 presidential race; the challenge to Texas’ voter ID law; President Obama’s proposal to end the Bush tax cuts for wealthy Americans; the continuing backlash from the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care law; and the spate of municipalities declaring bankruptcy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Hello from the Orient. That’s “Into Tomorrow” talk host Dave Graveline (l) and show producer Rob Almanza (r) posing for a shot in front of the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai, China. Graveline and Almanza are in China touring electronics factories and getting the scoop on the latest consumer electronics goods being produced there. Graveline tells TALKERS this week’s program will feature highlights of the coolest new technologies they discovered on their trip.
News Corp. Splits Its Assets in Two. News Corporation officially announces it will chop its company into two separate, publicly traded companies, one consisting of its entertainment properties and the other its publishing assets. The issue was decided at yesterday’s board meeting. Under the plan, the entertainment division will include the TV and movie businesses – Twentieth Century Fox, the Fox broadcast network, Fox News Channel and the other cable networks. The publishing arm will consist of the newspapers – The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London and The Australian as well as the other publishing assets — including Harper Collins. This will presumably also include The Wall Street Journal Radio Network. SNL Kagan reports the two primary reasons for executing the split are to distance the more profitable entertainment assets from the phone hacking scandal — this reason has been denied by CEO Rupert Murdoch — and to encourage investors who are keen on the entertainment side but not the publishing business. The first nine months of News Corp.’s 2012 fiscal year saw the entertainment division bring in $18.66 billion in net operating revenue while the publishing division’s net operating revenue was $6.22 billion. However, analysts are not in agreement that the split will encourage that much investment and ultimately be as valuable to the entertainment side’s stock as it might appear at first blush.
Yahoo! and Clear Channel Agree to Content Sharing Deal. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and Yahoo! partner on a distribution and cross-promotional deal in which Yahoo! will use the iHeartRadio digital platform as its official digital radio service while Yahoo! will be able to promote its content across CC’s 850 radio stations. Yahoo! recently entered into deals with ABC News and CNBC to distribute jointly produced content across websites and television. Interim Yahoo! CEO Ross Levinsohn – who is working to turn the struggling digital media company around and give it a focused direction – says of the pact, “This partnership will expand our ability to provide consumers and advertisers with the best premium content available and provide Clear Channel with unmatched digital reach.” Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman says, “We were thrilled when Ross approached us about this partnership. We like the direction Yahoo! is going and by working together we can accelerate growth for the both of us.”
The NFL’s Buffalo Bills Sue Cumulus Over “Incentive Rights Fee.” Buffalo Bills play-by-play aired on Cumulus Media’s (and previously Citadel’s) WGRF-FM and WEDG-FM, Buffalo for the past 13 seasons through the 2011 season and now the team is suing Cumulus for what it says is the company’s failure to pay the “incentive rights fee” of about $1 million, according to the Buffalo News. The suit states the incentive rights fee equals half the broadcaster’s gross revenues from the sale of related programming or advertising in connection with any Bills game, after accounting for certain costs. The suit also contends, “For the 2011 NFL football season, the reasonable value of the exclusive radio broadcast rights and perquisites was believed to be at least $2.4 million, of which an amount believed to be at least $1 million remains due and owing.” Attorneys for the team say Cumulus was to provide an independent auditor’s report on gross revenue and net revenue for the 2011 season and that has yet to happen. The Buffalo News reports attempts to get a comment from Cumulus had not been successful.
Tom Leykis and Lionel on Strategies for Taking Talk Content to the Web. This video from the recent 2012 TALKERS New Media Seminar – New York features The New Normal chief and talk radio legend Tom Leykis and LionelMedia.com personality Lionel discussing from-the-trenches strategies for bringing talk content – live streaming shows and podcasts – to the web. The biggest challenge to this initiative is letting people know you are there and enticing them to listen. Hear Leykis and Lionel speak about their work in this medium on this exclusive panel discussion in the TALKERS TV box on this page. (Videography by Art Vuolo of Vuolo Video)
TuneIn Brings Major Broadcasters Cox Media Group, Emmis and Entercom Aboard. Digital audio service TuneIn continues to build its roster of content with the signing of three of America’s big broadcasting companies to deals to distribute their audio. Cox Media Group, Emmis Communications and Entercom radio stations will be heard on the TuneIn service that boasts 30 million monthly active listeners. In announcing the deal, the chiefs of the three companies tout the enhanced distribution this will give their content. Cox president Doug Franklin states, “As we transform into a digital media company, Cox Media Group is extending our great local brands to as many digital platforms as possible to seamlessly provide our audiences with the programming they want where and when they want it. TuneIn leads the industry with their listener-first approach to everything they do, and we are excited to offer our broadcasts to the growing and vastly important digital audience.” Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan comments, “Emmis is excited by today’s announcement. We want to follow our listeners and deliver our content to the platforms they choose to use. The TuneIn platform will provide our listeners from coast to coast another connection point with their favorite radio brands.” And Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “This is a great deal for Entercom, for TuneIn and most importantly for our listeners. We are very pleased to align Entercom with such an innovative company as TuneIn, which will deliver our terrific local programming to a wider, digitally engaged audience. Together, Entercom and TuneIn will deliver existing and new fans the best listening experience possible.”
Glenn Hall Named Managing Editor at TheBlaze. Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts announces former editor in chief at TheStreet joins TheBlaze as managing editor. The company states Glenn Hall will “oversee the day-to-day management and long-term editorial planning of TheBlaze.com’s editors and writers.” Hall served as editor in chief at TheStreet until this past March and, according to comScore audience rankings, helped grow TheStreet into the 10th largest online financial media group, surpassing CNBC.com. TheBlaze president and chief strategy officer Betsy Morgan says, “In under two years, we have attracted a growing team of over 25 reporters with a diverse range of experience ranging from a former CIA officer to CNN contributors. We are excited to take our team to the next level with Glenn Hall who brings a strong track record of leading and overseeing high-quality coverage and award-winning journalism to TheBlaze.” Hall comments, “TheBlaze is an amazing web phenomenon that shows media can thrive in the new digital age provided the focus and mission are aligned with the needs of the audience. I am excited about the opportunity to help grow this brand and raise the bar for digital journalism.”
CNN Suffers Worst Primetime Ratings Quarter in 21 Years; Cable News/Talk Network Makes Programming Changes. TVNewser reports CNN’s 2012 second quarter primetime ratings were at their worst in 21 years with 446,000 total viewers and 129,000 in the adults 25-54 demo. Compared to the second quarter of 2011, CNN is down 35% in total viewers in Total Day. The numbers are similar in primetime with the network down 35% in total viewers and 41% in the adults 25-54 demo. For individual shows, it’s hard to compare since the schedule has shifted and the same shows didn’t air at the same times last year. But “Piers Morgan Tonight” (which hasn’t moved) is down 29% in total viewers and 33% in adults 25-54. There is a bit of good news for the network as TVNewser reports June Nielsen numbers show younger viewers are increasing boosting Piers Morgan 9% in June, Anderson Cooper 5% and Erin Burnett 24%. Meanwhile, the Time Warner cable news/talk network makes some programming changes: The seven-month-old “Early Start” show sees co-host Ashleigh Banfield move to the 11:00 am ET slot and newcomer John Berman becomes co-host of the program with Zoraida Sambolin. Also, Kyra Phillips leaves CNN for duties at sister channel HLN.
