Tag: "ESPN"

Thursday, April 3, 2014

| April 3, 2014

wbzlogoWBZ, Boston and WBZ-TV Win Peabody Award for Marathon Bombing Coverage.  The CBS-owned television station and all-news radio outlet are being honored with a 2013 George Foster Peabody Award for overall excellence for their combined coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings.  The citation from the Peabody Awards states: “Out in force to cover the annual marathon, both WBZ-TV and Newsradio 1030 had a journalistic advantage when the bombs detonated.  Neither gave it up as their reporters spent hour after hour on the air providing wide-ranging, enterprising, non-sensational coverage of the casualties, the suspects and the intense, nerve-wracking manhunt.  They become crucial sources not just to their city but to a stunned nation.”  The awards will be delivered during the ceremony to take place in New York on May 19.

wabcWABC, New York Covers Final Four.  As the battle to claim the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship title continues this weekend, Cumulus Media news/talker WABC, New Yorkladennoam covers it from Dallas with Geraldo show regulars Noam Laden and Jared Max sitting in for Geraldo live from radio row on Friday and Monday from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.  They will also maxjaredproduce a special wabcradio.com only broadcast slated for Saturday April 5 at 10:00 am ET.  WABC also partnered with WestwoodOne for a series of March Madness promotions including the Greatest Moments in Tournament History vignettes and an exclusive fly-away promotion to the Men’s National Championship game.  Program director Craig Schwalb says, “Working with WestwoodOne on these opportunities is a huge win for our listeners and clients.  Our audience is into the excitement, the personalities, and the stories surrounding the Final Four, and so is 77 WABC!”

cowhead‘102.5 The Bone’ Tampa Personality Cowhead to Drop Nickname; Seek Syndication Deal.  In a piece in the Tampa Bay Times, WHPT, Tampa afternoon drive personality Mike Calta – who goes by the nickname Cowhead on the radio – says he will give up the sobriquet and begin the next phase of his career using his real name as of April 14.  In fact, he’ll host an on-air funeral for the moniker.  He tells the paper, “When I started at the ‘Power Pig,’ everybody had those types of names.  I was Big Mike for a while but that didn’t really stick.  Then they asked me if I ever had any nicknames in high school and I remembered that a few people called me Cowhead and it sort of stuck.  The minute I said it I immediately regretted it…I think times change.  Even the ‘Power Pig’ changed its name.  As times change and you age, it just gets silly.”  Calta also tells the Times that his contract with Cox Media is up in June and he’s looking to have a syndication deal be part of negotiations.

radiocom logoCBS Revamps Radio.com.  Calling it part of the evolution of CBS Local Digital Media, the company announces the debut of the new Radio.com.  The company says in a statement, “Four years ago, we launched our new digital media business, rethinking the way CBS’s radio and television stations operate online and in the mobile space.  Since then, we have evolved into the largest digital business in local broadcast media.  There are few companies that have the radio, television, digital, out-of-home, and events platforms we do, and as a result we’re able to better leverage our local market properties with national scale.  As leaders in integrating digital and traditional media into experiences that resonate with consumers, we take our next step forward in that regard with the debut of the new Radio.com website and streaming player.cbslocalmedia  More than just live audio and video simulcasts of our stations, Radio.com presents original programming, live webcasts, exclusive editorial features and storytelling, and interviews with some of the biggest artists and personalities in the world.  Indeed, we have taken a different strategy than others in the industry by recognizing that this ‘other’ content has tremendous value to our audiences.  The popularity of our programs has demonstrated our thinking is correct.”  Highlights of the new Radio.com include: a fresh look and feel, with improved interactivity; ability to be embedded on other sites; improved ad insertion capabilities; better-quality playback and streaming; program schedules available in real-time; expanded social media opportunities; play history; artist and track information integration; simple song purchase; and enhanced station guide and navigation experience.  CBS promises updated mobile apps in the coming months.

theblazetv logoBeck’s TheBlaze TV Added to Cable ONE Menu.  It’s another cable company addition for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze TV.  His 24/7 news, opinion and entertainment network channel is being added to Cable ONE.  A statement from TheBlaze says Cable ONE is America’s 11th largest cable operator.  This addition gives the TheBlaze TV “distribution on 54 television providers nationwide including seven of the top 30.”  Cable ONE serves customers in 42 markets in 19 states, including Biloxi/Gulfport, Boise, Phoenix/Prescott, and Sioux City, among others.  Cable ONE vice president of marketing Joe Falbab says, “We are very excited about adding TheBlaze to the Cable ONE lineup.  Our customers have requested this channel and we are happy to be able to respond to that request.  We are committed to listening to our customers and will continue to deliver to them the best possible programming.”

emmisEmmis Reports Q4 Revenue Up 11%.  Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Corporation operates on a fiscal year calendar and its fiscal 2014 fourth quarter ended February 28, 2014.  The company reports that its Q4 revenue jumped to $32.4 million from $29.1 million a year prior.  If you cut out WEPN, New York (which is being operated by ESPN under an LMA), revenue was up 12% for the quarter.  For the full year fiscal 2014, net radio revenue hit the $145.4 million mark realizing an increase in net revenue of 5% over 2013.  In a press release this morning, the company reports “these results also outperformed Emmis’ local radio markets in which revenue growth improved 3% for the year.”  President and CEO Jeff Smulyan comments, “Fiscal 2014 marked the fourth consecutive year we have outperformed our local radio markets and the radio industry as a whole.  Our strong operating performance is the result of sound strategy and its execution by a phenomenal workforce that makes me so proud.  We are very excited about the addition of WBLS and WLIB in New York and the momentum behind NextRadio as we head into fiscal 2015.”

nab logoNAB Radio Board Election Results.  The results of the NAB Radio Board election are in and the members who will serve two-year terms beginning in June are: Pete Booker, president and CEO, Delmarva Broadcasting Company; Steven Cutler, EVP business development and corporate strategy, Clear Channel; Gary Exline, general manager, Eagle Communications, Inc.; Kim Guthrie, EVP, Cox Media Group; Erik Hellum, EVP, Townsquare Media; Deon Levingston, SVP/market manager, Emmis Communications; Margaret Perkins, president and CEO, First Natchez Radio Group; Mary Quass, president and CEO, NRG Media, LLC; Joe Schwartz, president and CEO, Cherry Creek Radio; Jose Valle, president, Univision Radio; Thomas Walker, president, Mid-West Family Broadcasting.

wint logoOdds & Sods.  The WPHT Speaker Series – produced by CBS RADIO news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia – continues this evening (4/3) as station personality Dom Giordano interviews Tea Party leader, former Florida Congressman and veteran Lt. Col. Allen West at Valley Forge Military Academy and College.  West is the author of the new book Guardian of the Republic…..Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington is sponsoring its “Click for a Cause” online contest that will give Washington, D.C. non-profits the chance to win cash and free commercial air time on WTOP.  There will be three grand prizes of $10,000 each with runners up winning $5,000 worth of commercials to advertise their cause on WTOP…..WELW, Willoughby, Ohio changes its calls and brand.  The Spirit Broadcasting-owned station is using the WINT calls and has branded the station “1330 WINTegrity Radio.”  Station president Ray Somich says the change comes ahead of a major expansion to take place this summer.  The station has served communities to the east of Cleveland for the past 50 years.

Deadly Fort Hood Shooting, ObamaCare Criticism, SCOTUS Campaign Donor Limits Ruling, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, Russian Aggression and House Benghazi Hearing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/2).  The shooting at Fort Hood that claimed the lives of four and the preliminary investigation; scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and criticism of the White House “victory” presser; the Supreme Court ruling killing limits on personal campaign donations; speculation about political power shifts after the mid-term elections and the possible candidates for president in 2016; worries over Russia’s plans for Ukraine and other former Soviet bloc nations and President Obama’s tactics versus Vladimir Putin; and the Congressional hearings on the Benghazi incident were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

| March 27, 2014

hannityseanUnusual ‘Ratings Battle’ Between Savage and Hannity Heats Up.  Prior to the rollout of his WestwoodOne-syndicated talk show on Cumulus-owned news/talk stations – many of which had previously carried Premiere NetworksSean Hannity show – Michael Savage took an aggressive stance in both industry and consumer presssavagemichael proclaiming he would beat Hannity in the ratings.  Now, two Nielsen Audio PPM rating periods later, WestwoodOne is waging a PR offensive that many industry watchers note is rarely seen in the syndication business, going so far as to use words like “trounced” and “demolished” with respect to Savage’s ratings versus Hannity’s.  Reporting Nielsen Audio PPM data in the Persons 25-54 demo for major markets New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas, WestwoodOne shows Savage more than doubling Hannity’s AQH share there (NYC 1.1 vs .5, Chicago 1.2 vs .2, San Francisco 1.5 vs .5, and Dallas-Ft. Worth 1.3 vs .5).  Hannity’s camp responds with a memo from premierenetworks newPremiere Networks VP/operations and affiliate marketing for the Sean Hannity show Eric Stanger, who writes, “It’s puzzling that Michael Savage would want to brag about his listening audience.  Despite his claims, the numbers show that Savage is losing thewestwoodone logo audience that he inherited from Sean Hannity in droves, on the radio stations that Sean spent 17 years building.  In New York on WABC as well as on Dallas on WBAP, in the key demo of A25-54, Savage has lost a whopping 49% of the audience that he inherited from Sean Hannity.  Other key markets tell a similar story as you can see below.  All in all, Savage has bled away almost half of the audience on the key stations that were given to him in 2014 (In Los Angeles, where Cumulus has decided not to air the ‘Savage Nation,’ KABC-AM has dropped 27% without Hannity).  Meanwhile, Sean Hannity has more than doubled the total audiences where he has started on new stations after leaving Cumulus in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas (AQH percentage change December ’13 to February ’14 Persons 12+:  WOR, New York, +108%; KEIB, Los Angeles +172%; and KSKY, Dallas +128%).”  EDITOR’S NOTE:  TALKERS magazine maintains a general policy of not publishing ratings results of contests between individual hosts because there are so many potential situations taking place in the industry it would become editorially unwieldy and impossible to manage accurately and fairly.  This is especially true in regards to reporting on battles between syndicated hosts in which there is often inconsistency from market to market in terms of actual times and number of hours broadcast.  Plus, this publication avoids getting involved in situations hinting of personal vendettas and vitriol between personalities and even competing companies.  In the words of publisher Michael Harrison, “This industry faces enough competitive challenges these days from external sources for us to turn our guns on each other in anything more intense than healthy, sportsmanlike competition.”

eskinspikeCBS RADIO Ups Spike Eskin to PD of WIP-FM and WIP-AM.  Interim program director Spike Eskin is officially the PD at CBS RADIO’s “SportsRadio 94 WIP” and “CBS Sportsradio 610,” the company announces.  Eskin has been filling the role on an interim basis since Jeff Sottolano was named director of programming for CBS RADIO earlier this year.  Previously, Eskin served as sports editor for CBSPhilly.com and did part-time air shifts on WIP-FM, all-news KYW and CBS 3 TV.  Senior vice president and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “Spike is his own person.  He is tenacious, strategic and a proven winner.  We interviewed an extremely talented pool of national and local candidates.  Spike was clearly our best choice.”  Eskin comments, “My career in radio has taken me in many different directions, and has ultimately led me to a job that I feel like I was born to do and I am honored and humbled to have. I’m excited to work with the best air talent in sports radio, and our incredible staff to continue building the legend that is WIP.”

schembrijoeSchembri Upped to VP of Corporate Business Development, Sports Sales and Sponsorships.  This new corporate position lifts Joe Schembri from his VP of business development post.  Now, he’ll be working directly with clients to “create local, regional, and national campaigns that reach and engage consumers by utilizing multiple platforms to drive incremental revenue that include radio, sports play-by-play, event sponsorships, digital, database, mobile and social.”  Entercom station group president Weezie Kramer states, “For years, Joe has been a leader in our company and throughout radio, and I am proud to elevate him to this new position.  Sports has always been a strength of entercomEntercom and, under Joe’s leadership, we will bring a greater platform of products and greater results to our clients.”  Entercom serves as the radio broadcast partner for the Boston Red Sox, Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Kansas City Royals, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Saints, New Orleans Pelicans, Oakland Athletics, Oakland Raiders, San Jose Sharks and several NCAA teams, including this year’s #1 NCAA basketball seeds University of Florida Gators and Wichita State Shockers.  Schembri comments, “This is an exciting time for radio, sports and event marketing.  Entercom is powerfully positioned across the country to build dynamic, multi-platform campaigns that engage our fans, connect them to our clients and generate results that make a difference.”

nymrad logoNYMRAD Registers a +3.26%.  According to the Miller Kaplan New York Market Revenue Report, New York Market Radio (NYMRAD) advertising revenue for the first two months of this year increased 3.26%, when compared to last year’s figures.  Total revenue for February – including “digital” and “network”/”NTR”/”other” were up 2.3%.  New York Market Radio Broadcasters Association executive director Deborah Beagan comments, “The New York market is up, despite the series of storms.”  The “automotive” category there is up 11%, with over $10 million of spending.  Three rapidly growing such advertisers are Land Rover, up 153% from $166,000 last year to $420,000 this year; Tri State Ford Dealers – improving by 48% from $458,000 to $680,000; and Mercedes Benz, up 72% from $265,000 to $455,000.  The “communications/cellular” category sees a 20% gain, with over $8 million of spending.  Rapid such growers included Verizon, up 69% from $1.29 million to $2.17 million; Metro PCS – improving 95% from $1.28 million to $2.50 million; and AT&T, up 67% from $917,000 to $1.53 million.

scba logoLos Angeles Radio Revenue Grows in February.  According to data from Miller Kaplan Arase as reported by the Southern California Broadcasters Association, during February, the Los Angeles radio market saw revenue climb by 3.7% for the month and, on a year-to-date basis through February, the LA total market revenue growth is 3.1%.  SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “This substantial market growth reflects the dynamic power of Southern California Radio and our member radio stations’ determination to begin 2014 on very strong footing.”  On the digital side, the report indicates revenue for the reporting stations in February up 16.8% and a YTD growth rate of 14.7%.  The subsequent “X-Ray” report YTD also reveals substantial new business growth with 336 new advertisers spending $12.7 million.  Key category drivers include: insurance – up 141.7%, cellular/communications – up 45.8%, concerts/theatre/movies – up 34.7%, casinos/lottery – up 32.5%, and education – up 32.3%.

starkjaysonStark Reality for Philly’s WPEN-FM.  ESPN.com senior baseball writer – and Philadelphia native – Jayson Stark will host a one-hour eponymous show on select Mondays throughout the baseball season for Greater Media Philadelphia’s WPEN-FM “The Fanatic.”  The two-time Pennsylvania Sportswriter of the Year will continue to be a Wednesday afternoon contributor on the station’s “Mike Missanelli Show.”  Stark acknowledges that, “I may work for ESPN now, but I’m still a Philadelphian, so the only thing cooler than joining my buddy Mike Missanelli every Wednesday is getting my own personal hour of radio.  I will get to talk to my favorite Philadelphians about the Phillies and the sport they play, mix in a little trivia, and do our best to turn this extravaganza into a show that’s even more fun than spending a summer evening hanging out in Ashburn Alley.”  Stark’s program will emanate live from Newtown, Pennsylvania’s Green Parrot; the debut show is one week from Monday (4/7) between 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm.  Stark has written/reported about MLB for ESPN since 2000.  Before that, he covered the Phillies for the Philadelphia Inquirer.  He appears as an analyst on a variety of ESPN radio and television programs.

delcollianojerryJerry Del Colliano’s “Media Solutions Conference” Draws 100-plus to Philadelphia.  More than 100 radio broadcasters from across the country gathered at the classy Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia yesterday (3/26) to attend noted industry observer and analyst Jerry Del Colliano’s fifth annual “Media Solutions Conference.”  The attendees represented various levels of management, talent and ownership from a variety of radio companies — local, regional and national.  In addition to Del Colliano’s in-depth presentation of information about such topics as understanding the Millennial generation, disrupting radio before its media rivals do, separating radio’s main product into unique on-air and online categories, using video to generate additional revenue streams, reinventing the morning show, time-shifting radio, and reducing the liability of commercials while increasing their effectiveness, attendees were treated to presentations by WBEB, Philadelphia “More FM” owner Jerry Lee, Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk star Sean Hannity and TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison.  Jerry Lee discussed a number of tactics and philosophies employed by his company to make it one of the most successful ratings and revenue-generating, leejerryindependent music-formatted, stand-alone FMs in America.  He basically told the attendees that you have to spend money to make money and espoused the benefits of heavy promotion, research and putting together a top-notch team of talent and management in order to reap the rewards radio is still capable of delivering.  He also spoke extensively about the importance of creating effective, listenable commercials and limiting the number of spots perharrisonmichael hour to no more than 12.  Sean Hannity discussed the various keys to attracting younger listeners to the talk format on both radio and television (something he has proven to do very well) and was critical of today’s ratings system that largely ignores listenership to radio on the internet and satellite platforms.  Michael Harrison joined Del Colliano at the end of the conference for a free-wheeling Q&A wrap up of the day’s subject matter.  Harrison encouraged the attendees to trust in their own common sense and intuition, pointing out that all forward evolution in the arts and communication begin with someone taking a stand based on their gut instincts.  According to Harrison, “This was one of the most interesting, informative and well-organized conferences I have ever attended.”  Jerry Del Colliano will be a major speaker at the forthcoming “Talkers New York 2014” on Friday, June 20.  For information call 413-565-5413.

borrell logoBorrell Research Projects Hike in Recruitment Advertising.  Just what radio might realize from the projected 5.8% increase in dollars spent by employers seeking workers via broadcast isn’t certain and the category doesn’t break down radio, TV, and cable.  However, as the recruitment advertising report – subtitled The Long, Gray, Line – states, employers will spend $22.9 billion in the category this year.  “Of that, 84% is spent on online media, and of that, half is being spent on so-called digital services like developing websites, search engine optimization, and managing social media.  That services portion is growing at the fastest clip – nearly 50% growth in 2014 and potentially tripling over the next five years.  By 2018, we foresee a future where employers will spend 67% of their recruitment marketing budgets on digital services, 23% on classic digital advertising, and the remaining 10% on traditional media advertising.”  See more about the report here.

RIhof logoWOR, New York PD Tom Cuddy Leads Rhode Island Radio HoF Class of 2014.  The Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame announces the class of 2014 inductees and they include: current WOR, New York program director Tom Cuddy (who got his start in radio at WPRO-AM in 1980); air personality and programmer Rick Everett (served at WGNG, WSNE, WWLI, WWBB, WRX, and WCTK; current WRNI news anchor/reporter and host Dave Fallon; New England Tech teacher and 30-plus year radio station staffer Paul Perry; the late Carroll “Pappy” Philbrook, who began his career in Rhode Island radio in the 1940s as an engineer at WHIM, WHJJ and WHJY; easy listening pioneer Tony Rizzini; and entertainment icon Saucy Silvia who hosted an entertainment program on WADK for 26 years.  Additionally, the Shepard Award – created to recognize the founders of radio (John and Robert Shepard, owners of the Shepard Department Stores) in the Ocean State and to honor present-day contributors to the industry through leadership, dedication, achievement, innovation and spirit – goes to Janice Skelly.  Skelly began her radio career in 1978, working for WPRO-FM in the sales department, and for most of the next 36 years, she remained a fixture within the sales and business operations of WLKW-AM/FM and WSNE-FM through several ownership changes.

ObamaCare Criticism, SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Case, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, Obama vs Putin/Russian Aggression, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Fate, and NSA Data Collection Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/26).  Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the Supreme Court Case that will decide the scope of religious exemptions for employer-provided health care; speculation about the political ramifications of the mid-term elections and possible candidates for president in 2016; Russian aggression in Eastern Europe and criticism of President Obama’s handling of Vladimir Putin; the fate of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370; and concern over the NSA’s bulk data collection program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

| March 6, 2014

infinitedial logoThe Infinite Dial 2014.  Media consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke sat in on yesterday’s annual webinar presented by Edison Research and Triton Digital that detailed the results of the 2014 version of the Infinite Dial study.  Many results are not surprising: smartphone use is growing rapidly with 61% of Americans owning cell phones – a 500% increase in five years.  Although the “digital dashboard” – newer model cars with in-dash infotainment systems – gets a lot of press coverage as new deals are struck between app-makers, service providers and car manufacturers, as of today the smartphone is more important.  The study reports 43% of persons 12-24 listen with a smartphone while in the car and 27% of persons 25-54 do the same.  Still, AM/FM owns the auto for now and is still the primary source for discovering new music.  Read more results from the study and Holland Cooke’s analysis here.

barrettdanaDana Barrett to Host New Local Show on ‘biz 1190’ in Atlanta.  On Salem Communications’ business talk WAFS, Atlanta “biz 1190,” local media personality Dana Barrett debuts a new program dedicated to “a unique look into ‘the business of everyday life’” debuting on Monday, March 10.  Barrett states, “Atlanta is such a dynamic business market with an incredible diversity of industries.  Healthcare, real estate, entertainment, retail…you name it, we do it here. I want to celebrate and embrace that diversity by talking to the business leaders and entrepreneurs that make our region go.”  The daily show will air from 9:00 am to 10:00 am with a repeat from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  Program director Aaron Williams adds, “It’s the perfect match for us.  As the market’s only station dedicated to business, we couldn’t be happier to bring Dana’s unique knowledge of the metro Atlanta area to our audience.”

bowermikeMike Bower Exits ’97.9 ESPN Hartford.’  The afternoon drive program hosted by Mike Bower at Clear Channel’s Hartford sports talk outlet WUCS “97.9 ESPN Hartford” is cancelled and the station is actively seeking a new personality for the daypart.  In a message posted on his Facebook page, Bower announces, “Unfortunately The Bower Show’s time on ‘97.9 ESPN’ in Hartford and ‘ESPN Radio 1300’ in New Haven has come to an end.  Clear Channel opted to not renew the show but we would like to thank them for giving us the opportunity to talk sports with you every day for the past two years.  More importantly, we would like to thank all of YOU…our listeners, for your continued support of The Bower Show.”  The Bower Show was the only local daily show on the program schedule.

katz mg logoRosenthal Promoted at Katz Media Group.  With this promotion, Mark Rosenthal – currently CEO of Katz Radio Group – adds the title CEO of Katz Media Group in which he will also oversee Katz Television Group, KMG’s television representation company.  The company says that as CEO of Katz Radio Group, Rosenthal will remain focused on building the radio sector, working closely with Katz Radio Group president Mark Gray to drive additional media dollars into radio.  Effective immediately though, he will now also work closely with KTG presidents Leo MacCourtney and Craig Broitman to grow and further develop KTG’s assets, advocacy and revenue-generating efforts.

boycephilSalem Study: Christian Teaching Listeners Younger Than Perceived.  The results of a study by Nielsen Audio commissioned by Salem Communications looking at the make-up of the audience for Christian teaching and talk-formatted radio shows indicates the audience is younger than may be commonly perceived.   Half of the listeners to the format are under 55 and are spending 6.1 hours per week listening to stations airing the format.  The study also indicates younger listenership is growing.  Salem VP, director of spoken word format Phil Boyce states, “There is this perception that these are your father or even grandfathers radio stations, but we found there is a significant pool of younger listeners spending a great deal of time with our CTT format.”

edwardsgeoffGeoff Edwards Passes. No sooner had we reflected on the life and career of Los Angeles and Bay Area radio personality/television game show host Jim Lange (who succumbed to a heart attack last week) than we must now sadly note the passing of Geoff Edwards.  Much like the 81-year-old Lange, Edwards, 83, amassed considerable fame from his Los Angeles radio days and nationally through several game show-hosting stints.  Edwards died yesterday (3/5) of complications of pneumonia at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California.  Wink Martindale, Lange, and Edwards toiled together in Los Angeles at the once iconic KMPC. “Geoff was one of the cleverest, funniest radio and television personalities I have worked with,” Martindale states of Westfield, New Jersey native Edwards, who was heard on KMPC from 1968 – 1979.  He was also on-air in Los Angeles at KHJ (1964 -1965) and two go-rounds at KFI (1966 – 1968 and 1987 – 1989).  According to Edwards’ agent of many years, Fred Westbrook, Edwards succeeded in television by making several bold fashion statements.  He favored jeans over suits and his hair was longer than that of most other talents at the time.  ”He was part of the new breed,” Westbrook comments.  Tributes on Facebook regarding Edwards’ death included this observation from renowned voiceover talent/studio audience warm-up announcer/”Price is Right” announcer Randy West.  ”Geoff was a wonderfully kind and joyous guy, very bright, with a great natural talent for creating joy, both over the air and in person.  For me, it was more laughs per hour with Geoff than anyone else since high school.  What a pro, what a sweet man, what a character, what a ball.  He was loved and respected by everybody.  We laughed and giggled every time we were together.”  Sonoma Music Group president Michael O’Shea checked in by remarking, “What a shock.  Geoff was our 9:00 am – 12:00 noon personality at KMPC.  Personable, authentic, real and natural.  We played tennis a time or two. This is very sad.”  Longtime KOST, Los Angeles on-air personality Ted Ziegenbusch notes that Edwards was, “One of my favorite lunchroom pals.  Thanks for the laughter, the stories and the fun.  I know you have always enjoyed travel.  This journey is the best one ever.”  Veteran Los Angeles traffic reporter Mike Nolan comments that he was, “a fan for years, then honored to work with him at KFI, so happy to have called him a friend.”  Fellow television game show host Jim MacKrell remarks, “I am deeply saddened by the news of Geoff’s passing.  I know of no one in our business with a better reputation and a multitude of friends.  I am glad I was one of them.” Edwards’ national television resume includes hosting “Jackpot!”, “Chain Reaction,” “Play the Percentages,” “Treasure Hunt” and “The New Treasure Hunt.”  In Los Angeles, he and Meredith MacRae won Emmy Awards for co-hosting the daily “Mid-Morning L.A.”  For nine years (1986 – 1995), he co-hosted the California Lottery‘s “Big Spin.”  An eyewitness to one of America’s most memorable moments, then-news reporter Edwards was in the basement of the Dallas Police Department on November 24, 1963 when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspected assassin of President John F. Kennedy.  Funeral plans are pending for Edwards, who is survived by his wife, two stepsons, his ex-wife and their three children, as well as nine grandchildren.

Obama vs. Putin/Ukraine-Crimea Intrigue, ObamaCare Criticism, IRS Scandal, Obama Approval Ratings Sink, and 2016 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/5).  The political storm in Ukraine and Crimea and how President Obama is handling Vladimir Putin’s moving Russian troops into the region; scrutiny of the Affordable Care Act as the administration announces current health plans can be kept through 2016; Lois Lerner’s refusal to testify in new hearings looking into the IRS scandal; dipping approval ratings for President Obama; and speculation about candidates for president in the 2016 election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

| February 18, 2014

wor logoWhat Are Clear Channel’s Plans for AM Drive at WOR?  With the departure of “DC101” morning host Elliot Segal from the air at Clear Channel news/talk WOR, New York has industry watchers speculating about the company’s next move for the daypart.  Mark Simone was in for Elliot today (2/18).segalelliot  Segal told his DC audience that he was not moving to New York after all and the company issued a statement saying, “After much thought and discussion it’s clear that we’d have to make significant changes to ensure the show resonates as successfully with the NY audience as it does with Elliot’s DC audience.  And given Elliot’s loyalty to his DC fans, we support his decision to continue to broadcast from Washington.”  This change is not that surprising.  To many, the Elliot move seemed an odd pairing and some industry watchers tell TALKERS they thought – even with the chatter about Elliot moving to NYC – it was a temporary move.  It seems Clear Channel wants to shake up the AM drive show and not go with another “typical conservative” morning host on WOR but the company also appears to want to go with a younger and local program.  There are rumors that recently “retired from WPLJ” personality Scott Shannon is talking with WOR but at first blush, that would also seem to be an unusual hire.

987buzzerSaga Launches Sports Talker in Ithaca.  The new station – branded “98.7 The Buzzer” – is airing on translator W254 BF licensed to Ithaca and features programming from CBS Sports Radio Network.  It will also serve as an affiliate for Buffalo Bills football and for Cornell University Men’s basketball.  Chet Osadchey is the vice president and market manager for Saga’s Cayuga Radio Group and he tells the Central New York Business Journal that this is an “excellent” expansion of sports in the Ithaca market.  “We are particularly excited about the Jim Rome show.  For several years, we have received numerous requests to carry this show and now we are able to fulfill that goal.  Jim’s show is the most interactive, contemporary, and authentic in the sports radio arena.”

atrn logoAmerica’s Talk Radio Network to Debut. The start date for the programming being offered by new syndicator America’s Talk Radio Network is March 1 and vice president of affiliations and programming Jon Patch (formerly of Business TalkRadio Network) says, “America’s Talk Radio Network programming features full-service solutions for our hosts and transactional, educational, entertaining and exclusive content for our partnering stations.”  The operation is based in Tampa Bay and programming is delivered via Cumulus XDS.  Patch adds, “I’ve been working in radio for approximately 30 years and I look forward to working with our variety of unique programs and affiliate stations servicing the needs of our partners on a daily basis.”  At start-up, the network is offering four programs: “My Cool Inventions” featuring Akos Jankura “The Solutionist” and John Cremeans “The Doctor of Shopology”; “Talkin’ Pets” with Jon Patch; a morning program called “Sunrise America”; and “Akos The Solutionist.”  For more information visit www.americastalkradionetwork.com.

conwaysimonOdds & Sods.  News/talk personality Simon Conway – heard daily at Clear Channel’s WHO, Des Moines in afternoon drive – is doing double duty this week as he fills in on the morning drive program all this week and next Monday at the company’s WFLF, Orlando “News Talk WFLA.”…..Tennis great John McEnroe is getting expanded duties with ESPN on both radio and TV that will see him work outside the world of tennis as well.  As part of his radio duties, he’ll work on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning, O&O WEPN-FM, New York “ESPN New York 98.7” and make appearances on ESPN2’s Keith Olbermann program.

kxl logoCool Job Opportunity.  America’s most successful FM news/talk station needs America’s best news anchor/reporter.  This is a rare opening at Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL in Portland, Oregon.  We need someone who can talk to an FM listener with AM credibility.  We need someone who can write and use sound to tell the story.  Is this you?  Minimum 5 years in the broadcast industry required.  Please send your resume and sample of your on air work to:   Rebecca.marshall@kxl.com.  No phone calls please.  Must pass a background investigation. Alpha Broadcasting is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

GOP Infighting, Hillary in 2016, ObamaCare Criticism, Sochi Olympics, Tenn. VW Workers Vote Down Union Move, and Winter Weather/Global Warming Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/17).  Solidarity problems within the Republican Party; speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016; the continuing scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and its effects; the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia; the failure of the UAW to convince VW plant workers in Tennessee to go union; and harsh winter weather and the debate over global warming were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Not the Same-Old, Same-Old

| February 10, 2014

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

 

kinosianLOS ANGELES — Tremendous temptation surfaces in the years of profiling talk radio personalities to make an occasional obligatory James Brown-inspired reference.

Specifically, a justifiable desire eventuates to compare certain talk hosts to the late entertainer (as opposed to the CBS-TV and former Sporting News Radio broadcaster of the same name) who – in addition to “The Godfather of Soul” was often dubbed the “hardest-working” person in show business.

Not that those in other genres of this medium are slackers – Ryan Seacrest represents the definitive textbook example of a supremely ambitious music radio star – but a select group of talk radio hosts do the improbable of overseeing multiple long-form weekday programs (often back-to-back).

That handful of Herculean talk realm performers has at various times included, among others, the likes of Thom Hartmann, Rusty Humphries, Lars Larson, Michael Smerconish, and Ed Schultz.  Some such as Alan Colmes and Sean Hannity have had and continue to have a daily radio/daily TV mix.

As laudatory as that most assuredly is, someone in Tampa took conscientiousness and mindboggling to an even more impressive level.

Read More

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

| February 4, 2014

lavenmicheleMichele Laven Promoted to Newly Created Corporate Post at Clear Channel.  Rising from her EVP of strategic partnerships position to the new president of partnerships and local activation post is Michele Laven.  She’ll report to Tim Castelli, president of national sales, marketing and partnerships at Clear Channel Media + Entertainment.  Her role is described as creating “strategic alliances and marketing programs with key distribution and content partners, while expanding the capacity of Clear Channel’s local market sales organizations to develop multi-market revenue opportunities.”  CEO Bob Pittman states, “Clear Channel is built on our strong relationships with listeners, advertisers and partners — both on the local and national level.  We have the unparalleled ability to connect artists with their fans and brands with their consumers, and in her new role Michele is going to use her expertise to help national partners build an even closer relationship with their consumers at the local level.”  Prior to joining CC eight years ago, Laven served as president and chief operating officer of New Times Media.

dinardosteveEntercom Elevates DiNardo to SF VP/Market Manager.  Vice president of sales Steve DiNardo is boosted to vice president and market manager of Entercom‘s San Francisco-San Jose cluster.  Entercom station group president Weezie Kramer comments that, “After a nationwide search, the best choice was right in front of us.  I am proud to promote from within as Steve and the entire San Francisco team achieved market-leading results in Q4.  They have set a blistering pace for 2014.  Under Steve’s leadership, I know Entercom will continue to be one of the media leaders in the market.”  The company’s Bay Area group consists of adult contemporary KOIT-FM “Lite Rock – Less Talk,” classic rock KUFX & KUZX “K-Fox,” sports talk KGMZ “The Game,” and urban AC KBLX “Yesterday and Today’s R&B.”  DiNardo remarks, “Our heritage brands and innovative staff make this opportunity a dream come true.  Entercom’s entrepreneurial spirit and corporate resources give us everything we need to grow our audience engagement as well as the revenues that follow.”  In advance of joining the Entercom stations in 2012, DiNardo spent 15 years as a CBS Radio vice president/general manager.

townsquaremediaCasey Named Operations Manager of Townsquare Hudson Valley.  Former Clear Channel, Indianapolis director of operations Buzz Casey is tapped to become operations manager for Townsquare Media Group‘s 10 stations in the Hudson Valley and Poughkeepsie, New York. Townsquare Media senior vice president of programming Kurt Johnson remarks, “Buzz has a track record of success and he brings a strong set of skills to lead Townsquare Hudson Valley to a new level on-air, online and on site.”  In addition to his OM duties, Casey will be day-to-day program director of Poughkeepsie rock outlet WPDH.  ”The culture and creativity of Townsquare Media Group are top-notch,” Casey comments. “The Hudson Valley brands are poised for success.”  Hudson Valley is Nielsen Audio‘s 39th-highest market.  Casey’s past programming and operations management resume includes Atlanta’s WKLS “96 Rock” and alternative WBZY; Phoenix rocker KDKB; classic rock WFBQ “Q-95,” Indianapolis; and WNRQ, Nashville.

mancowMancow’s GCN Deal Official.  It was reported last week that Erich “Mancow” Muller was signing with Genesis Communications Network to syndicate his morning radio program after formally cutting ties with TFN-FM the week prior.  Now it’s official as GCN announces the show will be distributed live from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET in addition be being available on demand 24 hours per day via Mancow.com and GCNLive.com.  Mancow comments, “I’m happy to be in league with GCN as we move the show forward to bigger and better things.  We’re excited to work with GCN – a team that is dedicated to providing the most cutting-edge radio in the industry and prides itself in making life for our affiliates and advertisers as easy as it can possibly be in this era of new media.”  Mancow’s program is simulcast on TV in Chicago on FoxTV-owned WPWR-TV “My50.”

negrassrootsMedical Marijuana Info Ad on Boston Stations Raises Questions About ‘Pot Ads.’  The issue in Massachusetts as reported by the Boston Herald yesterday is different than the issues stations in Colorado and Washington are facing.  The Massachusetts case is about medical marijuana, not legal pot for recreational use as is now allowed in Colorado and Washington.  Stations in those states have so far avoided ads for legal pot because of the conflict between federal and state laws on the matter – no one is willing to become the (expensive) legal test case.  But the Massachusetts ads that aired on Greater Media’s alternative WBOS and rhythmic AC WBQT in Boston were bought not by a dispensary but by the New England Grass Roots Institute which doesn’t sell marijuana; it provides information about medical marijuana.  Institute founder Mike Fitzgerald tells the Herald the rules don’t apply to him.  “We’re the first cannabis institute.  We’re really focused on people who have never seen cannabis before.  Since the American Medical Association isn’t teaching anything, we thought we need to step in.”  But the Herald story also quotes a dispensary consultant who says the laws state dispensaries are not supposed to “generate demand.”  Since Fitzgerald’s institute is not a dispensary, that could muddy the waters.  Regardless, it’s going to be just a matter of time before advertising this new industry becomes relevant to radio.  There’s just too much money to be made.  Read the Herald story here.

limbaughrushSandra Fluke Shows Intent to Run for Henry Waxman’s Congressional Seat.  Activist Sandra Fluke has filed papers with the state of California signaling her intent to run for the 33rd Congressional District seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Henry Waxman.  Fluke’s national profile skyrocketed after Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” as part of a critique of the provision that Catholic organizations be forced to provide birth control to students and employees under the Affordable Care Act.  Fluke still has to file with the federal government to be a legitimate candidate.  So far, two other Democrats have filed to seek the party’s nomination.

wisw logoCumulus Flips WISW, Columbia to Sports Talk.  The new sports talk outlet in the Columbia, South Carolina market is airing the NBC Sports Radio Network lineup after Cumulus Media flipped the station from news/talk.  With the change, there are now four major sports talk signals in the market including Clear Channel’s WXBT, L&L Broadcasting’s WOIC, and Cumulus’ other sports talker WNKT “107.5 The Game,” a CBS Sports Radio Network affiliate.  Two news/talk stations serve the market including Clear Channel’s WVOC-FM and Glory Communications’ WQXL (and its two FM translators).

westwoodone logoWestwoodOne Reports Motel 6 Spot Most Creative Super Bowl Audio Ad.  The results of WestwoodOne’s first-ever consumer-driven index of the most creative audio spots run during its broadcast of the Super Bowl are in and this year’s winner was Motel 6.  According to WestwoodOne, the Motel 6 spot won top honors in both the Listener Choice and Media Choice categories in the Super Bowl Audio Index.  The other top vote-getters were Tilted Kilt, Subway, Exergen and Taco Bell.  During the two weeks leading up to the game, listeners were encouraged to vote for their favorite Super Bowl commercial across many of WestwoodOne properties via an array of online and on-air promotions.  Listeners were directed to www.westwoodone.com/vote, where each of the commercials was available for consumer voting from Thursday, January 30 through 12 midnight ET on February 2, 2014.  The index was comprised of all commercials aired on the 700-plus radio stations which broadcast WestwoodOne’s exclusive, national play-by-play coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII.

kaytvcrewThe Simulcast Begins!  The sports talk simulcast of WEPN-FM, New York’s Michael Kay show on the YES Network began yesterday (2/3).  The afternoon drive host (along with co-host Don La Greca) for ESPN’s New York City O&O took over the afternoon slot on the regional cable channel owned by the New York Yankees.  For years, the slot was occupied by crosstown rival Mike Francesa simulcasting on CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York.  Pictured here on day one of their new operation is the crew (from left to right): production director Mike Brownsher, senior producer Andrew Gundling, La Greca, Kay, executive producer Ryan T. Hurley, and associate producer Ray Deenihan.

talkradiotv logoChuck Harder Plans Return to Talk Media with New Project.  Veteran talk radio program host, entrepreneur and modern-era talk syndication pioneer Chuck Harder of “For the People” fame tells TALKERS he is starting up a new project that will produce and distribute talk radio on a TV network.  In development for five years, Harder has assembled what he describes as “a million dollar facility” with FCC licensed Ku Band Video Satellite uplink that he plans to startup in 90  to 120 days on TELSTAR 14-R, a new satellite received on three-foot dishes.  Harder is looking for both talk show hosts and investors.  Interested parties can first visit www.talkradiotv.net for details and then send him a letter of interest to P.O. Box A, White Springs, FL 32096.  Harder states, “We will furnish all needed video and audio equipment for your studio and are planning on live two-way talk 24/7.  All letters of interest will be answered.  No calls please.  We will appear on unfilled new local TV channels using standard NTSC MPEG-2 with CD quality audio and provide extra income for local TV affiliates.  Our horizon to horizon C and Ku band all-sat teleport operations center sits across the street from a fiber-optic digital switch that provides us high speed internet video globally and 10 incoming talk lines. TELSTAR 14-R coverage map and fiber optics map is on the website.”  Harder says he will not do a show due to the necessities of daily sales and management of operations.

Super Bowl XLVIII, Financial Markets Activity, Philip Seymour Hoffman Death, ObamaCare Criticism, Immigration Legislation and Woody Allen Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/3).  The aftermath of the Seattle Seahawks’ victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday; the downward-trending Dow and the activity in world financial markets; the heroin-related death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman; scrutiny of the rollout of and possible future effects of the Affordable Care Act; the looming immigration legislation with amnesty provisions; and the renewed allegations of sexual assault against filmmaker Woody Allen were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

| January 28, 2014

wftl logoJames Crystal Radio Misses Payroll.  According to a report in Jose Lambert’s column in the Miami Herald, staffers at the James Crystal Radio Group stations in West Palm Beach – news/talkwmen logo WFTL and sports talk WMEN – have not been paid since January 1 due to the holder of a $17 million loan to the company freezing its account.  The company is operated by Jim Hilliard and when contacted by the paper, general manager Steve Lapa stated that Hilliard is working from “6:00 am to 10:00 pm daily to resolve the situation.”  Lapa reports the staffers have missed only one pay period up until this point.  Between the two stations it’s estimated there are approximately 75 employees.

davisdarrenClear Channel Creates Networks Group; Names Davis President.  In a corporate re-alignment move, Clear Channel Media + Entertainment creates a new unified Networks group to take full advantage of its “power, reach and scale to deliver more compelling content opportunities to its partners, affiliates, advertisers and consumers, as well as providing a unique platform to its content partners and talent.”  Darren Davis, most recently EVP and GM for the national programming platforms, will lead this effort as president, Clear Channel Networks Group.  The company says that in his new role, Davis will oversee and ensure the success and close integration of the networks — Premiere Networks, Total Traffic and Weather Network, the 24/7 News Network and the iHeartRadio Network.  This new position underlines Clear Channel’s continued commitment to further expanding and transforming its business, introducing innovative new products, moving onto exciting new platforms and delivering even more unique opportunities and content to its audiences and its talent.  Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman states, “This new unified Networks group will enable us to better capitalize on our powerful relationships, creative talent and unparalleled capabilities across all platforms and maximize our infrastructure in an entirely new way to take these networks to a higher level, as well as develop new ones.  Darren is an innovative and effective leader of teams and has been a success at every role he has played at this company from the beginning as a programmer through his role as EVP and GM for the National Programming Platforms (NPP) group with Tom Poleman.  His extensive and diverse experience makes him the perfect candidate for this important new leadership role.”

grandephilPhil Grande to Appear at Rumsfeld Book Event.  In conjunction with news/talk WLSS, Sarasota, Florida, nationally syndicated financial talk personality Phil Grande – host of the “Phil’s Gang” program – will make a presentation and appear with former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld at Rumsfeld’s special event and speech at the Hyatt Regency on February 13.  Rumsfeld is touring the country promoting his new book, Rumsfeld’s Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War and Life (Broadside 2013).

neerrichardSports Talk: How Important Is Civility?  Unlike the Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman, sports talk hosts “need to be liked.”  That’s what WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer says in his column published today (1/28).  Neer writes (while referencing the notoriety being enjoyed by Sherman in the aftermath of his recent rant), “If you are talented or lucky enough to win that lottery by catching the public imagination at precisely the right moment, you can thrive by being what polite society deems ‘uncivil.’  But you’re treading a narrow line and making a lot of enemies in the process.  One misstep could end your career as suddenly as a torn ACL could end Sherman’s.” Read Neer’s entire column here.

crninternational logoCRN International Debuts Events Division; Names Kelly Travers Director.  Integrated radio marketing solutions company CRN International is establishing a new Events Division for the growing number of live functions it manages as part of client campaigns.  The company says the move will allow it “to execute with optimum efficiency for the many events it coordinates for consumer brands, ranging from local radio station appearances to high-profile nightclub galas.”  To head up the new venture is Kelly Travers who is named director of retail strategies and activation.  CRN president and founder Barry Berman states, “Live events are used when they help solve a client objective, and they have to be well executed in every detail if they hope to deliver the expected business outcome.  Establishment of this new operating unit will allow our clients to sleep at night knowing all logistics are being addressed thoroughly.”  Travers notes that CRN International orchestrated more than 300 events as part of client marketing strategies last year alone.  Among the companies that have used live events engineered by CRN as an offshoot of their radio-triggered campaigns are Fiat and Petco, to name a few.

wxgiRed Zebra’s WXGI, Richmond to Simulcast on WZEZ-FM.  In a deal that will begin on February 1, Red Zebra-operated sports talk WXGI, Richmond “ESPN 950” will expand its reach by simulcasting on WZEZ at 100.5 FM.  The agreement between Red Zebra Broadcasting and Delmarva Educational Association gives “ESPN 950” reach to the northwest of the market.  General manager Buck Albritton states, “We could not be more excited to move our dynamic on-air lineup onto the FM frequency.  Most importantly, we are increasing our signal reach to serve more sports listeners.”  The stations will begin their relationship with the broadcast of Super Bowl XVLIII on Sunday.  Program director Mitchell Bradley states, “Not only is this an opportunity to serve a greater number of listeners, we will increase the number of games that we can broadcast.  We’ll be able to carry one play-by-play lineup on our AM station while featuring another program event on the FM signal.”  Red Zebra is controlled by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

radiohealthjournal logoOdds & Sods.  The syndicated public affairs program “Radio Health Journal” is celebrating the airing of its 1,100th episode this week.  The program began in 1992 and is now heard on more than 480 stations across the country.  Produced by MediaTracks Communications and hosted by Reed Pence, the show provides listeners with a wide variety of health topics, including consumer safety, healthcare, drug abuse, mental illness, food safety, and youth at risk.  Pence states, “From the start, we cared about the information that we were providing to the listener.  We’ve always concentrated on providing important and useful information in a consumer friendly way.”…..SiriusXM talk host Joe Madison will attend tonight’s State of the Union Address as a guest of Congressional Black Caucus chair Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH).  On Wednesday, Fudge will appear on Madison’s program to discuss the president’s address…..The NFL’s Baltimore Ravens will be heard on Clear Channel’s classic rock WBIG, Washington, DC next season.  Last season the team’s games were heard in the DC market on Hubbard Radio’s WFED, Washington.

espnmikemikebradshawSports Talk Frenzy in NYC.  It’s Super Bowl week in New York City and ESPN – along with the other major sports radio networks including Fox Sports Radio Network, CBS Sports Radio Network and NBC Sports Radio Network – is there.  Pictured here is Fox Sports analyst Terry Bradshaw (right) on ESPN’s Mike & Mike show this morning with Mike Golic (center) and Mike Greenberg (left).  ESPN enjoys the advantage of its fabulous Times Square studios for this year’s Super Bowl.  All this week at the nearby Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan, some 90 radio stations are broadcasting from the Super Bowl XLVIII radio row.

millergovernorDown on Main Street.  Always getting out into the community, KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (center) takes his show out to Ed’s 50 Café where he hosts a roundtable breakfast chat with Idaho Governor Butch Otter (right) and EntreLeadership director of coaching and community John Felkins.  EntreLeadership is part of talk superstar Dave Ramsey’s organization.  Felkins’ job involves meeting with business leaders from across the country and helping them generate improvements to their companies by applying the EntreLeadership way of doing business.

comrexACCESSComrex Rolls Out Switchboard Traversal Server.  Don’t get freaked out by the engineer-speak, this is a very cool new feature for Comrex’s ACCESS and BRIC-Link IP audio codecs.  This major upgrade to the company’s popular BRIC Traversal Server (or BRIC-TS) service for ACCESS and BRIC-Link IP audio codecs allows for presence notification, status and connection help (NAT Traversal) via a cloud-based service which is free to use for Comrex ACCESS IP codec customers.  The feature is included in all Comrex ACCESS IP Audio codecs and can be unlocked on Comrex BRIC-Link codecs for a small license unlock fee.  The company states that it will be migrating all existing BRIC-TS accounts to the new Switchboard TS today (1/28) and the changeover will be seamless for existing users.  While customers will experience an improved graphical user interface, they should note two main improvements to the management tools in Switchboard.  Specifically, “Contact Lists” and “Shares” have simplified the task of managing a large fleet of ACCESS and BRIC-Link codecs.  What this all really means is that Switchboard TS is designed to allow your BRIC codecs (such as ACCESS) to connect with each other without having to have an IT guy onsite everywhere you go!  To contact Comrex by phone, call 800-237-1776.

Cool Job Opportunity. Heritage News/Talk station in the northeast has a rare opportunity in a top 100 market.  Now accepting applications for a combo News Director/Program Director.  Great company and a great opportunity for the right person with strong forward thinking programming ideas and strategies.  Must have experience in both news and programming with a multi-platform distribution approach to include on-air, online and mobile.  Please email a resume along with any supporting materials to Gabe Hobbs at gabe@gabehobbsmedia.com.  Or you can place your materials in my DropBox at https://www.hightail.com/u/GabeHobbsMedia. No calls please.  EOE/MF

State of the Union Address, NSA Spying Controversy, Hillary Clinton in 2016, More Icy Winter Weather, 56th GRAMMYs, and Super Bowl XLVIII Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27).  The president’s annual State of the Union address to be delivered tonight; more revelations about the extent of the NSA spying operations; speculation about Hillary Clinton’s 2016 political ambitions; the next round of frigid winter weather set to hit the Midwest, East and South this week; the 56th GRAMMY awards held Sunday; and the run-up to Super Bowl XLVIII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, January 24, 2014

| January 24, 2014

kaymichael‘ESPN New York 98.7’ Host Michael Kay to Simulcast on the YES Network.  That’s the afternoon drive slot on the New York cable channel owned by the New York Yankees that’s been home to WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa for the past 12 years ( a portion of that with former co-host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo).  This was not unexpected as the YES Network announces the multi-year deal that begins on February 3.  This is a good fit for YES as Michael Kay has been the play-by-play man for YES’ New York Yankees telecasts, and the host of the network’s “CenterStageyes logo with Michael Kay” interview show, since the network launched in March 2002.  He also hosts various programming specials on YES.  Network president of production and programming John J. Filippelli says, “Michael Kay is a New York sports institution, having covered the New York sports scene for more than 30 years.  Michael personifies the New York sports scene.  He boasts a constant stream of A-list guests, and gives passionate New York sports fans a platform to exchange their views.  Michael fits in perfectly with our programming lineup.  We also thank Mike Francesa for his 12-year partnership with YES.  Mike – along with Chris Russo when they co-hosted our simulcast for the first six years – played an important role in the launch and growth of YES.  We wish him all the best.”  Kay comments, “I’m really happy Don LaGreca and I are going to be simulcast on YES.  We have a great time doing the ESPN Radio show and that will come through even more with the visual aspect.  While it is still predominantly a radio show, I don’t think you should ignore the camera in the room and we are going to have fun with that.  The national reach of YES is going to allow even more people access.  And the people at YES, where I have worked since the onset, do everything first class so I’m sure the show is going to be presented in a great manner.  I can’t wait.”

nielsen logoNielsen’s ‘Connected Life Report’ Indicates Connected Car Becoming More Important.  The results of a new study by Nielsen dubbed the “Connected Life Report” shows consumers buying new vehicles are increasingly aware of the connected car and for many it is an important feature in buying a new car.  Nielsen says its study reveals “63% of connected car drivers said they looked for built-in features during the car-buying process.  Among those who purchased connected cars, the features drivers said were important included internet-enabled navigation (79%), safety alerts (76%), vehicle diagnostics (74%), and entertainment connectivity such as voice controls for communications and streaming audio (80%).”  When it comes to which connected car features were important to consumers, 42% stated that entertainment connectivity was “very important.”  (Fifty-one percent said emergency connectivity was “very important” and 49% stated internet-enabled navigation was “very important.”)

wherearetheynowEnvision’s ‘Where Are They Now?’ Comes to Madison.  At Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s sports talk WOZN, Madison, Envision Radio Networks’ “Where Are They Now?” with Ahmad Rashad joins the programming.  The company says the daily, 60-second vignette “tracks down all of the big names in sports and gives you their whereabouts since leaving the game.”  With “The Zone 1670 AM” now carrying the program, “Where Are They Now? with Ahmad Rashad” joins over 100 affiliates on the Envision Sports Network.

ricardorickieCBS RADIO’s WIP, Philadelphia to Broadcast ‘Wing Bowl 22’ in Spanish.  In keeping with this year’s theme of “doubles” due to this being the 22nd “Wing Bowl,” the action taking place at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday, January 31 will also be broadcast in Spanish on WIP’s HD3 channel.  WIP host Rickie Ricardo will be the Spanish play-by-play announcer for the world-famous chicken wing eating contest produced by the sports talk station.  Ricardo comments, “It’s an honor for me to be the first Spanish-language voice of this grand event known as ‘Wing Bowl 22!’”  Neither the World Series in baseball nor the postseason action of the NFL has the worldwide impact of the battle between Man vs Chicken Wing.  This will be a monumental moment in my career as well as for the huge Hispanic fan base.  I pledge to add the spice and heat of our culture to each mouthful.”  Ricardo is a radio veteran of 33 years and one of the country’s most high-profile bilingual air personalities.  Ricardo has been the play-by-play announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies Spanish broadcasts for the past seven years.  He is also the Spanish-language voice of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles and programming consultant for cable’s Music Choice Television Networks.

americanpublicmediaPublic Radio Chiefs Support FM Chip Push.  The chief executive officers of both NPR and American Public Media co-authored an opinion piece in the public media trade mag Current.org in which they express support for the move to activate FM chips in smartphones.  NPR acting president and CEO Paul Haaga and American Public Media CEO Jonnpr McTaggart write that because of the public’s need to have access to information during emergencies, the need is critical.  “Because of public radio’s role as a trusted media and information resource and an essential public-safety asset, we hope all stations will join us in calling upon the mobile phone industry to install and activate FM chips in all cellphones and smartphones.”  The two ask public stations to do two things: sign their stations up for NextRadio so listeners already using the app can identify and listen to said stations; and encourage listeners to contact their cell carriers and request they install and activate FM chips in smartphones.  Read the entire piece here.

