By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
NEW YORK — Around Labor Day, I wrote an article that asked, “Where have all the broadcast engineers gone?” I was inundated with responses, which is why it has taken me so long to write a follow up article. Obviously, I hit a nerve with everyone. I have heard from Australia, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Ireland. Obviously, this is a universal topic and I have been overwhelmed. That, and I’ve been working on a large project with not much time to put electrons to the screen.
Additionally, I was both surprised and not surprised at the bitterness in many of the responses. Broadcast engineers are a unique group. It’s difficult, though not impossible, to find a more dedicated group of people in any business. We take it personally. The station becomes part of us and is what we do. And once that is disrupted, even if the person is in a much better place, it is taken personally. I can relate.
Journal Broadcast Group’s Radio Division Posts 3.5% Revenue Gain in Q3. Milwaukee-based Journal Communications issued its 2013 third quarter numbers yesterday and the radio division reports revenue was up 3.5% on $20.5 million compared to the same period a year ago. The company adds, “Local advertising revenue increased 4.3%, primarily due to increases in professional services, retail and medical advertising. National advertising revenue decreased 4.9%, mostly due to declines in media, professional services and restaurant advertising. Operating earnings from radio stations were $3.5 million compared to $3.0 million, an increase of 16.3%. Radio operating expenses increased 1.3% driven by higher employee-related costs and higher broadcast rights fees.”
FCC Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Revitalization of AM Radio Service. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued yesterday (10/31) by the Federal Communications Commission addressing the revitalization of AM radio service can be found in its entirety here. The six-pronged proposal consists of: opening an FM translator filing window exclusively for AM station owners; modifying the daytime community coverage standards for existing AM stations; modifying the nighttime community coverage standards for existing AM stations; eliminating the AM ‘rachet rule’; permitting wider implementation of modulation dependent carrier level control technologies; and modifying AM antenna efficiency standards. NAB CEO Gordon Smith says the organization supports the move. ”NAB salutes the leadership of Acting Chair Mignon Clyburn and FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai for taking a strong interest in revitalizing AM radio, which has a long and storied history of providing America’s hometowns with news, entertainment, sports and community affairs information. AM radio is a cultural touchstone and jobs generator in cities large and small; many of the top revenue-generating stations are on the AM band. We strongly endorse the revitalization proceeding and stand ready to work with the FCC to develop meaningful solutions.”
FCC Denies Virginia Man’s Objection to Renewal of WMAL-AM/FM, Washington’s License. From time to time, the FCC receives objections to the renewal of the license of a radio station and, also occasionally, that is based on the notion that the station’s programming is biased and that it is not serving the public. That is roughly what Kevin M. Raymond of Woodbridge, Virginia claimed when he objected to the renewal of WMAL’s license. Raymond argued that the station has an “incessant bias” against the government throughout all its programs and the station broadcasts “blatant lies on each program” that cannot be considered protected by the right to free speech. On Thursday, the FCC announce its denial of Raymond’s objection. Stating in part, the Commission wrote, “The Objection also questions whether the Station is funded anonymously for political propaganda purposes. The Objection provides no support for this speculative comment. Accordingly, this argument requires no further discussion here…There have been no other violations which, taken together, constitute a pattern of abuse…We have examined the Objection and find that it does not raise a substantial and material question of fact calling for further inquiry or otherwise persuade us that granting the Application would contravene the public interest, convenience, and necessity. The Commission is prohibited from exercising any power of censorship over broadcast stations with respect to content-based programming decisions. A licensee has broad discretion – based on its right to free speech – to choose the programming that it believes serves the needs and interests of the members of its audience.
New Comedy Album Getting Noticed by Talk Show Hosts and Producers. Before the days of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, when it came to politics, some of the most interesting political comments came from music parodies and comedians. Older industry professionals might remember the radio phenomenon of their childhoods called “The First Family” – a comedy album created by talented impersonator Vaughn Meader and a cast of characters parodying the newly elected President John F. Kennedy and his family/administration. After the assassination of the young president, the album disappeared as quickly as it rose to prominence. You don’t really hear much pre-recorded political satire on the radio these days…but that may change. A longtime radio host/producer has joined forces with a longtime entertainment industry executive to put together a political comedy CD that has hit the top of the comedy CD charts in just the initial two weeks of release. For Michael Hardeman (a recurring contributor to the Stephanie Miller radio show) and Marshall Blonstein (a veteran LA record executive), being politically correct means being “Politically Incoherent.” Read all about this exciting project in a new article posted today (11/1) by TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay by clicking here.
The “Talkers Show” Covering Radio and Talk Media Debuts Today on TalkersRadio. As the new experimental internet talk radio station, TalkersRadio, passes its six week milestone, a new crop of programs are slated to launch during the next month. Debuting today is the “Talkers Show” – a daily, one-hour conversation program hosted by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison featuring interviews with members of the talk media industry and related fields. The program is scheduled to air weekdays 12:00 noon - 1:00 pm ET with repeats programmed throughout remaining open slots on the schedule. Today’s initial guests are Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald, hosts of the TalkersRadio program, the “Brent & Meg Radio Thingy” (weekdays 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm ET) and noted Fox News Radio star Alan Colmes, who hosts a show on TalkersRadio titled “Healed Planet” heard on the third Sunday of each month 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm ET. Upcoming scheduled guests include TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein (former PD of WOR, New York; WBZ, Boston; WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford and WPRO, Providence, among others); successful record producer Robbie Student who hosts a daily program on TalkersRadio (weekdays 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm); and Steve M. Fassberg, the media-savvy CEO/founder of the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company. Upon beginning this new program, Michael Harrison states, “Hosting this show about talk media is sheer fun for me and having the opportunity to give long form conversational exposure to some of the brightest and most articulate people in our industry is a wonderfully gratifying extension of the services this trade publication is so dedicated to providing.” New shows currently in development for launch on TalkersRadio include “Radio Lifeboat with Diane and Mickey Gooch” – a mother/son co-hosted program focusing on the challenges of drug and alcohol addiction. Diane Gooch is a veteran New Jersey newspaper publisher and a principal in the Washington, DC-based Talk Radio News Service. Mickey Gooch is a young LA actor who has experienced the depths of addiction and is now in recovery. Another show set for launch later this fall is “Green Connection,” a show dedicated to chronicling environmentally friendly industrial developments hosted by noted Washington, DC journalist Joan Michelson. Veteran broadcaster Bob Shannon, executive director of the Upper Midwest Conclave will host a program titled “Stories” in which he will share candid insights into the real-life personal issues facing men and the women they love. Also on tap for launch on TalkersRadio is a brand new program hosted by WPIX-TV, New York personality, Lionel. TalkersRadio is powered by Backbone Networks and heard exclusively on Talkers.com and TuneIn. For more information call 413-565-5413.
WFAN’s Boomer & Carton Open Food Stand at Barclays Center Tonight. At this evening’s Brooklyn Nets game at the Barclays Center, WFAN, New York morning drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton will open their self-titled food stand located by section 17 of the arena. Both Esiason and Carton will be on hand for the 7:00 pm ribbon cutting of the Boomer & Carton Kitchen at Barclays Center. Some of the menu items – personally designed by the duo – include: the Boom Doggy Dog – a Nathan’s Hot Dog with smothered onions, spicy cheese sauce and crisp bacon; the Chubby Chaser – which includes a Brooklyn Burger, chicken tenders, Nathan’s fries, cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato, on a brioche bun; Lobster Monster, a Red Hook Lobster Pound sandwich with authentic Brooklyn hot cherry peppers and mustard; and Carton’s Kitchen Chicken – which includes a chicken cutlet, eggplant spread, broccoli rabe, and provolone on ciabatta bread. Boomer & Carton state, “We are thrilled to bring the WFAN brand and our taste for great food to the world class Barclays Center. Since starting our morning show in 2007, we’ve easily gained 50 pounds between the two of us. Clearly we know what tastes good and what people like to eat. Boomer & Carton Kitchen will be a great extension of our show and an amazing partnership for years to come with Barclays Center.”
Two Promoted at WTOP, Washington. Jim Battagliese and Michael McMearty have been promoted at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington. Battagliese has been upped to director of traffic and weather from director of traffic and transit operations. He will be responsible for the station’s coverage of traffic and weather on air, as well as on its online and social media formats. McMearty, previously senior news director, has been named senior news and sports director and will be responsible for overnight sports news with Dave Johnson and George Wallace.
Tony Dungy Visits KNML, Albuquerque’s ‘Opening Drive’ Show. In town to promote Comcast’s “Internet Essentials” program that provides low-cost internet and low-cost computers to families in need, former NFL coach and current NBC Sports personality Tony Dungy visited both news/talk KKOB where he spoke with morning host Bob Clark and sister sports talk station KNML “610 The Sports Animal” and appeared on the morning “Opening Drive” program. Pictured here (from l-r) are “Opening Drive” host Jeff Siembieda, Dungy, Michael Carlyle and JJ Buck.
ObamaCare Rollout/Sebelius Hearings Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 28-November 1. The scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and the Congressional hearings featuring Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the NSA spying controversy. Following at #3 was more Benghazi cover-up allegations and at #4 was the state of the GOP. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is based on ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. You can see this week’s entire chart here.
Lew Dickey: Cumulus to Hire 50 More Sales Staffers. During the Cumulus Media Q3 conference call with investors yesterday, CEO Lew Dickey said the dividends of investing in the company’s sales strategy are paying off. Dickey told analysts, “We’ve made a lot of investment in training over the last couple of years that is really now gaining traction…in fact, as we look into 2014, we’ve now given the order here to go and hire 50 more people as we get down to the end of the year based on anticipated demand as we get into ’14. So we really have a very well-functioning sales organization today that is the byproduct of an awful lot of work on systems and training — everything from pricing to CRM to activity management, improving coverage, ad packaging – all the different things that we’ve been working on to make us more competitive in the local market.” When asked about radio’s share of the ad market versus television and other media, Dickey was very bullish, saying, “I would say that…radio in general is, I think, starting to experience a little bit of a renaissance as we’re starting to see a much greater buzz for the medium for audio advertising in general. The space seems to be expanding. And people are realizing the value of audio advertising and how efficiently they can do it on a mass market basis with great targetability using local broadcast radio. So it’s a terrific value for advertisers and I think they’re starting to realize it…I think it’s a trend that’s going to take some time to play out. But I do think that it is a tailwind rather than a headwind, I think, that we’re experiencing as we move into 2014, and that’s all positive.” Updating analysts on what he calls the company’s four key growth initiatives – CBS Sports Radio, Nash FM, Right Now Traffic and SweetJack – Dickey said the country brand Nash FM will finish rolling out across the country in early 2014 with all of the company’s country stations taking on the “Nash” brand. He called WNSH, New York the “second-most-listened-to” country station in America. He said the CBS Sports Radio Network exceeded expectations for 2013 and that upfront sales on the network for 2014 are “off to a strong start.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. Members can read the entire transcript here.
Senate Confirms Tom Wheeler as FCC Chairman; Republican Michael O’Rielly Also Confirmed. After being nominated by President Obama in May, the U.S. Senate finally votes on the confirmation of Tom Wheeler to replace Julius Genachowski as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Wheeler, former managing director at DC-based Core Capital Partners LP as well as a former lobbyist in the wireless and cable TV industries, states, “I am humbled by the Senate’s confirmation and I look forward to taking the oath of office in the coming days. I am deeply grateful to President Obama for his confidence in nominating me for this position. Chairwoman Clyburn has led the Commission with dedication and vision for six months. We all owe Chairwoman Clyburn a huge thank you. The Chairwoman, along with Commissioners Rosenworcel and Pai and the FCC staff dealt with important issues that kept policy and the country moving forward.” Michael O’Rielly comes from inside Washington as he most recently was an advisor to Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn. He fills the seat of Republican Robert McDowell. NAB CEO Gordon Smith comments, “NAB strongly supported the nominations of both Tom Wheeler and Michael O’Rielly and we are pleased with their confirmation. We also salute the superb job done by Mignon Clyburn during her tenure as acting chair. Broadcasters look forward to working with a full complement of commissioners in the months and years ahead.”
KOA, Denver Apologizes After F-Bomb Goes Out Over the Air. Morning drive co-host Steffan Tubbs at Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver thought the mic was off when he made a comment about reality television star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi but his assessment about her appearance that contained the f-word went out over the air. Listeners began commenting on the station’s Facebook page and the station issued the following statement: “We are aware of a recent inappropriate comment that was made on-air by Steffan Tubbs. While Steffan made the comment in what he thought was a private conversation, it was still thoughtless and insensitive and we apologize to anyone whom it offended. We take matters of this nature very seriously and we will take appropriate disciplinary action.”
Premiere Expands Relationship with TMZ to Offer ‘TMZ Sports’ Program. Premiere Networks has been working with entertainment news organization TMZ since the two partnered on the “TMZ Radio” vignette in 2011. Now, the pair announced the development of “TMZ Sports” – a new one-hour, weekday radio program available to sports and news/talk stations. Premiere states that the show is “an adaptation of the sports entertainment website, www.tmzsports.com – where TMZ is constantly breaking exclusive stories. At ‘TMZ Sports,’ hits, runs and errors are totally out of bounds because it’s all about the personalities and athletes. The show is centered around the ensemble of reporters in the TMZ newsroom who break these exclusive stories that have an impact on the players, their future and the teams. ‘TMZ Sports’ also welcomes guests, athletes and people from all over the world sounding off on Skype, phones and various social media.” The Hollywood-based show is available to stations between 7:00 pm and 12:00 midnight local time. Stations adding the show so far include KLAC, Los Angeles; WINZ, Miami; KBAD, Las Vegas; WHOO, Orlando; and KXIC, Iowa City/Cedar Rapids. TMZ executive producer Harvey Levin says, “The show is going to attract people who love sports so they can learn more about the athletes they follow. It will also attract lots of people who don’t follow sports but like watching the drama and the fun.” Clear Channel SVP of sports operations Bruce Gilbert adds, “The launch of ‘TMZ Sports’ on radio and iHeartRadio is a natural extension of the powerful and relevant TMZ brand. TMZ’s unmatched ability to break stories and present in-depth, unfiltered, entertaining information on all things sports will provide fans with great insight into the stories they are talking about with their friends.”
Mike Horn’s CRN Digital Talk Radio Celebrates 30th Anniversary. Thirty years ago, Los Angeles -based radio broadcaster Michael Horn had what, at the time, was considered a wild, if not inconceivable notion of placing radio station audio onto cable television systems around the country. Whether or not such a wacky idea would survive three decades down the road is not something over which Horn anguished. Instead, he immersed himself in concentrating on doing something new and different. As passionate as founder/chief executive officer Horn was regarding the idea of launching CRN (Cable Radio Network), no one could have predicted that it would morph into the juggernaut it has become today as CRN Digital Talk Radio. Some transmutation of the long-standing cliché that television is simply “radio with pictures” perhaps triggered Cable Radio Network not only to come to fruition but also to thrive. In addition to producing its own shows, CRN over the last three decades has collaborated with other broadcasters seeking cable coverage and has syndicated programs to terrestrial broadcast radio. Across multiple networks, Horn’s 1983-founded property has originated/and or distributed dozens upon dozens of different programs. Read TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian‘s special feature posted today (10/28) profiling Mike Horn and looking back at the colorful history of CRN by clicking here.
Gary Larkin Joins Clear Channel as EVP of Total Traffic Network and Weather Network. A statement from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment notes that Gary Larkin has spent much of his career with Fox Sports Media Group where he was SVP of digital sales. Clear Channel states that its newly re-branded Total Traffic and Weather Network (TT+WN) “reaches more than 200 million monthly listeners across more than 200 markets, and the expanded division now includes weather reports and localized weather information such as surf and heat index reports to its portfolio as well as new sponsorship opportunities.” CCM+E chairman and CEO John Hogan says, “Gary has a proven track record of driving revenue and achieving success in tough and demanding sales environments and will be a great leader for our Total Traffic and Weather Network sales division. By working closely with our local and national sales teams, Gary will be able to seamlessly integrate the massive reach and unique assets of the Total Traffic and Weather Network’s platform into our offerings for clients. We’re very pleased to have him on board in such a key position and eager to put his experience, expertise and leadership to work.”
Defamation Suit Against WHAS, Louisville’s Terry Meiners Dismissed. The defamation suit filed against WHAS, Louisville talk show host Terry Meiners by Louisville Metro Police officer Sam Cromity has been dismissed by a Jefferson Circuit Court judge. The case goes back to March of 2011 when Meiners was pulled over by Cromity and issued a speeding ticket. Meiners poked fun at the officer on his radio show because he felt Cromity was confrontational during the traffic stop and began referring to him as “Black Barney” – a reference to TV’s Barney Fife and the black Mustang Cromity was driving. Meiners beat the speeding ticket in 2012 and Cromity filed his suit claiming that Meiners’ words on the radio were “irresponsible, reckless and dangerous.” The judge ruled Meiners’ words were “non-actionable expressions of opinion.”
Confer Radio Talent Institute to Take Place at Bloomsburg University Next Summer. Dan Vallie’s National Radio Talent System is locating a Radio Talent Institute at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania next July 7 through 16. Broadcaster Kirby Confer – owner of 70 radio properties – is sponsoring the program. Confer says, “When I was asked to be the Kellar Radio Talent Institute keynote speaker at Appalachian State University a few years ago, I found myself engaged with dozens of young people vitally interested in all phases of radio. The quality of the mentor teachers assembled for the 10 day ‘radio immersion’ was amazing. I thought at the time, ‘this is just what our industry needs,’ and as the digital age is upon us, it couldn’t come at a more opportune time. Art Kellar started something very important by sponsoring the Kellar Radio Talent Institute and I’m excited to be able to extend the National Radio Talent System to Pennsylvania and the Northeast United States starting next summer at Bloomsburg University.” The mission of Vallie’s National Radio Talent System includes having a Radio Talent Institute on a college campus in every region or state in America so students can attend in their home state, and so radio stations can recruit from their own region of the country, or nationally. The Institutes are taught by radio professionals, which insures students/young broadcasters learn what you need them to know. Vallie says that 70% of the students who have completed the Institute have gotten their first job in radio or a related field and are working for CBS, Clear Channel, Beasley Broadcast Group, Entercom, Greater Media, Curtis Media, Centennial Broadcasting, CNN and others.
Odds & Sods. Jay Vise exits the digital content manager position at Entercom’s news/talk WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans where he’s been for the past six years…..ESPN Radio announces that NBA veteran Jon Berry will serve as the lead analyst for the network’s coverage of NBA action for the next three seasons. Berry will team with ESPN Radio’s Kevin Calabro during this season. Also, ESPN Radio says that P.J. Carlesimo will work with Marc Kestecher on select NBA game broadcasts this season…..At SiriusXM, Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski returns to host his weekly “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K” this season with the first program airing tomorrow (10/31) at 6:00 pm ET on the SiriusXM College Sports Nation channel.
Florida Talk Host Bob Haa Dies at 65. Longtime WWJB, Brooksville, Florida talk show host Bob Haa (pronounced Hay) passed away on Monday, October 28 after what is being reported as related to cardiac and respiratory complications. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Haa missed several weeks of his program last year due to respiratory issues. The paper quotes WWJB station manager Steve Manuel saying, “In my opinion, Bob was the best at what he did. He had a passion for it and an edge that could stimulate callers and feedback. And that’s what you want to have in this business.”
ObamaCare Implementation and Website Troubles, Staged Fallen Soldiers Ceremonies Controversy, State of the GOP, NSA Spying Case, and the World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/29). The problems with the Affordable Care Act enrollment site and the rollout of ObamaCare; controversy over the Defense Department’s admission of the staged return of fallen American soldiers; the divisions within the Republican Party; the case of the NSA spying on heads of state; and the World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Media Raises Close to $4 Million for Oklahoma Tornado Relief. This number could keep changing as more pledges come in after the Wednesday effort that saw all 525 Cumulus Media-owned stations soliciting funds for tornado relief via the United Way of Oklahoma City that so far has totaled $3.77 million. Cumulus SVP of programming Mike McVay reports the company’s 84 country outlets aired a special, one-hour edition of “American Country Countdown” hosted by Kix Brooks live from the “Healing in the Heartland” concert on Wednesday evening that aired on NBC-TV. Numbers aren’t final for pledges received during the televised concert fundraiser but are reported to be in the $6 million range.
Emergency Alert for Cell Phones PSA Violates FCC Regulations. TALKERS columnist and broadcast engineer Tom Ray of Tom Ray Consulting reports a public service announcement touting emergency alerts sent to cell phones that some stations may be airing violates FCC regulations. Ray tells TALKERS, “A PSA was released today about the emergency alerts you can receive on your cell phone. It uses the EAS two-tone alert. Airing this PSA would be a blatant violation of FCC regulation 47CFR11.45 which specifically prohibits the use of the EAS code bursts or the two-tone alert signal unless they are transmitted as part of an actual EAS alert or EAS test. And according to the Ad Council website…this PSA is sponsored by FEMA. Shame on them! They should know better.” Ray advises stations not to air the PSA.
Patent Holder Personal Audio Targets Podcasters; EFF Takes ‘Patent Troll’ Fight to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. If you’re a podcaster and you’ve been approached by a company called Personal Audio claiming you’re using patented technology and you have to pay up, you’re not alone. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), podcasters including Adam Carolla and “How Stuff Works” have been “shaken down” by Personal Audio which claims it holds a patent on technology used by podcasters. The EFF is fighting back, saying it is “is mounting a new, focused campaign to bust the dangerous patent” the company has been employing against end users – including podcasters. Here’s what EFF says: “Claiming it owns the patent that broadly covers podcasting technology, Personal Audio is the classic example of a patent troll that neither makes nor sells anything, but uses its patent as a weapon to threaten lawsuits and extort settlement fees.” EFF staff attorney Julie Samuels says, “Patent trolls have been wreaking havoc on innovative companies for some time now. But this particular breed of troll — targeting end users, small businesses, startups, and even individuals like podcasters for simply using everyday products — is a disturbing new threat.” Wondering what part of the process on which this company claims to hold the patent? The TALKERS legal department tells us that the patent generally relates to a system whereby a server provides media content to client devices over the internet. On the server, the provider maintains a ‘compilation file,’ which is essentially a list of available media files. The compilation file generally includes the URL for each available media file in a series and may also include descriptive text. This compilation file may be static, such as a simple web page with links to each available file to which new files are added, or may be customized for a particular user, perhaps only showing them content from feeds to which they have subscribed. The claim that has been asserted against podcasters to date is called Claim 31. The EFF goes on to say, “As with so many patent troll cases, the troll is asking for money despite having contributed nothing to the industry. By its own admission, Personal Audio tried and failed at its attempt to make an audio player. Having failed at actually making something, it became a shell company that does nothing but sue on its patents. And now it wants a handout from those who worked hard to create popular podcasts.” EFF is organizing a Help Save Podcasting campaign. You can find that information here.
Former KQRS, Minneapolis Personality Michael Gelfand Sues MetLife and Cumulus Media Over Disability Claim. Michael Gelfand was formerly part of the Tom Barnard morning show on Cumulus Media’s classic rock KQRS, Minneapolis. He exited the station after his medical condition made it impossible to function and now he’s suing Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and Cumulus Media for long term disability benefits. Gelfand suffers from delayed sleep-phase syndrome – a condition that throws off the body’s circadian rhythm – and prevents him from functioning well or maintaining physical health working the early morning drive shift. In brief, MetLife denied the claim and Gelfand is suing both companies seeking retroactive long term disability benefits.
Inga Barks Exits KMJ-AM, Fresno. Bakersfield-based talk show host Inga Barks recently joined the program schedule at Buckley Brodcasting’s KNZR, Bakersfield for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program but she’s no longer with Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM, Fresno where she’s been hosting a show since 2005. The Fresno Bee reports Peak management is not commenting on Barks’ exit but notes the station added Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin show in place of it.
Gracie Award Winning Talk Host Advises Colleagues to Add Writing to their Communications Toolbox. WFAS, Westchester host Lisa Wexler says that writing op-ed pieces for newspapers is an excellent way for talk show hosts looking to expand their net and make a difference. In a piece posted today (5/31) Wexler says, ”If you are going to be a thought leader, then simply speaking on the radio is not enough. The written word carries a different kind of weight. Radio is a rush — there is nothing like the spontaneity of an actual conversation, the nuance and humor of the human voice communicating through the airwaves to the lone listener on the other end. But radio is also ephemeral; despite podcasts and the ease of reaching audio files, people rarely re-listen to the same broadcast. They do, however, read an article more than once, and pass it on to friends. Your column has the potential to go viral in a way your radio show may not.” To read Lisa Wexler’s entire article, click here.
KFWB, Los Angeles Sports Anchor Bret Lewis Retires. Today is the last day at KFWB, Los Angeles for sports anchor Bret Lewis who is retiring from the station. The longtime Los Angeles broadcaster will be replaced by Bill Seward, currently afternoon sports anchor. Bob Harvey will assume Seward’s afternoon role. During his career, Lewis has served as a sports anchor on the TV side at KNBC-TV and KCBS-TV. He also hosted a talk show at crosstown KLAC.
KNTK, Lincoln Names John Gaskins Program Director. Home Field Communications announces “Gaskins and Stephens” show co-host John Gaskins is named program director for sports talk KNTK, Lincoln “93.7 The Ticket.” The station also fills its PM drive slot with former KCSP, Kansas City personality Mike Welch who will host his “Drop the Mike” beginning June 5.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds new affiliates WPNN, Pensacola; KYRO, Troy, Missouri; and KCAA, Loma Linda, California…..Talk Radio Network-syndicated “Watchdog on Wall Street” with host Chris Markowski is added to the program lineup at WLEE, Richmond…..Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” with Eric Harley and Gary McNamara reaches the 200-affiliate mark with the help of recent partners KTAR-FM, Phoenix; KBET, Las Vegas; WTMJ, Milwaukee; WFTL, West Palm Beach; and KJCE, Austin.
DOJ Investigation of Journalists Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of May 27-31. The Department of Justice’s investigation of journalists – from Fox News’ James Rosen to the Associated Press – and Attorney General Eric Holder’s request for an off-the-record meeting with news organizations was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 this week was the IRS’ targeting of conservative organizations seeking tax exempt status. Following at #3 was the rise in the number of Americans on disability and at #4 was the Chinese hacking of U.S. weapons systems. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on talk radio during the week, is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Melissa Etheridge Brandishes Her Gracie. Musician and radio show host Melissa Etheridge (r) is pictured here with Rory Kennedy (l) (who won for her documentary film “Ethel” about her mother) at the annual Gracie Awards Gala in Los Angeles where she won a Gracie Award for her nationally syndicated program, “The Melissa Etheridge Show.” Etheridge won in the Outstanding Talk Show – Entertainment/Information category. Etheridge says, “I have won Grammys and an Oscar, but there is something especially meaningful about being recognized with a Gracie. I love radio, and it’s important to me to bring the voices of women to our audiences, as they share their respective truths about life, love and family—and as I share the same with them. It’s also a great pleasure to provide a forum where we can connect with each other about the music that moves us. I’m honored that people are responding to the show across the country and I thank the AWM Foundation for this award.” Etheridge’s five-hour daily show is syndicated by Benztown.
