Tag: "Federated Media"

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

| April 1, 2014

mandisdanDan Mandis Hosts Early Afternoon Show at WWTN, Nashville.  Talk radio pro Dan Mandis is the new 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm personality at Cumulus Media’s WWTN, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7.”  Mandis, who spent years as executive producer of the Dr. Laura Program, has most recently been programming such talk radio outlets as Clear Channel’s KHOW and KKZN in Denver and Federated Media’s WOWO, Fort Wayne.  He also hosted thewwtn logo Saturday morning show on KOA, Denver.  With Mandis’ arrival at “SuperTalk 99.7,” the station is now live and local from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm.  He’ll follow morning host Ralph Bristol and late morning personality Michael DelGiorno while leading into PM drive host Phil Valentine.  WWTN program director Brian Wilson states, “We think Dan’s view of the world is just familiar enough to be comfortable for our audience and at the same time just different enough that he’ll make a lot of people stop and think twice about the disease behind the symptoms.  As the fourth leg to the table, we think all our core shows will complement each other.  The effect is that the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts.”  Mandis comments, “There are so many reasons to be excited about this opportunity.  Being part of an amazing talk radio station on FM is one, and living in a great city like Nashville is another.  I honestly can’t wait to get started.”

mandersbill‘PowerTalk 96.7’ Fresno Host Bill Manders Receives Kidney from Teen Suicide Victim.  Afternoon drive personality Bill Manders returned to his show on Clear Channel’s news/talk duo KALZ and KRZR in Fresno after kidney transplant surgery three weeks ago.  According to local TV station KFSN, Manders received a kidney from a local teen who had just committed suicide.  It turns out 17-year-old Lexi Morris’ father Jason is a regular listener to Manders’ program and made the unusual request that Manders receive his daughter’s kidney.  As the story notes, this is not the usual procedure but the kidney was a perfect match.  Manders tells the TV station, “I was in tears when I heard her story, but I would rather concentrate on the plusses in her life.  She was smart, athletic, she has a great family, and I know she’s there looking down on me, so I’ve got to honor her.”  Read the whole story here.

hochmanshow groupMarc Hochman Officially Signs with Beasley to Host PM Drive on WQAM, Miami.  Nothing is ever official until the contract is signed but Marc Hochman’s departure from Lincoln Financial Media’s crosstown WAXY last fall with the intent on sitting out his non-compete and landing in PM drive at WQAM was one of radio’s worst-kept secrets.  As soon as it was legal (at 12:01 am on 4/1), Hochman (second from left) inked a pact with WQAM to begin his run as the station’s afternoon personality.  The new Marc Hochman show will also feature Zach Krantz (right), former Miami Dolphins cheerleader Sha Tabb (second from right), and longtime WQAM producer Victor Bermudez (left).  WQAM program director Andy King says, “Marc is an incredible talent and one of the most creative minds in radio.  His ability to blend sports, pop culture and humor into an entertaining show has led him to tremendous success throughout his career and I’m excited for him to continue that success here at 560 WQAM.”  Hochman adds, “I am the quintessential ‘radio nerd,’ so the opportunity for me to host an afternoon drive show on the most legendary sports talk station in Miami was one that I couldn’t pass up.  When I first moved to Miami in 1987, I listened to WQAM all the time.  Now, a little over 25 years later, I’ll be sitting behind that microphone, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!”  The station also announces that one of the most legendary voices in South Florida sports history, Howard Schnellenberger, has signed on as the imaging voice of the Marc Hochman show.  All the show intros and production will be voiced by Schnellenberger.

morganmelanieMelanie Morgan Returns to Radio in Santa Rosa.  Long time Bay Area news radio and talk radio pro Melanie Morgan (formerly with Cumulus Media’s KGO and KSFO, San Francisco and, for a time, with TRN’s “America’s ksro logoMorning News”) joined Sonoma Media Group-owned KSRO, Santa Rosa, California as news director and morning anchor.  She began her news director duties yesterday (3/31) and starts on-air next Monday (4/7).  Melanie replaces a heritage morning news anchor, David Wesley Page, who retired from radio about a month ago after nearly 30 years on the KSRO morning news.  Morgan is married to former longtime KGO program director Jack Swanson.

mitchellbrianBrian Mitchell and Scott Jackson Re-Up with WTEM, Washington.  Two of Doc Walker’s co-hosts on Red Zebra Broadcasting’s WTEM, Washington “ESPN980” are in the fold for another three years.  The companyjacksonscott announces that Brian Mitchell and Scott Jackson have extended their contracts with the station, keeping them on the “Inside the Locker Room” with Walker through 2017.  The mid-afternoon show teams former Washington Redskins Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell along with veteran talk show host Scott Jackson.  Mitchell has been a part of the “ESPN980” family for five years.  Brian also is a contributing member of the Washington Redskins Radio Network, offering analysis pre-game, post-game and during halftime.  Jackson has worked at WTEM for nine years and will serve in many additional roles, including hosting “Redskins Recap,” Mondays after Washington Redskins games and as the station’s lead NBA analyst.  Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says, “’Inside the Locker Room’ has been a ratings success.  To have all three guys under contract for the next few years makes our station stronger.  Doc, B-Mitch and Jack have so much fun on the air, you can’t help but laugh along with them while listening.”

businessrockstars radioBusiness Rockstars Radio Affiliates with CRN Digital Talk Radio.  This week “Business Rockstars Radio,” hosted by Ken Rutkowski began an affiliation relationship with CRN Digital Talk Radio.  The program that features “Rockstar” CEOs, entrepreneurs, and start-ups targeting the 30 million “Wantrepreneurs” in the U.S., joins CRN’s integrated audio platform combining television, radio and social media.  CRN Digital Talk Radio CEO Mike Horn says, “We’re thrilled about our new partnership with ‘Business Rockstars Radio,’ a show with such compelling content, we’ve decided to air it three different times across our platform.  ‘Business Rockstars Radio’ is the only crn logonational entrepreneurial radio show that brings in ‘Rockstar’ CEOs and entrepreneurs combined with the magic of Ken Rutkowki’s talent and continuing with each guest on the show.  We are also excited to partner with the legendary Steve Lehman, a name synonymous with cutting-edge talk radio.”  Lehman adds, “We’re excited to expand the Business Rockstars Radio footprint by joining Mike Horn’s renowned CRN Digital Talk Radio Network.  This new alliance will add an additional 11 million television households across the U.S. to the Business Rockstars Radio Network, allowing us to reach more ‘Wantrepreneurs’ with fun, fast-paced, and compelling content about growing, starting, and funding businesses.”  Business Rockstars Radio guests include some of the biggest CEOs and entrepreneurs daily, including: Nolan Bushnell (Atari and Chuck E. Cheese Founder), Akon (musician and entrepreneur), Daymond John (Host of ABC’s “Shark Tank”), Cheryl Tiegs (model, actress and entrepreneur), Thom Beers (CEO of Freemantle Media), Scott Painter (Founder and CEO of TruCar) and many others.

kinosianmikeSports Talk Post-Super Bowl.  The American sports (and money!) juggernaut that is the National Football League plays a huge role in the success of sports talk radio in America.  Not to disparage the MLB, NBA, NHL and NCAA, but it’s clearly the most successful and popular league in professional sports in America.  So, what effect does the end of the NFL’s season the first weekend in February have on sports talk stations?  TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian takes an in-depth look at sports talk radio’s performance in PPM markets leading up to the Super Bowl and in the month that follows.  Check out his report here.

journalbroadcastgroupMcHale Named VP/CTO for Journal Broadcast Group.  The Milwaukee-based company announces Brian McHale is its new vice president and chief technology officer, overseeing “the leadership, management, implementation and long-term planning of the company’s technical and physical infrastructure across its 13 television stations and 35 radio stations in 11 states.”  Journal Broadcast Group also says McHale will “ensure the efficient and on-schedule delivery of media content, identify emerging technologies and how to profitably deploy them, and work closely with Journal’s leadership team to develop the company’s operational and strategic direction.”  McHale comes to Journal from Seattle’s Fisher Communications where he was vice president of technology.

deanmichaelwHow to Help Your Remote Guests Shine.  Radio is a busy business and sometimes hosts must process guests with a level of assembly-line speed that doesn’t always allow for the kind of attention to detail that can make the difference between a quality broadcast and a tune-out.  Many interviews on radio sound like there was no forethought to audio quality.  And many guests sound like they were thrown into an unfamiliar situation with no preparation.  In a very helpful, extensive advice piece posted today (4/1) Genesis Communications Network (GCN) talk show host Michael W. Dean (“The Freedom Feens” and “Michael Dean After Dark”) offers advice on how to maximize the quality of your remote guests covering everything from programming content to technical delivery in today’s frenzied radio environment.  To read it in its entirety, please click here.