Chris Christie Scandals Top Talkers TenTM.  The most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of January 20-24 was the Chris Christie scandals.  Coming in at #2 was the scrutiny and criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.  At #3 was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s attacks on conservatives and following at #4 was the Eastern freeze and Western drought tied with global warming.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  To view this week’s entire chart, click here.

levinmarkTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Cumulus Media Networks announces the Mark Levin show is added to the schedule at KNTF, Chico, California and the “Red Eye Radio” show joins the programming at KKAT, Salt Lake City and KBHS, Hot Springs, Arkansas…..Radio America’s Peter Schiff show joins the following stations: KFNN, Phoenix; WCKG-AM, Chicago; KLPW, St. Louis; WRSB, Rochester; WBNR, Poughkeepsie; KRAC, Marysville, California; KWBG, Boone, Iowa; and WLNA, Beacon, New York…..The XtreMedia-syndicated Kevin McCullough show is now airing in PM drive at WSHO-AM New Orleans.

wtmj logoCool Job Opportunity.  The Journal Broadcast Group is seeking an executive producer, news/web for news/talk WTMJ Radio/WTMJ.com in Milwaukee.  This full time job requires a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communication, media or related field.  Skills required include: Strong news judgment; ability to work and make vital decisions under pressure; must have sound knowledge of journalistic standards and libel laws; excellent written and verbal communication skills necessary; strong interpersonal, organizational and leadership skills essential; digital/web skills; on-air abilities commensurate with market.  Must have a minimum of 3 years as a reporter/anchor.  Assistant news director, news director or similar background preferred.  Duties will include: lead news staff and day-to-day operations of the news department.  Ensure that news vision, disciplines and standards are effectively implemented and monitored.  Schedule employees to ensure optimum staffing of the 24-hour news operation.  Oversee story assignments.  Report and anchor daily newscasts.  Supervise and participate in severe weather coverage.  Personnel management, maintain budgets and respond to other duties as assigned by the director of programming and news.  Send cover letter, links and resume to: Tom Langmyer, 720 E. Capitol Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53212 or tlangmyer@jrn.com.  Journal Broadcast Group is an equal opportunity employer.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

| October 31, 2013

wpht logoJared Hart to Program WPHT, Philadelphia.  CBS Radio Philadelphia announces Jared Hart is joining the company to program news/talk WPHT “Talk Radio 1210” beginning November 11.  Hart is currently assistant program director and producer of the Ronn Owens program at Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco.  The move reunites Hart and WPHT morning drive host Chris Stigall who worked together at KCMO, Kansas City when Hart was Stigall’s producer.  CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “Jared is part of a new breed of aggressive talk radio programmers.  We are thrilled to welcome him to WPHT.”  Operations manager Andy Bloom adds, “It’s exciting to bring in somebody with Jared’s vast range of experiences.  He’s going to be a terrific addition to the WPHT programming brain trust.”

wnfzwkvl logoJohn Pirkle Expands Talk Radio in Knoxville.  The talk radio programming heard on WKVL, Knoxville is now also being heard on John Pirkle-owned FM signal WNFZ at 94.3 and the simulcast is being branded “KnoxTalkRadio.”  The programming features the “Rude Awakening” morning show with Mike Howard and David “Shyne” Thompson and well as the local sports talk PM drive program “The Drive” with Russell Smith and Richard Daugherty.  Syndicated shows include independently syndicated Dave Ramsey, Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck, Sean Hannity and “Coast to Coast AM” plus WestwoodOne’s Herman Caine and Genesis Communications Network-distributed Alex Jones.  In a one-sheet targeted to local advertisers, Pirkle and sales manager Chuck Borchard tout the strength of the two signals and reference their history building strong local brands such as WOKI-AM/FM and former market talker WNOX-FM.

cbslogoCBS and Nielsen Cooperate on Cross-Platform Measurement Study.  The two companies announce that they are working together in Nielsen’s first-ever trial to measure cross-media campaigns on local television and radio.  The trial will focus on combining CBS local TV audience data with CBS Radio nielsen logoaudience data to “build a foundation that measures unduplicated reach and time spent across both media.  In addition, the trial will measure reach and frequency for campaigns that run on both local TV and radio. The test results will expand local media planning analytics and develop more robust inputs for marketing mix modeling.  As this pilot test develops, Nielsen intends to open participation across a wider group of clients for the benefit of the industry.”  CBS chief research officer David Poltrack says, “In today’s multi-platform advertising environment, it is not enough to set full campaign reach and frequency targets.  The advertiser must distribute the exposure to their message over time – and in a manner that assures that each potential purchaser is exposed to that message in a consistent manner before each purchase occasion.  With our strong combination of television and radio stations in major markets and the extension of these local stations over online and mobile platforms, CBS is uniquely positioned to provide advertisers with the combination of market penetration and controlled frequency distribution needed to optimize the return from their media investments in these markets.  Armed with this new cross-platform, local market custom analysis, each advertiser will be able to use these powerful media to their full potential and both TV and radio stations nationwide will benefit.”  The test will combine data from Nielsen’s Local People Meter panel with data from the newly acquired Nielsen Audio’s PPM panel to provide the cross-platform measurement. Results will be shared in late Q1 2014.  Earlier this year, Nielsen announced the successful completion of a two-week technical trial with CBS aimed at capturing and measuring viewing of television content on mobile devices using Syncbak technology.

mcneildanWSCR, Chicago Sports Talk Personality Dan McNeil Taking Time Away.  The situation at CBS Radio’s sports talker WSCR was first tipped to us by Chicago media writer Robert Feder who reported that midday personality Dan McNeil let the station know on Monday that he would not be reporting for work due to what colleagues are saying are personal and family problems.  McNeil – who works alongside Matt Spiegel on the program – has been out since then.  Lawrence Holmes has been taking his place.  Feder reports that Spiegel tweeted: “For the many asking, Mac is physically fine.  And this is not a repeat of a prior event.  He’ll update you when he wants to. Not my place.”  Spiegel is referring to McNeil’s absence from the station in 2012 during which he underwent treatment for depression and substance abuse.

lagojimTalk Host Jim Lago Battles Sudden Hearing Loss.  KKXT, Corpus Christi morning drive talk host Jim Lago is working with his doctors to treat a sudden loss of hearing that happened to him on October 16.  Lago’s doctors are not sure what has caused the almost complete loss of hearing accompanied by a constant ringing sound he hears but as of today (10/31), Lago is wearing hearing aids and reports on the station’s website that everything sounds different and says, “First day of wearing hearing aids. Bionic Hearing, artificial ears not sure it’s all it’s cracked up to be.” Lago is still able to do his radio program but says when having a conversation he has to concentrate very hard on listening to the other person.  Obviously, Lago is not the first talk show host to deal with hearing loss.  Rush Limbaugh was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder that took away his hearing several years ago.  He received cochlear implants and wears hearing aids to this day.

saverytripTrip Savery Returns to Curtis Media to Head Up Raleigh-Durham Market.  Prior to joining Greater Media’s Charlotte cluster to serve as VP and station manager at news/talk WBT-AM/FM and hot AC WLNK (including the Bob & Sheri Radio Network), Trip Savery was SVP and market manager of Curtis Media’s WQDR and WWMY in Raleigh.  That curtis media group logowas almost four years ago and now Savery comes back to Curtis to serve as EVP of Curtis Media Group and market manager for the Raleigh-Durham properties – including country WQDR, news/talk WPTF, rock WBBB, Spanish WYMY, and comedy WFNL – starting November 7.  Savery says, “I am thrilled to return to my radio roots in Raleigh to work again with Don Curtis and my many friends at Curtis Media Group.  At the same time I want to thank Peter Smyth and Rick Feinblatt for the tremendous opportunity they have provided me at Greater Media Charlotte over the past three and a half years.”  Don Curtis adds, “Trip is one of North Carolina’s brightest, young broadcast executives.  In addition to his recent experience of managing Charlotte’s top two stations, he has good knowledge of our company and its people.”

tuneinlogoTuneIn Now Carries 100,000 Radio Stations.  Digital audio content aggregator TuneIn announces it has surpassed the 100,000-station mark – what it calls “the most radio stations ever in one place.”  In addition to the domestic stations available via TuneIn, the service has also been adding international content including live sports content from Germany’s Bundesliga soccer league as well as Korea’s MBC and France’s RFI.  TuneIn boasts a reach of 40 million monthly active listeners, its app available in more than 50 vehicle models and on over 200 connected devices.

deanmichaelwProtect Your Podcast Rights.  “Freedom Feens’ co-host Michael W. Dean writes about the current legal issue facing all podcasters – the demand for money from podcasters by the holder of a patent inherent in the technology that podcasters use.  Dean advises those concerned to check out and air a public service announcement designed to help support the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s fight against what it terms a “patent troll” in this case.  As Dean says, podcasters including the likes of Adam Carolla have been served with demands for fees for using the patent-protected technology that allows podcasting to take place and applies to any and all current or future podcasters.  Read Michael W. Dean’s entire piece here.

thomaslindaKIRO-FM, Seattle’s Linda Thomas Hosts Social Media Seminar for Local Businesses.  The 90-minute luncheon is called “Zero to Social in 90 Minutes” and “The Morning News on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM” co-host Linda Thomas is hosting the lunch presentation and panel discussion taking place on November 18.  The station says it will teach local businesses how to grow in today’s ever-changing world of social media.  The seminar will review the current social media landscape, best practices, tips and insight on quality content that drives attention and return-on-investment through social media.  Thomas states, “Businesses of all sizes want to connect with customers through social media.  Many businesses tend to hesitate because they don’t know where to begin with social media.  This seminar will create a game plan.  Our all-star panel will reveal social media steps and strategies to help any business connect with current customers and discover new ones.”  Guests include: digital marketing pro Shauna Causey, The Fearey Group president Andrew Blank and KING-TV social manager Evonne Benedict.

madisonjoeOdds & Sods.  SiriusXM personality and longtime activist Joe Madison is tackling the Washington Redskins name controversy issue with a special two-hour roundtable broadcast tomorrow from 7:00 am to 9:00 am (with encore airings to follow).  The program promises to represent a multitude of perspectives both pro and con the team’s name.  Some of the 20 or so panelists will be: ESPN’s Kevin Blackistone, WOLB, Baltimore’s Butch McAdams, USA Today sports reporter Christine Brennan, The Nation sports reporter Dave Zirin, WAMU, Washington’s Michael Lee Pope, USA Today columnist Jarrett Bell and Washington Post columnist Mike Wise…..AdLarge Media extends its agreement for adlargelogoexclusive national advertising sales representation of Sports USA’s live play-by-play coverage of NFL and NCAA football through the 2014 season.  Sports USA president Bob Moore states, “The team at AdLarge understands how to create customized packages for advertisers that maximize the benefits of our live sports play-by-play coverage and sports programs.  We are looking forward to continued success from our partnership.”…..After announcing his departure from Business TalkRadio Network last week, Jon Patch says he’s now distributing his “Talkin’ Pets” program via Genesis Communications Network.  He’s also seeking his next gig in affiliate relations and programming.  Reach him at 813-888-5043 or jonpatch@talkinpets.com…..The NFL’s Chicago Bears are looking into creating the team’s own content to air on an HD channel on CBS Radio’s WCFS as the current contract between the two allows.  Team president Ted Phillips tells the Chicago Tribune that they understand the HD radio penetration is not that high yet due to the relatively small number of radios in the market and they would have to consider if the cost of producing programming is worth it.

stocktononESPNJohn Stockton Visits ESPN’s SVP & Russillo.  The studios of ESPN’s “SVP & Russillo” program were graced by former NBA All-Star John Stockton who appeared on the program to talk about hoops.  Pictured here in the studio (from l-r) are: Stockton, Danny Kanell (who was subbing for host Scott Van Pelt) and Ryen Russillo.  Photo: Rich Arden/ESPN Images

ObamaCare Rollout and Website Problems, NSA Spy Controversy, Benghazi Cover-up Allegations, Financial Markets Activity and World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/30).  The effects of the rollout of ObamaCare and the hearings on Capitol Hill about the website problems; the NSA’s spying on world leaders; the allegations of cover-up by the Obama Administration over the Benghazi incident; activity in the world’s financial markets and the Red Sox-Cardinals World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

| October 16, 2013

sliwacurtis‘AM 970 The Answer’ New York Host Curtis Sliwa Breaks up Fight During Remote Broadcast.  Leave it to Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa to step away from the microphone just as he’s about to do a live commercial read to stop two New York City tour operators from getting arrested for fighting on the sidewalks of Manhattan.  Sliwa broadcasts his morning program on Salem-owned WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” from the display window at the Hotel Pennsylvania on 7th Avenue (between 33rd and 34th) and this morning (10/16) just as he was heading into a commercial break, he noticed two tour bus operators – likely fighting over territory from which to recruit tourists – getting into a vicious fist fight.  Sliwa left the remote studio to break up the fight and then returned to talk about the incident on the air with both former Governor David Paterson and guest New Jersey political analyst Steve Adubato.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes Sliwa as a real life superhero of sorts stating, “I once had the pleasure of meeting Curtis for lunch in New York.  He shows up at the restaurant in his red satin jacket and beret and people from all over the place were coming up and saying ‘Hi, Curtis’ and giving him the high five.  Between the ‘costume’ and the populist love coming his way, it felt like I was having lunch with Spiderman!”

Hear some of the audio here.

 

arnoldchrisStatus of KRLD-FM, Dallas’ Chris Arnold Uncertain After Plagiarism Charge.  Sports talk personality Chris Arnold has been missing from the midday “G-Bag Nation” program at “105.3 The Fan” after being charged with plagiarizing copy from Cold Hard Football Facts writer Scott KacsmarDallas Morning News writer Barry Horn reports that CBS Radio local management is investigating the case.  After Arnold wrote a piece defending Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and posted it on the station’s website, Kacsmar contacted Arnold via a public Twitter exchange and Arnold admitted to using Kacsmar’s material and apologized.   Arnold asked Kacsmar to appear on the radio but he refused and asked Arnold to apologize on the radio.  To see Kacsmar’s documentation of the allegations of copying, click here.

elanderkenElander to Head Galaxy Communications’ Sports Marketing Unit.  Galaxy Communications is expanding through the creation of a sports marketing unit and it brings in Ken Elander as the venture’s general manager.  In addition to Galaxy Events, the company owns 14 New York State radio stations in Syracuse and Utica-Rome.  Galaxy president/chief executive officer Ed Levine explains that the newly created sports marketing division will focus on “many and varied sports franchises” with which the company has a flagship/affiliate relationship in both of its radio markets.  Levine says, “These include Syracuse University football, basketball, and lacrosse as well as the Utica Comets, Syracuse Crunch, Utica College, Buffalo Bills, and the New York Giants.”  Commenting that he is “proud and excited” to be part of “this ambitious new division,” Elander adds, “Galaxy’s successful sports legacy provides a strong foundation for an even more successful future.”  His background includes stints with Time Warner Cable and Syracuse’s WTVH-TV.

nextradio logoNextRadio and Tagstation Report: More Than 40,000 Downloads of FM Radio App.  According to the mid-October report by Emmis’ TagStation team and NextRadio, the number of downloads of the app to operate the FM receiver on select mobile phones passed the 40,000 mark and is currently enjoying an 84% app retention rate.  The report also notes that “more than 4,000 FM radio stations were tuned to from the app and more than 12,000 hours of listening through NextRadio” have taken place.  The recent release of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is begin given credit for the interest.  It’s also expected that more FM radio-enabled devices will be launched next month.

clarkjackEx-MLB Slugger and Radio Personality Jack Clark Strikes Back in Pujols ‘Juicer’ Allegation Case.  When former MLB star Jack Clark was co-hosting a sports talk show on WGNU, St. Louis with Kevin Slaten, he stated he knew “for a fact” that former Cardinals player Albert Pujols used steroids.  He also told the audience a former trainer told him that Pujols used steroids.  Pujols filed suit against Clark in St. Louis County earlier this month charging Clark’s lies have caused him harm.  Now, Clark is firing back requesting that both parties take polygraph tests and that whoever fails will have to apologize to the other.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Todd Frankel reports Clark’s attorney admits Clark used a poor choice of words since he didn’t have first-hand knowledge of steroid use by Pujols but relied on second-hand reports.  Clark and Slaten had brokered the time for their show on WGNU from insideSTL Enterprises.

scba logoSoCal Radio Revenue Up 7.2% in September.  According to the Southern California Broadcasters Association and Miller Kaplan Arase, LLC, there was a total market revenue surge in the region in September of 7.2%.  SCBA president Thom Callahan says, “September produced impressive growth for the LA radio market.  This critical swing month showcased some great revenue performances from our member stations, which maximized both local and national spot and blew the doors off digital revenue.”  He adds, “On a year-to-date basis, Miller Kaplan Arase is reporting total revenue growth at 3.4% through September.  However, our trend line during 3rd quarter 2013 reveals a 5.2% growth rate YTD for the same period.  Simply put, Q3 was powerful and we see the same trend developing for Q4.”  Callahan says that his organization is encouraged by activity in the insurance category even though the effects of the Affordable Care Act have not met their initial expectations.

btrnlogoSimilar-Named Business Networks Merge.  A transaction involving a Center Post Holdings division and Business TalkRadio Network has some resemblance to Abbott & Costello‘s “Who’s on first?” routine.  Among other entities, Center Post Holdings owns/operates several media companies, including BizTV and Biz Talk Radionetworks.  Here is where things get a bit interesting.  CPH is acquiring Greenwich, Connecticut-biztv logobased Business TalkRadio Network. Consulting operations officer of Business TalkRadio Network parent Blue Star Media Group, Jeff Weber, is named president of the network.  ”This acquisition fits nicely in our portfolio of media-centric assets,” notes Center Post Holdings executive vice president Scott Miller.  ”A number of programs are carried on both networks and we expect that number to expand as we integrate the operations.  It’s a natural fit for us and we are ready to expand our suite of benefits to small business owners.”  Siblings of Business TalkRadio Network include the Lifestyle TalkRadio Network and Greenwich, Connecticut talk outlet WGCH. Weber was executive vice president of Blue Star Media Group (June 2002 – December 2011) and rejoined the company one year ago (October 2012).  The sale price is not immediately known.

zeolirichRich Zeoli Still Hosting Evening Show at WPHT.  In our coverage of yesterday’s news of Rush Limbaugh’s and Sean Hannity’s return to CBS Radio’s WPHT, Philadelphia, TALKERS magazine delivered a run-down of the station’s new program schedule (beginning October 28) but failed to recognize evening host Rich Zeoli whose program airs from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm currently but will end at 9:00 pm when Sean Hannity’s show starts airing.  TALKERS regrets the omission.

blogtalkradio logoOdds & Sods.  BlogTalkRadio partners with sports fan site SB Nation to create SB Nation Network – a destination for the latter’s official podcasts and a place where other sports audio content can be made available.  In a piece in Tech Crunch, it notes that more than 50 sports talk shows are currently available on the SB Nation Network…..Mike Greenberg, co-host of ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” and author of the New York Times bestselling novel All You Could Ask For announces he and his wife Stacy Steponate Greenberg are donating $100,000 to The V Foundation for Cancerktrs Research to combat breast cancer.  The novel was written to honor the memory of the late Heidi Armitage, a close friend of Mike and Stacy’s, who died from the disease in 2009.  In conjunction with the release of the book, Mike and Stacy created a foundation called Heidi’s Angels, through which all of the author’s profits from the sale of the book are being donated to The V Foundation to support breast cancer research…..CH Holdings’ news/talk KTRS, St. Louis will soon simulcast the audio from KTVI-TV, St. Louis’ 6:00 pm newscast.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports KTRS GM Mark Dorsey says, “KTRS sees an opportunity to provide our listeners a chance to get caught up on their news, weather and sports while on their way home.”

Government Shutdown, Debt Ceiling, ObamaCare Implementation, Immigration Legislation, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/15).  The struggle in Washington to re-open the federal government; the looming deadline for the nation’s debt limit; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the criticism of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; potential immigration legislation that would grant amnesty to illegals already in the U.S.; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

| October 9, 2013

kesn logoCumulus Takes Over Operation of KESN, Dallas; Gives WBAP-FM Signal to KTCK.  A number of things happened at the Cumulus Dallas operations in conjunction with the company’s assuming operation of wbaplogoESPN O&O sports talk KESN under an LMA.  First, as TALKERS reported earlier, Randy Galloway did his last “Galloway and Company” program on Monday afternoon and noted that in addition to his exiting the station in order to collect his salary from ESPN through the end of the year, KESN program director Tom Lee, air talent Landry Locker and sports anchor Kelly Webster were also casualties of the change.  Cumulus also owns and operates sports talk KTCK “SportsRadio 1310 The Ticket” in the market and served notice that on October 21, WBAP-FM at 96.7 will carry the KTCK programming.  WBAP-FM has been simulcasting news/talk WBAP-AM’s programming since 2010.  The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports Cumulus Dallas vice president and market manager Dan Bennett indicated the news/talk station has seen no ratings increase since adding the FM signal to its huge AM coverage of the market.  He said news/talk WBAP will be carried on the HD-2 signal of KPLX at 99.5 for those in the market with HD Radios.  Meanwhile, it’s being reported that Cumulus is taking current KCTK simulcast signal KTDK, Sanger, Texas (about 60 miles north of the Dallas metro) dark and will return it to the FCC after an earlier attempt to sell it to broker Bill Whitley was turned down by the Commission.  The ownership cap prevents Cumulus from hanging on to the station.

TalkersLA2013Larry Wilson to Deliver Keynote Address at Talkers Los Angeles 2013.  In what TALKERS magazine VP/executive editor Kevin Casey describes as the cherry on top of a delicious sundae, Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting CEO Larry Wilson has been named keynote speaker at the forthcoming Talkers Loswilsonlarry Angeles 2013 conference that will take place in Hollywood on Thursday of this week.  The executive who TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “a great hope and role model for radio station ownership returning to human proportions, a productive business plan and positive artistic values,” will deliver a speech titled “Radio at the Crossroads” in which he will discuss some of the pressing issues facing the medium in 2013 and his vision for the business to thrive in the early 21st century.  Wilson, who graduated from Northern Arizona University in 1967 with a degree in Accounting and the University of Arizona in 1972 with a degree in Law, is the recipient of numerous broadcasting industry awards and honors.  He has a stellar history in broadcasting that includes having been EVP and general counsel of Combined Communications Corporation and, later, co-founder of Citadel Communications which, under his leadership as president/CEO and chairman, grew to own 205 radio stations in 42 markets prior to being sold to the Wall Street Investment Firm, Forstmann Little & Co. in 2001 for $2.1 billion.  In 2009, Wilson announced his return to radio station ownership and in 2009, along with Portland, Oregon-based Endeavour Capital, formed Alpha Broadcasting.  Today, in Portland Oregon, Alpha Broadcasting operates six radio stations, KUPL-FM, KBFF-FM, KXL-FM, KINK-FM, KXTG-AM and KUFO-AM and is in expansion mode with the plan to acquire more stations in carefully selected markets across the nation.  Wilson’s L&L Broadcasting owns or is in the processing of acquiring stations in Columbia, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; Jackson and Biloxi, Mississippi; Peoria, Illinois; and Bluefield, West Virginia.  Larry Wilson’s address will take place during the afternoon segment of the conference at 2:00 pm immediately following the annual “Woman of the Year” presentation.  Talkers Los Angeles 2013 — a presentation of TALKERS magazine in association with the Los Angeles Press Club — takes place between 9:00 am and 6:15 pm on Thursday, October 10 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood, California.  The event will be broadcast live in its entirety on TalkersRadio.  For remaining sponsorship opportunities at the sold-out, industry-only event and general information call 413-565-5413.  To see the up-to-date, power-packed agenda, please click here.

hartmannThom Hartmann Co-Written ‘Last Hours’ Film Now Available.  WYD Media Management nationally syndicated talk show host Thom Hartmann’s latest book, The Last Hours of Humanity, is the foundation for the new film, “Last Hours,” created by filmmaker Leila Conners and producers George DiCaprio, Earl Katz, and Mathew Schmid along with Hartmann and writer/researcher Sam Sacks.  According to a press release, “Last Hours” is a film that explores the possibility that we could be close – centuries or perhaps just decades -to tipping points that could lead to a sixth mass extinction, and relies on input from some of the world’s leading scientists.  Hartmann states, “It’s almost impossible to know when you have passed a tipping point.  You only see them in retrospect.  So we have to do everything we can now to avoid inadvertently hitting tipping points that might lead to catastrophic methane releases.”  The film is currently available on YouTube and at lasthours.org.

cumulus logoConsumer Watchdog Weighs in on Cumulus-WestwoodOne Merger.  The Washington-based Consumer Watchdog organization writes to the Department of Justice’s anti-trust division objecting to Cumulus Media’s acquisition of WestwoodOne (formerly Dial Global).  The organization states, “A proposed merger between major radio station owner Cumulus Media and radio content provider Dial Global/Westwood One would create a clear radio duopoly (with Clear Channel Communications) in the nation’s largest radio markets.”  Consumer Watchdog president Jamie Court states, “This merger would be a tipping point for listeners who already face fewer choices and homogenized content in talk, music and even sports.  A takeover of Dial Global by Cumulus will fully corporatize content in the top 100 markets and kill what remains of truly local radio.”

reesrobertWRPW, Normal, Illinois Turns TV Concept into Radio Gold.  Great Plains Media news/talk WRPW, Normal “Cities 92.9” has been taking a page from a popular cable TV show and turning it into a visibility and revenue-enhancing programming element.  Operations manager Josh Roberts says the station was searching for a way to get talent on the streets and bring in some more revenue when a promotions brain-storming session planted the seed for its “On the Job with Robert Rees” feature.  The idea stemmed from Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe” in which Rowe does strange, hazardous or messy jobs alongside regular employees.  Roberts says it started with the funny idea of morning host Robert Rees going to work “shoveling manure or driving a snow plow.  Next thing we know we’re talking about selling it and really putting Robert to work!”  Roberts says the concept, called “On the Job with Robert Rees,” started out as a feature where every two weeks Robert would go work for a business for two hours.  The sales staff quickly sold out through August and began to sell the idea weeks in between.  Nearly every week had been sold from March through August of this year.  The concept is that station promotes the event a week beforehand, Robert interviews the business owner on his show the day before, during the event Robert calls in to the station with updates on what he was doing while someone else films him working.  The next day a “highlight” video is posted on the station’s YouTube page and the business receives a copy of the video for its marketing efforts.  You can see some of the videos from the project at http://www.youtube.com/user/Cities929TV/videos

remickrobynESPN Ups Robyn Remick to New Post at Orlando’s ESPN Wide World of Sports.  For the past nine years, Robyn Remick has been with ESPN on the affiliate marketing and ESPN Audio affiliate relations teams.  She begins the transition to a newly created post in Orlando as vice president, business and content development at ESPN Wide World of Sports in the Disney World complex.  The company states that Remick “will pursue and lead new business initiatives and events at ESPN Wide World of Sports, which is visited by nearly two million amateur athletes, coaches and spectators each year.”  She will report to Traug Keller, ESPN senior vice president, production, business divisions, who oversees ESPN Audio among other units.

wolfemattABC News Radio Names Matt Wolfe Production Manager.  ABC News Radio executive director Andrew Kalb announces the hiring of Matt Wolfe to serve as production manager for the division.  In a memo to staffers, Kalb notes that Wolfe served as a freelance WGA writer with the company between 2004 and 2007 and “for the last few years has been working in a freelance role on our digital audio initiatives.  Matt was responsible for one of our first pieces on the Men’s Life station on Slacker Radio.”  Wolfe has also worked at Cox Media Group’s rock WBAB, Babylon, New York (Long Island market) for the past 13 years and held a variety of positions at the station including as producer of the morning show and hosting a weekend evening shift.  Kalb says, “Matt’s production, broadcast and on-air skills are the perfect mix for the continued growth of the many products we currently produce and many of our future initiatives.”

kingmanredRed Kingman Exits WHTC, Holland, Michigan.  West Michigan talk radio personality Red Kingman exits Midwest Communications’ WHTC, Holland, Michigan (southwest of Grand Rapids) after an incident in September that happened on the company’s sister station classic hits WYVN “92.7 The Van.”  Kingman – a conservative talk show host on WHTC – was subbing on “The Morning Grind” with co-host Mike Johnson on September 14 when he played a song parody of a Miller Lite commercial that contained the f-word.  Kingman says airing the song was part of a technical issue that morning but tells Mlive.com that he understands the company’s zero-tolerance policy but doesn’t think the mistake on WYVN should have cost him his job on the AM station.

resnickjohnJohn Resnick’s ‘Legends of Success’ Partners with Talk Media Network.  “Legends of Success with John Resnick” announces it is partnering with Talk Media Network to deliver national advertising sales, affiliate marketing, and syndication support.  Talk Media Network CEO Josh Leng states, “’Legends of Success with John Resnick’ is a well-established brand and program without equal in its category.  John Resnick’s ability to secure and engage the biggest names in business and entertainment on his program make it an appointment-listening radio show and a valuable sponsorship opportunity for affiliate stations.”  The show has been in production since 2002.

dryerfredOdds & Sods.  CRN Digital Talk Radio personality Fred Dryer is hosting a Thursday Night Football Viewing Party on October 17 at Bob’s Big Boy in Sun Valley, California.  The former NFL star and TV personality – who hosts a weekly show on CRN – will be there along with other CRN personalities…..Former Dial Global AC night personality Chad Blake signs on with Salem Communications to serve as executive producer for news/talk KNUS, Denver’s “Kelley and Company” morning drive show hosted by Steve Kelley and Bill Rogan…..The Motley Fool announces the launch of a daily one-minute radio report called “Motley Fool Stock Watch” which provides “timely stock analysis for listeners and a profitable offering for stations: no network ad inventory.”  The company says Hubbard‘s WTOP, Washington has signed up for the feature that it says “goes beyond the typical on-the-hour market updates and is for people who follow Main Street as well as Wall Street.”

Andi Marshall Passes.  News pro Andi Marshall died on Saturday, October 5 after a battle with cancer.  Marshall spent 12 years as a news anchor on KFWB, Los Angeles.  She exited the station in 2009 but returned as a fill-in anchor in recent years.

Obama Approval Rating, Government Shutdown/Fiscal Crisis, ObamaCare Implementation, IRS Scandal, Yellen Nominated for Fed Post, Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/8).  President Obama’s sinking approval ratings; the ongoing efforts to end the government shutdown and address the debt ceiling limit; scrutiny of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the evolving IRS scandal; Janet Yellen’s nomination for chair of the Fed; and the fluctuating financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, September 23, 2013

| September 23, 2013

cbsbarclayslgCBS Radio Partners with Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center.  In what is being called “an exclusive multi-year entertainment and sports initiative,” CBS Radio announces a partnership with the Brooklyn Nets and the Barclays Center.  This sounds like a big sports deal from the language in the press statement but it also allows for non-sports entertainment that could benefit CBS music stations.  The companies say they have formed a “strategic alliance that combines the strengths of the powerful media and entertainment brands, resulting in increased coverage on WFAN Sports Radio 66AM and 101.9 FM of the popular NBA team, select college basketball games under the BROOKLYN HOOPS presented by Ticketmaster franchise, and select BROOKLYN BOXING powered by Golden Boy Promotions bouts, as well as the creation of first-class concert events, and exposure of the landmark arena to audiences across the country.”  Further they state, “A unique aspect of the agreement calls for Barclays Center and CBS Radio to develop and jointly program a new concert series and live events hosted at the arena. These events will be promoted using the nationwide scale of CBS Radio’s 126 stations, the majority of which are located in the top 50 radio markets.  These co-produced events will offer out of market consumers the chance to experience Barclays Center firsthand through customized promotions and fly-away contests.”

nielsenarbitronFTC Gives Thumbs-Up To Nielsen Acquiring Arbitron.  The much-discussed acquisition of Arbitron by Nielsen Holdings gets regulatory clearance from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  The deal now becomes subject to usual closing conditions, but it is expected to become reality next Monday (9/30).  According to a statement released by Nielsen, “The combined company will expand advertising effectiveness for radio clients and be better able to solve for unmeasured areas of media consumption, such as streaming audio and out-of-home.”  It was at this time last year (September 2012) when Arbitron – working with ESPN and comScore – announced a cross-platform project.  The FTC decision effectively means that project will continue.  Reuters reports that, “The cross-platform services tell advertisers in a holistic way what customers watch on television, listen to on the radio, look at online and see on their mobile devices.”  If an FTC-approved third-party agrees to licensing terms and other requirements, Nielsen would make available for license Arbitron PPM and related data as well as software and technology currently being used in the ESPN project for the sole purpose of cross-platform measurement for up to eight years.  Nielsen chief executive officer David Calhoun comments, “We are looking forward to providing all of the benefits of the combined company to our new clients in the radio industry and their advertisers, driving incremental value for them as well as our shareholders.  This is a highly acceptable outcome for us as it doesn’t change the market landscape.”  This past December, Nielsen agreed to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of Arbitron for $48 per share, for a total purchase price of $1.3 billion.

millerchrisNew Opportunities for Radio in Social Media Marketing.  Digital media consultant and Talkers columnist Chris Miller says he firmly believes that for radio sales people “a social media arrow in your quiver would help open doors to more potential interactive clients.”  Miller writes that it’s understandable that radio sales people are concerned with selling their own inventory but it’s important to realize that advertisers are concerned with moving their products or selling their services.  Most will admit to wanting to use social media but don’t know how to go about it.  That, says Miller, is where you should come in.  Read Chris Miller’s entire piece here.

radioshow2013RAB/NAB Radio Show a Success.  Six senior members of the TALKERS/RadioInfo editorial team attended and provided in-depth coverage of last week’s NAB/RAB Radio Show in Orlando, Florida. The consensus among them is that this year’s installment of the conference was one of the most successful and productive in recent history.  This report card is based on the following criteria: 1) significant attendance during difficult economic times, 2) a well-balanced agenda that covered the most important bases of interest to radio broadcasters – namely programming, marketing, sales, and technical concerns, and 3) a reasonably realistic attitude toward the challenges facing the medium and business of radio relatively undistorted by the wishful thinking or mindless cheerleading that often comes along with the territory at conferences presented by trade associations.  In assessing the convention, TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison states, “This was the best Radio Show we’ve attended in many years.  It wasn’t watered down by the interests of its sponsors but rather really focused on what was best for its attendees – plain and simple – and the most important achievement being that it was targeted like a laser on the radio industry taking into account its most pressing existential concerns.”  Harrison’s special address at the TALKERS-sponsored “info-session” discussing the 10 things radio needs to do to remain vital to 21st century popular culture was delivered to a standing room-only crowd. It will be re-broadcast on TalkersRadio as well as TALKERS TV and RadioInfo TV within the next several days.  Stay tuned for details.

cookehollandRadio Show Wrap-Up.  Radio consultant and Talkers columnist Holland Cooke offers some final thoughts from the Friday edition of the 2013 Radio Show in Orlando.  Included in this column are some salient tidbits from the “Adventures in Copyrightland” panel dealing with some of the industry’s most common legal questions as well as takeaways from the Radio Show Luncheon.  Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.

wwwl logoEntercom to Add Local Talk to Re-Imaged Sports Talk WWWL, New Orleans.  Entercom prepares to change the programming on WWWL, New Orleans from straight sports talk from ESPN to what it is calling “3WL 1350 – a hybrid sports and local talk station.  The company says it “is an extension of the Gulf South POWERhouse, WWL AM/FM.  3WL builds on the success of this legendary New Orleans station by offering a ‘branch’ focused on the passions of New Orleans. 3WL will go live Monday, October 14.”  Entercom New Orleans GM Chris Claus states, “3WL 1350 celebrates the three greatest passions of New Orleanians: sports, food and fun!  Think of 3WL as a radio station as tasty as gumbo, as fun as Mardi Gras and as passionate as Saints fans on Sundays.  3WL will build on the tremendous success of WWL, but have a focus all its own. This is an exciting time for Entercom New Orleans and our clients. There is no city like New Orleans in America and there will be no station like 3WL in New Orleans.”  WWL PD Diane Newman is programming the station that will feature: T-Bob Hebert and Kristian Garic in morning drive; NBC Sports Radio’s Erick Kuselias in late morning; “The Food Show with Tom Fitzmorris” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; “The Lighter Side of the Spud Show” with John “Spud” McConnell of sister WWL from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; and NBC Sports Radio the rest of the evening and overnight.

djohnnyJohnny D. Exits WSPD, Toledo.  Talk show host Johnny D. took over the afternoon drive program on Clear Channel’s news/talk WSPD, Toledo on a part-time basis after the departure of Brian Wilson from the station last November.  In February, Johnny D. was named permanent host of the program.  Now, the station moves on without him as program director Scott Sands takes over the program.  Clear Channel regional market manager Kellie Holeman confirms Johnny D.’s exit from the station to the Toledo Blade and says the replacement show will be “a new talk show featuring lively conversations about pop culture, breaking news, money, politics, technology, and sports with host Scott Sands and a ‘think tank’ of regular contributors from the local and national stage.”

weei logoRumors Indicate WEEI, Boston is Courting Curt Schilling for On-Air Gig.  In published reports in both the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe, there are rumors in the Boston sports talk radio scene that Entercom is making overtures to former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling to bring him aboard as a host – possibly on the PMschillingcurt drive show.  The Globe states that the station may be seeking to pair Schilling up with PM drive co-host Mike Salk and that Salk’s co-host Michael Holley is looking to get out of his contract with the station to join ESPN.  But Holley’s statement to the paper doesn’t indicate he’s ready to leave.  He said, “I haven’t heard anything.  I haven’t been informed that they’re looking to move on or change the show.  I think when we started in March, I think the acknowledgment was, it takes a while.  It takes a while for the new show to get its identity and for the co-hosts to develop chemistry.  I had never met Mike before March. We’re getting to know each other on the air and off.  I’d be surprised [if Entercom made a change] based on what I’ve been told, but you never know.’’  Writer Chad Finn wonders if Schilling – who obviously knows baseball – would be comfortable talking football, hockey and basketball.  The paper also reports WEEI has been trying to bring Comcast Sports Net New England’s Joe Haggerty for on-air work at the station.

herskovitzalAL HERSKOVITZ: To Beat the Devil.  Sale maven and H&H Broadcasting president Al Herskovitz says that radio sales people can take their stations to higher revenue plateaus with a little creative thinking in the areas of marketing, remote events and contesting.  Herskovitz writes that, yes there are concerns for anyone working in radio because “we live in a fast-paced, quickly changing society.  But until the day the mountains erupt and bolts of lightning come crashing out of the sky simultaneously, there still are things under our control that can be done.  And sales reps have one such tool in their hands at which they are supposed to be the experts.  It’s called “ADVERTISING!”  Sales departments that strive to creatively put radio’s unique attributes to work for them will survive longer than those that forget about what radio does best.  Read Herskovitz’s column here.

hennermariluMarilu Henner Profiled in TALKERS Tomorrow.  Actress and healthy lifestyle advocate Marilu Henner’s new talk radio show is being produced and repped by Sun Broadcast Group as she ventures into the business.  TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian recently spoke at length with Henner about her acting career, her work as an advocate for healthy lifestyles and her new talk radio show initiative.  About the latter, Henner says, “I knew radio would feel intimate, but I had no idea just how intimate.  I never realized how much fun it would be.”  You can read Mike Kinosian’s profile of Marilu Henner tomorrow at Talkers.com.  You can also meet Henner in person if you’re already registered for the sold out Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference taking place on Thursday, October 10 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood as she will be addressing the industry there.  For information about the conference, including remaining sponsorship opportunities, please call 413-565-5413.  To see the latest updated agenda, please click here.

savagemichaelOdds & Sods.  Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Michael Savage is added to the schedule at Entercom’ WRKO, Boston in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET time slot..  This is a return to the station for Savage whose show aired there until he left syndicator TRN last fall.  Savage says in a statement, “The people in Boston are realists, we understand each other.  I appreciate the city.”…..News director and program director Adam Chappelle exits Black Crow Media’s news/talk WVGA, Valdosta, Georgia…..WJR, Detroit-based weekend talk show host Glenn Haege – host of “The Handyman Show” – is publishing an expanded version of his Fix it Fast and Easy publication as an eBook.  Haege has published 11 books and writes a column for the Detroit News.

skywatchtraffic logoMel Wheeler’s Roanoke and Lynchburg Stations Add Skywatch Traffic.  The Mel Wheeler Radio Group stations – country WSLC, Roanoke; news/talk WFIR-AM & 107.3, Roanoke; urban contemporary WVBE, Lynchburg; CHR WXLK, Roanoke “K 92,”; and adult contemporary WSLQ, Roanoke “Q99” – add Skywatch Traffic for traffic reporting.  In a press statement, Skywatch Traffic CEO Chuck Johnson says, “Both areas have grown in population and with the construction going on up and down I-81, it warrants the need for this partnership between all of these companies.  This type of service is very common in all major and medium size radio and TV markets.  Now Roanoke and Lynchburg has the service in place.  SML Aviation who also serves both cities has also jumped on board.”  Skywatch Traffic says it is now the third-largest traffic reporting company in the United States behind Total Traffic/Clear Channel and Radiant Traffic/Cumulus and serves 157 radio stations and 4 television markets.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

| September 11, 2013

wfan logoYankees to Remain with CBS Radio but Move to WFAN; Status of Mets Unclear.  In a story in The New York Times, an executive privy to the negotiations tells the paper that the New York Yankees have re-upped with CBSyankees logo Radio to the tune of $15 million per year for 10 years – a $150 commitment on the part of CBS Radio. (The current contract for the Yankees on WCBS pays the team $14 million per season.)  However, the company’s flagship sports talk station WFAN-AM/FM will be where fans will hear the Yankees and not the National League rival Mets as they have for the past 25 years.  Reports indicate the Mets are confirming they will not be on WFAN next year but there’s no indication which NYC outlets they may be talking to.  Obvious candidates would include ESPN O&O WEPN-FM, Clear Channel’s WOR and Cumulus Media’s WABC.  Mets COO Jeff Wilpon tells the Times he expects negotiations to be resolved in about six weeks.

hoffmanbillCox Media Group’s Bill Hoffman Loves TV-Newspaper-Radio Synergy; Says Data from Dayton and Atlanta Proves it Works.  In an interview with TVNewsCheck’s Harry Jessell, Cox Media Group president Bill Hoffman says the synergy of having a television outlet, daily newspaper and radio properties (specifically news/talk outlets) has been very good for the company.  So much so that when it had the opportunity to buy TV stations, it chose Jacksonville and Tulsa – markets where it operates successful news/talk stations WOKV-AM/FM and KRMG-AM/FM, respectively.  Hoffman tells TVNewsCheck its Dayton and Atlanta clusters – each with a news/talk radio station, TV outlet and a daily newspaper – wsb logoperform well as a result.  “We have really made Dayton kind of this incubation center for collaboration because it’s the market where all three media — newspaper, radio, TV — are all under the same roof.  Every single data point says that whio logogroup is performing outstandingly — the station and the individual entities altogether.  We just have a juggernaut of a media outlet there between newspaper, TV and radio.”  He adds, “Atlanta [where Cox owns the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WSB-TV and WSB-AM/FM] is a much bigger market.  To listeners, readers, viewers in Atlanta, they feel like it’s three distinctive brands. But behind the scenes the kind of collaboration that’s going on in content, marketing, sales, back-room efficiencies is very robust.  It’s leading to better financial performance.  The brands are stronger by whatever use-metrics you can put against them.”  To read more of Harry Jessell’s interview with Bill Hoffman, click here.

nissan logoClear Channel Makes Inroads into the Digital Dash Via Nissan.  With today’s announcement that its iHeartRadio digital audio app will be available in-dash in select 2014 Nissan vehicles via its made-for-driving application – iHeartAuto – Clear Channel Media and Entertainment makes progress toward inclusion in the digital dashboard.  Beginning this fall, iHeartRadio will be available in select Nissan vehicles equipped with NissanConnect (available in SV and SL models) an in-vehicle global smartphone integration platform for Android and iPhone operating systems.  Once a user connects their compatible smartphone with the NissanConnect App, drivers can control and personalize their iHeartRadio listening experience directly through the dashboard or via steering wheel controls, allowing easy access for in-vehicle enjoyment.  There is no monthly fee or subscription to NissanConnect but the rates that apply to the user’s smartphone apply to use of the car’s system.  CC president of digital Brian Lakamp states, “Working with Nissan to integrate iHeartRadio into the NissanConnect platform allows our listeners to seamlessly access the stations they love in a way designed to minimize distraction.  Now, Nissan drivers will be able to tune into radio stations from anywhere in the country and keep connected to their favorite on-air personalities without having to worry about driving out of range.”

kroi logoDenise Bishop Exits Radio One’s ‘News92 FM’ in Houston.  Houston media blogger Mike McGuff reports that news director Denise Bishop has left the building at Radio One’s all-news KROI, Houston “News92 FM.”  McGuff further reports that Bishop’s position is being eliminated and that a staffer who wishes to remain anonymous told him, “I’m beyond stunned.  I’m heartbroken.  She’s a fine woman and a pro.”  Bishop was with the station since its inception in 2011 and came from a news background that includes having served as news director at KRIV-TV, Houston for 16 years.

TalkersLA2013Talkers Los Angeles 2013 Will Sell Out by End of Business Friday!  The third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention set for Thursday, October 10 is shaping up to be a blockbuster.  The gathering is closing in on being an advance sellout some four weeks before the event so it is advisable for media professionals interested in attending to register now!  Due to space limitations at the intimate Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood reaching maximum capacity, reservations ($149 per person) will be sold out by the end of business (5:00 pm ET) this coming Friday (9/13).  The conference is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club 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 by leading companies such as Comrex Corp. and Broadcasters General Store, tremendous networking opportunities and abundant food and refreshments lavishly catered by the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company (lunch is sponsored by Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity who will address the attendees from New York).  For registration or sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  To see the latest agenda, click here.

phillipswaltWalt Phillips to Lead Cox Media Group’s Atlanta Sales Efforts.  Cox Media Group announces it has named Walt Phillips director of sales for its four Atlanta stations that include: news/talk WSB-AM and 95.5 FM; AC WSB-FM “B98.5 FM”; classic hits WSRV “97.1 The River”; and urban contemporary WALR “Kiss 104.1 FM.”  Cox Atlanta market manager Ben Reed says, “I am very pleased that we have an exceptional talent like Walt Phillips stepping in to lead radio’s best sales organization.  Walt is a proven, respected, talented and inspirational leader, and CMG Atlanta radio will rise to new levels under his leadership.”  Phillips most recently was director of sales at Citadel’s Nashville cluster.

talkersradio logoTalkersRadio Soft Launches Yesterday (9/10) with Two New Live Shows.  In what TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein describes as “an extremely soft and gentle launch of a very different kind of radio station,” the brand new “TalkersRadio” internet stream, operating on the platform of Talkers.com, launched with four hours of original programming.  “The Robbie Student Show” originating in New York City (hosted by talk show host/record producer Robbie Student) streamed live between 1:00 pm ET and 3:00 pm ET.  It was followed by the launch of “The Brent & Meg Show” (hosted by the husband/wife team of Brent Seltzer and Megstudentrobbie McDonald pictured below) originating in Los Angeles which streamed live between 3:00 pm ET and 5:00 pm ET.  Both programs were re-streamed as repeats for the rest of the day.  Both will air again today with new live programs in their respective afternoon brentmegtime periods and will serve as limited engagement anchor shows for TalkersRadio as the rest of what will shortly be a full-time outlet is built around them during the next several weeks.  The next new program to join the lineup will be “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes,” (hosted by Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes) scheduled to debut live from New York City this Sunday evening (9/15) between 8:00 pm ET and 9:00 pm ET.  According to Bernstein, “Industry people and the most ardent talk radio fans tuning in to TalkersRadio during these next few weeks will not only hear some reallycolmesalan interesting and creative programs un-self-consciously going through a public dress rehearsal, they will also hear a radio station being put together right out there on the bare stage of the internet.  It will be as if they arrived at the theater hours before the curtain rises and get to see how the sets and props and lighting all comes together.  This is truly going to be an experimental, no BS talk programming laboratory.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “We are delighted with the way this thing lifted off the ground.  I haven’t had this much fun being involved in a radio station since July 1, 1970 when we launched the legendary progressive rocker WLIR on Long Island.”  TalkersRadio is powered by a revolutionary new software system designed by Backbone Networks of Westborough, Massachusetts - the same system currently in place at Boston Herald Radio. The mission of TalkersRadio is to serve as a workshop for new and innovative talk programming concepts as well as numerous other functions not presently served by the commercial talk radio establishment.  To listen to TalkersRadio click here.

rdmusicmarketing logoLegendary Broadcaster/Promotions Expert Rich Piombino’s RD Music & Marketing Signs LM Communications as Client.  He was one of the most dynamic rock radio programming and promotions managers in the 1980s and 1990s working at such heritage outlets as KMET, Los Angeles and WMMS, Cleveland, among others.  He has gone on to establish Atlanta-based RD Music & Marketing as a force in the independent multi-media promotions arena working with a diverse roster of clients that includes such disparate entities as rising musical star Tora Fisher and NASCAR.  Now Rich Piombino announces that RD Music & Marketing has signed a consultant/client relationship as group promotions consultant with Lynn Martin‘s LM Communications. LM has six radio stations in Lexington, five in Charleston, WV (including the iconic WKLC “Rock 105,” and two in Charleston, South Carolina.  LM Communications also owns WBKI-TV in Louisville.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says of Piombino, “Rich Piombino served as promotions director during my time as PD at KMET, Los Angeles in the early 1980s and I have to say that I have seldom seen anyone in this business in that capacity with his level of ‘clever energy’ — he is focused like a laser and one of the best in the business, indeed!”

raytomTOM RAY: What the Heck Is a Codec?  To some, the answer to that question is elementary, but others may simply know a codec as “one of those things in the studio rack that brings outside audio into the board.”  That’s mostly correct, but for those who’d like a concise and thorough explanation of what a codec is, how it works and what its relationship is to your audio chain, TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray is here to help.  Click here for Tom’s column.

arbitronLatest Arbitron RADAR: Radio Increases Reach.  Arbitron Inc. reports in its September 2013 RADAR 118 National Radio Listening Report that “radio’s audience again increased year over year, adding more than 500,000 weekly listeners.  Radio now reaches 242.2 million listeners, or 92% of persons, age 12 and older, on an average weekly basis.”  The ratings giant also states that its data indicates “daily time spent listening to radio among persons age 12 and older held steady versus the September 2012 RADAR report. People aged 12 and older who listen to the radio spend approximately 2 hours and 35 minutes a day with the medium.”  With regard to minority audiences, Arbitron reports several findings: 1) Radio’s Hispanic audience aged 12 and older added 468,000 weekly listeners versus the September 2012 RADAR report. Radio reaches 94 percent of Hispanic listeners aged 12 and older in an average week; 2) Young Hispanic teens aged 12 to 17 showed impressive gains versus last year, adding 265,000 weekly listeners. Radio now reaches 5.2 million Hispanic teens in an average week; 3) Radio now reaches nearly 31 million Black (non-Hispanic) listeners, age 12 and older, in an average week, or 92 percent of this demographic; and 4) Radio’s Black (non-Hispanic) teen audience aged 12 to 17 again remained steady versus the September 2012 report.  Arbitron RADAR (Radio’s All Dimension Audience Research) September 2013 is the standard currency for national network radio ratings and measures 45 individual radio networks. These networks are operated by American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Cumulus Media Networks, Premiere Radio Networks, United Stations Radio Networks and WestwoodOne.

diminochrisOdds & Sods.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports Chris Dimino – one third of the former “Mayhem in the AM” show from WQXI, Atlanta “790 The Zone” – has been hired by Dickey Broadcasting’s crosstown sports talk WCNN “680 The Fan.”  Dimino appeared at a recent Atlanta Falcons press conference as a credentialed reporter for the station but he has a non-compete and won’t appear on the air on WCNN until that runs out in another six months.  Dimino, along with Steak Shapiro and Nick Cellini, were fired by WQXI after a bit which mocked former NFLer Steve Gleason who suffers from ALS…..Longtime WGN, Chicago host (and WGN-TV’s Emmy award-winning entertainment critic andrichardsdean reporter), Dean Richards, will be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at The Naperville Independent Film Festival’s 6th annual event on Saturday, September 21.  The award commemorates Richards’ contribution and dedication to the entertainment industry.  Richards can be heard talking entertainment on WGN daily at 8:20 am on “The Steve Cochran Morning Show” and also on his own show, Sundays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.  He has accumulated over 30 local and national awards during a career that has spanned more than three decades……Yahoo! Sports Radio adds a new Friday evening show hosted by Elissa Walker Campbell titled “The Big E Show” airing from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET.

