Tag: "Federal Communications Commission"

Friday, November 17, 2017

| November 17, 2017

FCC Bids Adieu to Cross-Ownership Ban.  As expected, at yesterday’s meeting of the Federal Communications Commission, the 42-year-old regulation that prevented (in all but a few grandfathered cases) the cross-ownership of broadcast facilities and newspapers was eliminated on a party line vote of 3-2.  The majority under Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai say the change will “provide broadcasters and local newspapers with a greater opportunity to compete in the digital age.”  The Commission also struck the Radio/Television Cross-Ownership Rule, and the Television Joint Sales Agreement Attribution Rule.  In his statement, Chairman Pai says, “It’s a simple proposition: the media ownership regulations of 2017 should match the media marketplace of 2017.  That’s the proposition the FCC vindicates today — nothing more, nothing less.  And it’s about time.  For few of the FCC’s rules are staler than our broadcast ownership regulations.  Notwithstanding the congressional command that we review and update these rules every four years, they have remained stuck in the past.  After too many years of cold shoulders and hot air, this agency finally drags its broadcast ownership rules into the digital age.”  Lastly, in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission decides to establish, and seeks comment on how to implement and structure, a new incubator program in which established broadcasters would help facilitate entry by new voices into the marketplace by providing access to capital and/or technical expertise to new entrants and small businesses.  The program has broad support and will help promote ownership diversity in the broadcast industry.

The Entercom-CBS RADIO Merger Closes.  The deal that merges the venerable CBS RADIO stations with Philadelphia-based Entercom has closed.  The merger that’s been the subject of so much industry news – and a lot of speculation throughout the process – creates a new Entercom that operates 235 radio stations.  For some industry watchers, the fact that it also means the end of the CBS RADIO company as we’ve known it for all these years brings about some mixed emotions.  Though certainly the end of an era, the general consensus is that the CBS radio stations were languishing in a company whose stated main focus is video content.  In announcing the closing, Entercom president and CEO David Field states, “We are thrilled to officially close our transformational merger with CBS RADIO and welcome their talented employees and iconic brands to Entercom.  We look forward to capitalizing on our unique positions in sports, news, music, podcasting, live events, digital and more to provide outstanding experiences for our listeners and compelling integrated marketing opportunities for our advertisers.  We now have the scale and capabilities to drive meaningful growth and to compete more effectively with other media for a larger share of advertising dollars.  We also look forward to helping to elevate the radio industry, which remains massively undervalued by advertisers despite having emerged as America’s #1 reach medium, delivering outstanding ROI to customers.”

Entercom Grabs Twins Baseball for WCCO-AM.  After several years airing on alternative KQGO (owned by the Pohlad family’s Northern Lights Broadcasting), Minnesota Twins baseball play-by-play is returning to news/talk WCCO-AM, beginning with the 2018 season.  The Pohlad family also owns the team and apparently was ready to admit that their own alt rock station and Twins baseball weren’t a great match.  Entercom says that sister stations adult hits KZJK “104.1 Jack FM” and country KMNB “BUZ’N @102.9” will also cover Twins’ players, coaches and broadcasters year-round.  Entercom president of sports Mike Dee states, “We are thrilled to welcome the Twins back to their iconic home on WCCO.  As the unrivaled leader in local audio sports rights across the nation, Entercom is committed to growing our play-by-play roster where it makes smart, strategic sense.  Clearly the Twins are a blue-chip franchise on the rise.  As a newcomer to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul market, we are especially grateful to the Pohlad family and [Twins president and CEO] Dave St. Peter for their confidence in us.  With the addition of the Twins, we are proud to be the flagship home for 45 professional teams across the four major sports, including 14 in Major League Baseball.”

Entercom Unveils New Business Practices.  Among the numerous press releases regarding format flips on the first day of the new Entercom (see those below in the music radio section), the company says it is implementing three new business policies which “better reflect radio’s strong value proposition as America’s #1 reach medium and Entercom’s position as the leading provider of live, original, local audio content.  These policies will enable the company to provide greater value for advertisers while improving the listener experience.”  The changes are: 1) Reduce commercial advertising inventory by 5% in order to improve the listener experience and increase the entertainment to ad ratio for Entercom’s advertising partners; 2) Prohibit cash infusion advertising deals which the company views as a poor business practice and inconsistent with its strategic goals; and 3) Eliminate future sales of advertising with spot resellers which like cash infusion deals, the company views as a poor business practice and inconsistent with its strategic goals.  Entercom COO Weezie Kramer adds, “With our enhanced platform and scale, Entercom is committed to evolving our business practices for the benefit of Entercom’s listeners and advertising partners.”

Matt Shepard Returns to WDFN, Detroit.  As reported by the Detroit News, Motor City sports media personality Matt Shepard is returning to the airwaves at iHeartMedia’s sports talker WDFN, some seven months after he exited the station.  His “Shep, Shower ‘N’ Shave” program will air from 6:00 am to 9:00 am daily.  Shepard had been on the station since 2001, but was ousted in a round of budget cuts back in April.  iHeartMedia Detroit SVP of programming Tony Travatto states, “We’re excited to have Matt back on WDFN.  Nobody in Detroit sports radio has more access to what’s really happening in the locker rooms than Matt.”

