Boston Marathon Tragedy Sparks Immense Coverage and Conversation on Talk Radio and Music Radio Morning Shows. One never knows when the next big news story will break and yesterday’s horrific tragedy in Boston is yet another example of the world being one way, one moment — and another way, the next. The Boston Marathon bombing has consumed radio conversation across the board on all-news, talk, sports and music radio morning shows and will likely play a major role as a content generator for days and weeks to come.
Boston Bombing: How Radio Can Help…Or Hurt. Radio consultant Holland Cooke analyzes the media impact of Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon as well as what radio can do well and what it should avoid trying to do during tragic breaking news events like these. Cooke writes, “One way radio can help is to ask ‘Could YOU be Boston’s Zapruder?’ Radio everywhere should ask, because people come from everywhere, from all around the world, to this event. And because the internet and that-thing-in-our-pocket-we-used-to-call-a-phone makes everywhere ‘here.’ You don’t even need to be a friend of a friend in the social media age. Radio should ask everyone to ask everyone: ‘Were you in Boston? Look carefully, at all your pictures and videos. Someone saw something.’” For radio station programmers, Cooke advises what he believes radio can do very well that Twitter can’t. Read his entire piece here.
Arbitron Settles Copyright Infringement Suit Against Gannett. Ratings company Arbitron announces it has settled a copyright infringement suit against Gannett-owned television station WKYC in Cleveland. The suit was filed on January 25 of this year and alleged that WKYC-TV copied and distributed Arbitron’s copyrighted audience estimates without Arbitron’s permission, and that WKYC-TV improperly used Arbitron’s federally registered trademarks to create the false impression that non-Arbitron audience estimates for internet radio service Pandora were genuine Arbitron products. This stems from WKYC teaming up with Pandora for a co-operative sales venture that went awry. Sales kits were distributed that used Arbitron’s AQH data for a number of radio stations in the Cleveland market. The idea was to show Pandora’s reach by comparison. In the initial suit, Arbitron was seeking $150,000 per copyright infringement. The terms of the settlement are not being disclosed so we’ll never know how much Gannett paid to make this mistake go away.
KRLD, Dallas Fired PM Drive Team of Greg Williams and Richie Whitt. The Dallas Morning News confirms that both Greg Williams and Richie Whitt – co-hosts of the “RAGE” PM drive show – have been let go from the station for poor ratings performance. Program director Gavin Spittle is quoted in the paper saying, “We need to be more competitive in that time period.” Shortly after being let go, “Greggo” Williams Tweeted that he’d been fired by the CBS Radio sports talker “The Fan” stating: “Attention FanFans…I just got fired by station…not much reason given…but now I’ve been fired by all three sports stations.” The paper also reports that in the March 2013 PPMs the program came in third behind KTCK’s “Hardline” with Mike Rhyner and Corby Davidson (8.9 share Men 25-54) and KESN-FM’s “Galloway and Company” (3.0 share Men 25-54). There’s no announcement who will take over the PM drive slot on “The Fan” but the Morning News mentions Ben & Skin – Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade – recently exited KESN-FM and the paper calls them “Spittle favorites.”
Glenn Haege Celebrates 30th Anniversary in Radio on Saturday. WJR, Detroit-based nationally syndicated talk show personality Glenn Haege – host of “The Handyman Show” – celebrates his 30th anniversary in radio on Saturday, April 20. Haege began his broadcast career in 1983 as host of “Ask the Handyman” on WXYT-AM, Detroit and also has hosted his radio show on Detroit stations WDFN and WXDX before landing on WJR in 2006. His program is heard on more than 140 affiliates across the country. WJR program director Kevin Metheny says of Haege, “As a Glenn Haege listener, I felt as if he knew me, my life, and my unique homeowner challenges before we ever met. I believe speaking to thousands of neighbors one-on-one in simultaneous, personal conversations on which we can all eavesdrop is a lost art and a key to Glenn’s amazing record of success. At WJR we’re all proud to be the radio flagship of ‘America’s Master Handyman’ and look forward to 30 more years.”