KOZN, Omaha’s Kevin Kugler Transitions to National Correspondent Duties. Sports talk host Kevin Kugler, currently co-host of the “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” afternoon show at NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha – 1620 AM The Zone – will become a national sports correspondent for the station as he moves to a full-time position with the Big Ten Network – the conference’s TV network. Kugler also serves as a play-by-play announcer for NFL football and NCAA basketball on the Dial Global Radio Networks and he will remain in that capacity. KOZN program director Neil Nelkin states, “Kevin now gets a chance to cut his teeth as a play-by-play host for the Big 10 and still stay on The Zone. It has been a joy and a privilege to watch Kevin as he evolved into a national sports correspondent.” Kugler’s duties with The Zone will be as analyst, interviewer and guest anchor. On his career transition, Kugler says, “This opportunity affords me the chance to remain on The Zone and stay in Omaha. Although this is a new chapter for my career, I am still staying on my ‘home’ at 1620 The Zone but I will have even more insight to offer as a result of the various exclusive interviews and event coverage I will be able to do on BTN.”
KXL, Portland Names Dan Mitchinson PM Drive Co-Anchor. Dan Mitchinson has been evening news anchor at Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle. On July 9 he begins his new position with Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland where he’ll co-host the station’s “Portland’s Afternoon News” with Lacey Evans. In a statement, Mitchinson says, “KXL is certainly one of the best-known news/talk stations in the country and one of the things that excites me the most it’s not just telling stories, but the way we’re able to start conversations with our listeners. Anyone can read the news or check their Twitter account. What KXL does best is tell passionate stories that make you feel even more involved with the city I now get to call home.”
The Anticipated ObamaCare Ruling, the Aftermath of the Arizona Illegal Immigration Law Decision, the 2012 Presidential Campaign, the Colorado Wildfires, and Eric Holder Contempt Vote Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/27). The anticipation of the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; the aftermath of the Court’s decision on the Arizona illegal immigration law; the ongoing 2012 presidential campaign; the wildfires raging through Colorado and the attempt by House Republicans to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Dave Ramsey Has More Than 1 Million Friends. Really! Facebook has more than 900 million users worldwide and 1 million of them count nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey their friend. With all those friends and more than 400,000 Twitter followers, Ramsey’s organization says, “Not only are they seeing the value in Dave’s message on social platforms, but the web as a whole as ‘The Dave Ramsey Show’ is among the top 25 of all iTunes podcasts and the number one podcast in the business section.”
“The Future of Audio” the Focus of House Subcommittee Hearing; Cross-Ownership a Major Topic. Today’s hearing before the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will center around four topics: broadcast radio ownership caps, low-power FM, FM chips and royalties. Among the witnesses scheduled to testify are Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan, Commonwealth Broadcasting president, CEO Steven Newberry, Pandora founder Tim Westergren, and RIAA chairman and CEO Cary Sherman. A committee memo states, “This hearing will examine how advances in communications services and consumer electronics equipment are affecting the distribution and consumption of audio content.” There is again movement among Republicans to eliminate or relax the cross-ownership regulations in light of changes in technology and how they affect competition. Also, more arguments over performance royalties are expected to be raised at the hearing, especially with Clear Channel‘s groundbreaking record industry news announced yesterday (see next story).
Clear Channel Creates Groundbreaking Relationship with Big Machine Label Group. This is purely a music radio story but still has the potential to reverberate throughout the entire radio business. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is the first broadcast company to strike a deal with a label group that pays the label (and hopefully the artists as well) a performance royalty for music aired on terrestrial radio stations. The two sides did not release specific numbers but Big Machine Label Group produces recordings for artists including Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Edens Edge and Ella Mae Bowen and Valory Music Co. artists Reba McEntire, Justin Moore, Brantley Gilbert, The Mavericks and Thomas Rhett. Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman says of the Big Machine Label Group president and CEO, “Scott Borchetta has reinvented the music business in many important ways over the years, from distribution and artist development to promotion and advertising. Focusing that same creativity on how best to grow the music business, Scott has developed this new model with us to let his labels and artists participate in the revenue of broadcast radio immediately and in digital radio as it builds. This is a big step, but we think this investment is an opportunity worth taking to align our interests in all of our revenue streams and grow digital listening to its full potential with record labels and their artists as our partners. This landmark agreement creates a structure that makes sense for both our companies, but most of all for music fans.”
Cumulus Media Announces Tony Mascaro Named WABC, New York Operations Manager. Confirming what TALKERS reported on Monday, June 4, Cumulus Media makes official the announcement that CHR WPLJ-FM, New York operations manager Tony Mascaro takes the same title for sister news/talk WABC, New York.
WBZ, Boston Overnight Host Steve LeVeille to Retire. The 57-year-old host of the overnight talk show on CBS Radio‘s WBZ, Boston announces his decision to retire at the end of next week after 13 years hosting the show and 21 years with WBZ. “This is a quality-of-life decision for my wife, Diane, and me. We have been making moves during the past number of years to be able to do this without any particular date in mind. We have just reached a point where we said the time is right now. After spending most of our weekends and vacation time in Maine for the last 15 years we are looking forward to making it our year round home.” Steve LeVeille is a native of the Boston area and was familiar with WBZ NewsRadio as a teenager saying, “I grew up in the Boston area listening to Larry Glick on WBZ. And as cliché as it sounds, it was the dream of a teenager to do the overnight show on WBZ and I am proud to be able to retire from that position.”
Dan Dibley Signs on With Entercom’s San Francisco Sports FM for Another Year. “The Rise Guys” morning drive co-host Dan Dibley extends his deal with Entercom‘s KGMZ-FM, San Francisco – 95.7 The Game. Dibley co-hosts the program with Whitey Gleason and Mark Kreidler. Program director Jason Barrett states, “Dan is a big reason why The Rise Guys are the best sports radio morning show in the Bay Area. His energy, passion, sense of humor and work ethic define what the Bay Area’s ‘New Sound for Sports’ is all about.” Prior to joining KGMZ-FM in May of 2011, Dibley served as executive producer at crosstown KNBR.