ObamaCare Criticism, Russian Aggression, North and South Korean Tensions, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Discrepancies, Global Warming, and “Noah” Criticism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/31).  Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the international implications of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and Eastern Europe and President Obama’s dealings with Vladimir Putin; heating tensions between North and South Korea; conflicting information from the Malaysian government about the disappearance of Flight 370; renewed debate about global climate change; and criticism of the new film “Noah” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

| November 7, 2013

sportshh2013TALKERS Publishes Second Annual “Heavy Hundred” of Sports Talk Radio.  The editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, have compiled the second annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America.  The eagerly anticipated list is posted today (11/7).  Like its long-established “sister list” – the long-running (18 years) annual “Heavy Hundred” that ranks talk radio hosts working in the news/talk and general talk genres – the editors of TALKERS magazine have ranked sports talk hosts, duos or ensembles from 1 to 100 based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors.  The results are, admittedly, subjective.  Being  true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due.  Those qualities include:  courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness.  The other concrete qualification for inclusion is hosts must be working – that is, have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station at the time of publication.  TALKERS salutes the fine broadcasters who made this year’s second annual list!  To see the entire roster, please click here.

parksdarrylDarryl Parks Exits Clear Channel.  The longtime WLW, Cincinnati steward and architect of so many of the talk shows that aired on the station has been let go by Clear Channel.  Programmer Darryl Parks was PD of WLW from 1999 to 2010 when he was promoted to vice president of news/talk operations for the entire company.  He remained based at the Cincinnati cluster and hosted a Saturday morning talk show on WLW.  The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter broke the news on Wednesday afternoon and in his report calls Parks “arguably the most influential person in Cincinnati radio” during his time as PD of WLW.  As per policy, Clear Channel doesn’t comment on personnel matters but has confirmed that Parks is no longer with the company.  The move is likely a restructuring of management within the company but Parks drew attention to himself last month with a blog post criticizing acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn’s AM revitalization program and referred to the NAB/RAB Radio Show as a “circle jerk.”

cbsradioCBS Corporation Reveals Q3 Numbers: Radio Up 1%.  For the company as a whole, revenue was up 11% but the radio division’s net revenue rose just 1%.  With so much of CBS’ revenue from television and cable, the company doesn’t spend much time talking about radio.  EVP of investor relations Adam Townsend did single out the fledgling CBS Sports Radio Network, saying, “CBS Sports Radio network continues to help drive our results.  Plus, digital revenue was up 19% in the quarter.  And nontraditional revenue, including our growing local events business, was up 9%.”  The company says it expects the radio division to be up in the low single digits in the fourth quarter.

cclogoClear Channel Radio Revenue Up 3%.  CC Media Holdings issued its third quarter 2013 financial results and the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment division’s revenue increased by 3% or $25 million.  Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “Strategically and financially, our third quarter results reflect the growing strength of our Media+Entertainment business, while we continue to make meaningful progress in moving Outdoor forward internationally and in the Americas.  At Media+Entertainment, we outperformed the entire radio sector in revenue growth, including in our major markets. Increasingly, our radio business is benefiting from our strategic approach to advertising that sets us apart in the marketplace.”  Among numerous other points made about the division’s recent achievements, the company notes that there are now “39 million iHeartRadio registered users as of September 30, 2013, up 114% from the end of the 2012 third quarter, and crossing the 30 million registered user mark faster than Facebook, Twitter, Spotify or Pandora, and second only to Instagram.  iHeartRadio’s total listening hours were up 30% in the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.  Mobile represented 60% of iHeartRadio total listening hours during the quarter.”

katztonyTony Katz to Host Evening Show on WIBC-FM, Indianapolis.  Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis and talk show host Tony Katz have agreed to terms for Katz to debut his “Tony Katz Tonight” program on the station airing from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight beginning Monday, November 11.  Katz will be based out of his Tomorrow Media Network studios in Los Angeles.  Katz most recently hosted a weekend program on Emmis-owned KFTK-FM, St. Louis “FM News Talk 97.1” where he also serves as the regular fill-in for the station’s Dana Loesch.  Katz states, “I’m thrilled to be with Emmis, a company that has fought hard to be strong in this ever-shifting radio landscape.  I’ve had a great relationship with the company, with Dana and especially KFTK program director Jeff Allen, who gave me nothing but support, opportunity and encouragement.  To go from there to the capable and fearless hands of WIBC program director David Wood makes me truly believe that this is the start of a long, profitable relationship.”  Katz is a columnist with TownHall and Christian Post and a frequent commentator on “Fox and Friends” and “The Kudlow Report” on CNBC.  He is also a sought after public speaker.

cunninghambillBill Cunningham’s TV Show Renews on The CW.  WLW, Cincinnati talk show host Bill Cunningham can also claim success in his other media endeavor – the Tribune-produced television talk program “The Bill Cunningham Show.”  Now, Cable & Broadcasting reports that the show has been picked up for another season – its third – by The CW Network which airs the show at 3:00 pm ET.  The TV project was one of those that began back when former Clear Channel radio president Randy Michaels was heading up Tribune.  Former Clear Channel programmer Sean Compton is one of the executives whom Michaels brought to Chicago and has risen to president of programming and entertainment for Tribune Broadcasting.  Compton is quoted in the piece saying, “The growth of ‘The Bill Cunningham Show’ over the past three seasons has exceeded all expectations.  When compared to perceptually bigger shows, Cunningham consistently comes out on top.  His demo conversion steadily yields impressive results and we are extremely proud of this show.”

cookehollandA Peek Inside: NAB Futures 2013.  Radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke was recently invited to attend – and deliver a keynote speech! – at the invitation only NAB Futures 2013 that took place in Laguna Beach, California.  Cooke describes it as “a think tank about how broadcasters can embrace and exploit the ‘disruption’ that has changed how consumers consume media.”  He reports back interesting tidbits from such speakers as: James McQuivey, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research and the author of Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation; Scott Burnell, global lead, business development & partner management at Ford Motor Company; Jason Dorsey, “The Gen Y Guy” who wrote Y-Size Your Business: How Gen Y Employees Can Save You Money and Grow Your Business.  Get Holland Cooke’s scoop on the NAB Futures 2013 here.

westwoodone logoWestwoodOne Opens Creative and Production Studio for Radio Marketers.  Saying that it wants to help marketers develop “world-class audio,” WestwoodOne announces the opening of a full-service Creative Services division to be “powered” in part by TM Studios.  The company says it will “provide multi-platform marketing solutions including on-air, digital and experiential components, built upon the company’s core service producing engaging audio experiences that connect people with their passions in life.  The studio is currently preparing to work with marketers to produce audio ads for WestwoodOne’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII.”  WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine states, “Audio plays a vital role in the new media landscape and WestwoodOne is uniquely positioned to help marketers integrate creative, multiplatform audio advertising into the mix.  Marketers need a reliable partner who understands how, where and when today’s mobile consumers are interacting with audio and the ability to develop audio content that can stand out from the competition.  Be it mobile, terrestrial or digital consumption, the team at WestwoodOne Studio has the talent and expertise to create the most compelling and effective advertising to give our marketers the most exposure.”

valentinephilPhil Valentine Kicks Off ‘Spreading the Truth’ Tour.  Nashville-based syndicated talk show host Phil Valentine is launching what he’s calling the “Spreading the Truth” tour to promote the newly released DVD of his film “An Inconsistent Truth.”  Valentine will be in Pensacola, Florida at the Cordova Mall on Sunday, November 10 in conjunction with his Pensacola affiliate station WCOA.  Valentine reports that the movie – which challenges the notion of runaway, man-made global warming and takes its title from a twist on Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth – “hit the #1 spot on Amazon.com’s documentary list shortly after its release.  It’s the winner of three film festival awards including the Nevada Film Festival.  The film enjoyed a limited run last year in select theaters and was the top-grossing movie per screen in the entire country its first two weeks out.  It’s the 20th top-grossing nature documentary of all time, out-grossing films like “Cool It, Gasland and Fuel.”  Valentine states, “I think the fact that we hit #1 on Amazon so quickly is a testament to the appetite out there for the truth.  People inherently know carbon dioxide is not some kind of poison.  They instinctively know they’re being lied to.  We just arm them with the facts.”  The Spreading the Truth tour kicks off in Pensacola then moves to Nashville.  Other tour dates are being added.

morelandkeithOdds & Sods.  Chicago Cubs radio color analyst Keith Moreland is stepping down from his role.  WGN, Chicago announces the former Cub has made the decision to leave the broadcast booth to spend more time with his family.  In a note to the WGN staff, Moreland stated, “I would like to thank the fans, the folks at WGN Radio, my colleagues in the booth, the Ricketts family, and the Cubs for this great opportunity.  After spending three years doing it, I’ve simply decided that I want to spend more time at home in Texas.”  Moreland became a permanent fixture with play-by-play broadcaster Pat Hughes in February of 2011…..Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston announces the return of its off-season baseball show “Red Sox Hot Stove,” a weekly, one-hour program hosted by WEEI.com editor Rob Bradford and Red Sox reporter Alex Speier that will air every Thursday night from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm through February.  The program will focus on all off-season moves made by the Red Sox and in Major League Baseball, including free agency and trades, the GM and owners’ meetings and the league’s annual Winter Meetings, taking place this year from December 9-12 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, FL.  Bradford and Speier will be joined on a recurring basis by Red Sox manager John Farrell, general manager Ben Cherington and assistant general manager Mike Hazen.  In addition, listeners will regularly hear from other managers, general managers, agents and players from around baseball.

zimneymissindy‘There She/He Is, Miss Indiana…’  Okay, so that’s not exactly how the song goes.  Nonetheless, the attractive woman you see here is Mekayla Diehl (right) who was crowned Miss Indiana USA 2014 this past Sunday.  The handsome lad seated and wearing the tiara is Federated Media news and programming guru Jon Zimney of ‘95.3 FM MNC’ (Michiana News Channel) in South Bend, Indiana, and WOWO-AM/FM in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Miss Diehl visited the broadcasting facility to talk about her being crowned to represent the state of Indiana.

