By Steven J.J. Weisman
BOSTON — In his classic work, “Through the Looking Glass” Lewis Carroll wrote, “’When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone ‘ it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.’ ‘The question is’, said Alice,’ whether you can make words mean so many different things.’ ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master –that ‘s all.’”
This quote seems to be appropriate to the controversy that has been swirling for years in regard to whether or not the name “Redskins” is a proper name for the National Football League franchise playing football in our nation’s capital. Proponents of the name say that the word is used as a tribute to Native Americans and in fact, the Washington Redskins trace the name back to being done to honor its early Native American coach. Opponents of the name find it a racist slur.
CBS RADIO-Beasley Station Swap Announced. It’s sort of close to some of the rumors that had been moving through the industry about CBS RADIO and Beasley Broadcasting Group swapping Florida and Philly stations. Here’s what the companies are announcing: Beasley will take ownership of: sports talk WIP-AM, Philadelphia; in the Tampa market it gets sports talk duo WHFS-AM and WHFS-FM, hip hop WLLD, country WQYK, classic hits WRBQ, and Spanish WYUU-FM; in the Charlotte market it acquires urban contemporary WBAV, sports talk duo WBCN-AM and WFNZ-AM, AC WKQC, CHR WNKS, hip hop WPEG, and country WSOC-FM. In exchange, CBS RADIO will take ownership of five stations. They are the three Miami market signals: hip hop WPOW, country WKIS and sports talk WQAM; and Philadelphia outlets country WXTU, and hip hop WRDW. Despite CBS RADIO’s major market tradition, this move will give it its first Miami holdings. CBS RADIO president and CEO Dan Mason states, “This transaction reinforces our strategy to concentrate on large-market properties. We already have television duopolies in both Philadelphia and Miami, so these new stations will be a terrific complement to our existing local broadcasting portfolio, and a welcome addition to the overall CBS family.” BBG chairman and CEO George Beasley says, “Throughout Beasley Broadcast Group’s 53-year history, we have actively managed our station portfolio with the goal of serving the local communities where we operate, diversifying our operations, managing risk and improving financial results. The asset exchange agreement with CBS RADIO addresses all of these strategic objectives as, upon completion, we will expand our station base by nine stations and add completed clusters in Tampa and Charlotte which complement our already strong mid-Atlantic presence. Furthermore, the transaction is also consistent with our long-term strategy to operate leading clusters in large- and mid-size markets.” These are straight-up swaps — no cash involved — and, obviously, are pending FCC approval.
Can the FCC Really Outlaw ‘Redskins?’ TALKERS magazine legal editor attorney Steven J.J. Weisman writes today in response to the hoopla surrounding both the petition to deny the license renewal of one of Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder’s sports talk stations, but also public comments by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler that he is sympathetic to the movement to change the football team’s nickname. As TALKERS readers are probably aware, three of the FCC commissioners have come out against use of the term during broadcasts and that’s led to the conclusion – drawn largely by the consumer media – that the agency will make the term illegal. Is this possible? See Steven Weisman’s column on this matter here.
Fox Sports Radio Network Renews Jay Mohr. Comedian and actor Jay Mohr began his sports talk radio show on Fox Sports Radio Network in January of 2013. Now, the network reports the two sides have signed a new “long-term agreement” to keep him part of its syndication efforts. FSRN and iHeartMedia say the show is currently heard on more than 150 affiliate stations. About the new deal, Mohr comments, “I’m so happy to be on the air with FOX Sports Radio and iHeartMedia for years to come. I have always been a huge sports fan, and obviously, I have a difficult time keeping my mouth shut. Now, for three hours a day, in upwards of 150 cities, it’s actually my job. This is a dream come true for me. The old cliché is true — ‘Pick a job you like…’ I love this job and hope to have many more multi-year deals after this one!”
New Market Managers for CMG in Atlanta, San Antonio and Tulsa. There are three new market leaders for Cox Media Group to announce today. In Atlanta, former Cox Media group VP Donna Hall is named VP and general manager. She’s been with Cox since 1987. Ben Reed moves from the Atlanta VP/GM post to the same position at the San Antonio station group. And Dan Lawrie jumps from the San Antonio cluster to CMG’s Tulsa properties to serve as VP/GM. CMG EVP of radio Kim Guthrie states, “We are thrilled that we can tap such phenomenal internal talent across Cox for these important leadership positions. Ben, Dan and Donna are proven leaders who know how to build strategic, award-winning teams.”
Westwood One to Rep Sports USA Media. More football to sell for Westwood One as it and Sports USA Media announce an agreement for the former to rep the latter’s Sunday NFL games beginning with the 2015 season. Both Westwood One and Sports USA Media currently broadcast an NFL doubleheader every Sunday afternoon during the regular season. Sports USA founder and CEO Larry Kahn states, “We are thrilled to partner with Westwood One and with the NFL. We have worked with them in various capacities over the years, and they are the gold standard when it comes to the NFL.”
WDNC, Raleigh-Durham Adds Translator to Multi-Cast. With the addition of translator W246CG at 96.5 FM (licensed to Durham), Capitol Broadcasting’s sports talker WDNC “620 The Buzz” is now available to listeners on four signals. Back in April, the company added the station’s signal to W257CS at 99.3 FM (licensed to Morrisville near Raleigh). It is also heard on WCMC-FM’s HD2 channel at 99.9 FM. Company OM and PD for sports programming Dennis Glasgow states, “Capitol Broadcasting is working to ensure that our Raleigh-Durham listeners have the best opportunity to tune into our outstanding sports talk programming, along with Duke football and basketball on FM. In this fast-changing radio landscape, we’re looking for every advantage to grow our listenership for the Triangle sports fan. I think we’ve accomplished that with the addition of these two translators in Raleigh-Durham.”
Kilmeade on Remote from Texas. Today (10/2), Fox News Radio personality Brian Kilmeade is broadcasting his “Kilmeade and Friends” radio show from Irving, Texas, site of the 2014 Warrior Open golf tournament. As part of the broadcast, Kilmeade will interview former President George W. Bush. The radio show will emanate from the Las Colinas Country Club and some of the guests in addition to President Bush will include: General Peter Pace, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; General Peter Chiarelli, former Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army; and wounded warrior Luis Avilar, who has the honor of doing the ceremonial first hit. The Warrior Open is a competitive 36-hole golf tournament, including an 18-hole Pro-Am. The event honors U.S service members who serve and sacrifice to defend the United States of America and heralds the many effective organizations that give their time, talents and resources to support men and women of our military.
Round Three of September PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of September 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was August 14 through September 10. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Odds & Sods. Joining the growing Cross Platform Media Group, is Russ Jones who is named SVP of news operations for the IRN/USA Radio Network and director of news and public relations for Cross Platform Media. Jones is co-founder of Christian News Service, a news release distribution and content creation firm and publisher of ChristianPress.com. Both entities are now under the CPM umbrella of companies…..CBS RADIO Washington makes staffing changes and out is promotions coordinator Cain McCoy. He’d worked with sports talk WJFK-FM and all-news WNEW-FM.
U.S. ISIS Strikes/Intelligence Debate, U.S. Ebola Case/Pandemic Fears, Secret Service Controversy, Jimmy Carter CNBC Interview, Immigration/Amnesty Issues, Hong Kong Protests, Financial Markets Activities, Washington Redskins Name Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/1). U.S. military strikes on ISIS and discussion about the quality of intelligence information the administration is receiving; the first documented U.S. Ebola case and questions about how a Dallas hospital handled it; the controversy over the effectiveness of the Secret Service after a man got all the way to the East Wing before being apprehended; reflections of President Jimmy Carter as he celebrates his 90th birthday; the immigration legislation and Barack Obama-promised amnesty issues; continuing protests by pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong; the activities on the world’s financial markets; and the ongoing flap over the Washington Redskins’ name were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Colossal Sales Deal Between Katz and Cumulus. Radio rep firm Katz Radio Group announces it has agreed to a new deal with Cumulus Media that is creating a new rep division at Katz dedicated to Cumulus owned-and-operated stations nationwide. The firm – Westwood One National Sales – will provide advertisers and agencies direct access to all of Cumulus’ radio stations. In a press statement, the companies say, “The new long-term agreement supports the companies’ mutual goal to evangelize the power of sound and drive more dollars into the sector. Westwood One National Sales will exclusively represent Cumulus stations nationwide and focus on providing integrated, multi-platform marketing solutions aimed to meet the rapidly evolving needs of advertisers. Westwood One National Sales will also offer advertisers and agencies access to Cumulus’ newly developed traffic system. The cutting-edge technology is designed to improve speed-to-market, giving Cumulus advertisers and agencies real-time pricing and availability of minute-by-minute, market-by-market opportunities across the country.” Katz Radio Group president Mark Gray says, “Our common goal is to get radio a much bigger share of advertiser spending by solving their marketing problems and showcasing the unmatched results radio delivers. Our new partnership with Cumulus to launch Westwood One National Sales strengthens our ability to deliver the most innovative marketing solutions for advertisers and agencies across the expanding advertising platform of one of our important partners.” As a result of this, Bryan Forbes is promoted to senior vice president, general manager of Westwood One National Sales. His current post with KRG is vice president/director of sales. Westwood One National Sales will have dedicated offices in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.
Fighting for AM in New Cars; NAB Pleads with BMW. After learning that BMW’s new electric model – the i3 – will not include an AM radio due to the engine’s causing interference with AM reception, the NAB’s Gordon Smith wrote a letter to BMW asking the company to reconsider the move and re-engineer the system to accommodate AM, as some other manufacturers have. Smith writes, “In the last decade, AM radio has embraced an evolution towards ethnic language programming, with a wide variety of formats serving a melting pot of diverse communities that make up the fabric of America. Indeed, two-thirds of all minority-owned stations are now broadcast on the AM band; and many of these radio stations serve as a community gathering spot for vital information about health services, education and job opportunities.” Smith goes on to note that in many markets, sports broadcasts – from high school to the professional level – are only heard on AM signals. How BMW will respond, if at all, is anyone’s guess but it’s worth noting that radio stations that are also streamed could be heard via the owner’s smartphone which the i3 allows to be connected to its audio system. Still, that the AM band — where most talk radio shows reside — is considered disposable by a major auto manufacturer (combined with the growing popularity of electric autos) is a huge red flag for AM stick owners.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Talks AM Revitalization in Columbus. The campaign for AM revitalization being championed by FCC commissioner Ajit Pai was the topic at Wednesday’s town hall meeting held by the Ohio Broadcasters Association where Pai spoke and heard from broadcasters and the public on the matter. Pai said three things he’s been thinking about lately regarding AM revitalization are: eliminating nighttime skywave protection for clear channel AM signals; allowing the use of synchronous transmission systems on the AM dial; and allowing stations to go all-digital on a voluntary basis. But Pai said that by Halloween it’s his hope that the FCC will adopt AM revitalization that would: 1) move forward with an FM translator window designed for AM broadcasters and, 2) ask the public to comment on a new batch of specific proposals for improving our AM radio rules because “the proposals we made last year, while they will help AM broadcasters, aren’t going be a panacea.”
Rome Added as KFWB Gears Up To Sports Flip. Rumors of a talk-to-sports format change by Los Angeles’ KFWB will become reality sometime in September and the station locks in CBS Sports Radio mega-talent – and LA native – Jim Rome as a cornerstone. Trustee for KFWB Asset Trust, Diane Sutter, comments, “It has been nearly two years since Southern Californians have been able to enjoy Jim’s show and he is just a hint of what listeners can expect from the new KFWB sports lineup. We are thrilled and excited to bring Jim back home to his many Los Angeles sports fans.” Rome, a genuine sports radio host original, will be heard on KFWB 9:00 am – 12:00 noon and will originate the program from Orange County. Remarking that he is “thrilled to be returning home” on KFWB, Rome states, “CBS Sports Radio has provided me with an incredible opportunity to communicate with our nationwide audience via various platforms, but to reunite with our Los Angeles-based fans is particularly meaningful to me, personally and professionally. I look forward to bringing ‘the jungle’ back home to Los Angeles.” Rome has been with CBS Sports Radio since the network launched approximately 18 months ago. It is believed sports KFWB’s moniker will be “The Beast.” For years, KFWB had been an all-news station and competed against CBS Radio‘s KNX (which later became its sibling) in that arena. Five years ago though (September 2009), it switched to talk. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio‘s July 2014 PPM report, KFWB ranks #42 (.2). It will be butting heads against existing all-sports outlets KSPN (1.2 in July, #28); KLAC (.9, #32); and KLAA (.3, #40).
Clear Channel’s Political Advertising Tool Now Incorporates Nielsen Data. Earlier this year, Clear Channel Media + Entertainment announced the development of its proprietary radio targeting tool for political advertisers – dubbed Audience Delivery Optimizer (AuDiO). Now, the company reports that it is now incorporating Nielsen’s radio audience measurement data to further enhance its ability to identify key voter segments. CC says this marks the first time that Nielsen’s Portable People Meter currency data has been combined with specific public voter information – creating a powerful new tool for political advertisers. Clear Channel calls AuDiO a “first-of-its-kind radio optimization tool that enables political campaigns to precisely identify the 10 voter segments that are most crucial in key election districts.” It goes on to say that with the integration of Nielsen’s industry-standard audience measurement data into AuDiO, political advertisers now have access to even more robust identification capabilities for their radio buys. Using the 10 most common political segments, AuDiO can determine how many voters radio reaches in any political district around the country. It can then identify the media preferences of any segment, giving advertisers key information about which media are best to reach which voters. AuDiO works at all levels of national, statewide and local elections, and will be available for the upcoming 2014 election cycle.
GCN Adds ‘Lock-N-Load’ to Morning Offerings. New to the Genesis Communications Network stable of programs is the Bill Frady-hosted daily program “Lock-N-Load.” The company states that the show “covers all spectrums relating to the world of the gun, including the gun industry, trends, self-defense and, of course, those that would strip away your rights. With guests such as the 3D gun guru Cody Wilson, Gunowners of America executive director Larry Pratt, Noble Peace Prize nominee Dr. Jim Garrow, tactical trainer Chris Costa, psychologist Dr. Linda Lagemann and many others, ‘Lock-N-Load’ explores the dynamics of the uniquely American Second Amendment and everything that goes along with it.”
Jim Bohannon Addresses Tennessee Association of Broadcasters Conference. Sitting on a panel about spoken-word radio titled, “Give’em Something to Talk About,” Westwood One-syndicated talk show host Jim Bohannon appeared at the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters conference in Nashville. Pictured here (from left to right) are: Westwood One’s Misti Douglas, Jean Williams, and Chrystal Heidemann, Governor Bill Haslam, Bohannon, and Westwood One’s Donny Walker.
IS Iraq Campaign/U.S. Military Involvement, Hillary Clinton-Obama Relationship, Michael Brown Slaying Aftermath, Limbaugh-Robin Williams Suicide Comments Controversy, and Israel-Hamas Cease Fire Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/13). The Iraq campaign of IS and the Obama Administration’s involvement of U.S. military personnel; the rift between Hillary Clinton and President Obama over U.S. foreign policy; the tensions in Missouri after the shooting death of Michael Brown; controversy over Rush Limbaugh’s comments after Robin Williams’ suicide; and the cease fire between Israel and Hamas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Power of WTIC, Hartford Key to Prosecutors’ Case Against Former Governor John Rowland. According to a story in the Hartford Courant by Edmund H. Mahoney and John Lender, prosecutors in Connecticut are contending that former Governor John Rowland, who was working as the afternoon drive talk personality on CBS RADIO’s WTIC, Hartford, was “secretly selling the muscle behind his long-running political talk show on” the station when pitching his political consultation services. Rowland is facing conspiracy, obstruction and other charges connected to his setting up of secret consulting contracts. The paper notes that in Connecticut political circles it was known that Rowland’s radio program was used to push his personal agenda, but the court filing is the first time the allegation has been detailed to this degree. Rowland is accused of making a calculated on-air campaign against the political opponent of one of his paying clients. Read the Courant story here.
TALKERS Career Moves. In a promotion for Clear Channel West Palm Beach director of sales Mike Scott, he takes on the new role of regional market manager overseeing the Mobile-Pensacola, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Biloxi and Laurel/Hattiesburg markets for the company. Scott says of his new gig, “I am thrilled to become a part of these five amazing markets — they are filled with great people and fantastic stations. I also owe a big thank you to the incredible West Palm Beach team.”…..Nationally known financial expert and talk show host Chris Markowski is embarking on his first week as host of the new morning show at Genesis Communications-owned Florida news/talk duo WWBA, Tampa and WAMT, Orlando. Markowski is known for his nationally syndicated program, “Watchdog on Wall Street.” He leads the ensemble of personalities including Jenna Laine, most recently the Tampa Bay Buccaneers insider for Sports Talk Florida, news anchor Robert Pankau and entertainment talent Kurt Shriner. Markowski says, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be covering all the important news and events in one of the most important areas in the country – Tampa Bay, Orlando and the entire I-4 corridor.”……NAB nabs FCC chief of technical analysis Robert Weller who is joining the organization to serve as vice president/spectrum policy. With the FCC, Weller has led the group charged with rulemaking and analysis of spectrum policy areas, including radio propagation, interference, RF safety, frequency allotments and new technologies.
No Reissue of PPM Data for Los Angeles. A memo to client stations from Nielsen Audio states that after the completion of an impact analysis relative to the presence of a media-affiliated household in the Los Angeles PPM panel for the past year, it has concluded that a reissue of the ratings beyond what has already been done is unnecessary. The memo states, in part, “After comparing the audience estimates without this home in the panel to those we originally published which included the household, we have decided not to reissue currency Los Angeles data for any prior report periods. We have concluded that a reissue of prior currency data would be of limited commercial benefit to customers and would result in further disruption to the marketplace.”
Round Two of June PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of June 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was May 22 through June 18. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings at RadioInfo.com here.
WGAC, Augusta Host Austin Rhodes Threatened; Accused Teen in Custody. The person who threatened KFTK, St. Louis and Radio America personality Dana Loesch via Twitter recently may never be identified because he or she took precautions to hide their identity. The teenager accused of threatening WGAC, Augusta, Georgia talk show host Austin Rhodes via Facebook did not and has been arrested for terroristic threats. WRDW-TV, Augusta reports the teen is not being identified because he doesn’t face adult charges in the case at this point. Rhodes himself reported the threat to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office after seeing a thread that said his show would “be dead” and that he further received a private message saying, “You a dead man.” The suspect also threatened Rhodes’ wife. The suspect is being held at the Regional Youth Detention Center.
Bonneville to Split ‘Arizona Sports’ Simulcast; ESPN Radio to Air on KTAR. The simulcast of KMVP-FM and KTAR-AM in Phoenix – branded “Arizona Sports” – will end on September 15 and KTAR-AM will become “ESPN Phoenix” carrying ESPN Radio shows including Mike & Mike, “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” and “The Dan Le Batard Show,” along with signature programs like “ESPN Gameday” and broadcasts of the Major League Baseball playoffs, the NBA Finals and other significant sporting events. Bonneville Phoenix vice president and market manager Scott Sutherland says “It’s the best of both sports worlds as we’ll now be providing world-class local programming on ‘Arizona Sports 98.7’ as well as full-time programming from the worldwide sports leader on ‘ESPN Phoenix 620.’” Sutherland adds that “ESPN Phoenix 620” will attract many Valley sports fans who now live in Arizona but closely follow sports news from their hometowns. “This now gives our advertising community a chance to leverage the power of sports marketing from a local, national and even global perspective.”
Odds & Sods. Rhode Island Monthly names WPRO-AM, Providence talk show host John DePetro’s program Best Talk Show in Rhode Island as part of its Best of Rhode Island feature. DePetro comments, “I am honored the people have chosen me, voted for me, and continue to support the work I do on WPRO. I have always wanted to do a talk show that was entertaining and informative, and it is rewarding that so many people enjoy my work, and took the time to vote me ‘Best Talk Show.’”…..A new show will air on cable’s ESPN 2 comprised of the best segments of Colin Cowherd’s daily ESPN Radio-syndicated program. The 30-minute show is called “You Herd Me” and will air at 4:30 pm ET beginning Monday, July 14. ESPN says, “The fast-paced production will be highlighted by Cowherd’s unique opinions and personality. He will introduce the segments from that day’s radio show and at times provide additional context. During football season, the show will feature the best moments from “Colin’s Football Show” including “Cage Confessionals,” interviews with top names in sports and entertainment…..At SiriusXM, a new morning show hosted by the satcaster’s Taylor Zarzour and former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy titled “The First Team” begins airing on July 14 on the College Sports Nation channel. The show will air from 7:00 am to 10:00 am ET. Zarzour previously worked with Marc James as co-host of “The Drive” at CBS RADIO’s Charlotte sports talker WFNZ “The Fan” before joining SiriusXM.
