Tag: "FM Talk"

Monday, May 14, 2012

| May 14, 2012

TALKERS TV: WTOP Reporter Does All Field Reports on iPhone or iPad.  Things have changed, at least technologically, since WTOP, Washington reporter Neal Augenstein joined the heritage all-news outlet in 1999.  The newsroom was still equipped with reel-to-reel tape recorders and the portable bag phones that weighed as much as 15 pounds.  Since 2010, Neal has earned the distinction of being the first major market radio reporter who does all of his field production on an iPhone or iPad.  This week TALKERS TV presents the final installment of an exclusive three-part feature on the inner workings of all-news giant WTOP with an interview with Neal Augenstein in which he explains the theory behind and the method of using Apple’s smart phone as an extremely innovative and convenient tool for gathering, producing and presenting news in a multimedia venue.  See TALKERS TV at the top of the column on the upper right side of this page.

New Media Seminar New York Nears Sellout – Features Power-Packed Agenda.  Thursday, June 7 promises to be an important and exciting day for talk radio and related talk media as the East Coast installment of the industry’s largest and longest-running convention nears a sellout.  More than 60 industry leaders are scheduled to speak including (in alphabetical order): Nancy Abramson, executive director, Wall Street Journal Radio Network; Chuck Armstrong, APD, WABC, New York; Mike “Bax” Baxendale, co-host, “Bax and O’Brien” morning show, Rock 102, Springfield, MA; Rennie Bishop, PD WWRL, New York; Jim Bohannon, host, Dial Global Radio Networks; Phil Boyce, VP/director, spoken word format, Salem Communications; Dr. Joy Browne, host, WOR Radio; Laurie Cantillo, PD, WTOP, Washington, DC; Kevin Casey, VP/managing editor, TALKERS; Michael Castner, host, Wall Street Journal Radio Network; Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Alan Colmes, Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel; Holland Cooke, consultant, McVay/Cook Media; Andy Dean, host Premiere Networks; Dave Elswick, PD, KARN, Little Rock; Boomer Esiason, host, WFAN, New York; Barry Farber, host, Talk Radio Network/CRN Digital Talk Radio; Jim Farley, VP news and programming, WTOP, Washington, DC;  Terry Foxx, PD, KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh; Ian Freeman, co-host, Free Talk Live; Mike Gallagher, host, Salem Radio Network; Dom Giordano, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Heidi Harris, host, KRLA, Los Angeles/KTIE, San Bernadino; Matthew B. Harrison, senior partner, Harrison Strategies; Michael Harrison, publisher, TALKERS; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD Media; Thom Hartmann, host, WYD Media; Bill Hess, PD, WMAL, Washington, DC;  Gabe Hobbs, president, Gabe Hobbs Media;  Jim Horn, PD, WSBA, York;  Gov. Mike Huckabee, host, Cumulus Media/Fox News Channel;  Rusty Humphries, host Talk Radio Network/WGST, Atlanta; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM, WGN, Chicago; Tom Leykis, president, The New Normal; Lionel, president, LionelMedia.com; Mark Masters, CEO, Talk Radio Network; Mike McVay, SVP programming, Cumulus Media; Harvey Nagler, VP Radio, CBS News; Chris Oliviero,  SVP programming, CBS Radio; Cary Pahigian, market manager, Saga Communications/Portland; John Parikhal, president, Joint Communications; Ellen Ratner, bureau chief, Talk Radio News Service;  Mark Riley, host, WWRL, New York; Walter Sabo, president, Sabo Media; Todd Schnitt, host, Compass Media Networks; Ed Schultz, host, MSNBC/The Ed Schultz Show;  Doug Stephan, president, Stephan Multimedia; Chris Stigall, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Alan Stock, host, KDWN, Las Vegas;  Peter Thiele, PD, WMCA/WNYM, New York; Joe Thomas, PD, WCHV, Charlottesville; Paul Vandenburg, president/GM, WGDJ, Albany; Steven J.J. Weisman, senior partner, Harrison Strategies; and Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; with more to be announced. A full agenda will be posted here tomorrow.  Also, today is the final day that discount rooms for seminar attendees at the nearby Doubletree will be available.  For registration and hotel information call 413-565-5413.

Sabo Sez:  If Every Station Was a Talk Station…  “Imagine if every radio station, except one, in every city was programmed fulltime as a talk station.  How would those talk stations differentiate themselves to the listener?  They couldn’t all take the same approach, they would have to appeal to different demos and psychographics,” says Sabo Media president Walter Sabo.  In his latest column for TALKERS, Sabo says that’s why spoken-word radio must be differentiated and targeted just as music-based radio is and therein lays the key to making a profit from an FM talk station.  Read Walter Sabo’s piece here.

Geraldo Rivera to Broadcast from WABC, New York-Sponsored Job Fair.  Cumulus Media news/talk WABC, New York and sister Hot AC WPLJ-FM are sponsoring the “Putting America Back to Work” job fair being held tomorrow (5/15) at the Jacob Javits Center and WABC and KABC, Los Angeles talk host Geraldo Rivera will broadcast his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program live from the event.  Part of the broadcast will feature a panel of experts and CEOs discussing practical advice and tips for job seekers.  Cumulus New York states there will also be some 100 job recruiters from a wide range of industries with positions available on the scene.

KFWB, Los Angeles Re-Ups with NBA’s Clippers.  The NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers and news/talk KFWB, Los Angeles sign a multi-year extension to keep the franchise’s games on the station.  Details of the terms are not being disclosed per team and station policy.  Station general manager Valerie K. Blackburn states, “We are so happy to forge forward with our relationship with the Clippers who have captured the hearts of Southern Californians and fans across the country.  The Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as a fan favorite in this town and are an extremely important part of our ongoing commitment to provide quality programming to our listeners.”  KFWB is operated by the KFWB Asset Trust and the KFWB License Trust, divestiture trusts under the management of Diane Sutter, president and CEO of ShootingStar Broadcasting.