Syria Chemical Weapons Deal, Iran Threatens U.S., 9/11 Anniversary, and New Miley Cyrus Video Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/10).  The proposal by Secretary of State John Kerry to have Syria give up its chemical weapons to avoid a U.S. strike; threats by Iran to attack the U.S. and its allies if Syria is struck; the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11; and controversy over Miley Cyrus’ latest video were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

| September 5, 2013

hennermariluMarilu Henner Show Joins Sun Broadcast Group Lineup.  Actress, healthy lifestyle champion and talk show host Marilu Henner becomes part of the Sun Broadcast Group as her daily show is added to the syndicator’s program schedule.  SBG says the entertainment- and lifestyle-oriented show is “designed as a brand-new approach to talk radio and is non-political and non-controversial.”  Henner is a seven-time New York Times bestselling author, and famously, one of 12 people in the world verified with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory.  Sun EVP Steve Gallagher states, “The sunbroadcastgrouplogolisteners, the clients and the agencies are all saying the same thing; that talk radio needs to be reinvented.  We are excited beyond belief to be able to be working with Marilu Henner, whose boundless energy and love of life will be shared on radio, the most personal of all mediums.  She is a natural!”  Henner’s program will be fed live from its Los Angeles base from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET and, according to Sun, its format is compliant to PPM methodology.  It will consist of celebrity interviews, lifestyle and health segments, phone calls and fun benchmark segments like “Healthy Hollywood Tips,” “Marilu’s Memory Minute,” and “Backstage Pass” where Marilu’s celebrity friends pull back the curtain on show biz!  Speaking about this new venture, Henner says, “I love to share life-empowering information that inspires positive changes in people, and there’s no better way to do that than through a daily radio show.  Its impact is immediate, global, and intimate, all at once!  That’s why I’m thrilled to be part of Sun Broadcast Group.  Their philosophy — that radio should be ‘helpful, not hurtful’ – is totally in sync with the way I live my life!”

trn logoTalk Radio Network Companies Issue Official Statement on Cumulus Acquisition of Dial Global.  Radio industry watchers are aware of the pending suit filed by Talk Radio Network involving a number of the parties and people involved with Dial Global (now Westwood One and from now on referred to in this publication by that name) and few would be surprised that TRN is against the acquisition of Westwood One by Cumulus.  Today, TRN issued this official statement: “Over the past five years, Dial Global has become a monopoly.  Dial engaged in a long list of illegal and unethical behavior, including failing to pay us our share of advertising revenues generated by our programming.  We have detailed that conduct in two cases pending against Dial (and others) in federal court in Manhattan and Oregon.  Dial’s illegal conduct has continued recently, as it has refused even to pay to us our advertising revenues, which Dial collected as our ad rep.  We believe that discovery in our actions will show that Dial’s conduct was part of a deliberate strategy to acquire or destroy viable companies by interfering with revenue streams that Dial controls as a result of its monopoly power.  Dial’s history shows that all members of the industry should be concerned about, and should act to prevent, Cumulus’ proposed acquisition of Dial.  In our view, if the transaction goes forward, the combined company could dominate both the radio station platforms in the top 100 markets and the talk and news content for broadcast in those markets.  At the same time, we are concerned that Dial’s history of illegal and unethical conduct could infect Cumulus and affect the way the merged entity does business.  The threat that this merger poses is not just to us.  It is to every independent content provider, to many other members of the industry, and more generally to a vibrant marketplace of ideas on radio.  We will continue to pursue our claims against Dial vigorously, and we will take all necessary actions to oppose Cumulus’ proposed acquisition, including in our pending litigation with Dial, with appropriate governmental authorities, and in the media.  We have heard from other members of the industry with similar concerns.  Given the implications for others, we encourage all independent content providers and other affected members of the industry to rise up and express opposition in every proper forum.”

maxjaredJared Max Exits ‘ESPN New York 98.7.’  Sports radio personality and news anchor Jared Max leaves ESPN’s New York City O&O WEPN where he was co-hosting the early morning “Maxed Out” show (3:00 am to 6:00 am) alongside Robin Lundberg.  Prior to his work with ESPN, Max had served with CBS Radio at all-news WCBS, New York.  Robin Lundberg continues hosting the early morning show from 4:00 am to 6:00 am solo.  On his website, Max says, “In the past two-and-a-half years at ESPN, I have achieved seismic growth – professionally and personally…While I will greatly miss my listeners and friends who regularly called the show, I hope that our relationship will remain intact through my next venture.”

boomercartonBoomer & Carton Being Wooed by YES Network.  WFAN, New York morning drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton are currently seen hosting their radio program on the MSG Network.  But, according to a report in the New York Daily News, that could change as the YES Network is in talks to bring the duo to their platform.  The Daily News says the current deal between CBS Radio and MSG expires this month and that MSG has the right to match any offer.  Daily News columnist Bob Raissman says the only way he sees the duo leaving for the Yankees-owned YES is if it offers CBS “stupid money” for the simulcast rights.  He further opines that the three biggest attractions on MSG’s programming lineup are Knicks games, Rangers games and Boomer & Carton, so MSG would be nuts not to match any reasonable offer.  Stay tuned.

raytomDISURBING TREND: Where Are All the Radio Engineers?  Multi-lettered radio engineer Tom Ray – principle of Tom Ray Consulting – writes about what sees as a trend that bodes ill for the radio business: a dearth of qualified radio engineers.  In this piece published today, Ray states, “Because of the shortage, there are stations hiring IT people and sending them to the transmitter site.  Sure, many things at the transmitter are IT based these days.  But the output of the transmitter and the antenna system isn’t.  These people are untrained at working around high voltage and RF.  Someone is eventually going to get badly hurt or killed because they do not know how to work around high voltage and current.”  Ray enumerates the long list of duties today’s engineer is expected to handle – not to mention the wide array of technologies about which he’s expected to have expertise – and it becomes pretty clear the future of radio station facilities could be in deep doo-doo.  Read Tom Ray’s column here.

westwoodonesports logoOdds & Sods.  The 2013 NFL season begins tonight with the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens at the Denver Broncos.  WestwoodOne Sports announces its coverage of the game as well as its slate of 97 NFL games over the course of the season, including playoffs and Super Bowl XLVIII…..ESPN Radio is also airing NFL play-by-play this season on Sunday afternoons.  The network is debuting some new football programming including “Football Sunday on ESPN Radio” which airs from 1:00 pm to 7:30 pm ET hosted by Jonathan Coachman and featuring Eric Allen, Tim Hasselbeck and Tom Waddle providing analysis.

cc9-11Clear Channel Again Partners with 9/11 Day.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment was the media partner with 9/11 Day for the inaugural 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance in 2011 and will serve in that capacity again this year.  MyGoodDeed is the respected 9/11 nonprofit which annually organizes the federally recognized 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance.  Over the last three years, Clear Channel has committed over $10 million in support, the single largest media contribution by any 9/11 Day partner.  Now through September 11, Clear Channel’s 840 radio stations will air a series of on-air public service messages in support of 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance.  Listeners who want to participate can choose options including volunteering, donating to charities of their choice, or simply making a voluntary pledge to dedicate time on 9/11, or another day, to performing good deeds that help others in need.

U.S. Debates Syria Action, G-20 Summit, ‘Common Core’ Controversy, Weiner Heckler Encounter, and Bill Clinton Vegan Claim Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/4).  The testimony before Congress regarding military action against Syria; President Obama’s arrival at the G-20 Summit; controversy over the federal mandate of “Common Core” for United States public schools; Anthony Weiner’s encounter with a heckler in NYC and Bill Clinton’s alleged claim of being a vegan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, August 26, 2013

| August 26, 2013

ktrsKTRS, St. Louis at Center of Skirmish Over Texas Governor Rick Perry’s Industry Recruitment Blitz.  CH Holdings-owned news/talk stations KTRS, St. Louis is making national news after station manager Mark Dorsey canceled an ad campaign bought by the state of Texas that sought to convince Missouri businesses they’d be better off moving to the more industry-friendly Texas where “businesses flourish and jobs are created.”  Dorsey posted a statement on the KTRS website saying, in part: “When the order was placed, KTRS was under the assumption these commercials were going toperryrick promote tourism to Texas.  Once we, the management of KTRS realized these commercials were instead focused on stealing locally owned companies away from St Louis, we suspended airing these commercials immediately.  We understand people have different viewpoints on public policy and we welcome that debate everyday on our airways.  But as one of the few remaining locally owned radio stations in the country, we feel the need to stand strong with other small locally owned businesses and defend our region.  Governor Rick Perry, Don’t mess with Missouri, and don’t mess with St Louis.”  In the ad, Perry criticizes policies of the Missouri governor and state legislature, accusing them of being less friendly to business.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the ads are running on radio and TV stations in St. Louis and other Missouri markets as Perry prepares to visit the region this week.

nielsen logoReport: ESPN at Center of Nielsen-Arbitron Deal.  The New York Post reports today that Disney-owned ESPN could be the media company that has the biggest say in whether the Federal Trade Commission approves Nielsen’s $1.26 billion purchase of Arbitron.  At issue here is the multi-media use of Arbitron’s PPM in which – via Project Blueprint – ESPN is licensing the technology to measure audience consumption of its product overarbitron television, radio, smartphones, tablets and computers.  The Post reports that sources tell it, “The license expires soon, and the ability of ESPN to squeeze a promise from Nielsen that it will be able to continue to license the software is likely integral to the merger getting federal approval.”  The FTC’s concern is that if the new Nielsen-Arbitron owns both the old set-top box methodology for rating television and the PPM technology for on-the-go measurement, there will be little ability for competitors to emerge.  The FTC is expected to decide this week whether to challenge Nielsen’s purchase of Arbitron.

digilionickNick Digilio New Overnight Host on WGN, Chicago.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that longtime WGN, Chicago part-time personality Nick Digilio will assume the overnight talk host position beginning September 4.  Digilio takes over for Bill Leff who moves to the daylight hours co-hosting the new 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  Digilio will also host the 8:00 pm to 12:00 midnight Saturday show.  As Feder reports, Digilio first appeared on WGN in 1985 on Roy Leonard’s midday show to talk about movies.  It developed into a regular segment and then into part-time work.  As a way of paying back his mentor, Digilio will have the now-retired Leonard on his Saturday program in a regular segment to talk about movies.  About his new position with Tribune’s WGN, Digilio tells Feder, “I couldn’t be more thrilled.  And I really want to thank everyone who has supported me through the years.”

limbaughrushRush Limbaugh Announces New Deal with Cumulus; Will Move to WOR, New York in January.  Confirming what many in the industry have been expecting all along, Rush Limbaugh announced on his radio program Friday that Premiere Networks, EIB and Cumulus Media agreed to terms earlier this week to renew his program for three more years beginning in January of 2014 and running through the end of 2016.  He told listeners that the one change would be his move from Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York to Clear Channel’s crosstown WOR, New York beginning in January.  Limbaugh’s program is currently heard on 35 Cumulus Media-owned stations.

laymandickWHO, Des Moines Newsman Dick Layman Dies Suddenly at 59.  Morning drive news anchor Dick Layman served with Clear Channel’s WHO, Des Moines for the past 16 years.  He died Friday, August 23 suddenly and at this time it is not known publicly what the cause of death was.  WHO news director Jim Boyd posted the news of Layman’s death on the WHO website and wrote about Layman, in part: “Dick was also from the old school of broadcast journalism.  The school that said ‘confirm and reconfirm the facts’ before they would be put into a story for you to hear.  He cared about content and quality.  But he also was someone who could take the most complicated of stories and boil them down to the bare fact so you could understand it…and to do so at times in 20 seconds or less…There is a hole right now in the WHO Radio Family…a hole that won’t close easily and there is a chair in our newsroom that will be very, very difficult to fill.  That’s what happens when you have a man the caliber of Dick Layman on your team.  Our prayers go out to his wife, Janet, and daughter Meredith.”

kxro logoTyler Media to Debut Sports Talk ‘107.7 The Franchise’ Today.  According to Oklahoma City online publication The Lost Ogle, Tyler Media’s plans to bring a new sports talk outlet to the city will become reality today around 2:00 pm when KRXO flips from classic rock to sports talk.  The lineup will be largely local and is reportedly as follows: “The Show” with Steely, Lump and (John) Rohde; “The Mid-day Mayes” with Sam Mayes; “The Gee Men” with Kelly Gregg and Erik Gee; and “Casillas & Company” with Tony Casillas and David Garrett in PM drive.  The station will be an NBC Sports Radio Network affiliate.  Oklahoma City has about seven other sports talk outlets in and around the market including Cumulus Media’s WWLS-FM “The Sports Animal.”

conwayetalWHO, Des Moines PM Drive Host Simon Conway Producer Changes.  Afternoon drive host Simon Conway (r) reports that his long-serving producer Andrew Downs (l) is moving to the cluster’s sister sports talk station KXNO where he’ll serve as assistant program director.  Taking over for Downs is Des Moines native Jenna Wizenburg who moves back to the market from Florida.  Conway states, “I always said I had the best producer in the building.  Andrew has rightly been recognized and although I will miss him, he richly deserves this opportunity.  I have worked with Jenna before at WFLA, Orlando and I’m excited as we begin this adventure together.”

gallagherannieMike Gallagher to Shave His Head for Fallen Officers Fund.  Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher is preparing for his role in the South Carolina Children’s Theatre Production of “Annie” (he’s pictured here in the Greenville Journal with lead actress Georgia Kay Wise).  Gallagher decided that instead of going with a skull cap for the role as the chrome-domed Daddy Warbucks, he would shave his head on Wednesday at Frank’s Gentleman’s Salon on Coffee Street in Greenville if listeners put up $5,000 or more via his Gallagher’s Army Fallen Officers Fund which provides grants to families of police officers killed in the line of duty.  The goal was reached and Gallagher will play the role with an authentic pate when the show opens on September 6.  Photo courtesy of the Greenville Journal.

hendricksoncaseyOdds & Sods.  Retired NFL coach and executive Mike Holmgren will make regular in-studio appearances on KJR, Seattle’s Mitch Levy program this season.  Holmgren, who left his general manager position with the Cleveland Browns after the team changed owners, still resides in Seattle after coaching the Seahawks for 10 seasons…..Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch reports Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne adds the “Casey Hendrickson Weekend” program to its lineup in place of “Fox News Sunday.”  Hendrickson hosts the PM drive show on Federated’s WTRC-AM, Elkhart, Indiana and WTRC-FM, Niles, Michigan.

Friday, August 23, 2013

| August 23, 2013

earlrogerFoghat’s Roger Earl Is a Hit on the Talk Radio Interview Circuit – Knocks it Out of the Park on Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” Show.  Master rock ‘n’ roll drummer, personable schmoozer and 41-year Foghat member Roger Earl has proven to be quite a hit when it comes to being an interview guest, not just on music stations that still play the legendary classic rock band famous for such anthems as “Slow Ride,” “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” and “Fool for the City” (among others), but on traditional news/talk stations looking to spice up their programming, as well.  It seems the glib British-born teller of great road stories and rockstephandoug historical nuggets is just what the doctor ordered for many traditional news/talkers looking to broaden their subject matter to include lifestyle and pop cultural material beyond the day-to-day, left-versus-right, “wonky” issues that some industry observers say can make talk radio a tedious listen when not broken up a bit by other angles of reality.  Yesterday morning, the moon and stars lined up perfectly for such a gab-fest as Roger Earl popped up as a guest on the nationally syndicated morning talk show “Good Day” hosted by Doug Stephan.  Stephan, a perennial member of TALKERS magazine’s prestigious “Heavy Hundred,” works the program as a ringmaster in the context of an ensemble and yesterday’s program was made even more interesting by the presence of his good friend, Radio America stable-mate and nationally syndicated talk star Dr. Joy Browne at the table as “special guest co-host.”  Together they greeted Earl with enthusiasm and a frolicking spirit.  Stephan, a former progressive rock deejay, tells TALKERS that although “Good Day” is by definition (and the lion’s share of its affiliates) a “news/talk” show, he likes to steer it clear for the most part of the “negative, argumentative, confrontational, and narrow topical elements” that he feels holds these programs back from meeting their full potential.  He says, “I love the opportunity to get a guy like Roger Earl on who so many of our demo remember from their salad days and is also very interesting to their kids who are fascinated by bands and arts figures from the past few decades.  In this case, Roger was wonderful.  After only a few minutes — even though I had never before met or even spoke with the guy — it was as if we had been very good friends for years!”  Although the premise of the interview was to discuss Foghat’s current hit single, “The Word of Rock n’ Roll” (#15 RadioInfo Rock Songs Chart) and the fact that after 41 years the ensemble is still out there touring and making new recordings, the conversation went in a number of directions covering Earl’s previous band, Savoy Brown; how Foghat was formed and where its name came from.  The discussion got into Roger Earl’s childhood and personal life with some candid conversation about the long-time friendship/love affair he shares with his wife and manager Linda Arcello-Earl.  Earl told a cool story from earlier days and his being pulled over for driving 140 mph on the Long Island Expressway.  He also expressed his excitement over becoming a United States Citizen this year.  To listen to the entire conversation please click here.  Stephan adds, “Further synergizing the ‘happening’ I made the song ‘The Word of Rock n’ Roll’ the Video of The Day at our website:  www.dougstephan.com and we did a feature segment on it in the 8:00 am hour.”  An equally enthusiastic Earl tells TALKERS, “Yesterday morning’s interview with Doug Stephan was terrific.  I was on my second cup of coffee and Doug was very cool!  He was interesting and knowledgeable about what is going on with the band.  And even though the old ‘Savoy Brown’ album covers frightened him, I won’t hold that against him.  It was great and we all really appreciate that he genuinely likes ‘The Word of Rock n’ Roll’…and played clips!  And, in a short period of time, it seemed like we talked about all sorts of stuff.  He definitely got the conversation going!  Thanks Doug and thanks to his guest co-host Dr. Joy Browne.  I thoroughly enjoyed our chat!”  Next stop for Roger Earl on his tour of talk radio: a live in-studio visit with Rita Cosby on heritage 50k WOR, New York.  Talk hosts (and deejays) interested in booking Roger Earl should contact Chip Ruggieri at chip@chipsterpr.com.

oehlerjodyJody Oehler Takes Over PM Drive at Sports Talk KGME, Phoenix.  Clear Channel Phoenix announces sports talk host Jody Oehler is named afternoon drive sports talk host at KGME, “Fox Sports 910 AM Phoenix, The Voice of Arizona Sports.”  Oehler joins Cardinals Insider Mike Jurecki and Michael “Jak” Bauer as host of the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show beginning September 3.  Oehler comes to Phoenix from Journal Broadcast Group’s KFFN-AM/FM “ESPN Tucson” where he currently hosts PM drive.  He also works as sports anchor at KGUN-TV, Tucson.  Program director Neil Larrimore says the University of Arizona grad brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with him.  “Jody is a talented rising star.  He’s an incredible communicator and a true sports fan.  We look forward to Jody helping to move our brand forward on air as well as online.  We are lucky to have him.”  Oehler adds, “I’m very excited to join the most dynamic talk lineup in the Valley.  I look forward to teaming up with Mike Jurecki and Mike Bauer to bring engaging and entertaining sports talk to our listeners every day.  I’m excited to get to know our Phoenix listeners and talk sports.”

medvedmichaelMichael Medved Scores Interview with ‘The Butler’ Director.  Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Medved is no stranger to talking about film – he co-hosted “Sneak Previews” for 12 years, was the New York Post’s film critic for five years and has co-written four books about movies – so he’ll be in his element this afternoon (8/23) when he interviews “The Butler” director Lee Daniels.  The surprise box office hit starring Forrest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey tells the story of Cecil Gaines, a White House butler who served eight U.S. Presidents and was an observer through the Civil Rights movement, Vietnam, and other historic events. (“Gaines” is a fictionalized compilation of a number of actual White House butlers who were originally interviewed for a short story by journalist Wil Haygood.)  SRN vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup states, “There’s nothing wrong with talk radio having any on-air discussions about the Trayvon Martin case or the more recent racially tinged killing of baseball star Chris Lane in Oklahoma.  But as the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s march on Washington, D.C. approaches, ‘The Butler’ has clearly struck a chord with American moviegoers…and we’re honored that director Lee Daniels will share his vision of history with Michael Medved in what promises to be compelling radio.”

TalkersLA2013Norm Pattiz and Michael Harrison to Participate in “Keynote Conversation” at Talkers Los Angeles 2013.  One of the many highlights of the one-day, power-packed agenda being set for the Southern California segment of TALKERS magazine’s annual bi-coastal convention, “Talkers Los Angeles 2013,” will be a “keynote conversation” between industry icon Norm Pattiz, CEO of Courtside Entertainment, LLC and founder of Launchpad Digital Media‘s innovative Podcast One and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. Pattiz (the original founder of Westwood One) and Harrison share a long history and friendship that goes back to the late-1970s when Harrison (then of KMET, Los Angeles and Radio & Records) was signed by Pattiz to host the nationally syndicated “Great American Radio Show” – a weekly innovative album track countdown that was one of Westwood One’s earliest pattiznormofferings.  According to Harrison, “Because I worked with Norm so early on at the beginnings of his historic and impactful career in radio as both an insider at his budding company and as an outside observer/associate, I have had the opportunity of really eye-witnessing and digesting a tremendous amount of contemporary radio history as it applies to the man’s contributions to so many of the practices and systems that we today consider standard.  Although, this is being billed as a two-way conversation and I know he’ll be asking me some questions as well, I can’t wait to get him up there and have him address so many issues – past, present and future – that will shed light and clarity on where radio is at and where it is going in this new digital era.  Keep in mind, Norm not only started and grew Westwood One…he also owned Radio & Records, the Mutual Broadcasting System, and NBC Radio Network in addition to being a member of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors.  Now look at him today, not only is he back on the cutting edge of our business, he also chairs the Boards of Governors of Los Alamos National Security, LLC., and Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC which respectively operate the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.  Amazing!  I intend to dig into this conversation like an informational gold mine.”  For registration and sponsorship information about Talkers Los Angeles 2013, please call 413-565-5413.  The conference is open only to members of the working media and is on the verge of a sellout.  Complete agenda details to be posted here next week.

sammalonestudioshotCelebrating Six Months.  Houston talk show host Sam Malone tells TALKERS magazine his program is celebrating its six-month anniversary in its new format that includes airing on Salem Communications-owned KNTH, Houston “AM 1070 The Answer” from 7:00 am to 11:00 am and simulcast online in a video format via Phonoscope.  Malone is pictured here on the set of his program as online viewers see it.  In celebration of his anniversary in the new format, Malone produced a promotional video montage of the program that you can see here.

wfan logoNew Jersey Governor Chris Christie to Co-Host on WFAN, New York.  With Boomer Esiason out on vacation, CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York will welcome New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to the studios to co-host the morning drive program with Craig Carton on Monday, August 26.  The station says, “With Christie being such a huge sports fan as well as being voted by The Star Ledger as the most influential person in New Jersey sports, there will be lots of talk about the Giants, Jets, Yankees and Mets.  Governor Christie is not a stranger to the ‘Boomer & Carton Show’ as he has been on numerous times as a guest of the show and has co-hosted with Craig once before.”

hagertimTim Hager Joins Clear Channel Denver as Vice President of Sales.  Most recently serving with CBS Radio as general sales manager at news/talk KMOX, St. Louis, Tim Hager moves west to head up the sales effort at Clear Channel’s eight-station cluster in Denver.  In a statement, Hager says, “I could not be more thrilled to return to the greatest media company in the world with the most extensive portfolio of integrated media solutions for our advertisers.  The landscape of radio continues to change every day and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment leads this charge with unparalleled digital opportunities including iHeartRadio.  I am humbled and honored to lead this great cluster’s sales efforts and rejoin the most talented and passionate media professionals in the business.”  Clear Channel’s Denver stations include: news/talk KOA, talk KHOW, progressive talk KKZN, alternative KTCL “Channel 93.3,” CHR KPTT “95.7 The Party,” triple A KBCO, classic rock KRFX “103.5 The Fox,” and active rock KBPI.

foxsportsradio logoPromotions at Fox Sports Radio Network.  Jeffrey Schwartz is promoted to vice president of sports sales for Fox Sports Radio.  In this capacity he’ll continue to work with the Premiere national account managers to “creatively craft specific programs to drive traffic and awareness for all Fox sponsors.”  Additionally, he will work closely with Annie Zidarevich and Clear Channel SVP of sports operations Bruce Gilbert on all other aspects of programming, promotion and business growth for Fox Sports Radio and Premiere Sports products.  At the same time, Zidarevich is promoted to vice president of network operations.  A day-one employee of FSR, Zidarevich reports to Bruce Gilbert and she’ll  continue to oversee all Fox Sports Radio operations, scheduling, production, programming and remote broadcast coordination.

cowherdcolinOdds & Sods.  Talk show host Mark Wainwright fills in for morning host Chet Walker on Clear Channel’s WHAM, Rochester all next week (8/26-30)…..ESPN Radio personality Colin Cowherd was recently honored with induction into the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame.  The host of “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” began his career as the play-by-play voice for the Pacific Coast League’s Las Vegas Stars.  He also was sports director at KVBC-TV, Las Vegas where he earned multiple Nevada Sportscaster of the Year awards.  He joined ESPN in 2004…..Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” announces that Rams wide receiver Chris Givens will join the station’s football analysts beginning Tuesday, September 10, when he starts a weekly stint joining “The Fast Lane” PM drive show to discuss the previous week’s game and to provide insight for upcoming match-ups.

backyardbroadcastingPennsylvania Stations Sold to Backyard Broadcasting.  Six Pennsylvania stations and an FM translator are sold by Barry Drake-operated Backyard Broadcasting to Dan Farr-led Backyard Broadcasting PA LLC.  The stations are: country WILQ-FM, Williamsport; hot AC WLMY-FM, Williamsport; news/talk WWPA-AM, Williamsport; oldies WBZD-FM, Muncy; rock WZXR-FM, South Williamsport; rock WCXR-FM, Lewisburg; and translator W267BJ-FM (simulcasting WWPA).  Buyer Dan Farr says, “I look forward to continuing the tradition of delivering great music, local information and community service with a team of dedicated on-air personalities and office staff along with giving our advertisers a marketing vehicle to promote and grow their business into the future.”  The exclusive broker for the deal is Kalil & Co.

Obama Administration’s Syria Policy Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 19-23.  The Obama Administration’s policy concerning Syria in the wake of allegations of chemical weapons use by the Assad regime was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 was the violence in Egypt tied with Middle East tensions.  At number #3 was the NSA surveillance program and the shooting death of Australian ballplayer Christopher Lane came in at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

| August 20, 2013

cohenheatherlgHeather Cohen Named TALKERS ”Woman of the Year” – Will Be Presented Award at Talkers Los Angeles 2013 by KFI/KTLK PD Robin Bertolucci.  Hard-working industry super-agent, Heather Cohen, executive vice president of leading radio talent representatives, the Weiss Agency, has been voted by the TALKERS editorial board to be the 2013 recipient of the prestigious “Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Talk Radio by a Woman.”  This award is often referred to by the title, “Woman of the Year.”  Cohen has accrued a stellar list of accomplishments in a career that spans more than a decade and a half in the radio industry and includes her current work as an agent at Eric Weiss ‘s Weiss Agency since 2007, based in the firm’s New York office.  Prior to that, Cohen briefly led the programming arm of GreenStone Media, LLC — where she was VP of programming and significantly contributed to that initiative’s being awarded three Gracie Awards.  During the decade prior to GreenStone, Cohen served as executive producer of the legendary, award-winning, Joan Hamburg show on WOR, New York and as the then-Buckley Broadcasting-owned heritage station’s assistant program director.  Cohen is a graduate of Hofstra University and serves on its School of Communication Advisory Board.  On making the announcement of Cohen’s selection for this honor, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “If anyone deserves this award recognizing an individual woman for not just her personal accomplishments in talk radio – but her contributions to the industry as well – then theTalkersLA2013 selection of Heather Cohen is the quintessential choice.  She is a marvelous broadcaster and her personal career achievements as a producer, APD and corporate programming executive speak for themselves – but as an observer of this scene who has been tracking the career of this extraordinary young woman for years, I must say, she is the Mother Teresa of agents.  She personally shepherds the careers of approximately 10% of TALKERS’ entire ‘Heavy Hundred’ and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  I have never seen an agent or manager care so deeply with heartfelt dedication to each and every one of the Weiss Agency’s impressive list of clients.  In other words, she GIVES to the business on a level that changes the lives of everyone with whom she is connected and continues to make a real difference on a daily basis.  It is extremely gratifying to see a truly outstanding industry woman of this quality receive the award.”  Harrison goes on to say, “I have often stated that all of us at TALKERS look forward to the day when it is no longer necessary or appropriate for there to be a special ‘woman’ award in talk radio — but unfortunately, as the numbers so starkly indicate, that day is not today.  Thank you, Heather, for your tireless, selfless dedication to both the hard working women AND men of talent out there in the tough trenches of today’s radio trying to keep the spirit of our unique culture alive in the 21st century.”  Heather Cohen will be presented the “Woman of the Year” award in a special ceremony at Talkers Los Angeles 2013 on Thursday, October 10 by last year’s distinguished recipient, KFI and KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci.   Talkers Los Angeles 2013 is nearing a sellout within about a week.  It is open only to members of the working media.  For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.

kearneydanCBS Radio Makes Management Moves in Los Angeles and Tampa.  Former Cox Media Group Miami market manager Dan Kearney is named senior vice president and market manager for the company’s Los Angeles cluster that includes all news KNX, CHR KAMP-FM “97.1 AMP Radio,” adult hits KCBS-FM “93.1 Jack FM,” alternative KROQ, classic hits KRTH “K-Earth,” and AC KTWV “94.7 The Wave.”  As explained by CBScarversteve Radio EVP of operations Scott Herman, the change allows current LA market manager Steve Carver to move back East as desired where he’ll head up the Tampa cluster.  Kearney managed the Miami cluster for CMG from 2012-2013 after moving down from news/talk WSB, Atlanta.  He first joined Cox at news/talk KFI, Los Angeles in 1998 as local sales manager when that company owned the station.  CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason says of Kearney, “Dan is an accomplished broadcaster and exactly the right executive to shape a new future for our iconic radio stations in Los Angeles.  He has an impressive record of experience managing the operations of a multitude of different radio formats, producing noteworthy growth across all key measures.  Dan’s a fabulous addition to our organization.”  Steve Carver will replace Ben Hill whom the company says agreed more than a year ago to work across the state from his home in the West Palm Beach area.  He will work through the transition until October 11 and be available to the company through the end of the year.  CBS Radio operates six stations in Tampa including: sports talk WHFS-AM “CBS Sports Radio 1010” and WHFS-FM “98.7 The Fan,” rhythmic CHR WLLD “Wild 94.1,” country WQYK, classic hits WRBQ “My Q105,” and Spanish WYUU “92.5 Maxima.”

babinrobRob Babin to Lead CMG’s Miami Cluster.  Cox Media Group promotes Rob Babin to vice president and market manager for its Miami station group that includes hot AC WFLC “97.3 The Coast,” urban contemporary WHQT “Hot 105 FM,” hip hop WEDR “99 Jamz,” and soft AC WFEZ “Easy 93.1.”  Cox EVP of Radio Kim Guthrie states, “We are delighted to tap into our amazing, internal leadership talent pool and have Rob step into this new executive role, overseeing our Miami operation.  He has been an outstanding leader in his 12 years with CMG, both in our Orlando and Atlanta radio markets.  His strategic vision, incredible performance track record and desire to be the best make him a great fit for this opportunity.”  Babin most recently was vice president of sales for the Atlanta stations, including news/talk WSB, one of the top 10 billing stations in the country.  Babin comments, “I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with so many great people at CMG Atlanta, and I know their tradition of success will continue.  Now I am thrilled to work with the phenomenal group of radio stations and talented team that make up CMG Miami!”

kfyibusinessClear Channel Flips KOY, Phoenix to Business as ‘Business 1230 KFYI.’ Gone are adult standards on KOY-AM and in is business talk format using predominantly Bloomberg Radio content.  The station is airing the “Big Business with Sully” program from 9:00 am to 11:00 am with more local programming on the way according to program director Neil Larrimore.  He states, “The business format fits well into the KFYI brand.  Businesses and individuals are always looking for ways to manage their money better, to do more with less, and to make sure their futures are secure.  This touches everybody – it’s a natural relationship for the established and trusted KFYI information brand to be part of this format.”

bergmansandiMEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Doyle Hadden of Hadden & Associates Media Brokers.  In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Doyle Hadden of Hadden & Associates Media Brokers located in the Orlando area of Florida.  Hadden went into being a broker after years of being in radio and television sales, management and ownership.  He says he wasn’t “good enough” to be an on-air talent so he found a way to make money “behind the scenes.”  He says, “Based on the past five or six years, things are on the rise in buyers’ interest in getting back into the game, now that the economy has shown signs of improving.  Look at Larry Wilson, who sold Citadel for more than $2 billion and now he is back in the hunt, along with many other great players in the business.”  He adds, “There are some very attractive deals out there but the prices seem to be going up across the board, especially in the larger and top 20 markets.”  Per the custom of this feature, Hadden offers several opportunities for displaced station managers and first-time entrants looking to roll up their sleeves and take on an ownership project.  To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.

waddletomOdds & Sods.  WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” talk show host Tom Waddle is joining the mothership’s “Football Sunday on ESPN Radio” beginning this season and starting with the first show September 8 at 1:00 pm ET.  Waddle co-hosts the “Waddle & Silvy” show on WMVP.  Waddle will work from the company’s Bristol, Connecticut studios and will also appear on Sunday editions of ESPN’s “SportsCenter” and on ESPN2’s “Cowherd on Football” – the new hour-long program focusing holttorryon both college and pro football discussion and commentary with host Colin Cowherd that airs from 9:00 am to 10:00 am ET…..St. Louis Rams great Torry Holt signs on with Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” to serve as the station’s football insider providing exclusive weekly call-ins to the station. He’ll make three weekly appearances on the station: Each Monday morning during “Zach and Rammer,” Wednesdays on “The Turn” with Chris Duncan and Anthony Stalter, and Friday afternoons on “The Fast Lane” with Randy Karraker and D’Marco Farr.

jacksonkevinSalem Communications Sponsoring Kevin Jackson’s “Reparations Comedy Tour.”  Talk show host, speaker and author Kevin Jackson’s “The Reparations Comedy Tour” gains more support as Salem Communications agrees to join Americans for Prosperity and The Daily Caller as sponsors for his new conservative comedy tour featuring Brad Stine, Tim Wilkins, Even Sayet, and Tim Young.  WLSS, Sarasota “News Talk 930 AM” and WGUL, Tampa “Talk Radio 860 AM” are leading the promotional efforts on behalf of the company.  A press release for the tour states that “Jackson and his friends will be taking aim at the politically correct world America has become, especially when it comes to dealing with race relations.  The tour kicks off on Thursday, September 12, with two shows at The Crest Theatre in Delray Beach, Florida, and moves to the Palladium Theatre in St. Petersburg, Florida the next evening with future dates to be announced soon.”

katzallenTwo Katz and a (former) Congressman.  Former Congressman Allen West (l) is pictured here with Boston Herald Radio morning drive host Jeff Katz (r) and Katz’s eldest son Harry (c).  As part of the Hausman Memorial Speakers Series in Stoughton, Massachusetts on August 15, Jeff Katz was featured along with former Congressman West.  According to Jeff Katz, his son Harry’s review of the event was as follows: “Allen was great!  And my Dad was pretty good, too.”  Photo by Eric Kahn.

U.S.-Egypt Relations, Ted Cruz Citizenship Issue, Clinton Foundation Expenses Scrutiny, ObamaCare Implementation, 2016 Presidential Jockeying, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top Stories Yesterday (8/19).  Violence in Egypt and the state of the United States’ relationship with the country; the case of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz’s Canadian citizenship status; controversy over the expenses at the Clinton Foundation; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the early jockeying for position in the 2016 presidential race; and financial markets activity were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

| July 25, 2013

khow logoTalk 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 connellmandymorning 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!

wapi logoCumulus 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 wapi-fm logowith ESPN that would give him a syndicated sports talk show plus other opportunities with the sports media finebaumpaulgiant.  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.

castnermichaelMark & 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 logoKFTK-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 gloverdaveoutlet.  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, monceybrianHere’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.

mackallkevinConsultant 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.”

opieanthonySiriusXM’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.

kdkapaiFCC 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.

walshjoe‘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.”

skoogarneIndustry 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.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

| July 11, 2013

morganmelanieMelanie Morgan Leaves KSFO, San Francisco AM Show.  This was radio and news pro Melanie Morgan’s second go-round with the Cumulus news/talker.  Morgan was a longtime fixture on KSFO alongside Lee Rodgers on the morning drive show when it was owned by ABC Radio (then Citadel) until her departure from the station in 2008.  She worked briefly with Talk Radio Network’s “America’s Morning News” based in Washington, DC but was forced to return to San Francisco to deal with a health issue.  She joined the morning show at KSFO again – this time with Brian Sussman as co-host 18 months ago.  Morgan Tweeted to followers: “Breaking – Melanie Morgan leaves KSFO morning show. No more 2:45 alarms. Amicable parting. Thanks KSFO listeners. God Bless You!”

elleryjackWCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey Legend Jack Ellery Retires.  Greater Media announces that New Jersey radio legend Jack Ellery is retiring from WCTC, New Brunswick after a career that has spanned 50 years.  Ellery, most recently morning host at the station, has spent the better part of his career at WCTC.  Ellery began as a disc jockey but quickly turned his daily morning show into a forum for discussion on the latest news in Central Jersey and the state, providing insight, wit and humor, as one of the true pioneers of local talk radio.  Greater Media states, “Along the way, the radio veteran was also instrumental in helping WCTC raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Central Jersey charitable organizations through on-air radiothons and different drives for local residents in dire need.  Ellery capped off his career as one of Central Jersey’s iconic radio personalities with his inclusion in the New Jersey Broadcasters Association’s inaugural class of Hall of Fame inductees last year.  He also received the NJBA’s Lifetime Achievement award at that time.”  WCTC station manager Dan Henrickson says, “Jack has served our community, our advertisers and our audience for multiple decades.  We wish him all the best in the ‘gone fishing’ portion of his life.”

wbz-fm logoBoston Globe Examines Local Sports Talk Radio Battle.  Boston Globe sports columnist Chad Finn takes a deeper look at the ratings war between CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub” and Entercom’s WEEI-FM after the Arbitron PPM data for the June period were released late yesterday.  It turns out the NHLweei logo Stanley Cup push by the hometown Bruins – whose games are broadcast on WBZ-FM – was very good news for the station.  Finn digs into the Men 25-54 numbers average from the last three ratings periods (April, May and June) and reports the following: WBZ-FM was #1 in the demo with a 10.2 share and WEEI-FM was tied for 5th place with a 5.5 share; in morning drive WBZ-FM morning show Toucher and Rich were first with a 13.4 share.  WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan were fifth with a 6.0 though Finn notes that D&C were up in June with a 7.0 share.  Things got a little closer in the evenings when play-by-play for the Bruins and the Red Sox were happening.  Finn writes, “In the evenings (7-p.m-midnight), The Sports Hub, featuring the Baseball Reporters, the Adam Jones Show and Bruins game broadcasts, was first with a 13.4 share, including a massive 16.2 in June.  WEEI’s nighttime programming, including the Planet Mikey Show and Red Sox and Celtics broadcasts, was second (9.7, including a 10.2 in June).”  The next couple of surveys will be interesting as WEEI has the monopoly on play-by-play with Red Sox baseball.   Read Finn’s entire column here.

wscr logoChicago Sports Talk War Featured in Tribune.  The Chicago Tribune’s Ed Sherman dives into the Men 25-54 PPM data for what he terms the spring ratings – April, May and June PPM averages – for the market’s major sports talk outlets CBS Radio-owned WSCR and ESPN O&O WMVP.  Sherman reports WSCR finished fourth in the market with a 4.7 share against WMVP’s 16th place finish on a 2.4 share (Men 25-54 Mon-Sun 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight).  Breaking out some of the individualwmvp programs, Sherman reports in morning drive WSCR’s “’Mully & Hanley’ were third at 6.8; ‘Mike & Mike’ were 10th at 2.9 on MVP.  In the afternoon, ‘Boers & Bernstein’ were second at 5.2, while ‘Waddle & Silvy’ were 16th at 2.6 in the first three months of their new time slot for WMVP.”  Sherman also spoke with both program directors – WSCR’s Mitch Rosen and WMVP’s Adam Delevitt – in searching for reasons the stations, which were often very close in ratings in the past, have separated recently with WSCR pulling ahead.  Rosen tells the Tribune, “We’ve stuck with the same lineup for several years.  People get into habits when it comes to listening to stations.  Continuity makes a big difference in radio.”  Delevitt points out what his company sees as its strength in a multi-platform approach.  “With ESPN, you have to focus on all of our platforms.  Nobody can duplicate what we’re doing on every platform.”  You can read Sherman’s entire piece here.

conclaveMichael Harrison to Deliver Keynote Address at The Conclave – Says the Future of Radio Rests Upon the Shoulders of Talent.  The long-running annual industry learning conference, The Conclave, is coming up in just six days!  Set for Wednesday, July 17 – Friday, July 19 at the Doubletree Park Place Hotel in Minneapolis, the 38th installment of this major, non-profit industry institution will feature a packed lineup of speakers from both music and talk radio (click here for the complete agenda).  TALKERS publisher Michaelharrisonmichael Harrison is set to deliver the event’s Keynote Address on Thursday, July 18 at 9:00 am.  The title of his speech is “Radio in the Digital Age: Where Does Talent Fit In?” His presentation will approach today’s key issues – immense debt, generational and cultural shifts, exotic new media, audience measurement shortcomings, plus the increasing importance of intellectual property, talent becoming entrepreneurial, and the humanity that radio should offer and has the potential to still do so well.  Looking ahead to his presentation, Harrison states, “The Conclave is designed as a platform for learning and I intend to use this opportunity to share the experience of my 45-year career in professional broadcasting and present-day insights accrued being the publisher of two leading trades with the young up-and-comers who are hopeful that radio can yet provide them with a rewarding career.  The past, present and future of radio is primarily a story about talent.  I will talk about the survival and ‘thrival’ of talent – upon whose shoulders rests the future of this industry.”

daultondarrenWPEN-FM, Philadelphia Baseball Talk Host Darren Daulton Diagnosed with Brain Cancer.  The former MLB star and host of “Talkin’ Baseball with Dutch” took a break from his regular 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm nightly baseball show on Greater Media’s WPEN-FM “The Fanatic” to have tumors removed from his brain and the result of tests on those tumors showed they are cancerous.  Darren Daulton Foundation president Tony Perri posted a message on Daulton’s official website stating, in part: “Darren has been diagnosed with a Glioblastoma (“GBM”), a form of brain cancer.  He has returned to his Clearwater area home to continue recuperating amongst his immediate family and friends.  He will eventually begin treatments in Florida. Darren and his family wish to thank everyone for their loving support throughout this difficult time.  He is deeply touched. In typical fashion, he again said, ‘Right on; Fight on.’  Darren and his family request that everyone respect his privacy and that of his family during this period of time.  At his urging, I can report that the September 9, 2013 golf tournament that benefits the Foundation will continue as planned.”

wolfsoncarlFormer KPOJ, Portland Talk Host Building Online Progressive Talk Destination.  Carl Wolfson was the morning drive host at Clear Channel’s KPOJ, Portland before the company dropped the progressive talk format andsmithjefferson flipped it to sports talk in November of 2012.  Undaunted, Wolfson created a live, daily morning program on the internet and “Carl in the Morning” has been building a listenership on Wolfson’s internet station.  Now, he’s adding another program to the station as former Oregon State Representative Jefferson Smith begins hosting a program called “Thank You Democracy” two days a week – Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:00 am.  According to Willamette Week, Wolfson writes about the show, “Each episode of ‘Thank You Democracy’ will take a topic and cover that topic from various angles.  The show will benefit from Jefferson’s network of relationships, as well as his experience as an activist, nationally recognized non-profit executive, advisor to elected officials, as well as a candidate and office-holder himself.”

roggerjohnKRMS, Osage Beach, Missouri Host Saves Life of Guest.  It all started when “Ozarks Today” host John Rogger called author and scheduled guest June Barnhart by mistake on Monday July, 8 for an interview scheduled for a different day.  But when he spoke with her he noticed she sounded confused and hung up on him.  Fortunately the author’s publicist had his sister check in with the author’s sister who rushed over to her house to find her in bad shape.  She was dehydrated and confused and was taken to the hospital.  Rogger tells TALKERS magazine that he subsequently found out Barnhart had suffered a mild stroke but doctors say she is expected to make a full recovery.

hochmanburgerHealthy-Schmealthy, Tell ‘em You Want a Hochman Burger!  When WAXY, Miami “AM790 & FM 104.3 The Ticket” morning drive co-host Marc Hochman was asked by Miami Subs Grill to create a namesake burger to be sold at the restaurant, he was only too happy to comply.  Marc is pictured here prepping to dive into a Hochman Burger that is now available at all 32 Miami Subs locations.  (Miami Subs is partly owned by Miami-based rap star Pitbull.)  What’s in a Hochman Burger you ask?  It’s covered with cheddar and BBQ sauce and topped with Funyons!  Tasty…and crunchy, too!

wfan logoWFAN, New York’s Boomer & Carton to Captain Celebrity Softball Game.  Morning drive sports talk duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton will choose their sides for the Major League Baseball’s Taco Bell Legends & Celebrities Softball Game during their show on CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York Friday morning at 8:00 am.  Boomer & Carton will be broadcasting live from the All-Star FanFest at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.  The celebrity game is now in its 9th  year as part of MLB’s All-Star Week and will be played before the All-Star Game Tuesday evening at Citi Field.  It will feature celebrities including Chris Rock, Mike Piazza, Kevin James, Darryl Strawberry, George Lopez, Dwight Gooden, Ashanti, Jennie Finch, Chord Overstreet and James Denton, among others.  Boomer Esiason is co-captaining the National League team alongside John Franco and Craig Carton and Bernie Williams will lead the American League team.

Immigration Reform, George Zimmerman Trial, Student Loan Bill, Asiana Airlines Crash Landing, Egypt Turmoil, and Canadian Rail Disaster Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/10).  The battle in Congress over immigration reform and amnesty; the trial of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin; the bill that would address student loan interest rates; the investigation of the crash landing of the Asiana Airlines jet in San Francisco; the civil and political turmoil in Egypt; and the deadly Canadian railroad accident were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

| July 10, 2013

siriusxmSiriusXM Moves Past 25 Million Subscriber Mark.  SiriusXM Radio announces it has added 715,000 net new subscribers in the second quarter, and that brings its total subscriber number to more than 25 million.  The satcaster cites strong automotive sales for helping drive 15% growth in net additions over the second meyerjimquarter of 2012 and setting “a post-merger record for quarterly net subscriber additions.”  As a result, SiriusXM is raising full-year guidance for total net subscriber additions to 1.5 million from its previous guidance of 1.4 million.  Company CEO Jim Meyer states, “The new subscriber additions in the quarter have helped SiriusXM reach an exciting new milestone that reflects the popularity and reach of SiriusXM programming and services.  The quarterly results bolster SiriusXM’s leadership position in a dynamic audio entertainment marketplace as we continue our trend of strong, profitable growth.  Additionally, we are raising 2013 subscriber guidance to 1.5 million net additions based on our record performance in the quarter.”  Also, the company reiterated its existing 2013 guidance for 1.6 million self-pay net subscriber additions.

yankees logoClear Channel’s WOR, New York Bidding on Yankees Broadcast Rights.  According to a report by Phil Mushnick and Don Burke in the New York Post, Clear Channel-owned WOR, New York is entering thewor710 bidding war over rights to New York Yankees baseball play-by-play.  The reporters cite inside sources that say the company has offered a figure surpassing the current $14 million CBS Radio pays to air games on its all-news WCBS.  CBS Radio has held the rights for the past 11 years and bidding (contracts for both the Yankees and the Mets expire after this season) was expected to be hot with WFAN’s addition of an FM signal in the market and ESPN-owned WEPN also gaining an FM signal.  Whether Clear Channel really wants the Yankees or not is up for speculation – it’s not unusual for companies to enter into the bidding process to drive up the cost for its competition.  It’s a pretty good bet that CBS Radio wants to keep the Yankees but if the price gets too steep will the company let the games go to WOR?  Time will tell.  Meanwhile, unlike Buckley Broadcasting (WOR’s previous owner) Clear Channel has a lot of experience owning flagship baseball signals at its other stations across the country.

tribuneTribune to Split Broadcast and Publishing Entities into Two Companies.  Tribune Company is reporting that it is beginning the process of dividing its assets into two distinctive companies: Tribune Company will contain WGN-AM, Chicago and all of the television stations and TV production units while Tribune Publishing will be the parent ofwgnlogo its newspapers including the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Hartford Courant and others.  Like similarly structured companies, Tribune is focusing on its entertainment properties and the recent plan to acquire Local TV Holdings’ 19 TV stations is proof of that.  During its long bankruptcy proceedings, Tribune had its newspapers on the market but was unable to execute a deal.  News Corp. just announced it would execute a similar move and is splitting its TV and entertainment holdings (including Fox News Channel) into one company – 21st Century Fox – while keeping its publishing assets in the entity called News Corp.

baribeaurachelRachel Baribeau Exits ’92.9 The Game’ in Atlanta.  One of the cast members of CBS Radio sports talk WZGC, Atlanta “92.9 The Game” exits for a gig with Raycom SportsRachel Baribeau leaves the PM drive show where she appeared alongside Kordell Stewart and Carl Dukes to join the company that owns the television rights to ACC basketball and football and, through a sublicense with ESPN, is the syndicator of ACC football and basketball.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports Dukes and Stewart mentioned her departure on the air with Dukes stating, “We love Rachel and we’ll stay in contact with her.  She’s moving on to a great opportunity for herself.”

luciarayNationally Syndicated Financial Talk Host Ray Lucia Fined Over Investment Strategy Claims.  Ray Lucia and his Raymond J. Lucia Cos. Inc. were fined by administrative-law judge Cameron Elliot after the judge agreed with the original SEC complaint that Lucia’s “Buckets of Money” investment strategy – which claimed it had back-testing to support the success of its strategy – had “scant, if any, actual back-tests.”  According to a report in Investment News, Lucia was fined $50,000 and his company was fined $250,000.  Additionally, his advisor registration was revoked by the judge.  Investment News reports that Elliot ruled Lucia “misrepresented for years ‘the validity of purported back-testing in seminars for prospective investors’ interested in his Buckets of Money strategy for retirement savings.”  Lucia and his company have 21 days in which to appeal the decision.

ligginsalfredRadio One and TV One Bring Roland Martin to Radio and TV with “News One Now.”  Radio One president and CEO and TV One chairman Alfred Liggins announces to Multichannel.com that his companies are developing a newmartinroland program featuring former CNN journalist Roland Martin to be called “News One Now” that will debut in the fall prior to the Congressional Black Caucus’ Annual Legislative Conference.   Liggins says, “This is a further evolution of TV One’s commitment to better and more important television for African-Americans, and is also an extension of Radio One’s history and philosophy of making sure we inform, entertain and advocate for the African-American community.  This is the first time a network has approached African-American news on this type of commitment tvone logolevel.”  Liggins adds, “About 50% of African Americans get their news from cable news networks so we now have the opportunity to set the table on a daily basis.  The show will serve as the nexus of black thought – when you talk about what’s happening politically, socially, culturally in our communities, this is the place where people will be able to have those discussions.”  The three-hour radio show will air from 7:00 am to 10:00 am with the last hour simulcast on television via TV One and will “offer news and analysis of politics, entertainment, sports and culture from an African American perspective.”  Martin has been hosting TV One’s Sunday program “Washington Watch” but with the new venture, that show will not return in the fall.

freebeerCompass Media Networks’ ‘Free Beer & Hot Wings’ Morning Show Renews with Flagship WGRD, Grand Rapids.  Townsquare Media’s rock WGRD, Grand Rapids announces it has struck a new deal with the nationally syndicated young male-targeted “Free Beer & Hot Wings” morning drive show hosted by Gregg “Free Beer” Daniels, Chris “Hot Wings” Michels, and Eric Zane.  The new deal keeps the program on the station through 2018.  Townsquare Grand Rapids vice president/general manager Russ Hines tells MLive.com, “Gregg, Chris and Eric continue to entertain and grow their audience every day and amuse their listeners with quality humorous content.  Their decision to stay in West Michigan and continue to raise their families here is another indication of what makes Grand Rapids special.”

hannityseanKQNT, Spokane Adds Sean Hannity for Middays.  Clear Channel-owned news/talk KQNT, Spokane adds Premiere NetworksSean Hannity program to the schedule to air in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm following Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh.  KQNT program director Bob Castle states, “Sean Hannity is a media superstar and his addition to our lineup now provides our listeners and advertisers with the most popular talk show hosts in the country, all on one station.”

fifty & five logoGary Landis Named Director of Client Relations at Fifty & Five.  Former Westwood One vice president and longtime media consultant Gary Landis joins Fifty & Five as director of client relations.  Based in Redondo Beach, California, Fifty & Five is a four-year-old firm that landisgaryspecializes in social media marketing for brands, products and services including the radio industry.  Speaking about his new opportunity, Landis states, “With over 40 years of national broadcasting experience behind me, I am looking forward to working with CEO Lucas Vandenberg and EVP of client relations Peter Evans, plus the most incredible team of social media talent on the planet.  This is not your mother’s social media agency.  Beyond what is being done by every radio station today, there are new ways to employ social media that can profoundly impact the bottom line.”  Peter Evans says, “With Gary’s diverse experience and expertise in the broadcast media, we can only anticipate great things from him in the coming months and years.” Landis can be reached at 612-581-7581 or by e-mail at gary@fiftyandfive.com.

dreambigamerica logoDoug Stephan’s ‘Dream Big America’ Kicked Off This Week.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Doug Stephan – heard around the country on his “Good Day” morning program – debuted the “Dream Big America” first-ever live radio show that pits new entrepreneur ideas against each other.  The inaugural lineup of contestants appeared on Tuesday, July 9, at 9:00 am on “Doug Stephan’s Good Day.”  Three entrepreneurs each pitched their business ideas.  Then a panel of noted business executive/celebrities cross-examined each contestant.  Next, listeners were invited to call stephandougspecial voting numbers to select a weekly winner.  Weekly winners will be invited back to face off in the “Finals Show” on the last Tuesday of the month.  The final winner will receive cash, support and valuable resources for their business, according to Stephan.  The first three entrepreneurs were: Conscious Box, which enables customers to discover healthier, environmentally focused products by sending a monthly sample box of 10-20 products to a subscriber’s front door, presented by CEO Patrick Kelly, Jr.; myEDmatch, a job-matching site for educators that connects schools and teachers with shared missions, beliefs, and goals, presented by CEO Alicia Herald; and Stemulation, the first luxury skin-care product that uses adult mesenchymal stem cells to rejuvenate the skin, presented by president and CEO Laurie Nicoll.  Speaking about the debut program, Doug Stephan says, “What a powerhouse group of entrepreneurs for the ‘Dream Big America’ inaugural show.  We are coming out of the box with a bang!  Each one of these new ventures is very impressive in their own right.  I can’t wait to see how America will vote between these three companies.”  The “Dream Big America” program is a collaboration between Stephan’s “Good Day,” the Kansas City-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and its 1 Million Cups start-up education program, and the San Diego-based Nutritional Capital Network.

hasselbeckelisabethElisabeth Hasselbeck to Join Fox News Channel’s ‘Fox & Friends’ Morning Show.  Longtime cast member of ABC TV’s “The View,” conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck, will become part of Fox News Channel’s morning show, replacing current co-host Gretchen Carlson who is going to be anchoring her own daytime show on the cable news/talker beginning in September.  In a statement, FNC chairman and CEO Roger Ailes says, “Elisabeth’s warm and engaging personality made her a star on ‘The View.’  She has proven to be an excellent conversationalist and I am certain she will make a great addition to our already successful morning franchise.”

mikeandmikeOdds & Sods.  Salem Radio Network announces a month-long, multi-platform initiative in August designed to highlight what it calls “the battle over America’s culture wars” and reporting that SRN’s nationally syndicated talk hosts – as well as the network’s 24/7 Washington, D.C.-based SRN News service – will all focus interviews and special features on “the current challenges to traditional American values.”…..WTOP, Washington’s “Best of Washington” kicks off this week with new and returning “Top 10” categories.  Hubbard’s broadcast and digital news operation says it wants to know the best things in the Washington area.  This week on WTOP.com listeners can nominate their favorites in these ten categories: pizza, local charity, food truck, burger, wings, fries, local brewery, happy hour, farmer’s market, and shopping mall.  During the week of July 15 -19 the finalists will be announced and voting will begin.  The winners of WTOP’s “Best of Washington” will be unveiled weekdays July 22 through August 2…..ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike — Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic – will describe the action over the Citi Field PA system for those at the stadium during the 2013 Chevrolet Home Run Derby, Monday, July 15, at 8:00 pm at the MLB All Star Game festivities.  Greeny and Golic will be positioned on the field to provide commentary and player interviews during this year’s event.