Open Letter to Rush: Marketing and Branding Expert Warns Host to Do a “Brand Over” Before it is Too Late. Author, broadcaster and branding consultant, Dr. John Tantillo, tells Rush Limbaugh that he must act quickly to offset the negative campaigning being waged against him, his style of talk and, resultantly, all of talk radio in the commercial/advertising arena. In an open letter to the star host posted today exclusively in TALKERS (5/20), Tantillo suggests, “Rush, when products reach the maturity stage, the textbook answer is to address it by stressing product benefits and differences. In your case, Rush this is rather easy. You wrote the book on talk and created an entire lucrative advertising model around it. You simply are all about talk and making a profit from it. This is something that they cannot take away from you, or as I would like to say: ’It’s your brand.’ And because this is your brand, you should work from there when commencing your brand over. That’s right — brand over, not that inane ‘make over’ where consultants who don’t really know you, advise you to become something that you are not. No, Rush, a brand over, is for you and will take the Rush from the inside and makes the necessary alterations to the outside. All good! Your centering mission should be: ‘To thy own brand be true,’ where any and all changes about your brand come from there.” Tantillo offers a compelling 10 step strategy that Rush can take to turn around the campaign being waged by his critics and set himself on a successful course for the next stage of his maturing brand. To read the letter in its entirety, please click here.
Mignon Clyburn in as Acting Chairperson of the FCC. As announced, Julius Genachowski has exited the Federal Communications Commission where he was chairman and commissioner Mignon Clyburn will serve as acting chair until the confirmation process for the new chairman has taken place. Nominee Tom Wheeler’s confirmation has been delayed until later in June. Last week the Commerce Committee announced the confirmation hearings would not take place this week.
Time to Clean Up Digital Space for Summer. With Memorial Day weekend about to roll around, digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller suggests this is a good time to start making big moves in small chunks and get your website and social media initiatives up to speed with a little upgrading. In a new column posted today (5/20) Miller offers a punch list of items you can work on each week between now and Labor Day to get your website and social media fixed up, and ready to totally support your on-air product this fall! They include writing down your goals, taking something OFF your website, picking fonts and colors, freshening your Facebook page cover photo, checking your tabs for relevance, cutting back on posts by setting and raising your standards, focusing Twitter on something specific, and properly prioritizing Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest by de-emphasizing them as social sites and using them more for storage and as content channels. To read Chris Miller’s entire article, click here.
Internationally Known American Broadcaster Living and Working in London Shares his Perspective on the Radio Business from the Other Side of the Pond. They might be speaking English, but the comparisons break down quickly after that. American radio broadcaster Charlie Wolf has been living and working in the UK for years, holding on-air positions at a number of leading British media outlets from the legendary “pirate radio” to the BBC. During these years, he has become somewhat of an in-house UK “go-to” guy explaining, debating and in most cases defending the American position on issues as seen from the English point of view. In an exclusive commentary posted today (5/20) in TALKERS, Wolf shares his observations and insights about how very different talk radio is in the UK than it is in the US. To read his entire provocative piece, click here.
‘America’s Morning News’ Host John McCaslin Addresses Small Business Finance Conference. America’s Radio News Network executive vice president John McCaslin (holding mic) is pictured here at the 2013 NADCO “Game Change” conference held over the weekend. The conference was for companies certified by the Small Business Administration to provide loans for small businesses, which create two-thirds of the nation’s new jobs. McCaslin, who also hosts the nationally syndicated “America’s Morning News” program, told the packed house at San Diego’s Hotel Del Coronado where he thinks the economy — and the unrelated overnight trio of scandals rocking President Obama — are headed in the coming months. The veteran newsman was among the “Inside Washington” speakers. Besides much-needed job creation, the four-day conference — sponsored by Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, and Wells Fargo — centered on the new VetLoan Advantage Program for members of the U.S. military returning home from overseas deployment.
Worlds Collide on Opie & Anthony’s SiriusXM Show. SiriusXM’s Opie & Anthony are known for broadcasting the unusual but this collage of guests from disparate worlds really takes the cake. Picture here are (from l-r) comic Colin Quinn, celebrity chef Guy Fieri, SiriusXM host Anthony Cumia, country music superstar Trace Adkins, SiriusXM host Opie Hughes, and comic Tom Papa. The collision happened on the O&A show last week as the four guests all happened to be scheduled for the same day and appeared on the program at the same time.
Radio Advertising Bureau Unveils New ‘State-of-the-Art’ Website. The RAB proudly announces the debut of the new www.RAB.com . Calling it an “updated, fresh design,” the RAB says the new site was created “with today’s mobile salesperson in mind.” The site uses a responsive design that automatically reacts to a visitor’s screen size, so RAB members can search for vital sales intelligence, consumer insights and sales material support no matter if they’re on their desktop, in the office, or using any mobile device including tablets and smart phones. The section for radio managers, account executives and associate members is navigated through the 7 Steps to Selling Success, a set of principles reinforced through RAB Professional Development training and certification courses. It features sections devoted to prospecting, appointments, research, creative, and proposals and presentations. Managers will also find their own dedicated section with important links to RAB Professional Development, management articles, and sales tips. Radio account executives will find a number of new and exciting features including “Trending Now on RAB.com.” Based on real-time traffic across the new RAB.com, account executives will see what topics, articles, reports, etc. are growing in popularity. Favorite RAB services such as Articles on Demand, Instant Backgrounds, prospecting reports, consumer profiles, commercial scripts, mp3 commercial audio and RAB’s co-op library are all available on the site with easy-to-find functionality. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “The RAB prides itself on delivering the most current products, information and resources to our members. Redesigning this site with total mobile capabilities was a ‘must have.’ In order to remain competitive, our members need to access current services and data while on the go.”
CBS Radio Philadelphia’s Marc Rayfield to Be Inducted into Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. CBS Radio proudly announces that Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield is being inducted into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in a special ceremony on Monday, May 20. Rayfield will be inducted along with basketball coach Larry Brown and seven other talented honorees. The Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Adolph and Rose Levis Museum (PJSHOF) is celebrating its 16th anniversary at a reception to today at 5:30 pm. Rayfield is the vice president of WIP SportsRadio, one of the nation’s most respected all sports stations. WIP is known for innovation in business such as the first studio naming rights partnership in the United States with Tastykake. WIP is home to Angelo Cataldi and the morning team. The station also annually hosts one of the largest radio promotions in the country, Wing Bowl, prior to the Super Bowl in front of a sold-out crowd at the Wells Fargo Center. Rayfield is currently responsible for live broadcasts of the Phillies, Eagles and Philadelphia Union as well as Temple, St. Joe’s and Villanova athletics.
SiriusXM Reports Positive Q1 with Revenue Up 12%; Company Involved in Digital Dashboard Technology Rollout. That 12% percent increase over the same period a year ago is on revenue of $897 million. New permanent CEO Jim Meyer had every reason to be bubbly during his first investor conference call as official chief executive officer of the satcaster. He reports the company grew its subscriber base to a new record high on new subscriptions of 453,000 during the quarter. From a financial perspective he stated, “We are proud to have achieved the highest suggested EBITDA margin in the history of the company in the first quarter. We expect to achieve a 30% adjusted EBITDA margin this year, up from 27% last year and we continue to target 40% plus margins over time. You will see us move over the next few years to become one of the highest margin businesses among major media companies in the United States. Our ability to convert the bulk of that EBITDA in the free cash flow is also unmatched in the subscription media world.” He said the company is riding the “tailwind in the new car market as it recovers.” Meyer told investors the company is committed to having the best content, spoke about new channel additions as well as new talent joining the company and mentioned talk host Michael Smerconish. Addressing the specific question about GM’s plans for its future “digital dashboard,” Meyer said he couldn’t talk about any one manufacturer’s plans but was able to state, “I believe GM is on a leadership strategy in terms of where I believe the auto industry will go in general. And that is, I believe, over a mid and long period of time — you can define how many years that is — you will see automakers move to what I will call embedded connectivity that will be LTE-based that will give them lots of options for what they want to do for their customers and their vehicles. I think it’s very important that Sirius XM participates in that rollout of technology as it occurs over the next three to seven years and that’s exactly what we’re all about when we referred to our connected-car strategy. This is something that…I want to reiterate again today, that we’re moving and reprioritizing a lot of our technical resources and frankly now our commercial programming resources towards making that goal happen as we go out over time.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. You can read the whole shebang here.
Tom Wheeler Gets Nod from Obama for FCC Chief. On the political side of things, many Democrats wanted to see President Obama select a woman for the post being vacated by Julius Genachowski, but the president nominated a man with a telecommunications background who was very helpful in getting him elected. Politico reports that managing director of Core Capital Partners, Tom Wheeler, (along with his wife) worked Iowa for six weeks straight during the president’s first campaign. Although Wheeler will get some grief from those who are suspicious of his past tenure as a lobbyist with both the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and the CTIA (Cellular Telephone Industry Association), he has experience in the industry having founded numerous cable and communications services businesses. National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith states, “NAB welcomes the nomination of Tom Wheeler as chairman of the FCC. He has the experience and temperament to serve the agency with distinction, and we look forward to working with him.”
Talkers New York 2013 Approaching Sellout Today. At the present rate of registration bookings, all available seats to the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 will be sold out by the end of business today (5:00 pm ET). The 16th annual installment of the talk industry’s longest-running and most important annual convention has broken the record for reaching advance registration earlier than ever before. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are amazed and gratified that this conference has reached a sellout almost five weeks in advance of its actual date, which is a testimony to the vibrancy of the talk format and the enthusiasm of the industry that produces it.” The one-day, power-packed event takes place on Thursday, June 6 in New York City between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. It features a speaker roster of more than 50 industry leaders from programming, sales, talent, management, technology and ownership. Registration ($199 for all events and food services) is open exclusively to members of the working media and can only be booked by phone with credit card. Call 413-565-5413. For complete registration and sponsorship information including an up-to-the-minute agenda, click here.
Walton & Johnson Take Over Mornings on KPRC, Houston. Just four months after the Walton & Johnson [John Walton (left) and Steve Johnson (right)] morning show was dropped from Clear Channel’s classic rock KKRW, Houston “97.3 The Arrow,” the program is brought back to the Houston airwaves as the new morning program on the company’s news/talk KPRC. The duo was replaced on “The Arrow” by longtime St. Louis radio personality J.C. Corcoran. Clear Channel Houston director of AM programming Bryan Erickson says, “We are thrilled to have Walton & Johnson back on KPRC. They have a proven track record of great ratings and we look forward to them continuing that success on KPRC.” Walton & Johnson made KPRC their flagship beginning in 2007 but moved to “The Arrow” in 2009. Off KPRC as a result of the move is Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo who is based at Clear Channel’s WOAI, San Antonio and is heard there and on other Clear Channel news/talk stations.
Armstrong & Getty to Join KFMB, San Diego in June. Morning show duo Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty will be heard in the San Diego market beginning June 3 as their program bumps current morning host Mike Slater to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Armstrong & Getty are based at Clear Channel’s KSTE, Sacramento and heard in other markets in Northern California including San Francisco on KKSF. This is a big move for the duo as they are added to a non-Clear Channel station – Midwest TV’s KFMB. Program director Dave Sniff states, “Like any great radio morning show, Armstrong and Getty have that unique ability to not only connect with the listener but to become their companions. They fit in amazingly well among the great storytellers that are part of 760 KFMB’s character and lineage. They’re not so much a ‘talk show’ as a ‘mock show.’”
Cox Media’s WOKV, Jacksonville Adds 104.5 FM Signal. Market news/talk powerhouse WOKV got a little more powerful as Cox Media Group gives the 104.5 FM signal long-occupied by now-defunct rock station WFYV to the station to boost its coverage of the region. WOKV program director Mike Dorwart says, “Our listeners told us loud and clear that we needed more power. Moving to 104.5 FM means that, for the first time, our listeners can hear us crystal clear, everywhere in northeast Florida, both day and night. The most noticeable improvement will be heard by listeners in Baker, Clay, St. Johns, and Nassau counties. They now have full coverage from WOKV, 24/7, on 104.5 FM. Duval residents will also hear a big difference, especially those who listen at work. Our new signal also gives reliable coverage to listeners in Flagler, Putnam, Bradford, Union and Columbia counties in Florida, as well as Camden and Charlton counties in Georgia.” The station has been simulcast on the 106.5 FM frequency but that class A FM is much smaller. WOKV will continue to be heard on 106.5 as the company directs listeners to the new 104.5 frequency.
Five Critical Steps for Radio to Achieve Success with Online Video. Noted media consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo outlines five crucial pointers that radio broadcasters should keep in mind when utilizing video in their digital initiatives. In a column posted today (5/1) he suggests: 1) bad equipment is usually the best; 2) online video is NOT television (TV); 3) 80% of all videos are watched within 72 hours of posting; 4) most of the biggest stars of the internet (“webstars”) are self-cast; and 5) late evening is the best time to post. To read the entirety of this timely and informative article, click here.
The End of an Era for Knoxville News/Talk; Country to Take Over 100.3 Frequency. With Journal Broadcast Group’s acquisition of Oak Ridge FM’s news/talk WNOX, Knoxville about to close, the company is preparing to move the country format currently heard on its WCYQ to the much stronger 100.3 signal currently occupied by news/talk on WNOX. A country simulcast will begin tomorrow on the two FMs (5/2) and the news/talk programming now on WNOX will move to Blount Broadcasting’s WKVL, a daytime AM at 850.
KTRS, St. Louis Newest Affiliate for Envision’s ‘America Weekend.’ The weekend news/talk radio program being nationally syndicated by Envision Radio Networks announces CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis is the latest station to add the programming to its weekend offerings. Envision calls “America Weekend” “the winning antidote to bad brokered programming and tiresome ‘Best-of’ shows. Hosted by Paul Harris, Rick Roberts, and Turi Ryder, ‘America Weekend’ is designed to increase ratings while providing an innovative system for maintaining or even increasing revenue from brokered programs. The flexible ‘America Weekend’ system provides the perfect platform to break away for sports and other special programming as needed. Since ‘America Weekend’ is broadcast live via satellite, it is able to stay current by addressing breaking and developing stories of national interest as they happen. The program airs live each Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.”
Fargo Stations Sales Close: Fargo-Moorhead Radio Cluster to Midwest Communications; Triad Broadcasting Group to Larry Wilson’s L&L. The sales of both of these Fargo market station groups were announced last year and were approved by the FCC months ago. Now the transactions close with Wausau, Wisconsin-based Midwest Communications taking ownership of the former Fargo-Moorhead Radio cluster that includes: news/talk KFGO, sports KVOX, CHR WDAY “Y-94,” country KBVB “Bob FM,” talk KRWK “101.9 Talk FM,” and adult hits KMJO “Popster FM.” Midwest Communications vice president of programming Jeff McCarthy tells the Forum of Fargo Moorhead he doesn’t anticipate any immediate programming changes. Larry Wilson, whose Alpha Broadcasting operates stations in Portland, Oregon, also is a principal in L&L Broadcasting and his company is closing on Triad Broadcasting’s stations that include: oldies KQWB “True Oldies,” classic rock KPFX “The Fox,” hot AC KLTA, country KVOX “Froggy 99.9,” full service KBMW, and rock KQWB “Q98.” Triad vice president and market manager Michael Brooks also tells the paper he does not anticipate any immediate changes.
WEEI Names John Ryder to Red Sox Broadcast Team; Grande and Merloni to Handle Fill-In Role. In announcing John Ryder’s ascension to a permanent role on Red Sox broadcasts as host of pre- and post-game coverage, the company says, “Ryder has been with WEEI since 1998 and is a regular contributor to the ‘Planet Mikey’ show, in addition to hosting ‘Red Sox Review’ and ‘Celtics Rewind’ after Sox and Celtics games.” The company is also announcing that Sean Grande and Lou Merloni will join the broadcasts filling in for Dave O’Brien, who will miss Monday night games during the season due to his responsibilities for ESPN. Grande has been the voice of the Boston Celtics since 2001, after having served as the TV voice of the Minnesota Timberwolves for three years. Merloni is currently co-host of the “Mut and Merloni” show on WEEI 93.7 FM. Merloni also enjoyed a nine-year professional career in Major League Baseball, the first five with the Red Sox. Entercom Boston vice president of programming Jason Wolfe says, “John has done a stellar job in every role we’ve had for him and has absolutely earned this promotion. He’s hosted the pre- and post-game shows for the Sox many times before and was a natural choice for us to fill this important job. Sean’s play-by-play experience speaks for itself. He’s one of the greats in the industry right now, and Lou’s expertise is second to none. There’s no baseball man in Boston who knows the Sox better than Lou.”
Odds & Sods. Result Radio’s Christian contemporary KJJK, Fargo will flip to sports talk on Monday, May 6 using programming from Fox Sports Radio Network including Dan Patrick, Jay Mohr and the “Loose Cannons” with Pat O’Brien and Steve Hartman. The station will continue to serve as a Minnesota Twins affiliate…..Personality J.D. Hayworth – co-host of the “Hacksaw & Hayworth” show on sports talk XEPRS, San Diego – does some news/talk fill-in work this week when he sits in for Cumulus Media Networks host Michael Savage tonight through Friday from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. He’ll also sit in for the company’s Mike Huckabee tomorrow from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET…..Bouyed by coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and the Texas fertilizer warehouse explosion, cable news/talk channel CNN has improved in the ratings compared to the same period a year ago. Based on April Nielsen numbers as reported in Deadline.com, CNN saw its total day viewers number rise 79% compared to April 2012. CNN was also up in prime time, achieving an 81% increase in total viewers over the same period a year ago. The network was able to climb over MSNBC into second place behind Fox News Channel in both ratings categories.
Benghazi Cover-up Investigation, ObamaCare Effects, Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath, Slow Job Growth Reports, and Immigration Legislation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30). New inquiries into the Benghazi attack; the effects of the Affordable Care Act; the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing and the search for possible co-conspirators; newly released reports indicating slow job growth in the United States; and debate over immigration legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
FCC Approves Sale of Cox Media Group Stations to SummitMedia and Connoisseur. Late last summer Cox Media Group announced it was putting stations in six markets on the block as part of a realignment of its business strategy that has it focusing on its larger market stations and operations that dovetail with its other media properties. Now that these two deals have received FCC approval, it shouldn’t be long before they close. SummitMedia will pay $66.25 million for radio properties in five markets: Birmingham (WAGG-AM, WBHJ-FM, WBHK-FM, WENN-AM, WZZK-FM, WZNN-FM, WBPT-FM, and CMG’s contract rights for WALJ-FM); Greenville, South Carolina (WJMZ-FM, WHZT-FM); Hawaii (KRTR-AM/FM, KPHW-FM, KCCN-FM, KINE-FM, KKNE-AM); Louisville (WRKA-FM, WVEZ-FM, WSFR-FM, WQNU-FM); and Richmond (WHTI-FM, WKHK-FM, WKLR-FM, WURV-FM). Connoisseur will pay $40 million for the Southern Connecticut stations that include: WPLR-FM, WEZN-FM, WFOX-FM, and contract rights for WYBC-FM.
The Key to Using Facebook for Marketing: Turn Promotion into Content. There’s something that makes Facebook different from all other social media sites, and in a new article posted today (4/29) noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller explains how you can use it to your advantage. Facebook has a vested interest in showing its users the best content. They’re also clearly suspicious about what most businesses and brands are posting, because they limit us from the start, showing our posts to 10-15% of our followers. According to Miller, most brands don’t do a very good job in social media. They’re stuck in an old model of pumping out marketing messages, and that’s what they do on Facebook. You, as an individual, didn’t get on social media to be advertised to! Neither did your followers. When you cut and paste your promo liners to Facebook, or try and write to your followers like you talk to your listeners, you’re confirming Mark Zuckerberg’s view that it’s in his interest to block your fans from reading your hype. Your promos cut down on his users’ time-spent-engaging. So here’s the secret. Turn your promotion into content. To read Chris Miller’s entire article, click here.
Two Promotions at Capital Broadcasting’s “Talk 1300 AM” Albany. Capital Broadcasting president Paul Vandenburgh announces two promotions at the company’s WGDJ, Albany “Talk 1300 AM.” Angela Rosetti, who has been with the station since it went on the air, becomes operations manager. At the same time, Kate Finnigan returns to the station and takes on the role of sales manager. Rosetti is a Siena College graduate and Delmar native. Finnigan is also a native of the Capital Region having grown up in Glenmont.
Odds & Sods. Tribune’s WGN, Chicago teams with CME Group to produce “The Markets” podcasts featuring station agribusiness director Orion Samuelson. Utilizing Samuelson’s expertise, the online podcasts place an emphasis on the agricultural impact on the NYSE, Dow, S&P, Ag markets, commodity prices and weather. Samuelson provides recaps on the week’s activity and special guest interviews from agricultural professionals. A full list of “The Markets” podcasts are available at the station’s website and new segments are updated every Friday at 4:00 pm…..Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco works out a deal with Compass Media Networks to become the flagship station for Oakland Raiders football. The package includes pre-game and post-game shows, locker room reaction, and listener phone calls, as well as weekly call-in shows with head coach Dennis Allen and Raiders players.
Dr. Ronald Hoffman Signs with Media Management Group. Dr. Ronald Hoffman joins the client roster at Media Management Group. Dr. Hoffman is a clinician, author, lecturer, media spokesperson and an acknowledged leader in the field of complementary medicine. His nationally syndicated radio program “Health Talk” is described as “a compelling balance of relatable treatments of complex medical topics and a common sense approach to health issues.” Media Management Group CEO Jeff Schwartz says, “Dr. Hoffman is a highly respected physician and a great talent, and he has built an impressive media platform. We’re looking forward to working with him to take everything to the next level.”
Norm Pattiz Representing at the Staples Center. That’s Courtside Entertainment Group CEO Norm Pattiz pictured at Friday evening’s Lakers-Spurs game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Although the Lakers were swept out of the playoffs on Sunday by San Antonio, Lakers diehard Pattiz was there in his usual courtside seat to offer helpful advice. On Friday, he was looking good in his brand-new PodcastOne.com t-shirt. PodcastOne.com is the latest endeavor from the Westwood One founder’s Launchpad Digital Media, which gives people free, easy access to all the best podcasts anytime, anywhere. On Friday, Launchpad celebrated the launch of the new PodcastOne.com mobile app. The only free app for Apple and Android that lets consumers access, discover and enjoy all the best podcasts with a simple tap. Check it out at www.podcastone.com.
Barry O’ Brien Kicks Off New Career in the Palm Beaches. Many of you know longtime radio industry figure Barry O’ Brien from his two decades of service to the business as VP of sales at the late and legendary trade publication Radio & Records (R&R). For the last several years Barry has been living happily in semi-retirement in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida where he reportedly has been enjoying the warmth, sunshine and pleasant lifestyle. Well, it seems the itch to get back into sales has prompted him to get off the lounger back into the action of “sellin’ & buyin’ with Barry O’ Brien.” Barry tells TALKERS he has launched yet another chapter to his long and colorful career in sales, hooking up with a leading realtor in the region, Keller Williams of the Palm Beaches, where he is now a sales rep. Anyone in the business looking to buy a property in beautiful Palm Beach County should contact Barry who says, ”I have bought and sold so many houses and condos in my life, it is time to share this experience in helping others.” To reach Barry call 561-320-1057 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Walter Sabo
NEW YORK: Let’s review a show that promotes:
• Co-habitation without the benefit of marriage; Sexual stereotypes — girls throw themselves at football players just for a kiss.
• Racial stereotypes. For example, it promotes the need for more black friends in order to be appealing.
• The discussion of condoms.
• Living together and sex with strangers.
Then, it promotes even more living together and sex with strangers and the humor of meeting a possible mass murderer.
That show commands the highest spot rates of any comedy show this year. It is on Fox.
FCC Defuses F-Bomb. In giving all the broadcast outlets that inadvertently ran Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz a “fleeting expletive” pass for carrying his uttering the so called “F-Bomb” during his impassioned speech at Fenway Park Saturday, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has significantly defused the power of America’s favorite dirty word. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Regardless of the highly subjective ‘fleeting expletive’ criteria, Genachowski has changed the nature of ‘fuck’ forever as a forbidden word through the legal power of precedents. I can remember when words like ‘hell,’ ‘damn,’ ‘bitch,’ ’piss’ and even ‘suck’ were broadcast no-no’s. Now you hear them regularly and very few even raise an eyebrow. The English language, as we all know, is an organic, changing system of communication…as is the concept of ‘community standards.’ So, we have witnessed the wheel turn another click in this regard with the chairman’s pronouncement. The big daddy of dirty words has been demoted to secondary status on the filth chart – sort of like ‘shit’ – and can be used under the right subjective circumstances to express politically correct outrage. Whatever are we going to do now? We need a new forbidden word to take its place!”
Boston’s Radio Stations to Go Silent at 2:50 Today. The Boston radio stations owned by CBS Radio, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, Entercom and Greater Media will observe a minute of silence at 2:50 today to honor the victims of last week’s Boston Marathon bombing. National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who were impacted by the horrific act that took place in Boston. This moment of silence will serve as a time of reflection, honoring those lost and injured in this tragic event, and recognizing the countless acts of heroism and kindness that we saw on Monday and which continue today. As first informers in times of crisis, broadcasters want to take this opportunity to salute the first responders and the many unsung heroes who do so much during emergency situations.”
Former Seattle Seahawks Coach Mike Holmgren Takes Regular Role with KJR, Seattle. Longtime NFL coach and general manager Mike Holmgren is signing on with Clear Channel’s sports talk KJR, Seattle for a regular contributor role. The Super Bowl winning coach (with Green Bay) and Seahawks coach and GM from 1999 through 2008 will go on-air with “Mitch in the Morning” from 9:00 to 9:30 on Mondays, “Elise and Jerry” at 11:00 am on Tuesdays, “Ian Furness and Jason Puckett” at 2:00 pm on Wednesdays and “Softy” from 4:00 to 4:30 pm on Thursdays. KJR program director Rich Moore states, “We are so excited to have Mike Holmgren join our team at Sports Radio KJR. As a former coach he has a great connection with the fans here in Seattle and his football mind and personality will really enhance our comprehensive football coverage.”