PodcastOne Debuts Eddie Trunk Podcast. Rock and heavy metal radio and TV personality Eddie Trunk begins a relationship with Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne producing the Eddie Trunk Podcast with premiere guest Judas Priest. The new, weekly podcast will focus on Trunk’s expertise and connections in the world of heavy metal music and will “bring his insight, commentary, reviews and in-depth, unfiltered interviews to the podcast world in a way like never before!” Trunk comments, “I’ve been asked for many years by fans about adding a podcast to my platforms. Really excited to finally launch one with PodcastOne and see where this new adventure takes me. Look forward to connecting with everyone on this exciting new outlet.”
Child Immigration Crisis, President Obama’s Strained Relationship with Democrats, Israeli-Palestinian Violence, ISIS Iraq Campaign, Obama in Colorado, Hillary Clinton in 2016 Prospects, and Obama Impeachment Talk Subsides Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/9). The continuing controversy over the influx of child illegals in the Southwest and the concerns over infectious diseases; speculation about the strained relationship between high-profile Democrats and President Obama in the wake of his sinking approval ratings; escalating violence between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip; the continuing campaign of ISIS in Iraq; President Obama’s visit to Colorado; chatter over Hillary Clinton’s prospects for the 2016 presidential race; and the subsiding talk about impeachment proceedings against President Obama were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rita Cosby Joins WABC, New York for ‘The Ride Home.’ Television and radio pro Rita Cosby is joining NY1 personality Pat Kiernan as co-host of the WABC, New York’s 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm program, “The Ride Home” beginning Wednesday, May 21. Cumulus Media describes the show as “the signature drive time show featuring the latest information, insight and opinion on news, sports and pop culture with an emphasis on the New York area.” On the new gig, Cosby says, “I am so delighted to join my friend and NY1 icon Pat Kiernan along with the rest of the 77 WABC family. While I’ve been fortunate to cover the biggest national and international stories for years, there’s nothing better than covering stories that touch the very cornerstone of my own neighborhood and place of birth, New York City. I’m excited to be a part of an exceptional and passionate team, bringing listeners context to the biggest stories impacting The Big Apple and showcasing some of the most noteworthy guests making headlines.” Cumulus corporate programmer of news/talk Randall Bloomquist comments, “We’re excited to welcome such an extraordinary journalist and dynamic host as Rita Cosby to the 77 WABC family. Together, Pat and Rita bring decades of broadcasting experience and a proven ability to jump between topics and deliver the day’s most important news. As New Yorkers make their way home at the end of the day, our listeners can look forward to being kept informed and entertained by two of the best in the business.”
National Association of Media Brokers Backs Elimination of Newspaper-Broadcast Cross-Ownership Ban. Filing a comment with the FCC in favor of eliminating the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership ban is the National Association of Media Brokers. The comment states, in part, “History shows that much of the broadcast industry was birthed by newspapers, which proved to be admirable stewards of the public trust. Specialization and regulation over the years has, to a large extent, separated ownership of the two. However, allowing newspaper/broadcast combinations in today’s marketplace, where there are so many choices for reading, viewing and listening, can only strengthen local content and public service. This recommendation is not made for the purpose of increasing our business or to rescue newspapers or AM radio stations. Frankly, we believe eliminating newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership restrictions would not generate a significant wave of such transactions. It would, however, be a step forward to enhancing public service without any meaningful impact on diversity. At first you might believe this would be a path mostly for newspapers to invest in broadcast stations, but the reverse also can be expected, especially in smaller markets.”
WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta Gives Eric Von Haessler Part-Time Work. The former member of “The Regular Guys” morning drive program on Cumulus Media’s rock WNNX, Atlanta has been off AM/FM radio since exiting that show last September. Now, Eric Von Haessler has been tapped to do some fill-in work on Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho. Program director Pete Spriggs tells the paper Von Haessler filled in for Monica Perez on Saturday, May 17 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and that his future with the station is unclear. “We will see where it goes. Today, I just think it is cool to get him on the radio,” Spriggs tells Ho. Von Haessler was part of “The Regular Guys” for more than 15 years at three different stations before exiting last fall.
Townsquare Media Flips New Jersey AMs to News/Talk. The oldies simulcast on WOBM, Lakewood Township and WADB, Asbury Park is gone and a news/talk format takes over on the Townsquare Media stations. The lineup includes local morning drive team Bob and Marianne Levy followed by paid programming from 9:00 am to 10:00 am. After that it’s the Premiere Networks lineup of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Also on the schedule is Compass Media’s Todd Schnitt.
Mitch Dolan Named COO of Times-Shamrock. Longtime ABC executive Mitch Dolan (10 years as president of ABC Radio’s station group) is now the chief operating officer for the Scranton-based Times-Shamrock Communications company where he’ll oversee its radio and outdoor properties. The Scranton Times-Tribune reports Dolan will manage the company’s stations in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Baltimore, Reno, and Las Vegas as well as the operational partnership in Milwaukee. Times-Shamrock owner Bobby Lynett is quoted in the paper saying, “Mitch’s reputation preceded his introduction to us. He is exactly the type of individual we want leading our group of managers and our geographically diverse radio and billboard division. Since meeting Mitch, we have grown more and more excited about the great ideas and enhancements we know he can institute.”
RAB: Another Flat Quarter for Radio. Actually, the spot segment of radio was down during the first three months of 2014, by 2%, with digital and off-air – both up 16% — saving the industry from a down quarter. National was down 8%, according to the RAB’s report. Total revenue for the quarter was $3.79 billion. This was the fifth consecutive flat quarter for the industry. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “The double-digit gains in the digital and off-air sectors this quarter highlight the growing interest among advertisers in utilizing radio’s multiple facets. With radio broadcasters increasingly dedicating their efforts to improving and supporting their digital channels, local and national advertisers alike will find these platforms increasingly attractive to reach audio consumers.” As far as ad categories are concerned, Farber reports that “a number of category increases offset cutbacks in spending among others whose businesses were adversely impacted by weather conditions and other factors.” Advertisers in the highly competitive communications/cellular arena rang up a 33% increase over their Q1 ’13 level to rank #2 among all categories in the spot segment; automotive, while flat, is again radio’s leading revenue category. Spending in the insurance companies category was up substantially (+33%), nearing the March 31 deadline for open enrollment under the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act (ACA). Health care category advertisers also upped their spending (+16%) in an effort to attract the newly insured to their services. Home improvement spending was up 14%, reflecting consumers’ need to deal with weather-related issues and growing home sales/remodeling efforts. Also up for the quarter were professional services (+7%), concerts/theater/movies (+6%), and casinos/lottery (+3%).
Beasley Opens Las Vegas Media Center. The dedication of Beasley Broadcast Group’s new Las Vegas operations took place on Thursday, May 15 and founder-chairman-chief executive officer George G. Beasley was among those attending the dedication ceremony of the new BeasleyMedia Center. Beasley received a Certificate of Commendation from Nevada Democratic Senator Harry Reid, and proclamations from Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and the Clark County Commissioners. Executive vice president of operations Brian Beasley comments, “Our Las Vegas team strives to provide the very best radio experience to both listeners and advertisers. Importantly, they also voluntarily create, promote, and participate in a variety of civic and charitable events that benefit the local Las Vegas community, such as the Children’s Miracle Network Radiothon, the Goodie Two Shoes Foundation, and the 12th Annual ‘DJs for PJs Drive’ held just last month.” Vice president and market manager Tom Humm remarks, “The staff is grateful for the Beasley family’s commitment to us and to the city of Las Vegas. Our new home is one of the finest radio broadcast facilities in the country. It is a proud moment for all of us.” There are 85 employees at Beasley’s five-station Las Vegas cluster, which consists of country KCYE “The Coyote”; talk KDWN “AM 720″; classic hits KKLZ; urban-rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7″; and adult hits KVGS “Bob FM.” Syndicated talk host Jerry Doyle will originate his weekday show (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm) from the KDWN studios.
Odds & Sods. Sitting in for Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean both this evening and tomorrow (5/19 & 20) is WTAG, Worcester morning drive personality Paul Westcott…..Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee is being honored by the MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers with “620 WTMJ Day” at Miller Park on Monday, June 2. WTMJ serves as the flagship for Brewers baseball and part of the special day means certain seats in the stadium will be available for just $6.20 and the game time for the Brewers-Twins matchup has been moved from 7:10 p.m. to 6:20 p.m. Journal’s VP/GM of Milwaukee radio operations Tom Langmyer says, “Brewers baseball on WTMJ radio has been the soundtrack of summer in Wisconsin for decades. Bob Uecker and Joe Block have a special relationship with listeners and we’re very pleased to join the Brewers in honoring fans for their tremendous support over the years.”
Scottie Nell Hughes’ Roar Due in September. Telling TALKERS magazine that “much of the book is based on my experiences in talk radio,” author Scottie Nell Hughes announces the coming publication of her book ROAR: The New Conservative Woman Speaks Out (2014 Worthy Publishing). The journalist and Tea Party correspondent says that as a woman who continues to defy political stereotypes, she has often found herself feeling marginalized and ignored by establishment political parties and mainstream media — particularly as an outspoken Christian conservative. Yet she emphatically rejects 21st-century labels, choosing instead to emphasize the strength of the new conservative woman in everyday life and politics. From her deep faith and her love for family to her independence, she says she refuses to participate in a manufactured war against men. Hughes says, “I’m delighted to be working with Worthy and to begin a movement that fights back against a modern culture that treats ‘pro-women’ and ‘conservative’ as incompatible. ROAR gives new voice to a demographic that has long been maligned, but whose time for being heard has come.”
Rick Santorum Entertains KSKY, Dallas Listeners. Former U.S. Senator (R-PA) and GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum (second from left) was in Dallas Friday, May 16 speaking before a gathering of KSKY, Dallas “660 AM The Answer” listeners at the DFW Sheraton when the photo here was taken. During the event, Santorum discussed his new book titled, Blue Collar Conservatives (Regnery) and chatted with hosts at the Salem Communications news/talk outlet. Pictured here with Santorum are (from left to right): KSKY morning host Mark Davis, Santorum, Texas Attorney General candidate Ken Paxton and KSKY evening host Jon-David Wells.
Rush Limbaugh’s Camp Responds to Media Matters Piece. The consumer media war against conservative talk radio – led by Media Matters for America – has, in general, not seen a lot of pushback from the program hosts themselves and the producers of the shows. But Premiere Networks-syndicated Rush Limbaugh, the chief target of criticism, fired back at Media Matters after a piece by its senior fellow Eric Boehlert was published in The Huffington Post that proclaimed Limbaugh’s program a ratings failure in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. Limbaugh program spokesperson Brian Glicklich penned a response to Boehlert’s piece in which he takes Boehlert to task for, primarily, publishing the three stations’ weekly AQH numbers with the implication they are Limbaugh’s numbers before clarifying that later in his piece. He then adds his statistics about changes in Limbaugh’s ratings on those outlets. With just four months under his belt on these stations, one thing is for sure: Limbaugh is still the primary target for Media Matters and scrutiny of the these signals is something the industry will see a lot of over the next year or so.
You’re Here Because of Ben Hoberman. The recent passing of Ben Hoberman – the architect of KABC-AM, Los Angeles’ talk format in the early 1960s – has caused some of the industry’s great thinkers to look back at what made KABC and Hoberman so successful. Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo writes today in TALKERS (5/6) that Hoberman understood the basic premise behind great talk radio: It’s a show. Sabo also says Hoberman followed a number of other prescriptions for success, including these two: He invested in new technology and he embraced fresh, often outrageous talent. Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Address AM Revitalization and Cross-Ownership Rules at PAB Meeting. At the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters meeting in Hershey on Monday (5/5), FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai told the assembly that he wants to implement the workable aspects of the Commission’s AM revitalization program by the fall. He told the gathering, “Small broadcasters and large broadcasters alike want to revitalize AM radio. So do civil rights organizations and those favoring increased ownership diversity. Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, the list goes on. Indeed, I’ve been amazed by the chord that AM revitalization has struck throughout the United States. When I made this proposal in September 2012, I never imagined the response we would receive…Time isn’t on the side of this grand old band, so let’s commit ourselves to getting this done by Halloween. Our proposals will not be a panacea for the real problems confronting AM broadcasters. But they will help. For example, I’ve heard from numerous AM broadcasters desperate for FM translators. That’s why we need to move forward with an FM translator window designed for AM broadcasters. If the FCC acts soon, that window could open next year. In addition to asking for comment in our NPRM on specific proposals, the Commission also solicited other ideas on how to improve the AM band, both in the short term and the long term. And we received many suggestions from station owners, engineers, and listeners. We need to sort through them and figure out which ones merit action and which ones need further study. Beginning this summer, I plan to hold a series of meetings with stakeholders to discuss these proposals. And I invite you to participate. If you have an idea for revitalizing the AM band, don’t be shy. It’s not too late to tell us what you think.” Regarding the cross-ownership rules, Pai is realistic about what can be accomplished, stating, “Unless the courts intervene, I see no prospect that the FCC will bring all of its media ownership rules into the 21st century in the next couple of years. But I do see a glimmer of hope when it comes to the newspaper-radio ownership ban. The Commission has signaled an openness to getting rid of this anachronism. And as the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu put it, ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’”
Newsweb Radio to Change Programming on Two Chicago FMs. The programming on two of the four stations currently airing Newsweb Radio’s progressive talk programming will cease and begin airing a Polish-language format under a time-brokerage deal. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the story and he reports WCPT-FM, Arlington Heights at 92.7 and WCPQ-FM, Park Forest at 99.9 will begin airing the Polski.FM-branded format on June 2. Newsweb Radio president Charley Gross tells Feder the move will allow the company to focus progressive talk on its 820 AM flagship, 92.5 FM (which covers mainly the western suburbs and northwest Illinois) and its webstream while providing a source of revenue from the other two stations.
Saga Communications Net Income Down 9%. Although the company’s net operating revenue was up by 0.8% with $29,423,000 realized in the first quarter of 2014, net income for Saga Communications was down 9% from $2,949,000 in 2013 to $2,439,000 this year. Saga’s long term debt dropped from $58,828,000 during the same period in 2013 to $46,078,000 in 2014.
Odds & Sods. Changes in weekend programming at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KSFO, San Francisco put an end to Barbara Simpson’s weekly show…..Clear Channel adds a little FM strength to the market coverage of news/talk WRVA, Richmond. The formerly dark translator W253BI, licensed to Glen Allen, Virginia at 98.5 FM, gives WRVA more potential coverage in the northern part of the market…..The “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” presented by WYD Media nationally syndicated talk media personality Stephanie Miller rolls into Albuquerque for a show at Popejoy Hall on Saturday, May 10. Miller, along with fellow performers John Fugelsang and Carlos Alazraqui, will also do a show in Minneapolis on June 7.
Scianna Named BRN Director of Communications & Marketing. That is a brand new title for Bott Radio Network and the one landing it is Paul Scianna, founder/executive director of the first Missouri-based Family Policy Council associated with Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. Bott Radio Network president and chief executive officer Rich Bott states that, “This new role is consistent with the exciting growth of Bott Radio Network and will help facilitate our continuing expansion and use of new media platforms to better serve our listeners and broadcast ministry partners. Paul has been a longtime friend of the Bott family, and he has a passion for the mission, vision, and values of BRN. Paul will have a key role in serving our listening audience, broadcast ministry partners and business sponsors, as well as engaging community leaders, pastors and our associates as we implement new ways to advance our vision of getting the word of God into the people of God.” Scianna comments that he is “excited and humbled” to join BRN “at this point in the organization’s 52-year history. Bott Radio Network has established a strong foundation on which we can build to fulfill its vision of broadcasting the timeless message of hope.” Scianna previously was vice president of the college testing company ACT; manager of internal corporate communications for Sprint; and senior vice president of corporate and public affairs for the PR firm Fleishman Hillard.
Enjoying the Accolades. The staff of The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “WSJ This Morning with Gordon Deal” poses with their Excellence in Financial Journalism Award received from the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) which recognizes reporters from the national and local press whose work was published, posted or broadcast in 2013 and contributed to a better and balanced understanding of business or financial topics. The “WSJ This Morning” crew was honored with one of only 11 awards given by the organization for the program’s coverage of the government shutdown. Pictured here (from left to right) are: Mike Gavin, Gina Cervetti, Deal (holding the award) and Dave Duncan.
Obama WH Correspondents’ Dinner Speech, Mid-Term Election Prognostications, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Rice Withdraws from Rutgers Speech, and Clean Air Act Battle Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/5). Criticism of President Obama’s highly political speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner; the most recent polls indicating Democrats may suffer losses in the mid-term elections in November; continued aggression in Ukraine by pro-Russian forces; former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice withdraws from her speech at Rutgers University; and the political battle over the Obama Administration’s restrictions on power plant emissions as part of the Clean Air Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Releases Q1 Financials: CCM+E Up 2%. This morning Clear Channel released financial data for the first quarter of 2014 and the Clear Channel Media + Entertainment group – radio stations, Premiere Networks, Total Traffic + Weather, iHeartRadio and related live events – saw income rise 2% compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company says “Media + Entertainment revenue rose $14 million, or 2% compared to the same period of 2013, driven primarily by higher revenues at our traffic and weather business reflecting new product offerings and the impact of strategic sales initiatives, as well as higher national sales fueled by growth in the telecommunications, healthcare and automotive categories, and higher digital advertising revenue benefitting from an increase in total listening hours on our iHeartRadio platform. Partially offsetting these revenue gains was a decline in our local revenues. Operating expenses were up $26 million during the first quarter of 2014 versus the same period in 2013, due primarily to higher compensation expenses driven by investments in our national and digital sales forces, and increased production costs for events such as the iHeartRadio Country Music Festival, as well as greater digital streaming and performance rights expenses driven by increased total listening hours and revenues. OIBDAN decreased $13 million, or 6%, to $200 million in the first quarter of 2014.”
WPHT Personalities to Debate GOP Party, Conservative Movement Future. The WPHT, Philadelphia “Talk Radio 1210″ air staff will be together on the same stage for the very first time today (Thursday, 4/24) at 5:00 pm to participate in “Super Talk Debate” at Victory Beer Hall’s XFinity Live in South Philadelphia. Personalities Dom Giordano, Dick Morris, Gary R’nel, Chris Stigall, and Rich Zeoli will discuss/debate subjects such as the future of social issues in American politics; foreign policy intervention; the GOP’s view on marijuana legalization; and how Republicans can win the Senate in 2014 and the White House in 2016. The format will be presidential debate style. Each participant will be at a podium, make opening and closing statements, and answer questions from the audience and moderator Larry Kane. Rick Grimaldi and Dr. Anthony Mazzarelli will host the post-debate show at 6:30 pm. By voting online, listeners will decide the winner. Voting will continue until next Monday (4/28) at 5:00 pm when Morris and R’Nel will announce the results.
Wilkes-Barre Radio Personality Bud Brown Retires from WILK. Longtime Wilkes-Barre radio pro Bud Brown calls it a career after signing off from Entercom’s news/talk WILK-AM/FM yesterday morning (4/23) after 40 years on the air. PAHomepage.com reports Brown is a native whose career began in New Jersey before he returned home to work at WBRE and then WILK. Brown tells the site, “I got along with all my coworkers. I respected them. I felt mutual respect returning and I think that more than anything else is what I treasure most about all the things about all the days on the air.”
Nielsen Reports Positive First Quarter; Revenue Up 12.9%. That figure is compared to the same period a year ago on revenue of $1.49 billion. Nielsen Holdings N.V. chief executive officer Mitch Barns says, “Nielsen delivered a solid first quarter. Our underlying business performance, which was marked by broad-based revenue growth and strong profitability, was enhanced by the ongoing successful integration of Arbitron. Our clear focus on the key business priorities of our diverse global client base continues to produce steady and consistent results while delivering long-term value for our shareholders.” The company reports that free cash flow for the first quarter of 2014 increased to $13 million from -$15 million in the first quarter of 2013 and cash flow from operations increased to $90 million in the first quarter of 2014 from $54 million in first quarter of 2013. The increases were driven by stronger operating performance and favorable interest payments.