Cumulus Media Signs With Triton Digital for Its Online Platform.  The country’s second largest radio station operator (measured by station count) will move the online platform of its more than 530 radio stations to the Triton Digital platform, according to a story in Radio InkCumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey states the company’s stations will be able to take advantage of the services provided by Triton Digital as well as providing a standard platform which will enable the transition to putting all of the company’s stations on iHeartRadio as announced several months ago.  It is expected the Cumulus stations will be available on Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio within the next 45 to 60 days.

Greater Media Charlotte Names Billy Black Imaging Director.  News/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte and talk intensive sister Hot AC WLNK-FM have hired imaging pro Billy Black to serve as the imaging director for the stations.  For the past 10 years Black has worked at Clear Channel’s rock WRXR-FM, Chattanooga where he served as morning show host, program director and imaging director.  Greater Media Charlotte marketing administrator Jessica Reeves RoBards says, “He has imaged a ton of Clear Channel stations and made work parts and shells from scratch for companies like Frost Bytes.  This is unique because most imaging guys use pre-made beds and work parts, he makes his own.  He also had a stint at Media Base.  He will image both stations.  His ideas and creativity are something these stations have been craving.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Cumulus Media nabs market manager Kevin Waltman from Clear Channel’s Tallahassee operations that include news/talk WFLA-FM.  Waltman heads up Cumulus’ Montgomery, Alabama cluster that includes news/talk WLWI and sports talk WMSP…..Forever Broadcasting is picking up a stronger signal for its “TJ Network” news/talk format based at WTJS, Jackson Tennessee.  It will swap with Grace Broadcasting Services giving Grace its WTJW-FM, Humboldt, Tennessee at 105.3 plus $525,000 and get WTGP-FM, Trenton, Tennessee at 97.7…..SiriusXM names National Soccer Hall of Famer John Harkes host of its daily soccer talk show “The Football Show” that airs from 7:00 am to 9:00 am.  Harkes will be joined on the show by co-hosts Charlie Stillitano and Neil Barnett.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

| May 10, 2012

FM Talk Winning in PM Drive with Alan Cox Show on Cleveland’s Legendary Rocker WMMS-FM.  The Alan Cox show is quietly defying the conventional wisdom about what talk targeting younger demos on FM is all about.  Ensconced in afternoon drive on Clear Channel’s legendary rock outlet WMMS-FM, Cleveland, Cox’s success is not a widely told tale in the radio industry, in part because it doesn’t appear to be a piece of a corporately directed programming puzzle with companywide ambitions.  Cox credits local management for daring to be innovative with spoken-word programming outside the realms of news/talk and sports talk.  “’MMS, everybody knows, is a legendary station and management had the foresight to realize music on FM is kind of going away and to see if it can work with two talk products and it has worked amazingly well.  The foresight that brought them to try this hybrid station also makes them realize that you have to honor the heritage the station has but everything has to move forward.”  Read this entire story here.

Gil Gross Replaces Gene Burns in PM Drive at KKSF, San Francisco.  Talk radio legend Gene Burns is not going away from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment San Francisco as he continues to rehab from a stroke he suffered last December but cluster director of operations Don Parker gives the PM drive slot to Gil Gross, who’s been one of those filling in for Burns since January.  Parker states, “I’m thrilled to have Gil Gross aboard full time for the Bay Area’s only live and local afternoon drive talk show.  With his extensive background in network news, everyone in news/talk radio knows the name Gil Gross.  I couldn’t be happier to have KKSF be his new home.  NewsTalk 910 has been very fortunate to have the highest caliber of talent filling in for Gene Burns since January.  I’d like to thank John Rothman, Ed Baxter and Rosie Allen for their contributions and for continuing to play a role on NewsTalk 910 moving forward.”  Burns will continue to blog at newstalk910.com and his Saturday “Dining Around” program will remain on the program schedule with Joel Riddell hosting .  Additionally, John Rothman is named the station’s political analyst.  He’ll contribute to the station’s talk shows and newscasts as well as serve as host for KKSF’s 2012 election coverage.  Baxter and Allen will remain with the station for fill-in and blogging duties.  On his new position, Gross states, “I am thrilled to keep the live, local talk flame alive in the Bay area.  From the Occupy movement to Oscar Grant or the struggles of our economy, it’s important for the Bay area to have a platform to discuss today’s most pressing topics.  I look forward to having my friend and colleague, Gene Burns, back in the line-up.  I also look forward to building the future at NewsTalk 910, a unique station that will not be one point of view all day long.”

Tony Kornheiser Negotiating for Long-Term Deal to Remain on WTEM, Washington.  Washington, DC-based sports media personality Tony Kornheiser tells his audience he hopes to be assured his radio talk show will be heard on Red Zebra’s WTEM – ESPN 980 for “another two years, at least.”  The Washington Post reports director of programming Chuck Sapienza hinted the two sides are negotiating, quoting him saying, “Our goal has always been to have Tony with ESPN 980 long term, and we hope to have an official announcement soon.”  Kornheiser will take much of the summer off from his radio show telling his audience he will do a few weeks of ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” but will not do radio in July or August.

Terry Gross Celebrates 25 Years of National Syndication for “Fresh Air.”  Tomorrow “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross will celebrate her 25th anniversary in national syndication via NPR.  Gross began the program on WHYY-FM, Philadelphia – where the show is still based – in 1975.  Gross tells the Philadelphia Daily NewsDan Gross (no relation), “I fell in love with radio the moment I started doing it.  I still find it a privilege to be able to talk to and engage in a pretty personal level with people whose work I respect.”  Surprisingly for some, Gross tells the paper she counts Howard Stern among those whom she’d like to interview but has not.  She says she’s a fan of his radio show.