ObamaCare Criticism, Election Day Results, Benghazi Case, GOP 2014 and 2016 Strategies, Iran Nukes, Miami Dolphins ‘Bullying’ Story and Tony Dorsett Health Issues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/6).  The ongoing scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; Tuesday’s election results; renewed criticism of the handling of the deadly Benghazi attacks; Republican prospects and strategies for the mid-term elections in 2014 and the presidential election in 2016; Iran’s nuclear weapons program; controversy over the suspension of Miami Dolphins player Richie Incognito; and former NFL great Tony Dorsett’s admission he suffers from possible effects of football injuries were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, August 26, 2013

| August 26, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

| December 11, 2012

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.

Monday, December 3, 2012

| December 3, 2012

Michael Savage Bashes “Bash Obama” Programming Philosophy.  Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Michael Savage appeared on WABC, New York’s “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” program last night and told Klein’s audience that talk radio conservatives are “committing suicide” by incessantly criticizing Barack Obama.  Savage, who recently left longtime syndicator Talk Radio Network and subsequently signed on with Cumulus Media Networks, said, “Many people on the conservative side of the dial are making the same mistakes now that the liberals made when Bush was in power.  “Air America went bankrupt, why? Because all they did was…Bush bashing and they were just crazy in the Bush bashing.  Boring.  Boring.  How much could you listen to?  It wasn’t even clever Bush bashing.  This is what’s going on now with the conservatives.  They’re committing suicide.  Just attacking Obama – although he deserves it – is not good radio…Remember one thing, radio is primarily an entertainment medium.  It was not created to be the voice of the Republican Party or the Democrat Party.”  Savage’s program begins airing on Cumulus O&O WABC tonight from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

CBS Radio Dallas Offices Hit by Gunfire.  The offices of CBS Radio’s Dallas operations that house its radio stations was hit by gun shots on Friday and police are still investigating the source of the bullets.  CBS Dallas is reporting the shots hit the outside panes of glass on two floors of the 12-story building that abuts the busy Central Expressway.  One of the offices hit was that of NewsRadio 1080 KRLD’s promotions director Matt Stacks.  The other window hit was above the KRLD offices belonging to former police officer and practicing attorney Pete Schulte who tells CBS, “It sounded like a rifle.  It was clearly a loud bang, and as soon as I heard the loud bang the glass shattered in my office.”  Schulte says he was frustrated by how long it took the police to take action.  “I should think police should at least canvass the area to see if they can find anyone with a long gun.”  The CBS story notes police did canvass the area a little over an hour later and that Schulte was told the call had been mis-categorized as a criminal mischief call instead of an active shooter case.  The building also houses CBS Radio’s other Dallas stations including sports talk KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan,” AC KVIL “103.7 Lite FM,” adult hits KJKK “100.3 Jack FM,” classic hits KLUV, and Spanish WMKV, “Mega 107.5 FM.”

WLS, Chicago Adds Early-Morning Newscast.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder tips that Cumulus Media-owned news/talk WLS, Chicago began a 4:30 am newscast anchored by John Dempsey this morning (12/3).  The move means WLS is cutting the second half of The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “This Morning” program that aired from 4:00 am to 5:00 am.  “The 89 WLS First Morning News at 4:30” also uses ABC Radio News London-based correspondent Tom Rivers as a contributor.

Radio One to Consolidate Syndication One Division with Reach Media in January.  Radio One will increase its ownership stake in Reach Media from 53% to 80%.  The consolidation of Radio One-owned Syndication One and the Tom Joyner- and David Kantor-founded Reach Media will, according to Radio One, create an “assembly of top talent, programming and prime national advertising inventory that make Reach Media the leading radio network with the ability to speak directly to the African-American audience.  In 2013, Reach Media will use its strong affiliate lineup and relationships with leading urban stations to also launch a new network.  Reach Media’s new network is expected to be in the top tier of radio networks and have one of the largest African-American audiences of any radio network.  Reach Media will expand its dedicated sales and marketing staff to sell the radio network advertising inventory along with web and event sponsorships.”  The company will offer talk and music radio talent including: Tom Joyner, Rickey Smiley, Russ Parr, Yolanda Adams, Reverend Al Sharpton, Warren Ballentine and CoCo Brother.  It indicates it has plans to acquire more urban-targeted talent in the near future.  Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins says, “Radio One has a commitment to be the leader in radio and online programming with compelling entertainment and information for the African-American audience.  Combining our assets under Reach Media offers an incredibly broad platform for affiliate stations and advertisers to connect with our loyal audience.”  Reach Media CEO David Kantor states, “In bringing together the most compelling urban programming in radio, we’ve created a platform that can focus on outstanding talent for our affiliates and the delivery of an incredibly responsive consumer base.  We look forward to expanding our offerings and becoming the primary radio network for advertisers to reach African- Americans.”

Pat Miller Returns to PM Drive on WOWO, Fort Wayne.  Longtime WOWO, Fort Wayne talk show host Pat Miller re-joins the station for the afternoon drive slot beginning in January.  Miller exited his full-time role at the station last spring but continued to do a two-hour weekend program.  After Gregg Henson exited the program director and PM drive posts at WOWO at the end of the summer Federated Media plugged in Premiere NetworksSean Hannity.  But Hannity has been moved to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot with Casey Hendrickson filling in on the PM drive show.  Hendrickson also hosts the morning drive show at Federated’s WTRC-AM/FM, South Bend, Indiana “Michiana’s News Channel.”

Dave Ramsey Moves to Daytime in Atlanta on WCFO.  Nationally syndicated financial talk star Dave Ramsey’s program is moving to new affiliate JW Broadcasting’s WCFO, Atlanta beginning today where he’ll air live in the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm time slot.  Ramsey’s program most recently was heard in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot on Cox Media’s WSB-AM and WSBB-FM.  Prior to being picked up by WSB in 2011, Ramsey aired in afternoons on Clear Channel’s WGST.  Brian Mayfield, vice president of broadcast for The Lampo Group, says, “We are very excited that Dave can now be heard live in Atlanta.  Our audience has been asking for this, and we are proud to partner with WCFO to deliver on this request.”

Five Practical Digital Lessons Radio Can Learn from the Obama Campaign.  Noted radio digital consultant Chris Miller says broadcasters should look to the recent Obama Campaign’s effective use of digital media for promotional and branding initiatives.  In this piece, he illustrates how 1) all the various platforms we use today are inter-connected and must be treated as such; 2) every platform has a specific purpose and should be used to achieve clearly defined goals; 3) remember that it is all a “show” and just because it is digital or “social media” doesn’t mean it isn’t show biz; 4) make sure your emails are likely to be opened by labeling them with irresistible subject lines; and 5) create “community,” not just “conversation.”  Read Miller’s entire piece here.

Jason Pugh Exits WEFL, West Palm Beach for DC TV Gig.  Jason Pugh is leaving his positions at Good Karma’s “ESPN 760” WEFL, Tequesta, Florida where he partnered with Jeremy Marks-Peltz for the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show and his sportscasting gig at WPTV-TV for a position at NBC O&O WRC-TV, Washington, DC.  Pugh also worked in the play-by-play booth for Florida Atlantic University football games.  The Florida Sun-Sentinel reports Pugh joined Good Karma in 2006 and began hosting his own program in 2009.

ESPN New York O&Os Re-Up with NFL’s Jets.  The New York City ESPN O&O stations – WEPN-FM “ESPN New York 98.7” and WEPN-AM “ESPN Deportes New York 1050” announce they have extended their contract to be the exclusive New York radio partners of the NFL’s New York Jets.  Included in the deal are three ancillary programs — the “Jets Player Spotlight” (Mondays at 3:30 pm) a weekly interview with Jets head coach Rex Ryan (Mondays at 5:15 pm) and “Inside the Jets” (Mondays at 7:00 pm).   ESPN New York vice president and general manager Dave Roberts states, “We’re excited to continue our relationship with the Jets.  The Jets have a huge fan base in the New York metropolitan area and we look forward to continuing to serve them.”

XtreMedia Talk Hosts  DoGood.com  Charts Giving Success.  XtreMedia talk show hosts Dani Johnson, Kevin McCullough and Stephen Baldwin began a campaign in April of this year to assist 2,012 orphans with a stated goal of raising $185,000.  After achieving the goal in just eight weeks instead of the eight months they had given themselves, they set about creating DoGood.com and partnered with Kings Ransom Foundation to assist orphaned children and others in need.  Some examples of their success include: In November, Dani Johnson again publicly challenged her listeners to radically help with practical help for victims of hurricane Sandy.  In one weekend’s broadcast the Dani Johnson web and radio community (some of whom were directly impacted by the storm) and working with Kings Ransom Foundation raised in excess of $35,000 to aid specific cases whose stories were of particularly tough loss.  Over the course of five weeks after Sandy, Kevin McCullough was able to rally listeners to his national daily show to provide aid by connecting volunteers to engineering and contracting, clean-up crews, and miscellaneous needs in excess of $25,000 towards help for churches, communities, pastors, and parishioners in hard hit communities in Brooklyn, Queens, The RockAways, and down the Jersey shore.  On December 12, Stephen Baldwin is scheduled to headline a fundraising gathering being hosted by VH1 with proceeds to be donated to hurricane Sandy relief efforts via DoGood.com.  On December 1, the clients and listeners in attendance at Dani Johnson’s “Creating a Dynasty” leadership training weekend raised an additional $113,000 (by auctioning off slices of cheesecake freshly prepared by Dani personally) for the King’s Children’s Home orphanage in Belize that is in need of a new roof for four buildings on its campus.  The total cost for the roofing project will run $200k for all four structures.