Rover’s Legal Team to Call Howard Stern as Witness in Cleveland Case. When WMMS, Cleveland morning show host Shane “Rover” French appears in court on May 20 to defend himself against 13 charges – including attempted felonious assault, inducing panic and resisting arrest – his lawyer is calling Howard Stern as a witness, according to Fox 8 Cleveland. It’s not clear why Stern would be a relevant witness or if he’ll even appear. Co-host Michael Toomey, a.k.a. Chocolate Charlie, was arrested along with French during the incident that took place over the 2013 Fourth of July holiday weekend in which an off-duty police officer claims French and Toomey shot off illegal fireworks, refused requests to stop, assaulted him and more.
Media World A-Twitter Over FFC ‘Net Neutrality’ Plans. The chatter got so intense over reports about what today’s announcement by the FCC regarding its new open Internet rules will be that FCC chairman Tom Wheeler issued the following statement to counter speculation. “There are reports that the FCC is gutting the Open Internet rule. They are flat out wrong. Tomorrow we will circulate to the Commission a new Open Internet proposal that will restore the concepts of net neutrality consistent with the court’s ruling in January. There is no ‘turnaround in policy.’ The same rules will apply to all Internet content. As with the original Open Internet rules, and consistent with the court’s decision, behavior that harms consumers or competition will not be permitted.” What got people so uptight? Numerous sources – including the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, Fox News and others – say today’s announcement will propose that content companies be allowed to pay for faster delivery over the so-called “last mile” connection to people’s homes. The Associated Press writes, “The new rules are meant to replace the FCC’s open Internet order from 2010, which was struck down by a federal appeals court in January. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirmed that the FCC had the authority to create open-access rules but said it failed to establish that its 2010 regulations didn’t overreach. While the older rules technically allowed for paid priority treatment, it was discouraged. The new rules spell out standards that such deals would have to meet to be considered ‘commercially reasonable’ and are designed to survive a court challenge in the future. Under the proposed rules, if such a deal for priority access were challenged, the commission would look at its impact on competition, on consumers, on free speech and civic engagement, and whether a broadband provider was acting in good faith.”
The Next Generation(s). At the Cox Media Group Houston office, the sound of the pitter-patter of little feet could be heard as staffers brought their progeny to work for the annual “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.” Altogether, 18 young people (pictured here with some of the parents), ranging from 2 ½ to 13 years of age came to work on Thursday (4/24) to follow their parents on a typical day. Well, a mostly typical day, as activities were planned for every age group. The kids will learn to record a commercial, use their voices for station on-air promotions, participate in social media postings, and see inside the studio as the DJs broadcast live. The daylong activities will be mixed in with some fun as well, including a pizza party for lunch, a dance-off with the digital department, and if activities are too much, “Frozen” will be shown in the afternoon so everyone can take a break from it all. Cox Houston VP and market manager Mark Krieschen says, “This is our first year to implement the program in Houston. I can already feel the excitement in the air as the kids are making themselves right at home.”
Russian Aggression in Ukraine/Obama vs Putin, 2016 Presidential Race-Mid Term Elections, the FCC and Net Neutrality, President Obama’s Asia Visit, and U.S. Drone Strikes in Yemen Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/23). Russia’s involvement in the unrest in Ukraine and analysis of President Obama’s handling of Vladimir Putin; speculation about candidates in the 2016 presidential election and the looming mid-term elections this year; controversy over the FCC’s “open internet” policy to be announced today; President Obama’s visit to Asian nations excluding China; and the state of al Qaeda after U.S. drone strikes on terrorist targets in Yemen were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Michael Graham to Middays on WYAY, Atlanta. Talk radio pro Michael Graham is saying good-bye to Massachusetts and New England and heading south for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show at Cumulus Media’s WYAY, Atlanta “All News 106.7.” Graham has been hosting a program on the New England Talk Network and on the Boston Herald’s digital audio project since Greater Media flipped WTKK, Boston from talk to urban contemporary (as WBQT). Cumulus is getting away from the all-news on WYAY – it’s already added market pro Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson to the schedule in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm shift – though there’s no indication it has plans to change the drive time news programming anytime soon. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports the changes but Graham himself bids a fond adieu to New England and a not-so-fond adieu to the Massachusetts political scene which he blames for WTKK’s demise. He singles out Governor Deval Patrick and you can read that here.
Glenn Beck Talks About Film Projects to Hollywood Reporter. Talk radio star and media entrepreneur Glenn Beck tells the Hollywood Reporter that there’s a reason he bought a movie studio in Texas – The Studios at Las Colinas in Irving: He has plans for three film projects with many more hopefully to come. The facility, where such movies as “Robocop” and “JFK” were filmed, also serves as the base for his radio and digital operations under his TheBlaze banner but his Mercury Radio Arts film division has plans for the three films – one set in ancient history, one in modern history and a third “faith-based” project – that are underway. Read the Hollywood Reporter piece here. Meanwhile, Beck also appears irked that he’s pigeonholed as a political right-winger by the media, telling the magazine, “Everybody thinks they know who I am because of my stint on Fox – that was two years of my life. I’m much more into culture than I am into politics, and that’s where I intend on making my stand.”
Clear Channel Restructures Sales Efforts; Extent of RIF Unknown. The prospect that Clear Channel Media + Entertainment intended to change the structure of its sales force has been rumored for some time and now the plan has been put into effect. The exact nature of the realignment is not known but the company released the following statement: “As a policy, we don’t discuss personnel matters. However, for the last several months we have been flattening our senior management organization to reduce overlap. Now we are aligning our sales organizations to this new structure and to give more resources, authority, and accountability to the most productive members of our team so we can operate as effectively and efficiently as possible.”
Johnson to Replace Hanson at Broadway Media. A number of changes taking effect at Broadway Media in Utah to report. First, the company announces that its Salt Lake Radio Group market manager G. Craig Hanson is leaving the company after 37 years to enter the ownership end of the business in St. George, Utah. Taking over for him will be Stephen C. Johnson. He’ll serve as general manager and CEO of the Salt Lake Radio Group that includes: KXRK, KUDD, KUUU, KEGA, KYMV and KALL. Johnson spent the last 35 years with Simmons Media. Other moves include Broadway Media VP/administration Bret J. Leifson exiting to pursue other interests. Joining the companies is John G. Kimball who will serve as general manager and CEO of Real Media – the division that operates Broadway’s digital, technical, event and entertainment, and outdoor media assets. Kimball has worked in the market with Bonneville and Real Salt Lake.
Second Round of March PPM Data Released. PPM data from the second of four groups of 12 markets for the March 2014 period (February 27 – March 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
FCC Issues FNPRM for 2014 Quadrennial Review; Ownership Regs Proposed to Remain, Cross-Ownership Open for Consideration. The Federal Communications Commission has released its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that initiates the 2014 Quadrennial Review and chief among the topics are the broadcast ownership rules. The Commission is proposing to keep the current radio broadcast ownership rules in place but it is open to discussion about relaxing the radio-newspaper cross-ownership ban as well as the radio-television cross-ownership rules. This has Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai furious in his dissent. He takes the Commission to task for, 1) failing to complete the 2010 Quadrennial Review and; 2) putting proposals such as the radio-newspaper cross-ownership ban question into the 2014 review. Here are his words: “Congress has instructed us to review the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule every four years and repeal or modify it if we determine that it is no longer in the public interest. And here is the simple truth: The Commission has not been able to conclude since 2000 that the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule remains in the public interest. And today, the Commission dodges the issue entirely, putting off the issue until 2016, sixteen years after our last determination! What’s the solution at this point? While writs of mandamus are not to be issued lightly, I believe that the D.C. Circuit would now be justified in ordering the Commission to remove the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule from our books. We have had plenty of opportunities to justify maintaining the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule, but instead we have chosen to punt — including today.” Pai’s sentiment that the FCC works too slowly, especially in an era when changes in technology are happening at an ever-faster pace while government seems to work slower than ever, is one echoed by many in the broadcasting industry. Consider the Commission’s conclusion regarding how digital media is affecting broadcast media. It’s important to understand that the quote from the FNPRM is relative to broadcasters’ (TV also) desires to relax ownership regulations. Whether you agree or not, it’s the Commission’s assessment of the current state of the audio entertainment landscape that indicates its willingness to only see one moment in time, without regard for the future. “Despite broadcasters’ claims to the contrary, we tentatively find that, for purposes of the Commission’s ownership rules, non-broadcast sources of audio programming are not yet meaningful substitutes for broadcast radio stations with respect to either listeners or advertisers. While alternate platforms such as satellite radio and Internet-delivered audio are growing in popularity, broadcast radio remains the dominant radio technology. In 2012, 92 percent of Americans age 12 or older listened to broadcast radio, a figure that has remained essentially constant over the last decade. Satellite radio still serves only a small portion of the population, even though its subscription rates continue to climb. And though recent data suggest that a significant portion of adult U.S. broadband households (42 percent) listen to Internet-delivered audio programming, we note that millions of U.S. households continue to lack broadband connections. In addition, only 14 percent of Internet radio listeners listen in their cars, where most broadcast radio listening occurs. Thus, we tentatively conclude that Internet-delivered audio programming is not yet a meaningful substitute for broadcast radio listening for most listeners. We seek comment on this tentative conclusion and invite commenters to provide any more recent relevant information and data. We believe, moreover, that satellite radio and content delivered via the Internet generally are national platforms that are not likely to respond to competitive conditions in local markets.” Even if you agree with these conclusions (which, obviously, many do not), will they still be true in 2015, 2016 (when the 2014 Quad is supposed to be delivered to Congress) or 2017?
BIA/Kelsey’s New Study Explores ‘Reinvention of Audio.’ The full name of the study from BIA/Kelsey is “The Internet Radio Revolution Has Arrived: Platforms, Services, Audiences and Advertisers Reinvent Audio,” and as the title implies, it works to make sense of the state of audio entertainment and its relationship with the advertising world as it exists today, plus where it’s going in the near future. The study authors note a five-step process that occurs when a major change affects the media: 1) Fundamental breakthroughs in enabling technologies occur, 2) Entrepreneurs and their investors experiment with getting the right value proposition into the market, 3) Consumers find the winning technologies and begin to use them, 4) Advertisers sensing a new opportunity for connecting with their consumers allocate “experimental budget,” and 5) Media companies and publishers take new platforms seriously. The report states, “It is only when we reach this last phase that we really get a sense of how fundamentally a technology will impact us in the long run.” It believes the audio business is entering this fifth phase. Read the entire study here.
iHeartRadio Gets into Subaru’s STARLINK. Japanese automaker Subaru was a little late to the party with a digital infotainment system but the new STARLINK is available on many of its 2014 cars and now Clear Channel Media + Entertainment announces its iHeartRadio will be included on the system. The STARLINK infotainment system is being demoed at the New York Auto Show beginning tomorrow (4/18). Subaru of America marketing strategy & launch manager David Sullivan, says, “We are thrilled to have iHeartRadio as our first content partner for the STARLINK cloud service application. The award-winning service brings a huge amount of programming and custom content to Subaru vehicles with a great, easy-to-use interface.”
ObamaCare Criticism, IRS-DOJ Tea Party Connection, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Sebelius Senate Run, Tax Day, and Bloomberg vs the NRA Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/16). Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the allegation that the Lois Lerner led department of the IRS contacted the Department of Justice about prosecuting the Tea Party; escalating aggression by Putin’s Russian forces in Ukraine; speculation that former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will run for the U.S. Senate; chatter about the complex U.S. tax code and the number of taxpayers supporting benefit takers; and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plans to battle the National Rifle Association were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
NAB Show: Day Two. Media consultant Holland Cooke reports back to TALKERS/RadioInfo from Las Vegas with notes from the second day of the annual NAB Show in Las Vegas. Among the topics Cooke writes about are NAB CEO Gordon Smith’s conversation with FCC chairman Tom Wheeler (it appears radio is not on Wheeler’s radar), an instructive group of thoughts for radio operators from former NYTimes columnist and current Yahoo Tech columnist David Pogue, plus some comments about the future of the AM band. Read Holland Cooke’s complete column here.
NAB Announces Crystal Radio Award Winners. Chosen among 50 finalists, 10 stations emerged as victors of the National Association of Broadcasters’ 27th annual Crystal Radio Awards. Recipients were honored at yesterday’s (Tuesday, 4/8) radio luncheon at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. Honorees are Clear Channel Los Angeles urban-rhythmic oldies KHHT “Hot 92.3″; CBS Radio Detroit all-news WWJ; Bonneville Phoenix KTAR-FM “News/Talk 92.3″; Hubbard Minneapolis hot AC KSTP-FM “KS-95″; and Clear Channel Omaha KXKT “Today’s Country.” Other winners are Cromwell Group‘s WZUS “Talk 101 FM,” Decatur, Illinois; Lenawee Broadcasting adult contemporary WLEN “Lenawee’s Best Radio Station,” Adrian, Michigan; Fife Communication adult contemporary KCVM “93.5 – The Mix,” Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa; East Kentucky Broadcasting‘s WDHR “Today’s Best Country,” Pikeville, Kentucky; and Riverfront Broadcasting‘s KYNT “Yankton’s Home Team,” Yankton, South Dakota. Crystal Radio Awards recognize stations for outstanding year-round commitment to community service. Judges representing broadcasting, community service organizations, and public relations firms chose the finalists.
Changes at Saga Portland and Binnie. WGAN, Portland brand manager and news director Jeff Wade exits his roles with Saga Communications in Portland to take on the news director role with Binnie Media’s statewide news network serving neighboring New Hampshire called New Hampshire One. As a result, Saga names Portland operations manager Chris Mac program director of news/talk WGAN and promotes afternoon news anchor and reporter Frank Alosa to the news director position. On his new post, Alosa says, “This really is a great opportunity to take the reins as news director at a station with such a rich history in this market. I look forward to continuing and expanding upon WGAN’s news tradition.”
Sales Pro Mike Messenger Joins Advantage Systems Inc. Sales training and consulting firm Advantage Systems Inc. announces radio sales pro Mike Messenger – who most recently was director of sales for Cox Media – is joining the company to serve as revenue development manager. Messenger says that the concept of growing revenue through a focus on local direct business is what attracted him to Advantage Systems. During his time with Cox Media, Messenger led a team that sold across 12 states, growing revenue via local direct. Messenger states, “It’s a unique concept that has proven fruitful – in fact growing revenue 15% year-over-year. I am very excited to help advertising sales professionals grow their revenue. What Advantage Systems offers to local, small and mid-size businesses is unparalleled in the industry. This is a unique opportunity for me at the right time in my career to do what I love to do: help businesses grow their client base and make more money, while helping sales professionals improve their income.” In this position, Messenger will be working with sales teams and managers to help strengthen their local direct strategy and maximize digital sales to ultimately generate sustainable growth in their individual markets. Advantage Systems VP of sales Frank Kulbertis comments, “Media organizations and local advertisers are going to love working with Mike Messenger. His experience and enthusiasm make him the ideal person to help us expand our business in the broadcast and cable TV industries, while continuing our extensive work in the radio industry. I am thrilled that we were able to add someone of Mike’s caliber to our organization.” Advantage president Mike LoConte adds, “A key advantage to our Advantage Systems program is the strengthening of the sales team so that we can help our media partners grow their revenue not only thru focused sales programs but all year round. We feel Mike has what it takes to help all of our media partners exceed their sales goals.”
ObamaCare Criticism, 2016 Presidential Race, Global Warming, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Search, Lois Lerner Contempt Move, and Vance McAllister Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/8). Ongoing scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; speculation about the players in the 2016 presidential campaign; renewed debate over the consensus regarding anthropogenic climate change; suspicion that Vladimir Putin’s government is fomenting revolution in Ukraine; renewed hope that authorities are close to finding Malaysia Airlines Flight 370; the battle in Washington over potential contempt charges against former IRS official Lois Lerner; and the “Christmas kissing” scandal involving Louisiana congressman Vance McAllister were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
NAB Show convention coverage by consultant Holland Cooke
LAS VEGAS – Applause to 2014 Crystal Award winning stations, who were honored at Tuesday’s Radio Luncheon, after-which came one helluva moment, Steve Harvey’s NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame acceptance speech.
It began every bit as hilarious as you’d expect, then turned suddenly, stunningly, emotional, the kind of from-the-heart moment that defines great big characters. He tearfully applauded the Crystal winners, declaring that “radio is about the community, about the people. Every radio station can play the same songs. [The Crystal winners] are doing radio the way radio should be done.”
Jason Wolfe Joins Glenn Ordway’s New Digital Sports Talk Venture. As the new chief content officer for Sportstalkboston.com, programmer Jason Wolfe rejoins former fellow WEEI staffer and Boston sports media personality Glenn Ordway as the new digital venture, which debuted on Monday (3/17), evolves . Wolfe was VP of programming operations for Entercom New England prior to exiting the company last year. Ordway was afternoon drive host on WEEI for many years. In a statement, Ordway says, “I couldn’t find a more accomplished programmer to extend our efforts to build the best possible content than the Wolfman.” The company lists the local personalities appearing on the new “Big Show Unfiltered,” stating, “Listeners on all platforms will hear former All-Pro nose tackle and Patriot Fred Smerlas, Super Bowl Champion linebacker Steve DeOssie, veteran Boston Herald columnist and best-selling author Steve Buckley, former Comcast Sports Net New England studio host and Boston Celtics sideline reporter Greg Dickerson and long-time Boston sports personality and “Big Show” alum Pete Sheppard, will join the Big O along with new contributors Jerry Thornton of Barstool Sports and comedian Graig Murphy.” Regarding Wolfe, the press statement tallies his accomplishments: “He has spent his entire broadcast career in Boston, including 22 years with WEEI. Under his leadership, the station achieved tremendous success, becoming the #1-ranked sports radio station in the country, and holding the top spot in Boston for six straight years. The station was nominated for six Marconi Awards with four wins, the most recent in 2012. Wolfe also created the Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon which, in partnership with NESN, has raised $31 million for cancer care and research in its 12-year history.” Ordway adds, “It’s our goal to assemble a cast of fun, interesting and compelling personalities. I feel strongly that with this group, we’re well on our way to achieving that.” Wolfe starts with the company on April 10.
NAB Issues Reply Comments on AM Band Revitalization. The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making regarding its proposals for revitalizing the AM band and NAB, in its reply comments, reiterates its “support for most of these proposals, and suggests certain other policy changes that would further enhance the public’s AM radio service.” In summary, NAB states it “agrees with most comments in favor of opening a filing window for FM translators in which only AM stations may participate, as a means of extending the benefits of cross-service translators to more AM stations and their listeners. While translators obtained in this window should generally remain linked to the acquiring AM station, NAB submits that it would be reasonable to allow such translators to be transferred under certain limited circumstances, such as financial hardship.” NAB also says it supports “relaxation of the proposed limit of one FM translator per AM station, to accommodate AM stations with unusually large or irregularly shaped service areas, as well as opening the filing window to all AM radio stations on an equal basis, regardless of class or ownership structure. The record also demonstrates support for the FM translator processing approaches set forth in the ‘Mattoon’ and ‘Tell City’ waiver cases. Retention of the former, and approval of the latter, will expand the universe of eligible cross-service translators, and foster efficient spectrum use by enabling more translators to be fully utilized.” Read NAB’s entire reply comments here.
CBS RADIO Adds to Its Live Events Division. The expansion of the live events division at CBS RADIO includes the addition of Katie Forte senior producer, strategic events and partnerships. She’ll be based in New York, according to Amy Stevens, senior vice president of strategic events and partnerships. The company says that in the newly created position, Forte will “play a key role in the development and management of signature programs that provide audiences and advertisers with one of a kind experiences with their favorite artists, sports stars, newsmakers and CBS RADIO personalities. Additionally, Forte will serve as a liaison with local venues, arenas and CBS RADIO’s current roster of partners in the entertainment industry, while cultivating new business relationships and opportunities.” Forte comes to CBS RADIO from her most recent position as director, concerts marketing, digital and social media with Madison Square Garden Company.