Carmichael Dave Out at KHTK, Sacramento.  The producer and sidekick to morning host and PD Don Geronimo and host of his own midday show exits the CBS Radio sports outlet.  His tweets about his exit are vague but it appears Carmichael Dave is the victim of a budget-related maneuver.  He tweets, “As of today I am no longer a part of CBS Radio…I’m getting a lot of response that this was contract related.  I asked for nothing.  I can’t go into details.  Just know that I love the station and the people.”  The station is airing DirecTV/Premiere’s Dan Patrick show in middays.

Analysis:  The Legal Basis for the Bob Lonsberry Decision.  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman reviews the recent ruling by the Appellate Division, Fourth Department of New York in the defamation case filed against WHAM, Rochester talk show host Bob Lonsberry.  Weisman writes that for talk hosts who make a living expressing their opinions, it’s important to note that “not all opinion is protected, but when it is made about a matter of public concern, the speaker is protected by the First Amendment.”  Read Steven J.J. Weisman’s piece here.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  CBS Radio names Brian Thomas vice president of programming for its Tampa cluster that includes sports talk WQYK – 1010AM Sports…..Syndicated Solutions, Inc. begins distribution of Chuck Woolery’s “Save Us Chuck” political commentary feature on June 4.  The game show legend states, “I started in radio and just love it!  During all my years on television, I’ve come to realize that radio is truly the only medium where I can connect one-on-one with the audience and help to create real change.”…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles visits the foothill cities of the San Gabriel Valley as part of its “KNX on Your Corner” remote broadcast series.  The broadcast will emanate from the Monrovia Coffee Company in the heart of Old Town Monrovia on June 1…..WTKK-FM, Boston midday talk host Doug Meehan’s listeners are launching a campaign to get the host an on-air audition with Kelly Ripa on ABC TV’s “Live! With Kelly.”  Meehan has recorded his pitch to be on the show and posted it on WTKK’s website.  He’s encouraging listeners to visit the “Live! With Kelly” website touting Meehan for a shot at a guest host appearance…..Former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte regular fill-in host Wayne Powers wins his primary contest for a seat on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners.

First Caller Puts Curse on New Talk Show Host.  What a way to start a new gig!  Gregg Henson, the station’s program director who replaced afternoon drive host Pat Miller on WOWO, Fort Wayne, was greeted with a first call that sounded like something out of a Steven King novel.  Not only did the listener with a heavy accent voice his disapproval of Henson and insult him by saying he is “a snake” who “doesn’t bring anything to the table” — he went on to actually put a curse on him!  Check THIS out.  Listen to the audio here.

2012 Presidential Race, Obama Gay Marriage Issue, Feds to Sue Arizona Sheriff Arpaio, and Putin Snubs Obama Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/9).  The 2012 presidential campaign, President Obama’s change of heart on the gay marriage issue, the federal lawsuit being filed against Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s backing out of meeting with President Obama and the G-8 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Media Veteran and Fenway Park Announcer Carl Beane Dies in Auto Crash.  Fenway Park’s voice of the Boston Red Sox, Carl Beane, died Wednesday at age 59 after suffering a heart attack and crashing his car while driving.  Beane won the Fenway Park gig after the 2002 season.  He was a radio sports announcer, talk host, news reporter and more during his long career.  In addition to stringing for AP, ESPN and SiriusXM, Beane had worked at WBZ, Boston and spent many years in the 1990s working at then talk/music hybrid WESO, Southbridge.

 

Alan Cox Talk Show Rocks Cleveland on WMMS-FM

| May 10, 2012

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS magazine
VP/Managing Editor

CLEVELAND — There’s still not a lot of talk on FM radio.  Yes, there is a lot of sports talk and more and more news/talk finding a home on the FM band lately, but talk – or as consultant Walter Sabo calls it – targeted talk is not prevalent on radio in America.  Certainly there is WTKS-FM, Orlando; New Jersey 101.5; and Cox has just stripped the music away from WHTP-FM, Tampa with Bubba the Love Sponge in AM drive and Cowhead in PM drive and newly developed shows in the other dayparts.  But apart from those examples and many morning drive shows on music stations (more on that later), few operators have been inclined to develop talk targeted to young people – often called “hot talk.”  Except at Cleveland’s legendary rock station – WMMS-FM – where the Alan Cox show gets big numbers in afternoon drive.

A quick glance at Cox’s resume:  He began his performance career doing stand-up comedy in college; produced Jonathon Brandmeier at WLUP-FM, Chicago in the early 1990s; hosted mornings at a classic rock station in Kalamazoo; hosted PM drive at WXDX-FM, Pittsburgh where he replaced Howard Stern in AM drive when CC dropped Stern (Cox proudly states it was “one of the only Stern stations that didn’t completely tank” after that); was part of the ensemble cast that replaced Mancow on Q101 in Chicago; and he’s been at WMMS-FM, Cleveland for the past two-and-a-half years. Read More

Monday, April 30, 2012

| April 30, 2012

Cumulus Makes it Official:  WYAY-FM, Atlanta to Go All-News in May.  The Atlanta Business Chronicle confirms what’s been rumored as Cumulus Media COO John Dickey announces the company’s classic hits WYAY-FM – licensed to Gainesville, Georgia – will flip to all-news in mid-May.  Dickey tells the Chronicle, “As big a city as we’ve got and as diverse and cosmopolitan a community, not to have an all-news product creates a huge opportunity.  It was an easy decision for us to take advantage of it…Pop culture, celebrity news and entertainment news have really become news today.  That has intermixed with hard news to create a different product.”  Atlanta had WCNN – now SportsRadio 680 the Fan – operating as an all-news outlet in the late 1990s but that was on AM and Cumulus believes now is the right time to put an all-news product on the FM band.