Illegal Immigration Legislation/Amnesty Program, ObamaCare Implementation, George Zimmerman Trial, Egypt Turmoil, Aaron Hernandez Case, NSA Surveillance Program, Texas Abortion Bill, and Mexico Grabs Obesity Crown Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/9).  The debate over new immigration legislation and the proposed amnesty policy; implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the trial of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin; new details linking Aaron Hernandez to the shooting death of Odin Lloyd; debate over the National Security Agency’s surveillance program; the Texas House’s passing of new abortion legislation; and Mexico’s rise to the most obese nation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

| July 9, 2013

gallup logoLatest Gallup News Poll Puts Radio at Back of the Pack.  The just-released Gallup poll of Americans’ news consumption habits provides good news for television but not such good news for radio and print.  According to the study, among persons 30 to 49 years old, 50% named television as their preferred news medium, 28% said the internet was their first choice; 7% said radio and 6% said print.  Among the 18 to 29 demographic, radio fell behind print at just 3%.  While this study will be interpreted by some as another nail in the coffin for radio news, the reality is it’s not as cut-and-dried as that.  First, even radio practitioners would be hard pressed to expect radio to be considered a primary news source across a broad spectrum of the population in this day and age.  It’s hardly surprising that television and the internet are first and second, respectively.  It’s the very reason that forward-thinking radio news operations are moving into the digital world.  Most radio news people would admit that they are focused on serving people during their commute – something that television cannot do although is something that the internet is becoming better at doing as it gains access to moving vehicles.  Other factors to be considered are more nebulous.  In major markets with heritage radio news operations radio probably enjoys a better place in the minds of news consumers.  Survey the top 10 media markets only and radio may fare a bit better on a percentage basis.  Also, as part of a morning radio show (in just about any format), the news segment may not even be thought of by the listener as a “news program” yet it remains an indispensable part of most radio morning shows.

touchvision logoAnd Speaking of News.  Longtime radio programmer and media creative officer Lee Abrams is preparing to debut his new video news service called TouchVision.  Abrams, along with co-founders Steve Saslow and Brandon Davis are calling the new service “the revolutionary way to reach America’s new mainstream on all devices with a complete re-imagination of news and information.”  The live, 24/7 channel will differ from most news platforms in that it will feature no anchors.  Content airs simultaneously online, on TV, on phones and tablets.  TouchVision says, “The story is the star.”  TouchVision also states the programming is “a partnership with broadcasters on a DMA-exclusive basis using their digital assets.”  The programming clock indicates time for local news, weather and sports in addition to the unique programming elements and world and national news coverage.  You can check out TouchVision’s site here.

cookehollandAudience Research: The Dunkin’ Donuts Method.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports from his summer tour of client stations across America.  He writes that programmers can learn a lot from eavesdropping on conversations at donut shops and lunch counters.  He predicts, “You’ll note a disconnect between what you hear, and lots of what talk radio is trying to force-feed ‘em.  Example: While cable and radio pundits are shocked…SHOCKED…by revelations about beyond-Patriot Act NSA surveillance, coffee gulpers shrug that they’ve suspected it all along.  I’ve overheard parents say they’re using the story as an opportunity to wag a finger in their kids’ faces about what they disclose online.”  Read Holland Cooke’s entire piece here.

proctorjerryMEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT:  Jerry Proctor of The Proctor Group, Inc.  In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Jerry Proctor of The Proctor Group, Inc.  Proctor brings years of experience to the broker business and describes the deal scene as follows: ”Television is undergoing a consolidation revolution such as occurred in the radio business a few years ago.  Consequently, television station prices are returning to pre-recession levels and the consolidations continue with prices still climbing.  Radio is still suffering some of the lingering effects of the recession.  Station prices are recovering but that part of the broadcast industry is being held back due to the lack of available financing.  That’s one of the reasons you see so many LMA opportunities….many with purchase options attached.  The larger and dominant companies in radio are primarily trading among themselves with some small amount of consolidations continuing.  That leaves the lower tier of stations more available to smaller operators.  Many owners in this tier of stations are now retiring and want to sell.  I view NOW as being an excellent time to acquire those stations….if the buyer can find the financing to buy.  Unfortunately, a buyer today MUST have more than two nickels to rub together if they’re going to boot-strap a station purchase!”  To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.

rameyhalKCBS, San Francisco’s Hal Ramey Returns to Work After Lengthy Vocal Problem.  Sports anchor Hal Ramey returned to work at KCBS, San Francisco on July 1 after almost four months off the air due to a nodule on his vocal cords.  The Walnut Creek Patch reports that back in February, Ramey noticed his voice was getting a little hoarse.  Doctors advised him to give it a little rest but it just got worse.  He was told to rest it completely – no talking at all – but after a while it only shrank 60% and doctors decided to operate.  The non-cancerous growth was removed on May 9 and Ramey was able to return to work seven weeks later.

durginbobOdds & Sods.  WHP, Harrisburg afternoon drive host Bob Durgin will retire from his position there on August 2 after a 24-year career at the station.  Clear Channel is beginning a search to replace Durgin…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles announces the next in its “On Your Corner” series in which the all-news outlet will spotlight San Pedro and the Palos Verdes Peninsula on Friday, July 19 with a day of live broadcasts from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm.  The station says it will focus on key issues and happenings in San Pedro and the Port of Los Angeles, along with the peninsula communities of Palos Verdes, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills and Rolling Hills Estates.  Civic leaders and other guests will be featured during the special broadcast to give Southern Californians insight into the unique attributes, history and future development in the area.

radioshow2013‘Radio and the Connected Car’ Super Session Scheduled for 2013 Radio Show.  The National Association of Broadcasters and the Radio Advertising Bureau announce the 2013 Radio Show in Orlando will feature a Super Session titled, “Radio and the Connected Car” taking place on Thursday, September 19 at 9:15 am.  The NAB and RAB say the panel will feature “leading strategists, analysts and researchers discussing developments in the connected car, what consumers want and where the technology is headed.  This session will reveal data from surveys, focus groups and consumer clinics along with sneak peeks at what car makers and their suppliers have in store for the dashboard of the future.  Participants will offer specific recommendations on what radio can do now to maintain its prominence in the automobile for years to come.”  Participants will include: Roger C. Lanctot, associate director, Global Automotive Practice at Strategy Analytics; and Fred Jacobs, president of Jacobs Media.  Bill Rose, senior vice president, marketing at Arbitron, will provide introductory remarks.

harrisbroadcast logoCharlie Vogt Appointed CEO of Harris Broadcast.  Charlie Vogt comes to Harris Broadcast from his most recent position as president and CEO of GENBAND where he led a companyvogtcharlie transformation that encompassed six acquisitions, including Tekelec SSG, NextPoint Networks and Nortel’s VoIP Business.  Harris Broadcast, recently acquired by The Gores Group, defines itself as “a global supplier of networking, routing and software solutions that create, manage, transmit, distribute and monetize multimedia content.”  Vogt succeeds Harris Morris, who was appointed president of Harris Broadcast when it was a subsidiary of Harris Corporation in 2010, led the company through its divestiture process and guided the transition period to The Gores Group ownership, including the completion of fiscal year 2013.  Harris Broadcast chairman and board member of Dish Network, Carl Vogel, states, “Charlie’s proven track record of taking companies with powerful and promising technology to the next level uniquely positions him to lead this business.  His decision to join Harris Broadcast as president and CEO likewise reflects the promise and potential behind the company’s market-leading technology, marquee customers and exceptional employees.  Charlie will bring to Harris Broadcast vision, leadership, creativity and operational discipline as well as an entrepreneurial and customer-first culture.”  Vogt says of his new position, “I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about joining Harris Broadcast, especially at a time when broadcasters, cable networks and multi-channel content distributors are experiencing so much change – from the impact of on-demand to content delivery on multiple screens and the digital transition to video and audio over IP.  I have spent my professional career building businesses, fostering an entrepreneurial culture and introducing disruptive technologies that transform business models.  I look forward to leading the Harris Broadcast team to accelerate innovation in areas that will enable the company to experience market-leading growth.”

espnvfoundationESPN Radio Begins Annual ‘Don’t Give Up ESPYS V Foundation Auction.’  ESPN Radio announces it is presenting the “9th Annual Don’t Give Up ESPYS V Foundation Auction” going on now through July 17.  The online and on-air public auction features hundreds of items and experiences for bid to raise money and awareness for The V Foundation for Cancer Research. The event has raised more than $5.7 million over the first eight years of the fundraiser. A majority of the nearly 200 experiences and items in the auction will be available online via www.espnradio.com or ebay.com (now through July 17) while a total of 18 fan “experiences” will be auctioned live on air across ESPN Radio’s national shows on July 17 from 6:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.  Listeners can call 1-800-4JimmyV or log onto www.jimmyv.org to both donate and bid on items and experiences in the radio-thon, with the highest bidder at 59 minutes past each hour winning the experience.

Asiana Air S.F. Crash Landing, Egypt Turmoil, ObamaCare Criticism, Immigration Reform/Amnesty, and Eliot Spitzer Comptroller Candidacy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/8).  The crash landing of an Asiana Airlines jet at the San Francisco airport; the violence and turmoil in Egypt after a military-forced change of regimes in the Middle Eastern state; ongoing concerns over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; legislation addressing illegal immigration and a proposal for amnesty for illegals already here; and former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s plans to run for comptroller of New York City.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

| June 26, 2013

npg logoClear Channel Faces Suit by Photo Company Alleging Illegal Use.  National Photo Group LLC has filed a complaint in United States District Court Western District of Texas alleging Clear Channel radio stations infringed on its copyrights by using pictures of various celebrities on the websites of some of its radio stations.  The complaint names 11 CC radio stations and alleges photos of celebrities including Jason Aldean, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Drew Barrymore and others were used without permission and with knowledge that the photos were copyrighted.  NPG is seeking $150,000 per infringement plus legal fees and any other relief the Court deems just and proper.

marrtomlgWCBM, Baltimore Extends Talk Host Tom Marr’s Contract Through 2017.  Baltimore talk radio institution Tom Marr will be heard on WCBM through 2017 as the station’s vice president, Nick Mangione. Jr., announces the station extends his no-cut contract for another four years.  The official announcement was made June 24 by WCBM program director and operations manager Sean Casey at the start of Marr’s show that day.  Mangione, Jr. states, “I am delighted we have reached the agreement on the extension. To quote my late father, Tom is still at the top of his game both as a broadcaster in general and talk show host in particular.  We are delighted he will be on the air until 2017 with WCBM and he just may decide to stay longer.  There will always be room for him in the WCBM family.  Tom has a good sense for the business.  As an example, he is the first one to suggest that we add both Sean Hannity and Mark Levin to our lineup.  Tom has a large following within the reach of our 50 thousand watt transmitter and is building a solid national and international following on WCBM’s worldwide reach via the internet.”  Marr, who began his career as a high school sports broadcaster on WWDC-AM, Washington, DC in 1960, says, “I am deeply honored that Nick and the Mangione Family Enterprises agreed to the extension.  I look forward to the challenges ahead for talk radio and its increasing role in the media especially in view of our relationship with the digital world.”

brienjenWBZ-AM, Boston Names Jen Brien Overnight Talk Host.  After the retirement of Steve LeVeille last year, the station has been featuring a number of talk radio personalities in the overnight slot.  Now, program director Peter Casey announces Jennifer “Jen” Brien is named to the permanent position.  The station says the program “will be a mix of pop culture, current events, politics, and the comings and goings of people in New England.”  In addition to WBZ-AM’s monster signal that penetrates the entire East Coast at that time of night, the show can be heard on CBS Radio’s Radio.com.  Brien joined WBZ from Entercom’s crosstown news/talk WRKO where she hosted a daily program.  She has also hosted shows on WPRO and WHJJ in Providence, and WCOD and WXTK on Cape Cod.  Before beginning her career in radio, Brien spent more than five years as a soldier in the United States Army where she was selected for the prestigious “Soldier of the Year” award.

bennettalexSiriusXM Cancels Long-Running Alex Bennett Show.  One of modern talk radio’s true pioneers, Alex Bennett, has reportedly been let go “without cause” from SiriusXM Satellite Radio‘s “Sirius Left” channel where he was doing the daily 7:00 am to 10:00 am program.  Bennett has been with Sirius for almost a decade and, according to insiders close to the host, was caught by surprise and is “distraught” over what transpired.  Bennett has had a colorful, unique on-air career that goes back to the late-1960s when he was the lone talk show host on the old WMCA, New York when it was still the “Home of the Good Guys.”  He subsequently went on to do both rock music and talk broadcasting serving as one of the original prototypes for the pop culture-oriented (some call it “shock jock”) and “progressive” genres of modern day talk radio.  Between WMCA and Sirius, he served in ground-breaking stints at such great stations as WPLJ in New York and KMEL, KITS (“Live 105″) and KQAK (“The Quake”) in San Francisco.  At press time, it is not clear if this was a cost-cutting move on the part of Sirius or indicative of a re-direction in programming.  Bennett is still on the air and is reportedly doing his final program for the satellite radio service this Friday.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “In my opinion Alex Bennett is one of the most important talents ever to grace a microphone during my lifetime.  His show on WMCA — in which he did extremely progressive talk about the issues of the day such as the Vietnam War – was on a station that was otherwise a hip music station.  In the midst of all the fun, cool hipness of the rock ‘n’ roll and the zany DJs of that fabulous station, Bennett was fearlessly talking to the kids about extremely important controversial issues.  That show served as the original inspiration for me to launch an issues-oriented talk show (“Harrison’s Mic”) five years later on rocker KMET in Los Angeles and my own talk career that paralleled my music radio work.  If I had not heard Alex Bennett in 1969, there might not have ever been a TALKERS magazine.”

cookehollandHOLLAND COOKE: The Future of AM/FM in the Car.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports from the Consumer Electronic Association’s Connected Car Conference in New York City and her says that the bottom line after “four-and-a-half-hours of thoughtful discussion, research, and prognostication by automotive, electronics, and media thinkers:  Whatever the dashboard is about to morph into matters less to AM/FM radio than what’s already happened.”  Cooke writes that people who matter have already connected their media to the car speakers and offers some thoughts about what radio programmers can do to stand out from the digital competition.  Read his analysis here.

wznn logoSummitMedia to Pull the Plug on Sports Talk In Birmingham.  SummitMedia announces it will drop the sports talk format on WZNN, Birmingham “97.3 The Zone” and flip to a different – most likely music – format.  SummitMedia EVP and COO David DuBose tells the Birmingham News, “We have been evaluating the sportsfinebaumpaul format in light of multiple factors, including [Paul] Finebaum‘s placement.  After nearly two years, it became clear the market did not support two competing sports stations.  “Therefore, we have determined we should focus on other format opportunities.”  SummitMedia purchased the Birmingham cluster from Cox Media Group earlier this year.  The station was flipped to sports in August of 2011 when Cox had its eye on building the station around mega-successful Southeast sports personality Paul Finebaum by bringing him over from Cumulus Media’s crosstown sports WJOX.  Finebaum, who’d had legal squabbles with WJOX and wanted out of that relationship, ended up working out his contract there, sat out a non-compete and will begin a new sports talk radio venture with ESPN based out of Charlotte.  It’s believed he will return to WJOX via ESPN syndication when the new program debuts later this summer.

mynorthwest logoBonneville Seattle Brings Unique Talk to MyNorthwest.comThe Bonneville Seattle cluster that includes news/talk KIRO-FM, sports KIRO-AM and talk KTTH is beginning a series of unique audio programs to the web venture it calls MyNorthwest.com.  Dubbed “MyNorthwest Chats,” the weekly, one-hour programs will stream on Wednesday’s from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm beginning with today’s chat featuring nationally acclaimed restaurateur Tom DouglasMyNorthwest.com editor Stephanie Klein says, “We’re excited to have the opportunity to connect our readers directly to the experts and start an inspiring dialogue that makes an impact.  We want the conversation to spark a chain of discussion in our readers’ lives.”  Other chats lined up for July include talk show host Michael Medved and Seattle Mariners insider Shannon Drayer.

ryderturiProgramming Changes at WGN, Chicago; Turi Ryder to Exit.  Chicago radio pro Turi Ryder has been in the late night slot at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago since the beginning of this year but now the company says it’s going in a different direction and will end her program.  Ryder will get a chance to say goodbye to her WGN listeners as she’ll work this evening and Thursday before wrapping things up there.  The station has not announced what will air in the time slot.  Ryder also hosts “America Weekend” for Envision Radio Networks.

wproCumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence Tackles Immigration Issue with Live Debate.  News/talk WPRO-AM’s Tara Granahan is moderating a debate that will take place today at the Providence Marriott from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm called, “Green Light on Green Cards,” featuring a panel of experts from each side of the illegal immigration issue.  The granahantaradiscussion will be streamed live online at the station’s 630wpro.com and will be the center piece of a “WPRO Special Report” scheduled to air during the “WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti” the week of July 1.  The debate features two immigration lawyers, a state representative, a member of the local clergy and the head of an illegal immigration enforcement organization.  The stations states, “The debate will address the issues that have emerged from illegal immigration including; licenses for illegal immigrants, how immigration effects the Rhode Island economy, and potential solutions moving forward.”

telesouth logoTeleSouth Communications to Buy WOSM, Ocean Springs, Mississippi.  TeleSouth operates the Mississippi talk radio network known as “SuperTalk Mississippi” and the purchase of WOSM, Ocean Springs (103.1 FM) – between Biloxi and Pascagoula on the Gulf Coast – will be added to that network.  The company states, “The addition of WOSM to the network will give coast listeners the best choice in Mississippi programming with ‘The Gallo Radio Show,’ ‘The JT Show’ and ‘Head to Head with Matt Wyatt and Richard Cross,’ all homegrown programs that keep a watch on state government, entertainment, sports, unique happenings in Mississippi, with a local take on national issues.”  In addition to Mississippi-based programs, ‘SuperTalk’ is also home to Cumulus Media NetworksMike Huckabee and Compass Media NetworksLars Larson and Todd Schnitt.  WOSM is owned and operated by Charles Cooper and airs Christian programming.  TeleSouth CEO Steve Davenport states, “We are excited about growing the ‘SuperTalk Network’ with the addition of WOSM.  Mr. Cooper has worked hard for years building an audience loyal to traditional family values.  We are confident that WOSM listeners will hear those values in the programs featured each day on ‘SuperTalk.’”  Long-time coast talk show host and programmer Kipp Greggory will serve as general manager of WOSM.

rutherforddaveCHQR, Calgary Talk Host Dave Rutherford to End Daily Show.  Canadian talk show host Dave Rutherford will wrap a 21-year career hosting a daily talk show at CHQR, Calgary after his last show on July 26.  The conservative personality and pedigreed newsman tells the Edmonton Journal he believes the broadcast news industry is dumbing down and there may be no place for a broadcaster like him.  “I don’t think there’s the desire to ask the next question, maybe to ask any questions.  But I sense that the whole industry, the broadcast news business, television and radio, is dumbing down.”

cnnradioThe End of the Line for CNN Radio.  The service was a shell of its former self after Dial Global ended its distribution of the news product and replaced it with NBC News Radio last year, effectively becoming a digital-only product.  Now, CNN states that after completing “a review of its radio business,” it “has made the decision to cease production of CNN Radio podcasts, effective immediately.”  CNN has indicated that some of the staff will be relocated to positions elsewhere in the company.

huntallenAllen Hunt to End WSB, Atlanta Program.  Christian broadcaster Allen Hunt announces he’ll end his Sunday evening program that has aired on WSB, Atlanta since its inception after the June 30 broadcast.  Hunt says he was approached by Cox Media to move the time of his program and he decided that due to his busy schedule with the Dynamic Catholic Institute and the requested change, he decided it would be better to end the show.  Hunt built the program at WSB and, for a couple of years, put the show into national syndication.

mohrbillboardThe Roving Jay Mohr Billboard.  Fox Sports Radio Network nationally syndicated host Jay Mohr’s flagship station, “AM570 FOX Sports LA” (KLAC, Los Angeles) surprised Mohr with a mobile billboard promoting his program.  While Mohr was on the air, the billboard stopped by the studio during its route through Los Angeles and the show crew seized the opportunity for a quick photo-op.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: intern Ben Haley, technical producer John Ramos, social media producer Matty Cox, assistant producer Justin Frosburg, Mohr, update anchor “Diamond” Dan Beyer, associate producer Mike Lingard and executive producer Greg “Hong Kong” Toohey.

Former KMOX, St. Louis Personality Bruce Bradley Dies.  Bruce Bradley was a personality on CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis from 1986 to 1992.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports he passed away on Saturday, June 22 in Lake St. Louis at age 79.  Prior to his career in St. Louis, Bradley also worked in the New York, Philadelphia and Boston markets.

President Obama’s Global Warming Policy, SCOTUS Gay Marriage Rulings, George Zimmerman Trial, Paula Deen Freefall, and Texas Anti-Abortion Bill Fails Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/25).  President Obama’s policy to bypass Congress to enact greenhouse gas emissions regulations; the Supreme Court’s rulings on gay marriage issues; the trial of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin; the demise of Paula Deen’s media career in the wake of allegations of racist language; and the failure of anti-abortion legislation in Texas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

| May 22, 2013

techsurvey9Jacobs Media’s TechSurvey9: News/Talk Breakout.  Consulting firm Jacobs Media held a webinar yesterday in which it broke out data relative to the news/talk format from its all-radio TechSurvey9.  A key point for talk radio programmers comes from the answers to the question, “Why are you listening to less AM/FM radio than in the past?”  The study indicates 49% said it was because they are not enjoying the programming.  The next most common response was because of a lifestyle change.  After that, the responses were: 17%, too many commercials; 10% listening to SiriusXM; and 9% listening to internet radio.  Some of the key points from the study indicating unique attributes of regular users of news/talk radio:

  • They are big users of email – especially for building a relationship with their favorite news/talk station.  They are less likely to connect with the station via Facebook or Twitter.
  • 74% report their primary reason for listening to AM/FM radio is for news, traffic and weather information and 42% cited the need to find out what’s going on locally – much higher than users of other radio formats.
  • News/talk users are #2 in owning a car with a digital dashboard (compared to other format fans) with 13% reporting they own one.
  • Social media use for news/talk fans indicates they are far more likely to be on LinkedIn – likely due to the “professional” status of many listeners.  They are least likely of all format fans to “like” a Facebook page and are not especially frequent users of Twitter compared to other format P1s (although use of Twitter increased 17% over the 2012 survey).
  • 65% of news/talk listeners downloaded digital radio apps and, compared to users of other radio formats, were more likely to download your station’s app and the TuneIn app.
  • Compared to the same study period one year ago, news/talk fans’ use of internet radio rose 15%; saw a 36% increase in the use of tablet devices; and a 19% increase in the use of the digital dashboard.

finebaumpaulPaul Finebaum to Join ESPN August 1.  The formerly Birmingham, Alabama-based sports journalist and talk show host will change his home base to Charlotte for his new gig with ESPN. Paul Finebaum, who had a tumultuous last two years with Cumulus Media at WJOX in Birmingham, will not be moving to SummitMedia’s crosstown WZNN “97.3 The Zone” as many industry watchers had suspected.  Instead, Finebaum will take his radio program to ESPN where it will air on ESPN Audio and the ESPN-owned SEC Network, destined to debut in August of 2014.  According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Finebaum will also make 100 appearances on ESPN’s cable TV channels.  After entering into a couple of legal battles with former long-time employer Cumulus Media over the course of several years, Finebaum agreed to work out his contract and exit radio in order to sit out his non-compete and start fresh somewhere else.  He left WJOX in January of this year.

clearchannelClear Channel Announces Bid to Push Back Debt with Bond Exchange.  Clear Channel Communications announces it is seeking to push off some debt until 2021 via a $2.1 billion bond exchange.  The company is offering to swap $796.3 million of 10.75% notes due in 2016 and $1.28 billion of 11% payment-in-kind notes due in 2016 for the new debt that would come up in 2021.  The notes will pay 12% in cash and 2% through the issuance of payment-in-kind notes.   Bloomberg’s Mary Childs reports, “Free cash flow at the San Antonio-based broadcaster hasn’t exceeded $340.9 million in any year since its 2008 buyout by Bain Capital Partners LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP.  Credit-default swaps tied to the bonds of the company, which owes about $20.8 billion total, are at about the lowest in two years, a sign investors are open to refinancing, Bloomberg data show.”

coxenterprises logoCox Enterprises Announces $1 Million Donation to Oklahoma Tornado Relief.  The parent company of Cox Media GroupCox Enterprises – announces that in partnership with the James L. Cox Foundation it is donating $1 million in support of relief and recovery efforts.  “Cox Enterprises is committed to supporting the victims of this terrible storm,” says Jim Kennedy, chairman of Cox Enterprises. “As a company that operates multiple businesses in Oklahoma, we are committed to helping our employees and the communities we serve recover from this disaster. In providing this assistance, we also encourage others to support the local relief and recovery efforts.”  Cox Enterprises operates multiple companies in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, including: Cox Communications, Total Resource Auctions – Oklahoma City, Total Resource Auctions – Tulsa, news/talk KRMG, Fox23, My41, country KWEN, Tulsa “K95,” hot AC KRAV, Tulsa “Mix 96” and rock KJSR, Tulsa “Rock 103.”  “In this difficult time of recovery and rebuilding, our hearts go out to the families affected by the tornadoes,” states Percy Kirk, senior vice president and general manager, Cox Communications Oklahoma. “This gift is a symbol of our commitment to our community and it is our hope that it will provide comfort and relief to many.”  In addition to the cash donation and in-kind public service announcements, Cox’s local media properties in Tulsa are hosting a series of community fundraisers.

kdkafmlogoCBS Radio’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh Hosts Remote Auditions for Sports Talk Host.  CBS Radio Pittsburgh sports talk outlet “Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan” is hosting open auditions for a weekend sports talk show on the station.  The open auditions rounds begin this weekend and will take place at five different locations over the next four weeks.  The company states, “Participants will be judged by station personnel on their ability to rant on a random sports topic.  Ten entrants from the open auditions will be selected to move on to the semifinal round to be held at the Tilted Kilt in the North Shore on Monday, June 24.  From there, the top four entrants will move on to the Finals at Sidelines Bar and Grill in Sewickley to be judged during a live broadcast with Andrew Fillipponi on KDKA-FM on Thursday, June 27 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  Program director Ryan Maguire says, “We’re looking for the next great Pittsburgh sports talk show host – someone who can grow into a superstar.  We’re eager to see which member of this passionate fan base can take advantage of this very rare opportunity.”

fontlinesoffreedom logo‘Frontlines of Freedom’ Returns to WOOD, Grand Rapids for Flagship Station.  The Talk Media Network-syndicated program dedicated to all things military and hosted by retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Denny Gillem returns to its original flagship station WOOD, Grand Rapids.  Talk Media Network’s Josh Leng reports that the weekend “Frontlines of Freedom” program will air live from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on WOOD beginning June 1.  Gillem says of the move, “Six years ago my co-founder and I created ‘Frontlines of Freedom’ on WOOD radio.  June 1 is the show’s six-year anniversary.  It’s a great honor to be returning to our roots at the finest station in West Michigan.”  The program began in 2006 as a special Memorial Day show called, “A Colonel’s Salute to Veterans” that won a Michigan Broadcasters Association award.  One year later the weekly program was founded at WOOD.  Phil Tower, director of news & content programming at Clear Channel’s WOOD, states, “Few persons are held in such high regard as the men and women of our military, so it’s a natural fit to welcome ‘Frontlines of Freedom’ back to our WOOD radio lineup.”

stilestonyTony Stiles to Join The Next News Network.  Talk radio personality Tony Stiles, host of his eponymous program heard Saturdays on NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha “The Mighty 1290,” announces he’s accepted the news anchor position at Chicago-based internet news network The Next News Network.  Stiles states, “I am honored that after only seven months on the air in Omaha, that my show, ideas and personality has resonated nationally through a loyal audience by word-of-mouth, radio and internet access.  This coming Friday night I will continue my role of frequent anchor until I assume the daily desk in early summer.”  The Next News Network founder Gary Franchi says, “As the founder of Next News Network, I became aware of Tony’s ability to attract an audience as I followed his rapid growth and heard his show.  Tony is a perfect fit for our 24/7 internet newscast which, like Tony, is the first of its kind.”

stigallchrisCBS News Reporter Tells WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall Her Work and Personal Computers Compromised.  In a story that has since gone viral after being picked up by numerous consumer news outlets, with the allegations the DOJ has been investigating AP and Fox News reporters as the backdrop, CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson told WPHT, Philadelphia AM drive host Chris Stigall her work and personal computers are being analyzed as part of an investigation.  Attkisson said she could not point the finger at the DOJ but the speculation is that it’s a possibility.  Attkisson has been reporting on the Benghazi attacks story.

sportsusaSports USA Announces College Football Schedule.  Sports USA unveils its 2013 schedule of college football contests saying it “consists of 18 games featuring the best teams in college football.  Defending national champion Alabama, unbeaten Ohio State, Texas A&M, (with Heisman Trophy winning QB Johnny Manziel) Michigan, Florida, and LSU will be among the teams featured this year.”  Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “We are pleased to provide these incredible matchups to our nearly 400 affiliates nationwide.  Additionally, we are providing a sideline reporter for each game.”  The season kicks off with USC at Hawaii on August 29 and wraps up with the Independence Bowl on December 31.  Other key match-ups include Florida at LSU on October 12, Michigan versus Michigan State on November 2 and Alabama at Auburn on November 30.

delaneykateOdds & Sods.  “America Tonight” nationally syndicated talk show host Kate Delaney is doing some fill-in work this weekend for NBC Sports Radio Network.  Delaney, who earlier in her career worked at WFAN, New York, will sit in from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET on May 26 and from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on May 27…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angelesknx logo continues its “KNX on Your Corner” remote broadcast series on June 7 as it takes a comprehensive look at the Orange County city of Fullerton.  During the live broadcast from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm, community leaders including Mayor Bruce Whitaker, council members, Chief of Police Dan Hughes and other special guests will be interviewed.  Additionally, a special series by KNX investigative reporter Charles Feldman will look at the double-barreled impact on the city of the “Great Recession” and the high-profile fatal beating of a homeless man, Kelly Thomas, by members of the Fullerton Police Department nearly two years ago.

espnESPN to Begin Mega-Layoffs.  At this point the company’s only public statement has been, “We are implementing changes across the company to enhance our continued growth while smartly managing costs.  While difficult, we are confident that it will make us more competitive, innovative and productive.”  It’s unclear how many ESPN Audio staffers will be affected but the company, which employs about 4,000 in the United States and another 3,000 in other parts of the world, could be in the hundreds according to some reports.  ESPN is a huge source of revenue for principle parent Disney (20% is owned by Hearst) but some industry watchers speculate that ESPN’s increasing costs in acquiring precious play-by-play contracts – especially considering new entrants into the field including CBS Sports Network and Fox Sports 1 – is forcing it to be more cost-conscious.

walshprotestIRS Protest Led by WIND, Chicago’s Joe Walsh.  Former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh is pictured here (with megaphone) on the street outside the Dearborn Street offices of the Internal Revenue Service in Chicago protesting the agency’s targeting of conservative and religious groups.  The rally was organized and led by Walsh, who hosts his own evening talk show on Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago, “AM 560 The Answer.”  Walsh states, “It’s time to send a message that our First Amendment rights will not be denied by an out-of-control administration.”  Dozens of protesters joined Walsh during the lunchtime gathering.

IRS Targets Conservatives, DOJ Fox News Investigation, Oklahoma Tornado Aftermath, Benghazi Attacks Case, and Anthony Weiner to Run for NYC Mayor Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/21).  The IRS’ targeting of conservative groups; the investigation by the Department of Justice into Fox News Channel reporters; the aftermath of the deadly Oklahoma tornado; the ongoing scrutiny of the Benghazi attack and disgraced former NY Congressman Anthony Weiner’s bid for mayor of New York were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

| May 14, 2013

brothersjoyceIndustry Mourns Death of Dr. Joyce Brothers.  Before there was a Dr. Laura Schlessinger or a Dr. Joy Browne on the radio and in talk media, there was a Dr. Joyce Brothers.  Named by TALKERS magazine as the 72nd most important radio talk show host of all time (“Heaviest Hundred”), Joyce Bauer Brothers, the mother of media psychology, died yesterday at the age of 85 surrounded by her family.  The cause of death has not been disclosed.  Dr. Joyce Brothers exploded into the public conscience in 1955 after appearing on the TV game show “The $64,000 Question,” the most popular program at the time.  She was the second person to ever win the entire payment and she was the first woman.  Those qualities alone may have made her an instant celebrity, but add into the mix this unexpected element: she answered obscure questions on the subject of boxing while pitted up against boxers.  After that, she landed an opportunity to do commentary for CBS Sports during a boxing match between Carmen Basilio and Sugar Ray Robinson.  Thus began her television career.  By 1958, Dr. Brothers was hosting a new kind of television talk show – one where she took mailed-in questions from viewers on the subjects of love, marriage, childrearing, and sex.  It was that last subject during an innocent era of the late 1950s which summoned the NBC executives into the control room one day.  They sweated through her response to a question about premature ejaculation and then waited for the calls to come in – calls of complaints.  In the book Making Waves, the 50 Greatest Women in Radio and Television, Dr. Brothers says, “Their white faces drained of blood, and they were waiting for phone calls of complaints and horror.”  Sure enough the calls did come in – but “were all positive – men saying ‘This is something I’ve had all my life and you’ve helped me.’”  There was not one complaint among them, she recalled.  And from that point forward, “I went on my own way and I was on my own way,” a path that lasted decades during which she was often cited as one of the most admired women in America.  Her ability to take private issues public with genuine compassion, grace and intelligence — and never embarrass or offend someone – was the key to her connection to the viewer and listener.  The only topic she declined to ever discuss?   “Mental illness,” she once explained. “I am not trying to do therapy on the air.  If I think there is even a possibility that people need therapy, I suggest they seek professional help.”  Though her media career began in television, she made a significant foray into radio on NBC Radio/Westwood One and is widely credited with spearheading the call-in psychology shows that became a traditional genre of talk radio.  Over the years, she appeared frequently as a guest on talk shows such as “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.”   Dr. Brothers also landed numerous television roles – many of which were comedic cameo appearances on sitcoms and even ended up in an animated version of herself on “The Simpsons.”   She was the author of nine books including most recently Widow, in which she dispenses advice to women who have lost a husband (hers died in 1989).  Her articles have appeared in Readers’ Digest, Good Housekeeping and Parade.  Born to attorney-parents who worked together in their own law practice, Dr. Brothers grew up in Far Rockaway, Queens.  She credits her off-the-charts memory for her ability to cite details for things she only read once.  Not only did she skip two grades in high school, but then she went on to graduate with honors.  After winning a scholarship to Cornell University where she was forced to major in Home Economics (to retain the scholarship), she discovered psychology and achieved a double-major.  She went on to get her doctorate at Columbia University.  Dr. Brothers married medical student Milton Brothers in 1949 and left a teaching position in 1955 at Hunter College in New York City to be a stay-at-home mother for her newborn daughter.  It was when their money got tight that Dr. Brothers hoped to take home the prize from “The 64,000 Question.”  The rest, as they say, is history.

brownejoyDr. Joy Browne Credits Pioneer Dr. Joyce Brothers with Making Psychology Accessible.  One of the leading radio psychologists of the last quarter century, Dr. Joy Browne (syndicated 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm daily by Radio America) tells TALKERS, that in addition to the media pioneer being an enormous influence on her career, not to mention talk radio and TV in general, the late Dr. Joyce Brothers was a giant figure in America popular culture because “she made psychology accessible to the masses.”  Browne, who worked on a number of occasions with Brothers, describes the legendary broadcaster as being one of the “most focused people I’ve ever met in this business.”  Browne recalls, “Dr. Joyce Brothers could accomplish almost anything she wanted to do simply by putting her brilliant mind to it…whether it was remembering minutia about boxing to win a game show… to knowing exactly what to do to promote her books… to distilling complex topics down to their basic essence so people could understand them.  She had an amazingly disciplined mind.”

valentinephilTalk Host Phil Valentine Alleges Experiencing IRS Harassment as Political Payback.  In an op-ed piece posted today (5/14) exclusive to TALKERS, Nashville-based Cumulus Media syndicated conservative host Phil Valentine claims that he has been repeatedly audited by the IRS over a number of years for no wrongdoing on his part which he believes is tied to his on-air political positions.  He also says that he has spoken a number of his liberal friends on radio who’ve told him they have experienced the same thing.  He writes, ”The revelation on Friday (5/10) that the IRS was targeting conservative groups came as a shock to much of America, especially those on the right side of the aisle.  Once the story broadened on Monday to include more groups and more abuse it became apparent that there’s something big going on here.  For me, it was all simply a confirmation of something I’ve been experiencing for some time.  In fact, I’ve been chronicling the experience on my radio show.”  Valentine encourages fellow talk show hosts who have been experiencing the same thing but are afraid to complain because of how “frightening” the IRS can be, to stand up and come forward.  To read his entire opinion piece, please click here.

cookehollandSome On-Air Do’s And Don’ts from a Leading Consultant.  One of the hardest-working consultants (and TALKERS columnist) in the radio business today, Holland Cooke shares some helpful tips to sharpening up on-air performance (sort of like an old “aircheck meeting”) and keeping people listening longer.  In a new article posted today (5/14) Cooke suggests prepping better, listening better (while on the air), and speaking in the second person singular.  He advises not to talk like a radio guy (avoid terms like “remote” broadcast – people think a remote is what they use to change TV channels), do not waste listeners’ time, and SEDUCE listeners into giving you more of their time.  Cooke writes, “The way Arbitron ratings are calculated – diaries or PPM — keeping listeners even just five more minutes each time they tune in could as much as DOUBLE your ratings.  So when you tease, really tease!”  To read Holland Cooke’s entire column, click here.

curleyjohnJohn Curley Back on Evenings at KIRO-FM, Seattle.  The night shift was the original slot John Curley had when he joined Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle but he moved to morning drive in November of 2012.  Just two months later the station replaced him in AM drive with Dave Ross and he’s been off the air since.  Now, program director Pete Gammell pairs Curley up with current evening host Andrew Walsh.  Gammell says in a statement, “With John’s comfortable style and storytelling skills he naturally fits well in a nighttime setting.  Partner John’s entertaining approach with Andrew’s newsy perspective and you have a completely new dynamic and compelling show.”

barksingaInga Barks Adds PM Drive Show to Hosting Responsibilities.  Bakersfield, California-based talk radio personality Inga Barks begins hosting the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program on Buckley Broadcasting’s KNZR, Bakersfield.  She’ll handle this program in addition to her evening talk show heard on Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM, Fresno.  Barks previously worked in the Bakersfield market on American Media General’s news/talk KERN.

harrisheidiLas Vegas Talk Personality Heidi Harris Debuts Daily Feature.  Las Vegas-based talk show host Heidi Harris – most recently heard in Los Angeles on Salem Communications’ KRLA – is producing a daily feature dubbed the “Heidi Harris Files” that is airing on Silver State Broadcasting’s news/talk KBET.  The three- minute vignette will air on KBET three times daily at 7:30 am, 12:30 pm and 4:30 pm.  Harris has also worked at CBS Radio‘s KXNT and Beasley Broadcasting‘s KDWN in the Las Vegas market.

Bruce Newbury to Host Local Show on WADK, Newport, Rhode Island.  3G Broadcasting is adding a local program to its news/talk WADK, Newport with Bruce Newbury hosting his “Talk of the Town” show.  Newbury also hosts a weekend food and cooking show on Cumulus Media’s WPRV, Providence and he’ll continue in that role.  Newbury’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program will debut on May 22.

NYFtrophyNew York Festivals Announces 2013 Radio Programs and Promo Awards Finalists.  This international competition isn’t limited to spoken-word programs as the list of categories indicates, but many of the categories include news, long-form and community service components in the spoken-word realm.  As you’ll notice by scanning the list of finalists from the United States (which will compete with finalists from other countries with winners announced June 17 in New York) many programming finalists were produced at public radio stations or companies.  However, commercial broadcasters including ESPN and SiriusXM were well represented.  ESPN had finalist entries including the “Best News Documentary or Special” for “Outside the Lines and The Sporting Life: A Fight for Faith.”  SiriusXM was also represented as it was a finalist with “Best Interview” for “Bob Edwards Talks with Children’s Book Author Jack Gantos,” among others.  Bloomquist Media is a finalist in both the “Community Service” and “Profiles/Community Portraits” categories for “A Grateful Nation.”  See the entire list of finalists here.

hayworthgranddadTwo Generations of Hayworth Men Grace San Diego.  Talk radio personality (and former Arizona Congressman) J.D. Hayworth is currently co-host of the morning drive program alongside Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton on XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090.”  On a recent visit to the station’s partners in downtown San Diego – Fox Sports San Diego – J.D. Hayworth noticed a huge black and white photo of Babe Ruth crossing home plate.  Hayworth tells TALKERS magazine, “Imagine my surprise when I looked up and saw this HUGE photo of my grandfather, Ray Hayworth, a catcher for the Detroit Tigers, reaching to tag Babe Ruth at home plate!  My grandfather greets passersby outside the building, while the Bambino’s image is seen inside the lobby!”

Obama Benghazi Reaction, IRS Target Allegations, Justice Department AP Phone Records Search, Syria Tensions, and Philly Abortion Doctor Found Guilty Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/13).  The president’s reaction to recent Benghazi testimony and the GOP’s push to continue searching for answers; the IRS’ alleged targeting of conservative groups; the Justice Department’s investigation into phone records at the Associated Press; ongoing tensions in Syria; and the conviction of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, May 6, 2013

| May 6, 2013

limbaughrushLimbaugh-Cumulus Talk Radio Sales Issue Plays Out in Consumer Press.  In a piece in the New York Daily News published over the weekend, the war of words over challenged sales of talk radio time at Cumulus Media properties (specifically WABC) became public as the paper quoted a “source close to Limbaugh” said, in effect, that Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey needs to stop blaming Rush Limbaugh for sales trouble at his news/talk stations.  Dickey has made public dickeylewstatements – at both investor conference calls and in media appearances – about the negative effect of Rush Limbaugh’s February 2012 Sandra Fluke “slut” controversy that he says is still dragging down sales at his major market news/talk stations.  As the Daily News story reports, Cumulus claimed that the high-profile controversy was responsible for lost millions in the first two quarters of 2012.  But the story quotes the Limbaugh source stating, “Dickey keeps complaining about falling revenue, but his stations have long lagged behind their competitors in sales by a substantial margin.  Rush Limbaugh’s ratings have outperformed every other program on WABC and many other Cumulus stations for years.”  The piece notes that Cumulus is not commenting on this latest salvo.  Limbaugh’s Premiere Networks contract with WABC, New York expires at the end of 2013 and with Clear Channel’s recent purchase of crosstown WOR, some industry watchers expect his program will move to WOR in 2014.

savagemichaelMichael Savage-TRN Actions Still in the Courts.  The legal activity surrounding talk radio host Michael Savage’s successful bid to free himself from his Talk Radio Network contract last fall and subsequently sign on with Cumulusmastersmark Media Networks is still in the courts.  Michael Savage celebrated a Thursday, May 2 ruling in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in which Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers upheld the arbitration panel’s decision to release him from his contract and award him $863,454 plus other money from earnings.  Responding to the ruling, Original Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters states, “We are appealing this ruling.  We are confident of a successful outcome for OTRN in this next round of appeals.”  Speaking to World Net Daily, Savage attorney Dan Horowitz says the case “establishes the ability of radio talent to break away from an employer like any other employee.”

becknraGlenn Beck Delivers Keynote Address at NRA Convention.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio host and television and digital media entrepreneur Glenn Beck delivered the keynote address at this year’s NRA Convention held in Houston over the weekend.  He’s pictured here during the speech holding a rifle given to him prior to an appearance in Kentucky.  His 1 hour and 40 minute presentation was far more than a typical keynote delivered from behind a podium.  Glenn Beck’s skills as a speaker and performer were clearly evident as he kept the audience rapt and engaged during what might have been an interminable amount of time to witness a lesser talented public speaker work.  The politics of his message aside and from a purely industrial standpoint, his keynote at this event was a great example of how a top-notch communicator effectively delivers a message and shows why he stands above so many of his colleagues.  See the speech here.  Glenn Beck will also be speaking at the Talkers New York 2013 industry conference (although for a shorter period of time) on Thursday, June 6 where he will be receiving the 2013 Freedom of Speech Award.

weismanstevenPhotograph Case Brings Legal Issues Home for Broadcasters.  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says the legal issues surrounding the use of a photograph of a young man with Down Syndrome by Cox Media’s WHPT, Tampa on its website are numerous and serve as an excellent case from which broadcasters can learn.  As we reported recently, the family of the young man – Adam Holland, who was 17 when the picture of him was taken in 2004 – is suing Cox Media in federal court in Tennessee for invasion of privacy, misappropriation of a likeness, defamation, intentional infliction of emotion distress and violation of a Tennessee statute regarding commercial exploitation of a person’s photograph.  Weisman writes that photos such as the one of Adam Holland can become internet memes — images, videos, photographs or phrases that rapidly spread throughout the internet by way of search engines, social networking services, social news sites or video hosting services.  Weisman states, “Often these memes may be altered for purposes of parody of the original work, a use that is protected in accordance with a long line of court decisions.  However, other times there are serious intellectual property issues when an original work is used or adapted for commercial purposes as was the case with the use by WHPT.  While the exception to the intellectual property laws of ‘fair use’ may apply when a piece is altered and used, as often is done on the internet, for non-commercial purposes, this defense does not apply when intellectual property is used for commercial purposes.”  Read more of Weisman’s analysis of this case here.

millerchrisUsing Facebook to Turn News/Talk Radio Social Media Initiatives into a “Loyalty Content Marketing” Program:  In a new article posted today (5/6), noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chis Miller advises readers, “You can turn your social media into a ‘loyalty content marketing’ program for those ultra-passionate fans you have.”  Miller points out, ”Unfortunately, just about all news/talk stations with a Facebook page have the same problem.  There’s a lot of content posted about news.  However, there is almost no content about what the talk shows are doing.  I’m sure syndication is one reason for this; if the talk host is not in the building, how are you going to know what he or she is planning to talk about, and when?  Even so, this is a problem with local talk hosts, too.  I don’t see a lot of social media content about local shows.  Those local talk host posts that I do see often don’t offer a lot of specifics.  I’m not told when to listen; I’m not told why I would want to listen; I’m not invited to engage.”  Miller shares a couple of basic but extremely valuable tips about how to use Facebook and Twitter more effectively for your news/talk station.  To read the entire article, click here.

cookehollandHolland Cooke Asks:  Do Your Station Promos Sound ‘Like Blah, Blah, Blah?’  In a new article posted today (5/6) noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke tackles the ever-important goal of increasing Time Spent Listening (TSL).  He says one of the keys to accomplishing this is to make effective use of station promos stating:  “Nothing we say about the station on air adds listeners, because the only people who hear promos are already listening.”  He says it is vital to think about your demos and specifically what they are doing and care about while listening when writing and producing promos.  He addresses each of these considerations in the article, concluding, “Give a listen, outside the station and outside the box.  Every time you hear your station say-something-about-itself – live format language, or produced promo — ask yourself: Will THAT cause a listener to come back again another time?”  To read Holland Cooke’s entire column, click here.

rakestrawgregIndiana Sports Broadcaster Greg Rakestraw to Program WFNI, Indianapolis.  Emmis Communications announces Indiana sports broadcaster Greg Rakestraw is the new program director for its sports talk WFNI, Indianapolis “1070 The Fan.”  The position opened up when Alan Furst left WFNI and sister news/talk WIBC-FM to join Radio One’s all-news KROI, Houston back in December.  The company upped then-WFNI PD David Wood to programmer for WIBC, leaving the slot open.  Rakestraw has worked at numerous Indianapolis stations including sports talkers WNDE and WXLW as well as at cable TV operation Home Town Sports Indiana.

deptrojohnWPRO, Providence Late-Morning Host John DePetro to Host Live Interview Series.  WPRO, Providence talk show host John DePetro is hosting a live interview series at the newly re-opened Greenwich Odeum theater in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.  On Wednesday, May 8, DePetro will host former Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri, Alex and Ani CEO Giovanni Feroce, and Father Bernie Healey, pastor of Our Lady of Mercy, who also serves as Chaplain of the Rhode Island Capitol Police.  He’ll speak with each for 30 minutes before a live audience as part of a fundraiser for the theater as all proceeds will go to the Odeum.  DePetro says he chose the three guests for their interesting background and ability to tell good stories.  He also likes the chance to facilitate a discussion before a live audience, telling the Warwick Beacon, “All of these people are very, very well skilled in the art of being good conversationalists.  I’m more of a mechanism to get them to tell their stories.  It’s been really fun to put it together with the speakers. They’ve been very receptive.”

greenbergthemessMike Greenberg Survives “The Mess.”  ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg proudly brandishes the trophy he was awarded for completing the “Mike & Mike the Mess” obstacle course at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World.  Greenberg (second from left) is pictured here with his family – wife Stacy, son Stephen and daughter Nicole – after making good on his wager with co-host Mike Golic in the “Mike & Mike Sheets of Integrity Challenge Presented by Werner Ladder.”  The annual challenge pits the two hosts against each other as they fill out their March Madness brackets prior to the annual college hoops tourney.

Jacobs Media Summer School 4 to Kick Off Conclave jacobssummerschoolLearning Conference.  The Conclave announces the high impact sessions for Jacobs Media’s Summer School 4 which kicks off the 38th annual Conclave Learning Conference on Wednesday, July 17.  Executive director Bob Shannon states, “Conclave 38 begins with what has become a tradition, the fourth annual Jacobs Media Summer School.  This year, as part of our commitment to provide ideas that folks can actually take back to work and use, we’ll learn how winners think, how great morning shows are built, and how non-media companies are using social media in ways radio has never thought of. And, that’s just the first day of this year’s Conclave.  Stay tuned for more agenda announcements this week.”  The Summer School curriculum will include: One-to-one with Jaye Albright; Talent Development; Mobile 2.0; Simply Social; Inside the Mind of Dave Hamilton; Jobs To Do and much more.  Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs says, “We have a great lineup for this year’s Summer School, including the star power of Rockwell inductee Jaye Albright to the legendary Dave Hamilton.  Plus, the social media guru from the Mall of America – Bridget Jewell – and Target stores – Joe Curry.  And we’ll have great sessions including social media effectiveness, what’s new in mobile apps and the challenge of the ‘digital dash.’”