Sports Talker Dino Costa to Begin Multi-Platform Endeavor. Former SiriusXM sports talk personality Dino Costa announces the coming debut of his new multi-platform sports talk venture on May 5. His new company, Dino Costa Worldwide, LLC, is producing the Dino Costa show it calls “a multi-platform sports media and entertainment forum – combining the elements of radio, television, and newspaper, under one umbrella.” Costa is working on a subscription model ($72 per year) that will include a live, daily four-hour show available in high-definition with a three-camera shoot planned. Other content will include pre-recorded podcast interviews with a host of news-making individuals, pre-recorded video vignettes, and “Costa Chronicles” featuring consistent written word features by Costa. The new show will also feature a mobile app so that all elements of the show may be accessed at anytime, anywhere for those on the go. It’ll all be at DinoCostaShow.com.
Audi to Bring Wi-Fi to 2015 A3 Model. The arrival of wi-fi in the automobile in the United States appears to be coming first from Audi, according to a piece at Technologyreview.com. The story says the German manufacturer will make wi-fi available in its 2015 A3 model and it’s certain other manufacturers will follow. GM already has plans to offer 4G LTE in some 2015 models beginning this summer. Industry watchers know that the digital dashboard is going to expand but how fast that will happen before it can be said to be ubiquitous is up for debate. The Technologyreview.com piece reports Audi will charge $100 for 5 gig of data for six months. If you add that to a consumer’s existing smartphone plan, it becomes clear the dollars add up. Manufacturers are working to make the operation of digital apps acceptable for drivers who can’t be distracted, and that limits what can be done in the vehicle (at least in the front seat). Few are denying this is the future of entertainment and information in the car but reviews of some digital dashboard apps currently available are not glowing. They cite difficulty of operation and unreliability in many cases. But time usually solves these issues and that will be the case here. But for now, service like this will belong to those with a yen for gadgets and a fair amount of disposable income. Read the Technologyreview.com piece here.
Odds & Sods. Talk show host David Webb will moderate a panel discussion about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on SiriusXM this evening. “Malaysia Air Mystery – A Listener Roundtable,” will feature a panel of experts including: former CIA agent Bob Baer, former Navy SEAL and pilot Brandon Webb, forensic psychiatrist Michael Aronoff, former National Transportation Safety Board investigator Alan Yurman, former CIA intelligence officer Dr. Michael Scheuer, director of the division of bioethics at NYU Langone Medical Center Dr. Arthur Caplan, security and terrorism professional Kerry Patton, and chief operating officer of Aviation International News Randy Padfield…..The popular public radio program “This American Life,” created and hosted by Ira Glass, will no longer be distributed by Public Radio International after July. Neither side is talking specifics but both have agreed to move on after negotiations for renewal broke down. The show has been distributed by PRI since it debuted in 1997…..CBS RADIO O&O WCCO, Minneapolis is the recipient of 11 awards in the recent 2013 Minnesota Associated Press Broadcasters News Contest. The awards will be presented at the annual awards banquet on Friday, March 28. Among the 10 categories judged, WCCO is receiving eight first place awards and three honorable mentions. First place honors were awarded in the following categories: Best In Show, Best Website, Sport Hard News, Feature, Series/Special, Sports Reporting, Best Newscast, and Sports Play By Play.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge joins the lineup at KNOX, Grand Forks and WBBA, Pittsfield, Illinois…..WestwoodOne’s Jim Bohannon is now heard on KWLZ, Warm Springs, Oregon and KBNW, Bend, Oregon.….WILC, Maryland adds the Genesis Communications Network-distributed Alex Jones show to its lineup…..The “Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is picked up by WSVG and WAMM, Woodstock, Virginia…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated weekend Ethan Bearman program is added to the program schedule on KBY, Anchorage…..Salem Radio Network’s Dennis Prager show is added to the lineup at WNNG, Unadilla, Georgia and WKAL, Rome, New York.
Karel Takes Ireland! Talk show host Charles Karel Bouley writes from across the Pond to let TALKERS know he just finished hosting nine programs from the Emerald Isle – including a St. Patrick’s Day show. While there, Karel led the St. Patrick’s parade in Dublin atop a double decker bus occupied by media from around the world. As he says, “Being openly gay the whole time (take that NYC and Boston)!” Pictured here is Karel (l) interviewing the Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisin Quinn at his home, Mansion House.
Obama vs. Putin Clash Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 17-21. The butting of heads between President Obama and Russian president Vladimir Putin over the latter’s aggressive policies was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Following at #3 was criticism of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act, and at #4 was the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Don Geronimo Goes Digital. After exiting CBS RADIO last month and promising he’d be back with a vengeance after his contract expired, radio pro Don Geronimo announces he’s joining the digital RELM Network to produce his new show that will be available via subscription only. The new show will be presented live, Monday through Friday, starting in early April, at www.DonGeronimoPodcast.com . The company says the exact launch date will be announced soon. A recorded version of the show will be available on that website, shortly after each live show ends. The cast of the new show will be Geronimo, co-host Drew Hoffar, their sidekick, Joe Ardinger and will feature regular appearances by Geronimo’s longtime pal and newsman Buzz Burbank. A statement from the RELM Network, says, “As changes in the radio industry continue to disappoint listeners, Geronimo looks forward to doing the show he’s always wanted to do, without interference from corporate radio executives or the FCC rules that quashed the medium’s spontaneity and fun. Longtime listeners especially won’t want to miss the show’s opening week, in which Geronimo will talk about the events that — and people who — led him to do this podcast.” Burbank, who will panel on the show and bring bits of his news, worked with Geronimo nearly thirty years in their days at CBS Radio. Burbank will continue his daily newscast at www.BuzzBurbank.com. Burbank is a partner in, and co-founder of, The RELM Network, along with Marc Ronick and Lowell Melser. The RELM Network now features 17 shows, including “Buzz Burbank News and Comment,” “The Kirk McEwen Show,” “The Marc & Lowell Show,” plus shows focusing on gaming, the arts, interviews, sports, politics — left and right — and more.
Len Weiner to Program Lincoln Financial Media’s WAXY, Miami. South Florida sports talker WAXY-AM/FM, Miami “FM 104.3/AM 790 The Ticket” has a new program director as Lincoln Financial Media announces Len Weiner will join the company beginning March 24. The company parted ways with PD Tod Castleberry last November. Weiner most recently was vice president of programming for Genesis Communications’ stations in the Tampa, Orlando and Melbourne markets. He’s also served at WGN, Chicago; ESPN Radio Network and KMPC, Los Angeles. LFM SVP and general manager Maureen Lesourd comments, “I am excited that Len’s joining our ‘Ticket’ team. His depth of experience as a sports radio programmer, producer and talent developer plus his solid track record for strengthening big brands makes him the perfect choice.” Weiner adds, “I can’t wait to get started at ‘The Ticket.’ It’s a thrill and honor to join the team and continue to build and grow this great brand. I would also like to thank Maureen and [LFM SVP of programming and operations] John Dimick for this opportunity.”
Geraldo Rivera Strikes Deal with Blast Applications for Digital Projects. It’s not clear whether his new deal with Cumulus Media allows him to control his own digital endeavors or whether Cumulus is a silent partner in this but Geraldo Rivera and Blast Applications, Inc. are partnering to bring his radio show live to listeners via mobile devices. Under the terms of the agreement, Rivera’s 10:00 am to 12:00 noon WABC, New York show will be distributed digitally and Blast Applications is responsible for promoting Geraldo’s upcoming online store that will feature innovative and one-of-a-kind products that will be available for purchase nationwide. Blast Applications CEO Dino Luzzi states, “It is incredibly exciting to announce our joint revenue agreement with the Geraldo Rivera team to promote their popular radio show and online store. This agreement is another key milestone in our growth for 2014 as we continue to expand Blast Application’s opportunity to create more revenue in the near future.” Rivera comments, “With the help of Blast Application, we expect the Geraldo Rivera radio show to experience new growth and revenue opportunities.”
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Featured at WTMJ’s “Insight 2014.” The annual live event produced by Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee and talk host Charlie Sykes that features important figures in public policy and media takes place this evening and will be re-broadcast tomorrow (3/20) from 8:30 am to 12:00 noon on the station. “Insight 2014 with Charlie Sykes” is an annual political state of the state event and this year includes Governor Scott Walker, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, WTMJ talk host Jeff Wagner and numerous Wisconsin political and media figures.
Dave Ramsey to Present Fall ‘Business Gets Personal’ Event in NYC. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar, best-selling author and live event producer Dave Ramsey sells out theaters and arenas across the country targeting individuals and families as well as businesspeople with his “Legacy Journey LIVE” and “EntreLeadership” events. Now, Ramsey is presenting a new businessperson-focused program to take place in New York City on October 2 titled “Business Gets Personal.” The new event entails Ramsey teaming with marketing experts and best-selling authors Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk to give businessmen and women valuable insight they can use to take their business to the next level. Ramsey’s Lampo Group says the one-day event will allow attendees the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business through keynote speeches, Q&A sessions and networking opportunities. The daylong program takes place at the Rose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, Time Warner Center. Godin’s latest book is titled, The Icarus Deception (Portfolio Hardcover 2012). Vaynerchuk works in the family’s liquor sales business and launched Wine Library TV, a daily video blog about wine to much success in 2006.
KGMZ Adds Aubrey Huff to Morning Show. The new morning show at Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco “95.7 The GAME” hosted by Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend adds retired San Francisco Giants star Aubrey Huff to the program’s cast beginning March 31. Program director Jason Barrett says, “Last week, we announced a new lineup for ‘The GAME.’ Since then, we’ve been fortunate enough to add one of the most entertaining sports personalities in the Bay Area to our team. It’s hard to improve on the ‘perfect team in the perfect time slot,’ but adding Aubrey Huff does just that. Make no mistake — this morning show will be different, more informed, and more colorful than any other in the market.” Huff adds, “I couldn’t be more excited to join ‘95.7 The GAME.’ I had an incredible experience in San Francisco, being a part of two World Championship Giants teams, and now I’m looking forward to joining my brand new team in the Bay Area.”
Michael Harrison Encourages Talk Radio to “Organize Communities, Not Sides.” In a guest appearance this morning on the Harry Hurley morning show on Townsquare Media’s WPG, Atlantic City “Talk Radio 1450,” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison – when asked by the popular, long-running AM drive star about the present state of talk radio in America – stated, “Although talk radio continues to be one of radio’s most successful formats and the platform that gives rise to the medium’s biggest stars, it might need to adjust its mission and style to perhaps a more positive mode in the days ahead for the sake of improving its image in the advertising community and maintaining influence in the arena of public policy. I suggest that talk show hosts think more about organizing ‘communities’ that bring people together – especially on the local level where left and right ideology plays less of a defined role – than galvanize ‘sides’ that turn people and communities against each other.” Harrison added, “There are many ways to target audiences and create critical, marketable masses. Going forward it is important that news/talk radio explore all its options in this regard and not rely exclusively on the ‘us against them’ paradigm.”
Odds & Sods. At Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee, Erik Bilstad is promoted to the role of executive producer, news, effective immediately. The company says that in addition to his current duties as a reporter and news anchor on “Wisconsin’s Afternoon News with John Mercure,” Bilstad’s responsibilities will now include day-to-day management of the news department and personnel, along with story assignments and directing special news and severe weather coverage…..Former Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo joins Tribune’s WGWG-LP, Chicago “The Game 87.7 FM” for a weekly football insider role on the midday show hosted by David Kaplan and David Haugh, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..The Florida Times-Union reports the Jacksonville Jaguars will switch from Cox Media Group‘s WOKV, Jacksonville to Seven Bridges-owned WJXL for play-by-play of the team’s games beginning with the 2014 season. According to the report, games would also air on Renda Broadcasting‘s country WGNE-FM. The deal has not been officially announced by the NFL club.
Minneapolis Sports Talker Jack Jablonski Nabs Prom Date with ESPN’s Michelle Beadle. Twin Cities sports talk personality Jack Jablonski made headlines in 2011 when, as a high school hockey player, became paralyzed from the chest down after being checked into the boards. Jablonski was hired the following year at Cumulus Media’s “Sports Radio 105 The Ticket” (WGVX and WGVZ, Minneapolis) to host the weekly “Hockey Night in Minnesota” program that airs Wednesdays at 5:15 pm. During his show last Wednesday, Jablonski joined former Vikings offensive lineman Mike Morris and Pioneer Press columnist Bob Sansevere. ESPN anchor Michelle Beadle was also on the air with them, having been booked for the second time by Jablonski. After some hockey talk, the mood changed as Barry White‘s “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” started to play. The 18-year-old Minneapolis celebrity asked Beadle to his high school prom — and she accepted!
Second Round of February PPM Data Released. PPM data from the second of four groups of 12 markets for the February 2014 period (January 30 – February 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
George Wallace Visits KDWN, Las Vegas. Comedian George Wallace (c) is pictured here in Beasley Broadcast Group’s Las Vegas studios with KDWN program director John Shaffer (l) and KDWN morning drive host Alan Stock (r). Wallace spoke with Stock about the 10th anniversary of his engagement at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino on the strip.
Obama vs. Putin/Crimea-Ukraine Case, ObamaCare Criticism, Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 Mystery, and Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/18). Analysis of the motives of Russian president Vladimir Putin and his battle with President Obama over Russian interests and the Crimea-Ukraine case; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the deepening mystery of the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370; and speculation about changes in Congressional power possible after the mid-term elections and the possible candidates for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TALKERS Posts 2014 Heavy Hundred. The 2014 installment of one of TALKERS magazine’s most popular and, perhaps, controversial annual features – “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – debuted on March 11. Also known as “The Heavy Hundred,” the ranked listing of 100 hosts and talent teams from around the country is based on a number of both quantitative and qualitative criteria and is determined by collective analysis of the TALKERS editorial board with input from a wide variety of industry leaders. It includes local and national hosts from an array of genres falling under the umbrella of “general” talk or “news/talk” radio covering politics, health, finance, relationships, consumer electronics, popular culture and a variety of specialties. (TALKERS launched a special and completely separate annual “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk” two years ago.) Hosts on the list are selected from those working at the time of its publication on platforms that include commercial and public AM/FM radio as well as satellite radio (internet-only talk hosts are ranked by TALKERS in an annual feature titled “The Frontier Fifty”). According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It is no secret that economic restraints facing the industry these past few years have contributed to shrinking the number of individuals working on the air across the nation. Although the 2014 edition of the Heavy Hundred will, of course, include many familiar names, the need for new blood, fresh voices and potential up-and-comers has never been greater. Readers will find this year’s roster will feature a number of new names and first-timers, which is quite exciting!” To view the entire 2014 Heavy Hundred, please click here.
‘Game’ Changes in San Francisco. KGMZ “95.7 The Game” is modifying its weekday on-air lineup. Among the adjustments at the Entercom-owned San Francisco Bay Area sports outlet are the importing of former cross-town KNBR talent Damon Bruce to afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) and shifting current PM drivers Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend (below left, respectively) to mornings, replacing “The Rise Guys” — Whitey Gleason, Mark Kriedler and Dan Dibley. Entercom San Francisco vice president and market manager Steve DiNardo states, “This is a great day for our station and for Bay Area sports fans. For years, Damon Bruce has been one of the strongest, most opinionated, and passionate personalities in Bay Area sports. He understands what it takes to compete and win in this market. Just as exciting is moving Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend to morning drive. In just 14 months, they have developed strong chemistry and a loyal following. We feel like we have the perfect team in the perfect time slot to grow ‘The Game.’” According to Bruce, “The Bay Area has a one-of-a-kind sports scene, one of the hottest and most exciting in the country today. Bay Area fans are some of the most passionate fans in the country. I can’t wait to start and kick off a new drive-time experience for Bay Area sports fans.” Bruce was with KNBR from 1998 – 2000, and returned in 2005. He gained national exposure hosting “Sports Overnight America,” before leaving to become a SportsCenter anchor on ESPN Radio. Bruce has filled in for Jim Rome and has hosted SportsCenter for ESPN International. His other credits include fill-in host on Fox Sports Radio; Sporting News Radio; CBS Sports Network; and hosting pre and post-game shows for the San Francisco Giants and San Francisco 49ers. The revised KGMZ lineup – which begins in just over two weeks (3/31) – will include “Bucher and Towny” with Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Haberman & Middlekauff (10:00 am -12:00 noon); “The Wheelhouse” with John Lund & Greg Papa (noon – 3:00 pm); and “The Damon Bruce Show” (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm).
Saga’s Ed Christian “Hoping for a Little Better” in Q4. The 2013 fourth quarter and full year fiscal reports for Saga Communications saw the company’s net operating revenue dip 5% in Q4 of 2013, compared to the same period in 2012. But gross revenue increased 3.8% during the quarter excluding political. For the full year, the company’s gross revenue was up 3.3% (ex-political). In a conference call with investment analysts, Saga CEO Ed Christian stated, “I was hoping for a little better in Q4, we can always do a little more, we can always do a little better but I’m not disappointed. We’re just pleased with the results.” Christian said it’s hard not to put some blame on the winter weather for the economic sluggishness. “Saga operates in a lot of mid-America markets and a lot in New England and I really don’t have to tell you what the last four months have been like. In those markets it’s just outright miserable…I was talking with one of our managers the other day and he said people are irritable and it’s gloomy and people are lethargic.”
Beasley Declares Cash Dividend. The company’s board of directors is announcing the company is declaring a quarterly cash dividend of $0.045 per share of its Class A and Class B common stock. The dividend is payable on April 10, 2014, to shareholders of record on March 31, 2014.
KEX, Portland Personality Accused of Assault. Morning show personality Paul Linnman – host at Clear Channel’s news/talk KEX, Portland – is being accused by a co-worker of assault after he allegedly groped her buttocks and licked his lips as he stared at her breasts. Kailee Kinney is bringing the suit against Clear Channel and Linnman in Multnomah County Court. Kinney is a producer and account executive at CC Portland. She’s seeking $325,000 in damages. The complaint alleges Linnman “came up behind plaintiff and groped her buttocks, a sexually intimate part of her body. Linnman used an open palm to slap Plaintiff’s buttocks and then grabbed and squeezed plaintiff’s buttocks.” It further alleges that “Linnman approached plaintiff for a second time, stating, ‘I should apologize but that black dress…you look great in that black dress,” during which he “licked his lips and stared at Plaintiff’s breasts as he made this comment to plaintiff.”
Salem, Oregon Talk Host Suspends Show After Equal Time Complaint. In the Salem, Oregon market, Willamette Broadcasting employee Bill Post has suspended his daily talk show on KYKN due to his campaign for state representative and a complaint from a primary opponent about violation of equal time rules. Post announced his campaign for the seat in December. Last month, Barbara Jensen announced her bid for the seat but Post continued to work on the air. Jensen complains that Post and the station have been violating FCC rules and election laws but also asserts Post has violated other campaign laws but did not specify what they are. In a story in the Statesman Journal, Post says the station was prepared for Jensen’s complaint and that he believes the station and his campaign manager have operated within the law. Jensen’s complaint implies that once Post worked on air after opponents joined the race, the station must then provide equal time.
Journal Communications Shows Off New Brand. The parent company of radio and TV station firm Journal Broadcast Group unveils a new company brand with three cohesive new logos representing Journal Communications and its two major business segments, the Broadcast Group and Journal Publishing. As part of the new brand, the company also launched a fully redesigned corporate website at www.journalcommunications.com. Journal Communications chairman and CEO Steven J. Smith comments, “When we look at our company, we see quality, focus and effective teams in our local markets – all part of a business that is moving forward. However, many people outside of Journal often have no idea that, in addition to their favorite local station or publication, we have a total of 13 television stations, 35 radio stations and a major daily newspaper with a variety of supporting local publications, all with complementary digital products. As such, we believe our new brand better represents our company to investors, employees and the public and positions us as a national media company with diverse brands united under a common identity.” The redesigned company website includes links to all of Journal’s digital products and Journal Broadcast Group live streaming sites, as well as a “What’s Trending Now” feature that highlights Journal’s most recent content across its Broadcast and Publishing websites.
Entercom Kansas City Takes Action Against Delinquent Client. It’s not unusual for radio stations to put a past-due account into collection but Entercom Kansas City is seeking a court’s assistance in getting more than $52,000 it claims it is owned by Vinson Mortgage Services Inc. In a story in the St. Louis Business Journal, Vinson apparently advertised on news/talk KMBZ, alternative KRBZ and rock KQRC. This is not the only action involving Vinson. St. Louis television station KMOV-TV is filing a suit claiming it is owned more than $68,000.