ESPN Wraps 18 Years of ‘Mike & Mike.  Industry eyes are all over the EntercomCBS RADIO closing and some of the immediate changes the new Entercom is making, but another end-of-an-era event took place today as Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic did their last morning radio show together, signing off the ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” show.  In addition to talking sports, the duo also aired messages of well-wishes from fans, including Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts and Michael Strahan, Adam Schefter, Dick Vitale, Dan Patrick, President Bill Clinton and more.  ESPN president John Skipper appeared on the program to announce that ESPN and The Walt Disney Company will build a children’s playground in honor of Mike & Mike at a location to be determined, in collaboration with the non-profit organization KaBOOM.  On November 27, the new “Golic & Wingo” show will debut featuring Mike Golic, Trey Wingo and Mike Golic Jr. (who joins for the 6:00 am hour).  Mike Greenberg is staying with ESPN for television duties.

Emmis Names New Indy Execs. In its home-base market, Emmis Communications announces Bob Richards is the new vice president and market manager for Indianapolis.  The city is home to heritage news/talk WIBC-FM, sports talk WFNI “1070 The Fan,” country WLHK “97.1 Hank FM,” and adult contemporary WYXB “B105.7.”  At the same time, Taja Graham rises from director of sales for music to vice president and director of sales for the entire cluster.  Emmis president Patrick Walsh comments, “Bob’s leadership has been instrumental in building our dominant position in the Indianapolis market.  His reputation for building great teams and winning content strategies is legendary.  We look forward to Bob applying his ample skills to fortify our culture and performance in the coming years.”  Richards takes over for Chuck Williams who had joined Emmis Indianapolis as VP/market manager in August of 2016.

Courtemanche Appointed DOS at Alpha Media West Palm Beach.  At the West Palm Beach cluster of Alpha Media stations, Jason Courtemanche is named to the director of sales position, effective December 4.  The station group includes news/talk WFTL and sports talk WMEN “640 The Hurricane.”  During his career, Courtemanche has been a VP of sales for Cumulus Media in Los Angeles and iHeartMedia in Chicago.   He also held the sales manager title at WBBM in Chicago.  Alpha Media West Palm Beach market manager Elizabeth Hamma says, “Jason is a natural leader who brings a depth of knowledge in marketing, digital and events that will help us further drive results for our listeners and clients.  His vision, leadership, enthusiasm and innate ability to coach will take our cluster to the next level.”

Kilmeade at WPHT Speaker Series.  Pictured above is WPHT, Philadelphia afternoon drive personality Rich Zeoli (left) chatting with FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio star Brian Kilmeade (right) before a live audience as part of the 1210 WPHT Speaker Series.  In addition to talking about issues, Kilmeade promoted his new book, Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans: The Battle That Shaped America’s Destiny (Sentinel, 2017).  Kilmeade signed every attendee’s copy of the book.

Roy Moore Sexual Conduct Allegations Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 13-17.  Accusations of sexually predatory behavior by Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, ranking #1 on the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week is the various celebrities and Al Franken sexual assault allegations.  Number three on the chart is the Republican tax reform plan, followed by the GOP proposal to eliminate the ObamaCare individual mandate at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

 

 

New New Entercom Flips Two CHRs – WBMP, New York and KVIL, Dallas – to Alternative.  Two of its first major moves post-closing for Entercom is to drop the CHR format on WBMP “AMP 92.3” and KVIL “AMP 103.7” and replace them with alternative rock.  Regarding the NYC flip, the company announces, “Alternative rock returns to radio for the first time since 2011 in the largest media market in the country with the launch of ‘ALT 92.3 FM, New York’s New Alternative.’”  Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton states, “In a city where alternative music is a way of life, we are thrilled to finally fill the void in radio in New York City.  With the launch of ‘ALT 92.3,’ we will cater to the passionate audience who have helped define the genre for decades – and we couldn’t be more excited to turn up the volume.”  KVIL is being branded “ALT 103.7” and both stations are playing 10,000 commercial free songs in a row.

Chicago’s WJMK Drops Classic Hits for Classic Hip Hop.  Another format flip by post-merger Entercom comes in Chicago where WJMK becomes classic hip hop and R&B as “The New 104.3 JAMS, Chicago’s #1 for Throwbacks.”  The station aims to “capture the essence of Chicago from when the Bulls won six NBA championships, to when locals like Oprah and Barack Obama became homegrown heroes.”  Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton says, “The time has come to usher in a brand new chapter in Chicago radio — a station that is designed by Chicagoans exclusively FOR Chicago.”

 

 

John DeBella Celebrates 35 Years on Air.  Philadelphia radio legend John DeBella – pictured above with the staff of Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WMGK-FM – celebrates 35 years on the air in the City of Brotherly Love.  The staff, led by program director Bill Weston and Beasley Media Group Philadelphia vice president/market manager Joe Bell burst into the studio and surprised DeBella while he was on the air.  Weston says, “It’s a testament to John’s talent and passion that he continues to connect with his audience in such a powerful way and is still going strong 35 years into the game.”