Monday, November 5, 2012

| November 5, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 2, 2012

| November 2, 2012

The Week of Sandy for Broadcasters in the Northeast; Broadcasters Associations Tout Virtues of Local Radio and TV.  Natural disasters bring the importance of radio to the fore and Hurricane Sandy was no different.  Even as we write this, broadcasters in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut are – days after the storm – struggling with ongoing issues of lack of electricity, fuel shortages, staff with homes damages and destroyed, and more.  In fact, contacting broadcasters in the affected areas to report how they are getting by is a challenge since all of their resources – such as they are – are being used to perform the function of emergency broadcasting.  However the degree to which the storm affected the hub of media in this country – New York City — threw another wrench into the works.  Even though radio stations were able to get information out one way or another – for example, all-news WINS using sister station WXRK’s signal when its transmitter went down – broadcasting companies were hampered by the lack of electricity and the business end of operating a station or network remained, and in some cases remains, challenging.  New Jersey Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Paul Rotella is using the disaster to raise the FM chips in cell phones issue.  “This deadly disaster points out the absolute necessity of having FM chips in cell phones activated, which would turn every cell phone into an emergency ‘transistor’ radio. (Many cell phones already have FM chips either installed or easily implanted and activated.) I understand that cell phone carriers want to make money off of consumers with streaming rate plans, etc., but maybe they could light the FM chip up in times of emergency so that more people can receive emergency information that only our local broadcasters are capable of transmitting to everyone. It’s worth exploring.”  New York State Broadcasters Association president David L. Donovan notes in a press release touting the value of over-the-air broadcasting that 25% of cell towers in 10 states were affected by the storm, relegating the public to using battery-powered radios and TVs to get news and information.  (The flood image is courtesy of Cox Media Group Connecticut from a video of the group’s coverage of the storm and its aftermath.  See the entire video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ix9PvdYKvkc)

CBS Radio Names Ryan Maguire KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh PD.  Rising sports programming star Ryan Maguire has been tabbed by CBS Radio to handle the PD position at Pittsburgh sports talk outlet KDKA-FM “SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan.”  Maguire fills the shoes left by Terry Foxx who moved to Atlanta to program CBS Radio’s new FM sports talk outlet WZGC “92.9 The Game.”  Maguire currently serves as PD for Entercom’s KCSP, Kansas City “610 Sports Radio.”  Prior to that he programmed Entercom’s WSSP, Milwaukee “Sports Radio 1250” and Cumulus Media’s WTKA, Ann Arbor “The Ticket 1050.”  CBS Radio SVP and market manager Michael Young states, “Ryan has a very impressive track record in programming sports radio stations.  He has produced strong ratings and successfully developed a number of dynamic on-air sports personalities.  Furthermore, Ryan has an uncompromising passion for sports and his leadership will well serve Pittsburgh sports fans.”  On his new gig, Maguire says, “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity and privilege to be a part of ‘Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan’ in Pittsburgh.  Western Pennsylvania is home to some of the most loyal and passionate fans in the country and I’m looking forward to seeing KDKA-FM continue to be a big part of their sports experience.”

Media Broker Says Opportunity is Knocking Right Now for First-Time Station Buyers.  Sandi Bergman, whom TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “a dynamic rising star among today’s crop of media brokers,” has positive news for the many recently laid-off radio management figures looking to apply their seasoned skills in a new and productive direction in the industry.  They should consider radio station ownership!  Although it is a tough sales-driven business and there are daunting obstacles to obtaining financing, ownership is not just for the mega-corporations who are burdened with seemingly insurmountable debt. It is indeed possible that many of them will be spinning off unwieldy properties in the months and years ahead creating new opportunities for fresh blood in the business.  According to Bergman, who owns the innovative website www.RadioTVDeals.com and a New Mexico-based brokerage firm (MyMediaBroker.com) and is one of the relatively few major female brokers in the game, there are many incredible opportunities for first-time buyers.  Read the entire TALKERS interview with Sandi Bergman here.

It’s Official:  WFAN, New York Broadcasts on 101.9 FM.  CBS Radio took over WRXP 101.9 FM under an LMA at midnight last night and the nation’s first full-time sports talk station WFAN, New York is now heard in the region on FM.  CBS Radio is buying the class B FM signal from Merlin Media for $75 million.

Keven Cohen Out at WVOC, Columbia, South Carolina.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment ousts PM drive host Keven Cohen from news/talk WVOC, Columbia, South Carolina.  Cohen announced his departure from the station via his Facebook page stating, “An hour ago, Clear Channel relieved me of my duties and fired me.  Obviously, I am devastated.  I am not getting the chance to do so on the radio, so I want to thank all of you for the love and support you have offered my way over almost 19 years at WVOC.  Please keep the Cohen family in your prayers.  This will be a significant challenge.”  WVOC has not announced its plans for PM drive at the station.

Now That You’re in Sales…  Because all radio staffers are in sales now – or should be, according to radio consultant Holland Cooke – if they want to keep their jobs.  But as Cooke writes, just because you’re a talent doing personalized spots doesn’t mean you have job security these days.  So, what’s a talent to do?  Still more, says Cooke.  “Offer to write copy.  You got your on-air job because you’re good with words, right?  That could make you handy to have around if yours is one of many stations where the creative department fell victim to a recent bloodbath.  Too often, account reps are writing spot copy, and too much of it sounds like…well, spot copy.”  Also, have you accompanied a sales rep on a call?  No?  Uh-oh…better read more of Holland Cooke’s wise advise for air talent here.

Steve Kelley to Prove Colorado is a Swing State.  Steve Kelley, along with Bill Rogan and Murphy Wells, hosts the morning drive show on Salem Communications’ KNUS, Denver.  Kelley is a well-known Denver radio personality who has performed various stunts for charity in the past.  Now, Kelly has begun an effort to break the world record for time spent swinging – a tongue-in-cheek nod to Colorado’s political status as a “swing state” and with the desire to highlight the need for all registered voters to cast their ballots.  Kelley will report on his progress live on the air and plans to finish his attempt sometime Saturday evening.  In past stunts, Kelley has rode a pogo stick from Boulder to Denver and sat in every seat in both the old and new Mile High Stadiums.

Welcoming Herman to Tulsa.  Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa held a live local event with some of its showcase talent to welcome talk show host and former presidential candidate Herman Cain to the market where he’ll take over as host of the Cox-syndicated Neal Boortz show in January.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Cox Media star Clark Howard, Boortz, Cain, and Cox Media radio news director of the Washington Bureau Jamie Dupree.

Hurricane Sandy Destruction Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of October 29-November 2.  The destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week landing at #1 on the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 was the NY/NJ/CT Gas Shortages.  At #3 was climate change controversy followed by the presidential race polls and predictions at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across the country and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  View this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  WYD Media-produced and Dial Global-distributed Michael Smerconish is added to the program schedule at WCMY, Ottawa, Illinois and WEZS, Laconia, New Hampshire…..Independently syndicated “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the lineup at KBZZ-AM/FM, Reno.

 

Monday, October 1, 2012

| October 1, 2012

Lionel Joins Morning Show at Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia.  Talk media personality Lionel – known for his years of expanding talk radio’s dimensions with successful stints in national syndication and in local markets gigs including New York City – joins the morning drive show at Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia beginning today.  Lionel, who anchors Tribune’s WPIX-TV, New York’s “Morning News” from 4:00 am to 6:00 am and produces commentaries for the station that air on its 10:00 pm news, will join the program with Al Gardner from 6:00 am to 8:30 am.  In addition to these “traditional media” gigs, Lionel has been operating the digital media station LionelMedia.com for the past several years.

Gregg Henson Named PD at WPGB and WBGG, Pittsburgh.  Sports talk and news/talk pro Gregg Henson takes the programming reins at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WPGB, Pittsburgh and sister sports talk WBGG “970 ESPN.”  Henson most recently served as director of programming operations at Federated Media’s WOWO, Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Henson says, “I’m excited to return to the Clear Channel family and I look forward to working with the excellent staff at ‘FM News Talk 104.7’ and ‘970 ESPN.’  Pittsburgh’s passionate and loyal Steelers and Penguins fans make this an exciting new opportunity.”  CC Pittsburgh OM David Edgar states, “Gregg has the skills and passion to lead our sports, talk, and news programming on all of our brands in Pittsburgh to new levels of success.  His past experience will be a great asset to the Clear Channel Pittsburgh team.”  Henson replaces Jay Bohannon who exited the cluster last month.