Odds & Sods. The recent FCC filing for Buckley Broadcasting’s sale of its Connecticut stations to Connoisseur Media announced last week shows the price is $7.9 million. The stations include classic hits WDRC-FM, Hartford; talk WDRC-AM, Hartford; WWCO, Waterbury; WSNG, Torrington; and WMMW, Meriden…..Talk radio pro Mark Wainwright is sitting in on Clear Channel’s WSYR, Syracuse for Joe Galuski on the morning program next week, March 17 – 21…..Alpha Broadcasting announces Jeremy Scott and Brian Perkins will be the radio announcers for the Arena Football League’s Portland Thunder when games air on the company’s KXTG, Portland “Sports Radio 750 The Game.” Scott serves as a reporter for sister news/talk KXL. Perkins is a reporter and air personality on KXTG…..XtreMEDIA nationally syndicated talk host Steve Deace is talking to New Englanders today as he sits in for Boston talk icon Howie Carr on Entercom‘s WRKO.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Mystery, Winter Weather/Global Warming, Republican Wins Fla. Special Election, ObamaCare Criticism, CIA Monitoring of Senate Staffers/Snowden Video Appearance, and Obama vs. Putin/Ukraine-Crimea Tensions Among Top Stories Yesterday (3/11). The ongoing mystery concerning the whereabouts of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet; a new round of winter weather hits the East and renewed debate over the case for man-made global warming; Republican David Jolly defeats Democrat Alex Sink in Florida Congressional special election; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; Senator Diane Feinstein’s allegation the CIA monitored Senate staffers and Edward Snowden’s commentary on surveillance cases; and President Obama’s faceoff with Vladimir Putin and the case of Russia’s incursion into Crimea and Ukraine were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
FCC Will Seek Public Comment on Ownership Rules; Reversal of Cross-Ownership Bans Appear Unlikely. Reports are circulating in the media trades that senior FCC officials say FCC chairman Tom Wheeler will propose relaxing cross-ownership bans, but in a blog post dated March 6, that tone is not expressed. Wheeler writes about the Commission’s duty to undertake and complete the 2014 Quadrennial Review. He discusses some of the proposals regarding maintaining current ownership rules that will be open for public comment but many industry watchers say this should not be cause to think a Wheeler-chaired Commission will ultimately relax current cross-ownership bans. Much of Wheeler’s concern in the blog is with television joint sales agreements and he’s clearly out to change those. You can read Wheeler’s entire post here.
Newsmax Chief Chris Ruddy Announces Cable TV News/Talk Project. In a piece in Bloomberg Businessweek, Newsmax founder and CEO Chris Ruddy announces his plans for a new cable news/talk network with Fox News Channel as his target. Ruddy is quoted asking, “How do you have something so successful in cable that nobody else wants to imitate or cut into their market share? It defies reason.” Ruddy tells Bloomberg Businessweek his goal is “to be a little more boomer-oriented, more information-based rather than being vituperative and polarizing.” He says that if he can get 10% to 15% of FNC’s audience, he’s going to be “hugely profitable.” The piece states FNC bills $1 billion a year. He understands the cable carriers don’t want to pay new networks and believes even if he has to pay them to carry the network, he’ll make money. Currently Newsmax TV is online featuring talk media personality Steve Malzberg. Ruddy does not say what the programming will look like when he’s ready to launch in June. Read the entire Bloomberg Businessweek story here.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated “America Tonight” talk host Kate Delaney keeps her sports talk chops sharp as she sits in on the NBC Sports Radio Network this weekend hosting the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm slot both Saturday and Sunday this weekend…..In honor of Women’s History Month, SiriusXM host Julie Mason (left) sat down with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (right) before a live audience at the Newseum in Washington, DC on Tuesday, March 4. It’s part of the “SiriusXM Leading Ladies” series of candid conversations with influential and inspiring women who have forged their own paths to leadership and success.
Dave Ramsey Deep in the Heart of Texas. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey is pictured here on stage at the Lila Cockrell Theatre in San Antonio as he presented his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” on Thursday (3/6). Ramsey talked about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage. Ramsey combined forces with L&L Broadcasting’s news/talk KTSA to promote this event. KTSA GSM Coreena Hazelett comments, “L&L Broadcasting and ‘550KTSA’ are thrilled to partner with the Dave Ramsey team in bringing life-transforming content to entrepreneurs and leaders as well as teaching families how to live now so you can leave a powerful legacy for your family. We, along with our sponsors, sincerely believe in the importance of contributing to the growth of business and the quality of life for families here in San Antonio.” Ramsey also hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” on Wednesday along with Cruze and speaker Chris Hogan. The content of that presentation was how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 400 team members.
LaNeve Named to Entercom Board of Directors. From the sales and marketing world comes the newest member of the Entercom board of directors as Mark LaNeve joins immediately. He has served as COO of WPP’s Global Team Ford – an agency that serves as the marketing and advertising partner to Ford and Lincoln businesses globally. During his time as chief marketing officer at Allstate Insurance, he led the marketing for the company and developed the long-running “Mayhem” campaign. Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “Mark LaNeve is a tremendous addition to Entercom’s board of directors. He has led some of America’s most iconic brands and ad campaigns. He will bring a new and fresh perspective to the Entercom board.”
Michael Medved Broadcasts from CPAC. Seattle-based Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Medved (right) is pictured here interviewing Republican Senator from Utah Mike Lee (left) at the radio row at CPAC 2014 taking place in Washington, DC. The event is the American Conservative Union’s annual confab of conservative activists being held at the Gaylord Hotel & Convention Center.
Obama vs. Putin/Ukraine-Crimea Unrest Top News/Talk Stories This Week. The political crisis in Ukraine and Crimea and the scrum between President Obama and Vladimir Putin were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was ObamaCare Criticism. At #3 was the Israel-Palestinian talks followed by the 2016 presidential race at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a 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 the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. ABC News Radio adds WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte to its roster of affiliate stations…..Yahoo! Sports Radio announces KXFN, St. Louis flips to sports and takes its lineup of national sports talk hosts.
FCC Kills CIN Study…at Least for Now. The Federal Communications Commission issued a brief statement late Friday afternoon ending the current form of the Critical Information Needs study that has enraged broadcasters since it was announced last May. Recently, as the beginning of the study approached this spring, broadcasters – and many from the public arena – had re-stoked their disapproval. The FCC’s statement on February 28 was: “The FCC will not move forward with the Critical Information Needs study. The Commission will reassess the best way to fulfill its obligation to Congress to identify barriers to entry into the communications marketplace faced by entrepreneurs and other small businesses.” Commissioner Ajit Pai, who had publicly criticized the scope of the study, said, “I am pleased that the FCC has canceled its Critical Information Needs study. In our country, the government does not tell the people what information they need. Instead, news outlets and the American public decide that for themselves. I look forward to working with my colleagues to identify and remove actual barriers to entry into the communications industry. This newsroom study was a distraction from that important goal.”
TALKERS to Postpone Publishing 2014 Heavy Hundred Until Tuesday, March 11. The 2014 installment of one of TALKERS magazine’s most popular and, perhaps, controversial annual features – “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – is being readied for publication this coming Tuesday, March 11, 2014. It was originally intended for publication today (3/3) but last-minute developments in the industry regarding the contracts and standing of several key hosts has required adding the extra week for consideration and tabulation. Also known as “The Heavy Hundred” the ranked listing of 100 hosts and talent teams from around the country is based on a number of both quantitative and qualitative criteria and is determined by collective analysis of the TALKERS editorial board. It includes local and national hosts from a variety of genres falling under the umbrella of “general” talk or “news/talk” radio covering politics, health, finance, relationships, consumer tech, popular culture and a variety of specialties. (TALKERS launched a special and separate Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk two years ago.) Hosts on the list are selected from those working at the time of its publication on platforms that include commercial and public AM/FM radio as well as satellite radio (internet-only talk hosts are ranked by TALKERS in an annual feature titled “The Frontier Fifty”). According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It is no secret that economic restraints facing the industry these past few years have contributed to shrinking the number of individuals working on the air across the nation. Although the 2014 edition of the Heavy Hundred will, of course, include many familiar names, the need for new blood, fresh voices and potential up and comers has never been greater. Readers will find this year’s roster will feature a number of new names and first-timers, which is quite exciting!” Companies interested in sponsoring segments of this widely discussed and read (by hundreds of thousands of broadcasting industry members and consumers/listeners) feature should call 413-565-5413.
CBS RADIO Adds Baltimore, Maryland Content to All-News WNEW-FM. The two-year-old all-news format on CBS RADIO’s WNEW-FM, Bowie, Maryland-licensed station is getting some tweaking as the station will add more Baltimore and Maryland content to its programming in the form of news and traffic, as the company says, “in addition to its extensive coverage of the Washington, D.C. metro.” The company is opening a Baltimore news center beginning today (3/3), which is located at CBS television station WJZ-TV. Other bureaus will follow in Annapolis and Montgomery County throughout the year. Longtime Baltimore radio news anchor Sarah Jacobs has been named bureau chief, overseeing a team of local reporters. Baltimore Sun columnist David Zurawik reported on the changes last week questioning if the changes are the result of the inability to “put a dent” in the ratings at Hubbard’s crosstown WTOP. Some of the changes beginning today include traffic reports every five minutes during peak travel times plus expanded coverage to include “Beltway to Beltway” traffic spanning the entire Baltimore-Washington corridor, from the Baltimore Beltway to the Washington Beltway, and the major arteries that feed them. CBS RADIO SVP and market manager Steve Swenson states, “WNEW reaches 5.3 million people across Baltimore and Washington, and all the counties in between – more than any other local radio station. We’re thrilled to offer area residents around-the-clock news coverage, and serve as the primary destination for all their traffic information needs. Whether driving the two Beltways, I-95, the Baltimore Washington Parkway, I-97, or Route 50, commuters will only need to listen to one station: All-News 99.1FM.” In the Baltimore Sun piece, Zurawik writes that Swenson concedes the location of the WNEW-FM transmitter – near Annapolis – doesn’t cover the DC metro the way most DC-licensed stations do. Swenson tells the paper WNEW-FM “reaches 38% of the DC metro population while it covers more than 75% of the Baltimore metro.”
Don Geronimo to Exit ‘106.7 The Fan’ in Washington. After returning to his longtime stomping grounds at WJFK-FM, Washington “106.7 The Fan” following a stint at the company’s KHTK, Sacramento, Don Geronimo will again leave the station and his evening show. Geronimo Tweeted that he’s going to be on the CBS RADIO payroll for another 30 days and then “off to brighter pastures. You know I have a lot to say on the entire matter, you’ll hear it all soon enuf, ever 4ward.”
PodcastOne Makes Doug Stephan’s ‘Good Day’ Show Available on Demand. Nationally syndicated radio personality Doug Stephan (left) is partnering with PodcastOne to have the service distribute his podcast and have PodcastOne Sales serve as the exclusive rep for his podcast. Stephan’s “Good Day” is now available in a digital format after the original broadcast of the radio program. PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz (right) says, “Everybody needs a good day. Now we can make sure that Doug Stephan’s ‘Good Day’ is available 24 hours a day, on-demand, from PodcastOne. This is just another example of the expanding radio footprint that makes the best talent available to the largest possible audience, and on a personal level, having Doug on the podcast lineup brings a big smile to my face and assures me of having my own personal good day.”
Talk Radio Personality Rusty Humphries Joins Washington Times. Longtime TRN-syndicated talk radio personality Rusty Humphries is joining the Washington Times for an “expansive role” in which he will be “a weekly columnist, a blogger and a daily video show host.” The organization notes that “Humphries’ appointment is part of the Washington Times’ aggressive expansion into the many platforms that comprise a modern media company. The audio from Humphries’ video show will also be streamed on the Kaliki-based, on-demand network that was recently established in partnership with the Times. Humphries comments, “I’m excited to become part of the Washington Times family. I am proud to add my voice and my ideas to the excellent work that the Times has been producing for decades.” Times editor and vice president of content and business development John Solomon adds, “Rusty is a rare and special talent. We are thrilled to have his wisdom and his good humor as part of our growing menu of offerings.”
New Lineup from TheBlaze Radio Network; Buck Sexton Show to Weekdays. There’s a new weekday schedule from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network as the company announces the Buck Sexton show moves to weekdays in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm ET slot effective March 17. Sexton is also co-host of “Real News from TheBlaze,” he is a former Central Intelligence Agency officer and NYPD Intelligence Division analyst with hands-on expertise in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations around the world. As a result of the move, the Pat & Stu show moves to the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET slot. TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “Over the past 18 months or so Buck has emerged as a very strong new voice in media. We’re excited to see what he can do with the expanded opportunity on TheBlaze Radio Network.”
Compass Media Networks Welcomes Susan O’Connell. Affiliate relations pro Susan O’Connell is joining Compass Media Networks as a consultant with the goal of managing and enhancing affiliate relations and strategy related to The Wall Street Journal Radio Network. O’Connell has served as senior director, affiliate sales for The Wall Street Journal Radio Network since 2006. Compass exclusively manages affiliate sales and advertising sales for WSJ Radio.
Lawrence Named Director of Sales at Revenue Development Resources. After 14 years of service to the Radio Advertising Bureau, Bob Lawrence becomes director of sales for Revenue Development Resources. He states, “It’s exciting to be representing the valuable services that RDR offers to broadcasters, and to once again team with RDR president/CEO Mark Levy. I look forward to more of the kind of successes that Mark and I achieved during our years working together at the RAB.” Says Levy, “Bob joining us is like old-home week. With former RAB team members Tim Foley and now Bob Lawrence on the team, it’s like working with family again!”
Odds & Sods. Imaging and voice-over pro Pete Gustin leaves his gig with Entercom’s sports talk WEEI-FM and news/talk WRKO after 18 years with the stations. Gustin, who recently launched his own imaging and voice-over service, writes on his Facebook page, “I’ll be partnered with dozens of major national brands, programs, radio stations, TV networks, sports franchises and agencies like Solid Talent with Micaela Stepanovich, CESD Imaging — affiliates and Paul Wintner and Jason Helzner, who are both very much responsible for this new path I’m on.”…..WOLB, Baltimore morning show host Larry Young is honored as a recipient of the 2014 Verizon Community Innovator Award. The company says that Young was the only recipient of the award in the communications field. “We here at Radio One Inc. are very proud of Larry’s many accomplishments and this shows the great works he has done for the community and how he represents his community.”…..Center Post Holdings announces it is re-branding the Business TalkRadio Network to BizTalkRadio to reflect its new partnership with sister network BizTV. Center Post Holdings purchased BTRN last October .
Rick & Bubba Read to 50,000 Kids in 13 States! Nationally syndicated morning show Rick & Bubba (Rick Burgess and Bill “Bubba” Bussey) recognized the National Education Association’s “Read Across America” day today by using technology to read Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs & Ham to an estimated 50,000 students in 800 schools across 13 states. The SSI-syndicated show has made an annual tradition of creating the “world’s biggest classroom” on this day. In the photo here, Rick & Bubba are seen on a screen in one of the classrooms taking part in the event.
Going for Woman of the Year. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) is pictured here with two-time cancer survivor Dominic (left) as Wachs gears up to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Las Vegas. Wachs was nominated for Woman of the Year so her goal is to raise $20,000 during the campaign that runs from March 21 through May 31. Wachs tells TALKERS the funds go to cancer research and financial assistance to families with children afflicted with blood cancer. Listeners can help by going to her website at www.drdaliah.com and hitting the “Fight Blood Cancer” link after March 21.
ABC News Radio at the Oscars. Just a couple of hours before winning the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her work in “12 Years a Slave,” last night in Los Angeles, Lupita Nyong’o (right) stops on the red carpet to talk with ABC News Radio’s David Blaustein (left).
Journal’s WTMJ and ‘The Lake’ Name J. Pat Miller to Marketing Post. At the Milwaukee properties news/talk WTMJ and adult hits WLWK “94.5 The Lake,” Journal Broadcast Group ups J. Pat Miller to the new position director of marketing & innovation. The company says that in his new role, he’ll be responsible for the overall marketing activities of WTMJ and WLWK as well as designing and implementing new brand programs. VP and GM Tom Langmyer comments, “J. Pat has demonstrated his ability to create and develop new revenue streams. He will focus more of his attention on additional initiatives to grow our business.” Miller adds, “This new role is vital to our growth and the industry as a whole. The incredible team here at Journal’s Milwaukee Radio Operations can effortlessly pull off most anything we create.” Miller is overseeing the promotions department and the company announces that Alison Helf is named promotions manager.
Tribune’s WGWG-LP, Chicago Brings McKnight Aboard. The fledgling sports talk station Tribune’s WGN is building and airing on LMA’d WGWG-LP “The Game 87.7” adds another local sports talk personality to its staff. Connor McKnight – who’s served with CBS RADIO’s WSCR “The Score” for the past four years – joins “The Game 87.7” for an on-air role. According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, McKnight will “make his first appearance Thursday (2/27) on Mark Carman’s show, which airs from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.” Feder reports he’ll become part of the daily lineup. At WSCR, McKnight hosted the “Hit and Run” baseball show as well as having been an anchor and reporter at the station. Read Feder’s story here.
Chris Dimino Set to Join ‘680 The Fan’ for ‘Rude Awakening’ Show. As reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho, former WQXI sports talk personality Chris Dimino will become part of WCNN “680 The Fan” in an on-air capacity as his non-compete clause from WQXI expires on March 17. Dimino has been working for the station in an off-air capacity since last September but Ho reports he’ll join Christopher Rude and Perry Laurentino on the morning show soon. Dimino was part of the WQXI morning program – including fellow hosts Steak Shapiro and Nick Cellini – that was fired in the wake of the poorly thought out bit poking fun at former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason who is suffering from ALS. Read Ho’s entire piece here.
NAB Rejects Elimination of Advertising Tax Deduction. As part of a comprehensive tax code overhaul proposal being spearheaded by House Ways and Means Chairman David Camp (R-MI), the deduction that businesses can claim for advertising expenses would be eliminated and this oft-considered-but-never-enacted change has the NAB letting legislators know how it feels about it. NAB EVP of communications Dennis Wharton states, “NAB strongly opposes any job-killing proposal that would limit the ability of thousands of large and small businesses from fully deducting their annual advertising expenses. Advertising on local radio and television stations is a key driver of the American economy – indeed, a recent study found local broadcast advertising generates $1.05 trillion in GDP and supports 1.48 million jobs. NAB will work with lawmakers and other stakeholders to ensure the advertising tax deduction continues to create economic prosperity and well-paying jobs.” Since ad deduction elimination is just one part of a comprehensive tax overhaul proposal, it’s difficult to say how it would affect a company’s bottom line in the long run. Camp has stated his goal is to simplify the tax code – not to increase anyone’s tax burden – and there are other proposed changes that promise to help the bottom line of corporate and individual taxpayers. This is an election year so it’s unlikely there will be any action on this front any time soon.
FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn Defends CIN; Implies It’s Misunderstood. During a speech at Washington, DC’s Media Institute on Wednesday (2/26), FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn defended the controversial Critical Information Needs (CIN) study that would have researchers quizzing journalists and managers about how they choose news stories and information for dissemination to the public. Her speech came the day after Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) promised legislation to put the FCC’s study to rest for good, citing its potential intrusion into First Amendment areas and its scope being beyond the purview of the Commission. Clyburn explained that the Commission needs to understand the markets it regulates. She said that she would never be a part of anything that seeks to chill free speech or shape news gathering and that the goal was to “gather data and other information about whether there are any market entry barriers, preventing local communities from receiving important information…I am about facilitating ownership and opportunities and making sound decisions about our most critical industries based on solid research and not rhetoric.” Still, critics of the study argue that neither Clyburn nor FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler have adequately explained the connection between interviewing news people about story selection policy and barriers to station ownership for minorities.
Valerie Blackburn to Step Down at CBS RADIO Los Angeles. The word from Los Angeles is Valerie Blackburn – currently serving as controller for the CBS RADIO Los Angeles cluster and general manager of news/talk KFWB (residing in the KFWB license trust) – is resigning from her positions and is planning to take some time away from radio and work to travel and be with family and friends. Her exit will not be immediate and it’s assumed CBS is already working on finding her replacement.