More Music Radio News and Career Moves.  At Des Moines CHR KKDM “107.5 KISS FM,” iHeartMedia names Eric White afternoon personality, music director and imaging director, effective November 27, 2017.  iHM Des Moines SVP of programming Greg Chance says, “Eric has skills in a lot of different lanes of our business.  We look forward to working with him, driving his passion for radio and to build his career. I trust this will be another great chapter and member of ‘107.5 KISS FM.’”  White has been serving the company at its Philadelphia cluster…..Bonneville International – operating CHR KMVQ, San Francisco “99.7 NOW” under an LMA from the Entercom Divestiture Trust – names “Jazzy” Jim Archer program director.   He’s been serving as APD and music director of the station since 2011…..The results of the #Change4Change Radiothon produced by the Premiere Networks-syndicated urban morning show “The Breakfast Club” are in and more than $700,000 was raised to benefit the The Gathering for Justice social justice advocacy organization. The radiothon featured on-air personalities DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God encouraging listeners to donate in support of the organization that sponsors movements including The Women’s March, Justice League NYC and Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp…..SiriusXM announces the coming launch of a classic hip hop channel programmed by LL Cool J.  The channel, expected to launch in early 2018, will feature a wide range of classic hip hop content, music, interviews and in-depth retrospectives curated and presented by LL Cool J, as well as other innovators of hip hop music.….ABC Radio is offering a three-hour, country music special, “My Kind of Christmas Countdown,” hosted by Grammy Award-winning country superstar Reba McEntire.  In the program, McEntire will count down to Christmas by looking at seasonal favorites, including traditions, decorations, presents, and some of this year’s best holiday music.  In addition, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Brett Eldredge, Kelsea Ballerini, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood share their own holiday favorites and memories.

Duane Doobie Jr’s Occasional Picks: Don’t Miss This Exciting New Christmas Album from Australian Sensations, The TEN Tenors – and the Proceeds Benefit St. Jude Children’s Hospital.  When Australia’s world famous musical export, The TEN Tenors, decided to make a Christmas album, they weren’t content with just putting out an album of their wildly popular blend of traditional and seasonal favorites – they decided to make it a fundraising tool to help children.  Partnering with Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, the album shot to #1 and has gone on to raise over $1 million.  Now, the group brought the project to America, partnering with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital contributing to their joint mission as well as charting top 10 on the Billboard classical and crossover charts.  St. Jude Children’s Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Support from musical groups like The TEN Tenors helps ensure families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.  The Ten Tenors are returning to the United States this December for an 18-date tour of the East Coast and Midwest. The Australian vocal group, whose voices generate “pure electricity and undeniable drama” according to the Los Angeles Times, will be performing repertoire from their album Our Christmas Wish.  Selections from this great and timely album include traditional standards such as “Joy to the World” and “O Holy Night,” as well as John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” “Feliz Navidad” by José Feliciano, “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin, and “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” the Mariah Carey hit that’s become a holiday evergreen.  Watch TTT perform a medley of songs from Our Christmas Wish by clicking here.  Now enjoying their 20th year together, The Ten Tenors playfully blend rock, pop and opera, and are “truly incandescent when performing at the full strength of 10,” according to VarietyThe New York Times says their “unique mix of the traditional and unconventional offers a fresh and highly-original take on the staid traditions of opera.”  To download songs from Our Christmas Wish for airplay on your station, please click here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

| August 11, 2015

Crowder, ChanningFor WQAM – Three’s A Crowd in PM Drive. Today’s arrival (Tuesday, 8/11) of Channing Crowder will transform the afternoon drive program (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) of CBS Radio-owned WQAM “Miami Sports Radio 560” into a three-person affair, as the former Miami Dolphins linebacker joins Marc Hochman and Zach Krantz. Regarding Crowder, program director Ryan Maguire comments, “His insight as a former college and professional football player – as well as his one-of-a-kind brand of humor – will be a great addition to what MarcWQAM and Zach bring to the table every day. This is going to be a very unique, locally focused program that will be entertaining and insightful.” Crowder remarks, “I am excited for the opportunity to work with ‘Hoch’ and Zach. We are going to bring listeners a different kind of show they won’t be able to find anywhere else.” A former all-South East Conference player at the University of Florida, Crowder began at WQAM in 2009 as a contributor. Prior to becoming part of “Hochman, Crowder, & Krantz,” he co-hosted the station’s mid-day (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm) program.

Vassilaros, DimitriPittsburgh Broadcaster in Online “Crowd-funding” Campaign. The “Don’t Spy on Me” project, which began last Monday (8/3) and ends in three weeks (9/1), creates an internet show for Pittsburgh talk host Dimitri Vassilaros. Online programs, of course, are not subject to Federal Communications Commission regulations, so callers are able to speak freely. Vassilaros tells TALKERS, “Forgoing short-term revenue to create long-term value has helped many internet startups become desirable to investors. This new radio show will provide people with a platform where they can express their thoughts, amplify their voices, and talk back to all authoritarians. Internet freedom means unlimited choices, not government restrictions. Your right of privacy is worth fighting for.” Vassilaros’ background includes being a talk show host on Pittsburgh stations KDKA-AM and WTAE, as well as a columnist/reporter for The Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

