TALKERS ‘2015 Heavy Hundred’ Published — Annual Feature Ranks 100 ‘Most Important’ Talk Radio Hosts. Today (3/25) marks the publication of the annual feature from TALKERS magazine titled, “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – known informally as the “Heavy Hundred.” This edition marks the 20th consecutive year that this talk media trade journal (that is about to mark its 25th anniversary) has been compiling and publishing the list. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey says, “As people can see by perusing this year’s list, it includes a number of familiar faces (and voices) as well as new up-and-comers, plus several veterans whose continuing, successful careers our editors believe need acknowledgement on this list in 2015. The task of compiling this annual feature is extremely challenging – especially since it draws upon both objective and subjective factors – and is the source of heated debate every year among our editors for months leading up to its release.” View the 2015 Heavy Hundred here.
FCC Issues Biggest Fine Ever. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes today about the landmark FCC fine levied against WDBJ-TV, Roanoke, Virginia. Though the fine is for a violation of indecency standards by a television outlet, this story gives a glimpse into the mindset of today’s FCC. The station was hit with the maximum $325,000 allowed by law. Weisman writes, “Many are questioning the size of the WDBJ fine particularly when it was an obvious mistake rather than an intentional exercise of pushing the indecency envelope as has been the case with indecency fines from years past when hosts such as Howard Stern were often singled out for indecency charges. WDBJ has indicated that it will oppose the proposed fine.” Read Weisman’s entire story here.
What Radio Personalities Want and Need Most from a Coach. According to noted talk radio consultant Bill McMahon, it’s not easy being a radio personality. They work in relative isolation far from their listeners. They can’t see or hear them. Most radio studios don’t even have an outside window. The only immediate feedback personalities get on their performance is from those working with them in the studio. If they work alone, there is no feedback in the moment. McMahon, CEO of consulting firm The Authentic Personality, goes on to say, “Oh, radio personalities get plenty of delayed reaction to their work, but it often does more harm than good. The phone lines light up or they don’t. Texts, Tweets, Facebook posts, and emails deliver all kinds of mixed messages. Some are glowing with praise and love. Others state clearly and unequivocally, ‘you suck!’ After the show, the confusion continues. An enthusiastic PD might proclaim he loves a bit the personality hated, usually without offering specifics about what made it so good. Later, the GM weighs in saying, “I didn’t get that phone segment you did in the 8 o’clock hour and I don’t think it was relevant to our listeners.” Problem is the personality thinks it’s the best thing he did all morning and his followers on Twitter and Facebook seem to agree. This is the real world of a radio personality where everyone has an opinion on what they do and the opinions are anything but unanimous. It’s no wonder even the most successful radio personalities with consistently high ratings can be very insecure.” In a new article posted today (3/25) that is a must-read for PDs, McMahon details some of the things he has learned that radio personalities need from their talent coaches. To read it in its entirety, please click here.
Much Ado About Nothing? You Decide. When it comes to New Jersey politics and Governor Chris Christie, controversy is never far away. But recently, Townsquare Media-owned talk giant WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” found itself in the political spotlight – if only for a moment – after a spur-of-the-moment bit during the “Ask the Governor” show involving a “gift” for news director Eric Scott was picked up by the mainstream media. In summary, the International Business Times wrote about Christie’s spontaneous request to show sponsor Lester Glenn Auto Group to get show host Eric Scott something for his work on the program. Christie is quoted saying, “How about a new car from the Lester Glenn Auto Group for Eric Scott? Right, can we do that? Are the Lester Glenn Auto people listening? Eric Scott is getting the shaft here, and what we need is a little love for Eric Scott. So maybe it could be coming from the Lester Glenn Auto Group.” Read the IBT piece here. After getting Scott the use of a Corvette from Lester Glenn Auto Group for a week, Townsquare EVP Alex Bekett sought to calm those crying ethical foul over the matter by issuing the following statement to PolitickerNJ.com to clarify: “Eric Scott was offered free use of a 2015 Corvette Stingray by ‘Ask The Governor’ sponsor Lester Glenn Auto Group from March 17, 2015 – March 24, 2015 as a result of an unsolicited humorous comment made by Governor Christie on February’s award-winning monthly ‘Ask the Governor’ program on ‘New Jersey 101.5.’ Neither ‘New Jersey 101.5’ owner Townsquare Media, nor Mr. Scott, paid for use of the automobile. The car belongs to Lester Glenn Auto Group. Neither Townsquare nor Mr. Scott were given a car, but rather Mr. Scott was given brief use of a car. Neither Townsquare nor Mr. Scott have knowledge of the political contributions of the ownership of the Lester Glenn Auto Group. The Lester Glenn Auto Group is a valued Townsquare Media advertising partner. A portion of a conversation during February’s ‘Ask the Governor’ program on New Jersey 101.5 led to the unsolicited provision of free use of a car for Mr. Scott from Lester Glenn Auto Group. None of the parties involved believe anything that transpired was inappropriate. Nothing that transpired will affect continued objective coverage of the governor on ‘New Jersey 101.5,’ as was evidenced by last night’s ‘Ask the Governor’ program.”