Schultz Honored by Arizona Progressives. Nationally syndicated talk show host and MSNBC personality Ed Schultz is pictured here speaking at the annual Arizona Advocacy Network dinner on Saturday, February 22. Schultz was honored by the group for his work on key progressive issues and he addressed the attendees. He was clearly in the right state at the right time with the controversy over the Arizona religious freedom bill such a hot-button issue. (Photo: Josselyn Berry)
RAB: Radio’s Digital Revenue Expected to Rise 22%. That’s from the just-released Benchmarking: Local Radio Stations’ Online Revenues report from Borrell Associates and the Radio Advertising Bureau. The report states that digital revenues went up 15% in 2013 and the total figure for 2014 could be as high as $520 million. Some figures from this year’s report: the average radio station brought in $166,490 in digital advertising – about 3% of its total revenue; some large-market stations report making millions; the average revenue for four-station clusters is approaching $750,000. The data for the study is culled from three sources: ad revenue reported by the stations, local business ad spending, and a survey of radio managers. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “We’re experiencing year-over-year, double-digit growth in radio; and to truly maximize this revenue stream this survey continues to provide us with areas to improve upon and ultimately grow our overall revenue share. Most notably, sales managers are looking for continued training for their sales staffs and a better understanding of the digital buying community. The RAB is poised to help in this area through our professional development programs and outreach.”
Odds & Sods. Talk show host Stephanie Miller‘s “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” hits Fort Lauderdale, Florida Saturday, March 1. The progressive talker, whose show has played in theaters to sold-out crowds across the country, is appearing at the Parker Playhouse along with John Fugelsang, Carlos Alazraqui, special panel guest Judy Tenuta and more surprises…..“SportsRadio 94” WIP-FM, Philadelphia is presenting the “Great Birds Debate” remote broadcast today at Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia. The station says it is one of the few times all year that the WIP airstaff is on the same stage together. Personalities Angelo Cataldi, Rhea Hughes, Michael Barkann, Ike Reese, Anthony Gargano, four-time champion Rob Ellis (also a member of the CBS 3 Sports Team), Josh Innes, Howard Eskin, CBS 3 Sports Director Beasley Reece, and Philadelphia Eagles insider Dave Spadaro will all be present to discuss and debate questions about the Eagles present and future. The event is free and open to the public…..At Detroit urban talker WCHB, John Mason leaves that Radio One outlet to take over the morning slot at sister urban AC WDMK where Reach Media’s Tom Joyner has been airing. Joyner moves to mornings at WCHB and that bumps talk host Mildred Gaddis from AMs to afternoon drive in Mason’s old slot…..A couple of notes from SiriusXM: U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will appear on the next installment of the “SiriusXM Leading Ladies” series, “candid conversations with influential and inspiring women who have forged their own paths to leadership and success.” SiriusXM P.O.T.U.S. host and veteran White House correspondent Julie Mason will host the program on March 4 before a live audience at The Newseum in Washington, D.C. In addition to the one-on-one conversation between Leader Pelosi and Mason, the one-hour town hall style event will have an interactive element featuring questions from an audience of SiriusXM listeners, female students from D.C. universities and Newseum members. Also from SiriusXM, sports talk host Casey Stern re-ups with the satcaster for his daily hosting spot on the MLB Network Radio channel, as well as for expanded duties on additional SiriusXM sports channels. Stern will continue to host “Inside Pitch” alongside his co-host, former Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden, every weekday afternoon…..Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York is bringing the world of fashion to its airwaves as it takes a look back at NY Fashion Week with an exclusive interview with Kenneth Cole. Hosted by Cristina Cuomo, editor of Manhattan magazine, from the Modern Luxury arm of Cumulus Media, the interview digs into Cole’s ambitions and inspirations. He also shares details of his groundbreaking advertising campaigns, views of fashion, social media, and much more. WABC program director Craig Schwalb says, “It was a real honor to work with our sister publication Manhattan and Cristina Cuomo to bring the iconic designer to WABC Radio. We are already making plans for this fall’s Fashion Week.”
Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises More Than $200,000 at ‘Golden Mike’ Event. At Monday evening’s black tie 2014 Golden Mike Award Dinner honoring BMI president Del Bryant, the Broadcasters Foundation of America raised more than $200,000 for its mission of helping broadcasters in need. More than 200 television, radio, and music industry executives and celebrities were in attendance. The evening was hosted by CBS News’ Bob Schieffer. Presenters for the evening were longtime personal and professional friends of Bryant’s: Michael Bolton, performer and BMI songwriter; Jack Sander, former chairman of the BMI board of directors; and Sandra Lee, internationally acclaimed culinary and home style expert and host of four highly rated programs on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, plus HGTV. Legendary singer, songwriter, musician, and actor Kris Kristofferson performed, as did songwriter Brenda Russell, who sang her top 10 hit “Piano In The Dark,” and “Get Here.” Dolly Parton opened a very moving video that provided a glimpse into Bryant’s amazing life — from his early years growing up as the son of songwriters Boudleaux and Felice Bryant through his incredible 42-year career at BMI where he championed the works of some of the biggest songwriters in entertainment. Pictured above are (from l-r): Jim Thompson (president of the Broadcasters Foundation), Michael Bolton, Sandra Lee, Del Bryant, Bryant’s son Thaddeus, Kris Kristofferson, Brenda Russell, Bob Schieffer, and Phil Lombardo (chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation).
Brewer Vetoes ‘Religious Rights’ Bill, ObamaCare Criticism, U.S.-Russia Tensions Over Crimea-Ukraine, Immigration Legislation, Bitcoin Controversy, and Hillary Clinton in 2016 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/26). Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoes legislation that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to some based on religious beliefs; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the political tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the strife in Ukraine and Crimea; new immigration legislation that includes an amnesty component; the bitcoin movement and recent events questioning its value; and speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Congressman Greg Walden Intends to Kill FCC’s Critical Information Needs Study. It wouldn’t be out of line to suggest Oregon Congressman Greg Walden doesn’t trust the FCC not to step over the line regarding its Critical Information Needs study. The controversial study would send researchers into the field to determine how stations and news personnel are choosing and presenting news and information and whether the conclusions reached somehow create a barrier to entry into station ownership for minorities. Last week, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler backed off the study as initially created and he has said the Commission has no intention of regulating the content of journalists or broadcasters. Walden is promising to craft legislation to end the CIN study permanently. He says “The very existence of this CIN study is an affront to the First Amendment and should have never been proposed in the first place. As someone with a journalism degree, I was alarmed from the moment I saw it, which is why we wrote to Chairman Wheeler in December to urge him to stop the study. To date, Chairman Wheeler has insisted upon only making small tweaks, and what he has proposed to do isn’t enough. The study should be eradicated completely. The potential for violation of the First Amendment is exceptionally egregious, but it is also concerning that the commission believes it can prescribe what ‘critical information needs’ are in communities across the country.”
Salem Names Joe Piscopo Permanent Morning Host at WNYM, New York. Former “Saturday Night Live” cast member, comic and actor Joe Piscopo has been sitting in hosting the morning show on Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” since the beginning of the year. Now the company makes it official as he’s named morning host of “Piscopo in the Morning.” He is joined on the air by morning show producer Frank Morano and newsman Al Gatullo. Salem VP/director of spoken word format Phil Boyce says, “One of the best things I get to do in this job is find talented people who have accomplished something on one stage and are ready to take on another one. Joe is extremely talented on the radio, bringing a level of entertainment to mix with the information that you seldom get to hear. This is a very connected morning show in the nation’s top market.” Piscopo has been involved in a variety of projects since he left SNL, and still does a number of nationwide tours with former cast members. In addition to numerous movie appearances, and comedy club gigs, he is soon to be featured in a national reality TV show for a major network. He comments, “I have my college degree in broadcasting. I remain a dedicated student of the most intimate medium, radio. And with legendary broadcast giants like GM Jerry Crowley and current day guru of all radio personalities past and present, Phil Boyce, this is the positively perfect storm of talk radio. I honestly believe that this is not only the reinvention, renaissance and revitalization of AM radio, (not to mention a totally new and exciting journey of my career) but the best thing to happen to NY radio since David Sarnoff.” Crowley says, “We have had a huge positive reaction to Joe, both from listeners and advertisers, since he joined us. This is going to be a true home run.”
Improve Your PPM Performance. Media consultant Walter Sabo offers five quick tips for improving your talk radio station’s performance in PPM (or frankly, any) markets. Sabo writes that one of the biggest gripes from general managers at stations which he consults is that the program director doesn’t coach the talent. That can lead to bad habits. To read his quick five-point prescription for getting on the track to better audience engagement, click here.
WFNZ, Charlotte’s Brittney Cason Tells Chilling Tale of Narrow Escape from Human Trafficking Ring. There’s no word how far the FBI is in its investigation of what happened – or almost happened – to media personality and WFNZ, Charlotte air talent Brittney Cason, but as the former NFL cheerleader writes in a column on XOJane.com, her dashed dream to cover the Sochi Olympics turned out to be a probable life-saving event. You can read her story here, but here’s a summary: After being recruited to cover the Winter Games by whom Cason thought was a legitimate agent, Cason discovered through her own dogged pursuit of answers to questions that bugged her that the man pretending to be an agent was likely involved in a human trafficking ring operating around the Sochi Games. Cason notes that one of the most common pretenses for abducting women for trafficking purposes is a modeling gig. Cason’s experience in the broadcasting and modeling business may have saved her life.
Cape Cod Broadcasting Names Reckford News Director. General manager Beverly Tilden announces that Cape Cod Broadcasting is naming Laura Reckford news director for the company. Tilden says, “Cape Cod Broadcasting has been a trusted resource for local Cape Cod news and information. Laura’s experience and leadership will assure that we continue that tradition as we grow and expand our news offerings.” Reckford most recently worked in the communications & development department at Housing Assistance Corporation. She is also the founder of the new online magazine CapeCodWave.com where she currently is editor and publisher. Cape Cod Broadcasting says it will partner with CapeCodWave.com as part of its development of its website CapeCod.com. She has worked at Cape Cod Life as managing editor and served with The Falmouth Enterprise in the same capacity. She began her media career in New York City at Entertainment Weekly, Good Housekeeping, Viacom and 20th Century Fox. Reckman comments, “After working in film, television, magazines, and newspapers, I am excited to be working in radio, a medium I have long admired. In addition, I am looking forward to bringing local journalism to CapeCod.com and also enhancing that website with the magazine-style journalism of Cape Cod Wave.”
Political Ad Season Is for Everyone. Media sales maven Al Herskovitz, president of H-and-H Broadcasting, writes about the already-upon-us political advertising season and what radio stations can do to get their fair share of the pie. Herskovitz notes that political is a busy category at major and large market stations but that smaller market stations and shows that may have considered themselves too small or “unconnected” can follow some strategies to make sure they are exhausting all possible sources of revenue in this category. Read Herskovitz’s column here.
Dean Adds Nightly Show to GCN Lineup. “Freedom Feens” co-host Michael W. Dean is hosting his own nightly show distributed by Genesis Communications Network beginning Monday, March 10. In addition to the weekly “Freedom Feens” program he hosts with Neema Vedadi, “Michael Dean After Dark” will air from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight PT. Dean says the program will feature him and a rotating cast of co-hosts for the two-hour show.
Weighing in on Net Neutrality. Nationally syndicated talk show host, columnist and digital expert Kim Komando (right) is seen here in this screen shot during an appearance on the Fox Business Network’s “The Willis Report” hosted by Gerri Willis (left). During the segment, Komando discussed the net neutrality issue and a potential deal between Netflix and AT&T for faster download speeds.
Arizona Religious Rights Bill, ObamaCare Criticism, Hagel Army Reduction Plan, Defense of Marriage Laws Controversy, Bitcoin Exchange Troubles, and Ukraine Turmoil-Russian Influence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/25). The controversy over the Arizona bill that would allow business owners to discriminate against customers based on their own religious beliefs; the plan of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to downsize the Army to its lowest level since after WWII; the edict from Attorney General Eric Holder that state attorneys general do not have to enforce “defense of marriage” laws; the question of the solvency of bitcoin exchange Mt.Gox; and the political turmoil in the Ukraine and Russia’s influence in the region were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Posts Positive Q4 2013 Revenue News; Dickey Pleased with ‘Core Performance.’ The fourth quarter of 2013 and the year as a whole were seen in a positive light by Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey during yesterday’s investor conference call. Dickey noted at the outset that he was happy that the company was able to meet and, in some aspects, exceed its guidance through “core performance without any impact of” mergers and acquisitions. He also says the company achieved its goals despite 2012 political comps of over $20 million. The company reports Q4 net revenue up 4.5% over the same period in 2013. For the year of 2013, Cumulus net revenue rose 2.4%. Following up on previous conference calls in which he highlighted his expectations for sports and traffic, Dickey said CBS Sports Radio, NBC Sports Radio, NFL and NCAA play-by-play are “hitting their stride as national content brands. Both sports and traffic are currently exceeding expectations for 2014 and are taking share in their respective markets. And will again be substantial growth drivers as we expected them to be. We are very encouraged by the level of interest by both the advertisers and affiliates in these products, which is a testament to the high-quality nature of the content and again the efficacy of broadcast radio advertising on sports and traffic sponsorships respectively.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read the whole call here.
Imus: Scott Shannon Will Get the Job. The Scott Shannon watch continues as the next radio home of the former, longtime WPLJ, New York morning co-host remains the subject of speculation in New York and across the country. This morning, WABC-based Don Imus was heard saying, “I’m told Scott Shannon will get the [WOR] job and I’m very happy about that.” Imus seemed sincere about his statement. TALKERS reported yesterday that the chatter has Shannon landing at either Clear Channel’s news/talk WOR for morning drive (where the company just ended the Elliot Segal simulcast from “DC101”) or at one of CBS RADIO’s music FMs – either classic hits WCBS-FM or CHR WNOW.
Clear Channel Promotes Rob Anthony in New England. Programmer Rob Anthony is named to the operations manager and program director position at Clear Channel’s Providence cluster that includes rock WHJY, news/talk WHJJ, classic hits WWBB “B101,” and hot AC WSNE “93.3 The Coast.” Anthony has been serving as regional programming manager for New England based out of the company’s Springfield, Massachusetts cluster. He will retain that title which has him overseeing programming at the Springfield, Worcester, and Manchester and Portsmouth, New Hampshire station groups. Anthony says, “I can’t even begin to express my excitement for the opportunity to work with such heritage brands as ‘Coast 93.3,’ ‘B 101,’ ‘NewsRadio 920’ and the mighty ‘94 HJY.’ This is truly an honor, and I can’t wait to get to work. Thank you to Clear Channel’s programming team and [market president] Rhonda Lapham for all their continued support and guidance.”
FCC to Rework Internet Regulation Rules; Republican Commissioners Question Move. FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler has announced the Commission will revisit the “net neutrality” issue by “proposing rules that will meet the court’s test for preventing improper blocking of and discrimination among internet traffic, ensuring genuine transparency in how internet service providers manage traffic, and enhancing competition. Preserving the internet as an open platform for innovation and expression while providing certainty and predictability in the marketplace is an important responsibility of this agency.” Wheeler states that the recent D.C. Circuit Court ruling affirms Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 giving “the FCC authority to encourage broadband deployment by, among other things, removing barriers to infrastructure deployment, encouraging innovation, and promoting competition. The court recognized the importance of ensuring that so-called ‘edge providers,’ those that use the network to deliver goods and services, can reach people who use the internet.” Republican Commissioner Mike O’Reilly disagrees, saying, “I am deeply concerned by the announcement that the FCC will begin considering new ways to regulate the internet. As I have said before, my view is that section 706 does not provide any affirmative regulatory authority. We should all fear that this provision ultimately may be used not just to regulate broadband providers, but eventually edge providers.” At the same time, Commissioner Ajit Pai adds, “When Congress told us to encourage broadband deployment by removing barriers to infrastructure investment, it also established the policy of the United States to ‘preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet . . . unfettered by Federal or State regulation.’ Whatever the Commission does as it moves forward, it must take that statutory command to heart. The internet was free and open before the FCC adopted net neutrality rules. It remains free and open today. Net neutrality has always been a solution in search of a problem.”
LDR Interactive Launches TopicPulse; Partners with TTWN for Sales. Interactive broadcast technology firm LDR Interactive announces the launch of an upgraded version of its TopicPulse, what it calls “a real-time social media monitoring system for newsrooms and content producers.” LDR Interactive explains: “TopicPulse scans social media including Twitter and Facebook, local message boards, comment boards, and news sources to track trending topics in a local market. In addition to tracking local and national topics, producers can also access trending video and images. The system then produces a user-friendly, real-time report that newsrooms can use to drive local, regional, and national content.” LDR CEO Daniel Anstandig states, “TopicPulse was inspired by feedback from the world’s leading broadcasters, who said they were in critical need of a better way to track and monitor social media to produce news content. With those needs in mind, we built and optimized TopicPulse for broadcast and digital newsrooms and released the system on beta to LDR’s media partners in 2012. Since then, we’ve seen tremendous momentum and positive results from media companies in all market sizes.” In addition to tracking trends, TopicPulse identifies which primary demo (gender and age group) is most inclined to engage with the topic on social media. Newsrooms also have access to a “glance” screen with trending topics for the brand’s target audience, which can be utilized as a “heads up display” of the market. A Tweet Map feature showcases the market’s most popular tweets and hashtags on a local map, enabling producers to create hyper-local content based on up-to-the-minute social trends. LDR Interactive is partnering with Total Traffic & Weather Network (TTWN) as the TopicPulse national sales partner. The TTWN sales team will serve as the major force behind local market integration of the platform in newsrooms across the U.S.
Lars Larson Show Added to CRN Digital Talk Lineup. The Portland, Oregon-based Lars Larson program is added to the program schedule at CRN Digital Talk Radio airing at 7:00 pm ET. Larson hosts a local show on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland in addition to a separate nationally syndicated program through Compass Media Networks. CRN will carry the national program. CRN president and CEO Michael Horn says, “Lars adds another unique, passionate voice to the CRN schedule. He’s a newsman, a reporter, and a host – so he brings extra doses of preparation and personality to his show.”
Former FCC Chair Richard Wiley to Receive BFoA’s Lowry Mays Award. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that Richard E. Wiley, chairman of Wiley Rein LLP and a former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, will receive the 2014 Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award to be presented during The Broadcasters Foundation of America Breakfast on Wednesday, April 9, at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas during the NAB Show. Wiley heads the 80-attorney communications practice. He served as chairman of the FCC from 1974 to 1977. Wiley played a pivotal role in the development of HDTV in this country, serving for nine years as chairman of the FCC’s Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service from 1987 to 1995. He represents a number of major communications-oriented organizations, including Verizon, AT&T, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Motorola, CBS, Belo, Gannett, Sirius/XM, Emmis, Gray Television, and LG. Wiley has been recognized by Washingtonian magazine as one of Washington’s 30 “Superstar” lawyers for his role as “the unofficial sixth commissioner” of the FCC (2011) and consistently listed as one of Washington’s “Best Lawyers” and “Top Lawyers” in the magazine. He was named the “most prominent telecommunications lawyer and lobbyist in Washington” by Broadcasting & Cable in 2005, and he was honored with the National Association of Broadcasters’ Distinguished Service Award in 2002.
Teen Radio Host Wins Student Category Gracie. The Alliance for Women in Media announces the winners of the 2014 Gracie Awards in the local, online, student and public categories and 16-year-old Florida radio talk host Pavlina Osta wins in the student category Outstanding Anchor – News or News Magazine for her “Pavlina’s Kidz Place Radio Show.” The Port Orange, Florida resident has been hosting a kids-targeted radio program since she was 11 and boasts an impressive list of celebrity interviews including: Katie Couric, Ed Sheeran, Carly Rae Jepsen, Sick Puppies, A Great Big World, and Steve Forbes, to name just a few. Now she can add Gracie Award winner to her resume!
Obama Executive Power Controversy, Winter Weather/Global Warming Debate, ObamaCare Criticism, Sochi Olympics, Ukrainian Unrest, and N. Korea Human Rights Abuses Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/18). GOP response to President Obama’s use of executive power; the onslaught of winter weather in much of the country and the debate over the global warming issue; the continuing scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the Winter Olympic games in Sochi; the protests and political unrest in the Ukraine; and the global community’s concern over growing evidence of human rights abuses were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
FCC Appears to Back Off of Newsroom and Issues Study. When it was announced last May, the proposed Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs the Federal Communications Commission would be undertaking rankled many lawmakers and broadcasters as it was perceived as an intrusion into broadcasters’ First Amendment rights in addition to being outside the bounds of the FCC’s jurisdiction. Now, according to a piece in Ad Week, the FCC appears to be backing off, or at least re-defining, the research intended to “study entry barriers” to information media to determine if there are small businesses unable to break into broadcasting. This would have been determined by quizzing news broadcasters about how they choose their stories. Last year, some GOP lawmakers termed it an “end-around” the Fairness Doctrine and heavily criticized the study as well as the jurisdiction of the FCC to getting into content matters. Earlier this week FCC commissioner Ajit Pai penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal arguing that the study is not necessary to filing its required report to Congress every three years on eliminating barriers to entry in the communications industry. He writes, “This claim is peculiar. How can the news judgments made by editors and station managers impede small businesses from entering the broadcast industry? And why does the CIN (critical information needs) study include newspapers when the FCC has no authority to regulate print media?” Whether or not the first field study slated for Columbia, South Carolina this spring gets underway as proposed or not remains to be seen. Ad Week reports it was told by an FCC rep that the agency “has no intention of interfering in the coverage and editorial choices that journalists make. We’re closely reviewing the proposed research design to determine if an alternative approach is merited.”