Dave Ramsey Celebrates 20th Anniversary in Radio with Big Nashville Bash including Affiliate Meetings and Gala Live Broadcast.  This past Friday, September 28, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Dave Ramsey marked his 20th year in radio with a special episode of “The Dave Ramsey Show.”  The program took place before a live audience of more than 2,000 listeners in a huge tent in the parking lot of Ramsey headquarters in suburban Nashville.  It included calls from long-time listeners and well-wishes from friends and celebrities such as Brad Paisley, George Stephanopoulos, Mark Cuban, Billy Gibbons, Piers Morgan, Zac Brown, Neil Cavuto, Darrell Waltrip, and Glenn Beck.  Video of the show was streamed live online.  Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam declared September 28, 2012 Dave Ramsey Day in the state of Tennessee.  He presented the proclamation to Ramsey during the first hour of the radio show (see photo).  The show was the culmination of Ramsey’s fifth annual Affiliate Executive Council (AEC) meeting held last week between Wednesday and Friday (9/26-28) in which he and his staff provided some 60 executives from his affiliates across the country with seminars, workshops breakout sessions and entertainment activities experienced in true Nashville fashion.  A highlight of the AEC event was an industry trade panel featuring professionals who have never been on one stage together.  The panel focused on current industry issues and events and was moderated by Radio Advertising Bureau CEO Erica Farber.  Al Peterson from NTS Media Online, Gene McKay from Inside Radio, and Michael Harrison from TALKERS and RadioInfo participated on the panel (see photo).  According to Harrison, “Attending the Ramsey event was an eye opener into how this amazing broadcaster and his superb staff have created a viable, productive partnership with their affiliate radio stations as well as a personal bond with them on a level unmatched by any other syndication company or network in the business.  Ramsey has created a business model and success story worthy of emulation, indeed!”

Syndicators Hit the Deck Running Today to Promote Shows to Stations Left Unprepared for Savage Exit.  After a weekend during which approximately 300 radio station managers who were affiliated with TRN’s Michael Savage Show (“The Savage Nation”) were trying to figure out what to put in the gaping vacancy left in their schedule by the sudden exit of Michael Savage from the airwaves this past Friday, the syndication and network community are readying a mad dash to get to them and have them consider taking any of a number of their available programs as its replacement.  Savage left the airwaves without warning after scoring a victory in a fierce legal battle with TRN to get out of his existing contract (see story below).  Talk Radio Network has teased that it will name Savage’s replacement (as “radio’s October surprise”) – at least within its stable of available hosts – sometime today.

Talk Host Michael Savage Produces First Internet-Only Broadcast.  Former Talk Radio Network nationally syndicate host Michael Savage – who won his arbitration case against the company last week to get out of his contract and left terrestrial immediately thereafter – produced his first Ustream-hosted webcast on Sunday evening (9/30).  Savage broadcast for about an hour.  His website encourages visitors to check back for announcements of future broadcasts.  The video is not being archived for repeat views at this time – so it must be watched live – and chatter on Ustream’s message board reveals some Savage fans are irked by that move.  Could it be that Savage is trying to create an appetite for a pay model?  The arbitrator’s decision voided Savage’s contract with TRN and allows him to work anywhere he likes.  Stay tuned!

TRN’s America’s Radio News Network Inks with Armed Forces Radio Network.  Talk Radio Network-owned America’s Radio News Network announces it has signed an agreement with Armed Forces Radio Network to serve as the top-of-the-hour news on the broadcast service for American military personnel.  American Forces Radio Network Worldwide director Jef Reilly, tells ARN, “The troops want news, not agendas, and I think you’re delivering that.”  ARN/ANN vice president for news John McCaslin says, “Our expanding team of news anchors, producers and board operators is extremely proud to enlist the trust of the millions of men and women of America’s armed forces, who every day put their lives on the line and sacrifice so much for those of us here at home.”

Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington Brings Del Walters Aboard Full Time.  Washington, DC’s all-news WTOP announces broadcast journalist Del Walters is promoted to a full-time position with the station.  WTOP states, “For more than two decades, Walters has been broadcasting in the Washington/Baltimore area, working as an anchor and investigative reporter for various stations including WJLA in Washington and WMAR in Baltimore.  Walters joined WTOP in 2010 as a part-time anchor and reporter but will now step into a full-time role.”

Clear Channel Flips WGST, Atlanta to Spanish Sports Talk.  Last week we reported that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment would be dropping the news/talk at heritage WGST, Atlanta and flipping to either a Spanish-language format or all-comedy.  CC chose to go with Spanish sports talk and debuted 640 ESPN Deportes on Friday afternoon.

Radio Vet Ron Cutler Shares Secrets of his Financial Success in New Radio Biz Book.  Radio veteran Ron Cutler turned a $15,000 investment in this industry into a $10 million payoff and now he’s written a book explaining how he did it.  The colorful radio and business book is titled How I Turned $15,000 into $10,000,000 (HIT) and You Can Too, and it serves up a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into the radio business.  The advice is based on Cutler’s colorful experience as a top-rated Philadelphia DJ “Ron Diamond”; as the original owner and creator of the legendary KOME, the San Jose FM radio station that he sold to Michael Wiener and Gerald Carrus who formed Infinity Broadcasting making KOME Infinity’s first station; as the creator of 15 hit radio shows and services, Cutler was instrumental in launching the national shows of Rick Dees, Tom Joyner and Cousin Brucie;  as the owner of Cutler Comedy Networks, a leading comedy programming company that serviced more than 4,000 radio stations and was acquired in 1996 by Premiere Radio Networks; and as an entrepreneur in numerous entertainment ventures.  He tells TALKERS, “My path wasn’t an easy one.  At this stage in my life, I’d like to help others get a leg up, particularly during this challenging economy.  Perhaps the lessons that taught me resilience, determination and self-reliance will resonate with others.”   For more information visit www.roncutlerbooks.com. To interview Ron Cutler contact Amir Forester at 310-857-6207 or e-mail  amir@foresterpublicrelations.com.

Monday, September 10, 2012

| September 10, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

| August 29, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 20, 2012

| August 20, 2012

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 NetworksJim 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.”

Covering Breaking News

| August 13, 2012

How news/talk radio stations can take ownership of breaking news events

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS magazine
VP/Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — News/talk stations covering breaking news have a challenge in this era of shrinking news departments and pared-back staffs.  In order to be the place to which people turn for coverage of breaking news and then the talk about the news, stations must have a pre-planned approach and use their people creatively in order to compete for the consumer’s attention.  With the recent case of the Aurora shootings last month, stations beyond Denver woke up to a major breaking story from out of market that was the only thing people were talking about that morning.

The Rolodex of the well-run news room can help the station respond to such complex cases where gun law experts, psychology practitioners, crime experts and others are used by stations to bring local analysis to the story.  How stations prepare for and execute coverage of breaking news and the talk about that news determines how “on top of the story” a station and its talk hosts sound.

Read More

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

| August 7, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 30, 2012

| July 30, 2012

KABC, Los Angeles Adds John Phillips to AM Drive.  Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor is reporting Cumulus Media’s KABC moves talk host John Phillips to the “McIntyre in the Morning with Terri Rae Elmer” program with host Doug McIntyre and news anchor Elmer.  Phillips had been the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon host at KABC until the company began developing Geraldo Rivera in the late-morning slot on WABC, New York and then adding him to KABC.  For a while, Phillips was doing just the 9:00 am hour and a lot of fill-ins around the schedule.  Now, it looks as though Phillips becomes a morning drive cast member at KABC.  Earlier in his radio career, Phillips was sports anchor and executive producer for KABC’s “McIntyre in the Morning Show” and he also produced the station’s Al Rantel program.  He also served as a newswriter at crosstown KNX, Los Angeles.

Beasley Broadcast Group Q2 Revenue Down 2.8%.  Total revenue was down to $24.8 million for the second quarter of 2012 – a drop of 2.8% compared to the same period in 2011.  Beasley Broadcast Group attributes the lower revenue to declines at its Fayetteville, North Carolina cluster.  However, station operating income was up 11.6% for the period reflecting declining station operating expense and more than offsetting the lower revenue.  Chairman and CEO George Beasley says, “Our second quarter revenue performance principally reflects overall industry weakness in the first month of the quarter, a revenue decline at our Fayetteville cluster partially related to lower levels of auto advertising and lower revenue in the Ft. Myers market due to the fact that in the year-ago period we hosted a concert.  While net revenue was down mid-single digits in April, low single-digit revenue growth resumed in May and June and extended through July.  The company’s streamlined operating structure and ongoing expense management initiatives combined with a music license fee settlement drove the $1.1 million rise in 2012 second quarter station operating income.”

Estate of the Late Neil Rogers Settled; Feds Take the Balance.  According to Jose Lambiet’s “Gossip Extra,” the late Miami talk host had about $4 million to his name four years ago but he loved to play the ponies and was not a very savvy personal finances guy, so after the lawyers get paid and the IRS takes about $500,000, there’s basically nothing left in his estate.  Longtime friend, agent and estate executor Norman Kent tells Lambiet Rogers basically spent his money.  He cashed in taxable annuities prior to his 2010 death from multiple medical issues at age 68.  The piece also notes Rogers spent about $700,000 on a home in Toronto where he lived with a 21-year-old man when he wasn’t in South Florida or Amsterdam.  Several of Rogers’ friends had been contesting his wills – apparently there were more than one that conflicted – but ultimately, there appears to have been little left over which to fight.