Rogers, Mike“Something To Think About” Notes Affiliate Benchmark. Seven months after its debut, the weekday vignettes that its syndicator – Westwood One – labels a “slice of Americana” eclipse the 150-station mark. In fact, the station count for the segments voiced by former Michigan congressman/ex-FBI agent Mike Rogers that stations air thrice daily is up to 156. Westwood One senior vice president of affiliate sales Dennis Green states, “We have been searching for a strong voice that provides a common sense and thought-provoking take on relatable topics that concern all Americans. Mike Rogers brings that home in his commentary, which gives listeners a chance to pause and reflect on the ideals that are important to us all and are without any political bias.” Outgoing House IntelligenceWestwood One Committee chair Rogers remarks that surpassing the 150-station mark so fast is “really exciting” and that listener feedback is inspiring. “It truly is an honor to be welcomed into cars, homes, and businesses of so many people across the country.  Sometimes, it is the simplest message that has the greatest impact.” Among those airing the commentaries are Cumulus Media New York talker WABC; co-owned Chicago talker WLS-AM; San Francisco talk sibling KSFO; iHeartMedia-owned Miami talk outlet WIOD; and CBS Radio Pittsburgh talker KDKA-AM.

McGraw-Milhaven-PicOdds & Sods. The lucky guy who is all smiles is McGraw Milhaven. The KTRS, St Louis morning man recently took 40 listeners on a 12-day, six-country, 11-city tour of Europe including stops in Berlin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and London. Milhaven is seen here capturing a memory at the Tower Bridge over the Thames.

Glenn Beck2Beck in the War Room. Sporting an orange ball cap, Premiere Radio Networks host Glenn Beck was among hundreds who turned out last night (Monday, 8/10) in Dallas for the world premiere of the Kendrick Brothers’ film “War Room.” Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup (on Beck’s left) interviewed Beck, as well as area dignitaries and “War Room” cast members. The red carpet event was held at Dallas’ Majestic Theatre.

Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Megyn Kelly were the Most Talked About People on News/Talk Radio Yesterday (8/9).  Top topics included GOP Debate(s) on Fox, the Iran Nukes Deal and Immigration Reform.  According to TALKERS research, fallout from last week’s audience record-breaking GOP debate on Fox News Channel continues to dominate conversation on news/talk radio across America.  Other hot topics include the presidential election in general – especially Bernie Sanders’ encounters with the Black Lives Matter movement, Hillary Clinton’s email controversy and Jeb Bush’s problems gaining (or holding onto) traction.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

| February 19, 2015

weismanstevenPayola: What Every Broadcaster Should Know.  TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes in a piece published today (2/19) that the Payola laws are something all broadcasters should be aware of, regardless of format.  While the Payola “scandal” of the late 1950s causes many people to associate Payola with playing records for consideration, any content that’s paid for must be identified.  Weisman writes, “The [Federal Communications] Commission has noted that the Sponsorship Identification Laws are ‘grounded in the principle that listeners and viewers are entitled to know who seeks to persuade them.’”  Read Weisman’s entire piece here.

mcmahonbillMcMahon: Listen to Your Creative Voice.  Talk radio consultant Bill McMahon says that all of us are born creative.  “From a very young age we all have a quiet little voice in our head that comes from somewhere deep inside.  It whispers unique and amazing thoughts and ideas to us.  In the beginning, we all hear these ideas, get excited, and do something about them. Unfortunately, the bigger and more unusual the ideas, the more resistance we encounter when we try to bring them to life.  Eventually, most of us stop listening to that quiet little voice, dismiss its thoughts and ideas, and just try to fit in because it’s too damn hard to do otherwise,” he writes.  McMahon believes that the successful content creators are the ones who still, not only listen to that creative voice, but act on some of the ideas it provides us.  Read more about his thoughts on creativity here.

goffjasonGoff Replaces Mannelly at ‘The Score’ in Chicago.  The new co-host at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WSCR, Chicago “670 The Score” is Jason Goff.  He’ll be working alongside Matt Spiegel on the 9:00 am to 1:00 pm show.  The former producer and reporter has also hosted at the company’s Atlanta sports talker wscr logoWZGC “92.9 The Game” and SiriusXM.  “The Score” operations manager Mitch Rosen says, “I’m excited to have Jason back on our team.  I believe the combination of Matt Spiegel and Jason Goff will be a great winning combination that the Chicagoland audience will love.  The show will be interactive through all of our digital platforms.”  Former Chicago Bears long snapper Patrick Mannelly worked as co-host with Spiegel after Dan McNeil exited the same position last June after a long career with WSCR.  McNeil recently joined crosstown classic rock WDRV “The Drive” as AM drive co-host.

businessrockstars radio‘Business Rockstars’ to Be Heard on 11-station Mississippi ‘SuperTalk’ Network.  The “Business Rockstars” radio show adds to its affiliate roster by being carried across the 11-station TeleSouth Communications-owned SuperTalk Mississippi network.  Saying that this new deal pushes its affiliate tally “well past the 100 U.S. radio mark,” Business Rockstars CEO Steve Lehman comments, “Radio is an important part of our multi-media and social platform.  We couldn’t be more excited to add SuperTalk.FM to our rapidly growing list of affiliate stations…Business Rockstars is an entrepreneurial business show that brings together some of the world’s biggest and most accomplished CEOs as well as successful small business owners and entrepreneurs.  We look forward to adding new listeners in Mississippi that will benefit from Business Rockstars content.”  TeleSouth president and COO Kim Dillon states, “‘Business Rockstars’ is a great show and we’re certain the listeners across the SuperTalk Mississippi network will benefit from their insightful commentary and tips.  Entrepreneurship is alive and well in our state.  We look forward to inspiring current and future business owners throughout our long and prosperous relationship with the Rockstars team.”