WGN to Program WKQX 87.7 Beginning Monday. As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Tribune’s WGN will begin an LMA operation of WKQX-LP at 87.7 in Chicago starting Monday, February 17. Feder reports that under terms of the LMA with license holder Venture Technologies Group, the deal commences Monday at 1:02 pm on the 17th, a minute after Cumulus Media drops the alternative rock simulcast with 101.1 FM. President and general manager Jimmy de Castro tells Feder, “We’re outgrowing WGN with great talent. Everything we have said we wanted to do is based on the strength of WGN and our personalities. It’s all about getting the best spoken-word talent and getting more bandwidth.” Vice president of creative content for WGN, Todd Manley, will announce a full lineup soon but mornings will begin with Jonathon Brandmeier who’s been doing a morning program on WGN.fm since last September. Read Feder’s full story here.
Phil Hendrie Exits AM/FM Radio. Talk radio host and satirist Phil Hendrie announces he’s leaving the production and syndication of his daily AM/FM radio program after March 14 in order to fully focus on his podcast and other media ventures. He’ll continue doing “The World of Phil Hendrie Show” on TuneIn, iTunes, the Sideshow Network and www.philhendrieshow.com. He says that “Due to the tremendous positive growth this past year owing directly to his fans,” he’s decided that is the area where he should focus all his energies. He adds, “The digital world is where we have made our living the last seven years so as radio attempts to find itself we’ll put our energy in our digital and online product, our animation project, my one man show and of course TV and film opportunities wherever they may occur. To our fans, we haven’t gone anywhere! Our daily show will continue” on digital platforms.
Gerry Callahan Remark Irks Dunkin’ Donuts; Company Cancels Ads on WEEI Affiliate Stations. The Boston Globe is reporting that Canton, Massachusetts-based Dunkin’ Donuts has cancelled ad buys on stations in the region airing WEEI, Boston programming after WEEI morning co-host Gerry Callahan made a “disparaging comment,” presumably about the company’s donuts. In the Globe piece, Entercom Boston VP and market manager Phil Zachary says Callahan admits he “screwed up badly” with the off-the-cuff remark and that Zachary understands how Dunkin’ Donuts feels. “You just don’t call somebody’s baby ‘ugly,’ even if it’s unintentional.” Zachary wouldn’t say what Callahan’s words were. He says the ad buy was not a lot of money but that’s not the point. Dunkin’ Donuts has separate ad buys for WEEI, Boston, Callahan’s endorsements and WEEI’s O&O affiliate stations in Providence, Worcester and Springfield. The Boston deal ended in January before Callahan’s comment. Dunkin’ Donuts has been a long-time advertiser with WEEI, especially on Red Sox broadcasts which are ready to resume in a few months. How the incident will affect that remains to be seen.
TALKERS to Publish 2014 Heavy Hundred on Monday, March 3. The 2014 installment of one of TALKERS magazine’s most popular and, perhaps, controversial annual features – “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – is being readied for publication Monday, March 3, 2014. Also known as “The Heavy Hundred” the ranked listing of 100 hosts and talent teams from around the country is based on a number of both quantitative and qualitative criteria and is determined by collective analysis of the TALKERS editorial board. It includes local and national hosts from a variety of genres falling under the umbrella of “general” talk or “news/talk” radio covering politics, health, finance, relationships, consumer tech, popular culture and a variety of specialties. (TALKERS launched a special and separate Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk two years ago.) Hosts on the list are selected from those working at the time of its publication on platforms that include commercial and public AM/FM radio as well as satellite radio (internet-only talk hosts are ranked by TALKERS in an annual feature titled “The Frontier Fifty”). According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It is no secret that economic restraints facing the industry these past few years have contributed to shrinking the number of individuals working on the air across the nation. Although the 2014 edition of the Heavy Hundred will, of course, include many familiar names, the need for new blood, fresh voices and potential up and comers has never been greater. Readers will find this year’s roster will feature a number of new names and first-timers, which is quite exciting!” Companies interested in sponsoring segments of this widely-discussed and read (by hundreds of thousands of broadcasting industry members and consumers/listeners) feature should call 413-565-5413.
Radio Mercury Awards Final-Round Judging Panel Announced. Chief judge Matt Eastwood helped assemble the jury for the 23rd annual Radio Mercury Awards. The panel represents radio’s top advertising categories including automotive, communications, financial services, packaged goods, over-the-counter, retail, spirits, and quick-serve restaurants. Final-round judging panel consists of JWT New York group creative director Jill Applebaum; BBDO New York executive creative director Chris Beresford-Hill; Cog NYC founder Wayne Best; Grupo Gallegos chief creative officer Pablo Buffagni; Young & Rubicam Group New York chief creative officer Jim Elliott; DDB Chicago executive vice president/executive creative director Mark Gross; Publicis New York executive creative director Joe Johnson; and Deutsch New York chief creative officer Kerry Keenan. “This list is a ‘who’s who’ of well-established creative executives, and perennial award-winning agencies with a long history of creating exceptional, noteworthy creative executions,” remarks Eastwood, who is chief creative officer of DDB Worldwide Communications Group New York. “More importantly, our panel consists of brilliant thought leaders who have a true love and appreciation for the greatest writer’s medium of all time, radio.” Radio Creative Fund chair – and Radio Advertising Bureau president/CEO Erica Farber – adds, “We feel so incredibly privileged to have gathered such a pinnacle group of creative ambassadors for this year’s competition. The bar has been set high, but I am confident this group will help ensure that the mission of the Radio Mercury Awards lives on as we award the best creative audio commercials over the past year.” Prizes will be handed out in a variety of categories such as “Agency Production,” “Radio Station Produced,” “Student,” “PSA,” “Spanish Language,” and “Best of Show.” Deadline for submissions is April 1, with the awards event taking place June 4 at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge.
Southern California Broadcasters Association to Provide Quarterly Guidance Report. Planning and research material is for California advertising agencies, clients and its members. Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan notes that, “The SCBA Quarterly Market Guidance Report fulfills a growing need among California ad agencies and clients to look ahead to the next quarter to learn, plan, create, and execute even more effective radio advertising campaigns based on market conditions, trends, and the upcoming quarter’s business environment. As an additional service to the advertising community, the SCBA will encourage face-to-face planning and development meetings with advertising agencies and major clients to provide full-year guidance and customization of our extensive market research.” The QMG report will give current and predictive regional economic data, radio category growth, and commentary on advertising and business trends. The report uses regional economic development corporation reports, member reports on market trends, Miller Kaplan Arase data, and audience measurement data. It will be posted late next month for second quarter 2014 guidance on the SCBA’s website (www.scba.com).
S-Class Mercedes-Benz to Have HD Radio. Mercedes-Benz of Mexico is launching its S-Class with HD Radio. iBiquity Digital is the developer of the digital technology and its chief operating officer Jeff Jury states, “We are very pleased to achieve the key goal of North American standardization with Mercedes-Benz. With this expansion, Mercedes-Benz drivers across Canada, Mexico and the United States have access to HD Radio technology in their cars. This coincides with our continuing efforts to bring HD Radio broadcasting to all markets across North America. By offering the technology as standard, Mercedes-Benz is ensuring that all their customers can enjoy the current services and be ensured of enjoying the coming ‘all-digital’ future.” The 2014 S-Class is now at dealerships across the United States and Mexico. More than 2,230 digital stations are on-air; over 1,480 HD2 and HD3 digital-only channels broadcast content that can only be heard with an HD Radio receiver.
Odds & Sods. WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” sports talker Tony Bruno is scheduled to begin making weekly appearances on Keith Olbermann’s ESPN 2 program. The first appearance will be tonight (2/14) live from ESPN’s Times Square studios in New York City…..Cumulus Media’s KOH, Reno is holding a radiothon today at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa to benefit the Veterans Guest House which provides temporary housing for vets and their families while they are being treated at the Reno VA. This is the 11th annual radiothon the station has produced for the cause…..CRN Digital Talk Radio announces the winners of its first annual Food & Wine Awards. CRN Digital Talk Radio is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and is home to several food and beverage-oriented programs. It asked listeners to decide 2013′s Best Chef, Restaurant, Sommelier, and Winemaker. President and CEO Mike Horn says, “Food and wine are best enjoyed with good company. Our listeners deciding the year’s best of the best in the culinary and beverage arenas was very much akin to sitting down, honoring some great people, enjoying a fun meal.” This year’s winners are: Best Chef of the Year – Andrew Sutton – Napa Rose, Anaheim; Best Restaurant of the Year – Gary Danko – San Francisco; Best Sommelier of the Year – Paul Coker – St. Regis, Monarch Beach; and Winemaker of the Year Jeff Stewart – Hartford Family Wines…..Broadcasts of New York Yankees baseball on new flagship sports talk WFAN-AM/FM, New York will debut with the February 27 exhibition game versus the Pittsburgh Pirates. Yankees games moved from CBS RADIO‘s all-news WCBS after a new contract was negotiated in the fall.
Wichita Police Make Arrest in Case of Slain Radio Station Staffer. Police in Wichita have a suspect in custody in the early Monday morning slaying of Steckline Communications employee Daniel Flores. Authorities say that in responding to a Crime Stoppers tip, they pulled over Antwon Banks who proceeded to stab himself in the stomach. He’s in a local hospital under police guard and will be booked on felony murder charges when he’s recovered. He was apparently the ex-boyfriend of Steckline office manager Lisa Bryce, leading authorities to conclude that Flores was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Clear Channel Commits to Campaign for ‘American Heart Month.’ For the purpose of educating the public about heart disease, its risks and preventative measures, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is committing more than $1 million worth of on-air media to that end. Today (2/14), Clear Channel is kicking off a two-week public service announcement campaign across its 840 radio stations to educate listeners on the symptoms of heart disease and stroke in honor of American Heart Month. Certain Clear Channel stations will air a comedic yet informative public service announcement voiced by Emmy-nominated actress Elizabeth Banks that highlights the signs of heart attack in women, while all other Clear Channel radio stations will air a second PSA, created by the Ad Council and the American Heart Association, to help people recognize and respond to the sudden warning signs of a stroke.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. New station affiliations for Cumulus Media Networks programming this week include: for Michael Savage – WTAR, Norfolk; KMPT, Missoula, Montana; WQSI, Tuskegee, Alabama; and WWBA, Tampa; Phil Valentine – WCOA, Pensacola; Mark Levin – WGKA, Atlanta; KMPT, Missoula, Montana; and WVOC-FM, Columbia, South Carolina…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program schedule at KNOX-AM/FM, Grand Forks.
Dave Ramsey Counsels Bobby Bones’ Staff and Listeners. Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey (right) sits in on the Premiere Networks-syndicated Bobby Bones show based at WSIX-FM, Nashville, right down the road from Ramsey’s home base of Brentwood. Ramsey appeared with Bones (left) after Bones show producer Ray lost his truck in a Super Bowl bet and is some $8,000 in debt. Ramsey talked to the crew and audience about various topics including the terrible odds of gambling, tax withholding, and even the psychology behind using the debt snowball to pay off debt.
ObamaCare Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM. The most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of February 10-14 was the scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act and the delay in the employer mandate, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. Coming in at #2 on this week’s Talkers TenTM was the debt ceiling issue. At #3 was speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016 and at #4 was immigration reform. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Entercom Revenue Down 2% in Q4; Dips 3% for 2013. The 2013 fourth quarter numbers for Entercom are in and the company reports net revenue was down 2% on $99.6 million though adjusted net income per share was basically flat. Also free cash flow increased by 2%. For the full year of 2013, net revenue dipped 3%. Though station expenses decreased slightly during the year, station operating income decreased by 8% to $125.8 million. Entercom will hold a conference call with investors and analysts at 12:00 noon ET today (2/11). President and CEO David Field says in a statement, “Entercom’s fourth quarter revenues declined 2% while revenues excluding political advertising posted a 2% increase. 2014 began on a solid note with January revenues up moderately over the prior year. We are optimistic about 2014 performance based on improving sales capabilities and execution, strong ratings and meaningful local growth opportunities.”
Beasley Broadcast Group to Work with Propel Marketing for Online Marketing. In an effort to expand its online marketing, Beasley Broadcast Group announces it is engaging Propel Marketing to “assist Beasley’s local clients in building and expanding their online marketing opportunities and solutions.” In a statement, Beasley says that Propel’s products and services include website and mobile site design, search engine optimization, lists and local directories, social media services and online reputation management. It further states that the “agreement affords Beasley’s local account executives access to a robust portfolio of online marketing services. Beasley’s relationship with Propel Marketing enhances the on-air and online advertising opportunities already available to existing and future clients, especially small businesses that typically do not have in-house resources to create and implement successful online marketing campaigns. Propel Marketing will not only create and deliver online marketing solutions, but also provide a dedicated team of specialists to ensure that Beasley’s clients are fully leveraging Propel Marketing products.” Beasley EVP and CFO Caroline Beasley states, “We are extremely excited by this relationship. It gives us the ability to respond to any request a local advertiser may have that involves exploring a digital component. The ability to combine radio’s powerful reach with Propel Marketing’s wide assortment of online products and services will greatly enhance a local advertising campaign.” Newly appointed vice president of digital Stacey Sedbrook adds, “By integrating online marketing with their current radio marketing efforts our clients are able to both extend their audience reach and more efficiently target their messaging. Beasley sales professionals remain the primary contact for our advertising customers. Our goal remains helping local businesses build their brands and grow their revenue. We can now offer integrated marketing solutions under the Beasley Broadcast brand allowing advertisers to streamline their marketing efforts with a trusted local partner.”
TALKERS Posts Part-Two Today of Three-Part Special (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks. Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal of winding up in television production. Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations. Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year. It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide. When Clear Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks (now simply “Premiere Networks”), he became VP of affiliate relations. However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel. Wolkoff faced a career crossroads and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio. His vision was Envision Radio Networks — a highly successful and forward-thinking company that creates over four-dozen content products and services for radio stations and media outlets nationwide, customizing solutions for clients, producers and affiliates. It is a company literally founded after another syndication and programming company decided they had a good product that despite making money, didn’t make enough money for their bottom line. What Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry. He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows. His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets. Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that later) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication. In today’s installment, Wolkoff discusses exactly what it takes to build a formidable syndication firm from scratch and shares his view of the changing nature of the syndication business as well as radio in general. In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward. I’ve seen this movie many times before. Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.” To read part two of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here. And if you missed part one published yesterday, read that here.
Max Krasny Joins CBS RADIO as VP/Sales and Strategic Alliances. The former WestwoodOne EVP takes on the vice president, sales and strategic partnerships position with CBS RADIO’s Altitude Group division which focuses on helping brands connect with consumers using CBS RADIO stations, along with CBS Television stations and their digital properties, as well as CBS’s outdoor assets. Max Krasny reports to the executive leadership of the Altitude Group: Rich Lobel, executive vice president and CMO, and Sue McNamara, senior vice president, sales. Lobel states, “Max is a seasoned pro who brings a marketing acumen to a client’s business, and knows how to deliver creative excellence that makes brands stand out and get noticed. No one has a better portfolio of local assets under one roof than CBS including: radio, television, out-of-home, live events, websites, mobile and social apps.”
FCC Socks WLS-AM, Chicago with $44,000 Fine. The Forfeiture Order comes from the station failing to identify the sponsor of programming that aired back in 2009. The content was in the form of long-form shows – two two-hour programs, a one-hour show – plus 90-second and 15-second spots and promotional announcements paid for by Workers Independent News. During the two-week period in question, the FCC determined that 11 announcements were aired without proper sponsor identification and issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for $44,000 – 11 violations at $4,000 per. Cumulus argued that the commission had in the past reduced fines to a one-time violation amount and that it should just have to pay $4,000. But the commission ruled that no such precedent had been set and that the forfeiture amounts in failure to identify sponsorships cases reflect the unique aspects of each case and thus the commission considers this case to be comprised of 11 violations, not one.
Former MLB Slugger and Talk Host Jack Clark Apologizes to Albert Pujols. During a discussion on WGNU, St. Louis, sports talk host and former MLB slugger Jack Clark alleged that former Cardinals player Albert Pujols used performance enhancing drugs during his time in St. Louis. Pujols threatened to sue and the station ended the contract between Clark’s co-host Kevin Slaten and Clark, cancelling their show. The station also issued an apology to Pujols. But for a time Clark maintained his assertion about Pujols and even challenged Pujols to a live debate – an invitation Pujols’ attorney refused. Now, Clark issues the aforementioned apology and Pujols agrees to withdraw his lawsuit.
“Market Rally” Readies for March Launch. What is said to be the first-ever, long-form agricultural commodity markets-focused national radio program will debut next month (3/10). That is when Farm Journal Media launches Chip Flory-hosted “Market Rally.” The one-hour weekday program will air at 2:00 pm (CT), immediately following the close of major commodity markets. Farm Journal Broadcast Division senior vice president Brian Conrady remarks that a “really solid group of stations” is already committed to air “Market Rally” and he anticipates “several more” before the program debuts. “The show fills a programming void for many stations,” Conrady comments. “It wraps their day’s farm coverage with a new, information-packed, entertaining program. It is all about markets, which everyone knows farmers cannot get enough of.” Flory notes, “We have a long list of guest analysts anxious to share their market perspective with the audience each day. We will take listener questions/comments via phone, text, and social media. Our goal is to remove as much confusion as possible from this increasingly volatile marketing environment.” Flory remains editorial director of Farm Journal’s “Pro Farmer” newsletter and he will host “Market Rally” from FJB’s new studio in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
The Beatles Played in Washington, Too! As America remembers The Beatles’ arrival in this country 50 years ago this week, much of the attention is focused on the New York-based national broadcast on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” But Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington knows that the group’s first public concert was in Washington, DC. Pictured here in the WMAL studios are Fox News Channel chief Washington correspondent – and noted Beatles expert – James Rosen (center) and “Mornings on the Mall” co-hosts Brian Wilson (left) and Larry O’Connor (right) after being on the air for Tuesday’s celebration of The Beatles’ first concert on U.S. soil – in the Nation’s Capital. Among other guests remembering The Beatles on the program were: The Beach Boys’ Mike Love, Rolling Stone Magazine’s David Wild, Herman’s Hermits singer Peter Noone, and local Fox 5 anchor (and former “Good Morning America” weather anchor) Tony Perkins, who discussed his love for the Beatles as an African-American youth growing up in D.C.
Odds & Sods. Baltimore Orioles broadcaster Jim Hunter recently visited his alma mater Seton Hall University and spoke with student staffers at his old college radio station – WSOU-FM – about making it in sports broadcasting today. Hunter, pictured here (third from the right) surrounded by students, stressed to them the importance of preparation, noting that the need to do your homework doesn’t end when you graduate from college. He also shared tips on improving on-air performance and how to tell listeners a good story…..New York City broadcasting legend John Gambling returned to the radio recently, if only briefly, to speak on WABC, New York with Frank Morano on his Sunday “Morning with Morano” program. Morano and Gambling talked about the state of radio today, the tradition of the Gamblings and covering weather events…..For the 18th consecutive year, ESPN Radio is providing comprehensive coverage of NBA All-Star 2014, culminating with an exclusive radio broadcast of the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, February 16. Kevin Calabro will describe the action throughout the weekend with analyst Jon Barry. They will be joined by studio analysts Marc Kestecher and P.J. Carlesimo and reporters Marc Stein and Shelley Smith.