Chris Miller: Media Isn’t the Issue – Content Is. According to noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, when it comes to understanding our role in the new digital world and application of its new and exciting tools, we broadcasters tend to become preoccupied with the means and lose sight of the all-important ends. In a new article posted today (4/22) he suggests we use the term “social content” as opposed to “social media.” He sees radio as having a significant advantage over many other forms of communication in this new environment and believes we have done a disservice to program directors by beginning to label them as “brand managers.” To read Chris Miller’s entire column, click here.
OPINION: The Death of Al Neuharth and Talk Radio’s Future. Radio consultant Holland Cooke writes about the state of talk radio’s image set against the dual backdrops of the Boston Marathon bombing and the death of former Gannett chairman Al Neuharth. Cooke writes, “Especially after last week, talk radio should heed the words of a media giant we now mourn: ‘They want to trust whatever voices they’re listening to.’” Read his piece here.
CBS Sports Radio Network Adds Weekend Baseball and Basketball Programs. The two shows debuted this past weekend on the new sports talk radio network. “Eye on Baseball” with host Damon Bruce, airs from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET on Saturdays. Bruce, who serves as early afternoon host at Cumulus Media’s KNBR, San Francisco, is joined by a rotating group of expert co-hosts for the program. The network is also adding “Eye on Basketball” Saturdays from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET co-hosted by Jody McDonald and CBSSports.com’s NBA insider, Ken Berger.
Dave Ramsey Visits OK City and Houston. Nationally syndicated talk radio sensation Dave Ramsey (pictured here at Grace Community Church in Houston) brought two of his live events to Oklahoma and Texas last week. Ramsey presented his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” in Oklahoma City on Friday, April 19 to a packed house at Cox Convention Center. Ramsey, along with speakers Jon Acuff and Chris Hogan, spoke about how to run a business using the same common-sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 300 team members. Ty Tyler, president/general manager of Tyler Media in Oklahoma City, says, “Having Dave Ramsey in Oklahoma City is always a special occasion. The loyal KOKC AM 1520 listeners were thrilled with the opportunity to learn and interact with Dave and our advertising partners were pleased with the outstanding results of telling their message to the exclusive Dave Ramsey audience.” Ramsey also delivered his Total Money Makeover Live — his common-sense debt reduction and wealth-building strategies — to a crowd of more than 5,000 people in Houston. Local affiliate KSEV general manager Marc McCoy states, “A gathering of Dave Ramsey fans in Houston is truly an event! When Dave comes to town, the excitement begins. KSEV listeners line up for each Dave Ramsey appearance and turn out by the thousands.”
Odds & Sods. Former Boston talk radio personality Jeff Katz got a lot of talk radio exposure in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing. In addition to constant updates on his Facebook pages and his Twitter feed, Katz appeared multiple times on national outlets like Fox News Radio, The Ace & TJ Show, The Todd Schnitt Show and the regional Arkansas State Radio Network. He also appeared on local stations including: KMJ, Fresno; KFBK, Sacramento; KKSF, San Francisco; KOA, Denver; WFLA, Tampa; WGUF, Naples; WHO, Des Moines; WJBO, Baton Rouge; WCCO, Minneapolis; WWNC, Asheville; WBT, Charlotte; WWIQ, Philadelphia; WPHT, Philadelphia; KSKY, Dallas; WHAM, Rochester; and WSYR, Syracuse. The week was capped with a two-hour special live from Boston which aired on Clear Channel stations KKSF, San Francisco and KFBK, Sacramento…..CBS Radio and Spanish Beisbol Productions are airing play-by-play of Phillies baseball in Spanish on CBS Radio’s “Phillies 24/7” as heard on 98.1 WOGL HD4 beginning Friday, May 3. Broadcasts will include pregame and postgame coverage. The Spanish broadcast team consists of Bill Kulik, Rickie Ricardo and Angel Castillo. “Phillies 24/7” is the first-ever HD Radio multicast station exclusively dedicated to a Major League Baseball team and airs continuously throughout the year and features live play-by-play of every regular season Phillies game on-air at 98.1 WOGL HD4, plus game re-broadcasts the following morning at 9:00 am…..SiriusXM will add a limited-run “Cheech & Chong” channel to the service beginning this week. The satcaster calls it a “celebration of their hilarious career, featuring their classic comedy albums and more” that will take over “Raw Dog Comedy” and continue as a nightly special through the following week, leading up to “SiriusXM’s Town Hall with Cheech & Chong,” moderated by Artie Lange.
The New Look Mike & Mike. ESPN Audio’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic are pictured here in the Bristol, Connecticut studios where they broadcast their program that airs on ESPN Radio and ESPN 2 on cable TV. The new logo, according to the company, coincides “with the start of the NBA Playoffs and this week’s NFL Draft. ESPN Audio’s ‘Mike & Mike’ brings a fresh look to its logo beginning today. Designed by ESPN’s Creative Services team, the re-designed logo serves as a nod to Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic being available for listeners not just ‘in the Morning,’ but any time.”
ANALYSIS: The FCC’s Curious Approach to Indecency. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes that it “seemed particularly fitting” that the FCC chose April Fools’ Day to announce it was cleaning out its backlog of broadcast indecency complaints by more than 1 million filings. How did they deal with that many complaints in six months. Easy, says Weisman, “These cases were summarily dismissed for various reasons, such as being beyond the FCC’s five-year statute of limitations, involved cases outside of the FCC’s jurisdiction, contained insufficient information or were not actionable due to previous established precedents. Cases were also dismissed for being, in the FCC’s words ‘too stale to pursue’ although there is no FCC definition of staleness.” Weisman also notes that the Commission reassures the public it is “actively investigating” what it referred to as “egregious indecency complaints” and will continue to do so. “What actually makes a case ‘egregious’ is not very clear because there is no definition of ‘egregious’ in the FCC regulations where it seems filth is in the eye of the beholder. Apparently egregious violations of the indecency rules is the FCC’s new standard for action.” Sharpen your pencils because the FCC is asking for your thoughts on its indecency policy. You have until May 1 to get those ideas to Washington. But before you do, read Steven J.J. Weisman’s complete analysis of the FCC’s recent indecency odyssey here.
WTNT, Washington Is New Home for the Dr. K Show. “The Dr. K Show,” hosted by Dr. Kevin Wallis, makes its new home at Metro Radio’s WTNT, Washington, DC during the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Wallis describes the program as “a Libertarian talk/comedy show discussing topics from politics to world affairs and everything in between with a no nonsense, comedic view on the world. ‘The Dr. K Show’ gives you the ‘truth’ about any topic without the party lines getting in the way.” Dr. Wallis began his broadcasting career at WGGB, Long Island, received his bachelor’s degree in human anthropology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and his master’s in public health at New York Medical College. He also graduated from Touro University International with his PhD in Health Research and Education. Co-host Bryan Berner is a stand-up comedian and radio talk show host. Producer Joe Greene has produced some of the biggest shows in N.Y. radio and is a radio talk show co-host. The program features contributors: chief political commentator Carl Jeffers, chief legal analyst Ron Kuby, chief financial analyst Stephen Moore and religious adviser Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. The program is also heard on WVNJ, Oakland, New Jersey.
WTMJ, Milwaukee Legend Bill Haig Passes Away. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes that longtime WTMJ, Milwaukee and Milwaukee Brewers executive Bill Haig had been ill for some time and died on Saturday while in hospice at the age of 78. Haig began his radio career in ad sales at WFOX, Waukesha, Wisconsin in 1954. He eventually rose to the general manager position at WTMJ and it was under his watch that the station became the flagship for the Milwaukee Brewers, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Green Bay Packers and the University of Wisconsin Badgers football. In 1980 he became the Milwaukee Brewers’ vice president of broadcast, overseeing production, advertising sales and networking for the Brewers broadcast networks until his retirement.
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles presents the next remote broadcast in its “KNX On Your Corner” series as it broadcasts from the western region of the San Fernando Valley on Friday, April 26. The in-depth look at communities including Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Agoura Hills and Westlake Village will explore the local history, economy and an array of unique stories, from the Kardashians to a playground made specifically for physically challenged children. The day will include broadcasts emanating from Brent’s Deli in Westlake Village as Dick Helton and Vicky Moore will anchor the news from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, Frank Mottek hosts the “KNX Business Hour” from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm and Jim Thornton and Diane Thompson anchors the news from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm…..Entercom’s WRKO, Boston is producing a debate between two of the Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Secretary of State John Kerry. PM drive host Howie Carr will be joined by Michael Sullivan and Gabriel Gomez during the live debate airing from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm today…..SiriusXM Radio is broadcasting live hole-by-hole coverage of the 2013 Masters Tournament from Thursday, April 11, through Sunday, April 14, on its PGA TOUR Radio channel.
Bill Bradley Hosts Fellow ’72-’73 Knicks Teammates on SiriusXM. Former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley (second from right) poses for a photo with his teammates from the NBA championship New York Knicks of the 1972-1973 season. The group came together in the New York studios of SiriusXM Satellite Radio for a taping of Bradley’s “American Voices” program and will be aired later this month. Pictured here are (from l-r): Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Phil Jackson, Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Bradley, and Jerry Lucas.
By Steven J.J. Weisman
BOSTON – Somehow it seems particularly fitting that the FCC chose April Fools’ Day to issue a press release in which it indicated that as a result of its review of its broadcast indecency rules following the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of FCC v. Fox Television Stations, Inc., it had managed to reduce its backlog of pending indecency complaints by more than one million — which represented 70% of the outstanding pending complaints. How, you might ask, was the FCC able to carefully evaluate more than a million complaints in only six months? It was easy. These cases were summarily dismissed for various reasons, such as being beyond the FCC’s five-year statute of limitations, involved cases outside of the FCC’s jurisdiction, contained insufficient information or were not actionable due to previous established precedents. Cases were also dismissed for being, in the FCC’s words “too stale to pursue,” although there is no FCC definition of staleness. It is also interesting to note that the FCC has not brought an action against a broadcaster for indecency since 2008 and that order of the FCC against Fox involving the 2003 broadcast of the show “Married by America” — which originally carried a $1.18 million fine, later reduced by the FCC to $91,000 — was ultimately voluntarily dismissed by the FCC in September of 2012.
A cynic might find it curious that the reason for the staleness in those cases was the FCC’s total ignoring of these cases for years, although in the FCC’s defense, a reasonable case could be made for the agency’s hesitance to act in the last few years as Fox’s challenge to the indecency regulations made its way through the federal courts and ultimately to the Supreme Court which decided the case (sort of) on June 21, 2012. However, as for the cases that were dismissed for having insufficient information or being not actionable due to previously established precedents, those facts should have been readily apparent to the FCC years ago.
By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
NEW YORK — March was a bizarre month. I don’t know if it was the full moon last week, the expectation of a spring that wasn’t quite here yet or what. Here are two examples:
I would have asked that this be published on April 1, but too many people would think this was an April Fools gag. I swear, I couldn’t make this one up!
Where’s the Proof?
I have a client station that I’m working for on a submission to the FCC. It involves a directional AM antenna, and we need to submit the results of a Partial Proof of Performance on the antenna system – one done before a modification, one done after. Only problem is, the station cannot locate the full Proof of Performance of record on the antenna system.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to Step Down. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski officially announces his decision to step down from the agency in the coming weeks. The initial report came from Politico Thursday evening but Genachowski’s departure from the FCC has been expected for some time. He became chairman in 2009 and has not always been viewed as the friendliest of FCC chairmen to radio as the thrust of his tenure has been promoting broadband as the communications avenue of the future. Politico reports that there are a number of possible successors to Genachowski and names Core Capital Partners Managing Director Tom Wheeler; current sitting Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel; former ambassador to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Karen Kornbluh; former FCC chief of staff and primary author of the commission’s National Broadband Plan Blair Levin; and National Telecommunications and Information Administration chief Larry Strickling. The NAB‘s Gordon Smith offers the following statement on Genachowski’s departure: “NAB salutes Chairman Genachowski for his years of service at the FCC. The FCC chair is arguably one of the most difficult jobs in Washington, and yet Julius consistently performed with dedication and focus. We may have disagreed on occasion, but America’s broadcasters wish him well in his journeys ahead.”
Fox Sports Radio Network to Offer Big Ten Football Show in Fall. Working in conjunction with the Big Ten Network, Fox Sports Radio announces it will offer a third season of “BTN Live” – a daily Big Ten football show. Beginning August 26, the program will be available for air Monday through Friday, 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET. FSRN says of the show, “Throughout football season, ‘BTN Live’ will take fans inside every Big Ten locker room as teams prepare for games, and provide the latest news, expert analysis, and interviews with players and coaches. The nightly show will be hosted by Big Ten Network personalities Dave Revsine, Mike Hall and Rick Pizzo, with Big Ten Network analysts Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and other special guests.
Los Angeles Talk Radio Legend Michael Jackson Subs on CRN Digital Talk Radio; Richard Riordan and Roger Moore Guest. Iconic Los Angeles talk radio personality Michael Jackson sits in for Chuck Wilder on his CRN Digital Talk Radio program that airs at 12:00 noon PT today (3/22). Jackson will speak with high-profile guests former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and actor Sir Roger Moore. Jackson states, “I’m pleased to have the opportunity to fill in for Chuck and talk to one of the all-time, legendary actors in Sir Roger Moore and to also chat with one of the city’s greatest leaders, former Mayor Riordan. Anytime you have outstanding guests as these, you’re always going to have an exciting and compelling show for the audience. I’m looking forward to it.”
KYW, Philadelphia’s Cherri Gregg to Be Honored by Philly NAACP. This Sunday, the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP will honor 104 influential black women from the Philadelphia area. KYW Newsradio community affairs reporter Cherri Gregg has been named to the list of honorees. The NAACP is recognizing African American women comprised of elected officials, entrepreneurs, non-profits, civic leaders, educators, labor leaders, members of the clergy, media, health care providers, government agencies and corporate America leaders. Gregg says, “I am humbled and excited to be named one of the NAACP’s 104 most influential Black women in Philadelphia. It’s truly an honor to be included on such a distinguished list of African American women, and this recognition will fuel my continued effort to strive for excellence in covering the communities of Philadelphia.”
KBLU, Yuma Host Russ Clark Resigns; Moves to Crosstown KCYK. Yuma, Arizona TV station KSWT-TV reports talk show host Russ Clark resigned from his program on El Dorado Broadcasters’ KBLU on the air, surprising listeners and his employer. Clark tells the TV station he’s taking his show across town to MonsterMedia’s country KCYK “Outlaw Country 1400” beginning April 2. “They had no idea. They took away my morning show and gave me a one-day-a-week, which, I think was an effort to keep me somewhat engaged without having me be directly opposed to them or directly in competition. But, of course, I need to get back on air. I need to get back to what I was doing.” Clark says KBLU management wanted more news and less talk in the AM drive.
CBS Radio’s WIP, Philadelphia Personalities to Host Comcast SportsNet Philly Program. All next week, personalities from CBS Radio’s Philadelphia sports talk outlet WIP will guest host the daily 5:00 pm ET show, “Daily News Live,” that’s seen on the Comcast cable network and the Xfinity ON Demand service. Al Morganti, Rhea Hughes, Anthony Gargano, Glen Macnow, and Big Daddy Graham will handle hosting duties, each sitting in for one day. CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “SportsRadio WIP has been the authority in Philadelphia sports radio for 25 years so it will be a treat for Delaware Valley sports fans to see some of their favorite hosts set the agenda on ‘Daily News Live.’ We’re thrilled to showcase our talent on Comcast SportsNet.”
Patrick in for Cunningham Sunday Night. Houston talk show host Matt Patrick will fill in again this Sunday, March 24, for Bill Cunningham on the Premiere Networks nationally syndicated “Live on Sunday Night, It’s Bill Cunningham” program. Patrick, whose “day job” is hosting the morning drive program on Clear Channel’s KTRH, Houston and the afternoon program on sister KPRC, is a regular fill-in host for Cunningham as well as Portland talk host Lars Larson.
Sequester Effects Top Talk Radio Topic for Week of March 18-22. This is the fifth straight week that the sequester effects and related budget battle have been at the #1 spot on the Talkers TenTM as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio. This week, at #2 is President Obama’s trip to Israel. Coming in at #3 is North Korea’s threats followed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. View this week’s entire chart here.
FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell to Step Down. Republican FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell announces that he will exit his seat within the next few weeks – 14 months before his term was set to expire. The National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith says of McDowell, “Robert McDowell has been a remarkably gifted public servant during his seven-year tenure at the FCC. His good humor and grace have been matched only by his ardent support for fair media ownership rules and full-throated support for a vibrant First Amendment. Commissioner McDowell will succeed in whatever path he chooses, and NAB wishes him well.”
New York Public Radio Shows Repped by Launchpad Digital Media; Available on PodcastOne.com. The Norm Pattiz-founded Launchpad Digital Media and digital content site PodcastOne.com work out a deal with New York Public Radio-produced content including “Freakonomics,” “RadioLab,” “Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin” and “On the Media.” The podcasts of these shows will be represented for advertising sales by Launchpad and available on PodcastOne.com. Launchpad says, “PodcastOne.com is already home to over 200 popular podcasts including CBS News, Adam Carolla, Dennis Miller, Ron Paul, Penn Jillette, Laura Ingraham, Maria Menounos, Tom Green, Dr. Drew and many more.” Westwood One founder and Launchpad/PodcastOne.com chairman Norm Pattiz says, “New York Public Radio produces some of the most compelling, popular programming and we are proud to welcome these powerhouse audience magnets to the Launchpad/PodcastOne.com family.” Director of digital underwriting for NYPR Sarah van Mosel states, “We’re so excited that Launchpad Digital Media has recognized the value of reaching the on-demand audience. By harnessing this amazing content, Launchpad is paving the way for brands to finally connect intimately with listeners on a grand scale.” According to Launchpad president Kit Gray, “These four podcasts alone are already downloaded more than 10 million times every month. We are delighted to give our clients access to this loyal, educated and affluent audience that will continue to grow.”
NBC Sports Radio and Dial Global Name Brian Kenny Late Morning Host. Filling the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET slot on the national sports talk radio network will be former ESPN personality and well-known sports media figure Brian Kenny. The NBC Sports and Dial Global 24/7 sports talk network project debuts on April 1. Kenny hosts “Clubhouse Confidential” on MLB Network and covers boxing for Showtime. NBC and Dial Global say Kenny is a “respected interviewer who will go one-on-one with some of the biggest names in sports. Additionally known for his adept skill as a ‘numbers cruncher,’ he will also go beyond the scores and delve into the data, breaking down the analytics of the games.” Kenny hosted his own show on ESPN Radio and also anchored “SportsCenter” and “Baseball Tonight,” and called play-by-play for ESPN’s “Wednesday Night Baseball” and the “World Baseball Classic.” Kenny was named “Media Personality of the Year” by SI.com in 2004. He states, “I’m thrilled to be joining the team at NBC Sports Radio and Dial Global and I am excited to be back on the airwaves. We look forward to building a show that fosters intelligent sports conversation with in-depth analysis. It’s going to be a blast.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee Personality Charlie Sykes Hosts Annual “Insight 2013” Event. The annual “Insight” live program is a big promotional event for Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee and late-morning personality Charlie Sykes. “Insight 2013” takes place at a local hotel from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm on Wednesday, March 27, is broadcast live on WTMJ and features Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, United States Senator Ron Johnson, United States Congressman Paul Ryan and other office holders and media personalities. Sykes’ own RightWisconsin.com – a digital destination for conservative content – is sponsoring the event. In addition to being broadcast live, the program will be recorded and re-broadcast on Sykes’ 8:30 am to 12:00 noon show.
Eric Deters Leaves Morning Show Role on ClassX in Cincinnati. The practicing attorney and well-known Cincinnati talk radio personality is leaving his role as morning host at Spryex Communications’ classic rock duo WMWX, Miamitown, Ohio and WKCX, Crittenden, Kentucky. Eric Deters’ law practice is growing too much for him to dedicate the time necessary to hosting a three-hour morning program, ClassX manager Bill Spry tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter. “Eric is taking a sabbatical possibly through the end of the year due to his law business exploding. He may be doing a weekly show, or possibly a daily morning segment. We’re not sure.” Deters, who’s hosted shows for Clear Channel on WLW and Christian Broadcasting Systems’ former talk WQRT, began hosting the morning show in September of 2012. Spryex brings Snake & Carson aboard to host the 6:00 am to 9:00 am program.
TuneIn and Dial Global Agree to Sports Programming Deal. Digital content aggregator TuneIn and Dial Global strike a deal for the former to feature select Dial Global-produced sports content. The arrangement begins with full, live coverage of the 2013 NCAA College Basketball Tournament. TuneIn VP of programming Kevin Straley says, “TuneIn is excited to align with a company known for delivering superior programming. We’re thrilled by the opportunity to deliver exciting play-by-play basketball to all our listeners around the world.” TuneIn will also feature Dial Global’s play-by-play coverage of the Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, Men’s Frozen Four, the Men’s and Women’s College World Series and the Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship semifinals and championship.
Arbitron and Edison Research to Offer ‘Infinite Dial’ Webinar. Scheduled for Tuesday, April 2, “The Infinite Dial 2013: Navigating Digital Platforms” from Arbitron and Edison Research will address the latest trends in consumer use of media, technology, and digital platforms. Some of the issues to be reviewed include: the growing penetration of smartphones and tablets and the ways people use these devices; radio’s continuing role in the lives of the digital consumer: at-work, in the car and as the “last word” before shopping; the continued growth of online radio usage and time spent listening; an update on social media use by brand and age demographics; and the devices people use to wake up in the morning.
Sequester Effects, Obama in Israel, Dr. Ben Carson-mania, North Korea Bluster, ‘Honors Night’ Cancellation, and the Soaring Dow Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/20). The effects of the sequester; President Obama’s trip to Israel; the sudden popularity of Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson among conservatives; North Korea’s bellicose posturing; the cancellation of “honors night” at a Massachusetts High School; and the high-flying Dow were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
NEW YORK — One of the things I am doing these days is administering the Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program for the New York State Broadcaster’s Association. Huh? You don’t know what ABIP is? Allow me to explain.
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. If you can fix it while we’re there, great. If not, you will normally have to pay a re-inspection charge so that the inspector can sign off on the fix.
By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
NEW YORK — By now, you have heard that there was an EAS hack at a TV station the other day. An alert went out about a zombie attack. Now, before anyone goes off about EAS, it should be noted that the CAP feed was not affected. This appears to be strictly a case of computer network security.
And before we go deeper, it should be stated that when something like this happens, it is only natural that it becomes a news story. And news stories require actualities. If something goes awry with EAS, please keep in mind that it is OK to play the actual audio message that went out – but it CANNOT contain the EAS data bursts or the two-tone alert signal. It is illegal to transmit those outside of an actual EAS activation or test, per FCC regulation 47 CFR 11.45.
Ronn Owens Signs New Deal with KGO, San Francisco. The iconic Bay Area talk radio fixture begins his 38th year in the radio business after signing a two-year guaranteed deal with an option for a third year. Ronn Owens was reported by Bay Area media blogger Rich Lieberman to be on his way out at the Cumulus Media heritage talker back in the fall – a story TALKERS picked up on – but that did not happen and it appears Owens is likely to mark his 40th anniversary in the business at KGO in a couple of years. At a time when legendary personalities across the country are being ousted from their programs due to budget cuts and programming changes, it’s nice to see a figure of Owens’ magnitude sign up for a new tour of duty!
Boston Media Personalities Margery Eagan and Jim Braude Land at Pubcaster WGBH. Boston Herald columnist Margery Eagan and Boston TV and radio personality Jim Braude will begin hosting a daily 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm talk program on public radio outlet WGBH, Boston beginning February 25, almost two months after they exited Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston due to a format change. Eagan and Braude hosted mornings at WTKK for much of the 13 years they were at WTKK. The Boston Herald reports the current midday hosts at WGBH – Callie Crossley and Emily Rooney – will be featured on the new program as well.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai to Address AM Band at NAB Show in April. The National Association of Broadcasters announces FCC Commissioner Ajit V. Pai will lead a session on AM radio revitalization at the NAB Show in Las Vegas on Monday, April 8. The NAB states, “Broadcasters are exploring the challenges and opportunities related to revitalizing AM radio while continuing to provide the popular, local programming that millions of listeners rely on daily. This session, held within the Broadcast Management Conference, will address possible options for sustaining and enhancing AM radio as a unique entertainment medium. Commissioner Pai, who has expressed special interest in the future of AM radio, will moderate a panel of AM radio leaders, engineers and policy experts.”
Trevor Oliver Exits Premiere Networks. After 15 years with Premiere Networks, Trevor Oliver exits his SVP of operations position. Oliver tells TALKERS magazine he leaves the company on very good terms and that he’s looking forward to his next opportunity. Oliver, who joined Premiere in 1998, has an excellent reputation in the industry and TALKERS has no doubt he’ll put his numerous talents to use in the business somewhere very soon.
Talk Host Sam Malone to Return to Houston Airwaves (and Cablewaves!). Houston radio personality Sam Malone – most recently heard in the market on Dan Patrick-owned news/talk KSEV – will begin a new program on Phonoscope Cable and the show will be simulcast on a local talk radio station to be named later. The Houston Chronicle reports that Malone, who is serving as president of Phonoscope New Media, says the idea for a video and audio show grew out of his experience with Phonoscope. “This is where radio will be going in the future. We need to get the message to smartphones and iPads, not just car radios.” In addition to KSEV, Malone has also worked at music outlets KRBE and KHMX in Houston. He tells the Chronicle he’ll announce the radio station he’ll be on next week but says it’s a station he has not worked for in the past.
Former Congressman John Sweeney to Host Albany Talk Show. Four-term Republican Congressman John Sweeney begins a daily one-hour talk show on Capital Broadcasting’s WGDJ, Albany “Talk 1300.” Sweeney joined president and general manager Paul Vandenburgh on his morning program to announce he’ll begin the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon program on Monday, February 11. Sweeney says, “One of the things I miss about being in the public eye is my day-to-day interaction with the people.” Vandenburgh states, “John has consistently been a leader in the Capital District. Our goal from day one has been to provide a local product on a daily basis and John will be a marvelous addition.”
Dave Ramsey Knocks ‘em Dead in Knoxville. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey presented his “Building Your Legacy” event to a sold-out crowd in Knoxville recently. Ramsey talked about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence and worked with his daughter Rachel Cruze, who joined him on stage for the presentation. Ramsey teamed up with local affiliate WNOX-FM to promote this event. WNOX general manager Ed Brantley states, “Dave Ramsey’s ‘Building Your Legacy’ was a huge success not only for WNOX-FM and our sponsors but for the community. Dave’s up-close-and-personal approach captured the sold-out crowd.”