Compass Media Networks Expands and Extends Relationship with Learfield Sports.  This is for college basketball and football play-by-play – the arena in which Compass Media Networks has been expanding so rapidly.  Learfield Sports is the exclusive broadcast and sports marketing partner to more than 50 of the nation’s leading colleges and universities including Alabama, Boise State, Indiana University, Iowa, NC State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Purdue, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, University of North Carolina, Wisconsin and the Big Ten Conference.  Under the terms of the extension Compass retains first right of refusal to broadcast any Learfield Sports home football and men’s basketball  games, retains the exclusive national radio rights to broadcast The Big Ten Football Championship Game and the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, and will broadcast expanded coverage of regular season men’s basketball and football games.  The exact number of games Compass will broadcast has yet to be determined but the new agreement calls for a minimum of 20 football and 20 men’s basketball games to be broadcast.  Compass Media Networks will then produce a unique, national, play-by-play broadcast of these games available to radio outlets across the country.  Compass CEO Peter Kosann states, “Learfield Sports has been a wonderful partner.  We are honored to continue this partnership and will continue to expand the breadth and depth of our coverage.”

Journalist and Radio Host Indicted on Felony Wiretapping Charges.  “Free Talk Live” co-host Adam “Ademo” Mueller faces three counts of felony wiretapping after recording on-duty public officials while preparing a vlog about a case of alleged police misconduct, according to “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman.  The comments were part of a video report posted on the site CopBlock.org.  He tells TALKERS, “A public official who is on duty and in a public space has no expectation of privacy, the First Circuit Court of Appeals has already ruled on this in Glik v. Cunniffe.  The person who should face consequences is the officer who threw that poor kid into a table during lunch at the school cafeteria, not the journalist who reported about it.”  Freeman says each charge of felony wiretapping could carry seven years, meaning Mueller faces up to 21 years in prison if convicted.

NPR and WWNO, New Orleans Partner for Non-Profit News Source.  University of New Orleans-owned classical and news/talk WWNO is entering into a partnership with NPR to staff and operate the “non-profit multimedia newsroom” neworleansreporter.org.  The site plans to create reports for WWNO and will be available on a mobile app and for other local and national outlets free of charge.  NPR president and CEO Gary Knell states, “NPR is honored to join with the University of New Orleans and WWNO as they launch this ground-breaking news service. We are excited about the opportunity to provide national support for this critically important local effort to serve the public in creative and new ways.”

CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton to Resign at Year End.  Saying he believes “CNN needs new thinking,” Jim Walton will end his 30-year career at the cable news broadcaster when his contract expires in December, according to TVWeek.  Walton says the new thinking “starts with a new leader who brings a different perspective, different experiences and a new plan, one who will build on our great foundation and will commit to seeing it through.  And I’m ready for a change.  I have interests to explore and I want to give myself time to do it.”  Walton has been in the leadership role at CNN Worldwide for almost 10 years.  Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent leads the search for Walton’s successor.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive host Pat Campbell fills in for late-morning talk host Charlie Sykes on Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee August 1-3…..Talk show host and former Congressman J.D. Hayworth sits in for WPGB, Pittsburgh-based Quinn & Rose every day this week except Wednesday.  On that day, he’s filling in on the KCMO, Kansas City AM drive program…..Federated Media’s news/talk WOWO, Ft. Wayne, Indiana adds Notre Dame football to its fall sports schedule…..Britain’s UTV Media announces its talkSport network acquires exclusive rights to broadcast Football Association’s FA Cup in the UK and the worldwide rights to talkSport International scheduled to launch on August 18…..KTRB, San Francisco – 860 AM ESPN Deportes – will carry Spanish-language play-by-play of San Francisco 49ers football through the 2018 season.

Chicken: Banned in Boston?  That’s WRKO, Boston PM drive host Howie Carr (l) with, well…a chicken (r).  Carr is wearing a t-shirt with a caricature of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and holding a Chick-fil-A sandwich – both of which Carr and staff gave out to people on the streets in front of Boston City Hall after Mayor Menino jumped on the anti-Chick-fil-A bandwagon and threatened to prevent the company from opening a restaurant in the neighborhood after the company’s president publicly supported those campaigning against gay marriage.  Menino has since backed off the threat to stop the restaurant from opening the Boston store.

 

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)

Friday, May 25, 2012

| May 25, 2012

Sean Hannity Re-Ups with Fox News Channel.  There had been rumors that Fox News Channel prime time superstar (and Premiere Networks radio talk show star) Sean Hannity was negotiating with the News Corp. cable news/talk giant and now it’s announced the two sides have agreed on a long-term extension.  The duration and money details are few but it’s being reported the new contract keeps Hannity at FNC for “the foreseeable future.”  Hannity is the second-most-watched FNC show after Bill O’Reilly and a major part of its prime time success.  Hannity is quoted saying, “It’s been an honor and privilege to work alongside the incredible team at Fox News, whose talent is unparalleled.  In true Roger Ailes form, he saw something in me that no one else did and afforded me the opportunity to achieve incredible success.  I look forward to many more years to come.”  The news of Hannity’s extended relationship with Fox comes at a perfect time – two weeks before the New Media Seminar in New York City at which he will be personally hosting a special breakfast for all attendees followed by delivering the power-packed event’s keynote speech.  For information about the industry-only conference set for Thursday, June 7 call 413-565-5413.  Today is the final day to register.  To see the complete agenda click here.

TALKERS Top Talk Audiences Winter Report Shows News/Talk Holding Steady.  In today’s highly polarized political climate, there is a tendency toward news/talk radio ratings to be selectively cherry-picked and trumpeted for the purpose of propagandizing partisan interests.  A recent example of this is on display as the normal rises or dips in Rush Limbaugh’s PPM numbers during the two months following the Sandra Fluke controversy are touted by political action groups as a referendum on the public’s reaction to the story and reflective of the nation’s political and social mindset in general.  The truth, as broadcasting professionals realize, is that radio ratings are a complex and inexact process that can only be indicative of measurable trends when looked at over time and distance, taking a multitude of factors into account – especially during the current bumpy transition to the PPM system and the merging of significantly different research paradigms.  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “The mainstream media approaches radio ratings as though they were motion picture box office numbers or last night’s horse racing results.  The political groups, of course, play into that.  As a result, the public is getting a very inaccurate picture of the reality of this business from skewed partisan perspectives.  Both sides are shamelessly doing this.  Our business has become a political football which is not a good thing.”  The latest installment of TALKERS magazine’s quarterly audience estimates of the most-listened-to news/talk radio hosts (Winter 2012) has been posted today.  See it here.

Gow Communications to Buy KFNC-FM, Houston. That station, along with KHJK-FM, Houston, was put into a pre-packaged bankruptcy proceeding by former owner Cumulus Media last year.  The stations are majority owned by media broker Lawrence Patrick with the rest owned by creditors.  Now, the Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports David Gow’s Gow Communications (which operates sports KGOW, Houston and Yahoo! Sports Radio) is the winning bidder for the FM signal and has signed a letter of intent to buy it.  Barron reports KFNC-FM billed $2.4 million in 2011.

Sports Talk Radio Scene in Salt Lake City Becoming Clearer.  With the recently announced purchase of KZNS-AM/FM by the Larry H. Miller Group – owner of the NBA’s Utah Jazz – and Cumulus Media’s dedication to keeping former Jazz flagship and crosstown competitor KFNZ a sports outlet by simulcasting the Yahoo! Sports Radio content currently heard on its KJQS, there’s been a lot of turmoil in the Salt Lake City radio sports scene but the picture is clearing.  LHM Group will split the AM and FM signals of KZNS. The FM side will feature “Fox Sports Daybreak” in AM drive, local hosts Jake Scott and Tony Parks from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, Premiere NetworksJim Rome from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, FSRN’s “Loose Cannons” from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and FSRN’s Petros & Money from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  The AM side will consist of local hosts David James and Patrick Kinahan in AM drive, Jim Rome from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, local hosts Scott Garrard and Jake Scott from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm, local hosts Spencer Checketts and Gordon Monson from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, and local host Steve Brown from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Both stations will air “Fox Sports Tonight” and FSRN’s JT the Brick.  Meanwhile, across town at Utah Radio Acquisition’s KALL – ESPN 700 – former KZNS-AM/FM host Hans Olsen joins the Bill Riley PM drive show effective June 4.

Talk Radio Legend Barry Farber Releases New Book; Will Be Honored at New Media Seminar in New York on June 7.  Pioneering talk radio host Barry Farber is publishing his new book, Cocktails with Molotov (WND Books 2012) on June 5.  The book is described as “a collection of real life short stories that Farber has somehow found himself involved in, where you’ll read of his encounters with Alfred Hitchcock, the King of Albania, and Buzz Aldrin; of his knowledge of 26 foreign languages and how foreign language came through for him in the nick of time.  He shares tales from his childhood in North Carolina and his time spent venturing abroad, from his life as a young reporter and as a seasoned journalist, along with astounding narratives of everything in between.”  Rush Limbaugh is quoted speaking of Farber.  “Barry Farber was a standout when it was difficult to get a talk show.  Unlike today, very few people hosted such shows in Barry’s era.  You had to be among the best to be hired to host long-form talk.  Barry Farber was…the best.  He was defining.  He’s always been in rarified air.”  Barry Farber will be honored with the “TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award” at the New Media Seminar on New York City on Thursday, June 7.

KRLD-FM, Dallas Names Jane Slater and Chris Arnold to Talent Roster.  The CBS Radio sports talk station brings Jane Slater over from its news sister KRLD where she was morning drive reporter to co-host the midday show with Mark Elfenbein for the “Elf and Slater” midday show.  The daypart opened up when Josh Lewin accepted the New York Mets play-by-play gig.  In evenings, the station adds market sports pro Chris Arnold to Gavin Dawson’s “The G-Bag Nation” program which is expanding to the 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot to cover for the departed Arnie Spanier.  In a statement, VP of news/talk/sports programming Bruce Gilbert says, “The addition of Jane and Chris to the full-time staff at 105.3 The Fan illustrates our commitment to be the live and local sports talk station.  Their characteristics, personalities and unique perspectives emphasize our goal to be the voice of the many diverse sports fans across North Texas.”