Brent & Meg Honored for Keeping Studio City, California Free of Dog Poop. Although they are heard all over the world on TalkersRadio (weekdays 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm PT), the experimental talk station that lives on this website, the dynamic husband/wife radio duo of Brent & Meg (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald) believe in the concept of cleaning up your own backyard as well as tackling the issues of greater humanity. This past Saturday evening (2/8) they were honored by some of LA’s top movers and shakers for their community volunteer work in regularly picking up dog poop (no kidding) found on the streets of LA’s Studio City – the neighborhood from which their daily show emanates (as well as their home). The gala appreciation dinner took place at Carla’s Café on the CBS Studio Center lot. Pictured here are (from l-r): State Assemblymember, 46th District, Adrin Nazarian; Los Angeles City Councilmember, 2nd District, Paul Krekorian; Meg McDonald (Brent & Meg Show on TalkersRadio); Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; and Brent Seltzer (Brent & Meg Show on Talkers Radio). Upon learning of Brent & Meg receiving this honor, TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo’s music editor/director Duane Doobie issued the statement: “I seldom listen to talk radio, but when I do, I prefer Brent & Meg. True, like most talk show hosts, they are full of sh*t… but in a helpful, solutions-oriented way.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Hillary Clinton in 2016, Immigration Reform, Winter Olympics, Winter Weather, and Shirley Temple Black Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). Scrutiny of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the release of new documents about the Clintons and Hillary’s possible run for president in 2016; the move in Washington to pass immigration reform legislation; the Winter Olympics games in Sochi, Russia; a new winter storm reportedly heading for the South and East this week; and the death of former child star and U.S. Ambassador Shirley Temple Black were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Sports Talker Dan Sileo New AM Host at ‘The Mighty 1090’ in San Diego. Sports talk personality Dan Sileo – who’s been working at stations in Florida for the past several years – joins Broadcasting Corporation of the Americas-operated XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” where he’s the new morning drive host beginning today (2/3). Sileo most recently was hosting a show at James Crystal Radio’s WMEN, West Palm Beach but was fired from that station in early November of 2013 after shooting off a controversial tweet. Sileo has also worked at Beasley’s WQAM, Miami and Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa. He takes over the morning show at “The Mighty 1090” from market pro Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton who will remain with the station in another capacity. Program director Mike Shepard says, “I am thrilled to welcome Dan to ‘San Diego’s Sports Leader, The Mighty 1090.’ Dan is a passionate, outspoken, engaging and incredibly knowledgeable sports radio personality. His track record of major market success is remarkable and Dan is a perfect addition to the Mighty 1090’s top-rated, all-star lineup.”
New Talk Station to Air in DC Market. The Laurel, Maryland-licensed WILC flips from Spanish music to a hybrid of talk and oldies. The ZGS-owned signal is being operated by Wallis Communications under an LMA and the new format debuts today (2/3). In a statement, the company says the program schedule is not complete but the station will be “libertarian and conservative talk radio.” Chief operating officer and general manager Bryan Berner says, “All of us at WILC and Wallis Communications look forward to serving the people of the region and bringing a common sense, fresh perspective to talk radio in the Washington, DC market.” Programming will include Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck, Wallis Communications’ “The Dr. K Show,” “The Capitol Hill Show with Tim Constantine” and WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller. Overnights will showcase vintage radio as the digitally remastered Wolfman Jack will air.
Mike Gallagher Causes Stir with Hoffman Death Observations. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher’s observations in the aftermath of the untimely death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman caused such reaction that his post to his MikeOnline.com site logged more than 50,000 views and drew threats to him, his family and even his dog. Speaking about the suspected heroin overdose that took Hoffman’s life, Gallagher stated, “Another senseless death. This time, one of the greatest actors of our time. I wonder if he started with marijuana…If you want to get pot lovers mad, dare to even ask the question if an Oscar-winning movie star who is found dead in his bathroom with a needle stuck in his arm started with marijuana.” Gallagher has stood firm in his stance against the legalization of marijuana as some states move to legalize and decriminalize the drug.
To Get Listeners to Your Website, Don’t Threaten to Bore Them! Digital media consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller wonders why we tend to turn the marketing part of our brains off when we go “online.” We can write good, tempting ad copy for radio but all we’ve learned goes out the window when it comes to our websites. Miller says that one of the worst ways to get someone to your website is to offer them “all of the details” when they get there. Not very tempting is it? More details. Instead, put your marketing skills to work in the same way you would with a spot. “A good commercial will do a better job getting business through a client’s front door than a bad commercial will. It’s the exact same thing getting people to go from your broadcast to one of your digital platforms…or move from one digital platform to another. Opportunity is knocking.” Read Miller’s entire piece here.
Clear Channel Tweaks Lineup at WVOC, Columbia. The South Carolina news/talk station drops the early evening “Sports Talk” show syndicated by Learfield Sports that aired in afternoon drive and adds Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity for the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot. The “Sports Talk” program is hosted by Phil Kornblut, Kevin McCrarey and Tom Hayes. According to The State, Learfield’s “Sports Talk First Edition” – which aired on CC’s sister sports talk station WXBT “560 The Team” from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm – is also being replaced. A local sports talk show featuring former South Carolina footballer Rick Sanford will air in the time slot instead. Learfield tells the paper it is working to place the shows on new affiliates in the market.
Mike Francesa Fans (and a Few Critics) Gather for FrancesaCon in NYC. Sports talk pioneer Mike Francesa – afternoon drive host on CBS RADIO’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York – said after learning of the weekend event that the participants would probably be half fans, half critics. How the numbers came down is unclear but the fact that an estimated 400 gathered at an Upper East Side bar on Saturday (2/1) to celebrate, imitate and even mock Francesa, shows how big he is in New York. A piece by Jim Baumbach in Newsday tells the story but the short version is as follows: 23-year-old friends Michael Leboff and Ron Haraka came up with the idea of FrancesaCon as a gathering of Mike Francesa fans. Little did they know that not only would people show up in droves, but they came dressed as Francesa, carried the appropriate props (Diet Coke cans), and did some very good imitations of the man himself. Some even came dressed as Francesa’s longtime former partner Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and classic Francesa-Russo back-and-forths took place in the bar. Check out Baumbach’s story in Newsday here.
FCC Grants Tribune Cross-Ownership Waivers. The license renewals for several Tribune-owned television stations were being challenged by the United Church of Christ, the Media Alliance and the Teamsters. The commission handed down rulings on Friday that granted renewals for the licenses though it also granted the petition for reconsideration to the UCC and Media Alliance. The FCC also reaffirmed the permanent waiver for Tribune in the Chicago market where it owns the Chicago Tribune newspaper, WGN-TV, and WGN-AM. In making the decision, the commission ruled that “Given the ‘uniquely long-term symbiotic relationship between [Tribune’s] broadcast stations’ and the Chicago Tribune that provides a special benefit of continued cross-ownership, coupled with the slight cost to diversity in Chicago’s massive media market of continued cross-ownership, Tribune has in fact shown sufficiently ‘unique or special circumstances’ to justify the granting of a permanent waiver of the NBCO (newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership) Rule to its Chicago licensees.”
L&L Closes on Border Media Trust Stations. Seven Texas radio stations that were in the Border Media Trust are now owned by Larry Wilson’s L&L Broadcasting. The stations include San Antonio-licensed outlets news/talk KTSA, sports talk KZDC, adult hits KJXK “Jack 102.7 FM,” regional Mexican KLEY-FM, Jourdanton, regional Mexican KJAH-AM/FM, Pearsall, and CHR KTSM, Floresville. The station group cost L&L $31 million and puts the company into market #28.
LAS VEGAS — The consumer electronics industry was a conspicuous bright spot throughout The Great Recession, and CEA is forecasting a record high 2014 USA sales of of $208 billion, “driven by product categories that didn’t even exist in a meaningful way a few years ago,” CEO Gary Shapiro observes. “This year we will see $6 billion in sales of new categories such as 3D printers, wireless health and UltraHD. To give you context – $6 billion is larger than the entire U.S. machine tool industry.”
Because radio was the original electronic thing, broadcasters are, arguably, in the same business; although the two industries’ interests sometimes diverge. Broadcasting is legacy media, while CEA champions innovation. “It is too important to be choked by laws written long ago,” Shapiro preaches-out, praising disruptors like Aereo and Dish Network’s The Hopper (pronounced “HAW-puh”), both-of-which broadcasters are up-and-arms over. Another touchy issue?
Congressmen Question FCC Chair Wheeler About ‘Fairness Doctrine 2.0.’ In a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) requests Wheeler take immediate steps to suspend the field test for the research design of the “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs” the FCC is undertaking. Supported by Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and 14 other congressmen, Upton charges the initiative is nothing more that the “Fairness Doctrine 2.0” and that the FCC has no jurisdiction to be undertaking a field test of this sort and that its actions are unconstitutional. Upton states, “Although the Commission’s stated reason for the reports is to inform the Commission in taking regulatory action to lower ‘market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and other small businesses,’ it is hard to read this and see it for anything other than what it is, Fairness Doctrine 2.0.” Upton references the study plan which states its goals are to “ascertain the process by which stories are selected, station priorities (for content, production quality and populations served), perceived station bias, perceived percentage of news dedicated to each of the eight CINs, and perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.” Upton then states, “The Commission has no business probing the news media’s editorial judgment and expertise, nor does it have any business in prescribing a set diet of ‘critical information.’ These goals are plainly inappropriate and are at bottom an incursion by the government into the constitutionally protected operations of the professional news media.” Upton requests Wheeler’s office respond to seven specific questions about the field test by January 10. You can read the entire letter here.
WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia PD Jeff Sottolano Promoted to Corporate Director of Programming for CBS Radio. CBS Radio EVP of programming Chris Oliviero announces the promotion of WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia program director Jeff Sottolano to director, programming, CBS RADIO, effective January 2. Oliviero says, “Jeff has consistently and successfully answered every challenge he’s faced during his career at CBS RADIO. With such diverse format experience and a respected reputation, both in and outside our company, I have no doubt he is ready to tackle this exciting and critical next chapter. Jeff will be a great complement to our corporate programming team.” Sottolano’s duties include supporting program directors in 27 major markets who oversee 126 stations. The company says he “will focus on identifying and recruiting on-air talent, both established and up-and-coming, as well as seek out new format opportunities. Additionally, Sottolano will maintain ongoing communications with external industry and charitable organizations, and work closely with the division’s digital media business to ensure a seamless cross-platform product and brand experience.” Sottolano came to CBS RADIO in 2001 as an intern at WZNE, Rochester. He worked his way up to promotions director in 2002 and to PD and air talent in 2004. In 2006, Sottolano transferred to WYSP-FM in Philadelphia where he assumed a variety of programming and marketing roles during his tenure, including program director beginning in 2008. He was instrumental in launching the Danny Bonaduce show that same year, and worked closely with record labels, concert promoters and artists to create one-of-a-kind events and promotions. In 2011 he assumed programming oversight of sports talk WIP when it began simulcasting on WYSP as “SportsRadio 94WIP.”
Cox Media Group Names Tim Clarke Director of Digital Audience. Moving up from his role as program director for the company’s CHR WPOI, Tampa “Hot 101.5,” Tim Clarke is promoted to director of digital audience for radio at Cox Media Group. The company says that in this role Clarke “will be the liaison between CMG’s radio and digital divisions to help drive the digital brand strategy and product development for growing audience and engagement at all CMG’s radio stations.” EVP of radio Kim Guthrie adds, “We have some of the more cutting edge efforts in the digital space, and it is exciting to be able to dedicate one of our best talents to that effort. We are evolving our super brands into the digital future, and Tim will play an instrumental role in that overall success.” In addition to programming “HOT 101.5,” Clarke was director of social media for all six Tampa stations. His other career highlights include time as PD at WAPE, Jacksonville and music director at WBLI, Long Island. Clarke comments, “The digital future for CMG’s super brands is extremely bright and filled with tons of opportunity to engage our audiences in even deeper, more personalized and more meaningful ways. I’m looking forward to working with our teams to serve our users on these growing platforms.”
iHeartradio Adds Jay Mohr Sports Channel. Actor/comedian Jay Mohr does his daily Fox Sports Radio Network program from Clear Channel-owned Los Angeles flagship KLAC. Now, the “Gary Unmarried” star launches “Jay Mohr Sports,” a live digital iHeartRadio station. “This channel is about the fans and giving them 24/7 access to the show wherever they are,” Mohr enthusiastically states. “I am so happy to be able to share this with listeners in celebration of the upcoming one-year anniversary of ‘Jay Mohr Sports.’” The digital iHeartRadio channel features sports talk and entertainment, as well as Mohr’s conversations with athletes and celebrities.
McMullen Named WMBD, Peoria PD. Talk radio programmer John McMullen joins Monterey Licenses-owned news/talk WMBD, Peoria. McMullen most recently served as program director at Morris Communications’ “KNEWS” news/talk trimulcast KNWZ and KNWQ, Palm Springs and KNWH, Yucca Valley where he’s been since 2007. During his career, McMullen has also served with Sirius Satellite Radio.
Steve Bertrand Reunites with Kathy & Judy on WGN. As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN, Chicago newsman Steve Bertrand will trade off a weekday shift for the Saturday shift during which he’ll be reunited with Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey during their weekly 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program. Bertrand will also work with “Mr. Fix-It” Lou Manfredini whose show airs from 7:00 am to 10:00 am on Saturdays. Bertrand, O’Malley and Markey worked together when the Kathy & Judy show was a regular midday program on WGN from 1989 through 2009. Feder reports that WGN VP of creative content Todd Manley says Bertrand will continue to work the news desk during Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano’s midday show as well as during Garry Meier’s afternoon program.
WKZO, Kalamazoo Names Lawrence Brand Manager. At Midwest Communications’ Kalamazoo cluster, Jeremy Lawrence is named brand manager for news/talk outlet WKZO and sports talk WQLR. In addition, Lawrence serves as the afternoon drive co-host on WKZO’s “The Trifecta” program alongside Jim McKinney and Roger Taylor. Lawrence takes over for Jay Morris who leaves that post to focus on his work as brand manager for the company’s alternative rock outlets WZOX, Kalamazoo and WVIC, Lansing.
New Market Manager and Director of Sales at Clear Channel Syracuse. Clear Channel Media + Entertainment announces Rick Yacobush has been named market manager for the company’s five-station cluster in Syracuse and Barbara Miller has been appointed director of sales for the cluster. Yacobush has been with the CC Syracuse stations for more than 26 years, holding a variety of roles including account manager, general sales manager and director of sales. SVP of operations for the Northeast Region Kevin LeGrett says, “We are very excited to have Rick Yacobush lead the extremely talented team in Syracuse. Rick’s sales leadership over the last 18 years has led to unprecedented performance. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment reaches more people in Syracuse than any other media and Rick’s unique ability to maximize our assets will allow us to serve the community as well as our advertisers in a multi-platform fashion.” Meanwhile, 18-year CC veteran Barbara Miller moves up to director of sales for the cluster and LeGrett says of her, “Barbara has a proven track record of developing revenue growth opportunities. She has demonstrated the vision and creativity necessary to implement 21st century competitive media strategies for our organization. She has consistently exceeded revenue targets, while providing leadership and ensuring high quality standards are maintained across the organization.” The CC Syracuse cluster includes news/talk WSYR, AC WYYY “Y94,” country WBBS “B104.7,” CHR WWHT “Hot 107.9,” and urban contemporary WHEN “Power 620.”
Tom Ray Warns Radio Broadcasters to Avoid EAS Confusion and Potential Fines. TALKERS technical editor and noted engineering consultant Tom Ray passes along the following important information to our readers who program and operate radio stations. Perhaps you heard about the recent $25,000 fines given out by the Commission regarding EAS violations. The violations concerned airing either an EAS alert tone, EAS data burst, or sound alikes. Both are prohibited under part 11 of the Commission’s rules. Why? If you are airing the EAS data bursts, this is something that could be decoded by downstream EAS decoders. This can be confusing for station personnel, but more importantly, may in fact trigger an EAS alert when an emergency condition doesn’t exist. And airing of something that sounds like the EAS data bursts and/or the two-tone alert signal starts to desensitize the public to an actual message. It could, in fact, panic the public. The recent cases involved EAS like sounds involved in commercials for movies. In one case, when the cell phone alert apps were downloaded to person’s phones without their knowledge, I heard a television newscast run the sounds the phone made – which sound close enough to an EAS alert that it was a violation – regardless of whether it was news. Some of this stems from our ways of operating these days. Spots used to arrive on reel-to-reel tape, and you had to listen to the spot to transfer it to cart before airing and could catch the fact that EAS tones were in a spot. Today, the spot arrives as a file and most automation systems can take the spot in without anyone listening to it ahead of time. In the case of the TV newscast, the news producer obviously did not know the FCC regulations. In the case of ingesting spots directly into your system, they should always be listened to not only for content, but also for problems like distortion. To take something in without listening to it is irresponsible. The bottom line – don’t air something that sounds like an EAS alert. The FCC takes it seriously. The public takes it seriously. And it shouldn’t happen. For more information about this topic Tom Ray can be phoned at 845-418-5065 or emailed at email@example.com.
Malkin Sells Website to Salem Communications. Conservative media commentator Michelle Malkin has sold her Twitchy.com site to Salem Communications for an undisclosed sum. Malkin founded the site which serves as a curation destination for Twitter posts and commentary on said Tweets. Salem Communications has had success with its digital efforts and already operated TownHall.com and HotAir.com in addition to numerous Christian-themed sites. Salem VP/GM Jonathan Garthwaite comments, “Since its inception almost two years ago, Twitchy has fast become a leader in online news reporting. They have harnessed the power of social media to create a real-time newswire for the modern, interconnected world. With the addition of Twitchy to our growing network of news and political websites, there is no better collection of conservative news and opinion on the web.”
Local Focus Purchased by McGavren Guild Parent. Genesis Media Holdings picks up Kay Olin and Dave Demer‘s Atlanta-based Local Focus rep firm. GMH owns McGavren Guild Media, which will operate independently of its new sibling. In addition, Genesis Media Holdings brings in Cumulus Media director of national sales Kevin Garrity as manager. GMH chief financial officer Billy McEntee comments, “Local Focus is an innovative firm powered by a team of highly accomplished sales professionals. We look forward to working with them to provide an even greater level of service to radio stations and advertisers. Kevin Garrity has excelled at every level of radio sales management. With his addition and the acquisition of Local Focus, we are poised for rapid expansion and growth. Management will continue to drive revenue for their respective station partners, while capitalizing on opportunities afforded through the larger Genesis Media group.” Garrity remarks, “Genesis Media Holdings’ commitment to building their platform and investing in the long-term growth of their properties is very exciting. I look forward to playing an integral part in shaping that growth.” McGavren Guild Media president Lisa Sirotka-Sonnenklar adds, “I am extremely excited to be working with Kevin to further build McGavren Guild Media. I look forward to the additional support I will gain from his depth of industry experience.” Garrity’s background includes 20 years at Interep, the last five of those as president of ABC Radio Sales. In tandem with these announcements, vice president of revenue Dave Demer becomes president of Local Focus, while the rep firm’s founder Kay Olin will act as a consultant to Genesis Media. “Kay has been instrumental in facilitating the evolution of Local Focus and preparing it for this next step in its growth,” Demer notes. “She will add immense value to Genesis Media.” Previously, Demer held marketing and sales positions with Clear Channel and Cox Media Group. Local Focus represents more than 350 stations.
24/7 Comedy Celebrates Christmas with Gabriel Iglesias. Premiere Networks-syndicated 24/7 Comedy – the 24-hour, all-comedy format – is celebrating the holiday season with special guest host Gabriel Iglesias. From December 14 through December 27, the format will feature “The 12 Days of Fluffy” (for 13 days), giving listeners a peek behind the stage persona of the internationally acclaimed comedian and highlighting some of his most popular stand-up bits. Connecting with listeners every hour throughout “The 12 Days of Fluffy,” fans will also have the chance to hear select tracks from his latest Comedy Central DVD special, “Aloha Fluffy.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Obama Selfie Flap/Castro Handshake, New Budget Deal, India Gay Sex Ruling, Iran Nukes Talks, and NSA Targets Video Gamers Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/10). The ongoing criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and HHS director Kathleen Sebelius; the flap over President Obama’s “selfie” taken at the service for Nelson Mandela and his handshake with Raul Castro; the new budget deal struck in Congress; India’s high court ruling outlawing gay sex; foundering talks with Iran over its nuclear program; and the NSA’s targeting of video gamers 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 — 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.
For users on a mobile device, click here.
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.