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

| March 20, 2013

Tom Leykis (#1)Feature: Tom Leykis One Year Later.  Talk radio legend Tom Leykis is preparing to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the digital-only version of his eponymous talk program.  Operating under the umbrella of his New Normal content company, the show began last April 2 and, Leykis tells TALKERS magazine managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian, “In terms of listenership and media recognition, we are ahead of where we expected to be at this point.”  The venture got off the ground after Leykis’ old contract with CBS expired and he was able to move ahead on his own.  Using Triton Digital‘s Webcast Metrics, Leykis says he is on a projected pace of 9.6 million connections for 2013.  This version of his show is embarking on new frontiers but he says he wouldn’t have it any other way.  “Many people in the radio business, including some I really respect, said I was insane.  They felt I had a long history in radio and should not be walking away from it at this time.  I was leaving the big-box, broadcasting business to be in the hand-crafted, small-batch business.  This is a boutique content company in the P1 business, as opposed to trying to get P1s, P2s, P3s, P4s, and P5s.”  The candid Leykis admits the show is not profitable yet, but points to start-up costs in the first year as a major factor for that.  He’s very bullish on this delivery system for content and his business plan.  Read this entire piece here.

nms2013logoTalkers New York 2013 Adds “Navigating A Talk Radio Hosting Career” Panel.  Being a radio talk show host in 2013 involves a lot more than just getting a good job at a good station (or network) and doing a great show every day (although there’s certainly nothing wrong with that).  Managing a meaningful and productive career as hosts in today’s turbulent radio industry demands an increased level of entrepreneurism in addition to a keen knowledge of the internet and social media.  Add to the mix an understanding of the role intellectual property plays today as a negotiating chip in talent/management (employee/employer) deals as well as a sensitivity to the demands of sales and it becomes apparent that today’s talent lives and works in a far more competitive, complex and economically challenging environment than ever.  These subjects and more will be discussed on the panel titled, “Navigating a Talk Radio Hosting Career,” at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 conference by the following personalities (in alphabetical order):  Michael Berry, KTRH, Houston (and others); Alan Colmes, Fox News Radio;  Andy Dean, Premiere Networks; Thom Hartmann, WYD Media; Tom Leykis, The New Normal; Steve Malzberg, Newsmax.com; Phil Valentine, Cumulus Media; David Webb, Sirius/XM; and Lisa Wexler, WFAS, Westchester, New York.  The panel will be moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey.  Talkers New York 2013 takes place Thursday, June 6 and is on track to being an early sellout.  Because of space limitations, registration is only open to working members of the media and can only be taken via telephone at 413-565-5413.  Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more agenda details about speakers, panels, presentations and award recipients coming in the immediate days ahead.

raytomABIP:  Being Prepared for an FCC Inspection.  TALKERS magazine technical editor Tom Ray says there is help for most broadcasters in preparing for – and in most cases avoiding – an FCC inspection.  And it’s not about getting away with anything, it’s about finding possible violations before they become FCC violations.  Ray writes about the Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program, “Just about every State Broadcaster’s Association runs an ABIP program.  For a nominal fee, the Association will send an inspector in to run your station through an FCC-type inspection.  The good news is, we’re not the FCC.  If we find something amiss, you have the opportunity to fix it.”  Ray continues, “When the [ABIP] certificate is issued, the local FCC office is informed that your station(s) have passed the ABIP inspection.  The FCC will then stay away from your facility for three years when they are going around doing routine inspections.  The inspection immunity does not count if they show up on a complaint, or if they are going around checking a specific item, like EAS compliance or tower lights.”  Find out more about the ABIP in Tom Ray’s most recent column here.

twitterlogoTwitter as Talk Radio Teleprompter.  Radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke offers this quick tip for talk show hosts:  Try writing your on-air hour open on Twitter.  For two reasons: 1) The loud-and-clearcookeholland headline we’ve gleaned from PPM data: Every…single…syllable…matters.  And…any…given…minute…could earn you another Average Quarter Hour of listening credit.  Why your hour open needs to be so distilled and instantly inviting?  Listeners believe station promos, which invite more occasions of listening from your P1s, and invite cross-cuming music radio P1s to “CHECK-IN, FOR A QUICK NEWS, TRAFFIC, AND WEATHER UPDATE, EVERY HOUR, ON-THE-HOUR, THROUGHOUT YOUR BUSY DAY.”  Then, many of those music listeners are back-to-the-tunes…unless, quicker than an index finger can make it from the steering wheel to the FM button, you can engage.  So imposing Twitter’s 140-character limit on your open is a useful discipline.  2) And doing this does double duty!  Not only have you distilled your on-air proposition, you’ve got a ready-to-launch Tweet.  Try this. You’ll like the results.  For 8 more reasons radio talkers should bear-hug Twitter – and some specific recommendations for making yourself darn handy to The Boss – don’t miss my session, “Resourceful and Remarkable” at Talkers New York 2013 on June 6.

wmvpESPN O&O WMVP, Chicago Makes Program Schedule Changes; ‘Waddle & Silvy’ to PM Drive.  Chicago sports talker “ESPN 1000” swaps midday and PM drive shows, moving former Chicago Bear Tom Waddle and Marc “Silvy” Silverman from their midday slot to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show.  Current afternoon hosts John “Jurko” Jurkovic and Carmen DeFalco move to the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm shift.  The change allows the station to air the first hour of ESPN Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” from 9:00 am to 10:00 am. Changes take effect on April 1.

duemigsteveWDAE, Tampa Bay’s Steve Duemig Forced Off Air by Management.  According to a piece in the Tampa Bay Times by columnist Eric Deggans, WDAE sports talk host Steve Duemig is off his afternoon drive show indefinitely at management’s insistence.  Duemig tells the paper he’s still under contract, ready and willing to work but Clear Channel management has pulled him from his show with two months left on his deal.  According to Duemig, a clause in his contract allows him to talk with other stations 60 days before the contract ends (presumably with the right of first refusal if it matches the new offer).  He says management tried to pressure him to sign a new deal before that window opened.  That contract was signed before ratings-challenged WHFS “Sports Radio 98.7” was put on the air by CBS Radio and it’s possible the company will try to steal him away.  For now, Tom Krasniqi is hosting the PM drive show.

deanandyPremiere Networks Nationally Syndicated Andy Dean Hits 100-Affliate Mark.  Talk show host Andy Dean, with the addition of new affiliates including WOR, New York; WLAN, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; KEEL, Shreveport, Louisiana; WHYN-AM, Springfield; KTSM, El Paso; and WMAN-AM/FM, Mansfield, Ohio, tops the 100 affiliate mark.  Syndicator Premiere Networks reports that “the program’s audience has increased by more than 170% year-to-year (Source: Arbitron FA’11 to FA’12, Nationwide, Exact Times, AQH, P 12+) and is currently heard by approximately one million weekly listeners.”

karmazincraigSportsBusiness Journal to Honor Good Karma Chief Craig Karmazin.  The publication will recognize Good Karma Broadcasting founder and CEO Craig Karmazin as one of its “Forty Under Forty” for 2013 at a black-tie gala on Thursday, April 4 at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Florida.  Karmazin, son of media executive Mel Karmazin, founded Good Karma in 1997 shortly after his college graduation from Emory University with the purchase of three radio stations in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.  Since then, he’s expanded the company into five additional markets, including Milwaukee, Madison and Janesville, Wisconsin; Cleveland and West Palm Beach, Florida.  His company operates nine ESPN-affiliated sports talk stations.  Karmazin has expanded beyond broadcasting into the sports marketing field as well as the events and wireless retail businesses.

smithlauraWABC, New York Adds Live Saturday Evening Program.  The new show, “The Saturday Cafe with Laura Smith,” airs in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot that opened when longtime WABC personality Mark Simone left for crosstown WOR.  Smith tells TALKERS magazine the evening variety show focuses  on a weekend mindset and “is all about fascinating conversations with fascinating people — everyone from celebrities, actors, authors, gurus, non-profits, musicians and the best psychics/mediums — the whole gamut on the spectrum of interesting stories and conversations for listeners.”  She says a recent program involved guests such as: a psychic interior designer, a beautiful singer songwriter who lost her leg in a tragic accident and now is a motivational speaker to returning troops, a NY deacon talking about the new Pope, a non- profit organization called Heart 911 that is rebuilding homes after Hurricane Sandy, and an upcoming Aretha Franklin concert.

gillemleng‘Frontlines of Freedom’ Wins Michigan Association of Broadcasters Award.  The weekly military news/talk radio program, “Frontlines of Freedom,” hosted by Lt. Col. Denny Gillem, U.S. Army (Retired)(pictured here at right), wins “Best in Category” Regularly Scheduled Weekend Broadcast Personality or Team; and “Best in Category” Special Show Broadcast Personality from the Michigan Broadcasters Association.  Gillem says, “To be recognized again for producing a top-notch program is not only good for our show’s team, but it sends the message to all radio stations that you too can add winning shows to your station’s weekend schedule.  Our affiliates already know that, and we thank them for it.”  Executive producer Josh Leng (pictured at left) notes, “We made the decision to expand ‘Frontlines of Freedom’ to two hours based on listener response, the host’s desire, advertiser demand, and radio program directors’ feedback to have a longer show that offers a better TSL opportunity to improve their ratings.  The two-hour program also ensures we always have enough time to fully cover all the important military news and issues of the day.”

sweettonyUniversal Broadcasting Network Launches.  The initiative is the effort of Global Voice Broadcasting founder Tony Sweet and award-winning TV, film and stage actress Ann Walker.  The duo have partnered on the launch of Universal Broadcasting Network – what they describe as “a brand new, international media platform that includes an internet-based multimedia radio network.  The Hollywood-based operation broadcasts from the Sunset Gower Studios and is already host to a diverse spectrum of talk radio shows, including those geared towards entertainment, children and walkerannfamily, love and relationships, LGBT and women’s issues, and sports and fitness, among many others.  UBN says it currently broadcasts 16 shows, and is quickly growing, with the capability to host up to 100 in the future.  Tony Sweet – who hosted his own program, “On Air with Tony Sweet,” — says, “Universal Broadcasting Network is my child, my vision and my creation of what I have always dreamed to build: a multi-media company that entertains, inspires and educates.  To me, UBN Radio is a place that combines Reality Radio with honesty, integrity and entertainment without limits.  My vision is for it to become an international Internet television and radio station that will take us into the new age of technology and media.”  Ann Walker was originally a co-host with Sweet on his program but then also became a host of her own popular show which now broadcasts on UBN.  She now serves as CEO of the company and says, “When Tony approached me about starting a new station, I was intrigued by the possibility and opportunities that new technologies bring to our industry and decided to jump on board as his partner.  Having been an actress for 35 years, I was excited about a new adventure that still holds true to what I set out to do all those years ago, which is to entertain, inspire and connect.  UBN not only allows me to do this, but provides a platform for other voices and entertainers to do the same.”

Broadcasters Seeking Input in Ithaca Radio History.  As CBS News Radio correspondent Peter King notes, a number of the radio business’ successful talent got their start working at radio stations in Ithaca, New York.  King, in association with his brother Rick Sommers – former WLTW, New York staffer and currently broadcast liaison for the New York Local of SAG-AFTRA – are gathering material to chronicle the history of radio in Ithaca New York.  He tells TALKERS, “We both got our professional starts as students at Ithaca College (and WICB-AM/FM), and later, WTKO, and the litany of talent that came through town is amazing – not just at WICB and WTKO  — but WVBR, WHCU and later, the FMs that began broadcasting there!”  King says this labor of love could use some help from other broadcasters who’ve worked in the market.  They are looking for cans of photos, memorabilia, sales material, promotional items, etc.  Anyone wishing to help can contact the project via email at  ithacaradioproject@gmail.com.  Rick Sommers can be contacted directly at rick.sommers@sagaftra.org .

President Obama Visits Israel, Sequester Effects, North Korea Tensions, Gun Legislation, and Cyprus Bank Tax Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/19).  President Obama’s trip to Israel; the ongoing discussion over the effects of the sequester; North Korea’s alleged cyber-attack on South Korea; legislative moves to advance new gun legislation; and the bank tax on Cyprus financial institutions and its repercussions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

| March 13, 2013

americaweekendlogoRick Roberts Joins Envision Radio Networks’ ‘America Weekend.’  Longtime San Diego news/talk personality Rick Roberts becomes part of the talent at Envision Radio Networks’ weekend talk radio programming “America Weekend.”  The six hours of live news/talk radio airs from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm onrobertsrick Saturdays and Sundays and Roberts will host the Saturday 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm portion of the program.  Most recently at KFMB, San Diego, Roberts’ career has also taken him to such legendary stations as KOA, Denver; KCMO, Kansas City; KRLD, Dallas; and KOGO, San Diego.  Roberts states, “I’m extremely pleased to be a part of ‘America Weekend’ and I look forward to bringing 19 years of major market talk radio experience to radio stations across America.  The next great step in talk radio begins right here every weekend.”  Envision describes “America Weekend” as “the new ratings-friendly programming alternative to low-rated brokered shows and “Best Of” programs.”  Executive producer Kipper McGee says of Roberts, “Breakthrough programming needs breakthrough talent.  ‘America Weekend’ will provide the perfect showcase for Rick’s versatility and considerable talents, and we are thrilled to have him on the team.”  Roberts joins radio pros Paul Harris and Turi Ryder as hosts of the program.

conclavegamedayThe Conclave Adds Sports Component.  Dubbed “Game Day,” the Conclave announces a new aspect of the radio gathering at this July’s 38th Annual Learning Conference by presenting a day exclusively devoted to sports broadcasting.  “Game Day” will be held on Friday, July 19, at the Doubletree Park Place Hotel inshannonbob Minneapolis, site of the 2013 Learning Conference.  Conclave executive director Bob Shannon states, “Our line up starts with Bruce Gilbert, senior vice president of sports operations for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  Bruce built ‘The Ticket’ in Dallas, was recruited by ESPN to create their national radio brand, and has just joined Clear Channel.  Clearly, he is one of our nation’s sports programming experts.”  The day will conclude with a reception at the Minnesota Twins flagship station, Northern Lights’ new adult contemporary KTWN, which is just a short walk across the street from Target Field in downtown Minneapolis followed by a ballgame between the Twins and the Cleveland Indians.

hendriephilPhil Hendrie Accelerates Podcast and Social Media Initiatives with LEG Digital and Launchpad Digital Media Partnerships.  Media personality Phil Hendrie – nationally syndicated on radio via Talk Radio Network – recently entered into partnerships with creative agency LEG Digital and Launchpad Digital Media for his strategic efforts in digital content and social marketing platforms.  Launchpad is representing LEG Digital for advertising sales.  LEG Digital reports that to date, results have shown that in the last four months, Hendrie’s Twitter followers are up 28%, his Facebook audience is up 667% and his daily podcast monthly downloads are up 500%.  The company also launched the weekly “Phil Hendrie’s Mmm-Hmm, The Bobbie Dooley Podcast” on its podcast network, TheSideShowNetwork.com, Hendrie’s own PhilHendrieShow.com, iTunes and Launchpad’s PodcastOne.com.  The first Dooley podcast garnered more than 15,000 downloads in three days.  LEG Digital managing partner Darrin McAfee states, “I’ve been a huge fan of Phil’s for the last 15 years.  Knowing and enjoying the magnitude of his talent, it’s obvious to me that he’s well on his way to the next plateau of his career.”

arbitronArbitron Issues Social Media Guidelines for Dealing with Respondents.  Calling this a list of “Dos and Don’ts,” Arbitron notifies broadcasters of the potential pitfalls that can cause ratings trouble if the company’s rules are violated using the ubiquitous social media.  Arbitron states up front: “Ratings data can be among the most valuable tools broadcasters have for programming and sales.  It’s important to protect the integrity of your station’s ratings by following Arbitron’s guide to using social media.  While these platforms create more personalized communication with listeners, social media can also lead to rating bias or rating distortion if not managed properly.”  Some of the “Dos” include: Notify Arbitron if a respondent reaches out to the station via social media (or any other means); remind station staff that social media comments are subject to the same guidelines as on-air comments; contact Arbitron for a confidential pre-review if you are unsure about comments you wish to post; contact Arbitron if your staff sees posted comments directed to an Arbitron respondent; and contact Arbitron if the station learns the identity of an Arbitron respondent (by any means).  The “Don’ts” are pretty obvious to broadcasters who’ve been aware of Arbitron’s rules prior to the advent of social media but bear repeating:  Don’t attempt to learn the identity of Arbitron respondents.  The station may be delisted, even if the attempt doesn’t succeed; don’t address comments to panelists or diarykeepers; don’t discuss ratings (even ratings success) on social networking sites.  Doing so may prompt respondents to disclose their participation; don’t post comments encouraging listeners to participate as panelists or diarykeepers; don’t offer anything of value to self-identified panelists or diarykeepers.

sagaSaga Communications Reports 2012 Q4 Net Operating Revenue Up 10.3%.  For the whole of 2012, Saga reports its net operating revenue was up 4% on earnings of $130.3 million compared to $125.3 million for all of 2011.  Free cash flow increased 9.5% to $25.1 million for the year of 2012.  Station operating expense decreased approximately 1.0% to $90.3 million (station operating expense includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations).  Net income for the period was $17.9 million ($3.16 per fully diluted share) compared to net income of $12.6 million ($2.23 per fully diluted share) for the same period last year.

townsquaremediaCool Job Opportunity.  Townsquare Media has an incredible opportunity for the position of Brand Manager and morning show host for a news/talk station.  You must have a proven track record in programming a news/talk station. In addition to a strong ratings background, candidates should be digitally savvy and demonstrate a deep, rich understanding of interactive branding, including social media, loyalty programs, content creation, e-commerce, streaming platforms, mobile and texting.  In addition, you should feel comfortable being on-air in the news/talk format and understand what it means to be the local voice in your community. You are able to keep a morning show entertaining and energetic while delivering relevant and interesting information to your audience.  Candidates need to possess outstanding verbal and written skills as well as being highly organized and driven. As Brand Manager, you must also be willing to do any job within the station. Teamwork is a must as you will be working in unison with the digital, sales, promotion and engineering staff. It is essential that you have a strong working knowledge of digital audio systems and online media platforms, and be prepared to develop production and schedule all on-air content.  In addition to the above, you will work to build the identity of the station within the community.  As you can tell, this isn’t your typical 9-5 job. But don’t worry, we work hard and we have fun doing it! If you’re a fun, dynamic, creative and proven winner, send all of your materials, including references, to Chuck Armstrong at chuck@townsquaremedia.com. Townsquare Media is an equal opportunity employer.

hubbardstanleyThe Broadcasters Foundation of America Announces Stanley S. Hubbard to Receive Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award.  The chairman of Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc. will be the recipient of this year’s “Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award.”  The Award will be presented to Stanley Hubbard during the BFoA Breakfast on April 10, at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, in conjunction with the National Association of Broadcasters Show.  The BFoA notes that “Hubbard Broadcasting has stayed on the industry’s cutting edge, pioneering innovations in radio, television and satellite broadcasting.  The company owns 13 television and 17 radio stations, F&F Productions REELZCHANNEL – TV About Movies, and is the controlling shareholder of Ovation TV.”  The Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award honors an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.   It salutes its namesake Lowry Mays and is underwritten by The Clear Channel Foundation and Wiley Rein, LLP.   The Broadcasters Foundation has provided millions of dollars in aid to colleagues who lost their livelihood through a catastrophic event, debilitating disease, or unforeseen tragedy that left them unable to work or support themselves.  Individual membership is only $150 a year.  Donations also can be made to the Guardian Fund, and corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative.

DC Sequester Battle, Ryan Budget Plan, ‘Killing Jews is Worship’ Ad Controversy, Obama Approval Rating Down, Papal Conclave, and ‘Fat Lesbians’ Study Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/12).  The effects of and debate in Washington over the sequester; Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal; the controversial San Francisco bus ad campaign featuring quotes from militant Muslims; the Washington Post’s latest poll showing President Obama’s approval ratings sinking; the conclave in the Vatican; and NIH-funded study on the cause of obesity in lesbians were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, February 25, 2013

| February 25, 2013

nms2013logoMike Francesa to Address Industry at Talkers New York 2013.  The list of major speakers continues to grow as WFAN, New York afternoon drive sports talk goliath Mike Francesa joins the roster of industry leaders who will be speaking at “TALKERS New York 2013,” the 16th annual installment of talk radio’s longest-running and most important francesamikeannual convention.  Francesa will deliver a solo keynote address titled, “The Sports Talk Radio Phenomenon.”  He will discuss how sports talk fits into the general radio industry, where it is going both locally and nationally and how it operates within the business model of the PPM world.  Francesa, who has been a major host on WFAN since the late 1980s, is also seen across the nation on the YES Network simulcast of his radio show and hosts a syndicated weekend program “The NFL Now” in addition to participating in numerous other sports broadcasting projects.  He is currently ranked number one on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio Hosts holding the position as the Most Important Sports Talk Radio Host in America.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “The addition of Mike Francesa as the sports talk radio keynote speaker at this year’s conference puts it over the moon.  One of the big buzzes of the business is the relentless growth of this exciting branch of the talk radio universe.  Who better than the king of the format to give insights into the genre’s place in the scheme of things?  We are delighted!”  More headliners will be named in the coming days along with the 50-plus speakers that will be participating in the conference.  The event is set for Thursday, June 6, 2013 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  Registration for the day including all activities and food service is $199 per person.  An advance sellout is expected due to space limitations.  Registration is limited to members of the working media and can only be taken via telephone.  For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  Complete agenda details are being posted daily.  Stay tuned.

schnitttoddTodd Schnitt Not Giving Up on Bubba the Love Sponge Lawsuit.  The Tampa Bay Times reports talk show host Todd Schnitt has fired his legal team, hired a new lawyer and is continuing to pursue legal action against former crosstown rival Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem).  The first trial ended in a victory for Bubba as the jury decided not to awardbubba Schnitt and wife Michelle damages for defamation over a series of criticisms and accusations Bubba leveled at Schnitt when he competed with Bubba in morning drive as MJ Kelli.  Now, Schnitt has fired C. Phillip Campbell and Jonathan J. Ellis and has hired Wil Florin to represent him and his wife.  Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the bizarre elements of the previous trial:  Campbell being pulled over for DUI while driving the car of a young paralegal who, unbeknownst to him, worked for Bubba’s lawyer’s firm; the tip-off to police that Campbell was driving the car was made by someone from that same firm; and Bubba’s lawyers had possession of Campbell’s briefcase for 18 hours (though they say they didn’t open it).  That missing briefcase is the basis for the new suit.  How this will end is anybody’s guess, but one thing is for sure: Both Schnitt and Clem are spending a lot of money on legal fees.  Yes, they are getting a lot of publicity for their radio programs but it is very expensive publicity.

ingrahamlauraLaura Ingraham Added to American Forces Network.  Courtside Entertainment Group announces today that the Laura Ingraham show is being added to the American Forces Network with the opportunity to be heard by more than one million U.S. service members and their families.  Ingraham states, “It is fantastic to be back on the air – and it feels even more special knowing that all of our friends listening on Armed Forces Network can hear us around the globe.  The energy and enthusiasm from listeners, affiliates and advertisers since I returned to the airwaves has been overwhelming.  From Tucson to Jacksonville, from Washington, DC to Seattle, Americans are energized and enthusiastic about our daily conversation about our country’s past, present and future.  Politics is important – but so is the culture around us.  As a single parent of young children and a cancer survivor, I have a unique perspective that connects me with listeners of all political stripes.  Our conversation is a fun-filled ride that moves beyond the Beltway to the real-life ups and downs we all face.”

constantinilynneVeteran Media Executive Lynne Constantini Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.  The former EVP of affiliate sales and marketing at Scripps Networks Interactive and SVP of programming at Time Warner Cable joins TheBlaze as president of business development.  In her new position Lynne Constantini will oversee the growing network’s content distribution efforts, as well as affiliate marketing, advocacy, business affairs and business development initiatives.  She previously negotiated TheBlaze’s successful carriage deal with DISH as an outside consultant.  Constantini says, “As a cable industry executive and consultant, I have been attracted to the rare independent network that has strong, unique content and a passionate engaged audience that drives results for operators and that is what I have found with TheBlaze.  TheBlaze is unlike other start-up networks; it has a built-in loyal audience, a full slate of live, original programming, speaks to an underserved and growing conservative audience and has extensive marketing reach through affiliated media assets including on radio and on the web.  I am excited to work with Glenn, Chris Balfe and the rest of the team on building TheBlaze and continuing the network’s success in improving the businesses of its distribution partners.”

cookehollandListeners Are Busy and Talent Is Spooked.  That’s the assessment of radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke who asks broadcasters the provocative question:  “RU@Speed-of-Life?’  In today’s article, Cooke says radio programmers must get up to speed (literally) with the intense pace of modern life which, when coupled with the PPM, puts tremendous pressure to manage air time in a way that is in keeping with today’s breakneck tempo.  For example he advises hosts not to begin their shows by listing all the things they’ll be doing before the show ends.  He says programming clock designers should go the extra step in designing transitions between programming elements (such as newscaster to talk show host segments) in a completely seamless manner.  Never stop the action through over-explanation.  Don’t miss this timely and informative piece.  Read it here.

baileyralphTalk Host Ralph Bailey Begins KERN, Bakersfield Program Next Monday.  After quitting his talk show at Buckley Broadcasting’s crosstown KNZR on Thursday after an eight-year stint, Ralph Bailey will take over the PM drive program on American General Media’s KERN.  Bailey wrote on his Facebook page, “It is official!!!  I signed a contract today to join American General Media.  I’ll be Scott Cox‘s guest today at three and begin my own 3-6 p.m. drive time show on Monday, March 4.  I could not be happier!  I have security in a business that is not that secure and for the first time in my life I’m making a little scratch!  I’d like to thank Rogers Brandon and Toni Snyder.  It is great to feel wanted and appreciated.”

californian logoKERN, Bakersfield’s Scott Cox to Anchor The Californian-AGM Morning Show Endeavor.  Talk radio personality Scott Cox is moving away from the PM drive slot that Ralph Bailey is taking over in order to host a new morning program that is a joint effort of American General Media and The Bakersfield Californian.  The show – “First Look with Scott Cox” – will emanate from The Californian newsroom in which a radio studio has been built.  While KERN will coxscottprovide the producers and technical expertise, the newspaper’s reporters will be regular guests during talk segments.  Californian CEO Richard Beene says of the initiative, “The Bakersfield Californian has always prided itself about being on the cutting edge of technology (our website bakersfield.com was launched back in 1995) and we are keenly aware that readers and advertisers are finding new ways to obtain content and reach their advertisers.  That’s why change is part of our company culture, and serving our readers and advertisers on multiple platforms is something we talk about every day.”  The program will also be streamed live in high-definition video on the paper’s website.  Beene writes in his editorial in the paper, “’First Look’ will add to The Californian‘s existing video programming, which includes ‘BVarsity Live,’ live local sports and breaking news.  The Californian plans to expand its live video programming later this year.  So yes, newspapers are alive and well, changing and evolving.  Join us in March for ‘First Look.’”

millerchrisNot All That Glitters is Gold.  According to radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, broadcasters should avoid falling under the spell of Facebook “likes” and the impulse to “go viral” — which he describes as “shiny, distracting objects.”  He advises, ”The number of Facebook ‘likes’ you have is almost completely without meaning.  In addition, working to have something go viral is probably taking you away from what you should be doing!”  Read Chris Miller’s informative and valuable article here.

benandskinESPN O&O KESN, Dallas Parts Company with Ben & Skin.  Sports talk KESN, Dallas and midday personalities Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade were not able to come to terms on a new contract and the duo have left the station.  They wrote on their Facebook page. “We have declined a final offer from ESPN on a new deal.  We’re parting ways with them for now.  Future is unwritten.  Thank you for your support throughout the years.  We are eager to write the next chapter of our adventure.  Stay tuned.”

sweeneyjohnJohn Sweeney Exits WGDJ, Albany.  The former Republican congressman from New York began a one-hour daily talk show at Capital Broadcasting’s “Talk 1300” two weeks ago but has left the station.  The Albany Times-Union reports John Sweeney’s exit comes after it became apparent that the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon time slot was too much for the attorney and political consultant.  Owner and GM Paul Vandenburgh told the paper too many unforeseen scheduling conflicts have made the show untenable.

raytomTECHNICAL WATCH: Radio Moves Beyond ISDN to Deliver Studio Quality Remote Audio.  Welcome to the Age of the IP Codec.  Back in the “good old days,” if you wanted to get audio from point A to point B you had basically two choices: a dedicated land line from good old Ma Bell (a.k.a, the phone company) or you sent a tape.  Then, Ma Bell decided to get rid of dedicated equalized services – at least interstate.  These days, it’s very difficult if not impossible to get a dedicated broadcast service even in the same city.  This prompted devices like the Comrex two-line and three-line frequency extender systems.  These allowed someone to utilize two or three dial-up lines to get audio from one place to another with reasonable audio quality.  The next step was ISDN – a digital dial-up service.  With the development of devices such as the Telos Zephyr, FM quality audio was easily passed, with very little audio delay, between two locations.  This has been the norm now for close to 20 years.  Enter the IP codec – essentially ISDN on steroids.  IP codecs utilize the internet as the transport medium.  Now, for just the cost of the internet service you already have installed, you can literally transport audio all around the world – in many instances with slightly more round-trip delay than with ISDN, but that is easy to work around using mix minus.  Noted radio technical consultant and TALKERS columnist Tom Ray brings us all up to speed on this new era in remote audio delivery in a must-read clear and concise article, here.

tradupguatemalaSalem Radio News Series Spotlights “The Poorest of the Poor.”  SRN vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (pictured here in Guatemala) spent the last week in that Central American country as Salem Radio News prepared a news series titled, “The Poorest of the Poor.”  Speaking about his experience there, Tradup tells TALKERS, “Guatemala is only a few hours by plane from the U.S., but living conditions for youngsters are light years away.  And the statistics take on heartbreaking new meaning when you actually spend time with children there.  We embedded with the American relief agency Food for The Poor to cover both the tragedy and the hope for impoverished children in Guatemala.”  Tradup says Guatemala has the highest malnutrition rate of any country in the Western Hemisphere.  The week-long SRN News special series will profile the challenges facing government and private agencies targeting ways to reverse the grim statistics on malnutrition and infant mortality in Guatemala.

bloomlisaOdds & Sods.  Lisa Bloom – daughter of former radio and television talk show host (and high-profile attorney) Gloria Allred – is joining NBC’s “Today” show as a legal analyst says TVNewser.  Bloom hosted the CourtTV show “Lisa Bloom: Open Court” from 2001 to 2009…..Arbitron’s Carol Hanley is named to the Allliance for Women in Media board of directors.  Hanley serves as SVP, chief sales officer for Arbitron.

kdkaharlemshakeHarlem Shake Takes Over KDKA.  The YouTube phenomenon “Harlem Shake” invades the newsroom at CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh.  This still shot is from a video posted on the KDKA-TV website and shows late morning talk host Marty Griffin (in the Santa hat) leading the rest of the crew – including morning hosts Larry Richert and John Shumway and Shelley Duffy, PM drive host Bill Rehkopf, midday host Mike Pintek, sports reporter and weekend host Rob Pratte and creative services director Kelly Pidgeon – in boogeying to the tune.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

| January 22, 2013

hayesdrewProgrammer Drew Hayes Moves to KABC, Los Angeles.  News/talk programming pro Drew Hayes is leaving his OM position at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago to take up the PD reins at the company’s KABC, Los Angeles.  That station has been without a PD since Jack Silver exited last summer to program the NBC Sports Radio/Dial Global sports talk initiative.  The WLS-AM programming duties will be assumed by PD Tracy Slutzkin who served as APD under Hayes before being promoted to program director.  It’s been a tumultuous four months for WLS-AM with longtime morning duo Don Wade and Roma being forced to leave their position due to Don Wade’s health and the sudden death of midday talk host Jake Hartford last week.  WLS vice president and market manager Donna Baker says, “Drew has led WLS through some unique challenges and his leadership is respected and appreciated.  We wish him and his family the very best in LA.  I’m confident Tracy will continue to lead WLS forward to great success.”  About his latest move to the West Coast Hayes says, “It’s a thrill to return to LA and I am appreciative of the support and confidence Cumulus has shown in me.  I am looking forward to helping re-energize one of the greatest sets of call letters in the most exciting city.”  Hayes previously programmed KABC in the late 1990s when the station was owned by ABC/Disney.

hillmikeSuper Bowl Media Week Begins Next Monday.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year for many sports talk radio people who get to leave their studio confines behind and re-locate to a (usually) warm location to take part in the media buildup surrounding the Super Bowl.  Beginning Monday, ESPN reports that, in addition to their slate of live broadcasts from New Orleans, Mike Hill of the Hill & Schlereth program will serve as a special behind-the-scenes reporter filing stories online.  ESPN states, “Adding to ESPN Radio’s already comprehensive coverage will be the deployment of Mike Hill, co-host of the nightly Hill & Schlereth, as a behind-the-scenes reporter for ESPNRadio.com.  He will provide clandestine chronicles of ESPN Radio-related activities in New Orleans, providing a perspective unique to ESPN Radio.com’s previous Super Bowl coverage.”

odonnelldanDan O’Donnell Jumps to WISN, Milwaukee.  News anchor and talk show host Dan O’Donnell moves from Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s crosstown news/talk WISN where he’ll take on news anchoring duties as well as do fill-in work for the station’s talk hosts, provide commentary and take charge of the station’s “Common Sense Central” online initiative.  In a statement, O’Donnell says, “This is an incredible opportunity, but it is at least somewhat bittersweet because of the amazing people I’ve had a chance to meet and work with over my many years at Newsradio 620 WTMJ.  I’ve made friendships there that I consider lifelong and will always love and cherish every minute I spent at my first broadcast home.  Yet I am looking forward with all of my heart to beginning this exciting new chapter in my professional life and hope that you will join me on what I hope will be one heck of an adventure.”

imusdon“Imus on Broadway” Charity Fundraiser Scheduled for February 11.  The 3rd Annual “Imus on Broadway” event is taking place on February 11 at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square.  For the event, New York Post theater columnist Michael Riedel will emcee the promotion and join 77WABC-based Don Imus for a “best of Broadway” review featuring performances by the cast of some of the biggest shows on Broadway including: “Patsy Cline,” “Chicago,” “Hands on a Hard Body,” “Mamma Mia,” “Mystery of Edwin Drood,” “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” “Once,” “Rock of Ages,” and “Wicked.”  All ticket sales for the event benefit the Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer.

crnlogoCRN Digital Talk Radio Celebrates 30th Anniversary.  The Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and is marking the occasion with special on-air programming, its all-new online magazine and by hosting the “1st annual Food and Wine Awards.”  Founder and CEO Michael Horn began CRN (Cable Radio Network) in 1983 with a little seed money and lots of enthusiasm.  It all began when Horn saw a trade publication article about how Los Angeles rock station KMET-FM was garnering a 7-share in thehornmike Phoenix market.  It turned out that the station was sending its audio into a dedicated channel with cable providers in that market.  He says, “I thought that it was a great idea to try to bring radio to television and give cable subscribers the variety and cutting edge programming that only radio can offer.”  Soon, Horn’s fledgling service was serving a number of Los Angeles-area cable companies who saw the value of radio programming on their cable lineup.  Today, CRN is available on scores of cable and telecommunications providers as well as radio stations across the country, offering more than100 shows along with a stellar roster of top syndicated programs hosted by radio veterans such as Barry Farber, Dennis Prager, Fred Dryer, Robert Conrad, Mancow and Doug Stephan, among others.  Horn states, “As part of our anniversary, we’re launching ‘CRN Digital Mag,’ our new online magazine aimed at listeners who want to know more about their favorite shows and personalities.”  Capping the year-long celebration will be the “CRN Food and Wine Awards,” scheduled for the fall which will honor the Los Angeles area’s top eateries as well as the California’s great wineries and winemakers.

santosgilThe End of an Era for New England Patriots Fans.  The longtime voice of New England Patriots football radio broadcasts is retiring.  Gil Santos called his last game on Sunday as the Pats lost to the Baltimore Ravens.  Based out of CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Santos spent 36 years calling 744 games for the club – a record he shares with former Philadelphia Eagles play-by-play voice Merrill Reese.  Santos signed off Sunday’s broadcast by telling listeners, “Thank you very much for allowing me to be the voice of the Patriots for 36 wonderful years.  I enjoyed every minute of it.  I hope the next guy enjoys it as much as I did, and realizes it’s a privilege, not a job.  This is Gil Santos, thanking you all for 36 wonderful years.”  Santos’ longtime partner – former Patriot Gino Cappelletti – retired as the color analyst prior to this season.

watkinsjimAffiliate Relations Pro Jim Watkins Joins Sun Broadcasting Group.  Jim Watkins had been with Talk Radio Network for 13 years, most recently as director of affiliate relations and executive producer.  Now he becomes part of the Boca Raton, Florida-based Sun Broadcasting Group as vice president of programming.  Sun EVP Steve Gallagher says of Watkins, “Jim is a class act and brings an impressive background to Sun.  We are confident our advertisers, content providers and radio affiliates will profit from his vision, creativity and expertise.  Jim has a keen sense of what great product sounds like and we’re excited to have him at Sun.”

comptonlawnshotBest Seat in the (White) House.  ABC News Radio White House Correspondent Ann Compton is pictured here reporting from her unique vantage point of a plot of grass on the White House lawn as she covers yesterday’s Inauguration Day Parade.  Thanks to digital technology and the work of amazing companies such as Comrex Corporation that have developed reliable remote broadcasting equipment, Compton is able to deliver high-quality reports from the field and allow her radio reports to be up-to-the-minute.

Filling In.  Sitting in for Compass Media Networks’ talk show host Todd Schnitt on his nationally syndicated show on Wednesday is KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive host Pat Campbell.

kmjlogoCool Job Opportunity.  KMJ-AM/FM in Fresno has an immediate opening for the position of Director of Agri-Broadcasting.  If you are experienced in gathering, writing, and reporting local news and agri-business news, are knowledgeable about the multitude of farm products and issues in the Central Valley of California, have a sense of curiosity, urgency, and know today’s broadcast environment, this could be your new home for a long time.  Send your resume and mp3 sample of your work to skip.essick@peakbroadcasting.com.  Peak Broadcasting is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

knx logoKNX, Los Angeles Picks Up Six Golden Mike Honors.  At the 63rd Annual Golden Mike awards dinner held in Universal City over the weekend, CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles was honored with six Golden Mike Awards.  The awards are presented by the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California annually for excellence in radio, TV and internet broadcast journalism excellence.  KNX took home honors for: Best News Broadcast Over 15 Minutes; Best Spot News Reporting; Best Hard News Series Reporting; Best Feature News; Best Traffic Report; and Best Business and Consumer Reporting.

fergusonkrokBlue Ribbon Winners.  WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas talk show hosts Ben Ferguson (left) and evening talk host Chris Krok (right) display the blue ribbons they won for coming in first place in the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo’s annual Celebrity Goat Milking Contest this past weekend.  In order to claim the bragging rights, Ferguson and Krok had to beat the staffers NBC 5, the Star-Telegram newspaper and other radio stations from the Metroplex.

Inauguration Day, Debt Ceiling/Deficit Deduction Debate, North African Terror Threats, and Prince Harry Taliban Slaying Comments Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/21).  The Inauguration Day festivities and speeches; the debate over reducing the nation’s deficit and dealing with the debt ceiling; terror threats from North Africa; and Prince Harry’s comments to the press about killing Taliban in Afghanistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

| January 15, 2013

stephanjewelDoug Stephan Breaks New Jewel Song on National Radio Show.  Nationally syndicated “Good Day” host Doug Stephan (r) is pictured here broadcasting his program from Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas.  Area resident and international music star Jewel (l) joined the program as co-host for the day.  She treated Doug and his listeners to a live, public debut of a new song that will be included on her coming Greatest Hits album.  Tarleton State University president Dr. F. Dominic Dottavio (c) is seated between the two and held up the lyric sheet as Jewel performed the new song.

omearashowMike O’Meara Show Airs on WTNT, Washington.  Longtime Washington, DC radio personality Mike O’Meara takes his program to Metro Radio’s WTNT, Washington for the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm show.  O’Meara, who partnered with Don Geronimo for more than a decade at WJFK, Washington and in syndication via Westwood One, has been producing his program as a podcast.  Now the show that includes newsman Buzz Burbank, Robb Spewak and Oscar Santana is airing on WTNT.

jacksonmichaelRetired Talk Legend Michael Jackson Makes Guest Appearance on WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.”  WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” full-time morning show producer and part-time weekend talk show host Frank Morano interviewed legendary talk show host Michael Jackson on the Salem-owned Big Apple signal this past weekend.   The two discussed Jackson’s historic career which centered mostly around his pioneering work in Los Angeles during themoranofrank pre- and early-days of consolidation – mostly on KABC during its heyday – in addition to some national syndication.  When asked how he feels about today’s radio scene and talk radio in general, Jackson bemoaned the state of consolidation and the massive debt that today’s big licensees have incurred.  He blamed it on one word - “greed” – and expressed serious pessimism about the industry recovering from its present condition.  When asked how he was able to accrue such an impressive roster of guest interviews on his show (presidents, world leaders, movie stars, and a wide array of legendary figures) Jackson offered today’s crop of talk show hosts the following advice:  “Make the calls yourself!”  He suggested that hosts do not get into the position of having “my people talk to your people.”  He strongly endorsed the idea of maintaining a personal connection with all contacts.  Michael Jackson is presently ranked #16 on the TALKERS “Heaviest Hundred: The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts of All Time.”  To hear Frank Morano’s interview with Michael Jackson click here.

foxsportsmattinglyFox Sports Los Angeles Hosts Don Mattingly.  Los Angeles Dodgers field manager Don Mattingly (c) sits down with Fox Sports Radio’s Petros Papadakis (l) and Matt “Money” Smith (r) for an hour to talk about spring training, why he left the game to move into management, and Tommy Lasorda’s love for Dodger blue.  During this Los Angeles local hour of the program, 50 lucky listeners were invited to watch the show live and participate in a meet-and-greet with Mattingly following the interview.  Photo by Varon Panganiban.

wachsfncfluDr. Wachs Talks Flu Shots on FNC.  Nationally syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs (whose program is distributed nationally via Genesis Communications Network) is pictured here on Fox News Channel discussing the flu epidemic and flu shots.  The Las Vegas-based Dr. Wachs is not only getting more national exposure due to her radio program but hits like this on FNC are pushing her national profile even higher.

katzjeffspeaksJeff Katz Sits in for Todd Schnitt.  Talk radio pro Jeff Katz will be sitting in for nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt tomorrow (Wednesday, January 16) on his WFLA, Tampa-based and Compass Media Networks-syndicated program.

ESPN Obtains Rights to 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classic.  The coverage will include a lot of Spanish-language broadcasting for ESPN.  The sports giant’s multiyear, multimedia agreement with World Baseball Classic, Inc. to present the World Baseball Classic in both 2013 and 2017 includes exclusive Spanish-language rights, audio rights and extensive coverage across ESPN’s studio programming and digital platforms.  Under the agreement, ESPN Deportes will provide comprehensive coverage as the Spanish-language home for both events, with live telecasts of all 39 games beginning with the three opening games on Saturday, March 2.  In addition, ESPN Deportes Radio and ESPN Radio will broadcast games in Spanish and English.  Other World Baseball Classic coverage highlights include: Rights to qualifying games for the 2017 event; Rights to simulcast select games in Spanish-language on ESPN and/or ESPN2; Rights to broadcast games across ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes  Radio, with digital simulcasts permissible and more.  ESPN Deportes general manager Lino Garcia says, “We have been the Spanish-language home of the World Baseball Classic since it started in 2006, and we are thrilled to be once again working with World Baseball Classic, Inc. to continue bringing coverage of the event.  Baseball is one of the most-followed sports among the U.S. Hispanic market and the success of the 2006 and 2009 tournaments on ESPN Deportes proved this is a must-see event for these emerging, passionate fans. In addition, our coverage across ESPN Audio strengthens our extensive baseball content for our listeners on both ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes.”

gravelineCES2013In the Belly of the Technology Beast.  Nationally syndicated weekend talk host Dave Graveline (r) hosts his “Into Tomorrow” consumer technology program from the recent 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.  Graveline, whose program uses the latest technology to deliver content in a multi-media fashion, kicked off his 18th year broadcasting the program to his 180-plus affiliates at the CES.

Debt Limit Hike Debate, Gun Legislation Controversy, Mali Violence Escalates, Golden Globe Awards, and Iran Responds to ‘Argo’ Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/14).  The political battle in Washington over the debt ceiling and taxes; heated controversy over passing new gun legislation; France ramps up military efforts in Mali in response to terrorist group activity; Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards; and Iran responds to the film “Argo” about the 1979 revolution were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Peacock Sports Network Playing The Hits

| January 3, 2013

Part Two of a Special Feature

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — As sure as 2013 has arrived, personal resolutions have been made, and a plethora of prognostications will bombard us.

crystalball130Equally as predictable is that not long into this brand new year, those well-meaning self-promises will be severely compromised, and one’s forecasting ability becomes cloudy-looking, at best.

Here, however, is something that could actually be a trend this year: Don’t be surprised if clusters with multiple talk stations jettison one of those signals to sports.

Associated with that, we very well might witness a spate of under-performing (primarily talk) outlets transition to sports.

Read More

Sports Talk Network Update: Heavyweights Covering All Bases

| January 2, 2013

Part One: CBS Launches New Network

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

LOS ANGELES — “Happy Sports Year!”

That could easily be the battle cry sentiment among ardent fans to welcome 2013, even if it means that many of them will require scorecards to track the whereabouts of some of their favorite sports radio personalities.

A perennial sports talk talent MVP tops the headlines by switching teams, while some new names get to crack opening-day lineups, as not one – but two – national sports networks are being introduced this year, each carrying instantly-recognizable name branding.

One of them in fact, is making its maiden voyage today (Wednesday, January 2) and, if all goes according to plan, many radio station managers and programmers will be echoing that “Happy Sports Year!” declaration in about 11 months as their way of assessing 2013.

Read More

Friday, December 7, 2012

| December 7, 2012

Broad Cuts at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Claim Talk and Sports Staffers.  The end-of-the-year cuts taking place within Clear Channel is claiming numerous people in the programming end of the company’s radio stations.  Some of the talk and sports personnel who’ve been let go include:  Eric Chase, afternoons at sports WDFN, Detroit; Rich (Michaels) Minaya, afternoons, talk WIOD, Miami; Josh Sabrowsky, producer, sports KJR-AM, Seattle; Mike Morris, morning co-host, sports KFXN, Minneapolis; Don Ayers, morning producer, talk KOGO, San Diego and Jeff More, afternoon producer, KOGO; Steve Versnick, program director, talk WFLA, Tampa, and sports WDAE, Tampa; Catherine Brown, program director, talk WTKS, Orlando; “Bull,” midday producer, WTKS; and “Cabin Boy,” nights, WTKS.  This list is not necessarily complete as more reports of affected industry people are still coming in.  We’ll continue to update this list as more information becomes available.

Day 2 from the Arbitron Client Conference.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke covered the two-day Arbitron Client Conference for TALKERS that concluded yesterday (12/6).  Three points that dominated yesterday’s discussions and presentations are – as Cooke describes them – scary talk about in-car, straight talk about sports, and plain talk about politics.  Read Holland Cooke’s report from Annapolis here.

Entercom’s WEEI, Boston Names Kevin Winter AM Drive Sports Anchor.  When Jon Meterperel left the Dennis & Callahan morning drive show on Entercom’s WEEI, Boston earlier this fall to pursue his play-by-play career, that opened up a prime sports anchor/on-air role at the sports talk giant.  Now, Entercom announces Massachusetts native Kevin Winter will serve in that role.  Winter worked at the crosstown Boston ESPN affiliate and has served in a variety of studio host capacities including national SportsCenter anchor for all ESPN Radio shows including “Mike and Mike in the Morning.”  Additionally, he has been the pre- and post-game host for ESPN’s coverage of college football and basketball.  He says, “I’m very grateful and excited for the opportunity to join WEEI, particularly ‘Dennis and Callahan.’  This opportunity presents new and exciting challenges for me and I’m anxious and ready to get started.  I’m coming home!”

Rush Limbaugh’s Two If By Tea Initiative Raises More than $1 Million for Charity.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Rush Limbaugh announces the charitable efforts of his Two If By Tea product initiative have surpassed his goal of $100,000 by 10 times, with $1 million going to charities including the Marine Corps – Law Enforcement Foundation.  Limbaugh, who started the tea company with his wife Kathryn in June of 2011, says, “We ran the numbers, and we are thrilled to announce that because of you, Two If By Tea has donated over $1 million in product and monetary donations to incredible causes.”  Limbaugh says in starting the tea company he wanted to create an American business.  “I personally wanted to experience firsthand all of the requirements, the licenses, the fees needed to take a product to market from nothing.  Our goal was to create jobs and manufacture with all American-made products in a fun, unique way.”

Steve Deace Show Hits 50-Affiliate Mark.  The Iowa-based Steve Deace program announces it has hit the 50-affiliate goal in its first year in national syndication.  With the addition of KXBR, Duluth; KVOI, Tucson; and WYAB, Jackson, Mississippi, Deace’s independently syndicated evening talk show (9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET) climbs to the 50-station plateau.  Deace left his position at Clear Channel’s WHO, Des Moines (the station that remains his flagship affiliate) to pursue his goal of national syndication success.  He states, “I am honored and humbled to have achieved such success in such a short time.  When I left the award-winning and legendary WHO last year to find out what other opportunities were out there, I had no idea this was possible.”

Jeff Schechtman Steps Down at Wine Country’s KVON and KVYN, Napa, California.  With the possible sale of the news/talk and hot AC duo on the horizon, Wine Country Broadcasting owner Roger Walther and general manager Jeff Schechtman jointly announce Schechtman will step down from his role as GM in January to pursue other opportunities.  Schechtman states, “Ten years is a long time in any one job, and with the possible potential sale of the station, it seems an ideal time to move on to pursue some projects I’ve been thinking about for quite some time. There is always a tendency to get stale after too long in one job and in one place.”

Gow Communications Closes on KFNC, Houston.  Sports talk station 97.5 The Ticket has been operated by David Gow’s Gow Communications under an LMA since September.  Now, the company closes on the station it purchases from AR Broadcast Holdings for $5 million.

CBS Sports Radio Names Chris Moore and Brian Jones Evening Hosts.  The national sports radio network CBS Radio will debut on January 2 has been fitted with the final piece of the programming puzzle.  Hosting the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET slot will be veteran play-by-play announcer and talk host Chris Moore and former NFL player and current CBS Sports Network analyst Brian Jones, who have been named as co-hosts of CBS Sports Radio’s evening show.  Their program will emanate from CBS Sports Radio’s New York City studio in Tribeca and will be heard on several stations, including WIP-AM, Philadelphia, WFOM, Atlanta, WXYT-AM, Detroit, WJZ-AM, Baltimore, KJQS, Salt Lake City and WSJZ, Orlando.

‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 3-7.  The political fight in Washington over how to avoid the “fiscal cliff” was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM for the third straight week.  Coming in at #2 was Syria’s chemical weapons threat.  At #3 was the Egypt Morsi protests and following at #4 was the looming ObamaCare costs.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers .com.  See this week’s complete chart here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

| November 6, 2012

Radio News Services Prepare for Election 2012 Coverage.  Fox News Radio announces its schedule for coverage of the 2012 election.  The network will provide live coverage beginning at 7:00 pm ET.  Fox News Radio senior national correspondent Rich Johnson and political analyst Jeff Birnbaum will co-anchor the coverage along with Fox News Channel’s Heather Nauert who will be reporting on the race results.  In addition, many of the FNR affiliates across the country will be covering the election as well as the congressional and gubernatorial contests.  ABC News Radio will also begin its live coverage at 7:00 pm and it will run until 1:00 am unless longer coverage is deemed necessary.  ABC’s Aaron Katersky is anchoring with assistance from correspondents Vic Ratner, Ann Compton, Steven Portnoy and Alex Stone.  As we reported last week, America’s Radio News Network is providing election coverage to affiliate stations.  The team of John McCaslin, Lori Lundin and Chris Salcedo will broadcast “Election Night 2012” to affiliates from 9:00 pm to 3:00 am ET.  McCaslin states, “Before the winners are even announced, we will have for listeners the final state-by-state exit polling – including crucial battleground states like Ohio, Florida and Virginia – as quickly as the polls close in each state.  Once the voting stops, we will be able to closely examine various exit-polling data and get a clear signal of the ultimate results.  Take the all-important race for the White House: if President Obama or Mitt Romney were to win certain key battleground states – with the right combination, this could be as few as two of the states – we would be able to suggest which candidate will be taking the oath of office on January 21, 2013.”

Talker Warren Ballentine to Interview President Obama Today.  President Obama will push a get-out-the-vote message when he visits with Syndication One nationally syndicated talk host Warren Ballentine on his talk show today in the 11:00 am ET hour.  Yesterday, TALKERS spoke with SiriusXM and WOL, Washington talk host Joe Madison who said President Obama has made himself and his cabinet available to urban talk outlets such as his during the course of the president’s term.  Ballentine, a lawyer by trade, is heard on 37 affiliate stations across the country.

ESPN Radio’s Jim Durham Passes Away at 65.  Jim Durham was the lead play-by-play analyst for “The NBA on ESPN Radio.”  He died over the weekend at his home in Tomball, Texas.  No cause of death has been announced.  Senior vice president and general manager, ESPN Radio Mo Davenport says, “Jim was a respected play-by-play specialist who combined a tremendous gift for storytelling with a Hall of Fame voice.  He’s been a dedicated friend and a trusted teammate to so many at ESPN for two decades and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with his wife Helen and the entire Durham family.”  In 2011 Durham was honored by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame with the Curt Gowdy Media Award, presented annually to members of the print and electronic media whose longtime efforts have made a significant contribution to the game of basketball.

Talk Host Michelle Jerson Promoting New Web Venture.  Relationship talk host and news reporter Michelle Jerson – who has worked at such outlets as WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5; WJFK, Washington and SiriusXM’s Howard 100 channel – has developed a new web venture at her site called PassportRomance.com.  The content-rich travel website combines her experience as a relationship host and travel expert.  As the former television, web, and radio correspondent for Travelzoo.com, she is now giving readers  first-hand accounts and ideas of where to travel if they are single looking for love, seeking the perfect first trip with a new partner, or planning a romantic honeymoon or anniversary close to home or abroad.  Jerson is also creating radio segments to promote her site and will appear on Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia “IQ 106.9” on the morning show with Al Gardner and Lionel this Friday.  Stations interested in booking Michelle as a guest can reach out to her at michelle@passportromance.com.

WZON, Bangor Morning Host Lives in “Hobbit Hole” to Raise Awareness of Those Who can’t Afford Heat.  Talk host Pat LaMarche hosts “The Pulse Morning Show” on WZON-AM/FM, Bangor Maine and she’s been living in a “hobbit hole” – basically a non-insulated and unheated garden shed – to raise awareness and funds for those in the region who have trouble heating their homes during the brutal Maine winters.  LaMarche tells local TV outlet WABI that all funds raised will go to help winterize homes, especially of the elderly, disabled and homes with children.  LaMarche is bundled up and is hosting the program from inside the wooden shed and she tells the TV station that it’s very uncomfortable and difficult to function due to the cold.  She says for families with children, it’s even more challenging.  “If you had to go to school every day and your choice is cold water or going to school un-bathed and kids make fun of you, and your life is extremely unpleasant because you’re cold and then you get picked on at school.”

Romney vs. Obama, Voter Fraud Issues, Sandy Aftermath, and Libya Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/5).  The final push before election day between President Obama and Mitt Romney; allegations of voter fraud in early polling; the aftermath of Sandy in the hard-hit areas of New York and New Jersey; and the investigation into the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, November 5, 2012

| November 5, 2012

KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa Promotes Dan Potter to AM Drive Show.  There’s been a lot of movement among Cox Media Group staffers between properties lately.  It started with long-time KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa program director Drew Anderssen moving to the company’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando at the end of the summer.  Then it was announced that WDBO morning host Jim Turner would retire and KRMG AM drive personality Joe Kelley would move to Orlando to take over the morning show there.  Now, KRMG announces that it is promoting “Tulsa’s Afternoon News” host Dan Potter and he will slide into the morning drive chair beginning November 19.  Potter says, “Under Joe Kelley’s leadership, the ‘KRMG Morning News’ has become the single most important morning show in Oklahoma, both in terms of content and listenership.  I hope to continue the growth Joe started and to attract new listeners to the show.  I am humbled, honored and very excited for this opportunity.  I anchored newscasts on a similar morning show in Dallas-Fort Worth for over 15 years and am constantly impressed by KRMG’s commitment to covering breaking news better than anyone.  You could take this newsroom and this product and put it in any major market in the country and be competitive.”

ESPN Audio Debuts New PM Drive Show with Jonathan Coachman.  A new sports talk show from ESPN Audio debuts this afternoon hosted by ESPN studio anchor Jonathan Coachman.  The 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET show will have Coachman initially joined by a rotating array of ESPN on-air personalities to present three hours of personality-driven opinion, analysis, humor and interviews covering the news of the day, as well as interaction with listeners via e-mails, texts and calls.  The program is available to terrestrial affiliates as well as being heard via the ESPN app, espnradio.com, TuneIn and SiriusXM.  During his time at ESPN, Coachman has hosted “NBA Tonight,” “College Football Live,” “NASCAR Now,” and “ESPN2 Friday Night Fights.”  Coachman says of the new venture, “To say I am excited about ‘Coach’ & Company would be an understatement, but it’s going to be about our entire team – our production team and the team of fans at home – who will all have a hand in hopefully making it a successful show.  I am very serious about sports, but people can expect above all else a show that is fun.  And, with my background in the WWE, I feel I can really bring an entertainment value to the show in a strong way.”

Clear Channel’s Columbia, South Carolina Country Jocks Pull Double Duty; Host PM on News/Talk WVOC.  Jonathon Rush and Kelly Nash – known to their country WCOS, Columbia listeners and Rush & Nash, hosts of the “Morning Rush” program – begin a new chapter in their careers hosting the “Afternoon Rush” on sister news/talk WVOC.  The station parted ways with PM drive host Keven Cohen last week.  Rush and Nash will continue to host their morning program on “My Country 97.5.”  In a statement, Kelly Nash says, “This is an opportunity I’ve dreamed of for years.  We can play the world’s greatest music for the greatest music fans in the morning and talk with the most passionate radio listeners every afternoon.”

WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne Names Ryan Reker PD.  Federated Media’s heritage WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne, Indiana announces the hiring of Ryan Reker as program director.  Reker comes to the station after a management shuffle that saw Gregg Henson (now at Clear Channel’s WPGB and WBGG, Pittsburgh) exit the post and Federated’s own Woody Zimmerman oversee the station briefly before being reassigned to oversee the company’s Warsaw, Indiana cluster.  Reker most recently served as program director and morning host at Maverick Media’s classic rock WEGE-FM and as program director of sports talk WWSR-FM, both in Lima, Ohio.  Reker also worked at Clear Channel’s news/talk WOOD-AM in Grand Rapids and Entercom’s sports WSSP, Milwaukee.  He says of his new position, “WOWO is a unique station with very unique listeners.  I love the reputation and passion they’ve built with the community.  I’m honored and excited for the opportunity to work with such a great group of broadcasters.”

How to Write a Professional Radio Facebook Post (Part 2).  Radio digital consultant Chris Miller was so amazed by the high level of interest in his previous TALKERS piece, “Start Doing THIS Right NOW on Facebook,” published here last week, that he decided to share a few more tips to help you get your radio station’s pages and posts right!  Miller writes, “A lot of us radio folks see the value in social media.  Still, many could use some help working it in a way so you’re building your brand, instead of just spinning your wheels.  Many of the mistakes businesses make on Facebook have to do with how your write what you post.  We tend to speak in marketing-ese or like we’re scripting a promo.  That’s a huge error that may have people consistently hiding your content.”  Read Miller’s entire article explaining how to write a post that works for you, here.

President Obama Friendly to African American-Targeted Radio.  President Obama is credited with being the first presidential candidate to seriously use social media to assist his election and re-election efforts but he’s also been a user of radio programs that target the urban audience.    SiriusXM talk radio star Joe Madison (whose program is also heard on terrestrial outlet WOL, Washington, DC) tells TALKERS magazine the president reached out to him early and often.  “His administration nurtured a relationship with black talk radio since he first took office.  I have had access to most members of his cabinet.  They have addressed issues related to the black community and the general population.  Contrast that with Romney’s campaign, we have not received a single news release or response to appear on my show.”  In fact, Madison will host the president on his radio show today.  Madison says he believes the get-out-the-vote effort targeted to black radio by the Obama campaign appears to be working.  “I believe the early voting we’ve seen in our community is due to black talk radio encouraging our audience to vote.  Yesterday in Dade County, Florida, voters were in line until 1:00 am.”

Report:  Actor John Cusack to Produce and Star in Film About Rush Limbaugh.  The Huffington Post reports that actor John Cusack’s company, New Crime Productions, is putting the finishing touches on the script of a movie about Rush Limbaugh tentatively titled “Rush.”  The story quotes actress/director Betty Thomas (who also directed Howard Stern’s “Private Parts”) saying she will direct and that production starts sometime next year.

NBC Sports Radio Names Stan Van Gundy NBA Senior Analyst.  The former head coach of the Orlando Magic joins the NBC Sports Radio network as senior analyst for the NBA.  Stan Van Gundy will call into network shows each week during the NBA season.  He’ll talk exclusively to NBC Sports Radio affiliates and co-host for an hour every Friday during the NBA season, on a show soon to be announced.  NBC Sports Ventures senior vice president Rob Simmelkjaer states, “We are thrilled to add one of the most respected and outspoken coaches in the NBA to the NBC Sports Radio roster.  Our listeners will get to enjoy Stan’s unique insight into events and storylines around the league on a weekly basis.”

 

KABC, Los Angeles’ Doug McIntyre Emcees Bennett Film Opening.  KABC, Los Angeles morning drive host Doug McIntyre had the opportunity to emcee the Los Angeles opening of the new Tony Bennett documentary titled, “The Zen of Bennett” before a sold-out crowd at the Landmark Theater.  McIntyre tells TALKERS, “The distributor of ‘The Zen of Bennett’ is a fan of the documentary I made with my wife, ‘Trying to Get Good: The Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon.’  Since I had a background in music — specifically the Great American Songbook and jazz, and have a ton of experience doing these kind of interviews (Robert Redford, Betty White, etc.,) – he recommended me to Tony’s manager, Danny Bennett.  I had met Tony a number of times before but this was the first chance I had to really spend some time with him, a thrill for me, probably less so for Tony.”  McIntyre says the event was not a KABC promotion but the station did give away tickets to the premiere.

“Free Talk Live” Celebrates 10 Years on the Radio.  “Free Talk Live” – the evening and weekend independently syndicated talk program hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge – celebrates its 10th anniversary.  Freeman writes, in a memo to affiliates and the industry, that the program began in Florida after a format change at the station at which he was working.  “In 2001, rock WYNF, Tampa flipped to hot talk and was using content from Orlando’s successful ‘Real Radio’ WTKS-FM as well as the other ‘Real Radio,’ WZZR-FM in West Palm Beach.  After a year of this, I approached management, Big Jim Davis and Ron White, and pitched the idea of a local show for the weekend.  I said we’d be willing to do it for free.  They gave us the green light and ‘Free Talk Live’ was born, at first on Sunday nights.  The response from the audience was so spectacular that it was within the first few weeks that we were asked to take over weeknights.  Clear Channel ended up flipping the format of the station back to rock in 2003, but FTL continued online, then on another station in town, then another, until I approached the Genesis Communications Network and asked them if they were looking for new programs.  We started in syndication as a weekend show and within a few weeks were offered weeknights.  Since then we have continued doing our live Saturday show (our most popular) and added a live Sunday show as well.   We’ve grown to over 110 AM/FM affiliates and are also heard all week on XM.”

Odds & Sods.  Former New Orleans Saints quarterback and current WWL, New Orleans PM drive co-host Bobby Hebert was ejected from the press box at Saturday’s LSU-Alabama game for ignoring warnings not to create a disturbance by cheering.  The Times-Picayune reports the press box was stuffed with 947 credentialed media people and police escorted Hebert out in the fourth quarter of LSU’s 21-17 loss…..Proving that she CAN hang with Democrats, on Friday night (11/2), KRLA, Los Angeles morning drive host Heidi Harris sang in the Barbra Streisand concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.  She was in the choir for “Make Our Garden Grow.”…..Kim Komando, host of the eponymous nationally syndicated weekend computer talk show is appointed to the Phoenix-located Musical Instrument Museum’s President’s Cabinet. The President’s Cabinet is comprised of Valley leaders who provide guidance and support to MIM’s president and director, Dr. Bill DeWalt.  Komando joins the ranks of other notable Phoenix-area business leaders and philanthropists and will assist MIM with furthering its mission.

WNIR, Akron Host Tom Erickson Mourned.  Talk show host Tom Erickson died on Saturday (11/3) after a long battle with peritonitis.  He was 58.  Erickson was the evening host on Media-Com’s WNIR, Akron.  He worked for nearly 30 years in the radio and television news end of the media business and became a talk show host at WNIR in 2001.  He was on medical leave to deal with his health issues and last appeared on the radio in early June.

From WMAL’s Swing State Road Show.  Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, DC has been touring the “swing state” of Virginia broadcasting from diners across the commonwealth as the election approaches.  The tour wrapped up on Friday with the final road show broadcast featuring former House Speaker (and former presidential candidate) Newt Gingrich.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Breitbart columnist and WMAL guest co-host Larry O’Connor, Gingrich, and WMAL’s “Mornings on the Mall” host Brian Wilson.

Friday, October 26, 2012

| October 26, 2012

Interviewing the Commander in Chief.  WYD Media nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish is interviewing President Barack Obama today at 12:00 noon ET for the seventh time and the fourth time since he took office in 2009.  He will be given 15 minutes with the president. Today’s interview will be broadcast on the Michael Smerconish program this afternoon at 1:00 pm ET.  Getting an interview with the chief executive, even by phone, is a major deal on radio but Smerconish is one of the few radio personalities to have the privilege to do a no-holds-barred discussion with the president about the issues in a rare sit-down session actually in the Oval Office.  In an exclusive interview with Smerconish conducted this morning at 9:00 am ET, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison speaks with the host about his mindset, the state of partisan news/talk radio, and about what goes into preparing for a discussion with the commander-in-chief.  Listen to their conversation here. (If you are on a mobile device – please click here).

To hear Michael Smerconish’s interview with President Obama, click below.

WQXI, Atlanta Promotes Keith Allen to APD.  The Lincoln Financial Media sports talk outlet announces “Mayhem in the AM” producer Keith Allen is adding the assistant program director duties to his responsibilities.  He’ll continue to produce the morning show.  Program director Bob Richards states, “Keith has produced the biggest brands in the market.  He understands our target demo and is one of the key factors in making ‘Mayhem in the AM’ the top-rated sports talk show in Atlanta over the past year.  Keith’s appointment to this position is one of many exciting changes taking place at ‘790 The Zone.’”  Allen came to WQXI three years ago.  Previously he served as producer at sports talk WBNS, Columbus.

WGN, Chicago’s Dean Richards Hosts 16th Annual Breast Cancer Special.  This will be the 16th year WGN, Chicago’s Dean Richards has hosted the multi award-winning breast cancer special.  It takes place Sunday from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and is presented by Walgreens.  WGN states, “The live, three-hour town hall meeting examines where we are in the fight against breast cancer featuring a panel of the nation’s leading medical experts, moving survivor stories, resources for cancer patients, the latest research and more.  Special guests include: breast cancer survivor and actress Maura Tierney; Dr. Kathy Albain, medical oncologist, Loyola University Medical Center; Dr. Claudia Perez, assistant professor surgery, surgical oncology, Loyola University Medical Center; Deborah Cornwall, author of the new book, Things I Wish I’d Known: Cancer Caregivers Speak Out; and LauraJane Hyde, chief executive officer of Gilda’s Club Chicago.

Get Well Wishes to WIBA, Madison’s Mitch Henck.  Morning talk show host Mitch Henck is off the air at Clear Channel’s news/talk WIBA, Madison this week after suffering a mild stroke early Monday morning.  The Wisconsin State Journal reports co-workers held a get-well-Mitch discussion on the radio this week and news director Robin Colbert said, “”He’s in the hospital, but he is recovering and getting stronger and better every day.”  Henck hosts the 8:00 am to 11:00 am show on WIBA.

Al Gore’s Current TV on the Block.  The New York Post reports the cable channel owned by former Vice President Al Gore, CEO Joel Hyatt and other private investors is up for sale.  Hyatt tells the Post, “Current has been approached many times by media companies interested in acquiring our company.  This year alone, we have had three inquiries.  As a consequence, we thought it might be useful to engage expertise to help us evaluate our strategic options.”  The story notes Current TV is interviewing investment banks but has yet to launch a formal sales process.  The Post reports ad revenue for 2011 for the cable channel was estimated at $16.9 million.  It is available in approximately 60 million homes.

Dave Ramsey Delivers in Denver.  Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey recently presented his brand new, intimate “Living a Legacy Live” event in Denver to a record crowd.  This presentation centers on “how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.”  Speaker and author Jon Acuff joined Ramsey on stage.  Local stations KLZ, Denver and KRDO, Colorado Springs benefitted from Ramsey’s appearance in the region.  KLZ station manager Mike Triem states, “The listeners of ‘560 The Source’ get to learn daily from Dave and they set aside that time each day and week to grow their knowledge about finances and about life.  The ‘Living a Legacy’ event gives our listeners the opportunity to learn from Dave ‘live.’  These listeners will be able to establish a lasting legacy for their children and what their friends and co-workers will ‘take away’ from knowing them.”  Pictured above are (from l-r): KLZ’s Mike Triem, Dave Ramsey, KRDO program director Mike Lewis, and Jon Acuff.

Welcoming the Candidates to Nevada.  KDWN, Las Vegas morning drive talk show host Alan Stock is pictured here with Governor Mitt Romney backstage at the Henderson Pavilion in Henderson, Nevada.  Stock was invited to welcome the crowd for the Romney/Ryan Rally in Henderson where some 8,000 supporters gathered.  KDWN program director John Shaffer says, “It’s always great to have your station and its talk personalities involved in the local community, but to have one be asked to participate in an event of this magnitude, makes me realize the integral role KDWN plays in Las Vegas.”  Stock was elated at the opportunity to welcome the candidates to Nevada, saying, “It was an incredible experience to be part of an historic event like this, to be in the presence of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and to feel the energy of the crowd that came out to support them.”

Odds & Sods.  Drew Belzer exits ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles where he’d been serving as a reporter/anchor and host after nine years with the station…..CBS Radio’s sports talk WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia inks a deal with Villanova University to carry play-by-play of the school’s men’s basketball and football that begins with the 2012-13 basketball season.  Games and special Villanova basketball and football talk shows will air on WIP’s AM 610 signal…..The Washington Post reports CBS Radio’s WJFK, Washington “106.7 The Fan” and Hubbard’s WFED, Washington “Federal News Radio” will share carriage of the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the NBA’s Washington Wizards.  Both teams’ games will air on both stations unless there’s a conflict, then the Capitals will air on WJFK and the Wizards will air on WFED…..A1R Psychic Radio earns a “special thanks” credit from the executive producer of NBC/Universal’s “Trisha Goddard Show” for its help contributing to the Halloween edition of the show dealing with psychics and mediums.

Washington Programmer and Personality Bernie McCain Mourned.  Bernie McCain was the first program director of Radio One’s WOL, Washington when it flipped to a talk format.  He also served as a personality on the station.  He came to WOL from crosstown WWRC.  McCain died of kidney failure on October 13 at the age of 75.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The WYD Media-produced and Dial Global-distributed Michael Smerconish program is added to the schedule at KGY, Seattle…..Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” is added to the program schedule at Cox Media’s WDBO, Orlando.  Other stations adding Dean include: KLFE, Seattle; WPGB, Pittsburgh; KFAB, Omaha; WELI, New Haven; and WSCC, Charleston, South Carolina…..Dial Global‘s’ “Jill on Money” with Jill Schlesinger is picked up by KJRB, Spokane and KNEZ, Reno…..WGDJ, Albany adds Cumulus Media NetworksMichael Savage to the program schedule…..Mass Wave Media Group’s “Scott and Tim” overnight talk show featuring Scott Chambers and Tim Sutton is added to the program lineup at WTDR, Talladega, Alabama and WGAD, Gadsden, Alabama…..KIVA, Albuquerque adds the “Out Loud Minute” by talk personality Malcolm Out Loud.

Presidential Race Polls Top Talkers TenTM for Week of October 22-26.  Talk of the numerous polls tallying support for the presidential candidates was the #1 story on news/talk radio this week, according to TALKERS.  The second most-talked-about story was the Benghazi attack controversy.  Coming in third was the aftermath of the presidential debates and at #4 was the Mourdock rape comments.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

| September 19, 2012

NAB/RAB Radio Show Opens in Dallas Today.  Thousands of broadcasters from around the nation are gathering at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas for the annual “Radio Show” jointly presented by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).  The theme of this year’s event is ‘Hear What’s Next.”  The entire conference, which runs from this morning until the closing Radio Show Luncheon on Friday afternoon, is devoted to the medium of radio and its commercial industry with an eye on the future — from the music royalties issue to the general challenge of integrating into the digital era.  CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason served as chair of this year’s Radio Show Steering Committee.  TALKERS has correspondents on the scene and will provide coverage of the key events as they unfold.

Michael Harrison to Deliver Address This Morning:  “Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?”   TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will be presenting an “info-session” at the Radio Show this morning sponsored by this publication in which he addresses the question, “Can terrestrial radio thrive in the digital era?”  Harrison says, “Survival is not enough.  Survival is just a form of slow death.”  In an accompanying article he writes, “Survival is already happening and it isn’t as much fun as it’s cracked up to be as a spectator sport on the Discovery Channel.  In the reality show called terrestrial radio, sooner than later, survival will run out of gas.  For terrestrial radio, ‘survival’ is simply a slower form of imminent death.  It should be the goal of terrestrial radio to thrive in the digital era. Thrive? Is that even possible? Of course it is — but only if the medium’s players, from the very top on down, muster up the will to conquer the daunting obstacles standing before them.  It will take vision and courage fueled by bold ideas and action to slay the five-headed dragon threatening terrestrial radio with premature obsolescence.”  To read the entire article, click here.  If you are in Dallas, you can attend Harrison’s presentation in the Emerald Room at 10:15 am CT.

Entercom Announces Deal with ESPN to Split WEEI, Boston’s AM and FM Signals.  Beginning October 5, ESPN Radio’s national sports talk lineup will be heard on WEEI-AM at 850 in Boston and the local talk of Entercom’s Boston sports brand will broadcast solely on WEEI-FM at 93.7.  This is a great deal for ESPN, which gets a Boston clear for its sports talk programming and play-by-play, including the entire MLB schedule (including this year’s playoffs), the NBA and college hoops and football.  The AM side is being re-branded “ESPN on WEEI.”  On the FM side, the Boston sports talker will still be the exclusive home of Red Sox baseball, Celtics basketball and NFL play-by-play.  For WEEI’s web presence, ESPNBoston.com will power WEEI.com’s video player with ESPN video content.  Entercom president and CEO David Field states, “We are excited to be expanding our partnership with ESPN in such a meaningful way.  Combining Boston’s leading sports station, WEEI-FM, and the new ESPN on WEEI 850 AM, together with our ability to cross promote content through our existing mobile and digital platforms, gives passionate Boston sports fans the very best in local and national sports content.”

WSAU-AM/FM, Wausau, Wisconsin Give Political Candidate Free Air Time in Equal Time Deal.  Pat Snyder is the morning drive host on Midwest Communications news/talk combo WSAU-AM/FM, Wausau, Wisconsin.  He’s also a Republican candidate for State Assembly but his popularity with listeners meant the station didn’t want to take him off the air until it had to.  The Wausau Daily Herald reports that since Snyder worked until August 30 – almost two weeks after Democrat Mandy Wright became his opponent on August 14 – Wright became eligible for equal time compensation.  So the station will give Wright five-and-a-half hours of time in the form of commercials to air between now and election day.  She tells the paper she’s happy with the deal and that the station was “amicable” in dealing with her.

Jim Ingstad’s Radio Fargo-Moorhead to Sell Cluster to Midwest Communications.  The six-station cluster of Jim Ingstad’s Radio Fargo-Moorhead will be sold to Wausau, Wisconsin-based Midwest Communications, pending FCC approval.  The stations are: news/talk KFGO-AM, sports KVOX-AM, classic hits KBVB-FM, Top 40 WDAY-FM, talk KRWK-FM and CHR KMJO-FM.  Six years ago Ingstad bought the stations from Clear Channel – the company that had purchased the stations from him several years prior.  No purchase price has been announced.

Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart to Debate Prior to the Election.  Dubbed “The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium” and taking place at Washington, DC’s George Washington University on October 6, Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly (also heard on news/talk radio stations via his daily feature distributed by Courtside Entertainment) and “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart will mix it up in a 90-minute debate about election issues.  O’Reilly and Stewart have a friendly but adversarial relationship and have both appeared on each other’s shows.  According to Deadline.com, the debate will be broadcast over the internet in a pay-per-view model.

WJJG, Chicago Flips Calls to Historic WCKG.  Talk outlet WJJG (licensed to Elmhurst, Illinois) is taking the calls of the former CBS Radio hot talk outlet WCKG-FM – once home to Howard Stern, Steve Dahl and others during its heyday.  The station says in a statement, “WCKG has boasted Chicago and national radio stars the likes of Bob Sirott, Steve Dahl, Howard Stern, Kevin Matthews, Jonathon Brandmeier, Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew Pinsky, Garry Meier, and Stephanie Miller.  Now, WCKG fans can add Mancow Muller, Alex Jones, and Michael Savage to the list of radio superstars linked to WCKG, on AM 1530.  General manager Matt Dubiel has been operating the station for the past year and has re-tooled the station’s programming lineup, marketing, studios and engineering.  He says he has plans to add live and local talk shows and a suburban showcase studio next.  “My mission is to bring WCKG to a worthy DuPage County suburb.  It’s high time for DuPage to have a marquee radio station with top-level talent serving our communities and Main Street businesses.”

Managing the Tight Sports Talk Playlist.  Sports talk hosts wishing to depart from the small number of stories in which their audience is interested on any given day do so at the risk of massive tune out.  WFAN, New York host Richard Neer writes that today’s sports talk host must work that much harder to keep those few topics fresh to serve both the new listeners coming in and the ones who’ve been along for the ride for some time.  Doing that and avoiding the temptation to veer off into uncharted waters are two of the biggest challenges for sports talkers.  Read Richard Neer’s column here.

Morning Host Hank Bonecutter Let Go from WJZM, Clarksville, Tennessee.  The twist here is that Hank Bonecutter, host of “The Bone Show” on news/talk/sports WJZM, Clarksville, Tennessee, is the former owner of the station and he just completed the sale of it to new owners Dave Loos Jr., Greg Walker and Mike Parchman in August.  He’d been affiliated with the station since 1973 and bought it in 1994.  He tells The Leaf Chronicle, “I have no ill will.  They have to do what they have to do.  I wasn’t sure I’d stay on to the end of the year anyway…My reporting and all we were doing was not in their whole scope of what the station would be about.  I don’t think there’s any question I’ve rubbed a lot of people the wrong way for several years.  I’m sure they were taking a lot of heat from some folks in town, but I can’t speak to whether that was part of their decision or not.”

Critics Slamming NBC TV’s Ouster of Ann Curry from “Today.”  In a story in the New York Post, many industry watchers are saying the network’s move to bump Ann Curry from its morning news/talk show “Today” is not getting the intended result: improved ratings.  In the three months since Curry was replaced by Savannah Guthrie, the ratings have slid further.  According to the story, with Ann Curry in the lineup the show averaged 4.94 million total viewers and 2.1 million viewers in the 25 to 54 demo in the 10 weeks before she left.  Since then, “Today” has dropped to 4.6 million total viewers and 1.9 million in the 25 to 54 demo in the 10 weeks after she was replaced.

Odds & Sods.  CBS Radio gears up for the 29th NewsRadio 1020 KDKA Spaghetti Breakfast being held this Friday from 5:00 am to 9:00 am at the Heinz Hall Garden Plaza in downtown Pittsburgh.  The breakfast feast features “KDKA Morning News co-hosts Larry Richert and John Shumway…..WHO, Des Moines PM drive host Simon Conway sits in today through Friday for Premiere Networks’ “America Now” with Andy Dean…..Corporate Turnaround partners with Broadcast Affiliate Sales to debut its new daily radio feature that consists of intriguing stories about ways business can improve and grow.  BAS’ Mike Tyler says, “Corporate Turnaround’s daily feature discusses many ways small business can improve their financial condition.  This feature will help radio stations get new advertisers.  The listeners will enjoy the feature and small business will get much needed information.”

Romney ‘Reliant on Government’ Comments, Media Matters-DOJ Relationship, and Libya U.S. Consulate Attack Aftermath/Muslim World Protests Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/18).  The fallout from a secretly recorded video of Mitt Romney speaking to donors about the 47% of President Obama’s base who are “reliant on government”; questions about whether Media Matters for America has a working relationship with the Department of Justice; the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya and the ongoing anti-America protests in the Muslim world were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?

| September 19, 2012

By Michael Harrison
TALKERS Magazine
Publisher

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Survival is not enough.

Survival is already happening and it isn’t as much fun as it’s cracked up to be as a spectator sport on the Discovery Channel.  In the reality show called terrestrial radio, sooner than later, survival will run out of gas.  For terrestrial radio, “survival” is simply a slower form of imminent death.

It should be the goal of terrestrial radio to thrive in the digital era.

Thrive?  Is that even possible?

Read More

Thursday, September 13, 2012

| September 13, 2012

Les Moonves Tells Investors Network Sports Radio Biz is “Found Money.”  That CBS is bullish on sports is not news – CBS CEO Les Moonves has said that before.  But he reiterated his company’s dedication to the industry and – citing the new CBS Sports Radio Network venture – called it $10 million to $15 million worth of “found money.”  Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference in Beverly Hills yesterday, Moonves told the conference the sports radio network business is a $150 million industry, “With our deal with Cumulus, we have reach.  We’re in nine of the top 10 markets.  We have the capacity to put on a lot of stuff.  We think right away we’re going to get about 10% of the market.  That’s going to be a significant hit right away and that should grow.  It’s a great marketplace; rather easy to do.  As far as we’re concerned it’s 10 or 15 million [dollars] of found money that we think will grow.”  CBS is entering into a fast-growing marketplace already dominated by ESPN and with entrenched radio players Fox Sports Radio Network, Yahoo! Sports Radio and new entrant NBC Sports Radio – a partnership between NBC and Dial Global.  Sure, there’s a ton of money in sports media right now, but how fast this market gets saturated is a question industry watchers are pondering.

Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Gets Television Profile with DISH Network Deal.  Talk show host and digital media pioneer Glenn Beck is soon to be seen on television after his TheBlaze, Inc. agrees to a deal with DISH Network to have his online 24-hour news, information and entertainment network available on the satellite TV provider.  Under terms of the deal, TheBlaze will be available to DISH viewers on channel 212 as part of DISH’s America’s Top 250 package or a la carte for $5 a month.  The channel launched Wednesday at 5:00 pm ET.  It’ll be available as a free preview for all DISH customers through September 26.  In a statement, Beck says, “TheBlaze has helped revolutionize television over the internet and now we are excited to bring the revolution back to traditional television.  TheBlaze will be home to news, information and entertainment programming with the facts and stories people care about most and we look forward to kicking things off with DISH.”  Mercury Radio Arts president Chris Balfe blogged about the success of Beck’s new venture and how this deal came to pass.  “Prior to our initial launch I was often asked why we didn’t pursue a traditional cable channel.  There were several factors, but the biggest was that we wouldn’t have been able to build the channel we wanted back then without giving up control.  To get on the air we would have had to partner with a large media company that could provide us with the staff, infrastructure and distribution necessary to launch a new network.  That was something that we simply were not willing to do.  The whole point of starting our own network was to be free from outside influences  — giving that independence up right away in exchange for distribution was a non-starter.  And so we found another way.  But now, a year later, everything has changed.  Our subscribers’ enthusiasm and support has allowed us to make the necessary investments in programming and infrastructure, and we’re now in a position to launch a cable and satellite channel without losing control.”

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Promotes Julie Talbott.  The president of content and affiliations for Premiere Networks is upped to a new post – president of content and affiliations for CC’s National Media Groups.  Talbott retains her oversight of Premiere Networks but adds new duties as she’ll answer to Kevin Dorsey, president of the National Media Groups who, in turn, reports directly to chairman and CEO John Hogan.  A statement from Clear Channel notes Talbott’s “new role will include leading and maintaining key affiliate relationships to sell and service Premiere Networks, Total Traffic Network and iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s industry-leading digital radio platform.  The new position will provide the company’s affiliates with a simplified and streamlined point of contact for communicating and conducting business across Clear Channel’s diverse group of subsidiaries.”  Talbott says, “I enjoy working with our clients and partners, and this alignment of our affiliate efforts will allow us to better serve and communicate with stations throughout the U.S.  I’m looking forward to working with the amazing teams across the company as we continue to demonstrate the unique relationship CCM+E has with our audience.”

Cox Media’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa Names Levi May Program Director.  The PD post at KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa opened up when long-time programmer Drew Anderssen moved to Cox Media’s Orlando news/talker WDBO-AM/FM.  Levi May served as WDBO’s assistant PD prior to his new position in Tulsa.

Talk Radio Weekends: Two Sure Shots.  Talk radio consultant Holland Cooke offers advice on weekend programming for talk radio stations that fits in with the P1’s weekend lifestyle and has the opportunity for bringing in revenue.  Sure, it’s lifestyle-oriented stuff but while many of those categories are well-serviced by nationally syndicated programs, Cooke says these two suggestions are tailor-made for local professionals.  Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.

 

WVON, Chicago News Pro Sharon McGhee Loses Battle with Cancer.  Journalist, writer and radio news director Sharon McGhee died in Columbia, Missouri on September 11 at age 54 after a long battle with ovarian cancer.  She joined urban talk WVON, Chicago in 1997 and was promoted to news director the following year.  She left the radio business to focus on her love of the arts and entertainment and in 2007, wrote the critically acclaimed “The Pocketbook Monologues” and subsequently directed multiple staged performances across the United States.  McGhee returned to WVON in 2008 as news director and resigned from that position in 2010 due to health reasons.  WVON president Melody Spann Cooper states, “Sharon McGhee was one of the most creative people I’ve ever known.  Her determination, passion and drive brought her to Chicago where she excelled in everything that was on her professional and personal agenda.  She was a rare breed determined to do it her way, and she did.”

Former Merlin Media News Pros Land with Virtual News Center.  News staffers Veronica Carter and Katherine Kelly were two of the news pros who worked at Merlin Media’s FM news outlet in Chicago and exited the station when it flipped formats.  They join the team at Virtual News Center which describes itself as “the largest independent provider of local news for radio heard on over 175 stations in nearly 80 markets.”  The company works on a cash direct basis or via barter through Envision Radio Networks.  Veronica Carter spent her 25 year radio career in Illinois, Indiana, and California, heavily involved in all facets of news reporting and anchoring.  On her Merlin experience she says, “Working for Merlin Media was short lived, but an adventure to say the least!  Glad to be with Virtual News Center, it’s actually fun doing newscasts all over the country!”  Katherine Kelly worked in Peoria, Illinois and the Quad Cities as well as in Seattle and Chicago.  Kelly anchored news as a part of some of the country’s top morning shows.  She also helped launch the Oprah Radio Network on Sirius XM.  She states, “I am incredibly honored to be joining the team at Virtual News Center.  Now I can cover just as many cities without leaving home!”

New Jersey 101.5 Reporter Honored for Series on Teen Drug Abuse.  The New Jersey Governor’s Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse honors New Jersey 101.5 reporter Stacy Proesbtle with its Community Service Award.  Proesbtle is pictured here (from l-r) with NJ 101.5 brand manager Eric Johnson, NJ 101.5 news director Eric Scott, Proesbtle, and Council executive director John Hulick at the Council’s 21st annual Summit at the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick, New Jersey.  Proebstle’s five-part series about the abuse of heroin and other opiates among New Jersey’s youth focused on prescription drug abuse, accidental overdoses, how abuse often begins at home and  the fact that prescription drug abuse can happen to anyone.  Proebstle talked to recovering addicts, parents, prevention specialists, substance abuse professionals and law enforcement officers to address current trends and issues along with possible solutions.  On receiving the honor, Proesbtle says, “I’m absolutely delighted to receive this honor on behalf of the station and most genuinely grateful.  It validates the importance of community service and giving back to one’s community.”

Cumulus San Francisco Inks 49ers for 12-Year Extension.  Appearing on sports talk KNBR, San Francisco’s Murph & Mac morning show, Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey joined 49ers CEO Jed York to announce the stations and the NFL clubs have agreed to a 12-year contract extension to keep the team’s games on KNBR, news/talk KGO and rock KSAN in the market.  During that appearance on the program, Dickey said, “While the trend in radio has been for shorter deals with sports teams, this 12-year partnership demonstrates the commitment of KNBR and Cumulus to the 49ers, and further cements KNBR as the ‘Sports Leader in Northern California’ for almost 25 years.”

WEEI, Boston Helps Celebrate Red Sox Broadcaster Joe Castiglione’s 30th Anniversary.  Prior to last night’s Boston Red Sox game, Entercom sports talker WEEI celebrated the 30th anniversary of play-by-play announcer Joe Castiglione with an appearance at the WEEI studios by Castiglione on the afternoon drive “Big Show” with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley.  The evening also featured a half-hour pre-game tribute show that included a video at Fenway Park and on-field recognition from the team.

Conservative Chuck Morse and Liberal Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan Split.  Veteran Boston-based conservative talk host Chuck Morse and California-based liberal Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan have ended their left-right internet talk radio program, “Fairness Radio with Chuck Morse & Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan,” after it became impossible to work together, according to Morse.  The two will host separate programs on the internet and affiliated radio stations.

 

Long-Running Speaker Series Continues with Author of ‘Fast and Furious’ Book.  WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (at left) conducted his 80th “Town Hall” interview and live broadcast in The Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University “President Speaker Series,” with Townhall.com investigative reporter Katie Pavlich (at right) before a live audience on Wednesday, September 12.  Pavlich is author of Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up (Regnery 2012).  Photo: Arthur J. Byrnes.

U.S. Ambassador Killed in Libya Strike, Cairo Unrest, Obama-Netanyahu Relations, and Chicago Teachers Strike Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/12).  The death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens after a violent assault on the U.S. consulate; violent anti-American protests in Cairo; reports of President Obama’s snubbing of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Obama Administration’s Iran policy; and the continuing Chicago teachers strike were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, September 10, 2012

| September 10, 2012

ESPN O&O WEPN-AM/FM, New York Separate Sports Talk Programming.  English-language sports talk is now heard only on the FM at ESPN O&O WEPN in New York as the sports media giant took the AM side Spanish with the debut of ESPN Deportes Radio Nueva York 1050 on Friday, just in time to broadcast the New York Jets season opener victory over division rival Buffalo in Spanish.  Station GM David Roberts says, “We are thrilled to add the New York Jets to our solid roster of play-by-play offerings just in time for our launch.  There is tremendous passion for the NFL among the Hispanic community of New York, and this alliance with an elite franchise will further position 1050 AM as the Spanish-language audio destination for the Hispanic sports fan in New York.”  The station debuts two local sports talk shows today.  The first is “Firma ESPN” from 7:00 am to 10:00 am billed as the only radio program devoted to the New York Hispanic sports fan.  It is hosted by ESPN Deportes Radio veteran Renato Bermudez alongside the renowned Ernesto Jerez, the “signature Spanish-language voice of MLB,” plus Jorge Ebro and many other ESPN Deportes Radio experts. The second program is “Zona ESPN NY,” airing from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm and hosted by Carolina Guillen, Sebastian Christensen, along with Enrique Rojas.

Talk Host Ian Punnett Suffering from Tinnitus; Cuts Back On-Air Hours.  Hubbard Radio morning drive talk host Ian Punnett is cutting his hours on the radio by half in order to curb his exposure to audio that aggravates his tinnitus – a condition he’s been dealing with since 2009.  The Pioneer Press reports Punnett, who co-hosts the morning drive show on KTMY, Minneapolis with his wife Margery, joins her on the air from 7:00 am to 9:00 am.  Margery starts the program at 5:30 with Elizabeth Ries and wraps it up at 10:00 am.  Punnett tells the Pioneer Press he first noticed the intense ringing in his head during a remote broadcast in 2009.  “It never goes away.  It’s the last sound I hear at night, it’s the first sound I hear in the morning.  It often wakes me up in the middle of the night.”  The story notes Punnett and his doctors have decided cutting back on his air time is part of a more aggressive treatment for the condition.

Host Shuffle at ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles.  710 ESPN Los Angeles flips its midday and PM drive shows moving Steve Mason and John Ireland to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm shift beginning today.  Midday duo Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley go to the PM drive slot.  The changes also include the debut of the late morning “ESPNLA Now” show airing from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and hosted by Mark Willard.

Good Karma’s WKNR, Cleveland Hit with $4k Fine for Contest Violation.  The FCC is hitting Good Karma’s sports talk WKNR, Cleveland with a $4,000 forfeiture order for running what it called a “bogus” contest called “Who Said That?” from November 2007 until September 2009.  The contest involved callers having to identify the speaker of a clip played over the air.  The complainant asserted that the station originally talked about offering prizes and then “dropped talking about prizes.”  Good Karma tried to argue that the programming in question was not a contest but was more accurately characterized as a program.  But the commission ruled that the stations did conduct a contest and didn’t “fully and accurately” and “with sufficient frequency” list the prizes that a contestant could possibly win.

Rare Opportunities at Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne.  Jon Zimney tells TALKERS magazine that there are two tremendous opportunities at Federated Media’s heritage news/talk WOWO, Fort Wayne.  After the departure of OM and PM drive host Gregg Henson in August, Woody Zimmerman was named PD for the station.  But he’s now been re-assigned to general manager of the company’s Warsaw, Indiana cluster.  In the interim, Zimney, who serves as program director and news director at Federated’s WTRC, South Bend – 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel – is doing double duty programming both stations.  Additionally, WTRC morning host Casey Hendrickson is handling the PM drive duties at WOWO.  Federated Media is looking for two individuals to fill the PD and talk host positions at WOWO.  For the program director position, Zimney is looking for someone who can get the most out of talented talk show hosts and make them even better; has a strong understanding of local news and solid station programming; understands great news writing, presentation, and on-air execution; has a strong sense of news ethics and integrity; embraces and champions new technology in news (web, text, social media, video, etc); has examples of really good marketing, promotion and community involvement projects that they’ve conceived and executed.  For the talk host position, they are looking for “a personality who is well-rounded in politics, social issues and recognizes compelling stories that generate talk.  The ideal host is entertaining, informative and creative…can debate with listeners and guests in a spirited, but respectful manner, follows news like a hawk, expresses passion about local issues as well as national issues and also recognizes how everyday life can contribute to a show that is unique and compliments our winning lineup of Beck, Rush and Sean.”  To apply for either position, e-mail materials to Jon Zimney at: jzimney@federatedmedia.com.

Fox Sports Radio’s Petros & Money End Summer with “Deep V & Capri” Remote Bash.  Fox Sports Radio Network’s Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith broadcast live from the Hooters restaurant in Anaheim last week for their end-of-summer bash dubbed the “deep V & capri” party.  Papadakis (l) and Smith (r) are pictured here with a couple of listeners sporting their deep v t-shirts and capri pants at the event.

CBS Radio Philadelphia Partners with Clean Air Council for Greenfest Philly.  CBS Radio’s four Philadelphia stations took part in yesterday’s “Greenfest Philly” at Headhouse Square in Philadelphia for the 7th annual event designed to promote sustainable living. All-news KYW, sports WIP-AM/FM, news/talk WPHT and classic hits WOGL all broadcast live from the event that showcased businesses, regional green innovators, and non-profits of all sizes with strong commitments to sustainability.

Spoken-Word Content Aggregator Stitcher Offers Offline Mode.  Stating that 38% of its users indicated they prefer to listen to the service offline to protect against mobile data overages, Stitcher released an offline mode update that enables anytime, anywhere listening for its iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad apps.  “Listeners can now seamlessly access and discover the best of over 10,000 shows at work, at the gym, anywhere, regardless of cellular or WiFi connectivity,” the company states.  CEO Noah Shanok says, “Our goal is to make on-demand radio more accessible than ever.  Our most requested feature, offline mode, solves the biggest obstacle to listening on the go or when users would prefer to use Wi-Fi and conserve mobile data usage.”  Stitcher bills itself as “the mobile leader in on-demand news, entertainment, sports and talk radio.”

Let Your News/Talk Flow.  WLAC, Nashville-based syndicated talk host Steve Gill is pictured here with the Bellamy Brothers at his studios in Nashville.  The legendary country duo stopped by the show to play some songs from their latest release, including the title track, “Pray for Me.”

Friday, September 7, 2012

| September 7, 2012

Contentious End to Democratic National Convention for Some Talkers on Radio Row…But Not All.  By now, many talk media people are aware of a piece by conservative pundit John Fund in the National Review Online that beats up the Obama Administration in which he alleges it kept high-level Democrats from appearing on radio programs hosted by conservatives that camped out on radio row at the convention.  Radio America’s Roger Hedgecock and Breitbart Radio’s Larry O’Connor are quoted in the piece saying they were frozen out from getting any decent guests.  Hedgecock reportedly packed up and left early while KRLA, Los Angeles morning show co-host Ben Shapiro says his attempt to get John Podesta on their show with Heidi Harris and Brian Whitman was stopped when Podesta’s handler intervened.  However, nationally syndicated talk host Kevin McCullough (also principal of content creator XtreMedia) has a different take.  He writes, “If talk show hosts are outraged that big names aren’t sitting down to speak with them in Charlotte, then they are only weakening their own brand.  Have we not learned anything from the attacks on Limbaugh and fellow talkers?  Are we actually claiming that guests are the prerequisite for what should be our own success?  We have the bully pulpit of a live microphone every day, and if a talker can’t turn that into a distinct advantage for their own purposes every day, then they are simply in the wrong business.  Talk hosts, but specifically CONSERVATIVES, should be slow to anger when liberals refuse to go on our platforms.  As a conservative, I’m eager to go on liberal outlets, because I actually have the chance to put my ideas in front of people who disagree with me — I actually have a chance to win them over. Whining because people who disagree with you won’t come on your show is pretty much the polar opposite of that idea.  As idea generators we should never be dependent upon someone sitting across a table from us to be interesting, to have something to say, or to be able to say it well.  I hope that the younger generation of talkers will observe this fundamental truth…The more you depend on other people to generate YOUR success, the less successful you will ever be!”

Newsy Approach at the DNC Gets the Guests.  TRN-operated America’s Radio News Network reports it had no problems getting high-profile Democrats to sit in front of its microphones.  ARNN – which provides 15 hours of long-form news content to its more than 350 affiliates – reports to TALKERS that on day three of the convention it delivered reports to its stations that included interviews with: Rev. Jesse Jackson, Delaware Governor Jack Markel, Senator Kent Conrad, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, among others.

Talk Host Ray Lucia Responds to SEC Actions.  Yesterday, TALKERS magazine reported nationally syndicated financial advice talk host Ray Lucia’s company – RJL Companies – is being charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with misleading potential investors and violating several sections of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.  Lucia says his company will vigorously defend itself in the case against a slide presentation his company has not used in two years.  He cites former SEC Commissioner, Roel Campos, who is now the head of Locke Lord’s SEC Enforcement and Regulation practice, who made the following statement: “It is disappointing that the SEC would file an administrative matter because it principally disagrees with an inflation rate that has been used regularly by economists and other professionals.  No harm is alleged to have occurred to any investors and this matter appears to reflect an honest disagreement about statistics and estimates of investor returns under hypothetical situations.  Mr. Lucia disagrees strenuously with the SEC’s allegations that affected his estimates of possible returns.  This type of matter should have been resolved during the inspection process.”

Talk Host Phil Hendrie Disagrees with Syndicator’s Suit Against Dial Global Et Al.  Consider TRN-FM-syndicated talk show host Phil Hendrie not one who supports the suit by TRN CEO Mark Masters against Dial Global and numerous other industry program suppliers.  Hendrie issued a statement that after reading the suit and, especially the paragraph that states, “Today, by bringing this Action, Plaintiffs stand not only for themselves, but also for every smaller independent syndicator, network or programming producer, and for the hosts, producers, technicians and other Americans whose livelihoods are dependent upon these independent syndicators,” his response is as follows: “I’d like to make it very clear that TRN does not represent my views and I certainly don’t need them ‘standing up’ for me in regard to this lawsuit, which I don’t support.  My livelihood is not dependent on TRN.”

ESPN Makes Inroads Against WFAN in New York City.  In a piece in the New York Daily News, writer David Hinckley reports ESPN’s WEPN-AM/FM – to split apart when the AM side becomes ESPN Deportes today – climbed a hair above longtime CBS Radio’s sports talk market dominator WFAN in the midday slot of 10:00 am to 1:00 pm in the ratings (we’re assuming persons 6-plus) for Colin Cowherd’s and Mike Lupica’s shows.  Hinckley’s story points out that WEPN’s David Roberts admits the flip of WEPN-AM to Spanish language may affect some of its English-speaking audience but the new 98.7 signal has been a smash for the station overall.  Read Hinckley’s piece about sports talk in New York City here.

Barron’s Names Ric Edelman #1 Independent Financial Advisor in America.  The radio and television talk show host and principal of the Edelman Financial Services firm – which manages more than $7.9 billion for more than 17,000 clients – is named the number one independent financial advisor in the nation by Barron’s for the third time.  Edelman states, “I am excited and honored.  We are committed to sharing our knowledge with consumers across the country.  To be recognized by Barron’s repeatedly for these efforts is truly gratifying.”  In addition to his independently syndicated talk radio program, “The Truth About Money,” that emanates from flagship WMAL-AM/FM, Washington and is heard in 57 other markets, Edelman hosts a public TV program of the same name.

President Obama’s Record Tops the Talkers TenTM for the Week of September 3-7.  The president’s record during his first four years in office was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, set against the backdrop of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.  Coming in at #2 this week was the DNC speeches.  At #3 was the controversy over God and Jerusalem in the Democratic Party platform and at #4 was the United States’ slide on the global competitiveness scale.  The Talkers TenTM – a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio – is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The XtreMedia-produced Sunday evening “Dani Johnson Radio Show” is picked up by affiliates: KTUR, Salt Lake City; KKVV, Las Vegas; WDRU-AM/FM, Raleigh/Durham; WTRU-AM/WSAL, Winston-Salem; WTRU-FM, Greensboro; WLES-AM/FM, Richmond, Virginia; and KTIA, Des Moines…..“Free Talk Live” featuring hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is picked up by WDOV, Dover, Delaware…..Premiere NetworksBob & Tom show is added to the morning drive slot at KGON, Portland…..“Into Tomorrow” with Dave Graveline is added to the program schedule at WXDE, Lewes, Delaware and WSOY, Decatur, Illinois…..The weekend “Café Mocha” show hosted by MC Lyte, Loni Love and Angelique Perrin joins the programming lineup at WHUR, Washington, DC; WKJS/WKJM, Richmond, Virginia; WKZJ, Columbus, Georgia; WBGA, Brunswick, Georgia; KZWA, Lake Charles, Louisiana; and KKST, Alexandria, Louisiana.

Talkin’ and Walkin’ After Midnight.  Syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs of KDWN, Las Vegas; Genesis Communications Network, and Sirius XM Satellite Radio is the current star of TALKERS TV (see video box at upper right) where she is seen and heard singing the Patsy Cline classic “Walkin’ After Midnight” (although Dr. Daliah tells TALKERS she was doing the more recent Kelly Clarkson arrangement).  The impromptu performance took place at TRN-syndicated host Jerry Doyle‘s Labor Day BBQ at his home near Las Vegas.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

| September 6, 2012

Glenn Beck’s The Blaze Fires Up Digital Audio Network; Jay Severin Among Talk Talent.  It’s called – what else? – TheBlaze Radio Network and the new online radio channel will be heard via Beck’s own TheBlaze iPhone and iPad apps as well as via iHeartRadio and at TheBlaze.com.  Beck’s company says the network will be the new exclusive home for “renowned nationally syndicated talk radio personality and Marconi Award-nominee Jay Severin.”  The lineup will also include a simulcast of Beck’s radio show, a re-launched show hosted by Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray as well as audio simulcasts of TheBlaze TV shows.  Dom Theodore, through his consulting firm RadioAnimal, LLC, will serve as the network’s program director.  When the network launches later this month, the lineup will be: the Glenn Beck program from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET;  Pat and Stu from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm; Jay Severin from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm; the simulcast of Beck’s TV show from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm and a simulcast of “Real News from the Blaze” from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  TheBlaze chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “We are excited to continue making TheBlaze a destination for news, information and entertainment programming across multiple platforms.  Jay is an incredible talent and is the perfect host to launch The Blaze Network.”

SEC Charging Financial Talker Ray Lucia with Violating Laws, Conducting Misleading Investment Seminars.  The Securities and Exchange Commission announces it is charging nationally syndicated talk host and financial advice author Ray Lucia with violating several sections of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.  The SEC says Lucia’s investment seminars, dubbed “Buckets of Money,” mislead potential investors when Lucia claimed his strategy “had been empirically ‘backtested’ over actual bear market periods.”  Further, the SEC states, “Lucia and RJL have admitted during the SEC’s investigation that the only testing they actually performed were some calculations that Lucia made in the late 1990s – copies of which no longer exist – and two two-page spreadsheets.”  The upshot, according to the FCC, is “Lucia and RJL left their seminar attendees with a false sense of comfort about the Buckets of Money strategy.”  SEC Los Angeles regional director Michele Wein Layne says, “The so-called backtests weren’t really backtests, and the strategy wasn’t proven as they claimed.”  The SEC is seeking “financial penalties and other remedial action in the proceedings.”

KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry’s the Flashpoint of Controversy in Houston After Tweet.  Former Houston city councilman Michael Berry and talk host at Clear Channel’s news/talk KTRH is the subject of chatter in Houston after a tweet he sent during Michelle Obama’s speech on Tuesday evening has some charging Berry used racist lingo.  Here’s what Berry tweeted: “Several black people were shot by other black people in Chicago while Michelle was speaking.”  He hash tagged it #knuckadeads.  Some say “knucka” or “nucka” is substitute slang for “nigga.”  Berry replies to My Fox Houston reporter Isiah Carey that he meant no racist intent and said Mrs. Obama has used the term to mean hard-headed, like knucklehead.  Carey writes Berry said he was trying to show the Obama administration’s lack of concern over the black-on-black violence in Chicago.

KMJ-FM, Fresno Names Jennifer Lipp AM Drive Host.  Peak Broadcasting brings popular Fresno radio personality Jennifer Lipp to morning drive on the FM side of its KMJ news/talk duo.  Lipp and former co-host Chris Daniel dominated mornings at crosstown rock KRZR in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  Daniel moved on to KMJ and Lipp worked at classic rock KKBZ, Fresno until Lotus Broadcasting let her go in November of 2011.  Now Lipp will host the morning show and Chris Daniel moves from the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot to 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on KMJ-FM.  On her new gig, Lipp states, “It is a dream come true to grow with the KMJ brand.  This is the most exciting endeavor of my career and I am looking forward to the journey with both the listeners who have joined me in the past and those I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting.”  Lipp begins her new show on September 10.

Use Twitter to Help Save Your Job!  Consultant Holland Cooke explains how the Twitter era is forcing talk hosts, news staffers and DJs to “keep it moving” to keep the listener/reader engaged and make money in the process – if those media people use social media efficiently and wisely.  Cooke explains how he advised his clients covering the Republican and Democratic National Conventions to use Twitter to deliver content like no one else and how to make money with it.  Read this enlightening and smart advice here.

Clear Channel Albany Names Josh Everett Program Director for WGY and WOFX.  In addition to programming news/talk WGY-AM/FM and sports talk WOFX, Josh Everett will oversee the News Hub which provides news for 10 Clear Channel Media and Entertainment markets in the Northeast.  CC regional programming manager John Cooper states, “Josh’s extensive background in news/talk as well as sports programming will be an invaluable addition to WGY’s rich heritage and will help us grow WGY, Fox Sports and our News Hub.”  Everett comes to Albany from Clear Channel’s Lexington, Kentucky cluster where he programmed news/talk WLAP and managed local production of the University of Kentucky Wildcats coverage.

Michael Harrison to Speak at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will deliver an address provocatively titled, “Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?” at the forthcoming NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas.  According to Harrison, “The main challenge concerning FM and AM broadcasting at this perilous time in its rich and colorful history is making the transition to the digital age without prematurely sacrificing the value of the stick which is still the economic foundation of this industry and main source of livelihood for its practitioners.”  Harrison also believes that it is important for “radio to be smart and use its traditional on-air assets in confident balanced harmony with its unlimited online potential.”  He states, “The cultural heritage of what we all grew up to think of as ‘radio’ is deeply rooted in the traditions of over -the-air transmission and it is vitally important that in its rush to put everything it has into one internet basket, radio avoids losing its core identity, its soul, that separates it from being just another online music or informational utility.”  Harrison advises that just as talk radio has claimed “ownership” of politics in America and sports radio has claimed “ownership” of the country’s sports juggernaut, “music radio must reclaim its lost ownership of the music culture.”  He says the first step in accomplishing this is to bring back the colorful DJ as the backbone of the radio station’s presentation and the street savvy music director as its ear to what’s really going on out there.  Radio must not only ‘relate’ to this element, it must aggressively lead it as well.”  Harrison will be speaking at a special info-session sponsored by TALKERS magazine on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:15 am and 11:15 am.  All Radio Show registrants are encouraged to attend.

Day Three at DNC in Charlotte.  President Obama’s nomination acceptance speech will cap the three-day Democratic National Convention this evening and talk hosts, news networks and reporters spent yesterday covering the political chatter, campaigning and critiques of this convention.  Talk Radio Network O&O news organization America’s Radio News Network is one of the national radio news operations on the ground at this convention.  ARNN tells TALKERS co-anchors Lori Lundin and Rachel Crowson along with producers and technical staff, have been supplying live interviews and news updates to all five of the three-hour, long-form news programs the network offers.  Guests on the network from yesterday included: Eleanor Smeal, a two-time president of the National Organization for Women; Diana Degette (D-CO), chief deputy whip; Cumulus Media Networks host and journalist Geraldo Rivera; and acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank, among others.  ABC News Radio and Salem Radio Network are also covering the convention and ABC’s Steve Jones (l) and Salem’s Tom Tradup (r) took a moment to pose for this shot from the convention center for TALKERS.

Talent Shuffle at Alpha Broadcasting’s Sports KXTG, Portland.  A programming shift at “750 The Game” in Portland brings DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio syndicated host Dan Patrick to the station for morning drive beginning today.  The move bumps morning host Chad Doing to the PM drive slot and current afternoon host John Canzano to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show.  Business and marketing expert Brian Berger gives up his midday show but remains with the station to dispense his wisdom on the station’s various programs and online.

DirecTV Gives “The Nick and Artie Show” a TV Simulcast.  The syndicated radio version of the sports and entertainment-centric show hosted by comedians Nick Di Paolo and Artie Lange has been produced by DirecTV since its inception.  Now DirecTV does for “Nick and Artie” what the company’s Dan Patrick has enjoyed – a TV simulcast on DirecTV’s Audience Network channel.  Airing from 10:00 pm to 1:00 pm ET beginning tomorrow night, the company says the duo will “tackle TV with the most outrageous observational humor to be found anywhere.  The guys will review and give their unique takes on the day’s top sports and entertainment stories, along with celebrity interviews, movie reviews, live musical performances and a variety of in-studio segments, from cooking with Artie’s Mom to a game of pool.”

WTOP Promotes Dick Uliano to Full-Time Anchor/Reporter.  The veteran Washington newsman has been working with Hubbard Radio’s WTOP part time as well as contributing to SiriusXM’s POTUS channel and doing part-time anchoring at NPR.  Now, Dick Uliano joins the full-time staff at WTOP.  Uliano’s previous experience includes time spent with the Associated Press and CNN Radio.