Merlin Media Changes Blagojevich Billboards in Chicago. The two billboards you see here are before-and-after versions of the outdoor campaign employed by Merlin Media‘s all-news WIQI-FM – FM News 101.1. After the company put up about 200 of the billboards in the Chicago area, attorney Sheldon Sorosky (who represented former Governor Rod Blagojevich in his corruption trial) contacted Merlin notifying the company the billboards may violate an Illinois law that prevents one’s image from being used for commercial purposes without permission. Merlin’s John Gehron tells Crain’s Chicago Business they made the move because, “Listeners were concerned that we were insensitive and we wanted to be responsive.” At the same time, Gehron tells Crain’s the campaign has been positive for the fledgling all-news outlet, “It’s done well and it’s gotten some nice talk.”
WTOP, Washington Reporter Shoved by DC Council Chairman. This was no aggressive push but observers say District of Columbia Council Chairman Kwame Brown, after being asked a question by WTOP, Washington reporter Mark Seagraves, pushed the reporter up against a wall with enough force “to send a message” while saying, “No questions.” Seagraves was asking Brown about a report by another media outlet that federal investigators have revealed part of their case against him involving campaign wrongdoings.
Wisconsin Recall Election, 2012 Presidential Race, Jittery Global Financial Markets and Sandusky Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/5). The recall election in Wisconsin between Republican Scott Walker and Democrat Tom Barrett and its impact on the future of public sector unions; the 2012 presidential campaign; the state of the world’s financial markets; and the looming trial of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Kings of L.A. With the Los Angeles Kings on the brink of their first NHL Stanley Cup Championship (the Kings lead the New Jersey Devils 3-0 with game 4 tonight) Clear Channel‘s KLAC, Los Angeles – AM 570 Fox Sports L.A. – is enjoying the ride. Pictured here is a scene from the station’s live broadcast from L.A. Kings fan-fest at L.A. Live, adjacent to the Staples Center arena. “Petros & Money” broadcast their show live from the event and here you see Matt “Money” Smith (l), Kings broadcaster Jim Fox (c) and NHL great Luc Robitaille (r) on stage.
By Kevin Casey
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — It’s understood by anyone in the radio business that the big news stories of the day – whether they are local or national stories – generate the topics that drive the conversation on news/talk radio. But what are the roles of the newsroom, the reporter and the regular newscasts on today’s news/talk stations? The move of all-news to FM signals, the development of more national and regional radio news products and the addition of newswheel programs to some of the country’s most respected talk stations seem to indicate radio news has received a shot in the arm. But the decimation of many radio news departments that occurred in conjunction with consolidation still affects many radio operations and raises questions about the relevance of news elements to the successful operation of the modern news/talk station.
Entercom Reports Q1 Revenue Down 3%. Some format changes in several markets and the usual first quarter doldrums can be blamed for the down performance of Entercom in Q1 of 2012, Entercom CEO David Field told analysts during the Q1 conference call. Field states seven format changes that took place in 2011 – including three in major markets like Boston and San Francisco – have affected revenue. But Field sees positive things ahead as he tells analysts May and June are pacing up and the third quarter of this year looks healthy. Political ad spending is a major factor in improving revenue. Other points mentioned by Field: Entercom cut expenses by 4% and was able to pay down $17.4 million of its senior debt leaving $592 million in senior debt.
Emmis Revenue Down but Jeff Smulyan Promises Greatly Deleveraged Emmis. During his conference call with analysts, Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan reported net revenue down 11% — down just 3% when excluding the stations majority owned by Merlin Media – for the quarter ending February 29. But Smulyan says his company is paying down debt – some $1.5 billion to date – and when current transactions are complete Emmis will be one of the least-leveraged companies in the radio business. With recent transactions, Emmis is now a company operating clusters in Indianapolis, Austin, St. Louis, Terre Haute, and, of course its two major market signals: Hot 97 in New York and Power 106 in Los Angeles.
KILT, Houston Brings Nick Wright Aboard for AM Drive Co-Host Duties. Currently hosting at Entercom’s KCSP, Kansas City, sports talk host Nick Wright moves south to join John Lopez on the morning show at CBS Radio’s KILT, Houston. The position opened when Marc Vandermeer took a full-time position with the NFL’s Houston Texans, although Vandermeer will still be heard on the station doing Texans play-by-play. KILT program director Gavin Spittle says of Wright’s hire, “We’re really excited to welcome Nick to our talented roster of hosts. He has tremendous energy, passion and a history of ratings success. His excitement to pair up with John Lopez is equal to our excitement to add him to our number one sports lineup for many years to come.”
Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly Play Town Hall in New York Saturday Night. As part of the duo’s “Bolder and Fresher Tour 2012,” Dial Global nationally syndicated talk show host Dennis Miller and Fox News Channel star Bill O’Reilly – also heard on the radio via his Courtside Entertainment Group-syndicated “Talking Points” commentaries, will appear at Town Hall in NYC tomorrow night. During the program each host takes a turn doing a monologue for the crowd. Then the two sit down together to discuss and riff on the big issues of the day. Upcoming shows include stops in Indianapolis, Chicago and Atlanta.
New Jersey Talk Host Found Shot Dead in Her Home. Authorities in Linwood, New Jersey report 47-year-old April Kauffman was found shot to death in the bedroom of her home in that town. She co-hosted a weekly talk radio show at WOND, Pleasantville, New Jersey during which she advocated for veteran’s causes and other issues. The Associated Press is reporting that authorities have not made any arrests in the killing.
Michelle Jerson to Host Talk Shows at WWIQ-FM, Philadelphia. Former New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Michelle Jerson is doing some fill-in work at Merlin Media’s new WWIQ-FM, Philadelphia. She begins today by hosting the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot – eventually to be the home of Rush Limbaugh when the Premiere Networks superstar migrates over from his current Philly home at WPHT. Jerson, who hosted a relationships program during her time at NJ101.5, tells TALKERS that she’ll do a non-political program today.
WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte to Air UNC Football and Hoops. Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte is the official Charlotte affiliate for University of North Carolina football and basketball play-by-play after agreeing to a deal with the university’s rights holder, Tar Heel Sports Properties. WBT will carry all games plus coaches’ shows featuring football coach Larry Fedora and basketball legend Roy Williams. Tar Heels Sports Properties general manager Gary Sobba states, “We’re excited about this new partnership and bringing two terrific brands back together. WBT has a very strong signal and will provide excellent coverage for the Tar Heel faithful in the Charlotte metro area.”
2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 7-11. The 2012 presidential race landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the sixth consecutive week. Close behind at #2 was President Obama’s gay marriage stance. At #3 was longtime Indiana Republican Senator Dick Lugar’s loss in the primary election and at #4 was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s snubbing of President Obama by backing out of the G-8 at Camp David. The Talkers TenTM is based on ongoing research by TALKERS and is published at Talkers.com every Friday. View the top 10 stories and people as discussed on news/talk radio here.