Industry Mourns Eileen M. Herskovitz. The radio industry mourns the passing of longtime broadcasting figure Eileen M. Herskovitz who died early morning yesterday at her home in Bradenton, Florida. She was the wife of veteran radio executive Al Herskovitz, president of Florida-based marketing firm, H&H Broadcasting, and marketing director of TALKERS. Eileen Herskovitz served as executive VP of H&H. After attending Ithaca University, Eileen entered the media field as a commercial copywriter for Goldman & Walter advertising agency of Albany, NY where she advanced to become its VP and media director. She also worked at several radio stations during her early career. The Herskovitz’s had recently celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Eileen Herskovitz was an immensely bright radio professional and a truly marvelous human being. All of us at TALKERS consider ourselves blessed to have known her and we will sorely miss her.”
Boston Marathon Bombing, Immigration Reform, Gun Legislation, North Korea Missile Threats, Jay-Z Cuba Trip, Trayvon Targets Case, and Justin Bieber-Anne Frank Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/15). The bombing at the Boston Marathon; the debate over amnesty in potential immigration legislation; the move to pass gun and ammunition restriction legislation; ongoing threats to use long-range missiles against the U.S. by North Korea; Jay-Z’s trip to Cuba and the Obama White House connection; the Trayvon Martin practice targets case and the firing of the police official involved; and the stir caused by Justin Bieber’s notes in the visitor’s log at the Anne Frank house were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
America’s Radio News Network Develops Second Radio Network Featuring 24/7 News Reports. The long-form news venture crafted by Talk Radio Network known as America’s Radio News Network – which is successfully distributing three-hour blocks of all-news content to more than 275 affiliate stations – is announcing the creation of a second network dedicated to top- and bottom-of-the-hour news, breaking news bulletins, special reports and newsmaker interviews. ARNN executive vice president for news John McCaslin states, “‘Journalism Without Agenda’ is not just a marketing phrase at America’s Radio News – it’s a code we live by – and the marketplace has responded so strongly to our long-form, all-news product that the second news network of our short-form top- and bottom-of-the-hour news (plus audio actualities, special reports, news maker interviews etc…) was a natural outgrowth of this demand. We are honored to be the fastest-growing brand in news radio. We truly are ‘Journalism Without Agenda.’ This is something stations not only deeply appreciate, but have a need for like never before.” CEO Mark Masters says this means affiliate stations will not have to “break away” for news. “Bottom line, ARNN is now the complete ‘go-to’ radio news network for urgent breaking newscasts on the hour and half-hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, along with our intriguing and diverse lineup of newsmaker interviews in addition to our large array of three-hour, long-form weekday news blocks our listeners enjoy each weekday.” The new service begins April 2.
Dan Sileo Let Go from WDAE, Tampa After “Monkeys” Comment. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Tampa Bay sports talk outlet has parted company with morning drive sports talk host Dan Sileo after he referred to three NFL free agents as “monkeys.” During an exchange with producer Darek Sharp about whether the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should go after Cortland Finnegan, Jonathan Vilma and Vincent Jackson in free agency, Sileo reportedly said, “No! No! If they get those three monkeys, I’m good! I’m ready, man. I’m ready. I want those guys. Those guys are great players.” WDAE program director Steve Versnick confirmed to the Tampa Bay Tribune that Sileo is no longer with the station but would not comment on why due to the station’s policy of not discussing personnel matters. The Tampa Bay Times reports the station apologized specifically for Sileo’s remarks. As for Sileo, he tweeted to the Times’ Eric Deggans that he didn’t even realize what he’d said until someone told him. Versnick told the Tribune Rock Riley will fill in for Sileo and the station is seeking a permanent replacement. Dan Sileo has written about sports talk radio for TALKERS in the past.
Aggressive Agenda Being Set for New Media Seminar. The first of several key panel rosters for the New York installment of this year’s New Media Seminar has been announced and it promises to provide a powerful overview of the state of talk radio. Titled “Spoken Word Radio 2012, the Big Picture,” the lineup includes (in alphabetical order): Phil Boyce, VP/director, Spoken Word Format, Salem Communications; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media; and Chris Oliviero, senior VP programming, CBS Radio. Michael Harrison, publisher of TALKERS will moderate. According to Harrison, “This year’s New Media Seminar will tackle a number of pressing issues facing the industry during this most transitional and turbulent year.” The 2012 version of the industry’s longest-running and most important national convention will feature a new, innovative format designed for the times – broken into two separate events: New York on Thursday, June 7 and Los Angeles on Thursday, October 11. Each will present a power-packed agenda and offer affordable, accessible registration fees to its attendees. Registration, however, is limited and only open to members of the working media. For details, click here.