KTRS, St. Louis Cancels JC Corcoran PM Drive Show.  Veteran St. Louis radio personality JC Corcoran exits CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis after hosting the PM drive show for the past 18 months.  St. Louis Today’s Deb Peterson reports management at the station was not returning calls seeking comment but that other sources indicate that KTVI-TV, St. Louis sports director and former KFNS, St. Louis talk host Martin Kilcoyne will take over the program.  Corcoran’s sidekick Trish Gazall is reportedly remaining with the station.  Other changes including a slight shift in programming as John Hadley moves his late-night show to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot allowing Chicago-based Steve Cochran to host just his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program at the station (he had been doing a split shift with an early evening show as well).

Feature Series – Part 4: Innovation Sets You Free…to Make Money.  Sabo Media president Walter Sabo concludes his four-part TALKERS series on FM talk.  In this piece, Sabo discusses the importance of creating time and a place to innovate.  Sabo notes that radio has no laboratory for experimentation.  “If you come up with a new format or promotional idea, where and how do you test it?  Success in a live medium depends on a specific dynamic with a live audience.  As a rule you can’t ask people how they want to be entertained.  You can present them with entertainment and see if they applaud.”  Sabo offers several ways to test new programming, including your HD channel.  “Finally, a good use for HD channels: Experimentation.  If you want listeners to try a new medium, give them something new to listen to.  It doesn’t cost more money to play different songs.  The promise of HD radio is breathtaking.  New programming attracts early adopters and that’s what new hardware demands.”  Sabo says this article is a preview of 15 action-packed minutes that he will deliver at the New Media Seminar in New York on Thursday, June 7.  This exciting industry-only event will be a certain sellout.  For registration information call 413-565-5413.  Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.

FCC Decision to Require Political Ad Info Posted Online for TV Stations Has Radio Execs Watching DC.  For now, only television stations in the top 50 markets in the country are being required to post their public files – including their political ad rates – online.  But some radio operators are nervous about this cascading to their medium.  This decision is only popular with some political groups that believe too much money is spent on politics and is tarnishing the process.  The NAB is not pleased and states, “NAB respectfully disagrees with today’s FCC decision and we’re disappointed that the Commission rejected compromise proposals proffered by broadcasters that would have brought greater transparency to political ad buying.  By forcing broadcasters to be the only medium to disclose on the internet our political advertising rates, the FCC jeopardizes the competitive standing of stations that provide local news, entertainment, sports and life-saving weather information free of charge to tens of millions of Americans daily. We appreciate Commissioner McDowell‘s thoughtful and compelling dissent, and we will be seeking guidance from our Board of Directors regarding our options.”  Some communications law observers believe there are problems with this new policy and we’re likely to see this end up in court.

Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels to Host New TV and Radio Show Beginning in Early May.  Michael Patrick Shiels previously hosted the morning show based at WJIM, Lansing and was heard on other markets via the Michigan Talk Network.  His relationship with WJIM owner Cumulus ended and now he announces he’s struck a deal with WSYM-TV, Lansing to produce and distribute a new morning show that will be simulcast on WSYM-TV and on the radio in markets yet to be announced.  WSYM-TV VP/GM Gary Baxter states. “FOX 47 is proud to continue its partnership with Michael Patrick Shiels and launch his new program.  There is simply no one like him on radio or TV in the state of Michigan.  Michael Patrick’s show allows us to have the biggest names in politics, business and Michigan sports on our air every morning.  Our viewers might see Governor Snyder and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford on the same show — what great television!”

Tom Joyner Vows to Stay Connected with Tri-State Fans Via Digital Media.  The EmmisESPN deal and consequent merger of the Kiss FM format with WBLS-FM, New York leaves his nationally syndicated urban morning show in the lurch.  But Tom Joyner believes very strongly in the power of Black radio and the need for shows like his in the Black community.  In a memo to Kiss FM listeners, he writes, “I am saddened that an important Black voice is going silent in New York City, especially during this important election year.  Along with the Tom Joyner “Morning Show,” the Michael Baisden show and Rev. Al Sharpton’s Sunday program will also be off the air in NYC in this transition.  Black radio has been and always will be an extremely important motivational force in the community.  Although social media currently gets a lot of credit and rightfully so, nothing can replace the role Black radio plays in empowering, informing and entertaining Black people.  You can’t believe everything you read on social media but studies do show that most people believe what they hear on black radio.  That makes me feel proud and reminds me of my responsibility to be there for them each morning.”  Joyner encourages his audience in the Tri-State area to listen via his smartphone app or via BlackAmericaWeb.com.

Compass Media Networks’ “At Home with Bob Vila” Debuts Today.  The new daily feature hosted by home improvement icon Bob Vila and produced and distributed by Compass Media Networks hits the air today at affiliates including KOGO, San Diego; WTKK-FM, Boston; KMJ, Fresno; KFNN, Phoenix; KVON, Napa, California and more.  Compass Media Networks VP affiliate sales Adam Wilbur states, “Stations in all formats – sports, news/talk, all-news, country, AC and classic hits have signed up for Vila.  In another week, we will announce additional stations in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Washington, DC.  With over 90% name recognition with Americans, program directors appreciate the power of Bob’s brand – and sales managers love the ability to sell the feature locally.”

Actor Stephen Baldwin, TV-Radio Host Dani Johnson and Talk Host Kevin McCullough Announce Effort to Aid Starving Orphans.  The 2012 in 2012 charity effort is named that because, as XtreMedia CEO and principal Kevin McCullough states, the goal is to rescue 2,012 orphans from starvation during the year 2012.  McCullough’s weekend radio show partner Stephen Baldwin and television and radio host Dani Johnson are partnering to spearhead this program.  Baldwin says a child can be fed for a mere 25 cents per day.  “When I toured the places these children sleep and live in, I couldn’t help but be moved to do something about it.  My whole family saw with our own eyes children who were dying or would die soon, simply because they had no food.  It is imperative to me, my media company, my family, my business partners, and every one I come into contact with to let them know how vital 25 cents can be.  It can literally feed a meal to a child who literally will die without it.”  Kevin McCullough says, “Our partners are delivering life-healing food for the rate of feeding an orphan for an entire year, for just $92 – this is how simple it is to save a life?  How can we get more people involved?  How can we rescue more children?  These questions haunt me each night…”  McCullough and company are teaming up with two charities experienced in feeding children – Food for Orphans and King’s Ransom Foundation and they are seeking other media partners for this quest.  “If you are a television, radio or new media personality who has a passion to help hungry kids, we would love for you to join us in this amazing quest.  We will link arm in arm with anyone and everyone who is moved to do this, to be part of it, and to see orphans fed.”