Federated Media Flips Two Music FMs to Sports Talk.  A new four-station sports talk brand dubbed “The Fan” is being created by Federated Media.  The latest station to announce a flip is South Bend-market classic rock WAOR-FM (licensed to Nappanee, Indiana).  The stations (including WFGA-FM, Ft. Wayne; WLEG-FM, Elkhart, Indiana; and WNIL, Niles, Michigan) will carry local sports talk shows in morning and afternoon drive and carry Fox Sports Radio Network programming the rest of the day.  Federated Media chief operating officer Brad Williams says in a statement, “We are thrilled to bring sports talk to Northern Indiana.  We are a sports-hungry region and now our customers and clients can consume and partner with our stations and Fox Sports Radio 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”  The changes take place June 4.

United Stations Radio Networks Develops Weekly NASCAR Show.  The weekly one-hour program titled, “The Final Lap Weekly” is being hosted by Kerry Murphey and Toby Christie.  Murphey is the producer and host of USRN’s daily feature, “The Final Lap,” which is heard on more than 200 affiliate stations.  USRN EVP of programming Andy Denemark states, “2012 has been another solid year for NASCAR racing with TV viewership and track attendance both up.  At the same time, sports radio is growing exponentially, so we felt it was a great time to bring a new long-form racing talk show to the airwaves.  Kerry Murphey is a proven winner, his team covers the sport like no one else, and this is a great brand extension for Kerry and ‘The Final Lap.’”  The show debuts the weekend of June 2-3.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  WLAC, Nashville-based syndicated talk host Steve Gill begins a promotion with the Nashville Daily’s chain of gas stations to offer 150 listeners up to 15 gallons of gas at just $1.84 per gallon – January 2009 prices – beginning Tuesday, May 29.  Listeners must tune in to Gill to know which location is offering the bargain…..Journal Broadcasting names Mike McQuilliam promotions and marketing director for the company’s Wichita operations…..CBS Radio’s WCCO, Minneapolis extends its contract with University of St. Thomas to air its football games through the 2013 season.

2012 Presidential Race Top Talk Radio Topic for 8th Consecutive Week.  The battle between challenger Mitt Romney and President Obama in this year’s presidential campaign was again the #1 story on the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories and people on news/talk radio for the week of May 21-25.  At #2 was the Euro Zone crisis.  Following at #3 was the financial markets activity and at #4 was Facebook IPO troubles.  The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Fox Sports Radio Network adds four new affiliates owned by Federated Media.  WFGA-FM, Ft. Wayne; WAOR-FM, South Bend; WLEG-FM, Elkhart, Indiana; and WNIL, Niles, Michigan all begin carrying FSRN programming, including Dan Patrick, Jim Rome, “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, “Fox Sports Tonight” and more beginning June 4…..WRDU-FM, Raleigh – Rush Radio 106.1 – adds the Allan Handelman show to its weekend lineup.  Handelman’s program was the afternoon drive show at WZKT-FM, Burlington, North Carolina until a recent format flip…..KUFO, Portland picks up Talk Radio Network’s “Watchdog on Wall Street with Chris Markowski”…..“Armed American Radio” with Mark Walters adds six new stations to his affiliate roster including: WGWD-FM, Tallahassee; WWNS, Statesboro, Georgia; and WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois.

 

Friday, May 18, 2012

| May 18, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

| May 8, 2012

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 NetworksRush 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.”

 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

| May 1, 2012

Clear Channel’s WMMS-FM, Cleveland Disciplines Morning Talent for Off-Color Comment.  “Rover’s Morning Glory” cast member Dominic Dieter has been disciplined in response to comments made on the morning show – though the extent of the discipline is not known.  A father e-mailed the show stating he saw his daughter kissing another girl and asked what he should do.  Dieter responded he should have a friend “screw [her] straight.”  For obvious reasons, a bad joke about raping a young woman in response to her possible homosexuality raised the ire of some listeners and caught the attention of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.  To the credit of CC’s local management, it acted quickly.  The station met immediately with GLAAD representatives, took Dieter off the air (for how long has yet to be determined) and had him record an apology which included the following.  “I want to genuinely apologize to anyone who may have been offended by what I said.  I regret what I did say.  My comments were inappropriate.  They were inexcusable, and just downright stupid.  And I want to make it clear; there was absolutely no intention to promote physical or sexual violence.”  CC Cleveland operations manager Keith Abrams stated to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “We take matters of this nature very seriously; his comment was thoughtless and unacceptable, and we apologize to those who were offended.  We can assure you the appropriate disciplinary action has been taken, and Dieter has since apologized on air and is fully aware that what he said was unacceptable.  We also want you to be aware that during Friday’s broadcast, he was in fact immediately criticized on-air by the other hosts of the show, and the rest of the segment was dedicated to a productive discussion about the acceptance of all lifestyles.  It included call-ins and commentary from members and friends of the gay community.  WMMS supports the gay community and again, we deeply apologize.”  GLAAD’s Aaron McQuade tells the paper the station has also invited the gay rights group Equality Ohio to join its community advisory board.

Cumulus Media and Townsquare Media Pull Off Big Deal.  This deal gives each side what it wanted but it reportedly took about a year to finalize.  Here’s who gets what:  Townsquare Media gives its stations in Peoria, Illinois and Bloomington, Illinois to Cumulus plus $116 million while getting from Cumulus the stations in 11 small markets – Kileen-Temple, Texas; New Bedford, Massachusetts; Odessa-Midland, Texas; Binghamton, New York; Bangor, Maine; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Grand Junction, Colorado; Augusta-Waterville, Maine; Bismarck, North Dakota; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Presque Isle, Maine.  Industry watchers are noting that Cumulus is very happy to get the cash infusion it needs after spending $2.4 billion on the Citadel deal and Townsquare Media is happy to focus on the local aspect of small and mid-size market radio.

Cumulus Media’s News/Talk KCMO, Kansas City Adds FM Signal.  Kansas City news/talker KCMO begins an FM simulcast on 103.7 – a translator that had been simulcasting the company’s classic rock KCFX-FM.  The signal is 250 watts but covers the heart of the Kansas City metro.  Cumulus Kansas City SVP and market manager Mark Sullivan states, “This is an exciting day for KCMO Talk Radio as it provides us a platform to continue to be successful into the future.”  In a statement, the company notes that John Dickey, co-chief operating officer for Cumulus commented in a recent article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle that “having this format on FM is really the future!”

Courtside Entertainment Group Adds Dr. Drew Feature to WTOP, Washington.  The “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew” finds a home on Hubbard Broadcasting’s major market WTOP, Washington.  DC joins New York, Los Angeles and Chicago in receiving Dr. Drew Pinsky’s latest media project – 60-second commentaries covering relationship advice and hot topics plus the latest news from the medical world.  WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo states, “In addition to breaking news, Campaign 2012, traffic, and weather coverage, WTOP brings listeners useful and relevant information on health, relationships, and consumer issues.  Dr. Drew offers practical, actionable content that’s appointment listening on WTOP.”

Greater Media’s Philly Sports Combo Grabs NHL’s Flyers for Multi-Year Deal.  There’s an aggressive acquisition of play-by-play rights going on in Philadelphia as Greater Media’s sports talk combo – WPEN-FM 97.5 The Fanatic and WPEN-AM 950 ESPN Radio – adds Flyers hockey to their programming beginning with the 2012-2013 season.  This comes just days after the stations grabbed 76ers basketball from CBS Radio’s crosstown WIP.  Flyers games will be broadcast on both sports outlets and a few will air on rock WMMR-FM.  Comcast-Spectacor (Flyers owner) president Peter Luukko says, “We’re thrilled to be working with a partner that is 100% committed and excited about the Philadelphia Flyers.  We’re also happy that the Sixers have moved over to Greater Media Philadelphia along with us.  Greater Media is an incredible partner that offers extensive promotional support for the Flyers on all their stations.”

CBS Radio Violated Sixers Contract Reports Philly Daily News.  The reason Greater Media was able to snag the 76ers for the playoffs this year though CBS Radio had the rights to the team’s play-by-play throughout this season is because CBS violated the contract, according to the Philadelphia Daily NewsDan Gross.  The paper reports CBS Radio failed to give the Sixers proper notice before bumping an April 3 game to classic hits WOGL-FM.  Gross writes that after the deal with Greater Media was consummated, Sixers CEO Adam Aron stated, “The Sixers’ rapidly growing fan base will no longer have to set their radios to ‘scan’ to find where their Sixers will be aired.”  CBS Radio market manager Marc Rayfield told the paper the two sides parted ways amicably.

Michael Harrison Set to Address 2012 Radio Show on State of Talk Radio.  In what has become an industry tradition running more than a decade, TALKERS magazine founder and publisher Michael Harrison will again deliver the annual “State of Talk Radio” address at the NAB/RAB Radio Show.  Harrison will speak on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:30 am and 11:45 am at a special Info-Session sponsored by TALKERS.  The national conference will take place this year September, 19-21 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas.  Harrison’s address is open to all 2012 Radio Show registrants.