Dave Ramsey Broadcasts from Tucson. Nationally syndicated personal finance talk show star Dave Ramsey is pictured here in Tucson conducting his EntreLeadership Master Series at the Westin LaPaloma in Tucson. Keeping with the theme of the week, today’s broadcast will focus on business and leadership questions from callers to the radio program. Ramsey’s organization explains that EntreLeadership “combines the innovative spirit of an entrepreneur with the passion and drive of a leader. This philosophy is how Ramsey has run his highly successful company and trained his leadership team since day one. At EntreLeadership Master Series, Ramsey condenses 20 years of business and leadership wisdom into a seven day event. Business owners and leaders who attend walk away with practical ideas that can improve their communication, organization, team culture, finances, negotiating and selling skills, marketing, advertising, and ability to make tough decisions.” Last September, Ramsey’s latest best-seller, EntreLeadership, debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list.
Cumulus Makes it Official: WYAY-FM, Atlanta to Go All-News in May. The Atlanta Business Chronicle confirms what’s been rumored as Cumulus Media COO John Dickey announces the company’s classic hits WYAY-FM – licensed to Gainesville, Georgia – will flip to all-news in mid-May. Dickey tells the Chronicle, “As big a city as we’ve got and as diverse and cosmopolitan a community, not to have an all-news product creates a huge opportunity. It was an easy decision for us to take advantage of it…Pop culture, celebrity news and entertainment news have really become news today. That has intermixed with hard news to create a different product.” Atlanta had WCNN – now SportsRadio 680 the Fan – operating as an all-news outlet in the late 1990s but that was on AM and Cumulus believes now is the right time to put an all-news product on the FM band.
KTRS, St. Louis Cancels JC Corcoran PM Drive Show. Veteran St. Louis radio personality JC Corcoran exits CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis after hosting the PM drive show for the past 18 months. St. Louis Today’s Deb Peterson reports management at the station was not returning calls seeking comment but that other sources indicate that KTVI-TV, St. Louis sports director and former KFNS, St. Louis talk host Martin Kilcoyne will take over the program. Corcoran’s sidekick Trish Gazall is reportedly remaining with the station. Other changes including a slight shift in programming as John Hadley moves his late-night show to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot allowing Chicago-based Steve Cochran to host just his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program at the station (he had been doing a split shift with an early evening show as well).
Feature Series – Part 4: Innovation Sets You Free…to Make Money. Sabo Media president Walter Sabo concludes his four-part TALKERS series on FM talk. In this piece, Sabo discusses the importance of creating time and a place to innovate. Sabo notes that radio has no laboratory for experimentation. “If you come up with a new format or promotional idea, where and how do you test it? Success in a live medium depends on a specific dynamic with a live audience. As a rule you can’t ask people how they want to be entertained. You can present them with entertainment and see if they applaud.” Sabo offers several ways to test new programming, including your HD channel. “Finally, a good use for HD channels: Experimentation. If you want listeners to try a new medium, give them something new to listen to. It doesn’t cost more money to play different songs. The promise of HD radio is breathtaking. New programming attracts early adopters and that’s what new hardware demands.” Sabo says this article is a preview of 15 action-packed minutes that he will deliver at the New Media Seminar in New York on Thursday, June 7. This exciting industry-only event will be a certain sellout. For registration information call 413-565-5413. Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.
FCC Decision to Require Political Ad Info Posted Online for TV Stations Has Radio Execs Watching DC. For now, only television stations in the top 50 markets in the country are being required to post their public files – including their political ad rates – online. But some radio operators are nervous about this cascading to their medium. This decision is only popular with some political groups that believe too much money is spent on politics and is tarnishing the process. The NAB is not pleased and states, “NAB respectfully disagrees with today’s FCC decision and we’re disappointed that the Commission rejected compromise proposals proffered by broadcasters that would have brought greater transparency to political ad buying. By forcing broadcasters to be the only medium to disclose on the internet our political advertising rates, the FCC jeopardizes the competitive standing of stations that provide local news, entertainment, sports and life-saving weather information free of charge to tens of millions of Americans daily. We appreciate Commissioner McDowell‘s thoughtful and compelling dissent, and we will be seeking guidance from our Board of Directors regarding our options.” Some communications law observers believe there are problems with this new policy and we’re likely to see this end up in court.
Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels to Host New TV and Radio Show Beginning in Early May. Michael Patrick Shiels previously hosted the morning show based at WJIM, Lansing and was heard on other markets via the Michigan Talk Network. His relationship with WJIM owner Cumulus ended and now he announces he’s struck a deal with WSYM-TV, Lansing to produce and distribute a new morning show that will be simulcast on WSYM-TV and on the radio in markets yet to be announced. WSYM-TV VP/GM Gary Baxter states. “FOX 47 is proud to continue its partnership with Michael Patrick Shiels and launch his new program. There is simply no one like him on radio or TV in the state of Michigan. Michael Patrick’s show allows us to have the biggest names in politics, business and Michigan sports on our air every morning. Our viewers might see Governor Snyder and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford on the same show — what great television!”
Tom Joyner Vows to Stay Connected with Tri-State Fans Via Digital Media. The Emmis-ESPN deal and consequent merger of the Kiss FM format with WBLS-FM, New York leaves his nationally syndicated urban morning show in the lurch. But Tom Joyner believes very strongly in the power of Black radio and the need for shows like his in the Black community. In a memo to Kiss FM listeners, he writes, “I am saddened that an important Black voice is going silent in New York City, especially during this important election year. Along with the Tom Joyner “Morning Show,” the Michael Baisden show and Rev. Al Sharpton’s Sunday program will also be off the air in NYC in this transition. Black radio has been and always will be an extremely important motivational force in the community. Although social media currently gets a lot of credit and rightfully so, nothing can replace the role Black radio plays in empowering, informing and entertaining Black people. You can’t believe everything you read on social media but studies do show that most people believe what they hear on black radio. That makes me feel proud and reminds me of my responsibility to be there for them each morning.” Joyner encourages his audience in the Tri-State area to listen via his smartphone app or via BlackAmericaWeb.com.
Compass Media Networks’ “At Home with Bob Vila” Debuts Today. The new daily feature hosted by home improvement icon Bob Vila and produced and distributed by Compass Media Networks hits the air today at affiliates including KOGO, San Diego; WTKK-FM, Boston; KMJ, Fresno; KFNN, Phoenix; KVON, Napa, California and more. Compass Media Networks VP affiliate sales Adam Wilbur states, “Stations in all formats – sports, news/talk, all-news, country, AC and classic hits have signed up for Vila. In another week, we will announce additional stations in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Washington, DC. With over 90% name recognition with Americans, program directors appreciate the power of Bob’s brand – and sales managers love the ability to sell the feature locally.”