Nationally Syndicated Radio Feature Host Akos Jankura Develops New Weekend Show; Seeks Products or Inventions from Public to Feature.  Inventor and international presenter Akos Jankura – who writes and produces the nationally syndicated radio feature “Akos the Solutionist” – teams up with John Cremeans to create a weekend radio show based at WFLA, Tampa on which they will make it possible for one inventor to pitch their product or invention.  The show will premiere Saturday, May 5 at 4:00 pm on WFLA and people with products or inventions are asked to visit MyCoolInventions.com to submit their entry.  Jankura says, “Many people don’t know that one of our most successful TV shopping channels actually began on radio.  I’ve teamed up with John Cremeans also known as ‘The Doctor of Shopolgy,’ John has logged over 25,000 hours of live television shopping and is a pioneer in our industry.  He is skilled at getting arm-chair inventors to make their best pitch for their product which is so important in the early development process.”  Jankura says together the two have more than $2 billion in sales.  The team is poised to identify products and inventions that can become the next great hit.  Their hands-on process invites everyday inventors or people with great ideas to join the inventive group at MyCoolInventions.com and sign up to receive information and tips that will guide them through the process of taking a product to market.

In Memory of a Radio Pioneer: Pete Fornatale.  TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer worked closely with rock radio legend Pete Fornatale who passed away last week at age 66.  Although, as Neer writes, Fornatale was not a talk host as we traditionally define it in radio, “When he did crack the mic, you couldn’t find a more intelligent voice observing pop culture than the late Pete Fornatale.”  Neer notes that Fornatale became synonymous with the genre of radio hosts who did more than quickly intro or backsell a record – something that many argue is missing in music radio these days.  “He was probably the first real musicologist on commercial radio who presented rock and folk music as an intellectual as well as emotional experience.”  Read Richard Neer’s memorial to Pete Fornatale here.

Friday, April 27, 2012

| April 27, 2012

New York Sports and Urban Worlds Reeling from Emmis-ESPN Deal.  Yesterday’s announcement from ESPN that it has signed an LMA deal with Emmis Communications to air sports talk WEPN’s programming on 98.7 – the home of urban Kiss FM – sent shockwaves through the sports and urban radio communities.  The drive to get sports talk on FM – by either CBS Radio or ESPN…or both – has been closely watched for the past several years.  Many thought CBS Radio would make a move to put WFAN on FM before ESPN but that was not the case.  On the urban side, the melding of Kiss FM and WBLS-FM as Emmis will sell the intellectual property of Kiss FM to YMF Media so it can create a Kiss FM at 107.5 has some in the urban music community crying foul.  As for the financials, Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports that Emmis gets $8.4 million for the first year of a 12-year LMA with an increase of 3.5% annually.  It expects to realize $10 million for the intellectual property of Kiss FM and, all told, the deal means $96 million for Emmis.  Now, industry watchers will be intent on CBS Radio to see how fast the company moves to get an FM signal for the venerable sports giant WFAN.

Greater Media’s WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia Inks Deal with NBA’s 76ers.  Philadelphia sports talk duo WPEN-AM/FM – 97.5 The Fanatic and 950 ESPN Radio – agree to a multi-year deal to air 76ers basketball on the stations beginning with the first round of this season’s playoffs.  All of the games this year and through the course of the contract will air on 97.5 and many will be simulcast on 950 AM.  76ers broadcast voice Tom McGinnis will continue to serve as the play-by-play announcer for the games.  Greater Media market manager John Fullam says, “We know the future of the Sixers is bright, and we look forward to being a central part of the fan experience on Sixers game nights.  Adding NBA play-by-play to 97.5 The Fanatic and 950 ESPN Radio is yet another significant step forward in fulfilling our commitment to offer Philadelphians the finest in sports programming.  We are especially gratified that we will not have to wait until next fall for Sixers games to start broadcasting on our air.”  Prior to this deal, 76ers basketball had aired on CBS Radio’s crosstown sports talker WIP.

WJIM, Lansing and Michigan Talk Network Name Steve Gruber and Jo Ann Paul AM Drive Hosts.  Former WILX-TV, Lansing news anchor Steve Gruber and WLNS-TV, Lansing personality Jo Ann Paul are the new co-hosts of the WJIM, Lansing-based morning drive show that’s also heard across Michigan on via the Michigan Talk Network.  Gruber and Paul will work with current producer Amanda Wall and news anchor Gary Austin.  They take over the role held previously by Michael Patrick Shiels who left the Cumulus Media operation in February.  Cumulus tested a number of potential hosts before going with Gruber and Paul.

WLQR-AM/FM, Toledo Adds New PM Drive Show.  Cumulus Media sports talk outlet WLQR-AM/FM, Toledo announces the debut of “Drive Time with Miller and Bellino” hosted by Mike Miller and Anthony Bellino.  The duo’s program will air in the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot beginning Monday, April 30.  In order to make room for the new program, WLQR cuts an hour from Norm Wamer’s “The Front Row” program which will air from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  The show will emanate from local car dealership The Monroe Superstore.  In a statement, Anthony Bellino says, “We want our listeners to be able to interact with us, and have the opportunity to interact with our guests.”