Odds & Sods.  NFL great Joe Namath – who is part of Michael Kay’s show on ESPN O&O WEPN-FM, New York where he hosts the “Joe Namath Hour” – discusses the upcoming NFL season in a media conference call today at 10:00 am ET….. Former New Jersey 101.5 night host Tommy G returns to host “New Jersey Today” on Greater Media’s WCTC, New Brunswick from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Monday, September 10 and Friday, September 14.  He fills in for station PD Bert Baron, who says, “Tommy G is one of the biggest stars in all of New Jersey radio.  I’m blessed that a talent of his caliber, record of success and current following is a mere phone call away.  He’s a ratings winner that simply makes my station sound better.”…..JC Corcoran has been heard on the airwaves in Chicago as he’s been filling in on Tribune’s WGN.  The longtime St. Louis personality most recently hosted a program at KTRS.  Corcoran tells TALKERS he’ll have Fox Sports star Joe Buck on his show on WGN on Sunday morning at 10:00 am.  Corcoran says Buck is already predicting trouble with the NFL replacement officials, telling him, “I think something catastrophic could happen early in the season that could cost a team a ballgame.”….. Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR, San Francisco will serve as the flagship station for Golden State Warriors basketball through the 2015-16 season, the station announces.  It’s been the flagship of the NBA club since the 1976-77 season with the exception of one season in the 1980s.  Cumulus president and CEO Lew Dickey and Warriors co-executive chairman and CEO Joe Lacob appeared on the Murph & Mac show on Wednesday to announce the new deal.

Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle Featured Speaker at Liberty PAC.  The Liberty Political Action Conference takes place September 13-15 in Chantilly, Virginia and funds “Congressman Ron Paul’s political activities as he travels the country to fight for the principles that many hold dear: Liberty, Limited Government and a strong, pro-American foreign policy.”  The three-day conference will include training sessions and personal one-on-one meetings with various speakers and supporters.  Jerry Doyle will be one of the speakers at the conference.

Presidential Campaign/Democratic National Convention, Arizona Immigration Ruling and Hillary Clinton in China Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/5).  The coverage of the Democratic National Convention and the presidential campaign; a federal judge’s ruling that Arizona officers can inquire about immigration status while pursuing information about other crimes; and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s trip to China were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, August 31, 2012

| August 31, 2012

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 NetworksTodd 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.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

| August 29, 2012

Other Defendants Named in Mark Masters’ TRN Lawsuit Against Dial Global Claiming Monopoly Practices.  As reported yesterday (8/28) by TALKERS, these companies, referred to generally in the industry as Talk Radio Network (TRN), include The Original Talk Radio Network, Inc., Talk Radio Network Enterprises, LLC and Talk Radio Network-FM, Inc.   They have initiated the filing of a Federal action against Dial Global, Inc. and multiple other parties, asserting antitrust, anti-monopoly and other claims. The complaint, which demands a jury trial, is titled “Complaint for Violations of the Sherman Act and the Cartwright Act, and for Fraudulent Inducement, Interference with Contract and Interference with Prospective advantage.”  In addition to Dial Global, it specifically names: Excelsior Radio Networks, Triton Radio Networks, Triton Media Group, Oaktree Capital Management, Verge Media Companies, Courstide, LLC, Compass Media Networks, Compass Media Marketing, and WYD Media Management.  Individuals named include Spencer Brown, David Landau, and  Ken Williams of  Dial Global, Ron Hartenbaum of WYD, Peter Kosann of Compass, and Norm Pattiz of Courtside.  To see the entire complaint click here.

Big Staffing Changes at Federated Media in Fort Wayne.  Last week TALKERS reported the departure of WOWO, Fort Wayne program director Gregg Henson and his replacement by Woody Zimmerman.  Now, after almost 18 years with Federated Media, chief operating officer Mark DePrez announces his departure from the company.  Brad Williams, who had been overseeing the Indiana markets of South Bend, Elkhart and Warsaw, will also be in charge of the company’s Fort Wayne and Auburn, Indiana markets as he becomes COO.  But that’s not all, as Indiana Radio Watch reports national sales manager Mary DePrez, production director Steve Starbrelz (this November would mark his 35th year there), classic hits WMEE, Fort Wayne middayer Zack Skyler, country WQHK, Fort Wayne GSM Suzee Leavell and several sales staffers have also left the building.  IRW also reports Clint Marsh becomes GM of the South Bend properties.  On his tenure with Federated Media, DePrez states, “After almost 18 years I’m leaving Federated Media.  We accomplished great things in Fort Wayne but all good things must come to an end.  I am grateful to the Dille family for the four promotions over those 18 years including my recent tenure as COO.  For a decade it has been my distinct honor to be the custodian of such iconic brands as WOWO, WQHK (K-105) WMEE and more recently WBYR (98.9 The Bear).  I am immensely proud of the talented team we assembled and know they will continue to do great things.”  DePrez is available for his next challenge.  He says, “For employers looking for an executive obsessed with top line performance and profit optimization they can contact me at markdeprez2@gmail.com or 260-385-2574.”

ESPN and Major League Baseball Agree to $5.6 Billion Deal.  The new contract between ESPN and MLB goes through 2021 and runs an average of $700 million per year for TV, digital, radio and other rights.  ESPN is currently paying about $305 million per year for TV and about $50 million for radio rights.  The new contract would almost double that but gives ESPN more flexibility, some playoff game rights as well as international rights.  For radio it means increased ESPN Radio rights, including the additional right to co-exist during two Saturday windows per team, per year.

Patt Morrison’s Southern California Public Radio Show Cancelled.  The popular Southern California public radio figure will remain with the organization but Patt Morrison’s six-year-old afternoon program will end on September 10.  The move is part of a series of programming changes at KPCC, Pasadena that include the expansion of the Brand & Martinez program and the addition of the “BBC News Hour” and “The World.”  KPCC VP for content Russ Stanton is quoted telling the Los Angeles Daily News, “While the show may be leaving, Patt isn’t.  What we’re trying to do is take a lot of the segments that she’s produced – which are very popular with a large part of our listening audience – and spread those a little more throughout the programming day when there are a lot more listeners than there are in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot.”  SCPR notes Morrison will still cover the Democratic National Convention for the organization.

NBC Sports Radio and Dial Global Announce More Sports Talk Hires.  As NBC Sports Radio continues to prepare for the September 4 launch of the new network, more hosts and sports anchors are being hired.  Former NFL star Amani Toomer will team with Eytan Shander (most recently with SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio) for a 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET sports talk show.  Dan Schwartzman  – who’s worked for WPEN, Philadelphia and ESPN in New York – will host an overnight show from 1:00 am to 5:00 am ET Tuesdays through Saturdays and Kay Adams joins the network as sports anchor working the 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm shift Monday through Friday.  Dial Global is NBC’s partner in ad and affiliation sales and distribution.

Forbes Releases New Highest Paid Celebrities List.  Four radio stars landed on the Forbes list of the most recent Highest Paid Celebrities.  Of the 21 celebs noted this time around, Howard Stern is the highest at #7 (although he makes a ton of cash from his SiriusXM gig, the NBC TV job helps!); Glenn Beck comes in at #11; Rush Limbaugh lands at #15 and Ryan Seacrest follows at #19.

Larry King to Host Coverage of the RNC on YouTube’s Elections Hub Channel; Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean Joins King on Panel.  Longtime CNN star and broadcasting icon Larry King is now working with Ora TV – the digital on-demand TV network funded by Mexican media magnate Carlos Slim Helu – and Ora TV is partnering with YouTube to produce the Elections Hub channel.  Tonight, King will host coverage of the Republican National Convention live from Los Angeles featuring a roundtable of well-known celebrities and guests on the special series “Ora 2012 with Larry King” from 11:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean will take part on the panel.

Entercom and University of Florida Enter into Sales Agreement.  The college and Entercom Communications have struck a deal which will have Entercom provide sales for the school’s two radio stations – country WRUF-FM and sports talk WRUF-AM.  It’s a seven-year deal that begins in September.  The university notes that the deal “will provide the College with a guaranteed monthly revenue.  Additionally, the stations will participate in a revenue share agreement with Entercom that allows for additional revenue to flow to the stations based on monthly sales performances.  In addition to the joint sales agreement, Entercom is launching an academic enhancement initiative to create internships and student opportunities for the College’s students at the company’s stations in Gainesville and around the country.  These student involvement opportunities, subject to faculty approval, will include sales, digital marketing programming, news, sports, public relations, strategic communications and promotions.”  The stations’ operations director, Jerry Butler, will stay on and co-ordinate the relationship between the stations and Entercom.

Hundreds of Talk Show Hosts from Across Country Broadcasting from RNC.  The invention of the “radio row” – largely developed in the modern talk radio era by Washington, DC-based Talk Radio News Service – has really come into its own at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.  Numerous networks and syndicators have set up shop in elaborate clusters of tables, microphones, remote equipment, banners and, of course, big talking personalities on both sides of the mic.  One of the biggest of these assemblages is again hosted by Talk Radio News Service for its affiliates which include the likes of Rusty Humphries, Phil Valentine, Roger Hedgecock and many more.  TRNS bureau chief Ellen Ratner tells TALKERS, “We have more stations than ever – about 40 stations and programs.  The RNC gave us a prime spot, right next to their booking office.  We are not in the arena but in the building next to it that houses all the press.  Other than press conferences, some longer television interviews and hall confrontations between the news media, radio row is the only place to have an in-depth conversation.  Radio might have lost some of its audience to the internet, but you would never know it from radio row.  Big time politicians want to be there and obviously feel they will get a chance to say what they want. It is still the spot to be and the place to be heard.”

WMAL Morning Hosts on the Scene in Tampa.  The final day of the Republican National Convention is today and talk radio and the national press have been busy bringing the political talk home to their constituents.  Pictured here are WMAL-AM/FM, Washington morning drive team Brian Wilson (c) and Bryan Nehman (r) interviewing former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton (l).

Republican National Convention, Tropical Storm Isaac, and Iran-Syria Connection Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/28).  The progress of tropical storm Isaac and the activity from the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay were two of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio.  The growing connection between Iran’s military and the violence in Syria was also a major topic.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

| August 21, 2012

Gow Communications to Pay $5.17 Million for KFNC, Houston.  The sale of sports talk outlet KFNC, Houston to Gow and Educational Media Foundation that was announced in the spring is coming close to the finish line as David Gow and company should begin LMAing the station Cumulus put into bankruptcy protection as early as September 1.  The station – positioned as ESPN 97.7 – is expected to continue to broadcast ESPN programming at least for a while.  Gow also operates crosstown sports talk KGOW and Yahoo! Sports Radio and there have been some changes there with Travis Rodgers moving to the early afternoon slot on both KGOW and the national network.  KGOW is preparing to debut Adam Clanton and John Wessling in the afternoon drive slot, according to David Barron of the Houston Chronicle.  Clanton currently works for KPRC-TV but will wrap up his role with the station this weekend.  As for the Yahoo! Sports Radio network, a new PM drive show is being developed and will be announced soon.  The network’s Craig Shemon returns to weekends from the midday slot.

Heidi and Frank Return to the Terrestrial Airwaves in Los Angeles.  Cumulus Media names Heidi Hamilton and Frank Kramer the new morning show on KLOS, Los Angeles, taking over for Mark & Brian beginning September 4.  Brian Phelps surprised the industry last week announcing he would also be leaving the Cumulus classic rocker at the same time Mark Thompson would, although Thompson made his decision to retire public earlier this summer.  Cumulus COO John Dickey told TALKERS over the weekend that Brian Phelps was “part of a large consideration pool” of candidates for the new morning program.  In announcing “The Heidi and Frank Show,” Dickey states, “After a long and thoughtful search which overwhelmed us with great, established talent and new talent waiting to be discovered both in and out of radio, I couldn’t be more pleased with the selection of ‘The Heidi and Frank Show’ to continue on the tradition that Mark and Brian set in place with 25 years of Hall of Fame radio.”  Hamilton and Kramer have been producing an internet radio show since CBS Radio shut down hot talk KLSX, Los Angeles in a format flip.  The Frosty, Heidi and Frank program (with Frosty Stillwell) aired there successfully for years.  They also worked at KABC after the demise of KLSX.  Prior to the KLSX era Hamilton and Kramer hosted the morning show at crosstown Hot AC KYSR.   On the new gig, Heidi Hamilton states, “KLOS is rock.  KLOS is the definitive iconic rock radio station in the world.  It’s one of those stations that evokes a feel good emotion while you’re driving in your car.  I’m beyond honored that Frank Kramer and I have been invited to become a part of something so legendary!  The ‘Heidi and Frank Show’ fans are second to NONE and I know they will be with us on this long fun ride together.”  Frank Kramer comments, “If it would have been any other station than KLOS, I would have said no.  We have a huge following across the world and only a station as large and iconic as KLOS could lure us back to radio.  To be given this opportunity is an honor and a privilege.  With the continued support from my partner, Heidi Hamilton, and the fans that never left us, and the fans waiting for us to return, the next 25 years are going to be one hell of a ride.”

The Battle for Control over Sirius XM Continues and the Momentum Seems to be Shifting in Favor of John Malone’s Liberty Media.  Yes, what seemed like an odd story just a matter of months ago has developed into a high stakes big business drama.  John Malone and Liberty Media, the company that rescued the merged satellite radio company from burning up in the atmosphere back in 2009 by gobbling up 40% ownership at what has turned out to be a super good deal for them has asked the FCC for approval to take outright control of Sirius XM Radio, noting it plans to raise its stake in the satellite radio company above 50%. The request follows disclosure earlier this week that Liberty, SiriusXM’s largest shareholder, was inching up its collection of shares in Sirius from approximately 46.2% to an aggressively postured 48%.  In last week’s filing, Liberty said it will “have purchased sufficient shares of Sirius’s common stock and will convert its preferred shares such that the transfer of control will be completed within 60 days of commission consent.”  Raising its stake above 50% and being granted FCC approval to take absolute control opens the way for Liberty to replace Sirius management and spin its Sirius stake off to Liberty shareholders. But would replacing Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin be a wise move?  Probably not.  Although coldly brash and hard-nosed as they come, Karmazin is an extremely effective radio broadcast executive and business strategist who has done a world class job of getting Sirius XM to its present state of health.  Reports from inside Liberty indicate that John Malone recognizes that and is giving “Mel” wiggle room to back pedal off his earlier blurts that he wouldn’t work for anyone else.  There is a huge lesson here for wannabe broadcast industry moguls (and there sure are a lot of them out there):  When you turn to venture capitalists and outside big money investors to save your ass, they will likely wind up owning it.

In Search of the Effective Commercial.  There’s a trend away from humorous commercials in radio, according to H-and-H Communications president Al Herskovitz.  Research indicates Madison Avenue is questioning the effectiveness of funny ads and, as it applies to talk radio advertising, Herskovitz writes that the “recognizable spokesperson” – read, the talk show host – is much more effective.  But there are still problems there that need to be solved.  Read Al Herskovitz’s piece here.

Courtside Entertainment’s “Loveline” Clears Tampa Market.  Cox Media’s FM hot talker WHPT, Tampa – The Bone – adds Courtside Entertainment Group’s “Loveline” featuring Dr. Drew Pinsky, Mike Catherwood and Simone Bienne for the 1:00 am to 3:00 am slot.  “Loveline” becomes part of Cox’s young male-targeted talk outlet that features Bubba the Love Sponge in morning drive and Cowhead in PM drive.

Odds & Sods.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington hosts a special “school” edition of its “Ask the…” program today at 10:00 am.  Mark Seagraves serves as moderator for the commercial-free hour featuring a Q&A session with superintendents and school board officials from Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Fairfax County and the District of Columbia…..Entercom’s New England sports talk juggernaut WEEI produces the 11th Annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon beginning today and running through tomorrow.  The fundraising extravaganza takes place live from Fenway Park from 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight both days.  Last year the event raised more than $3.3 million for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute…..Nationally syndicated radio host Phil Grande of the “Phil’s Gang” program will broadcast his show live from the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week with broadcasts starting at 3:00 pm ET.  Grande will have special guests Donald Trump, Florida Governor Rick Scott and Sarasota Republican Chairman Joe Gruters plus many other guests.  In addition, he will have up to the minute news, updates and of course his own commentary.  The 2012 Republican National Convention is being held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum August 27-30, 2012.

CBS Radio News Announces Convention Coverage.  Dial Global and CBS Radio News will deliver coverage from the two national conventions – the Republican National Convention in Tampa August 27 through 30 and the Democratic National Convention September 4 through 6.  Coverage plans include anchored coverage, updates, special reports, special features, and one-on-one interviews with correspondents, pundits and political experts.  CBS Radio News states it will “provide expert reporting and analysis, featuring an experienced lineup of respected and award-winning correspondents and commentators, including Howard Arenstein, Pam Coulter, Peter King, Dan Raviv, Peter Maer, Andrew Mollenbeck, Brian Montopoli and Professors Dotty Lynch and Leonard Steinhorn.


Los Angeles Radio Personality Paul Crosswhite Passes Away.
  Southern California newsman and DJ Paul Crosswhite died on August 17 after a long illness.  Crosswhite served as a news person at both KFI and KNX-FM during his career.  He also was an evening and morning drive host at KTWV, Los Angeles – The Wave – for 10 years.  According to LARadio.com’s Don Barrett, “Crosswhite did news during most of his tenure in Southern California radio and has received Golden Mike Awards for documentary, feature and best newscast.  He did news during the glory years of KNX-FM.  During the Gulf War, he won the Associated Press Award for best newscast.  When he moved to “the Wave,” he gave up news to become a DJ, originally in the evenings and, later, mornings after the female morning drive team collapsed.”

Romney-Ryan Team, Obama Medicare Cuts, Facebook Stock Plummets and Syria Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20).  The Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket hitting the campaign trail full-swing; President Obama’s cuts to Medicare; the sagging stock price of Facebook; and the ongoing violence in Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

| August 7, 2012

New Sports Radio Network Entrant NBC Announces First Round of Talent Hires.  The venture between NBC Sports and Dial Global that debuts September 4 – NBC Sports Radio Network – is beginning with an evening sports talk show hosted by Erik Kuselias (airing 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET).  The morning drive sports updates from the network will be delivered by Jon Stashower.  Kuselias has been working with NBC on its cable sports network.  He’s worked for the Golf Channel as well as ESPN.  Stashower has also worked at ESPN.  Expect some more talent announcements prior to the network’s post-Labor Day debut.

Dead Air: A Dynamic Reminder for Talk Show Hosts.  Vocal dynamics is not a discipline that is really taught to broadcasters anymore.  With more and more talk talent coming to the medium from outside the traditional communications schools, talent who use the dynamics of their voices effectively are becoming rare.  WFAN, New York talk host Richard Neer offers some suggestions about employing these techniques and the reasons why they are still valid for today’s broadcasters.  Read Richard’s piece here.

Salem Communications Posts Q2 Revenue Increase of 3.9%; Broadcast Up 2.1%.  That’s the good news for Salem.  On the downside, operating income for the entire company dropped 61.1% and the company realized a net loss of $1.8 million or $0.07 net loss per share.  Though the broadcast division revenue was up 2.1%, station operating income decreased 3.1%.  Internet is still the big winner for Salem with Q2 revenue up 16.6% and operating income up 42.8%.

Federated Media Joins iHeartRadio.  Indiana-based Federated Media adds its 17 radio stations to the iHeartRadio digital platform owned and operated by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.  Federated Media’s markets include Fort Wayne, South Bend and Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana.  Stations now heard on the platform include heritage news/talk WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne.  Federated Media chief strategy officer James Derby says, “We’re very excited to partner with iHeartRadio.  We want to offer our customers and clients both terrestrial and digital listening experiences.  It’s important that we partner with those that are open to shared content and opportunities.  iHeartRadio is very popular in our local markets and we’re happy to now be a part of it.”

TuneIn Announces New Funding; Increase in Monthly Active Listener Stats.  Digital audio service TuneIn reports it has just acquired new sources of funding led by General Catalyst Partners with participation from Jafco Ventures, Google Ventures and existing business partner Sequoia Capital totaling $16 million.  TuneIn will use the new funding to scale the company’s technical and business operations worldwide.  At the same time, the company reports its monthly active listeners figure has increased to 40 million.  TuneIn CEO John Donham says, “Our mission is to deliver the best listening experience possible, and it is so meaningful to us that 40 million people have chosen to listen to the world – every month – through TuneIn.  This investment will help us fulfill our mission while increasing our headcount and growing our product development and marketing initiatives.”  TuneIn says its service is available anywhere there is an internet signal and offers 70,000 stations and two million on-demand programs.

AdLarge Media Becomes Sales Rep for Gow-Operated Yahoo! Sports Radio.  Houston-based Gow Broadcasting operates Yahoo! Sports Radio and the company announces it enters into an agreement with AdLarge Media for the latter to sell national advertising for Yahoo!’s radio, streamed audio and mobile platforms.  AdLarge Media CEO Gary Schonfeld states, “Yahoo! Sports Radio has a highly respected lineup of sports journalists and commentators, including Tim Brando, Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Steve Czaban, and more.  Yahoosports.com is the number one sports website on the internet.  With that as our base, Yahoo! Sports Radio delivers insights and reports from sports experts that fans relish, creating an engaging environment for advertisers to reach an extremely passionate audience.”

Odds & Sods.  Texas-based Clear Channel talk host (KTRH and WOAI) Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo fills in for Premiere Networks star Glenn Beck on his radio show today and Friday…..ESPN Radio now offers an app for smartphones using the Windows Phone platform and is available in the Windows Marketplace.  ESPN reports its app is now available on all three major smartphone operating systems…..SiriusXM is broadcasting coverage of the 2012 PGA Championship beginning this Thursday from the Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina.

Presidential Race, Wisconsin Sikh Shooting, London Olympics, and Mars Landing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/6).  The campaign for president in the 2012 elections; the fatal shootings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin; the 2012 London Olympics; and the landing of the rover on Mars were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, August 3, 2012

| August 3, 2012

Entercom News/Talk WRKO, Boston Picks Up Option on PM Drive Host Howie Carr.  It was five years ago that Boston talk radio king Howie Carr had negotiated what was reported at the time to be a lucrative new deal to host morning drive on Greater Media’s crosstown WTKK, Boston after 13 years with WRKO.  But WRKO laid claim to Carr’s services via language in his contract, a legal battle ensued and Entercom came out victorious, winning Carr’s services for another five years plus an option to have him even longer.  Today, Entercom announces it is picking up that option.  Entercom Boston VP of programming Jason Wolfe states, “Howie Carr is a Boston radio legend and I’m looking forward to having him continue to anchor afternoon drive.  This is a great day for our listeners, affiliates and advertisers, and I’m excited that we’ve extended our relationship.”  At the time of Carr’s attempt to join Greater Media five years ago, he made no bones about wanting to break away from WRKO, but that was before the recession hit and altered the marketplace for talk radio hosts – even ones with successful track records, loyal fans and satisfied advertisers.  WRKO’s announcement states that in picking up Carr’s option, he’ll remain with the station “for the foreseeable future.”

CBS Radio Debuts Tampa FM Sports Outlet 98.7 The Fan.  The flip from Hot AC to sports talk on WSJT, Tampa happened at 12:00 noon yesterday (8/2) and the lineup was announced at a press conference at the University of South Florida Sun Dome.  The program schedule is: former Baltimore and Washington, DC personality Kirk McEwen alongside former Tampa Bay Lightning player Chris Dingman in AM drive; Tampa Bay Times columnist Gary Shelton and Justin “The Commish” Pawlowski (who is a carry-over from AM 1010 Sports format) are teamed up for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm shift; for PM drive, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Anthony “Booger” McFarland and Yahoo! Sports Radio and ESPN alum Todd Wright co-host; in evenings, former MLB Network and Tampa Bay Rays air talent Rich Herrera hosts from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm and in the overnight slot, it’s Fabulous Sports Babe Nanci Donnellan.  At the press conference, CBS Tampa market manager Ben Hill announced the station would also serve as flagship for University of South Florida play-by-play.  Mike Pepper is programming the station and producer Jerry Petuck is serving as assistant program director.

Industry Eyes on Atlanta as CBS Radio Prepares to Launch FM Sports Outlet.  This week’s announcement that CBS Radio is flipping Triple A WZGC, Atlanta to sports talk in late September or early October has industry watchers speculating about what talent will fill the program schedule.  CBS’ modus operandi is to go live and local and that will be the case in major market Atlanta.  Rumors are already starting to circulate that programming architects are shooting for some “big talent” – at least some of whom will be considered to have “celebrity” status.

CBS Radio Reports Revenue Down 2%.  CBS Corporation held its quarterly conference call yesterday to discuss results of Q2 2012 and talk about the future.  CFO and EVP Joseph Ianniello reported revenue for the radio group was down 2%.  “The radio revenue comparison was affected by the sale of the West Palm Beach radio cluster, which closed on April 1.  Radio revenue for our top 10 markets was flat for the quarter.  Local broadcasting OIBDA of $248 million was up 8%. And the OIBDA (operating income before depreciation and amortization) margin grew 2 percentage points to 35% driven by growth in high-margin revenue and lower programming costs.”   Addressing the radio end, CEO Les Moonves stated, “At our radio stations, we remain focused on the formats that are performing best, especially news and sports. We’re particularly excited about the upcoming launch of our new CBS Sports Radio network, which right out of the gate, when we debut in January, will be the largest major-market sports radio network in the nation, with outlets in nine of the top 10 markets. This 24/7 network of sports radio stations will feature both national and local content and leverage the resources of CBS Sports, our CBS Sports Network, cable channel and content from our existing local sports radio stations.”  Ianniello added, “The CBS Radio network, the sports radio — the radio sports business is probably $150 million market.  So we’re going to be large coming right out of the gate so it’s all incremental.  It’s not in dollars we play in today at the local segment, so we expect to gain our fair share of that…there’s very little incremental cost for us.  A lot of the talent and the content, we’re already producing, so this made a whole lot of sense for us.  And with the outlook with Cumulus, we do think it is a fantastic partnership with great content and great distribution.  So we do expect some upside, again, starting in 2013.”

Radio One Will Be Patient with Houston All-Newser.  Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins says, “We still believe the #6 radio market can support one all-news station.”  Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports Liggins is bullish on the station it flipped from gospel last fall noting that, in that format, KROI was billing just $4 million a year and doing $2 million in cash flow on a facility for which the company paid $72 million.  News 92 FM has been hovering around a 1-share persons 6+ in the Arbitron PPM ratings.  Liggins says his consultant on the station believes ratings should start to rise above the 1-share mark in 2013.

“Sports Biz Today” Debuts on Business TalkRadio Network August 6.  Host Fred Wallin  and co-hosts Howard Bloom, Beth Silverberg and JB Kaye return to Business TalkRadio Network with their “Sports Biz Today” program that leans heavy on the business aspect of the sports industry.  The program airs daily at 7:00 pm ET.  Fred Wallin says, “In the past few years our sports industry has grown and grown and we want to make ‘Sports Biz Today’ the place where fans, and those in the business, can get together.”  BTRN states, “Sports are big business, whether it’s the multi-million dollar contracts signed by players or the marketing and advertising behind the teams.  Fans will be talking to Fred Wallin about money, events and people that make up the exciting world of sports.”

CRN Digital Talk Radio Launches Weekend Show for Future Hollywood Stars.  It’s called “Breaking In with Rick and Jeff,” and features Hollywood pros Rick  Shoemaker and Jeff Maxwell who’ll give aspiring filmmakers, actors, musicians and others a chance to learn what it takes to make it in Tinseltown.  The program airs live Saturdays at 7:00 pm PT.  Rick Shoemaker has served as president of Warner Chappell Music Publishing, where he helped develop the careers of such artists as Green Day, Sheryl Crow, Nickelback, Dr. Dre, Missy Elliott, Van Halen and many others.  He later headed his own management firm that included clients like Loggins & Messina, Poco, Boz Scaggs, and others.  Jeff Maxwell’s career began when he teamed up with a high school friend as part of a comedy duo that performed around the world for eight years.  Ultimately, Maxwell would turn his attention to acting where he landed the role of Private Igor, the hapless mess cook on “M*A*S*H,” for nine years.  In later years, Maxwell turned his attention to creating and developing a number of television shows and motion pictures.

Odds & Sods.  New York City-based talk show host Steve Malzberg is unveiling his new video channel located on Spreecast.com – developed by the same company that founded StubHub.com.  In one of Malzberg’s first productions, he interviews former Bush Administration defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld…..Georgia Beasley returns to her South Florida roots where she’ll take on the role of interactive sales manager for Beasley Broadcast Miami’s three stations that include sports talk WQAM.  She spent the past year as GSM at the company’s WJBR, Wilmington, Delaware.  Ms. Beasley is the granddaughter of Beasley chairman George Beasley…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Milwaukee cluster acquires the exclusive NFL and NCAA basketball play-by-play rights from provider Dial Global/Westwood One.  CC has six stations in the market including news/talk WISN.

Rich Rapiti Exits Courtside Entertainment Group.  Veteran affiliate sales executive Rich Rapiti is looking for his next opportunity as he leaves his senior director of affiliate relations position with Courtside Entertainment Group.  Prior to working with Courtside, Rapiti worked in the affiliate relations department at Westwood One.  He can be reached at 973-809-3049 or e-mailed at: rapiti@comcast.net.

The Presidential Campaign Returns to #1 Spot on the Talkers TenTM.  The race for president in the 2012 election was the most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio during the week of July 30 – August 3.  Coming in at #2 this week was the Chick-fil-A controversy.  At #3 was a tie between the rising jobless claims and the Fed’s announcement it will take no immediate action to spur the economy.  Following at #4 was the Texas Republican primary victory for the U.S. Senate seat by Tea Party-supported candidate Ted Cruz.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio in America according to ongoing research from Talkers.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck is now heard on KFXR, Dallas…..Cox Media’s Clark Howard is added to the program lineup at KARS, Belen, New Mexico…..The XtreMedia-produced Dani Johnson show is added to the on-air lineup at WNYM, New York; KMET, Riverside-San Bernardino; KFNX, Phoenix; KKVV, Las Vegas; and KPRZ, San Diego…..CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” with Jon Grayson is picked up by WGUL, Tampa-St. Petersburg and WLSS, Sarasota-Bradenton…..Dial Global’s feature “Ask Dr. Phil” is added to WDNY-AM and WDNY-FM, Rochester.  The company’s “Daily Dose with Dr. Oz” joins the program schedule at KIVA, Albuquerque; KLIV, San Jose; and WLPO, LaSalle-Peru, Illinois…..The “Rose Hollywood Report” with Shannon Rose is picked up by WZTC, Traverse City, Michigan.

 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

| July 25, 2012

Salem Communications Joins iHeartRadio.  The latest broadcast group to join the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment digital media platform is Salem Communications.  The company’s 97 stations in 37 markets will become available on iHeartRadio beginning in September.  Salem radio division president David Santrella states, “It’s important that our content be available to our listeners no matter where or how they want to receive it.  Clearly iHeartRadio is a dominant player in the space and we are excited to be able to offer our content on the platform.”  In contract to the secular broadcast companies that have signed on with Clear Channel’s platform, Salem brings Christian-formatted radio stations into the mix.  Salem director of digital media Rodney Whitaker says, “We are looking forward to the launch of our partnership with iHeartRadio and the increased audience it will bring us, both online and through the mobile app. It’s clear they are dedicated to innovation and providing listeners with an ever-improving experience.”

No FM Signal for Clear Channel’s Boston News/Talker.  At the time it was announced the company was purchasing Phoenix Media Group’s WFNX, Boston, some industry watchers suspected Clear Channel would take the 101.7 frequency of the former alternative rocker and give it to news/talk WXKS – Talk 1200.  The recent revelation the company acquired call letters WHBA seemed to indicate that would not be the case and it turns out it is not.  Yesterday, Clear Channel unveiled variety hits “The Harbor” with the airing of the Standells’ ode to Boston, “Dirty Water.”

Augusta, Georgia Talk Host Austin Rhodes Celebrates 20 Years in PM Drive at WGAC-AM/FM.  The station tells TALKERS magazine talk host Austin Rhodes’ 20-year stint as host of the PM drive show on Beasley Broadcasting’s WGAC-AM/FM, Augusta is the longest-running drive time radio presence on one station in the history of the Augusta media market.  Rhodes’ media career began 29 years ago assisting the late Matt Stovall in his radio broadcasts of local high school football games with WMTZ in Augusta.  He began a full-time career in radio broadcasting in 1987, as a radio news reporter and anchor for WGAC.  In 1989, Austin moved to television news, where he stayed until 1992.  On July 16, 1992, Rhodes rejoined WGAC, assuming afternoon hosting duties for what was then, “Voice of the People.”  The station also notes that Rhodes has been regularly named Augusta’s favorite radio host in such publications as Augusta Magazine, The Metro Spirit and Columbia County Magazine.  He’s also been recognized by the Georgia Association of Broadcasters.

Prime Program Director Job Open at Cox Media Group’s KRMG, Tulsa.  With longtime KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa programmer Drew Anderssen moving to the company’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando, CMG is looking for a program director for the legendary news/talk outlet.  The station says, “This position demands a candidate with the ability and experience to lead a dynamic, veteran news department and programming staff.  Because of this station’s profile locally and nationally, only candidates with the highest level of execution, creativity and leadership will be considered.”  The deadline for application is August 12 and interested applicants should apply to: Janet Bergquist, Cox Media Group – Tulsa, 7136 S. Yale Avenue, Suite 500, Tulsa, OK  74136.  Or e-mail cover letter, resume and audio to: tulsajobs@coxinc.com.  CMG requests no phone calls.

WQAM, Miami PM Drive Host Dan Sileo Joins Hurricanes Post-Game Show.  Sports talk host Dan Sileo – who hosts the PM drive show on Beasley’s sports talk WQAM, Miami and played football at the University of Miami during the mid-1980s – becomes part of the broadcasts for Hurricanes football this season.  Sileo will be on the team that handles the post-game show.  He tells TALKERS, “It is an awesome honor for me to be part of a program that I helped build and I have incredible love for the University of Miami.  My daughter will be going to games with her dad this year…a dream come true.”

Raising the Demo.  Talk radio hosts and programmers should avoid the temptation to narrow their “target demo” to a number, says consultant Holland Cooke.  “Recently published Nielsen data affirms what you may have suspected all along: The vaunted 25-54 demo is malarkey.  Although only 5% of ad dollars are aimed at ‘em, 35-64 accounts for half of product purchases.”  Cooke writes that the key to making the sales department happy is cutting through the clutter and being “remarkable” to people who have children, of any age, still living at home.  Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.

KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Adds Slate of New Weekend Shows.  CBS Radio’s news/talk outlet KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas announces a number of new weekend programs to be heard on the station.  The lineup is as follows: Saturday, 9:00 am, “The 19th Hole Weekend Edition” with Dennis Silvers and TPC Summerlin general manager Lee Smith; 11:00 am, “Pet Talk with Dr. B”; 2:00 pm, “Pawn Talk Live with Michael Mack”; 3:00 pm, “Asked and Answered” with Las Vegas personal injury and criminal defense attorney Marc Saggese; 4:00 pm, “Debt Free LV with Chris Parker”; 5:00 pm, “Over and Under with Chad Forster” covering local and national sports; Sunday, 3:00 pm, “Real Estate Live with Kevin Mikrut”; 5:00 pm, “Get Fired Up with Bob Irwin” – all things guns, politics and self defense.

ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt Extends His Deal with the Sports Media Giant.  The new contract means ESPN personality Scott Van Pelt will add several on-site “College GameDay Built by the Home Depot” appearances throughout the football season.  He will travel to some of the “GameDay” locations in support of his features, interviews and reports related to the game, teams and players involved.  He will also be part of ESPN’s BCS Championship Game coverage.  This is in addition to Van Pelt’s duties as “SportsCenter” anchor and his ESPN Radio talk show.  He is also lead reporter and host of the network’s major golf coverage, including the Masters, U.S. Open and The Open Championship.

KFKA, Greeley, Colorado Adds Local Sports Talk Show.  Broadcast Media’s News Talk 1310 KFKA in Greeley, Colorado announces the addition of “SportsDay” with Troy Coverdale and Brady Hull to the daily lineup, airing from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm beginning August 6.  Coverdale is the voice of the University of Northern Colorado Bears play-by-play and Hull is the station’s sales manager who has been a steady presence on the station’s air since 2008 with prep sports coverage.  In a release, the station says, “With a heavy focus on local sports teams, including expanded preps, UNC and Colorado State coverage, ‘SportsDay’ is expected to fill a hole in the marketplace, as Northern Colorado has seen sports talk programs come and go over the past 10 years.”

Aurora Massacre Aftermath, Presidential Campaign, Tax Cut Issue, European Debt Crisis, and Financial Markets Activities Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/24).  The aftermath of the Aurora; Colorado movie theater massacre; the presidential campaign; Congressional moves regarding the Bush-era tax cuts; the debt crisis in Euro Zone nations and global financial markets activities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

| July 24, 2012

Arbitrator Rules in Favor of Former XEPRS, San Diego Hosts Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith.  Sports talk hosts Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith were fired by XEPRS, San Diego – XX Sports Radio 1090 – in February after Kaplan made derogatory comments about the appearance of Mountain West TV Network sports personality Andrea Lloyd.  Kaplan and Smith contended they were let go in violation of their contract which outlined a process by which the station was to address content issues in case of a disagreement.  An arbitrator – retired Superior Court Judge Linda Quinn ruled in the hosts’ favor and has awarded the two more than $490,000 in damages based on their respective salaries, commissions, endorsements and incentives as provided by their contracts.  U-T San Diego (for which Kaplan now works co-hosting an online TV show called “Scott, B.R. + Amber”) reports Kaplan and Smith feel vindicated with Kaplan stating, “I feel vindicated.  They breached the contract.  I knew that from the beginning.  There was a lot of embarrassment that came with the termination.  I spent 11 great years on the radio…I loved what I did and I loved who I worked for.”  XEPRS has not paid the duo yet and has filed a motion asking Quinn to reconsider her decision.

NPR Hires Lobbying Firm to Fight GOP Effort to Defund CFPB.  Congressional Republicans are again organizing efforts to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and NPR is hiring the lobbying firm Navigators Global to help shut that down.  The Hill reports NPR spokesperson Dana Rehm says that the organization is a content provider but is also a trade organization representing member stations.  “It is part of our mission to represent the interests of NPR member stations to Congress, executive, regulatory and judicial bodies.  At a time when the federal government is running a large deficit, every program and function of the government deserves to be scrutinized, and a review of federal funding to public broadcasting is fair and to be expected.”  Rehm says the firm’s job is to explain “how the federal investment in public radio stations and larger public broadcasting system provides one of the most effective returns of any program authorized by Congress.”

Talk Radio Rises to the Occasion in Covering Aurora Massacre Aftermath.  The natural progression of the analysis and coverage of the killing of 12 and wounding of dozens of others at the Aurora, Colorado premiere of “Dark Knight Rises” continues and talk radio is rising to the occasion to serve its listeners with compelling and responsible discussion.  Examples of talk outlets rising to a high level of performance through the use of experts in the fields of psychology, law enforcement, media violence, gun control and more are being reported to TALKERS from all over the country.  Here two examples of similar coverage:  Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt featured an interview with shooting victim Pierce O’Farrill, who was hit three times by bullets from the shooter’s gun.  O’Farrill described live on the air the chilling events at the theater, his perspective on the gunman, the death penalty, and his visit with President ObamaXtreMedia president Kevin McCullough tells TALKERS several of his company’s programs – his own Kevin McCullough show, the Saturday evening “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE” broadcast  and the Sunday night Dani Johnson show spent the bulk of their collective platforms allowing hurting, confused and stunned listeners to respond to the attacks.  Actor Stephen Baldwin took time out from a publicity tour in neighboring Cheyenne, Wyoming (90 minutes from Aurora) to meet with those in Aurora whose lives have been touched by the shootings.  While there, CNN‘s Don Lemon asked Baldwin (see photo) to weigh in on his perspective of the events.  Baldwin told CNN, “It may be time for those of us in the Hollywood community to re-examine how we advance violence through films, television, and video games.  It also blows my mind that someone could purchase 6,000 rounds of ammo in 45 days.  I’m a gun enthusiast but a red flag should’ve gone off somewhere.”

Progressive Town Hall Forum in Seattle.  Premiere Networks syndicated talk host Randi Rhodes (center) was one of eight panelists who took part in “Showdown 2012: Recapturing Democracy,” a progressive town hall forum presented by Seattle’s Progressive Talk AM1090 (CBS Radio’s KPTK) at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington on Saturday, July 21.  Rhodes appeared on a panel focused on the evolving role citizens play in the political and public policy process, including strategies to protect our role in democracy and to build a better future for everyone.  Panelists in this picture are (from l-r): Congressman Jim McDermott, WYD Media talk host Thom Hartmann,  talk host Mike Papantonio, Compass Media Networks talk host Norman Goldman, Rhodes, talk host Sam Seder, talk host Ron Reagan, and panel moderator David Postman, former chief political reporter for the Seattle Times.

KESN, Dallas Renews Contract with Cowboys Great Drew Pearson.  ESPN O&O KESN, Dallas – ESPN Dallas 103.3 – announces it is renewing its deal with Dallas Cowboys great Drew Pearson for another season.  Under the terms of the contract, Pearson will join “Ben & Skin” co-hosts Ben Rogers & Jeff “Skin” Wade on Mondays from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon, do Friday call-ins to the “Galloway and Company” show, and co-host the “5th Quarter Cowboys” post-game show.  Pearson will act as the “go-to guy” for any breaking Cowboys or NFL news, and do a weekly video segment with “Galloway and Company.”  Pearson states, “I am very happy and excited to be joining the ESPN Radio team for my third season as Cowboys/NFL analyst.  My role with ESPN provides a platform for me to express my sports opinions and it also allows me the opportunity to continue my association with the ‘Worldwide Leader in Sports’ – ESPN – which to me is priceless.”

Old Friends.  Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller (r) poses for a shot with former “Saturday Night Live” cast member and co-star David Spade (c) and show promoter Bill Blumenreich (l) at Miller’s recent live concert at Boston’s Wilbur Theater.  Spade snuck into the theater and found his way to Miller’s dressing room where they chatted and caught up.

Fox Sports Radio and Yardbarker Enhance Content Relationship.  The latter is described by Fox Sports Radio as a sports opinion site and blog network.  It’s a property of Fox Sports Interactive Media and now it and Fox Sports Radio Network will begin working together more closely beginning with incorporating FSRN’s “Loose Cannons” into Yardbarker’s content.  FSRN states “‘Loose Cannons’ will feature a daily segment with co-hosts Pat O’Brien, Steve Hartman and Vic ‘The Brick’ Jacobs as they take listeners into O’Brien’s ‘backyard’ for all the dirt from Yardbarker.  Fox Sports Radio will soon add similar segments across other network programs.  In addition, Yardbarker will feature select content from Fox Sports Radio on its website and social media platforms.”  Yardbarker VP of operations Jack Kloster states, “Yardbarker is incredibly excited to partner with Fox Sports Radio and to introduce our content to the loyal listeners of ‘Loose Cannons.’  The partnership is a natural fit.  Our content is inherently conversational and Fox Sports Radio is home base for sports conversation.”

Geoff Neuhoff Passes Away at Age 59.  Neuhoff Communications president and CEO Geoff Neuhoff died Sunday after falling ill suddenly on Saturday.  Neuhoff owned and operated stations in rural Illinois including clusters in Springfield and Decatur.  The company operated news/talk WSOY, Decatur and sports talk WFMB, Springfield.  Neuhoff COO Mike Hulvey tells the State Journal-Register, “Geoff Neuhoff was a giant among small- and medium-market broadcasters.  Geoff demanded from all of us a dedication of greatness and excellence no matter the market size or the power of the station.  Geoff believed strongly that innovation was the way forward and he embraced new technologies with enthusiasm.  He will be missed by his team, but the legacy he leaves behind will last for years to come.”  Neuhoff is survived by his wife and three children.

Aurora Movie Theater Massacre, Penn State Penalties, Syria Instability, and European Debt Worries/Financial Markets Activities Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/23).  The aftermath of the massacre at the “Dark Knight Rises” showing in Aurora, Colorado; the severe penalties levied against Penn State in the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal; Syria’s political instability and threat to use weapons of mass destruction; and ongoing concerns over the debt of some European nations and the effect on world financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

| July 19, 2012

Lessons Learned from the Merlin Meltdown.  Consultant and former all-news programmer (WTOP) Holland Cooke offers several key reasons why Merlin Media’s all-news FMs in New York and Chicago failed to gain listeners as well as lessons to be learned from the story by all spoken-word radio management and talent alike..  He writes the operators made some crucial mistakes during the startup and ignored the primary aspect of how audiences use news radio.  Read Holland’s piece here.

Arbitron Gets Accreditation for the PPM in Five Markets.  Three of those markets are new: Los Angeles, Baltimore and San Antonio.  The other two markets – Tampa/St. Petersburg and Riverside/San Bernardino – had accreditation at one point but lost it in January of this year.  This gives Arbitron the Media Rating Council “seal of approval” for 14 markets being served by the Portable People Meter.  Arbitron’s EVP of service innovation and chief research officer Gregg Lindner states, “We are pleased the MRC has recognized the progress we have made; at the same time we understand there is still work to be done.  We will continue our efforts to maintain the MRC double checkmarks in our currently accredited PPM markets and to achieve service-wide accreditation for all PPM markets.”

Hubbard Radio Signs on with TuneIn.  Minneapolis-based Hubbard Radio will make its 21 major market radio stations – including all-news giant WTOP, Washington; sports KSTP-AM, Minneapolis; and sports WXOS, St. Louis – available via the internet through aggregator TuneIn.  Hubbard Radio president and CEO Bruce Reese says, “With their listener-first approach, TuneIn is the obvious fit for us as we continue to build upon our nearly 100 years of broadcasting excellence.  Through this strategic alignment, all our great programming can be heard by anyone from anywhere around the country.  With TuneIn, we’ve made a great leap onto the digital stage and look forward to inviting new listeners to our stations.”

WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware Morning Host/PD Dan Gaffney Exits.  He tells WBOC-TV his sudden departure is not a stunt and that he has no issues with the Resort Broadcasting station or its management.  But he says he’s been in discussions with the company for more than a year and their differences are not about money.  Either way, program director and morning drive host Dan Gaffney leaves the news/talk station and Andrew Murr is the interim morning drive host.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  SiriusXM adds DirecTV/Premiere Networks’ “Nick & Artie Show,” featuring Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange, to its sports channels on both the Sirius and XM platforms…..ESPN’s total donations for The V Foundation for Cancer Research tops $1.8 million.  The “Don’t Give Up ESPYs V Foundation Auction” raised $766,606 from the more than 250 items and experiences auctioned either online from July 1-11 or as part of the ESPN Radio 16-hour radiothon on July 11. That figure is added to the $1 million raised from the recent Celebrity Golf Classic…..Scott Lindy is promoted to operations director at Lincoln Financial Media’s Atlanta cluster that includes sports talk WQXI and the Atlanta Falcons Radio Network…..CNSNews White House correspondent Fred Lucas has just published his book, The Right Frequency: The Story of the Talk Radio Giants Who Shook Up the Political and Media  Establishment (History Publishing 2012).  In it Lucas delves into the depth, reach and power of the talk radio giants in the American political landscape and provides some insight into the personalities of those larger than life figures.  Lucas is currently doing media interviews promoting the book and commenting on talk radio’s potential impact on the 2012 presidential election.

Good Old-Fashioned Book Burning!  That’s the Alan Cox show crew from WMMS, Cleveland — (from l-r) Erika Lauren, Alan Cox and Chad Zumock – standing in the volleyball pit at a local bar preparing for a tongue-in-cheek burning of the popular adult novel 50 Shades of Grey (image from WKYC-TV).  The idea came after a discussion of the improbably popular book prompted men to call Cox’s PM drive talk show and complain their wives and girlfriends are more thrilled by the book than they are by them.  So, Cox responded with a good old-fashioned book burning to allow men (and some women) to express how they feel about the book.

Congressional Debate in Boston.  WXKS, Boston – Talk 1200 – morning drive host Jeff Katz (r) moderates the live radio debate between three Republican candidates for Congress at the Clear Channel Boston studios on Wednesday, July 18.  The three Republicans (from l-r) – David Steinhof, Elizabeth Childs and Sean Bielat – are battling in the Republican primary to face the Democrat candidate for the seat long held by retiring Congressman Barney Frank.

2012 Presidential Campaign, Bernanke Economy Testimony, Arpaio’s Obama Birth Certificate Conclusion, and Syrian Officials Killed Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/18).  The Mitt Romney-Barack Obama battle for the White House; Fed chair Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress about the nation’s economy; Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio’s conclusion that President Obama’s Hawaii birth certificate is a fake; and the assassinations of major officials in the Syrian regime were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

| June 26, 2012

WFAN, New York Announces On-Air Schedule for 25th Anniversary.  CBS Radio’s pioneering sports talk station WFAN, New York prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary as a sports talk station this Sunday, July 1 with a lineup of many of the personalities who have graced the station’s airwaves over the past quarter-century.  Prior to that evening’s Mets-Dodgers game, the station begins its celebration at 9:00 am ET.  Here’s the schedule: 9:00 am to 11:00 am — Ed Randall (an original WFAN personality) hosting ‘Talking Baseball’ which will include a look back at 25 years of Mets and Yankees.  Mets have been on WFAN since day one, July 1, 1987; 11:00 am to 1:00 pm — The Schmoozer and the Sweater:  Steve Somers and Russ Salzberg; 1:00 pm to 1:30 pm — Dave Sims (live from Seattle) with a special guest appearance from his former partner and current Mets beat reporter and Mets pre-game host Ed Coleman; 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm — Chris Carlin with special guest Kim Jones (they co-hosted a 5:00 am to 6:00 am show for a year and Chris also did solo shows plus did sports reports on ‘Imus in the Morning’ and ‘Boomer and Carton’ programs at WFAN); 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm — Len Berman long-time WNBC-TV sports anchor and a former midday host at WFAN; 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm — Spencer Ross (also a former WFAN midday host) currently does weekend sports on CBS Radio sister station 1010WINS.  Spencer is well known for calling play-by-play of many New York teams including the Jets, Yankees, Knicks, Rangers and the original New Jersey Americans (later to become the Nets); 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm — Richard Neer, current WFAN host (and TALKERS magazine sports editor) who has been with the station since 1988.  Richard has hosted a Saturday morning 6:00 am to 10:00 am show continuously since 1992 and also hosts a variety of other shifts on the station; 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm — Howie Rose and Ed Coleman.  Howie hosted nights on The Fan from 1987-1995 then went off to do Mets baseball on TV.  He returned to WFAN as the radio play-by-play man for the Mets.  Howie called Rangers games on The Fan for a number of seasons and has been doing Islanders play-by-play on TV for the past 17 years; and finally, from 7:00 pm to 7:25 pm — A countdown, in order of the ‘Top New York Sports Moments of the Past 25 Years’ as voted by listeners this past March.

Wisconsin Man Cited for Threat Against Talk Host Vicki McKenna.  It’s not unusual for radio talk show hosts to get threats at some point in their careers but this one has an interesting legal twist as the Milwaukee County Sheriff disagrees with the Milwaukee County District Attorney on the charge.  According to WTMJ.com, Timothy Demeuse admits to writing about WIBA, Madison-based talk host Vicki McKenna (also heard on Clear Channel’s WISN, Milwaukee) via Facebook the following:  “Here’s your real ‘expletive’ death threat ‘expletive.’  Come get me.  I don’t even own a gun.  I can make as many threats as I want.  I hope someone kills you.  I am going to shoot you in the face and rape your dead corpse.”  District Attorney John Chisholm cited him with disorderly conduct for the threat but Sheriff David Clarke believes the level of the threat requires more than a “parking ticket.”  But D.A. Chisholm states, “With Facebook — the difference between posting and sending is significant — it’s legally significant.”  He suggests the state legislature needs to change the law for Demeuse’s words to be a greater crime.

Tom Joyner’s Reach Media, Inner City Broadcasting and NABOB Among Groups Promoting Advertising to Blacks.  Radio legend Tom Joyner and his Reach Media organization, the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters and Inner City Broadcasting are three of a number of businesses and organizations comprising a black media and marketing consortium involved in launching the #INTHEBLACK campaign to encourage increased investment in the African American consumer marketplace.  The consortium states, “African Americans represent over 42 million strong consumers, product talkers and brand influencers with a buying power of nearly $1 trillion annually.  By 2015, African American buying power is estimated to gain a whopping 35%, hitting $ 1.2 trillion, up from $913 billion in 2008.”  Nielsen reports in its 2011 State of the African American Consumer study, “Between 2000-2009, African American homes have experienced significant growth among households earning $75,000+ (up 63.9%) and households earning $100,000+ (up 88.7%).”  The consortium ran a full-page ad in The New York Times on June 25.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  WOAI, San Antonio morning drive host Charlie Parker re-signs with the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment station.  Parker has hosted the “San Antonio’s First News” show since 2007…..WPHT, Philadelphia morning personality Chris Stigall hosts former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell in a live event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on Wednesday evening at 7:00 pm.  The two will discuss Rendell’s new book A Nation of Wusses: How America’s Leaders Lost the Guts to Make Us Great (Wiley 2012)…..Doug Stephan has a new co-host/producer for his nationally syndicated “Good Day” program.  Former WILD, Boston producer Heather Bachman joins Stephan MultiMedia immediately…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces Ryan Clune is named director of sales for the Tucson cluster.  He comes from the company’s Denver operations where he served as local sales manager…..Independently syndicated talk show host Leslie Marshall is named one of the ‘Top 30 Hottest Political Women of 2012’ by the WashingtonTimes.com.  Editor Eric Golub’s feature is in its fifth year and he writes of Marshall, “She may be the hottest liberal radio host, but with competition from Ed Schultz and Alan Colmes that is not too tough.  She is a fierce debater.  Her verbal combat skills are matched only by her pleasant nature and warm smile.”….. WPHT, Philadelphia talk host Dom Giordano takes the station’s Charlie Manuel show on the road to The Shops at Liberty Place in Philadelphia today from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm ET.  The Philadelphia Phillies manager’s regular appearance on flagship WPHT will also include former Phillies pitcher Ricky Bottalico…..WOR, New York afternoon drive host and former Governor David Paterson hosted two of the three candidates in today’s Republican Senatorial primary election on his show yesterday afternoon.  Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos and Congressman Bob Turner appeared on the program.  The victor in today’s primary hopes to unseat Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in November.

Holiday Shows Available from Fisher House Foundation.  The Fisher House Foundation has two programs available for the Fourth of July holiday season.  First, “A Grateful Nation,” the organization’s Memorial Day program has been retrofitted with a Fourth of July theme and is ready for air.  The one-hour program features interviews with Medal of Honor recipient Leroy Petry among others.  Second, there’s a Fourth of July edition of the Fisher House’s 30-minute weekend public affairs show as well.  For information, contact Randall Bloomquist at randall@bloomquistmedia.com.