LA Talk Radio Celebrates 5th Anniversary. The Los Angeles-based internet talk radio station is celebrating its fifth year “on the air.” Founder Sam Hasson says, “LA Talk Radio has found its success in emerging radio talent in Los Angeles and the rest of the world. We now provide over 80 shows of quality programming, giving ambitious hosts a vocal platform where they can build their listening audience.” LA Talk Radio was born on February 4, 2008, as BBS Talk Radio launched in a “small but comfortable office” in a luxurious high-rise building in downtown Los Angeles. It wasn’t long before Hasson had three daily shows and six weekly shows and soon thereafter began broadcasting 24 hours a day.
KTRH and KPRC, Houston’s Matt Patrick Faces Off with Piers Morgan on Gun Issue. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment personality Matt Patrick (r) – whose programs air on KTRH, Houston in AM drive and on sister KPRC in afternoons – is pictured here at a live remote broadcast from Tactical Firearms in Houston. Patrick tells TALKERS magazine the remote was a “spirited and interactive show to a live audience of listeners.” Patrick’s program aired live before CNN personality and gun legislation advocate Piers Morgan (c) brought his television show to the same location later that evening to argue for the proposed ban on high volume semi-automatic weapons. “Piers Morgan Tonight” aired from Tactical Firearms after Morgan agreed to come and use the gun range and try to experience why Texans love their guns. Morgan agreed to appear on the final segment of Patrick’s program in front of a live audience.
KYKN, Salem, Oregon’s Bill Post Draws Crowd to Gun Rally. Willamette Broadcasting’s KYKN, Salem helped draw a crowd of some 3,000 to the Oregon State Capitol on January 19 for a rally dubbed, “Guns Across America.” A key speaker at the event was 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk host Bill Post (at the mic) who addressed the crowd about the gun legislation issue. The station reports that requests for autographs and photos with Post were overwhelming.
Deficit Reduction Debate; Obama Drone Killing Controversy; Gun Legislation Proposals; Chris Christie Weight Flap and Obama Care Costs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6). The debate in Washington over reducing the deficit via tax and spending cuts; President Obama’s insistence on the right to use drones to kill U.S. citizens; the move to enact new gun control legislation; the media flap over Governor Chris Christie’s weight; and the looming costs of the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
WOR, New York Eliminates Air Staff as Clear Channel Takes Over. Yesterday, WOR, New York began making changes to its staffing – both on-air and off – in preparation for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s takeover of the station a couple of months after the $30 million purchase of the venerable New York City signal. Buckley Broadcasting CEO Joe Bilotta announced that CC’s acquisition of the station has officially closed and he thanked the station’s employees for their service. The air staff we know are out include Dr. Joy Browne, PM drive host and former New York Governor David Paterson, and the news staff. Syndicated programs that have been dropped immediately include: Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher, Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle and Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee. Those local talent still with the station as of today (12/21) include morning host John Gambling and midday host Joan Hamburg. Nationally syndicated Dave Ramsey is also still listed on the station’s program schedule. Off the air, WOR Radio Network director of affiliate relations Willis Damalt has been let go. Governor Paterson appeared on the Curtis Sliwa morning program on Salem Communications‘ crosstown WNYM “970 The Answer” to talk about the changes. Hear his discussion with Sliwa by clicking below.
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Clear Channel Officially Announces New Fresno Talk Combo; Jay Bohannon Named PD. That Clear Channel was going to flip an FM music outlet in the Fresno market to talk is not news; Peak Broadcasting received notice Premiere Networks was exercising its out-clause on such shows as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity earlier in the fall, so the clues were not hard to follow. Now, the company announces hot AC KALZ, Fowler “Alice 96.7” and sports talk KRZR, Visalia will become “Power Talk 96.7 FM/1400 AM” on January 1. The program schedule includes Limbaugh, Hannity, Glenn Beck, “America Now” with Andy Dean, and “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory, plus local host Bill Manders from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm and Talk Radio Network’s Jerry Doyle. The company also welcomes back program director Jay Bohannon who previously programmed its WPGB, Pittsburgh. Company regional programming manager Tony Banks says, “We have assembled top-notch talent behind the mic and behind-the-scenes with program director Jay Bohannon, who is one of the premiere news/talk programmers in the country. He has a proven track record of winning in every market he has led.”
Journal Broadcast Group Adds News/Talk WNOX, Knoxville to Its Cluster. Milwaukee-based Journal Broadcast Group buys news/talk WNOX, Knoxville from Oak Ridge FM, Inc. for an undisclosed amount, adding the outlet to its three-station cluster there. Prior to Citadel Broadcasting’s filing for bankruptcy protection in December of 2009, it operated WNOX under an LMA from Oak Ridge. In 2010, Citadel gave up operation of the station and Oak Ridge resumed control. No word on if or when Journal will take over under an LMA. The sale must go through the usual FCC approval process.
Doing Good for Christmas. XtreMedia CEO Kevin McCullough (r) sits in Truth Broadcasting Corporation’s the Truth Network studios in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with an unidentified host as he broadcasts across the Truth Network to affiliate stations working to reach the Do Good Christmas goal of supporting 800 orphans for the next year. TALKERS has written previously about McCullough’s Do Good charity developed to raise funds to assist orphans across the globe. On Thursday, McCullough spent some 18 hours on the radio, across numerous formats, working to attain the goal. He appeared on the “Truth Network” along with News/Talk AM 980 “The Eagle” and “The Light” Black Gospel Music Network to attempt to feed 800 Orphans for the entirety of 2013. He says, “They had me hoppin’ formats and stations for what seemed like every fifteen minutes. But it was worth it to know that 800 children in Africa and Central America in particular are going to be fed this Christmas and all through next year until Christmas 2013 because of the efforts.” McCullough hosts his own daily radio talk show, a weekend program with actor Stephen Baldwin called “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.” His company also produces the Dani Johnson radio show as well as the national television syndication for “Hannah Help Me” hosted by Hannah Keeley.
Holiday Fill-In Work for Matt Patrick. Talk host Matt Patrick – AM drive on KTRH, Houston and PM drive on KPRC, Houston – will fill in for Bill Cunningham on his Premiere Networks nationally syndicated Sunday evening show on Sunday, December 30.
Fox Sports Radio’s Petros & Money Take Over ‘NFL on Fox’ Studios. The nationally syndicated, Los Angeles-based Petros & Money show – hosted by Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith – broadcast a special program before a live, studio audience of contest winners on the set of television’s “NFL on Fox” program. Pictured here are Smith (l) and Papadakis (r) welcoming new Fox Sports Radio host Jay Mohr (c) to the network. Joining Petros & Money on this show were special guests Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Jay Glazer, “UFC Tonight” star Leeann Tweeden and the first-ever female UFC fighter Ronda Rousey.
Gun Law Changes Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 17-21. The national debate over making changes to the gun laws in the U.S. was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, pushing the “fiscal cliff” issue off the top where it’s been for the past four weeks. Coming in at #2 were the mental health care system tied with the aftermath of the Newtown massacre. At #3 was the “fiscal cliff” negotiations and following at #4 was the Benghazi-State Department report. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Holland Cooke: Start Your Own Media Station. Noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke says getting laid off during this year’s pre-Christmas industry bloodbath, though painful and scary, might not be the worst thing that can happen to enterprising broadcasters. In a boldly worded opinion piece, the forward-thinking programming advisor connects numerous dots and cites fascinating examples painting a positive picture of just how much opportunity now exists in the digital world for radio people daring enough to go “stickless.” He points to a number of telling signs in the changes in our culture – such as Larry King’s new online show being listed in a larger font on the USA Today television listings page than his former home, CNN. Cooke writes, “Anyone who uses Twitter online can click-to-listen. Those who Tweet on smartphones or iPad simply touch-to-listen. Voila! You’re in-the-pocket, where AM/FM radio used to be.” Read his piece here.
Rumors of Format Change at WTKK, Boston Rampant. The Boston media is all over the rumors that Greater Media will flip the news/talk station to a different, music-based format in the near future. The local media picked up on domain name registrations such as 969BostonsBeat.com, 969TheBeat.com, and Power969.com. The Boston Herald speculates the change is coming because “’toxic’ all-talk formats aren’t attracting enough younger listeners.” Greater Media spokesperson Heidi Raphael states, “We deal in a business of attitudes and being responsive to the preferences of our audiences and the needs of our advertisers and communities. We are continually exploring our options, looking for ways to improve our product and brands. No decisions have been made on any changes to the format.” Radio operators register domain names that go unused frequently so the actions by Greater Media don’t necessarily mean a change is coming but it certainly means the company is considering it.
Dave Ramsey Changes Affiliates in Home Town of Nashville; Jumps from WWTN to Sports WPRT. The nationally syndicated Dave Ramsey show will move to Cromwell Radio Group’s sports talk WPRT “102.5 FM The Game” beginning January 1. Ramsey’s program has aired on Cumulus Media’s WWTN, Nashville since the program debuted in the early 1990s. Ramsey states, “After 20 years on WWTN it is very difficult to leave. Unfortunately, we couldn’t come to terms with Cumulus on a simple renewal agreement. There are a lot of great people at WWTN and we’ll miss them. But we’re excited to have the opportunity to work with an independent radio station owner the caliber of Bud Walters.” It appears as though the move is being precipitated by Cumulus’ desire to give its own talk programs more exposure – in this case, giving Mike Huckabee a full three hours on WWTN. The new schedule at WWTN puts Huckabee on live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and allows Phil Valentine a 3:00 pm start to his PM drive show. At the same time, Cumulus announces its newly acquired Michael Savage will air live from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am. Cumulus Nashville market manager Mike Carpenter states, “We believe in the Mike Huckabee show and anticipate that this change will accelerate the governor’s popularity in Nashville. Mike is a man of such character that we feel our clients will appreciate the opportunity to make him a key part of their marketing plans. His on-air interest in music expands our talk repertoire and will play extremely well in a city where the music industry is the number three employer. As for Savage, we assure you that a large number of our listeners will be happy to learn that their pleas have been heard and that Michael Savage is back on in Nashville.”
FCC Approves Transfer of WFAN-FM, New York to CBS Radio. The $75 million deal that sends Merlin Media’s former WRXP, New York to CBS Radio as WFAN-FM, New York is approved by the Federal Communications Commission. The station changed its call letters to WFAN-FM and CBS began operating it under an LMA on November 1 simulcasting sports talk WFAN-AM on the signal.
More on Changes at XEPRS, San Diego. Yesterday, TALKERS reported sports talk XEPRS, San Diego “XX1090” let morning hosts Dave Palet and Jeff Dotseth go. But now we’ve learned more as midday hosts Josh Rosenberg and Charod Williams have also been let go. Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton is now on mornings and the San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that former morning hosts Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith will return to the station in AM drive soon and Darren Smith will move to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Kaplan and B.R. (Smith), who were fired after Kaplan made disparaging comments about a female sportscaster, have been hosting the San Diego Union-Tribune’s online TV morning show and, according to the report, would continue in that role.
Dave Wheaton Exits WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne. As tipped by Indiana Radio Watch’s Blaine Thompson, news director Dave Wheaton leaves his position at Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne to take the assignment editor post at Granite Broadcasting’s WPTA-TV, Fort Wayne (channel 21) and WISE-TV, Fort Wayne (channel 33).
Envision Radio Network Names Paul Harris “America Weekend” Host. Talk radio pro Paul Harris is named the host of the new “America Weekend” program from Envision Radio Networks. Executive producer Kipper KcGee says, “I’m thrilled to be working with Paul again. We will be announcing the remainder of the ‘America Weekend’ lineup in coming weeks, and look forward to demonstrating that news/talk radio can enjoy weekend ratings and revenues!” McGee worked with Harris in St. Louis and at WLS, Chicago. Harris states, “I’m excited about launching ‘America Weekend’ to give both affiliates and listeners something more compelling, with great stories, interesting interviews, and my own perspective on what’s happening.”
Clear Channel Donates WDTW, Detroit to the Minority Media and Communications Council. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is donating progressive talk outlet WDTW, Detroit – a 5,000-watt Class B signal – to the MMTC under the Clear Channel-MMTC Ownership Diversity Initiative. Clear Channel CEO and chairman John Hogan states, “We applaud MMTC for creating a program that helps minority broadcasters develop the skills and experience necessary to become successful broadcasters. We’re pleased that the donation of these resources will give the opportunity for enthusiastic new entrepreneurs to own and operate their own radio station.”
Main Street Radio Network Launches New Weekly Program. “The RichLife Show” with host Beau Henderson is a weekly one-hour program that, according to syndicator Main Street Radio Network, is “a fast-paced hour with a BIG mission to help listeners live healthy, wealthy, fulfilled lives on purpose by combining a highly engaging mix of education, entertainment, inspiration, and motivation. The format of the show is financial Q&A, discussion around listeners’ biggest questions and concerns, and relevant expert interviews.” Henderson is a senior financial advisor, Master Certified Success Coach, and Certified Master Behavioral Analyst and author of the book, The RichLife – Ten Investments For True Wealth. Main Street president Jane Silk says, “We know ‘The RichLife Show’ will be a great addition to our current shows and our rapidly growing radio network. Beau Henderson is a caring, honest person who truly has the listener’s best interest in mind. Beau will cover a variety of topics such as all aspects of living rich: money, health, meaningful relationships, and living a fulfilled life of purpose. Beau and RichLife advisors have built an online community through a weekly newsletter and social media that now exceeds 35,000 committed to living their definition of a RichLife.”
KGO, San Francisco Partners with Good News in Oakland for News Feature. Cumulus Media San Francisco news/talker KGO announces a partnership with internet media outlet Good News in Oakland to create a feature that “will highlight a person or organization in Oakland that has made a difference in creating a positive image for the East Bay’s largest city.” Good News in Oakland is described as an “internet-based renewable psychological socially responsible environmentally focused media outlet.” Stories will be produced by KGO reporter Tihanna McCleese and Good News in Oakland founder Sean Kennedy. KGO program director Paul Hosley states, “We’re thrilled to enter into this partnership with Good News in Oakland. This collaboration will give KGO listeners an opportunity to hear about the positive side of the city…stories that have not been told before.” Features will air at 6:46 am, 1:46 pm, and 5:46 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.
WNYM, New York Begins Picture Caption Contest for Lunch with Sliwa & Lichtman. Salem Communications-owned WNYM, New York’s PM drive team of Curtis Sliwa and Jeffrey Lichtman are enjoying their new street-level studio with the giant display window at the Hotel Pennsylvania on 7th Avenue. The station and hotel management say they are getting such a buzz from New Yorkers about the setup that they’re beginning a photo caption contest to capitalize on the publicity. WNYM is asking fans to take a picture of Sliwa and Lichtman broadcasting, give it a caption and post it via Twitter or Instagram or send it to the station via email. First prize is lunch with Sliwa and Lichtman. Other prizes include Broadway show tix, restaurant deals and more. WNYM general manager Sean O’Neill states, “The iconic Hotel Pennsylvania with Curtis Sliwa and Jeffrey Lichtman broadcasting live in the hub of midtown Manhattan is an extraordinary opportunity to personalize the radio experience in the digital age. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers walk through this block daily and now have the opportunity to connect face to face with their favorite radio personalities.”
Quentin Tarantino Entertains Live Audience at SiriusXM. As part of the “Town Hall Series” on SiriusXM, noted filmmaker Quentin Tarantino (l) was interviewed by Village Voice film critic Scott Foundas (r) before an intimate, live studio audience. Tarantino, who also took questions from the crowd, discussed his new film “Django Unchained” and told stories about his career as a film director. Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur / WireImage for SiriusXM.
ESPN Radio Broadcasts 24 College Bowl Games. The college football bowl season will bring plenty of play-by-play to ESPN Radio affiliates as the sports media giant announces plans to broadcast 24 bowl games. Beginning with the Gildan New Mexico Bowl on December 15 and wrapping up with the National Championship game between Notre Dame and Alabama in Miami on January 7, ESPN Radio’s coverage will span 16 days. David Norrie and Bill Rosinski will call five of the games beginning with the S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on December 20. Additionally, both the “Mike & Mike in the Morning” and “SVP & Russillo” programs will originate from South Florida on Monday and Tuesday, January 7 and 8.
Lotus Communications’ ‘SuperGol’ Soccer Show Scores Affiliates. The Spanish-language soccer show “SuperGol” recently snagged its 25th affiliate for the one-hour program targeted to younger Hispanic men. The show airs live from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm PT and is hosted by Halim Zadat and Erika Garza. The show is produced by Lotus’ KWKW, Los Angeles and station president James Kalmenson says, “The young US-born Latino is a growing segment of the sports audience that’s responding extremely well to the program. Latinos of all generations are avid soccer fans, making the soccer-themed talk show an ideal platform for younger audiences while maintaining the traditional sports target of men 25-54.”
Gow Broadcasting Acquires Sports Flash Radio Network. The service that specializes in sports updates is acquired by Gow Communications, the company that is operating Yahoo! Sports Radio. Gow announces at the same time that its affiliate base has grown to more than 360 stations. David Gow states, “We are really pleased with the ongoing expansion of our affiliate base. The acquisition of the Sports Flash Radio Network extends our reach to both sports-format and non-sports-format stations. And the additions of new shows we have introduced over the past year have enabled us to achieve industry-leading growth.”
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, Looming ObamaCare Costs, Michigan Right-to-Work Bill Controversy, Hillary in 2016, and Aussie DJ Prank Fallout Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/10). The GOP versus Obama fight in Washington over avoiding the “fiscal cliff”; the costs associated with ObamaCare that will begin to take effect in 2013; the battle in Michigan over the union-busting right-to-work bill; the proposition Hillary Clinton will run for president in 2016; and the fallout after the Australian DJ prank call to Kate Middleton’s hospital in London were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Tribune Gets FCC Cross-Ownership Waivers; Chicago Market Granted Permanent Waiver. The Federal Communications Commission granted the cross-ownership waivers in five markets that the media company needs to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In a statement, Tribune CEO Eddy Hartenstein says, “We are extremely pleased with today’s action by the FCC. This decision will enable the company to continue moving forward toward emergence from Chapter 11, a process we expect to complete over the course of the next several weeks.” The commission granted a permanent waiver in Chicago while allowing one-year waivers in Los Angeles, New York, South Florida and Hartford. Technically, the one-year waivers in the four markets cited mean Tribune will have to sell either its newspaper or broadcast outlets there within the year but the FCC is working on loosening the restrictions against cross-ownership in the top 20 media markets and industry observers seem to believe the change will take effect soon. The permanent waiver in Chicago means Tribune is not necessarily forced to sell a media outlet – many suspected its lone radio property news/talk WGN would be the first to go on the block. However, what Tribune’s plans are after it exits bankruptcy are unknown and a sale of WGN, Chicago and/or any of its newspaper and TV holdings are a distinct possibility.
Arbitron Releases Report Clearly Showing Increase in Radio Listenership During Super Storm Sandy. Radio listening data released by Arbitron for the New York Metro during hurricane Sandy shows how strong radio listening is during a natural disaster and the ability for radio to keep communities informed even when the power goes out. The report provides data for the entire New York Metro as well as a breakout of counties hardest hit by the storm as it made landfall during the evening of Monday, October 29. It shows a 70% general increase in listening as the storm hit the coast and an even greater percentage of increase along the coastal communities hardest hit. When the lights went out, when TV and desktop PCs were no longer available, many New York area residents turned on their battery powered radios. Many radio stations along the path of the storm, regardless of their regular format, revamped their programming to provide their listeners with weather updates, news and emergency information. In the wake of the storm, radio remained an information lifeline to the residents of New York, particularly in the coastal areas of the market. Average radio listening on Tuesday, October 30 in New York was 1,525,500 persons in any given quarter hour between 6:00 am and 12:00 midnight, up 8% from 1,406,700 persons 6-plus the week before. The average audience in the NY coastal communities (Monmouth, Fairfield SN, Nassau-Suffolk, Staten Island and Middlesex) totaled 670,200 on the Tuesday (6a-Mid) following landfall (10/30) which is 38% higher than the average of all Tuesdays year to date. The Average in the NY coastal communities (Monmouth, Fairfield SN, Nassau-Suffolk, Staten Island and Middlesex) totaled 651,200 on the Wednesday (6a-Mid) following landfall (10/31) which is 35% higher than the average of all Wednesdays year to date. For full details on this important story click here.
Clear Channel Ends FM Simulcast on KOGO, San Diego. The former country outlet “U.S. 95.7” flipped to a simulcast of Clear Channel’s news/talk KOGO, San Diego a year ago. Now, that ends with the FM side going all Christmas music and the word on the street is that after the holidays the station will return to a music format of some sort. Adding an FM signal to a news/talk station – especially a venerable one such as KOGO – generally gives the station a ratings boost. It appears that hasn’t been the case with KOGO and Clear Channel San Diego management must see an opening in the music landscape it’s willing to target. We’ll see where it goes after the holidays.
KSCJ, Sioux City Talk Host Randy Renshaw Retires. Talk show host and newsman Randy Renshaw retires from his long-time gig at Powell Broadcasting’s KSCJ, Sioux City, Iowa. Renshaw has been with the station twice – the first time back in 1983. He tells the Sioux City Journal that turning 62 on November 18 was a good reason to end his radio career and that he’d been contemplating retirement since age 55. In addition to news duties, Renshaw hosted the 8:00 am to 11:00 am “Open Line” program. With his departure, Mark Hahn takes over hosting the local talk show.
How to Get a Radio Brand-Building Website. TALKERS columnist and noted digital radio consultant Chris Miller serves up a new article offering powerful tips on how radio web designers can create sites that contribute toward building their station’s or program’s brand without distracting from it or diluting it. He covers the process on four basic but vital fronts: layout, content, graphics and interaction. Miller asks, “What’s the difference between your site and Google, YouTube and Facebook?” He states, “Those sites have a clear reason for being, and clean, well-organized content.” He strongly suggests, “Get your page looking more Facebookish, or YouTubeEsque, and you’ll go a long way toward building your website numbers.” Miller offers some nuts-and-bolts actions to get more people back more often and clicking on more content. Read the entire article here.
Opinion: Talk Radio Must Expand Beyond Politics to Survive. Nationally syndicated talk show host Doug Stephan responds to the effects of the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke incident and the recent news involving Dial Global and its citing Limbaugh’s comments in a SEC filing. Stephan says the March incident has cost him “hundreds of thousands of dollars” and that the industry must do a better job of convincing agencies and advertisers that all talk radio should not be lumped together. Read Stephan’s piece here.
Filling in This Week. At Tribune’s WGN, Chicago, longtime St. Louis radio veteran and Chicago native JC Corcoran fills in on Garry Meier‘s PM drive slot on the station on Wednesday and Thursday. He’ll also sub for WGN’s Mike McConnell on Monday, November 26. Corcoran can be reached at email@example.com.
Lotus Communications Donates $50,000 to Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club. The cash donated to the Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club was not a fundraiser of contributions from listeners but a gift from Spanish sports talk KWKW, Los Angeles owner Lotus Communications. The station recently launched a major partnership with the Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club. After KWKW’s community service personnel learned that the Club was in desperate need of funds in order to provide after school programs, station management decided to step in with a $50,000 check. The money wasn’t raised by listeners. Station president James Kalmenson decided to make a difference in the community KWKW serves by adding a line item to its operating budget. “One of the founding principles of our company has been to be of service to our community. As a result of the donation, the Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club was able to greatly expand its services for the local community. Word quickly spread and the attendance immediately tripled and continues to thrive today.” KWKW has also launched a PSA campaign this month that will continue throughout 2013. Additionally, the station will sponsor the Club’s annual Thanksgiving Dinner, which typically feeds more than 300 people. In December, KWKW will donate 500 toys to the Club’s Christmas Toy Drive. They’ll also broadcast live at the Club on December 7 to encourage people to drop off toys, all of which go to children ages 2-16 at the Club’s annual Christmas event. KWKW personalities Armando Aguayo, Mario Amaya, Halim Zadat and Erika Garza will attend both the Thanksgiving and Christmas events. Pictured here with kids from the club are KWKW PD/OM Juan Rodriguez (l) and KWKW president James Kalmenson (r).
Talkers New Media Seminar LA set for Thursday, October 11 is Sold Out! The agenda is basically set and most of the sponsors announced for the forthcoming Los Angeles installment of TALKERS magazine’s two-part New Media Seminar 2012 (the first part took place in New York on June 7). According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “The venue is intimate and even kind of funky making for a very relaxed and informal environment – conducive to the kind of communicative and networking environment we hope to achieve. The problem, however, is that unlike industry events that are held in convention centers and big hotels, we are working with a finite amount of seating and space which we are obligated by city regulations not to exceed.” TALKERS New Media Seminar LA is scheduled for Thursday, October 11 between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm in association with the Los Angeles Press Club at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. Registration has only been open to working media. A registration “stand-by” list is being maintained until this Friday (10/5) for those willing to take a chance. Some sponsorships however are still available. For stand-by registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413. The agenda for the event is as follows:
9:00 am – 9:50 am
Bagel Breakfast Party
Sponsored by Brent’s Deli
9:50 am – 10:00 am
Speaker: Michael Harrison, Publisher, TALKERS
10:00 am – 10:15 am
Speaker: Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment
10:20 am – 11:00 am
“The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio”
Moderator: Michael Harrison, Publisher, TALKERS
Panelists (in alphabetical order):
Phil Boyce, VP/Director, Spoken Word Format, Salem Communications
Ron Hartenbaum, President, WYD Media
Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC
Don Martin, VP Programming, Fox Sports Radio/OM KLAC, Los Angeles
Mike McVay, Senior VP Programming, Cumulus Media
Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News
11:05 am – 11:20 am
“Interactivity and Video: The Key to Your Business Future”
Speaker: Walter Sabo, Chairman, Sabo Media
11:25 am – 11:35 am
“The Radio Personality as Entrepreneur”
Introduction: Jeff Wasserman, President, Life Coach Media
Speaker: Ken Rutkowski, host, “Business Rock Stars,” KFWB, Los Angeles
11: 40 am – 12:20 pm
“The Challenges of Hosting a Talk Show in 2012”
Moderator: Mike Kinosian, Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief, TALKERS
Jerry Doyle, Host, Talk Radio Network
Heidi Harris, Host, KRLA, Los Angeles
Lars Larson, Host, Compass Media Networks/ KXL, Portland
Doug Stephan, Host, “Good Day”
Alan Stock, Host, KDWN, Las Vegas
Eric Weiss, president, The Weiss Agency
12:25 pm – 12:40 pm
“Woman of the Year Award”
Introduction: Carole Marks, CEO, Talk Media, Inc.
Presenter: Stephanie Miller, Host, WYD Media
Recipient: Robin Bertolucci, PD KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles
Sponsored by TuneIn
12:45 pm – 1:00 pm
“Database Your Tribe…Now!”