Actor Stephen Baldwin, TV-Radio Host Dani Johnson and Talk Host Kevin McCullough Announce Effort to Aid Starving Orphans. The 2012 in 2012 charity effort is named that because, as XtreMedia CEO and principal Kevin McCullough states, the goal is to rescue 2,012 orphans from starvation during the year 2012. McCullough’s weekend radio show partner Stephen Baldwin and television and radio host Dani Johnson are partnering to spearhead this program. Baldwin says a child can be fed for a mere 25 cents per day. “When I toured the places these children sleep and live in, I couldn’t help but be moved to do something about it. My whole family saw with our own eyes children who were dying or would die soon, simply because they had no food. It is imperative to me, my media company, my family, my business partners, and every one I come into contact with to let them know how vital 25 cents can be. It can literally feed a meal to a child who literally will die without it.” Kevin McCullough says, “Our partners are delivering life-healing food for the rate of feeding an orphan for an entire year, for just $92 – this is how simple it is to save a life? How can we get more people involved? How can we rescue more children? These questions haunt me each night…” McCullough and company are teaming up with two charities experienced in feeding children – Food for Orphans and King’s Ransom Foundation and they are seeking other media partners for this quest. “If you are a television, radio or new media personality who has a passion to help hungry kids, we would love for you to join us in this amazing quest. We will link arm in arm with anyone and everyone who is moved to do this, to be part of it, and to see orphans fed.”
Nationally Syndicated Radio Feature Host Akos Jankura Develops New Weekend Show; Seeks Products or Inventions from Public to Feature. Inventor and international presenter Akos Jankura – who writes and produces the nationally syndicated radio feature “Akos the Solutionist” – teams up with John Cremeans to create a weekend radio show based at WFLA, Tampa on which they will make it possible for one inventor to pitch their product or invention. The show will premiere Saturday, May 5 at 4:00 pm on WFLA and people with products or inventions are asked to visit MyCoolInventions.com to submit their entry. Jankura says, “Many people don’t know that one of our most successful TV shopping channels actually began on radio. I’ve teamed up with John Cremeans also known as ‘The Doctor of Shopolgy,’ John has logged over 25,000 hours of live television shopping and is a pioneer in our industry. He is skilled at getting arm-chair inventors to make their best pitch for their product which is so important in the early development process.” Jankura says together the two have more than $2 billion in sales. The team is poised to identify products and inventions that can become the next great hit. Their hands-on process invites everyday inventors or people with great ideas to join the inventive group at MyCoolInventions.com and sign up to receive information and tips that will guide them through the process of taking a product to market.
In Memory of a Radio Pioneer: Pete Fornatale. TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer worked closely with rock radio legend Pete Fornatale who passed away last week at age 66. Although, as Neer writes, Fornatale was not a talk host as we traditionally define it in radio, “When he did crack the mic, you couldn’t find a more intelligent voice observing pop culture than the late Pete Fornatale.” Neer notes that Fornatale became synonymous with the genre of radio hosts who did more than quickly intro or backsell a record – something that many argue is missing in music radio these days. “He was probably the first real musicologist on commercial radio who presented rock and folk music as an intellectual as well as emotional experience.” Read Richard Neer’s memorial to Pete Fornatale here.
New York Sports and Urban Worlds Reeling from Emmis-ESPN Deal. Yesterday’s announcement from ESPN that it has signed an LMA deal with Emmis Communications to air sports talk WEPN’s programming on 98.7 – the home of urban Kiss FM – sent shockwaves through the sports and urban radio communities. The drive to get sports talk on FM – by either CBS Radio or ESPN…or both – has been closely watched for the past several years. Many thought CBS Radio would make a move to put WFAN on FM before ESPN but that was not the case. On the urban side, the melding of Kiss FM and WBLS-FM as Emmis will sell the intellectual property of Kiss FM to YMF Media so it can create a Kiss FM at 107.5 has some in the urban music community crying foul. As for the financials, Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports that Emmis gets $8.4 million for the first year of a 12-year LMA with an increase of 3.5% annually. It expects to realize $10 million for the intellectual property of Kiss FM and, all told, the deal means $96 million for Emmis. Now, industry watchers will be intent on CBS Radio to see how fast the company moves to get an FM signal for the venerable sports giant WFAN.
Greater Media’s WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia Inks Deal with NBA’s 76ers. Philadelphia sports talk duo WPEN-AM/FM – 97.5 The Fanatic and 950 ESPN Radio – agree to a multi-year deal to air 76ers basketball on the stations beginning with the first round of this season’s playoffs. All of the games this year and through the course of the contract will air on 97.5 and many will be simulcast on 950 AM. 76ers broadcast voice Tom McGinnis will continue to serve as the play-by-play announcer for the games. Greater Media market manager John Fullam says, “We know the future of the Sixers is bright, and we look forward to being a central part of the fan experience on Sixers game nights. Adding NBA play-by-play to 97.5 The Fanatic and 950 ESPN Radio is yet another significant step forward in fulfilling our commitment to offer Philadelphians the finest in sports programming. We are especially gratified that we will not have to wait until next fall for Sixers games to start broadcasting on our air.” Prior to this deal, 76ers basketball had aired on CBS Radio’s crosstown sports talker WIP.
WJIM, Lansing and Michigan Talk Network Name Steve Gruber and Jo Ann Paul AM Drive Hosts. Former WILX-TV, Lansing news anchor Steve Gruber and WLNS-TV, Lansing personality Jo Ann Paul are the new co-hosts of the WJIM, Lansing-based morning drive show that’s also heard across Michigan on via the Michigan Talk Network. Gruber and Paul will work with current producer Amanda Wall and news anchor Gary Austin. They take over the role held previously by Michael Patrick Shiels who left the Cumulus Media operation in February. Cumulus tested a number of potential hosts before going with Gruber and Paul.
WLQR-AM/FM, Toledo Adds New PM Drive Show. Cumulus Media sports talk outlet WLQR-AM/FM, Toledo announces the debut of “Drive Time with Miller and Bellino” hosted by Mike Miller and Anthony Bellino. The duo’s program will air in the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot beginning Monday, April 30. In order to make room for the new program, WLQR cuts an hour from Norm Wamer’s “The Front Row” program which will air from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. The show will emanate from local car dealership The Monroe Superstore. In a statement, Anthony Bellino says, “We want our listeners to be able to interact with us, and have the opportunity to interact with our guests.”
United Stations Radio Networks Renews with Bloomberg. New York-based United Stations Radio Networks announces a deal that will continue to have it sell, market and distribute various financial news and business programs created and produced by Bloomberg Radio. USRN’s Jim Higgins states, “Bloomberg is at the very top of the financial industry when it comes to the delivery of news, data and analysis, and in turn, they recognize that we’ve been solid partners for them. Our affiliates, advertisers and sponsors are all proud to be associated with the Bloomberg brand, and so are we.”