United Stations Radio Networks Renews with Bloomberg.  New York-based United Stations Radio Networks announces a deal that will continue to have it sell, market and distribute various financial news and business programs created and produced by Bloomberg Radio.  USRN’s Jim Higgins states, “Bloomberg is at the very top of the financial industry when it comes to the delivery of news, data and analysis, and in turn, they recognize that we’ve been solid partners for them.  Our affiliates, advertisers and sponsors are all proud to be associated with the Bloomberg brand, and so are we.”

2012 Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Fourth Straight Week.  The 2012 presidential race was the most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio for the fourth straight week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM chart for the week of April 23-27.  Coming in at #2 was the Supreme Court hearing of the Arizona illegal immigration law case.  Following at # 3 was the euro zone economic jitters tied with weak U.S. jobs growth and at #4 was the Environmental Protection Agency’s attack on the gas and oil industries.  The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research into the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio in America and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish is added to Fisher’s KVI, Seattle…..“The Handyman Show” with Glenn Haege picks up new affiliates WBCK-FM, Battle Creek, Michigan; WMMI, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan; WBCO, Bucyrus, Ohio; KATX-FM, Eastland, Texas; and   WRHL, Rochelle, Illinois.

Innovation Sets You Free…to Make Money

| April 27, 2012

By Walter Sabo
President
Sabo Media

NEW YORK — What a great idea!  The Commercial Broadcasters of Australia give out awards for: Best New Manager.  Best New Program Director.  Best New Station.  Best New Format.  They celebrate the “new.”  They encourage it, reward it and showcase it with a black tie dinner.  I had the privilege to attend that dinner in Melbourne and you would not believe the passion and pride in the ballroom.

Sadly, in American radio, we tend to find ways to mock the new and celebrate contempt prior to investigation.  As a business we have set ourselves up for a tough, very risky and vulnerable existence.  No laboratory.  If you come up with a new format or promotional idea, where and how do you test it?  Success in a live medium depends on a specific dynamic with a live audience.  As a rule you can’t ask people how they want to be entertained.  You can present them with entertainment and see if they applaud.  Television tests pilot shows, not show concepts. (How would the Kardashians have tested as a concept?)

When presented with new ideas, most programmers ask, “Where else is it being done?  Who else is doing it?”  They will ask that question while proclaiming, “Our market is different.”  Different than where?  A town that doesn’t have McDonald’s?

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

| April 26, 2012

ESPN to Take Over Emmis’ Kiss FM in New York Beginning Sunday Afternoon.  The rumors of an FM signal for ESPN’s New York sports talker WEPN were true as ESPN is announcing it will begin simulcasting WEPN, New York on Emmis-owned WRKS-FM (98.7) on Sunday afternoon (4/29).  Rumored talent changes are also taking effect.  Stephen A. Smith is being paired up with Ryan Ruocco for the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm shift and Mike Lupica moves to a 12:00 noon start for his program.  In making the announcement, WEPN VP/GM Dave Roberts states, “This move to the FM dial is in keeping with the trend of sports radio shifting and offers an even broader reach for our content.”  The two stations will simulcast through the summer and in September WEPN 1050 AM will become a Spanish-language sports outlet airing ESPN Deportes content.  A press conference is scheduled for 1:00 pm this afternoon where details will be fleshed out.  As for the urban format of Kiss FM, Emmis is selling the intellectual property of the format to YMF Media and the station will move to WBLS-FM at 107.5.

Feature Series – Part 3:  Walter Sabo on Targeted Topics Vital to FM Talk Success.  In the third of a four-part series for TALKERS on building a successful FM talk station, Sabo Media president Walter Sabo discusses the importance of targeting topics to appeal to the desired demographic.  Sabo says that, unlike AM news/talk, politics is too narrow a subject to bring in the audience necessary to build cume and be successful.  “Common sense suggests that very few of the people you know spend much of their day talking about politics.  That’s why cable channels focused on politics have astonishingly low ratings.  Lower than any radio station in your city.”  Sabo maintains that talk on FM will be successful (gaining younger-demo ratings and revenue beyond what AM news/talkers typically do) only when the topics are carefully chosen to reflect what large numbers of the target demo are talking about.  “Your FM talk station is trying to reach an audience that is drawn to popular water cooler topics because that’s what they hear on all FM music personality shows.  Political talk is what repulses most 18-49 year olds from the AM band.  They are, instead, attracted to the topics heard on CHR, Hot AC and country personality morning shows.  Hit shows.  Those shows are your FM talk competition, not AM talk radio.  Read Walter Sabo’s entire column here.

Cumulus All-News Rumors Heat Up.  There have been rumblings about Cumulus Media preparing to flip underperforming music outlets to all-news in several markets.  Some of this has been based on the registration of domain names with frequencies tied to the phrase “all news.”  But the biggie is in Cumulus Media’s home base of Atlanta where there’s more fuel to add to the fire.  Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports hearing a news staff is quietly (but apparently not too quietly) being assembled and some of them include former Atlanta-based CNN Radio staffers and some current and former WGST, Atlanta news people.  Which station will it be?  A leading candidate is classic hits WYAY-FM, Gainesville (at 106.7) according to some intense chatter in the market.

Keith Larson May Be Done at WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  The late-morning host at Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte told listeners to his program yesterday (4/25) that he expects to leave the station as he’s been notified his contract – set to expire May 24 – will not be renewed.  The Charlotte Observer reports Keith Larson was told his deal would not be renewed but the station would like him to stay on as an at-will employee.  It sounds as though Larson will likely not accept that offer.  WBT general manager Rick Feinblatt tells the Observer he’s disappointed Larson took to the air with talk of the contract since nothing is set in stone yet but Larson told his audience he couldn’t go on the air and not talk about it.  Last year, Larson started the independent advertising and marketing firm Larson Advertising and Media Associates.  He tells the paper that may be where he concentrates his efforts for now.