Odds & Sods. A new, nightly lineup is unveiled at ESPN Radio, effective Monday, March 30. The sports content giant says “the new shows will be hosted by three distinct ESPN voices with disparate takes on the sports world – Jorge Sedano, Bomani Jones and Freddie Coleman. The new lineup will kick off at 7:00 pm ET with ‘The Sedano Show,’ followed by an evocative new program ‘The Right Time with Bomani Jones’ at 9:00 pm and continuing with the three-hour ‘Freddie Coleman Show’ at 11:00 pm.” VP, ESPN Audio network content David Roberts comments, “The new weeknight lineup underscores our commitment to serve sports fans by offering the most compelling, interesting, informative and entertaining content from an on-air team that is dynamic, distinctive and diverse all week long.”…..Las Vegas-based nationally syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs tells TALKERS magazine she’s thrilled that Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval recently honored the request she made – along with Assemblyman Chris Edwards – to make a Proclamation that Nevada Blood Donation Day will this year be April 25. She says, “I am so ecstatic that Governor Sandoval and Assemblyman Chris Edwards were so quick to assist us in making a statewide day for blood donation! This will help save so many lives!”
Cool Job Opportunity. Saga Communications’ Portland, Maine radio group is seeking a brand manager and news director for news/talk WGAN. Saga reports it has an opening to lead its top news/talk outlet WGAN and its sister brands in the beautiful Portland market. Successful candidates will exhibit an ability to lead a five-person news department, develop and coach local talent, direct programming, develop and curate a contemporary sound for the entire station in delivery and production. Please send your resume and supporting material to Bob Adams, General Manager, Portland Radio Group: Badams@portlandradiogroup.com. EOE/MF.
The Obama-Netanyahu Relationship, Iran’s Nuclear Program, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Russian Military Aggression, the Crash of Germanwings Flight 9525, Scott Walker Voter ID Law Victory, Google-White House Relationship, and Angelina Jolie Cancer Prevention Surgery Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/24). The political relationship between President Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu and the U.S. and Israel; the controversy over negotiating a nuclear policy with Iran; the growing list of potential candidates for president in 2016; increased military aggression by Russia and the West’s response; the mystery of the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps; Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s high court victory in that state’s voter ID law battle; suggestions of a cozy relationship between Google and the White House; and the flap over Angelina Jolie’s decision to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed for the purposes of cancer prevention were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom Revenue Down 2% in Q4; Dips 3% for 2013. The 2013 fourth quarter numbers for Entercom are in and the company reports net revenue was down 2% on $99.6 million though adjusted net income per share was basically flat. Also free cash flow increased by 2%. For the full year of 2013, net revenue dipped 3%. Though station expenses decreased slightly during the year, station operating income decreased by 8% to $125.8 million. Entercom will hold a conference call with investors and analysts at 12:00 noon ET today (2/11). President and CEO David Field says in a statement, “Entercom’s fourth quarter revenues declined 2% while revenues excluding political advertising posted a 2% increase. 2014 began on a solid note with January revenues up moderately over the prior year. We are optimistic about 2014 performance based on improving sales capabilities and execution, strong ratings and meaningful local growth opportunities.”