sternhowardDigital Start-Up Whalerock Gets Attention After Inking Howard Stern to Deal.  From a piece in The New York Times comes news that Howard Stern has agreed to a deal with Whalerock to have the latter create a “personal network” to handle digital distribution of his content.  This is a separate deal from Stern’s SiriusXM contract and Whalerock owner Lloyd Braun tells the paper he is conscious of the existing contracts of his talent and doesn’t want to get into legal disputes.  It appears Whalerock will differ from other digital platforms in that it is targeting established celebrities and designing “personal networks” for each as opposed to providing “space” for content creators on a larger, menu-type platform.  As usual, terms of all deals are confidential but other celebs reported to be on board are the Kardashian sisters and rapper Tyler, the Creator.  In the piece, Braun says celebs are eager to work with Whalerock because it cuts out the “middleman” of traditional media platforms.  The TimesBrooks Barnes astutely points out that there is still a middleman in these deals – that middleman is Whalerock.  Still, it certainly appears that Whalerock’s work handling the aspects of distribution, sales, etc., that celebs don’t want to get involved in themselves is what they get in return for some consideration.  Read the entire Times piece here.

ppmunit altRound Two of January PPM Data Released.  The second of four rounds of January 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  The survey period was January 1-28.  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.

Latest Obama Approval Ratings, Battle Against ISIS, Stay of Obama Amnesty Order, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Sunday’s Academy Awards, and Frigid Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/18).  Recent approval ratings for President Obama and the economy; the battle against ISIS and the controversy over publicly connecting violence with Islam; a Texas court’s stay of President Obama’s amnesty order; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the films and actors nominated for this Sunday’s Academy Awards; and the freezing and snowy weather affecting much of the country were some of the most-talked-about stories on news talk radio yesterday.

AM Radio is the Future of Radio!

| August 28, 2014

By Susan Nilon
WSRQ, Sarasota
Owner/General Manager

 

nilon susanSARASOTA — Time and time again, the question is asked, “What does the future hold for AM radio?”  Articles are written with predictions of AM’s demise due to the lack of interest of the “Millennials,” or how the internet and satellite radio will make it almost impossible for AM to compete in such a fickle industry.  While these predictions seem to make sense to the untrained ear, it reminds me of a time several decades earlier when experts attributed the demise of movie theaters due to the advent of the video cassette recorder.  Or the slow death of vinyl records, due to the portability and popularity of the compact disc.  Well, here we are 30 years later, and the US and Canada box office revenue in 2013 was $10.9 billion with 68% of the population in attendance and “vinyl sales hit their highest level since at least 1991, with six million units sold” according to industry data.  While it’s fun and sometimes smart to try to predict the future, if these “predictions” impact the decision makers of this industry by encouraging them to enter into a self-fulfilling prophecy of AM radio, then they are not only short-sighted, but are foolish as well.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

| April 17, 2014

grahammichaelMichael 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 wyay logoschedule 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.

beckglennGlenn 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.”

cclogoClear 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.”

kall logoJohnson 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.

nielsen logoSecond 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.

fccnewFCC 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-paiajitbroadcast 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?

biakelseyBIA/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 newiHeartRadio 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.

The Sad State of Broadcast Engineering – Part 2

| December 4, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President
TALKERS
Technical Editor

raytomNEW 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.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

| June 14, 2012

End of an Era at KLOS-FM, Los Angeles as Mark Thompson Announces Retirement. The duo Mark & Brian have hosted their very successful morning drive show on Cumulus Media‘s classic rock KLOS-FM, Los Angeles since 1987. But as Mark Thompson tells LARadio.com‘s Don Barrett, he and his wife want to take time to enjoy the things that retirement brings. Thompson’s last show will be August 17. That gives KLOS time to figure out what to do with the morning show. Thompson’s partner Brian Phelps wants to keep working at the station in the morning and reportedly Cumulus is working on making that happen.

Columbus Gains All-Newser. Two Columbus radio outlets drop their formats to become an AM/FM all-newser. North American Broadcasting Co. flips classic hits WTDA-FM and standards WMNI-AM to all-news as WMNI. The station is airing a local morning drive news program hosted by news director Mark Nuce, anchor Kelly Quinn and sports director Mark “The Shark” Howell. The rest of the day will use America’s Radio News Network programming with local news inserts. Evenings and overnights will air Dial Global‘s Jim Bohannon and Cumulus Media Network‘s “Red Eye Radio.” The station is filling the weekends with newsy and business-related programming including Cumulus Media’s “Moneytalk with Bob Brinker” and “Bloomberg Businessweek.”