Supreme Court Immigration Ruling, Euro Zone Debt Crisis/Financial Markets Activity, 2012 Presidential Race and Syria-Turkey Clash Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/25).  The U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Arizona’s illegal immigration law; the Euro Zone debt crisis and its effect on global financial markets; the 2012 presidential race; and Syria’s downing of a Turkish warplane were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Outstanding Station.  WMVP, Chicago – ESPN 1000 – program director Adam Delevitt (r) is pictured here with Illinois Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 5 James Gaddis (l) at the recent Illinois Broadcasters Association awards ceremony.  The ESPN O&O was named the Illinois Broadcasters Association’s Major Market National Guard Station of the Year for outstanding service to the National Guard and the Illinois community.

Monday, June 25, 2012

| June 25, 2012

ESPN Responds to CBS Sports Radio Announcement.  Well, not specifically to last week’s announcement by CBS of its planned CBS Sports Radio network division, but it may have been a factor (wink, wink).  ESPN sends a reminder to the industry underscoring it how pervasive the sports media organization’s audio content is, signed by SVP production, business divisions Traug Keller, who states, “We’re used to competition.  ESPN Audio has built an unparalleled mix of high-quality events and national sports talk programming over the last 20 years.  We are well positioned in the marketplace through our diverse audio platforms.”  The release goes on to note it counts 700 affiliate stations in the U.S. – 300 of which it terms full-time affiliates.  It also says it reaches 24 million listeners each week.

Programming Changes at Merlin Media’s WIQI-FM, Chicago; Greg Jarrett to AM Drive.  According to Chicagoland Radio and Media, Merlin Media is making changes to the lineup at “FM News 101.1” beginning today with the arrival of Greg Jarrett in AM drive.  Jarrett, the news pro who most recently served as morning host at Tribune’s crosstown WGN, joins the morning drive program co-anchoring with Monica DeSantis.  The move bumps Rob Hart and Mary Ellen Geist to the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon shift.  The site also reports Merlin is adding some “expanded news” programming – apparently a euphemism for “talk show” – to the schedule with John Czahor beginning a 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show.  And there is still a lot of chatter in Chicago about Erich “Mancow” Muller getting an afternoon talk show on the station.  He, and others including Jeff Pinkus, Kevin Matthews and Jim Laski, have been taking turns hosting talk shows in the afternoons on the station.  But so far there is no official word about the permanent addition of any talk show to the lineup.

New York Public Radio Names NY Times Editor Jim Schachter News VP.  WNYC-FM, New York announces The New York Times associate managing editor Jim Schachter will exit the paper and become the pubcaster’s vice president of news on July 9.  He’ll be responsible for WNYC, the New Jersey Public Radio stations it recently acquired, the data news unit and the political site, It’s A Free Country.  President and CEO Laura Walker says of Schachter, “He has a vibrant vision, an appetite for innovation, and a keen understanding of engaging audiences.  This will bolster our ambitious plans to grow our news content and increase our reporting capacity across all platforms.  We’re delighted that he is joining us at a moment when the need for serious journalism has never been more urgent.”

Digital Audio Service TuneIn Adds Fox News Radio and Bloomberg to Its Stable.  The global digital audio service is quickly reaching deals with major radio and internet audio content providers and now announces it has added Fox News Radio and Bloomberg Radio to its affiliate list.  TuneIn tallies more than 20 major broadcast groups as partners and the addition of Fox News Radio means TuneIn users can hear the network’s top- and bottom-of-the-hour newscasts as well as longform talk shows “Kilmeade and Friends,” John Gibson, Tom Sullivan, Alan Colmes, “Fox Across America with Spencer Hughes” and more.  TuneIn CEO John Donham states, “We are committed to achieving the varied goals of our broadcast partners, whether they’re growing their audiences, monetizing their streams or growing their digital footprint.  Broadcasters have already responded enthusiastically to our current offerings.  We will continue to innovate – as we always have – to ensure the best experience for broadcasters, and listeners, everywhere.”

Six Leading Radio Networks Organize Network Radio Compliance Council.  Six of the top American radio networks are announcing the formation of the NRCCNetwork Radio Compliance Council – whose mission is to “establish best practices, providing advertisers, agencies and radio stations with better tools for the placement and reporting of commercial audio.”  The NRCC consists of the six RADAR-rated network organizations: American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Cumulus Media Networks, Dial Global, Premiere Networks and United Stations Radio Networks.  The council elects Meg Montury of Premiere Networks as chair and Chris Buehler of Dial Global as vice chair.  In a statement, the council will host quarterly meetings with invited guests, including radio vendors, ad agencies and additional network radio companies.  Montury says, “Given the vast industry experience of members of this council, we are excited to be working together as an industry to enhance the accountability of network radio.  Technology over the past five years has enabled us all to deliver even more precision and accuracy for our clients.  The NRCC can only further solidify these efforts.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles is honored with two Southern California Journalism Awards for editorial excellence from the Los Angeles Press Club at yesterday’s 54th Southern California Journalism Awards dinner.  KNX won in the “News” category for its “Shutdown Occupy L.A.” piece and in the “Investigative” category for “The Strange Case of Dr. Ehab Mohamed.”…..La Crosse Radio Group flips WLFN, La Crosse, Wisconsin from standards to talk with local host Bob Schmidt in AM drive, WIBA, Madison-based Vicki McKenna in PM drive plus Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish…..CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis is sponsoring a lunch and live broadcast to honor first responders and benefit the St. Louis County Police Welfare Association.  Along with local sponsors Lane House Construction and CiCi’s Pizza, the former will buy lunch for all first responders who join the event on Thursday, June 28 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm during which the station’s Martin Kilcoyne and Trish Gazall will broadcast live and donations to the association will be accepted…..Boston jazz buffs are lamenting the imminent disappearance of WGBH-FM, Boston’s evening jazz programming as the non-com announces it will add more spoken-word content to the program schedule this summer.  There’s no official evening programming schedule announcement yet but the station has recently added expanded programming from NPR…..“Car Clinic” radio host Bobby Likis says he’s extended his collaboration with the Renewable Fuels Association on its ethanol educational outreach.  The outreach includes the “Calling All Technicians…20 Facts About Ethanol” feature on the Car Clinic Network, which is designed to enlighten, educate and energize automotive technicians with verifiable facts, studies and statistics on ethanol…..Galaxy Communications’ classic rock simulcast of WTKW-FM, Bridgeport, New York and WTKV-FM, Oswego, New York are the new central New York affiliate stations for Buffalo Bills football games this season…..Al Warren retires from his weekend morning program at Cumulus Media’s WICC, Bridgeport, Connecticut on July 1.  Warren began working with WICC in 1965.

KDOW, San Francisco Producer Wins Award for “Phil’s Gang” Promotion.  Salem Communications’ KDOW, San Francisco producer Mark Morris is recognized in the 2011 International Radio and Production Awards for his production work on the “Waltzing with Phil Grande” promotion.  The business talk-formatted station carries the nationally syndicated “Phil’s Gang” talk program hosted by Phil Grande.  Grande states, “We are proud of Mark and thankful for all his hard work for the ‘Phil’s Gang’ radio show.  This high-level award is the crème of the industry and everyone at ‘Phil’s Gang’ congratulates Mark on this leading international award honoring his excellence in broadcasting.”

Friday, June 22, 2012

| June 22, 2012

Victory, But No Clarity at the Supreme Court.  The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Fox TV and ABC and against the FCC in a decision announced yesterday.  The high-profile cases involving fleeting occurrences of nudity and four-letter words on the two TV networks came to an end with the Court ruling as many, including TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman, thought it would: in favor of the broadcasters.  But as Weisman writes, the decision was based on a violation of the Due Process clause and ignored the larger question of the FCC’s definition of indecency.  “As for the overriding question of the unconstitutionality of the rules themselves, the Court ruled that it did not even have to answer that question because the application of the FCC’s indecency rule was improperly done in a manner that violated the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment.”  Read Weisman’s analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision here.

Sports Talk Radio Gets Another National Network as CBS Radio Teams with Cumulus Media Networks to Offer Talk Shows, News and More.  The skyrocketing popularity of sports talk radio is bringing another major network player into the business.  CBS announces it will put the resources of CBS Radio and CBS Sports together to build a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week lineup of national programming called CBS Sports Radio.  The company is partnering with Cumulus Media Networks which will provide affiliate sales and ad sales for the network and the content will air on 67 of Cumulus Media’s stations.  The long-form talk aspect of this network will debut on January 3, 2013 but hourly CBS Sports news updates will begin on September 4 of this year.  This entry of CBS into the sports radio game creates a much more crowded field of players once dominated by just a few.  Soon ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio Network, and Yahoo! Sports Radio will be joined by the recently announced collaboration between NBC and Dial GlobalNBC Sports Radio – and CBS Sports Radio.  CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason states, “For more than two decades we have owned local sports radio and appreciate great talent and programming that resonates with listeners and elicits passionate dialogue and debate.  We are bullish our expertise and prior achievements will allow us to successfully complement our existing businesses while expanding into what until now has been a largely unchallenged sector of the radio business.”  Exactly how CBS will staff the new national sports talk radio network is something we’ll see develop over the next six months.  It certainly has a trough of excellent talent at its local sports talk O&Os and the company indicates affiliate stations will have the opportunity to “regionalize their lineup by choosing from select programs currently featured on CBS Radio or Cumulus sports stations.”  That means an affiliate station in the Mid-Atlantic, for example, could elect to carry a program that emanates from WIP, Philadelphia or WJFK-FM, Washington.  Regardless of how this new enterprise develops, suffice it to say the sports talk radio business is getting much more competitive.

Genesis Communications Announces End of ESPN Relationship in Tampa and Orlando.  ESPN Radio has been a part of Genesis Communications’ WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando for the past 10 years but president Bruce Maduri says in a statement that they believe it’s time to develop more local – and exclusive – talent.  Maduri states, “ESPN Radio makes its once-exclusive programming readily available to the public on multiple audio and video channels and platforms, such as web radio, satellite radio, mobile devices, broadcast television, cable TV and more.”  And Maduri cites the cost of the programming as a factor.  He says they’ve enjoyed their 10-year relationship with ESPN but will end their relationship with ESPN by October 1.

Meet One of Talk Media’s Hardest-Working Talents: Larry O’Connor.  And today is a very busy day for Larry O’Connor.  First, he’s filling in for WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall in AM drive; after an hour break he fills in for Dial Global’s nationally syndicated Dennis Miller; then he joins Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt as a guest on Hewitt’s annual live broadcast from Disneyland in Anaheim.  Who is Larry O’Connor?  The former manager and producer in the Broadway theater industry joined the Breitbart empire writing for Big Hollywood and became Andrew Breitbart’s choice to run the multi-media arm where he came to be in charge of Breitbart TV and he’s now editor of the video and multi-media arm of the Breitbart News Network.  Given his position, O’Connor has an interesting view of the talk media landscape and he tells TALKERS magazine, “I have been fortunate to launch my career in this new age where I could broadcast on the internet for relatively low costs and within months build a loyal and vibrant audience with no more promotion than Facebook and Twitter alerts.  Streaming my show at Breitbart News has allowed me to cater to the passionate center-right political news junkie that makes up our audience and it perfectly mirrors the hard-core talk radio audience.  I am also fortunate to be the multi-media editor and curator for the Breitbart sites which puts me in the position of seeking out the choicest sound bytes which I hope will end up on playlists for talk radio shows from coast to coast.  By having that task all day long, it puts me in the news cycle that is in the wheelhouse of talkers up and down the aisle.”  The untimely death of Andrew Breitbart certainly affected the late conservative icon’s business but O’Connor tells TALKERS things there continue to move at a lightning pace.  “The radical re-design of our site, which was Andrew’s final project, has been a resounding success.  But the new design also has put enormous pressure and demands on our dedicated editorial staff because unlike our old blog format, the new design requires us to be on top of the news cycle and constantly posting fresh, relevant content on a constant basis.  The loss of Andrew is a void that, frankly, will never be filled.  But it is comforting to know that his business partner and long-time best friend Larry Solov is there every day over-seeing us and keeping Andrew’s vision alive and thriving.”  Meanwhile, O’Connor continues to be heard at local stations across the nation.  He’s recently filled in at such historic signals as WOR, New York; WLS, Chicago; WABC, New York and more.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Nationally syndicated progressive talk star Randi Rhodes hosted an iconic entertainment figure on her Premiere Networks program as Cher called the show on Wednesday to talk about being vilified for speaking out as an entertainer.  Cher told Rhodes, “I…try to do my part, try to do more than my part for helping people with my money and with my speaking…They just can only vilify you by just saying the most heinous things.  They don’t talk about your ideas, or what you think.  They talk about what kind of a person you are and then they vilify what kind of a person you are.”…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles spotlights the city of Santa Monica in its next “KNX on Your Corner” event.  News anchors will broadcast live from the café Back on the Beach throughout the day and “KNX Business Hour” host Frank Mottek will lead a private networking luncheon for local business leaders, titled, “Your Money, the Markets & the Economy,” with special guest, James Hausberg, managing director and partner of HighTower Advisors at Santa Monica Ford Lincoln…..Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago is named Chicago Market Station of the Year by the Illinois Broadcasters Association for the fifth straight year.  At the recent awards ceremony WGN picked up six other first place honors including Best Local Radio Newscast, Best Sports Story, and Best Website…..SiriusXM – in association with ESPN Radio – offers subscribers complete coverage of Wimbledon beginning Monday, June 25 through Saturday, July 7.

CRN Digital Talk Radio Adds Three Telecom Systems to Its Affiliate Roster.  Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio announces the addition of three new telecommunications systems to its affiliate roster which will carry CRN’s more than 100 shows and talk radio programs on their audio-only video channels for subscribers.  Home Net of Kutztown, Pennsylvania; CML Telephone Cooperative Association of Meridien, Iowa; and LISCO (Local Internet Service Company) of Fairfield, Iowa will carry all seven of CRN’s broadcast networks on dedicated audio channels.  CRN CEO Mike Horn states, “We are excited to join with Home Net, CML and LISCO and provide their customers with our top-rated and highly entertaining programming for the at-home listening experience.”

‘Fast and Furious’ Case/Executive Privilege Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 18-22.  The case of Congressional Republicans’ attempt to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for not delivering documents in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program and President Obama’s invoking executive privilege in the case was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing in the #1 spot on the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 this week was the 2012 presidential race.  At #3 was the G20 Summit and the Russia-Syria connection followed by the Euro Zone debt crisis and the global financial markets activities at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The Dave Ramsey show is added to the program schedule at CBS Radio’s KRLD, Dallas…..KFNX, Phoenix picks up Cumulus Media NetworksMike Huckabee…..Compass Media NetworksFree Beer and Hot Wings morning drive show is added to the program schedule at WZGM, Asheville, North Carolina; KBAZ-FM, Missoula, Montana; and WQCK-FM, State College, Pennsylvania…..The Money Pit Home Improvement Show joins the lineup at WMCD-FM, Statesboro, Georgia; WTHQ, Paducah, Kentucky; and KQWC-FM, Webster City, Iowa.

Monday, June 11, 2012

| June 10, 2012

Right and Left Come Together at the TALKERS New Media Seminar to Denounce the Practice of Organized Advertiser Boycotts.  They might not agree on many things but a love for the business of talk broadcasting and its role as a vehicle for the practice of the First Amendment can indeed make for strange political bedfellows.  In a rare display of unity, two of the highest-
profile and distinctly politically opposite talk show hosts in the business condemned the increased practice of organized advertiser boycotts by political organizations as a means of shutting down voices on radio and television with which they disagree. 
Conservative host Sean Hannity (Fox News Channel and Premiere Networks) and progressive host Ed Schultz (MSNBC and the independently syndicated Ed Schultz show) delivered their powerful remarks at the TALKERS New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7.  Hannity included the statement as part of his keynote address which opened the conference.  Schultz presented his opinion while delivering the event’s “Annual State of the First Amendment Address.”  During his presentation at the non-partisan, industry-wide gathering, Hannity played excerpts from a variety of well-known talk show hosts making controversial statements on the air that subsequently resulted in calls for advertiser boycotts and/or the firing of the hosts.  The clips included hosts from all over the spectrum – left, right and popular culture (still referred to by many as “shock jocks”) – with ear-perking clips from Don Imus, Howard Stern, Opie & Anthony, Mike Malloy and more.  Both Rush Limbaugh’s reference to Sandra Fluke and Ed Schultz’s description of Laura Ingraham as “sluts” were included to underscore the point that no single faction of the talk radio universe was exempt from participating in the practice of political or artistic controversy.  Hannity’s remedy: Change the dial.  Schultz concurred.  Both made their cases for the sake and survival of the talk radio industry as well as protecting the spirit of the First Amendment. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for complete coverage of the New Media Seminar in the coming days and weeks.

Cumulus Media Officially Announces Geraldo Rivera Rollout.  This has been expected since shortly after Geraldo Rivera made his talk radio debut on Cumulus Media‘s WABC, New York and KABC, Los Angeles in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Now, Cumulus says it will expand the show to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET time slot and begin a national rollout on August 13. In a statement, Cumulus Media COO John Dickey says, “When Geraldo agreed to host shows for Cumulus stations in New York and L.A. we had a hunch there’d be substantial national listener interest in his incisive and insightful style. And now we’re thrilled that with Geraldo such a success in those two markets, the show will be available across the country.”

Glenn Beck Renews with Premiere Networks for 5 Years and a Reported $20 Million per Year.  That figure is according to The New York TimesBrian Stelter who cites a “person with direct knowledge” saying the deal will pay Glenn Beck $100 million over the course of the new, five-year deal. In addition to handling affiliate and ad sales for Beck’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET nationally syndicated radio show, Premiere Networks also assists in ad sales for some of Beck’s non-radio efforts including his internet video channel GBTV on which his daily afternoon talk show is broadcast.

NBC Partners with Dial Global for Syndication of Sports Radio Content as NBC Sports Radio Network.  According to what Rob Simmelkjaer, senior vice president of NBC Sports Ventures and International tells USA Today, the new project will start with hourly sports updates and a couple of short-form features. But Simmelkjaer says NBC hopes to have two three-hour evening sports talk shows (one each for 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm ET starts) ready for syndication by fall. He says, “The goal is to start with a beachhead of programming and gradually expand to 24 hours per day, seven days per week maybe in 3 to 5 years.” Dial Global will handle affiliate and ad sales for the service and Simmelkjaer says it will be sold in tandem with Dial Global’s NFL radio broadcasts.

Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire Surface at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  Talk show hosts Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire had most recently hosted the morning drive show on Curtis Media Group‘s WZTK-FM, Burlington, North Carolina before the station flipped formats to Spanish music earlier this year. Now, the duo will replace Vince Coakley in the PM drive slot beginning July 2. In June of last year, Coakley took over the afternoon show for Tara Servatius who currently hosts mornings on WRNN-AM/FM, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. WBT program director Carl East says, “These guys bring a great sense of energy and fun to the air. Those who have been in Charlotte for a while already know what Brad is capable of. They are very clever observers of the issues of the day, whether they are local or national. The audience is going to love engaging them.” Brad Krantz previously hosted afternoons at WBT alongside Richard Spires for four years from 1999 to 2003.

KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Names Chuck Meyer News Director.  CBS Radio‘s news/talk KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas brings news pro Chuck Meyer aboard as news/director and anchor for the station’s PM drive news block. Meyer previously served as news director at WIOD, Miami and KING, Seattle and as program director at KVET, Austin and KCUB, Tucson. KXNT-AM/FM program director Andrew Paul says, “Chuck brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our staff. We are thrilled to have him lead our news team on multiple platforms.” The move allows former news director Joe Gillespie to focus on his duties as host of the station’s morning drive news program.

Jay Cutler to Join WMVP, Chicago for Weekly Appearance.  ESPN Chicago announces Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will be live in the studio with ESPN 1000′s Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman each Monday from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm. In announcing the multi-year deal, ESPN 1000 president and general manager John Craven states, “ESPN Chicago could not be more excited to welcome Jay Cutler to our already solid on-air lineup. Waddle & Silvy’s extended access to Jay will give Bears fans his insights into the game and a glimpse of his personality they have never heard before both on air and online.” ESPN has sold the show to Miller Lite, the official beer of the Chicago Bears.

Talk Host Michael Smerconish to Welcome NAB Crystal Radio Award Winners Tonight.  Nationally syndicated WYD Media talk host Michael Smerconish will use the “magic” of technology to gather together all 10 NAB Crystal Radio Award winners at the NAB Education Foundation’s “Service to America” black-tie fundraiser taking place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC this evening. Smerconish will welcome the winners to the stage and acknowledge their accomplishments.

The End of an Era as NPR’s “Car Talk” Hosts Retire in September.  Hosts of the ubiquitous weekend public radio show “Car Talk” on NPR – brothers Tom and Ray Magliozzi – will retire in September and record no more calls from Americans with questions usually having to do with their cars. But the show will go on for at least a few more years. NPR will continue to produce the show with previously aired audio from the show’s dense library of content. TALKERS magazine spoke with “Car Talk” producer Doug Berman several years ago for a feature story about the production of weekend talk programs. Unlike many shows, car talk is not a “live” call-in show. Calls are recorded during the week or callers are asked to call in at specific production times. As a result, the show has probably gathered more content than necessary at times and, in addition to “repurposed” content, there may be some calls to “Car Talk” that have not seen the light of day. Also, Berman tells the Boston Herald that they’ve reviewed the ratings for new shows and repeats and have found no difference. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was asked about the future success of “Car Talk” by the Los Angeles Times and he stated, “Not many shows that are maintenance, how-to shows can carry it off where people listen to be entertained. That makes the show extremely potent.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Cox Media Group‘s WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta nabs 11 from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. Among the accolades WSB picked up include “Station of the Year” large market and “Best Radio Program” and “Best Talk Host” honors for WSB-based nationally syndicated star Neal Boortz…..Beasley Broadcasting‘s news/talk WGAC, Augusta, Georgia wins the Georgia Association of Broadcasters “Radio Station of the Year” award in the mid-sized market category. The station’s personalities also were individually recognized with coveted “Gabby” Awards: News director and morning show host  Mary Liz Nolan won “Best Newscast; sports director Ashley Brown won “Best Sportscast” and “Best Sports Story or Series” and Dallas Reece was honored for the year’s “Best Commercial.”…..WBZ, Boston news anchor Joe Mathieu interviews “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley at the WBZ NewsRadio Business Breakfast about his first year as anchor of CBS’ evening news program Tuesday, June 12 at 8:00 am…..Fox Sports Radio continues its coverage of mixed martial arts with simulcasts of FX‘s “UFC on FX: Fight Night.” FSRN simulcast last Friday’s program and will do it again on June 22 at 9:00 pm ET with a two-hour post-fight call-in show beginning at 11:00 pm ET.

You’re Never Too Old…to Play Pro Football.  That’s 50-year-old Stan Nawalaniec of the Stan & Haney PM drive show on Beasley Broadcasting‘s hot talk WRXK-FM, Bonita Springs, Florida – 96 K-Rock Talk That Rocks – suited up with two unidentified players on the United Indoor Football League‘s Florida Tarpons. Stan signed on for a one-game deal with the undefeated team and was a member for its last regular season game Saturday, June 9 played at Southwest Florida’s Germain Arena in Estero.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

| May 23, 2012

Clark Howard Takes on Expanded Role at HLN.  Consumer affairs expert and nationally syndicated talk radio host Clark Howard is going to get more face time at Time Warner’s HLN cable channel.  Howard, who does a weekend program at HLN and contributes to the channel’s “Morning Express” program, will be part of an ensemble weekday afternoon news program titled, “Evening Express” airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET.  Howard will be partnered with TruTV’s Ryan Smith, who will handle lead anchor duties, and British journalist Isha Sesay who has worked for CNN International and serves as a correspondent for CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.”  In a statement, HLN says the new program is designed to take a “solutions-oriented look at the day’s news, accompanied by deeper discussions and reporting on stories and issues that resonate in the American household – including parenting, education, health, personal finance and relationships.”

Utah Jazz Owner Confirmed to Buy Salt Lake City Sports Talk Combo.  The reported sale of the former Simmons Media sports talk duo KZNS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City to the Larry H. Miller Group is being confirmed by broker Patrick Communications.  The price for the two signals is $3.25 million.  The deal means Utah Jazz play-by-play will move to the new stations after being heard on Cumulus Media’s KFNZ which the Larry H. Miller Group had been operating under an LMA.  At the same time, Fox Sports Radio Network announces it will continue to provide programming for the stations under the new ownership with both the AM and FM sides airing “Fox Sports Tonight,” JT the Brick and the slate of weekend Fox Sports shows.  Premiere NetworksJim Rome will also be heard on the stations.  The FM side of the broadcast will also carry “Fox Sports Daybreak” and the “Petros & Money” show.  Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment SVP of broadcasting Chris Baum states, “We are very pleased to continue our affiliation with Fox Sports Radio as we move to 1280 The Zone and Fox Sports Radio 97.5.  The FSR shows complement our local lineup very well on our new 50,000-watt AM signal, and the additional coverage on our FM signal will allow us to better reach and serve sports fans, and Jazz fans in particular, all along the Wasatch Front.”

Kevin Sheehan Extends Deal with Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington.  Red Zebra Broadcasting announces midday co-host Kevin Sheehan – who co-hosts “The Sports Fix” with Thom Loverro – has signed a two-year deal to remain with the company.  Sheehan also continues with the Washington Redskins Radio Network where he hosts the “Official Redskins Pre-Game Show.”  Sheehan will also contribute to the Tony Kornheiser program and co-host the “Monday Morning Quarterback” after each Redskins game.  Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “Kevin is as versatile as anyone in the field.  He does so much for us.  I look forward to working with him through 2014 and many years to come.”

Former New York Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro Co-Hosting with WOR’s Governor David Paterson.  As per New York Post gossip columnist Cindy Adams, former New York Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro is sitting alongside former Governor David Paterson as he hosts the PM drive show on WOR, New York as a sort of tryout to see if a duo concept works for the program.

ESPN Hosts Affiliates at “Audio Avenue II” Day in Bristol, Connecticut.  The outdoor quad at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut will be busy today as the company hosts talent from its four O&O stations and from 12 affiliate stations for a daylong live broadcast event.  ESPN Audio SVP Mo Davenport states, “Audio Avenue brings the concept of ‘ESPN Everywhere’ to life.  Each of these shows and markets represent what our listeners love, the opportunity to hear from experts locally, nationally and globally.”  Along with the hosts and producers broadcasting from “Audio Avenue,” participants will include network and affiliate management, account executives, program directors, clients, ESPN employees and those involved with ESPN Audio’s promotions, marketing and sales.  The day will also include two “Block Party Breakout” luncheons focusing on the production of “Mike & Mike in the Morning” and listener demographic research.

Courtney Smith Promoted to Director of New Business at Beasley Las Vegas.  The Beasley Broadcasting Las Vegas cluster names Courtney Smith director of new business development and marketing & events manager.  Smith has served at the company since 2006 when she joined as a promotions assistant.  She was promoted to marketing director and added events coordinator to her duties in 2009.  Vice president and general manager Tom Humm states, “I’m constantly amazed with the promotions and events that Courtney conceptualizes from scratch and pleased by the successful results they achieve.  She always makes Beasley shine. Courtney has earned this promotion and I’m very proud of her for that accomplishment.”

Facebook IPO Case, 2012 Presidential Election, Euro Zone Instability and Georgia Teacher Criticizes Student for Questioning Obama Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/22).  Securities regulators investigate Facebook IPO; the 2012 presidential election and questions over whether Hillary Clinton will replace Joe Biden as vice presidential candidate; Greece’s status as a member of the European Union; and the case of the Georgia teacher who bullied a student for criticizing President Obama were some of the most talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, May 18, 2012

| May 18, 2012

Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio Hits 10 Million Registered Users in Eight Months.  The digital media player that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has been vigorously promoting is growing, according to CC, “faster than nearly all other entertainment platforms, including Pandora, Facebook, Spotify and Instagram.”  The iHeartRadio player has more than 10 million users since the 10 million figure includes just registered users – only required for the custom station service.  Brian Lekamp, president of digital for CCME, states, “iHeartRadio has demonstrated incredibly rapid adoption, more than two times faster than other leading entertainment services – it’s mind-blowing.  We are thrilled with the consumer reaction and feedback.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, using the tremendous promotional power of our broadcast radio properties, has been able to drive this adoption like no other company could.  iHeartRadio offers a great product supported by unparalleled promotional capabilities.”

NPR Facing Fiscal Downturn; May End Year in the Red.  In a piece by Paul Farhi for the Washington Post, the challenging financial situation NPR is dealing with as the U.S. economy continues to struggle is brought to light.  New CEO Gary Knell tells Farhi NPR has operated at a deficit three out of the past four years and had to dip into its endowment fund to cover expenses.  This comes after the brutal 2008 fiscal year in which NPR was forced to cut 7% of its workforce after coming up $23 million short.  The situation for NPR is that corporate underwriting – or advertising – has fallen dramatically.  Instability in some of the corporate positions responsible for fundraising and underwriting have not helped the content provider, either.  NPR states that through March of this year, it was operating at a deficit of $2.6 million beyond what the endowment covers and when the end of its fiscal year rolls around in September, it may still be in the red.  Knell has told employees the last thing he wants to do is cut staffing and programming but he also states NPR cannot continue to operate as it is.  He tells the Post, “NPR has been withdrawing from the bank and we can’t keep doing that,” he said. “We have to be at break-even or be in a positive position on an annual basis, or I can tell you at some point we’re going to have to turn the lights off.”

CNN Suffers Lowest Prime Time Rating in 15 Years.  Time Warner’s CNN is getting more bad news after getting clobbered in the April Nielsen’s released last week.  Now, TVNewser reports “Piers Morgan Tonight” – which aired at 9:00 ET – pulled in just 39,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo on Tuesday, May 15.  The show garnered 284,000 total viewers which was not a record low.  The piece notes the program faced competition in the form of the season finale of “NCIS: L.A.,” “America’s Got Talent” and “Dancing with the Stars” which, all together, had 39 million total viewers.

WOWO, Fort Wayne Reporter Held in Contempt for Phone Use in Court.  WOWO, Fort Wayne news director Dave Wheaton was found in contempt at the Allen County Superior Court for using a station-owned iPhone while covering a guilty plea at a murder case at the courthouse.  Two sheriff’s deputies noticed Wheaton texting on the phone – a violation of court rules – and confiscated the phone.  Wheaton told Judge Fran Gull he did not see the numerous signs warning of the ban on phones in the courtroom to which the judge replied, “Candidly, I don’t believe you,” reports the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.  The ban has been in effect since 2007 after courtroom attendees were found taking photos.  The judge ordered the phone destroyed but allowed WOWO owner Federated Media to download the contents first.

The State and Future of News on America’s News/Talk Radio Stations.  The rise of digital news sources, today’s quickening news cycle and the economic realities of our times are forcing news/talk radio stations to evaluate their news product and adapt to continue to serve their listeners.  In a feature story by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey coming to Talkers.com next week, programmers speak on the record about their news philosophy and its practical application.  KMOX, St. Louis operations director Steve Moore says despite the factors some think puts radio at a disadvantage for news, it’s still a very important element.  “Local news is the foundation for everything we do and that includes providing content and information for our programming staffs.  That relationship goes both ways.  Talent use their connections to flesh out stories that are heard on our newscasts.  A strong, local news department should be the perfect complement to a good talk show host.”  Read what some of today’s top news/talk programmers are saying about the state of news on their stations and in the larger media mix at Talkers.com next week.

Michael Harrison to Speak at New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference.  June promises to be a busy month for Michael Harrison.  Less than one short week after the New Media Seminar in NYC, the publisher and founder of TALKERS magazine will deliver a special address at the 65th Annual New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference on June 13.  The address titled, “The Future of the Stick and the Shtick: How Terrestrial Radio can Thrive in the Digital Age,” will provide a realistic focus on the key issues and challenges facing AM and FM radio today as it finds its place in the new and exotic landscape of 21st century technology and culture.  One of the key points that Harrison plans to make is that even though talk radio broadcasters are licking their chops at the prospect of music radio’s demise, one of the keys to talk radio’s growth in the coming years will actually be the survival and revival of music radio as a commercial and cultural force.  Harrison says, “An AM and FM band of only spoken word programming will not be enough to keep terrestrial radio afloat.  For terrestrial radio of all formats to have a healthy place from which to operate, it must reclaim ownership of the music scene - no doubt a daunting task.”  Harrison goes on to say that this can actually be done.  “The music scene in America has a desperate need for big-time leadership in terms of breaking new artists and product as well as defining and creating a cultural environment in which a healthy and  purposeful industry can operate.  This is something that radio has historically done effectively and can do again in the new century.”  Harrison suggests the key to doing this is to bring back the disc jockey as a viable broadcasting art form and the plugged-in music director as a connection to the street and marketplace.  “When music radio gave up its franchise on personalities - on-air talents who can present, deliver, and ’sell’ a song, it set in motion its own destruction as well as inflicting damage to the music business itself.  It is not too late to correct this.”  The 65th Annual NJBA Conference will take place at Caesar’s Atlantic City June 12-13.  For information call 888-657-2346.

2012 Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for 7th Consecutive Week.  The race for president between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney once again was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of May 14-18, 2012.  Following at #2 was the Greece and Euro Zone fiscal crisis; at #3 was world financial markets activity; and at #4 was President Obama’s gay marriage stance.  The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart of the top stories and people on news/talk radio here.

Commentators of the Year.  That’s ESPN’s Mike Golic – co-host of ESPN Radio’s and ESPN2’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show (c) – holding the awards given to him and co-host Mike Greenberg (not pictured) for being named Team ESPN’s Volunteer Commentators of the Year.  Next to Golic are ESPN EVP of production John Wildhack (l) and president of ESPN, Inc. John Skipper (r).  Golic and Greenberg were honored at a luncheon yesterday (5/17) with the award given to an ESPN commentator “who provides positive impact in the community through his or her volunteer efforts.”  The duo led the way on ESPN Radio for the “Don’t Give Up ESPYs V Foundation Auction” which raised more than $800,000 for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.  They have contributed their personal time to emcee the Jimmy V Basketball dinner, and visit military sites, like the Intrepid this year for ESPN’s Veterans Week.  Each received $1,000 to be donated to the charity of their choice and both elected to give it to The V Foundation.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

| May 16, 2012

Howard Stern’s Debut on “America’s Got Talent” Gets Mixed Ratings Results.  Although billed as a “judge,” iconic talk radio star Howard Stern’s debut on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” was one of the most-judged elements on the program.  The show’s season opener was one of Monday’s top shows with a 3.6 average rating in the 18-49 demo but that number was down from the program’s debut episode last season when it scored 4.3 average rating.  TVbytheNumbers reports the program faced stiffer competition this year.  Ratings for reality talent and music competition programs are down pretty much across the board this season and Stern’s effect on “America’s Got Talent” will be hard to judge.  The TV industry is dealing with softer ratings in prime time for almost all programming this season.  Meanwhile, TALKERS editorial board members report noticing that it seemed strange seeing Stern in the role of prime time TV ”celebrity team player,” as opposed to being the focal point of his own edgy show.  Those expecting anything approaching “The Howard Stern Show” came away disappointed — including media watchdog groups.

Cumulus to Move Atlanta All-Newser Closer to the City.  Cumulus Media’s WYAY-FM, Gainesville, Georgia – soon to be the company’s new all-news outlet in the Atlanta market – will move from 106.7 to 106.5 and take Sandy Springs as its city of license if the FCC grants approval for the changes.  The move would put the new station’s tower much closer to the downtown area.  Currently, WYAY-FM’s class C signal emanates from a tower location about halfway between Atlanta and Athens to the east.

Social Media Ad Spending to Near $10 Billion by 2016.  That’s from BIA/Kelsey’s U.S. Local Media Forecast and it predicts that ad spending on social media will climb from the 2011 level of $3.8 billion spent to $9.8 billion in 2016.  The local segment of that revenue will go from 2011’s $840 million to $3.1 billion in 2016.  BIA/Kelsey’s Jed Williams states, “Better performance, coupled with richer formats and creative elements, like video, will be the principal social ad market growth drivers.  Social advertising’s local business penetration will steadily increase as SMBs’ understanding of social media deepens, and as the networks continually improve the ease of onboarding and campaign management.  Facebook opening its Ads API to more partners, including those that work with SMBs, and Twitter’s self-serve platform will help to ‘democratize’ social ads, which will ultimately lead to more local growth.”

Emmis Stock Continues to Be Traded on the NASDAQ.  Emmis’ listing on the NASDAQ was in jeopardy after falling under the $1 threshold late last year earning a de-listing notice from NASDAQ.  But Emmis stock rose above the $1 mark in late April and even hit $1.63 on May 2.  Emmis stated its case to a NASDAQ panel and the company was just informed it will continue to be traded on the board.

ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt Agrees to New Multi-Year Deal.  Twelve-year ESPN personality Scott Van Pelt agrees to a new multi-year extension with ESPN to remain a SportsCenter anchor and host his eponymous daily sports talk radio program.  Van Pelt joined ESPN in 2001 as its lead professional golf reporter.  He says he’s thrilled how his career at ESPN has turned out.  “I’ve always been a guy who was kind of on the wave wherever it took me.  And somehow it took me to where it did and I’m thankful.  I’m happy to stay in this boat, on this wave, until they’re done with me. . .None of this was even thinkable but here we are.  It’s baffling to me.”  The details of the new contract are not being disclosed.

WQAM, Miami Seals Contract Extension with University of Miami.  The Beasley Broadcasting sports talk station agrees with Hurricane Sports Properties to a five-year contract extension to keep football and men’s basketball games on WQAM.  The financial terms of the deal were not released.  The deal also calls for a certain number of baseball games to air as well as the weekly coaches’ shows with Joe Zagacki.  WQAM vice president and general manager Joe Bell states, “UM sports have been a huge part of WQAM for over a decade and we’re excited to continue that relationship.  Our listeners have come to expect the best from WQAM and it doesn’t get any better than Hurricane sports.”

ESPN Radio Unveils New App for iPhone, iPad and iTouch.  The sports entertainment giant announces it is releasing a new ESPN Radio app touting it as its “single, most definitive ESPN Radio app optimized for iPhone, iPod touch and – for the first time – iPad.  The app, sponsored by Lowe’s, creates a seamless, personalized sports listening experience both live and on demand and includes a new feature that allows fans to build their own sports stations. Additionally, fans now have the option to rewind live audio streams, including ESPN Deportes Radio.”  ESPN digital and print media vice president Marc Horine says, “With this update, fans now have complete control over their listening experience as the app provides the functionality to customize specifically by sports, teams and athletes they care most about.”

Euro Zone Tensions, Financial Markets Activity, 2012 Presidential Race, Obama Gay Marriage Stance, and Trayvon Martin Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/15).  The possibility of  Greece’s exit from the EU; the European effect on world financial markets; the 2012 presidential race; President Obama’s stance on gay marriage; and new information about George Zimmerman’s injuries in the Trayvon Martin case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

| May 3, 2012

Latest Cable News/Talk Ratings Not Good for CNN.  The April Nielsens are not being kind to cable news/talk network CNN.  The channel’s total-day viewership average was 357,000 – down 21% compared to the same period in 2011.  Ratings in that category haven’t been this low for CNN since August of 2001.  “Anderson Cooper 360” led the decline in shows down 26% with 522,000 total viewers in the 10:00 pm ET slot.  Other CNN shows with declines in April were: “John King USA” – down 24%; “Erin Burnett Out Front” – down 22%; and “Starting Point” – down 26%.  Fox News Channel remains firmly in first place for April with a total-day viewership average of 1.1 million (up slightly) and MSNBC stays in second place with an unchanged 425,000.

Keith Larson Stays with WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte After All.  Last week WBT-AM/FM Charlotte late-morning host Keith Larson told his listeners his days with the Greater Media station may be numbered because the station was unwilling to extend his contract but was willing to keep him on the radio as an at-will employee.  At the time he said he wasn’t sure he wanted to do that.  A week later, he tells the Charlotte Observer he and WBT management have struck a deal to keep him with the station, though he wouldn’t give details about their agreement.  He does say, “I’m very happy to be plugging away at WBT.  We had a good conversation this week.  I’m happy to continue eye-poking at WBT and looking forward to developing Larson Advertising and Media as well.”

WQXI, Atlanta Merges Two Midday Shows into One.  Lincoln Financial Media sports talk outlet 790 The Zone – WQXI – combines the “Two Live Stews” show featuring Doug and Ryan Stewart with the Tony Barnhart and Wes Durham show to make “The Red Zone” airing from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.  This move comes a week after the station announced it was extending “Mayhem in the AM” to 11:00 am and moving Archer and Bell up an hour to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm time slot.  As the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reported last week, Barnhart and Durham have been the highest-rated show on the station lately but they have other professional obligations which make them all but unavailable during May and June.  The “Stews’” ratings haven’t been what they once were and they are not as prominently featured by the station as they used to be.  The Stewarts’ agent, Norm Schrutt, acknowledges to the AJC that he’s not happy with the new arrangement but says Doug and Ryan are “team players” and are doing what they are asked.  The new show is expected to have a rotating cast of characters along with the four principal hosts.  WQXI general manager Andrew Saltzman tells the paper, “This is more topic driven and less specifically host driven.”

Wisconsin Group Seeks Conservative Talk Radio’s Help in Preventing Recall of Governor.  An ad hoc group of Wisconsin business people has formed an organization called Businesses for Wisconsin Jobs with the goal of getting conservative talk radio shows from Milwaukee and Madison to be aired in the northern and western parts of the state in hopes those shows will reach enough people to prevent the recall of Governor Scott Walker and other politicians.  An article by Brien Farley for Heartland.org, points out how Walker and others have credited  conservative talk shows such as WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes and WIBA, Madison’s Vicki McKenna helped them get elected via their conservative messages.  The group hopes to convince other stations in the state to add such shows to their lineups in order to get a conservative message to key voters.  WISN, Milwaukee program director Jerry Bott is quoted in the piece saying, “Hosts on conservative talk radio affect public opinion by making a convincing case that conservative principles are powerful, proper and effective.  This has an effect on public opinion in areas where conservative talk radio can be heard which, in turn, provides a fertile environment for conservatives seeking public office to be elected.”  So far the group claims to have had success getting Vicki McKenna’s program added to WMEQ, Menomonie in the northwestern part of the state.  The recall election of Governor Walker takes place June 5.

Stitcher Launches 2012 Election Center to Serve Demand for Political Audio Content.  Digital spoken-word content provider Stitcher Smart Radio is targeting users interested in the 2012 political season with the creation of the 2012 Election Center.  Stitcher says the channel allows “users to easily follow, listen and engage with political candidates, commentators, pundits and topics that interest them most.  From podcasts and candidate speeches, to exclusive content on hot trending topics, listeners can now stay up-to-date on all things election related from one central audio hub.”  Stitcher CEO Noah Shanok says, “There’s an avalanche of coverage during election season and it can be tough to get the best information when you need it.  We’re rolling out trending topics on demand, a first in the industry.  We see this as part of our mission to further the evolution of radio by making it more relevant and accessible than ever.”  The service features audio messages directly from the campaigns, commentary from major broadcasters such as Fox News Channel, NPR and CBS News plus the service is integrated with Facebook.  Stitcher is employing a transcription technology so users can literally search the bevy of available audio for specific topics by typing in key words.  Content creators get feedback from Stitcher about the about the most-sought-after topics.

Nikki Sixx’s Personality-Intensive Show to Air Mornings on KEGL-FM, Dallas.  The Premiere Networks distributed “Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx” show will be heard in AM drive on Clear Chanel Media and Entertainment’s KEGL-FM, Dallas beginning May 7.  The talk-intensive rock radio show featuring Motley Crue star Nikki Sixx and Kerri Kasem airs in evenings on 90-plus affiliate stations.  Now, Premiere will create a customized morning show for KEGL-FM.  In a statement, Premiere says, “Each morning on “Sixx Sense,” Sixx will discuss music and lifestyle topics as he gives listeners an exclusive look at the world and mind of a rock star…Sixx will provide his unique perspective and attitude as the duo welcomes celebrity guests, recording artists and fascinating characters from all walks of life.”  Sixx himself is quoted saying, “Bringing ‘Sixx Sense’ to mornings has always been our goal.  Who better to start your morning with than a rock star and a hot chick?  It’s a dream come true to have a morning show on one of America’s best rock stations.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Sports WBNS-FM, Columbus promotions director Todd Reigle takes his bicycle on a five-day ride from Sylvania, Ohio to Cincinnati – an event called the Honor Ride Ohio – to try to reach his goal of raising $100,000 for six veterans’ organizations.  The ride will take place from June 30 to July 4…..ESPN’s Mike Greenberg pays his “gambling debt” to co-host Mike Golic on May 8 as loser of the “Mike & Mike” show’s March Madness “Sheets of Integrity Challenge.”  Greenberg will dance to “Livin’ the Vida Loca” live on the ESPN Radio program (simulcast on cable’s ESPN 2) with professional dancer Anna Trebunskaya who’s appeared on the “Dancing with the Stars” franchise…..Former University of Florida quarterback Chris Leak (who led the team to a National Championship) joins SiriusXM’s College Sports Nation sports channel where he’ll host “College Sports Coast-to-Coast” along with Chris Childers several nights a week…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment partners with the Ad Council to promote the anti-childhood obesity campaign We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity and Nutrition).  The effort involves airing and making visible online a number of public service announcements…..Attorney Ed Gadrix debuts a new weekly talk show on WNJC, Washington Township, New Jersey called “The Eddie Esq. Show.”  Gadrix says the goal of his show is to involve more fathers in custody after divorces.  Gadrix states, “Divorce courts and the legal system are destroying the next generation of Americans and I hope our new talk show opens up an entirely new dialogue toward changing that system…unless we take a different approach to handling divorce and custody matters, we’re doomed to continue creating children who grow into dysfunctional adults and families.”

2012 Presidential Race, U.S.-Afghanistan Security Agreement, John Edwards Trial, Chinese Activist Case, Junior Seau Death, French Political Situation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/2).  The 2012 presidential race; the newly signed U.S.-Afghanistan security agreement; the testimony from John Edwards’ trial on campaign corruption charges; blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng’s appeal to the U.S. to leave China; former NFL star Junior Seau’s apparent suicide; and Nicolas Sarkozy’s fight for his political life in France were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Fox Sports L.A. Meets New Dodgers Owners.  KLAC, Los Angeles – AM 570 Fox Sports L.A. covered yesterday morning’s press conference with the new Los Angeles Dodgers ownership — Guggenheim Baseball Management Team.  PM drive hosts Petros Papadakis (r) and Matt “Money” Smith (l) are pictured here interviewing L.A. Lakers great Magic Johnson (c), a member of the new ownership group.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

| May 2, 2012

Sirius XM Reports Revenue Up 11%.  SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin tells analysts the satcaster has seen subscriptions increase by 405,000 compared to the first quarter of 2011.  Revenue for Q1 of 2012 was $805 million, an increase of 11% over the same period a year ago.  Karmazin states, “SiriusXM is starting the year with tremendous operational momentum.  We grew subscribers faster than any first quarter since our 2008 merger of Sirius and XM, and we improved our self-pay monthly churn rate to 1.9% despite implementing a price increase at the beginning of the year.  Rising auto sales and our strong execution should enable us to exceed our prior 2012 subscriber growth guidance of 1.3 million, which today we are raising to 1.5 million.”  The continued good news for SiriusXM includes: its subscriber growth rate accelerating to boost its subscriber base to an all-time high of 22.3 million; reduced its monthly churn to 1.9%; and was able to show positive free cash flow in the first quarter of a fiscal year for the first time – free cash flow was $15 million for 2012’s Q1.  SiriusXM EVP and CFO David Frear states, “Our growing cash flow is reducing our leverage substantially and this improving credit profile should benefit stockholders as we refinance or pay down more than $1 billion of high coupon debt over the next 15 months.”

2012 Q1 Report: CBS Radio Down 2%.  CBS Corporation announced its first quarter revenue for 2012 and although the company as a whole was up 12% on revenue of $3.92 billion over the same period a year ago, the revenue for the CBS Radio division was down 2%.  Content licensing and distribution revenue were responsible for much of the company’s growth.

Harris to Exit Broadcast Business.  Melbourne, Florida-based Harris Corporation employs some 17,000 people worldwide but the bulk of its revenue does not come from the radio equipment sector – not even close.  And that’s why the company announces it is divesting itself of the Broadcast Communications arm.  The company states a review of its business structure revealed, “the (radio) business is no longer aligned with the company’s long-term strategy.  The plan to sell these assets supports our disciplined approach to capital allocation, and we intend to use the proceeds to return cash to shareholders and invest in growing our core businesses.”

KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Won’t Be Charged in Fender Bender Case.  Former Houston City Councilor and KTRH, Houston talk host Michael Berry will not face charges of hit and run in connection with a parking incident outside an area bar that happened in late January.  The District Attorney’s office tells the Houston Chronicle that based on its findings, there will be no charges filed against Berry.  It appears there’s no evidence to show Berry’s vehicle hit the car of a club bouncer who told authorities a car matching the description of Berry’s car hit his.  The incident happened outside of TC’s Show Bar in Montrose – a club known for gay clientele.  The local media made a big deal out of the incident and, in addition to the connection between the conservative Berry and the gay bar, questioned whether the former city councilor received special treatment from authorities investigating the incident.  Berry maintained his innocence and excoriated the local media on his radio show for running fast and loose with the facts.  He blamed much of the attention he received from the incident on politics.

Merlin Media’s New York Programming Chief Is Mark Austin Thomas.  “FM News 101.9” has been without an official programming chief since Liz Aiello was let go in December.  Now, it’s being reported that former KABC, Los Angeles news director and news anchor Mark Austin Thomas is in the programmer’s chair.  Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports an announcement from Merlin Media about Thomas’ status may come as early as this week.  All-news WEMP-FM, New York has been holding steady with a .7 share in the monthly PPM ratings.

Dave Milner Named Market Manager at Clear Channel Sacramento.  Reports of Jeff Holden’s departure from the building at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Sacramento cluster turned out to be true.  The company announces Dave Milner takes over the president and market manager role.  Milner has been serving as vice president of sales at Entercom’s San Francisco station group.  He previously worked for Clear Channel in the Portland market.   Clear Channel EVP of operations, Western Region Susan Karis states, “Dave brings an extensive track record of sales and management expertise with him to the Clear Channel Sacramento market.  I’m excited to have him back with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment to lead our business in Sacramento to continued success.”

KFTK-FM, St. Louis Adds Tony Katz to Permanent Weekend Show.  Emmis Communications’ KFTK-FM, St. Louis announces regular fill-in talk host Tony Katz gets a weekly Saturday afternoon show airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Katz is the go-to fill-in guy for midday talk host Dana Loesch.  KFTK-FM program director Jeff Allen says, “Tony is a rising star and I am thrilled that we can launch a fresh, new talent into our Saturday evening line-up.  Tony is passionate, informative and most importantly, fun to listen to!”  Katz also hosts a regular internet talk program on allpatriotsmedia.com.

Commercials Are Content, Too.  The phrase “content is king” may be a cliché but the sentiment is true.  However, it’s important to remember that spots are content too and broadcasters should give attention to spot quality, according to H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz.  In his latest column for TALKERS, Herskovitz cites examples of commercial copy gone wrong that could have been avoided.  Read his piece here.

FM Sports Talker Coming to Twin Falls, Idaho.  Lee Family Broadcasting principal Kim Lee tells MagicValley.com that he’ll drop the AC music on KMVX-FM for sports talk on May 24.  The station will carry ESPN programming and be the local radio outlet for College of Southern Idaho sports.  The school’s radio voice, Jonathan Drew, will join the station as sports director and PM drive host of a local sports talk show.

Odds ‘n’ SodsBob Throndsen retires from his news director position at Fisher Broadcasting’s KOMO-AM/FM.  Throndsen has worked at KOMO radio and KOMO-TV for much of the past 30 years…..The debut of Michael Patrick Shiels’ new morning talk show based at local Fox TV outlet WSYM-TV, Lansing, Michigan will come not this week but next, according to a piece in the Lansing State Journal.  Shiels, who recently left his WJIM, Lansing based program after a contract dispute, plans to syndicate the new show to talk radio outlets across Michigan…..KBJR-TV, Duluth sports director Tom Hansen joins KDAL, Duluth-Superior as co-host of the late morning show alongside Dave Strandberg.  Hansen maintain’s his position with the television outlet…..Talk show host Tom Donahue, host of Tom Donahue Reports, announces his new flagship network for his syndicated show is Orion Talk Radio.  The program airs live from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm daily.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Announces Second Annual Stu Olds Memorial Golf Classic.  The Broadcasters Foundation of America sets June 12 as the date of the second annual Stu Olds Memorial Golf Classic – the fundraiser named in honor of the former Katz Media head who died in December of 2010.  Since its inception, the fund has raised more than $500,000 to benefit the foundation.  The event costs $250 per player and proceeds go directly to the fund.  Reservations to take part in the golf outing can be made by calling Jim Thompson at 212-373-8250 or e-mail info@thebfoa.org.

2012 Presidential Race, Obama Afghanistan Visit, U.S. ICE Scam and Ohio Bridge Terror Plot Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/1).  The 2012 presidential race; President Obama’s visit to Kabul, Afghanistan and the Taliban violence there; the Immigration and Customs Enforcement scandal; and the Ohio bridge terror plot were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Rusty Humphries Has Movie Role in “Flicka” Film.  20th Century Fox Home Entertainment just released the movie “Flicka Country Pride” starring Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black.  Appearing in the role of the announcer at the championship horse competition is Talk Radio Network and WGST, Atlanta talk show host Rusty Humphries.  Humphries spent several days last November in British Columbia filming his scenes.  He says, “It was an honor to be asked to be a part of a major motion picture and to learn from some of the best talent in the movie making business.”  In a scene from the film, Rusty is seen here in his announcer role at the judge’s table.  Rusty Humphries’ star continues to rise on a number of fronts.  He has proven himself over the years to be like “the little engine that could.”  In addition to accruing steadily increasing ratings and affiliations, his marketing campaigns continue to attract industry attention with significant sales of such items as Rusty Humphries Beef Jerkey and Rusty Humphries cigars.  His position on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred took a leap from #35 in 2011 to #20 in 2012.  Meet Rusty Humphries at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7 where he will be appearing as one of the debaters on the Talk Rumble.  The industry-only event is near a sellout.  For reservations, hotel or sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.

 

Monday, April 30, 2012

| April 30, 2012

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 broadcast