Speaker, Holland Cooke, Consultant, Holland Cooke Media
1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
Sponsored by Brent’s Deli
1:50 pm – 2:20 pm
“Making Money in Talk Radio: Challenges and Opportunities”
Introduction: Michael Zwerling, President, Michael Zwerling Media/Owner KSCO, Santa Cruz
Moderator: Brent Seltzer, Host, Podjockey
Bob Moore, President, Courtside Entertainment
Rusty Humphries, Host, Talk Radio Network/WGST, Atlanta
Michael Zwerling, President, Michael Zwerling Media/Owner KSCO, Santa Cruz
Sponsored by Michael Zwerling Media
2:25 pm – 3:05 pm
“The State of Talk Programming”
Moderator: Kevin Casey, VP/Executive Editor TALKERS
Panelists (in alphabetical order):
Skip Essick, PD, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno
Kevin LaRue, PD KSL, Salt Lake City
Andy Ludlum, PD, KNX, Los Angeles
Garret Lewis, PD/morning host, KNST, Tucson
Dave Sniff, PD, KFMB, San Diego
Chuck Tyler, PD, KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles
Sponsored by Premiere Networks
3:10 pm – 3:45 pm
“The Modern Day Pioneers”
Moderator: Patt Morrison, Host/Interviewer, KPCC, Los Angeles; Columnist, Los Angeles Times
Panelists (in alphabetical order):
Ian Freeman, Co-Host, Free Talk Live
Sam Hasson, President/Founder, LATalkRadio.com
Michael Horn, CEO, CRN Digital Talk
Tom Leykis, President/Host, The New Normal
Shadoe Stevens, Host, Mental Radio, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio
Sponsored by CRN Digital Talk
3:45 pm – 4:20 pm
“The Art of the Show”
Moderator: Bill Moran, President, Bill Moran & Associates
Panelists (in alphabetical order):
Jerry Doyle, Host, Talk Radio Network
Bill Handel, Host, KFI, Los Angeles
Karel, Host, KGO, San Francisco
Neil Larrimore, PD, KFYI/KGME, Phoenix
Eric Stanger, VP Operations, The Sean Hannity Show, Premiere Networks
Sponsored by TRN
4:20 pm – 5:00 pm
Afternoon Sessions and Keynote
Americans for Limited Government, BMX/XtreMedia, Brent’s Deli, Christie Communications, Comrex Corporation, CRN Digital Talk, Federation for American Immigration Reform, Focus Communications, Inc., Free Talk Live, LATalkRadio.com, Life Coach Media, Podjockey, Premiere Networks, Talk Radio Network, Talk Radio News Service, TuneIn, WYD Media, Michael Zwerling Media.
September PPM Numbers: Some Talk and Sports Highlights. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian reports on the September PPM numbers rolling in and notes the movement of some stations of interest to talk and sports radio watchers.
- In market #7 Washington, DC, a nine-tenths August-September improvement helps propel American University‘s WAMU to #1, unseating Hubbard‘s WTOP-FM (#3), which slides -1.1 to 7.1, the news outlet’s lowest point since April’s 6.5.
- For the sixth straight month, Washington Nationals’ flagship WJFK-FM (CBS Radio‘s “The Fan”) bests Red Zebra format rival WTEM (“The Team”), however, WTEM (#20) gains one-half share and WJFK-FM (#18) is down one-tenth.
- In market #8 Philadelphia, gaining one-half share are CBS Radio’s “Sports Radio 94 WIP-FM” (3.7, #12) and public news/talk WHYY (3.5, #13).
- For the seventh straight month, “Newsradio 1060 KYW” is in the 6.1 – 6.7 range (6.5, -.2 from August) and, as in August, the CBS Radio-owned facility is #1.
- In market #9 Atlanta, in August, WSB-AM had a 4.8, which was its lowest 6+ share since registering a 4.2 in September 2010. The Cox Radio talk outlet bounces back though with a +.9 to 5.7 and ranks fifth, versus #9 in August.
- In market #10 Boston, remember “Rush Radio” on WXKS-AM? That was how the Clear Channel talk station positioned itself for about one year, beginning in March 2010. In mid-August of this year, Rush Limbaugh surfaced on cross-town WRKO and the Entercom talker gains nine-tenths to 2.4, its strongest 6+-share since March (2.5).
- For the first time in the last seven monthlies, New England Patriots flagship WBZ-FM (CBS Radio-owned “The Sports Hub”) overtakes Entercom format competitor WEEI-FM. The two sports properties were tied in March (3.5) with WEEI-FM holding the upper hand from April through August. In September though, WBZ-FM gains eight-tenths (4.5, #8) while Red Sox flagship WEEI-FM drops two-tenths (4.1, #9).
For more PPM data and ratings analysis, visit the ratings section at our sister publication RadioInfo’s site here.
FCC to Consider Liberty Media Control of Sirius. The FCC is calling for public comment on Liberty Media Corp.’s application to take de jure (legal) control of Sirius XM Radio. Sirius did not sign that application, filed in August, but the Commission is deciding to move forward anyway. Back in May, the FCC turned down a request for de facto (effective) control by Liberty, which now has an effective 48% stake in the satellite radio company. Petitions to deny are due November 1, initial opposition due November 13, and final rebuttals by November 20, likely to be followed by several weeks of FCC deliberation. The two companies have been at odds for a long time with John Malone’s Liberty looking to takeover Sirius. In 2009, Sirius received a $530 million loan from Liberty to avoid bankruptcy. There’s much speculation about Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin’s plans if Liberty gains control. His contract with Sirius is up at end of this year. As reported yesterday, Karmazin is speaking at Liberty’s 2012 investor conference in New York on October 10, just two weeks before the first public comments are due at the FCC.
Saga Declares Special Cash Dividend. The Saga board announces a special cash dividend of about $7 million — a dividend of $1.65 per Class A or B Common Stock. Shareholders of record on November 15 receive the dividend, funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet, on December 3. Ed Christian’s Saga, headquartered in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, owns or operates radio and TV stations in 26 markets and four regional radio networks.
Upgrade to FREE. Radio consultant Holland Cooke’s latest piece for TALKERS is about some of the tools of the media trade – namely netbooks and tablets. But it’s about more than that if you step back and look at the big picture. He points to digital app expert Beth Ziesenis – AskBethZ – as someone who cuts through with her message (and her business) because she’s clearly focused on her objective. Read what Holland Cooke has to say about these issues here.
Odds & Sods. SiriusXM will feature “Pete Dominick’s Electoral College Tour” on its POTUS channel prior to each presidential debate, beginning this evening in Denver. Dominick is a stand-up comedian and regular on the POTUS channel and his special shows will emanate from the University of Denver, Hofstra University and the University of Virginia in which he’ll host a special one-hour forum with students and faculty – before the presidential debate and live from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET – to talk about the issues that matter most to them in this election…..Chicago Bulls home basketball games will be heard in Spanish on Univision’s WRTO, Chicago “La Tremenda 1200” through the 2014-2015 season. Omar Ramos and Matt Moreno have the play-by-play.
Benghazi Security Request Controversy, Presidential Debate Preview, Pennsylvania Voter ID Rule Blocked, and Iran Nukes Threat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/2). Controversy over a report the U.S. consulate in Benghazi requested more security but was denied prior to the attack on the Libyan embassy; Wednesday’s coming presidential debate; a part of Pennsylvania’s voter ID law is struck down; and Iran’s nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Will Pay Buckley $30 Million for WOR. The paperwork to transfer WOR, New York from Buckley Broadcasting to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has been filed with the FCC and we now know the price CC will pay for the station, pending approval by the Commission, is $30 million. The station is already being operated by Clear Channel under an LMA.
The Other Morning Shoe Drops at KLOS as Brian Phelps Says Adios. The surprise (to many) and sudden exit Friday by Brian Phelps of the KLOS, Los Angeles “Mark & Brian” morning show has some industry observers speculating that there might be more than meets the eye to Mark Thompson’s earlier telegraphed and more-heralded departure. Was the whole thing very possibly all about money? Perhaps Cumulus Media’s new contract offer to Mark Thompson in today’s belt-tightening climate played a bigger role in his decision than the good-natured veteran let on when he told the Los Angeles Times, “It’s just time…guys my age are dropping dead. There are other things I want to do.” The Friday (8/16) program that was billed as the farewell show for Mark Thompson turned out to be the last shift for his on-air partner Brian Phelps as well. Thompson is now off to his new life in North Carolina while Phelps is reportedly teaming up with actress/entertainer Jill Whelan to do a series of podcasts at brianandjillshow.com. Whelan was recently a talk show host at WPHT, Philadelphia. Thompson will also be heading to the internet and podcasting with his wife and three adult children at markandlynda.us. Finishing a quarter-century run, the “Mark & Brian” show exits as the current longest-running morning show in Los Angeles. TALKERS caught up with Cumulus COO John Dickey over the weekend who stood behind Thompson’s account of his reason for leaving the show adding, “I thank Mark for giving us the certainty to begin this search and process in earnest months and months ago — speaks volumes to Mark’s decision to paint on another canvas.” Regarding Phelps, Dickey did not deny the host’s position was changed with Thompson out of the equation stating, “With respect to Brian, he was part of a large consideration pool for the next chapter in rock’s most iconic brand. The decision, which will be announced very soon, was made after a long and thoughtful process.” Oh, something else Dickey says has the TALKERS editors wondering if the multi-talented Thompson (who has dabbled in a bit of movie acting in his time) is only going to be focusing on his podcasts in the near future: “My only comment on Mark is that he is as committed to his movie career as I’m sure he once was to his radio show.”
WOWO, Fort Wayne Names Woody Zimmerman OM. Federated Media announces Woody Zimmerman takes over the operations manager post at the company’s heritage news/talk outlet WOWO, Fort Wayne. Zimmerman has held various programming roles over the span of his career with Federated Media and, previous to working for Federated, Zimmerman was a TV news assignment editor. Federated Media Fort Wayne market manager Jim Allgeier says, “Woody’s sense of urgency, organizational skills, attention to detail and work ethic make him uniquely qualified to take on the complex job of programming a news talk station. The talents and skills Woody has demonstrated as a programmer will transfer quickly as he takes on the assignment of programming a news/talk station for the first time.” Allgeier thanks outgoing OM Gregg Henson for his work with the station and especially his contribution to the launch of their Fan Sports Brand in Northern Indiana.
Fox News Radio Adds Two to News Staff. Fox News Radio vice president Mitch Davis announces the company brings two veteran broadcasters aboard as Steve Knight and Simon Owen begin with the company today. Steve Knight served as both an anchor and reporter for WCBS-AM, New York; CBS News Radio, and Associated Press Radio. He also served as news director and anchor for New York Times Radio and was bestowed the Edward R. Murrow award for best documentary, feature reporting, and use of sound. He’ll be a New York-based anchor. Simon Owen was most recently a reporter with Sky News Radio where he provided live coverage of the 2012 Olympics as well as of the 2011 Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. He also covered the death of singer Amy Winehouse, the resignation of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and secured high-profile interviews with international celebrities such as David Beckham and Jude Law. He’ll be a London-based correspondent.
Talk Host Found Guilty of Felony Wiretapping. “Free Talk Live” co-host Adam “Ademo” Mueller was found guilty of felony wiretapping by a New Hampshire jury and will serve 90 days in jail with an additional one to three years suspended and five years probation – meaning he could end up serving that additional time for probation violation. “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman tells TALKERS, “He was accused of recording conversations with government workers while they were on duty, over the phone. He was investigating the brutal attack on a student at Manchester’s West High School by the school police officer. Rather than punish the officer for unnecessarily slamming the student’s head into a table, they went after Ademo for trying to hold them accountable, on-the-record. Monday’s conviction was a sad day for the idea of the right to be the free press. The trial held many outrageous moments, including a government school principal who claimed she is not a public official!” Background on the case can be found at the site CopBlock.org: http://copblock.org/freeademo.
Talk Host and Journalist Aaron Klein’s Latest Book Lands on Best-Seller List. Jerusalem-based journalist and talk show host Aaron Klein’s latest book, Fool Me Twice: Obama’s Shocking Plans for the Next Four Years Exposed (WND Books 2012), hit #18 on the New York Times bestseller list for this week. Klein co-wrote the book with Brenda J. Elliott. He has been on a media tour to promote the book that has included stops on Cumulus Media Network’s Mike Huckabee program and Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends” morning program. Klein hosts the weekly Sunday evening program “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York from 7:00 to 9:00.
“Spoken Word Radio: The Big Picture” Session Set for TALKERS Los Angeles Seminar. A dynamic panel discussion involving a group of knowledgeable talk industry leaders has been set for the forthcoming New Media Seminar 2012 in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 11 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club. Titled “Spoken Word Radio: The Big Picture,” the panel will consist of an eclectic array of individuals including Phil Boyce, VP/director, spoken word format, Salem Communications; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media Management, LLC; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; and Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media. The session will be moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. The conference will also feature, within its packed schedule, the honoring of KFI/KTLK program director Robin Bertolucci with the “Woman of the Year” award. The presentation will be made by nationally syndicated radio and television talk star, Stephanie Miller. The seminar will present more than 60 leading industry speakers. Its agenda will be posted on Talkers.com next week. It is expected to be an early sellout. To assure registration, attendees are advised to sign up now. Because it is open only to working media there will be no online registration – only by telephone. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.
Yahoo! Sports Radio Moves Travis Rodgers to Afternoon Slot. The man who produced Premiere Networks’ Jim Rome show for many years and is now a host of his own sports talk program with Yahoo! Sports Radio, is moved to a new time that puts him in virtual competition with Rome’s show. Travis Rodgers left Rome’s program in 2009 saying at the time he disagreed with Rome about the direction the program had taken. He became a sports talk host himself. Now his show moves to the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET slot effective today. In a statement, Rodgers says, “I can’t wait to go against the show that I helped build in to the industry standard. It’s not that anymore and I look forward to creating the new standard in sports talk radio.”
More Radio Talent are Becoming Entrepreneurs…and some are doing it kicking and screaming, while others embrace the feeling of independence and potential opportunity that comes with it. An informal in-house TALKERS magazine survey of radio stations and syndication companies conducted over the past two years indicates that the combination of new technology and difficult economic conditions are fueling this trend. The traditional employer/employee relationship between talent and platform provider is increasingly being replaced by independent contractor deals with many air personalities – even at major market heritage stations – operating as the principals of their own production companies. Within this new paradigm, on-air performers are responsible for their own health care, make lower salaries, and have shorter-term commitments from their “employers.” In return, they are granted the flexibility of working from home, broadcasting different shifts to other out of town stations and receiving revenue sharing deals on their shows and related intellectual property.
(Speaking of Entrepreneurism) Premiere Networks Founder Steve Lehman is Developing a Radio Talk Show for Syndication Aimed at Entrepreneurs…and it is already getting traction in Los Angeles on KFWB weekdays from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The show is called “Business Rock Stars” and it is hosted by well-known entrepreneur Ken Rutkowski. The voice-over announcer for the show is Joe Cipriano (voice of Fox and CBS). Program partner Steve Lehman tells TALKERS that the show, which launched two months ago, is doing very well on KFWB where they are polishing every aspect of it to make it truly special and ready for a national roll-out in the near future. The program focuses on starting and building a business and presents some of the world’s most successful CEOs as well as accomplished small business owners as guests. The program is being designed for multi-platform content distribution. A glass enclosed studio is being designed and built in a highly trafficked Southern California location to house the show and its related seminars. It is being outfitted with three video cameras for streaming content. In addition, Lehman tells TALKERS, “We have a great strategic tie-in with Entrepreneur Magazine and will be broadcasting the Entrepreneur of the year awards live from Dallas. Additionally, we are working with Entrepreneur on their Franchise 500 issue. We are going to give away a franchise on the air!” Ken Ritkowski will be a speaker at the forthcoming TALKERS New Media Seminar on Thursday, October 11 discussing the new business environment of talk show hosting and radio station managing. Talkers tip: Keep your eye on this show and developing company. Steve Lehman is a top notch pro who has had an enormous influence on the modern radio industry. His turning his attention toward talk radio is a big deal for the business.
Leno Takes a Pay Cut. Since we are on the topic of broadcast talents facing pay cuts, the story broken yesterday (8/19) by CNN that NBC television star talker Jay Leno of the Tonight Show has agreed to accept a significant pay decrease to help the company deal with growing expenses and shrinking revenue has eyebrows raising throughout the broadcasting industry. In addition, NBC is still axing about 20 “Tonight Show” support staffers. Leno reportedly took the cut to protect even more of the show’s “little people” from receiving pink slips. You can be sure this provocative and unfortunate bit of news will reverberate around the conference rooms of radio stations as new talent contracts come up for renewal.
Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Sets October 20 Induction in Macon. For the first time in its six-year history, the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame is moving its induction ceremony (set for October 20) out of Atlanta and to the city of Macon. The organization’s president, John Long, who many of you will remember from KRUX, Phoenix and WAPE, Jacksonville, tells TALKERS, “We have struggled from the beginning to make this the GEORGIA Radio Hall of Fame. While 48% of our membership is from the seven-county metro-Atlanta area, that leaves a lot of radio stations and even more radio people in the state who deserve recognition. The members in Macon and Macon board member Ben Sandifer lobbied for the event to come there and veteran Georgia radio people have responded. It is going to be a great evening and ticket sales indicate it will come close to being another sellout.” TALKERS asked Long to describe the philosophy and mission behind the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame. His compelling response: “‘Radio people’ used to be considered big deals by their friends, families, and listeners. The changes in radio programming and technology have taken the focus away from people leaving many veterans with nothing more than scrapbooks and reel-to-reel tapes of radio from days gone by. When Sam Hale and I started the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame, we were two guys who were fortunate enough to have worked in, what many call, the glory days of radio. The late Larry Shannon founded the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2002 for many of the same reasons; to honor the men and women who made radio magic. Larry and Kent Burkhart were invaluable in helping us form our organization. All the work done by our group is volunteer. When someone asks me what I get out of it, the answer is: watching the families of our Legacy inductees brimming with pride when we recognize their dad, mom, brother, or sister; seeing our Career Achievement inductees smiling ear-to-ear when we put the medallion around their neck. We want to make sure that their contributions are not forgotten.” Long continues, “Another important part of our mission is preserving the rich heritage of Georgia radio since March 15, 1922, when the state’s first station, WSB, signed on the air. One of our founding board members, Mike Kavanagh, began wsbhistory.com. When Mike passed away he left the site to the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame with one request: preserve it. This year we partnered with Georgia State University to achieve that goal. In 2013, we will work on a project with them to guarantee preservation, access, and continuity of the history of radio in Georgia, including inductees into The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.” To learn more visit www.grhof.com.
Odds & Sods. If you work in news/talk radio, your input is requested by TroyResearch which is conducting an important national study of talk radio, talk syndicators and the decision making process in radio today. If you haven’t already taken this survey from TroyResearch, please click on this link: http://www.srvy.net/x/1.p?23554461110025479936. 100 respondents, randomly selected from completed surveys, will receive a $5 Amazon.com coupon. A summary of results will be shared with TALKERS magazine and posted at TroyResearch…..Talk show host Pat Campbell, who hosts the morning drive show on Journal Broadcasting’s KFAQ, Tulsa, will sit in for Charlie Sykes on Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon today…..Talk show producer Frank Morano, who produces Curtis Sliwa’s program on Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York – AM 970 The Answer – began his own Saturday morning program on the station. During his first show he interviewed Vadim Vassilenko – a Ukrainian man who’s been in jail in the city for five years without bail or a trial in a case revolving around a $4 million stolen credit card scheme….. Sports talk radio outlet WIST, New Orleans and its FM translator at 104.9 (K285FF) are being sold by GHB Broadcasting to Catholic Community Radio. GHB principal George Buck continues to be majority owner and operator of oldies WTIX-FM, New Orleans. Catholic Community Radio also owns WPYR, Baton Rouge.
Denver Radio Legend Charley Martin Dies. Denver radio fans are remembering longtime KHOW morning drive co-host Charley Martin, who passed away on August 17 at age 67 after a long illness. Martin had been in hospice care in Phoenix for some time. Martin co-hosted the “Hal and Charley” show on KHOW beginning in 1976 – a program that would air on the station until 1995 when the station took a more serious news/talk turn. Denver Post television critic Joanne Ostrow quotes Denver media watchers in her obit who note that the duo of Martin and Hal Moore ruled Denver radio during an era when “humorous DJs” were the order of the day. The duo garnered enormous ratings and had the honor of their program’s audio being heard on the radio during a scene in the 1980 movie “The Shining.”
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 Global – NBC 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 Networks’ Mike Huckabee…..Compass Media Networks’ Free 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.
By Steven J. J. Weisman
BOSTON — Yesterday (6/21/12) the United States Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision on the FCC’s indecency standards for broadcast radio and television and the decision hardly seems worth the wait.
In a decision that reminded me of a story about the comedian Professor Irwin Corey, who billed himself as the world’s foremost authority, he was asked, “Why do you wear sneakers?” He replied by saying that this actually was two questions. The first question was “Why?” and he went on to a long philosophical discussion of “why.” Then he went on to the second question, “Do you wear sneakers?” and he promptly responded, “Yes.”
In this case the Supreme Court was asked whether or not the FCC’s indecency rules were in violation of the First Amendment. However, rather than answer that question, the court merely determined unanimously, after much discussion, that the standards were applied retroactively and therefore they could not be enforced against ABC and Fox. 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.
Finebaum Case Far from Settled Says Cumulus. Contrary to the story published here earlier today (6/1), there is no settlement on the horizon for Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum and Cumulus Media in their contract dispute. Cumulus COO John Dickey tells TALKERS the reported agreement that would end the lawsuits each side is filing against other and allow Finebaum to work out his contract at Cumulus’ sports talk WJOX-FM, Birmingham that ends in January of 2013 and then go to work at Cox Media’s crosstown sports WZNN-FM if he chooses are categorically untrue. “He will never work for Cox in Birmingham,” Dickey says. Jefferson County Circuit Judge Robert Vance had asked the two sides to resume negotiations to settle the contract dispute and report to the court by May 30.
Battle for Control of SiriusXM Heating Up. John Malone‘s Liberty Media is again filing a request with the FCC to give it “de facto” control of satellite broadcaster SiriusXM. The Commission denied its first attempt back on May 4 but Liberty has since acquired another 6-plus percent of the company’s stock, pushing its total above 46%. It’s petition for reconsideration with the FCC reportedly contains additional information to the Commission. In a filing with the SEC, SiriusXM states, “We’ve been engaged in discussions with Liberty Media to explore possible transactions with respect to its ownership interest in Sirius, although we have not reached agreement with respect to a specific transaction that would be mutually beneficial to both our common and preferred stockholders. There is no assurance that these discussions will result in any specific action or transaction. We do not expect to disclose developments with respect to these discussions.”
Scott Hennen Turns to Listeners for Funding for WZFG, Fargo. Talk show host and businessman Scott Hennen is exploring alternative sources for funding his purchase of The Flag 1100 (WZFG) in the Fargo market. The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead‘s Marino Eccher reports Hennen has created a program whereby fans become “founding fathers” and buy into one of four clubs – Faith, Family, Freedom, and Free Enterprise – for $1,000 (each club limited to 400 members). He’s seeking a total of 1,600 such “founders” to come up with $1.6 million. Hennen tells the paper he has traditional funding sources but decided to seek less traditional forms of funding after sensing his listeners “desire to be part of something bigger.” These fans will not be shareholders or part owners but instead will have input on the station’s weekend programming, behind-the-scenes updates and $1,000 advertising credit. Hennen tells Eccher Tea Party activist Mark Skogerboe will serve as director of the clubs and be an on-air contributor.
NEW MEDIA SEMINAR/NYC Sold Out but Agenda Keeps Growing. Thursday, June 7 is going to be a big day for talk radio in the Big Apple as some 400 professionals from all aspects of the business converge on the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side for a one-day conference containing the content mass of a two- or three-day convention. “Although we have reached capacity in terms of registration,” explains TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “doesn’t mean the agenda is not continuing to grow.” Casey continues, “This conference has all the aspects of an old fashioned ‘happening’ with a program lineup that is so outstanding, it is attracting a growing number of industry leaders wanting to contribute as speakers and panelists.” According to conference director Michael Harrison, “We attribute the positive response to this event not only its powerful and relevant agenda, but to the fact that it is so efficiently tuned to the times in terms of its affordable registration fee and compact time demands. With another one set for Los Angeles in October, this June 7 event has the convenience of a regional conference while delivering the bang of a major national convention.” Although space is limited for those who will participate in person, the content of this forthcoming NMS which will be video recorded from beginning to end will reach a far wider audience via TALKERS TV in the weeks and months following June 7. For information call 413-565-5413. To see the up-to-the-minute agenda, click here.
WEUS, Orlando to Be LMA’d with Intent to Purchase. Star Over Orlando‘s talk outlet WEUS, Orlando is entering into a deal with MultiCorp International to have the latter’s subsidiary – Rivalz Sports Group – operate the station as a sports talk outlet beginning on July 30 with the intent to buy the signal. MultiCorp intends to change the calls to WRSG and hopes to move the stations operations “within a restaurant facility” so diners can enjoy “a first-class restaurant/media experience.” The company states it hopes to expand this model to other markets.
Dr. Laura Launches Online Jewelry Business. SiriusXM talk show host and talk radio pioneer Dr. Laura Schlessinger unveils her “Dr. Laura Designs,” – an online boutique featuring her personally designed and handcrafted jewelry, glass and polymer clay art. The site offers ready-made items or people can commission custom made pieces. Dr. Laura initially began selling jewelry to assist the “Operation Family Fund,” a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to families of those who are injured or killed while fighting the war on terrorism, and raised more than $1.5 million. Dr. Laura has had a passion for jewelry – making it and glass art that started when, during a particularly difficult time for her family, her then-little son suggested that a new hobby would be helpful. She states, “I never thought I had one ounce of artistic ability, and couldn’t think of what I could do.” After a listener suggested she visit a local bead fest, she says, “I walked by a table filled with Tibetan ornaments and my brain just exploded with creative images. I bought books on jewelry-making and purchased tools, wire, beads and stones and got started.” Dr. Laura’s program currently airs from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET on the Sirius Stars channel.
Dave Ramsey to Lead NAB-RAB Radio Show Super Session. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey will lead a Super Session at the September 19-21 Radio Show in Dallas being produced jointly by the NAB and RAB. The panel, titled “Succeeding in This Economic Environment,” taking place on Thursday, September 20 at 9:30 am and, as its title implies, will focus on steps radio station operators can take to achieve success in these tough economic times.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. The Society for Professional Journalism and the Radio Television Digital News Association announce registration is open for their September Excellence in Journalism Conference taking place the 20th through the 22nd in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The conference offers more than 50 professional development sessions…..Former college football coach Rick Neuheisel (UCLA, Washington and Colorado) joins SiriusXM‘s College Sports Nation channel where he’ll appear on the “College Football Playbook” show and co-host the daily “College Sports Today” show with Mark Packer…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment‘s WFLA, Tampa begins simulcasting on an FM translator at 105.9 licensed to West Tampa…..Las Vegas-based nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs has a small role in an upcoming Showtime reality program. She tells TALKERS, “It’s a one-time small part on a Showtime reality show but it’s a start!” Wachs says it’s super secret and she can’t even tell us the name of the show, yet.