Former Connecticut Governor and WTIC, Hartford Host John Rowland Draws Ire of Unions. The former Governor of Connecticut hosts the station’s PM drive show and today the CBS Radio news/talk station will face some sort of protest at its Farmington studios by a collection of construction, public sector and building and trade unions for Rowland’s opposition to the CTfastrack project – a controversial road, light rail and bike path project between Hartford and New Britain. Connecticut Laborers District Council business manager Charles LeConche states, “The John Rowland that I remember as Governor of Connecticut always supported public projects and understood how to grow the local economy. His present show is now all trash talk radio. It’s really become ‘hate’ radio every weekday afternoon. We’re supporting a boycott of his advertisers and the radio station as well. Our organization will also be petitioning the Federal Communications Commission about this CBS Radio outlet’s handling of trash talk and biased information without offering the opportunity to present different points of view.”

Three Broadcast Groups Join TuneIn for Strategic Digital Alliance. Digital audio distribution service TuneIn announces Beasley Broadcast Group, Midwest Communications and Federated Media are aligning with the service to bring more than 100 stations to its more than 30 million monthly active listeners. TuneIn CEO John Donham says, “We want to make the best audio available to anyone, no matter where they are. Aligning with Beasley Broadcast Group, Midwest Communications and Federated Media gives our listeners unlimited access to some of their favorite hometown stations, while increasing the listener bases of these three major U.S. Broadcasters.” Midwest SVP Michael Wright states, “At Midwest Communications, Inc., we’ve received numerous requests from our radio brands’ listeners asking how they can listen to our content via mobile phone streaming. Our new alliance with TuneIn allows us to give our listeners exactly what they want – their favorite personalities and music, whenever they want, wherever they want. TuneIn gives Midwest Communications another way to superserve and grow our audience.”

CNN Cancels John King USA; Adds Another Hour of Wolf Blitzer. Executives at Time Warner have reportedly become impatient with the performance of cable news/talk channel CNN in the evening and prime time. Now, it appears John King‘s program is the first casualty of a programming shift as “John King USA” is being dropped and another hour of “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” picks up the 6:00 pm ET hour. John King remains with CNN as lead national campaign correspondent. CNN/U.S. chief Ken Jautz states, “John will be providing reports for ‘SitRoom,’ ‘AC360’ and other programs and CNN platforms. This is John’s seventh presidential campaign – fourth with CNN – and making him available across our programming lineup allows us to better tap his skills and experience, especially on the ground reporting in major battleground states and among critical voting blocs.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods. Compass Media Marketing announces the hiring of Bob O’Connor as account director. O’Connor comes to Compass with experience working in the sales and marketing departments at CBS Radio, Eastman Radio, ABC Radio Networks and Cumulus Media…..WQAM, Miami afternoon drive host (and TALKERS contributor) Dan Sileo will fill in at Yahoo! Sports Radio on June 21 and 22 on the morning drive program…..Entercom‘s sports talk WEEI-FM, Springfield, Massachusetts grabs the broadcast rights for University of Massachusetts football and men’s basketball for the next five seasons. In addition to play-by-play, the station will air “The Charley Molnar Show” and “The Derek Kellogg Show’ – the weekly coach’s shows for football and basketball, respectively…..The Radio Television Digital News Association announces ESPN is honored with two 2012 Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for excellence in electronic journalism. “E: 60” won the Outstanding Sports Reporting award and “The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap” won the Audio Sports Reporting award…..Hubbard Radio‘s WTOP, Washington is awarded five 2012 Edward R. Murrow awards including Best Newscast and two for Overall Excellence.

2012 Presidential Race, Russia-Syria Arms Connection, NYC Snack Food Ban, Eric Holder-‘Fast and Furious’ Case and EU Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/13). The 2012 presidential campaign; Russia’s unapologetic supplying of arms to Syria; more considerations of snack food bans in New York City; the GOP’s move to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program; and the state of the debt crisis in the European Union were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

WBZ, Boston Hosts Scott Pelley. The anchor and managing editor of the “CBS Evening News” visited Boston on Tuesday, June 12 as a special guest at the WBZ NewsRadio Business Breakfast where more than 500 people packed the Boston Westin Copley Hotel. WBZ anchor Joe Mathieu interviewed Scott Pelley about topics including the presidential campaign, healthcare, the economy and his career in the news business. Pelley arrived in town the evening prior to the event and brought with him a full staff of producers and writers to produce the Monday evening news. Pictured here are (from l-r): CBS Radio Boston VP & market manager Mark Hannon, WBZ, Boston news anchor Joe Mathieu, Scott Pelley, and WBZ news and programming director Peter Casey. (Photo courtesy of Jodi-Tatiana Charles, La Capoise Galerie)

FCC Programming Rules: Obscenity

| April 3, 2012

By Steven J. J. Weisman
TALKERS MAGAZINE
Legal Editor

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.

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The FCC and You

| March 7, 2012

By Steven J. J. Weisman
TALKERS MAGAZINE
Legal Editor 

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:

  1.  The FCC’s rules on programming including: obscenity, indecency, broadcast of telephone conversations, parodies, libel and hoaxes;
  2. The FCC’s complaint procedure;
  3. The FCC’s rules on advertising which is a most important topic today;
  4. 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;
  5. The FCC’s rules on payola, plugging and kickbacks; and
  6. The FCC’s rules on time brokerage and barter agreements.