2012 Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Fourth Straight Week. The 2012 presidential race was the most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio for the fourth straight week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM chart for the week of April 23-27. Coming in at #2 was the Supreme Court hearing of the Arizona illegal immigration law case. Following at # 3 was the euro zone economic jitters tied with weak U.S. jobs growth and at #4 was the Environmental Protection Agency’s attack on the gas and oil industries. The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research into the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio in America and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish is added to Fisher’s KVI, Seattle…..“The Handyman Show” with Glenn Haege picks up new affiliates WBCK-FM, Battle Creek, Michigan; WMMI, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan; WBCO, Bucyrus, Ohio; KATX-FM, Eastland, Texas; and WRHL, Rochelle, Illinois.
Clear Channel Los Angeles to Air “Diverse L.A.” on Progressive Talk KTLK; Black Media Alliance Not Satisfied. As part of Clear Channel Los Angeles’ program to increase diversity at the cluster, a three-week block of programs titled, “Diverse L.A.” will air on progressive talk outlet KTLK during the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart beginning March 12. The program will be hosted by cluster producer and political commentator Morris O’Kelly. Clear Channel is currently seeking community members interested in appearing on the program and is taking suggestions and applications via e-mail at DiverseLA@clearchannel.com. In a statement, Clear Channel Los Angeles market manager Greg Ashlock says, “These 45 hours of prime programming will feature local hosts and guests discussing a wide variety of issues associated with the spectrum of experience of all Angelenos.” The programming is part of the response to the negative feedback sister station KFI received after PM drive hosts John & Ken were suspended for comments about Whitney Houston. Morris O’Kelly states, “This is about Los Angeles hearing voices and viewpoints less often heard while also addressing communities historically underserved. ‘Diverse L.A.’ will highlight new personalities and newsmakers for the KTLK audience but, more importantly, provide a platform for inclusive, substantive dialogue in the public square.” The Los Angeles organization Black Media Alliance responds to the initiative disappointed that Clear Channel has “relegated our concerns to a struggling station that has neither the cachet nor reach of their more profitable outlet.” In a statement, the BMA quotes longtime member and media personality Kevin Ross saying, “The efforts of Clear Channel are important, but it’s not enough…There needs to be diversity on all of their stations, on- and off-air and we are prepared to provide Clear Channel with an extensive list of African-American radio professionals who fit into their current program formatting needs.”
Sacramento Bee Editor Apologizes for Obscene Call to KHTK, Sacramento’s Don Geronimo Show. Sacramento Bee sports editor Tom Couzens has apologized in the paper for making obscene calls to the Don Geronimo morning show at CBS Radio’s sports KHTK, Sacramento that he, at first, denied making. The brouhaha appears to have been the culmination of an ongoing feud between Couzens and Geronimo. The Sacramento News & Review reports Couzens had been critical of the format of Geronimo’s morning drive show and Geronimo – who is a pro at turning that kind of controversy into PR for his show – vowed to “get” Couzens for his criticism of the show. Couzens admits he let Geronimo get to him and his bosses at the Bee are saying it is a personnel issue that is being handled internally.
WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Names Bo Thompson Co-Host of AM Drive Show. Greater Media news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte announces Bo Thompson joins morning drive host Stacey Simms as co-host of the “Charlotte’s Morning News.” Thompson is currently producer of WCCB-TV, Charlotte’s “Fox News Edge” program hosted by Greater Media personalities Matt Harris and Ramona Holloway. Thompson begins his duties alongside Simms, news anchor John Stokes, sports anchor Jim Szoke and traffic reporter Chuck Roads at WBT on March 19. Thompson says, “I began my radio career at WBT 22 years ago and this is my home. I always knew I’d be back one day. It’s an honor to carry on the torch from Al Gardner. Many of my radio idols have held this job. I can’t wait to be a part of CMN’s next chapter.” Gardner left the station to work with Merlin Media as it prepares to launch a new format on WKDN-FM, Philadelphia.
Clear Channel Adds Local Show to Hartford FM Sports Talker. This week Clear Channel split the simulcast that had been sports talk WPOP and WUCS-FM in Hartford. As reported earlier, WPOP has become a Fox Sports Radio Network affiliate and WUCS-FM carries programming from ESPN. Now, WUCS-FM – positioned as 97.9 ESPN – adds a local PM drive show to the program schedule hosted by Mike Bower. Comedian and talk personality Bower temporarily filled the slot WTKK-FM, Boston had open when it let talk host Jay Severin go in April of last year.
Michael Juliano Takes Over Director of Sales Role at Entercom Boston. Shuffling in the management at Entercom’s Boston cluster opens up the director of sales position and VP/market manager Jeff Brown announces Michael Juliano is brought in to manage the cluster’s sales efforts. Juliano most recently served as regional vice president of sales for Metro Traffic in the New York and Pennsylvania markets. In his new duties, he’ll oversee all revenue for sports WEEI-AM/FM, news/talk WRKO and rock WAAF as well as the Red Sox Radio Network, the Celtics Radio Network and New England Patriots special programming.
Emmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis Raises Funds for Tornado Victims. Emmis Communications news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis partnered with WRTV-TV, Indianapolis to raise funds for the victims of the recent tornados that swept through southern Indiana. The Tornado Relief Drive was done in a “drive-through” method on Tuesday, March 6 with local Jiffy Lube locations taking part. During that 12-hour drive some $46,000 was collected. The money is being distributed via the Salvation Army Indiana Division. The familiar red kettles are continuing to being used at the Jiffy Lube locations. During the Tuesday drive, WIBC-FM personnel were stationed at various locations throughout the city with the red kettles.
GOP Primary Race, Rush Limbaugh Controversy, Intensified Syria Violence, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, Solar Storm Heads to Earth, and Sarah Palin Movie Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/7). The Mitt Romney-Rick Santorum race for the Republican nomination; the aftermath of Rush Limbaugh’s controversial language; the intensified violence against Syria’s citizens; continuing international debate over Iran’s nuclear weapons program; the massive solar storm that could disrupt Earth’s communications systems; and the HBO Sarah Palin movie set to air this weekend were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Bill Bradley Meets George Lucas. SiriusXM is presenting a special program in which former Senator Bill Bradley (l) interviews filmmaker George Lucas (r). The satcaster states during the program “Lucas discusses a variety of topics throughout the interview, including: his evolution as a filmmaker and storyteller and the role technology played on this journey; his philosophy on education in America; what inspired him to make “Red Tails” and the importance of sharing the history of the heroic Tuskegee Airmen with the youngest generation of African-Americans in our country today; and the spiritual life lessons woven into the “Star Wars” saga.
Talk Radio Pro Phil Boyce Named VP/Director Spoken Word Format for Salem Communications. Former WABC, New York program director Phil Boyce joins Salem Communications in the newly created position VP/director spoken word format. As such he’ll be in charge of the company’s programming on its news/talk, Christian teaching, talk and business talk O&Os. Boyce most recently served as president of programming for Talk Radio Network. He says, “The more I learn about Salem Communications, the more impressed I am with this great company. I could not be more thrilled to be joining them as we work together to make their stations even better. This company has become one of the best places to work in radio, exhibiting class, integrity, and a true dedication to great programming. Ed Atsinger and Dave Santrella have created a position that perfectly fits my skill set, and I am grateful for their trust and support.”