Rush Limbaugh Helps Raise $3.3 Million for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh dedicated three hours of his nationally syndicated talk show on April 13 to raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Including a personal donation of $400,000, as of April 20 the cure-a-thon has brought in pledges of $3.3 million.  This is the 22nd year Limbaugh’s program has held the cure-a-thon and has helped raise more than $34 million for the organization during that time.

Federated Media to Add FM Simulcast to Sports WKJG, Fort Wayne.  Beginning June 4, Federated Media will flip Froggy 106.7 — WFGA-FM, Ft. Wayne (licensed to Hicksville, Ohio) to sports simulcasting WKJG – ESPN 1380.  At that time the station will also add a local PM drive show featuring sister rock WBYR-FM operations manager Stiller and WKJG PD and WOWO APD Brian LaMartina.  Federated Media COO Mark DePrez states, “The Stiller and Brian show is the first step toward combining the world renowned ESPN brand with an increased local connection.  Peter Drucker said concentration is the key to all economic success.  In Fort Wayne, we have gone from seven to five brands to serve this community more effectively, efficiently and most importantly more profitably.  It sounds cliché but it is true that when one door closes another opens.  We salute the staff of Froggy 106.7 for their years of dedication and commitment to community radio.”

2012 Presidential Race, Escaped Chinese Activist, EPA vs Oil and Gas Industries, White House Correspondents Dinner, and Bin Laden Death Anniversary Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30).  The 2012 presidential campaign; the case of escaped Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng on the eve of visit to China by Hillary Clinton; EPA administrator resigns after comments about making an example of oil and gas companies; the aftermath of the White House Correspondents Dinner; and the anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Dr. Daliah Wachs Helps Organization Raise $17, 000 for Autism Charity.  Las Vegas-based nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs helped the Finding Autistic Solutions for Tomorrow organization raise some $17, 000 during its FAST for Kids Gala on April 28 at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.  The event was hosted by local Fox TV news personalities Heidi Hayes and Ted Pretty.  Pictured here is Dr. Daliah Wachs (l) promoting the fundraiser on Fox 5 News.

Friday, March 16, 2012

| March 16, 2012

Ingstad Group Blows Up Classic Rock for FM Talk in Fargo-Moorhead; Tom Becka to Program and Host AM Drive.  James Ingstad’s Radio Fargo Moorhead group in the Fargo-Moorhead market turns classic rock KRWK-FM into “101.9 Talk FM” The Talk of Fargo Moorhead on March 19.  Talk radio pro Tom Becka – most recently with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFAB, Omaha as PM drive host – is named program director for the station and will host the morning drive show.  Syndicated programs will include Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade, Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.  Former Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth will host a 5:00 pm program for at least the first three weeks of the station’s new format.  Hayworth currently is hosting the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show at Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco.  Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage and Genesis Communications Network‘s Jason Lewis will air in the evenings.  Tom Becka states, “This is such a great opportunity to help put a new FM talk station on the air and be the first doing it.  Radio Fargo Moorhead is a great independent company that still believes in the traditional radio approach that combines great programming and promotion with local outreach.  At the same time they have been leaders in embracing the new technological advances.  And about those winters?  They are taking up a collection to buy me a warm coat.”  The station, as well as sister news/talk KFGO, is being consulted by The Q Consulting GuysJon Quick, who says, “In these days of cutbacks, it is so gratifying that there are operators like the Ingstad group who still believe that hiring great people and promoting them properly results in both ratings and revenue.”  Quick also notes that Ingstad is retaining all of the Rock 101 staff.

Federated Media Drops Classic Rock on WFWI-FM, Fort Wayne; Simulcasts News/Talk WOWO.  The legendary WOWO, Fort Wayne, Indiana gets an FM simulcast for its news/talk format at the expense of sister classic rock “The Fort 92.3.”  Federated Media COO Mark Deprez states, “The move to FM is a natural enhancement for the WOWO brand that is synonymous with Fort Wayne.  WOWO is, and has always been, the one radio outlet that northeast Indiana can count on for breaking news, weather, traffic, information.  WOWO’s strong service commitment to our community, along with the entertaining and engaging personalities, has solidified WOWO in the hearts of many of our local residents.  The move to 92.3 FM will re-introduce WOWO to listeners that have migrated over the years to FM and also open WOWO’s brand to a new and younger audience.”

Rush Limbaugh Fires Up His Long-Dormant Twitter Account to Fight His Attackers.  It probably won’t be very long before Rush Limbaugh’s fans have his Twitter follower numbers through the roof and Limbaugh says he’ll use the account to counter the work being done by organizations such as Media Matters via the social media tool.  Politico reports that Limbaugh told his listeners on his Thursday program that he’ll be Tweeting info from time to time that his faithful can share.  “Everybody has been asking me what they can do to help in all of this, and I’ve been saying, nah, just do what you’ve been doing just, if you listen, keep listening, that’s fine, but…there’s an army out there that wants to be mobilized, and so, I figured, use Twitter for it.  I’m just going to put some things on Twitter that you can help us circulate.  It’s that simple you just retweet them.”  Limbaugh’s first Tweet after the show was a link to a piece by Cornell Law professor William Jacobson on Media Matters’ astroturfing the boycott against Limbaugh’s advertisers.  “Astroturfing” is using digital media to create the illusion of a “grassroots” movement.

Syndicated Talk Host Michael Smerconish: Advertiser Boycotts Won’t Kill Rush Limbaugh.  Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish writes in his column in the Philadelphia Inquirer that the advertiser boycott being waged against Rush Limbaugh ultimately will not topple him from his talk radio perch.  In the piece, Smerconish cites TALKERS and fellow radio trade Radio-Info on the status of the Limbaugh situation.  But Smerconish goes on to write that the hard-core, right wing talk hosts that occupy most news/talk radio station lineups serve exactly that audience – the very conservative, politically active segment of the radio-listening audience.  Smerconish states that studies indicate the nation as a whole is not as polarized as the media might make it appear and both Congress and the talk media are more extreme now than at any point in the recent past (based on voting records and host ideology, respectively).  Change in the flavor of talk radio, Smerconish argues, can only come from programmers.  Read his piece here.

RTDNF Presents Freedom of Speech Awards; Talker Jim Bohannon Honored.  At a gala black-tie dinner held last night at Washington, DC’s Ritz-Carlton hotel, the Radio Television Digital News Foundation (RTDNF) presented its 22nd annual First Amendment Awards including the Special Recognition First Amendment Award to Dial Global Radio Networks talk star Jim Bohannon (pictured here at left).  The award was presented to Bohannon by TALKERS founder and publisher Michael Harrison (r) who stated, “Jim stands tall and strong as a seeker of truth.”  Other awards were presented to NBC News president Steve Capus, ABC News senior foreign affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz, and Shurz Communications senior vice president Marci Burdick.  A special Lifetime Achievement Award was presented posthumously to Andy Rooney.  In a rousing speech, Jim Bohannon encouraged the hundreds of newspeople in attendance to promo free speech at every opportunity saying, “We should go out and kick some ass for the First Amendment!”

KCSP, Kansas City Goes All Local Sports Talk.  Entercom’s KCSP, Kansas City drops Premiere NetworksJim Rome from its midday slot and expands its existing sports talk shows.  AM drive hosts Bob Fescoe and Josh Klingler are now heard from 6:00 am to 10:00 am; midday host Danny Parkins gets the big bump, moving from 9:00 am to 11:00 am to 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and Carrington Harrison joins the program along with other contributors.  Nick Wright’s afternoon show remains in the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot.  Program director Ryan Maguire says, “Our listeners have wanted more local hosts talking about local sports.  With the start of an exciting Royals season only a few weeks away, ‘610 Sports’ has the best local lineup for our game broadcasts.  The passionate sports fans in Kansas City now have more than just one option in the middle of their day when it comes to local sports talk.  We’re excited that we can be all live, all local all day.”

GOP Primaries/2012 Presidential Race Maintains Top Story Spot on Talkers TenTM.  The battle for the Republican nomination for president and the larger issues surrounding the 2012 campaign tied for the top spot as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of March 12-16, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Correspondingly, Rick Santorum tied with Mitt Romney as the #1 most-talked-about person followed by President Obama at #2.  The Talkers TenTM chart of the top stories and people of the week as discussed on news/talk radio is published here every Friday.  View this week’s chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity pick up new FM talker KRWK, Fargo-Moorhead…..Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade is added to KRWK-FM, Fargo-Moorhead…..Genesis Communications Network’s Jason Lewis joins KRWK-FM, Fargo-Moorhead…..Talk Radio Network’s Laura Ingraham returns to KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds WLBE, Leesburg-Eustis, Florida; and KTGO, Tioga, North Dakota…..Dial Global adds its sports Westwood One play-by-play sports – including NFL, NCAA men’s basketball and football, the Olympics, major golf events and more to Lincoln Financial Media’s WQXI, Atlanta.

Loose Cannons Live in Downtown L.A.  Fox Sports Radio Network’s KLAC, Los Angeles-based “Loose Cannons” recently kicked off March Madness with a live broadcast from the Hooters Downtown Los Angeles where the brand-new Fox Sports Radio remote broadcast studio is located.  Pictured here – along with a bevy of Hooters girls – are Vic “The Brick” Jacobs (l) and Steve Hartman (r).  Not pictured is the third “Loose Cannon” Pat O’Brien.