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Friday, March 2, 2012

| March 2, 2012

White House Responds to Rush Limbaugh’s Take on Georgetown College Student.  Premiere Networks talk show host Rush Limbaugh is getting an extraordinary amount of attention from comments made on his program earlier this week.  During the program Limbaugh questioned the testimony of Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke who – speaking to the issue of subsidies for birth control – stated that her Catholic university won’t pay for expensive contraception.  Weighing in on the issue, Limbaugh said, in part, that the university is, in effect being asked to pay for students to have sex.  “What does that make her?  It makes her a slut, right?  It makes her a prostitute.  She wants to be paid to have sex.  She’s having so much sex, she can’t afford the contraception.”  White House press secretary Jay Carney said President Obama called Ms. Fluke to express his support for her stating her opinion and his regret for the response she received.  Republicans and Democrats are now battling over allegations some Democrats and Democratic fundraising organizations are using the issue to raise campaign donations.

Los Angeles African-American Coalition Unhappy with KFI’s Response.  Several days after meeting with Clear Channel Los Angeles management about issues of diversity and ethnic insensitivity after the suspension of PM drive team John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou for remarks made about Whitney Houston, a self-described coalition of Black business and media professionals announces it is not satisfied with KFI management’s response in a memorandum titled “We Are Listening” and plans further action.  In a press statement, media contact Jasmyne Cannick states the coalition plans to take the issue to Washington.  “Consequently, we plan on filing a formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission that will include audio and video evidence substantiating our claims that these licensing violations are pervasive and systemic.  We are confident President Barack Obama, several local officials as well as members of Congress, and the FCC will agree with our stance that the way Clear Channel is addressing the issue of diversity is disingenuous at best and fraudulent at its worst.”  The coalition had asked four areas to be addressed by Clear Channel management:  The hiring of more Blacks as on-air talent – full time, weekends, fill-in hosts; Similar to cable outlets, the station should feature paid KFI contributing commentators who can discuss issues with the on-air [talent] from different perspectives; Clear Channel must employ more blacks behind the scenes such as producers, engineers, sales representatives, professionals in marketing and promotions, as well as college interns of color.  This is not limited to KFI; and KFI specifically needs to collaborate with online news and entertainment sites owned by African Americans and broaden the listening audience through community outreach events and public affairs.  Whether or not this issue becomes a serious PR problem for KFI remains to be seen, but the coalition seems very intent on executing its goals.  It states, “What must be reiterated is that Clear Channel’s corporate policies are being completely ignored and lip service can no longer suffice.  In the next seven days, we will launch an all-out campaign employing the same tools Clear Channel radio personalities utilize to drive home the point that issues of importance will no longer be placated. Whether it’s employing John and Ken’s ‘Heads on a Stick’ campaign, to launching ‘Political Human Sacrifice 2012,’ all remedies, legal and otherwise, will be exhausted.”  At a time when a significant degree of murkiness exists in the understanding of FCC rules pertaining to ethnic equality and programming sensitivity on the part of radio stations and their community critics alike, this brewing situation has the potential to force the clarification of a number of sticky issues including First Amendment guarantees as they apply to broadcasters, the public relations of race, and specific licensing requirements of the FCC.


Talk Media Industry Mourns Passing of Andrew Breitbart.  The Conservative digital media mogul and talk media personality died unexpectedly at age 43 early Thursday morning of what appears to have been a heart attack.  The conservative side of the talk media industry certainly had a friend in Andrew Breitbart.  He was a big fan of conservative talk radio, often appearing on both nationally syndicated and local talk radio programs to discuss political issues.  He even guest-hosted programs – most recently subbing for Dial Global’s Dennis Miller just last week.  Breitbart’s work creating digital media targeting the conservative political audience made him a news/talk media celebrity as well as a target for those who disagreed with his politics.  He’s pictured here reading one of the final print editions of TALKERS magazine at the radio row in New Hampshire prior to that state’s primary election in February.

TALKERS TV EXCLUSIVE:  During the recent TALKERS/Talk Radio News Service radio row held in New Hampshire on the eve of the nation’s first presidential primary, TALKERS TV video recorded Emmanuel College  (Boston) student broadcaster Joe Horgan interviewing Andrew Breitbart on the college’s internet station.  The interview conducted on January 10 presents a superb portrait of Breitbart and his media philosophy.  See the video in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.