Dial Global and Dennis Miller Celebrate the Host’s Five-Year Anniversary with a New Contract. The announcement from Dial Global doesn’t get specific – it calls it a long-term deal – but Dennis Miller’s gig as a nationally syndicated talk show host will continue. He began in 2007 with Westwood One and is currently heard on more than 300 affiliate stations and, according to DG, in 24 of the top 24 markets. Dial Global co-president/CEO David Landau says, “We are ecstatic about our relationship with Dennis and thrilled to be associated with a rock star and national treasure of this magnitude.” Miller is a regular contributor to Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor.” Miller and O’Reilly have been involved in a live event series dubbed the “Bolder & Fresher Tour 2011-2012” and have added new dates to that tour including June 22 in Indianapolis and June 23 in Chicago. Miller says of his radio success, “It has been a fine five years with a great and growing audience that I enjoy riffing with. As I bask in the glorious wake of modest achievement, I look forward to many more years behind the microphone.”
Saga Communications Reports Revenue Down 3.6% in Q4 of 2011. But for the entire year of 2011, Saga Communications was down just a hair – to $127.3 million in net revenue. The good news for Saga is free cash flow was up 3.6% for the quarter and 9% for the year. Also, Saga was able to reduce its debt by $27 million to $69.1 million. One thing Saga is enjoying that many other broadcasting companies surely covet is a healthy stock price. Saga’s stock closed at $41.40 per share on Tuesday – up 6.7%.
Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington Locks Up Doc Walker for Three More Years. The midday sports talk host was most recently partnered with John Thompson at WTEM but Thompson left his daily talk show host role at the station last month. Now, Red Zebra vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says the company has signed Rick “Doc” Walker to a three-year contract extension and the station will feature Walker in a new 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm program beginning March 26. Walker is also part of the broadcast team for the Washington Redskins Radio Network. Red Zebra CEO Rick Carmean states, “Doc has become an integral part of WTEM and its success for the better part of 15 years. We are excited for him to be a part of the new show and our Redskins broadcasts.”
Cumulus Media Networks Partners with APM Music for Production Library Services. Music library giant APM Music – a joint venture of EMI Music Publishing and Universal Music Publishing – partners with Cumulus Media Networks to offer its music library services to client stations. APM’s collection of music is described as offering “every imaginable genre including music from current indie bands to big sound orchestral trailer cues to a full classical music repertoire.” CMN SVP of affiliate sales and broadcast operations Dennis Green says, “Cumulus Media Networks is proud to add the APM music production library to its growing stable of products and services available to stations all over the country. APM’s library is the largest and best in the industry which will provide stations the foundation for outstanding commercial production.”
Dan LeBatard Show Markets Content via CDBaby. The WAXY, Miami PM drive show Dan LeBatard with Stugotz & Hochman is marketing some of its best-of material via CDBaby. The program has a sizable podcast following but this is the first foray in to digital media marketing. As the deal is structured, the show and station owner Lincoln Financial Media both share in the revenue. The “CD” is available through CDBaby.com, iTunes, Amazon and several other digital media sites. Marc Hochman (who is currently also program director of WAXY but is stepping down to focus on the LeBatard show) reports LeBatard’s national profile has “grown exponentially since the debut of his daily TV show, ‘Dan LeBatard is Highly Questionable,’ on ESPN 2 which is aired every day at 4:00 pm ET.” Pictured here is the “CD cover” of the digital download. Hochman says there will be no physical CDs, just the download.
GOP Southern Primaries/2012 Presidential Race, Soaring Gas Prices, Afghanistan Killings Aftermath, and Iran Nukes Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/13). Yesterday’s southern primaries for the GOP contenders and the 2012 presidential race in general; the nation’s soaring gas prices and its impact on President Obama’s approval numbers; the aftermath of the killing of 16 Afghanistan civilians by a U.S. soldier; and the ongoing tensions over Iran’s nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.