Beasley Broadcast Group to Work with Propel Marketing for Online Marketing. In an effort to expand its online marketing, Beasley Broadcast Group announces it is engaging Propel Marketing to “assist Beasley’s local clients in building and expanding their online marketing opportunities and solutions.” In a statement, Beasley says that Propel’s products and services include website and mobile site design, search engine optimization, lists and local directories, social media services and online reputation management. It further states that the “agreement affords Beasley’s local account executives access to a robust portfolio of online marketing services. Beasley’s relationship with Propel Marketing enhances the on-air and online advertising opportunities already available to existing and future clients, especially small businesses that typically do not have in-house resources to create and implement successful online marketing campaigns. Propel Marketing will not only create and deliver online marketing solutions, but also provide a dedicated team of specialists to ensure that Beasley’s clients are fully leveraging Propel Marketing products.” Beasley EVP and CFO Caroline Beasley states, “We are extremely excited by this relationship. It gives us the ability to respond to any request a local advertiser may have that involves exploring a digital component. The ability to combine radio’s powerful reach with Propel Marketing’s wide assortment of online products and services will greatly enhance a local advertising campaign.” Newly appointed vice president of digital Stacey Sedbrook adds, “By integrating online marketing with their current radio marketing efforts our clients are able to both extend their audience reach and more efficiently target their messaging. Beasley sales professionals remain the primary contact for our advertising customers. Our goal remains helping local businesses build their brands and grow their revenue. We can now offer integrated marketing solutions under the Beasley Broadcast brand allowing advertisers to streamline their marketing efforts with a trusted local partner.”
TALKERS Posts Part-Two Today of Three-Part Special (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks. Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal of winding up in television production. Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations. Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year. It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide. When Clear Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks (now simply “Premiere Networks”), he became VP of affiliate relations. However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel. Wolkoff faced a career crossroads and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio. His vision was Envision Radio Networks — a highly successful and forward-thinking company that creates over four-dozen content products and services for radio stations and media outlets nationwide, customizing solutions for clients, producers and affiliates. It is a company literally founded after another syndication and programming company decided they had a good product that despite making money, didn’t make enough money for their bottom line. What Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry. He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows. His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets. Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that later) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication. In today’s installment, Wolkoff discusses exactly what it takes to build a formidable syndication firm from scratch and shares his view of the changing nature of the syndication business as well as radio in general. In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward. I’ve seen this movie many times before. Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.” To read part two of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here. And if you missed part one published yesterday, read that here.
Max Krasny Joins CBS RADIO as VP/Sales and Strategic Alliances. The former WestwoodOne EVP takes on the vice president, sales and strategic partnerships position with CBS RADIO’s Altitude Group division which focuses on helping brands connect with consumers using CBS RADIO stations, along with CBS Television stations and their digital properties, as well as CBS’s outdoor assets. Max Krasny reports to the executive leadership of the Altitude Group: Rich Lobel, executive vice president and CMO, and Sue McNamara, senior vice president, sales. Lobel states, “Max is a seasoned pro who brings a marketing acumen to a client’s business, and knows how to deliver creative excellence that makes brands stand out and get noticed. No one has a better portfolio of local assets under one roof than CBS including: radio, television, out-of-home, live events, websites, mobile and social apps.”
FCC Socks WLS-AM, Chicago with $44,000 Fine. The Forfeiture Order comes from the station failing to identify the sponsor of programming that aired back in 2009. The content was in the form of long-form shows – two two-hour programs, a one-hour show – plus 90-second and 15-second spots and promotional announcements paid for by Workers Independent News. During the two-week period in question, the FCC determined that 11 announcements were aired without proper sponsor identification and issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for $44,000 – 11 violations at $4,000 per. Cumulus argued that the commission had in the past reduced fines to a one-time violation amount and that it should just have to pay $4,000. But the commission ruled that no such precedent had been set and that the forfeiture amounts in failure to identify sponsorships cases reflect the unique aspects of each case and thus the commission considers this case to be comprised of 11 violations, not one.
Former MLB Slugger and Talk Host Jack Clark Apologizes to Albert Pujols. During a discussion on WGNU, St. Louis, sports talk host and former MLB slugger Jack Clark alleged that former Cardinals player Albert Pujols used performance enhancing drugs during his time in St. Louis. Pujols threatened to sue and the station ended the contract between Clark’s co-host Kevin Slaten and Clark, cancelling their show. The station also issued an apology to Pujols. But for a time Clark maintained his assertion about Pujols and even challenged Pujols to a live debate – an invitation Pujols’ attorney refused. Now, Clark issues the aforementioned apology and Pujols agrees to withdraw his lawsuit.