Stormy Times at Fairfax Media. American media companies are not the only ones dealing with difficult financial situations. TALKERS Australia bureau chief Trevor Smith reports on one of Australia’s major talkback radio-formatted operators – Fairfax Media – as it deals with corporate power struggles and underperforming revenue. Read Smith’s entire piece here.
Rusty Among the Politichicks. That’s Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated talk show host Rusty Humphries on the set of the internet TV show “Politichicks.” Humphries appeared with co-hosts Dr. Gina Loudon, Ann-Marie Murrell, Sonnie Johnson, Morgan Brittany on the recent episode titled, “The Fairness Doctrine: There’s Nothing Fair,” to discuss the “current environment of talk radio as well as why conservative talk radio has become a focus of attack by the mainstream media and liberal politicians. At the end of the segment, Rusty was formally honored with the title, “PolitiStud.” It’s obvious to see why.
2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 28 – June 1. The 2012 presidential contest was #1 on the Talkers TenTM chart of the week’s most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the ninth week in a row. At #2 this week was the Syria massacre aftermath. Following at #3 was Iran’s nuclear ambitions and at #4 was the Euro zone crisis and the global financial markets’ activities. The Talkers TenTM is based on ongoing research from Talkers magazine and consists of the top stories and people discussed on America’s news/talk radio stations during the week. View this week’s entire chart here.
Crue Visits the Cannons. Motley Crue bassist and host of the Premiere Networks-syndicated “Sixx Sense” radio program, Nikki Sixx (r), is pictured here with Fox Sports Radio‘s “Loose Cannons” co-host Pat O’Brien (l). Fox Sports Radio and Los Angeles Dodgers flagship AM 570 Fox Sports LA (KLAC) invited Sixx to throw out the first pitch at a recent Dodgers game. Prior to the first pitch and Sixx’s appearance on the “Loose Cannons” nationally syndicated program, Fox Sports Radio offered listeners the chance to win travel accommodations and tickets to a stop on this summer’s Motley Crue/KISS tour.
Boomer Esiason to be Honored at New Media Seminar. WFAN, New York morning co-host and football legend Boomer Esiason has been named the 2012 recipient of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host. Esiason (pictured here with son Gunnar) will be presented the award and speak at the New Media Seminar in New York City on June 7 during the event’s Freedom of Speech Luncheon. Esiason was inspired to begin the foundation when his son Gunnar was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 1993. It has proven to be extremely effective as a dynamic partnership of leaders in the medical and business communities joining with a committed core of volunteers to heighten awareness, education and the quality of life for those affected by cystic fibrosis, while providing financial support to research aimed at finding a cure. Esiason says, “One of the first lessons I learned in youth football was that winning requires all of the individual athletes on a team to come together, to cooperate and to support each other. It’s a lesson I think also applies to cystic fibrosis. I am honored to be receiving this award.” For more information about the Boomer Esiason Foundation click www.esiason.org. Boomer Esiason is one of more than 50 talk media industry leaders scheduled to speak at the June 7 gathering. The New Media Seminar is on the verge of a sellout. For information about registering for this industry-only conference, please call 413-565-5413.
New York State Appellate Court Rules in Favor of Talk Host Bob Lonsberry. The New York Law Journal reports the New York Appellate Division, Fourth Department has sided with WHAM, Rochester and WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse talk host Bob Lonsberry and employer Clear Channel Media and Entertainment in a case that boils down to First Amendment rights. The case revolves around Lonsberry’s on-air conversation with the sister of John Gisel who was acquitted of murder after a shooting death in a hunting situation. During the conversation, Lonsberry asked the woman how it felt to have a “cold blooded murderer” in the family and if he “put a notch in the stock of his gun after he kills people.” The Gisel family sued for defamation but the court ruled Lonsberry’s comments were “obviously intended to be caustic and confrontational, rather than factual” and that his words were “non-actionable expressions of pure opinion.” Gisel may have believed Lonsberry’s comments were made with malice, thus giving him a case. And, though not all opinion is protected by the First Amendment, it was in this case. Read TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman’s analysis of the decision here.
Rush Limbaugh Strikes Back with “Rush Babes for America” Campaign. Premiere Networks talk star Rush Limbaugh is taking on the notion his program is anti-women – something he tells his listeners is implied by the National Organization for Women’s “Enough Rush” campaign – and opens a “Rush Babes for America” Facebook page. During his program he told listeners, “What ‘Rush Babes for America’ is about is posting stories and ideas that happen here on the program…and inviting all of you to participate in conversations on Facebook with other women about what matters to you. As a means of demonstrating just what a minority the National Organization for Women and its so-called affiliates really are.” Last month, NOW announced its “Enough Rush” campaign to target the talk show host for removal from the air but, so far, there’s been no information released by NOW beyond the initial announcement.
Liberty Media Ups Ante in Bid for Control of SiriusXM. Liberty Media chairman John Malone appears determined to take control of SiriusXM after being shot down by the FCC last week in his bid to get de facto control over the company with just 40% of the satcaster’s stock and five of the 13 seats on the board of directors. Liberty is acquiring another 302 million shares of the stock for $602 million – that’s $2.15 per share – to hike its total ownership to 45.2% of SiriusXM’s stock. Last week the FCC ruled that Liberty’s filing was incomplete. Now, it appears Liberty is preparing for another crack at that FCC application for control.
Saga Communications Radio Revenue Up 3%. The first quarter of 2012 was kind to Saga Communications which reports revenue for the radio and TV company was up 4.3% while radio alone was up 3% from the same period a year ago on revenue of $25.2 million. Saga CEO Ed Christian spoke during yesterday’s conference call about his belief in the core aspect of being a radio and TV operator which he says is selling to local advertisers.
Clear Channel Breaks Up Sports Simulcast on WHTK-AM/FM, Rochester. Sports talk has been simulcast on Clear Channel’s WHTK-AM/FM, Rochester since 2009 but now the company debuts a new oldies outlet on the FM side and leaves the sports to the AM band.
Compass Media Networks Announces 2012 College Football Schedule. Compass Media Networks makes its 2012 college football schedule public. Compass is presenting more than 16 college football games for the 2012 season beginning with Miami at Boston College on September 1, including heritage matchups such as Auburn vs Alabama and Wisconsin vs Ohio State and culminating in the Big Ten Championship game on December 1. Compass Media CEO Peter Kosann states, “We are once again thrilled to offer our affiliates and partners access to some of the nation’s top match-ups.” Dial Global is handling ad sales for Compass Media’s college football broadcasts.
Greeny Dances. ESPN Radio and ESPN2 star Mike Greenberg is pictured here with professional dancer Anna Trebunskaya dancing to “Livin’ La Vida Loca” live on both the radio and cable TV simulcast. Greenberg lost the “Sheets of Integrity” March Madness challenge to “Mike & Mike” partner Mike Golic and paid his gambling debt by donning the sequined outfit and taking to the dance floor. Celebrity judges Jerry Rice and Hines Ward both gave Greenberg an 8 for his performance while Greenberg’s wife Stacy gave him a 9.
2012 Presidential Race, NC Gay Marriage Ban, Terror Plot Foiled, Dick Lugar Ousted in Primary and Euro Zone Anti-Austerity Backlash Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/8). The 2012 presidential race; the ban on gay marriage in North Carolina; the foiling of the al Qaeda plot to blow up U.S. Airliners; Republican Indiana Senator Dick Lugar loses his primary race; and Euro Zone countries fight back against anti-austerity measures were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Get Well, Art Voulo! TALKERS sends get well wishes out to “radio’s best friend” Art Vuolo who’s in the hospital dealing with a case of cellulitis. Art is pictured here modeling the latest in hospital johnny fashion while convalescing. We’re noticing there is no table-top or portable radio (with ear buds) in the picture which forces us to ask if this is the real Art Vuolo.
Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey Reports Limbaugh Boycott Cost Company Millions. During Monday’s first quarter conference call with analysts, Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey announced that the advertiser boycott of Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh show – which is carried on 38 Cumulus-owned stations – cost his company “a couple of million” in the first quarter of 2012 and another “couple of million” in the second quarter. Dickey says everything seems pretty much back to normal for June but he blames about 1% of the company’s 3.5% drop in revenue on the Limbaugh boycott. Dickey also addressed the debut of the Mike Huckabee show which airs live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot and is seen by some observers as a direct competitor to Limbaugh. He says they are very close to having Huckabee on 200 affiliates and he’s viewing the show as a long-term project.
Cumulus Media’s 2012 Q1 Revenue Down 3.5%. The first quarter of 2012 saw Cumulus Media report net revenues down 3.5% on earnings of $245.3 million – down from $254.2 million for the same period a year ago. Free cash flow was up almost 95% to $37 million, up from $19 million for the first quarter of 2011 and EBITDA was up 12.2% to $76.8 million. CEO Lew Dickey states, “The first quarter of 2012 was marked by significant progress in our integration of Citadel as we build Cumulus into a robust platform company that strategically monetizes content, distribution and technology. Complementing this progress was the continued deleveraging of our balance sheet, as well as strategic portfolio management that will enable us tremendous financial flexibility going forward.”
FCC Up to Full Complement. Six months after they were nominated, Republican Ajit Pai and Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel have been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to seats on the Federal Communications Commission. Senator Charles Grassley had been keeping the confirmation from taking place due to his concern over the commission’s handling of the LightSquared case. Grassley has been investigating the FCC’s dealings with the troubled satellite venture suspecting that LightSquared has been given special treatment by the commission.
Pat Miller Cuts Back Duties at WOWO, Fort Wayne; Gregg Henson to PM Drive. Afternoon drive talk show host Pat Miller is leaving his role at the legendary Federated Media station to focus on his own local business. Director of programming operations Gregg Henson takes over the PM drive host duties effective immediately. Miller will remain with the station in several capacities. He’ll host a weekly Saturday afternoon program and he’ll make regular appearances as the station’s expert political analyst. Henson says of Miller, “Pat is a great asset to WOWO and we look forward to redeploying him in other areas to take advantage of his strengths. He is a tremendous resource. Pat’s loyalty and love for Fort Wayne are indisputable and we look forward to his continued relationship with WOWO.” Henson assumed the programming duties at WOWO and sister station WKJG a year ago. He says he’s excited about taking over the PM drive show. “WOWO has a special relationship with this community and I look forward to being a part of it.”
Talk Radio Hosts Converge on Washington, DC for “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” Radio Row. More than 60 talk radio hosts are in Washington, DC today and tomorrow for a radio row sponsored by the Federation for American Immigration Reform. The event is being led by Radio America syndicated talk show host Roger Hedgecock who organized the first radio row dedicated to this issue in 2007 to protest the Senate Amnesty Bill. Talk show hosts taking part have the opportunity to interview numerous legislators and experts on illegal immigration and related topics over the course of the two days. FAIR communications director Bob Dane tells TALKERS, “Once again, talk hosts from across the country are gathering to focus on immigration reform and this election year is the most critical of all. The Obama administration continues to dismantle interior enforcement at a frightening pace and is using unconstitutional backdoor methods to grant amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens. With November looming, May is the ideal time to set clear expectations for candidates of all stripes. Responsive politicians respect and listen to the electronic town hall of talk radio and ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ is a yearly bellwether of public sentiment on the immigration issue.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Peter Sessa has been the vice president of marketing and communications at Westwood One for the past five years. He stayed with the operation after it was merged with Dial Global but now exits and is seeking his next opportunity…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago eliminates a news position as midday anchor Jim Gudas is let go for financial reasons…..Phil Cioppa joins the Greenwich, Connecticut-based Business TalkRadio Network where his show which “tackles global and national events and translates them into how they affect the average American’s pocketbook” now airs on some 140 affiliates…..SiriusXM announces it is launching an expanded suite of 30 play-by-play channels dedicated to streaming the official radio broadcasts of every MLB team on the SiriusXM Internet Radio App and online at SiriusXM.com…..WTOP-FM, Washington offers prizes to listeners in the area with the worst commute. Dubbed “Commuter Idle,” listeners must submit stories of their commute online and the winner receives $1,000 in gas money and a limo ride. Runners-up get $150 gas cards…..Merlin Media’s WEMP-FM, New York lets managing editor Doug O’Brien go. The Former WINS, New York staffer has been with FM News 101.9 since its inception last summer…..Yahoo! Sports Radio pairs up Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel with college sports writer Pat Forde for a weekly Thursday evening sports talk show on the network…..Bonneville’s KSL, Salt Lake City (the AM side) celebrates its 90th anniversary serving the market…..Sports USA announces its 18-game college football schedule for this fall that kicks off with Michigan State hosting Boise State and wrapping up with the Sun Bowl on New Year’s Eve.
Putin Returns, Anti-Austerity Backlash in Europe, 2012 Presidential Race, New American Obesity Stats, Student Loan Rate Debate, and Terror Plot Foiled Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/7). The return of Vladimir Putin to power in Russia; voters in Europe show anti-austerity backlash; the 2012 presidential race; the latest statistics on obesity in America; Congress to take on student loan rate debate; and a plot to destroy a U.S. airliner is foiled were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Generations. Television stars Robert Conrad (l) and Jorge Garcia (r) pose for a photo at the Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles at the grand opening of an exhibit titled, “50 Years of Warner Brothers.” Conrad, who hosts a weekly talk radio program on CRN Digital Talk Radio, was the star of “The Wild, Wild West.” Garcia starred in “Lost” and currently is featured in “Alcatraz.”
Cumulus Makes it Official: WYAY-FM, Atlanta to Go All-News in May. The Atlanta Business Chronicle confirms what’s been rumored as Cumulus Media COO John Dickey announces the company’s classic hits WYAY-FM – licensed to Gainesville, Georgia – will flip to all-news in mid-May. Dickey tells the Chronicle, “As big a city as we’ve got and as diverse and cosmopolitan a community, not to have an all-news product creates a huge opportunity. It was an easy decision for us to take advantage of it…Pop culture, celebrity news and entertainment news have really become news today. That has intermixed with hard news to create a different product.” Atlanta had WCNN – now SportsRadio 680 the Fan – operating as an all-news outlet in the late 1990s but that was on AM and Cumulus believes now is the right time to put an all-news product on the FM band.
KTRS, St. Louis Cancels JC Corcoran PM Drive Show. Veteran St. Louis radio personality JC Corcoran exits CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis after hosting the PM drive show for the past 18 months. St. Louis Today’s Deb Peterson reports management at the station was not returning calls seeking comment but that other sources indicate that KTVI-TV, St. Louis sports director and former KFNS, St. Louis talk host Martin Kilcoyne will take over the program. Corcoran’s sidekick Trish Gazall is reportedly remaining with the station. Other changes including a slight shift in programming as John Hadley moves his late-night show to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot allowing Chicago-based Steve Cochran to host just his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program at the station (he had been doing a split shift with an early evening show as well).
Feature Series – Part 4: Innovation Sets You Free…to Make Money. Sabo Media president Walter Sabo concludes his four-part TALKERS series on FM talk. In this piece, Sabo discusses the importance of creating time and a place to innovate. Sabo notes that radio has no laboratory for experimentation. “If you come up with a new format or promotional idea, where and how do you test it? Success in a live medium depends on a specific dynamic with a live audience. As a rule you can’t ask people how they want to be entertained. You can present them with entertainment and see if they applaud.” Sabo offers several ways to test new programming, including your HD channel. “Finally, a good use for HD channels: Experimentation. If you want listeners to try a new medium, give them something new to listen to. It doesn’t cost more money to play different songs. The promise of HD radio is breathtaking. New programming attracts early adopters and that’s what new hardware demands.” Sabo says this article is a preview of 15 action-packed minutes that he will deliver at the New Media Seminar in New York on Thursday, June 7. This exciting industry-only event will be a certain sellout. For registration information call 413-565-5413. Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.
FCC Decision to Require Political Ad Info Posted Online for TV Stations Has Radio Execs Watching DC. For now, only television stations in the top 50 markets in the country are being required to post their public files – including their political ad rates – online. But some radio operators are nervous about this cascading to their medium. This decision is only popular with some political groups that believe too much money is spent on politics and is tarnishing the process. The NAB is not pleased and states, “NAB respectfully disagrees with today’s FCC decision and we’re disappointed that the Commission rejected compromise proposals proffered by broadcasters that would have brought greater transparency to political ad buying. By forcing broadcasters to be the only medium to disclose on the internet our political advertising rates, the FCC jeopardizes the competitive standing of stations that provide local news, entertainment, sports and life-saving weather information free of charge to tens of millions of Americans daily. We appreciate Commissioner McDowell‘s thoughtful and compelling dissent, and we will be seeking guidance from our Board of Directors regarding our options.” Some communications law observers believe there are problems with this new policy and we’re likely to see this end up in court.
Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels to Host New TV and Radio Show Beginning in Early May. Michael Patrick Shiels previously hosted the morning show based at WJIM, Lansing and was heard on other markets via the Michigan Talk Network. His relationship with WJIM owner Cumulus ended and now he announces he’s struck a deal with WSYM-TV, Lansing to produce and distribute a new morning show that will be simulcast on WSYM-TV and on the radio in markets yet to be announced. WSYM-TV VP/GM Gary Baxter states. “FOX 47 is proud to continue its partnership with Michael Patrick Shiels and launch his new program. There is simply no one like him on radio or TV in the state of Michigan. Michael Patrick’s show allows us to have the biggest names in politics, business and Michigan sports on our air every morning. Our viewers might see Governor Snyder and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford on the same show — what great television!”
Tom Joyner Vows to Stay Connected with Tri-State Fans Via Digital Media. The Emmis-ESPN deal and consequent merger of the Kiss FM format with WBLS-FM, New York leaves his nationally syndicated urban morning show in the lurch. But Tom Joyner believes very strongly in the power of Black radio and the need for shows like his in the Black community. In a memo to Kiss FM listeners, he writes, “I am saddened that an important Black voice is going silent in New York City, especially during this important election year. Along with the Tom Joyner “Morning Show,” the Michael Baisden show and Rev. Al Sharpton’s Sunday program will also be off the air in NYC in this transition. Black radio has been and always will be an extremely important motivational force in the community. Although social media currently gets a lot of credit and rightfully so, nothing can replace the role Black radio plays in empowering, informing and entertaining Black people. You can’t believe everything you read on social media but studies do show that most people believe what they hear on black radio. That makes me feel proud and reminds me of my responsibility to be there for them each morning.” Joyner encourages his audience in the Tri-State area to listen via his smartphone app or via BlackAmericaWeb.com.
Compass Media Networks’ “At Home with Bob Vila” Debuts Today. The new daily feature hosted by home improvement icon Bob Vila and produced and distributed by Compass Media Networks hits the air today at affiliates including KOGO, San Diego; WTKK-FM, Boston; KMJ, Fresno; KFNN, Phoenix; KVON, Napa, California and more. Compass Media Networks VP affiliate sales Adam Wilbur states, “Stations in all formats – sports, news/talk, all-news, country, AC and classic hits have signed up for Vila. In another week, we will announce additional stations in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Washington, DC. With over 90% name recognition with Americans, program directors appreciate the power of Bob’s brand – and sales managers love the ability to sell the feature locally.”
Actor Stephen Baldwin, TV-Radio Host Dani Johnson and Talk Host Kevin McCullough Announce Effort to Aid Starving Orphans. The 2012 in 2012 charity effort is named that because, as XtreMedia CEO and principal Kevin McCullough states, the goal is to rescue 2,012 orphans from starvation during the year 2012. McCullough’s weekend radio show partner Stephen Baldwin and television and radio host Dani Johnson are partnering to spearhead this program. Baldwin says a child can be fed for a mere 25 cents per day. “When I toured the places these children sleep and live in, I couldn’t help but be moved to do something about it. My whole family saw with our own eyes children who were dying or would die soon, simply because they had no food. It is imperative to me, my media company, my family, my business partners, and every one I come into contact with to let them know how vital 25 cents can be. It can literally feed a meal to a child who literally will die without it.” Kevin McCullough says, “Our partners are delivering life-healing food for the rate of feeding an orphan for an entire year, for just $92 – this is how simple it is to save a life? How can we get more people involved? How can we rescue more children? These questions haunt me each night…” McCullough and company are teaming up with two charities experienced in feeding children – Food for Orphans and King’s Ransom Foundation and they are seeking other media partners for this quest. “If you are a television, radio or new media personality who has a passion to help hungry kids, we would love for you to join us in this amazing quest. We will link arm in arm with anyone and everyone who is moved to do this, to be part of it, and to see orphans fed.”
Nationally Syndicated Radio Feature Host Akos Jankura Develops New Weekend Show; Seeks Products or Inventions from Public to Feature. Inventor and international presenter Akos Jankura – who writes and produces the nationally syndicated radio feature “Akos the Solutionist” – teams up with John Cremeans to create a weekend radio show based at WFLA, Tampa on which they will make it possible for one inventor to pitch their product or invention. The show will premiere Saturday, May 5 at 4:00 pm on WFLA and people with products or inventions are asked to visit MyCoolInventions.com to submit their entry. Jankura says, “Many people don’t know that one of our most successful TV shopping channels actually began on radio. I’ve teamed up with John Cremeans also known as ‘The Doctor of Shopolgy,’ John has logged over 25,000 hours of live television shopping and is a pioneer in our industry. He is skilled at getting arm-chair inventors to make their best pitch for their product which is so important in the early development process.” Jankura says together the two have more than $2 billion in sales. The team is poised to identify products and inventions that can become the next great hit. Their hands-on process invites everyday inventors or people with great ideas to join the inventive group at MyCoolInventions.com and sign up to receive information and tips that will guide them through the process of taking a product to market.
In Memory of a Radio Pioneer: Pete Fornatale. TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer worked closely with rock radio legend Pete Fornatale who passed away last week at age 66. Although, as Neer writes, Fornatale was not a talk host as we traditionally define it in radio, “When he did crack the mic, you couldn’t find a more intelligent voice observing pop culture than the late Pete Fornatale.” Neer notes that Fornatale became synonymous with the genre of radio hosts who did more than quickly intro or backsell a record – something that many argue is missing in music radio these days. “He was probably the first real musicologist on commercial radio who presented rock and folk music as an intellectual as well as emotional experience.” Read Richard Neer’s memorial to Pete Fornatale here.
Entertainment Industry Mourns Passing of Dick Clark. The music, television and radio industries are mourning the passing of pioneer broadcaster Dick Clark, who died on Wednesday after suffering a massive heart attack at age 82. In addition to his numerous other contributions to the entertainment industry, Clark co-founded United Stations Radio Networks with Nick Verbitsky in 1981. Verbitsky says, “Dick was an icon to many, but a true friend, partner and mentor to those of us who worked closely with him. His impact on broadcasting is immeasurable, and his entrepreneurial spirit will be a part of our world at United Stations forever.”
Talk Host Scott Hennen to Purchase WZFG, Fargo. The conservative talk-formatted WZFG, Fargo – positioned as “1100 AM The Flag” – will return to the control of talk host and station manager Scott Hennen upon FCC approval and the closing. Hennen announces he’s struck a deal with Great Plains Integrated Marketing to buy back the station he founded in 2008. Hennen was fired by his investors as president and CEO of GPIM in the fall of 2010. His program remained on the air at WZFG until May of 2011. Hennen is currently hosting a nationally syndicated radio show but is not heard in the Fargo market at this time. His program will return to the station when the new deal begins.
Internet and Terrestrial Radio Are Different Businesses When it Comes to Non-Competes. That’s the ruling of Stark County (OH) Common Pleas Court Judge Charles E. Brown in the case of two Canton jocks who started a radio show on the internet and were sued by their former employer for violating the non-compete. Radio hosts Patrick DeLuca and Charlotte DiFranco (pictured here) left their highly rated morning program at WDJQ-FM, Canton after failing to agree to terms on a contract renewal with station owner Don Peterson III. They started their own station at www.theradiosucks.com and began broadcasting three shows per week after exiting in February and Peterson sued, claiming they violated the non-compete. Attorney Steve Okey argued his clients were prevented from operating a business that was “the same or essentially the same as a radio station” and their venture does not fit that description. The judge agreed. Peterson tells the Youngstown Vindicator he’s disappointed with the decision and will review his options. This is a case others in the radio and internet radio businesses will be watching closely.
Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington Inks Deal for Sports Content with Dial Global. Red Zebra Broadcasting announces it has signed a two-year deal with Dial Global Radio Networks to have exclusive rights to March Madness, the NFL package, the NFL playoffs, the Super Bowl, the NFL Draft, Golf’s Majors and the Olympics in the Washington, DC market. Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says of the deal, “We want to thank Greg Leader and Sean Thompson of Dial Global for being such great partners. We could not be more pleased with the relationship and all the great programming Dial Global brings to our listeners. When you team the Redskins Radio Network with Dial Global’s NFL Package, NFL fans in DC will receive extensive, exclusive coverage of the National Football League on ESPN980.”
Current TV to Add Show Hosted by California Lieutenant Governor. Former San Francisco mayor and current California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will debut a new talk show on the Al Gore-founded Current TV network beginning in May. The New York Times reports the move is designed by Current TV to “keep its progressive agenda on track.” In a statement announcing the move, co-founder Al Gore states, “He touches many worlds – business, politics, entertainment and activism. We are honored that Current TV will be bringing his curiosity, intelligence, insights and enthusiasm to television.” Newsom will continue to serve as lieutenant governor of California. Current TV is rebounding from the high-profile battle – now in the courts – with former “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann. It also recently added video simulcasts of talk radio stars Stephanie Miller’s and Bill Press’ nationally syndicated morning radio programs.
TALKERS Publishes 2012 Heavy Hundred. The 2012 installment of TALKERS magazine’s signature feature, “The Talkers 250 featuring the Heavy Hundred,” is officially posted. This long-running talk radio industry institution also titled, “The 250 Most Important Talk Radio Hosts in America,” is compiled by the TALKERS editorial board based upon a compilation of both objective and subjective elements including (in alphabetical order): courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, ratings, recognition, revenue, service, talent and uniqueness. Although the list is traditionally drawn from a wide variety of genres representing the breadth of spoken word radio from commercial to public and including everything from traditional news/talk to specialty programming, this year’s installment of the popular feature marks a departure from the custom of including sports talk hosts. According to TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “Because of the explosive growth of sports talk radio and the number of excellent hosts participating in it across the country, TALKERS will be publishing the genre’s own Heavy Hundred beginning in 2012.” The TALKERS Sports Talk Heavy Hundred is scheduled for publication this coming June. To see this year’s entire “Talkers 250 featuring the Heavy Hundred” click here.