More Momentum Behind Radio News as Dial Global Teams with NBC for 24-Hour News Product.  The term 24-hour news service is slightly misleading.  What NBC and Dial Global are offering is not a full 60 minutes of news each hour all day long but top- and bottom-of-the-hour news plus bulletins, live coverage of news events, news feeds, etc.  But with the demise Dial Global’s distribution of CNN Radio and that service largely disappearing, this new initiative underscores the resurgence in the demand for news from consumers that’s being exemplified on America’s radio airwaves.  In recent years the industry has seen Talk Radio Network collaborate with The Washington Times to produce and syndicate a national morning drive news product out of the Nation’s Capital; TRN subsidiary America’s Radio News Network is currently clearing its successful three-hour, all-news blocks on more than 200 radio stations; CBS Radio bought an FM signal in the Washington-Baltimore area to put its news expertise to the test against Hubbard Broadcasting’s news juggernaut WTOP; Randy Michaels-led Merlin Media is building all-news formats on two major FM signals in New York and Chicago with another in Philadelphia reportedly on the way; and Fox News Radio has been providing a major league level of news and information service to nearly a thousand affiliates (including talkers) for years.  Dial Global’s announcement of its  collaboration with NBC News to offer a radio news product using its vast resources and high-profile personalities shows it takes radio’s desire for news seriously.  NBC News Radio will be distributed to radio stations nationwide by Dial Global beginning April 1 and will give those stations access to the global resources of NBC News including: live simulcasts of breaking news from NBC and MSNBC, and reports from top NBC News correspondents including NBC News political director and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd, chief Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell, chief Justice Department correspondent Pete Williams and  senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers. NBC News Radio will also feature Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News” and David Gregory, host of “Meet the Press.”  The development shows that at a time when many Americans are getting more and more of their news from internet sources, a case can be made that news radio – especially news radio consumed in the auto – is more important than ever to many people.  This current state and its future potential sparks the need for new and creative ways beyond merely “reading the story” in which to present news and information content.  Along with that come opportunities for creative talent – experienced in what captivates radio listeners – to put their skills to the test in taking radio news into the future.


KIRO-FM, Seattle Develops New Weekend Talk Show About Local Music.  In cooperation with Seattle Weekly, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle announces the debut of “Seattle Sounds,” airing Sunday afternoons from 3:00 to 4:00.  The show is co-hosted by Josh Kerns and Seattle Weekly music editor Chris Kornelis and is described as telling the “story behind the music – they dive deep into the artists who perform the music, explain why the music is gaining such traction, and discover bands who warrant attention.  The program features live performances, interviews with artists, and weekly contests to attend some of the region’s hottest shows.  ‘Seattle Sounds’ provides a new, uniquely-Northwest experience for audiophiles who want something more than just the Top 40 on shuffle.”  KIRO-FM program director Larry Gifford says, “We are very excited to team up with Seattle Weekly to give music fans in the Northwest a weekly conversation about what’s new, what’s trending and what’s worth checking out when it comes to the local music scene.  It is a terrific addition to 97.3 KIRO-FM’s All New ‘Learn, Laugh, Relax Weekend lineup.’”


Colleagues Mourn Passing of Former KOMO Radio and TV News Personality Eric Slocum.  Former co-workers at Fisher Broadcasting’s KOMO, Seattle and KOMO-TV are mourning the unexpected death of former news anchor Eric Slocum who passed away last Saturday at age 54.  Reports indicate he had suffered from depression in recent years and the death was ruled a suicide.  Slocum started his career in radio but moved to KOMO-TV. He left the TV side in 2001 and returned to news/talk KOMO.  He left the station in 2008.


Compass Media Networks Offers Big 10 Hoops Tourney for Third Consecutive Year.  As the college basketball tournament season approaches, Compass Media Networks announces it is distributing play-by-play of the Big 10 Men’s Basketball Tournament beginning Thursday, March 8 and running through Sunday, March 11.  The games are being distributed to satellite radio and terrestrial radio including major affiliates such as WFAN, New York.  CMN’s broadcast team includes: Matt “Money” Smith from KLAC, Los Angeles who is partnered with former NBA star Rick Mahorn; and Drew Bontadelli who calls play-by-play with former college hoops star Mike Wozniak.


CBS Radio’s Altitude Group Names Marilou McFarlane VP of Strategic Partnerships.  The Altitude Group is CBS Radio’s marketing wing that focuses on creating unique advertising programs to help grow client brands and customer engagement.  The company says Altitude uses the power of CBS Radio’s 130 major market stations combined with all available digital distribution channels to execute big ideas for advertisers so they can reach their customers in any and every way.  Marilou McFarlane, based in San Francisco, will use the group’s best practices to develop new business in markets up and down the west coast.  McFarlane has worked for Clear Channel, CBS Radio in the past as well as developed her own media and marketing consultancy firm, McFarlane Marketing LLC.  Additionally, she launched Vivo Girls Sports, Inc., an online community for girls 13-24 years old who are passionate about sports and live a healthy active lifestyle.


WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Fill-in Host Wayne Powers Runs for County Commissioner.  Wayne Powers has been a regular fill-in host at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte for the past four years.  He announces he’s removing himself from the station’s roster in order to run as a Republican for a seat on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners.

GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 27 – March 2.  According to ongoing research from TALKERS, the GOP primaries and the 2012 presidential race was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM chart.  Coming in at #2 was Iran tensions tied with the North Korea nuclear program deal.  At #3 was the state of the economy and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress and at #4 was rising gas prices.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart here.


TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Independently syndicated “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman” joins the weekend lineup at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFI, Los Angeles…..KGO, San Francisco-based weekend talk host Karel gets his Sunday 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm program added to the lineup at KJFK, Reno…..Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” featuring Eric Harley and Gary McNamara picks up affiliates WLS, Chicago; WMAL-AM/FM, Washington; and WPRO/WEAN-FM, Providence…..Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street” with host Chris Markowski is picked up by KIVA, Albuquerque…..“Beyond the Beltway” with host Bruce DuMont is added to the program schedule at WATX, Cookeville, Tennessee…..The DirecTV-produced and Premiere Networks-distributed Nick and Artie show featuring Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange adds CBS Radio’s WIP-AM, Philadelphia.