“Market Rally” Readies for March Launch. What is said to be the first-ever, long-form agricultural commodity markets-focused national radio program will debut next month (3/10). That is when Farm Journal Media launches Chip Flory-hosted “Market Rally.” The one-hour weekday program will air at 2:00 pm (CT), immediately following the close of major commodity markets. Farm Journal Broadcast Division senior vice president Brian Conrady remarks that a “really solid group of stations” is already committed to air “Market Rally” and he anticipates “several more” before the program debuts. “The show fills a programming void for many stations,” Conrady comments. “It wraps their day’s farm coverage with a new, information-packed, entertaining program. It is all about markets, which everyone knows farmers cannot get enough of.” Flory notes, “We have a long list of guest analysts anxious to share their market perspective with the audience each day. We will take listener questions/comments via phone, text, and social media. Our goal is to remove as much confusion as possible from this increasingly volatile marketing environment.” Flory remains editorial director of Farm Journal’s “Pro Farmer” newsletter and he will host “Market Rally” from FJB’s new studio in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
The Beatles Played in Washington, Too! As America remembers The Beatles’ arrival in this country 50 years ago this week, much of the attention is focused on the New York-based national broadcast on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” But Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington knows that the group’s first public concert was in Washington, DC. Pictured here in the WMAL studios are Fox News Channel chief Washington correspondent – and noted Beatles expert – James Rosen (center) and “Mornings on the Mall” co-hosts Brian Wilson (left) and Larry O’Connor (right) after being on the air for Tuesday’s celebration of The Beatles’ first concert on U.S. soil – in the Nation’s Capital. Among other guests remembering The Beatles on the program were: The Beach Boys’ Mike Love, Rolling Stone Magazine’s David Wild, Herman’s Hermits singer Peter Noone, and local Fox 5 anchor (and former “Good Morning America” weather anchor) Tony Perkins, who discussed his love for the Beatles as an African-American youth growing up in D.C.
Odds & Sods. Baltimore Orioles broadcaster Jim Hunter recently visited his alma mater Seton Hall University and spoke with student staffers at his old college radio station – WSOU-FM – about making it in sports broadcasting today. Hunter, pictured here (third from the right) surrounded by students, stressed to them the importance of preparation, noting that the need to do your homework doesn’t end when you graduate from college. He also shared tips on improving on-air performance and how to tell listeners a good story…..New York City broadcasting legend John Gambling returned to the radio recently, if only briefly, to speak on WABC, New York with Frank Morano on his Sunday “Morning with Morano” program. Morano and Gambling talked about the state of radio today, the tradition of the Gamblings and covering weather events…..For the 18th consecutive year, ESPN Radio is providing comprehensive coverage of NBA All-Star 2014, culminating with an exclusive radio broadcast of the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, February 16. Kevin Calabro will describe the action throughout the weekend with analyst Jon Barry. They will be joined by studio analysts Marc Kestecher and P.J. Carlesimo and reporters Marc Stein and Shelley Smith.
Brent & Meg Honored for Keeping Studio City, California Free of Dog Poop. Although they are heard all over the world on TalkersRadio (weekdays 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm PT), the experimental talk station that lives on this website, the dynamic husband/wife radio duo of Brent & Meg (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald) believe in the concept of cleaning up your own backyard as well as tackling the issues of greater humanity. This past Saturday evening (2/8) they were honored by some of LA’s top movers and shakers for their community volunteer work in regularly picking up dog poop (no kidding) found on the streets of LA’s Studio City – the neighborhood from which their daily show emanates (as well as their home). The gala appreciation dinner took place at Carla’s Café on the CBS Studio Center lot. Pictured here are (from l-r): State Assemblymember, 46th District, Adrin Nazarian; Los Angeles City Councilmember, 2nd District, Paul Krekorian; Meg McDonald (Brent & Meg Show on TalkersRadio); Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; and Brent Seltzer (Brent & Meg Show on Talkers Radio). Upon learning of Brent & Meg receiving this honor, TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo’s music editor/director Duane Doobie issued the statement: “I seldom listen to talk radio, but when I do, I prefer Brent & Meg. True, like most talk show hosts, they are full of sh*t… but in a helpful, solutions-oriented way.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Hillary Clinton in 2016, Immigration Reform, Winter Olympics, Winter Weather, and Shirley Temple Black Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). Scrutiny of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the release of new documents about the Clintons and Hillary’s possible run for president in 2016; the move in Washington to pass immigration reform legislation; the Winter Olympics games in Sochi, Russia; a new winter storm reportedly heading for the South and East this week; and the death of former child star and U.S. Ambassador Shirley Temple Black were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.