23rd Annual Imus Radiothon Begins Today. 77WABC, New York-based Don Imus broadcasts the 23rd Annual Imus Radiothon beginning today and running through tomorrow. The Radiothon is airing on 77WABC, radio affiliates around the country and on the Fox Business Network. The two-day event benefits the Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer, the Tomorrows Children’s Fund and the CJ Foundation for SIDS. Guests on the program for the Radiothon will include various sponsors and children/siblings who have visited and experienced the Imus Ranch in Ribera, New Mexico.
Warren Ballentine Interviews First Lady Michelle Obama. Syndication One nationally syndicated talk host Warren Ballentine is pictured here at the White House on April 16 interviewing First Lady Michelle Obama. Ballentine visited the White House as part of the Summit on Entrepreneurship for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions. The White House Summit offered the opportunity for Ballentine to provide a national African-American audience for small business owners, government experts and leaders from a variety of HBCUs/MSIs to discuss their numerous opportunities and facilitate solutions to challenges in underserved communities. Ballentine states, “Doing my show from the White House was such a great honor for me. The staff was outstanding and the chance to interview First Lady Michelle Obama was truly a blessing and honor. The First Lady is not only gracious, she is wise, funny, empathetic and truly in tune with the people of America. This is an experience that I will never forget!” Ballentine’s interview with the First Lady will be highlighted on his program today (4/19).
2012 Presidential Campaign, U.S. Soldiers Photos Scandal, North Korea Military Ambitions, Trayvon Martin Case Developments and Ted Nugent Comments Concern Secret Service Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/18). The 2012 presidential campaign; the problems being caused by U.S. soldiers taking photos with the bodies of dead Taliban insurgents; ongoing concerns over North Korea’s military ambitions; judge steps down from Trayvon Martin case; and Ted Nugent’s comments to NRA group draws concern of Secret Service were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
The FCC and You – Part 2: An Explanation of Obscenity. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes the second in a series of exclusive articles covering crucial regulatory information of which all license holders must be aware. Here Weisman outlines the three-pronged guidelines to defining obscenity and discusses some of the court cases that have helped codify the FCC regulations as they stand today. Read more here.
Rivers Radio Launches Progressive News/Talk Station in Atlanta. WGUN, Atlanta debuted as a progressive news/talk outlet yesterday featuring a lineup that includes: Syndication One’s Warren Ballentine, The Ed Schultz Show, Premiere Networks’ Randi Rhodes, WYD Media’s Thom Hartmann, and The Mike Malloy Show. Rivers Radio EVP and general manager Kevin Hemmings states, “Atlanta’s 1010 is excited to be able to offer this incredible lineup to our rapidly growing audience. For the first time in a very long while, the listeners of Atlanta now have a diverse choice of viewpoints and opinions.” WGUN had been airing an oldies/standards format.
Syracuse Talk Personality Jim Reith Joins Pubcasters for New Shows. Longtime WSYR, Syracuse talk show host Jim Reith – a 27-year employee of the station who was downsized in October of 2011 – begins a new career in the public media world when he debuts a 30-minute TV talk show on WCNY-TV, Syracuse in May and a radio talk show on WCNY-FM, Syracuse in the fall. Reith tells the Syracuse Post Standard, “I want to be a local guy doing local topics with local people. I want to inform people about local issues in a more developed way than you can do with a sound bite. And I want to entertain people and have some fun.” Reith’s TV talk show will air daily from 6:30 pm to 7:00 pm starting May 14 and in the fall he’ll begin a daily three-hour radio talk show on classical WCNY-FM’s HD 3 channel.
Cumulus-Finebaum Suits May Reach Settlement Out of Court. If Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Robert Vance has his way, the lawsuits between WJOX-FM, Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum and employer Cumulus Media will be settled out of court. According to the Birmingham News, Vance has ordered the two sides to get back to the negotiating table in order to settle the contract dispute. The two sides were in court last week for a hearing before Vance and they appear closer to a settlement. Finebaum is suing over contractual issues that took place when Citadel owned the station and Cumulus is countersuing claiming breach of contract.
Leland Conway Moves to WRVA, Richmond for PM Drive. Lexington, Kentucky talk show host Leland Conway leaves his afternoon drive show at Clear Channel’s WLAP after six years to take over the same time slot at the company’s WRVA, Richmond. Conway fills the slot at WRVA that opened when the station parted ways with Doc Thompson. Back at WLAP, the station will get assistance from WHAS, Louisville talk host Mandy Connell and others filling in Conway’s afternoon show until a permanent replacement can be found.
WTMA, Charleston Morning Host Richard Todd Resigns. Citing the difficulty of being a single parent after the passing of his wife from cancer back in January, WTMA, Charleston, South Carolina morning drive host Richard Todd has resigned from the station. Todd returned to the radio in February after taking some time off subsequent to the death of his wife Mary Todd on January 3. Todd told his audience he would not be leaving his position had it not been for his wife’s passing. He said he isn’t able to focus and prepare the way he needs to in order to execute the show the way he’d like.
Former NFL Players Greg Koch and N.D. Kalu Exit KILT, Houston. The two had been contributors to CBS Radio’s sports talk KILT, Houston where they worked on both its coverage of Houston Texans football and with some of the station’s sports talk shows. Now, the Houston Chronicle reports the two have resigned from the station and the scuttlebutt is that they will resurface at Clear Channel’s crosstown sports talk KBME. KILT program director Gavin Spittle tells the paper, “We appreciated the time they were here. We have been fortunate to build a large staff, and with that will come departures. And with departures comes rebuilding, and we are excited about our future.” Greg Koch is an attorney and N.D. Kalu works in the real estate business in the Houston area.
Former Senator Arlen Specter Hangs Up on GCN’s Jason Lewis. Former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter grew tired of his time on Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis show – especially of having to sit through commercial breaks – and hung up on Lewis, but not after admonishing him for how the interview was being conducted. Specter was on the program to promote his latest book, Life Among the Cannibals (Thomas Dunne Books 2012). GCN reports Specter was upset Lewis didn’t spend enough time with the Republican-turned-Democrat discussing his book. After the second commercial break he told Lewis, “I gave you 10 minutes. You’ve been over every subject except for my book. I’ve listened to two rounds of your commercials. I think it’s insulting. I’ve been in a lot of interviews in the course of the past 30 years and you are absolutely insulting! I told you the last time around I wasn’t looking to sit around and listen to your commercials, and I didn’t want to hang up on you. But I want to tell you this is no way for anybody to run an interview. I’m as experienced as you are, if not more so. And that’s all I have to tell you, so goodbye!”
WFED, Washington PM Drive Host Francis Rose Available to Comment on Latest Government Waste Scandal. A new report from the Inspector General at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), the agency that buys goods and services for the Federal government, says leadership spent over $822,000 on a conference attended by about 300 people in October 2010 (over $2700 per attendee). The report says “many of the expenditures on this conference were excessive and wasteful and that in many instances GSA followed neither federal procurement laws nor its own policy on conference spending.” This story has been gaining traction among government waste watchers and is already huge in the nation’s capital. Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFED (sister station to WTOP) uniquely targets its programming to Federal employees – particularly the bureaucracy’s movers and shakers – and is all over this breaking scandal. (See http://www.federalnewsradio.com/445/2812012/GSA-head-Johnson-resigns-two-others-fired.) Afternoon drive host Francis Rose tells TALKERS he is available for live and taped interviews via telephone on talk shows around the country to provide insight into its outrageous details. Rose can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by cell at 202-657-9907.
Jim Rome’s New CBS Sports Network Show Airs Tonight. Sports talk icon Jim Rome begins a new chapter in the TV side of his sports talk career as CBS Sports Network – CBS’ new sports cable channel – broadcasts the first edition of his TV show since Rome parted company with ESPN. Rome appeared on the “Late Show with David Letterman” last week to promote the new show and talk sports. Rome’s new TV program airs nightly at 6:00 ET.
GOP Primary/2012 Presidential Campaign, Syrian Violence, ObamaCare Status, Iran Nukes, Gas Prices and NCAA Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/2). The Republican primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign; the drive to end the violence in Syria, the politics surrounding the legal status of President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act, Iran’s nuclear ambitions; the rising price of gas and the NCAA basketball finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Steven J. J. Weisman
BOSTON — “At the heart of the First Amendment is the recognition of the fundamental importance of the free flow of ideas and opinions on matters of public interest and concern. The freedom to speak one’s mind is not only an aspect of individual liberty – and thus a good unto itself – but also is essential to the common quest for truth and the vitality of society as a whole.” It is interesting to note that this lofty statement of the principle of free speech came out of a case involving Hustler Magazine. Hustler Magazine v. Falwell 485 U.S. 46, 50-51.
However, although free speech is exalted under our Constitution, it is not unlimited. Title 18 U.S.C. Section 1464 prohibits “obscene, indecent or profane language by means of radio communication.” The duty to enforce this regulation is given by Congress to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The consequences of violation of this law are potentially quite severe, ranging from the imposition of monetary fines, referred to by the FCC as “forfeitures” to even the revocation of the broadcasting station’s license to broadcast. The amount of the fine or forfeiture is determined by consideration of the “nature, circumstances, extent and gravity of the violation and with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, any history of prior offenses, ability to pay and such other matters as justice may require” according to the FCC’s Forfeiture Policy Statement.
Controversy and Misinformation of Radio Advertising Keeps Rush Limbaugh in the News; Host Reportedly Refuses to Take Back Advertiser. The consumer media continues to hang onto the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke issue with numerous stories and segments being published and produced over the weekend about the extent to which the controversy may be hurting advertising on Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh show as well as a wider swath of conservative talk radio. In addition to the fluctuating count of advertisers that may or may not have left the Limbaugh program (depending on whether or not they actually advertised on the show in the first place as many reports cite firms that did not), outlets such as New York Magazine and The Daily Beast are writing about a memo from Premiere to affiliate stations detailing 98 companies that don’t want their goods or services advertised on controversial programming. The memo gives examples of hosts including Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis (shows how old that memo is), Michael Savage, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. TALKERS has pointed out to countless consumer media that have contacted our offices regarding this issue that “no controversial programming” dictates are common and practically as old as talk radio itself and not a unique reaction to the Limbaugh case – although certainly reiterated as a result of it. TALKERS has also pointed out that monitoring a station’s internet feed does not reflect the same commercial content as the air feed since union regulations affect the degree to which union talent-voiced spots can air on the web. Meanwhile, the Sacramento Bee is reporting Rush Limbaugh is refusing to take retailer Sleep Train back as an advertiser. The story cites Limbaugh spokesman Brian Glicklich stating the company sought to return to the Limbaugh show and the program replied to the Sacramento-based mattress retailer, “Rush received your requests personally. Unfortunately, your public comments were not well received by our audience, and did not accurately portray either Rush Limbaugh’s character or the intent of his remarks. Thus, we regret to inform you that Rush will be unable to endorse Sleep Train in the future. Rush appreciates your long friendship and your past support, and we wish you good luck in the future.”
Celebrity-Founded Women’s Media Center Piles on Rush Limbaugh. The organization co-founded by Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda and Robin Morgan is using the Rush Limbaugh controversy to call to arms like-minded activists to petition the FCC to take Limbaugh off the air. In an op-ed piece on CNN.com, the group reasons that Limbaugh – through his language and political opinions – is a purveyor of “hate speech” and therefore is not acting in the public interest. The group is suggesting the stations whose licenses are up for renewal that carry Limbaugh’s program are not serving the “public interest” and need either pull the show or not have their licenses renewed. The group states in the piece, “This isn’t political. While we disagree with Limbaugh’s politics, what’s at stake is the fallout of a society tolerating toxic, hate-inciting speech. For 20 years, Limbaugh has hidden behind the First Amendment, or else claimed he’s really “doing humor” or “entertainment.” He is indeed constitutionally entitled to his opinions, but he is not constitutionally entitled to the people’s airways.” It’s hard to tell what the motive here is – beyond polemicizing – since the FCC does not deal with issues of content in this way during the license renewal process.
Special Interest Group Intent on Hounding KFI, Los Angeles; Picks on Bill Handel’s Comment. Time will tell if the latest salvo from the Los Angeles-based Black Media Alliance sticks to Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles or ricochets back to harm the goals of the very organization that fired it. What’s for certain is the Black Media Alliance is taking a page from other special interest media “watchdog” groups and is recording every minute of KFI’s broadcasts and, when it hears something it doesn’t like, is firing off press releases and hoping for some traction. It used a March 9 broadcast from the Bill Handel show for this purpose. During a segment in which Handel comments on the news of the day with Gary Hoffman and Neil Saavedra, the topic of a California bill that would allow nurse practitioners to perform aspiration abortions came up. Handel commented on a law in Kansas where doctors are required to have the women see sonograms prior to having an abortion and offered his opinion that those who don’t already understand the procedure are “dumb-ass women.” BMA is using this comment to imply Handel has attacked all women. Listen to the segment here. There are numerous issues at play here but TALKERS will address the primary ones. The tenor of Bill Handel’s program hasn’t changed and presumably his advertisers know what they’re buying. If an advertiser boycott of Handel’s program is what the BMA seeks, it may find the going tougher for Handel’s Southern California show than national groups are for the Rush Limbaugh controversy. That’s generally the way these cases work. Handel broke no FCC rules and we believe it’s unlikely he or KFI will apologize – so far neither has. During the discussion, you can hear both sides of the issue being debated by the air talent. This is exactly the kind of public debate of important issues Supreme Court rulings, such as New York Times v. Sullivan, protects and which the Court admits could be controversial. Justice Brennan even wrote of the “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.” The most important issue for the BMA is whether this tactic will cause it to be perceived by the public as nitpicking and a pest instead of being seen as an organization with goals of diversity and fairness.
Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York Rebrands as “The Answer.” The New York news/talk outlet formerly known as “The Apple” hits the air today with an altered programming schedule and the new handle, “The Answer.” Salem Communications VP and director of the spoken word format Phil Boyce states, “The new name will more accurately reflect who we are and what the benefit is to listening to us. ‘The Answer’ just popped into my head my first week here, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. We are the answer to so many questions, from ‘what happened while you slept?’ to ‘is it gonna rain?’ to ‘why am I stuck in traffic?’” The company notes the new station lineup is as follows: Salem Radio Network syndicated Bill Bennett‘s “Morning in America” from 5:00 am to 7:00 am, local host Curtis Sliwa from 7:00 am to 10:00 am, Dial Global’s Dennis Miller from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, SRN’s Dennis Prager from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, SRN’s Michael Medved from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm; Curtis and attorney Jeffrey Lichtman from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm; and SRN’s Hugh Hewitt from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Boyce says new imaging will create a hip, younger sound for the station, heavy on a New York-style attitude. ”New Yorkers are slightly jaded and a little sarcastic, so we wanted the sound of our station to reflect the city we serve.” In describing his collaboration with voiceover talent Lonnie Perkins, Boyce gushed, “I told him to sound like that ‘Mayhem Man’ commercial for Allstate Insurance.” The new imaging includes new top of hour ID’s, promos, and show opens. Boyce wanted to re-arrange the lineup to “put the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle” together in the right order.
Heidi Harris Exits KDWN. Word from Las Vegas is that KDWN, Las Vegas morning talk show host Heidi Harris has exited her position at the Beasley Broadcasting-owned news/talker. Sources inside the station tell TALKERS that the relationship between Harris and KDWN management had been strained for some time now and finally reached the breaking point. Heidi Harris, a multi-repeat member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred is considered by industry observers to be a rising star. The conservative host has been a regular contributor and guest on the progressive Ed Schultz Show on MSNBC and speaker at the New Media Seminar. Harris has not responded to e-mail requests by TALKERS for comment and confirmation but her presence on the KDWN website has been removed. More details as they are available.
WMAL, Washington Re-Positions AM Drive Show; Mary Katherine Ham Exits. The former “Morning Majority” AM drive show at Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington is now “Mornings on the Mall” with Brian Wilson and Bryan Nehman as Mary Katherine Ham – who joined WMAL last summer – leaves the program. Ham wrote on her blog earlier this week, “It has been a pleasure to work with Bryan Nehman and Brian Wilson – two consummate broadcast professionals who generously taught this n00b as much as they could. And, though I’m new to radio, it’d be hard to imagine a producer more capable than our executive producer Heather Smith, who I remain convinced does not require sleep (in an industrious way, not a vampire way). The folks at the company had a vision for a different, independent role for me at the station, but we just weren’t able to come to an agreement that would make it work, so I’m off to do my other jobs. I’m constantly thankful I have the freedom to make decisions like that, and realize it’s a tremendous blessing to have such options.” Ham is an analyst at Fox News Channel and is a contributing writer for The Daily Caller.
Firesign Theater Founder Peter Bergman Dies. One of the founders of the radio comedy show Firesign Theater has died at age 72 after a battle with Leukemia. Peter Bergman and three fellow comedians — Phillip Proctor, David Ossman and Phil Austin – created the radio program that spawned four must-have comedy albums (released between 1968 and 1972) for college-age hippies of the time. Bergman was hosting a late-night talk show on Pacifica’s KPFK, Los Angeles when he started the Firesign Theater program. Bergman revived the Firesign Theater show on the internet in 2010.
Salem Radio Network Correspondent Dan Hackel Passes Away. Longtime news pro Dan Hackel died in Israel over the weekend after a battle with cancer. He had been Salem Radio Network’s primary correspondent in Israel for the past four years. Hackel was a founding anchor for CNN International and a frequent anchor on Headline News. He served as Washington correspondent covering the White House for ABC News, and he reported on the U. S. Congress for the Mutual Broadcasting System.
TRN’s and WGST, Atlanta’s Rusty Humphries Named Kentucky Colonel. Kentucky colonel is the highest title of honor bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Commissions for Kentucky colonels are given by the governor and the secretary of state to individuals in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to a community, state or the nation. Other notable Colonels include Bob Hope, Pope John Paul II, Winston Churchill and of course Col. Sanders. Pictured with Colonel Rusty Humphries is Melissa Forrest, president and market manager of Clear Channel Atlanta where Humphries works at news/talk WGST.
The FCC and You. TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman, Esq. presents the first in a series of articles as an abridgement of a forthcoming e-book detailing the crucial, regulatory information of which every license holder and radio station management employee must be aware. Informal surveys of radio station managers indicate that an alarming number of them are dangerously under-informed about the FCC regulations that pertain to them and their stations. TALKERS editors urge managers to take the time to read this free abridgement of the first of seven installments and share it with their management teams. Information on the purchase availability of the expanded e-book will be announced via TALKERS soon. In today’s installment, Attorney Weisman covers the license renewal process. Read more here.
The Rush Limbaugh Fallout for All Talk Radio Is Advertiser Nervousness. Almost a week into the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke controversy the consumer media, politicians and even the media trades to some extent are still awash in writing about Limbaugh’s mistake, the coarsening of our media political discourse and even allegations that conservative talk radio, apparently, hates women. But TALKERS is hearing reports from ad rep firms that are more alarming – especially in these already shaky economic times. That is that major advertisers are issuing yet another round of “no controversial programming” dictates. This is not a new problem for talk radio and the recent Limbaugh case is likely only to add fuel to a fire that’s been simmering for the past 20 years. While no laws were broken by Rush Limbaugh, advertisers who fear backlash from activists, parent’s organizations and other groups – even though talk hosts with loyal followings that are likely to buy their products or services help sell those products or services very successfully – don’t want to risk bad PR, protester harassment or outright boycotts from being associated with a “controversial” talk media figure. They reason that there may be many more customers of theirs whom they don’t want to alienate who don’t listen to “controversial” talk radio, so they shy away from the genre altogether. The bigger challenge facing talk radio right now is not defending its programming, but selling it in this turbulent climate.
Ohio State Representative Circulates Petition to Remove Rush Limbaugh from Station. Democratic State Representative Robert F. Hagen is circulating a petition around the Youngstown, Ohio area to submit to station WKBN, Youngstown asking that Premiere Networks talk host Rush Limbaugh be removed from the station’s lineup, according to Vindy.com. The online petition seeks 2,000 signatures before being presented to WKBN management and is less than 200 away from that mark as of this morning. While many politicians at the state and national level have weighed in on the Limbaugh controversy, Hagen is the first TALKERS is aware of who is using his status as a politician to take action in attempting to coerce an affiliate station into making a programming decision.
Cumulus Birmingham and Paul Finebaum Have March 30 Court Date. Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Robert Vance has scheduled a March 30 hearing to discuss WJOX-FM, Birmingham sports talk host Paul Finebaum’s motion to dismiss counterclaims by Cumulus against him, reports the Birmingham Business Journal. Finebaum and Cumulus are suing each other for breach of contract. Cumulus’ countersuit claims Finebaum – in violation of his contract – entered into negotiations with a competing broadcasting company and shared proprietary information with said organization. Also, earlier this week Cumulus attorneys filed a motion to block Finebaum’s subpoena of Cumulus for testimony in the suit by arguing that it did not own the Citadel stations when the dispute began.
Merlin Media Closes on WKDN-FM, Camden, New Jersey. Randy Michaels-led Merlin Media closes on the $22.5 million purchase of WKDN-FM, Camden, New Jersey from Harold Camping’s Family Stations. It is widely believed that Merlin will bring some spoken-word format to the Philadelphia market – probably an all-news outlet in the image of its New York and Chicago stations. Former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte morning drive host – and Philadelphia native – Al Gardner is reported to be programming the new venture.
KNBR, San Francisco Renews Play-by-Play Deal with the Giants Through 2018. San Francisco Giants CEO Larry Baer and Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey appeared on the “Murph & Mac Show” on sports KNBR, San Francisco yesterday to announce a new, seven-year contract to keep Giants baseball on the station. Dickey stated, “On behalf of our loyal listeners and valued clients, we are pleased to announce a new seven year partnership with one of the greatest brands in all of sports. We are excited to continue KNBR’s 34-year run with the Giants with the addition of compelling new content designed to bring the fans even closer to the action both on and off the field with exclusive reporting.” The deal includes the pre-game “Kruk & Kuip Show,” the “Post-Game Wrap” and other Giants content throughout the year.
SiriusXM Brings Sports Journalist John Feinstein to Mad Dog Radio Channel. Satellite broadcaster SiriusXM announces a new program co-hosted by renowned sports journalist John Feinstein and Bruce Murray called “Beyond the Brink” to air daily from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on the Mad Dog Radio channel. Murray has been hosting the midday show at Mad Dog Radio solo. Feinstein is author of best-sellers A Season on the Brink – detailing a season with Bobby Knight’s Indiana Hoosiers – and A Good Walk Spoiled – chronicling a year on the PGA golf tour. The program debuts Thursday live from the ACC basketball tournament. SiriusXM states the two will cover the spectrum of sports on their show, interviewing high-profile guests, debating topics and talking with callers nationwide about the headline stories of the day. Feinstein says of the new program, “I’ve always enjoyed doing radio because it gives you a chance to talk in detail on a lot of different topics and the chance to do it on SiriusXM on a daily basis with an old friend like Bruce is something I’m really looking forward to taking on. I’m really grateful to SiriusXM for giving me this opportunity and I think this is going to be a lot of fun.”
Sandra Fluke-Rush Limbaugh Controversy, Super Tuesday GOP Primaries, U.S.-Israel Relations/Iran Threat, Ponzi Scheme Verdict, and Hacker Ring Busted Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/6). The ongoing aftermath of the Sandra Fluke-Rush Limbaugh controversy; the Super Tuesday GOP primaries; the meeting between President Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu and Iran’s nuclear weapons threat; the verdict in the world’s largest Ponzi scheme trial; and a global hacker ring busted with help from its leader were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Chicago Media Community Mourns Death of John Madigan. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder writes an excellent piece on John Madigan’s place in Chicago media. Read it here. Madigan worked in newspapers, radio and TV and spent part of his career at WBBM, Chicago as political editor. He was part of the team that led the station’s transition to all-news. He passed away recently in Florida at age 94 after complications from a stroke.
On the Road in Long Beach. KLAC, Los Angeles-based Fox Sports Radio Network hosts Matt “Money” Smith (l) and Petros Papadakis (r) are pictured here at their “Just Because It’s Friday” remote broadcast from Cirivello’s Sports Stop in Long Beach, California. The event drew nearly 500 listeners and featured special guests including Long Beach State head basketball coach Dan Monson, college basketball analyst/former college basketball coach Bruce Pearl plus Petros’ father and former USC linebacker John Papadakis. Giveaways included the first-ever “Petros and Money” t-shirt, Matt Kemp baseball bats, signed Magic Johnson and Howie Kendrick photos, a Diamondback bike, and an all-inclusive trip to Los Angeles Dodgers Spring Training in Glendale, Arizona. The broadcast was backed by local band Brewfish pictured behind the hosts.
By Steven J. J. Weisman
BOSTON – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the federal agency that regulates the radio, television, wire, satellite and cable industries. Although we are all cognizant of this organization, most broadcasters are not as knowledgeable about the FCC as they should be and with this agency’s power to order significant fines as well as even revoke a broadcasting license, it is imperative that all broadcasters be more familiar with what the FCC is and how it operates. This article is the first of a series of articles as an abridgement of an ebook I have written that describes in great detail what you need to know to broadcast safely and efficiently in today’s regulatory environment. In future installments, I will discuss:
- The FCC’s rules on programming including: obscenity, indecency, broadcast of telephone conversations, parodies, libel and hoaxes;
- The FCC’s complaint procedure;
- The FCC’s rules on advertising which is a most important topic today;
- The FCC’s rules on political advertising, particularly in the light of the decision of the United States Supreme Court in the Citizens United case;
- The FCC’s rules on payola, plugging and kickbacks; and
- The FCC’s rules on time brokerage and barter agreements.
WLS, Chicago Receives $44k Notice of Apparent Liability for Improper Ad Content. The Cumulus Media news/talk station admitted to airing content during the spring of 2009 paid for by Workers Independent News in the form of 90-second spots, 15-second promotional announcements and several long-form programs. The issue was whether the content was properly identified as sponsored content. (The violation took place while WLS was still owned and operated by Citadel Broadcasting, which does not alleviate Cumulus of responsibility.) The text cited here by the commission illustrates the issue. In this newsy-sounding segment listeners heard: “Workers Independent News, I’m Doug Cunningham. As Federal Economic Stimulus dollars flow to Chicago, State Representative Joe Lyons says it’s more critical than ever that the State put together a capital bill to take maximum advantage of the stimulus to put Chicago back to work.” Cumulus argued the “Workers Independent News” phrase was sufficient to identify the content as paid for. The FCC disagreed saying, “Since the subject matter of the 11 announcements at issue related to a state legislative issue impacting the local economy of Chicago, it would not have been apparent to listeners from the announcements themselves that they were sponsored programming, even if commercial programming preceded and succeeded the 11spots. In addition, the name ‘Workers Independent News,’ content, format and duration of the announcements were not consistent with typical commercial matter.” The FCC levied a $4,000 fine for each of the 11 instances for a grand total of $44,000.