Liz Aiello Out at Merlin Media’s FM News 101.9. Sources are telling TALKERS that the staff at FM News 101.9 was notified about VP of programming Liz Aiello‘s departure yesterday and that Al Gardner (most recently morning host at WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte and pegged to program Merlin’s coming Philadelphia station) is the acting PD. Sources tell TALKERS VP of digital Rich McLaughlin and VP of production Jerry Rohira have also left the building. Liz Aiello had served as general manager of the radio end of Martha Stewart Living and her experience creating and managing programming for women was probably a big factor in her joining Merlin when the all-newser was taking a female-tilted focus. Now that the station’s going straight news, management may not feel she’s the right fit.
Today is the 20th “Wing Bowl” Promotion for CBS Radio’s WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia. A traditional promotion that began 20 years ago timed to take place alongside the Super Bowl hits Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center today. The chicken wing-eating contest has grown into a showcase of professional and amateur eaters that offers huge prizes — $20,000, a ring and a gold medal from local jeweler Steven Singer for the overall winner and many other prizes including a car, a motorcycle and more to various other winners – and all proceeds going to local charities including the Police Athletic League. The event sold out the almost 20,000 seats available but fans can follow it on sports talker WIP, of course, and it’s being streamed on the web. Morning drive host Angelo Cataldi, who co-founded the Wing Bowl 20 years ago with partner Al Morganti, states, “The stage is set for our greatest ‘Wing Bowl’ ever. Never have we had such a spectacular array of contestants, beautiful girls, incredible floats, off-the-wall personalities and a true legend — Takeru Kobayashi — all rolled into one madcap morning of jaw-dropping entertainment. There will never be another event like Wing Bowl 20.”
2nd Annual “Imus on Broadway” Raises Money for Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer. WABC, New York morning drive legend Don Imus hit the stage at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square Monday evening to present entertainment from the best musicals on Broadway. The sold-out fund raising event was hosted by New York Post theater columnist Michael Riedel and included performances from numerous Broadway musicals including: “Anything Goes,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Chicago,” “Jersey Boys,” “Mamma Mia,” “Memphis,” “Million Dollar Quartet,” “Priscilla Queen of the Desert,” “Rock of Ages,” “Spider Man Turn Off the Dark” and “Stomp.”
Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque Nabs 46th Consecutive #1 Arbitron Book. Station officials believe this is a record as news/talk KKOB comes in #1 in the 2011 Fall Arbitron book for persons 12+ for the 46th time in a row. AM operations manager and program director Pat Frisch says during this time the station has also numerous #1 positions with persons 25-54. KKOB general manager Milt McConnell says, “Albuquerque is one of the most over-radioed markets in America. It is absolutely incredible in a market with 32 competitive stations that KKOB has remained the #1 station for over a decade. Having the largest number of live personalities, the largest news department, being the EAS alert station for the state, the flagship property for UNM, and literally being ‘the mouthpiece’ of the market – all are factors in our success.” Pat Frisch says consistency is the key and notes that during this time the station has also been the top biller in the market. “Who says ratings and revenue don’t tie in together?”
Financial Expert George Jarkesy Launches Syndicated Radio Show. Noted Wall Street investor and self-described “serial entrepreneur” George Jarkesy has launched “The George Jarkesy Radio Show.” The one-hour daily, independently syndicated program has reportedly received such favorable reaction from its charter roster of affiliates that it will shortly be expanded to three-hours per day. The Houston-based financial/political show hosted by the conservative money maven is initially being heard on KSAC-FM, Sacramento; KTEK, Houston; WAFS, Atlanta; WBZW, Orlando; KKOL, Seattle, and WBZS, Providence among others, airing live 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET. Jarskey, who is also the chairman of The National Eagles and Angels Association, is a regular guest and market commentator on Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel‘s “Fox & Friends” and CNBC. He tells TALKERS he started the show because “I have a passion for America and think everyone deserves a fair shake. Unfortunately a large percentage of people have no idea what is truly going on in Washington or why we have the issues with a struggling economy. A broad understanding of how various events affect economics and finance needs to be considered when investing. I am building a platform so millions of people can stay better informed on social, geo-political, financial and economic issues in an entertaining format.” For more information, visit www.georgejarkesy.com.
Talk Radio Network Entertainment Weekend Host Dr. Michio Kaku on Book Tour. Hitting the East and West Coasts to promote the paperback edition of his New York Times bestseller Physics of the Future: How Physics will Change Daily Life by 2100 (Doubleday 2011) is renowned physicist Dr. Michio Kaku. In addition to his television work hosting “Science IQ” on the Science Channel, Dr. Kaku hosts the radio show “Science Fantastic” nationally syndicated by Talk Radio Network Entertainment and heard on more than 125 affiliates nationwide.
Nationally Syndicated Weekend Talk Host Dr. Ellen Kenner Celebrates 15th Anniversary. Clinical psychologist Dr. Ellen Kenner is the host of the weekly program “The Rational Basis of Happiness” that began 15 years ago on news/talk WHJJ, Providence. The show went into national syndication later that year and Dr. Kenner has been broadcasting nationally every weekend since. The program is currently heard on some 30 affilliates.
Romney-Gingrich Battle Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 30 – February 3. The primary season race between GOP frontrunners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week. Following at #2 was the 2012 presidential race, encompassing all the issues the GOP contenders – and the media – are raising. At #3 was the dim U.S. economic report delivered to the U.S. House Budget Committee by the Congressional Budget Office director. And at #4 was the news of a long-awaited Facebook initial public offering and the company’s first public earning report. The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS into the stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America. It is published each Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Dial Global talk host Clark Howard’s “Clark Howard Minutes” feature is added to Merlin Media’s all-news WEMP-FM, New York (FM News 101.9) and WIQI-FM, Chicago (FM News 101.1)…..Premiere Network’s Jim Rome returns to the air schedule at Alpha Broadcasting’s KXTG, Portland…..Dial Global’s Thom Hartmann is added to WNSW, Newark, New Jersey; WPWC, Dumfries-Triangle, Virginia; and WZHF, Arlington, Virginia…..Independently syndicated inspirational talk show host David Essel is added to the schedule at Sirius XM for a Saturday evening program…..Vivid Edge Media Group’s David Pakman show is added to WPWC, Dumfries-Triangle, Virginia; WPRR, Grand Rapids, Michigan; and WMNF-FM, Tampa.
Clear Channel Names Jason Furst PD at WHAM, Rochester. Jason Furst adds programming oversight of Clear Channel’s news/talk WHAM, Rochester and sports WHTK-AM/FM to his duties. Furst programs WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse and will continue in that role. He will, however, give up the PD reins at CHR WWHT, Syracuse. Furst fills the vacant programming position in Rochester that opened when Jeff Howlett was let go from the station he’d been working at for the past 25 years.
Emmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis Partners with WRTV-TV for News and Weather. Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis announces a partnership with McGraw-Hill’s local ABC affiliate WRTV-TV for news and weather coverage. Emmis VP and market manager Charlie Morgan says of the new deal, “In our 21st-Century world of news and information consumption, it just makes sense for our TV and radio newsrooms to work together to ensure we are delivering the most relevant information to our consumers wherever they are…at home, at work, in their cars, wherever. This partnership will allow us to provide Indianapolis viewers and listeners with the latest information wherever they are, whether they are listening to the radio, watching TV, going online or on their mobile phones.” WRTV meteorologists Kevin Gregory, Todd Klaassen and Stephanie Ortmann will provide forecasts throughout the day on WIBC. They will also provide live updates during severe weather situations.
Buckley Broadcasting Adds FM Signal to KNZR, Bakersfield. The Buckley Broadcasting news/talk outlet at 1560 on the AM dial states on its website, “KNZR made Bakersfield radio history by being the first news/talk station in the market to simulcast on the FM dial. Our market leading 1560 AM news/talk programming is now also heard on 97.7 FM. The move to simulcast on FM allows us to better serve our local community as well as provide increased audience reach and value to our advertisers.” To accommodate the move, Buckley drops AC music on KSMJ licensed to Shafter, California.
WTOP-FM, Washington Hires Former CNN Correspondent. Jeanne Meserve worked at cable news giant CNN for the past 20 years – most recently as homeland security correspondent. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington brings her aboard as a freelance anchor.
KTRH, Houston’s Matt Patrick Has Busy Black Friday. It’s safe to say KTRH, Houston morning drive host Matt Patrick will not be at the shopping mall on Friday. Patrick hosts his regular AM drive show on KTRH from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, then fills in for Bill Cunningham on WLW, Cincinnati from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. But wait there’s more! Patrick will sit in for fellow Clear Channel Houston host Michael Berry on KTRH from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
Thanksgiving Holiday, 2012 Presidential Race, Euro Zone Debt Crisis, Super Committee Failure, Immigration Law Challenges Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/22). The Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the GOP contenders for president in 2012, the ongoing Euro Zone debt crisis, the effect the Super Committee’s failure to address U.S. debt and challenges to states’ immigration laws were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
On Any Given Monday. In a PPM world, holidays such as Labor Day cannot be considered a programming throw away. In a special feature story written by associate editor Alan Linder, published yesterday, radio execs tell TALKERS that although star hosts are still usually given time off for three and four day weekends, holidays must receive the same level of programming attention as regular weekdays. This is generally accomplished by upgrading the production value invested in creating “best-of” shows or, in the case of stations using the “live-and-local” element as a signature asset, being sure that the station’s talent bench of fill-in hosts is up to the task of keeping the audience satisfied. No longer are “best-of” shows just “okay” recent shows kept in the can for repeats on holidays. They are special montages of outstanding elements culled from a variety of shows supplemented by previously unheard features and interviews prerecorded especially for such occasions. For the live-and-local stations, careful thought and care is given to the selection and nurturing of fill-ins. In today’s competitive talk radio, bench and weekend talent (including the emergence of “super part-timers”) are as important to the line-up as designated hitters and relief pitchers are in baseball. Then there’s the dedicated syndicated morning star who loves what he does so much that he never misses a live show regardless of whether it is a holiday. Read all about it here.
Today Is the First Official Day on FM for WIP, Philadelphia. The changeover actually began Friday as rock WYSP-FM, Philadelphia played its last song (“Fade to Black” by Metallica) and flipped to a simulcast of sports WIP. The station is now positioned as “94 SportsRadio WIP.” The first day of WIP on FM was also the last day of the regular afternoon program for Philadelphia sports talk legend Howard Eskin. He signed off his regular program after a 25-year career hosting a sports talk show in Philly. Eskin remains with the station to host Eagles game day programming and will continue to work with WIP on part-time projects while exploring other media options. The station’s new schedule premiers today with Angelo Cataldi remaining in AM drive, Comcast SportsNet host Michael Barkann joining Eskin’s former partner Ike Reese for the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show and Anthony Gargano and Glen Macnow in the 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm time slot. On Friday, Sirius XM’s Howard Stern appeared on WYSP-FM with Spike Eskin (Howard Eskin’s son who stayed on the air with his dad for his last show) to talk about his love for Philadelphia and bid adieu to the rock station. WYSP-FM was the first station to pick up Stern’s program as it began its move into syndication from New York’s WXRK-FM. On a side note, Longport Media’s WBSS, Atlantic City, New Jersey will begin simulcasting WIP soon. Longport Media president David Coskey tells the Press of Atlantic City Philadelphia sports is an important part of his market’s interest so the move makes sense. By the way, if you haven’t read TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian’s excellent piece on CBS Radio’s FM sports talk stations, check it out here.
Emmis Communications Receives Delisting Notice. Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan was not surprised by the NASDAQ notice that it has until February 27, 2012 to get its stock price above $1 for 10 consecutive business days or be delisted. The notice came just a day before Emmis closed on the sale of WWWN-FM and WLUP-FM, Chicago and WEMP-FM, New York to Merlin Media for $120 million. Emmis is using the influx of cash to pay down debt while retaining an interest in the Merlin properties.
WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans Talk Host Garland Robinette Cited in Bribery Probe. Robinette’s attorney tells the New Orleans Times-Picayune that his client – the WWL-AM/FM “Think Tank” host – has been told he is not a target of the investigation. But federal authorities have spoken with Robinette numerous times after the investigation showed Robinette received $250,000 from local landfill owner Fred Heebe. The issue here is Heebe’s campaign to shut down two other competing landfills in the area, theoretically so that his facility could accept more of the post-Katrina waste needing to be dumped. Robinette enters the picture due to the money he received and his addressing the landfill issue regularly on his radio program in which he stated he believed the two competing landfills were not safe. Robinette, through his attorney, states the money he received from his friend Heebe was a personal loan that he expects to pay back. Meanwhile, Heebe allegedly paid $460,000 in bribes to a former state official to lobby to close one of the competing landfills.
Atlantic Coast Radio Splits WLOB-AM/FM, Portland Talk Simulcast. WLOB-AM remains news/talk but the FM side picks up the sports programming signal from WPEI-FM and begins simulcasting it. WLOB-FM is licensed to Topsham, Maine near Brunswick and gives Atlantic Coast coverage for the northern side of the newly expanded metro while WPEI-FM is licensed to Saco, Maine to the south of Portland, thereby covering that side of the market.
Jobs Creation, 2012 GOP Candidates, Post Office Financial Woes and Texas Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/5). President Obama’s and Congress’ plans for jobs creation, the 2012 GOP presidential candidates, the looming threat of the USPS shutdown and the wildfires affecting Texas were all among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.