Syndicated Talk Star Mike Gallagher Says Today’s Talent Must Understand Radio from Business Perspective.  In addition to being one of talk radio’s most consistently successful air personalities, Salem Radio Network‘s Mike Gallagher tells TALKERS that it has never been more important for on-air talent to be fully connected to the business processes that make the industry tick.  He says, “In today’s climate of technological change and financial challenge, you can’t just see yourself as a ‘talent’ who is somehow separate from all the other systems that make a radio station or syndication firm function.  You must have a complete understanding of your company’s P&L as well as maintain relationships with advertisers.  A talent needs to be in constant communication with the sales department and understand their problems.”  Gallagher, who left day-to-day major market radio as a station employee at WABC, New York years ago to launch the groundbreaking syndication firm Dame-Gallagher (with former WGY, Albany owner John Dame) which was later acquired by Salem, will be a featured speaker at the forthcoming New Media Seminar on Thursday, June 7.  The panel:  Making Money in Talk Radio.  Registration, nearing sellout, is open to working media only.  For information call 413-565-5413.

Compass Media Networks to Offer 25 Anaheim Angels Games.  Compass Media Networks makes Anaheim Angels play-by-play an MLB game of the week and will air 25 home and away contests beginning May 29 when the New York Yankees play at the Angels.  As with its other sports programming, Compass will hire a broadcast crew and produce its own gamecasts that will be available nationwide.  Dial Global will manage advertising sales for this multi-year contract.  The company notes that with this deal, it will broadcast well over 160 major sporting events in 2012 including college basketball, college football and NFL football (which includes Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, and Sunday afternoon doubleheaders).  Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann says, “The Angels have a tremendous brand, fan base and momentum.  We are honored and thankful for this opportunity.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  The 2012 NFL Draft begins tonight from Radio City Music Hall in New York and the big event is being covered by the sports media including Fox Sports Radio Network.  The network notes that for the 12th straight year it will cover the event with Fox NFL Insider Jay Glazer leading the coverage.  He’ll be joined by Fox Sports Radio college football draft expert Chris Landry, former USC Trojan and Fox Sports Radio host Petros Papadakis, and former NFL great Lincoln Kennedy…..SiriusXM is also on hand for the NFL Draft.  Chris Russo and Dino Costa of Mad Dog Radio and Gil Brandt, Tim Ryan, Pat Kirwan and Adam Schein of SiriusXM NFL Radio will all be broadcasting from Radio City for the first round on Thursday.  Bill Polian, the former Colts Vice Chairman and personnel guru who joined SiriusXM NFL Radio in January, will also be contributing to the satcaster’s draft coverage…..Syndicated talk host and actress Janine Turner – whose two-hour program is heard on KLIF, Dallas Saturday evenings at 9:00 pm – joins the Roger L. Simon-founded PJ Media as a regular columnist…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment names Jon Phillips the market manager for its Tulsa cluster that includes sports talk simulcast KTBZ/KAKC.

2012 Presidential Race, SCOTUS AZ Illegal Immigration Case, Euro Zone Economic Jitters, and New U.S. Spy Agency Among Top News/Talk Topics Yesterday (4/25).  The 2012 presidential race; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the Arizona Illegal Immigration law; continued concerns over economic jitters in euro zone countries; and the announcement of the creation of a new U.S. spy agency were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Fox Sports Radio’s Loose Cannons Live from New Orleans.  Fox Sports Radio Network’s “Loose Cannons” broadcast from New Orleans – the site of the Zurich Classic golf tournament – and hosted special guest Sean Payton.  The suspended head coach of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints spoke about the recent story alleging Saints GM Mickey Loomis eavesdropped on opposing teams’ conversations from his luxury suite and called the allegations “garbage.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Vic “The Brick” Jacobs, Payton, Steve Hartman and Pat O’Brien.

Targeted Topics Are Vital to FM Talk Success

| April 26, 2012

By Walter Sabo
President
Sabo Media

NEW YORK – Many FM talk stations starting this year are taking the tragic approach of moving AM talk shows to FM.  Those shows are very good at appealing to an audience hard-wired to the AM band.  The AM audience is attracted to shows featuring two topics: Democrat or Republican.  Common sense suggests that very few of the people you know spend much of their day talking about politics.  That’s why cable channels focused on politics have astonishingly low ratings.  Lower than any radio station in your city.

What do you talk about with your friends?  Your job, family, weekend plans, money, health. Fascinating fact: From the dawn of radio until about 1985, no successful talk shows talked politics, they talked about life.  Their hosts were keenly aware of what two best friends would talk about on any given day and that’s what they’d talk about.  That’s what Howard Stern talks about.  To reach the crowd coveted by advertisers, working adults under 50, it is critical to mirror their interests.

All of our successful FM talk clients have been high cumers, drawing significant 18-49 shares, often #1 and they didn’t talk politics.  They talked the food court, lunch room, social network topics.  Not only has this proven to be a successful model for winning audience share, it earns significant advertising dollars.  KLSX-FM as a talk station in L.A. was often the # 1 local biller.  It won’t achieve that as a music station.  Talk sells better than music because the retail response rate is higher and there are more elements to sell.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

| April 25, 2012

Feature Series – Part 2:  Walter Sabo on Finding and Nurturing FM Talk Talent.  In the second of a four-part series for TALKERS on building a successful FM talk station, Sabo Media president Walter Sabo writes that the best FM talk hosts come from the ranks of successful music jocks.  “I look for talent who have invested their time doing excellent radio taking advantage of a strong format.  A great CHR jock has remarkable broadcasting skills.  He/she is taught the importance and necessity of getting to the next event.”  Sabo says talent must be willing to prep two hours for every hour they are on the air and that matching this type of host with a skilled radio programmer presents the best opportunity for great success with targeted talk on the FM band.  Read part 2 of this series here.