Beasley Broadcast Group Announces Net Income Gain. The news for Beasley was a mixed bag. During the fourth quarter of 2011 revenue was down by $1.8 million compared to the same quarter one year ago but a drop in interest expense allowed the company to realize a 1.7% gain in net income. In a statement, chairman and CEO George Beasley said, “Radio advertising remained relatively stable despite widespread economic concerns and volatility in the capital markets throughout the year. Importantly, during the fourth quarter and throughout 2011, we continued to make progress across the organization in enhancing operating efficiencies and maintaining a disciplined approach to spending. Overall, the industry recorded seven consecutive quarters of growth through the third quarter of 2011 which underscores our belief that radio remains both resilient and highly relevant in a digital world.” For Beasley, and most other radio operators for that matter, national business was the problem with a drop of almost 24%.
Talk Host Doc Thompson Out at WRVA, Richmond. The talk host who, until very recently was doing PM drive at Clear Channel’s WRVA, Richmond and the late morning show at the company’s WLW, Cincinnati, is not working at either after announcing Friday evening on his Facebook page he’s off WRVA. Thompson was let go from WLW – while on his honeymoon – as that station made changes to its lineup and now, eight days later, he loses his Richmond gig. Thompson is positive, though, writing: “I am no longer hosting my Richmond show. In the world of radio broadcasting… sometimes these things just happen. As I said earlier in the week it will all work out for the best and I am blessed.” Thompson and his new bride – WHIO-TV, Dayton reporter Yuna Lee – recently relocated to Ohio. They met while both working in Richmond and Lee found a reporter’s job in Ohio so the two could make the move to be closer to WLW.
Jason Jackson New Midday Host at WAXY, Miami. The Lincoln Financial Media sports talk station announces longtime Miami sports personality Jason Jackson hosts the new 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daily program on WAXY, Miami. Jackson is known in the market for his work at WSVN-TV and on Sun Sports coverage of the NBA’s Miami Heat in which he hosts pre-game, halftime and post-game shows as well as provides courtside analysis. Prior to his work with the Heat he worked for ESPN. WAXY program director Marc Hochman says, “Adding Jason Jackson to the lineup solidifies 790 The Ticket’s standing as the destination for outstanding sports talk radio in South Florida. Jason adds more strength to our existing lineup and bolsters our commitment to the highest quality of sports talk radio in South Florida.” Jackson takes over for “The Sports Brothers” – Ed Freeman and Jeff Fox.
Controversial Memphis Host Thaddeus Matthews Returns to Air After Battle with Licensee. Talk host and local political lightning rod Thaddeus Matthews leases WPLX, Memphis from owner Bill Pollack and Matthews’ recent, news-making on-air spat with Republican congressional candidate Charlotte Bergman was the incident that caused Pollack to shut off the transmitter on the afternoon of February 1. Matthews returned to the air Friday, February 2 after getting a judge to issue a temporary restraining order to force Pollack to turn the transmitter back on. The back story went viral via YouTube but here it is in a nutshell: Matthews was interviewing African-American Republican candidate Bergman on his show. When she didn’t answer questions to his liking, he lashed out at her in a raw, epithet-filled tirade and finally refused to shake her hand for fear her “whiteness might rub off” on him. WPLX is positioned as a blues station but Matthews’ talk show airs every afternoon. Matthews tells WHBQ-TV, Memphis his LMA includes and option to buy the station which he intends to do.
SCOTUS Hears Broadcast Indecency Arguments; Sweeping Changes Unlikely. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says although Attorney Carter Phillips – representing Fox Television – argued convincingly that broadcasters are responsible to their audiences and advertisers and would not, therefore, engage in a “race to the bottom” with regard to indecency, he believes the Supreme Court will not throw out the current indecency rules as some broadcasters might hope it would. Attorneys representing the Federal Communications Commission, Fox Television and ABC Television argued before the Court yesterday for the first time since the Pacifica case in 1978. Read Attorney Weisman’s analysis here.
TRN Entertainment Syndicates Former KGO Weekender Dr. Bill Wattenburg. Bill Wattenburg was one of the KGO, San Francisco talk show hosts let go by Cumulus Media in December. Now, TRN Entertainment begins offering Dr. Wattenburg in national syndication Sunday evenings from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am ET beginning January 22. TRN Entertainment CEO Mark Masters says, “We are ecstatic to have a person of Dr. Bill Wattenburg’s caliber join our network. His vast knowledge of science and physics will enlighten all of his listeners. We believe he will quickly develop legions of dedicated fans that want to improve their personal knowledge and way of life.” Bay Area talk radio listeners are aware of Dr. Wattenburg’s credentials but the rest of the nation may not know that he is a senior research scientist at the Research Foundation, California State University, Chico; and a scientific consultant for the University of California Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and many other institutions. He is a former nuclear weapons designer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; a former member of the US Air Force Scientific Advisory Board; and a former UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering. TRN Entertainment describes Dr. Wattenburg’s show as “mostly an open-line, listener-driven call-in show in which he answers questions ranging from fixing cars to physics, and everything in between. His combination of experiences and scientific background give him a great wealth of knowledge that he applies to entertain and inform his audience.”
Clear Channel Takes Another Step Toward Making iHeartRadio a Ubiquitous Media Application. The broadcast giant announces it is making its application programming interface (API) and affiliate program available to third parties and developers so they can integrate its content and services into their own products, web pages and apps. Clear Channel states, “Developers will have the opportunity to create their own innovative versions of iHeartRadio on their platforms. The iHeartRadio API includes access to many of the service’s features, including its live broadcast and digital-only stations and Custom Stations as well as a deep social media integration.” Clear Channel Digital president Brian Lakamp says, “Opening our API will unlock exciting opportunities to enrich the unique, combined live and custom radio experience that only iHeartRadio provides. This move also builds on our commitment to be everywhere our listeners expect us to be, with the best products and services.” The company is clearly moving full-speed-ahead to compete in digital media distribution device race and this is another smart move to try to enhance iHeartRadio’s useage.
CBS Radio Names Two More to WNEW-FM, Washington Staff. When CBS Radio’s all-newser WNEW-FM, Washington debuts on January 19, Lisa Baden will be handling the traffic reporting in one of the nation’s most congested commuter markets and Jill Schlesinger joins the station for twice-hourly business reports. Baden has been broadcasting traffic reports in the DC market for two decades, most notably with crosstown WTOP-FM and Metro Traffic before that. Schlesinger is editor-at-large of CBS Moneywatch and also hosts her own nationally syndicated weekend financial talk program syndicated by Dial Global.
Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean Hits 50-Affiliate Mark. Nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean, host of “America Now,” marks the 50-affilliate plateau. Premiere Networks SVP of affiliate relations Peter Tripi says, “The rapid growth we’ve experienced with this program is a testament to Andy’s talent, dedication and hard work. We look forward to reaching many more milestones together.” Dean’s program is heard on talk outlets across America including WSB, Atlanta; KSTE, Sacramento; WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton; WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville; and KNST-AM/FM, Tucson.
National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Announces Honorees. It’s the time of year when the NSSA announces winners of its best-of honors for their accomplishments in 2011. Here are just a few of those just announced: WGN, Chicago morning sports anchor and Northwestern Wildcats football and basketball play-by-play announcer Dave Eanet is named the 2011 Illinois Sportscaster of the Year. WGN VP/GM Tom Langmyer states, “Dave Eanet is a tremendous broadcaster and a class act. His passion, integrity and professionalism are apparent in everything that he does and we’re proud to have him on the WGN radio team.”…..Drew Deener of Sports Radio 790 WKRD, Louisville is named Sportscaster of the Year in the State of Kentucky. Deener hosts “The Early Birds Morning Show” and “The Cardinal Insider” on WKRD. He also serves as the TV play-by-play voice of University of Louisville football and basketball on WHAS-TV…..KOZN, Omaha’s Kevin Kugler, host of the popular sports talk program “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” and play-by-play host of the College World Series, earns the Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year award for the eighth year. KOZN program director Neil Nelkin states, “It truly is remarkable that someone this early on his career would be recognized at this level and at this frequency. It just goes to show how much talent Kevin has behind the mic and in the world of sportscasting.”
Former St. Louis PM Drive Team Thom and Jeff Begin Internet Initiative. The longtime PM drive team at Emmis’ alternative KPNT, St. Louis, Thom West and Jeff Burton, are producing an internet talk show available via iTunes or their website. Thom and Jeff were “downsized” in August and began producing podcasts in September. They say they are now averaging 40,000 downloads per day. The team has grown to include Scottie “Boom Boom,” Coach, and Kara the Lesbian. Daily guests add to the non-stop entertainment including comedians, visits from bands, athletes, and local and national celebrities. Jeff Burton says, “I really enjoyed the old radio show but with the added people and no FCC regulations we are free to do and say whatever we want…and we do!”
Longtime WMAL, Washington Personality Bill Trumball Dies at 77. Bill Trumball retired from WMAL, Washington in 1996 after spending more than 35 years with the station. He was partnered with Chris Core on the “Core and Trumball” show for many of those years. He passed away on January 10 from respiratory failure.
New Hampshire Primary, Iran Saber-Rattling and World Financial Markets Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/10). The GOP race to take the nation’s first primary election of the 2012 presidential campaign, the ongoing saber-rattling by Iran and speculation about its drive to develop nuclear weapons and the state of the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio across America yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
National EAS Test Proves What Many Suspected. The national Emergency Alert System test that happened (in many places, anyway) at 2:00 pm ET yesterday, showed where the holes are in the system. There were numerous places where the primary entry point stations did not receive the test and therefore whole regions did not air the test. But that’s what yesterday’s exercise was all about. A joint statement from the FCC and FEMA noted, “The Nationwide EAS Test served the purpose for which it was intended – to identify gaps and generate a comprehensive set of data to help strengthen our ability to communicate during real emergencies. Based on preliminary data, media outlets in large portions of the country successfully received the test message, but it wasn’t received by some viewers or listeners. We are currently in the process of collecting and analyzing data, and will reach a conclusion when that process is complete.” Stations have 45 days to report to Washington how the test went at their station or in their market. For those markets where the test did go off, there were complaints about poor audio quality that made it hard to understand what the message was. In other places the audio was missing completely.
Restructuring at Cumulus Media Networks Ousts Maureen Lesourd. With the company since 2009, Maureen Lesourd joined then-Citadel Media Networks as vice president of programming and distribution and was in charge of its 24-hour music formats. She exits along with 24/7 formats operations director Chris Miller, affiliate relations staffers Brian Curry and Dave Allison as well as finance manager Brian Kaefer.
Former ABC News Political Director Hal Bruno Dies at Age 83. Hal Bruno served as political director at ABC News from 1978 through his retirement in 1999. His election coverage and political reports were a staple of ABC Radio’s news content during that time. Bruno fell on Friday, November 4 and died after complications from the incident on November 8.
Euro Zone Jitters/Financial Markets Activity, Penn State Scandal, Herman Cain Accusations/GOP Debate and Iran Nukes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/9). The concern over the Euro Zone’s ability to fix its debt problem and the effect on the world financial markets, Joe Paterno’s firing and the Penn State abuse scandal, Hermain Cain’s defense against accusations of sexual misconduct and the GOP debate plus Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Clear Channel Gets iHeartRadio into Select 2012 Toyota Vehicles. Toyota calls it “Premium HDD Navigation with EntuneTM” and the multi-media system is only available in select 2012 Camry and Prius v models but it’s another step in putting internet-based programming into terrestrial radio’s last stronghold – the automobile. Clear Channel Digital president Brian Lakamp says, “One of the exciting things about iHeartRadio’s presence into two of Toyota’s newest models is that it affords us another way to deliver on our promise to be wherever our listeners are with the programming and services they want and expect — and millions of them drive Camrys, America’s best-selling car, and Prius vehicles, the world’s best-selling hybrid car. It makes perfect sense that Clear Channel would partner with Toyota to include iHeartRadio, the leading digital radio service, in these vehicles.”
WABC, New York Acting PD Says No Programming Changes Confirmed. With the departure of program director Laurie Cantillo, assistant program director/web program director Chuck Armstrong is the acting PD. He tells the New York Daily News’ David Hinckley that there are no confirmed plans to make any programming changes to WABC in the wake of Cumulus’ takeover of the station and the recent staff changes. Cantillo made a concerted effort to bring live and local programming to WABC in evenings and on weekends. Chicago-based Erich “Mancow” Muller did a live Sunday program on WABC and his program was cancelled. Armstrong tells the paper, “We have a very strong lineup now. Even with the syndicated programs, enough are based here that we have a good local sense.”
Appeals Court Rules Against FCC in Janet Jackson Case. Yes, the 2004 Super Bowl Halftime Show case – in which some viewers saw a fraction of a second of nudity – is still in the courts. Yesterday, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled again that the FCC was wrong to fine CBS $550,000 concluding that the agency was changing its policy without warning in issuing the fine. The U.S. Supreme Court had ordered a review of the case but Circuit Judge Marjorie Rendell wrote, “An agency may not apply a policy to penalize conduct that occurred before the policy was announced.” The FCC has argued that CBS was tipped by producers that Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake were planning something surprising and therefore knew of a situation that could be problematic.
Walkin’ the Walk. KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (pictured at left here) is living in a homeless shelter this week to raise awareness and to encourage donations to the Boise Rescue Mission. He tells TALKERS, “We’re doing the show live everyday plus blogging and multi daily videos. Our purpose is to show the positive side of the staff and volunteers who take care of the homeless without government funding. We’ve had a ton of folks come down to donate cash and turkeys.” Miller says that, like all the other residents of the shelter, he has tasks he must do every day and you see him working in the kitchen in this photo.
CRC Broadcasting to Buy California Radio Stations. Scottsdale, Arizona-based CRC Broadcasting – owner of business/finance talk KFNN, Phoenix – announces it is forming a California company called CRC Media West, LLC and is buying sports KXPS, Palm Springs from Morris Communications for $250,000 and a construction permit for KPSF at 1200 on the AM dial from Either Mining Corporation for $75,000. CRC founder and president Ron Cohen says he put KFNN, Phoenix on the air in 1988 “as the nation’s first radio station programmed exclusively for business, economic and investment-related topics.” Cohen intends to debut KPSF as “Money 1200” when the construction process is complete and plans to continue operating KXPS as a sports outlet.
Cox Media Group Hawaii GM Mike Kelly Retires. After 26 years working in the same market, Cox Media Group Hawaii general manager Mike Kelly announces he’ll retire at the end of the year, although he’ll stay with the company on a consulting basis into 2012. CMG Group VP Jay O’Connor says, “It’s rare these days in broadcasting to find an individual who has been committed to and served a location for 26 consecutive years. Over that time Mike has led our group through tremendous industry change, including the influx of FM signals in the 80s, local marketing agreements (LMA), Duopoly, consolidation in the 90s and early 2000s, and the great recession of the last few years.” CMG Hawaii operates six stations. A search for Kelly’s successor is on.
TALKERS Publisher Michael Harrison Says Talk Radio’s Future is Significantly Tied into its Relationship with the Automobile. In a newly published article that outlines the tenets of his “Annual State of Talk Radio Address” to be delivered at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Chicago on Wednesday morning, Harrison writes, “Now, more than ever, talk radio’s relationship with the automobile is vital and must be carefully protected. The PPM is forcing radio to be programmed to precisely where people are, what people are doing, and how people are feeling during the potential listening process. Group listening is out, solo listening is in. Activity and mindset of the listeners are now all important considerations. The automobile plays and will continue to play a growing role in determining talk radio’s future.” The article titled “The Clock is Ticking,” which appears in the September print issue of TALKERS as well as on Talkers.com, covers the 10 things broadcasters need to know about the enormous changes taking place in talk radio at this very moment. In it Harrison covers a wide array of brewing industry trends among which he states intellectual property (IP) will increasingly dominate talk radio’s legal concerns, radio station values will continue to depreciate, there are lessons to be learned from sports talk radio, news/talk “stationality’ is rapidly evolving beyond the extreme left and right options, the invasion of FM will intensify, the PPM is increasing the need for top notch weekend and part-time talent, and the internet is rewiring the human nervous system. The address is scheduled for Wednesday morning between 10:30 am and 11:45 am and is open to all attendees of the conference. Harrison will be introduced by McVay/Cook & Associates consultant Holland Cooke who will be making a presentation of his own about talk radio’s relationship with the automobile at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011 on October 20 – Southern California being a place where the importance of automobile listening habits is most pronounced. To read the full Michael Harrison article, click here.
Glenn Beck’s GBTV Two-Hour Broadcast Debuts This Afternoon. From 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET this afternoon Glenn Beck’s P1s will be viewing the webcast that, for all intents and purposes, replaces Beck’s popular Fox News Channel show in their minds. The Wall Street Journal published a piece on Beck’s debut and reports that GBTV now has some 230,000 subscribers at $9.95. It also projects that Beck could take in some $20 million in revenue its first year. Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts is developing more programming for GBTV including children’s shows to come later this fall. Beck tells the paper the goal is to reach younger people, “I don’t know anybody under 30 who is watching television the way I watched television. Technology has allowed people to change the way they consume the news, and we want to be where people are going.”
Saul Levine Loses at FCC in KFWB Trust Case. The Mt. Wilson Broadcasting owner has been vocal in his criticism of CBS Radio’s KFWB, Los Angeles continuing to be operated in a trust stating that, basically, nothing has changed and CBS still owns and operates the station that is technically for sale in violation of a number of FCC precedents and that the FCC erred in granting the Divestiture Application. On Friday the commission ruled against Mt. Wilson stating the station needs to be operated so as to get the best possible price in a sale. It rules “the trust agreements require the Trustee to: ‘use all commercially reasonable efforts to preserve intact the present business organization of the Station and the Station’s relationships with its customers, suppliers and others having business dealings with it.’”
WTOP-FM, Washington Takes Ownership of Public Opinion Poll Feature. Television networks and news organizations – usually associated with heritage newspapers – have long joined forces with polling organizations to jointly present poll results. Now Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP Radio begins working with the non-partisan, Virginia-based Heart and Mind Strategies research consultancy to present the polling data on issues relevant to the greater Washington, DC metro. The first WTOP Beltway Poll presents public opinion on issues including terrorism and national security, the economic climate and voter confidence. WTOP VP of news and programming Jim Farley says, “This is the first of a series of WTOP Beltway polls comparing and contrasting the views of voters in Virginia, Maryland and DC with voters nationally in partnership with the respected Heart and Mind Strategies. This one reveals some surprising findings and interesting insights into public opinion of residents across the Washington metropolitan area ten years after 9/11. We will be digging deeper into the issues raised and examining them more closely through a series of stories on WTOP and WTOP.com ranging from national terror alerts to looking at how prepared area residents and workplaces are in the case of a major disaster, to their lack of confidence with the present leadership in Congress and the White House.”
CMG Promotes Charlsie Moore to GSM. Cox Media Group Atlanta Radio ups Charlsie Moore to general sales manager in charge of the account executives representing the group’s FM stations – including news/talk WSB-FM. CMG Atlanta VP of sales Rob Babin says, “Charlsie is a proven sales coach and has done an incredible job of developing sales talent. I’m confident that she will continue to lead our sales team to higher levels and ensure that our stations are among the top billing stations in the country.”
Filling in This Week. Michael Bower (former Sirius XM Maxim Radio host) sits in at CBS Radio’s KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas today and tomorrow from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
Mike on Broadway! Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher wrapped up a week in a cameo role as a disc jockey in the Broadway production “Memphis” yesterday (9/11). Gallagher has been acting with various regional theatre companies for the past several years. He says the thrill of making it to Broadway in the Tony-winning musical was the dream of a lifetime. “This was a culmination of a lifelong dream to appear on Broadway, and the cast — although politically liberal for the most part — welcomed me with open arms. I’ll never forget this week!”
By Michael Harrison
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. –– Here are 10 things broadcasters need to know about the enormous changes taking place in talk radio at this very moment, working our way from #10 to #1 in order of importance:
10) Industry conferences need to be downsized and regionalized. Although there are still some good ones –– including TALKERS’ long-running New Media Seminar –– the day of the three-day, high-cost, national radio convention is clearly coming to an end –– at least for the foreseeable future. The average broadcaster cannot afford the high cost of registration and travel to these events, nor the commitment of time that they demand. Sadly, nor can most players in the sponsor pool. Regional conferences that take place within a single day (eliminating the need for hotel lodging) and are affordable to the industry’s workforce –– exposed nationally by digital audio and video –– will and should be the wave of the future. The forthcoming “Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum” being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club set for October 20 is an example of this new kind of industry gathering. We are putting our money where our mouth is. This event is free.
Fairness Doctrine Taken Off the FCC’s Books. FCC chairman Julius Genachowski announced on August 22 that the agency has removed some 83 rules that it deems outdated, including the controversial Fairness Doctrine that hasn’t been enforced since the Reagan Administration but remained “on the books.” Genachowski stated in a release, “The elimination of the obsolete Fairness Doctrine regulations will remove an unnecessary distraction. As I have said, striking this from our books ensures there can be no mistake that what has long been a dead letter remains dead. The Fairness Doctrine holds the potential to chill free speech and the free flow of ideas and was properly abandoned over two decades ago. I am pleased we are removing these and other obsolete rules from our books.” (August 23, 2011)
CBS Radio Detroit Splits Sports WXYT-AM/FM; AM 1270 to Go News/Talk. On Monday, September 12, CBS Radio ends the simulcast of sports talk on WXYT-AM/FM and launches Talk Radio 1270 WXYT. CBS says in a release, “Home to lively conversation and debate, the talk station will focus on the issues affecting Americans with an edge that doesn’t exist in Detroit talk radio today.” The program schedule is: Charlie Langton in AM drive followed by Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck; Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham; Compass Media Networks’ Todd Schnitt; Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis; and TRN’s Rusty Humphries. CBS Radio Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “I’m extremely excited about the launch of this new station. It will take an edgy and engaging point of view about issues on listeners’ minds.” Local attorney and media veteran Charlie Langton’s morning drive show is described as one that “will not only cover the issues Detroiters care most about, but he’ll be asking the questions listeners want answered from the major newsmakers. More than that, Langton will bring talk radio that’s not only informative but highly entertaining. Langton is a regular contributor to FOX 2 and WWJ-AM.” Langton hosted an evening show at WXYT years ago during its last incarnation as a news/talk-formatted station. (August 23, 2011)
WBAL, Baltimore Names News Director, Program Director. Mark Miller announced his resignation from the Hearst news/talk station last month where he serves as director of news and programming. To replace him, the station brings veteran Baltimore newswoman Merrie Street in as news director and hands the programming reins to sister rock WIYY-FM PD Dave Hill. Street has been out of radio for the past 10 years working in other aspects of the communications field. WBAL general manager Ed Kiernan tells the Baltimore Sun Street brings a wealth of experience to the station. (August 23, 2011)
WIBA, Madison Adds Mitch Henck to AM Drive Show. Henck already hosts “Outside the Box” with Mitch Henck from 8:00 am to 11:00 am each day. Now he becomes part of the morning drive show alongside Robin Colbert, John Colbert, Phil Dawson and NBC 15 meteorologist Charlie Shortino. Henck fills the void left by Dick Alpert who stays with Clear Channel as director of traffic for the Milwaukee and Madison markets. Clear Channel Madison AM operations manager Tim Scott says of Henck, “Mitch is a star in this market. He knows Madison and South Central Wisconsin and the people who live here know him. It’s a perfect extension of his talents across WIBA.” (August 23, 2011)
Minnesota Public Radio Icon Gary Eichten to Retire. Eichten has been host of the “Midday” show at Minnesota Public Radio for 20 years and has served at MPR for more than 45 years. Now, he says he’ll retire from the organization in January. After announcing his plans to retire, the award-winning radio host said, “I’m going to really miss this. I love the work, I love the organization. I had the opportunity to watch this place grow from a little baby radio station in Collegeville to the greatest radio station in America.” Eichten says he hopes to do some special assignments for MPR after his retirement becomes official in January. (August 23, 2011)
WFAN, New York Announces Fantasy Phenom Challenge II Winner. Staten Island resident John Jastremski wins the CBS Radio sports station’s Fantasy Phenom Challenge II contest and will get a weekly talk program on WFAN, New York beginning next month. Last year’s winner, Gregg Sussman becomes a part-time employee of WFAN. Jastremski was one of 500 participants in the contest to try to prove he or she has what it takes to be a WFAN host. The contest was whittled down to five finalists over the course of the summer who ultimately competed on Mike Francesa’s show during the Summer Beach Party remote on August 19. The other four finalists will each receive on air shift on WFAN. (August 23, 2011)
KCSP, Kansas City Raises Cash for Local Salvation Army Children’s Shelter. Entercom sports talk KCSP, Kansas City – 610 Sports Radio – helped raise more than $174,000 during the Larry Stewart Memorial Radiothon. KCSP personalities Nick Wright, Bob Fescoe, Josh Klingler, Danny Parkins and Mark Carman broadcast from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm on August 18 to raise funds for the Children’s Shelter founded by local philanthropist Larry Stewart who was known as Kansas City’s “Secret Santa.” KCSP program director Ryan Maguire says, “In sports it’s about winning and losing and the real winners are the children of Kansas City. The response from our listeners was amazing. Thousands of donations were made by listeners via phone, on the internet and in person. We beat last year’s amount by nearly $65,000 and because of the generosity of 610 Sports listeners more Kansas City children will get the help they need.” (August 23, 2011)
Libya Unrest, U.S. Debt Concerns/Markets Activity and 2012 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/22). The status of Moammar Gadhafi and his sons as Libya continues to roil in unrest, the U.S. debt problems and activity in the financial markets and the GOP contenders for the 2012 presidential race were all among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. (August 23, 2011)
All in the Family. Premiere Networks talk show personality Andy Dean (standing), host of “America Now,” chats with “Coast to Coast AM” host George Noory (seated) in the Los Angeles studios of Premiere Networks. Noory made an appearance on Dean’s new program to discuss such disparate topics as the 2012 presidential election, the existence of UFOs, the 9/11 truth movement and more. (August 23, 2011)
By Steven J.J. Weisman
BOSTON –– The recent dismissal in California of soccer star, celebrity David Beckham’s libel lawsuit against In Touch magazine has brought attention to the nuances of American libel law. Beckham sued the magazine for an article that asserted that Beckham cheated on his wife with a prostitute in New York in 2007. Beckham provided affidavits to the court that indicated that on two specific instances stated in the In Touch article, he was not at the hotel she claimed. In one instance he was visiting his father in England.
But Judge Manuel Real was unmoved by Beckham’s arguments because to Judge Real, it was irrelevant whether or not the story was true or not. The only issue was whether or not the magazine had printed the story maliciously.