KMBZ, Kansas City Names Jonathan Weir Late Morning Host.  The search for a new late morning talk host at Entercom’s KMBZ, Kansas City began when Chris Merrill took a talk host position at Clear Channel’s KOGO, San Diego earlier this year.  Merrill’s been doing double duty while the search was on.  Now, KMBZ program director Jack Landreth announces Jonathan Weir comes aboard to host the 9:00 am to 11:00 am show.  “Jon’s enthusiasm and unique approach to his audience instantly drew me in as a listener first.  His ability to weave his life experiences into the fabric of the show is a real quality that endears him to his listeners.”  Weir comes from Entercom’s WSKY, Gainesville, Florida where he was producer and co-host of “The Drive Time Happy Hour” program.  Weir, a St. Louis native, states, “I couldn’t be happier to be joining such a landmark station in the Midwest.  I’m inspired and so thankful to everyone at KMBZ for giving me this incredible opportunity.  I look forward to the challenge of living up to the incredible standards set by KMBZ, and the chance to be close to my family again is a great bonus.”  Weir begins his new gig on April 30.

Talk Legend Barry Farber to Receive TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award.  Talk show host Barry Farber, still heard regularly on both Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk, has been named the 2012 recipient of TALKERS magazine’s annual “Lifetime Achievement Award.”  The venerable host, named in 2002 and 2010 by TALKERS as one of the most important radio talk show hosts of all time, has been performing regularly scheduled talk shows on radio since 1960 when he started a groundbreaking program on WINS, New York.  He is credited by historians as being one of the seminal pioneers and architects of today’s talk radio.  Farber, also a prolific and accomplished author, has a new book coming out this summer titled Cocktails with Molotov: An Odyssey of Unlikely Detours (WND Books).  The award will be presented to Barry Farber by Michael Harrison at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7.  This event, nearing a sellout, is open to members of the working media only.  For registration information call 413-565-5413.

Merlin Media LMAs Third Chicago FM Signal.  Merlin Media is agreeing to lease the signal of Venture Technologies Group-owned WLFM-LP, Chicago at 87.7 on the dial to program and sell advertising on it.  Of course there’s a ton of speculation about what Merlin will do with the low-power smooth jazz outlet.  According to the Chicago Tribune, the station has been faring well with the smooth jazz format – garnering a 1.6 share in the March PPM.  Since the deal was announced, news from Merlin’s FM News 101.1 has begun airing on the station.  Though the Tribune notes Randy MichaelsRadioactive LLC has applied for the WKQX-FM call letters of the former alternative rock station (now FM News 101.1) and that’s leading to rumors the station will flip to alternative rock.  Program director and midday host Rick O’Dell confirms via the station website that a format change will take place Monday (4/30) but doesn’t say to what.

Rodney King Visits Rev. Al Sharpton.  The 20th anniversary of the verdict in the case of the Los Angeles police officers accused of beating motorist Rodney King is Sunday, April 29.  The acquittal of the four officers sparked the riots that consumed part of the city for days.  King (pictured here at left) visited Syndication One talk show host Rev. Al Sharpton to discuss the historic event and his new book, The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption (HarperOne 2012).

Steve Dahl Reduces Staff at Podcast Venture.  New-tech broadcasting models are subject to the same economic forces that affect terrestrial radio and Chicago’s Steve Dahl is making changes to keep his podcast initiative going.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports the Chicago radio legend let three staffers go recently — technical producer Pete Zimmerman, assistant technical producer Jim Ruffatto and assistant Stephanie Fallara – in order to continue operating in a way that works for him.  Dahl wrote on his blog, “It was not a decision I came to easily, but I think that it was the right move for the show.  I know when I am not growing as an entertainer and I know what I need to do to keep that process moving forward.  It’s ‘The Steve Dahl Show, and that at some point is the brand that I need to protect, not only for my own creative integrity, but in order to support my family.”  Dahl recently added two staffers – Dag Juhlin, director of creative services and Eric Drogoszewski, marketing/operations director – to his subscription-supported venture.

Backstage in Phoenix.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Glenn Beck (third from right) poses for a photo with KFYI, Phoenix hosts and staffers backstage at the Phoenix stop on his “Unelectable Tour II” on Friday, April 20.  Beck is hitting the road this spring bringing his standup comedy routine to audiences in Southern and Southwestern cities.  Pictured here with Beck are (from l-r): KFYI GSM Jim Wilson, KFYI early morning host Jim Sharpe, KFYI PM drive host Mike Broomhead, Beck, KFYI program director Neil Larrimore, and Mike Broomhead show executive producer Andrew Fountaine.

2012 Presidential Race, North Korea Nukes Test, Euro Zone Jitters, Secret Service Scandal and SCOTUS Hears AZ Illegal Immigration Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/24).  The presidential campaign and Mitt Romney’s Northeastern states primary sweep; North Korea’s threat to test nuclear weapons very soon; economic sluggishness in the euro zone; more dismissals in the Secret Service hooker scandal; and the Supreme Court’s hearing of the Arizona illegal immigration legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Walter Sabo: FM Talk — Finding and Inspiring Great Hosts, Part 2

| April 25, 2012

By Walter Sabo
President
Sabo Media

NEW YORK – “Talk” is not a format.  It’s a means of communicating.  Talk radio could reach any target demographic that management thinks it can sell.  Your station could be #1 in your city with talk targeted for teens.  Your station could reach the GOLDEN DEMO — Women 25-44 — all day with talk aimed to serve them.  It’s up to you.  My colleagues and clients have been successful in reaching any demo with talk.  Pick your demo.  Design your format, then select the hosts.

Every day I am asked for host recommendations for talk radio.  It’s flattering that we have earned a reputation for finding good hosts.  Direct recommendations are usually reserved for clients because the talent pool is limited and the process of selecting the right host is profound.

Overall, here are some of the steps we take in finding a good host, regardless of their background.  The brilliant Mickey Luckoff, lifetime general manager of KGO, said, “I like DJs to become talk show hosts because I can teach them how to do talk but I can’t teach them how to do radio.”

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